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Hearthstone: 4 Decks to Watch at the HCT World Championship

The 2017 Hearthstone World Championship is set to begin this weekend, to formally end the competitive Hearthstone year and help usher out the Year of the Mammoth. There are 16 players set to compete: The top four finishers from the HCT Winter Championship, HCT Spring Championship, and HCT Summer Championship, and the highest point earners from each region.

Each of the players will bring four decks with them to the event to kick off the early group stages. But before the action kicks off, Shacknews would like to take a look at four of the more fascinating decks, which should both prove fun to watch this weekend and also prove interesting to try at home.


Sintolol's Jade Druid

Jade Druid may not be the dominant force on the Ranked ladder that it was prior to Kobolds & Catacombs, but it can still get the job done. There are a handful of Jade Druids making an apperance this weekend. However, German player Thomas "Sintolol" Zimmer has a few key components that set his Jade Druid apart from the rest.

First off, he's forgoing the use of Oaken Summons. This is a crazy useful spell for not only establishing board presence, but also armoring up. The issue is, these players must then leave Jade Spirit out of the deck, or else they can potentially Recruit a weak 2/3 minion with no Battlecry. Sintolol is opting to keep Jade Spirit at the expense of Oaken Summons and its Armor bonus.

The other interesting addition is Medivh, the Guardian, making this the only instance where this Legendary pops up in a Jade Druid deck. The idea here is to summon large minions by following up with either Ultimate Infestation or Spreading Plague.

The potential issue here is that with the sudden rise in aggro decks, the loss of the Oaken Summons armor boost could hurt. The deck, as constructed, may also prove too slow to maximize Medivh's potential. If it hits, it could be a big difference maker, but let's see if Medivh even gets a chance to see play.


Ant's Spiteful Dragon Priest

Highlander Priest has remained one of the premiere decks in the Hearthstone competitive space. However, Anthony "Ant" Trevino is looking ahead to the future of the Hearthstone meta. He's the only player that's packing the more aggressive style of Priest, one which relies on playing Spiteful Summoner and using big spells to conjure up giant minions. Solely packing in Free From Amber and Mind Control, he's guaranteed at least an additional random 8-cost minion on Turn 6 at the earliest.

What's interesting about this particular incarnation of this popular ladder deck is that he isn't packing Grand Archivist, which is usually a staple for this type of Priest. A big reason for that could be that Ant runs the risk of eventually running out of resources if he eventually starts to run on empty.

The Spiteful Dragon Priest's key to success is a good early draw. That also makes the exclusion of Shadow Ascendant a bold choice, but with early game control likely the key to staying alive, it's probably best not to have a lot of board presence before a potential big-time Duskbreaker play.


Orange's Face Hunter

Say hello to the only Hunter at the Hearthstone World Championship this weekend. Jon "Orange" Westberg was last winning big with Evolve Shaman, riding the deck all the way to a second place finish at the Hearthstone Summer Championships. But times have proven tough for Evolve Shaman, so Orange has opted to leave it at home and bring along Hunter, instead.

What's interesting about this choice is that there was only one Hunter at the Summer Championship. It did not do well. So why should anyone feel that Hunter will fare any better here?

A good reason is because of the addition of a few new tools from Kobolds & Catacombs. Candleshot is a good early control option, which opens the door for Pirates to rush face. Dire Mole is also a sneaky good opening play, since its Beast synergy allows Crackling Razormaw to do some work. And of course, there's Corridor Creeper, which has been one of the MVPs of the new expansion so far. With Hunter packing in so many low-cost minions, trading them in will often lead to an early Creeper drop.

The wild card is definitely Bittertide Hydra, which can end a match quickly with its high 8/8 stats and Beast synergy that allow it to be boosted further. However, the Hydra has a high tendency to backfire because of its effect, which doles out three damage to the player whenever it takes damage. Against Highlander Priests or Warlocks packing Defile, this has the potential to be ugly.


Sintolol's Big Spell Mage

Hey, Sintolol's back! On top of bringing a unique iteration of the Jade Druid, he's brought along one of the few Mages of the tournament. And this one puts its stock into keeping the board under control and setting up for two of its big plays.

The first of those plays is Frost Lich Jaina, which should almost go without saying in this type of deck. Once the Death Knight is out, it has the potential to create limitless resources that carry Lifesteal. The other heavy hitter is Dragoncaller Alanna, a new addition from the most recent expansion. This card makes the big spell turns pay off by flooding the board with 5/5 Dragons. When played strategically, it could be too much for the opponent to overcome.

With so many big spells like Meteor, Blizzard, and Firelands Portal, another key minion to watch is going to be Arcane Artificer. While Ice Block can ward off most aggro assaults, it's Arcane Artificer when played with the aforementioned spells that the Mage can become a nightmare, quickly building up big armor totals while also clearing the board at the same time.


Those are our four decks to watch out for at this weekend's 2017 Hearthstone World Championship. The full list of decks for all 16 players can be found on the Hearthstone website. The event is set to begin this Thursday, January 18 from Amsterdam, The Netherlands and will crown a new Hearthstone World Champion.

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