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Looking for cheap but effective Hearthstone decks?

Artem Uarabei

It's time to look back to the two GosuCup SEA tournaments held in the last two weekends, show you the decklists the winners used and get to interview the "budget" champion on how to win prizes with cheap decks.

1. GosuCup #1 and #2 overview

It was two weeks ago that we first announced the GosuCup SEA circuit. After running twenty Hearthstone tournaments on the European region, we flew East to create a grass roots series of events, aiming to spur growth in South East Asia, one of the least televized and developed Hearthstone regions. 

Knowing that Hearthstone is a game enjoyed by fans of all other gaming genres, on top of our monetary budget we opened our Dota 2 reserves and decided to give away almost $6,000 in Dota 2 keys and rares over the course of the four-month circuit. The interest you took in this was amazing - more than 310 playes signed up for the first cup while 250 came to the "budget" edition next week. Overnight, these GosuCups became the highest-visited tournament in the region. At the time of this article, more than 100 players have already signed up for GosuCup SEA #3 and the tournament isn't even starting until this Saturday.

As the cherry on top of the weekly cup sundae, we put a $500 grand final for the 32 best players in the region. After two cups, we already know four of those players.

Dennisgosu, Alexieishere and Ferdzm finished first, second and third in GosuCup #1 respectively, becoming the first batch of grand final players. This Saturday, DaPh from Vietnam joined them and in five more days, we'll get three more players from GosuCup #3 coming in. 

Grand finals line-up (4/32)

Malaysia Dennisgosu
Indonesia Alexieishere
Philippines Ferdzm
Vietnam DaPh

One other thing we've always liked about GosuCups is the nation standings. With a lot of rivalry happening in the SEA region about which country is the best, we knew we wanted to rank the nations again, based on how far into the top 8 their representatives go. After two cups, we have Vietnam and the Philippines on the top of the rankings, followed closedly by Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore, usually known as one of the stronger countries in the region, is at only three points and is closing the top 5.

GosuCup SEA nation standings

1. Vietnam Vietnam - 10 points
1. Philippines Philippines - 10 points
3. Malaysia Malaysia - 7 points
4. Indonesia Indonesia - 6 points
5. Singapore Singapore - 3 points
6. Thailand Thailand - 0 points
6. Laos Laos - 0 points
6. Cambodia Cambodia - 0 points
6. Burma Burma - 0 points


2. Winners' decklists

Hunter was the obvious king of the last two GosuCups. An incredibly strong deck that's also easy to collect, Rexxar was the go to choice for all of the top players in GosuCup #1 and #2. 

This doesn't mean it was all Hunter all the way, though. We saw a couple of Druids, both mid-rane and Ramp; control decks like Handlock, Warrior and even Paladin; lots of Priests and even some Shaman in the budget cups. Solid decks all, so get ready for some netdecking.

[GosuCup #1 1st place] Dennisgosu: Druid • Priest • Hunter
[GosuCup #1 2nd place] Alexieishere: Hunter • Priest • Handlock
[GosuCup #1 3rd place] Ferdzm: Woo • Hunter • Control Paladin 
GosuCup #1 4th place] Kambras14: Hunter • Ramp Druid • Control Warrior

[GosuCup #2 BUDGET 1st place] DaPh: Hunter • Priest • Shaman
[GosuCup #2 BUDGET 2nd place] Noraneko: Shaman • Priest • Zoo


3. GosuCup #2 Budget winner's interview: DaPh


OK, first of all - gratz on winning GosuCup SEA #2 and making it to the grand finals in February! It feels good I imagine?

Definitely, it’s my first ever victory in a Hearthstone tournament.

How long have you been playing the game? How did you get into it and decided you want to start competing?

I have been playing since the middle of the first official season, around April if I remember correctly. I had a beta key but I was busy at that time.

I began playing competitively two months ago, started from weekly cup like Zotac or Nesl and some Vietnamese Hearthstone community tournaments.

Did you learn something during those cups that helped you prepare for GosuCup better? Deckbuilding techniques, or reading the open cup metagame, for example?

The thing I'm learning from playing Hearthstone competitively is organizing deck lists. I have to know every common deck's play style and its counter decks and what deck it is strong against. I’m confident that I’m familiar with all kinds of common deck right now besides OTK warrior that I haven’t tried yet.

In this GosuCup many of the contestants including myself knew that aggro deathrattle decks will be most common. So I prepared few decks like this for myself and as well as their counters and I tried not to misplay.

Let’s talk about your decks now that you mentioned them. We've run budget cups in the past and we know that Shaman and Hunter are strong choices... But you also had a Priest, which is a class that usually needs epics and legendaries to work properly. How did you come up with this deck?

I tried to replicate a similar deck to control Priest which I believed would work well against aggro decks. The most common epic card in normal control priest is Cabal Shadow Priest, while Sylvanas Windrunnerand/or Ysera are the legendaries. Expecting the aggro meta, I substituted Cabal with Shadow Word: Painand I also put in Earthen Ring Farseer which works well with Auchenai Soulpriest.

I think high mana cost legendary like Ysera or Ragnaros are working as a backup resources for control priest when dealing with other control decks like warrior or handlock. So yeah, I dont think the lacking of legendaries caused me anything trouble when matched against aggro deathrattle deck.

"I tried to replicate a similar deck to control Priest which I believed would work well against aggro decks."

How did the tournament go for you? What were the decks you encountered the most and were there any series that were particularly troublesome for you to win?

Every opponent I got and all started the first match with an aggro deck, zoolock or hunter mostly. So again I think, just assuming we are all at the same level of playing Hearthstone, the luck in mulligan and drawing in the early game are the most important in aggro matchups. The one who already has the advantage needs to know how to keep it up until the end.

Most of my first matchs ended quickly. Ofcourse, I put in things as backup plan for my decks as if I was so behind, like in my zoolock, I put in Hellfire, in the Hunter deck, I put 2 Explosive Traps and one *CARD "Unleash the Hound" NOT FOUND*s and a Cult Master.

After first match, most of my opponent switched to control Priest if they lost as I also expected. They are great players who had prepared a strategy for a bad scenario.

The one that I found most difficult is the Priest mirror, which is mostly decided by who gets a betterThoughtsteal and who uses their resources most efficiently. These matchups all ended in fatigue situation.

You had to play a fellow Vietnamese player in the finals. Did you know Noraneko from before?

Nope, I literally didnt know him before. I added him and cheered him after seeing him at the other side of the bracket! I was hoping for a Vietnamese grand final and it came true. [laughs]

Yes, Vietnam is now top of the nation rankings in GosuCup, tied with Philippines! Great victory for you guys.

What level would you say the SEA scene is on at the moment? Western fans don't get to see many SEA tournaments and there aren't a lot to begin with, I believe. So shed some light on it - which is the strongest country in the region, how do you practice, what's the general activity of the competitive scene?

There is a monthly cup called The Legends for SEA Hearthstone players and there are I believe very good players coming from all corners of SEA. I didn’t have a chance to attend that cup but if we use it as an official measurement, we can find out which country is the strongest.

And also, there are few good Hearthstone players from SEA like Chalk or Staz from the Philippines that attended the quilifier for Hearthstone championship NA & SEA regions, they also had good results.

"The thing I'm learning from playing Hearthstone competitively is organizing deck lists."

How about the local Vietnamese scene? Do you get many opportunities to compete?

There’s a monthly cup, but the number of Hearthstone tournament in Vietnam is still not good as we don’t have proper sponsors I believe and the spectator mode is not coming out yet, so we are all like lacking of stuffs to prepare for a good tournament.

At the end of the interview, let's talk about Goblins vs Gnomes, the new HS expansion that was just announced. Your first impressions?

Most of the announced cards are RNG based so I don’t think they will be common much in competitive scene or gridning the ladder.

It's been confirmed that the bulk of the expansion won't be RNG based, though.

Ye I know that, so yeah, we have to wait then. I’m really looking forward to it. It's really exciting but I don’t have much more to say until it's fully released.

Do you like the fact that there's a new type of minions, the Mech? They seem very tribal oriented, with lots of sinergies.

Of course, and there will be something with dragon type minions as well. How good is that?

Oh, man, yeah! Dragon tribal sounds exciting!

I really loved BlizzCon this year!

Anyways, I think we can bring this interview to an endAnything else for our "camera"?

I just want to say I love Hearthstone.

Good closing words!