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HCT Sydney Tournament Recap

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Miss out on Sydney's first ever HCT stop? We've got you covered.

The first-ever HCT Tour stop to hit Australia came and went like a kookaburra in the night. It featured some of the wackiest tournament lineups in recent memory, had more than its fair share of dramatic Hearthstone moments, and brought with it a number of lovable new faces in their first major tournament appearances.

Local Talent Impresses, Entertains, and Prevails 

Just 5 of the 16 players who qualified for HCT Sydney were born in Australia or New Zealand, yet 3 of the top 4 in the final standings (including the eventual champion Jakattak) were locals. One player from the US and a healthy balance of players from around the APAC region filled out the rest of the lineup, including tournament runner-up Odyssey out of Thailand.

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Jack "Jakattack" Gifford was all smiles during his championship run.

There's still time to be the first person to fill out the HCT Sydney champion's liquipedia page, as this tournament was the first that Jakattack had ever qualified for. Despite his relative inexperience, Jakattack swept through the tournament with an undefeated record and a smile on his face from start to finish. His affable and humorous demeanor shined through every time he was on camera, making him an overnight fan-favorite.

Wacky Lineups Lead To Great Moments

HCT Sydney featured the craziest tournament lineups in recent memory. 4 of the 16 players had OTK Paladin in their lineups, including Jackattack, who even managed to pull off a reverse sweep with the deck against Kin0531. OTK Paladin had been picking up steam on the ladder since the latest round of nerfs, but very few would have expected it to be included in a quarter of the field at HCT Sydney, especially when you consider the recent dominance of Murloc and Dude Paladin. Expect the deck to see a serious uptick in play on the competitive ladder thanks to its strong results at HCT Sydney.

The undisputed winner of the "Craziest Lineup" award goes to GhostASA from Taiwan, who brought Quest Rogue, OTK Charge/Cube Quest Druid, OTK Paladin, and a Jade/Fatigue Shaman with two Crushing Hands! Taking a lineup like this to a major Hearthstone tournament tells the world two things: you're here to beat up on control decks, and you plan to look good while doing it. The double OTK, double Quest lineup made GhostASA a favorite in Twitch chat throughout the weekend, and led to one of the most dramatic OTK's I've ever seen in a major tournament:

 

A man after my own heart, my favorite deck in GhostASA's lineup was his "royal" OTK Paladin deck which managed to find room for both King Mukla and King Togwaggle. The dream is to combo both cards together to fill your opponent's hands with bananas and prevent them from drawing the King's Ransom, but both cards are actually quite strong against Control Warlock on their own. Though I wouldn't have the guts to put either of these cards in my deck on the ladder, they actually aren't the worst cards for a control-heavy tournament meta.

There were several other off-meta decks which managed to sneak into HCT Sydney lineups, including a Prince Keleseth/C'Thun Druid deck out of Ender, a teched-out Zoolock deck out of Hikage, and a Quest Warrior from Disdai.

Warlock Remains Popular, Most Banned

As most would have probably predicted, Warlock was the focal point of most player's lineups coming into the tournament. It wasn't the most popular class in attendance (Priest was in 15 of the 16 lineups, while Warlock was in "just" 14 of the 16), but it was the most banned class throughout the tournament. The plan for most players was to play Warlock, build their lineup to beat it, or ban it outright, which speaks to the current power-level of the class.

Though Control Warlock had been gaining popularity since the nerfs, tournament runner-up Odyssey was the only player to include it in his lineup. Cubelock was far and away the most popular Warlock deck, with 12 of the 14 Warlock players choosing to bring it. Though there wasn't much to be said for innovation among the Cubelock decks, Hikage brought a unique take on Elemental Zoolock which featured two Blazecallers and two Dragonslayers. Hikage's list appears to be an excellent way to surprise opponent's on the ladder expecting to face Carnivorous Cube and Rin, the First Disciple, but I'd recommend trimming a Dragonslayer or two in non-tournament play.

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