WORK IN PROGRESS: This article will be updated as I finish each interview.
Bliz JP had an invite-only tournament to celebrate the release of Madness at the Darkmoon Faire… and they actually had player interviews so this article covers said player voices.
THIS IS YOUR TOURNAMENT RESULT SPOILER WARNING. PROCEED ONLY IF YOU ALREADY KNOW / ARE OKAY WITH KNOWING THE RESULTS.
The tournament was an invite-only 8 player single elimination bracket, usual 3 hero/1 ban Bo3 Conquest format. However, since to be in line with the release of DMF as an xpac, all players were required to use at least 5 cards from DMF in each deck.
Tournament stream vod is here (twitch / YT)
Casting team consisted of Sentosu / Aojiru / Oyatsu / Masaru.
Players and their deckcodes are as follows:
Circus Tempo Warrior:
Game 1 interview (Tredsred/Alutemu)
Sentosu: First, we’d like to speak with the winner, Alutemu. Looking back at the match just now, what do you think?
Alutemu: Let’s see, the renewed deck… Evo Shaman has been around in the past, but the new 2-mana card that brings you a weapon — the addition of that card has really stabilized the deck, and I think it’s good that you can have an explosive move like the one you just saw.
Sentosu: This version of Evo Shaman has quite a few new cards. Which card draws your eye the most?
Alutemu: It has to be the 2-mana card I just mentioned. I don’t remember the name off the top of my head–
Aojiru: Cagematch Custodian.
Alutemu: Right, that one. It gives you a weapon, and I think you can expect it to do all sorts of good things — not just in Evo Shaman but other decks as well, such as bringing you a key card like a Doomhammer.
Sen: So you list Cagematch Custodian as a powerful card. Now, I’d like to speak with Tredsred. You unfortunately suffered a defeat, but what did you think about this match?
Tredsred: I was thinking the Warrior deck that I brought wasn’t too strong (laughs) but I just couldn’t connect with Risky Skipper and it was hard to use Lord Barov, so I think the Evo Shaman just steamrolled over me. It was a shame.
Sentosu: Aojiru mentioned that for this matchup, Warriors have enough power to go up against Evo Shamans. So do you think you’d have had a chance if you could draw those key cards?
Tredsred: Right. I was playing the match thinking it would be an easier battle if I could counter one Evolution combo with my own combination of Risky Skipper and Lord Barov, but I just couldn’t get to the Skipper. As for which deck has the advantage, it’s too early in the cycle to really tell.
Sentosu: Are there any cards in particular in this Warrior deck that draws your attention?
Tredsred: Well, the most powerful card is probably the new 4-mana 2/5 pirate that adds a weapon. Until now, you often lost tempo in the fourth turn, so I think it’s pretty strong to be able to have a solid move during that turn.
Sentosu: So Sword Eater is a powerful minion.
Tredsred: Yes. I think it’s a card that can be used in various Warrior decks, so you will likely see it often in the future.
Sentosu: Thank you so much. Aojiru, do you have questions for the two of them as well?
Aojiru: Yes. I’ll ask Alutemu first. You were the only one of the eight players to bring a Priest deck. What was the logic behind bringing a Priest deck?
Alutemu: Well, I brought it thinking it was a powerful deck. In the current meta, I feel that Demon Hunter is strong, so I came in thinking I will ban Demon Hunter. At that point, I thought (Priest is) unfavorable against Demon Hunter but can take on other decks, such as Warrior decks that are favorable against Demon Hunters. For example, you can add tech cards such as (Acidic Swamp) Ooze. That’s why I brought this deck.
Aojiru: Thank you. Now I’d like to ask Tredsred a question. trahison also brought a Tempo Warrior deck, but one striking point in your deck is that you included Ringmaster Whatley. I believe there is some circus synergy going on here, but did you feel that this circus synergy could be a focal point in future Tempo Warrior play, based on how you’ve been using it to practice?
Tredsred: Well… I don’t think I felt it that much (laughs)
Sentosu: So not much.
Tredsred: We had to use five (DMF) cards in this tournament, so when I got to think about which five cards to add into a Tempo Warrior deck, I thought it would be a pretty good deck if I added the Ringmaster and 2-mana mechs (Bumper Car/Stage Hand). But I had this feeling while playing with this deck that the mechs are a bit weak. The (Stage Hand’s) Battlecry buff stats are a bit on the low end, so while being able to draw via Ringmaster is a strong point, I feel the deck will be a bit more powerful if we can find a slightly more decent mech to draw.
Aojiru: I see.
Tredsred: I tried out all sorts of mechs, but I couldn’t find one that really meshed well.
Aojiru: Right. The mech slot is a bit rough in the current meta.
Sentosu: Indeed. There haven’t been many additions. One last question for Tredsred. Right now, there are many people saying that Demon Hunter is likely the most powerful hero out there. Do you think there will be something that rivals it, or even a class that can defeat Demon Hunters?
Tredsred: I don’t know. I think everyone is just getting used to the new cards so I think there will be many new decks in the near future. In the beginning of an expansion cycle, it’s usually the case that a straightforward aggro deck draws everyone’s attention so I don’t have an impression that any one particular deck is really powerful. I just banned Demon Hunter because this early in the meta they seem kind of unstoppable.
Sentosu: Are there any classes you have an eye on, such as a class that may see growth in the future?
Tredsred: Warriors have been pretty advantageous against Demon Hunters to begin with, so I think it’s got a fair shot at countering them depending on how you draw the cards. I am also keeping an eye on Broom Paladins.
Sentosu: I see. Thank you very much. And Alutemu, your next opponent will be the winner between trahison and glory. Can you give us how you’re feeling about your next match?
Alutemu: Well, since in my initial match I was able to win against Tredsred, a powerful rival and a player that I look up to, so I would like to use this momentum to go all the way to champion.
Sentosu: I see. Both of you, thank you very much.
Tredsred: Thank you.
Alutemu: Thank you.
Game 2 interview (trahison/glory)
Masaru: First off, can I ask glory how he feels about this victory?
glory: To be honest, my evolution luck — how all my minions evolved were all so amazing it made me laugh. (laugh)
Masaru: Right. Aojiru and I were like “Whoa!” while we were casting, too.
Aojiru: We were bursting into laughter.
glory: I was thinking they were all evolving into things I really wanted.
Masaru: Even in the first game, you got Taunt minions up so I thought you would be able to perhaps hold on to a victory.
Masaru: But well, trahison–
glory: I was debating on whether that secret was a Freezing Trap or the one that summons an Animal Companion (Open the Cages), and I lost that game because I guessed wrong.
Masaru: I see. At first, trahison seemed to break a sweat when the minion evolved into a Taunt, but you managed to push through in that first game.
trahison: Right. Evo Shaman has no direct way to heal the hero health. And fortunately for me, the minion had low attack. I think it was 1 attack… a 1/8?
Masaru: It was.
trahison: Because of the low attack, I just thought I’d use the hero power five times. It was good that I was able to switch gears.
Masaru: I see. And your Warrior seems to have had a rough time as you couldn’t draw (Risky) Skipper. How was it?
trahison: Right. I had thought that going against Evo Shaman would be very rough, so I had hoped to win against the Rogue. But even the Rogue went through evolution, to say… (laugh)
trahison: There was all sorts of things going on like that (lifesteal) heal for 4, so I think it was bad for me that my plan crumbled down at that point.
Masaru: glory didn’t have a great hand to begin with, but from around (Shadowjeweler) Hanar he had an amazing comeback and had an ample hand in the end.
glory: Right. That deck tends to suddenly have a huge increase in hand, so it’s a deck that doesn’t let you give up until the end even if the early game is really tough.
Masaru: But your luck was amazing as well. Aojiru, do you have any questions?
Aojiru: First off, congratulations on your victory, glory.
glory: Thank you.
Aojiru: As we mentioned earlier, in this bracket glory is facing Alutemu next. Can you believe it? We have a match between two Grandmasters in the semifinals. What a chaotic turn of events. How are you feeling about your upcoming match?
glory: Well, of course I’m going to win. Alutemu went on a rampage during the Masters Tour, so I have to put him in place a bit. I’m going to give him a challenge.
Aojiru: I would like to ask about specifics in your decks as well. This will be a direct comparison against Alutemu, but both of you brought Shamans. Alutemu’s Evo Shaman was lacking a card you brought, the Mogu Fleshshaper. glory, in bringing Fleshshaper, did you decide that having it would be better?
glory: It’s not that powerful a card, but I feel that it is tremendously powerful in a Shaman mirror. And I felt that many people would be bringing Shaman decks, so I included it in my deck.
Aojiru: I see.
glory: I don’t think Fleshshaper is that strong in other matchups, though.
Aojiru: So you thought that there will be Shaman mirrors in this tournament.
glory: Yes, that’s what I thought, so I put Fleshshaper in.
Aojiru: Thank you. And I’d like to ask trahison a question too. You brought a Tempo Warrior deck like Tredsred, but this has quite a unique form. You included E.T.C. (God of Metal), for instance.
trahison: Right. Enrage Warrior has a deck with a high winrate in the new meta, but I just couldn’t fit in enough new cards. There was no way I could get the required five cards in.
trahison: And I got thinking how E.T.C. has a Control Combo Warrior deck. That uses cards like Pen Flinger and copies E.T.C. (via Bloodsworn Mercenary) to do an OTK, so I constructed this deck wondering if I could create a hybrid with somewhere around there. I’m pretty sure that at first glance, you can’t tell how much damage this deck can deal.
Aojiru: I couldn’t tell.
trahison: I brought in this deck hoping to use that fact to my advantage.
Aojiru: Even in recent Masters Tour tournaments — though this may sound bad — you have been tending to bring very creative decks, or rather, mischievous decks such as Highlander Demon Hunter or Highlander Cyclone Mage. That’s the impression I had, but in this case your “mischievous” aspect would be E.T.C.?
trahison: I believe so. Slightly strange decks like that are intended to bring me a slight advantage with a slightly heavier minion in mirror matches. In this tournament, I felt that I had no choice but to ban Demon Hunter, so I ended up taking a pretty orthodox route. I especially was careful about Rogues and Shamans that couldn’t heal on their own, so I decided to bring a Warrior deck with Reaper’s Scythe that could whittle away at the health of both of those classes.
Aojiru: I see. Thank you very much.
Masaru: I would have loved to see E.T.C. OTK’ing.
Aojiru: I’d have loved to see it, too. By the way, trahison, how much damage can you deal with this deck?
trahison: It’s not too different from a basic Enrage Warrior deck, but what’s characteristic about this deck is that you get a lot more variations. For example, a common move would be to use Kor’kron (Elite), Inner Rage, and copying for 12 damage from 7 mana, but just by randomly adding E.T.C. and (Animated) Broomstick into the fray, you can add 2 damage per hit for a total of 22 damage.
trahison: The special part about this deck is that you add damage from an unexpected place, so another pro about this deck is that because of that, you can be a bit more frivolous about using Inner Rage.
Aojiru: I see. As long as you add Rush, even a Charge minion attacking will deal that extra damage.
trahison: Right. Even if Kor’kron goes face, that extra two damage will connect.
Aojiru: Oh, this is an interesting gimmick, don’t you think, Masaru?
Masaru: Indeed. I think some research on this may create a deck that will show solid results in ladder, like one that can endure aggro decks.
Aojiru: And that’s it for my questions.
Masaru: Can we keep going with this interview?
Aojiru: We can.
Masaru: Or should we end it here?
Aojiru: If you have anything you want to ask.
Masaru: Well, as Aojiru mentioned earlier… I’ve been watching all of Alutemu and glory’s Grandmaster games on YouTube, so I’m looking forward to the semifinal match. (laugh)
Aojiru: So basically, you’re cheering for glory.
Masaru: Thank you for saying what’s on my mind. I’m looking forward to the match.
glory: Thank you.
Masaru: Thank you.
Aojiru: Both of you, thank you for your time.
[Translator’s note] trahison later DM’d me saying “I forgot to mention the France-Japan Confrontation hosted by MaxTeam and BeerBrick happening next Wednesday (11/25) at 11AM PST during my interview! Please let everyone know!” so I will leave the MaxTeam’s announcement tweet here.
Game 3 interview (Duelist/posesi)
Masaru: Since both Duelist and posesi are here, we’d like to start the interview. First off, congratulations to posesi on his win.
posesi: Thank you.
Masaru: Looking back, how was that match?
posesi: Well, it honestly feels like I won because I got good evolution gacha results. (laughs) During the Hunter vs Shaman game, I made a mistake in looking for the Secret, and ran out of time because of that mistake. If I was able to win at that point, I could have felt like I won properly. I feel like that was a waste.
Masaru: I see. Most of the players brought Evo Shaman, but do you have any cards you’re especially keeping an eye on?
posesi: Specifically for Shaman, the 2-mana 2/2 weapon search, the Cagematch Custodian, is really powerful.
Masaru: I see, because the Custodian lets you draw a weapon, it becomes easier to evolve — so the card has a lot of power.
posesi: Right. The deck really relies on the weapon, and you can’t win with this deck without drawing the weapon, so essentially having four cards for that weapon is huge.
Masaru: I see. Thank you. Duelist, you just saw Mogu Fleshshaper change into another Fleshshaper. What did you think about that?
Duelist: To be honest, I didn’t realize what had happened for a moment. (laugh) It was like, “Wait, the spell didn’t go off?” but there was a new copy of the Fleshshaper on the board.
Masaru: Oyatsu and I were like, “Hmm? What just happened?” so we were both bewildered for a bit there.
Oyatsu: Right. It ended up being that Fleshshaper got healed.
Masaru: An unbelievable miracle of Fleshshaper changing into a Fleshshaper.
Duelist: That aside, I had a lot of turns where I had so many choices to choose from.
Masaru: I see.
Duelist: So I feel like it was difficult for me.
Masaru: So do you have any particular cards you’re watching in the decks you submitted?
Duelist: A notable card… perhaps the 2-mana 3/2 for Rogue.
Masaru: Foxy (Fraud)!
Duelist: Yup. Foxy is pretty powerful, to the point where it just make things work. Also, there were a bunch of hyenas in the first game, but it surprised me when I realized Foxy wasn’t a Beast.
posesi: I had to double-check myself.
Masaru: Foxy looks like that, but isn’t categorized as a Beast.
Duelist: Right. I was surprised.
Oyatsu: There’s a saying in Hearthstone: “Those that speak human speech are not Beasts.”
Masaru: I see.
Oyatsu: I had a fleeting thought that she probably speaks human speech.
Masaru: Oh, so she looks like a beast but since she can speak human speech she’s not a Beast?
Oyatsu: Vulpera Scoundrel isn’t a Beast, for example.
Masaru: Oh right, now that you mention it…
Oyatsu: I think that’s the point to take home.
Masaru: Oyatsu, do you have anything else you want to ask?
Oyatsu: Then, I’d like to ask both players. You brought the lineups that you did, but — I realize this is a meaningless question — but if this tournament was a 4-hero one, what would have been your fourth hero? Let’s start with posesi.
posesi: Well, Warriors are honestly powerful right now. I was debating until the very end on whether to bring a Hunter or a Warrior, but I felt like trahison or Tredsred would have something up their sleeve so I hesitated on bringing the Warrior. But I was needlessly worried.
Oyatsu: I see, you guessed based on opponents’ personalities.
Oyatsu: Everyone seemed to have been pretty straightforward, though.
posesi: Right. Well, this is the start of a new meta, so it did feel like those that empowered the powerful decks would win, too.
Masaru: I see.
Oyatsu: What about you, Duelist?
Duelist: Well, I think it would be a Hunter.
Oyatsu: I see.
Duelist: I myself was debating between Hunter and Rogue for my third deck.
Oyatsu: Is that so?
Duelist: Yes, and I felt that Hunter takes fourth place.
Oyatsu: That means both Duelist and posesi had similar trains of thought. Both the decks you brought and the reason why you debated on the third deck are somewhat similar. That’s the impression that I get.
posesi: I genuine like powerful decks.
Oyatsu: I also get the impression that both of you are like that, too — so I’m quite satisfied by that answer.
Oyatsu: Thank you. That’s all from me.
Masaru: So I was talking with Oyatsu earlier that the Grandmasters are winning, and posesi makes the third. Do you have anything you want to say for your upcoming matches?
posesi: It was a bit scary for me, as Alutemu and glory had won before me. I was thinking “What would people say about me if I lost right now?” as I was playing.
Masaru: The pressure!
Oyatsu: So you realized that.
posesi: Well, one of them is sure to make it to the finals now, so I am going to go to the finals as well and show them their place.
Masaru: I see. Thank you very much. Congratulations again, posesi.
posesi: Thank you.
Masaru: Thank you both.
Game 4 interview (NAGON/Tansoku)
[Translator’s note] There were some technical difficulties where the stream wasn’t picking up the players’ audio (to the point where there were two commercial breaks). Only the third-time’s-the-charm part is trascribed here.
Sentosu: Okay, now we’d like to hear from both of you. We’re sorry for making you do this so many times, Tansoku.
Tansoku: Oh, no, no.
Sentosu: Then, can you tell us your thoughts?
Tansoku: This is the third time now.
Sentosu: We’re really sorry about that.
Tansoku: It’s okay.
Sentosu: Right, looks like we’ve got it this time. Please tell us what you thought!
Tansoku: So we’re okay?
Sentosu: How was that match in hindsight?
Tansoku: Well, it really feels like I was lucky. I really feel apologetic to NAGON, but it feels like everything was decided by luck. I’m so sorry.
Sentosu: Oh, that’s going too far. By the way, were there any card choices that you were particular about?
Tansoku: Well, I guess it’s where I added Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate in my Rogue deck? I mentioned this earlier (during tech difficulties), but NAGON conceded before I could put Yogg down so it got no time in the limelight. But that’s about it — Yogg in my Rogue.
Sentosu: You did win the match, so perhaps we’ll get another chance to see Yogg. After all, this tournament is titled “Rebirth of the Old Gods Festival”, so I’m looking forward to it.
Sentosu: And there’s more to ask NAGON, too. Unfortunately you lost, but your lineup was quite different from that of other players. And your ban wasn’t a Demon Hunter, though it was the Aggro type. Can we hear about how you approached this tournament?
NAGON: I think I banned Demon Hunter?
Sentosu: Oh, I’m terribly sorry. I had it reversed. Terribly sorry. Then, can you talk about what you included in your deck?
NAGON: My decks… well, I thought Control Warriors would be the fad, so I added the 5-mana 5/5 (Platebreaker) in my Demon Hunter deck. I also adjusted my Shaman deck to be anti-Warrior as well, so I think the weakness created from that showed in my match.
Sentosu: And your Warrior is also a Control type. Did you have Tempo Warriors in mind with this choice?
NAGON: No, I just chose it because I felt it was a powerful deck.
Sentosu: I see. This deck was banned so we couldn’t see it in action, but what cards are key for this deck?
NAGON: Well, it’s called the Silas OTK Warrior. You use Silas Darkmoon to send the Soulbound Ashtongue to the opponent, and defeat it using Shield Slam. Another strong point of this deck is that the combo only requires those three cards, so even when you’re not actively going for the combo you can use the other cards to play a normal control game. It’s a powerful deck because there are very few unnecessary cards.
Sentosu: I see, so it’s an OTK deck that utilizes very few key cards, and you can also endures attacks as well, making it a very special deck. Oyatsu, do you have questions for the two players as well?
Oyatsu: I do. I’d first like to ask Tansoku. All eight players brought Demon Hunter decks, but you were the only one to bring an Aggro Demon Hunter. Can I ask the reasoning behind it?
Tansoku: Because Soul DH is too strong, I thought someone would totally bring a lineup that would target it, like someone would bring Libram Paladin or Control Warrior and one more deck that would specifically target Soul DH. So I brought an Aggro DH that is strong against Libram Paladin, but it turns out nobody brought that. I should just have brought a Soul DH myself.
Oyatsu: That said, this Aggro Demon Hunter may have its own spotlight in the future, so I’m looking forward to how it will do. One more question for both of you — again, this has nothing to do with the tournament, but can I ask you two what your favorite card in the newest expansion is? Let’s start with Tansoku.
Tansoku: Me? I guess I’d have to say Yogg.
Tansoku: I loved it back in Whispers of the Old Gods, but it’s back and it’s stronger so it’s my favorite card.
Oyatsu: And you, NAGON?
NAGON: I didn’t add it to my deck, but what it does looks strong on paper so I kinda like it.
Oyatsu: That’s a pretty cool pick there.
NAGON: I couldn’t use it for this tournament, but I still feel like it has a bit of potential.
Oyatsu: It lets you draw a card, and if you use what you drew your hero gets +4 attack. That’s a pretty unique card, and it is a card that Aggro Demon Hunters use.
Oyatsu: I personally feel that it’s a very interesting card. Thank you very much, that’s all from me.
Sentosu: Okay, thank you. I’d like to ask NAGON a question. I hear that you really like control decks. Are there any classes other than Warrior that you’ve got your eyes on?
NAGON: In the current meta, there aren’t that many other control decks out there.
Sentosu: So it’s hard to think of one.
NAGON: Perhaps Broom Paladin? It was powerful in the previous meta, but for this tournament I had to use five cards from the new expansion so I just couldn’t build a good Broom Paladin deck and gave up. But I still think there’s a possibility for it to be a deck to stop Demon Hunters.
Sentosu: Just because we didn’t see it today doesn’t mean that Paladins have fallen short.
NAGON: Right. It really was a powerful deck.
Sentosu: I see. Thank you. That’s it for the interview for the two of you. Tansoku, you have the semifinals up ahead. Can we get your thoughts on the upcoming match?
Tansoku: Well, I really want that mousepad, so I will make sure to win. I’ll do my best!
Sentosu: Today’s tournament is set so that the more you win, the more prizes you earn. And Tansoku, we built up a situation where the other three semifinalists are all Grandmasters. What do you think about that?
Tansoku: That means I’m the next Grandmaster. (laughs) Well, at least that’s what I think, so I will defeat them all and become the champion.
Sentosu: You’ll defeat them all!? Okay, thank you both for this interview.
Tansoku: Than you very much.