From bottom tier decks breaking the meta to students defeating their master, collectable card games are almost impossible to predict. Over the years we’ve seen some truly courageous plays across many CCGs, but here’s a few that have particularly tickled our interest.
Esports of the Planeswalkers (MTG: Arena)
We’re leading off not necessarily with a highlight, but more of an announcement that is sure to produce some nail-biting memories. With MTG: Arena’s open beta revitalising our love for the card game that started it all, Wizards of the Coasts recently announced a full esports schedule complete with a $10,000,000 prize pool. WOTC are saying this will “elevate the original strategy card game to a new stratosphere of excitement and exposure.”
The champion will also earn a contract with Twitch to stream full time. Initially, this raised some eyebrows; most tournaments tend to consist of a cash prize and/or some kind of trophy. Adding a streaming contract on top of that will provide the winner with a stable income, which many full time players wouldn’t have access to. Personally, we are hoping this will pave the way for a little known rising star to spring from the shadows and slay the big names. We’re a sucker for romance.
Go Big or Go Home (Fr0zen vs. Tom60229, HCT World Championship 2017)
Life’s too short to play the long game and we just don’t have the room for a gazillion 1/1 minions, thank you very much! Instead, let’s commit to a single 10/10 minion. Why not throw in a clutch Leeroy Jenkins for good measure? Let’s go.
With the legendary rogue Edwin VanCleef already in the hand, Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin’s Swashburglar managed to high-roll an Innervate, giving him an additional mana crystal. His opponent, Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang, had no choice but to go all in, even sacrificing his own Southsea Deckhand to boost his Edwin to 10/10. Might I also add that this is all happening on mana turn three? Yes, you read that right. This early committal proved too much for Fr0zen. Tom60229 was able to secure the victory with a Leeroy Jenkins. Now there’s one for the history books.
Hyped brings the hype (Artifact WePlay Tournament)
There’s no community that appreciates an underdog as much as the CCG community. We just can’t help it; memes are our one true love. There’s too many net-deckers eating up the night. But then Lifecoach played the mamba and we listened to the Noxious. Don’t you remember? We built this meta on tier two jank.
While everyone else was playing Red/Black aggro or Red/Green mana ramp, George “Hyped” Maganzini won the first WePlay Artifact tournament with a fragile combo deck that utilised Blue’s control and Green’s utility. There was no denying its strong late game potential but many were writing it off because of how vulnerable it was in the early game to aggressive strategies. Hyped not only kept his cool under pressure but, to add insult to injury, the high level players later concluded that it was probably the strongest deck in the game.
It was so strong, it was as though they were the ones bringing the jank to tournaments all along.
Don’t you just love a plot twist?
Lifecoach perishes to Freddybabes (GWENT Challenger #2)
There isn’t a card game worthy of the name unless Adrian “Lifecoach” Koy has given it a whirl. The retired poker player was notorious in Hearthstone for roping his opponents and considering every line of attack. Therefore, it came as no surprise to see him win GWENT: The Witcher Card Game’s first major event. A six month break followed which saw Lifecoach organise his own tournament series. But then he made his triumphant return to defend his Challenger title, where he would clash with Fred “Freddybabes” Bird.
And this was would be the match that changed competitive GWENT as we knew it. The young Brit appeared to have struck a deal with RNGesus himself. Not only was he able to defeat Lifecoach, but Freddybabes made short work of him, too. After Lifecoach gambled on a mulligan, Freddybabes punished this mistake with a dominant 3-0 performance. This victory against one of CCGs oldest and familiar faces made him the favourite; he went on to win the tournament.
Memes in the making – Artosis vs Kripp (Hearthstone)
Finally, we’re going all the way back to one of Hearthstone’s earliest esports events. The now infamous Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan was battling it out with Daniel Ray “Artosis” Stemkoski in a tense Paladin battle. Ready to clear the board, Kripp looked set to secure the win – but Artosis wasn’t going down without a fight. We’ll let the video that spawned from this event do the rest…