This month’s Challengestone, the 3rd to date, brings with it a slower, more control oriented format. The sponsors haven’t changed: Tempo/Storm, the Amazon App Store, and Twitch.tv; nor has the prize pool, set at $3,000. Casting this event with Kripparrian is a new face, Tempo/Storm’s Gaara. Though he did a decent job, the duo lacks the rapport that fans have come to expect from Kripp’s usual sidekick Artosis. Also new in this tournament, Kripp decided to bring in a player who qualified though the ESL Tavern Brawl League, Jondo. Kolento, the winner of the previous Challengestone, was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. However, he is expected to appear again in Challengestone at a later date. Noxoius will take his spot, as the 2nd place winner for Challengestone 2.
- Lothar (Priest/Hunter/Druid) vs. Jondo (Priest/Paladin/Shaman)
- Noxious (Priest/Warlock/Shaman) vs. JustSaiyan (Priest/Mage/Rogue)
- Freshca (Priest/Mage/Shaman) vs. Neirea (Priest/Warlock/Druid)
- Forsen (Priest/Rogue/Shaman) vs. Stancifka (Paladin/Warlock/Druid)
The Challenge is called “Right on Target”, and requires players to only use cards that can target minions, or heroes. The Druid’s Swipe, and Starfall are the only options for board clear, and Rogue’s Perdition’s Blade is the sole weapon that we will see in this event. The most popular class for this format is easily Priest with Shaman, and Warlock coming in at a close second. Out of all the classes played, Warlock seemed to be the most effective, as most of its removal is allowed, and generates large tempo swings. Penalty cards are a rarity this time around, with Noxious being the only player that had a card replaced when he put Flametongue Totems into his Shaman deck.
Round of 8 Conquest Group Stage
In the first match of Challengestone 3, Jondo’s Paladin struggled against the Priest, and Druid of Lothar for the first two games. It wasn’t until game 3, when he got a dream start with Paladin, that he was able to force an early concession from Lothar on turn 5. His luck did not hold, however, as Lothar’s Hunter easily overpowered his Priest, and won the match. The final score was 3-1, with Lothar advancing to the semi-finals.
The second match was a bit more even, with both contestants engaging in a riveting back and forth. Noxious got a Doomguard from a Bane of Doom used on JustSaiyan’s Stormpike Commando, and easily won the first game. Game two saw Noxious take a decisive lead, when JustSaiyan’s Rogue couldn’t handle the tempo generated by powerful Shaman cards like Fire Elemental in the late game. In the next two games, JustSaiyan established dominance over Noxious’s Priest with his Rogue, and Priest. The final game of the series was the most surprising, when JustSaiyan won on the back of Voodoo Doctors, and a final Dragon’s Breath to seal the deal. JustSaiyan advanced to the semi-finals with a final score of 3-2.
In his first Challengestone appearance, Freshca fought Neira in the third match. His luck started out poor, however, when Neirea got a Jaraxxus out of Bane of Doom, and easily won the first game. Recombobulator was the star of the second game, when Neirea used it on a Frost Elemental, and got a coveted Gadgetzan Auctioneer. The high powered burst spells that Druid utilizes proved to be too much for Freshca, and put Neirea up 2-0. In game three, Neirea chewed through most of Freshca’s deck, before playing large minions in combination with Velen’s Chosen during the final turns, and taking the series. In the only clean sweep of the tournament so far, Neirea advanced to the semi-finals with a final score of 3-0.
The fourth, and final match of the group stages was another tiebreaker. Stancifka came out swinging with his heavy hitting Warlock, and won on turn 8 against Forsen’s Priest. The next game saw Forsen out-value Stancifka in the mid and late game with his Priest. Game three put Forsen ahead with his Shaman, as Stancifka was unable to keep up with the tempo, and removal. The most hilarious moment of the tournament came in game four, when Stancifka played Dark Whispers two turns in a row, and overwhelmed Forsen with an army of Wisps. In the final game of the series, Forsen took a commanding lead with his Rogue, and simply ground down Stancifka’s lower curve Paladin. Forsen advances to the semi-finals with a final score of 3-2.
Though this Challengestone is a bit easier to read, due to the limited card pool, there are plenty of exciting moments. It will only get better, as we move into the final stage of the tournament. The final brackets are: Lothar vs. JustSaiyan, and Neirea vs. Forsen. Be sure to watch live on Tempo/Storm’s Twitch.