Top Deck Archetypes from Masters Tour Bucharest
Masters Tour Bucharest is one of the largest Hearthstone tournaments of 2019, with nearly 300 competitors and a $500,000 total prize pool on the line. Additionally, spots in Hearthstone’s Grandmasters Season 3 and Hearthstone Global Games are on the line for many players, leading to especially fierce competition.
After 9 Swiss rounds of Masters Tour Bucharest completed, the top 8 were decided. Kin0531, Eddie, hunterace, totosh, Orange, DeadDraw, SNBrox, and hone competed in day 3’s playoff bracket. Among them, hunterace and Eddie are current Grandmasters, but everyone else, including recently relegated Grandmaster Orange, had to compete for the title of Grandmaster. Ultimately, in a finals match between Grandmaster Eddie and kin0531, who earned his Grandmaster spot next season, Eddie (and his control lineup featuring Control Warrior, Control Priest, Quest Shaman, and Quest Druid) emerged victorious.
Let’s take a look at the deck archetypes and lists that helped these players earn their shot at glory!
Control Warrior (7): hone, SNBrox, DeadDraw, totosh, hunterace, Eddie, kin0531
Tempo Rogue (5): SNBrox, DeadDraw, Orange, totosh, hunterace
Control Priest (4): hone, hunterace, Eddie, kin0531
Quest Shaman (4): SNBrox, Orange, Eddie, kin0531
Combo Priest (3): SNBrox, Orange, totosh
Token Shaman (3): DeadDraw, totosh, hunterace
Highlander Paladin (2): hone, Orange
Control Shaman (1): hone
Highlander Hunter (1): kin0531
Holy Wrath Paladin (1): DeadDraw
Quest Druid (1): Eddie
Every player in top 8 except Orange, who opted for a more aggressive lineup, brought Control Warrior. Of these, all but 1 include a N’Zoth deathrattle package, giving Control Warrior a tempo bomb to help close games. Additionally, some players choose to run Hakkar, which gives the warrior an edge against other control decks and against Holy Wrath Paladin. Control Warrior’s strong matchups against most aggressive decks and its utility in a wide variety of matchups helps it rise to the top.
Although Tempo Rogue’s popularity on ladder has dropped significantly over the course of this year, its performance in Bucharest was admirable. Most notably, Rogue posted impressive winrates against Combo Priest, Holy Wrath Paladin, and Highlander Paladin, which were all popular brings to the Masters Tour stop. While the successful rogue lists vary significantly in the middle and top end of the mana curve, all the Tempo Rogues in top 8 use Swashburglar and Pharaoh Cat to activate early Underbelly Fences and Vendettas. These tempo swing cards help rogue win the board early and snowball the game in their favor.
Interestingly, though perhaps not too surprisingly, Control Priest performed well against questless Token Shaman decks and very poorly against Quest Shaman. Control Priest also posted strong performances against Quest Druid and performed decently against most aggro decks. Much like in Control Warrior, the inclusion of Hakkar and Elysiana in some of these Control Priest lists allows players to win control mirrors and serves as a nice game plan against Holy Wrath Paladin.
Quest Shaman is one of the most popular decks in Hearthstone, so it is no surprise to see it well represented in Bucharest. Compared to the Token variant, Quest Shaman performed much more favorably against Warrior, Control Priest, and Highlander Hunter. While there are no significant surprises in any of the top 8 Quest Shaman lists, there is slight variation in the deck lists, with SNBrox opting to include Giggling Inventor, kin0531 playing Plague of Murlocs, and Eddie and Orange both running Witchwood Piper.
The undeniable Bogeyman of the pre-Doom In The Tomb meta, Combo Priest received no new cards but should still be feared. Combo Priest had notably strong performances against Quest Shaman, Quest Druid, and Holy Wrath Paladin, but can also take wins in just about any other matchp. While Combo Priest decklists don’t have much room for variation, totosh did opt to cut Bwonsamdi, Extra Arms, and one Beaming Sidekick in favor of Regenerate, a second Silence, and a second Acolyte of Pain.
Although Token Shaman was outperformed by Quest Shaman in several key matchups, the Token variant is favored in the head-to-head matchup and performs better against Combo Priest. Like Quest Shaman, Token Shaman has the ability to create huge boards early with Desert Hare and Evolve, but unlike Quest Shaman this deck can more effectively capitalize on large boards (at the expense of some late game value) with cards like Bloodlust and Sea Giant. The three Token Shamans in top 8 all use overload synergy cards and a Spirit of the Frog draw engine, but hunterace’s list notably also include two Mana Tide Totems for additional draw and SN1P-SN4P as a generally powerful minion that spawns tokens.
Highlander Paladin, a popular bring for Masters Tour Bucharest, had a strong overall winrate, but performed poorly in some of the key matchups: Combo Priest, Token Shaman, Control Warrior, and Tempo Rogue. Its strong matchup into Quest Shaman gives it a boost, but most of its other favorable matchups had low representation in the top 8. Regardless, two players were able to make top 8 with Highlander Paladin. Orange and hone’s lists differ by several cards. Most notably, Orange’s list has Magic Carpet and extra 1-cost minions to help fight for board against other aggressive decks.
While only one Control Shaman made top 8, the deck actually has the highest winrate of any archetype played in 50 matches or more. Control Shaman was brought by only 10 players, so detailed matchup statistics are not available, but it likely performs well against Token Shaman and Combo Priest. Additionally, hone’s list runs Hakkar, N’Zoth, Elysiana, and Shudderwock, giving a strong win condition in control matchups.
Overall, Highlander Hunter had a middling performance in Bucharest, but kin0531 was able to pilot the deck all the way to the finals. Highlander Hunter performed well against Token Shaman, and kin0531’s secret-based build likely performed well against Combo Priest.
Holy Wrath Paladin
Despite strong matchups against shaman, Holy Wrath Paladin struggled in Bucharest, earning one of the lowest overall winrates among popular deck archetypes. However, DeadDraw was able to earn his spot in top 8 using a Holy Wrath Paladin build that does not feature Emperor Thaurissan. While Emperor allows for a 50 damage combo turn, DeadDraw deemed this inclusion unnecessary, allowing one more spot for card draw or removal.
Quest Druid is another archetype that significantly underperformed compared to its popularity, likely due to its bad matchups against both shaman and priest. The notable exception is Eddie’s Quest Shaman, which he was able to pilot all the way to victory in Bucharest. Quest Druid has a lot of potential, as Eddie was able to show with his list that features Baleful Banker to allow “infinite value.” When combined with Elise, Kun, and Floop, Baleful Banker gives Eddie a way to continually make threatening boards in the late stage of the game in matchups where repeated waves of threats are necessary.