As the weekend washed over the Artifact closed beta, players dusted off their constructed decks and prepared for the first of many clashes that will take place for the extended duration of the closed beta. With no official Valve hosted tournament taking place this weekend, the team at Artifact Shark have taken matters into our own hands and decided to host a constructed tournament, bringing the tournament meta away from the Gauntlet phase it has been stuck in the past month or two. Although the participation wasn’t as high as usual, it was to be expected when the prize pool suddenly shrinks from a flashy $10,000 to a modest $100. In the end, 34 players showed up to battle on day 1, with a few unfortunate scheduling mishaps not allowing possible tournament favorites like Wifecoach or Gameking to participate.
As the host, admin and stat compiler for the tournament, my goal is to provide a tournament recap, as well as a series of statistics and metrics which will inform about the tournament meta, both in the decks used as well as the players participating. The tournament itself was a two day constructed tournament, the first day consisted of a 34 player 6 round Best-of-3 swiss bracket which allowed ties, while the second day finalized with a top 8 single elimination championship bracket to crown this weekend’s champion. This time around, the tournament was run in the incredibly polished in-game tournament client, automating all steps of the swiss phase and speeding up the process considerably, with an average of 1 hour and 10 minutes per round.
Coming into the tournament, there was a fairly equal spread between countries represented as well as the gaming backgrounds the players are coming from. 13 players represented both the European and North American regions, with 8 players from the Asian region closing it off. In the end, the Europeans led the win rates with a very solid 54%, with the north americans closely behind with a 50% winrate throughout the entirety of the swiss phase. The asian region unsurprisingly ended with a lower 43% winrate, considering the majority of the asian participants had only recently joined the Artifact closed beta.
In terms of games represented – Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Magic: The Gathering all brought in a quarter of the players each, with 4 Gwent players and a mish mash of other games filling up the roster. Taking into account gaming backgrounds, Gwent led the win rates with a 56% winrate, a strong finish from our very own MegaMogwai in the swiss phase certainly helped, even though tournament favorite Freddybabes dropped out after round 1 and highly rated constructed player Gameking wasn’t able to make it to the tournament. Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering followed, with a respectable 53% and 50% win rates from each. Of the major games, Dota 2 players ranked the lowest with a 42% winrate, possibly showing the dissociation between a MOBA background when compared to other CCGs like Gwent, Hearthstone and MTG.
Control oriented Red/Blue decks and swarmy/combo Blue/Green decks ended up in a tie going for the title of “Most represented deck”, with a quarter of the participants bringing one or the other to the tournament. Following those two, hero killer or siege versions of Red/Black and a very successful Red/Green ramp tied for second place, with 15% of players bringing each color combination. To round it off, the least represented decks in the tournament were Black/Blue control/gold generation and two different monocolor decks, one Red and one Green.
Unsurprisingly, the monocolor decks were both the worst performing decks in the tournament with a sub 40% winrate each, although that may also come down to the single sample size for each. Following from behind were Hero Killer Red/Black, Gold Control Black/Blue and surprisingly swarm Green/Blue, all with a disappointing 47% winrate by the end of the swiss phase. The only two color combinations to go positive were Red/Blue control with a 53% winrate, and a Red/Green deck that quickly ramps into incredibly impactful cards like Time of Triumph and Emissary of the Quorum, with an astonishing 60% winrate. In the end, the most popular single color in the tournament was the control-oriented Blue with 22 players bringing it, followed closely by the beefy heroes and incredibly impactful Time of Triumph from Red represented 20 times. The ramp and buff-oriented Green came in third with 15 players bringing the color, and Black finished last with only 9 players bringing the color.
The Swiss phase started off a disaster for many of the eventual top 8 finishers, with Mogwai(2nd), Ekop(4th) and VinKelsier(8th) all taking their first loss of the tournament right at the start. Regardless, they pushed on through and eventually were rewarded with a pass on to Day 2. Although many of the top players were missing, there were still quite a handful of tournament favorites coming into the tournament: LuminousInverse, who ended up dropping after a close loss to Mogwai in Round 5; Freddybabes, who after a round one loss decided he didn’t have a high enough chance to make it out of the swiss phase; and closed beta veterans MELO, Emtee, and Hyped who all finished in the top 16 of the swiss phase. Emtee and MELO, both swedish, are also known for being part of the team who created and refined the U/G Incarnation of Selemene combo deck alongside Joel Larsson. Emtee would then go on to an undefeated run and take 1st place in the swiss phase, finishing with a 6-0 record. These were the final standings for the swiss phase:
As Day 2 started, the top 8 players were matched up using a standard seeding system and brought the same exact deck they used in the swiss phase the day before, as per the rules. The matchups and decklists represented in the championship bracket were the following:
- Emtee’s Blue/Green Combo vs. VinKelsier’s Red/Green Gold Generation
- Frankinabox’s Blue/Green Combo vs Ekop’s Red/Green Ramp
- Nostam’s Red/Green Ramp vs Soey’s Red/Blue Control
- An Audience of One’s Red/Black Siege vs. Mogwai’s Red/Blue Control
Red/Blue Control and Blue/Green Combo were the worst performing decks of the bracket stage, all four being eliminated in the quarterfinals. Red/Green Ramp again proved to be the most successful deck in the tournament following it’s 60% winrate in the swiss phase, with 3 players moving on to the semifinals, and the eventual final being Ekop vs. Nostam, coming down to a Red/Green Ramp mirror which Ekop eventually took home with a nail biting 2-1 victory over his opponent. Our first ever champion Ekop took home a whopping 75 US Dollars, with 2nd place Nostam receiving 25 US dollars for his finish.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth deck analysis, stay tuned for my interview with Constructed Clash #1 Champion Ek0p as we do an in-depth analysis of his dominating Red/Green Ramp deck later this week. If you don’t want to miss any of the work I publish, make sure to follow us over on Twitter at @ArtifactShark or @ImpetuousPanda.