There are two primary formats in competitive Hearthstone: Conquest and Last Hero Standing. Each has it's own pros and cons, but Blizzard has long been a supporter of Conquest, opting to use it for all Blizzard sanctioned events - effectively making it the official gametype of Hearthstone. But before we dive into Dima "Rdu" Radu's statement, lets take a look at how these formats work for those of you who are unfamiliar.

Back to TopWhat's Conquest

  • Both players prepare four decks from four different classes.
  • Each player proceeds to ban one deck from the opponent's arsenal.
  • Both then choose a single deck to start with, a choice that their opponent does not know.
  • Matches proceed as normal: Any deck that is victorious may not be played again. The loser can decide to keep using the deck that lost or switch at any time.
  • Once a player has won with all three decks they are declared the winner.
As you can see, the benefit of this format is that the winner must utilize all of their decks. But unfortunately there's a lot of randomness involved since the winner must switch decks leaving the loser to keep guessing at what could possibly be next, rather than giving them a solid chance to respond. This is one of the main benefits of Last Hero Standing:

Back to TopWhat's Last Hero Standing

  • Both players prepare four decks from four different classes.
  • Each player proceeds to ban one deck from the opponent's arsenal.
  • Both then choose a single deck to start with, a choice that their opponent does not know.
  • Matches proceed as normal: Any deck that is victorious must be played until it is defeated. The losing deck is eliminated and any of the remaining decks may be chosen.
  • Once a player has eliminated all three of their opponent's decks, they are declared the winner.
Here the deck selection feels much more like a chess match and less like a roll of the dice, but it also allows for the chance of a player besting the entire field with a single deck, which is great for them, but less so for viewers.


When asked about his qualms with Conquest, RDU provided Hearthhead with a statement:

Back to TopRDU Statement

In my opinion, Conquest is a format that is fun for people to watch but it has a lot more flaws than Last Hero Standing for the competitors. First of all, the argument that people use to defend Conquest's skill cap over LHS is that in order to lose to a ''less skilled opponent',” he needs to win with three different decks against you. But if you compare it with Last Hero Standing, he needs to beat three of your decks which is harder to do than [just] abusing some good matchups on one of the decks or queueing correct matchups.

One other thing I don't like about Conquest is that preparing for a Conquest tournament is way easier than preparing for an LHS one. In LHS, you need to make sure that your lineup is not particularly weak to any deck in the meta. [But] in conquest you should in theory target one or two decks with all your four decks which is way easier to do.

And no matter how well you read the meta, there will never be a tournament where every player runs one specific deck which can cause you to start on the wrong foot in Conquest. [With] Last Hero Standing there's a big chance that with a lot of preparation you find a lineup that just destroys the entire field and you start favored in any series you play in the tournament, therefore rewarding your practice.

Finally, the thing I hate the most about Conquest is that the most efficient way to pick decks is to randomize your pick order. [This has been] mathematically proved in countless Reddit threads. Until [you reach] the point where one of the players has only one deck remaining both players have to blind pick their decks leading to some not-needed randomness which can cause a better player to start super unfavored in a particular series.

In a metagame where most of the matchups are close to 50-50 and their outcome [frequently] go to either better plays or RNG, this aspect of conquest tends to go unnoticed. BUT in a meta like we have now in Old Gods, [which] probably has more one-sided matchups than ever, Conquest is possibly the worst choice for a format.

A practical example: Player A has Freeze Mage, N’zoth Pally and Renolock. Player B has Warrior, Zoo Warlock and Priest. In this situation, Player A wants his Freeze Mage to face either Zoo or Priest, but under no circumstance Warrior. He also wants his N’zoth Pally to face Warrior, but he doesn't want to play the deck against Priest.

In this situation, if one of the players hits two favorable matchups he has a massive edge over his opponent, even though there was a chance that they would queue the decks in a different order in which his opponent would be the one heavily favored.

In Last Hero Standing, the only time players blind pick their decks is for the first game of the series. And there are a lot of situations when a player's lineup is so well constructed that he can pick a specific deck and even in the worst case scenario - where his opponent picks the absolute best counter - he is still favored on paper just because he has really good counter decks.

This way LHS drastically reduces the biggest issue with Conquest which is picking blindly. In a combo-control meta like we have now, you can expect a lot of pro players to be sad after regionals because they started a series unfavored simply because they queued their decks in a “bad” order. Since there is no way to predict how a random opponent you’ve never faced before tends to pick their decks, it's completely blind in Conquest. [This is] because they have to get a win with every one of their decks compared to LHS. In conclusion, while LHS might not be the best format, it's miles ahead of Conquest.
Half a year ago Riot Games admitted faults in its own Best of One regular season format, opting to split the European League Championship Series (LCS) and North American LCS into two separate configurations in an attempt to remedy competition. While other regions competed in Bo2s or Bo3s - both of which will be utilized in the next LCS season - Riot sanctioned leagues lagged behind, struggling on the International stage where it takes more than one match to secure victory. But this is a culmination of years of evolution with the level of competition continuously rising. If there's anything we can learn for that, it's that this process takes time. League is well into its sixth season and even Riot Games, developer of the title, is still far from perfecting its esport.

Hearthstone has only had two years (technically three) of real competition, but if the players have any say in how the format continues to evolve, we expect to see improvements in the future. RDU wasn't alone in his opinion, we spoke to multiple other players who not only had qualms with Conquest, but expressed their desire for more Blizzard supported Last Hero Standing tournaments. Standard was a big step towards keeping the meta ever evolving and actually opening the door for archetypes to rise and fall over time, something that's much more entertaining for both pros and viewers. So who's to say that the format itself won't change over time?