After an off-season that felt like the longest ever, Hearthstone esports is finally back with a new series of Qualifiers, this time for Masters Tour One. As in the first of 2022.
Here’s our first look at the Fractured in Alterac Valley metagame, 18 official Conquest format tournaments in.
The tournament winners were extremely generous this week in sending detailed comments about their strategy. You will find insights from most of them below the tier list.
Data summary from Off-Curve:
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)
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)
Quest Hunter, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (Lasagne)
Quest Rogue, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (Ribby)
Aggro Duid, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (TullamoreDew)
Mozaki Mage, Garrotte Rogue, Burn Shaman (Jimon)
Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (cecgHS)
Face Hunter, Thief Rogue, Bolner Shaman (plastiik)
Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (noise84mond)
Quest Druid, Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue (아나티카)
Fel Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue (syoutotolo)
Face Hunter, Libram Paladin, Poison Rogue (sayakei)
Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock (Maffiaman11)
Mozaki Mage, Libram Paladin, Poison Rogue (EzXarT)
Big Druid, Libram Paladin, Miracle Priest (CheeseHead)
Libram Paladin, Miracle Priest, Thief Rogue (snow)
Quest Priest, Quest Rogue, Quest Shaman (FinalS)
Quest Brute Demon Hunter, Quest Hunter, Burn Shaman (KarpetMan)
Fel Demon Hunter, Big Druid, Poison Rogue (Klei)
Control Priest, Bolner Shaman, Control Warrior (Zemax)
Face Hunter, Handbuff Paladin, Freeze Shaman (Sabertooth20)
Guardian Druid, Evolve Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock (Manolo20)
Token Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Burn Shaman (Svitopova)
Comments from the winners:
Lucasdmnasc on Fel Demon Hunter, Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue:
“My strategy was to play decks to support the best deck in the game, Thief Rogue, so I could have good matchups vs all aggros, mainly Druid and Hunter! My bans were Thief Rogue and Fel DH. I used Aggro Druid instead of Beast Druid because it farms aggro and other Druids. Magtheridon in Fel DH feels really good vs Paladin.”
thechosenpie on Fel Demon Hunter, Aggro Druid, Thief Rogue:
“Credit for the lineup goes to Sabertooth20 who pointed me in the direction of the lineup that won the first Masters Tour Qualifier this year. To the best of my knowledge, that lineup was brought by LucasDM, who collaborated with Pascoa to choose the lineup, and copied the archetypes from Vicious Syndicate, who I think owes it’s credit to ZachO.
I’d never touched modern day Fel Demon Hunter before that tournament, and had only jammed it a few times way back when it first came out half a year or however long ago it was (pandemic time is weird). I took a quick look at the decklist and realized that it had a few similarities in playstyle with back-in-the-day tempo rogue, but with healing and more severe forms of reach damage if the opponent had a board. The Druid deck looked strange at first, but it was a new meta and I took a chance on it. Thief Rogue I had been practicing for a while, and it had a great matchup spread.
I don’t want to get into too many specifics yet until I help out a few of my teammates and friends get the hang of it, but my ban strategy was a combination of being ahead of the curve in understanding the true nature of particular matchups and the threat of Thief Rogue making my opponent’s bans predictable. I mean, it’s Thief Rogue, most people are gonna ban that after that surprise Vicious Syndicate report.
That report surprised me, too.
Be good humans everyone. Be kind, do kind things.”
Maxxe on Mozaki Mage, Quest Shaman, Quest Hand Warlock:
“I suggest adding a Viper in Mage to beat Paladin even more.”
TheViper94 on Big Druid, Thief Rogue, Bolner Shaman:
“Basically my strategy revolved around playing those which I feel are the best decks for this meta. Druid is just unstoppable when you draw either Overgrowth or Guff. After ramping Druid takes advantage of cards like Moonlit Guidance, Ivus and Solar combos with Cenarion’s Ward and Resizing Pouch to stomp opponents into 0 life total. Shaman has game against all meta decks since it has both tools to gain huge amounts of armor, ways to keep freezing boards and stalling while drawing cards, hand disruption and a late game OTK that deals literally infinite damage. Rogue is…. just Rogue. Can’t argue with it being the best deck in the game right now. Has insane amount of early game tempo, huge amount of scam potential with random generation and plays the best card currently available in standard mode, Scabbs. The ban was pretty flexible, I would just ban the deck I didn’t wanna face each round. You should prioritize banning decks like Face Hunter, Libroom Paladin or Mozaki Mage. If opponent does’nt have either of those you just ban Rogue. I wanted to point out that even though Rogue is the strongest deck in the meta, both Druid and Shaman are among the best decks to tackle it if you know how to play those matchups and what are the power plays and key turns to disrupt the
Thief Rogue gameplan. Overall I was super happy with my lineup and would play the same decks if I had to compete next weekend in the Qualifiers. Hope you all have fun playing the game and best of luck for the Qualifiers!”
Trec on Beast Duid, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue:
“This time I kinda followed the meta; there is a lot of good decks but I wanted the board centric and stable best decks.
First, the Rogue because it’s the best deck of the meta, you have to play it and ban it if you respect your opponent, the deck is not that easy to play, but if played well it’s stable, has good power spikes and bullshit abilities. I see some hybrid list popping but i’m not sure at this moment, maybe after they fix the Cleef bug abuse.
Druid was the second choice, the deck is being refined a lot these last days and this list was my take on this. A lot of board pressure and stupid turns with the Oracle of Elune.
Paladin Libram is still good and the Hero Cariel is amazing. You just have to be careful with the early game, maybe play more one drops; I really love the Squawker which is a good tempo card mid game and amazing late game to recast Libram of Hope. Smite is a must have to finish game, you can have a lot Libram of Wisdom or giga buff him with Cariel Hp.”
funashi on Fel Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Quest Hand Warlock:
“I think the Thief Rogue is the strongest deck in the current metagame. However, it’s a very difficult deck, so I chose three decks that I could use and had high power.
Targets are Warlock, Thief Rogue, and Quest Shaman. Ban decks other than the target.
Aggro lineups are a tough matchup, but I think that Hunter opponents have a chance to win if they play well.”
ЛКО on Face Hunter, Thief Rogue, Quest Hand Warlock:
“My strategy for this MTQ was pretty straightforward – when in doubt go face.
On a serious note:
This is the first time I ever win a MTQ, and my choice of the lineup was based on the decks’ overall power. In my opinion, the very best decks right now are Thief Rogue and Quest Hand Warlock, and the 3rd deck is a matter of personal taste, as for mt case, I have Face Hunter, there are also viable variations featuring Mozaki Mage, but I chose to counter popular Handlock/Mozaki with Hunter. As for the bans, I mostly banned Rogues, but Fel DH and Bolner Shaman are way more unpleasant for this lineup to face due to their powerful removal kit combined with burst OTK potential, thus these decks have a higher ban priority. The most interesting tech card I used was showstopper in Warlock, which helps against Shaman’s and Mage’s freezes and Paladin’s buffs as well as Ivus, the forest lord (commonly utilized by Druid)”
oon on Face Hunter, Libram Paladin, Thief Rogue:
“I played decks that I was comfortable with playing, so I wasn’t looking to ban or target any specific deck. I think it’s pretty easy to know what deck to ban if you know what deck of yours is best for your opponent to ban, so I just banned accordingly. This last part might sound obvious but staying focused and optimistic in every single game in my opinion is the most important part of winning, so if I were to give advice to someone who’s trying to win a Qualifier I’d tell them to focus less on a lineup/ban strategy and focus more on staying focused throughout the tournament, and drink lots of water.”
Këlthrag on Fel Demon Hunter, Mozaki Mage, Quest Shaman:
“Going into the cups I expected a lot of Rogue and certain decks to counter the Rogue, like Fel DH, Quest Shaman and Handlock. I think you can’t counter just Rogue, so I went for a lineup that does fairly good against Rogue and counters Handlock really well. Most people think the Quest Shaman matchup against Handlock is quite bad, but I think it’s quite favourable. The lineup also does really well against decks like Libram Paladin and Quest Shaman. As for the Ban, it’s Mozaki #1, Weapon rogue #2 and aggro Druid/ Face Hunter #4, because if they have these kind of lineups you almost always expect them to ban the Fel DH. But the ban is flexible, as I think should be in open cups. It really depends on what you think your opponent is going to ban.
As for card choices, there are probably a few that stick out. 1 Felscream Blast is and the Chaos Leeches are in there for the rogue. Arcanist + Felscream is a clean way to deal with the panda. And the second reason for the Felscream blast is against Quest Shaman. The Quest Shaman is sometimes able to build a board with 15 or more health on just their taunts, especially when they run Bru’Kan. That way you can’t do the combo and be able to go face at the same time. With the Felscream you are able to go face as well. You also try to keep a discounted spell by either Skull or Felgorger because of this exact reason. The Sigil of Alacrity I put in instead of the coordinated strike I had before, just for consistency. This is the most flexible spot in the list. Viper is in the list for the reason I pointed out before and because you want this deck to have a good matchup against Paladin.
The Quest Shaman has Bru’Kan for the reason I pointed out before against Fel DH (getting taunts on board) and it’s fairly OK against Weapon rogue and other decks. I like the 2 diligent notetakers because you want to complete the quest as fast as possible. You might want to throw out the sleetbreaker instead of the winchill though, but 2 drops are great in Quest Shaman as well. And in the worse matchups you need the tempo from the Sleetbreaker.”
Mazzu on Face Hunter, Shadow Priest, Aggro Shaman:
“The method I have used to compose the alignment is very simple. It is about combining the 3 most aggressive decks, with damage mechanics from the hand. If I decide to make any card changes, I do it looking for a common factor of strengths and weaknesses with respect to the metagame. If my 3 decks share bad matchups, it’s easier and more beneficial to choose a ban. If my 3 decks share good matchups, I’m more likely to win focus series.
As for the execution, the plan is simple, reduce the total lives of the rival heroes to 0 as quickly as possible. There is no plan B. Many times we will run into lineups that carry a weak deck against Aggro and in those cases we will flow through the rounds. But we can also see anti-aggro lineups, with paladins or control decks. Those series can also be won, but it will take ingenuity and daring.”
JPMixter on Big Druid, Mozaki Mage, Poison Rogue:
“Well, the intention of the comp was to beat Mozaki mage, Questlock and Fel DH. Poison rogue and Ramp are already used to counter these aforementioned decks, but there would be a lack of a third deck to fit and so I thought about Buff pala (100% WR in the qualifier) which was already in disuse and I had already made some goals and made some changes to improve it against the focused decks.
Regarding bans I always banned the most aggressive deck, as it is difficult to face these decks with Ramp and Poison. Despite the weakness against aggressive decks I faced them in most matches, I had to play the win outs and give all wins in unexpected situations.
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.”
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!”