With 2018 soon to be in the rearview mirror, the Hearthstone calendar year may be wrapping up, but the 2019 season is already getting a headstart. Just this past weekend, the 2nd stop on next year’s tour wrapped up in a rather “under-the-radar” fashion.

       And yet, that’s not to say that HCT Philadelphia wasn’t packed with a lot of implications and intrigue. As the first tournament featuring cards and decks from the latest expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble, HCT Philly was set to serve as the hotbed for professional experimentation. However, the result actually showed quite the opposite. In fact, most of the decks we saw at the tournament put an emphasis on many of the same trends we had been seeing over the course of the past year.

       The most dominant class at the tournament was easily Druid, with Malygos Druid being extremely prevalent amongst the players who finished at the top of the ladder. Additionally, Paladin stayed close to the top of the meta, as decks like Even Paladin, Odd Paladin, and all of their variants dominated throughout the entire top 16. For a tournament that was supposedly set to ring in a new age of competitive Hearthstone, it became clear that many, if not all of the pros were dead set on sticking to the security of the past.

       However, it was the outside pick in Luke “Nohandsgamer” Kooken who took home the trophy with his usage of Taunt Druid, Even Paladin, Kingsbane Rogue, and of course, Cubelock. The integration of decks and cards from Rastakhan’s Rumble was essentially invisible throughout the tournament, as the majority of players who made it into the later rounds of the event stuck to what’s worked in previous iterations of the game. What’s most troubling is the champion of the tournament used 2 decks that didn’t feature a single card from the latest expansion, and his decks that did featured just 2 unique cards at most.

       Perhaps cards and decks featured in Rastakhan’s Rumble will start to pop up more as we progress further into 2019, but for now, HCT Philadelphia can serve as a brief snapshot into the future. If this tournament is to serve as any standard for the rest of the season, an immediate rejection of the game’s latest expansion could be a foreboding notion.


Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons, Blizzard Entertainment