The first stop on the HS Masters Tour ended with Huang “Xiaobai” Dehui sweeping the bracket to earn $25,000 in prize funds, and the first set of GM Points for the season. The Warlock, Paladin, Rogue and Warrior decklist combo Xiaobai used was oppressive in every single match, and earned him victories with very little fancy plays or monster hand combos.
The new expansion will dictate a new meta, but we do like that players use a fairly simplified and straightforward deck building approach in competitive this season.
Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge Details
The first Masters Tour event of the season featured 389 qualified competitors battling for for the first set of Grandmaster Points and $250.000 in prize funds. The three day event saw broadcasts start every day at 9am PST, with the schedule lasting for up to 12 hours. The standard Conquest format was used, with each qualified participant submitting up to three decks for each stage of the competition.
The first two days were reserved for 5/4 Swiss Rounds competitions with the Top 16 advancing to a single-elimination Playoffs. This was the first event of the 2021 tour, but the last featuring the “old” meta, with the next stop (Orgrimmar) moving on to the upcoming Forged in the Barrens decklist. We will also have Masters Tour Dalaran, Silvermoon, Stormwind, and Undercity thereafter all the way until October.
Xiaobai wins the final in clean sweep
Coming into the final four matches, games were not easy for the KaiZi Gaming player. He played through three consecutive highly contested series against lambyseries (3-2), Okasinnsuke (3-2) and Turna (3-1) to reach the final. His Warrior and Paladin decks struggled the most, while his Zoo Warlock was an absolute nightmare to play against. The full decklist is available here.
In the final against Michaël “Maverick” Looze, everyone expected a close series especially considering how dominating Maverick was in his previous series. Even the pre-series esports betting odds had Maverick as the favorite with almost a 3x return on an upset by Xiaobai. And an upset is what we got. A blend of bad draws and some seriously annoying plays by Xiaobai made the series thoroughly uninteresting, as the board was stacked against Maverick in every single game.
Nonetheless, it was a big reputation building tournament for Xiaobai, who is fairly unknown outside the Chinese competitive Hearthstone scene. Based on how he drafts and fiddles around with decks, we are likely seeing him more of him this season.
The next stop on the Hearthstone Masters Tour is Orgrimmar, with qualifiers already up and running. Everyone can sign up at the following Battlefy page.
Finally, the next HS Masters will be played on the new expansion Forged in the Barrens, coming March 30th. We can expect a new meta and a full decklist developed during the pre-launch festivities starting on March 23rd.