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What is Tavern vs Tavern?

Blizzard introduced Tavern vs Tavern shortly after releasing Fireside Gathering features, this event allows established taverns and their respective Innkeepers recruit a team of three in order to battle it out against other taverns across North America.

Similar to Challengestone, it’s a deck building oriented tournament. However, this format allows for a lot more deck testing, Challengestone only provides you enough time to figure out and build your decks. In this tournament, you are given one week notice and can practice with your teammates to try and figure out the best decks in the rule set meta.

 

Format and rules

Players from each team will be assigned one deck that they play throughout the qualifying phase. Each player on the team will play against all the other players on the opposing team. This allows for a total of 9 games per round.

No Epic or Legendary quality cards allowed.

Roster – VanHearth Black

  • TheJordude
    Director, SFU Hearthstone

  • RealTerror
    3 Time Tavern Hero Champion


  • itzBolt
    CSL Champion 2015, UBC

  • Zapgaze (A)
    2017 GP Las Vegas Champion

Analysis

MVP of Pauper

BONEMARE! This card is absolutely insane and is a common. You get the buff from its battlecry and you also get a 5/5 body. Even if they remove the buffed minion, the damage is already done. Almost every deck will have two copies of Bonemare in their deck.

Druid

Aggro Druid
Compared to standard it lost Patches, Bittertide Hydras and Living Mana. The deck lost some explosiveness and flood potential. The Hydra loss isn’t as bad because there are less control decks in the format.

Jade Druid
All of the ramp cards are still available and all the jade cards as well. It lost cards such as Fandral, Aya, Ultimate Infestation and Primordial Drake. Losing the first two cards meant that the snowball and threat potential is slightly lower. The loss of drake meant that it was slightly hard to play against aggressive decks due to the battlecry and taunt status being so important. Finally, with Ultimate Infestation gone, it meant we had to revert back to an auctioneer list.

Hunter

Hunter hasn’t had a place in standard for a while, until most recently Asmodai hitting rank 1 legend with it. However, with the lack of needed epics and legendaries, this class seemed to be a good fit for the format. The legendary Savannah Highmane was allowed to stay.

Mage

Freeze mage was obviously out of the question. However, Secret Mage seemed like it could do some work by snowballing. A lot of the cards remained in the deck, however, it did lose Primordial Glyph.

Paladin

Murloc Paladin
The deck lost too many needed cards such as Vilefin Inquisitor, Murloc Warleader, Gentle Megasaur. Along with the legendaries such as Sunkeeper Tarim. However, the deck still had access to buff cards such as Blessing of Kings and Spikeridged Steed.

Midrange Paladin
With Murlocs out of the way, we looked towards a more midrange deck. Although legendaries allowed in the format, Stonehill Defender will generally provide you with one of the three taunt Paladin legendaries (Wickerflame Burnbristle, Sunkeeper Tarim and Tirion Fordring).

Handbuff Paladin
This was also a possibility, with cards such as Grimestreet Enforcer and Saronite Chain Gang.

Priest

Dragon Priest
The thing you miss most about the standard Dragon Priest deck is Dragonfire Potion. However, even with it gone, it still has access to AoE (Holy Nova). The dragons it has access to are still incredibly good. Netherspite Historian and Bone Drake are also dragon generators giving you access to the more expensive and possibly banned dragons you can’t put in your deck.

Silence Priest
It lost Shadow Visions which takes out the consistency of the deck. The card is just too important due to the fact that it allows you to search for a combo piece and it also remains in your deck as well in case you need it for later.

Rogue

Not much to talk about here, Vilespine Slayer is an epic card and Rogue just seems so weak without it.

Shaman

Nothing much changed from the standard Evolve Shaman list. A few tweaks and the deck should be good.

Warlock

First thing that sticks out when you hear some sort of budget format is Zoo. Zoo is known as the deck that is cheap and has always been efficient at laddering. So this one seems pretty obvious as you still have access to things such as Doomguard which is insanely strong.

Warrior

First thought of Warrior in standard would be Pirate Warrior. However, on further inspection you lose cards such as Patches and Southsea Captain. This lessens the explosiveness of the deck and doesn’t seem as strong as the other decks in the format.

Thoughts After Testing

Board control is everything in this format, and getting your minions to stick for Bonemare is extremely important. It somewhat reminds me of how you play Arena.

As expected Dragon Priest and Evolve Shaman were definitely strong. Druid didn’t seem that good, the ramp takes too long to get through and you were behind on board, which meant your opponent could snowball against you. Paladin seemed alright, but we didn’t like it too much. Zoo also didn’t seem too bad, but didn’t stick out to us as anything over powered. Hunter was a great deck because you would almost always have a board to Bonemare.

Dragon Priest (Played by itzBolt)

Looking at the deck you can see that it has early game removal through Potion of Madness and Shadow Word: Pain. Radiant Elemental and Kabal Talonpriest provide early game minions in order to contest the board. Twilight Drake has a high health pool allowing it to stick on the board and eventually get buffed by Bonemare. Drakonid Operative allows you to get information on your opponents deck, which can be important as your team has to play them a total of three times each round. Bone Drake and Netherspite Historian are dragon generators for more value and answers. Book Wyrm is great removal and also has a high health stat which can be followed up with a Bonemare on seven mana.

Evolve Shaman (played by TheJordude)

Everything is pretty similar to the standard deck. We threw in Argent Squires for a little bit more early game. We added in Hex to deal with larger minions we can’t get through, especially big buffed and taunted minions. We also expected a lot of Paladin which means it can get through Spikeridged Steed. The interesting was one Bonemare, we tried one hex and two Bonemares but decided the removal was a lot more important. Less of the Shaman games were won because of Bonemare and through testing, we were looking for other cards more.

The Search for the Final Deck

Hunter seemed really strong for us and it was easily a deck that maintained board throughout and had minions that could be buffed by both Houndmaster and Bonemare. The deck itself simply curved out really well. However, one of our players – Zapgaze, had an interesting thought when we decided on Dragon Priest he felt that the dragons were extremely strong and wondered if there was another class we could do the same with. Eventually he came up with a Dragonlock.

Aggressive Midrange Hunter

The deck was made to curve out well with the primary focus of getting to turn 6 into 7. We tried Vicious Fledgling and Bearshark, but it seemed Flappy Bird was stronger. Deadly Shot was a nice inclusion to deal with bigger threats and taunts. It was difficult to decide between Nesting Roc and Stranglethorn Tiger, personally I felt the tiger was stronger but having both in the deck was actually a nice option to choose from.

 

Dragonlock

We tried to replicate the frame of Dragon Priest and fill the deck with Warlock cards. As you can see, we still have dragon generators, Twilight Drakes, Book Wyrms and Bonemare. Cobalt Scalebane replaced Drakonid Operative as it’s an extremely strong card along with Tar Creeper or any other minion that is just on the board. There’s a wide range of spot removal and AoE. Defile is an interesting and fun card to play alongside Tainted Zealot as it can clear lots of boards.

With two great decks in the format, we decided we would run a gauntlet to decide the third and final deck. We put both decks against decks we expected people to bring and the one that did the best and had the higher overall winrate would be the final deck. After testing, Dragonlock came to have the higher winrate.

Results

Here is the bracket for the round robin phase. We had a smaller group so we only had three opponents. We ended the day with a 3-0 overall record. Dragon Priest went undefeated, Evolve Shaman lost once and Dragonlock lost twice.

Shaman, Druid and Paladin were the most popular decks in the whole tournament, in that order respectively.

Overall, we were pretty satisfied with our preparation. Talking with some other teams, we discovered they just built “obvious decks” and went into the tournament. Teams will probably take it more seriously in the round of 16. However, if they continue to slack on preparation you will see Vancouver at Blizzcon.

Written by ItzBolt

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