Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #7

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

Welcome to the only report you will ever read about the pre-nerf Descent Of Dragons metagame! The 18 Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers that happened over the past weekend highlighted how unbalanced the game is. And because it was so fresh, the meta also evolved throughout the weekend. Friday was dominated by a lineup that’s very good at controlling the board (Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin and Galakrond Shaman), but Sunday saw some very agressive decklists gain popularity (Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman and the Anubisath Warbringer version of Deathrattle Rogue). At the time of writing these lines, the rumor from China is that the nerfs will come very soon (Gold Series players have been offered to resubmit decks), but this meta was still very interesting to see unfold, and we are proud to feature in this report strategy insights from most of the players who have already qualified for Masters Tour Indonesia.

Data summary from Off Curve:

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.

Meta Definig Lineups:
Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman (자유조퇴권LeandroLeal / SaltOPepper)
Deathrattle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior (Psyhodel / Pinche-AyRoKMontu)
Holy Wrath Paladin, Combo Priest, Galakrond Shaman (pilou / PulmexLand / xBlyzes)
Holy Wrath Paladin, Deathratle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (HonestZaib / Long)

Proven Lineups:
Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (DevilMat)
Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman, Galakrond Warrior (iamThanh)
Galakrong Rogue, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior (takas / Bard)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Deathrattle Rogue, Token Shaman, Pirate Warrior (ViperPro / ChaboDennis / Cursed)
Galakrond Shaman, Galakrond Warlock, Pirate Warrior (Powerslave)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Shaman, Control Warrior (Prøzac / Sjoesie)
Galakrond Rogue, Token Shaman, Pirate Warrior (무에서유창조 / Pnamu / topopablo11)
Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (Lucasdmnasc / Yogg / Kimberlay402)
Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior (TuRtLe / Faraz)
Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman, Control Warrior (Villain / Innovation / Sapicotte)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Shaman, Highlander Warrior (LoNa)
Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Pirate Warrior (Hawkeye / anduriel)
Quest Hunter, Deathrattle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (den)

Interesting Lineups:
Holy Wrath Paladin, Tempo Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (Silvors / kagome)
Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Quest Shaman (Bankyugi / Roulian)
Quest Hunter, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman (gcttirth)
Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (Dizdemon)
Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior (撒旦降臨)
Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Aggro Shaman (feNix14)
Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Highlander Warrior (HaiTang)
Cyclone Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Rogue (Jaina)
Galakrond Rogue, Token Shaman, Galakrond Warlock (Haffax)
Highlander Mage, Combo Priest, Token Shaman (Trec)
Tempo Rogue, Galakrond Quest Shaman, Galakrond Warlock (DrBoom)
Highlander Hunter, Deathrattle Rogue, Aggro Shaman (執念の蒼汁)
Bomb Hunter, Token Shaman, Galakrond Warlock (Maricochet)
Highlander Hunter, Tempo Rogue, Bomb Warrior (Philosophy)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Control Warrior (Pardal)
Face Hunter, Tempo Rogue, Token Shaman (Athanas)
Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin (reqvam)
Token Shaman, Galakrond Warlock, Pirate Warrior (xQuaLityDark)

Comments from the winners:

자유조퇴권 on Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman
“I tried Galakrond Shaman because it is the strongest, and the reason I chose the other decks is because they perform well against Galakrond Shaman. What’s more, since Sathrovarr, Holy Wrath Paladin is a choice against Aggro/Tempo/Midrange decks. I chose Luna’s Pocket Galaxy and Dragons in Highlander Mage, so that I can freeze the board and easy to have lethal. Needless to say, I banned Holy Wrath Paladin for the first, then Combo Priest, Murloc Shaman, and Aggro Shaman later. Without somthing to ban, I would have banned Aggro deck or Rogue deck with Flik Skyshiv. ” (translation by Zflow)

SaltOPepper on Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman
“I basically netdecked other winning lineups due to time constraints. I put some twists on the Shaman & Mage deck and came up with this. In hindsight putting in a Mind Control Tech is bad. Earthquake was fine, but can be changed with Lightning Storm. Bandersmosh is really good in my opinion. Ban in this order: OTK Paladin > Combo Priest/Control Warrior/Shaman. This lineup is pretty good against Shaman so you can leave it open. It really depends on what you think your opponent will ban. If you think your opponent bans OTK Paladin, ban Shaman. If you think he bans your Shaman, ban Control Warrior before Shaman.”

LeandroLeal on 자유조퇴권’s Highlander Mage, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman
“My lineup is from the winner of the first qualifier. It’s insanely good against Shaman ( 10-0 with Mage, 4-1 with Paladin and 3-1 with Shaman). I usually ban OTK Paladin or the most aggressive deck, cause they are hard matchs for Mage. I can’t play the Masters Tour because the travel is too expensive to me, maybe If i get a team someday. But feels good to qualify, this was my third one.”

Psyhodel on Deathrattle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior
“I have a limited collection on the Asian server, so I crafted the 3 most productive decks of the first days of the update.I played the first day of qualifications as a rogue with a galacrond, but on the second day I removed him, since he seemed to me weak.I have nothing to say about the shaman, as this is just a strong deck, and the pirate warrior seemed to me a strong deck if you ban a shaman, but he can lose if bad cards come to the start of the game (always ban shaman ). As for qualifications, I want to say that it’s almost impossible to play all 6 qualifications without losing the quality of the game, so it’s worth choosing 2 servers for the game, my main server is Europe, I chose Asia as the second server for the game, because there are few people in tournaments and often you you start playing from round 3, which is very profitable.”

AyRoK on Pinche’s Deathrattle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior
“This is the lineup of Pinche, it is composed of Pirate Warrior, Deathrattle Rogue and Galakrond Shaman. The main ban is Shaman especially Galakrond and then you have good matchups against Holy Wrath Paladin which is represented a lot. I liked this lineup because I can play Pirates. It is really cool to play aggro decks again. Shaman is an auto pick at the momment, and often an auto ban. Finally Rogue is the last deck. I don’t like the Galakrond version of Rogue so I found this one. And it works well. I’m happy for qualifying another time for Masters Tour and this one particulary in Bali. And thanks to my team Konix eSport for the support.”

Montu on Pinche’s Deathrattle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman, Pirate Warrior
“I think my three were the best decks to play yesterday, it’s a solid aggro strategy when you ALWAYS ban Shaman (100% of the time). I’ve played against some players that tried to target Shaman and banned other decks but it didn’t work for them, Galakrond cards on curve are unfair and so powerful. Also the Warrior and Rogue had their own power plays, Ancharrr for example was a key in the final. Draw like 6/7 cards with one weapon is crazy.”

pilou on Holy Wrath Paladin, Combo Priest, Galakrond Shaman
“The goal with this lineup was to soft target Galakrond Shaman with Holy Wrath Paladin and Combo Priest which in my opinion have positive matchups against it, and to ban Rogue because Flick is horrible for Paladin. I ws not sure about using Shaman as the third deck, but I thought that for the first two days people would just ban it without thinking because it’s so powerful, and that’s what happened most of the time. If I was to continue playing nest weekend, I would probably swap Shaman and Paladin out for Highlander Rogue and Control Warrior with Dragons and Armor to target Holy Wrath Paladin.”

PulmexLand on Holy Wrath Paladin, Combo Priest, Galakrond Shaman
“Until like 5 minutes before the tournament, the Priest deck wasn’t a Priest deck, but a Highlander Mage, that I tried to make work, but couldn’t, so I cut it for Combo Priest, which I have played a lot of ever since it was a deck. I pretty much played a very standard list there, without Arms (a card that I don’t like in this deck), but Hot Air Balloon. I also tried Holy Ripple and Potion Vendor, but they weren’t as good and consistent. Combo Priest is still a very good deck, that is a very underrepresented in the current meta, but I think this is mainly because people want to play new cards. Galakrond Shaman was a must pick I’d say. I saw some people trying to counter Shaman, but they weren’t as successful I think the deck is just too strong at the moment. I played the deck a lot (for the time the expansion is out). I have tried many different versions and I must say I like the list I submitted a lot more than others. Shield of Galakrond is too slow for the deck, I think, and I don’t like Bandersmosh and Vargoth in the deck. I also prefer Elementary Reaction compared to Novice Engineer, even though my list doesn’t feature that many Elementals, it doesn’t make me overdraw when I play Shudderwok, it doesn’t lock me on board, and it doesn’t make my opponent’s Mogu cheaper. I like the Lifedrinkers in this deck a lot, because they give heal and extra reach in the mirror. This is a very good example of how I won from when I was way behind, because I had Lifedrinkers https://hsreplay.net/replay/6qnfjux5xrL4jZbTfTdacZ…. About Holy Wrath Paladin, there really isn’t too much to say. I have played this deck a lot in the past and I had a lot of success with in in the @esportsleaguech. It is one of my all-time favourites for sure, and since it is one of the best decks against shaman at the moment, I decided to play it. Alright, let’s talk about strategies. So, my initial strategy was to always have a winnable matchup against Shaman, which meant that I was playing the mirror for the 50/50 matchup and hopefully with the paladin. Many opponents were afraid of my priest, so they banned it right away. I mostly tried to ban paladin, because all of my decks are unfavoured against that deck. It often came down to the Paladin-Shaman matchup which I think is a very interesting one. As a paladin, I always try to get my opponent out of lethal range for the next turn. This actually isn’t that hard, because they don’t play much burst. That’s why I think you could consider adding a bloodlust for extra reach in that matchup. Lifedrinker is also very strong for that matchup.”

HonestZaib on Holy Wrath Paladin, Deathratle Rogue, Galakrond Shaman
“Originally I chose this lineup because it felt like the “best decks” lineup, which I wanted to bring since I didn’t feel very comfortable with the meta going into the weekend. After I played with the lineup a bit, it felt like it was the most complete lineup and made me favored going into matches 90% of the time. Most importantly, I felt decently favored vs shaman, which was a good spot to be in considering almost everyone had shaman. I brought shaman because shaman is shaman, and I don’t think I need to belabor this point. I was actually more excited about having rogue and holy wrath pala in my lineup though. Rogue performed extremely well for me and felt like it had no matchups that were much worse than 50/50. Holy wrath felt like an amazing bring because it got banned most of the time which left my shaman up, and if it didn’t get banned it got the free win against gala shaman. Holy wrath pala was essentially an autoban for me. If they didn’t have pala, I would ban their most powerful deck, which was usually their shaman or rogue. One deck that did feel somewhat problematic for me was highlander rogue, especially since I was usually sending my ban elsewhere. It’ll be interesting to see how highlander rogue performs after the nerf, as the archetype might be underrated. Any non-standard cards in my lists were either there just because I was testing them or because of my limited collection on Asia and not because I thought they were core. The one inclusion that had the most impact was Electra Stormsurge. In the mirror, it felt like if one player had Electra and/or Vargoth to pair with Dragon’s Pack while the other didn’t, they were quite favored. I would have run Vargoth if I had him on Asia. Tutoring Dragon’s Pack with Storm Chaser felt great, but I’m not sure it’s core. It was very difficult choosing cards for rogue. Assuming nerfs hit rogue, I think rogue still has a lot of potential because it doesn’t feel close to optimized yet.”

DevilMat on Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman
“With my lineup I prefer to ban aggressive decks and I feel good against Galakrond Shaman. In general these are 3 stable decks with good highroll potential.”

iamThanh on Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman, Galakrond Warrior
Coming soon

Powerslave on Galakrond Shaman, Galakrond Warlock, Pirate Warrior
“These decks were bad but everyone had bad decks. The meta is still unsolved I guess. I think Warlock was my best deck. Despite the fact that I won I thought my decks would betray me halfway. I think I didn’t drop a single game as Zoo and then struggled to win as Warrior and Shaman. Mind Control Techs and Ooozes are terrible, or were at least against what I faced.”

gcttirth on Quest Hunter, Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Shaman
“Targeting a specific deck in a Conquest lineup has been my preferred strategy whenever a new expansion drops. Often, the power level of the best deck is perceived to be higher than reality, and hence it is more likely that the majority of the field would bring those decks. In Descent of Dragons, that deck is Galakrond Shaman. I do think it’s a strong deck, just not as strong as perceived by others. So I decided to try to counter Galakrond Shaman. I have been jamming Quest Hunter on ladder and had a record of 15-2 vs Shaman, so I picked that as my first choice in the lineup. The guide from @LogansJ111 on CompetitiveHS subreddit also helped a lot in deciding how to tech the deck. I decided to cut the Sea Giant and added a Cult Master as during my playtesting, Sea Giant was almost always stuck in hand. I also felt confident in the deck’s matchup against overall field except Rogue. Then I looked at the tournament winning lineups of Asia qualifiers. They included Holy Wrath Paladin and Highlander Mage. Holy Wrath Paladin makes sense in an anti-Shaman lineup, and I felt comfortable playing it so I instantly included it. Now my lineup was favored against Galakrond Shaman AND Highlander Mage, which is a huge plus considering both of them were present in the prev. winning lineups. The Third deck was a tough one to nail down. I first tried Aggro Shaman in Qualifier #5, but it ended up going 1-4 overall and 0-2 against Galakrond Shaman. This might be because the list I was playing was suboptimal, but I decided to go back to Galakrond Shaman for the Qualifier #6. Galakrond Shaman still does have the potential to just highroll and win by turn 3-4 with a Mogu+Mutate turn so that was my game plan with the deck when facing a counter lineup. Banning was pretty straight-forward. Aggressive Hunter variants (Mech Hunter, Face Hunter) had the #1 ban priority, as Quest Hunter just falls to them pretty easily. Rogue (any variant) was my next ban, as it can perform well against my whole lineup. Apart from that, bans were flexible as long as I left Shaman, Mage, and Paladin open to sweep through. The choices ended up working well. Throughout the tournament, only 1 Aggro Shaman managed to win against my lineup. The lineup also felt surprisingly strong against Pirate Warrior, but that might be because they were drawing weak. Overall, I was happy that the lineup did what I wanted it to do! Also, shoutout to the #HearthstoneIndia community for helping me playtest matchups against Galakrond Shaman ❤ Without them, I would not have found how good Quest Hunter is against Shaman!”

Dizdemon on Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman
“Only one comment: I do not recommend playing this lineup, and more specifically the Quest Druid. Quest Druid seems particularly bad to me at the moment and having a bad deck in Conquest best of three doesn’t forgive.”

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