[DKMR]Ihmo here from team Don’t Kick My Robot to bring you this week’s Meta Report. Have you ever played against something that forced you to commit to a suboptimal answer or maybe something that you just had no answer for? What about something weird, but definitely very strong? Have you ever felt the need to change something from your deck, despite the fact that you love it and you’re already very familiar with it? A new threat has shown up and you think, “I need to make a change”. Or perhaps you just wanted to make something different, maybe a shorter, more efficient path to the exact same goal? If the answer is yes, then you’re part of the ever-shifting cycle of the Hearthstone metagame. It’s always important to understand which direction the meta is going, what has changed and what has not. By taking these measures, you can always adapt and be prepared; after all, knowing is half the battle.
Keep in mind, it’s about which classes and archetypes are played the most, not about which are the strongest. Typically the strongest decks will also be the most frequently played, but that’s part of how the meta works.
Druid still comes ahead of other classes, due to their versatility, which helps their consistency overall. New Druid decks have showed up, some players even got to legendary rank with Druid Tokens, a deck mostly about Imp Master/Violet Teacher plus Savage Roar, that adds an aggressive option to Druid’s arsenal. Their main weakness remains the same: Huge minions. Their lack of hard removal (you can’t really rely on Naturalize) can give them a hard time, but most Druids will run one Big Game Hunter, and Starfire is also a very interesting (and budget) option as well.
Shaman are still pretty popular, due to their natural ability to handle big minions AND their utilities against aggro in general, this comes in the form of Lightning Storm and Feral Spirit. They also have a lot of burst damage through Windfury and charge minions, which can help them pull a win from out of nowhere. They’re just as consistent as Druids right now, and we’re yet to see which one will come out ahead and take first place. Maybe it will happen soon? Only time will tell.
Warrior has actually become a force to be reckoned with. Not too long ago, it was only seeing play in its control form, and now you have aggro warriors everywhere in the ladder, and even in some tournaments. They’re not as fast as Hunter, but they run tougher minions and have just the right amount of reach to bypass taunts. Archetypes aside, as a class they’re pretty solid, mostly due to the sheer value of their cards, notably Shield Slam, which could be potentially the best spell in the game, often being a 1 for 1 trade between a 1 mana spell and a 8/9 mana minion.
Warlock is once again being heavily played, now both on its aggro and its control form. Handlock is becoming more popular, and some players are learning to adapt against its horrible matchup vs aggro in general by using cards like Voidwalker and Harvest Golem, which helps them control the board on their early turns. On the other hand, both standard Aggrolock and MurLock has also seen an increase in flavor, now more about controlling the board in the early turns and then snowballing the game in their favor, and less about rushing to the face.
Hunter is still strong, with some new archetypes to boot. Midrange Beast Hunters are starting to grow in popularity, due to the huge value of some of Hunter’s cards and combos, most notably Savannah Highmane coupled with Houndmaster. Its elder cousin, Hunter hyper aggro, is still around as well, as they’re also adapting. Some players have started to use Freezing Trap in their hyper aggressive decks, to help them deal with the opponent’s creatures. It’s still quite early to determine how effective this could be, but we think it’s definitely worth trying. As always, when facing a Hunter, bring some taunts!
Rogue is regaining popularity one step at a time. Its Miracle Rogue archetype, which aims to play the entire deck before turn 8 through Gadgetzan Auctioneer and a lot of cheap spells, and then kill through Leeroy + Shadowstep + Cold Blood, has been played more frequently. We believe that in a slower meta, the deck is much more viable, and that’s part of the reason for it. Its classic build is also being played more, and some players even got to Legendary rank with it this season, despite all the nerfs to it. Overall Rogue is still a good class, but its a few steps behind Druid and Warrior right now, at least when it comes to flavor.
Paladin is still in a good position right now, but as far as control deck goes, they’re still behind Druids and Shamans, mostly due to their lack of significant finishers. They don’t have endgame combos like Force of Nature + Savage Roar, or Leeroy Jenkins + Windfury, so mostly they’ll rely a lot on attrition and healing spells. Their hard removal options are also complicated, as they really need Equality if they want to deal with huge minions. It’s good because it can deal with a lot of minions at once, but it’s bad because you can’t have more than two, and it also requires another card, like Consecrate or Wild Pyromancer. Paladin aggro, however, is still very solid overall, due to their fast-paced nature and the ability to also play as a board control deck.
Priest is seeing some more play, but it still has a couple faults. Sometimes you can pull up a huge 4/7 Injured Blademaster on turn 3 or steal a very good creature with Cabal Shadow Priest on turn 6, but sometimes stuff just doesn’t work, and then the Priest gets crushed. Maybe the way to go for Priests would be to abuse the automatic 2 for 1 of Thoughtsteal to play Mountain Giant, that certainly makes it way more threatening. And tech cards like Crazed Alchemist are especially good in a Priest deck.
Mage is the class that everyone’s thinking about right now. Everyone wants to make it work as it used to (without the turn 8 autowin shenanigans, of course), but they’re having quite a hard time with that. Tempo mage is good, but it’s still not as solid as the other midrange options. It could just be a matter of time before someone finds a new way to make Mage see more play again, but for now, they remain as the least played class on ranked right now.
Deck of the Week: Freshca’s Board Control
A very interesting murloc deck, less focused on pure aggro and more interested on controlling the board. The general idea is to make efficient trades in the early game and then snowball your advantage to trample your opponent on the mid game. He actually won Hearthstone Players invitational with this deck, but this list is actually outdated, we found the updated list.