It’s the year of the Hydra! In this firrst week of Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers with the new Voyage to Sunken City set, Ramp Druid has been dominating the 20 Conquest format tournaments. The deck was brought by 71% of players and displayed a shocking 56% win rate despite being by far the most banned class. Of the 20 open cup winners, only FuF and kuroma did not use Druid. CuCl and TrueBench were the only ones to successfully target it, the other 18 champions choosing to ban it more often than not.
Here are all the stats pulled from these events. Below, you will also find the tier list of lineups in the new meta, and strategy comments from the players who won their qualification this week.
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.
Jimon on Ramp Druid, Questline Hunter, Burn Shaman: “My basic idea hasn’t changed from “play a better deck”. It’s nice that many people copied the same lineup and replicated the results.”
gcttirth on Ramp Druid, Questline Hunter, Burn Shaman: “I saw Jimon won a cup with the lineup, so I copied his lists because they looked really solid and Quest Hunter and Burn Shaman were some of my favorite archetypes of the previous meta so I felt comfortable playing them. The only change I made was in Druid, where I removed the Reno Jackson and Smothering Starfish because I preferred Wrath against aggressive decks. The Shaman list had reached #2 Legend, and the Hunter list had reached #1 Legend, so I knew the power level of the deck was pretty high as well. I tried coming up with an anti-Druid lineup but that didn’t go well so banning Druid made sense. I also saw a bunch of Quest Warriors getting swept by different types of lineups, so that closed the door for the aggro lineup as well. The lineup just worked well in an unsolved meta, as these decks have a chance versus most other decks. The same lineup has been used by many players this weekend to get a win, but that might make it the most “target-able” lineup for the next weekend so it might not have the same results. But for the first weekend of the new meta, it worked really well.”
Frenetic on Ramp Druid, Questline Hunter, Burn Shaman: “To be honest I just copied the lineup idea from Jimon that won a MT Qualifier before me hahahaha. I liked that lineup because i like to play the Shaman.”
balance on Ramp Druid, Questline Hunter, Burn Shaman: “I rarely build line-up on my own for qualifications and this time I yoinked Jimon’s one (89/90 iirc). The point of playing Reno and Doomsayer is to play better against aggro/tempo/semi-burn decks, if opponent doesn’t ban it. Yeah it kinda worse in other matchups, but it was like a bait to avoid ban, so I can easily farm wins on the best deck 😉 Ban – Pirate Rogue with Poison AOE and Druid. Not targeting any deck, lineup feels really flexible and decks are pretty good separately.”
TETRA on Ramp Druid, Pirate Rogue, Questline Warrior: “Since it was in the early stages of meta, I thought it would be better to choose aggro decks than control decks that are still being developped. It was natural to include the Questline Warrior and Ramp Druid, the strongest decks in the meta, in the lineup. The reason why I chose a Pirate Rogue was that I was highly experienced with it and thought it was a deck that could cope with the opponent’s control lineup. Ramp Druid was banned because Ramp Druid was the strongest in the meta and also strong against aggro decks. Control Paladin was banned in the middle because I thought my opponent would ban Ramp Druid and if Lightforged Cariel came out, I thought there was no chance of winning against Questline Warrior and Pirate Rogue. Questline Warrior and Ramp Druid are standard lists, so there’s nothing to say. I think Plague Scientist is quite good in Pirate Rogue.”
Darq7007 on Ramp Druid, Pirate Rogue, Questline Warrior: “It was the first day of tournaments in the new meta and and I didn’t know what deck I could play against. Firstly, I wanted to ban Druid. This is the best deck in the game and I of course had to bring it. At the beginning of new expansion Quest Warrior seemed to be quite good and it has a good winrate against control decks. As a third deck I wanted something to beat control and I decided to pick Pirate Rogue with new legendary which was supposed to be my win condition against control. Finally I didn’t face many control decks but my decks were flexible enough that I could win all games with tempo. But If I were to play today, I would definitly choose different decks.”
Ribby on Ramp Druid, Questline Hunter, Naga Mage: “For my lineup I was always going to bring Ramp Druid and Quest Hunter because they don’t have very many bad matchups and can easily scam a win with a good draw. For the actual lists for those decks I used rank 1 legend lists and changed a couple of cards (Gaby for Druid and Era for Hunter). I think Doomsayers are good in Druid especially in tournaments because if your Druid is left up they probably have aggro decks. For the Hunter I like the Tavish hero because it is fun and the secrets are really good. For my third deck I chose Naga Mage. I wasn’t even planning on playing the qualifiers that day because I didn’t have a third deck I liked. Then I tried Habugabu’s Naga Mage and really liked the deck. The deck doesn’t have any insta win or loss matchups and requires a lot of skill to play and those are the types of decks I like in Hearthstone. I banned Druid every match because it’s broken.”
reerkat on Fel Demon Hunter, Ramp Druid, Questline Hunter: “My lineup was built around the idea that Ramp Druid is the strongest deck in the game, and it doesn’t have 3 playable hard counters. I chose Quest Hunter and Fel Demon Hunter to round out the lineup as I felt they were very strong decks with a weak Druid matchup. Hunter and DH are good into aggro, Burn Shaman, and random control decks, which felt important as the most common lineups then felt like Druid + Pirates and my lineup with Shaman instead of DH. As a bonus I felt very comfortable with these decks as they are all versions of old decks. Important to note these are early days and all my decks felt good, but some card choices are def suspect (Druid of the Reef >>> Wraith)”
Entërra on Ramp Druid, Naga Mage, Control Paladin: “After taking a look at the field, I noticed that Quest Hunter was very popular but there was a lack of Vipers, due to the Naga package. The day before we were testing as usual and one of my friends was playing Control Pally, he took it from Monsanto. I realized that the deck was very good at closing against Quest Hunter if they dont run the Viper/Tavish package and felt like it was a good idea to bring it. Also, after watching and playing some Naga Mage, the matchup against Quest Hunter was very favourable, at least in my opinion, because it was a very controversial point of view. And Pally and Naga Mage seemed very good together while banning Druid, the most overtuned deck. So I thought that If I was able to dodge the Shamans during the tournament I would be safe (only faced one). By the way, learned a lot about the Control Pally vs Pirate Warrior matchup during the tournament, 4-mana Cariel is more or less your best wincon because you can reduce the statues and gain the board before Rokara appears. I made a video on youtube (it’s in spanish) where I talk about some specific things bout Pally, like if you want to play Queen Aszhara the best treasure is the Ring.”
DenimBlue7 on Ramp Druid, Naga Mage, Control Paladin: “I wanted to play three decks that beat Quest Warrior and are generally good. My Druid contains a “Smothering Starfish” because of Shamans. They can actually beat Druid if there is no Silence for the Freeze. Naga Mage is just the “standard” list. Control Paladin contains a Blademaster Okani because it can be really good in delaying the Quest from Warrior. I always ban Druid.”
FuF on Fel Demon Hunter, Questline Hunter, Burn Shaman: “This lineup bans Druids in the first place.”
kuroma on Fel Demon Hunter, Questline Hunter, Silence Priest: “Druid BAN. There is no other.”
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.
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)
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!”
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:
China: Leaoh, Syf, XiaoT
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
With a minuscule 8 hours between the release of Scholomance Academy and the first Master Tour Madrid qualifier, the first dominant line-up of the qualifiers was born. The first 3 events were won by an identical 90 Hearthstone cards. Guardian Druid, Dragon Galakrond Priest and Egg Warrior which set the pace for the weekend and took the tier 1 place on the lineup stats over the entire weekend. But with such a massive shake up literally hours before the weekend. There were meta shifts every day.
In qualifiers 1-3, the five most popular decks were Enrage/Egg Warrior (48.5%), Ramp/Guardian Druid (47.8%), Tempo Demon Hunter (27.5%), Galakrond Priest (19.5%) and Aggro Rogue (16.1%). A natural transition from the previous meta, the new most feared deck in Druid rising to almost eclipse the previous top dog in Warrior and some aggressive strategies to likely beat the Druid. Priest was a natural fit to combat the returning Warrior presence and was able to be slightly adjusted from previous lists. Notably adding a Dragon package to fight a bit better on board.
In the next set of 4-9, the five most popular decks were now Ramp/Guardian Druid (62%), Enrage/Egg Warrior (34%), Galakrond Priest (25.2%), Pure Paladin (19.7%) and Tempo Demon Hunter (19.5%). Players had started to accept this week’s meta king Guardian Druid and the meta had evolved into ban or target the king. Warrior began to drop because of the following two classes’ rise, despite still being a strong deck to fend off any aggro coming Druid’s way. The rise of Paladin and Priest are to be expected as they both received powerful new tools and could combat the high presence of Warriors and Druids at the top. The newly created Aggro Rogue is a fair option to target Druid (and did manage to win #6), but because of the much less refined state of the deck, it fell off in favor of decks that adapted to the new set rather than were born from it. Tempo Demon Hunter finds itself in a similar state because it was struggling to find its same footing at the end of the last meta and is undergoing a lot of testing and refinement itself.
In the final set of 10-15, the five most popular decks were now Ramp Druid (66.8%), Pure Paladin (33%), Enrage Warrior (23.8%), Tempo Demon Hunter (20%) and Galakrond Priest (18.9%). Druid continued its upward trend and rightfully so as only 2 line ups that qualified excluded the king. Pure Paladin took it’s right place as the number 3 deck with another large jump in population (don’t worry the math will make sense later). Its powerful snowballing capability was recognized and rewarded. Throughout the weekend, players moved away from running Consecration and Libram of Justice to buffs in those slots in Blessing of Kings/Authority to just run away with games. Enrage Warrior continued its downward trend dropping nearly 25% from the first set of qualifiers where it won all 3! You can thank the 2 & 3 most popular decks for the downward spiral of our fallen king. Tempo Demon Hunter stabilized around 20% with solid match-ups against the top 3 despite still going through refinement and will likely rise if the meta continues along this path. Finally, our second most popular class. Priest appears to have fallen in this set but that’s because the 6th most popular deck is Highlander Priest (17.7%) which effectively split Priest’s population (36.6% between the two) in half when in reality the decks operate the same. However, Highlander proved to have a higher power ceiling and was the most powerful deck of the entire weekend! Long live Priest.
About archetype classification
For the purpose of the statistics featured in this report, all decks played in Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers are sorted through an algorithm that acts like a list of yes/no questions with outputs along the way. There is no machine learning, those criteria have to be manually updated every time the meta changes. As a general example, the first step is to label “Highlander” the decks without duplicates and “Quest” the ones with a Quest. Then comes a list of key cards (Malygos, Galakrond, etc.) that are curated to provide the best characterization, and reviewed as often as possible. Any list that goes through the whole process without finding its name falls into “Other [Class]”.
Sometimes, one player has success with a very unique deck, and we choose not to change the algorithm unless more players start playing it. It is the case this week with Trec’s Soul Fragment Demon Hunter, which our system labels as the Tempo version even though it’s not exactly the list you probably think of when you read Tempo Demon Hunter. If it becomes a part of the meta we will add an output for it, but not if it’s unique to one deckbuilder. Sorry, Trec.
One more thing to note is that when lists are unrefined and in flux they can be harder to split. Right now, a lot of different builds of Guardian Druid are being played. We looked for ways to separate them, for example between builds that run Kael’Thas and Survival of the Fittest and ones that have an Exotic Mountseller package, but there are still a lot of lists with both, and all the card options seem to be considered independently. We will continue to monitor this and split them if actual different archetypes emerge. In comparison, our classification of Rogue is much more refined, with Galakrond Rogues separated based on the presence of the Stealth package, Secret package, or none. When reading the data, please keep that in mind if you want to compare the popularity of archetypes from different classes.
We recommend going to off-curve for even more detailed data, statistics about bans specific to each lineup, and an interactive dashboard where you can click on what’s most interesting to you and dive into the numbers down to every single Hearthstone game played this weekend in open cups.
Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are qualifier winners who were generous enough to write comments about the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.
Pilou on Ramp Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior: “Well as it was the first qualifier in the new expansion I focused on bringing good decks with small changes . I expected mostly 2 aggro with Druid, or 1 aggro deck like DH plus Egg Warrior and Druid. I knew Egg Warrior and Galakrond Dragon Priest were good against this expected field so I put Beast Druid as a third deck because the deck was just so strong 6 hours into the expansion I felt like most people would not be able to counter it. I also chose to always ban Druid because of its power level. Most people didn’t ban my Druid thinking they coule beat it with aggro and chose to ban my Warrior. At the end Druid finished 8-0, priest 7-3 and warrior 3-0.”
Win on Ramp Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior: “First of all it was pretty early to build decent lineup so i looked at qualifier #1 to see what is the meta right now then I saw Pilou’s lineup who won first. It was perfect for day 1 because a lot of people were trying to bring aggro decks and Egg Warrior (since Egg Warrior was dominating the previous meta). So basically this lineup is targeting aggro decks and Egg Warrior, strategy is to ban Druid because you can’t keep up with its broken Kael’Thas turns. I changed only 1 card in Warrior, cut Cache and added Cruel Taskmaster, i think Cache is not that strong after nerf and you need more enrage activators in Warrior right now. I would like to say that this lineup won’t be good next week because people adjusted their lineups to counter this one pretty fast, right now there are much less Warriors and aggro and this lineup is pretty bad vs Libram Paladin (best deck in tournament meta right now in my opinion).”
Trec on Soul Fragment Demon Hunter, Ramp Druid, Enrage Warrior: “My first and obvious choice for the cups was Warrior ; it’s still the best deck of the metagame. You can take the same as the previous meta with 2 new legendaries that are amazing (Lord Barov and Doctor Krastinov). Depending of the match up you can play the deck as a control, aggro or combo deck. Keep in mind that you can OTK with the Coin (Grommash ; 2 Inner Rage ; Mercenary and a Weapon equipped). The New Shield of Honor can help Kor’kron’s big damages ; This is better than Rampage but I’m not sure if we can’t just run both. I’m not a big fan of the Egg version, i prefer have Upgrade, the card is cheap and give a lot of damages and value, i usually run 2 but i put a second Armorsmith to answer the aggressivity of a new meta. Druid is Highroll land but you must have it to force opponent’s ban. I hesitated a lot between ban Druid or Warrior but I thought that Warrior was way harder to play so I banned Druid when I saw a good list of it. For the list i took Pilou’s one, he won the first cup with it ; the list seemed OK so I changed nothing but it needs to be refined (2 Overflow is core and still not sure if Mountseller version is better or not). I wanted a Control deck for the last slot and tried Priest and Demon Hunter. Priest seemed not flexible enough for me so i took my homemade DH Control (Yes you control by hitting your opponent’s face ; let’s say it’s a Life Control). It has the same ideas and match up of the DH control of the previous meta but way faster, you have Heals and board control (Mystic a.k.a the new Duskbreaker is op) so aggressive decks are easy and you have a lot of Face Damage without board to kill slow decks. The new mechanic of Soul Fragment is really cool but you don’t have a lot of cards to generate them and you use / draw a big part of them so I didn’t put Malicia. This extension is really interesting, I’m happy to qualify quickly so i can now test a lot of decks.”
molino on Token Druid, Face Hunter, Tempo Mage: “I came up with the idea 7 minutes before the tournament so my lists are not refined, especially Hunter and Mage. My strategy was to target Paladin and soft-target Druid (you can’t really hard-target Druid). I played Frost Nova and Conjurer’s Calling because they were better vs those two. Token Druid (aka Kuriboh Druid) is close to what I think is optimal for the archetype, spells are way better than 1 drops. Also people not playing Consecration in Paladin helped me a lot. The Hunter had Hyenas because I copied Maur1 but I’m playing Sidequests and Demon Companion now on ladder. The Secret package is just the nuts in the meta, vs Paladin, Druid and Priest.”
BruTo on Pure Paladin, Highlander Priest, Control Warrior: “My idea was to target Druid because it was the most popular deck. According to stats, Highlander Priest and Libram Paladin were favoured against it and people were winning qualifiers with them so I just took those 2 decks. For the last slot I decided to play a Big Warrior that I made with some techs against Druid (Ramming Speed for their Guardian Animals) and because I found it to be a strong deck overall. I banned Paladin or Priest because my lineup is favoured against Druid and Egg Warrior.”
MrMartial on Ramp Druid, Libram Paladin, Aggro Rogue: “I picked which I considered the strongest decks, and always banned Druid since it can get out of control. I considered Paladin my weakest deck but somehow people still banned it. The most broken cards are found in Druid and Rogue, Lightning Bloom and Secret Passage, which where a huge help in winning, those cards cheated me some wins. In my opinion I won mostly because the lineups of my opponents were not complete.”
Welcome to our first Hearthstone metagame report of the Year of the Phoenix! The data featured here is from the 15 official tournaments played this weekend: Masters Qualifiers “Online (#4)” 16 to 30. The format of these Open Cups is best of 3 Conquest with one ban, so this meta might not be exactly the same as what you see on ladder. On top of all the statistics for decks popularity and win rate, we are proud to bring to you insights from 10 of the 15 winners of the week. They are all the way down after the Tier List.
Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are Qualifier winners who generously sent us an explanation of the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.
Sevel on Aggro Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Galakrond Warlock: “Strategy was easy – 3 good decks + ban DH since it’s the best class in the game right now, netdecked Windello for Warlock – I liked Rain of Fire idea, card performed well. About DH Questings sort of made sense though you could probably build better version vs Warlocks/Druids than the one I used.”
Jucchan on Aggro Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Galakrond Warlock: “I planned around banning Warlock, which had around 60% winrate at the end of Day 1 of the Japanese Bo5 conquest tournament that was being streamed the night before. Rain of Fire in Gala Warlock was inspired by Windello, but I only play one copy because I was not planning on fighting the mirror where it normally helps clear imps. Instead, I play two Overconfident Orcs for Demon Hunter. Spell Druid is taken from BoarControl, I considered running Starfall for mirror/Demon Hunter boards but I was not able to test enough to be confident in running it. Tempo Demon Hunter is pretty standard with one Frozen Shadoweaver for the mirror and Hunter. The priority bans are Res Priest and Gala Warlock. Final record for each deck was 5-0 Warlock, 7-3 Druid, 6-0 Demon Hunter. Overall I felt the lineup was well-rounded and had a chance against any other lineup.”
levevil on OTK Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Face Hunter: “Introduction: After hotfix, the meta divided into three parts by Aggro DH, Spell Druid, and Galakrond Warlock. Of course it became the most popular lineup, and strategy started at this point. ‘Which deck should i aim?’ Spell Druid and Aggro DH has explosive potential with nut draw, so i decided to counter Warlock. Nowadays Galalock running more control cards(like Rain of Fire,Overconfident Orc) and less tempo cards(Albatross, Rite), So if i could find out right 3 decks to beat warlock, it seems to be no variable. Then I wahtced Orange’s stream and his lineup, I just realized this is what i was looking for. I coppied his lineup and tuned couple of cards. Card Choices: DH : This is perfect 30 cards of OTK DH imo. could run Blade Dance instead of Kayn or Consume Magic Druid : 2 Mountseller is better list i guess(Especially against Galalock), Blessing and Starfall are flexible(Roar, 2nd Rising Winds, The Forest’s Aid or whatever) Hunter : Most of times, The opponent who has Galalock banned my Hunter, so i played this deck only 2 times, but when you play Scavenger’s Ingenuity and draw Lion, you’re not gonna happy. so i suggest 1 Lion replace into Dragonbane or trap. Ban Strategy: When I watched Orange’s stream, he banned DH in most cases. But my lineup is most unfavored to Spell Druid imo. So my ban priority was Spell Druid, Priest, Warrior, AggroDH in order. Trivia: This lineup made such a huge success in this week, so next week many people gonna try this or counter this. If you’re gonna try this lineup, just wish you facing galalock 9 times. If you’re gonna counter this, Frozen Shadoweaver is really good tech card against OTK DH, and Warrior might be the Metabreaker of the next week of qualifier.”
Cassia on OTK Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Face Hunter: “The lineup is originally from Orange and I changed 1 card, played an extra Pack Tactics instead of a Mok’Nathal Lion beacuse it is the worst draw from Scavenger’s Ingenuity in most cases. The lineup heavily targets Galakrond Warlock, and not bad against Tempo DH. Spell druid is the primary ban target. In my opinion, this lineup is not perfect since OTK DH and Hunter also struggles against other several decks, but it is very effective when control type Warlock is dominant in the meta.”
SaltOPepper on OTK Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Face Hunter: “Huge thanks to Orange for the lineup idea. The idea of this LU is to counter Warlock, so leave it open an ban Priest then Druid. I dont play savage roar in druid, because it is overkill most of the time. It might be useful every 10th game or so. Kael’tas is just op. Other than that huge shoutout to SMOrc for the constant support the past weeks.”
Trec on Resurrect Priest, Galakrond Warlock, Trec Warrior: “As always I don’t like to play meta so I did this line up to counter Demon Hunter and to be fine versus Druid. The Warrior is undersestimated because it is new and when you look the deck it just seems to be bad but you understand the deck by playing it ; you can control the board and doing a lot of value while punching face with weapons. Warlock is the logic choice when you want to beat Demon Hunter ; Hello Sac Pact. I put even more defense with Unstable Felbolt and Bone Wraith because i knew people will ban Priest instead of this one. I didn’t find a good third deck so i took Priest. Anduin is a nightmare for a lot of people and I hoped each round my opponent to ban the Priest so I can play the two good decks. In theory Priest is good versus Demon Hunter and Druid but as always Priest Rez is just to much linear and slow to be a good deck. I usualy ban Hunter Face and Dragon because it’s too aggressive and my goal is to play versus Druid / Demon Hunter. I don’t know if the line up will work in the future but at this moment with so much Demon Hunter, take this line up and have fun. But I am confident with the power of the Warrior because the Corsaire Cache is so good.”
Chatthon on Aggro Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Bomb Warrior: “I wanted to test Bomb Warrior so I built a lineup aroud it. I needed two decks that are strong vs Warlock and ok vs Demon Hunter. Control Priest must always be banned, otherwise it depends what the opponent has and what you expect them to ban. The Warrior list is still far from being optimal.”
AVZ075 on Aggro Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Highlander Rogue: “Main ban for the lineup: Warlock, in my mind if people play Warlock they leave DH open, and that matchup is very Warlock favored, Warlock also does well against Spell Druid so it’s a good ban all around. I played Highlander Rogue because I think its good vs tempo DH and it also beats Priest, Hunter and Mage and I build the deck with a low curve to keep up with DH and Druid which are 2 very prominent decks atm. I think Rogue>DH and even though the Druid matchup is unfavorable you can go for a smorc heavy gameplan with a low curve. And you have some really good counterplay with Flik and Zephrys. I copied Hunterace’s version of tempo Demon Hunter I really like Mana Burn and Questing Adventurer for the Spell Druid matchup, a properly setup Questing Adventurer is neigh impossible for Druid to deal with and playing Mana Burn when Druid is about to hit 7 mana is really strong, Questing feels a bit underwhelming in the mirror and if I had more time to playtest I might have cut Questing for the 3 mana freeze minion because its better in the mirror. Im not 100% confident in saying the version of Druid I played is the best list, because theres still so much to figure out in the deck, but I think playing Starfall is correct because it’s great in the mirror and good vs tempo DH. My overall gameplan was to win out in the DH matchup, all 3 of my decks have game against it. And in the general the 3 decks I played are fine ish against most of the field, so no matter what you always have a shot of winning.”
Karolos on Aggro Demon Hunter, Dradon Hunter, Galakrond Warlock: “Demon Hunter : I had an aggresive plan to begin with by creating a small board able to inflict damage (the cards helping to do Battlefiend, Blazing Battlemage, Chaos Strike and Umberwing). I chose to play x2 Glavebound Adept because is a powerfull card and many time was given lethal damage or removal. Mulligan Battlefiend, Blazing Battlemage, Sightless Watcher, Skull of Gul’dan.. In the mirror matchups twin slice is nuts card and always keep exept vs otk Demon Hunter.. Core cards Altruis the outcast, Metamorphosis , skull of Gul’dan. Warlock : A midrage to control deck, which is basic a counter of DH with many combinations like all the invoked cards with the plague of flames. The Mo’arg artificer with the mortal coil and nether breath. The Overconfident Orc is very powerful vs aggro matchups. Finally the twisting nether vs control and mirror matchups is a very powerful removal. Mulligan vs DH Sact Pact, mortal coil, dark skies, overconfident orc, vs other matchups Dragonblight cultist and the veiled worshipper. Target DH , Spell Druid , Ressurect Priest. Core cards Sact Pact , Zephrys the Great , Kronx Dragonhoof , Galakrond the Wretched and Dragonquenn Alexstrasza. Hunter : Okay, Leeroy made it HoF, but I had to complete my line up, so I chose Dragon Hunter. Aggresive playstyle was my choise once more and at this moment I change all the classic secret package. I added x2 Scavenger’s Ingnuity and Zixor the Apex Predator, a powerful combo against aggro and control matchups. Mulligan Blazing Battlemage, Dwarven Sharpshooter, Scavenger’s Ingenuity and the Stormhummer. Target Ressurect Priest, some Warriors and the OTK DH. Ban guide : There are certain matchups, that it wouldbe better to avoid with this line up Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Face Hunter and Zoo Warlock. PS see u lan boys and grills”
Today I want to take a brief look at each hero. I’ve ordered them from best to worst by equally weighing my opinion of each hero with HSReplay’s data for the top 20% of Battlegrounds players. I’ve heavily considered HSReplay stats while writing this, but mainly focused on my own experiences in high rank lobbies. I’ll explain why each hero ended up in the spot they did, and give some helpful tips for some of the heroes!
The Great Heroes
When played well, these heroes consistently place in the top 4 due to their hero powers granting a significant advantage over other heroes.
Now that Millhouse starts with 3 gold (formerly 2), he can easily flood the board with minions, winning early fights. His early strength and discounted minions also allow him to upgrade his tavern earlier than most heroes while retaining strength. In the late game, the expensive refreshes become a significant detriment, but early high tier minions can often snowball into a victory.
Passive Hero Power: Your first Refresh each turn costs (0).
Saving loads of gold over the course of an entire game is obviously good. It allows players to get more rolls for key units and helps them afford to play more units in a turn if they are using their refreshes. Perhaps less obviously, Nozdormu also grants important retries in early turns, which can prevent getting blown out early, and he lets players immediately reroll for higher tier units after upgrading their tavern.
(1) Hero Power: Next combat, add a plain copy of the first minion you kill to your hand.
Sometimes, Rafaam steals his opponent’s extremely powerful units and uses them to win the game. More commonly, Rafaam uses his hero power to find triples more effectively than other heroes without wasting much time along the way. Rafaam also has the luxury of purchasing a unit on turn 2, as using his hero power early generally grants an early advantage which allows him to catch up in levels later.
Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
(2) Hero Power: Hire a random minion in Bob’s Tavern and give it +1/+1.
Yogg’s hero power grants such a ridiculous early game advantage that it is truly bizarre to see Yogg finish in the bottom two spots. On turn 3 (5 gold), Yogg can use his hero power to get a buffed random unit and a normal unit without having to sell anything. On turn 4 (6 gold), Yogg can sell a unit, upgrade the tavern, and use his hero power, keeping him stronger than nearly every other hero in the early game while still being ahead in tavern tiers. On turn 6 (8 gold), Yogg can upgrade the tavern for 6 gold and hero power. At this point, Yogg’s board lead has likely diminished, but he is one to two turns ahead of most opponents in terms of tavern tier and can leverage that into a victory. While this exact line of play isn’t optimal in every single game, it’s a solid guideline. Regardless, Yogg’s early strength allows him to crush the early game and quickly ramp into high tavern tiers, much like Millhouse.
Passive Hero Power: After you sell a minion, randomly give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1 twice.
Deryl can be difficult to play perfectly, but generally making a few big minions by isolating them in the store and selling a bunch of small minions is a good enough plan. Anything with divine shield, Rat Pack, Cave Hydra, or even something like Imp Gang Boss is generally a reasonable target. In a pinch, just about any unit is strong if buffed enough. Don’t underestimate the value of buying and immediately selling units, and don’t underestimate the power of pure stats!
(1) Hero Power: Give a minion +1/+1 for each minion you’ve bought this turn.
Edwin is strong for many of the same reasons as Deryl, but with the downside of buffing minions more slowly and the upside of having the buffs be both targetable and usable on minions you have already placed (which also means he is able to buff discovered units, unlike Deryl). Unlike Deryl, Edwin can be played without significantly altering your normal playstyle. Like Deryl, Edwin often ends the game with gigantic Deflecto-o-Bots and Cave Hydras.
The Good Heroes
These heroes either lack the consistency of the great heroes or require more skill to perform well. However, they still often get strong results and offer a lot of power to those who know what they’re doing.
Sir Finley Mrrgglton
Passive Hero Power: At the start of the game, Discover a Hero Power.
The strategy behind Finley is pretty simple. If your other two options aren’t either great heroes or good heroes that you feel confident playing, choose Finley as a reroll. Whether you choose him over a reasonably strong hero like Elise is up to you, but stats do seem to suggest that taking Finley often pays off. Finley often creates lobbies with multiple copies of the same strong hero, which can occasionally lead to mutually beneficial scenarios for each of you (like the whole lobby awkwardly trying to navigate double Rafaam) or mutually destructive (like the whole lobby gobbling up units that summon tokens, so that they can defeat two Deathwings). It remains to be seen whether the recently added option to choose between 4 heroes instead of 3 makes choosing Finley less attractive.
The Great Akazamzarak
(2) Hero Power: Discover a Secret. Put it into the battlefield.
Akazamzarak is one of the most under-picked heroes for how strongly he tends to perform, at least according to available statistics. Ice Block alone often offers enough stalling to convert a potential 5th place finish into a 3rd place, and secrets like Splitting Image and Redemption are often game-deciding. While some of the secrets in Akazamzarak’s arsenal are truly abysmal, Redemption is particularly strong with deathrattle minions like Goldrinn and Splitting Image is great with large taunt minions.
A. F. Kay
Passive Hero Power: Skip your first two turns. Start with two minions from Tavern Tier 3.
A. F. Kay’s strength depends quite a bit on the strength of tier 3 minions, but with strong early game units like Deflect-o-Bot, Hangry Dragon, and Soul Juggler available, she can quite regularly convert her first two turn losses into multiple turns of wins. The difficulty in playing her comes in navigating the games where suboptimal tier 3 minions are offered, but even in these games she rarely falls too far behind.
(1) Hero Power: Refresh Bob’s Tavern. Include a minion from a higher Tavern Tier.
Toki’s hero power shines in the mid to late game, as cheating out tier 5 and 6 minions early can offer a substantial advantage over other heroes. Toki can also take advantage of this by leveling aggressively, getting her tier 5 and 6 units into play early and mitigating the drawbacks of early leveling by guaranteeing high tier rolls. However, Toki players are often weak in the early game, so learning to minimize early health loss is key to effectively playing Toki.
Passive Hero Power: When you upgrade Bob’s Tavern get a ‘Recruitment Map’.
While Elise does not offer huge power spikes like some other heroes, she offers general consistency. Maps can be used on turns when no good options are available in the shop or can be used immediately after upgrading the tavern tier to get a higher tier unit without having to reroll.
Passive Hero Power: ALL minions have +2 Attack.
Despite having a symmetrical hero power (that is, one that affects both players in a fight equally), Deathwing usually gets a net benefit from his hero power because he will generally spend every turn purchasing units that benefit from the hero power while his opponents will not. In some lobbies, Deathwings may struggle if their opponents purchase copies of Rat Pack, reducing the number of Rat Packs available and keeping themselves strong against Deathwing. Deathwing players who find Rat Packs early will sometimes level extremely aggressively, but I would not advise this in most lobbies as opponents will generally begin to outpower Deathwing within one to two turns. It’s worth noting that the nerf to Deathwing (previously +3 Attack) weakens Deathwing in early fights due to 4 health minions like Vulgar Homunculus and Steward of Time now surviving attacks from minions with 1 base attack, like Alleycat and Mecharoo.
Hero Power: Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier.
Malygos combines two of the themes common among good heroes: “having options is good” and “having a strong start is good.” With an Alleycat or Murloc Tidehunter, Malygos gets to upgrade the 1/1 token for free, and without this start bad units can still be rerolled into (hopefully) better options. The hero power can also be used to look for triple, to reroll high tier units that don’t fit Maly’s current board, or to upgrade units like Nathrezim Overseer which are valuable for their battlecries but do not have strong stats.
The Rat King
Passive Hero Power: Whenever you buy a Beast, give it +1/+2. Swaps type each turn.
Free stats are great! Rat King usually gets a strong start, which can be used to try to get ahead of the rest of the lobby. Unlike Yogg and Millhouse, Rat King cannot as easily convert his early stats into a tavern tier advantage, because he cannot purchase minions for a discount. However, the tempo advantage from getting +1/+2 on several minions is often at least enough to help The Rat King avoid low finishes.
Passive Hero Power: After you upgrade Bob’s Tavern to Tavern Tier 5, Discover two Dragons.
Statistics from HSReplay.net show that Alexstrasza is the definition of a boom-or-bust hero. She gets more first and last place finishes than almost any other hero, with relatively few results in between. That indicates a couple things: many players are simply dying before getting value out of this hero power, and those who do make it to turn 5 experience wild variance in how strong it actually is to discover two dragons. It goes without saying that players who find Razorgore and Kalecgos will generally finish much higher than players who do not, but experienced players can reduce Alexstrasza’s variance a bit by playing carefully. I would recommend leveling to tiers 3 and 4 at a normal or even slow pace, as rushing to 5 rarely pays off. After leveling to tier 4, leveling to 5 immediately the next turn will allow the player to catch up to other players in tavern tier while offering either a huge buff (with minions like Kalecgos) or some playable minions (like Cobalt Scalebane). Using this strategy, it is rare but not impossible to hit dragons which simply leave Alexstrasza dead in the water.
Passive Hero Power: Start the game with a 1/1 Amalgam with all minion types.
The somewhat recent addition of dragons to Battlegrounds increased the power level of cards like Zoobot, Menagerie Magician, and Lightfang Enforcer, all of which are also fantastic for The Curator. Curator’s Amalgam also slots nicely into other tribal synergies, even if it’s just being used to make Soul Juggler juggle just a little bit more or it’s helping Razorgore grow. Realistically, though, it’s not uncommon to miss buffs for the Amalgam, and in those games it may serve as little more than a coin and a near-guarantee to win the first fight. Do not be afraid to sell your Amalgam.
(1) Hero Power: Give a random friendly minion +4 Health.
Stats are good. While the benefits of 4 extra health per turn dwindle in the late game, Pyramad can often hero power his way to early fight victories. As seen with many heroes higher on this list, early fight victories can be converted into an advantage later in the game. Interestingly, it is fairly common to see Pyramad players play murlocs, as early game murlocs which might normally lose fights become fairly strong with health buffs. This approach is risky, though, as its strength will fall off quickly if Pyramad does not find Murloc Warleaders and then immediately transition to their late game. Another interesting interaction with Pyramad is using the hero power to buff Micro Machine, a unit which quickly gains attack but usually struggles due to its low health.
(3) Hero Power: Make a friendly minion Golden. (Once per game.)
Like Alexstrasza, Reno comes with a late game payoff which can be game winning but usually comes at the cost of losing early fights. Reno games often go one of three ways: 1. Finding a triple on tier 4, discovering a tier 5 minion, and hero powering that minion; 2. Hero powering an early minion like Soul Juggler or Iron Sensei; or 3. Dying before the hero power accomplishes anything. While a golden Brann, Baron, or Lightfang Enforcer is generally stronger than a golden Soul Juggler, it’s also usually a bit harder to pull off, so the direction a Reno player chooses to go depends a bit on how quickly they are taking damage and how quickly they find pairs (which represent potential triples into tier 5 discovers). If opting to go for discovers, tier 5 discovers are usually much stronger than tier 4s, and waiting until tier 6 is usually much too slow. Don’t be afraid to use Reno’s hero power on suboptimal minions like Drakonid Enforcer or Iron Sensei, as a modest strength boost in the early to mid game is much better than waiting for a large boost when it’s already too late.
The Bad Heroes
These heroes are very inconsistent or are much weaker than the good heroes. It’s still worthwhile to learn how to play them well, as these heroes will still frequently be the best ones available. Any hero can perform well, and these are still significantly stronger than the terrible ones.
(1) Hero Power: Start of Combat: Deal 1 damage to all enemy minions.
Nefarian’s hero power is fantastic against divine shields in the late game, but does not impress overall due to a lack of early game strength. Additionally, dealing 1 damage to all enemy minions is almost exclusively good against divine shields, and even then not ones that are generated by minions like Nadina the Red. In many fights, the hero power will simply be ineffective.
Passive Hero Power: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1.
Sindragosa, formerly one of my personal favorite heroes and likely still in my top ten most played heroes, has sadly fallen into the “bad” category. Sindragosa offers a significant stat boost in the early game (starting on turn 3), but in a fairly unconvincing way compared to some heroes available. Sindragosa players are often forced to play subpar units (but with a stat bonus), and unlike Yogg and Millhouse, Sindragosa neither plays minions faster than other heroes nor generally gets the luxury of upgrading the tavern faster than other heroes. As a result, Sindragosa’s strength often falls off by the mid game.
The Lich King
(1) Hero Power: Give a friendly minion Reborn for the next combat only.
When I first saw that Lich King’s hero power was changed to be targeted, I thought it was overpowered. I was wrong. While it is quite strong to consistently get double value on powerful deathrattles like golden Spawn of N’Zoth, Goldrinn, or Ghastcoiler, Lich King still seems to fall flat in many games. In a meta where powerful deathrattles are more easily found, The Lich King may prove a serious threat. Currently, he’s fairly inconsistent and often weak.
Passive Hero Power: Start with 50 Health instead of 40.
10 extra health is not very much when you are unfavored to win fights from the beginning of the game until the end. It may be enough to buy a little extra time, so that Patchwerk finishes 6th instead of 8th or 4th instead of 5th. It also lets wrath weaver players play a few more demons before dying. Patchwerk is bad, but playable in a pinch.
(1) Hero Power: Replace a minion in Bob’s Tavern with a minion from a higher Tavern Tier.
I have a soft spot for Galakrond, but realistically the most common Galakrond strategy, building a tier 6 minion early in the game, is nearly never a good idea. Galakrond can actually be played by progressing normally in the early game before trying to create higher tier minions using the hero power, a strategy which will both increase consistency and drastically decrease highroll potential. I personally enjoy playing Galakrond this way – very similarly to how I would play Toki – but for many players it may be advisable to only pick Galakrond if they believe in their ability to make a turn 6 Mama Bear.
Passive Hero Power: Start of Combat: Your left and right-most minions attack immediately.
As the newest hero on this list, Illidan is also the one with the most uncertain placement. While his hero power can be extremely beneficial when running powerful deathrattles or cleave minions, Illidan is generally weak in the early game and needs specific minions to really shine in the late game. While Illidan players may develop new strategies for him in the upcoming weeks, the initial stats are not promising.
Passive Hero Power: Reduce the Cost of Tavern Tiers by (1).
Upgrading the tavern early sounds like a great idea. In practice, a 1 gold discount doesn’t actually line up nicely with the amount of gold players are likely to have most of the time. In general, Bartendotron does not benefit from his hero power compared to most heroes until around tier 4 or 5. Compared to other heroes who can level aggressively, like Millhouse, Bartendotron offers almost no benefit while also lacking the early game board advantage.
(1) Hero Power: Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice.
Are Shudderwock’s stats lowered a bit by players who attempt to force Pogo Hoppers? Probably. Regardless, the HSReplay stats actually show Shudderwock’s odds of winning a fight increasing pretty steadily throughout a game. Doubling battlecries is a very strong effect, especially in the late game with valuable battlecries like Annihilan Battlemaster and Murozond, but some team compositions don’t benefit greatly from battlecries and the late game disadvantage is often insurmountable.
George the Fallen
(3) Hero Power: Give a friendly minion Divine Shield.
3 gold is expensive. George, like Shudderwock, actually gets quite strong in the late game, should he make it to the late game with a team composition that makes sense. With divine shield synergy units like Drakonid Enforcer and Bolvar, George can create a powerful team, and hero powering important units like Mama Bear or Baron Rivendare is also strong. Highly experienced players should likely value George a bit higher than his placement on this list, but as this list takes into account all HSReplay statistics for players at 6700+, he places very poorly.
The Terrible Heroes
These heroes should be avoided at all costs. A few of them may offer high entertainment value, but they are all consistently weak. Regardless, highly skilled and highly lucky players can sometimes manage to win with these heroes.
Passive Hero Power: Mechs in Bob’s Tavern have +2 Attack.
Forcing yourself to play a specific tribe is a very bad idea. Even with the extra attack on mechs, it’s often better to just take other things that are offered and accept that your hero power is accomplishing almost nothing. If you do manage to build a strong team, it’s unlikely the +2 attack was what really got you there.
(1) Hero Power: Give a random friendly Mech, Murloc, Beast, Demon, and Dragon +2 Attack.
Sure, it’s strong to buff Cave Hydra, Holy Mackerel, Bronze Warden, Annihilan Battlemaster, and Mechano Egg. Those are not the minions Queen Wagtoggle will be buffing early in the game. She spends a fair amount of time and resources buffing early minions that will be sold in the mid to late game to start the buffing process over again. Without finding strong minions to buff early, the Queen will fall apart in the mid game.
Passive Hero Power: At the start of your turn, add a Dragon to Bob’s Tavern.
First, let’s establish that staying on a low tier and making red whelp triples is a bait and a terrible idea (even if you saw Purple gain ranks doing it). Ysera does benefit from often having a decent turn 1, and having extra minions in the tavern is never really a bad thing, so she is perhaps a bit better than some of the other “terrible heroes” when played well. The truth is that playing a dragon build is often just very weak unless a Kalecgos or some early Razorgores are involved.
Passive Hero Power: After you sell a Murloc, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern.
A common theme among the terrible heroes, Flurgl baits players into playing a very weak, inconsistent strategy. Playing and selling a bunch of murlocs early in the game is not a good idea. Once Flurgl gets to tavern tier 5 or 6, cycling murlocs for triples may be strong, but the odds that he should actually be playing a murloc build after making it to that stage of the game are actually fairly low. Flurgl will usually die before getting the crazy payoff turns you may be imagining.
(1) Hero Power: Give a friendly minion +10 Attack for the next combat only.
Putricide is a bit like a “find Cave Hydra” simulator. Putting all of your eggs in that basket is probably not a good idea. Giving extra attack to a divine shield minion or a Rat Pack can be strong in early fights, but will quickly be outpowered without extra health to go with it. It’s hard to imagine a game where Putricide’s hero power isn’t outclassed by every other hero power in the lobby.
(2) Hero Power: Give your Demons +1/+1.
YOU FACE JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION! Forcing one tribe is still bad, and 2 mana is hilariously overpriced for this hero power. Interestingly, Jaraxxus actually performs decently at low ranks, where players generally make their boards stronger at a much slower rate. I would still advise against picking Jaraxxus even in low ranks, because learning to play any other hero well will still give better results than playing Jaraxxus.
After the first week of the Tombs Of Terror event, here’s what the metagame looks like in the Conquest Best Of 3 format. The data analyzed here comes exclusively from Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Arlington 16-30. You will see that the cards that have been brought back from Wild are having an impact, some of them more than others. Flamewaker and N’zoth, for example, had been overhyped, whlie Evolve and Ragnaros are making bigger waves.
Here are, in our opinion, the 30 most interesting combinations of decks we’ve seen this week. The qualifier winners were invited to share tips about their lineup, and some of them did. We understand that the players who are currently in Bucharest want to keep every bit of information to themselves. You can click on the titles to find the 3 decks codes directly on yaytears.com.
I saw that the most popular top 8 archetypes of the first qualifiers of this week were Combo Priest, Evolve Shaman and Tempo Rogue, and also realized that there weren’t a lot of Control Warriors, so I chose an aggro line up. I decided to ban Shaman and target Combo Priest. In a couple of rounds I faced players with Control/Mecha’thun Warriors and that was my ban in those cases. Since it was on Asia server and I don’t have a lot of cards there, I played a second Lightning Bolt instead of Vessina in Shaman and second Cruel Taskmaster instead of Grommash in Warrior.
I took Maxxe’s lineup minus the Drud because I think that it’s targetable (by Priest, notably). So I kept his Shaman and his Priest, and I went with Highlander Paladin, because I believe in its power level, above other Highlander decks.
I have done a video with the meaning fo my lineup since i have a youtube channel called Zio Maruth, but is full italian. My point of view about this initial meta was that the Shaman is god tier for me, so i want a lineup that ban him ( second choice ban Control Warrior) and try to counter 2 good decks that every player probably brings in his lineup, Combo priest and Quest Druid, since my Tempo Rogue and Tempo Warrior are pretty good in contesting first round of Priests and Priest never wins without his board. My Quest Shaman was hard teched vs Priest and is a sort of Control Quest Shaman since I play Plague of Murlocs and double Scoundrel but a lot of games he was banned. The power of my Tempo Rogue and Warrior also were the possibility to play aggro vs greedy decks like Nzoth decks, Sap is very powerful tempo play vs Karthut and slow taunts and I play a Spellbreaker in my Tempo Warrior
I built this lineup because I saw the meta in the tournament had a lot of aggo lineups such as Aggro Rogue, Combo Priest, Aggro Evole Shaman, etc. So my target is aggro deck. My deck is a little bit counter aggro, for example in the Mage deck, you will see Ooze, Bone Wraith and a lot of defensive cards. Most of deck that I ban in tournamnet is Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter and Holy Wrath Paladin.
So first of all my highlander decks were a little bit budget since i don’t have that much dust on NA. Otherwise i would have played Houndmaster Shaw in the Hunter deck and Grommash in the Warrior deck. My main target was Combo Priest which worked out perfectly the entire cup. That’s why I played Wing Blast and Desert Spear in the Hunter, super strong against Priest. Tempo Rogue with double Sap is extremely favoured against Combo Priest and the Warrior is also decent against it and overall a really underrated deck right now and in my opinion way better that the classic Aggro Warrior. So talking about the ban strategy i’ts kinda difficult. The ban is pretty flexible and really depending on the opponents lineup. I think in general you can say Shaman is the main ban with this deck. That’s what i did almost all of the first rounds where I faced a lot of aggro lineups. Even though Tempo Rogue and Highlander Hunter have a decent chance at beating it here and there. In the later rounds i faced a lot of control lineups with and without Shaman. Control Warrior was always my main ban when they had it in there lineup since all of my decks are unfavoured against it. Druid is also not a good matchup for my decks but there are really not that many and it’s beatable with a good starting hand.
Hey everyone! I’mlulnenko, and in the past two months I have hit #23 and #3 legend in wild using Quest Shaman. My current build features two copies of Coldlight Oracle, giving the deck the somewhat misleading name of “Quest Mill Shaman.” This guide will focus on my current build, which has been featured in multiple major meta reports and deck aggregators.
Quest Shaman is a difficult archetype to play due to the extreme diversity of possible game plans and the high amount of random card generation. Quest Shaman offers value, aggression, and mill, requiring players to constantly assess their situation to maximize their chances of winning. In this guide, I will highlight card choices, mulligans, and a few of my own game replays.
In this section, I’ll write the bulk of my guide, as I think it makes more sense to explain the intended synergies between cards and the strategies created by my card inclusions than it does to try explaining every possible matchup and game state.
Corrupt the Waters is the main build around card for Quest Shaman, for obvious reasons. This quest is fairly easy to complete without making many sacrifices in the early game (excluding, notably, a card in the mulligan). Compared to a deck like Evolve Shaman, Quest Shaman has less explosive starts, but matches up considerably better against control decks due to the value generated by the completed quest in combination with cards like Sludge Slurper, Zola the Gorgon, and Barista Lynchen.
Evolve is a great tempo bomb tool. In combination with Doppelgangster or Mogu Fleshshaper, Evolve provides a way to end games quickly in many matchups. Using Evolve in a less optimal situation, like with an EVIL Cable Rat and one lackey on board, is often also very strong tempo in situations where you may have otherwise fallen behind.
Glacial Shard allows you to freeze an opponent’s big minions until you can close out the game. Glacial Shard’s low cost, in combination with the abundant methods of bouncing and copying minions, allows players to easily freeze out their opponents while furthering their own game plan.
Sludge Slurper is a key tool for completing the quest, and provides quadruple value after quest completion because lackey battlecries and Slurper’s own battlecries are all doubled. Additionally, Sludge Slurper provides draw targets for Ice Fishing.
Devolve is a blatantly overpowered card in a wide variety of matchups. Most notably, magnetized mechs will lose all buffs when devolved, allowing this card to single handedly destroy Mech Paladins and Mech Hunters. Devolve is also strong against deathrattles, taunts, Odd Paladin’s silver hand recruits (to prevent them from being buffed), and any overstatted minions such as Flamewreathed Faceless. However, Devolve should not be considered a counter to SN1P-SN4P Warlock (at least not by itself), as Target Dummy allows Warlock players to create large mechs that cannot be devolved.
EVIL Cable Rat is a key tool for completing the quest, and provides quadruple value after quest completion because lackey battlecries and EVIL Cable Rat’s own battlecries are all doubled.
Ice Fishing: 2 mana draw 2 cards. If you are not already sold, note that it will usually draw at least one Sludge Slurper, which is a strong card in every matchup and at any point in the game.
Novice Engineer is a decent way to draw 2 cards cheaply after quest completion, and can be played before quest completion if necessary. Its low stats make it a suboptimal play in many situations, which is why I only run a single copy.
Questing Explorer is a fantastic card before quest completion and a pretty terrible one after. Regardless, this card is definitely worth running due to its strength in the early game and because you will often have enough value in your hand that drawing this late will not significantly hinder you.
Sandstorm Elemental is a strong tempo play against aggressive decks (and sometimes others). It pairs nicely with Devolve.
Bog Slosher can be used to help complete the quest early or make a variety of strong plays. When the quest is complete, Slosher gives huge stat buffs, which is particularly useful in combination with cheap minions like Lackeys, Glacial Shard, and Mogu Fleshshaper.
Coldlight Oracle is in this deck to make the copy of Ice Fishing look less silly. In all seriousness, this card is by far the hardest inclusion to explain and almost certainly the one that most readers skipped to. It is worth noting that this deck DOES NOT run any cards that allow for an anti-fatigue gameplan, meaning that playing Coldlight Oracle to kill an opponent in fatigue will only work if the opponent has drawn more cards than you have. It is also worth pointing out that hero power + 2 copies of Coldlight Oracle will make both players draw 8 cards, meaning that this “combo” is nearly guaranteed to destroy many cards in the opponent’s deck. The primary purposes for Coldlight Oracle are milling opponents’ combo pieces, milling cards against any warlock deck (because warlocks will generally draw faster than shamans), milling cards against priests who have already played Psychic Scream (because this will allow you to fatigue the priest), killing mages who have played Aluneth (which is hilarious), and desperately drawing in situations where doing so is deemed necessary.
Zola the Gorgon is one of the best value generators available to shaman due to its cheap cost and strong synergy with quest completion. Compared to Bog Slosher, Zola is often a bit weaker before completing the quest, but after quest completion she gives double copies of minions allowing for freeze gameplans in combination with Glacial Shard, board swings in combination with Mogu Fleshshaper, and many other strong plays.
Lifedrinker benefits greatly from quest completion and offers both healing and burst in the form of a fairly cheap minion that also buffs Shudderwock.
Barista Lynchen is a “greedy card” in the sense that she is a bit slower than most of the inclusions in this deck. She is a passable tempo play in the early game and a phenomenal amount or resource generation in the late game if needed. In slow matchups, pairing Barista with EVIL Cable Rat, Sludge Slurper, or multiple copies of Kobold Lackey is often ideal.
Doppelgangster pairs well with Evolve and/or Mogu Fleshshaper as a huge tempo play and has fantastic synergy with Shudderwock. Returning one Doppelgangster to hand with Bog Slosher lets you create a board full of buffed Doppelgangsters. Playing Doppelgangster early, when possible, is also often a good play even without Evolve, as it’s a decent tempo play and makes your future Shudderwock into a huge tempo bomb.
Mogu Fleshshaper, even without any synergies, is one of the strongest cards in Hearthstone. Seriously. Mogu allows for massive board swings vs aggressive decks and massively boosts Evolve turns. Mogu also has strong synergies with Doppelgangster, Bog Slosher (cheap 7/8 rush, anyone?), and Zola the Gorgon (2 cheap 3/4 rushes that can be Evolved into 8 mana minions), making it a no-brainer inclusion.
Shudderwock does all sorts of cool nonsense. He’ll often be played as a big tempo bomb, due to the Doppelgangster, Glacial Shard, Lifedrinker, and lackey battlecries he will replay. Additionally, Zola, Barista, and Bog Slosher battlecries will often add followup Shudderwocks to hand, and the battlecries of both lackey generators and lackeys will fill your hand with (mostly) useful cards. In some situations, Shudderwock can use Coldlight Oracle’s battlecry to kill the opponent (or you, if I am being honest) in fatigue.
Card Exclusions (and Possible Substitutions)
Earth Shock, Hex, or Plague of Murlocs can be used to significantly improve the SN1P-SN4P Warlock matchup. Devolve would be fine alone, except that strong Warlock players know to stack their magnetized threats onto Target Dummy, which is a 0 mana minion and thus cannot be devolved. Earth Shock and Hex can be used on the same turn as Devolve as a way to deal with Target Dummy (so, in a sense, they are anti-tech card tech cards). Plague of Murlocs can be used against a full board, but will often need followup such as Sandstorm Elemental to deal with the resulting murlocs. Strongly consider running these cards in some combination if you plan to play at high legend.
Eater of Secrets is a passable, but totally unnecessary mage hate card. My September decklist, which hit #23 Legend, ran two copies of Eater of Secrets, but my winrate against mage actually improved significantly after removing Eater of Secrets in favor of the Coldlight Oracle package. Only run this card if you REALLY hate Secret Mage.
Baleful Banker, Archivist Elysiana, Body Wrapper etc. could be added if you specifically want to go all in on the “mill” part of this decks game plan and win in fatigue. In my experience, these seem unnecessary.
Loatheb is just a generally strong card and should be a decent inclusion if you can find space to run a 5 mana 5/5.
Jade Cards can be used to build a different Quest Shaman list, but don’t fit in this one without removing too many strong cards.
Mind Control Tech is a reasonable choice if you want to gain a lot of points in various Shaman matchups, but is unlikely to be particularly helpful elsewhere.
Other cards can certainly be experimented with as well! Quest Shaman excels at several different game plans, so you could probably fit a wide variety of cards into this deck if you would like.
Making the proper mulligans in Wild can be difficult, because there is a wide variety of deck archetypes available to every class. For the purpose of this guide, I will assume that the most common matchups are the matchups I most commonly experienced from ranks 4 to Legend #3 in October and from ranks 7 to Legend #23 in September. For skilled players, it may be more beneficial to know my reasoning behind certain mulligan decisions than to know exactly what choice I would make. Here are the general mulligan principles I would suggest, although there is room to experiment.
Always keep Corrupt the Waters. You could make a case for throwing it back against Paladin in an attempt to draw Devolve, but I would not recommend doing so.
General Mulligan: Keep Sludge Slurper, EVIL Cable Rat, Ice Fishing, and Questing Explorer almost all the time. Keep 2 copies of any of these. Don’t keep Ice Fishing if you also keep 2 Sludge Slurpers because Coldlight Oracle is usually weak in the early game.
vs Druid: Assume Star Aligner Druid, use General Mulligan.
vs Hunter: Assume Mech Hunter, use General Mulligan but also keep Devolve.
vs Mage: Assume Secret Mage or Reno Mage, use General Mulligan either way.
vs Paladin: Assume Mech Paladin or Odd Paladin, use General Mulligan but also keep Devolve and Sandstorm Elemental. If you are certain it is Mech Paladin, don’t keep Sandstorm Elemental. If you are certain it is Odd Paladin, also keep Mogu Fleshshaper. If keeping Mogu Fleshshaper, consider keeping Evolve.
vs Priest: Assume Reno Priest, use General Mulligan.
vs Rogue: Assume Odd Rogue, use General Mulligan but also keep Sandstorm Elemental. The main purpose of Sandstorm Elemental in this matchup is to kill the common Rogue opener of any 1 mana pirate which pulls Patches the Pirate.
vs Shaman: Assume Even Shaman or Questless Evolve Shaman, use General Mulligan but also keep Mogu Fleshshaper and Evolve if you have both. If you are certain it is some Control Shaman (any deck as slow or slower than the one you are currently reading a guide for), do not keep Mogu Fleshshaper or Evolve.
vs Warlock: Assume SN1P-SN4P Warlock or Reno Warlock. Use General Mulligan, but also keep Devolve. If you are certain it is SN1P-SN4P Warlock, keep Bog Slosher if you already have any of the minions mentioned in the General Mulligan.
vs Warrior: Assume (Taunt) Quest Warrior. Use General Mulligan, but also keep Devolve.
A common mistake is keeping Novice Engineer. While she isn’t a totally horrible turn 2, there are always several cards you would rather have.
In this game, my opponent does not have a particularly explosive opening hand, opting to keep Aluneth in an attempt to kill me with burn damage. However, this allows me to take control of the early board using lackeys and kill my opponent using fatigue damage.
This game shows how Shaman is able to simultaneously out-tempo and out-value control decks like Reno Mage. The tempo gained by lackeys and Evolve allows me to play Barista Lynchen, setting me significantly ahead of my opponent in resources even if my board is cleared.
In this game I am able to repeatedly stall, push chip damage, and answer any threats played by a Reno Mage who has an early Frost Lich Jaina. Pushing chip damage allows me to set up a surprise lethal using Coldlight Oracle to draw my opponent into fatigue.
Here, Archbishop Benedictus denies me any game plan using Coldlight Oracle to kill my opponent in fatigue. Additionally, my Shudderwock board is easily dealt with and my Shudderwock makes no extra copies of himself in my hand. Regardless, I am still able to continually pressure Reno Priest with near endless threats.
While Devolve is not able to answer Target Dummy, Glacial Shard can stall the Dummy for a very long time. Here I use Glacial Shard to stall until I am able to kill my opponent using fatigue from Coldlight Oracle.
The League of E.V.I.L. has crashed the floating city of Dalaran into Blackrock Mountain, meaning there is an all new solo adventure in this week’s Tavern Brawl! Play as Dr. Boom, Hagatha, Lazul, or Togwaggle and take down 8 Blackrock bosses in this limited-time-only dungeon-run-style event. For the first time ever, Hearthstone will track your speed and reward you based on how quickly you can defeat 8 bosses. If you can beat all 8 bosses in under 1 hour, you’ll receive a golden Bronze Herald, and completing the run in under 40 minutes will get you a golden Recurring Villain.
Hearthstone begins timing you after the initial mulligan and times you continuously until you defeat the final boss, Ragnaros the Firelord. That means even your card and treasure choices will need to be quick if you want to get a fast time! Rather than give a comprehensive guide detailing the strengths and weaknesses of every class, I will guide you through the fastest and most powerful strategy, aggro warrior. I will highlight the strongest strategies, card choices, and treasures; describe my approach to each of the 8 bosses; and give some tips for the TRULY speedy. If 40 minutes was easy for you, here is an appropriately E.V.I.L challenge for you: do it in 15!
Key Strategies, Tips, and Cards
For this run I will focus on strategies you can use as Dr. Boom, as I have found him to be the most reliable, most powerful, and fastest hero. Dr. Boom’s hero power, which shuffles 2 bombs for 1 mana, is extremely effective for killing bosses early, and warrior is offered consistently strong card choices. However, every class is viable (even for a speedrun) and many of the general tips and strategies are the same across all heroes.
As Dr. Boom, you will need to create a deck that operates partially using a burn plan and partially using an aggressive minion-based beatdown. Due to the extreme power of Dr. Boom’s hero power, it is nearly always better to prioritize hero powering over playing a 1 or even a 2 cost minion. However, exactly how far you commit to either plan will be determined primarily by your first choice of treasure.
Robes of Gaudiness is massively overpowered. Always choose this treasure if it is offered to you in your first choice of treasures, as it will allow you to build an aggressive deck that plays big minions early and destroys bosses by around turn 4. Robes of Gaudiness makes your cards cost half their normal price, but it also rounds down, meaning 1 cost minions become free, 3 cost minions cost 1, 5 cost minions cost 2, etc. Avoid the trap of drafting expensive cards like King Mosh just because they receive a big discount. Instead, focus on drafting powerful 3 and 5 cost minions like Augmented Elekk and Leeroy Jenkins as well as any cards that can help your goal of developing a powerful early board.
Hand of Rafaam is also massively overpowered. The treasure adds 2 curses to your opponent’s hand, dealing 2 damage every turn unless they spend 2 mana to remove each curse from their hand. Bosses in Blackrock have very low health totals compared to bosses in dungeon runs, meaning the curse damage is far more relevant, and the bosses will usually let you develop your minions uncontested while they pay to remove curses from their hand. Additionally, Hand of Rafaam is extremely powerful as a stacked effect, making any run with 2 or 3 Hands chosen an easy victory. With Hand of Rafaam as your first choice of treasure, you can afford to focus more of your turns on shuffling bombs or even force your opponent to draw bombs using Coldlight Oracle. Focus on drafting cards that help your bomb plan like Augmented Elekk and Coldlight Oracle, charge minions like Leeroy Jenkins and Korkron Elite, and strong early game minions.
Receiving neither of these treasures as your first pick will slow you down significantly, but you can still defeat all 8 bosses with a great time. When choosing any other treasure, consider the following: any non-passive treasure reduces your deck’s consistency compared to a passive, any non-passive treasure above 4 mana is likely too slow to be particularly powerful, and anything that helps you win early is stronger than anything that helps you play a slower game plan. These all point to the strongest choices being passive treasures such as Dr. Boom’s Remote and Small Backpacks (note, however, that Robe of the Magi does not make your bombs deal more damage and as a result is a terrible choice). Again, try to draft minions you can play for early aggression, but draft cheaper cards than you would while playing Robes and draft more proactively than you would while playing Hand of Rafaam. For example, a Hand of Rafaam deck may pick Coldlight Oracles to accelerate their bomb plan, whereas a Dr. Boom’s Remote deck may choose pirates to fight on board in the early turns. Regardless, you should still weave in hero powers whenever possible, ideally “curving out” by using 1 mana to hero power and your remaining mana each turn for minions.
Highlord Omokk, the first boss, has a 1 mana execute hero power, only 15 health, and a small deck. Prioritizing shuffling bombs is usually the fastest way to defeat this boss. Use your hero power on turns 1 and 2 (ideally alongside N’zoth’s First Mate on 2) and play a 3 cost minion on 3. Also note that killing Omokk’s loot hoarders is often a strong play as it can draw into bombs. As this boss ideally dies by turn 4, Boombox is too slow of a card to play and should not be kept in the mulligan. In fact, this is true of Boombox against nearly every boss.
The second boss, Baron Geddon, has a 0 mana hero power that deals 5 damage to your hero if you have any unspent mana. Fortunately, Dr. Boom’s hero power makes it easy to use all of your mana. Play aggressively, as Baron Geddon will generally damage himself by playing Flame Imps early. You may choose to play Vicious Scraphound on turn 2, but otherwise mulligan similarly to how you mulliganed for Omokk.
Omnotron Defense System has hero powers that make progressively more powerful mechs, although you are unlikely to see past the second mech if you play aggressively. You may want to kill the mech summoned on turn 2, which grants +2 spell power to both players, because Omnotron can use spells like arcane missiles to clear your board and take control of the early game. Otherwise, most of Omnotron’s early turns are low-impact, allowing you to shuffle bombs and develop minions to win before anything gets too scary.
The fourth boss, Garr, is the trickiest, because defeating Garr requires a little bit of thought about how to clear the board. Additionally, Garr runs Volcanic Lumberer which can cause huge problems if played early. Garr starts with a board full of 0/5s which have a deathrattle that deals damage based on the number of them that have died that turn and a hero power that damages all minions for 1. The best way to avoid getting burned (and to avoid volcanic lumberer) is to damage these 0/5s to different health totals so that they die on different turns. For this boss, put more focus on developing early minions or weapons, but remember that your minions will take damage every turn. A strong curve is turn 2 Scraphound into turn 3 Rampage, as these cards will gain you a lot of armor while letting you put damage into Garr’s 0/5s. Try to push damage for lethal starting around turn 4 or 5 and shuffle bombs whenever possible.
Atramedes has a hero power that grants a weapon which is buffed every time you play a card, and you start the game with three copies of a card that destroys this weapon. There are a few things to note here which work in your favor: Atramedes will often trade for no good reason, the weapon costs mana to create, and three weapon destruction cards should always be more than enough. Play this match aggressively, without worrying too much about buffing the weapon, and remove the weapon when you have spare mana or if it gets large enough to significantly threaten your health. Atramedes will not usually contest the board strongly, so developing strong minions like Augmented Elekk is key to winning the matchup.
Nefarian, boss 6, has another automatic hero power that gives a random spell. These spells will almost never be relevant if you play aggressively, so this boss is essentially wasting mana every turn. Play aggressively and you should have no problem.
Boss number 7, Vaelastrasz, automatically draws 2 cards for both players every turn and plays some aggressive cards like Flame Imp and Implosion. Play proactive minions to make sure you do not fall behind on board, and shuffle as many bombs as possible. Some bombs will be burned by overdraws, but this should not be an issue as you can always shuffle more into the deck.
Finally, the boss that rules them all, Ragnaros the Firelord! Ragnaros starts with a weapon that grants him a powerful 8 damage hero power when it breaks. He has a tendency to swing his 2 attack weapon into minions that aren’t going to die, so setting up minions like Augmented Elekk or Clockwork Goblin for him to trade into will usually result in some extra damage. If necessary, clean up his Magma Ragers using small minions like N’Zoth’s First Mate or spells like Improve Morale while you set up minions or burst him using weapons and charge minions. If the game runs long enough that Ragnaros gets his upgraded hero power, Boombox is a strong counter play which can also set up lethal using brawl on the following turn. If all else fails, keep shuffling bombs, as they can sometimes give you a surprise lethal!
Blackrock Crash Week 1 Speedrunning
So you’ve completed the run in under 40 minutes, unlocking some free golden cards. But how fast CAN you go? I’ve personally managed 15 minutes and 27 seconds, but https://twitter.com/geyuan6_hs has posted proof of a 13 minute 16 second run (as King Togwaggle)! For this section I will assume you are already using most or all of the above tips.
The easiest, but perhaps least fun, way to ensure a fast run is to concede on boss 2 if you are not offered either Robes of Gaudiness or Hand of Rafaam after defeating boss 1. Each of these treasures will usually save several minutes compared to the next best option.
The next time saver I use is click-spamming. In Hearthstone, animations can be sped up significantly by clicking on the card or hero power icon that appears when your opponent makes an action. Entire enemy turns can be sped up significantly by placing the cursor on the left side of the board where these cards will appear and spamming clicks. Unfortunately, bomb animations cannot be skipped.
Total animation time can also be reduced by reducing the amount of unnecessary cards played and attacks made. It can sometimes help to think several turns ahead when determining which cards and attacks are really necessary. For example, I will generally skip playing Improve Morale unless I am setting up a Rampage or I believe that having a lackey in hand is very likely to benefit my gameplan. Additionally, if I have a 1 attack weapon and my opponent is at 5 health, I will generally choose not to attack as my opponent will still die to 1 bomb draw or die to my minions next turn regardless of the weapon swing.
My next speedrunning tip – admittedly an extremely obvious tip – is to play very quickly. However, this goes beyond making quick actions in game, as the timer used to determine your speed is a real world timer. While your general strategy does not need to differ from what is described in the first section of this article, if you are attempting a speedrun you need to quickly identify your choices of treasures and cards. You can save time if you are able to quickly identify key cards like Robes of Gaudiness, Hand of Rafaam, and Augmented Elekk. Gotta go fast!
Finally, it’s worth acknowledging that much of this speedrun will be out of your control. The most significant time-wasters that cannot be controlled are treasure randomness, bomb randomness, and lag or loading times. While these are out of your hands, there are a few things you can do to try to minimize the impact that bad luck can have on your speed.
While an ideal run’s treasure choices look something like Robes followed by 2 copies of Hand, this is an extremely unlikely outcome and you can still get a great time even if you need to pick a treasure like Wondrous Wand or Dr. Boom’s Remote. In this case, it is worth considering your general gameplan, the deck you’ve drafted so far, and the remaining bosses. For example, Wondrous Wand is unlikely to be valuable against Vaelastrasz (due to his hero power filling your hand) or Ragnaros (because the fight nearly always ends around turn 4 anyway). However, it can be a strong choice if you have already drafted some high cost cards or strong charge minions and you want the potential to highroll your opponents.
Bomb randomness (that is, whether or not your opponent will actually draw the bombs you are shuffling into their deck) is also out of your control. What you can control is when you choose to shuffle vs. when you choose to play other cards. As mentioned in the Key Strategies section, cards like Augmented Elekk and Coldlight Oracle are extremely powerful because they will often force an early bomb lethal and they therefore drastically increase your deck’s speed and consistency.
Finally, in game lag or high loading times will also decrease your speed. Generally, this will be dependent on your internet connection, but if you have significant lag issues you may also save time by decreasing the graphics quality in the options menu.
Now, you have some scheming to do! Do you have what it takes to be the EVILest – or at least the speediest – villain at Blackrock Mountain?