Recap: Challengestone Brings Much Needed Freshness to Competitive Hearthstone
Fans of competitive Hearthstone got a very exciting treat over the weekend. Most tournaments involve players bringing multiple decks prepared in advance and playing in a bracket format. This is fine except for that fact that nearly every league plays this way, emphasizing how you utilize in the meta decks rather than your ability to build a superior version. Weeks ago, Kripparian came up with the idea of a tournament played with different deck building criteria each time it takes place. Participants are given 20 minutes to formulate and build three competitive and viable decks following the rule set. For the inaugural challenge the participants were given the following:
Minions have to have an ODD attack value (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.)
Spells have to be an EVEN mana cost (0, 2, 4, 6, etc.)
Unlike the Kinguin Pro League, Challengestone follows a Last Hero Standing format in which each player chooses a deck for the first game in a match, and the winner of the game will continue to use this deck until they suffer a defeat. The loser is no longer be able to use the class and deck for the remainder of the match. Quarterfinals and Semifinals are played in a Best of 5 while the Finals are Best of 7.
Since this is predominantly a deck building challenge, we've included every deck built (except for Savjz)!
Savjz misunderstood the rules, for more on that, check out the penalties section of the Table of Contents.
Just know that he made so many mistakes that we couldn't recreate his deck.
Hyped vs. Lifecoach
Hyped starts off with a in hand and quickly draws into his second, leaving many wondering if it was a smart move to include two in his decklist. Luckily he gets out of which allows him to Sylvanas and steal Lifecoach's . This enables him to cast both s for six and seven mana, respectively, earning him the win.
Winner: Hyped (1-0)
Hyped gets a fantastic start in this match, establishing a solid board presence that's ultimately decimated by Lifecoach with an / combo. In turn he builds up his own field, leaving Hyped scrambling to catch up. With no s allowed, it's hard for the Mage to clear medium to large minions en masse. Luckily, he does manage to draw into his only , giving him a chance at coming back. However, Lifecoach's is too much to be dealt with and Hyped drops the match.
Winner: Lifecoach (1-1)
With this matchup, largely determines how well Hyped does. He gets one on the field with and in hand. The Priest puts down a good amount of damage, knocking Hyped to eight health on Turn 6. Lifecoach looks to secure the win again with his and , thanks to all of his healing cards however, Hyped stalls for many turns in a row before finally falling.
Winner: Lifecoach (2-1)
Hunter starts off well but can't deal with the tremendous taunt values. Hyped does manage to push Lifecoach into the single digits, he can't manage lethal however and is defeated.
Series Winner: Lifecoach (3-1)
Trump vs. Strifecro
A relatively simple match up that almost always goes in favor of Warlock, especially without all of the usual Paladin cards that help with it, Trump puts a bunch of pressure on the board. Unbeknownst to him, is growing in Strifecro's hand. He finally drops it as an 8\7 and plays , hoping to give it Taunt or Windfury, but instead it just gets Divine Shield against a field full of 1/1s. Though it still posses a significant threat, Trump draws into , saving him from what would have pushed him close to lethal. The Warlock's Hero Power keeps Trump ahead on card advantage and wins him the game.
Winner: Trump (1-0)
As a Druid you cringe when you're opening hand contains and three 6+ mana cost minions. Five full turns pass before Strifecro can finally play something onto the board. Even though his hand is full of taunts, the early game deficit is too great and Trump claims another win.
Series Winner: Trump (2-0)
Yet again Trump starts off well but this time around Strifecro has at least some semblance of an early game. Despite this, the tempo plays from Trump are just too much to deal with and Strifecro gets swept in the first round.
Winner: Trump (3-0)
The rules state that if a player puts an invalid minion into their deck it will be replaced with this list of minions up to the point that all mistakes have been amended:
It starts off pretty tame but quickly gets ugly around the mark.
Note: Disqualified spells will be replaced with the highest even mana cost spell that class has available.
Chakki makes one minor error during his deckbuilding process: . During interviews he explains that he's so used to playing it as a 3/2 that he forgot it isn't actually always like that. This is why he is actually running two s.
Poor Savjz. The conversation between himself and Kripp as the news is broken that all three of his decks will be receiving major overhauls starts off uncomfortably. He thought minions needed to be odd mana costs and spells had to be even. So while he had half of it correct his Mage and Druid required ten changes (everything up to the two s), his Paladin received one of the two s.
Chakki vs. Savjz
We're going to make this quick, Chakki 3-0's Savjz. My notes for each match reads as follows:
Savjz draws into all the sucky cards.
Wailing Soul makes Savjz sad.
He doesn't actually cry but it's tough to watch. Chakki advances.
Kibler vs. Xixo
This was a tough match for Xixo. He manages to on Turn 3. It gets 'd. Next turn he plays and gets . It too gets 'd. You can tell at this point he's a bit disappointed that Kibler has had all the answers. So when he 's again and gets , only to have and take out his entire field, he's just about had enough. At this point he's top-decking so when he finally manages to rebuild the board and Kibler uses another , he just concedes.
Winner: Kibler (1-0)
Kibler draws into two s and two s to open the game. A Turn 3 for Xixo looks to be the nail in the coffin for Kibler. It stays alive on the board for a full turn before Kib finally decides he needs to deal with it. Turns later, is up to a 10/7 in hand and combined with a stands as a pretty big threat to Xixo. is a great way to take away some of the threat but Xixo can't completely handle the monster and drops another match.
Winner: Kibler (2-0)
The good thing about being down this far is that Xixo gets to play Warlock into Paladin. As we mentioned before that's a very favorable match up and one that Xixo capitalizes on. He cheats out a by 'ing his on Turn 5. This gives him an incredible lead, one that can only be made up with the usual Paladin combo. Luckily Kibler has it in hand but can't manage to rally back from the initial stomp.
Winner: Xixo (2-1)
Xixo rushes the board with his Zoolock as Kibler attempts to slow things down. gives him a significant chance at doing so, helping him eliminate and a full field. Again Xixo makes his effort to recover but another board wipe from Kibler ends things relatively quickly.
Series Winner: Kibler (3-1)
After a days rest, the remaining participants returned to determine who would be the first to take home the title of Challengestone champion.
Chakki vs. Kibler
Chakki has to have been carrying a lucky horseshoe or something. Two unbelievable s, both of which landed for four damage, gave him huge swings in tempo. He does start to stall out towards the end of the game but top decks a to win.
Winner: Chakki (1-0)
The luck continues as Chakki lands another three and four roll . But a couple of turns of activates and Kibler is back in this. The most pivotal moment takes place when Chakki plays and Kibler gets a seven draw out of it. Despite the tremendous card advantage, the match gets extremely drawn out before Kibler finally evens the series.
Winner: Kibler (1-1)
One of the longest matches in the tournament, Kibler manages to get through every card in Chakki's deck. Except for a single that brings Kibler much sadness.
Winner: Chakki (2-1)
Kibler draws into the faster opening hand. It's compounded by the fact that he gets two s as the turns go on, allowing him to keep a steady lead over Chakki. Here we see our first + combo which effectively wins Kibler the game when Chakki's fails to land a single taunt on any of four minions.
Winner: Kibler (2-2)
The only Shaman in the entire tournament, Chakki punishes the Druid's slower ramp by playing beefy minions with Overload. The two duke it out and manage to empty each other's hands but right as this happens Kibler draws an and Chakki visually reels. In a last ditch effort he plays and then copies it with but thanks to another , Kibler takes home the series.
Series Winner: Kibler (3-2)
Trump vs. Lifecoach
This is usually a good match up for Lifecoach but at this point Trump's Warlock is undefeated. And when Trump continues to play safe, it almost bites him, but three out of three knife juggles land on Coach's . His reaction is priceless and one of disbelief. For the rest of the match Lifecoach is clearly trying to recover from what just happened but he never quite gets there.
Winner: Trump (1-0)
Trump curves fantastically and Paladin already has enough trouble with Zoolock to begin with. Trump easily wins again.
Winner: Trump (2-0)
A Turn 4 helps Lifecoach get out his minions earlier than he usually would and Trump simply runs out of steam this time around.
Winner: Lifecoach (2-1)
Trump chooses to go with the mirror match and it pays off as he s out a Turn 2 . Lifecoach tries to stall and Trump doesn't fall into his trap. Another brings out the one and only , but for once the RNG goes in Lifecoach's favor as he s the . Down to 12 health, Lifecoach begins to come back but the buff gives Trump too much tempo and he closes out the series.
Series Winner: Trump (3-1)
Switching to a best of seven format where players can resurrect one of their decks after three defeats, Trump and Kibler fight to decide who is the champion.
Trump vs. Kibler
Surprisingly, Kibler answers Trump's pressure moderately well and the TSM streamer gets pretty low on HP. looks to be his savior but Kibler turns it into a 1/1 and kills it. RIP Mal'Ganis.
Winner: Kibler (1-0)
Trump draws into an excellent opening hand including and double . Kibler also has a good opening with and . He seems to have all the answers, but is starting to run low on health. Trump is running low on cards, but draws into . It's a really long match but Kibler pulls it out in the end thanks to .
Winner: Kibler (2-0)
The first time we see Trump's Mage deck played, he opens strongly enough but is growing in Kibler's hand from almost the very beginning of the match. This proves troublesome when Trump is low on cards and needs to land a 50/50 onto it. When he doesn't, Kibler moves within one game of victory.
Winner: Kibler (3-0)
(Note: Trump chooses to revive his Warlock deck)
A full field from Kibler looks to maim Trump for good. He manages to , clear Kibler's field, and steal his , but it dies to its own s. Kibler draws which would move him away from any kind of lethal but chooses not to play it. With a already in hand, Trump top decks another for a total of six cards. He takes the dice roll and plays the first, hoping to keep the second, guaranteeing him lethal. He does and the double s keep him alive for at least another game.
Winner: Trump (3-1)
From the start, Trump's s have Kibler playing carefully. Rightfully so as Trump is looking downright scary with one and on the field while he has both a and in hand. He manages to get all four on the field at the same time and that's basically GG.
Winner: Trump (3-2)
The comeback starts to look real as Trump cheats out yet another . Kibler looks to be doing okay until luck turns in Trump's favor yet again. An stand between him an another win and when an hits, with all knives going into the Ancient, Kibler can't believe his eyes as Trump gets through for lethal.
Winner: Trump (3-3)
(Note: Kibler revives his Paladin)
Surprising nearly everyone, Kibler chooses to put all of his hope on Paladin against Zoolock. A really close battle, Trump is pushed to the brink of elimination as leaves Kibler one short of lethal. Ever the failure, is drawn perfectly on curve for Trump but even that's not enough to save him from from his ultimate defeat.
Series Winner: Kibler (4-3)
I really hope Challengestone becomes a frequent thing in the Hearthstone esports scene. It brings a healthy new perspective to a league that has quickly grown stale unless there's a new expansion recently released. Kripparian and his wife (girlfriend?) did a great job of conceptualizing the tournament and the dynamic between him and Artosis was on point from the get go. I can't wait to see what challenge they come up with next and who the invites are sent out to. Who knows? I think with time and enough interest we could have a much bigger audience and bracket going into Challengestone 2.
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