Lineups for the HCT Americas Summer playoffs are in, and they look notably more aggressive than Europe’s lineups were last week.
Lineups for the HCT Americas Summer Playoffs are in, and once again YAYtears has neatly compiled all the lineups in a Google Drive folder for our viewing pleasure. America will be the second of three regions to hold their playoffs, allowing participants in this weekend’s event to adjust their lineups according to the results of last week’s European tournament.
There are several key differences between American lineups and their European counterparts:
American lineups are notably more aggressive than European lineups.
Rogue was a very popular choice for Americans, with Quest Rogue and Odd Rogue showing up in substantial numbers.
In general, Paladin was a more popular choice in American lineups. Even Paladin was much more popular than Murloc Paladin.
Spiteful Druid was one of the top decks from the European tournament, so it should come as no surprise that it is substantially more popular this weekend than last. The popularity of Spiteful Druid means there are far fewer Taunt Druids this weekend.
Despite Control Priest’s relatively lackluster performance at the European Playoffs, it remains a popular choice in American lineups. I’d expect the deck to perform much better this weekend than last weekend, as it will be facing a much higher percentage of aggressive decks such as Even Paladin.
Tempo Mage was very well represented in American lineups, while Control Mage was entirely absent from the tournament.
Though a few off-meta decks were submitted, there is a much lower variety of decks in American lineups than was present in European lineups.
Breaking down the lineups into broader categories, we can see that dedicated aggressive lineups make up over half the total field of 73 players:
Aggro with Cubelock
Aggro without Cubelock
For simplicity, I categorized Spiteful Druid and Quest Rogue as aggro decks. The majority of aggro lineups included Cubelock, Spiteful Druid, and Even Paladin, and were split on Aggro Mage, Quest Rogue, and Odd Rogue as the fourth deck. Expect any lineup which is built to beat Cubelock, Spiteful Druid, and Even Paladin to have a field day in the Swiss portion of the tournament.
I defined “Hybrid Aggro/Control” lineups as any lineup which featured both aggro and control decks, though you could also categorize these as “best decks” lineups. Nearly all of these lineups included both Cubelock and Spiteful Druid, and over half of them paired Control Priest with a fourth aggressive deck (such as Even Paladin or Quest Rogue). On the whole, these hybrid lineups lean much more aggressive than defensive.
I defined “Control/Anti-Aggro” lineups as any lineup with 3 or more dedicated control decks. Due to the overwhelming popularity of “Aggro with Cubelock” lineups, I predict at least 2 of these 13 Anti-Aggro lineups will make the top 8 of the tournament. After reaching the top 8, if these control lineups can continue draw aggro matchups they should have a great shot at qualifying for the Summer Championships. However, these control lineups could struggle a bit with the hybrid lineups which will be reasonably popular at the tournament.
Dog’s Control Lineup
Thanks to his popular stream, Dog will be entering the tournament as one of the fan favorites. He’ll also be entering it as one of the betting favorites, as his lineup is stacked with control decks which are collectively favored against the likes of Cubelock, Even Paladin, and Spiteful Druid. I’d expect the majority of his opponent’s to ban away whichever control deck they expect is best against their lineup, leaving them with two control decks and Spiteful Druid against their aggro lineup (after Dog bans away either Cubelock or Quest Rogue). That sure sounds like a winning formula to me!
Fibonacci and Fr0zen’s Warrior/Hunter Lineup
Fibonacci and Fr0zen submitted identical and incredibly creative lineups. Their Recruit Warrior stands out as a unique choice and is a deck I look forward to trying out on the ladder. It also appears to be an intelligent choice for the tournament, as Recruit Warrior could be a much better answer to Spiteful Druid and other control decks than Odd Control Warrior. Their Spell Hunter deck can be called on to snipe Odd and Quest Rogues, while Warlock and Priest are there to eat up aggro decks. I’m betting that one of these very talented players qualifies for the Summer Championships with this lineup.
The Anti-Anti-Cubelock Lineup
A surprising number of noteworthy names brought no-Warlock lineups, including Zalae, StrifeCro, Gallon, and 2017 World Championship participants Purple and DocPwn. Seeing as Cubelock is a deck which will typically either be banned away or targeted by other lineups, replacing it with Control Priest can create a small edge in the aggro mirrors these players will face all weekend. The hybrid lineups which are built to target Cubelock should also struggle against these no-Warlock lineups, particularly against DocPwn’s lineup which swaps Control Priest for Quest Rogue.
Aggro mirrors are often volatile and highly dependent on which player goes first, but I have faith in the talent of Zalae, StrifeCro, Gallon, Purple, and DocPwn to win their aggro mirrors. I predict at least one of these no-Warlock lineups will qualify for the Summer Championships.
ETC’s Hybrid Lineup
Googling “ETC Hearthstone” yields more results for the card Elite Tauren Chieftain than this Hearthstone player, but I love the way that ETC’s lineup matches up against this tournament’s field. Aggro lineups will have to get through either Control Warlock or Control Priest to beat ETC, while control lineups will be forced to ban Quest Rogue even though ETC’s control decks are teched for control mirrors. So long as he can win his Rogue vs Rogue matches, ETC looks poised for a strong run through the Swiss.
I’ll also be keeping an eye out for Ryuuzu and SnipedAgain, two players who brought similar Hybrid lineups to ETC. Ryuuzu swapped Even Paladin for Taunt Druid, while SnipedAgain swapped Quest Rogue for Taunt Druid and Even Paladin for Murloc Paladin.
TerrenceM’s Even Shaman
Deck Code: AAECAaoIBiD7BYoHws4Cp+4CzfQCDNMBmQL+BcAH2QfwB5HBApvLApboAvbsApTvArDwAgA=
Both TerrenceM and Guiyze brought Even Shaman to the American Playoffs, doubling the number of Shaman decks from last week! In all seriousness, I’ve been playing with this Shaman deck on the ladder and have high hopes for it at the tournament. It reminds me a lot of the old Evolve Shaman decks which were tier 1 for a stretch during The Year of the Mammoth, and I will be cheering for both TerrenceM and Guiyze to do well this weekend.
Muzzy’s Token Druid
Deck Code: AAECAbSKAwKU0gKZ0wIOQF/9AvcD5gXkCKDNAofOApjSAp7SAtvTAoTmAvnmAtfvAgA=
Token Druid made an appearance in last week’s tournament, but Muzzy and Yoitsflo brought a new take on the deck which I found surprising. They cut the Violet Teachers for Arcane Tyrants, which completely changes the dynamic of the deck. Token Druid surrenders some midgame power by cutting the Teachers, but it will be able to more consistently ramp with Oaken Summons into Greedy Sprite in return. This paints the deck as more of a combo/anti-control deck, even though it was already no slouch against aggro decks between Swipe and Spreading Plague. I’ll be very interested to see how these two players fare with Token Druid this weekend.
Pinche’s Odd Hunter
Deck Code: AAECAR8CrwSe+AIOoQKiAqgCtQOSBe0GlwjbCf4Ml8EC3cIC4eMCi+UChOwCAA==
Odd Hunter has always been a face deck, but earlier builds of it played a number of cards which were at least nominally concerned with board control. Not Pinche, who lowered the curve on his Odd Hunter deck as much humanly possible to maximize the amount of face damage potential. This feels like the best direction to take Odd Hunter in, and would be the build of the deck I’d recommend for laddering going forward.
Tech of the Tournament
Shroom Brewer is starting to become a popular tech card in Warlock decks.
A Nerubian Unraveler was spotted in Ant’s Spiteful Druid.
Cthulukitty shaved an Elven Minstrel and a Mimic Pod to make room for 2 Backstabs in his Quest Rogue list. I was under the impression that Mimic Pod was one of the best cards in the deck, and was quite surprised to see this decision.
Holy Fire appeared in several Control Priest lists.
Captain Greenskin found its way into roughly half of the Odd Rogue decks.
Argent Commander has started to become a staple of Even Paladin decks.