The 2016 Seoul Cup has officially concluded, wrapping up the first Wild format tournament since the release of Whispers of the Old Gods. Some interesting deck types were run and performed well, whether as a surprise or not. This article will cover 7 of these such decks, and review their track record throughout the tournament.
For starters, we saw StrifeCro run Midrange Paladin over something like Secret Paladin, which almost every other player who brought Paladin ran instead, with the exception of Surrender’s Murloc Paladin. This deck ended up working out incredibly well for our American player, as it took games over strong decks like Zoo Warlock and even the infamous Secret Paladin. An interesting choice of a deck to bring, the risk was certainly worth the reward as StrifeCro took home first place in the tournament.
A deck that performed consistently well throughout the tournament was Zoo Warlock. This deck was already strong before the expansion, but cards like the Darkshire Councilman and Forbidden Ritual have only increased its power. Players had extreme difficulty dealing with an ever increasing Darkshire Councilman, especially when combined with cards like Imp Gang Boss and Forbidden Ritual. The flood of minions also made it easy for players to find an opportunity to play Sea Giant, as the cost was averagely reduced to less than 4 Mana. Despite including more than a few Wild format cards, I think that this deck will see play in Standard mode as well, and should be top tier by the end of the next season.
A classic deck, Freeze Mage also saw play in this tournament. Primarily run by 2nd place winner Mattun, this truly classic deck saw a few modifications, such as Shatter and Demented Frostcaller. Surprisingly few players ran this, and for a good reason. The Meta, from what we have seen, has been surprisingly dominated by aggression, such as Aggro Shaman and Zoo Handlock. These decks tend to be able to deal with Freeze Mage well, as they are able to kill off the enemy hero before they are able to get Archmage Antonidas or Alexstrasza combos off. While I know that this article promised consistent decks, my point in including it here was that Freeze Mage, a previously consistent deck, might not play out as well as it used to in this newly developing Meta.
One of the most surprising decks to be run at the tournament was Murloc Paladin! An interestingly risky deck to bring to tournament, and Surrender was able to use it moderately well, taking a decent 3rd/4th place out of the 8 players invited. This deck went all out Murlocs as well, including not one, but two Anyfin can Happen cards. Using this deck, he was able to apply early pressure with Murloc Warleaders buffs to put his opponent low enough to be finished off with Anyfin can Happen. However, this deck lacked a large amount of Murloc minions with Charge, which prevented an OTK from Surrender and actually lost him the game on more than one occasion. Overall, however, this deck is strong, and with a few modifications, may see use in future competitive play.
As many have predicted, Midrange Shaman saw an appearance or two during the Seoul Cup. Primarily used to take a game off of StrifeCro, Kno used it during the quarterfinals and, through a combination of Master of Evolution for board control and even Hallazeal the Ascended to maintain his life total, it caught players off guard and almost guaranteed a win every time. Unfortunately for him, this was the only game Kno was able to take off StrifeCro, as he went down 3-1.
A deck that has not seem tournament play in a while now, we return to the days of Patron Warrior! Despite the nerfs to Warsong Commander, the deck still remains one of the most consistent warrior decks to date, especially with the new Warrior card, Ravaging Ghoul, which adds yet another Whirlwind effect to the deck. It seems that this small buff was just the convincing players needed to start running it again, and the immense amount of pressure the Grim Patrons are able to apply proved to be just too much for several players, including Reynad and Kranich.
Another type of Warlock deck, we saw StrifeCro win consistently with Reno Jackson Handlock, and boy is that a mouthful. I use the term ‘Handlock’ lightly, however, as it was more similar to Hybrid Hunter (if anyone remembers that dark time) than Handlock. It ran things like Leeroy Jenkins and Power Overwhelming to apply early pressure, before migrating into a more control centered deck that ran Shadowflame, Twisting Nether, Antique Healbot and of course the man himself, Reno Jackson. This deck performed remarkably well, as the early pressure was able to get StrifeCro’s opponent low enough so that the late game control could easily finish them off due to the lack of removal. Interestingly enough, this was also one of the two decks in the tournament that ran Eater of Secrets, despite there being more than 2 Secret Paladin decks. Using this deck, StrifeCro was able to beat Freeze Mage, Midrange Shaman, and Aggro Shaman alike.
With that, this should wrap up the article! The 2016 Seoul Cup was a blast to be able to watch and enjoy with others, as well as get a good feeling of the Meta development since WotOG was released. It was interesting that this was a Wild Format tournament, but even more interestingly, there were no C’Thun decks run in this entire tournament. While this may be because players do not see it as reliable enough to run competitively, it will be fun to see who decides to take the risk and run it first. Until then, we will wait patiently and enjoy our new, undiscovered meta!