Zalae
Paul Nemeth 
USA
Free Agent
Free Agent
Struggled out of the gates in an early exit
September 18, 2017
Zalae disappointed as he was eliminated in the swiss stage of the Hearthstone Americas Summer Playoffs.
ANALYSIS
Still a staple in the American Hearthstone scene, Zalae is competing hard at every event. This was not his event, however, as he finished 1-2 and did not finish. Zalae, along with a lot of other players, was negatively affected by internet issues disrupting games at this venue. Disconnects were a negative takeaway from the otherwise very competitive event.
Free Agent
Shined in the swiss stage, but faltered in brackets
September 10, 2017
Zalae started out well but fell off late in the DreamHack Montreal Hearthstone Grand Prix.
ANALYSIS
In the first tournament since parting with Luminosity Gaming, Zalae was doing a great job of showing off what they are missing. Zalae performed better than anybody in the swiss stages finishing 8-1. However, all that means nothing when you get into a single elimination bracket. Zalae matched up against Th3Rat in the first round and lost in a 3-2 thriller. Zalae has mastered the Jade Druid, but other players have targeted their lineups towards Druid since it is the strongest deck in the game, which left Zalae struggling to break through.
Couldn't make it through group stages
July 31, 2017
Zalae struggled early and often as he failed to make it out of group stages at the Hearthstone Grand Prix at DreamHack Atlanta.
ANALYSIS
As one of the most popular faces in American Hearthstone, Zalae had pressure to perform at the local tournament. Whether it was the pressure getting to him or the matchups not going his way, failing to make it out of group stages is unacceptable for a person of his caliber. He can chalk this one up as a bad weekend and bounce back.
Targeted control decks, captured his first Major championship
June 12, 2017
Zalae capped off a very impressive tournament run in style as he defeated Rdu 4-2 in the finals of StarLadder Season 3 to be crowned champion. Zalae also won $11,000 with the victory.
ANALYSIS
There was a variety of strategies coming into the star studded tournament. Some designed their lineup to target aggro, some just brought the best decks, and then there was Zalae who targeted control. The choice did not look smart to begin with as he was quickly swept in his first series of the tournament, but it all worked out just as he planned in the end. In a meta where control decks are strongest, Zalae used his unique lineup of Jade Druid, Burn Mage, Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue and Jade Shaman to counter them. This was a huge win for Zalae as it is his first ever victory in a major tournament. He has always been known as one of the world's best players, so we do not expect this to be his last win.