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Last Mercenaries Standing Tournament Recap

by Tangster

This past weekend, NoProsHere and HSReplay.net hosted the largest Mercenaries tournament since the launch of the mode. With 35 competitors vying for a prize pool of $1,000 cash and a bevy of different HSR subscription bundles, this event marks an important milestone in competitive Mercenaries.

VOD
Brackets and results

Community impact aside, the tournament also proved to be a deeply interesting microcosm of the ladder metagame, thanks to its unique format. 

The Format

The bracket itself was nothing special. A best of 3, single elimination format is quickly becoming the standard for community events due to the speed at which rounds can be completed. Other community organizers (myself included) have found that BO5 or Double Elimination formats can drag on for hours, causing viewers to lose interest, casters/crew burnout and participants being stuck with long wait times between games. 

The interesting difference with this event were the sideboard rules. Each competitor submitted a team of 6 mercenaries and were not required to specify equipment. These lineups were visible to your opponent before the match started. 

The loser of the first game was required to swap 4 of their 6 original mercenaries and any equipment. The winner was not allowed to make lineup changes. This allowed the loser to sideboard into a team that could counter what they’d already seen. However this put the winner in an advantageous position. If they lost the second game, they’d have the opportunity to bring a counter into the final, tiebreaking game of the 3-game match. 

The Strategies

These rules led to extremely interesting team building choices. After reviewing the tournament data, three primary strategies emerged: 

Meta – By far the most popular strategy, most players opted to bring teams that are highly competitive in ranked play. These are compositions that are undeniably powerful, but contain no unexpected surprises that would require opponents to adapt.

Off-Meta – The opposite of the Meta teams, these are compositions that are rare on ladder and have little to no data on them. They do not have the luxury of a large sample size like the Meta comps do and can tend to be unrefined. However what they lack in optimization, players hope to make up for with a surprise factor. Do not underestimate how difficult it is to play against something you’ve never seen before in a tournament setting.

Flexible – The final strategy took a far more macro approach. These players built teams that were highly flexible for this format, and could be sideboarded to counter any type of threat. Typically these teams were combinations of one or more meta teams and had multiple different options for leads.

The Data

So which strategy ended up being the most effective? That is difficult to say overall, but looking at the top 16 and beyond can help draw some conclusions. Of the top 8 (players who won at least 3 matches): 5 players used a Meta strategy and 3 players used a “Flexible” strategy (including the champion). Not just any meta strategy either. All 5 players used the same exact composition: Jaina/Varden/Tirion lead with Cairne/Diablo/Illidan on the bench.

Only one player made it past the round of 32 with an Off-Meta strategy. Signoftimez brought Varden/Lich King/Eudora with a Nature bench and managed to squeeze into the top 16.

The charts below offer insight on the rest of the field.

The Champion

The data here certainly tells an interesting story, one that matches up very well with the data HSReplay.net recently made available. However anyone who watched the tournament can tell you at the end of the day it was the pilot behind the team that made the difference. There was no secret tech, no dark horse team that any competitor rode to victory. It all came down to planning, matchup knowledge and strategic sideboarding. This being the case, it was no surprise to anyone that Dallas, a popular streamer and content creator, walked away with 1st prize.

It should be noted that this data contains only the starting lineups submitted by competitors, not their sideboard decisions. Additionally, assumptions about leads vs bench had to be made during analysis since not all games were broadcast. The raw data is available here for your review.

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #34

by NPH Pasca and WickedGood

After an off-season that felt like the longest ever, Hearthstone esports is finally back with a new series of Qualifiers, this time for Masters Tour One. As in the first of 2022.
Here’s our first look at the Fractured in Alterac Valley metagame, 18 official Conquest format tournaments in.

The tournament winners were extremely generous this week in sending detailed comments about their strategy. You will find insights from most of them below the tier list.

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:
Fel Demon Hunter, Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue (Lucasdmnasc / thechosenpie)
Mozaki Mage, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (Maxxe)
Mozaki Mage, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (잔악무도유관우)

Proven Lineups:
Big Druid, Thief Rogue, Bolner Shaman (TheViper94)
Face Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue (Butterz)
Beast Duid, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue (Trec)
Fel Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Quest Hand Warlock (funashi)
Face Hunter, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (ЛКО)
Face Hunter, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue (oon)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Fel Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Quest Shaman (Këlthrag)
Fel Demon Hunter, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (Firenoodle / STRyKeR)
Thief Rogue, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (LiciniaTart)
Beast Druid, Face Hunter, Thief Rogue (MrLuke98 / Vonny)
Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Aggro Shaman (Mazzu)
Face Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Thief Rogue (Kazanova)
Big Druid, Handbuff Paladin, Poison Rogue (JPMixter)
Mozaki Mage, Thief Rogue, Quest Shaman (Cikos / 則龍之王)
Face Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Garrotte Rogue (vadim007)
Fel Demon Hunter, Thief Rogue, Bolner Shaman (이스티)

Interesting Lineups:
Quest Hunter, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (Lasagne)
Quest Rogue, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (Ribby)
Aggro Duid, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (TullamoreDew)
Mozaki Mage, Garrotte Rogue, Burn Shaman (Jimon)
Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (cecgHS)
Face Hunter, Thief Rogue, Bolner Shaman (plastiik)
Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (noise84mond)
Quest Druid, Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue (아나티카)
Fel Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue (syoutotolo)
Face Hunter, Libram Paladin, Poison Rogue (sayakei)
Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (Maffiaman11)
Mozaki Mage, Libram Paladin, Poison Rogue (EzXarT)
Big Druid, Libram Paladin, Miracle Priest (CheeseHead)
Libram Paladin, Miracle Priest, Thief Rogue (snow)
Quest Priest, Quest Rogue, Quest Shaman (FinalS)
Quest Brute Demon Hunter, Quest Hunter, Burn Shaman (KarpetMan)
Fel Demon Hunter, Big Druid, Poison Rogue (Klei)
Control Priest, Bolner Shaman, Control Warrior (Zemax)
Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Freeze Shaman (Sabertooth20)
Guardian Druid, Evolve Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (Manolo20)
Token Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Burn Shaman (Svitopova)

Comments from the winners:

Lucasdmnasc on Fel Demon Hunter, Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue:
“My strategy was to play decks to support the best deck in the game, Thief Rogue, so I could have good matchups vs all aggros, mainly Druid and Hunter! My bans were Thief Rogue and Fel DH. I used Aggro Druid instead of Beast Druid because it farms aggro and other Druids. Magtheridon in Fel DH feels really good vs Paladin.”

thechosenpie on Fel Demon Hunter, Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue:
“Credit for the lineup goes to Sabertooth20 who pointed me in the direction of the lineup that won the first Masters Tour Qualifier this year. To the best of my knowledge, that lineup was brought by LucasDM, who collaborated with Pascoa to choose the lineup, and copied the archetypes from Vicious Syndicate, who I think owes it’s credit to ZachO.
I’d never touched modern day Fel Demon Hunter before that tournament, and had only jammed it a few times way back when it first came out half a year or however long ago it was (pandemic time is weird). I took a quick look at the decklist and realized that it had a few similarities in playstyle with back-in-the-day tempo rogue, but with healing and more severe forms of reach damage if the opponent had a board. The Druid deck looked strange at first, but it was a new meta and I took a chance on it. Thief Rogue I had been practicing for a while, and it had a great matchup spread.
I don’t want to get into too many specifics yet until I help out a few of my teammates and friends get the hang of it, but my ban strategy was a combination of being ahead of the curve in understanding the true nature of particular matchups and the threat of Thief Rogue making my opponent’s bans predictable. I mean, it’s Thief Rogue, most people are gonna ban that after that surprise Vicious Syndicate report.
That report surprised me, too.
Be good humans everyone. Be kind, do kind things.”

Maxxe on Mozaki Mage, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock:
“I suggest adding a Viper in Mage to beat Paladin even more.”

TheViper94 on Big Druid, Thief Rogue, Bolner Shaman:
“Basically my strategy revolved around playing those which I feel are the best decks for this meta. Druid is just unstoppable when you draw either Overgrowth or Guff. After ramping Druid takes advantage of cards like Moonlit Guidance, Ivus and Solar combos with Cenarion’s Ward and Resizing Pouch to stomp opponents into 0 life total. Shaman has game against all meta decks since it has both tools to gain huge amounts of armor, ways to keep freezing boards and stalling while drawing cards, hand disruption and a late game OTK that deals literally infinite damage. Rogue is…. just Rogue. Can’t argue with it being the best deck in the game right now. Has insane amount of early game tempo, huge amount of scam potential with random generation and plays the best card currently available in standard mode, Scabbs. The ban was pretty flexible, I would just ban the deck I didn’t wanna face each round. You should prioritize banning decks like Face Hunter, Libroom Paladin or Mozaki Mage. If opponent does’nt have either of those you just ban Rogue. I wanted to point out that even though Rogue is the strongest deck in the meta, both Druid and Shaman are among the best decks to tackle it if you know how to play those matchups and what are the power plays and key turns to disrupt the
Thief Rogue gameplan. Overall I was super happy with my lineup and would play the same decks if I had to compete next weekend in the Qualifiers. Hope you all have fun playing the game and best of luck for the Qualifiers!”

Trec on Beast Duid, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue:
“This time I kinda followed the meta; there is a lot of good decks but I wanted the board centric and stable best decks.
First, the Rogue because it’s the best deck of the meta, you have to play it and ban it if you respect your opponent, the deck is not that easy to play, but if played well it’s stable, has good power spikes and bullshit abilities. I see some hybrid list popping but i’m not sure at this moment, maybe after they fix the Cleef bug abuse.
Druid was the second choice, the deck is being refined a lot these last days and this list was my take on this. A lot of board pressure and stupid turns with the Oracle of Elune.
Paladin Libram is still good and the Hero Cariel is amazing. You just have to be careful with the early game, maybe play more one drops; I really love the Squawker which is a good tempo card mid game and amazing late game to recast Libram of Hope. Smite is a must have to finish game, you can have a lot Libram of Wisdom or giga buff him with Cariel Hp.”

funashi on Fel Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Quest Hand Warlock:
“I think the Thief Rogue is the strongest deck in the current metagame. However, it’s a very difficult deck, so I chose three decks that I could use and had high power.
Targets are Warlock, Thief Rogue, and Quest Shaman. Ban decks other than the target.
Aggro lineups are a tough matchup, but I think that Hunter opponents have a chance to win if they play well.”

ЛКО on Face Hunter, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock:
“My strategy for this MTQ was pretty straightforward – when in doubt go face.
On a serious note:
This is the first time I ever win a MTQ, and my choice of the lineup was based on the decks’ overall power. In my opinion, the very best decks right now are Thief Rogue and Quest Hand Warlock, and the 3rd deck is a matter of personal taste, as for mt case, I have Face Hunter, there are also viable variations featuring Mozaki Mage, but I chose to counter popular Handlock/Mozaki with Hunter. As for the bans, I mostly banned Rogues, but Fel DH and Bolner Shaman are way more unpleasant for this lineup to face due to their powerful removal kit combined with burst OTK potential, thus these decks have a higher ban priority. The most interesting tech card I used was showstopper in Warlock, which helps against Shaman’s and Mage’s freezes and Paladin’s buffs as well as Ivus, the forest lord (commonly utilized by Druid)”

oon on Face Hunter, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue:
“I played decks that I was comfortable with playing, so I wasn’t looking to ban or target any specific deck. I think it’s pretty easy to know what deck to ban if you know what deck of yours is best for your opponent to ban, so I just banned accordingly. This last part might sound obvious but staying focused and optimistic in every single game in my opinion is the most important part of winning, so if I were to give advice to someone who’s trying to win a Qualifier I’d tell them to focus less on a lineup/ban strategy and focus more on staying focused throughout the tournament, and drink lots of water.”

Këlthrag on Fel Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Quest Shaman:
“Going into the cups I expected a lot of Rogue and certain decks to counter the Rogue, like Fel DH, Quest Shaman and Handlock. I think you can’t counter just Rogue, so I went for a lineup that does fairly good against Rogue and counters Handlock really well. Most people think the Quest Shaman matchup against Handlock is quite bad, but I think it’s quite favourable. The lineup also does really well against decks like Libram Paladin and Quest Shaman. As for the Ban, it’s Mozaki #1, Weapon rogue #2 and aggro Druid/ Face Hunter #4, because if they have these kind of lineups you almost always expect them to ban the Fel DH. But the ban is flexible, as I think should be in open cups. It really depends on what you think your opponent is going to ban.
As for card choices, there are probably a few that stick out. 1 Felscream Blast is and the Chaos Leeches are in there for the rogue. Arcanist + Felscream is a clean way to deal with the panda. And the second reason for the Felscream blast is against Quest Shaman. The Quest Shaman is sometimes able to build a board with 15 or more health on just their taunts, especially when they run Bru’Kan. That way you can’t do the combo and be able to go face at the same time. With the Felscream you are able to go face as well. You also try to keep a discounted spell by either Skull or Felgorger because of this exact reason. The Sigil of Alacrity I put in instead of the coordinated strike I had before, just for consistency. This is the most flexible spot in the list. Viper is in the list for the reason I pointed out before and because you want this deck to have a good matchup against Paladin.
The Quest Shaman has Bru’Kan for the reason I pointed out before against Fel DH (getting taunts on board) and it’s fairly OK against Weapon rogue and other decks. I like the 2 diligent notetakers because you want to complete the quest as fast as possible. You might want to throw out the sleetbreaker instead of the winchill though, but 2 drops are great in Quest Shaman as well. And in the worse matchups you need the tempo from the Sleetbreaker.”

Mazzu on Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Aggro Shaman:
“The method I have used to compose the alignment is very simple. It is about combining the 3 most aggressive decks, with damage mechanics from the hand. If I decide to make any card changes, I do it looking for a common factor of strengths and weaknesses with respect to the metagame. If my 3 decks share bad matchups, it’s easier and more beneficial to choose a ban. If my 3 decks share good matchups, I’m more likely to win focus series.
As for the execution, the plan is simple, reduce the total lives of the rival heroes to 0 as quickly as possible. There is no plan B. Many times we will run into lineups that carry a weak deck against Aggro and in those cases we will flow through the rounds. But we can also see anti-aggro lineups, with paladins or control decks. Those series can also be won, but it will take ingenuity and daring.”

JPMixter on Big Druid, Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue:
“Well, the intention of the comp was to beat Mozaki mage, Questlock and Fel DH. Poison rogue and Ramp are already used to counter these aforementioned decks, but there would be a lack of a third deck to fit and so I thought about Buff pala (100% WR in the qualifier) ​​which was already in disuse and I had already made some goals and made some changes to improve it against the focused decks.
Regarding bans I always banned the most aggressive deck, as it is difficult to face these decks with Ramp and Poison. Despite the weakness against aggressive decks I faced them in most matches, I had to play the win outs and give all wins in unexpected situations.
GO CORINTHIANS!”

Ribby on Quest Rogue, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock:
“I built my lineup to target Paladin which is why I brought Quest Rogue over Thief Rogue. I felt like I didn’t need to run any tech cards like Viper for Paladin because all of my decks felt very favored vs Paladin. I went 12-0 vs Paladin so it payed off. I banned Mozaki Mage, Weapon Rogue, and Quest Warlock.”

Jimon on Mozaki Mage, Garrotte Rogue, Burn Shaman:
“I dont have any good comments to be honest but I can say Play a Better Deck.”

아나티카 on Quest Druid, Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue:
“This lineup’s first target is Fel DH. This lineup devours Fel DH. And it works on Mage, Shaman, and Warlock (it works Mage>Shaman>Warlock) a little. I banned field-based decks and all Druids (All Druids are tier 1 ban target and the other field-based decks like Burgle Rogue, any Paladin, Hunter are tier 2 ban target) because Druid and Rogue are weak to them.
And I want to say Habugabu’s Quest Druid is one of the greatest art I’ve ever seen.”

EzXarT on Mozaki Mage, Libram Paladin, Poison Rogue:
“Let me start a bit with what was my earlier approach. So, my strat for the early Qualifiers was Fel DH + Quest Shaman + Fatigue Warlock with 2x Vipers and the idea is to be good vs both Thief Rogue + Poison Rogue so I could ban other classes. However that didn’t worked out. Thief Rogue just scams too much and I realized that Poison Rogue can’t really be countered even with 2 Vipers. I thought that Poison Rogue would be strongest deck if people started to try and counter Thief Rogue since their lineup would be weak to Poison Rogue – Handlock, Quest Shaman, Fel DH. And then some are also playing Mozaki Mage. So the idea of Poison Rogue looked strong.
However, I didn’t really feel like playing Poison Rogue at all since I never really played it before and it doesn’t seem like something I enjoy playing. So I tested Jimon’s lineup for 1 qualifier but found that I am a bit rusty with Garrote Rogue and made a lot of a lot errors (especially vs aggro, where I didn’t hard mull for Cutlass and lost to 2x Trogg decks).
So going into my 5th qualifier, I was checking out on previous and ongoing qualifiers to scout some lists and saw digo (shoutouts to him!) playing in the finals with Poison Rogue + Libram Paladin + Handlock. I thought that it looked good and decided to finally play Poison Rogue, but I didn’t like the Handlock so I switched it to Mozaki Mage and changed my ban to be mainly Rogues. My bans turned out to be something like Poison Rogue > Face Hunter/Thief Rogue > probably Druids. Going into this qualifier, I hadn’t slept yet because I had to test and prepare decklists for MAX League of Nations 2 and just wanted to try and play Poison Rogue in a qualifier before I slept (really glad I stayed up and played! laughing )
For Paladin list, I looked at offcurve and the stats for Libram was around 48% vs Mozaki Mage, so I made sure that I put in Mutanus and 2 Troggs in my deck to make sure that I had more chances vs it. In my mind this would made the matchup easier for Paladin because now you have more outs to draw into besides just Cariel. I had to cut 2nd Broom to make space though, not sure if that is correct but couldn’t find other cuts.
For Mage, it’s just a pretty standard list – same list that Jimon won with. I saw some people running 2x Flurry instead of 1 Flurry 1 Hot Streak – this might be better if you expect to face more board based decks (mainly Handlock, Thief Rogue, Libram Paladin). If you are expecting to play vs Face Hunter, Hot Streak might be better for earlier Fire Sale scam potential. Flurry feels weak vs wide boards before turn 5.
For Poison Rogue, I just used digo’s list because I thought it looked perfect for what I want. I want Viper in my Rogue so that I have an out vs Libram Paladin if I needed to play that matchup (it would be a bit hard vs Cariel on curve otherwise). I do believe that Poison Rogue is really favored into Libram Paladin just because how the deck works. In my finals, I kept Scabbs on coin, had to yolo use 1st Cloak on 5 and topdecked my 2nd Cloak on 6. And it was pretty much over for my opponent. I also didn’t have Shank on 3 in this game, just to show how broken this deck is.
So that’s basically it about my lineup. I also want to mention that this is one of those days where everything just aligned for me, I drew the cards I needed in all the games and my opponent drew badly in my unfavorable matchups. I had to win Mozaki Mage vs Face Hunter and Quest Druid where I had a really good hand and they didn’t. I definitely got lucky but I still played to my outs to maximize it. YMMV.
Good luck to everyone trying to qualify!”

Preview and predictions for the biggest Hearthstone tournament of 2022

by NPH AgentPWE and NPH Pasca

The most anitcipated Hearthstone tournament of 2022 is MAX Team’s League of Nations 2: Global edition. 48 different countries are invited. 3 players were voted in to represent their nation among all volunteers from each country. This is as big as Hearthstone Global Games at its peak. Competition will start next week and most of it will be streamed by MAX Team in English and French. The competitors will fight for their share of the €1000 prize pool, but also for the honor of their flag.

At NPH, we are huge HS esports fans, and we have opinions. So here’s how we rank the 48 teams competing in MAX League of Nations:

Pasca’s tier list:

Tier S:

China: Leaoh, Syf, XiaoT

Tier 1:

Canada: CaelesLuna, Eddie, Lnguagehackr
Czech Republic: En1gma, Faeli, Jarla
France: AyRoK, Dreivo, xBlyzes
United States of America: Eggowaffle, Gamerrvg, McBanterFace
United Kingdom: DeadDraw, Jambre, PocketTrain
Japan: Jimon, Okasinnsuke, MegaGliscor
Spain: BruTo, Frenetic, L3bjorge
Argentina: Nalguidan, Rusinho, Tincho

Tier 2:

Ukraine: iNS4NE, Silvors, Zoltan
Germany: Burr0, ChaboDennis, Seiko
Sweden: Chewie, Orange, Sensei6
Brazil: Fled, NaySyl, Rase
India: Gcttirth, Mighty, Ronak
Portugal: DrBoom, Ferno4111, SuperFake
Croatia: D0nkey, Paljuha, Reqvam
Italy: Darkstrike, Gregoriusil, Leta
Taiwan: g9Malygos, Shaxy, Xillinhung
South Korea: Grr, Ostinato, Sinah
Thailand: Bankyugi, eCrazy, Phai
Singapore: Lambyseries, SGAhIce, Skye

Tier 3:

Greece: Athanas, RST, SomiTequila
Denmark: Furyhunter, Hygs, Ziptopz
Australia: ColdSnapSp, CoolKid2001, WetGoose
Belgium: Aikoio, BabyBear, Floki
Russia: Levik, Noflame, y0ungchrisT
Finland: Detto, Habugabu, Lasagne
Mexico: Ekrow, Empanizado, IrvinG
Turkey: Hypnos, Rocco, Whiterun
Philippines: IAmTheTable, TheBigMac, WaningMoon
Slovakia: HilmJoZo, JEJBenko, Rjù
Norway: Elefanti, Gjrstad, Vannsprutarn

Tier 4:

Malaysia: Auria, EzXarT, SithX
Poland: Dawido, Mikolop, Myzrael
Israel: CrazyMage, Falular, IdanProk
Luxembourg: Alexisdiesel, Thedemon, wiRer
Lithuania: Benetoo, gr0nas, S8ris
Netherlands: CptnKitty, Këlthrag, Maxvdp
Uruguay: Donat, Loreance, Zorb
Austria: DrGyros, Khamûl, ThisIsChris
Bulgaria: Jengo, Felzak, Krisofive
Chile: DarkClaw, Blowns, MokraniChile
New Zealand: Ace103, LordZeolite, Jakattack
Romania: FinalS, Serj, Sharpy
Peru: InfErnO, Kaloz, UchihaSaske
Switzerland: GAP1698, RockyN1, TheRabbin
Hungary: CheeseHead, Hulkenstein, Wuncler
Serbia: Blankieh, Brazuka, Sumskiduh

We believe that the divisions are very well balanced. Most of them include two teams from tier 1-2 and two from tier 3-4 in our rankings.
Group D is the most competitive which is unfortunate for the USA, who will have to face Portugal, India and Russia in the first three weeks. The Russians are likely to end last despite being an average team. At the other end of the spectrum, Group J seems like the weakest. In our opinion, Korea will easily defeat Turkey, Hungary and Lithuania.

AgentPWE’s tier list:

Tier S:

Canada: CaelesLuna, Eddie, Lnguagehackr
China: Leaoh, Syf, XiaoT

Tier 1:

Argentina: Nalguidan, Rusinho, Tincho
Brazil: Fled, NaySyl, Rase
Czech Republic: En1gma, Faeli, Jarla
France: AyRoK, Dreivo, xBlyzes
Germany: Burr0, ChaboDennis, Seiko
Italy: Darkstrike, Gregoriusil, Leta
Japan: Jimon, Okasinnsuke, MegaGliscor
Spain: BruTo, Frenetic, L3bjorge
United Kingdom: DeadDraw, Jambre, PocketTrain
United States of America: Eggowaffle, Gamerrvg, McBanterFace

Tier 2:

Belgium: Aikoio, BabyBear, Floki
Croatia: D0nkey, Paljuha, Reqvam
Denmark: Furyhunter, Hygs, Ziptopz
Finland: Detto, Habugabu, Lasagne
India: Gcttirth, Mighty, Ronak
Israel: CrazyMage, Falular, IdanProk
Mexico: Ekrow, Empanizado, IrvinG
Portugal: DrBoom, Ferno4111, SuperFake
Russia: Levik, Noflame, y0ungchrisT
Singapore: Lambyseries, SGAhIce, Skye
South Korea: Grr, Ostinato, Sinah
Ukraine: iNS4NE, Silvors, Zoltan

Tier 3:

Australia: ColdSnapSp, CoolKid2001, WetGoose
Chile: DarkClaw, Blowns, MokraniChile
Greece: Athanas, RST, SomiTequila
Luxembourg: Alexisdiesel, Thedemon, wiRer
Malaysia: Auria, EzXarT, SithX
Netherlands: CptnKitty, Këlthrag, Maxvdp
New Zealand: Ace103, LordZeolite, Jakattack
Norway: Elefanti, Gjrstad, Vannsprutarn
Peru: InfErnO, Kaloz, UchihaSaske
Poland: Dawido, Mikolop, Myzrael
Sweden: Chewie, Orange, Sensei6
Thailand: Bankyugi, eCrazy, Phai
Turkey: Hypnos, Rocco, Whiterun

Tier 4:

Austria: DrGyros, Khamûl, ThisIsChris
Bulgaria: Jengo, Felzak, Krisofive
Hungary: CheeseHead, Hulkenstein, Wuncler
Lithuania: Benetoo, gr0nas, S8ris
Philippines: IAmTheTable, TheBigMac, WaningMoon
Romania: FinalS, Serj, Sharpy
Serbia: Blankieh, Brazuka, Sumskiduh
Slovakia: HilmJoZo, JEJBenko, Rjù
Switzerland: GAP1698, RockyN1, TheRabbin
Taiwan: g9Malygos, Shaxy, Xillinhung
Uruguay: Donat, Loreance, Zorb

It’s hard to compare teams that feature one prodigious player alongside two unknowns against one that has three good players. For example, Denmark is weighted down heavily in my ranking by the fact that I know next to nothing about Hygs and Ziptopz, but on a scale of individual players, I would place Furyhunter at the very top with XiaoT. Norway is the opposite, none of their players are Grandmasters, but they all have a lot of experience in Masters Qualifiers.
In my opinion, China is heads and shoulders above the competition. Even Canada is not comparable. Combined, their players are 188W-113L in Masters Tour.

NPH Pasca

When ranking these teams I made sure I placed them atleast tier 3 if they had a respectable player that I recognized. Tier 4 teams mostly consist of those whose names I don’t recognize/lack the competitive achievement to make tier 3. Most tier 4 teams are mystery teams, and their true rankings could be 3, 2 or even 1.

NPH AgentPWE

MAX Team will stream 4 “confrontations” each week so make sure to follow them on Twitch. A confrontation consists of three best-of-three matches between a player and their counterpart on the opposing team. Players of the same country are not required to have the same lineup and each of them plays their own matches, but they are allowed to be in a voice conversation with their teammates, so the serious ones will be copiloting. Look forward to some exciting content!

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.”