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The first ever Kinguin Pro League season came to a conclusion Friday as playoffs began rather tame but ended with a close battle to the finish.

With Strifecro and Lifecoach advancing straight through to the semifinals with first place seeds, the two received a rather large advantage of spectating the previous rounds. Each player was allowed to bring four decks to the event so with each match being a Best of 7 format, the victor would need to defeat their opponent with all four of their decks. Thus the tournament was played utilizing Conquest rules and perhaps the best way to explain this is straight out of the rule book.
When a player wins a game, the deck used by the winning player cannot be used for the remainder of the match.
The losing player can keep the same deck used or switch to a different one of their choice.
Players will be told what classes their opponent has available, but they won’t know which class is picked until both players have picked.

Table of Contents

Semifinals

Firebat vs. Kolento

The playoffs opened with Team Archon's Firebat against Kolento of Cloud9. The only one in the tournament to run an Oil Rogue deck, Firebat got off to a slow start and couldn't recover against Kolento's Mech Mage. Deciding to keep with the same deck, Kolento would then bring a Combo Druid only to Innervate out Harrison Jones and destroy Firebat's curve. Despite his losing streak, he continued to utilize Rogue into a Control Priest, hoping the late game would give him a chance to get his damage in. However, with Firebat failing to buff his Bloodmage Thalnos with Tinker's Sharpsword Oil and subsequently getting it Cabal Shadow Priest'd, it still proved to be too much. He would fare much better against Kolento's Grim Patron Warrior, keeping Emperor Thaurissan alive turn after turn until a full combo would earn him his first win. A mirror match between Patrons would ensue with odds in Kolento's favor off the opening draw. With weapons and card cycling in his hand to begin with, he was easily able to answer anything Firebat threw at him and close out the game.

Winner: Kolento (4-1)

Hyped vs. Sjow

TempoStorm's Hyped then took on Team Liquid's Sjow in a Midrange Hunter - Mech Mage showdown. With the mech hand to open Sjow would have Clockwork Gnome, Snowchugger, and Mechwarper all on the field by Turn 3. Unleash the Hounds would allow Hyped to answer this pressure with his own minions, reclaiming the board. However, with some overly safe plays, Sjow would slowly catch up and with no Freezing Traps in this Hunter deck, Hyped would suffer a painstaking defeat. By far the most interesting deck we saw during the tournament, Hyped would utilize a Freeze Mage that ran Malygos. Against Face Hunter it would run out of steam and due to the nature of Grim Patron Warrior, it would give Sjow way too much armor to break through. And when Sjow then draws two Ancient Watchers in his opening hand, the Handlock proves to be too fast for Hyped as he drops out of the playoffs.

Winner: Sjow (4-0)

Quarterfinals

Kolento vs. Strifecro

A stomp on Kolento's part, this match would be over in five quick rounds. Imp-losion rolls would pretty much seal the deal for him during a Zoolock mirror match and then he would proceed to draw into all of the needed weapons when he turned to Grim Patron Warrior. Down two games already, Strifecro was hoping to turn things around with is own Patron Warrior, but Kolento would open with the dream Druid hand of Wild Growth, Shade of Naxxramas, Savage Roar, and Harrison Jones to deal with the majority of his threats. Strife's deck fared slightly better against Kolento's Control Priest which couldn't handle the armor stacking, however the Priest would do much better facing Zoolock with Northshire Clerics and Wild Pyromancers keeping Strifecro down and out.

Winner: Kolento (4-1)

Sjow vs. Lifecoach

Many wrote Sjow out of the first round as he picked Mech Mage into Patron Warrior but a huge misplay by Lifecoach (playing Dread Corsair after using his Death's Bite and not before) combined with a Mirror Entity'd Warsong Commander would give Sjow Boom Bots with Charge. This proved enough for him to secure victory but Lifecoach would rebound with a turn two Mirror Entity, the next round, proving very troublesome for Sjow's Handlock deck. Wild Growth and a perfect curve from Lifecoach's Combo Druid would beat out Patron Warrior. His luck would continue in a Handlock mirror match which saw three full turns of Emperor Thaurissan activates for Coach. One of the closest matches of the tournament would follow as Grim Patron took on Handlock (Sjow). Because Hellfire is so good at removing Grim Patrons, many thought this to be an easy lock for Sjow. Yet Lifecoach somehow manages to keep himself rolling with a solid board presence as Sjow finds most of his cards stuck in his hand. However,rhanks to some clutch Sludge Belcher top-decks, Sjow keeps himself at 1 HP before delivering the final blow to Lifecoach. Positions would reverse in the next round as Coach chose to race a Face Hunter down with Grim Patron Warrior. With full on aggression he managed to beat the Hunter at its own game and close out the series.

Winner: Lifecoach (4-2)

Third Place Match

Strifecrow vs. Sjow

Cloud9's Strifecro starts out strong in this match with a resounding Mid-range Paladin deck that stomps all over Sjow's Mech Mage. He continues to keep absolute board control with his Zoolock which once again defeats the Mech deck. Luck turned against Strifecro during round three however as his Knife Juggler has terrible aim and repeatedly goes face leaving all of Sjow's minions ready to attack. As a result he curves much better as the game goes on and claims his first win of the match. Strifecro starts the next round by choosing his Grim Patron Warrior deck and gets out an early Unstable Ghoul against a Face Hunter. Talk about value. Sjow plays as conservatively as possible and despite a misplay on behalf of Strife, still manages to fall one game from elimination. Thanks to the series format, Sjow manages to pick his Face Hunter back into a matchup against a Midrange Hunter, giving him an obvious advantage. From the start, with the play of a Snake Trap he gains an early lead and thanks to some key draws, ekes out a win to keep the series alive. Sjow then picks Handlock and has a fantastic opening, dodging both Freezing Traps with his Ironbeak Owl. The health deficit quickly grows too large and Handlock evens the series at 3-3. The last round is Strifecro's Midrange Hunter against Sjow's Grim Patron Warrior. The latter starts the game with two of his three combo cards in hand, something that is generally assumed to be bad. This turns out to be the case as the Hunter curves too well for the Warrior to keep up with and Strifecro secures third place in the tournament.

Winner: Strifecro (4-3)

Finals

Kolento vs. Lifecoach

The final series opens with Handlock (Lifecoach) against Control Priest (Kolento). From the start it's hard for Kolento to win this matchup, Handlock simply gets too much value, too quickly for him to deal with. So when Lifecoach gets Ragnaros the Firelord on the board all by itself, it's basically game over. However, the next round starts with Kolento's Druid opening of Wild Growth while Lifecoach is stuck with Warsong Commander, two Grim Patrons, and a Frothing Berserker. Needless to say that's not good. So when Sylvanas Windrunner is played against him, he's forced to slow down even more. The usual combo ends this rather one sided victory. We then see Zoolock and Mech Mage battle (Kolento and Lifecoach, respectively) and see yet again why Zoo just seems to be a better version of Mech Mage. Establishing a larger board presence and doing so faster, Kolento puts the pressure onto Lifecoach who chooses to use a Fireball, his one shot at winning, against a four health minion. He later draws into another Fireball meaning that he would have won had he taken the risk. Instead, Kolento takes the series lead at 2-1. Lifecoach starts the next round with a Turn 1 Azure Drake, a big problem for Control Priest that has no immediate answers outside of Auchenai Soulpriest into Circle of Healing. But Kolento doesn't have an answer and lets the match even up. It's fitting then that the two both choose Grim Patron Warrior for the next round. In this match up, it's common for whoever gets their Grim Patron off first to win as most Grim Patron Warriors don't run solid board clears that deal more than one damage. Therefore, things look grim when Kolento gets his Patrons on the board first but he makes the mistake of playing Unstable Ghoul. When Lifecoach gets a charging Frothing Berserker on the field with the cards to activate it, he does 25 damage to the face of Kolento and takes the lead. One round away from claiming the championship, things look good for Lifecoach when Kolento's Control Priest has a Turn 3 pass. However, Lifecoach overextends his Mech Mage board and a Auchenai Soulpriest combo decimates him. Combined with some really lucky Boom Bot rolls and we come down to the last round to determine the victor. Kolento has only Grim Patron Warrior left and Lifecoach only has Mech Mage, this typically skews towards the Warrior due to low damage minions. A singular Frothing Berserker proves problematic for Lifecoach and when Kolento uses Reversing Switch on it (making it a 1-19), it's very much game over for Lifecoach as Kolento inevitably claims victory.

Winner: Kolento (4-3)

tl;dr

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Kolento's Winning Decks

(Along with the Midrange Druid above)