Watch the Hearthstone misplay that cost a chance to go to BlizzCon

Sylvanas Hearthstone

Luck might be the biggest determinant in who wins Hearthstone games between two equally skilled pro-level players, but even so you still have to play your hand absolutely perfectly. Even a minor mistake will cost you most games. The mistake Pavel made in this weekend’s Hearthstone European World Championship was most definitely not minor.

Pavel was playing against Lifecoach in Group B, with four places at this year’s World Championship at BlizzCon and a prize pool of $25,000 up for grabs. Having gone 2-0 down in the best of five, he has clawed one game back and stands on the brink of levelling the series and potentially completing the reverse sweep.

sylvanas windrunner

Sylv Card

The face that launched a thousand misclicks.

First though, he needs to clear Sylvanas Windrunner from Lifecoach’s side of the board, using a Mortal Coil to kill his own Defender of Argus and draw a card before trading into Sylvanas with Loatheb, thereby preventing the undead elf from stealing a minion when she dies.

Only he gets the order all wrong. Pavel drops his Dr Boom before making the Loatheb trade, and it should go without saying that of the three targets now on the board, her deathrattle picks the juicy 7/7 to steal. The crowd goes absolutely nuts, and Lifecoach—who’s never been one to hide his emotions—clearly can’t believe his luck. Even Pavel’s free Molten Giant isn’t enough to prevent lethal next turn.

A pity for Pavel, and before we get too hopped up on schadenfreude, let’s remember he’s only 17. But perhaps he should have taken a leaf from Lifecoach’s book and taken his turn a little more glacially. Still, it’s nice to know that this kind of colossal misplay can happen to the best of players, because most of us will be familiar with making exactly this sort of mess while playing on ladder.

Having finished second in his group, Lifecoach qualified for BlizzCon, where he will represent Europe alongside Neirea, Ostkaka (who recently joined Na’Vi’s new team), and his Nihilum teammate Thijs, who went on to be crowned European Champion. After the tournament, Maverick—who missed out on a BlizzCon spot—announced that he has quit the competitive scene. In his lengthy message he explained that whatever happened the decision had already been made. He now plans to focus on his studies.

This weekend will see the climax of the Americas Championship, with more BlizzCon places up for grabs. I’ll be there to gasp dramatically when someone gets King Krush from Ram Wrangler, then forgets to attack.

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.