Dreamhack Austin is a really important event for me. Not only is it probably the most high profile and biggest major in North America, it is also the event that I broke out in last year getting 2nd Place. Going into Dreamhack Austin I had two really poor results, going 2-2 at both PAX East and SXSW. I was also out of Winter Preliminaries fairly early so I was even more motivated to do well.
The first thing I looked at when trying to decide what lineup I would bring is the format. In Last Hero Standing with a ban you generally want to have decks that can sweep and have two counters to most strong decks so that if one counter gets banned you don’t get swept. An immediate standout deck for me was Midrange Paladin. When you ban Rogue, Midrange Paladin becomes really strong against most of the field. The problem that I found very quickly is that a lot of the other decks I wanted to play did okay against Rogue and Murloc Paladin would destroy Midrange Paladin because it has a more consistent early game.
Once I knew I wanted to play Murloc Paladin instead of Midrange and didn’t want to ban Rogue anymore, I needed to find a second deck that was really good against Quest Rogue and Miracle Rogue. I decided to go with Pirate Warrior as my 2nd Rogue counter. Some people asked me why I went with Pirate Warrior instead of Taunt Warrior because the rest of my lineup was fairly aggressive besides my Shaman. Since most people in the tournament, not knowing my decks, would ban either Warrior or Rogue it seemed fine to only have one anti-aggro deck.
With two just generally strong decks built that I was forced to play if I wasn’t going to ban Rogue, I needed an anti-aggro deck and I needed an anti-control deck. I decided to go with Elemental Shaman for my anti-aggro deck. Elemental Shaman did really well against Hunter, Pirate Warrior, Token Druid, Freeze Mage, and Murloc Paladin while having an okay matchup against Midrange Paladin and Miracle Rogue so it seemed perfect. Since I was banning Warrior I didn’t have to worry about my Shaman being greedy and I could just cut the seven drop elementals to focus on being as strong in the aggro matchups as I could. I did still need some value in the deck and figured Elise was the most value for the least amount of slots in the deck I could do a long with the two Manatide Totems to support her.
The last deck in the lineup was Quest Rogue. Rogue is a very polarized class where it does really well against the control decks and does pretty poorly against the aggressive decks. I actually didn’t expect it to do that well I just felt like I needed to play Rogue to force the ban against control lineups. I also figured that lineups that were leaving up Rogue would be able to deal with it but throughout the swiss it performed the best actually and swept 4 of my opponents. I decided to tech double backstab and fan of knives knowing that my opponent would have aggressive decks to counter it as opposed to the more solitaire style of Quest Rogue other people were leaning towards.
Overall I was really happy with the lineup. Can’t be too bad going 8-1 and then to Top 8. Every deck in the lineup was really strong and could sweep. For the first 7 rounds that is exactly what happened. Every win was only with one class. I believe the breakdown was Rogue 4, Paladin 2, Shaman 1. Warrior was banned most rounds so didn’t get to play it much. The only times I lost were when my Shaman was banned. My first loss was to Duane when I was really surprised that he just knew to ban my Shaman then proceeded to 3-0 my lineup with Aggro Druid. That was the only time Shaman was banned in swiss. It was banned every time in the top cut as decklists were public for that portion and they didn’t have to be scared of Taunt Warrior so could just ban something else. Im mainly just happy with the theory behind the lineup. Felt like it did what It was supposed to or what I expected in most matchups. I don’t think the decklists themselves were great. I did get a little crazy with the techs and would maybe change a few cards. Mainly Crazed Alchemist in the Paladin for Consecration and Hallazeal in the Shaman for Gluttonous Ooze so that I could deal with Medivh in Gunther Mage. Those are the things that mainly stuck out.
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