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Hearthstone to implement Ranked Play Changes, nerf to Spirit Claw

Battlenet just recently released a statement that includes the upcoming changes to Hearthstone — a few nerfs pointed towards the Shaman deck and a big change to Ranked Play.

“We’re continuously looking for ways to refine the Ranked Play experience. One thing we can do immediately to help the Ranked Play experience is to make the overall climb from rank to rank feel like more an accomplishment once you hit a certain milestone,” Zeriyah, community manager for Hearthstone said. “In order to promote deck experimentation and reduce some of the feelings of ladder anxiety some players may face, we’re introducing additional Ranked Play floors. “

The additional Ranked Play floors could help a lot in terms of maintaining and climbing the ladder:

Once a player hits Rank 15, 10, or 5, they will no longer be able to de-rank past that rank once it is achieved within a season, similar to the existing floors at Rank 20 and Legend. For example, when a player achieves Rank 15, regardless of how many losses a player accumulates within the season, that player will not de-rank back to 16. We hope this promotes additional deck experimentation between ranks, and that any losses that may occur feel less punishing.

There will also be changes on two cards, Spirit Claw and Small-time Buccaneer.

Small-Time Buccaneer now has 1 Health (Down from 2)

The combination of Small Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate has been showing up too often in the meta. Weapon-utilizing classes have been heavily utilizing this combination of cards, especially Shaman, and we’d like to see more diversity in the meta overall. Small Time Buccaneer’s Health will be reduced to 1 to make it easier for additional classes to remove from the board.

Spirit Claws now costs 2 Mana (Up from 1)

Spirit Claws has been a notably powerful Shaman weapon. At one mana, Spirit Claws has been able to capitalize on cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos or the Shaman Hero power to provide extremely efficient minion removal on curve. Increasing its mana by one will slow down Spirit Claws’ ability to curve out as efficiently.

According to Zeriyah, these changes will occur in an upcoming update near the end of February.


 

Follow this writer through @caisamyvez

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Dota 2 Asia Championships Group B: iG remains at top spot with Team NP landing second on Day 2

The second day for Group B proved to be a major reshuffling as some low-ranked teams from Day 1 switched seats with those on the top. In the end, it was Invictus Gaming and Team NP who managed to get the top two spots, putting them in slightly-more favorable positions for the third and final day of the group stage. Here are the results of Day 2 of the Dota 2 Asia Championships – Group Stage.

Group B kicked the day off with a match between Newbee and Evil Geniuses. The game was like a reawakening for the reigning DAC champions as they swept the series under a predominant Newbee. The highlight of the series was perhaps the surprise last pick of Puck from Universe which heavily contributed a 12/2/17 KDA win in Game 1. Aside from that, both games also featured a dominating Invoker from Suma1L which bagged a combined KDA of 26/3/21.

The second match-up was a battle between the sister teams of Invictus Gaming and iG.Vitality where both traded one win each. Victory for Game 1 was grabbed by iG.V after almost an hour long of struggling over iG. Fortunately for them, their carry picks of Paparazi’s Weaver and Sakata’s Alchemist were able to snowball continuously towards the end with a combined KDA of 29/9/28. For the second game, however, it was the complete opposite as iG was able to swiftly defeat their opponents at the 25-minute mark with everyone contributing almost equally in scores.

Game 3 was another draw as Evil Geniuses tied the series with Team Liquid. For the first game, EG managed to overcome Team Liquid’s combo picks of Terrorblade and Necrophos, notably with an efficient 10/2/5 Lina from Suma1L. In Game 2, despite having a big lead over most of the game, EG found trouble in closing the game as Team Liquid thwarted them into a comeback win.

Up next was iG.Vitality versus Team NP. Game 1 was a quick decisive win for Team NP with each member of the team having their own share of kills that added up to an overall team kill difference of 31/6. For the next game, iG.V put up a fight in hopes of tying the series. The game went on until the 48-minute mark with both teams neck-and-neck. In the end, the duo of EternaLEnVy’s Medusa and Aui_2000’s Centaur Warrunner was too much for iG.V to handle, giving Team NP another win for the series.

The fifth match was between the top two of Day 1 – Newbee and Invictus Gaming. Unfortunately for Newbee, they were handed another sweep loss by an opposing team and quite decisively at that. For Game 1, iG ran over Newbee with an unexpected carry from Xxs’s Magnus which was able to lead with a 13/1/16 KDA. The next game was the same scenario but now with BurNIng’s twice-picked Juggernaut in the spotlight which tallied a perfect KDA of 14/0/8.

Last for the day was a match between Team Liquid and Team NP which was particularly crucial for the former. In hopes of evading a fate of being sent to the Lower Bracket, Team Liquid needed a 3-point sweep. Game 1 was a hopeful one for them as they won the game in dominating fashion, notably with 3 perfect individual KDAs. For the second game, however, Team NP was able to reverse the series with EternaLEnVy’s Silencer and Aui_2000’s Lifestealer stomping all over with a combined KDA of 21/5/25.

At the end of the group stage, the top two teams in each group will advance to the Upper Bracket of the main event, while the bottom four will advance to the Lower Bracket. Since the remaining matches for Group B isn’t enough for Team Liquid to achieve any outcome of surpassing the others in points, they have then automatically secured a spot in the Lower Bracket. Stay tuned as the group stage will continue later at 9am PHT.

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Dota 2 Asia Championships Group A: OG continue their undefeated streak, Empire still on second place on Day 2

After dominating day 1, OG ends the second day of the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 again at the top spot of Group A. Following them still is Team Empire, and then Wings Gaming. Here is the full standings at the end of day 2:

The day’s first Bo2 was Wings Gaming against LGD.Forever Young. On the first game, LGD.FY went with a Chaos Knight and a Sniper pick, which they made work as they defeat Wings at the 42-minute mark. The second game saw another unusual pick from LGD.FY, as they get a support Pudge pick for White. While the game was a bit closer than the previous, LGD.FY managed to take the win 45 minutes in.

Team Faceless vs. Team VG.J was the first series, with VG.J taking the win on the first game; while Faceless’ JabZ had a great game as Storm Spirit, it wasn’t enough to combat VG.J’s Tinker and Lifestealer. Faceless did fight back on the second game, as they take the victory thanks in part to iceiceice’s teamfight initiations as Brewmaster.

The third Bo2 was Team Empire vs. OG, where Empire went with a surprise Meepo pick in the opening game. The pick went well for them in the early-mid game as they took the lead, though OG won two key teamfights, which swung the game into OG’s favor with them eventually taking the victory. Empire went with another Meepo pick for game 2, though OG still prevailed in the end with help from Ana’s Invoker.

Wings and Faceless were the next match, and Wings took game 1 convincingly in 38 minutes, bouncing back from their 0-2 loss earlier. Shadow’s Anti-Mage led wings with an 11-1-11 KDA at the end of the game. Game 2 was another win by Wings, this time they won even faster, ending the game in just under 28 minutes; with iceiceice’s Brewmaster pick and xy-‘s Spirit Breaker not being effective.

In contrast to LGD.FY’s Bo2 against Wings, their series against OG saw them picking more standard heroes. Though their picks didn’t prove effective against OG, as they got beaten 2-0 in the series. The first game wasn’t close, as OG kept a healthy lead throughout; but the second game had LGD.FY with a slight lead throughout the game, that is until a successful push by OG which saw LGD.FY’s Morphling go down twice.

The last series of the day was Empire facing off against VG.J. VG.J went with a Naga Siren, hoping to split push their way to victory; but that was not the case, as Empire’s Invoker and Ursa helped give them the win after 55 minutes. For the next game, VG.J picked an Underlord and a Terrorblade; it didn’t work as the whole Team Empire put on a clinic, winning the game 17-7.

Day 3 will be the last day of the group stage, with three series remaining, namely: LGD.FY vs. Faceless, OG vs. VG.J, and Wings vs. Empire. The first match will start later at 9:00am PHT.

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Dota 2 Asia Championships Group B: Invictus Gaming, Newbee sits on top of Day 1

The first day of the group stage ended for Group B with the top two Chinese main squads leading the scoreboard with 1 match win and 1 match draw apiece. Here are the results of Day 1 of the Dota 2 Asia Championships – Group Stage.

For the first match in Group B, the team of iG.Vitality faced off against fellow Chinese team Newbee. Despite iG.V’s valiant efforts against a strong team such as Newbee, the latter swept the two games under iG’s sister team, notably with Sccc’s twice-picked Ember Spirit devastating the enemy ranks with a combined KDA of 25/4/25.

Next up was Invictus Gaming versus Team Liquid. The first game of the series was a slow and steady one as iG carefully stacked their win conditions by constantly respecting Team Liquid’s teamfighting prowess. In the end, BurNIng’s Lifestealer and Op’s Tinker was able to close out the game, with the latter alone attaining a 16/5/12 KDA. The second game was also won by iG in the same clean fashion, but now with BurNIng’s Spectre in the spotlight with a KDA of 10/3/16.

The third match featured one of tightest games of the tournament so far, with Team NP defeating Evil Geniuses in Game 1 shortly after the 60-minute mark. In the said game, the duo of EternaLEnVy’s Shadow Fiend and Aui_2000’s Lifestealer carried Team NP to a win after overcoming Suma1L’s Invoker plays and Arteezy’s Slark carry. For the second game, however, Team NP was decisively crushed by EG’s lineup, notably with Cr1t’s stellar roaming with Earth Spirit which garnered him a 9/3/18 KDA.

Fourth in line was a series between Team Liquid and Newbee. The first game between the two teams was the best one so far in the tournament which front-up showcased the world-class strength of both teams. After a number of interesting team fights leading up to the late game, a crucial play from Kaka’s Sand King and Sccc’s Storm Spirit caught multiple members of Team Liquid, which led to Newbee winning the team fight and the game later on. For the second game, however, Miracle geared up in retaliation as he dominated Newbee’s lineup with a 23/0/13 fed Invoker and won the game later on for his team.

The next match was somewhat of a shocker as iG.Vitality swept the series under Evil Geniuses. For the first game, iG.V was able to shut down the aggressive lineup of EG, notably with Paparazi’s Morphling and Sakata’s Juggernaut. Just as EG was able to shift into a more flexible composition in the second game, iG.V also stepped up their game with Sakata’s Storm Spirit leading with a 17/6/15 KDA.

The final match for Group B and for the day itself came between Invictus Gaming and Team NP. Game 1 of the series showcased a clean performance from Team NP, notably with EternaLEnVy’s Alchemist taking a backseat behind Aui_2000’s 11/2/10 Ursa carry. For the second game, however, Team NP was completely helpless against their opponents as all of the members of iG contributed to an overall team kill difference of 26-2.

At the end of the group stage, the top two teams in each group will advance to the Upper Bracket of the main event, while the bottom four will advance to the Lower Bracket. Stay tuned as the group stage will continue later at 9am PHT.