Day Two of the Hearthstone World Championships has dealt out some of the craziest contests of the tournament so far.
We saw some incredible top decks, many very close games, and intense back-and-forth duels as competitors from Group C and D clashed on the flashy arena floor.
Those who managed to survive the chaos have now also confirmed their spots alongside Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer and Xu "LFYueying" Kai in Saturday’s quarter-finals, but who exactly will be joining them?
Action began in Group C, which many had dubbed as the toughest in the tournament. Mark "Ike" Eichner and Casper "Hunterace" Notto faced off in the first match, where the latter player would show off a rather unique Control Shaman deck.
It couldn’t cope with the power of Ike's Tempo Rogue in the first game, but that seemed to be a wake-up call for Hunterace, who would win the next three games to claim victory in the match. He might want to thank the two copies of Argent Commander in a row he received from Conjurer’s Calling that helped tidy up Ike’s side of the board and take control of the game.
In the other opening game from Group C, Kacper "A83650" Kwieciński and David "Justsaiyan" Shan managed to find a way to top that in their Shaman mirror match. It was a duel with many ridiculous momentum swings, something which began when Justsaiyan found an Ancestral Spirit from the Hagatha the Witch hero power to keep his Walking Fountain alive.
But A83650 wasn’t done yet, as he discovered The Storm Bringer from his Ethereal Lackey to create a huge board of legendary creatures - including a Baron Geddon which almost killed him - and win the game. Justsaiyan would describe it as “a nailbiter game”. We’d go for another word: madness.
Even after that exhausting start, Justsaiyan managed to rally and win the series 3-2 to set up a showdown with Hunterace - a player who he has clashed with multiple times over the last year. Their match was another fierce one and Justsaiyan would only just emerge from it as the victor - at least this time around.
“Beating Hunterace on the world stage feels good, but I definitely think I’ll be seeing him again in the Top 8,” he added in a post-match press conference.
As for Group D, Brian "bloodyface" Eason would see off Torben "Viper" Wahl in a bizarre and extremely close five-game series that was decided by the German player missing a single point of damage. Meanwhile, Luo "Roger" Shengyuan had a much easier time as he completed a clean sweep over Tyler "Tyler" Hoang Nguyen.
When the winners met, bloodyface would stretch into a early 2-0 lead extremely quickly. He tried a bold move in game three to get as much value from a Brawl as possible, but the plan backfired and he allowed Roger back into the match.
The fourth game was full of perplexing moments, weird trades with giant creatures into tiny tokens and some next-level caster enthusiasm. It was the ludicrous value from Roger’s Control Paladin deck that won the game, however, as it kept bringing back more and more copies of Da Undatakah that would spawn more and more Mechs. The card interactions were so unreal that commentators and spectators alike struggled to comprehend exactly what was happening at any given moment.
A Control Warrior versus Bomb Warrior clash awaited in the final game. As expected it was another tight game, but it would be bloodyface who emerged on top. It wasn’t easy though, as he had to avoid over a third of his deck full of bombs and then survive a Brawl that left his one Lifesteal minion alive.
“Obviously, getting through to the Top 8 and not having to sweat another series is huge - that gives me an edge going into Saturday,” he would say after the marathon match. “My head is still in the game. Even though it’s still over I’m still analysing it all. I’ll definitely celebrate tonight but I'm in disbelief. Internally, I’m thrilled!”
So, four of the quarterfinalists have now been decided. Tomorrow we will find out who will be joining them as the final group matches are played, and we see our first eliminations from the World Championships. After that, it’s on to the playoffs!