Archon Team League Championship Week 5: Value Town vs Team Archon

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archonlogoLast week was a difficult one for Value Town. Both Dog and I had spent the previous week traveling for other events – myself for the Magic Pro Tour in Vancouver¬†and Dog for another Hearthstone event in China. As a result, we hadn’t really been in touch with each other to communicate and plan our decks to the degree that usually do. Archon had played a fairly similar lineup in most weeks, tending to stick to the popular core decks without a lot of variation, so there wasn’t all that much to discuss, but with both Dog and I spending the normal deck submission time traveling, we didn’t really have the opportunity to explore much.

We ended up bringing a fairly typical lineup ourselves. Our variations from previous weeks included Trump once again playing Control Warrior rather than Patron, while I played Midrange Druid instead of Mech Shaman. We rounded out our lineup with Trump on Handlock and me on Hybrid Hunter, while Dog brought Freeze Mage and Rogue, as he had in most previous weeks.

ValuetownWeek5DecksThings started off well for us, as I queued up first with my Hunter into Xixo’s MechShaman. On top of the good matchup, fortune smiled on me when I got a Vitality Totem off of a Piloted Shredder to help protect me from a huge amount of burst damage in his hand, and I was able to close the game out with my superior minions when his window for lethal closed too quickly to advance to 9-0 in the league.

We sent in Dog next, who was in for a surprise when his Freeze Mage ran into Firebat playing Handlock – the first time the World Champion had strayed from Zoo. Dog was ready for aggro, but his hand did not match up well against the more controlling Handlock deck, and the match was tied. Dog managed to get redemption against Xixo’s weapon-pump heavy Rogue deck in his next Freeze Mage game to take the lead once again.¬†Unfortunately, that would be the last time we would be ahead all match. Trump’s control warrior fell to Xixo’s MechShaman thanks to a huge burst from Doomhammer plus Rockbiter Weapon.

I came in with Druid next, up against Zalae’s Patron Warror. Druid really needs to get off to a good start to put the pressure on against Patron, but I failed to find a Wild Growth, Innervate, or even a Shade of Naxxramas, and was forced to spend my first few turns just hero powering. I was never really in the game at any point, and my winning streak finally came to an end in very unceremonious fashion.

Trump’s Control Warrior fell to Zalae’s Midrange Hunter next, in part due to a sneaky Snipe that caught Trump completely off guard. Trump managed to close with Control Warrior against Freeze Mage in an incredibly long game, leaving the match still within reach at 4-3. Unfortunately, Trump’s Handlock could not get the job done against Firebat’s Freeze Mage in the next game, leaving us with our backs against the wall and Archon on match point.

We still had three reasonable matchups left against Xixo’s Oil Rogue deck, with both Druid and Handlock generally having slight edges in the matchup, while Dog still had his own Rogue deck left for the mirror match. We felt like Druid had the best matchup of the three, so I took on Xixo once again in a rematch of the first game of the series.

Sadly, the result this time was just the opposite. Once again Wild Growth and Innervate eluded me, and once again I spent my second and third turns of the game just using my hero power to hit my opponent in the face. Xixo coin’d out a Violet Teacher on his third turn, and – like in my match against Zalae – I simply never had a chance. Archon took the match six games to three.

While it was certainly frustrating to lose both of my Druid games and break my winning streak due to getting such terrible draws, I had clearly been quite fortunate to get to my 9-0 record in the first place. While I’d love to win the Master of Duels award and the $5000 prize that goes with it, it’s much more important that our team does well as a whole. We could have chosen to send out Dog or Trump to avoid the possibility of me getting another loss on my record if one of them were to lose before I had a chance to play, but overall team wins are the first tiebreaker for final standings, and I wasn’t about to put myself ahead of the team and do something other than what was in our collective best interests.

Our loss moved us down to third place in the standings, tied with Tempo Storm, while Archon has a two game lead with the match record of 3-2. We face Team Liquid this week and Tempo Storm in the last round next week, both of which will be big matches with playoff implications. The Tempo Storm match is particularly big, since not only are we tied with them in the overall standings, but Hyped is my closest competitor for the Master of Duels award, just a single loss behind me at 9-3 to my 9-2.

Good thing I don’t plan on losing any more…

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