Hey readers! With the recent addition of Tavern Brawl and the success of Challengestone, I was interested to see if these new formats are more beneficial to players than originally thought.
What’s Challengestone you ask? The streamer and community figure known as Kripparian or Kripp is now working on his fourth iteration of Challengestone, a tournament dedicated to put a player’s skill to the test, with many renditions giving the players a time limit to create three decks that fit under the tourney ruleset. Each edition features its own unique rules that the players will have to adapt to, showing that they’re not only great players but amazing deckbuilders as well. Challengestone is casted by Kripp himself, along with his co-casters Artosis and Gaara, and many more Hearthstone pros and celebrities following suit in the future.
After his return from GamesCom, Kripp was kind enough to answer some questions about some of the recent new formats and Challengestone itself:
1. What inspired the creation of Challengestone?
Rania (Kripp’s partner) and I talked about future plans one of the times we went out last summer, and she suggested that we could run our own tournament with perhaps an interesting rule set. On the first day the best idea we came up with is having a format where each participant named 2 cards, and each of those cards would have to be included in every deck.
2. Does Challengestone have any sort of goal?
The goal of Challengestone is to highlight players who have exceptional deck building skills, as all normal tournaments no longer challenge this. Also to deliver a great viewing experience of course!
3. What are your opinions on the Tavern Brawl format and the past brawls we have seen?
The Tavern Brawl format is great, it has unlimited potential. So far a lot of the brawls have been lackluster, but early in development and with a new one each week, there is reason to expect gradual improvement.
4. Do you find Tavern Brawl to have a competitive edge, to be a casual mode, or something else entirely?
Tavern Brawl is pretty close to a real casual mode, as results really don't matter. A lot of players use the mode just to have a lot of fun, and as a good means to complete daily quests.
5. What do formats like Challengestone and Tavern Brawl bring to the Hearthstone table? Do you think these formats benefit the community/playerbase?
Challengestone brings a completely different side of competitive play to the tournament scene, which most players seem to like, and often participate in challenges with their friends. Tavern Brawl seems to mostly satisfy the curiosity of players by showing what is possible within this type of game engine.
As the Challengestones are organized, the Tavern Brawls cycled and the Solo Adventures released, what do we gain from these formats? Is it new cards? Another stream to watch?
Or is it deeper than that?
Developing as Players
When we queue up in Tavern Brawl, prepare for an expansion boss, or prepare for a round robin in Challengestone, what is one thing we do before we start?
We build a deck.
Deckbuilding is a very important skill to have in card games, but even more so to tackle the challenges presented to us in Tavern Brawl or Solo Adventures, or the rulings of a Challengestone match.
Deckbuilding in Solo Adventures gave players a feel of building a deck to counter a strategy, similar to teching in cards into your deck in ladder. The general process to constructing a successful deck in Solo Adventures was to creatively counter a boss’ Hero Power or deck with a core set of cards, incorporate synergistic cards and then round off the deck with high-quality cards that compliment your curve. Alternatively, successful Solo Adventure decks aimed to be on the proactive in the match, and were built to emulate a playstyle that was relatively strong against the boss you were facing (Playing Zoolock against Baron Geddon, for example.).
Building a deck for Naxxramas/Blackrock Mountain is fairly binary; you can either counter a boss’ strengths, or play to their weaknesses. Albeit the seemingly simple process, no other format has the emphasis on problem-solving Solo Adventures need to be completed.
This changes drastically when we approach our weekly Tavern Brawls, considering we have to incorporate playing a format with a metagame. You can play to the meta, or play against it. Let’s use this week’s Tavern Brawl, The Great Summoner Competition, as an example. When thinking of class dynamics for this brawl, Druid is a popular choice, namely with plenty of buff and ramp spells. Picking this would be playing to the meta, taking what’s strong and going with it. On the flipside, you could pick something akin to Priest, and draft plenty of removal spells and silences, maybe even Loatheb, aiming to play against the meta.
Alternatively, you can aim towards the middle, and build your deck to play alongside the meta, blending the strengths of metadecks and the disruptive nature of anti-meta decks.
Here’s this Druid deck I built for this week’s Tavern Brawl, where I aimed to capitalize on Druid’s strengths, and on the weaknesses of the expected competition. When you eliminate the binary deck decision making seen in Solo Adventures, deckbuilding gets a little trickier.
If you ever get a chance to participate in Kripp’s Challengestone, you’re in luck. You’ll be competing against some of the best players in the world in a battle of wits, strategy and deckbuilding. Challengestone is a perfect way to demonstrate good deckbuilding in a limited format. By being forced to building your deck to certain guidelines, a player’s creativity shines on top of their deckbuilding prowess. Your choices may be limited, but building a successful deck in Challengestone combines skills we learned in our conquests of Naxxramas and Blackrock and in our weekly Tavern Brawls.
Firstly, we need to problem-solve.
How do I get around the handicap placed on me by the rulings?
What cards are legal, which aren’t?
Are there any strong metadecks I can emulate effectively?
Afterwards, we need to secondly play the meta.
What archetype is naturally favored?
What class cards are naturally strong in these limited formats?
What neutral cards are also strong?
What cards will synergize with my deck?
Are the rulings strict enough that I can easily predict what will be played?
If yes, what cards should I tech?
Is there any playstyle that naturally complements the decks I drafted?
Going through this thought process lets participants deeply analyze possible matchups, the best choices for your deck(s) and how to identify the current meta.
So, overall, what do these formats grant to us as players?
Playing to/alongside/against a or the meta
Problem-solving in a competitive setting
Enough about you and me, let’s focus on the big picture...
Developing as a Community
When we play Hearthstone, we often forget about the community as a whole. If you weren’t already aware, the additions of these new formats have helped the community greatly. Not only do the aforementioned formats improve us as players, but we are now able to connect with one another in a way we couldn’t have before. We’ve all shared decklists, but nothing like grouping up to brainstorm the list to take down that really tough Heroic Boss. We’ve all thought of fun decks or fun rulesets, but nothing like having a bunch of insane rulesets being cycled each week for us to tackle. We’ve all tried to break the meta, but we’ve never had to define it like the participants in Challengestone.
The three formats I discussed today have all granted us experiences we could never recreate in Play Mode or Arena, experiences that let us improve as players, and bond as a community. There’s nothing like sharing tales of your Heroic conquests in Solo Adventures, having some next-level RNG go down in your weekly Brawl session, or even making your own ruleset so you can have your own Challengestone with your friends!
Overall, Solo Adventures, Tavern Brawl and Challengestone not only help us as players, but let us all experience Hearthstone in a fun, community-building environment.
I’d like to thank Kripparian for taking time out of his busy schedule to give his input. You can find him on:
Thanks for reading!