Not so long ago I took part in the Hearthstone tournament called SLTV Kick-Off Season, which ran from June 30 to July 10. Within this championship I managed to compete with the best players of this discipline and fight for a good prize fund of $9,900. In this blog I’m going to tell you about all my games in details and share my impressions in general.
Almost all popular players had been invited to this tournament directly. I, together with Renmen and two more boys from abroad, had to get through the qualifiers. KalaxZ and Boarkontrol managed to make it into through the open qualifiers, in which about 512 players took part. For that they do deserve respect. I didn’t participate in this tournament myself, but I got a chance to fight for a slot within the close qualifiers, in which the best 16 CIS players were to meet. As a result, I got this slot, having beat four opponents. I can say that the games turned out to be as hot as the matches of the Starladder main stage.
After a victory in the close qualifiers, I got an invitation from HellRaisers, which decided to sigh a Hearthstone division. I accepted the offer with pleasure and the last part of the tournament I was playing under their red flag.
Then the most interesting part began. It was the group stage time, in which I had already faced off against very experienced rivals. Let us recall that all games ran in a Conquest format. I used three decks at this tournament: Handlock, Midrange Hunter and Midrange Druid.
The first rival turned out to be the Swedish player under a nickname of Orange, which had already approved himself at the pro stage, having won a few big tournaments. Although I was at the lead with a score of 2:0, the game was rather hard. Orange managed to put himself together and the result of the game depended on the last match with a score of 2:2. The Swede started to act rather aggressively, and at the end his Combo Warried left my Handlock with only two health points. Fortunately, I had both taunts and healers, so it wasn’t that hard for me to bring the score to the winning end — 3:2.
Then I had to go up against the thunderstorm of the ladder — Xixo, who is famous with his «breaking in» the legend within first days of a season. In this series luck was surely on my side. A few good draws — and I’m celebrating my second victory at the tournament — 3:0.
After the group stage there were only 8 participants left in the tournament. The players got an opportunity to change something in their decks and chose absolutely another class. I didn’t try to make up something and kept the decks I had been playing at the close qualifiers. It was the beginning of the play-off stage, in which I had Amaz, an owner of the Archon team, as my rival. In turn he used an opportunity to change a deck and took Tempo Mage instead of Face Hunter. This mistake turned out to be fatal for Amaz. Mage wasn’t implemented at all, and I made another forward step — 3:0.
The victory in the next game guaranteed to me reaching the top 3 of the tournament and this fact made it really special. However, the current world champion and top 1 player at the American region, Firebat, turned out to be an obstacle on my way. The games against him were definitely hard and I couldn’t be sure about any turn I made, and it became a reason of my defeat, since I made a lot of stupid mistakes. By the way, my rival drew very well and he didn’t lose his advantage until the end of the series. Unfortunately, I lost and fell into the loser’s bracket — 1:3.
At that time I didn’t have a right to make a mistake. The defeat in the next game meant leaving the tournament. By a twist of fate my rival turned out to be Orange again. He was definitely ready to take a revenge after our game in the group, but he didn’t manage so. Thus I got a victory in this series almost without any difficulties — 3:1.
There were only four opponents left at the tournament. To reach further I had to beat one more experienced American under a nickname of StrifeCro. To be honest, I expected in a way more intensive games, but my opponent was not in shape for sure. During the series he made a few questionable turns and I, in my turn, didn’t forgive him those mistakes — 3:1.
Actually, I could say a lot about this game. However, it will be better to watch it. In the series the score was being changed in such sequence: 1:0 in a favor of Kolento, 1:1, 2:1, and 2:2. The winner was determined in the decisive fifth match, in which my Handlock faced off against Kolento’s Rogue. Both of us had rather good hands at the beginning of the match, and a winner of that match was to be a player, who would draw a right card first. This player, unfortunately, turned out to be my rival. Kolento managed to find all cards he needed and in a few turns he put a dot in this series — 2:3.
At this moment the tournament came to the end for me and I took honorable third place. The second was Kolento, and Firebat celebrated his regular victory. These two players showed everyone again that they take high positions in the GosuGamers rating for the reason, having gracefully played the whole tournament.
Why did help me to get that high? I think I should mention three factors here. First of all, decks. Making a decision before the tournament, I was watching what decks are most popular among top players and I tried to take some kind of counter-pick to those cards. The decks I picked I had been playing a lot in the ladder, and thus I felt confident playing in the tournament. Secondly, concentration. You might have noticed that I was writing something down, while playing. In this way I was marking the cards the rival and I drew. I won’t claim that it helped me, but it did help me to focus on the game and, relying on my big experience, deliberately entertain turns and make a minimum of mistakes. And, thirdly, luck. It’s impossible to win something in this game without luck. It, of course, isn’t that important as the experience and understanding of the game, but it’s worth mentioning apart. It was my first tournament of such level and I’m glad I managed to perform so well and pleased my fans.
I want to add a few words about the broadcasting. It’s a pleasure to see that a huge number of people was interested in watching the streams. If I’m not mistaken, at some moment, at the final day, there were about 15,000 viewers. I do not remember another Russian-speaking channel collecting such a big number of people. This fact should let organizers see that a lot of gamers are willing to watch this. I’m sure that we have to continue working in this direction.
At the end I want to express many thanks to all my friends, fans and the HellRaisers organization for supporting and believing in me! It was really pleasant taking part in the tournament in such atmosphere. I hope to please you with my new victories very soon! By the way, read the first episode of the Faces of the Team rubric to find out more information about me.
Your Alexey Fursov