There’s mutiny on the deck of Liquid Value and Team Dogehouse! This weekend will see captains pitted against team-mates and old rivalries flare up once again. In this small 8-man invitational, we see old faces and are introduced to a new, yet familiar one. While we have Liquid Value and Dogehouse present and accounted for, the ex-Warcraft 3 player, Lucifer will be attending as well. Not much is known about Lucifer and how long he’s been playing the game, but he should prove to be an unpredictable force that neither team has prepared for. Along with the Hearthstone invitational, there will be a 16-man Starcraft 2 tournament taking place, in what TakeTV called their first ‘Crossover Tournament’. Whether or not there will be more events after these two tournaments take place is unknown; but given the friendly atmosphere of TakeTV’s events, there is a high chance of a surprise or two in store for the viewers and attendees. Read on to find out more about the first round match-ups and who stands the best chance at taking down this invitational.
Most importantly, don't forget about the Live Report Thread and we always have Liquipedia to follow the bracket.
Throughout eSports' history, we have seen countless rivalries rise and fall. Despite competitive Hearthstone still being in it's infancy, one such rivalry has emerged: it is Trump vs Ekop. It began with Ekop stating that he thought Trump was not as good of a player as people believed. From there -- with the help of the community -- the rivalry developed and during the third season of ESGN's Fight Night as we witnessed Ekop triumphing over Trump 3-1. It may be fate that the Seatstory bracket has placed these two together: rest assured these two will go all out with their pride on the line.
As a strong Arena player, Ekop predominantly has used control-orientated decks in the past where he can out think and outplay his opponents. While he has primarily concentrated on his stream and Arena outside of Fight Night, Ekop still possesses a strong game sense and good deckbuilding skills. On the other side of the ring, Trump is a similar type of player to Ekop, favoring board control decks and is now known for his crazy Mage deck -- the one that the other Liquid Value members considered trash -- that he used with great effect in his match against Gnimsh and on the ladder. While Trump has been seen as a poor Constructed player in the past, let’s not forget that he was the player that dethroned Savjz’ 8 win streak from IHEARTHU’s King of the Hill series. He also shut out Artosis 3-0 in the NESL’s first King of the Hill tournament, and just came back from Korea after playing in the OGN Invitational.
Gnimsh vs Artosis is a teamkill with the potential to be an explosive match. Ever since Artosis entered the Hearthstone scene, he has almost always taken the control approach to deck building. Artosis has preferred to sit back and read the situation rather than being rushed into combat. This is no surprise -- he takes a similar approach to Starcraft -- and as many Starcraft fans could tell you, his mantra is “when ahead, get more ahead”. He isn’t one for closing out a game until he is absolutely certain of his victory. Why risk something when you can ensure your reward just by spending a few more minutes? In that regard, there is almost no doubt in my mind that Artosis will take the control role in this match, while Gnimsh is certainly taking the beatdown. Since Fight Night, Artosis has made the rounds, being invited to the OGN Invitational in Korea, along with Trump and Savjz, as well as being a part of the NESL King of the Hill tournament. Unfortunately, he lost 0-3 to Trump in the final match and the popular streamer’s infamous Mage deck.
Known for being an aggressive player, Gnimsh defies the traditional style that one may see on Constructed play. He doesn’t mind playing control or mid-range decks, but he shines when he’s in his element: all-out aggression. That’s what makes him a tricky player to compete against, his unpredictability and ease with which he can flip the kill switch and crush any opponent. This exact situation can be seen time and again in the ESGN Fight Nights where he gained his notoriety. After getting 0-3’d by Strifecro’s Freeze Mage deck in the second season of Fight Night, he came back swinging in the third season with a sweep of his own, utilizing the hyper aggressive Hunter deck. While the metagame has moved away from hyper aggressive decks, there are still a few out there and it won’t be surprising to see Gnimsh run a few to throw Artosis off balance and get an early edge.
Savjz is currently one of the world's most renowned Hearthstone players with many players using his decks and for good reason. He has built some of the most solid constructed control decks to date especially with classes that were not popular. Back in the first two seasons of Fight Night, we saw DogeHouse bring his Shaman deck to the spotlight in an era where Shamans were not commonly seen. This has pioneered and evolved Shamans to their powerhouse state in the current meta. When he was brought to the next two seasons of Fight Night, however, Savjz failed to perform and lost both his matches 0-3 and 2-3 respectively. While he has proven that he has the theoretical mind to create good decks, he hasn’t shown that he can stand up to the pressures of an offline tournament. Online though, he has won a couple of show matches and invitationals: beating out Reynad in the second Deck Wars as well as sweeping Koyuki and beating out apDrop in the Angry Chicken Invitational.
Whilst Savjz is very well known, in Hearthstone, Lucifer is the complete opposite. This does not mean Lucifer is a complete unknown. He was one of the best Warcraft 3 players in the past and attended numerous major tournaments in his Warcraft 3 career. While little is known about his Hearthstone play besides his stream making it difficult for Savjz to prepare against him. Lucifer will come into the tournament as the dark horse and prepared for the bright lights.
While they may have been practice partners since the formation of Liquid Value, it’s every man for himself in this match as Liquid Value’s captain goes up against Strifecro, one of the strongest constructed players on the scene. The progenitor of the mid-range Druid, Strifecro will no doubt continue to utilize a variant of his widely popularized deck to have a solid foundation to work from. In the latest show matches he’s been apart of, Strifecro narrowly beat out teammate Razor 3-2, utilizing a Priest and Hunter deck alongside his Druid deck, while he got shut out of the latest IHEARTHU showmatch series against Clarity Gaming’s ThatsAdmirable. One thing to note though, is that Strifecro hasn’t been streaming as much as of late, with his last recorded broadcast being 15 days ago. Whether this suggests that he has decided to practice offline and hide strategies or simply hasn’t been practicing as much is hard to tell, but it is given his recent results, it’ll be interesting to see how he performs in this tournament.
While Monk hasn’t seen as much action as outside of ESGN's Fight Nights, he has two show matches that have yet to air against Kitkatz and apDrop, meaning his current choice of decks and playstyle are unknown. That being said, he has done well on the show, utilizing a variety of decks to defeat Ekop and Artosis, while losing to Gnimsh. Since it’s a best of 7, it’ll take a lot from Monk to be able to beat someone of Strifecro’s caliber. If Strifecro plays conservatively and intelligently, it’ll force Monk into a situation where he might have to pull out a gimmick or even his hidden deck to take the match, or put his hopes in Pagle Overspark to turn the tide for him.