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hearthstone Hearthstone Recap: Fast Mage Deck, Leeroy / Buzzard nerf, and BlizzCon Qualifier Tournaments

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This week has been an exciting week in hearthstone. With the huge incoming change to Starving Buzzard and Leeroy Jenkins, you will be sure to see a shift in the meta. For now though, these cards will remain unaffected for current tournament this weekend for America and European Qualifiers. Lastly, as always there are new types of decks appearing with detailed guides on how to use them. Give them a shot and let us know what you think!



FastMage is an aggro type deck by MrThreePik on HearthPwn. It's the type of deck where you utilize inexpensive minions to win early on, while generating mid-game card draw through Duplicate or Arcane Intellect. It also utilizes spells, such as the Frostbolt + Ice Lance combo, to push for huge damage past taunts or even to control big enemies to help finish the game. MrThreePik has a detailed explanation on his HearthPwn page on how to best use this deck and the individual uses of each card. Matt Sparks, a Youtuber who highlights Hearthstone decks, made a video discussing FastMage and how it plays out. Enjoy the video and tell us what you think about the deck!



Changes to Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard

Blizzard Community Manager Zeriyah posted on Thursday about an upcoming change to Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard set to take place on September 22. The full post is displayed below: 

Blizzard Icon Zeriyah: Upcoming Balance Changes for 9/22

Both before and after the release of Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure, we have been monitoring card balance as more Hearthstone games are played along with the new cards that have been added. After careful consideration we have decided to make balance changes to Leeroy Jenkins (Neutral) and Starving Buzzard (Hunter).
The following balance changes will be made in an upcoming patch:
  • Leeroy Jenkins now costs 5 (up from 4)
  • Starving Buzzard now costs 5 (up from 2) and now has 3 Attack and 2 Health (up from 2 Attack and 1 Health)

Leeroy Jenkins created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. Fighting for board control and battles between minions make an overall game of Hearthstone more fun and compelling, but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not particularly fun or interactive. This was occurring when Leeroy was used in combination with other cards like Power Overwhelming, Faceless Manipulator, Cold Blood, Shadowstep, and Unleash the Hounds, among others.
The amount of cards Starving Buzzard allowed Hunter players to draw ultimately ended up being too excessive for its low cost. This change will allow the Hunter’s opponent more time to react to both the Starving Buzzard and the cards drawn by its power.
Expert cards that are being changed can be disenchanted for their full cost for a limited time once this balance change goes live. The currently targeted date of this balance change is September 22nd.
After these balance changes go live on September 22nd, we will not be making additional card changes between September 22nd and the Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon.

We will continue to make balance changes to Hearthstone only when we feel they are completely necessary in order to increase the variety of cards seen at all levels of play and make Hearthstone a more fun and interactive game for everyone.

With this change, we should see fewer Hunters in ranked play, as their main combo in almost every deck is now harder to use. With Starving Buzzard going up to five mana, it will cost eight total mana to use the 'Buzzard + Unleash' combo. Hunters will be similar to Druids in this type of combo, but with card draw potential.
The Leeroy Jenkins mana nerf will also prevent some decks such as Hand Lock, Miracle Rogue, Hunter, and many other aggressive decks. It will not completely stop these decks, but balance them more around the cards they have available. When comparing Leeroy Jenkins to other cards (4 mana, 6 attack), most top players considered it similar to a Mage Fireball.  Because of this efficiency, Leeroy was used in a variety of decks and as an effective finisher. With Leeroy being five mana, it prevents the possibility of an extra card to be played alongside Leeroy in most situations.


Hearthstone World Championship

With BlizzCon two months away, we have come to the Regional Qualifying tournaments for Hearthstone. This tournament hosts 130 players, including many well-known and unknown players throughout the world, who are progressing to reach the BlizzCon World Championship. This large tournament for the American Qualifiers is being handled by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) while the European Qualifiers are handled by Dreamhack.
The American and European Qualifiers use a Swiss tournament style to pair opponents together based on their initial seeding Each game played is a Best-of-5 series using the "Last Hero Standing" format. As players win each mini-series, they gain three points for a win and zero for a loss.  At the end of the tournament, the top 16 players will advance to Phase 2 of the Qualifiers, a standard tournament bracket style. The top four players of this phase will qualify for the BlizzCon World Championship.
The American Tournament runs between September 11th and September 13th. Likewise, the European Qualifiers run between September 13th and September 14th. Both of these tournaments will be featured on the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel. After these initial qualifying rounds, the American winners will be invited to New York, New York and the Europeans will be invited to Stockholm, Sweden, to compete for a spot in the BlizzCon World Championship. If you want more information about the tournaments I recommend visiting these links below:

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