For the second time in three years, Purple has captured the Hearthstone Americas Championship.  After months of grinding ladders and tournaments capped by a brutal tournament with a ton of incredibly skilled players, he emerged on top playing four decks you’d expect…but optimized for tournament play with some interesting tech choices:

Druid was the class of the tournament followed closely by Priest with a whopping total representation of 136 decks out of a possible 140.  Jade Druid was an almost unanimous choice, with 69 of the 70 competitors bringing some variant of the list while 58 players brought Kazakus Priest.

What is most striking about Purple’s builds of the decks is he’s eschewed a number of powerful, commonly run cards in favor of more stable early game effects (like Naturalize and Doomsayer) or more board wipe combos (Circle/Auchenai and Pint-Size Potion/Shadow Word: Horror).  While I assume most people planned to ban Druid, Purple heavily skewed his decks towards beating any and every aggro deck his opponents may have brought to the table.

The conquest tournament format is a format where players can utilize a game plan that heavily targets one deck or deck style: it’s more about having no weaknesses than it is having strengths.  Purple’s tech choices shored up a lot of possible weaknesses that his lineup could have and hedged around opponents going all-in on going 3-0 against Jade Druid, the one deck everyone was almost certain to bring.

The other, more notable aspect that brought Purple his second victory was simply his gameplay.  In many games, the role of aggressor or defender swaps back and forth as the game goes on based on matchup, which cards are drawn, who makes a mistake, whether a random effect rolled high or low, and many other factors that combine to create the position that’s occurred in the game.  In almost every case, Purple chose to take the roll of aggressor whenever it was possible and only made defensive plays when it was absolutely necessary.

The concept of initiative in games isn’t really new but oftentimes people pidgeonhole themselves into roles based on previous experiences and their pre-set game plan but despite having a somewhat defensive bias in his deck choices Purple still put himself in position to dictate the flow of the game time and time again to the extent that his decks allowed him to.  In many games the initiative is commonly accepted as being a powerful tool and Purple showed clearly that it’s an important aspect of high level Hearthstone play.