Hey everyone! I am Dethelor and this is my first article for Team Archon.
In this article I will analyze some of my thoughts before, during, and after the Dreamhack Summer tournament, which took place during June 13th to 15th. I will also report the games I played during the Swiss Stage of the tournament.
I had to make some tough decisions about which decks I should bring to the event. In the past weeks I played mostly Warlock (Zoo and Handlock), Hunter (Mid/Hybrid), and Patron Warrior and had a lot of success with this line-up, winning a 3.000$ LAN Event and qualifying for the upcoming Gfinity tournament.
Unfortunately, I expected that a lot of people would try to use Handlock in the event. In the Greek LAN, I brought Handlock, which was the better choice because a) it wasn’t that popular back then and b) I had an advantage over the field and preferred the slower deck. I still felt very comfortable playing Handlock, so I brought it over Zoo in Dreamhack (not sure I made the right call).
Right before the deck re-submission I saw that Paladin and Tempo Mage were stronger than I originally expected. However, I am not that experienced with those decks compared to Hu/Wr/Wl, so I kept my original line-up.
Patron was my most successful deck, going 5-2. It only lost 2 times against Gaara’s Face Paladin and Tempo Mage (he had Flamestrike to clear a 6 minion board). Most people feel that the Shield Block/Shield Slam version is weak against Hunter, but I don’t feel that way (Note: I also ran double Armorsmith where some early versions didn’t run any). Harrison Jones is sometimes too slow in this matchup, but with the time Shield Block gives you, it becomes relevant. Last, but not least, HJ was excellent against the surprisingly many Rogues of the event.
My Handlock was the worst performing deck for me and I will probably refrain from playing this deck, at least for the moment. I played Jaraxxus over Ragnaros since the former is very useful in the Paladin matchup and the heal sometimes can save you. Double BGH is incredible in the mirror match and is something I’ve been using for a while.
I originally planned on bringing Midrange Hunter into the tournament, but even though I believe it’s stronger overall, I think Hybrid has better match-ups against the field I expected. I only regret bringing too many situational cards; Hunter’s Mark was a meta-call for Handlocks, but I’d rather have 1 wolfrider over the 2nd Unleash.
The main point of this article is to present and analyze some of my thoughts I had during the Swiss stage of the tournament. The idea came to me by the poker pro Gus Hansen, who took notes and tracked every single hand of the 2007 Aussie Millions, which he eventually won. Here are my results of the Swiss Stage in the Dreamhack Sweden Tournament, where I went 4-3, after being undefeated (3-0) in day 1.
G1: Dethelor vs Numberguy 3-1
G2 Dethelor vs Forsen 3-1 (streamed)
G3 Dethelor vs Kalegozer 3-1
G4 Dethelor vs Gaara 2-3
G5 Dethelor vs AKAWonder 0-3
G6 Dethelor vs Crane 3-0 (dns)
G7 Dethelor vs TristanJ 2-3
Individual Deck Results
Patron Warrior: 5W 2L
Handlock: 4W 6L
Hybrid Hunter: 4W 4L
Hunter vs Patron Warrior: I wasn’t very confident playing Hunter into Patron and lost this series, overran by the sheer amount of bodies he played. 0-1
Handlock vs Rogue: I hit a very good curve, played very aggressively and finished him with double Hellfire, double Darkbomb after t6 emperor. 1-1
Hunter vs Rogue: I kept Bow to deal with his 3 health minions but had a bad starting hand. Luckily he had no board clear so it was an easy win. 2-1
Patron Warrior vs Hunter: Very easy victory for me even though he had a t6 savannah, in the end Shield Block+Armorsmith brought me the win. 3-1
Hunter vs Zoo: Definitely not well played by me, I could barely think for some reason. Even though he got double Mal’Ganis I managed to win with the help of RNG. 1-0
Patron Warrior vs Tempo Mage: Got early patrons so his only win condition was to burn me down. Shield Blocks got me out of reach and I ended up winning the game. 2-0
Handlock vs Tempo Mage: He got a good start and I couldn’t recover, while he bursted me down. 2-1
Handlock vs Zoo: He didn’t respect Moltens and I had both in hand. I cleared a deathrattle heavy board with a Molten+Shadowflame. I did that instead of the silence+watcher play in order to keep a body on board in case I need to silence my watcher next turn. I won the game after I taunted a Molten and a Drake. 3-1
Patron Warrior vs Hunter: Pretty close game but my deck managed to come back and I eventually managed to armor up out of reach. 1-0
Handlock vs Druid: I was at 5hp but had 4 taunts up by turn 7 and almost sealed the game but he had a 2nd Innervate plus Combo on 7 for lethal. 1-1
Hunter vs Hunter: Early tempo and some crucial Freezing Traps gave me the win. This matchup has much more depth than people think it does. 2-1
Handlock vs Hunter: He had a strong start but I went all-in on my only win condition. Allowed him to burst me down a lot, but I managed to somehow come back with a Molten and Healbot. 3-1
Patron Warrior vs Aggro Pala: I had no clues about his decks and didn’t expect aggro. I lost this game even though I got an early Waraxe after he found a timely Divine Favour. 0-1
Patron Warrior vs Tempo Mage: I locked the board but was then caught off guard by a Flamestrike in his otherwise very standard early game Tempo Mage. He got Mal’Ganis from Unstable and I had to waste my removals so he decided to out-value me with Antonidas. My only win condition was double charge Frothings but I never managed to find a Commander. 0-2
Hunter vs Hunter: His Hunter was a Face variant with double Explosive trap so he had the upper hand in theory. He got a bad starting hand and I managed to get a close victory after locking him with Freezing Trap. 1-2
Patron Warrior vs Hunter: This was a pretty favourable matchup for me which essentially ended after I topdecked an Armorsmith on a crucial turn.
Handlock vs Hunter: He had a very bad start and went all-in on Molten into Belcher, then Healbot. Unfortunately a 33% Glaivezooka landing on his Misha gave him an easy trade into my Belcher, giving him lethal on board on the next turn. I had to go for Healbot+Molten instead of Second Belcher+Molten to prevent lethal on board but this line gave me only an out - the second Healbot. I got a Molten Giant instead which would have probably given me the win had I one more health, or if the Glaivezooka missed. 2-3
Hunter vs Hunter: Very close match. He had both Snake and Freezing at one point but I managed to recover. However he dealt with both my Freezing Traps pretty easily and finished me with a Kill Command after I was 1 turn short of killing him. 0-1
Handlock vs Paladin: Made a mistake at one point where I didn’t play Loatheb and was dead to Equality+Consecration. Bombs hitting for 3 and 4 were very crucial for him. Not sure I would have won if I played better since he had Harrison for my Jaraxxus. 0-2
Hunter vs Zoo: I casted a premature Juggler+Unleash and he quickly went all-in. I had 3 turns to find any damage but got 3 blanks and lost with him on 1hp. 0-3
I was eliminated at this point but we both wanted to play the series.
Patron Warrior vs Hunter: For one more time my Warrior proved to be excellent against Hybrid Hunters. 1-0
Handlock vs Hunter: He couldn’t go through my wall of taunts and I set lethal for the next turn with Mountain+Molten. However he had the exact cards to kill me and scored a perfect damage/mana kill on turn 8. 1-1
Handlock vs Handlock: I brought him to 20 hp but couldn’t attack face at all, especially with the hand I had. He played really well and won after snowballing me with Emperor into Moltens. The end-game was a very dramatic one with me trying to survive and setting lethal and him praying for a lucky Rag shot which he eventually got on the third try. 1-2
Handlock vs Patron Warrior: I got a nice start and he didn’t really stand a chance. 2-2
Hunter vs Patron Warrior: Very easy win for him, he had all the answers. 2-3
Originally I did not plan to post all the games but since I had some notes I decided to do so. However the most important thing are not the games themselves but the conclusions you draw from these games. Here are some of the important things I realized at this tournament. I guess we all learn from our mistakes, right?
1. Always trust your instincts.
It’s something I’ve been telling myself for a long time and it has always worked well for me. If you believe that a card/deck is good and you have a decent argument to back it up, then go with it. The “pro” players aren’t always 100% right and sometimes their opinion just reflects the opinion of other pro players, which they tend to follow. I was very confident playing Patron Warrior versus Hunter and I should have tried to force this matchup more. And this brings us to my next point.
2. If you believe your opponents have a certain tendency, try to take full advantage of it.
For example, I have noticed that in my last 20 Bo5 matches, more than half of the players who had Hunter in their list tend to start with it. As stated before, I feel very comfortable playing Warrior vs Hunter so I should have probably picked Warrior first.
3. Should you randomize when picking decks in Conquest?
This is a very tough question to answer. I had a very long discussion on it and basically the response was mixed. Randomizing does not put you into any advantage or disadvantage and picking manually puts you into “mindgames” with your opponents. What I like the most is to pick a deck manually when you have more information on your opponent than he has on you and randomizing in the other cases.
For example, in my series against Gaara I had no idea about his decks. I knew he likes Control Decks, but his line-up couldn’t allow for a control line-up. On the other hand, I was being streamed the day before, so there is a very high chance he knew my decks. In that case I should have randomised (which I didn’t end up doing), but still got a pretty decent match-up nevertheless.
When shouldn’t you randomize? If you have scouted your opponent and realized he has started all his series with Druid then you should act as if he would pick Druid first again and queue your best matchup first to take advantage of your information.
4. Don’t bring inconsistent decks for your lineup.
Swiss formats especially reward consistency. I regret bringing too many situational cards into my Hunter deck.
5. Play the version of the deck that you are more familiar with...
...and don’t copy lists just because people believe they are stronger. For example, Lifecoach has been one of the most consistent player of the past month bringing almost exactly same lists of Druid, Handlock and Paladin into different tournaments.
I hope you enjoyed my journey, I'm looking forward to next week!