Hey everyone, this is the third week of the AICC tournament, the round of 8, however with the players in this group you would think it was the last. This week features 3 very impressive players who are pretty well known throughout the community. These players are Dart, Phonetap and Silentstorm.
I was able to do a lot of research on these three players because they are three very well known players in the community. Dart has been around the scene for a while and has very impressive ladder rankings. SilentStorm and Phonetap both have won their respective ESL lans. Phonetap also holds the highest amount of points gained for the World Championship, while SilentStorm stands in second place.
SilentStorm, the second place in the standings for WCS points and representative of the University of Toronto, as well as being on Team Celestial.
In the round of 32, he played Warlock, Paladin, Rogue. His games were streamed in the round of 32, so I was able to know what he was running. He played a MIdrange Paladin, Zoo and Oil Rogue in the round of 32.
His round of 16 games were not streamed but he ran the same lineup. It is pretty safe to assume he ran the same decks for the second week of the tournament.
In the Archon Team League Championships (ATLC), SilentStorm ran Zoo in week 1 and in week 2.
I figured he would stick to a very similar lineup, when I built my lineup I built it towards beating the lineup he used two weeks in a row.
Predicted Lineup: Midrange Paladin, Oil Rogue, Zoo
Actual Lineup: Freeze Mage, Oil Rogue, Zoo
Phonetap, first place in the standings for WCS points and representative for St. John’s, as well as being on Luminosity Gaming. Phonetap actually beat me in the first week, the round of 32, however I was able to beat the third round and advance to the next phase.
In the round of 32, his lineup was Warrior, Hunter, Rogue. He played Grim Patron Warrior, Face Hunter and Oil Rogue. If you want to learn more about this match, please visit my first article.
In the round of 16, just like SilentStorm also kept to the same lineup. These games were not streamed and I did not play against him the second week. I assumed they were the same as the round of 32.
Phonetap practices a lot with Xixo, so I also looked at what Xixo has been playing recently. Xixo and Phonetap use very similar lineups so I can have a good prediction based off Xixo. I was sure that Phonetap would bring Grim Patron and Oil Rogue again and Hunter has beendoing well for him. The only problem was he plays both variants of Hunter. However, looking at Xixo, he has only been playing Face Hunter in tournaments so that is what I assumed Phonetap would be playing.
Predicted Lineup: Grim Patron Warrior, Face Hunter, Oil Rogue
Actual Lineup: Face Hunter, Freeze Mage, Warrior*
I did not see the Warrior deck, but it was most likely Grim Patron Warrior
Dart has been in the scene for a very long time and has impressive ladder rankings while in medical school. He plays for Illuminati and represents the University of Southern California.
In the round of 32 and 16 he kept the same lineup. None of these games were streamed and I was not in his group for any of them.
He played Warrior, Warlock and Rogue.
I made the assumption that he was playing Grim Patron because of the influence a team can have on their teammates. I was told he was more of an aggressive player I put him as playing Zoo instead of Handlock or Malylock. Oil Rogue is the most common Rogue deck at the moment so I put him down as playing that.
Predicted Lineup: Grim Patron Warrior, Oil Rogue, Zoo
Actual Lineup: Grim Patron Warrior, Oil Rogue, Zoo
MY LINEUP PREPARATION
I kept the anti Patron lineup theme going and continued to run Handlock and Control Warrior. These decks were almost guaranteed deck choices at the start of preparation. TheJordude suggested Oil Rogue as my third deck and I looked at the possible matchups and I liked that most of the decks I was going to play against it would be favoured.
I wrote down all the matchups I thought I was going to face for each deck. I started off with Control Warrior and listed all the assumed decks I was going to have to play against (Midrange Paladin, Oil Rogue, Grim Patron Warrior, Face Hunter and Zoo). Then I went and did Handlock and Oil Rogue. Looking at all the matchups, I looked like I was going to have a pretty easy group if everyone played what I predicted.
Here were the decks I used.
DAY OF COMPETITION
The games against SilentStorm (round one and three) can be found here.
ROUND 1 - SILENTSTORM
MAGE, WARLOCK, ROGUE
Control Warrior vs Freeze Mage
I got a favoured match right off the bat. Although it isn’t as one sided as it used to be with the introduction of Emperor Thaurissan, it’s still pretty strongly favoured for the Warrior. With Emperor you can generally increase the number of Fireballs you have in your hand with discounted spells. Armouring up a lot is key to winning the match because you put yourself out of the amount of damage the Mage can put out.
I didn’t have too much pressure in the early game but I was able to contest his Loot Hoarder and Bloodmage Thalnos. In the midgame he was drawing and pulling out secrets. He got an Emperor on board, I was able to answer with a Shield Slam on my Sylvannas to steal the Emperor and decrease the cost of my own cards. He plays Archmage Antonidas along with Frostbolt and Frost Nova to freeze my board and my face. I did not have an answer, however, I top decked Execute and was able to equip a Fiery War Axe to activate the deathrattle on my Death’s Bite because I could not swing with it and then Execute the Antonidas.
I won shortly after with a Dr. Boom and him having to clear it and dying to the Boom Bots with Ice Block up.
Handlock vs Freeze Mage
Not a very good matchup for Handlock, you typically need to draw everything you need in order to win. This includes your threats early such as Twilight Drakes and Giants. You need your Owls for Doomsayers. You need your Antique Healbots and Loatheb at the right time.
He coined out a Loot Hoarder that ended up getting quite a decent amount of damage in. In hte midgame he had an 8 card reduction with Emperor Thaurissan. Followed by Bloodmage Thalnos, Fireball, Frostbolt, Ice Lance finish two turns later.
Handlock vs Oil Rogue
I would say typically this is a pretty good matchup for the Warlock.
In this game I was not able to put out threats efficiently and I never drew the Healbots I needed as well. I was finished off with a Sap, Preparation, Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil into a Blade Flurry.
Handlock vs Zoo
Typically a decent matchup for Handlock especially if you have Molten Giants to taunt up. I did not get my taunters, Healbots or Molten Giants. In fact SilentStorm perfect curved me pretty much and killed me on turn 6 with a Power Overwhelming into Doomguard finish.
ROUND 2 - PHONETAP
WARRIOR, MAGE, HUNTER
Handlock vs Face Hunter
Typically very bad matchup for the Handlock unless you are able to stabilize with taunters and heals.
He put a lot of pressure early and got me really low but I managed to get out two moltens and tap at 3 health into 1 health to draw a Healbot. This super clutch tap brought me to 9 health where he was not able to finish me so I finished him the next turn.
Control Warrior vs Face Hunter
With the ability to armour up with Shield Blocks and Shieldmaidens this match isn’t too bad. However, this game I only drew one Shield Block and no Shieldmaidens which made this slightly harder.
I managed to stabilize and gain enough armour to eventually finish the game off. He was at a point in the midgame where he didn’t have many cards in his hand and had no board.
Oil Rogue vs Face Hunter
Usually favoured for the Face Hunter as the rogue typically takes too much damage in the early game and can’t stabilize in time. It’s a race between the two decks.
He started out with coin double Leper Gnome and was able to put pressure and do a lot of damage to me. I was in a position where I had to ignore his board and push for lethal and say in the next turn I win or he wins, he ended up winning but it was the correct decision nonetheless.
Oil Rogue vs Freeze Mage
In this matchup, the rogue really wants to burst the Mage as fast as possible and pop the block efficiently.
I was able to get minions on the board early and get out good Tinker’s Sharpsword Oilonto the board and my weapon to put on pressure. This allowed me to eventually win. Although he drew Alexstrasza it wasn’t enough for him to win the game as I locked him out of doing anything after that.
ROUND 3 - SILENTSTORM
MAGE, WARLOCK, ROGUE
Handlock vs Zoo
As I said last time I faced Silentstorm, I would say this matchup is favoured for the Handlock.
I was able to stabilize and clear this time around instead of getting out pressured with no follow up. I also drew Healbot when I needed it and was able to put my threats out onto the board. He discarded one Doomguard by playing his first so it was a lot easier for me.
Oil Rogue vs Freeze Mage
Most important thing again is to burst early and pop block if it is up. Minions are very important in the match up. Although he got a huge Emperor turn followed by a huge Antonidas turn, I was able to lock him out with loatheb and finish him off.
Control Warrior vs Freeze Mage
Again, this is really favoured for the Control Warrior player. A lot of game is just armouring up and building armour so when they Alexstrasza, you still have a ton of effective health.
I really liked my lineup this week for what I expected to play. I was able to guess ? decks for two players and 3/3 for the player I did not end up playing against. The 1 deck I didn’t predict was Freeze Mage but I had Control Warrior and to some extent Oil Rogue for that matchup.
My list ran Sylvannas in the Handlock and a lot of the time I really wanted Mortal Coil in its place, so I might be changing that up for future use.
Other than that, I am pretty happy with what I’ve been using so far in this tournament, especially with not having too much time to practice while on Vacation.
Both Dart and I advance to the very last round along with Harusol and Whelp, to determine who the top 2 players are and who will be sent to Korea.
Unfortunately, my UBC teammate did not advance his group and got knocked out in the last round.