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Analyzing the Mercenaries lists of the Global Inn-vitational event

by Tangster

The Global Inn-vitational is a major multi-mode Hearthstone tournament that will take place in China this week and be streamed on Twitch and Youtube. For the Mercenaries portion of the event, the Americas region will be represented by Fr0zen and Lunaloveee, while Jia and Surrender will compete for Asia-Pacific. Europe’s delegation is made of Hunterace and Thijs. Valeera and Windfish are the Chinese players.

Rules:

  • 4 ban 1, BO5, Conquest
  • 4 sets for each region (including mercs and equipments), There can’t be 4 or more same mercs between any two sets
  • Each merc can only appear in 3 or less sets, which means that all sets are not allowed to have the same merc

The compositions submitted seem to suggest each team is bringing a slice of their own regional metagame. There are some interesting choices and patterns that are worth a closer look.

Some quick stats:

  • Of the 56 available Mercenaries, 22 unique Mercenaries will see play at the Inn-vitational.
  • Of those 22, only Cairne and Diablo are played in every possible composition.
  • This means Cairne and Diablo together represent 25% of all Mercenaries brought to the Inn-vitational and will appear in a whopping 75% of compositions (before bans).
  • Samuro is the next most popular choice, representing 11% of all Mercenaries brought.
  • Casters are the most popular role, boasting 36% representation compared to Protectors (32%) and Fighters (31%).
  • 7 of the 22 Mercenaries are only being brought in one composition by one region.

Deck Lists

Data provided by ZelKnow and leaf

Analysis

It is easy to understand why Cairne, Diablo and Samuro are so popular in this event. Cairne/Diablo is a meta warping force in ladder play, and the Inn-vitational appears to be no different. This duo requires players to have a response to the powerful Endurance Aura/Fire Stomp combo. However, a recent hotfix (rolled out Nov. 9th)  changes the way Cairne’s Resurrection equipment works, causing him to lose his turn after coming back to life. This opens up interesting counterplay options that the regions will only have a few days to prepare for.

Samuro is one of the most flexible Mercenaries currently available, offering fast pressure on turn one or fantastic revenge kill potential from the bench. A great many leads (that is, the first 3 Mercenaries played in a match) include Samuro to threaten Casters immediately.

Other powerful duos like Varden/Jania, Vol’jin/Natalie and Malfurion/Bru’kan see modest representation across the four regions. From here, we start to see some deviations in strategies. 

Americas has made the interesting choice to bring a Beasts composition (Rexxar/King Krush/King Mukla), but not use Cairne/Diablo on the bench. This puts their opponents in the awkward position of banning Beasts and having to face Cairne/Diablo in every matchup; OR risking their Casters against the most powerful anti-caster lead in the format. 

Asia-Pacific is the only region to not bring a unique Mercenary, instead opting for tried and true compositions like Vol’jin/Natalie/Samuro and Jania/Varden/Tavish. They’ve also opted for Malfurion/Mukla/Anduin, a strategy that has seen rise on the NA and EU ladders very recently and focuses on ramping Anduin’s health out of reach quickly, while disrupting early pressure with Mukla.

To the NA and EU ladders, China boasts one of the spiciest compositions submitted. They’ve opted to ditch Diablo’s Black Soulstone equipment and the massive health boost it provides, in favor of Claws of Terror to boost his base attack to a whopping 17! This same composition also runs Baron Geddon, a squishy Caster with massive AOE potential that has not seen much PvP play since the first few days of Mercenaries launch.

Europe has certainly broken the mold compared to the other three regions. They are the only region to bring something besides the usual 2 Protector/2 Fighter/2 Caster lineup. Two of their four compositions use the standard 2/2/2, but they’re also bringing a 1/2/3 and a very interesting 1/1/4. Casters pack an extremely large punch but can be very vulnerable, especially in a meta where Cairne/Diablo rule. 

Analysis aside, this is a very exciting event for the blossoming Mercenaries esports community. The Inn-vitational’s unique ruleset will encourage a different type of strategy and play pattern than most are used to. It promises to be a thrilling event as the top players from around the globe duke it out starting this Thursday.

Hearthstone Mercenaries PvP Meta Overview

by Race

My name is Race and I have been playing Hearthstone Mercenaries since its launch. Almost since the release I have been a leaderboard player (top 200) and I am currently sitting at rank 7 and 8835 rating on the EU server as of October 20. Since there have been multiple tier lists with individual mercs I thought I would give my sight on full comps instead. The comps will be listed out of my own experience when climbing. It is 100% ok to disagree, this is just what I think can do good on the ladder.

I have seen variants of all these with 1 or 2 mercs swapped but these were the most common. The most common starting trio are the 3 first mercs in the following lists. Above 8k it’s been exclusively Nature, Shadow and Beast comps. The rise of Tavish is recent.

Top:

Nature: Build which uses Samuro with Sash of Illusion to quickly clean up enemy blue usually after Malfurion is dead.

Shadow Diablo: Relies on speed momentum and heavy Shadow / Diablo damage to wipe boards.

Shadow Sylvanas: I think this is better than the other verison of Shadow except in the mirror. The Deathrattle equipment for Sylvanas is better than the passive damage because it’s easier to tie the game if you fall behind.

Slightly worse:

Beast: There are many variations of the 3 back line of Beasts such as Shadow and Cairne or Diablo. Natalie can be swapped for Varden, Lich King or Sylvanas depending on the matchups. One of the stronger Beast teams I faced used Voljin, Lich King and Tamsin as back line.

Frost: It feels like the front 3 (usually Lich King, Jaina and Varden) have worse output than the Shadow variant. Jaina’s Ice Block is bugged as of the writing of this and the Frost comp might have more potential once it’s fixed.

Fire: Ragnaros, Antonidas, Geddon, Carine, Diablo, Varden – Does insane damage but needs the combo and it can easily be stopped with speed/slows at the moment. Recently, versions which use Tavish instead of Antonidas have been showing up on ladder, which I think is a stronger option in the current meta.

BTX Shadow: A slow from Lich King on Xyrella renders her almost useless and even though you can pull off a turn 1 kill on Blue, many comps can kill Thrall or Samuro on turn 2 while having put a slow on Xyrella. The Shadow package is not as strong unless you can swap in multiple at the same time.

BTX Cairne: Same as above, BTX start often gets punished by turn 2 by top comps. Here the Shadow trio is swapped out for Cairne and Diablo and usually a second Caster such as Voljin or Varden

Other tribes: I have seen a few variants of the Holy package utilizing Andiun, Velen and Uther or at least the Andiun-Velen combo. The problem in my opinion with Casters is that they often can be killed in one turn (BTX, Beast) which means that a Blue needs to come with some type of Deathrattle or speed manipulation to be viable. The holy package is somewhat slow, does not have any speed manipulation or Deathrattles for example.

Recommendations of Mercs to level

The question gets asked a lot: “what mercs do you suggest me leveling?” By looking at the meta now I would recommend leveling the versatile mercs first which can be fit into multiple comps such as Cairne, Diablo, Lich King, Varden and Voljin. To get started I recommend using the starter duo of Xyrella and Samuro to “carry” your other mercs so they get experience. If you are new to PvP you will probably face bots in the start of the climb which should be taken advantage of. You will get a lot more experience in PvP than in PvE and the bots use the same leveled mercs as you do. If your Samuro and Xyrella are level 30 and the rest is level 1, the bots will have 4 level 1s and 2 level 30s for example. Use the bots to your advantage and power level new mercs before you cannot run into bots anymore which according to discussions in the Hearthstone Mercenaries discord happens around 6400 Rating.

Another question that gets asked frequently is “what should i replace X with in this comp”? The sad truth is that some of the mercs in the comps are mandatory for the synergies to work so there is no proper viable replacement. If you are starting out trying to build towards a comp I would suggest you look at what you have and what you miss. It is a lot easier to get hold of some remaining Casters you are missing instead of having to open a legendary merc for example. As a new player I would recommend starting out with BTX (Samuro, Thrall and Xyrella) building towards Carine and Diablo or Shadow as these mercs can be used in many different comps. Mercs such as Malfurion are limited to Nature. Below is some information on some mandatory mercs in each comp and my thoughts around each one. Sadly the legendary mercs are often irreplaceable in the comps.

Cairne: One of the most used and versatile mercs due to the speed manipulation, tankiness and the ability to properly set up Diablo for a board clear. Can be used nearly every time and with the resurrection equipment he cannot be bursted down so easily.

Diablo: Often paired with Cairne for the combo, he is by himself a slow hero and often relies on other mercs to reach potential. Would not recommend investing in Diablo unless you have Cairne as he needs proper setup.

Vol’jin: The core of the Shadow comp due to the 3+ speed equipment, Ring of Haste. Usually swapped in with another Shadow user on the field to guarantee that you will go first trying to snipe an enemy merc before they get to act. Irreplaceable in the Shadow comp, I would suggest you level him as the other Shadow casters are Rares and easier to obtain.

Malfurion: Mandatory in the Nature comp, his two companions (Brukan and Guff) are both Rare so easier to get if you would have Malfurion. All three are needed however for the nature comp to work and I would not suggest investing time to build a Nature comp without Malfurion. Malfurion is not used in other comps.

Varden Dawngrasp: Plays the same role as Cairne and used for to slow down multile opponents which is very powerful. They can be used in most comps and reach great potential with the Deathrattle freeze as the enemy team get punished by focusing him to get rid of the slow effect.

Thrall: I recommend leveling this as you already have Blademaster Samuro and Xyrella so you can run the BTX comp early and use it to power level the other mercs.

Remember that this early the meta is constantly changing, Tavish has only seen play a day or two and a counter to Diablo as a finisher in the form of Gruul has been tested out (Gruul has +5 fire resistance). Many of the above mercs also require the “task 7 equipment” to reach full potential such as Vol’jin. The fastest way I found to grind tasks is to spam the Barrens Heroic Level 8 Bounty as the Mystery coin is guaranteed after maximum of 2 encounters. You can also get lucky and only have to battle once as shown in the picture below as you hit the Boon on the way:

I think both Fire with Tavish and Frost when Jaina is fixed can have great potential as top comps. Currently I think the Demon and the Holy packages are a bit lacking with Shadow and Nature being the top contenders as of October 20th 2021.

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #33

by NPH Pasca and WickedGood

The nerfs to the Shaman and Warlock Questlines and the buffs to Warrior’s Pirates have completely reshaped the aggro-control-combo dynamic that defines the metagame in Hearthstone Masters Tour Undercity Qualifiers.
Here’s the complete data from the 21 open cups that happened this past weekend.

Data summary from Off-Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from D0nkey. You will also see which class the player banned throuhout their run.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman (palenri / Smofie / Mazzu)
Libram Paladin, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (Paradox / Gjrstad)
Quest Lifesteal Demon Hunter, Miracle Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (八九寺真宵 / KYOKiE)

Proven Lineups:
Token Druid, Face Hunter, Quest Warrior (Fuchur / Vybon)
Quest Lifesteal Demon Hunter, Anacondra Druid, Miracle Rogue (fire)
Face Hunter, Miracle Rogue, Aggro Shaman (DarkKnight)
Quest Lifesteal Demon Hunter, Quest Mage, Miracle Rogue (Hi3)
Token Druid, Face Hunter, Elemental Shaman (嗨賴保證書)
Quest Fel Demon Hunter, Quest Mage, Miracle Rogue (BadBoy)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Anacondra Druid, Quest Hand Warlock, Control Warrior (andrew)
Quest Lifesteal Demon Hunter, Miracle Rogue, Control Warrior (decisivebeat)
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Control Warrior (Fujitora)
Face Hunter, Quest Mage, Miracle Rogue (Jayjay / raptorHS)
Quest Lifesteal Demon Hunter, Celestial Druid, Quest Warrior (MegaGliscor)
Quest Hunter, Libram Paladin, Quest Shaman (Ekrow)
Libram Paladin, Quest Hand Warlock, Control Warrior (Vrestrita / JustSr)
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Elemental Shaman (cynce)
Libram Paladin, Quest Rogue, Quest Shaman (EzXarT)
Libram Paladin, Quest Shaman, Quest Warrior (KillerK / Zijuk)
Quest Libram Demon Hunter, Anacondra Druid, Quest Warrior (Darq7007)
Fel Demon Hunter, Quest Hunter, Miracle Rogue (RonMexico)
Quest Priest, Quest Warlock, Control Warrior (goodwill)

Interesting Lineups:
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Quest Rogue (Management)
Quest Lifesteal Demon Hunter, Quest Hunter, Poison Rogue (zed)
Token Druid, Quest Rogue, Quest Warrior (Alpe)
Handbuff Paladin, Quest Shaman, Quest Warrior (wonderrr)
Control Priest, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (Django)
Clown Druid, Libram Paladin, Quest Shaman (Decky)
Fel Demon Hunter, Quest Druid, Control Warrior (ArcherOwO)

What will HS Mercenaries tournaments look like?

by NPH Pasca

We already know that Mercenaries tournaments are going to exist. There is a big, official one announced that will take place in China. However they have kept secret the format that they will use.

Formats are an important part of tournament play. They determine where you need to put your focus, how polyvalent/specialized you need to be, how long matches go, etc. For example, constructed Hearthstone has Conquest and Last Hero Standing, open or closed decklists, best of 3 or best of 5, with or without bans, and other formats like Strike where you ban matchups and Specialist where you have to alter your deck by ±5 cards. Battlegrounds has points systems where you play multiple games in a row and cumulate your finishes. You get the idea.

For Mercenaries the competitive formats can be anything we make them. Do we want players to disclose the composition of their party? Do we want them to play multiple games? Should there be bans? If they bring multiple parties, how different would they need to be?

Here are 3 ideas for potential Mercenaries tournament formats. Please let me know on Twitter, Reddit or Discord if you have other ideas or if you know of one of in a different game that would fit perfectly.

7 Mercs Bo1

Players register for the tournament with a list of 7 Mercs that they wish to play. Before each match, they ban one of the 7 Mercs their opponent has. Then they play the game with their 6 characters that survived the ban phase.
Pros: Open lists, so payers who have information about what their opponent used in previous rounds cannot use it to counter queue. Only 1 comp, so players with a limited collection have a chance. Meta comps get disrupted, allowing for a different feel than ladder.
Cons: Very short matches, allowing for high variance. Probably better suited for large Swiss events.

Closed list Specialist Bo3

Players queue the 6 Mercs of their choice for game 1. They don’t have to be the same in every round of the tournament. After the game, they are allowed to replace 2 of their 6 Mercs for the following game; they need to keep 4. The first player to win 2 games wins the match.
Pros: Only 1 comp, so players with a limited collection have a chance.
Cons: Not clear if the metagame will have enough depth to gain an advantage by swapping 2 Mercs, possible that everyone just keeps playing the same.

3 parties Conquest

Players register for the tournament with 3 lists of 6 Mercs, with at most 1 Merc in common between any pair of lists. Before a match, each player bans one of their opponent’s lists. For game 1, they queue whichever of their parties that survived the ban phase. The losing party is eliminated. The first player to win a game with each of their lists wins the match, similar to Conquest in standard Hearthstone.
Pros: Variety of games.
Cons: Players need to have 16 different Mercenaries.

These are just examples and we shall see what the community comes up with in the next couple of months. If you are interested in competitive Mercenaries, please give us feedback on the ideas above and stay tuned for upcoming events hosted by NoProsHere!

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #32

by GriffNPH Pasca and WickedGood

This past weekend was the last chance to qualify for Masters Tour Stormwind. The next set of qualifiers will be for Undercity. This report analyses the data from all the Hearthstone matches played in these last 20 open cups.

Data summary from Off-Curve:


In general, we are continuing to see a pretty heavy rock-paper-scissors trend in conquest. We see a lot of aggressive lineups trying to beat quest lineups (Quest Warlock and Quest Mage), and we have control lineups targeting the aggro decks that in turn are beaten by quest decks. This is why we see off meta decks like Control Priest, that is phenomenal into aggro and not much else, having high winrates despite not being considered a great deck outside of tournaments. However, just countering one set of decks isn’t enough to make a deck viable. Weapon Rogue sports an absurd 89% winrate over mage and 64% against Warlock but has a small distribution and a subpar winrate.

We are likely to continue to see a similar trend moving forward because of the inevitability that the Questlines provide. This forces decks to become faster to beat those decks, which in turn creates the aggro-killing control decks. This means that deck and lineup decisions have greater weight, leading to an importance for prematch analytics and understanding of minute changes in the tournament metagame to gain a competitive advantage.

Tier List:

Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from D0nkey. You will also see which class the player banned throuhout their run.

Meta Defining Lineups:

Fel Demon Hunter, Questline Shaman, Questline Hand Warlock (RazieL / Jaziel / Patatedouce)
This lineup has been the most successful this weekend showing up the most of any lineup in top 8’s by a wide margin. These lists do well into the aggressive decks of the format, preying on the popularity of Face Hunter and Shadow Aggro Priest whilst not giving up a lot of power against slower decks. Because this lineup is relatively slow compared to the rest of the format, it looks to ban mage and other Warlocks. Mage can easily burn Warlock and Shaman before they are able to close the game. Warlock is the other ban of choice to avoid an abysmal shaman matchup that would put this lineup at a disadvantage. This is the lineup to beat in three deck conquest and I expect it to continue to be popular.

Proven Lineups:

Fel Demon Hunter, Miracle Rogue, Questline Shaman (Noflame / kugatsu)
In the past week, we’ve seen an aggressive miracle rogue utilizing garrote and Field Contact pick up a lot of traction, and as a result, many lineups have become more effective as a result. We saw a similar lineup doing well in qualifiers running Control Priest instead of Rogue. Similar to that lineup, this lineup is consistently strong against aggressive decks but has a better chance against Quest decks with the Rogue inclusion. This lineup’s Main weaknesses are Warlock and other Demon Hunter decks. Warlock is the most popular ban with the rest being a relatively mixed bag. This lineup has a very flexible ban slot that gives it an edge.

Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Miracle Rogue (Logoss / Farath)
This is an example of a more aggressive lineup featuring Miracle Rogue. With Priest being present, it is consistently strong into other aggro centric lineups while also being extremely strong against Quest Mage and, to a lesser extent, warlock. Rogue gives this lineup great flexibility as it can win almost any matchup, which helps against the lineups that target priest and Hunter. This lineup still never wants to see Fel DH or Quest Shaman however, making it relatively weak to the top lineup that defines this meta. Pilots of this lineup will almost always ban Shaman or Demon Hunter given the opportunity.

Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Aggro Shaman (しーや)
This particular lineup is one of the most aggressive we’re seeing do well. These decks do really well into most of the OTKs including Anacondra Druid and Questline Mage. Being the aggro lineup of the format, players of this lineup never want to see Questline shaman and ban it whenever possible. Warlock is another popular ban because its matches are mostly 50/50 or slightly favored. This aggressive lineup also does very well into other aggro decks because of Shadow Priest and Aggro Shaman. Expect to see a lot of a similar lineup continue to thrive in qualifiers in upcoming weeks.

Questline Mage, Miracle Rogue, Questline Hand Warlcok (Sidnell)
If you want to beat Quest Shaman, this is the lineup to do it. You also have the ability to go toe-to-toe with Warlock. This lineup struggles against early aggression, so other rogues and Hunters are popular bans, along with Demon Hunter. Quest and Fel Demon Hunter can easily pick up wins against rogue and Mage. Fortunately, lineups with Demon Hunters often sport Quest Shaman as well, making the DH ban and hard target on the Shaman a viable strategy.

Pretty Good Lineups:

Questline Demon Hunter, Miracle Rogue, Questline Hand Warlock (Crefno)
Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Weapon Rogue (badajimpom)
Questline Mage, Miracle Rogue, Questline Shaman (ThunderUP)
Questline Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Shadow Priest (Melon / Zycan12)
Questline Mage, Questline Shaman, Questline Hand Warlock (Icsobr)
Token Druid, Shadow Priest, Elemental Shaman (Danneskjöld)
Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Shadow Priest (에렛지디)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Shaman, Questline Hand Warlock (losefield / wolf91)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Weapon Rogue (Tincho)
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Shadow Priest, Weapon Rogue (fèl)
Questline Demon Hunter, Shadow Priest, Questline Shaman (DarkMagician )

Interesting Lineups:

Token Druid, Face Hunter, Shadow Priest (간지남)
Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Questline Shaman (coyote06 / SnakeFawdz)
Celestial Druid, Questline Mage, Questline Hand Warlock (FedosFF)
Fel Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Questline Shaman (我只是個新手 / SAVOR)
Questline Demon Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Shadow Priest (Rain)
Questline Hunter, Questline Shaman, Questline Hand Warlock (Otsuna / Chewie)
Face Hunter, Secret Paladin, Shadow Priest (Sabertooth20)
Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Questline Shaman (feNix14)
Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Elemental Shaman (Utkurt)
Questline Mage, Weapon Rogue, Questline Hand Warlock (Alo / MindMeld)
Fel Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Hand Warlock (Zhym)
Questline Demon Hunter, Miracle Rogue, Questline Shaman (HSKeDaiBiao)
Celestial Druid, Control Priest, Questline Hand Warlock (Pardal)
Questline Hunter, Questline Rogue, Questline Shaman (Enigma)
Soul Demon Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Shadow Priest (Wenture1892)
Anacondra Druid, Libram Paladin, Questline Shaman (/ねーちゃん)
Fel Demon Hunter, Malygos Druid, Questline Shaman (Empanizado)

Synergies to look for in Hearthstone Mercenaries

by graylego

The author is behind the spreadsheet that compiles all the known Mercenaries abilities

Now that we have had more time to digest some of the press release material for Mercenaries and have the opportunity to look over some of the abilities and Mercs we will be getting with the mode, we can start to understand more about how combat and Merc teams will shape up. While we don’t know everything yet, we can still make some predictions on what sort of synergy teams we will be looking at when Mercenaries releases.

The first of these synergies is based on the tribe of the Merc. We will see some of the tribes we know from constructed Hearthstone, such as Alexstrasza and Brighwing for dragons or Mukla and King Krush for beasts. But we will also see some new tribes, such as orcs and humans! Rokara can gain more attack when she has an orc ally nearby, and Anduin Wrynn can protect and heal his fellow human Mercs. Tribes are certain to play are large role when considering your team.

Next of the synergies is ability school synergies, similar to spell schools in constructed. Tyrande Whisperwind can boost her party’s next arcane ability with Elune’s Grace, making the next friendly arcane ability cast twice while also making the ability faster for the rest of the battle. Ragnaros’ Magma Blast can deal double damage if a friendly character cast a fire ability before him this turn. Vol’jin’s Curse of Weakness can make his foes weak to shadow damage for a turn, allowing friendly Mercs using shadow abilities to deal massive damage. I expect all of the synergies and more to be tried out and used effectively.

The final synergy I want to talk about will be speed based synergies. A lot of Mercs don’t fit into a synergistic tribe or don’t have schools tied to their abilities. Here, I believe speed manipulation is going to be your best friend. Abilities like Bru’kan’s Muddy Footing or Cairne’s War Stomp slowing your opponents can destroy their strategies. On the opposite end of that, Cairne’s Endurance Aura or Valeera’s Fan of Knives speeding allies up can cause you to quickly destroy your opponents. A good example of an ability that wants to be sped up is Tavish’s Aimed Shot, which deals double damage if Tavish has not been damaged this turn.

Now as for what of these strategies will end up being strong is up in the air right now. We don’t know enough yet to make well informed predictions. One of my initial ideas is a holy team consisting of mostly humans to profit off of Aundin’s holy spells that also work better with humans, but only time will tell if that team turns out to be good

For now though, I recommend theorycrafting teams as we get more information! It will be super exciting to see what the community comes up with as we approach the launch of Mercenaries on October 12th.

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #31

by NPH Pasca and WickedGood

One week after the release of United in Stormwind, we are back with the complete data from a new weekend of Masters Tour Qualifiers. The Open Cup metagame has quickly evolved into a rock-paper-scissors between the combo decks that had been dominating thee first 24 hours of the expansion, aggressive strategies built around Hunter and Paladin that players like Norwis used to counter the “solitaire” players, and finally a full control lineup that was mostly refined by Odemian and that looked to farm Face Hunters.

This report contains analysis of the complete data from the last 20 tournaments and a comprehensive tier list.
15 of the winners of those tournaments also provided comments and tips about the lineup that they used. Make sure to check them out in the last section.

Data summary from Off-Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from D0nkey. You will also see which class the player banned throuhout their run. The players named in bold are qualifier winners who generously sent comment about the strategy they used. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Questline Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Control Warrior (iNS4NE / Rony; garubor0asia / Odemian)

Proven Lineups:
Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue, Elemental Shaman (cheesee10)
Questline Mage, Questline Rogue, Questline Warlock (Duelist)
Questline Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Rogue (QueenOfRoses)
Handbuff Paladin, Elemental Shaman, Rush Warrior (ElDiablo)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Zoo Warlock (Sveiks)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Doomhammer Shaman (KNMDehua)
Anacondra Druid, Face Hunter, Questline Rogue (GamerRvg)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Priest (hone)
Questline Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Questline Warlock (西陵珩)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Rogue (OrcMalade)
Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue (Rampengu)
Questline Mage, Hndbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue (Lucasdmnasc / Cikos)
Questline Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Elemental Shaman (livevil)
Questline Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Questline Mage (KrajdaCz)
Questline Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Doomhammer Shaman (Norwis)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Warlock (Turna)

Interesting lineups:
Questline Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Warlock (Correctness)
Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue, Questline Warlock (yerolo)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Zoo Warlock, Rush Warrior (kugatsu)
Anacondra Druid, Questline Rogue, Questline Shaman (DDoBaGi)
Questline Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Control Warrior (Blaz3r)
Questline Druid, Handbuff Paladin, Evolve Shaman (BouncyKnight)
Questline Mage, Control Priest, Questline Shaman (ythehunter)
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Questline Zoo Warlock (Zoltan)
Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Priest, Questline Warlock (Konrad)
Questline Mage, Control Priest, Questline Rogue (Sergiy)
Questline Mage, Questline Rogue, Doomhammer Shaman (Teccadego)
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Questline Druid, Face Hunter (ScreaM)
Questline Demon Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue (Athanas)

Comments from the winners:

iNS4NE on Questline Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Control Warrior:
“The lineup is good against aggro and bad against anti-control OTK decks. You usually ban Mage or Warlock, against aggro you ban Paladin. A few changes I’d recommend is adding Rattlegore and maybe even Kel’thuzad, Faceless Manipulator in Warrior for mirrors and adding a bit more value to Priest.”

Rony on Questline Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Control Warrior:
“First of all I took the lineup directly from Odemian, exact same 90 cards. The lineup is meant to counter aggro decks that targeted combo ones. And it really paid off. 7 out of 9 rounds I faced aggro and 6 of them, had Hunter, which was the actual main focus. The ban was Paladin most of the time, but had to leave it open on round 6 as DH OTK seemed really awful to face (a mirror or an unwinnable match for Warrior). Fortunately I faced only one Mage which is an instaban and was in the lineup with Hunter.
The other two rounds were mirrors with same classes but a couple of different cards. In fact, my rivals used Ysera instead of Rattlegore in Warrior to do the Dream+Mutanus combo against Rattlegore, but they were never able to do it and that abomination from Scholomance helped a lot. For the first mirror I banned DH because I was scared of it, but I lost to Illucia so changed my ban for the second mirror.
It felt like a dream, I’ve always wanted to be a #LegionLATAM and I think the planets aligned and everything went the right direction, I don’t think I am a good player and I am nowhere near the level of the other Argentinians playing the MT, but I will really tryhard to make the most of the chance I have on the Master Tour.”

garubor on Questline Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Control Warrior:
“Target: Face Hunters, Aggro Shamans (or any weapon-based hero)
Ban: Anyay, Warrior and Priest are weak decks. If there is a Quest Mage, I will surely ban it. After that, I will consult with the HSReplay matchup table.
I just brought in the same deck that my opponent lost in the last tournament, to be honest.
If I had to play again, I’d consider QOTK Demon Hunter, Quest Mage, and one more.”

cheesee10 on Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue, Elemental Shaman:
“The lineup was soft targeting Paladin, as I expected that to be present in the field, which is why the Questline Rogue and the Whack Shaman were there. In addition, based on prior results, I expected a good amount of DH/Priest/Warrior lineups, which my decks should be fairly favored against. The ban was always Mage if it was in the lineup, I think any lineup with Rogue and Paladin should cut the Mage tech and just ban out Mage. After that, the ban was flexible, but usually the most aggressive deck, so Shaman, then Rogue, and finally Hunter.”

Duelist on Questline Mage, Questline Rogue, Questline Warlock:
“I wanted to target control configurations and Paladins.
Soul Rend, Flurry + Shattering Blast has the potential to deal with Paladin’s Robes of Protection and is not bad for other uses, so I’m using it.”

ElDiablo on Handbuff Paladin, Elemental Shaman, Rush Warrior:
“About my principal strategy, I started to look a lot of top 8 lineups and I saw a lot of Mage, a deck that I wouldn’t face, and a lot of OTK Demon Hunter, Priest, and Weapons Shaman.
The first idea was to pick the Paladin Handbuff, which was just insane, didn’t loose any game, and able to win against all main decks. Then, the Elemental Shaman, which had a big edge against the Doomhamer Shaman, great vs Priest and ok vs OTK DH.
The last deck was Rush Warrior, which was one of the best decks in the previous meta, and still great in this one. The 3 games I losted were with Warrior, which was sometimes a little bit slow vs Warlock or Face Hunter.
About the ban, it was Mage first, and Control Warrior in second, which had an edge vs rush Warrior without ETC or the Elemental Shaman.
I played Watch Post in my deck against Quest OTK Demon Hunter, and that was one of my best decisions.
And I think that all of my strategy for this qualifier!”

Sveiks on Questline Demon Hunter, Questline Mage, Questline Zoo Warlock:
“You just ban the fastest deck opponent has. Usually it should be Hunter, if they don’t have that then Shaman/OTK DH/Paladin probably in exactly that order (and if someone actually plays SMOrc Priest, then that should come after Hunter, I didn’t see it though).
These 3 decks should be good vs anything slower. Also some people have not yet realised that Priest/CW have literally under 5% matchups vs Warlock and leave it open for some reason with the Priest-CW-OTK DH lineup.
Theoretically Hunter-Shaman-OTK DH lineup should be favoured vs my lineup, but I feel like Shaman is super overrated, it just does not beat combo stuff as well as Hunter.
I can’t comment too much on the exact lists though, I just copied the Mage from Orange, DH from Gaby and Warlock from AuroN.
On another note… OTK DH is dumb. While Mage and Warock should lose to Aggro, DH really does not. It only loses to Mutanus highroll/opponent drawing Illucia/itself blanking and not seeing card draw. So, nerf pls :)”

GamerRvg on Anacondra Druid, Face Hunter, Questline Rogue:
“I brought a lineup of decks that I felt are overall solid in the meta right now. Rogue feels not too strong but I think it can beat almost everything in the meta. Hunter felt like an obvious bring and I expected it to be banned a lot and expected to be banning Hunter most of the time. Other bans with the lineup can be Control Priest or Shaman, but priorities on the Hunter. When I was thinking about the decks in the meta right now I felt Like Anaconda Druid was a sleeper deck and solid into most lineups right now. The lineup isn’t specifically targeting anything, just a bunch of decks with pretty good matchup that you can win most of your sets by playing solid Hearthstone.”

西陵珩 on Questline Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Questline Warlock:
“I saw the counter-aggro lineup is actually good (Control Priest, Control Warrior and OTK Demon Hunter). So, based on the target (Hunter and other aggro decks). The warlock built by Deaddraw is pretty good against the aggros. Also, Warlock counters control Warrior. Therefore, the counter-aggro lineup needs to decide to ban Warlock or Demon Hunter (usually Warlock). And it puts the player who brought Control Warrior in big trouble. I think that Control Warrior is still an unplayable deck, even in the qualifiers. At last, about the Giant Priest. Sethekk can bring a lot of value and spells to destroy control decks. Even if they brought C’Thun to set the win condition, it still can’t stop Sethekk+Raise Dead.”

Rampengu on Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue:
“I made my lineup to target spell based combo decks (Faster Quest Warlock, Quest Mage, Lifesteal Demon Hunter) while also still maintaining a favorable matchup vs Paladin. My worst matchup was usually either Face Hunter or Control/Heal Priest. Those usually got banned. I increased the margin for my win percentage with my Hunter against the combo decks by specifically adding Robes of Protection and Cult Neophyte to the list. You already have enough burst to close the game with Aimed Shot etc. The Rogue deck is very well rounded and can beat everything in my opinion and almost never gets banned. It also is very favored against Paladin because of SI: Assassin and the gizmos. This list didn’t need Robe because the stealth acted in the same way. I simply put Sage in this spot to help finish the quest much more easily. It was pretty easy to play around Felscream Blast by positioning the stealth minion in the middle. To solidify my line-up against the spell decks, I also added Robes and Neophyte to the Paladin list. Hopefully this was helpful and made sense :)”

livevil on Questline Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Elemental Shaman:
“My lineups are not to counter any specific decks, I just tried to find out best decks in early meta of the new expansion. Decklists are pretty standard, but I cut off Trueaim Crescent and 1 Wriggling Horror for 2 Cult Neophyte in Hunter. I played Doomhammer Shaman in first 2 days, but more and more decks were running Rustrot Viper so i changed to Whack-a-gnoll version (but it makes worse vs Mage, so the decision is yours). Quest DH is Jayhuang’s list but i replace 1 Tuskpiercer into 1 Rustrot Viper because I wanted more instant draw. My ban priority was Control Warrior > Control Priest > Face Hunter > Quest Mage > ETC.”

Norwis on Questline Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Doomhammer Shaman:
“Well I played aggro decks that I am comfortable with and OTK DH because I felt this deck is currently the strongest in the game, even though I have not much experience with this archetype. My plan was to ban OTK DH because both of my fast aggro decks are weak against it but target all the other OTK/Questline decks and paladin. I included 5 vipers in my decks because the card is strong and flexible – 1 mana draw a card or “vanilla Spider Tank stats” for those who remember. Another reason is that so many strong decks play weapons – OTK Quest Warlock, Buff Paladin, Doomhammer/Elemental Shaman, Face Hunter, Weapon Rogue and Deathrattle DH etc. I played neophytes to again target and delay OTKs, spell decks and other fast decks. In hunter I cut Aimed Shot to guarantee to draw Mankrik’s wife with Barak Kodobane. If someone wants to play my lineup, I would recommend to swap the DH list to a better version with deathrattle weapon and the tradeable deathrattle minions for better draw efficiency. I hope that in the Masters Tour top 16 we will see many different lineups with variety of decks. Also I wish that future nerfs won’t affect the meta too much – for it to become to become too simple. Now the meta feels balanced and I am enjoying it. In the end, good luck for everyone competing in the current season of Masters Tours Qualifiers.”

Sergiy on Questline Mage, Control Priest, Questline Rogue:
“My idea when I built my lineup was to counter aggro lineups and Paladin in general so I chose good board control decks, because of that I added Missiles to Mage and Death to the Priest so decks become better vs Paladin, ban vs aggro lineups most of the time is Doomhammer Shaman. Then I started thinking about how to beat another popular lineup (Priest, Control Warrior, OTK DH), this lineup always bans my Mage I ban Control Warrior because I think Rogue has more chances vs Priest than vs CW, plus I add Scoundrels so Priest mirror becomes much better for me.”

MSC ScreaM on Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Questline Druid, Face Hunter:
“My concept for this lineup is use chaotic and unstable meta situation to take advantage from . First I choose the fastest aggro deck “Face Hunter” to end the game before they finish all quests. Following by DR DH the deck that have a good curve for pressuring from early to mid game , it will be hard to finish quests against this deck either. Last and only one Questline deck is Druid. Druid’s quest is the most easiest quest to finish also the first and second reward are good against aggro decks with no board pressure like Doomhammer Shaman and Face Hunter. So this deck is just for secure win against Face Hunter who is the most interested deck for competitive after UoS updating. Somehow Druid was mostly banned against the lineups that have Hunter anyway.”

Athanas on Questline Demon Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Questline Rogue:
“For Bo3’s I decided to bring the most powerful decks, SI7 Rogue and OTK DH are the best in my opinion. I also used Buff Paladin with Cult Neophytes, Watch Posts and Robes of Protection to have an edge against the decks I will for sure not ban for example Mage/Priest. I mainly banned OTK DH > Face Hunter > Doomhammer Shamman. I’m pretty happy winning a qualifier this time because with the big changes (no more top8’s) I’m not sure how to approach that to maximize my chances to qualify.”

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #30

by NPH Pasca and WickedGood

Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers #73 through #96 were the the first weekend of official Conquest tournaments after the nerfs to Crab Rider, Hysteria, Refreshing Spring Water and First Day of School. Some spicy tech choices have emerged, such as Clockwork Giant in Control Warlock and Taelan Fordring in OTK Demon Hunter. This report takes a look at the new metagame based on the data from every single game played in those.

Data summary from Off-Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from D0nkey. You will also see which class the player banned throuhout their run.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Control Priest, Control Warlock, Control Warrior (Nightcore / wiRer)
Spell Mage, Control Priest, Tempo Rogue (NoFlame / Skittles / Pepe)
Spell Mage, Control Priest, Weapon Rogue (DevilMat / JheickWeiss / Kariiwar)
Secret Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Rush Warrior (레몬박하 / 무에서유창조)

Proven Lineups:
Secret Libram Paladin, Tempo Rogue, Rush Warrior (Whiterun)
Control Priest, Tempo Rogue, Rush Warrior (Zorb / ChaboDennis)
Token Druid, Secret Libram Paladin, Tempo Rogue (Rise)
Token Druid, Spell Mage, Tempo Rogue (notcreater)
OTK Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Tempo Rogue (Ow3rFoggia)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Token Druid, Control Priest, Rush Warrior (LooGiiQQ / SaucisseSwan)
Spell Mage, Secret Libram Paladin, Tempo Rogue (Moriarty)
OTK Demon Hunter, Spell Mage, Control Priest (Dumbledore)
Spell Mage, Control Priest, Control Warlock (Ackerman)
Midrange Demon Hunter, Secret Paladin, Weapon Rogue (Ryuga)
OTK Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Tempo Rogue (taroimo)
Token Druid, Secret Libram Paladin, Rush Warrior (moimeme07)
Secret Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Control Warrior (MiGoTop)
Spell Mage, Aggro Paladin, Weapon Rogue (羊飼い)
Spell Mage, Control Priest, Control Warrior (BlueWolf)
OTK Demon Hunter, Secret Libram Paladin, Control Priest (AllBor)
OTK Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Control Warlock (Eric)
Spell Mage, Control Priest, Rush Warrior (snow)
OTK Demon Hunter, Spell Mage, Secret Libram Paladin (銀風)

Interesting Lineups:
Token Druid, Spell Mage, Control Priest (Mariana)
Secret Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Tempo Rogue (TxM / noise84mond)
Spell Mage, Tempo Rogue, Rush Warrior (Smaug)
Token Druid, Control Priest, Tempo Rogue (Pain)
Spell Mage, Weapon Rogue, Control Warlock (datLMF)
Midrange Demon Hunter, Spell Mage, Weapon Rogue (Matty)
Midrange Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Weapon Rogue (Noobuser / ARAI)
Token Druid, Beast Hunter, Secret Paladin (Ryuga)
Token Druid, Beast Hunter, Secret Libram Paladin (MrStrongPawn)
Spell Mage, Secret Libram Paladin, Control Priest (livevil)
Token Druid, Spell Mage, Weapon Rogue (Giant)
Secret Paladin, Tempo Rogue, Control Warrior (ALFI718)
Beast Hunter, Spell Mage, Secret Paladin (Pedros99)
Beast Hunter, Stealth Rogue, Aggro Shaman (EHOT)
OTK Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Control Warrior (VickeBlanka)
Beast Hunter, Midrange Mage, Tempo Rogue (V1rlex)

MAX League of Nations – Top 8 Decks and Lineups

by NPH Disco and NPH Pasca

One of the most interesting tournaments going on this season in Hearthstone esports is MAX League of Nations, a series in which 72 of Europe’s best players, including several Grandmasters, represent their country in Last Hero Standing best-of-three format.

The matches are streamed every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on MAX Team’s Twitch channel. The players are allowed to submit new decks each week.

The group stage has concluded, so this week is the first round of the top 8 bracket.

This article features a breakdown of every archetype played in every lineup for the week, highlights of some of the most interesting ones, and the links to get deck codes for all of them.

Metagame breakdown

Featured lineups

Orange & Bozzzton

Norwis

Fujitora

All the deck codes!

Click on a player’s name to get their deck codes.


Batupaksoy
BeQuiet
Bozzzton
BruTo
Deaddraw
Faeli
Felkeine
Frenetic
Fujitora
Gaby
iNS4NE
J4YOU
Jambre
Jarla
Meati
Norwis
Orange
Pepe
Seiko
Silvors
ThunderUP
xBlyzes
Zany
Zyrios

Special thanks to MAX for allowing us to publish this!

MAX League of Nations – Decks and Lineups (Week 4)

by NPH Disco and NPH Pasca

One of the most interesting tournaments going on this season in Hearthstone esports is MAX League of Nations, a series in which 72 of Europe’s best players, including several Grandmasters, represent their country in Last Hero Standing best-of-three format.

The matches are streamed every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on MAX Team’s Twitch channel. The players are allowed to submit new decks each week.

This article features a breakdown of every archetype played in every lineup for the week, highlights of some of the most interesting ones, and the links to get deck codes for all of them.

This week’s metagame is heavily influenced by Masters Tour Orgrimmar in which many of the same players were competing. Gaby won the event with Control Priest, Spell Mage, Rush Warrior and Miracle Rogue, and so these are the 4 most popular decks.

Metagame breakdown

Featured lineups

Team Russia

Spell Mage, Control Priest and Miracle Rogue is the most popular lineup this week in MAX Leaugue of Nations after a great performance by these decks in Masters Tour Orgrimmar.

Team Croatia

Team Croatia opted for a very proactive lineup this week. While Gibberling Druid seeks to kill the opponent very fast by flooding the board, Weapon Rogue does so without using the board at all.

Belgium vs France

The French and the Belgians made a gentlemen’s agreement this week to bring Nozdormu, the Eternal in each deck. You can watch this whole fast pace match on youtube.

All the deck codes!

Click on a player’s name to get their deck codes.

Avelline
Batupaksoy
BeQuiet
Blankieh
Bozo
Bozzton
Brazuka
Cagnetta99
Cereza
CheeseHead
CptnKitty
Crane333
Cursed
D0nkey
Deaddraw
Dimi
DrBoom
DrGyros
Faeli
Felkeine
FinalS
Frenetic
Fujitora
FuryHunter
Gaby
Goudhout
Habugabu
HilmJoZO
Hoej
Hulkeinstein
iNS4NE
J4YOU
Jambre
Jarla
JEJBenkoJEA
Khamûl
Maur1
Maverick
Maxvdp
Meati
Mishail
MM78
Myzrael
NORE
Norwis
Orange
Paljuha
Pignas
Pepe
Reqvam
Rjú
SaucisseSwan
SebastianJo
Seiko
Sevel
Sharpy
Silvors
Sloug
TheRabbin
TheViper94
Tholwmenos
ThunderUP
Tili
Turna
Vardu
Wuncler
xBlyzes
Xeno
younTheory
Zany
ZLN
Zyrios

Special thanks to MAX for allowing us to publish this!