HCT Summer Playoffs Americas’ Lineups By: SnakeFawdz @SnakeFawdz HCT Summer Playoffs Americas’ Lineups At a Glance PRIEST - 28 28x Control Priest ROGUE - 37 20x Quest Rogue 14x Odd Rogue - 1x Miracle Rogue WARLOCK - 67 56x CubeLock 10x ControlLock 2x ZooLock DRUID - 60 48x Spiteful Druid 10x Taunt Druid 2x Token Druid MAGE - 31 29x Tempo Mage 2x Control Mage PALADIN - 54 32x Even Paladin (Val’anyr) 13x Even Paladin (Dude) 9x Murloc Paladin WARRIOR - 8 6x Odd Control Warrior 2x Recruit Warrior HUNTER - 6 4x Spell Hunter 2x Face Hunter SHAMAN - 3 2x Even Shaman LINEUP TYPES BEST DECK - 45x HYPER CONTROL - 9x HYPER AGGRO - 10x So, there are a lot of numbers here, but, what do they mean? In short, I went through every single players lineup and marked down what their general plan was with their lineup. A "Best Deck" Lineup is anything with three or more of the best ladder decks, this mostly is comprised of a mix of Tempo Mage / Even Paladin / CubeLock / Spiteful Druid / Control Priest. These are decks that I dont expect to make it too far, as there are certain lineups I believe, specifically with Quest Rogue, are better. A "Hyper Control" Lineup is a lineup that involves three or more of control decks, with the fourth occasionally being a Quest Rogue, or a toss up, such as Fr0zens, or Fibonacci' Spell Hunter. A "Hyper Aggro" Lineup is something with three or more aggro decks, and in a few cases four aggro decks. These lineups usually involve three, with the addition of Cubelock. Now, from the looks of this, the amount of deck diversity is very low, as most lineups will follow the simple formula of, "getting the best four decks", then playing out. However, a few people had decided to attempt to innovate, and brought some exceptionally odd lineups. Fibonacci And Fr0zen' Recruit Warrior and Spell Hunter One of the few innovators were possibly two of the biggest names participating, with the Recruit Warrior and Spell Hunter. The specific builds for these decks are much more anti-aggro oriented, with the Warrior lists running 2x Warpaths, 2x Iron Hide, and 1x Reckless Flurry, which can largely shut down the likes of Even Paladin. The Blood Razors and double Brawl also help greatly with the matchup, nearly guaranteeing the big legendaries to be slammed down and get the value in. For the matchup of Spell Hunter, its a bit odd, as the only real threats in the deck are the upgraded spellstone, Rhok’delar, and possibly the two copies of To My Side. The glaring problem with this deck, is one with so few threats, while it holds some chance against aggro decks, with the secret package being able to contest aggro. Lnguagehackr' Heavy Control Lineup With this lineup, we see some of the few instances of Control Mage, along with another rare Odd Control Warrior, both aiming to outvalue and outlast the competition. The Mage opts to include Dragoncaller Alanna, an extremely late game tool that, when drawn early, is dead for most of the game. However, the inclusion of 2x Witchwood Pipers allow for the Artificers to come early, and gain large value off of the board clears. The Odd Control Warrior includes the rush package, with a few specific techs, such as BGH or Mind Control Tech in order to curb the early game, and manage to squeeze value out of the late game with cards such as Elise the Trailblazer, along with King Mosh + Whirlwind for an impromptu Twisting Nether. SwaggyG' Even Shaman Even Shaman has seen massive success in Wild, however, what can it do in standard? I predict not much. While it does have massive staying power due to many big drops,it may damage the early game, as the totems may not be able to secure the early game against the likes of Even Paladin, or have its late game stand up to the CubeLocks. Muzzy' / YoItsFlo' Token Druid Both have used identical lists, however, Token Druid can prove to be an upset deck, especially with cards such as Spreading Plague to shut down aggro, and Soul of the Forest for sticky boards. It should have a good record overall. Also, I want to let you know that Kyotos own Seohyun and Villain are competing in the HCT Playoffs. We at Kyoto wish them the best of luck, and hope to see them compete at their best. - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Hidden Boss Showcase By Harryherzberg @Learnedpotato Hidden Boss Showcase You have been playing this game for a few years. You know most of the members in the community. You even manage to place top 8 in some tournaments. You have a good idea who you can beat, and who can beat you in this community. One tournament though, things are different. The attention is focused on a person you don’t know, even though you have been to every single Weekly in the past few months. You assume that they are some out of towner, or someone who used to live in your town, moved out and then decided to move back. Then, something happens that shatters your view of the world. This random person goes on to beat multiple pr players, and even take the tournament! Who is thisperson? A top player from another country perhaps, or maybe someone who just missed out on top 100 in Miom? Nope, this person is, in fact, a hidden boss. In this article, I will be showcasing the hidden bosses from different regions, and then composing them into different tiers of bosses. First, the criteria to be considered as a hidden boss. 1. You cannot be currently ranked on your State' PR. Being on your towns pr is fine, same as if you are in a school pr. 2. You must be able to upset a state PR player or provide a good level challenge to them. 3. You must not have attended more than 5 major weeklies (more than 30 players) within the past 6 months, and 3 major tournaments (60+ players) Hidden Boss Tiers Tier 1 (Crazy Hands) : This hidden boss is a strong contender for top 100 if they were more active. This hidden boss has a really good chance of taking on pr players, and even taking tournaments. If you aren’t on pr, you stand little to no chance against this boss. Tier 2 (Master Hands): This type of boss might get top 48 at a major, even though no one has ever heard of them. They stand on the same level as the last few members on the state pr, and if they were more active, they have a good chance of making it on to the pr. Tier 3 (Giga Bowsers): These bosses may be able to upset the last member on the pr, but also have a good chance of losing to one of the better players in the tournament. They still stand a good chance of making top 8 at a smaller local, but they would rarely be considered for pr, even if they became super active. I will be asking top players and TO' of the regions who I should feature. I will keep the Identity of the selectors confidential. So, without further ado, here are the hidden bosses of SoCal: Giga Bowser Boss(‘s). Epic Murloc Main (Ganondorf) Epic Murloc Apart from taking a set off of the 25th best player in the world, Epic Murloc has also taken Absent Page to a really close last game. Most people don’t think Ganondorf is fast, this one certainly is. This Ganondorf, while not being the most combo heavy, has insane movement with his wavelands. He uses Ganondorf' wavelands to become deceptively fast and capitalizes on this by throwing Ganon' huge hitboxes around. This allows him to completely control the stage, and to trick people who think that since Ganondorf is slow he won’t be able to reach them. Epic Murloc is definitely a contender for most small locals and most locals not in SoCal. If you run into him at bracket, you better watch out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVMooE3lUKgCheck out this video to see Epic Murloc in action! Master Hand(s) There are no master hand players for SoCal. Why are there so few hidden bosses in SoCal? I quote one of the people I asked for help in creating this list: "For the criteria, its hard to pick players that dont break number 3 because of how many tournaments there are, at least here in SoCal." There are people in SoCal who arent known outside of SoCal, but they still attend enough tournaments in SoCal to not be considered hidden bosses. (Players like Mega Christmas and Lil Snack.) Crazy Hand(s) Kobayashi Main (Ice Climbers) Kobayashi Say what you want about Ice Climbers, but Kobayashi has a crazy sopo. This player has won the SoCal Arcadian, has an extensive knowledge of handoffs, and has the best punish game equipped by every Ice' main. But, playing against this player, you will notice a few things. 1. He doesn’t spam grab or shield grab. 2. His sopo is insane 3. He will use the disjoint on his hammers hitbox to comboand punish you. If a Marth main picked up Ice Climbers, I would imagine that they would play like Kobayashi. Using the disjointed hitbox like Marth spaces his tippers. Definitelya player to watch out for, and if he was seen at more majors I wouldnt be surprised if he started taking names. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiWJQ8g2jckCheck out this video to see Kobayashi in action! FAQ Q. I don’t want to be in this article and/or dont want this image of me in this article. Who do I contact to address this concern? If you are in this article and would like something about you to be removed, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do it as soon as possible. Q. You missed ______ they are definitely a Hidden boss. I try my hardest, but some people will slip through the cracks even if they are a hidden boss. As time goes on, I will be able to contact more people in a certain region, so mistakes like this will happen less frequently. Q. When will you do ______ region. My goal is to do every single region, not just in the united states, but in the entire world. That being said, I will first be doing regions where Iknow the Top Players and TO', or have friends who can put me in contact with them. If you know any Top Players and TO' in a region, I would be super grateful if you sent me an email. - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Why Are Genn and Baku So Good? By: SnakeFawdz @SnakeFawdz Why Are Genn and Baku So Good? With the launch of The Witchwood, Hearthstone has seen a new era of aggressive decks. This expansion had marked the end of the Year of the Mammoth, meaning all the cards from Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and of course, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. This had blown a large, crippling, strike to the power level of aggressive decks, mostly losing out on Patches the Pirate, with his nerf near the end of the rotation. However, in order to recuperate these losses, a new mechanic was introduced, which in turn created a whole new theme of decks, Odd and Even. The two new neutral legendaries, Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane, allowed for powerful manipulations to your hero power, with the loss of the respective Even and Odd cost cards. Baku allows for your hero power to become upgraded in the same sense that Justicar Trueheart would upgrade it. The fact that makes them so good, however, is that it is from the beginning of the game. For example, Aggro Paladin, an archetype that heavily relies on powerful tempo swings such as Call to Arms, still manages to survive without it due to the power being able to spit out two tokens each turn. These upgraded powers are able to be so powerful simply because they’re there from the beginning of the game, meaning you can capitalize on them as soon as possible. Beforehand, Justicar Trueheart had required that it had been at least turn seven to get value out of your hero power, however, you can get it as early as turn one now. As well as this: it is consistent. Beforehand, aggro decks relied on curving out in order to gain maximum effectiveness, but now, the draw luck is minimized with guaranteed turn two and four plays. This, combined with the hero power not taking up resources in your hand, is such a powerful tempo play, as those cards in hand can be used for reloading your board after a board clear, meaning they have used up resources in terms of the card, while you still have your actual minions in hand. Another example could be in Rogue, where your hero power was a huge tempo swing, allowing you to contest the early board using your health as a resource. The Baku upgrade further promotes this simply because it allows you to gain larger tempo swings by removing more mana' worth of things than your opponent, hence the Baku Rogue archetype is able to effectively win the Paladin matchup due to their hero power. In Warrior, it is also powerful since they are able to utilize their armor with cards such as Reckless Flurry, as it can be used to deal four to all minions on turn three with curve. The fact you can gain four life a turn allows for the Baku Warrior to flourish, as combined with quest, the early game survival, and endless taunts can give them many aggressive and midrange matchups easily. Their endgame hero power of dealing eight to a random enemy every turn also allows them to win the matchups late game. The restrictions also allow for cards previously seen as horrible to flourish, such as in the case of Raid Leader or Stormwind Champion. Baku Paladin is able to slot these cards in due to the restrictions, and then take advantage of their upsides due to the board flood nature of their deck. In the case of Baku Hunter, old one drops that were previously power crept out of the meta, come back in, such as Elven Archer. The deckbuilding limitations also allow for more, and better one and three drops, or two and four drops in their respective decks. Rather than relying on the draw of one of the forced two drops put into the deck for the sake of tempo, you can near guarantee a good one drop, or possibly a good three drop rather than relying on a 1-2-3 curve. So, is this new mechanic going to stick around in future decks for the next two years of its standard life? Possibly. Currently, I feel that if you’re on the verge of crafting one of the two, I would go with Baku, simply for its larger meta presence, and if possible, I would craft both. - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Shamans Class Identity By SnakeFawdz @SnakeFawdz What is Shamans Class Identity? In Hearthstone, class identity is integral to the game, as without it, the many different classes would feel all the same. This problem is very prevalent when powerful neutral cards are introduced, making nearly every deck feel the same. A prominent example was when the neutral tempo package of Pirates, Prince Keleseth, and Bonemare, were thrown into decks where they did not belong, yet still succeeded due to its sheer power. When the lines between the classes are unclear, it overall leads to a stale and boring experience. A class that had once been the most powerful class in the game, Shaman, is now left in shambles, as it lacks any serious competitive decks. The only exception to this is currently one of its only surviving decks, Evolution Shaman. This is a deck based around generating tokens, then evolving them to get powerful minions that will often simply end the game right then and there. Due to the Jade mechanic, Jade Shaman is recently finding success since it has enough control options to counter Control Warlock with cards like Devolve, Hex, and counters to Aggro Paladin with Maelstrom Portal. Going back to the year of 2015, we can see the peak of Shaman, with Aggro Paladin and Midrange dominating the field. During this period, powerful cards such as Tunnel Trogg, Totem Golem, and the infamous Flamewreathed Faceless were able to secure the early game and simply snowball into victories before turn ten most of the time. Along with this, if your opponent was stabilized you were able to burn them out with cards such as Lava Burst, Lightning Bolt, and Crackle. These powerful cards simply established Tempo Shaman as the prominent deck for Shaman. Now, why is this? Taking a look at the classic set for Shaman, it is very weakdue to it having powerful tools for every archetype. It is one of those situations in which it is good at everything, but not great at anything, except one, Burn, and Tempo. With the overload mechanic and the cost of losing some mana next turn, you could gain massive tempo swigswith cards like Lightning Stormor Earth Elemental, along with the infamous Totem Golem. When the Tunnel Trogg was in standard, it was able to turn these downsides into upsides, boosting its attack, and allowing it to snowball into somethingpowerful. What is with these new archetypes? During Knights of the Frozen Throneblizzard attempted to push Freeze Shaman, a deck built around the freezing of your own minions for tempo, and value by freezing enemy minions for value due to Moorabi. This ended up to be a failure due to the whole mechanicnot being able to effectively complete either of those tasks. The Death Knight also helped the Evolve package in the form of Thrall, Deathseer, which was a plus due to the failure of the freeze mechanic, meaning at the very least, Evolve Shaman had a boost. Kobolds and Catacombs, The Runespear helped push more of a Control Shaman, with heavy RNG themes. Well, to answer the question, the identity is tempo and burn. As Token Shaman has always been viable, just due to cards such as the burn package, with bloodlust. - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Playing Like the Pros By Alex “pinksparklygamer“ Booker @pinksparklygame *In this scenario, attacking a minion will increase the odds of the warlock playing a minion on the board clear, even though it doesn’t have any direct benefits. Unlike skills like trade managing and knowing when to go face, managing information and psychology is rarely ever talked about in Hearthstone, and so it' usually one of the last developed skills of any given player. Even watching professional streamers, it' actually quite common to see these sorts of misplays. So if even professional players are making these mistakeshow can an aspiring pro, or even an ordinary player, hope to learn to manage these skills? Getting Better Without Really Trying Most of the time, in Hearthstone, if you want to get better then you’ll usually have to practice. However, managing information isnt a skill that happens over time; it happens immediately. This means that as soon as you learn it, you’re automatically a master. Some deck trackers even come with features that let you easily manage your opponents information. Counting Cards If you arent familiar with managing information, the best way to start is through counting your opponents cards and when they drew them. By keeping track of whether their yeti has been in hand for 8 turns, it lets you get a good idea of what your opponents hand looks like. Although some deck trackers will do this for you, for the sake of getting better, I suggest you avoid them. Just make sure that you also keep track of which cards your opponent mulligans, since it lets you tell if your opponent has a strong opener or not. Hiding Your Information Since having information on your opponent is good, then that means that if your opponent has information on you then it should be equally as important to hide your information from your opponent. Although this is easier said than done. For the most part, players will just play the best card in their hand, regardless of the information,it gives away. One trick that I picked up is to play the card farthest to the left if I have multiple copies of a card. That way, my opponent is more likely to have more information on that card, since I drew it earlier. You have no idea how often players will play the Frostbolt that they topdecked, instead of the one that they’ve had since turn 1. The other trick I picked up is avoiding giving the opponent any signs that Ihave a board clear. If it' turn 5 and I’m holding a blizzard, rather than pinging a 3 health minion to set it up for the clear, the right play is often to ping a one health minion. This way, your opponent might play into the blizzard, allowing for extra value. Conclusion Ultimately, information is a rarely used skill in Hearthstone. Even just by being aware of its existence, you can increase your win rate. Not only is counting your opponents cards a valuable ability but being able to minimize on feeding your opponent information is just as important. By using these skills, you should be able to increase your win rate, which is all this article aims to do. - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Death of Control Decks By SnakeFawdz @SnakeFawdz The Death of Control Decks A traditional control deck is one that aims to "control" the board until they either, fatigue their opponent, or out-value their opponent using strong tools. These tools include Elise the Starseeker, N’zoth, or their Death Knight card. This, of course, only describes traditional control decks. With prominent examples such as the old school control Warrior and Paladin, decks that have since fallen from grace. These decks are rarely seen today. Even if they are used you’ll rarely find success with them, except for the possibility of heavy control tournament lineups where control Paladin finds slight success. The modern control Warrior is nowhere near the same as the old style, now relying on an infinite combo that will outlast even the toughest decks. Justicar Trueheart (Image via Blizzard) During The Grand Tournament, along with Goblins vs Gnomes, these types of decks had found their most prominent success. Powerful tools such as Justicar Trueheart allowed Warrior to survive through the fatigue games, along with other powerhouses, such as Dr.Boom, to help secure the late game. One of its major competitors, however, was the all-powerful Secret Paladin. The Grand Tournament had introduced Mysterious Challenger, a card so powerfulthat it turns six swings in tempo often won them the game on the spot. In addition to this, the powerful midrange tools for Paladin such as Shielded Minibot, or Muster for Battle, held little reason to run a full-on control style when this midrange package had such a powerful impact. Today' meta has changed from the days of Wallet Warrior and now focus on what is a subdivision of control decks, combo control decks. These are fairly similar to control decks in concept. They, however, contain a combo which will often win them the game on the spot. These were seen at the top of their respective metas, with decks such as Razakus Priest, RinLock, CubeLock, and the OTK Paladin. All these decks mainly stalling and aggressively drawing from their resources until they gain the correct combo to win the game. These decks were so powerful that a few were considered too powerful in the eyes of Blizzard, and as such, they cast the nerf hammer on the aforementioned Razakus Priest. A similarly powerful deck that was hit hard was Yogg Druid. This was a deck that contained many spells, which in turn strengthened the game-ending Yogg-Saron, Hope' End, which was slammed down and had a slew of random spells that often either won or swung the board into your favor. CThun (Image via Blizzard) The decline of these decks is not a one-off occurrence, as, during the launch of Whispers of the Old Gods, decks such as C’thun Warrior were able to overtake the old school control Warrior fairly quickly. At heart, it was combo control archetype. The ultimatum of C’thun at the end was nearly enough to end games on the spot, however, if the game called for it, the refuel of a Brann Bronzebeard and Doomcaller combo added two additional C’thun cards. This then provided a large amount of value which would rarely ever be stopped. There was the occasional tech choice of Tinkmaster Overspark. As Whispers Of the Old Gods came to a close these decks involving the old gods had begun to die out, with one exception. This exception came in the form of the aforementioned Yogg-Saron, Hope' End, which was such a powerhousethat it had whole decks designed around it that were even taken to the Hearthstone Championship Tour 2016. This was used in many competitors decks with the most notable being Pavel, the winner of that years tournament. The most notable decline in these decks was found primarily when the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan was released, an expansion which many see as one of the most meta-warping and troublesome. The further support of highlander decks continued the trend away from traditional control decks. As powerful tools such as "Kazakus" allowed for the value needed to win many games in the popular RenoLock, along with its sister deck Reno Mage. The powerful combo of Brann Bronzebeard allowed for two Kazakus potions to be created. This generated enough value to keep the control archetype relevant. This is according to Vicious Syndicate' meta report of January which had shown the small representation of control decks in comparison to the strong power of the Shaman and Warrior aggro variants. Typical control decks such as control Warrior and Paladin struggled to stay relevant against the Highlander decks. Bloodreaver Guldan (Image via Bilzzard) As the first Hall of Fame and rotations hit, the hope for a resurgence of the archetype had begun. Highlander decks lost most of their power as Reno Jackson had rotated out, leaving the Highlander variants weakened. This included the loss of powerhouses such as Ragnaros the Firelord, Sylvanas Windrunner, and Azure Drake. These combo control decks had also lost Brann Bronzebeard, removing most of the possible value from the Brann-Kazakus combo. However, Ungoro had brought gifts in terms of Elise the Starseeker in a form that shuffled a fake "pack", one which often gave huge amounts of value, and counteracted the loss of Brann + Kazakus. Another popular deck on the rise was taunt warrior. Taunt Warrior is still considered to be a combo-control deck due to the ultimatum of Sulfuras giving the player unprecedented levels of value, however, the archetype was still oppressed due to the abundance of Burn Mage, Murloc Paladin, and Jade Druid. Knights of the Frozen Throne brought the powerhouse known as the Death Knight Cards. These cards brought in huge powerhouses that included the powerful oppressive combo of Raza-Anduin. This deck provided a powerful combo that, no matter the previous turns boardstate, had the potential to deal up to fifty burst damage simply from hand. During this time traditional control could be considered near extinction with Razakus, Jade Druid, or even the small percentage of Exodia Mage, which had an OTK combo that dealt infinite damage simply from hand, rising through the ranks. Traditional Control decks found themselves out of luck with all these combos keeping them from even being played. As we now enter Kobolds and Catacombs, the situation is similar to Knights of the Frozen Throne, except there is a new player in the field, in the form of Control Warlock. Along with another variant that had a terrifying combo, named Cubelock. The former had their finished in the combo of dropping a Voidlord using a Dark Pack and Lackey combo. After their wall is planted, they use Rin, The First Disciple. A card that, if they avoid pressure, which is taken care of due to the Voidlord, can destroy the opponents deck. This in turn destroying their chance to win, most of the time. The latter of Cubelock, which uses Carnivorous Cube, a cube that allows the duplication of any minion often in the form of Doomguard, enables combo kills from full health if a resurrection with Bloodreaver Gul’Dan is used right. Until recently Razakus Priest continued to oppress non-combo control decks since many could not handle the burst it would deal. Currently, the situation of Control Warrior and Paladin can be summed up in the humorous summaries written by Vicious Syndicate in their meta reports. (link down below) Today the likes of a traditional Control Warrior, or Paladin deck, rising to the top rank has been shot out of the water. However, another rotation on the horizon coupled with new expansions, hope lives on. - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports Citation: Vicious Syndicate Report (Paragraph 8):https://www.vicioussyndicate.com/vs-data-reaper-report-82/
Year of the Raven Changes Cole Ricke @theone7142 Year of the Raven Changes It' that time of the year again; Birds are singing, the sun is shining, and Team 5 is starting yet another Hearthstone year. After the year of the Kraken and Mammoth, the year of the Raven will be the newest rotation for the game. This rotation also comes with three new expansions to be released throughout the year, which aims to balance and refresh both casual and competitive play. However, that isn’t all that is coming. As is custom, the cards from two years ago are being rotated out of competitive play, but some classic cards also got chosen to be removed. Ice Block (Picture via Hearthstone) Ice block was a frustrating card to play against. Not only did it give your opponent an extra turn for free, that extra turn could mean that you lose the game. Freeze mage and Exodia mage with the Archmage Antonidas combo abused this card. Overall, it limited design space and with it being rotated out we will most likely see a rise in more creative mage decks. Coldlight Oracle (Picture via Hearthstone) The Coldlight Oracle was the last remaining relic of a deck known as mill rogue. It was never a top tier deck, but it was still, once again, somewhat frustrating to play against. The Hearthstone team has repeatedly stated that they want to limit the amount of cards they print that allow the opponent to remove cards from your deck/hand because it isn’t fun or interactive (we’re looking at you, Gnomeferatu). This card being removed simply means your opponent can no longer force you to lose cards because it isn’t necessarily rewarding for the player using the card unless they discard a big ticket card, such as a legendary or a combo piece, and it never feels good to mill cards if you were playing smart other than that. Example of Molten Giants Evolution (Pictures via Hearthstone) Molten Giant is getting its nerf reverted, but is still getting rotated. The reason this card was nerfed was because Handlock was doing too good of a job at abusing its hero power and getting both Molten Giants and Mountain Giants out on the same turn without any counterplay. With its nerf reverted, it is once again a viable card for handlock, but it will only be a viable card in wild. Fear not, though. The Hearthstone team is giving anyone who owns these cards the full dust value for these three cards. Make sure to keep them until the year rotates in. Another few notable changes is that all ranked levels will be 5 stars, as opposed to gradually ramping up from two, to three, to four, to five at higher levels. Also, players will not be fully reset after each competitive season, and will instead only fall a few ranks. These make the grind to legend less frustrating for those players who are extremely talented, but are busy or only have a short amount of time to play the game each month. The chest at the end of each season has also been changed, with the requirement to receive one now being only 5 wins in the season. This makes the season a bit more beginner friendly for those who want to farm chests each month while making sure the players who grind the ranks aren’t losing any value out of their chests as well. These changes and more are the key characteristics of what will make the Year of the Raven a very unique and interesting year. Which decks will become meta? Which decks will fail? Will Shaman finally become viable yet? These questions are only speculation for now, but I know I’m going to be grinding this year. Will you? - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Nerfs and the Effects They Have in Competitive Hearthstone Cole Ricke @theone7142 Nerfs and the Effects They Have in Competitive Hearthstone The latest rounds of nerfs to the ever expanding list of cards in the Hearthstone collection occurred this past week, and their effects have been immediately seen. Each nerf had their own impact on the meta, which becomes clear after closer inspection. Patches When Patches was first announced, many believed that it was overpowered before launch. A 1-1 pirate with charge may not seem immediately powerful, but it was actually one of the strongest cards from the expansion, and many pros knew this. They cited that it was a card that provides an immediate effect (chip damage) while thinning the deck, and only requiring a general activator. Zach, better known as SubZer0, a prolific Overwatch player, was actually a very talented Hearthstone player before making the switch. However, once Patches was released, it took a mere one match to make him decide to drop the game entirely. "From the first time I saw that card played against me, I knew I was going to quit this game forever". While this sentiment is extreme, it is shared in more mild tastes by many players. Playing against Patches was frustrating and limited design space. This nerf allows for more pirate synergy cards to be printed, without making aggro in any sense too powerful. Corridor Creeper Corridor Creeper was the card that pushed aggro decks over the edge of tier 2 to top of tier 1. The 7 mana 5/5 was a card that got discounted by 1 mana for every minion that died on the board, friendly or enemy. The cost of 7 was meant to keep it as an option for both aggro and control. However, Blizzard underestimated the standing power of token decks and how only a few trades could allow this card to come out on the board for free. The nerf to 2 attack makes it essentially worthless. This is what Jeff Kaplan from the Overwatch team would call a "Sledgehammer" nerf, a nerf that is meant to take the card out of the game until they can correctly balance it. Raza the Chained Raza the Chained was a card that enabled priest to have consistent heal in a time where Pirate Warrior and Aggro Druid ran rampant. It allowed priest to have a chance to survive when otherwise it would not have one. However, with the meta slowing down, it was changed from a survival card to a card that enabled Priest to OTK (One Turn Kill) combo with many cheap damage spells and other cards that would refresh the hero power. The nerf brings Raza back into line, allowing decks that need the survival to still use it, and decks that wanted to combo can not abuse its late game power. Bonemare This nerf is deceivingly simple. Many are in shock, stating that the card was balanced because it was necessary to have a board by turn 7 to even let this card be viable. However, as stated before, the meta has slowed down considerably since this card was released. Upping the mana cost from 7 to 8 allows this card to be more in line in design space to its intended purpose. It was not meant to be a tempo card, but a card that allowed for a strong board to be used as protection and trades were forced into the selected target because it gained taunt. Some of these nerfs, such as Patches and Corridor, were very apparent in their necessity. The other two may not be seen as immediate issues, but they open up the design space for Team 5. Whatever the case may be, these nerfs were very important to the future of the game, and they ensure the longevity of the game that we all love to play. For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Hearthstone HCT World Championship 2017 By Cole Ricke @theone7142 Hearthstone HCT World Championship 2017 The Hearthstone HCT World Championship recently ended, and with it, a new champion was crowned. Fans worldwide got to spectate some of the highest-level Hearthstone play to date. The Hearthstone World Championship (Picture via Hearthstone HCT World Championship) A stacked group A kicked off the 2017 HCT Hearthstone World Championship. DocPwn managed to overcome Planet Odds’ Hoej in a close, hard fought 2:3 victory. However, this was overshadowed by what was seen as quite the upset as Flash Wolves’ Tom60229 managing to take down Orange, the flagship player for Alliance. The match was 2:1 when both Tom and Orange played with their Priest decks. Tom managed to topple the Dreamhack Summer champ and take home his first win of the group stage. Orange came back with a vengeance and swept Hoej, the Spring Champion, to keep his tournament life alive. When Doc also swept Tom and secured his spot in the playoffs, it became a rematch of Group A. However, Orange could still not overcome his group rival, and lost 0:3. Taking him out of the tournament and leaving the group A victors to wait and see the outcome of the others. Orange vs Tom60229, showcasing the matchup. (Picture via Hearthstone HCT World Championship) Group B was a tragedy for American fans. It started as a spark of hope, with Muzzy being the only player from the U.S. Muzzy managed to overcome JasonZhou in a tough fought series. The score was 3:1, but each game was a battle, with the score not telling the whole story. In the next match, Taiwan toppled Ukraine when OmegaZero beat veteran player Kolento 3:2. Heartbreak continued for Kolento fans as he was again defeated 3:2, this time by JasonZhou. Samuel defeated Muzzy, placing Muzzy in the last match of the group to determine who would make it to playoffs. After what appeared to be nerves leading Muzzy to make some questionable plays with his priest deck, he was sent out of the groups with a clean sweep by Jason. Group C and D played out to the expectations that fans had, with ShtanUdachi and black horse Sintolol taking the former and Surrender and Fr0zen taking the latter. However, the only surprise out of both groups was that Group D' Neirea seemingly did not put up any sort of fight, taking a total of 2 games. This surprised both fans and analysts, as he was seen as a contender for a playoff spot. However, his performance was lackluster at best. Playoffs began with DocPwn versus JasonZhou, arguably two out of the top three players in the entire tournament. Docpwn started off dominant, taking two games to start the series 2:0. However, his rogue deck couldn’t beat either of Jason' druid or priest decks, tying up the series at 2:2. The final game of the series was a rogue mirror match, and Doc couldn’t beat Jason' dominant play. Jason won the series 3:2 to advance to the semifinals. A similar story occurred when Fr0zen and Sintolol played, with Sinto going up 2:1 before Fr0zen made a heroic comeback in game 4. The priest mirror match played right into Fr0zen' comfort zone, as he knew this matchup very well, stemming from hours of practice with other top tier players. With the series being tied up at 2:2, Fr0zen managed to steal a win with his mage to take the series and advance to the semifinals. The fight to represent Taiwan was a heated match between Tom60229 and SamuelTsao, both players wanting to prove dominance. Instead of counter picking classes, they decided to fight head on to prove who' the better player. The first two were mirror matches between druid and priest, with Tom taking both in a convincing fashion. With Tom' rogue falling to Samuel' druid, this could be another reverse sweep in the quarter finals. Tom won yet another mirror match with rogue to take the 3:1 victory home. With Surrender taking a 3:1 victory over ShtanUdachi in what could be described as anything but a stomp, the semifinals were ready to begin. The first semifinal match was Fr0zen versus JasonZhou, and this was a match to watch. So far, Fr0zen had been running his warlock deck, which had lost him his series versus Surrender. He decided to play his other decks and take the series to a 2:1 lead before trying the Warlock again. He lost yet another match with it, making the series a 2:2 tie, with the possibility for both players to advance. However, with a combination of lucky draws from Fr0zen and terrible luck for Jason' druid, Fr0zen squeezed out a win and managed to continue to the finals. The last match before the Grand Finals saw Surrender facing Tom60229. Surrender was considered the favorite, but Tom decided that the odds weren’t a factor as both players ended up taking a victory with their respective druid decks. From then on, it was the Tom show. Absolute top level playmaking and predictions from Tom took Surrender by surprise and resulted in Surrender' early exit from the tournament. And then there were two. Fr0zen and Tom60229 were set to go head to head in the Hearthstone HCT World Championship Finals. From the beginning Fr0zen wanted to prove that he deserved the title by taking the first two matches, giving himself a 2:0 lead. Everyone was already congratulating Fr0zen on his hard fought victory, except Tom. Tom did his homework and watched Fr0zen' earlier matches. He knew his one weakness, apart from his Warlock: His druid. Knowing this, Tom abused his opponents weakest deck and did not quit until he had won the last match of the series. Tom had beat Fr0zen 3:2 and secured a World Championship Title for himself, Flash Wolves, and Taiwan. Tom60229 holding the Hearthstone World Championship trophy. (Picture viaHearthstone HCT World Championship) - For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Playing Cards in School #1 By Eric "Rizen" Lynch @Rizen1020 Wayne Gretzky once famously said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take." So as I filled in the boxes on Kyoto' Academy Program application I didn’t realistically expect much would come of it, but given my aspirations to become a successful competitive Hearthstone player, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to take a chance and see what happens. Worst case scenario was that it would be 5-10 minutes that I wasn’t going down some random Facebook/Twitter rabbit hole. Hopefully, it would be one giant step closer to my goal. Since you’re reading this, obviously I was fortunate enough to get accepted into the program. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first, but as things were starting to ramp up, Kyoto' very own Seohyun was coming off a second-place finish at DreamHack Montreal and I couldn’t have felt better about my position. Access to world-class HearthStone minds is something all aspiring competitive players want, and here it was, sitting right in front of me! Practices started in earnest the last couple of weeks, and BloodHunter (who is heading up the Academy Program) has been a really great resource. I’ve already seen tremendous improvements in my game, hitting legend for the first time last month and winning my first open event. That' not to brag about my accomplishments in the game. To the contrary, that' to speak to the resources around me and the help they’ve been. I spoke with BloodHunter briefly after one of our sessions about the program so far, and how it was measuring up versus his expectations and I found the answer both surprising and telling. The first thing he commented about was that the group had a lot of diverse personalities but that everyone was super positive and willing to learn. That stuck out to me because it would have been really easy to just say something along the lines of "well we’ve got some really good players, I see a lot of potential here." Now he did go on to mention that he does see a lot of talent, but the foremost focus was on the motivation which I felt was really positive. One of the most common comments I received upon the announcement of being a part of the Academy Program is one I hear echoed among amateur players "why would anyone need to be a part of a team in a game where you compete as individuals?" It' a fair point, but there' a reason that most top athletes (eSports or otherwise) have teams around them. Iron sharpens iron, and I’m looking forward to seeing my growth as a player in the coming months and having the opportunity to share it with all of you. I’m extremely glad I took my shot and would encourage the rest of you to do so when the Academy Program opens up to applicants again. For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports
By Clint "Landry" Thomas @itzlandry This week, Kyoto' Melee players are having back to back tournament filled weekends. The Game Tyrant Expo (GT-X) just wrapped up this past weekend with the Big House 7 starting on Friday. With a super prize pool, GT-X was an important event this year. Hungrybox took home first place along with a nice paycheck. Bizzarro Flame attended the tournament on behalf of Kyoto. Although he enjoyed the event, he didn’t have the best performance. He lost to Syrox in winners semis during his pool. In losers, he lost to Blue Jay in the losers finals to make it to the top 48. "The fox match-up is so hard nowadays. Its the main match-up that I keep losing in against similarly leveled players," he said of his loss. Nevertheless, he had a good time and loved hanging out in Salt Lake City. Looking at this weekend, Redd will be fighting hard at Big House 7. After getting in the top 32 at the last two majors he attended, he feels confident about the tournament. "I’m really excited to compete this weekend. I took a little break after Shine and then got right back to it," Redd said. "My expectation is top 48 bare minimum, shooting for top 16, will realistically land between there. Gotta stay warmed up the whole time." Though he is best known for his Fox play. Redd may bring out a counter-pick Marth against certain species, a pick that he is hyped for. On who he thinks who will Big House, "Armada. He wasn’t super content dropping two sets to Hbox (at GT-X). I think he’ll take it through winners." Make sure to tune in and support Redd as he fights his way to the top this weekend. We wish you the best of luck! For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on twitter @Kyoto_eSports
By Clint "Landry" Thomas @itzlandry In our second entry of Hooked On Melee, we’ll be discussing how to improve your game via analysing VODs. Newer players often have trouble with learning the neutral game. Unlike combos/punishes, which can be grinded out on your own or in 20xx mods, the concept of neutral isn’t as tangible and more abstract. PPMD and the recent successful young Ohio player, Cal, are excellent examples of how VOD analysis can drastically improve players’ fundamentals in the game. Now as we get into this, let' address the fact that there is no true 100% correct way to study VODs. Every person learns and thinks differently. As such, I’m not going to sit here and say "you must watch this and think it about this way." Instead, I’m going to try to offer suggestions how myself and the rest of Kyoto' SSBM team analyze and why we do it this way. Have purpose So first off, I would say always go in with a goal when you’re studying. As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said "...If you dont have a goal or plan of where youre going and how youre going to get there, then you just drift around and never get anywhere." Although you can just watch replay and point things out, it can be a lot more effective if you go in wanting to study one particular aspect. Think about how it is learning a new language in school. A good teacher or professor won’t throw multitudes of grammar and vocabulary at the same time. Instead, they will focus one or the other more to set a foundation which allows you to learn the other. The same can be said for Melee. Let' say I want get around something as simple as a Falco up-tilt in neutral when he tries to stop my approach. So in the VODs I would see how players got not only accomplish this, but see what all the different methods they use are, what they do afterwards to follow up, what the Falco player does when they get around it, and what they do when they fail. So now you have multiple ways to get past his up-tilt, you know what to do afterwards to punish it or get an advantageous position, understanding of some of the options that the Falco player has, and what your counter plays are if you approach fails. After learning these things and applying them, you’ll find they can also be used in different situations, therefore making your overall game better. All because you had this one little aspect that you wanted to figure out leads you to making more and more discoveries. You plant just a seed, but before you know it, a whole forest is sprouting up. Pause the VOD If you ever watch Pros analyze videos, they often slow it down at certain points. Melee being the fast game it is, it' effective to slow the match down sometimes just so you can see the small individual intricacies of what' happening. Even then, it' also really good to just pause also. This way you can take time to reflect on what you have watched to make sure you know what' happening. When Bizzaro Flame studies VODs, he prefers to pause every time someone wins neutral. He will usually ask himself during this time: 1. Was each person airborne/grounded? 2. Was this more of a reaction based punish, a straight read, or a mixture of both? 3. Was there any habit during the neutral game (such as dashing a certain distance multiple times in the past)? 4. What move was used to win the neutral game and why did it override the other persons move? 5. What could have been done differently by the loser of the neutral game that would have made a difference? Although I agree these are great questions, feel free to ask different questions. Especially prioritize questions that better align with your goal. If you were to keep watching the VOD all the way through without stopping, you won’t have time to study to your full potential. Once again, there is just way too much going on to retain everything. You have to stop, take the time to see what just happened, really ask yourself questions about it, and then review. It' like studying before a big exam. If you cram everything in all the night before, it' harder to retain all at once. But if you do it overtime, you retain more. Don’t force answers As good it is to go in seeking a goal or a solution, you shouldn’t go in wanting a specific answer. Say you have a particular weakness in your game and you’re sure you know what the problem is. You watch a video to try to confirm it. You get so obsessed trying to prove to yourself that you’re right, you end up overlooking everything else that you could have learn. You have just barricaded yourself from reaching your full potential in your quest for confirmation bias. You’re whole reason for watching a VOD is to confirm your ideas, but to answer your questions. Don’t let your personal biases guide you. Like a jedi might say, open up your mind. Take notes or talk out loud Bizzaro Flame feels one of the biggest deterrents to studying VODs effectively is auto piloting while you analyze. I find myself doing it during long sets or if I’m tired from work/life. Recently, I’ve found that by taking detailed notes or speaking them out loud (streaming your analysis) led me to hardly auto piloting at all during a session. I think these activities really force you to stay in the moment. As someone who can easily get distracted with external devices and memes, something like this that keeps me anchored is valuable. You’ll find yourself being a lot more meticulous with your analysis when putting your thoughts down on paper or out loud. Having to physically articulate your thoughts might be a little extra work but can definitely allow for increased clarity. Combo Options With the advent of 20XX mods, it has become significantly easier to expand your combo game in Melee. However, you can still use VODs to help. Though mainly used for neutral, using VODs to improve your combos can better show you what options you have against particular DI, understanding options that are stage position dependent, and what to do if you drop a combo at a certain spot. For example, say I’m in a Fox ditto on Dreamland. I’m currently chain grabbing the other Fox at center stage. As he DI' to the left, I wavedash to uptilt because he is getting to a percent where he may pop out of the chain grab. After the uptilt, he continues DIing to the left, putting himself over the side platform. From practice, I know that I can use a weak nair or bair to extend the combo, use a strong nair or bair to knock him off stage, or go for a simple upair. If I miss any of these extensions, he will most likely tech onto the platform. Let' say I go for a weak forward bair, but I slightly undershoot because I want to make sure I get the sour spot he continues going closer to the ledge. I miss the bair, but because I undershot the bair, I now land on the side platform before he does. Not only that, I have landed on a point on the platform that puts me between him and center stage. Not only do I have an advantage in neutral, but I can now also start tech chasing to help make the punish bigger. If I watched a VOD of this, I could identify the spots where I could have done different moves in the combo and how if I position myself accordingly, I will can set myself to somewhat auto win neutral if I drop the combo. Putting this into practice in the heat of the moment during the match is obviously much harder to do in practice, which takes me to my final point. Application For some, myself included, this can be the hardest thing. Using all that you’ve learned and making it be effective in a match can be so tricky. Given how situational of a game Melee is, you won’t always find yourself in the same situations that you saw yourself or others in during the replays. Being able to find those small micro moments and recognize them as something you seen before will be challenging. But once again, setting smaller goals in the way you apply your new knowledge will help add these new skillsets to your ingame repertoire. Perhaps the way you saw someone deal with a Marth dashing back, looking for a dash dance grab. Due one option that you learned next time you encounter this, and then build from there. Get a grasp on one option and move onto to the others. Making a conscious effort to apply your knowledge and not auto piloting will also be helpful. There' not much else to say besides just practice it. It' just one more thing to grind out in friendlies. Although this article may not have been helpful for everyone, I hope that it at least gives you different ways to view replays more effectively. As I’ve said, at the end of the day, everyone learns differently. Although I think these are some starting points that work well for me, it' up to you to figure out what works best for you.
By Rama @Kyoto_Rama Kyoto' Seohyun has grown a lot as a player and makes surprises day after day. Constantly looking to improve his game,Dreamhack Montreal was one of the biggest challenges he had to face in his career as a professional Hearthstone player. After carefully deciding which combination of thirty cards to use for each class and hundreds of hours of practice, Seohyun was ready to take on Dreamhack. Seohyuns lineup for Dreamhack Montreal 2017 The competition consisted of two stages. The first one were Swiss brackets, where nine rounds were played and the second was a bracket where the top sixteen players faced each other on a single elimination bracket. The format used for this tournament was Last Hero Standing, where players cannot use the deck that they previously lost with. Seohyun played fantastically in the Swiss rounds. He won six of the nine sets that he played. After making it to the top sixteen, he was ready to face his next challenge. Up first was Monsanto. After a tough matchup, he managed to beat him 3, making it to top 8. Afterwards, he had to fight face to face with Walaoumpa. After being behind 2-1 in, he managed to make an amazing comeback thanks to some incredible plays done with the Exodia OTK (one turn kill) mage. Seohyun winning game four with Exodia OTK mage After the comeback, Seohyun had to face HotMeowth in the semi-finals. He started leading the series 2-0, but HotMeowth started to slowly recover with his evolve shaman. With some unbelievable draws and evolves, HotMeowth managed to tie the series 2-2 and the last match that had to be played was Seohyuns Razakus priest against HotMeowths evolve shaman. On a very close match, Seohyun managed to find the dragonfire potion that completely shattered Hotmeowths dream to advance to the final set of the competition. On the other side of the bracket, Muzzy had beaten Insom with a solid 3-0, setting him to face Kyoto' player in the finals. Both players banned each others druid and the match began. The set came down to the wire, but unfortunately, Seohyun fell to his talented opponent in a very close 3-2 series. The top 16 bracket Kyoto would like to congratulate Seohyun for making it to the finals and doing his absolute best in this prestigious competition. Seohyun was outstanding and put on a dazzling show.We’re all proud and hope to see what' next in his future. For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports.
By Clint "Landry" Thomas @itzlandry Stage Select is a miniseries where I’ll introduce the different SSBM communities of the states and cities that our Kyoto eSports players live in. Take a look at where are our team comes from and the individuals that helped mold them today. So I thought to get this series rolling, it would be best to write about what I’m familiar with. I’ve lived in South Carolina for roughly ten years and I’ve only been playing Melee for about 3-4 of them. In that time I’ve watched the scene here grow, seen rookies become serious contenders, and met people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Compared to the states around us like North Carolina and Georgia, SSBM in SC is young. The majority of players have not been playing for more than 4+ years. We have only gotten over 100 people in a bracket twice. Otherwise we’re lucky to get over 40 entrants. We also have few wins over top 100 players, our most recent being back at MomoCon 2017 where Smashbob Squarepants beat The Moon. What really got the state' scene off the ground in 2013/2014 was the creation of the SC Melee Facebook group. Everything before then can be considered the Dark Age of SC. Anything afterwards can be referred to as the Modern Era. The Dark Age In the beginning there was only Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64. Then Sakurai said ‘Let there be Melee’ and Super Smash Bros Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube was released in 2001. Though it spread like wildfire around households and college dorms around the nation, South Carolina never really grew a competitive scene like other areas did. Nevertheless there were always some players who wanted to reach that level. One of which happened to be Everlasting Yayuhuzz. Yayuhuzz (we’ll just say Yay) traveled to NC frequently enough to be power ranked there. He even happened to play with PPMD in his early days. He still talks about beating PP' Marth in a money match. Amongst the scattered pockets of players in SC at that time, Yay was easily the best. Though you can still find him at NC events every now and then, he officially retired after attending EVO 2013. SC didn’t get its first tournament till 2007. It was hosted in an apartment at Clemson University. No one seems to be able to recall the event' name. Yay attended the event along with some other NC power ranked players. Some of those scattered SC players were of course there, one of which was Spin Jump, a Samus main from the other side of the state in Charleston. Spin was the best player in Charleston till at least 2016, which is around the time that Smashbob and LSD would get good. The grand finals of this apartment tournament came down between him and Yay in grand finals, with Yay taking the win. There were actually VODs from this tournament which I would have loved to see, but they apparently got lost to time (rumor has it the host didn’t share the VODs because he didn’t want people to see him and his friends get dunked on). In 2009, the next known tournament happened in Charleston, hosted by a now retired player, TRC. This event saw some decent turnout, along with Yay winning Melee and Brawl. Street Fighter IV was also hosted there. It was another two years till the next tournament in SC, Orange Concave. It was hosted in Clemson by a Charleston native, Alfie. Another less important event, but one that' fun to tell is the Anime Store' Free for all tournament. On Brawl' release in 2008, a college anime club in Charleston hosted a tournament where the winner would receive a copy of the new game. Well there ended up being some setbacks for the event, such as the fact the anime club only had one set up and 20+ people showed up to it. The tournament ended up being a 4 player "free for all" bracket with single elim, items on, and all stages set to random selection. Spin Jump won the copy of Brawl. In 2012, the Dark Age was finally coming to an end. It' close was signaled when a young man named Sean hosted a tournament at his friend' house in Charleston. BlackChris from NC was a notable name who showed up to it. Although they had used Smashboards to network the tournament, Sean wanted a easier medium for him and his Melee friends to meet others. So he did what changed the state for ever. He created the Facebook group, SC Melee (now SC Smash). He didn’t realize that the group would grow to have over a thousand people and be the main communication tool between players in the state. In hindsight, it' not to surprising. Facebook has long ended the days of AIM and Smashboards being the primary channels for Smashers looking to network and organize. The platform has no doubt allowed the scene to become more accessible to new players who would not even know that Smashboards exist. Hosting one more house tournament featuring some out of state players, Sean' Facebook group steadily grew. This last tournament he hosted can be considered the end of SC' Dark Age. With the technology in place, it was time for SC to enter the modern era. The Modern Era Though it wasn’t my first FGC tournament, Winter Smash in Columbia/Lexington, SC was the first event I entered for Smash. The tournament, like most before it in the state, was once again in some poor soul' house. It featured Project M and Melee, the former of which I was more interested in at the time. I placed 9th in PM and probably went 1-2, at best, in Melee. It was the largest event in the state at the time. Players from neighboring GA and NC both showed up. The winner of Melee was Peter from NC, with SC' Le Fou taking second, a Falco who is still around to this day. But this was also the first tournament that Starlord, then known as Atlas, attended in SC. Having just moved from VA, he sandbagged his way to third place in Melee and won PM. For about two and a half years, Starlord would continue to be first on the state' PR. More importantly, he created Olympus eSports (OES). OES is still just a small independent organization, funded mainly from hosting events, but it has helped fund our state' players to majors and other tournaments. Winter Smash was the final tournament in SC of 2013. Once 2014 rolled in, the scene picked up steam. Greenville had the Smash Carolina Series. I ran Holy City Brawl in Charleston next, which was followed by more smaller tournaments in Clemson and Columbia. During the Summertime, Myrtle Beach threw Smash in the Sand, which despite issues with the air conditioning of the venue, the first three entries of it were a success. Later in the year, Charleston got a new monthly known as Turtle Smash that attracted good turnout. Yay, who was retired, showed up for Turtle Smash 2 and 3 and swept the floor. At Turtle Smash 4, Milkman from MD/VA actually showed up and easily took the tournament. Milkman soon became sponsored by OES. In the upstate areas such as Clemson and Greenville, ESAM was attending school at Clemson. Being levels ahead of the rest of the state, he would often to show up to some of the state' events and effortlessly win both Melee, Brawl, PM, and Smash 4. At a time, we put him on our PR at number 0. During 2014, Project M was easily the largest Smash game in SC. Although it often crossed over with Melee, the brackets for it were much bigger than its counterpart. This would change during 2015 with Sm4sh being the hot new game and the eventual Twitch.tv ban on the mod. 2015 With Sm4sh out and the scene in the state growing steadily, people were excited with what the new year would bring. Especially with Olympus shaping up to be the biggest event ever in the state taking place in Feb. It featured over 150 entrants for Melee and 72 for Sm4sh. ESAM and Fatality were the big hitters for the new Smash title while Melee had Baka4Moe, Twitch, and Kpan. Druggedfox won doubles but did not enter singles. Despite the importance of the event, I can’t say that it was the best tournament. The venue, a daycare, should have been big enough for a tournament but couldn’t handle the sheer size of all the setups. The tournament quickly grew outside of the cafeteria it was supposed to have taken place in. Sm4sh was entirely in hallway. Melee took up the main room as well as a classroom. People brought PM setups outside and sat them on folding tables and coolers. Melee doubles had over 50 pairs of teams, a unforeseen turnout that delayed Melee and PM singles. Coupled with poor communication amongst the TO', the tournament ran slow. PM singles had to be canceled as we were getting kicked out of the venue. It was a rough lesson for OES, but a necessary one. Since then, every event they’ve ran or helped with in SC has been a success. People outside and in the halls at Olympus in 2015. This wasn’t the only bad tournament of 2015. Smash in the Sands 4 in Myrtle Beach was equally, if not more so, controversial. Marketed as SC' first two day event and having several pot bonuses, SITS4 was looking to be big. There was also going to be round robin pools. However, as things got closer and closer to the day of, pre reg numbers didn’t look good. Even with the round robins, it seemed like there would be little reason for the event to be two day. Sure enough, things ran quickly and not as many people showed up. So the event turned into a one day while it was happening. There is nothing inherently wrong with this if it wasn’t for the fact people had made hotel arrangements which were now meaningless and worse of all, no one was refunded for paying for a two day event. Facing heavy criticism afterwards, the TO dipped from the scene without making a public response. But not all of 2015 was crappy. There were a handful of good events up at Clemson, Columbia, and Charleston. Clemson' Smash Club ran great events in a lecture hall there. Columbia had several events on the University of South Carolina campus, as well as tournaments at a local card shop. Charleston ended up having successful weeklies at a failing teen club before it closed. It wasn’t the most exciting year but it was mainly a learning year for the TO' around the state and improving communication between them. Three important Melee players arose in 2015. First of which was Nix, a young Falco main who lived near Clemson, moved to the state. He quickly rose to the top of PR where he has sat ever since. He played with an accurate and aggressive style. LSD, formerly known as Android 13, first came out to Charleston events during the days of Turtle Smash. He was 13 year old Marth main who apparently had been practicing on his own for quite sometime. He was all about doing the heavy punishes. The third player was the most unexpected one. Smashbob Squarepants started coming out to the Fight Club weeklies at a teen club where the Charleston weekly Fight Club was held. A high school puff main, he wasn’t too noteworthy at the time outside of his name. But he was committed to improving and it would pay off in the next year. 2016 2016 felt like the year everyone got hungry in SC. Competition became harder and more people came into the scene. Several new and smaller in state eSports teams formed, such as Phantom eSports, KNK Gaming, and Salt Delivery Squad. Between all of them running events, SC was starting to have to deal with an oversaturation of tournaments. It wasn’t remedied overnight, but discussions between the state' TO' at least got us to a steady compromise that worked with everyone. When the teen bar that Charleston was using closed down, i eventually started running weeklies at my old house, the Swamp House, through the Fall of 2015 to late Jan. of 2016. It didn’t always get a good turnout and other times it was cramped, but it got Charleston by for a little bit. It was here that I was lucky enough to see Smashbob' rapid growth in skill who attended almost every single weekly. His first big show out was at a Wilmington, NC tournament called Pier Pressure, where he took fourth out of nowhere and styled on people with his Puff. He didn’t place well at the first big event of 2016 which was Holy City Brawl 3, the annual tournament I threw. Though not the biggest event in the state, it was the largest tournament in Charleston so far and perhaps the biggest payout ever in SC with a $1035 pot bonus for Melee. I raised the money through my Swamp House weeklies. Articanus from Savannah, GA. won $665, beating NC' Icies main Sharkz in grand finals. A lot NC people and some GA came to the event. Only two SC players, Le Fou and Darklava, made it into top 8 with each of them placing 5th. The next large event was Tiger Smash IV. TSIV was SC' true first two day event. Held up in Greenville and ran by OES, they brought in ESAM, Druggedfox, Redd, Milkman, and KPAN. Cohenski, a Fox main from Clemson who has sinced moved away from SC, placed the highest of any other South Carolinian with a 5th place showing. Although he didn’t make it far in the pro bracket, going 0-2, this was an incredibly important event for Smashbob. In round robbin pools, he played Redd. Getting 4 stocked in game one, Smashbob did the only thing a young Puff could do. He camped the ledge. Somehow, some way, Smashbob took the next two games off of Redd and placed first in his pool. The whole state was hyped about the win and it was arguably the biggest upset in SC' history (the other one in contention being when Le Fou beat DJ Nintendo at CEO later that year). After TSIV, not too much changed with the state' logistics. Upstate still had a weekly and monthly ran by Phantom eSports, and Columbia had Ready to Play Trading Cards doing their thing. Skill wise, Eric J. Falcon, a Falcon main (surprise surprise) from Florence started climbing up to contend with the top 5 in the state. Nix still sat around the top 4, with only his attendance causing him to drop at all (which led to a juicy meme). Smashbob was beginning to look like he might be the guy to finally knock Starlord off his PR pedestal. Since Holy City Brawl 3 happened back in that February, I had stopped doing house tournaments, leaving Charleston without a weekly. Luckily during the Summer, Charleston players Dust and Fuddy Duddy stepped up and ran a new weekly, Tilted. Housed in neighborhood pool house, the weekly was popping. Near the end of the Summer, it was getting 30+ people for melee and about 25+ for Sm4sh, making it bigger than some of the state' monthlies. During the course of it, LSD and Smashbob really started to emerge as the best two players in Charleston, with only Fuddy Duddy giving them any real threat at the weeklies’ close. But not just in Charleston, but everywhere in the state, it felt like new players who were dedicated to the grind started showing out in the Summer to the year' end. Names like Keenan, SuperSponge, TBA, LuLu, Nero, 2$, and Rayburn, who while not all being necessarily newish players, were starting to be brought up in conversation when discussing what new people would be on the next PR. The tension between the players in this skill window was growing and would come at a climatic head in 2017 with the state' first Arcadian. 2017 On Feb. 4th, the Arcadian was held on USC' campus in Columbia. With growing predicted numbers, preregistration between mandatory. At the event' start, 111 people entered Melee and 99 for Sm4sh. The second largest event in the state' history was underway. Using round robin pools, the dorm common room which held the tournament was packed to the brim with people and setups. When the final top 24 bracket got started, Keenan was looking like the clear winner of the tournament, not dropping game as he walked into grand finals on the winners side. The SC Arcadian The rest of top 8 was filled with close matches, some of which came down to simply who had the mental and hand endurance to keep going. Sammy Lee, one of the top 5 Sm4sh players in the state, suprised a lot of people when he made it to 7th place using Doc and Fox. Across from him was Supersponge. In 5th were two upstate players who commonly played one another, Nero, a Sheik main, and Mellow, a -15 year-old Falco main. LuLu was a Ice Climbers main that not too many people outside of Charleston knew of, but he his deadly grab game pitted him up against another Charlestonian, Rayburn. The Ice Climbers vs. Falco match seemed to take forever, both players reaching their wit' end. The winner of the war of attrition was Rayburn though, who went on to face Florence' Loverboy in Losers. In another grueling 3-2 set, which nearly destroyed Rayburn' hands, the Peach main was able to ledge guard the bird. People acted like he had just won grand finals. In the end though, Keenan took grands with, once again, not dropping a game. As good as the Arcadian was, it did bring up an important point about our scene. A Q/A was asked simply trying to figure out why 100+ people came out to this when the monthlies are lucky to break 24? The reason was, regretfully, people felt like they had a better chance to win against unranked players. It' a viewpoint that is easy to understand, but it was one that a lot of us wish wasn’t present amongst our lower level players. But so it goes. The Arcadian was followed by Lowcountry Showdown a week later. A combined effort between Phantom eSports, KNK, Dojo, myself, Aunt Jemima (not the pancake company) and the K6 team, we aimed it to be a huge event. We even had a custom painted gamecube up for raffle. It definitely got the upstate driving the 3 hour trip to Charleston to play. However, there wasn’t too much out of state attendance for Melee. That is of course if you don’t count Cohenski making a surprise return visit. He made a good losers run in top 8 due to getting upsetted by Rayburn in winners. He ran it back when they met again in losers semis, beating Rayburn 3-2. In grand finals was Smashbob and LSD, with LSD taking first. The real highlight of the tournament came back when LSD did the unthinkable to Nix. Timing a Falco out on Dreamland with Marth (this was before M2K did it to Westballz). The downside of Lowcountry Showdown was actually on the side of the TOs. Due to arguments, irreconcilable differences, and just different mindsets, the group that got together to run the tournament disbanded and went on their own ways. Though the beef has mostly blown over, it was a good lesson for the TOs in SC to learn. Things were quiet for the next two months. Everyone did their own thing, be it weeklies or monthlies with decent attendance. It wasn’t till April when the next noticeable event happened, and not noticeable for a good reason. Donut Dub IV, ran by the K6 crew at Winthrop College would become infamous. In the weeks leading up to it, upcoming competition was becoming something of a meme amongst people in the state. With repetitive advertising, strange rulesets, and big promises, it was becoming a little suspect. One such rule was you could pick some of the people to be in your pool. That way you couldn’t "runaway" from your arrival. The tournament' tagline was actually "There is no running at Donut Dub" which became that month' copypasta. A lot of SC Melee players decided not to go. There ended up being more NC players than SC. I was there streaming the Melee side of things. The event had some good things going for it, such as a spacious venue, theatre seating for top 8, pizza, and they even flew top Sm4sh player 6WX out. However, the tournament was more focused on Sm4sh than the other games. Most of the organizers focused on that game, leaving us with one other guy, myself, and others who volunteered on the fly to pick up the reins. You see, the venue was student union. Melee was on the first floor in the lobby, while Sm4sh was upstairs in some study rooms. Though this allowed a lot of room to move around in, it caused communication issues with TOs. The structure of the tournament was to be round robin pools. However, instead making close to even number of pools, they kept it the same number pools no matter how many people entered. Leaving some pools with just three people in it. People made it out pools by players just not showing up. In the midst of running things, one of the main TO' was actually asleep at the desk. Afterwards, myself and some others were not too upset, it went about how we expected. But NC Melee was pissed. They felt they gotten slapped in the face, coming to a different state to playing the same people they normally would at their locals, for more money. Furthermore, the biggest issue that arose was "show the receipts". The receipts referred to K6 showing documentation on the cost of the venue. Many were suggesting that they paid nothing to use the student union building, suspicious that they pocketed all the money themselves. Others brought up the point that even if they did, they had to cover the expenses of flying a top player out. Fingers on all sides were pointed, but nothing really came out of it. A lot of players in SC, and especially NC, silently blacklisted K6 events. I didn’t go to it, but at K6' next event, things apparently went really well. They actually got other people to help them out so they could have a full dedicated staff running things. The extra hands helped with the logistics, allowing everything to run smoothly. Hopefully, this a sign of good things to come from them. 2017' Summer rolled around. SC didn’t have any big events during that time, just good monthlies. A lot of players took the time to travel to CEO, Dreamhack ATL, Bad Moon Rising 2, and Super Smash Con 2017. Although I love instate events, the Summer was perfect for people looking to play with better talent. Everything was just a drive away. So now we’re finally backup to the present. Currently in Charleston, weeklies have been seeing less turnout due to a large number of our players either returning to school, or the younger ones just starting college, a lot of them at Clemson in the upstate. Columbia still sees about the same turnout but with some newer faces. Clemson, I haven’t been to in a hot minute, but seeing as how so many Charleston people are now there, I imagine it' popping. We always have events going on and there are always people down for some friendlies. If you’re passing through South Carolina, hit us up and hang out. We might not be the best in skill, but we do our best to be welcoming. If you would like to find out more about our community, please look up our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SCMelee/ And remember, no running. For more updates on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports.
By Clint "Landry" Thomas @itzlandry This past weekend in Boston, Smash fans and players gathered in Boston for the second iteration of the Shine tournament series. Filled with amazing upsets, popoffs, and controversies, it was a major for the books. With Smashcon having taken place earlier in the month, August is looking to go down as one of the busiest months of Smash in 2017. Redd and Bizzaro Flame Our SSBM team made sure to make an appearance. Although they didn’t get too much time on stream, they managed to get into the top 96 bracket. BizzarroFlame placed 49th, losing to Legend in second wave pools, he entered the losers side of the top 96 having to play Ryobeat. After a 3-1 set with the Peach main, he went on to face Socal Fox, CDK. In a close 3-2 set, CDK bested our Gannon main. Redd was able to once again break his 33rd curse and placed 25th. Taking out Heartstrings and LuigigoShard in his second round of pools, he lost to The Moon in the first round of winners of the top 96 bracket. In the losers side he pulled out a close 3-2 win against Kaeon before losing to the Peach main from Spain, Triff. The Spaniard would go on to get 9th place, losing to PewPewU. [Redd vs Heartstrings:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcWyO9TjC0A] Although this month has been busy for Kyoto boys, the traveling won’t stop. Both Redd and Bizzaro will compete at Red Bull Smash Gods and Gatekeepers next weekend in Socal. With one of the most unique tournament formats the SSBM scene has yet to see, make sure to support our players as they fight against more of the best players in the world. For more on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports.
Kyoto eSports is very proud to announce our next endeavor, The Academy! The Academy program will be a system made to train newcomers to hearthstone who have competitive gaming backgrounds.We will be accepting applications to this program(link below). After we close the deadline, our captain of the program, Bloodhunter, and our cast of Hearthstone Team Members will look through the applications to find players who we think have the highest potential. Accepted players will be required to have a consistent schedule made up of individual and group sessions.Through our process, we plan to form highly talented hearthstone players and a tight-knit team. Apply Below: Link to the application here: https://goo.gl/forms/UdJeeQ4uomA4Eye93
Kyoto Smashcon By Clint Thomas @itzlandry Smashers at Super Smash Con The best convention for Nintendo' beloved platform fighter returned last weekend for its third iteration. Super Smash Con 2017, with well over 2,000 unique attendees, was four days filled with Smash, Nintendo products, indie games, merch, music, and of course, tournaments. Kyoto had to be a part of it. Taking place in his home state, Austin "Redd" Self, showed out and fought hard to defend MD/VA' house and to finally beat his biggest demon, placing higher than 33rd at a major. After making his way without dropping a game in the first wave pools, he found himself in a second wave pool with Plup, Swedish Delight, and Syrox. In the first round, he faced Tylenol P-M, a Fox main from North Carolina. Tylenol was fresh off making one of the largest upsets of Smashcon, beating MacD in his first wave pool. However, in a 2-0 set, Redd sent Tylenol to the losers bracket. In his second round of winners in the pool, he had to face his biggest obstacle of the tournament, Panda Global' Plup. Although Plup is a top 10 player, Redd seemed poised and confident going into the match. However, the talented Floridian proved to be a bit overwhelming taking the first game with Sheik and the second game as Fox, sending the Kyoto Smasher into losers with a 2-0. Redd did not appear upset at the loss, acknowledging just how good Plup was. Interestingly, this was the first time in a year that Redd had lost to a Sheik in the bracket. "It was like admirable, but it wasn’t as good as my last set versus him," he said of his opponent. Finding himself on the losers side of the pool, Redd had just two more matches to win in order to make it to the top 24 bracket. It wasn’t going to be easy. His next opponent was Nightmare, one of the best of Marths from Canada. The set drew a crowd, with MD/VA and Nightmare fans cheering for their respective players. With his spectacular neutral game, the Marth took the first game. Exploiting some of the flaws in the Canadians reads and stepping up his punish game, Redd took the next two games convincingly to win the set. Finally, Redd had only one more match to play. He would have to fight another world class Sheik main, Swedish Delight. Opening the set on Battlefield, Swedish used his brutal combo game to quickly three stock redd. Redd counter picked to Pokemon Stadium where he adapted to the Tristate competitor by playing more patiently and landing his hits with greater precision. The adjustment worked, getting Redd onto the scoreboard. Swedish counter picked to Fountain of Dreams for game 3 where he made it hard for Redd to find openings and poked him down to the win the game. Game 4, Redd chose Final Destination. The game was close, but a SD from Swedish while trying to ledge guard gave Redd the upper hand. The final game went to Dreamland. The game came down to last stock. However, the Fox was unable to ever gain a clear lead and Swedish went on to the top 24. "We pretty much bopped each other back and forth," said Redd. "Game five was a close last stock, but he got the better of it." The VOD of this match can be found here on Sleepyk' Twitch.tv channel at the 35:30 minute mark. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/166459207 Despite not making it to the final bracket, Redd was happy with his results. He only lost to the two best Sheiks in the world and he broke his 33rd curse. Redd playing Tylenol-PM "I know where to go from here, I think. And the fact that I’m getting to go to Shine in two weeks means I’ll be ready." He said after getting out of bracket. "It' time to go in, I’m so close. I inch closer and the line (IE. the metagame) inches a little bit further away at the same time. It' been me for the last three years and I want to catch up." Redd' next major will be Shine 2017 in Boston on Aug. 25-27. If you’re there in person or watching online, make sure to give him your support! For more updates on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports.
Hooked on Melee #1: Never Give Up By Clint "Landry" Thomas @itzlandry Welcome to the first iteration of Hooked on Melee, Kyoto' new monthly article where we ask our Pros to discuss aspects and fundamentals of the game to help you improve, one lesson at a time. When I was trying to figure out what topic this first entry would cover, I posed this question to our SSBM players, "If you all had a number one thing that players outside the top 100 seem to mess up on, what would it be?" Bizzarro Flame was able to provide a very specific problem. "It would be consistency, mainly stemming from mentality. A lot of players right outside of the top 100 have a poor-mediocre mentality where if they are behind, then they easily give up," he said. Bizzarro Flame in his Kyoto eSports Jersey I could see where he was coming from. At my locals filled with rookies and upper-mid skill players, I see it all the time where a better player hits their opponent with a big combo or a sneaking edge guard, and the opponent just loses the will to push forward. You can see the frustration in their face. I’ve been there myself plenty of times. "I think it' a problem for everybody," said SleepyK, SSBM coach for Balance Gaming. "But generally you see it less within the top 50 because they have a lot of experience. It' different for everybody, but if you look at regular sports also, it generally stems from lack of experience being in those situations." Newcomers and mid-level players can easily lose confidence when they are faced with unfamiliar playstyles or having to adapt when under pressure of being down multiple stocks. The frustration that comes from not being able to properly deal with something can be detrimental when in a match. But as much as I would like this article to feature an easy fix to the issue, the truth is that there isn’t one. It comes down to how you as an individual handles yourself. "It' really hard for a solution since it' so specific to everyone. The hardest would be for someone with depression with racing depressive thoughts. It' just confidence that needs to be improved upon and it can take several years to overcome in general," said Bizzarro Flame. So with this said, next time you find yourself giving up mentally during a match because you feel like you are too far behind, try to stay focus on the present. Even if you lose, what you’ll gain from keeping your head in the game is much more valuable in the long run. "It' no use worrying about the results or whether you can defeat your opponents or not," added the Gannon main. "Rather, you should focus on performing your very best because you cannot change the outcome outside of your performance." Becoming a good at Melee is no easy task, but improving your mentality and controlling your emotions can be even harder, if left unchecked. It' not a quick a road, but it' one that every player has to take in any sport they wish to compete seriously in. Never the less, Bizzarro ended our chat with perhaps the best advice I can give in this article, "Most importantly, have fun." For more updates on Kyoto eSports, follow us on twitter @Kyoto_eSports
Kyoto SSBM Monthly Round Up By Clint "Landry" Thomas @itzlandry With this year' EVO wrapping up, 2017' Summer of Smash has been full of energy and shows no signs of slowing down as we move into August. The season is still full of majors and smaller events for players to step up and prove themselves. Melee fans can expect to see our SSBM team at some of these upcoming tournaments. But first, in terms of results from this past month, things have been quiet but good. ALP has continued his streak of winning his south Texas weeklies. Both Bizzaro Flame and Redd attended EVO, placing 129th and 33rd, respectively. Redd also managed to win singles and doubles with Milkman at The Cave, a weekly in MD/VA, where he took out players such as Junebug, Zain, and LLOD. Bizzaro Flame will be attending several upcoming events over in SoCal. Some locals include Big Blue Is Legal (July 29) and Star Ko IV (August 5). You can also find him at the August 13 edition of SoCal' bi-monthly, Super Smash Sundays. And although it' a little bit off still, keep your eye out for his Ganondorf at SoCal' upcoming major, Red Bull Smash: Gods and Gatekeepers, on September 2. Bizzarro Flame in his very own Kyoto eSports Jersey Besides, maybe a few upcoming locals in the MD/VA area, Redd has a less active schedule than his Gannon teammate. But then again, he will be going to two of the East Coast' largest tournaments of the year. On August 10-13, Redd will be fighting at Super Smash Con, followed by a trip north to Boston' major, Shine 2017, on August 25-27. Redd sporting the Kyoto eSports Jersey Finally, holding it down in south Texas is ALP. Although the rising Fox main doesn’t have plans to go out of his home state this month, he will be at the popular Texas major, Low Tier City 5, on August 5-6. You can also watch him fight this weekend at the large Rio Grande Valley gaming expo, IGX, where SSBM has $1500 pot bonus on the line. ALP looking fine as ever in his Kyoto eSports Tshirt Make sure to watch our SSBM team as the Summer reaches its close and show them your support! For more updates on Kyoto eSports, follow us on Twitter @Kyoto_eSports.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Kyoto eSports Hearthstone veterans Caravaggio, RadamD and Casual all had impressive showings during the Dreamhack Hearthstone Grand Prix in Atlanta, Georgia last weekend. Caravaggio finished the Swiss portion of the tournament in 7th place, while RadamD and Casual finished in 26th and 87th respectively. “I had a great time at [DreamHack],“ RadamD said. “I met a bunch of people who Im friends with online and got to hang out with them all weekend and it was really fun. I also met some people who I dont necessarily talk to online who were very nice.“ The tournament' main event consisted of nine grueling rounds in Swiss format over a 2-day span, followed by a single-elimination bracket for the top 16. Swiss format means that players will play in a pre-determined set of rounds, against opponents of equal records over the course of the day. Caravaggio finished the event with a strong overall record of 7-2, good enough to qualify for the top 16 players, held on the third day of the tournament. Sporting a 65.71% win rate percentage, Caravaggio battled it out, defeating BB, Jewkd, Justsaiyan, Applechips, Philtor, Lance and Zalae. In the top 16, Caravaggio lost a close matchup against Icer, 3-2. Caravaggio after he missed a potential game winning play versus Lance Even though Caravaggio was disappointed about not winning his top 16 match as his lineup was favoured against Icer, but he was still happy to get the two Hearthstone Championship Tour points for placing, as he currently has 21 points and is locked up for Summer Playoffs. In deciding his lineup, Caravaggio took a series of steps to come to a calculated conclusion on what to bring. After much consideration of the tournament format, Last Hero Standing, and of the current meta game, Caravaggio decided on bringing rogue, mage, and warrior. As for preparation, Caravaggio spoke to a lot of other players, primarily the other Kyoto players, as well as Villain and Zlsjs. Meanwhile, RadamD finished the tournament in 26th place with a 6-3 overall record and a 62.86 win percentage. During the swiss portion, RadamD defeated HelloImHomeless, Doubl3TapGG, Ropecoach, Fenom, and Ryder. Casual did not finish the tournament, placing 87th with an overall record of 3-4. RadamD said that his round seven matchup against Noblord, the eventual runner-up of the tournament, was his hardest matchup, primarily because as far as RadamD could tell, Noblord played perfectly. "I had favorable matchups in the series but I think that overall he outplayed me and deserved the win," RadamD said. "I was really happy to see him make the finals because not only is he an amazing player but he is also an extremely nice person and that' the thing I respect the most in people." Even though RadamD and Casual were eliminated, the action was not over. RadamD also participated in the DreamHack Atlanta side event, which was a condensed version of the regular tournament, but with six rounds of Swiss and the top eight players moving forward to the playoffs instead of nine rounds and 16 players. RamadD came out on top, battling against a pool of 60 players and conquering the side event, beating BlakeHall 3-2. RadamD said that the side event was really fun and significantly less stressful than the main event. "With less on the line I felt I was able to stay level headed and play a little better than I did at the main event," he said. With DreamHack Atlanta drawn to a close, the Kyoto eSports Hearthstone team sets sights on their next challenge. Stay tuned for more information on what challenges the Hearthstone team pursues.
My greetings, and welcome to the second edition of Boiling it Down, with yours truly, HardBoiled! In this weekly column, I find the mathematical value of Hearthstone mechanics, then use them to analyze cards! Last week, we took a look at vanilla minions and their stat distributions and found that each minion must have a Mana cost equal to half of Attack and Health added up minus one. Today, I planned on doing direct damage from Spells or Battlecries, but I’ve changed heart in honor of the new expansion announcement. Chillblade Champion, the 4 mana 3/2 with Charge and Lifesteal, is set to become the only non-Basic/Classic card in Standard, besides our good friend Patches, that has Charge with no conditions or downsides. So, let' find out - WHO’S IN CHARRRRRRGE NOW? There are a LOT of cards that simply won’t work for us, due to the low amount of card mechanics we’ve examined. I have the math worked out for some other stuff, but until I get it on paper we can’t use it. So, I will be forced to use cards with no other keywords besides Charge, which surprisingly narrows it down quite a lot. There are 7 only Charge minions, or 8 if you count Druid of the Claw. I’m not counting duplicates created by Druid transformations, by the way. However, I think I’ve discovered a formula that lines up quite cleanly with all the cards. For reference, H = Health, A = Attack, and M = Mana Cost. M = ½(1.5A + 2/3H) Complicated, right? Well, the Attack of Chargers generally is the most important aspect, since it' their immediate effect. However, Health doesn’t matter, since the Charger doesn’t need to survive to have an impact, and probably won’t anyway when used for trading. After running through the math with a few cards, I uncovered a spicy Hearthstone secret that works with all cards - most cards are mathematically balanced. The thing that decides how good they are is whether they round up or down. Now, obviously, this doesn’t work with some cards. Cards like Reckless Rocketeer, Magma Rager, Silverback Patriarch, and others are just so unbelievably bad that they most likely exist to teach new players a lesson about value. However, with this knowledge, we can do some amazing things. It was my pleasure bringing you all some Numberstone - Heroes of Mathcraft. Next time, on Boiling it Down with HardBoiled, we’ll be analyzing some more, less complicated keywords, like Divine Shield, Poisonous, and Stealth! If we’re feeling crazy and ambitious, maybe we’ll even cover Taunt.
Well met, and welcome to Boiling it Down with HardBoiled, the segment where your host, HardBoiled, does a mathematical analysis of Hearthstone mechanics and uses these numbers to analyze individual cards! Today, we’re going to be attempting to prove something that has been assumed by players since the beta - the stat distributions of vanilla minions, and as a result, the amount of value we should be expecting each minion (and therefore, spell) to have. There are a few factors here to consider when attempting to take on a task like this. One of these is that class cards are often better than neutral cards, which can throw off our calculations. A good example of this would be Murloc Raider and Enchanted Raven - they cost the exact same amount, but Enchanted Raven has one more Health. This comparison can be made with other class cards - why does Voidwalker have one more health than a Goldshire Footman, when they’re otherwise the exact same card? Other issues similar to this one are challenging us as well. What do we do about power creep? Should we be counting both Ice Rager and Magma Rager in our calculations, or just one? If just one, which one? In order to prevent these issues, I will be making my calculations without class cards, and any cards that directly power creep another card, or are power crept by another card, will not be counted. This means that Magma Rager, Ice Rager, and Enchanted Raven are all out of the picture. However, I will be counting vanilla minions that are power crept by non-vanilla cards. In essence, I will be counting all minions with no text that are neutral and do not have a minion either objectively better or worse than them. I’ve also removed minions that wouldn’t represent the numbers properly - the minions I’ve taken out are Wisp, because it technically has infinite value, and Puddlestomper because it' a near clone of Bloodfen Raptor. Oddly enough, this cuts out a lot of minions. With the eighteen minions, we have to remain, I will be trying to find how much Health and Attack are to be expected from certain Mana costs. Using this, I want to find a formula for creating Vanilla minions. The first thing to do is find the average minion. By averaging their stats, I have created a minion that represents the average vanilla minion. The Wisp Mother, as I like to call it, is a 5 Mana minion with 5.2 Attack and 5.4 Health. Through the power of rounding, and with the knowledge that most vanilla minions are slightly worse than an average card, I’m going to put this at about a 5 Mana 5⁄6. Now that we have this minion, what' next? Well, this minion is representative of all of the vanilla minions, and thus all of the regular minions, in the game, so we can use it to create a formula to build your own vanilla minion! Assuming M = mana cost, A = Attack, and H = Health, this is what I came up with - M = 1⁄2((A+H)-1) In short, this formula means that the Attack and Health of a minion should average out to the mana cost of the minion, plus one-half. This means that our 5 Mana 5⁄6 works perfectly in this formula - 5 = 1⁄2((5+6)-1). Most of the other vanilla minions work perfectly with this equation - the minions that don’t are all either really big minions, which can make them a little bit more practical, and thus keeps them from being overpowered, or are meme cards, like Magma and Am’Gam Rager. Of course, we can’t draw too many conclusions from this data alone. However, we can form a hypothesis on the value of Class Cards, which is that they are worth one-half Mana Crystal more than the neutral cards. Of course, we can’t exactly prove this yet, but hopefully, we can gather more data on this as we continue to work. Thanks for reading Boiling it Down, with yours truly, HardBoiled! Maybe if we do enough math, we can stop missing lethal?
Procedure Step 1: Use Power Word: Glory on any minion. Step 2: Play Mirage Caller on the Buffed Minion. Step 3: Game should disconnect. The player who initiated exploit receives the win. Here is the exploit used in action: https://oddshot.tv/s/X3oodm DisguisedToasts Tweet to Blizzard about being Suspended from Hearthstone Seems fairly easy, correct? Unfortunately, this exploit does not work anymore. Also, Toast received a 72-hour ban even though he had presented it to Blizzard directly to solve and fix the problem. It was a correct decision by Toast to make this move, however, the infraction that he had crossed lines with was the debut of the exploit on stream. Twitch also did a pretty fast job of cleaning up the mess before it was able to spread out to a vast majority of the community. Fun Facts: This isn’t the First time that Toast had exploited a glitch from the Journey to Un’Goro adventure. He was able to create a shadow visions glitch in where playing multiple copies of them in rapid succession would result to roping the other player' turn. Despite having been on the Battle.net Hearthstone Page multiple times, Toast gets immediately shut down by Blizzard. Looks like their tolerance level for these kinds of acts is little to none. Frodanpoking fun at DisguisedToast over the Situation A Canadian Hearthstone Player also nicknamed the ID " Toast" was incorrectly banned for this fault, where Disguised Toast calls out Blizzard for their mistake. DisguisedToast pointing out Blizzards mistake
BattleGrounds remains one of the most anticipated events in the SSBM competitive scene. Played at the University of Houston, Players travel from around the country to participate. We are proud to announce that Kyoto eSports had Kyoto players, Austin “Redd“ Self and Aaron “ALP“ Espinoza, take part in this years edition, Battlegrounds 4. Wave 1 started with Kyoto Redd dominating his pool. Redd was assigned to Pool A1 and quickly decimated his opponents on his way to the top. He first played against Mush, whom he beat in the Winners Bracket quarters. Next up he came against SJ mOck whom he proved victorious again to advance to the Winners Final match. Finally, his win against Ginta secured his place in the Top 12 of the tournament. After Kyoto Redds incredible run, we witnessed Kyoto ALP play great as well. He was assigned to Pool B2 and like his teammate Kyoto Redd, ALP wasted no time in dominating his own group. Kyoto ALPs road to the Top 12 was akin to that of Kyoto Redds 2 hours earlier. First, he defeated Cereal in the Winners quarterfinals. Then he proceeded to dominate Dojo Sourdough in the Winners Semifinals. The finals match of Pool B2 put Kyoto ALP against Bobby Big Ballz, which he won as well. The Winners bracket had exciting matchups. Kyoto Redd beat his first opponent, AG KBarry to advance to the Winners Semifinals. Kyoto ALP, however, was knocked down to the Losers Bracket by Bananas. Kyoto Redd then proceeded to avenge his teammate by completely dominating Bananas in the Winners Semifinal match. This secured his place in the Finals match of the Winners Bracket. The finals match was between Redd and Smash Uniteds Uncle mojo. Sadly Redd lost the finals and was knocked down to the Losers bracket as well. After ALPs loss, he quickly picked up the pace by dominating Uzumakis Jonjon in the third round. He then proceeded to win his fourth round match against Pretty in Pink which secured his place in the Loser Brackets Quarter Finals. ALP secured his place in the Top 4 when he defeated SU Jake13. He advanced to the Semifinals and was one game away from an all Kyoto eSports Losers Bracket Finals. However, Milkman ended ALPs incredible run and advanced to the Finals to play against Redd. ALP finished 4th in the tournament. Kyoto Redd quickly defeated Milkman in the LB Finals to advance to the Grand Finals to have a rematch with Uncle Mojo. Despite Redds incredible playing though, it was Uncle Mojo who secured the Battlegrounds 4 Championship. Redd finished the tournament in second place. Kyoto Redd vs SU Uncle Mojo in the Grand Finals All in all, it was an incredible run and great placements for our SSBM stars. We will be waiting for the next tournament to be able to see Redd, ALP, and BizzarroFlame hopefully clinch the crown.
The format of conquest continues to be a recurring problem in the HCT scene. Since the beginning of Hearthstone, all major HCT events have run in conquest format best of five with only one ban. This is different to point earning majors, such as PAX and Dreamhack which are both runs in last hero standing format. The problem with conquest is the variance that lies with queuing decks in the wrong order and playing too safe in a favorable matchup. RadamD' Quarter Final Match is a perfect example of how queuing heavily influences the matchup. On paper, you can be favored to win a matchup, however queuing can sometimes prevail. Let' take a look at Match 1: RadamD' Murloc Paladin vs Diego' Control Paladin= Win Based on the decks played, it looks like RadamD banned Diego' Taunt Warrior and Diego banned RadamD' Token Druid. Queuing Murloc Paladin against DiegoDias' lineup was the best starting lineup simply because it was able to easily sweep any deck that Diego chose to queue. These are known as definitive wins. No matter how many times you play these matchups, you will almost always win guaranteed as well as give you some momentum while putting you on the scoreboard. Match 2: Now before we get into this matchup specifically, let' consider RadamD' options to queue. Radam has options to choose from either his Pirate Warrior or his purify priest. If he queues warrior, he wants to get the rogue and maybe the Jade Druid matchup (Pirate v Jade is about 50% win rate overall) If he queues priest, he wants to hit anything except rogue, although rogue is still a winnable matchup. In the end, RadamD does queue the warrior and while this is not a wrong play, it is what we know as a "safe queue." The reason why I title this a safe queue is because he doesn’t want to miss the rogue matchup. What I mean by miss is if RadamD queues priest, encounters rogue, and loses, he won’t be able to get the rogue again. This is mainly due to the fact that RadamD' lineup targets rogue and missing that queue would spell disaster for the rest of his decks. RadamD' Pirate Warrior vs Control Paladin= Loss The only thing I want to comment about this matchup is how RadamD played around Spikeridged Steed too much. I feel as the aggressor you need to take risks, especially in these types of unfavored matchups and is also where smorcing could have changed the outcome of this matchup. Match 3: Pirate Warrior vs Jade Druid- Loss Many People expect this matchup to be heavily favored towards the Pirate Warrior, however, the inclusion of certain anti-aggro cards like Earthen Scales and Primordial really push the Pirate Warrior to close things out before turn 8. Then again, if you draw patches, well gg. Going down 2-1 feels really bad when you were trying to queue into rogue after the past two games. Unfortunately, he does get the matchup but at a deficit of two other matches. Match 4: Pirate Warrior vs Quest Rogue- Win Feels good to be in the driver' seat this game. Realistically, based on Diego' list, his only real win condition is to bounce glacial shard over and topdeck like a god to alleviate some pressure, but obviously, Pirate Warrior prevails and Smorc Rules the day. Match 5: Purify Priest vs Quest Rogue- Loss Even though this matchup is quest rogue favored, it was a lot closer than it should’ve been with mistakes being made on both sides. The first mistake was when Diego nearly dumped his entire hand on turn 5 without playing the quest on the same turn. Purify priest generally doesn’t generally have any mass AOE due to how clunky the hand can get, but the inclusion of wild pyro in combination with its vast majority of spells really help these kinds of matchups. The second mistake was made at this very instant by RadamD when he should’ve cleared most of the board using purify and silence in combination with wild pyro. Diego actually plays the glacial shard that he had not been bouncing, so that information could have been crucial to influencing his decision even more. Also, RadamD played the turn really fast and I wonder what his mindset was at the time. In the end, Hearthstone is always being Hearthstone. Drawing Patches, Never topdecking a 4 damage card in the Pirate Warrior v Jade Druid matchup, as well as making some other mistakes in the final round, are all part of the game. I think Radam played extremely well this past weekend and his Swiss score does say stuff, but the risky queues from DiegoDias certainly paid off bringing him to Shanghai, China.
Kyoto eSports is proud to announce that we had 4 players attend the Americas Hearthstone Championship Tour: Spring Playoffs. They were Kyoto Casual, Kyoto RadamD, Kyoto Seohyun and Kyoto TheTrueAsian. These 4 players spent the past 3 months playing on the Hearthstone Ladder and in Hearthstone Opens in order to qualify for these Playoffs consisting of the Top 64 point holders in America. The first round of Swiss pitted two of our players against each other, Kyoto Seohyun and Kyoto Casual. It was Kyoto Seohyun who came out on top with a 3-1 score, however. Kyoto TheTrueAsian played against YoItsFlo and lost in a nail-biting match that went the distance. Kyoto RadamD played against dog, who was one of the players favorited to win the tournament, and we are proud to say that RadamD broke a lot of hearts during that match when he beat him 3-1. Kyoto Casual wearing the Official Kyoto eSports Jersey On to the second round, Kyoto Seohyun was up against lnguagehacker. This match was close but it was Seohyun who grabbed another victory. RadamD soon followed with a second victory against the Dreamhack Austin Champion, Shoop. We then saw Casual eliminate villain in a 3-1 win. Finally, TheTrueAsian showed masterclass in his match when he swept Leoric 3-0. The Kyoto players didnt drop a single game in round 2. This put 2 of our players with a 2-0 record and 2 in a 1-1 record. Kyoto TheTrueAsian in the Official Kyoto eSports Jersey The third round of Swiss was heartbreaking for Kyoto. Only RadamD managed to get a win this round. RadamDplayed and won a tough match against ImmortalLion while Seohyun lost his match against Muzzy, who went undefeated in the Swiss rounds and ended up winning the whole tournament. Thirdly, TheTrueAsian lost against Tempo and Casual went up against Monsanto and ended up losing the match 3-1. Even with three loses this round, our players still had a chance to qualify for the Top 8 Bracket. Kyoto Seohyun versus Muzzy in his Third Match Round 4 of Swiss saw 2 Kyoto players get eliminated. Casual was eliminated by Damon in a 3-1 match, and TheTrueAsian was eliminated by Jackmoon. Seohyun lost against Tarei in a 3-1 match but was still in the running for Top 8 thanks to his 2 early wins. RadamD continued his undefeated streak when he swept k3nny 3-0. Round 5 was RadamDs first loss when he played against Muzzy. While it was a difficult loss, it provided RadamD with the best tiebreaker he could get. With this, RadamD was still high up in the brackets with his 4-1 record. Seohyun eliminated Luker in his Round 5 match improving his record and his chances to hit the sweet spot in Top 8. Round 6 saw two losses for our players and one of them got eliminated. RadamD lost his second match of the tournament to thelast in a 3-0 match. It dropped RadamDs record to 4-2 but he was still on the board and ready to keep playing. Monsanto, who beat Casual in round 3, eliminated Seohyun in a 3-1 scoreline. At this point, we had one player left in contention for the Top 8. Round 7 was the payback round for Kyoto. RadamD sealed his position in the Top 8 when he beat Monsanto 3-1. He had avenged our two earlier losses to Monsanto and knocked him out of the running for Top 8. Kyoto RadamD playing against fourth-seeded DiegoDias in the second Quarterfinal Match Kyoto RadamD ended up playing DiegoDias in the quarterfinals. While it was a close match, DiegoDias came up ahead and beat RadamD 3-2 in a close set. This match served as a heartbreaking defeat for RadamD and Kyoto alike, but it still gave us an incredible starting point for the Kyoto roster. RadamD' persistence earned him a Top 8 spot in this cup and now both he and the rest of our roster can work on qualifying for the Summer Playoffs in August. All in all, the Kyoto players did very well for their first Prelims. We had RadamD finish Top 8, Seohyun finish Top 32, Steven finish Top 64, and Casual finish Top 64 as well. The full match statistics can be seen below. Full Table of the Match Results of Kyoto Players RadamD' quarterfinal games will be further reviewed by one of our resident experts, TheFinalHawk. Until next time, this is Karmakeddon, and you guys always stay cheeky!
Kyoto eSports is proud to announce that we now have a competitive team for Super Smash Brothers: Melee! SSBM is a GameCube game from 2001 in which various characters from different Nintendo games enter a battle arena and fight. It has a thriving competitive scene, and a large streaming audience. Three incredible US players have signed on to fight in the name of Kyoto! Bizzaro Flame (Jason Yoon), ranking in the top 100 globally, is back in the competitive scene. He first began playing competitively after discovering an online competitive forum, and has spent years practicing during college and law school. After retiring in 2016 to focus on his career as an attorney, he solidified his position his law firm, and, as a result, he had more time to focus on gaming, especially competitive Smash. He' well known for his stylish playstyle, showing off and messing around with his opponents almost to a fault. His techniques focus on brutal punishes and disrespecting his opponent, making him famous among the community. This extra flair has served him well, and he is considered the second best Ganondorf player in the world. His favorite memory of playing the game is "the 2015 Apex Salty Suite against Eikelmann, or taking a game off Armada at ‘Im Not Yelling,’ a regional tournament." Ranked at #59 in the world, (Austin Self) is a long-time fan who began playing back in 2005 with some of his best friends. While trying to improve his playing, he ended up on a team with some friends, and hasn’t looked back since, Years of local tournaments have conditioned him well, pushing him to place first in seven tournaments, including Battlegrounds, Smash at Xanadu 5/27 and 6/3, and Dismantle 2. He mainly plays Fox and Marth, and has been consistently streaming SSBM as well as speedruns and older games in his spare time. Since he began playing, “almost all of [his] friends/best friends have been derived from the community over the years. It's a pretty amazing thing.” ALP (Aaron Espinoza) is an up-and-coming player from Texas, presently ranking #5 in the state. He began playing Melee with his siblings as a child, then eventually forgot about it. However, when the sequel was released, his friend brought him to a tournament, and insisted that he also join a Melee tournament. He loved it, and has been playing ever since. Despite not being able to travel very much, he’s made a name for himself in Texas, and hopes to be able to travel more actively now that he’s signed on with Kyoto. In his own words, his favorite memory “with Melee from a non-competitive view has to be when I played the game casually with my siblings. I remember using Fox when I was around 6 years old and spamming his firefox attack lol.” We’re very excited to have all three of these amazing players signed on to play for us - keep your eyes peeled for more exciting announcements from Kyoto eSports over the coming weeks!
Get to know Kyoto eSports, a company unlike any other. In this video, Oliver Denk, CEO, Owner, and Founder of Kyoto eSports walks you through Kyoto eSports's past, present, and future. Kyoto eSports is one of the leading eSports organizers in North America, specializing in the game Hearthstone. We hold five tournaments each week, each consistently having between 100 and 150 participants. Our tournaments offer points for the official Hearthstone Championship Tour as prizes for the winners, attracting big-name players such as Pavel, the reigning Hearthstone World Champion, as well as many other players competing in the Championships. Because of our reach, we currently stand as the #1 Hearthstone tournament organizer in America, with over 180 tournaments hosted and thousands of participants. We stream these tournaments every night actually! We also have one of the best Rosters in Hearthstone; we currently have the 17th, 53rd, 60th, and 64th best players in America. All four of them will be attending the top 64 Spring Playoffs in about a week and if they get top four; they will be representing Kyoto eSports in Shanghai, China with the 16 best players in the world. We have also adapted to creating a SSBM roster, which is a secret for now but contains a player that is top 60 in the world and a partnered twitch streamer, a twitch streamer with over 15k followers, and an up and coming texas player.