Hearthstone Specialist Tournament Format: A Class By Class Analysis Of The Most Promising Strategies

by ecoutepasca

Two weeks have past since Team 5 has announced that the Specialist format was going to replace Conquest for official tournaments, and the players have been busy testing decks and tech choices for their sideboards. The most active community so far is Battleriff, a league that operates only on the European server, and that the pros seem to have chosen to go practice Specialist.

The golden age of tech cards

With the concept of secondary and tertiary decklists comes the ability to make a much better use of tech cards.

Expect to see those cards in your opponents’ secondary or tertiary decks. If your win condition gets destroyed by one of those cards, consider using a different strategy.

Hunter

Hunter is the class to beat in the meta. From day 1, it has been the most successful. Midrange Hunter can go very aggressive eith its low curve or outvalue slower decks with Deathstalker Rexxar and Dire Frenzy. Silvors is currently ranked #5 in Battleriff Pro Legends with his Midrange Hunter. Zeh is #7 with Midrange Hunter.

Killinallday’s Midrange Hunter
Silvors’ Hybrid Hunter
Zalae’s Deathrattle Hunter

Priest

Priest is one of the strongest classes on ladder and has tools that allow it to beat Hunters. Lineups that use Mind Blast as their primary win condition and include Archbishop Benedictus in their sideboard to outfatigue pure control opponents seem to perform best. Gregoriusil is currently ranked #1 in Battleriff Pro Legends.

Gregoriusil’s Control Priest
Matsuhide’s Control Priest

Paladin

Whenever Hunter gets very popular, Paladin should be in a good place. We have observed this so far with Even Paladin. If some players are experimenting with Odd, Secret or other Paladin archetypes, they are keeping it secret for now (we would like to hear from you). SirSalty is #13 right now in Battleriff Pro Legends.

SirSalty’s Even Paladin

Warlock

Warlock goes a bunch of different ways. Control, Mecha’Thun, Cube and Zoo are all being experimented with, and it’s not clear for now which is best. Monsanto is #14 of Battleriff with Even Warlock but hasn’t made his decklists public. On a side note, Warlock is absolutely dominating the Wild Specialist meta. Bananaramic was the winner of yesterday’s Wild tournament hosted by Team Rankstar & RenoJackson.

Meati’s Mecha’Thun Warlock
Zalae’s Cube Warlock
Results of Team Rankstar’s Wild Tournament
Bananaramic’s Even Warlock

Rogue

In the ealy days of Specialist tournaments, there was a lot of hype around Quest Rogue, but it has performed underwhelmingly. The good decks tend to have at least one of their versions able to SMOrc, and Quest Rogue not only can’t do it, it’s also vulnerable to it. The good news is that Valeera has many other strategies to use. For example, Flix is #9 in Battleriff with his Deathrattle Rogue.

Flix’s Deathrattle Rogue
J Alexander’s Myracle Rogue

Druid

At first glance, Druid seemed to be the perfect class for Specialist, with its solid core and flexible card choices. The problem is that it’s too vulnerable to tech cards that break combo game plans.

Elfandor’s Combo Druid

Warrior

In the Year of the Raven, Warrior is not the most flexible class, but it can Tank Up and it can go infinite with Dead Man’s Hand, so there’s potential.

Inzi’s Control Warrior

Mage

Odd Mage is known as one of the best counters to Midrange Hunter. If only for this reason, it should work well in Specialist tournaments. However, if players have tried it, they have kept their lineup a secret. If you want to build your own, you can get inspired by the multiple versions that all-time specialist ApxVoid shares on his Twitter account.

ApxVoid’s Odd Mage

Shaman

Is Shaman a dead class? Please send us evidence that it’s not, so we can feature decklists in our next column. For now, we couldn’t find any.

Conclusion

If you can’t beat them, join them. Our tier list for this week is:

  • Midrange Hunter
  • Control Priest
  • Hybrid Hunter
  • Deathrattle Hunter
  • Even Paladin
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