Reynad reclaims NESL crown
The NESL King of the Hill tournament set a new milestone in it's eighth iteration on Tuesday. For the first time a king returns on his throne, as Reynad defeated RomaNorgy and TidesOfTime to get back to the place, that he already had after the second edition of the format.
NESL King of the Hill continues with the curse on the reigning champions, as another one can't make a successful title defense happen. The fluctuation of players reigning over the NESL kingdom continues, but this time the new king is also an old king. For the first time in the history of the tournament, a player who previously held the title is returning to the spot of glory. Streaming star and former MTG professional Reynad had his first successful reign after defeating Trump in the second week of the King of the Hill tournament, a run that was stopped short just the next week by Amaz. Now the American gets another shot at trying to retain the lead over the NESL world for more than just one episode.
His outing to get to the top in the eighth edition of the KotH tournament was more than impressive, getting two consecutive 3-1's against his foes. First up was NESL #15 winner RomaNorgy, who had his big redemption story in the Sunday cup to get to this point. Unfortunately for him, only his first deck, a Hunter, could get him a point against Reynad - who then proceeded to crush every challenge with his Druid deck. This was not quite expected, mostly because Reynad conceded after just three turns with his Handlock against the Hunter deck, setting him a bit in the "tilt" corner for the evening. A timely Force of Nature, a Sniper Ragnaros and the Druid power breaking the lines of Zoo salvaged the situation and brought him the honor of playing TidesOfTime for the crown.
That match started out with the innovative reigning king trying something different for a change, bringing out a Pirate Paladin with cards like Wisp, that prompted entertaining reactions in the webcam of his opponent. The last laugh was with Reynad and his Hunter though, who send Tides to walk the plank, ending the match with a Leeroy. TidesOfTime wasn't done with his entertaining deck selection after this though, bringing out a Malygos Druid for the second week in a row. Last King of the Hill he swept his opponent, so the fans couldn't marvel at this variation of a Druid, this time it brought him one victory - without even revealing cards like Bite or Malygos to his opponent. They stayed a secret throughout the match anyway, as Reynad responded to his loss with Handlock, crushing the Druid unceremoniously.
It was all down to the last deck for Tides, the last glimmer of hope to be the second player in NESL KotH history to successfully defend the title at least once. The classic matchup of Handlock against control Warrior wasn't going in favor of him though, as the "toss up" matchup was rather one-sided for Gul'Dan. Reynad was able to use the big mid-game power of the deck in back-to-back turns with two Mountain Giants and the Twilight Drakes sitting in his hand, waiting to get unleashed since the early draws. The answers on Tides' side were limited and so nothing could stop the raging Giants of running into Garrosh's face over and over again.
The new and old king therefore is Reynad, who now has to wait another week for his challengers to come at him. One of them will have to go through the struggle of the NESL Sunday cup, beating out some of the best players in the world to get a chance. The other one will be announced on Monday or Tuesday, as the second challenger in the play-in matches is always an invite from the streaming scene. The chance for everyone to challenge the new king is open for signup right now here. Practice reps for the big showdown on Sunday can be gathered in the Wednesday edition of NESL Preseason cups, if you sign up here.