Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #17

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

Week 2 of Hearthstone Masters Bucharest Qualifiers happened while everyone’s eyes were on the Grandmasters season 1 playoffs. And the same Specialist decks dominated the meta in both cases.

Data summary from Offcurve:

The top tier of qualifier decks seems pretty set at this point. Shark Rogue, Bomb Warrior and Cyclone Mage collectively account for over half of qualifier entries and 60% of decks that reach top 8. We’ve discussed the rock, paper, scissors dynamic of these three decks in detail in past weeks, and nothing short of new cards seems likely to disrupt that.

Shark Rogue is the highest representation of the top 3 decks, regularly accounting for 25% of players in any given qualifier, which translated into 14 of 36 qualifier winners with a 53% win rate. It’s got the smoothest matchup spread of the top 3 decks and a chance to rescue itself from any given match with randomly generated cards, so its continued success in a slow meta isn’t particularly surprising.

Cyclone Mage continues to be the direct counter to Bomb Warrior, and its matchup against Rogue is beginning to even out thanks to newer techs such as Half Time Scavenger, which allows it to develop a threat on board that allows it to gain armor and present a target for Conjurer’s Calling the following turn. (Being able to spam giants onto the board isn’t bad, either.) It performed extremely well in Grandmasters this weekend, but the 50% win rate overall and 48% in top 8 demonstrate that it is still a heavily skill testing deck.

Bomb Warrior continues to be a presence in qualifiers despite its polarizing matchups. The continued presence of Rogue is still making it a reasonable choice to bring, since 1 in 4 of Bomb Warrior’s matchups are favored and another 15% are mirrors. It’s unlikely to be going away any time soon.

Both Hunter decks underperformed this week, particularly Midrange Hunter, which had a 47% win rate overall and a miserable 29% showing in top 8 appearances. Bomb Hunter did better (52% overall, 63% in Top 8) but only saw 5 players reach top 8 out of 143. These decks will continue to hang around because they are relatively cheap to assemble for players playing off their primary server, but those with a full collection available should consider one of the top 3 over these decks.

Shaman surprised this week, with both Murloc and Aggro (overload/Doomhammer) Shamans qualifying. The two decks seem to have opposing matchup spreads; Murloc seems to have a decent Warrior matchup but struggles against Mage and Rogue, while Aggro loses to Warrior but beats the other two. Sample sizes are small, but this seems to be a development worth monitoring.

Pogo Rogue hopped into popularity thanks to Fr0zen bringing it to Grandmasters playoffs and only losing his semifinal match due to a default win due to a misqueue. Initial stats imply that it’s only good against Warrior and loses to Mage and Shark Rogue (which makes sense, since it’s designed to kill slow decks, and Shark Rogue can outrace it, and Mage can make big Giants while freezing the bunnies), but we’ll need a larger sample size to draw any conclusions.

As for other notable decks of past weeks, Control Warrior continues to lack any reason to play it over Bomb Warrior in terms of popular matchups, and Holy Wrath Paladin has similar struggles with its matchup spreads. Meanwhile, Mech Paladin, Party Rogue and Secret Hunter all over performed in Swiss overall (52-54% win rates) but failed to qualify despite one or two Top 8 appearances apiece. There could be some merit to experimenting with these decks, but at just over 50 appearances between the three decks combined, there isn’t enough of a sample size to say for sure.

Meta defining decks:
Shark Rogue (Surrender | MrYagut | Fire)
Bomb Warrior (Purple | Beister)
Cyclone Mage (Fenomeno | PNC | Kuonet)

Qualifier Winners:
Bomb Hunter (Sialed)
Murloc Shaman (giveme80gold)
Aggro Shaman (Drujbanul)
Pogo Rogue (Fr0zen | Matty | LegBack)
Midrange Hunter (ClouDy | Mick)
Burgle Rogue (Greg27 | Korangar)

Top 8 capable:
Control Warrior (Magirl | Xeno)
Holy Wrath Paladin (Eddie | Lethal)
Mech Paladin (Tomas)
Raiding Party Rogue (bobbyex)
Secret Hunter (Sattors | ZhangFei)

We do not feature any player insights this week, partly because every archetype has already been discussed a lot at this point in the expansion cycle. However, is open to content creators, and if you are the winner of a Qualifier willing to write a complete, standalone deck guide, we invite you to reach out to us.

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