For the second time this season we had eight of the ten series decided by four points or less, showcasing just how competitive the league is and how many good teams there are. With only a few weeks left in the regular season the intensity has increased with so many teams working on securing their playoff spot or fighting to gain one, and things will only get more exciting as the regular season comes to a close.
1. The Hairy Generals (=) - It was a hotly contested series but at the end of it the Hairy Generals emerged from their battle against Netherstorm with a one point victory. Though they retain the number one spot in the power rankings, they were passed in the Blue division by Soupreme who is hoping to take advantage of a weaker schedule over the final three weeks to gain a lead over the Generals. Speaking of schedules, up next for JediNinja's squad is a Team Rank Five team looking to get back on track in what should be a great set of games.
2. Soupreme (+1) - Racking up the points against Team Golden Wisp in week seven was Soupreme, who as mentioned moves into first place in the Blue division. They were able to win all of their played matches but Rayc591 did have a no contest against Fudd. Next week Soupreme will go against the struggling Boom Squad and hope that the Hairy Generals and Team Rank Five beat up on each other since the Generals are their main competition for the division, and TR5 will be competing against them for the overall one seed in the Orange-Blue conference.
3. N.W.A. (+1) - Another team to escape with a one point victory this past week was N.W.A. going against Archon Storm in a series which had four of the five matches going to game five. This win helped increase N.W.A.'s lead in the Red division and over the next two weeks they will look to hold off Archon Storm and push for the one seed in the Red-Green conference.
What’s up THL? I was lucky enough to get to pull Slimsch aside this week and go through a bunch of questions with him. I’d like to go ahead and just take a second here to express my gratitude towards all of the members on the board who make this league happen. This blog is meant to be with and for players participating in the league, but it’s cool that I got to interview a player who also happens to be a board member. I mention in the post how Slimsch does an incredible amount of work for THL, and even though what he does is almost entirely public, I don’t feel like he gets the proper amount of gratitude, so I can’t even begin to imagine how much work goes un-thanked by the rest of the board.
So I just want to say thank you guys who make this “free to play” league happen. I never enjoyed Hearthstone as much as I have since I’ve been in the league, and I’ve never been a part of a community as amazing as the one you guys have created.
Alright, on to the interview!
TiHi everybody! I'm making this post to explain exactly how teams will earn a spot in the Season 3 playoffs and how the brackets will be filled. I will be using terminology as follows: the color-coded divisions that we are used to will be referred to as Divisions; the paired Divisions will be referred to collectively as Conferences (Orange/Blue Conference and Red/Green Conference). Without further ado:
To illustrate this, I will use the current point standings to fill brackets as an example of how this would work if the playoffs began today.
As the Division winners, Soupreme, Team Rank 5, N.W.A, and Xnergy would get a bye in the first round. Team Rank 5 and N.W.A are considered the second seeds because they have lower point totals. The Hairy Generals, Noob Central, Archon Storm, and Avatar qualify as second place teams in their Divisions. Netherstorm, Damaged Ones, Yogg Champs, and Danger Zone earn the Wildcard spots. It is worth repeating that one Division can fill both Wildcard spots for that Conference if their fourth place team has a higher point total than the third place team in the competing Division.
Here is what the bracket would look like with this seeding
I hope this helps. Good luck to all in these final three weeks!
Week six we had not only the top ranked team but the second place team lose as well so there is shakeup at the top and we see more of that in the middle ranks. As we look towards next week there is a lot to be excited about. With only three weeks left in the season the stakes are higher than ever and each series becomes that much more impactful. Week seven we will have a total of eight inter-division matchups and each will affect both the divisional and wild card races. Before that happens though let's see where the teams currently stand.
1. The Hairy Generals (+2) - Other than a hiccup in week three the Hairy Generals have kept up their dominating ways from a season ago despite losing two key pieces to their team in the offseason. This past week they played a troubled Aeon team but went about their business and with a Team Rank Five loss find themselves atop the power rankings. Now the defending champions will work on solidifying their playoff spot and chasing that coveted one seed for the Blue-Orange conference, while also trying to hold off Soupreme from within the division.
2. Team Rank Five (=) - It was a close loss, as it seems all of Team Rank Five's losses are, but the Orange division leader came up two points short against Noob Central to record their first defeat of season three. There isn't much cause for concern though as they still lead all teams in points and have a sizable lead in their division but they are vulnerable as evidenced this past week.
3. Soupreme (+1) - Outside of one forfeit, Soupreme won all of their matches against the Damaged Ones this past week to keep pace in the Blue division. Rayc591 has had no problem in his first season of THL going 6-0 so far, a feat only shared with Craeon. Having already played the Hairy Generals and Team Rank Five, DeerJason and his team will look to close out the regular season strong and get ready for the playoffs.
4. N.W.A. (+1) - Another team to win four of their five matches in week six and also feature a 6-0 player, N.W.A. dismantled a Xnergy team which had been playing really well. It's not a big surprise N.W.A was able to win but winning 16-5 is not something many expected and is a bit of a statement win. The good week allowed N.W.A. to grow their lead in the Red division but they will play the second place team of Archon Storm next week.
5. Team Avatar (+1) - Team Avatar was able to follow their first loss with a win over Yogg Champs and with a poor week from Xnergy have worked their way back up to first in the Green division. Winning this week was PumbaasBFF and Leumer, both of which are now 5-1 on the season and have been a big part of Avatar's success. Also winning this week was Zabger who talked about his first match on After the Salt Settles, and who will replace Odeffen as the new five seed for Team Avatar.
Last week I revealed that THL PPR is indeed Jerry Damage. I did so to make the process and my rankings more transparent and in order to show that it’s not just me randomly selecting who I like, but that I’ve got a formula that I use to determine who the strongest players in the league are. This coming Monday I’ll be on After The Salt Settles to discuss the rankings system and help explain it a bit more, as well as answer any questions that you may have about it.
But before that, we’ve got this week’s Top 10 Player Power Rankings. The list is similar to last weeks but has started to narrow down the list of potential players to be on the list. The first week I had 30 players that were in the hunt. Last week I had 20. This week we are down to 11. I’ll start adding players who are in the hunt at the end to highlight them as anyone in the conversation for this list is having a very good season and deserves to be acknowledged.
1. RayC591 (6-0)
RayC has continued his undefeated streak with a 3-2 win over Bytes to help secure a very dominant win over the Damaged Ones. He’s only dropped 6 games this season and is having a phenomenal season. I have compared Soupreme’s 1,2,3 seeds as the same thing of when Lebron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in the Miami Heat. Calling RayC the equivalent to Lebron James may not be an exact comparison, but he is having a great season and is easily in the hunt for league MVP. This week he faces off against Fudd.
2. Craeon (6-0)
Craeon had a tough matchup looming as we went into Week 6. He faced Aroy who had ended Leumer’s undefeated streak earlier this season. So the question was if Aroy could do it again and how Craeon would respond to the challenge. Craeon responded with a 3-0 win over Aroy and faces off against Killajive this week.
3. Pizza (5-1)
Pizza started off hot before dropping one match to Kraxximus. He’s restarted his win streak however as since that match he’s gotten wins over Andyrogers and AlecGWPodcast. This week he faces HectorHowl who’s coming off a big debut win himself over Kraxximus.
Hey THL! PumbaasBFF back again with another interview I did with Tony Montana (TheEquAsian) this week, enjoy!
Me: What was life like for you growing up? Where are you from, what were some of your interests, what did you want to be when you grew up, etc…
Tony: I was an only child, a protypical latch-key kid, back when you could do that without having them taken from you as a parent. I was born in 1981 (in Augusta, GA) so I grew up with the NES and my dad was an electrical engineer and we had computers in the house from a very young age, so entertaining myself with video games was something I got into early on and never really looked back from. In middle school I discovered Magic: The Gathering and have played ever since with only a few hiatuses, occasionally also picking up other card games. I guess I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I always enjoyed puzzles and problem solving (which is probably why I’ve gravitated toward gaming) and hope that my career moving forward allows me to do so.
Me: Wow, early 90’s was when MTG was pretty young, that’s really cool.
If you were a top 100 player in any video game which would it be?
Tony: I don’t play that many video games anymore. (all of that time is spent playing card games Magic (paper) or Magic Online and Hearthstone, if you consider those video games) Pragmatically if I could be top 100, it would be in the game that would reward me the most financially for doing so. Otherwise I would choose MTGO or HS as I enjoy those the most by far.
Me: If you aren't playing much other video games, do Hearthstone and MTG take up all your free time?
Tony: I am a big NBA fan so I watch a fair amount of that during the season, but otherwise yes those games are my primary hobbies and take up most of my "free time".
Me: Cool, at what point did you first get in to Hearthstone? What was your first impression of the game?
Tony: I started playing about a year ago. Ironically I had a beta key for quite some time and it just sat in my inbox. I did not have the desire to pick up another game at the time. Eventually with the proliferation of streaming I eventually saw Brian Kibler (whom I met and played while we both were going to school in Atlanta and had since been following his career in Magic) playing HS and decided to check it out. Between being very similar to Magic and nearly identical to the WoW:TCG that I also played, I was able to pick it up relatively quickly and easily.
There has been a lot of change within Hearthstone with the new expansion and introduction of Standard but some things have stayed the same. Zoo and Aggro Shaman are still good decks, and Priest is still Priest. Similarly we see some things have stayed the same in THL; Team Rank Five, the Hairy Generals, and Soupreme are still pretty good. Along with that we see some teams repeating the same pattern they traced just last season. If you're a fan of new things and change, don't worry though, there's plenty of that too.
1. Team Rank Five (=) - After a two week absence Moxie returned to THL and what a return it was, sweeping DeerJason on Salty Saturday and giving Team Rank Five an early start in their series against Soupreme. Also winning this week was TheTownDrunk, his first win of the season coming at an important time for TR5. With this win there is little doubt as to who the current top team is and not only are they the only remaining undefeated team, they also have a healthy lead within their division.
2. Xnergy (+4) - I expected the Xnergy and Dream Team series to be a great one, sure to be close as both teams seemed to match up evenly at each seed, but that wasn't the case as Xnergy took every match and won by seventeen. Xnergy now leads all teams in terms of points and is the only team where every player has a winning record. That balance as a team will be put to test next week when they take on a N.W.A team looking to bounce back from a recent loss.
3. The Hairy Generals (+2) - After talking about the Orange and Green division leaders, now we look at the team leading the Blue Division--the Hairy Generals. The Generals had no problem dealing with Boom Squad in week five and move to 4-1 on the season. It's a different team than the one which won the championship last season but it seems the Hairy Generals are still a contender and a team not to be overlooked.
4. Soupreme (-2) - Everyone is aware of how strong Soupreme's top three seeds are but Team Rank Five was able to keep even with them in points and then win at the lower seeds. It is the concern over the lower seeds which puts Soupreme at four on the rankings this week. In THL each seed counts for the same amount of points and sacrificing one part of your roster can be risky because it means the other part is not allowed to stumble. Of course you don't expect Soupreme to stumble at 1-3 very often and they can win 4-5, but it is a weakness teams will look to exploit.
5. N.W.A. (-2) - N.W.A. was on a bit of a winning streak but that ended this past week losing to the Gosu Casuals by a single point. Craeon received a win through disqualification and is now one of a handful players still remaining at 5-0 . Even with the loss they are able to keep their position as first in the Red division but Archon Storm is right on their heels. In what is the series of the week, N.W.A. will battle it out with Xnergy in week six.
Before I get to the list this week, I wanted to address a few questions and things that were brought up with the first article. I’ll start off with why I decided to do the rankings. Each week, I and many others across the league look forward to when the team rankings come out to see where we stack up against the rest of the league. On Tavern Talk and on the Facebook group, we talk about players and mention how tough of an opponent they are and how they are some of the best the league has to offer. So I decided to look and see who the best in the league really was.
Now the next question is how I went about doing this. I could have just looked at the results and the perception of who we thought the top players were, but that leads to inaccurate results aren’t. I looked up ranking systems and saw some good formulas that could be used. I used a combination of DCI (what’s used in Magic The Gathering tournaments) and the RPI (what’s used for NCAA football, basketball, etc.). I then created a spreadsheet that has entered every match result that everyone has played this season. I consider three things to determine the top 10. I look at your win percentage (how many matches you’ve won) and I look at your opponent’s win percentage (how many matches your opponents have won). With a small sample size like we’ve got here, I needed other criteria in order to help sort out the list. In THL, every point matters. I have figured out the game win percentage for everyone’s THL games. For example if you’ve played 20 games and won 10 of those, you’d have a 50% win percentage. These three criteria help to see who the top players are. I can see who’s won the most matches, who’s played a harder schedule, and who’s won the most games out of what they’ve played.
The last thing I want to address is why do this anonymously. I want the data to speak for itself. I don’t want the perception to be that THL PPR just put Thijs on the top 10 list because they are on the same team. I’m using statistics to track the league results and wanted to eliminate any notion of bias. There may be members of my team on the list and their may not. But one thing I can say for certain is that I’ve used statistics to eliminate any perceived bias and to get a true look at who the top 10 in the league are.
And with that said, here’s this week’s top 10. We see some new faces on the list and we see some returning faces, but the top spot has a new look….
1. RayC591 (5-0)
Last Week’s #2 has risen up to #1. He dominated the 3 seed and moved up to the 2 seed and has continued his winning ways. He had a 3-2 win against MVParker this past week and what’s most impressive is that he’s won 80% of his games this season, dropping only 4 total all season long. He faces off against Bytes of the Damaged Ones this week.
2. Nade (5-0)
Moving up to the #2 spot this week, Nade continued his winning ways with a 3-1 win over Twizz. It has been an impressive first half of the season for Nade who’s also only dropped 4 games during his win streak. He’s got a tough challenge this week as he faces Imbolc when Noob Central battles their divisional rival and top team in the league, Team Rank Five.
3. Craeon (5-0)
Craeon remains undefeated this week with a DQ win over ADKT. He’s had a great start to the first half of the season and has been one of the best 4 seeds in the league. This week will be another big test as he faces Aroy when N.W.A. takes on Xnergy.
It was a great week for THL as we had streamed matches with series on the line and eight of ten matchups were decided by four points or less, showing just how competitive the league is. While Team Rank Five and Soupreme have opened with slight leads in their respective divisions, no team has run away with their division and each week will hold a lot of weight in regards to the playoffs. It seems those two teams, Team Rank Five and Soupreme, have positioned themselves on a tier of their own and it will be interesting to see how their series unfolds in week five. But before we worry too much about the future, let's see where teams currently stand.
1. Team Rank Five (=) - TheTownDrunk made his return week four but with Moxie out one more week Mainge filled in once again as Team Rank Five took on the Damaged Ones. It was another close series but the familiar trio of Imbolc, MVParker, and JesusC won to allow TR5 to pick up the win. Those three players are a combined 10-2 but they will need more help to continue winning, especially with a big showdown against Soupreme coming up.
2. Soupreme (=) - Soupreme kept their momentum going week four with an eleven point win over Aeon. Of importance was Soupreme's lower seeds, Vedney and SneakyHero, who are thought to be the team's weakness both grabbing wins. DeerJason said he built his team to beat Team Rank Five and he will get a chance to see if his team is capable of just that in week five, not only will the top spot on the power rankings be at stake but also soupremacy of the Blue-Orange conference.
3. N.W.A (+1) - Sitting atop of the hotly contested Red division is N.W.A., fresh off their win against divisional opponent Yogg Champs. With their third straight win it seems N.W.A. is back to playing up to the expectations many had for them before the season started and they will look to continue that against the Gosu Casuals next week.
4. Team Avatar (+1) - In a series which came down an exciting last match on stream between PumbaasBFF and RedMarsh, Team Avatar was able to prevail over Xnergy in their week four contest. This not only propelled Leumer's team to the top of the Green division but they are currently the league's point leader and only 4-0 team.
5. The Hairy Generals (+2) - Markshire returned from a week long absence and helped the Hairy Generals earn a win over Noob Central, a nice bounce back from a lopsided loss against the Super Heroes the week before. GernBlanston was big this week as he received his first non-disqualification win in a sweep over the previously undefeated Hamboning.
Taking a cue from the Team Power Rankings, here is the Player Power Rankings to highlight the league’s top performers. This season we see some THL rookies finding early success as well as a few veterans who have picked up right where they left off from last season.
1. Gnetz (4-0)
Gnetz has been on a streak this season. He’s only lost 1 game in all 4 of his matches and that was to Slimsch. He’s gotten decisive 3-0 wins over veterans Alexstrasza, Pacetry, and Catota, arguably one of the best starts to a season that THL has ever seen. We’re at the halfway mark of the season so it’ll be interesting to see if Gnetz can continue his success and finish as strongly as he started.
2. RayC591 (4-0)
When Soupreme unveiled their lineup with RayC as the 3 seed, everyone knew it was going to be a tough outing for the other 3 seeds in the league. So far that’s proven true as he has 3-1 wins over ArcaneFu and Crovan and 3-0 wins over MLGAnakin and Tophatdemon. He moved up to the 2 seed last week and faced a formidable opponent in Tophatdemon, delivering just as strong a showing he did as a 3 seed. This week he faces another strong opponent in MVParker.
3. Imbolc (4-0)
Imbolc's leash has been list this season. He started off with a 3-1 win over Twizz. He then followed that up with a 3-1 win over Dlineman. Next was a 3-2 win over Hupnar. And last week he had a strong showing with a 3-1 win over Bytes. He’s only dropped 5 games this season. He’s shown to be a strong 1 seed on the top team in the league. This week he’s got a tough match against Cheesee10 as two of the top teams in the league face off.
4. Craeon (4-0)
At the start of the season, N.W.A. was touted as one of the best teams in the league. They had a rough Week 1, with the exception of their 4 seed, Craeon. Craeon started off with a 3-1 win over MonkeyWarlord and followed that up with a 3-1 win against B0rck. Then as N.W.A. has been dominant the last two weeks, Craeon continues with 3-2 wins over Xaether and LightW8. He’s undefeated and has proven himself once again as an elite 4 seed.
5. Nade (4-0)
Nade is having quite a season. He started off with a 3-0 win over Brunson and followed that up with a DQ win over MLGAnakin. He then had a 3-2 win over FollowDurden and a 3-1 win over ArcaneFu. He has moved up to the 2 seed this week and faces off against Twizz in a match where two teams are contending for playoffs.
6. HotAsianGirl (3-1)
HotAsianGirl was arguably one of the bigger free agent pickups in the offseason. Landing at the 1 seed for N.W.A., everyone knew he would be a great competitor in that spot but like some of his teammates, he had a stumble during Week 1 and fell to Alexstrasza 0-3. However since then, he has quickly adapted to THL and has gotten a 3-1 win over Pacetry and 3-0 wins over Delta4one and Adidas5482. He faces off against Slimsch this week who’s coming off of two 3-0 wins himself and a Top 50 May 2016 ladder finish.
7. Gemini (3-1)
It’s important to have a strong lineup at every seed and Netherstorms’s 5 seed is showing that this season. She’s gotten 3-1 wins over Sunshine, TheTownDrunk, and JerryDamage. She fell to SneakyHero 2-3 but outside of that series she’s been dominant. She faces off against Hamboning this week as Netherstorm looks to stay in the playoff picture against Noob Central.
8. Kraxximus (3-1)
In Week 1 Kraxximus faced off against DeerJason and lost 2-3. Since then he’s adapted to THL and has shown why SuperSam picked him for his team. He got a 3-1 win over Kuthroat and then 3-0 wins over AndyRogers and Pizza. He faces DotDark this week as the SuperHeroes look to stay in the playoff hunt in a hotly contested Orange division.
9. Leumer (3-1)
Everyone discounted Leumer and Team Avatar at the beginning of the season, but Leumer shut down his detractors by leading by example and has become one of the top 4 seeds in the league. He’s gotten two 3-0 wins over ADKT and MonkeyWarlord and a 3-2 win over B0rck. Last week he lost to Aroy 1-3 and faces off against Killajive this week as Team Avatar look to remain THL’s last undefeated team.
10. Pizza (3-1)
Pizza is a newcomer who took THL by storm in the early weeks. He only lost 2 games in his first 3 matches. He’s gotten 3-1 wins over StiLLer3k and Moxie and a 3-0 win over Bytes. However, he lost 0-3 to Kraxximus last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to his first loss as he faces off against AndyRogers this week.
The THL blog is curated and edited by THL's Content Managers. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to LotusKnight on Discord or via the THL Help email address: email@example.com