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APAC Region Winter Playoffs Preview

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The Hearthstone Championship Tour continues this weekend, with the focus shifting to the Asia-Pacific region. In this article I have introduced some of the players, and listed their deck archetypes.

The APAC region is often regarded as the weakest region, and with some justification. However, although the region lacks a little in depth, the best players are definitely world class. Not only that, but the rest of the pack is rapidly improving, and it would be very negligent to ignore the region in 2017. Staz, from The Philippines recently won the $150,000 first prize at a stacked WESG, which marked the first major tournament won by the region. The top players will be looking to keep the rest of the world on notice, with some high quality play this weekend.

Below I have listed a few of the key players, along with notes and deck archetypes.

  CaraCuteTempo Mage, Aggro Rogue, Aggro Shaman, Pirate Warrior

CaraCute has been touted by both NeilYo and Staz as having a good chance, and since those comments were made, she has come through the Tavern Hero Qualifier to take her place in the main Swiss. She learned her trade at Guildhouse Fireside gatherings, the same Fireside gatherings where caster Jia Dee also rose through the ranks.

  Che0nsu: Jade Druid, Miracle Rogue, Mid Shaman, Pirate Warrior

Che0nsu made his name by first winning the Last Call qualifier, and then building on that to finish top four in the World Championship at BlizzCon. 

  ChongGEr: Reno Mage, Aggro Shaman, Reno Warlock, Reno Warrior

ChongGer is one of the most consistent performers in the South-East Asia scene. He came fourth in the Singapore Major, third in the Thai Major, and second in the Malaysia Major, where he lost two matches in the final to a player he had already beaten in the upper bracket! He also placed consistently high in the preliminaries last year. 

   GundamFlame: Tempo Mage, Aggro Rogue, Aggro Shaman, Pirate Warrior

GundanFlame impressed observers in the Japan Summer Championship with his understanding of aggressive play. His understanding of when to ease off the pedal, and when to go all-in, won him the national title. It is no surprise that his lineup for the Playoffs is an aggressive one.

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  HandomeGuy (pictured above): Aggro Rogue, Aggro Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior

HandsomeGuy is regarded as the man to beat whenever he steps foot in an APAC tournament. He finished in second place in the APAC Winter Championship, and that proved to be his worst result, as he went on to win both the Spring and Summer Championships.

  KranichReno Mage, Aggro Shaman (shown below), Reno Warlock, Dragon Warrior

Kranich played in both the 2014, and 2015 World Championships, finishing top four and top eight respectively. Due to this, and the fact that he was a member of Team Dignitas before they withdrew from Hearthstone, he is one of the best known APAC players in the West. He is not scared to put his own stamp on decks, his RenoLock contains Doomguard and Krul the Unshackled, while his Shaman deck is slower than most Aggro Shamans, and leans towards midrange.

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  NaviOOTReno Mage, Aggro Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior

NaviOOT has built a strong reputation on the back of relentless top 100 finishes, and a consistently popular stream. In recent months he has turned his attention more and more to the tournament scene, making the trip to the Malaysia Open, in which he placed top 8. He has also stated that he will be travelling to DreamHack Austin, which is coming up soon. He managed top four at last Winter's APAC Championship, and is a genuine contender in 2017.

 PinpinghoTempo Mage, Mid Shaman, Reno Warlock, Water Warrior

Pinpingho finished top eight in the 2015 World Championship. He was known for being one of the strongest Shaman players, back before Shaman was regarded as a playable class, so it will be interesting to see how a does now! He qualified for two APAC Championship events in 2016, and so is no stranger to these events.

  SurrenderReno Mage, Aggro Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior

Although he is yet to have a big win, Surrender is highly regarded in the community and has numerous good results. He already had Xixo as a playtest partner, and has recently joined Counter Logic Gaming, along with Xixo and Hoej. He will be as well prepared as anyone for this event.

  Tom60229: Reno Mage, Aggro Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior

One of the most accomplished players in the field, Tom60229 has shown consistent results since the dawn of Hearthstone. His most recent tournament win was the Malaysia Major, but also had good success on the 2015 ONOG Tour. His worldwide tournament experience will stand him in good stead in this event.

 

The event begins at 3am CET on Saturday 25 February, and coverage will be on the official PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.

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