This week marked the third installment of the Archon Team League Championship. After our narrow defeat at the hands of the Forsen Boys last week that left us in the middle of the pack, we were hoping to overcome the struggling Team Celestial to more firmly cement our position at the top of the standings.
In previous weeks ,Team Celestial had played a pretty typical lineup. They’d most notably played Face Hunter and Zoo both weeks, along with Patron and Oil Rogue, with their “flex slots” between Druid, Midrange Paladin, and Midrange Shaman. With that in mind, we decided to switch back to the very same lineup that we played in our week one match against Cloud9. It’s possible that Midrange Paladin might have been a reasonable choice for our lineup, as well, but after it served as our downfall last week, we decided to stay away.
We made a few specific card choice changes among some of our decks compared to the first week, but I just stuck to the exact lists I’d been playing. There’s something to be said for mixing things up so you don’t become predictable. In games that go long, like in control vs control, the potential for misinformation can be valuable. But in the case of aggressive decks, you’ll often just want to play the most efficient options available to get the job done. But now that I’m saying that, who knows when I might slip in a Snake or Explosive Trap sometime?
Here’s the lists we played:
There were a few storylines going on with our match this week. One of them was Trump’s redemption after he struggled in our last match. We decided to lead with Patron, since they’d led with decks that have been weak to it in previous weeks, and Trump dispatched SilentStorm’s Paladin deck in a messy but effective victory. We followed up with Trump once again on Handlock, and he managed to finish his day early after dispatching FrozenIce and his Face Hunter deck.
The next match pit me against SilentStorm, who before the first match of our series had been among the few remaining undefeated players. All of the others – Lifecoach, Sjow, and Chakki – had already given up games in the previous matches, leaving me as the lone remaining player who had yet to take a loss. I had no plans of starting any time soon, and thanks to a double Whirling Zap-O-Matic plus Flametongue Draw, I dispatched SilentStorm’s Druid deck in short order, despite a series of perfect answers on his part in the middle turns of the game.
We sent Dog in next with Rogue, where he unfortunately fell to the Force/Roar combo against SilentStorm. Because of the bench rule, we decided to send me next, because we didn’t want Dog to lose and then have them know 100% that they were going to be up against my Hunter deck. I ended up against FrozenIce and his Face Hunter deck, and thankfully I was on the play with a very fast double Leper Gnome plus Haunted Creeper start. The game was actually quite interesting, with a lot of maneuvering around Explosive Traps and the like, but ultimately I was able to slow things down enough that I got in two hits with a Savannah Highmane before he could kill me, and that was all she wrote.
That left us in a 4-1 lead, with Dog needing to win with both of his decks. We were in the same position last week with Dog and I both going 2-0 and needing Trump to carry us home, and things didn’t work out that time, so we certainly weren’t about to start counting any chickens – angry or otherwise.
Unfortunately, Dog’s draws didn’t come together with his Rogue against Tiddler’s Patron deck, nor with his Freeze Mage against Tiddler’s Tempo Mage – which is generally an extremely good matchup. Dog started half-jokingly posting “NOT ME! NOT LIKE THIS!” in the chat, to which I responded by telling him that we were still in really good shape in the match and he just needed to keep his cool.
Keep his cool Dog did, taking out FrozenIce and his Face Hunter deck with Freeze Mage (which seems like a whole lot of cold in one match…as an aside, is there a kind of Ice that isn’t frozen? That screen name is almost as redundant as Brian “Brian Kibler” Kibler). That left us just needing Dog to pick up a win with Rogue against one of three different decks – which is a situation I’m happy to be in any time. Thankfully, we didn’t even have to sweat it out, as Dog won the very next game against FrozenIce’s Face Hunter deck, closing out the match.
It was great to pick up a win for the week, and it’s pretty cool to be the last remaining undefeated player in the league. I don’t expect it to last – though I certainly don’t plan to lose – but it’s particularly gratifying given how many ‘pundits’ in the Hearthstone scene had been suggesting I might be the weak link of our team.
Next week is perhaps our biggest match of the season, against the current front-runner and only 3-0 team – Nihilum. A win would help us make up a lot of ground against their lead, both pulling them back closer into the pack and us up ahead of it. All three of Lifecoach, Thijs, and RDU are excellent players, and they put in a lot of work refining their lineups, so we have our work cut out for us. But hey – I’m up for a challenge. That’s the whole reason I play games like this…