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RandomHero Wins Hearthstone Insta-Clash

Last night saw the conclusion of the first ever Telkom Do Gaming League (DGL) Hearthstone Insta-Clash Cup, with Sakkie “RandomHero” Basson managing to take down Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen in an exciting best-of-five affair.

Although the VOD’s for the match are not available as of yet, Telkom Do Gaming managed to catch up with both Basson and Steenhuisen to get their feelings on the match. Here’s how it went down:

Ben “Noville” Steenhuisen: “In Hearthstone, in a best of three or best of five, winning the first game is obviously really important. In the particular matchup we had (Mage/Hunter/Priest vs Paladin/Mage/Priest) it was even more important, as we both had a very aggressive and a very defensive combination of alternate decks, meaning that whoever won the first game would just hope to trade out the remaining two to win 3-2.

Unfortunately for me, I lost the first game as Mage (against Paladin). It was a close game. I was on ~18hp with an open board. I had some decent burn in my hand, and had dealt with a lot of his early threats without bleeding too much. He played Avenging Wrath (since I was the only target, I took all 8 damage). I played an Ice Barrier (I had Ice Block in hand but didn't play it outright, preferring to proc the armour buff from Ice Block first, as Mage with Ice Block still represents 11 unavoidable spell damage (with Pyro + Hero Ability).

Basson played around it perfectly by dealing only magical damage to me (not attacking which would trigger Ice Barrier), the final damage coming through with his second copy of Avenging Wrath on a cleared board. In retrospect, playing Ice Block in the second would have been safer, but would have also given him a chance to re-establish board control. I think playing it first (i.e. instead of playing Ice Barrier) would have been a bad decision, as he could have just done 1 magical damage after Ice Block immunity wore off (playing around the Ice Barrier here is a lot harder). It's also a longshot to assume he'd have two perfect cards to kill me straight up. If you continuously play around your opponent having pairs/triplets of perfect counters to you, then you just start playing really sub optimally.

Given his quite aggressive deck, I could either fall back on my Priest deck, or try to out-aggro him with my Hunter deck. The safer play would have been to play Priest, but my Priest deck has very limited AoE (only two Holy Novas), and prefers to interact with fewer (yet more valuable) creatures. I went with the Hunter Deck.

I kept on getting whittled down by his minions, but luckily for me, he was playing a variation on Cixah's paladin deck, which has no taunt creatures. I kept on pinging him with my hero ability, and using my removal as efficiently as possible to reduce his damage. I got lucky on one Multi-shot, which took out his Leper Gnome. I had a pretty poor set of draws and by turn 6 I hadn't seen any Animal Companions, Starving Buzzards, or my copy of Arcane Shot.

I knew I would be dead if I didn't win that turn and in-hand I had two of the Timber Wolves, two Young Dragonhawks and an Unleash the Hounds with him on 20 health. I did the maths wrong at first, but then managed to work it out right, and swung for a potential of 22, which was just enough. It's probably the most efficient 5 mana a person could spend.

In the third game Basson's mage deck came out really aggressive. I tried to get the pieces of the combo together, but was forced to respond to a very large board disadvantage otherwise I'd just lose straight up. I had very few outs, and he burned his way into a 2-1 lead.

The final game was a matchup I'm quite familar with (Mage vs Priest), and normally one that's pretty reasonable for both sides. Mage's in some tournaments during the 'priest domination' (insert joke about Mind Control nerfs) have opted for relatively few creatures (since that makes Mind Control and Shadow Word's relatively worse), and just more burn and board control; and some have opted to abuse the lack of AoE and just spam.

Basson fell into the second category (aggression is a recurring theme I guess) but I nearly managed to stabilize and control the board with some creatures. My only (at least in my opinion) misplay was right at the end when I click-dragged badly when casting Holy Fire and ended up casting it on myself (I was on 5hp, so I stayed on 5hp, instead of him losing 5hp, me gaining 5hp). This didn't really make a difference, as he immediately cast Pyroblast (his second copy), which would have killed me even if there was no blunder by me...

Overall, this was a very fun tournament, and I hope there's a lot more. Congrats to Sakkles "TheDragon" "RandomHero" Basson. I'd like to shoutout to my sensei's OlSnakelegs&Aylex who provided much valuable insight into Hearthstone, and helped me extensively in deck creation & practising.”

The Hearthstone Insta-Clash Cup was hosted by Telkom Do Gaming League

Basson felt confident in the match despite Steenhuisen’s surprise win with his Hunter in game two. Here’s how he felt about the game:

Sakkie “RandomHero” Basson : “Game one was my paladin versus his Mage.The game went pretty smooth for me, he was playing a delayed mage deck that burns you down.

My paladin rush was quick enough to get him down to 16hp, when he got to 16hp he played a secret, I assumed it was Ice barrier. But at that stage the game was over as I had 16 spell damage in my hand due to two Avenging wraths.

The second game was my paladin versus his hunter, my paladin has a high success rate against his OTK hunter type deck. However I didn't expect him to get the combo off at turn 6 and he killed me a turn before I could finish him off.

My second deck (aggro mage) has about a 95 percent win rate against OTK (one turn kill) hunters and control priests, and the main reason I build this deck was due to their popularity, So I wasn't worried at all going in to the games and defeated him I think both games by turn seven.”

Telkom Do Gaming will be having some “Deck Techs” with both Steenhuisen and Basson later this week to get some insight on their decks and the players thoughts behind them.

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