I ran a very aggressive lineup. I wanted to target the slower decks like Rogue and Jade Druid. The Hungry Crabs in my Paladin, Rogue, and Druid lists allowed me to beat one of the most popular decks at the time, Murloc Paladin.
My primary ban was Taunt Warrior. With favorable matchups against all of my decks, I needed to avoid playing against it. The other deck that I had to worry about was Token Druid. It is able to keep up with my fast decks, and with Hungry Crab and Golakka Crawler to eat my Pirates and Murlocs, Token Druid was my secondary ban.
My primary target was Quest Rogue. Quest Rogue is a strong pick for tournaments with the ability to absolutely crush control decks. Due to the massive popularity of Quest Rogue in the tournament format, I decided that I would need a lineup dedicated to beating it.
The Tempo Rogue list that I brought was my trump card, and meant to catch my opponents off-guard. Players queued into it expecting Miracle or Quest. Against slower opponents, I could put them on a clock early by flooding the board, pushing for damage with Cold Bloods, and clearing large minions with Vilespine Slayer. Against aggressive decks, I could remove their early game board with my pirates, Backstab, SI:7 Agent, and stabilize with Defender of Argus.
Fortunately, I got a bye in the first round, meaning that I only needed to win 4 rounds to make it to the Top 8. I ended up facing several talented players, each with different kinds of lineups. 3 out of the 4 players that I faced had at least one of my target decks. I had to do a bit of high-rolling against the other player. My decks had some explosive starts that forced my opponents to react quickly or lose.
Paladin : 2-2
All in all, I was pleased with the lineup that I brought. I ended up going 4-0 in the winner’s bracket, which was very satisfying. I went into it with a specific target and plan, and was able to execute it.
With that being said, there are a couple of things about my lineup that I would change if I wanted to use this strategy again. Since the tournament was relatively early into the expansion, my decks and the decks that I faced were not as refined as they are today. The Divine Shield package in my Murloc Paladin list and my Tempo Rogue deck won’t cut it against some of the stronger lineups that we are seeing today. Secret Mage and Token Shaman would be viable replacements for Paladin and Rogue, as they are proven to stand up to many of the decks in the current meta.
This should go without saying, but Hearthstone involves a large amount of luck. Understanding how to increase your odds of winning, both inside a game and when preparing your tournament lineup, is what this game is all about. When the luck doesn’t go your way, whether it’s from a flip of a [Ragnaros] or queueing into bad matchups, you can’t spend a second getting upset about it. The only thought that should be in your head is “What do I need to do to win this game?”
Although the decks and lists are outdated, the theory behind them is still relevant. If you want to have a successful tournament experience, you need to lay the groundwork and do your research. Find vulnerable and popular decks, and try to exploit them. Practice with your lineup against those decks. Learn how your decks beat your target, and how you can make that happen. Finally, win those coin flips.
I plan to follow up on this article, and share a bit about my strategy and experiences in the following Americas Spring Playoffs. You can expect that article next week. You can catch me streaming Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm on Twitch during the weekdays. I also generally post my deck lists and replays on Twitter.