The Starladder Hearthstone tournament, paired with I-League has moved on to the final stage. The tournament boasts some of the top players from all over the world, as the North American, European, and Chinese victors of the earlier tournaments come together for the finals. There are eight players, six from NA/EU and two from China. The format is Conquest, where each player brings four decks, and then chooses to ban one of their opponent’s decks. They do a best of five with their three remaining decks, and a player cannot use a deck that he has already won with. The group stage of the finals is Round Robin, meaning every player plays every other player. Group B has now concluded, and here are the results:
Lanshengzhe came first with a match score of 2-1. He comes over from the I-League half of the tournament, where he climbed through the ranks of the Chinese players to achieve the goal of going to this final tournament. The other Chinese player to come over from the I-League side was eliminated the day before, leaving him as the only one to prove China’s strength. He is, of course, Chinese himself, and he plays for the Chinese team Yolo Miracle. He brought Midrange Druid, Secret Paladin, Aggro Shaman, and Zoo Warlock, going for a very aggressive decklist. He banned Rogue against Surrender and Mage against both of the other opponents. His first match against JAB was a quick loss, going 1-3 against JAB’s strong anti-aggro list. In the second match against Surrender he got a lucky Milhouse out of Shredder, and that combined with poor draws on Surrender’s part allowed him to take a quick 3-1. His final match was against StanCifka, resulting in an incredibly close fifth game. They were 2-2, with StanCifka at three health but with lethal on board, and Lanshengzhe topdecks a Dark Pedlar, finding a Soulfire to win the game and the match, leaving him as the top player for Group B.
Surrender came second with a match score of 2-1. He is a South Korean player who plays in both the Asia Pacific and North American regions. He joined team Natus Vincere, or NAVI earlier this week. Natus Vincere is a team that has been around for a while with some amazing players on their team, but they keep their roster small – currently four players. Natus Vincere is Latin for Born to Win. Surrender himself has been around for quite a while, picking up several high tournament places and one win at OGN Masters Korea Season Two. Here he brought Secret Paladin, Midrange Druid, Zoo Warlock, and Oil Rogue. He banned different decks each game, banning Warlock, Paladin, and Warrior. He took a quick first match against StanCifka, taking a decisive 3-1 victory. His second match against JAB was much closer, and resulted in a fifth game, where both players were playing Druid and topdecking to see who could win. Surrender managed to stick some creatures in play, while JAB drew Innervate, giving Surrender the game and the match 3-2. His final match was against Lanshengzhe, and while he put up a fight, Lanshengzhe’s aggro decks were simply too fast for him and he lost 1-3. His 2-1 match score puts him in second place for the group, since he lost to Lanshengzhe, the other player who went 2-1.
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StanCifka came third with a match score of 1-2. He actually wasn’t supposed to be at this tournament, he fell just short of qualifying, but Amaz dropped out and StanCifka was able to squeeze his way back in. He is from the Czech Republic, and he is the only person remaining in the tournament that does not have a team. Here he brought a very interesting set of decks, bringing Control Priest, Freeze Mage with Reno Jackson, Reno Warlock, and Secret Paladin. He banned Rogue, Druid, and Druid. His first match against Surrender was a blowout, Surrender taking the first two games, and then despite StanCifka’s attempt to hang on by taking the third game, he couldn’t last long, losing the match 1-3. His second match against JAB went far better and had several amazing fatigue games. He accidentally overdrew and died to fatigue in his first game playing his Freeze Mage, but the second time he managed to defeat JAB’s Warrior in Fatigue, living with a single point of health and taking the match 3-1. His final match against Lanshengzhe was one of the closest matches ever, with Lanshengzhe topdecking a Dark Pedlar into a Soulfire for the final points of damage in the final game. StanCifka never lost his smile however, showing how good a sport he is and simply how happy he is to be here, always smiling and shaking hands after a loss.
JAB came in fourth with a match score of 1-2. He is an American who plays for Team Hearthlytics. He was a fairly unknown earlier this year, but then he placed highly at Blizzcon and became a fairly well-known player in the North American region. He is largely known for his Midrange Hunter and Tempo or Casino Mages. Here he brought Tempo Mage, Patron Warrior, Secret Paladin, and Midrange Druid. He banned Priest, Warlock, and Warlock. His first match was against Lanshengzhe, and he was the only player from the group who managed to defeat the Chinese player, going 3-1 with his strong anti-aggro lineup. His second match against Surrender was incredibly close, but in the fifth game when both players were playing Druid and simply needed something to stay on board, JAB drew an Innervate, a useless card at the time, costing him the game and match, resulting in a 2-3 loss. His final match against StanCifka went very poorly, as StanCifka’s control lineup was designed perfectly to counter JAB’s lineup. Because he lost to the other player who went 1-2, JAB came last place and has been eliminated from the tournament.