Held in Krefeld, Germany over the 11th to the 15th of November 2015 Seat Story Cup IV turned out to be one of the most exciting and surprising tournaments of the year. The tournament hosted some of Hearthstone’s biggest names including freshly appointed World Champion Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall, 2014 world champion James “Firebat” Kostesich, Thijs “Thijs” Molendijk, Byron “Reckful” Bernstein, Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root, Jan “Super JJ” Jansen and more. With a $20,000 prize pool there was great deal of ‘try harding’ and plenty of memorable moments. Here are the top five parts of Seat Story Cup IV that contributed in making this tournament something truly special.
5. The Atmosphere
Seat Story Cup is known for it’s relaxed attitude and party-like atmosphere. It really seems as though the players are there to hang out first and play Hearthstone second – which is a refreshing approach. In-between matches competitors could be found playing poker, messing around on the ‘casting couch’ or generally just having fun and drinking a lot of alcohol (especially in Purple’s case). An intoxicated Tang “Eloise” Haiyun was doing her best to troll her fellow casters whilst Dan “Frodan” Chou was doing his best to keep it professional. The atmosphere of Seat Story Cup IV couldn’t be anymore different from the professionalism of the Blizzcon World Championships held only days before however that’s what makes Seat Story special. It’s a lot of fun not only watching the matches between high level competitors but also getting to know the players and commentators on a more personable level. Seat Story Cup really stands out from the other Hearthstone tournaments.
4. The RNG
What would a Hearthstone tournament be without some outrageous game-deciding RNG? Seat Story Cup IV had it all. A Doomsayer from a Piloted Shredder?Check. Boom bots going face for exact lethal? Check. To highlight one memorable moment in Group Stage Two Jon “Orange” Westberg took out 2015 world champ Ostkaka’s Oil Rogue when his boom bots went face for lethal with only an 8 percent chance. However, later on, karma caught up with Orange as Paul “Zalae” Nemeth pulled a doomsayer out of one of his Piloted Shredders buying him enough time to finish him off in the following turns. There were plenty of nail-biting finishers that were won on the back of these kinds of Esports shenanigans and whilst for the players on the losing side it can be frustrating to say the least, for the viewers it provided some glorious entertainment.
3. Reno Jackson
Love him or hate him Reno Jackson is a card that has single-handedly changed the meta. Released in the first wing of the League of Explorers expansion, the card had only been out one day before the tournament began. Super JJ was one of a handful of players to take a chance on the card; building a Freeze Mage deck around it and boy did it pay off. The look on Paul “Gaara” Stevanovic’s face as Super JJ heals for a full 29 points in the ultimate win against his Secret Paladin was priceless.
In fact the power and surprise factor of Reno Jackson arguably played a large part in Super JJ’s first place finish in the tournament; in the final match Super JJ’s Reno Freeze mage went five-zero against all four of Stanislav “Stancifka” Cifka’s decks.
2. The Control Warrior Mirror
Reckful and Stancifka’s first matchup in Group Stage two was the dreaded Control Warrior mirror. It is not uncommon for Control Warrior mirrors to go for extended periods of time and this match was no exception, spanning for thirty-six minutes in total. This matchup is often decided by who draws Justicar Truehart first, allowing the player to ‘Tank Up’ four armour instead of the usual two with Armour Up. However this game was incredibly close the whole way through and the final few minutes were miraculous.
Both players had run out of cards and were taking an increasing amount of fatigue damage each turn. The only chance for Stancifka to win was to force Reckful to draw another card in order to bring him one turn closer to taking lethal fatigue damage. In this case, a 50/50 decided the outcome with Reckful playing his Sylvanas Windrunner and Stancifka responding with an Acolyte of Pain into Brawl. The Acolyte survived, Sylvanas Windrunner’s deathrattle stole it bringing it to Reckfuls side of the board. Stancifka was able to charge his Grommash Hellscream into the Acolyte causing extra fatigue damage from the forced card draw and took the game in a show of just how unfair RNG can sometimes be.
1. Good VS. Bad Sportsmanship
Following the humiliating defeat in the Control Warrior mirror, Reckful, a popular streamer and a man no stranger to controversy threw his second match against Stancifka in spectacular fashion. Reckful “spaced out” in the missing his chance to keep or discard cards for his opening hand. He then promptly stood up and exited the player’s booth. Throwing his hands up in anger and conceded the match to Stancifka. Stancifka, after a few confusing minutes, offered up a rematch in a showing of true sportsmanship and Reckful decided to take the second chance offer. The final match between the two was Reckful’s Hybrid Hunter versus Stancifka’s Tempo Mage. Despite Stancifka’s sportsmanship Reckful finished him off with a stunning BM, Quickshotting his own face and playing the Unleash The Hounds given to him by Stancifka’s own Spellslinger.
These are only five of my favourite parts of Seat Story Cup IV and there are many more that I couldn’t cover in this article. If you feel like watching some of the VODs (and I recommend you do) check them out below,
Meanwhile, why don’t you what were your favourite parts of Seat Story IV? Let us know in the comments