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Hearthstone Weekly Recap: Ranked Season 1 Play Ending, Fireside Gatherings, Curse of Naxxramas Info and More!

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Icy Veins' Weekly Recap spotlights the latest Hearthstone news!

It's time to earn some shiny new card backs! This week's Hearthstone recap spotlights the end of Ranked Play Season 1 and the start of the Fireside Gatherings promotion, both of which offer players the opportunity to earn new card backs for their Hearthstone decks! We're also sharing Blizzard's information on qualifying for the Hearthstone World Championships, taking place at BlizzCon this year. Finally, we've seen a new Curse of Naxxramas card revealed on the official Hearthstone Twitter. Read on for the full details in this week's Hearthstone Recap!





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Hearthstone Ranked Play Season 1 Ending Soon


The first season of Hearthstone Ranked Play will end at the end of the month (April), so this week will be the last chance to reach Rank 20 to earn the exclusive Pandaria card back! This card back will only be available in Season 1 and will be awarded once the Season has concluded. The Legend card back will be available in every season and is not restricted to Season 1. Players do not lose promotion stars for losses up to level 20, so everyone should be able to reach this rank with little trouble! You can review the Hearthstone Ranked Play structure in our previous post!



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Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings (Earn an Exclusive Card Back)


Starting April 26th, players will be able to earn an exclusive card back for participating in a "Fireside Gathering." We mentioned the events in detail in our last Hearthstone Recap, but want to repeat the criteria for qualifying for the card back!
  • At least three people (including yourself) must be logged into Hearthstone on the same subnet.
  • Each match must be played against a player that is playing on the same subnet as you.
  • These matches can be played against your friends or using the Player Near Me feature, as long as the above two criteria are met.
You can find a full list of current Fireside events on LiquidHearth or on Blizzard's website, which also features promotional downloads for hosting your own event!

If you happen to live somewhere that a Fireside Gathering may not be a reality, crafty gamers have already posted methods of obtaining the card back through only slightly less-than-sociable means. Reddit user tawayokay has posted a step-by-step guide to running multiple instances of Hearthstone on a single PC. Please note that if you are planning to use this method, at least two of the Battle.net / Hearthstone accounts must have completed the full Hearthstone tutorial in order to play with friends and earn the back.



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Hearthstone World Championships at BlizzCon


With the announcement of this year's BlizzCon event (November 7 and November 8), Blizzard has revealed details of the Hearthstone World Championships! At this year's BlizzCon, qualified players from each region will battle for the title of best Hearthstone player in the world! There are different paths to qualify from each region, which includes the Americas, Europe, Korea/Taiwan and China. Check out the full qualification details below!

Blizzard Icon Hearthstone World Championships Qualification

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Americas Qualifier Tournament
  • The top 16 Legend players from each of the Ranked Play Seasons from April through August for the Americas region will be invited to participate in the Americas Hearthstone Qualifier Tournament.
    • Each player can only qualify for the Americas Qualifier Tournament once. In cases where a player achieves a qualifying rank for a second time or is ineligible to compete in the Americas Qualifier Tournament, the next highest ranking player will be selected to qualify for the Americas Qualifier Tournament.
  • The top players from select community-run weekly tournaments held between April and August will be invited to participate in the Americas Qualifier Tournament. Further details, including which community tournaments qualify, will be announced at a later date.
  • The top 3 players from select licensed events will also qualify for the Americas Qualifier Tournament. Further details, including which events qualify, will be announced at a later date.
  • A Last Call Tournament will be held immediately prior to the Americas Qualifier Tournament to determine any remaining Qualifier spots. This Last Call Tournament will only be available to players who satisfy residency requirements for the Americas region. More details regarding this will be announced at a later date.
  • Seeding for the Americas Qualifier Tournament will be based entirely on consistency of performance during the Ranked Play Seasons. Achieving a high rank multiple times will positively affect the player’s seeding during the Americas Qualifier Tournament.
  • The Americas Qualifier Tournament will be best of five matches.
  • The top 4 players from the Americas Qualifier Tournament will qualify for the Hearthstone World Championships at BlizzCon 2014.
Europe Qualifier Tournament
  • The top 16 Legend players from each of the Ranked Play Seasons from April through August for the Europe region will be invited to participate in the Europe Hearthstone Qualifier Tournament.
    • Each player can only qualify for the Europe Qualifier Tournament once. In cases where a player achieves a qualifying rank for a second time or is ineligible to compete in the Europe Qualifier Tournament, the next highest ranking player will be selected to qualify for the Europe Qualifier Tournament.
      The top players from select community-run weekly tournaments held between April and August will be invited to participate in the Europe Qualifier Tournament. Further details, including which community tournaments qualify, will be announced at a later date.
  • The top 3 players from select events will also qualify for the Europe Qualifier Tournament. Further details, including which events qualify, will be announced at a later date.
  • A Last Call Tournament will be held immediately prior to the Europe Qualifier Tournament to determine any remaining Qualifier spots. This Last Call Tournament will only be available to players that satisfy residency requirements for the Europe Region. More details regarding this will be announced at a later date.
  • Seeding for the Europe Qualifier Tournament will be based entirely on consistency of performance during the Ranked Play Seasons. Achieving a high rank multiple times will positively affect the player’s seeding during the Europe Qualifier Tournament.
  • The Europe Qualifier Tournament will be best of five matches.
  • The top 4 players from the Europe Qualifier Tournament will qualify for the Hearthstone World Championships at BlizzCon 2014.
Korea/Taiwan Hearthstone Qualifier Tournaments
  • Korea: Two (2) players will be selected to represent Korea from the OGN Hearthstone League. More details will be announced by OGN at a later date.
  • Taiwan: The top 2 players from the Taiwan Qualifier Tournament will qualify for the Hearthstone World Championships. More details will be announced at a later date.
China Qualifier Tournament
  • All players for the China Qualifier Tournament will come from the official China Ranked Play Rankings, official Chinese grassroots tournaments, or licensed Chinese tournaments.
  • The top 4 players from the China Qualifier Tournament will qualify for the Hearthstone World Championships at BlizzCon 2014.
Hearthstone World Championships at BlizzCon Tournament Format

The World Championships will be played in a best-of-five “Last Hero Standing” format, with 3 classes per player each match. In a “Last Hero Standing” format, when you lose a game, you must change the deck you are currently playing. Each player brings three decks and plays until one player wins three games.

Participants must have their own card collections. Sixteen total players will participate in the World Championships: 4 representatives from Americas, 4 from Europe, 4 from China, 2 from Korea, and 2 from Taiwan.

We want you to be a part of the card-slinging action! If you’ve got your sights set on becoming a world-renowned Hearthstone player and think you’re ready to battle it out to the end, participate in Ranked Play and take your first step on the road to the World Championships!




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Curse of Naxxramas Info Recap at HearthPwn


HearthPwn has posted a great "what we know so far" recap, including all known details of the upcoming Curse of Naxxramas adventure! New information has been slowly trickling in through interviews and updates on the Battle.net website over the past month. Blizzard has just taken to Twitter to reveal a new Druid card, Poison Seeds! Check out the Curse of Naxxramas post on HearthPwn!





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      Warrior, Shaman, and Rogue have been struggling on the ladder lately, but these fresh new decks are looking to turn that around.
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      Class winrates in Standard, courtesy of Hsreplay.net
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      Class playrates courtesy of metastats.net
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      Gallon's Kingsbane Rogue
      The first solid option for Rogue is a low-to-the-ground build of Kingsbane Rogue by Gallon, who peaked at rank 9 Legend with the deck two days ago:

      This build of the deck skimps on cards like Tar Creeper and Fan of Knives to go all-in Kingsbane. It notably runs two Doomerangs and a pair of Counterfeit Coins to power out weapon-buffing minions like Captain Greenskin. The thing I love most about this list is that it knows exactly what it's trying to do (build a massive Kingsbane as quickly as possible) and it doesn't waste precious deck space pretending to be something it's not. It probably needs to draw really well to beat Aggro Paladin or Tempo Rogue, but that would probably still be the case even if the deck ran more defensive cards than it currently does.
      Ryvius' Quest Rogue
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      Ryvius, a known Quest Rogue aficionado, was able to pilot this list as high as rank 8 Legend recently. He noted the deck is good as long you "avoid secret mage and aggro paladin", which will likely ring true for most successful Rogue lists right now.
      Shaman
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      Purple's Mill Shaman
      Mill has classically been known as control-beater, so it stands to reason that any mill deck which can weather the storm against the current suite of Aggro decks should be a solid choice for the current meta. With that in mind, take a look at this beautiful monstrosity of a deck:
       
      Purple was able to hold top 100 Legend with this list for 7 hours on stream. What's your excuse?
      Jokes aside, I actually love the direction this deck is going in and think a list like this has a ton of potential. Murmuring Elemental and Grumble, Worldshaker do double-duty in this list, doubling the effectiveness of both Coldlight Oracle and Jade cards. Healing Rain and Jinyu Waterspeaker excel as both anti-aggro and anti-fatigue tools, bolstering the deck's early and late game at the same time. With so many cards in the deck performing multiple functions, its no surprise that Purple was able to find room in the deck for rarely-played cards such as Rummaging Kobold and The Runespear. As a big fan of Shaman, I can confidently state that this will be the next list I'm looking to test and tune for the competitive ladder.
      Frescha's Mill Shaman
      With so many Warlock's running around these days, Hex is probably as strong as it has ever been since its nerf last September. Until Rin, the First Disciple and Carnivorous Cube become less prevalent on the ladder, the best Shaman lists will probably run a pair of Hexes.
      The fact that Murmuring Elemental, Jade Spirit, and Grumble, Worldshaker are all Elementals could also motivate a mill-focused strategy to build a bit more around the Elemental sub-theme, which is exactly what Frescha did with this list:

      I love the additions of Hex and Kalimos, Primal Lord as tools for combating Warlock, and have always been a huge fan of Hot Spring Guardian in Elemental decks. Though it doesn't heal for quite as much as Healing Rain will in the late game, it serves as an excellent road block for aggro strategies and can even have its Battlecry doubled by Murmuring Elemental or Grumble, Worldshaker. The Skulking Geist serves a tool for beating both Jade Druid and Combo Priest, but can probably be swapped out for a Healing Rain or Rummaging Kobold if neither of those decks are popular on the ladder at your rank.
      Overall, I'd expect that the "best Shaman mill deck" would be somewhere between Purple's and Frescha's lists. There's still plenty of room for growth and innovation within the archetype, and I look forward to much of that myself in the coming weeks.
      Warrior
      Warrior has been one of the worst classes in the game since the nerf to Fiery War Axe, and not much has happened in recent weeks to change that. Though Recruit decks showed some brief promise in the early-goings of the K&C meta, the archetype took up most of the new card slots from K&C and has failed to impress in the current ladder environment. I don't expect Recruit decks to suddenly become playable due to the popularity of aggro, but that doesn't that Warrior fans should give up hope. The three new "armor-matters" cards, Drywhisker Armorer, Reckless Flurry, and Geosculptor Yip, have largely been overlooked due to Warrior's abysmal playrates, but could potentially be used to shore up some of the classes old weaknesses.
      It shouldn't be that hard for Warriors to beat aggro decks if they dedicate enough slots in their deck to do so. Whirlwind. Sleep with the Fishes, Brawl, and Blood Razor are excellent against wide boards out of Paladin decks, while Execute and Shield Slam can deal with problematically large minions out of Spiteful Summoner decks. Against the likes of Tempo/Secret Mage, Drywhisker Armorer and Bring It On! are capable of buying additional turns of time. The real question, once again, is how do we plan to beat Control after we have teched out our deck to beat Aggro? 
      Cocasasa's Mill Warrior
      If Mill Shaman is somewhat viable right now, wouldn't a mill deck with two Dead Man's Hand be playable as well?
      Cocosasa was able to reach top 100 Legend with this extremely low to the ground build of Mill Warrior. The deck features only one card that costs more than 5 mana, allowing it to consistently play to the board against go-wide aggro decks in the early game.

      Cocosasa plays nearly every anti-aggro card I mentioned above, trimming on quite a few late-game cards to do so. Coldlight Oracle and Dead Man's Hand (and sometimes Zola the Gorgon) are the only cards which can actually win the game for you in this list. As the mill plan is the only plan with this deck, this particular build of Mill Warrior has less margin for error when playing against control decks than other builds might. If you're brand new to mill strategies in general, you might want to trim a Cornered Sentry or a Battle Rage for something which can stabilize the board for you on turn 10, such as Geosculptor Yip, Grommash Hellscream, or Rotface.
      Fibonacci's Combo Warrior
      Warrior has frequently been able to cobble together a wacky, janky, and totally off-meta combo deck each new expansion. Fibonacci has brewed up the latest (and hopefully greatest) Warrior deck with an OTK in it, though it would be a bit disingenuous to call this a "pure" combo deck.

      As Fibonacci noted in this tweet, this is really an anti-aggro deck which happens to have an OTK in it. As the deck contains just 4 minions, you'll need to rely heavily on your spells to keep the board clear until Woecleaver can come down and pull out Grommash Hellscream for potential OTKs. The combo kill probably won't be as relevant against aggro decks, but it's a necessary evil for beating other control decks. I like this deck for a lot of the same reasons I like the Mill deck; it doesn't need to dedicate that many slots towards actually winning the game, so it is able to pack a diverse array of answers for aggro decks.
      Conclusion
      There is still plenty of time left in the Kobolds & Catacombs meta for the game's worst classes to turn things around. As the meta is currently leaning quite aggressively, any deck built to prey on aggro should be able to find some modicum of success on the ladder. Anti-aggro decks which can also afford to pack a lean and reliable late-game win condition, such as mill decks or combo decks, might also be able to find success against control decks with slower win conditions such as Rin, the First Disciple. Though I don't expect all of the above decks to become mainstays of the meta, I'd expect them all to perform admirably on the ladder in the right hands.
    • By Aleco

      Anton "Dvck" Lund found his way out of a jam on the ladder. Can you?
      Dvck and Aleco discuss the importance of planning ahead, understanding the meta, and knowing when to pivot your role in a matchup.
      The player interviews I've done with RayC and TerrenceM have been some of the most fun and informative episodes of "What's the Move?", so I was very excited when Anton "Dvck" Lund reached out to me via reddit with a play from a recent game of his. Playing as Combo Dragon Priest, Dvck was able to find his way out of a tough spot against Murloc Paladin. Can you do the same?
      In this week's episode, Dvck and I discuss the importance of planning ahead, understanding the meta, and knowing when to pivot your role in a matchup. For what ended up being a relatively short episode by "WTM" standards, I was pleasantly surprised by how much we were able to break down together so quickly. The interview with Dvck was as fun as it was informative, so I hope to have him back on the show soon! If you're interested in watching some high-legend gameplay, be sure to tune into Dvck's stream on twitch.tv.
      You can look forward to a few more episodes about the Hearthstone World Championships in the coming weeks, but I always welcome submissions and suggestions for future episodes. Did you have a favorite play from the world championships? Feel free to link me the VOD here on Icy Veins or send me a message on twitter @Aleco_P.
      Thanks for watching!