The problem with the Hearthstone esports circuit is that anything outside of the Blizzard-organised official events is often severely lacking in talent. Sure, the odd big name shows up and wipes the floor with the amateur competition, but there’s a real sense with most events of this ilk that a bunch of try-hards are getting a chance at the big shot.
This weekend’s DreamHack Grand Prix at Montreal wasn’t much different. The likes of HotMeowth and Cydonia were there, alongside a few more well known hotshots like Muzzy and TerrenceM, but for the most part it was scrappy and panicked.
For many this was the biggest stage they’d ever played, and it’s hard to fight nerves like that.
But this only opened us up to some great entertainment all the same. There was some fantastic (and incredibly lucky) play on show here in Montreal, but they took a backseat to a multitude of brilliantly awful misplays…
A frozen Quest Mage
This was the weekend’s most infamous game. There were just so many ridiculous plays coming from both sides that it was actually painful to watch. So many times Seohyun and Walaoumpa both shook their heads in dismay, and not at each other’s plays but their own.
This was perhaps the most embarrassing misplay of them, the final game of the quarterfinals that was no doubt beginning to frustrate.
The play that Seohyun seemed to be going for was to unlock his Mage quest reward—this was his deck, after all—but it’s hard to really predict what was going through his mind here. Likely he miscounted his mana, throwing away a pointless Blizzard to gain so little.
Just watch both players reactions after that Blizzard is played and the realisation sets in: Seohyun is infuriated, Walaoumpa is just stunned. It says everything.
Say nothing of the fact that even if he had miscounted, Seohyun still wouldn’t have been able to play his quest card the next turn.
But it didn’t all end poorly for Seohyun, though. This was a fun game to watch, simply for the sheer amateurishness of it all; but as already mentioned, it really was a game of throws.
Seohyun did manage to collect his quest reward, but he was already down to 9 health while Walaoumpa was sitting pretty at 27. It wasn’t going to be too easy a victory for either side.
With an extra turn in hand, and drawing a Fireball to give a bit of swing to Seohyun’s options, Walaoumpa needed to be safe—even if a stupid Frost Nova did incur some extra damage.
So while Seohyun had earlier thrown his position by stupidly playing Blizzard early, Walaoumpa did the same here, playing Bonemare. The minion play, activating Seohyun’s Entity secret and drawing a copy was the nail in the coffin for Walaoumpa, bringing out a potential board damage of 26 for Seohyun thanks to his quest reward—and that was without Fireball and class ability.
Admittedly there wasn’t much Walaoumpa could do to survive with so few cards, but it was an immensely stupid play all the same.
Cut the rope
Muzzy was pretty much the champion of the tournament. Not because he won or that he deserved it, but after his dominant first-place showing in the Hearthstone Americas Spring Championship he quickly became a name people wanted to watch.
And DreamHack’s Montreal Grand Prix was a great place for him to showcase his abilities against a pretty broad range of skill.
Yet while we’re drawing attention to his play here, it’s fair to admit that actually it was more unfortunate than poor play. He was one of the stronger players during the whole event, which is probably why he went home with $7,500 and 15 points to the league.
Anyway, there’s a point in this game here—where Muzzy is already a game down—where he realises he could win it, and stops to count his cards and whether playing Shadowreaver Anduin (new in The Frozen Throne from last month) was the right move.
He takes just a little too long counting, though… and, well… you’ve got to laugh.
Misplays on fast forward
For a tournament that was actually kind of full of misplays and miscalculations, this one is perhaps the most cringe inducing.
Coachtwisted had already been stumbling over his plays, taking his time and struggling somewhat to figure out his plays in the allotted amount of time—so Walaoumpa playing Nozdormu and cut the playable turn time to 15 seconds could well have been the best play for him.
And it worked, immediately Coachtwisted became flustered, throwing cards from his hand with careless abandon. This wasn’t helped much by his Shadowreaper Anduin strategy, which takes quite a bit of time to enact as card actions play out.
Coachtwisted even healed Nozdormu during his panicked play, which is equal parts hilarious and gut-wrenching. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion…
Only the start…
But that wasn’t the end of the game, and Coachtwisted only went from bad to worse from then on. The stress of the tournament must’ve got to him, because that’s the only explanation of his plays by the end of this match.
This clip below needs about three minutes of watching, but if you’re at all tuned to Hearthstone esports it will likely be the most crushing few minutes of play you’ll watch.
Coachtwisted is clearly stuck on trying to figure out what he should do, aiming to utilize his Shadowreaper Anduin hero power but flailing with each card.
To make matters worse he’s now affected by fatigue from this point on, so he needs to do something. His only option at that point was to go face and deal as much damage as he could; and the hero power was the only way to do so.
But something stops him. He wouldn’t quite have done enough, but it would’ve put Walaoumpa on the backfoot. Instead Coachtwisted ends his turn and then plays Alchemist in his next, essentially signing his death warrant.
It’s painful watching, but there’s something so tantalizing about watching a pro player do all the wrong things…