VS Gaming Hearthstone Premier Division 2nd Leg Analysis
Dylan 'Dib' Brown
With the second leg of the VS Gaming Hearthstone Premier Division having kicked off last week, we have an interesting three weeks ahead of us. The runaway winner of Leg 1, Warwick “Menlyn” Mons, a well known local player and runner up of ESL Africa Season 2, has retired from the league. In addition to this, The Witchwood expansion has just been released, bringing with it the Year of the Raven standard rotation. This means the meta is likely to be in flux for the next few weeks. This should lead to a wide open field for the top spot at the end of Leg 2.
There are two particular players that stand out as favourites for this leg in Dale “Pand3m0nia” Pon and Carl “Carl” Beckerling. Pand3m0nia has been competing in the VS Gaming Hearthstone leagues since the very first season, walking away with the 2015 Championship title. Carl is a relative newcomer to the local scene, making a name for himself last year when he climbed his way up to Premier Division. Carl also represents local MGO Sinister5. We spoke to Pand3m0nia to ask him his thoughts on the second leg and who his biggest competition is:
“I feel a bit nervous, since I had a pretty rough Leg 1, but hopefully will be able to recover in Leg 2. Carl would be the toughest challenge, since he’s been in the Premier Division for the longest and is a strong competitor.”
It seems that Pand3m0nia agrees with us that Carl is going to be one to watch out for. There are a quite a few fresh faces in the Premier Division as well. Pand3m0nia kicked off this leg with a 3-2 win over Michael “MicaGima” Georgiades, who gained promotion to the Premier Division after Leg 1. Jan “Greatone” Blomerus finished third in the Premier Division in Leg 1 and has started off this leg with a 1-3 loss to Bertus “M_D_K” Swanevelder, who just managed to escape relegation from Premier Division during the first leg. Junaid “MasterChwaan” Rajah also barely escaped relegation during the last leg, and had a tough start to Leg 2 with a 0-3 loss to Carl. The other debutant to the Premier Division, Chris “Slyncypoo” Alers, got off to a relaxed start thanks to the bye he gets as a result of Menlyn’s forfeit from the league.
This leg also marks the first under the new Year of the Raven standard year, which is going to be a big challenge for all the players. We asked Pand3m0nia how he thinks this might affect Leg 2.
“I think it will definitely shake things up considerably. I think those with more experience and skill will definitely have an advantage over some of the newer players when it comes to the Meta shifts as well as constantly changing decks.”
If Pand3m0nia is correct and the shake up does favour those with experience then he and Carl should be feeling good going into this leg and they would be our favourites to top the division this leg. Perhaps with so many new new faces in the division, one player will emerge to upset these two established players. Fresh faces in the premier division will hopefully be good for Southern African Hearthstone, if the less well known players can learn from the more experienced ones and provide them a challenge then that will be very good for the health of the local scene. To all participating, we wish you the best of luck, and may the best player win!