3 weeks after the latest round of Demon Hunter nerfs, there are two clear trends in the open cup metagame. One strategy is to play DH, Enrage Warrior and another tempo deck (in which case you ban Warrior) and the other one is to play Priest, Control Warrior and a thirs control deck (in which case you target Warrior and ban mostly Rogue.
This report presents the statistics from Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Online (#4) – #61 to #75. Some of the winners also sent in comments with tips and insights about their gameplan, they are at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading!
Data summary from Off Curve:
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 Defining Lineups:
Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Enrage Warrior (Pain-Dreivo)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (IlBestio / Leta / Maverick)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Cptnkitty)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (FudoV / RENMEN)
Pure Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (あれっくす)
Quest Priest, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (SpnAllmighty)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Dragon Hunter, Enrage Warrior (Montu)
Highlander Priest, Control Galakrond Shaman, Control Warrior (nadavt / S8ris)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Highlander Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Fleur2B / Matteo)
Pretty Good Lineups:
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (PeaceHawk)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Enrage Warrior (Burr0 / Gev / MaeveDonovan / PulmexLand)
Highlander Hunter, Resurrect Priest, Highlander Rogue (LzJohn)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (gunzerker)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Zoo Warlock (jwrobel / Hypno)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (Kalàxz / BCCISTOOGOOD)
Galakrond Priest, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (GrJim / Pusface)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Zoo Warlock (Ipackman / ふぁんだむ)
Highlander Priest, Highlander Rogue, Control Warrior (DenimBlue7)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Priest, Quest Warrior (たろを)
Face Hunter, Pure Paladin, Secret Galakrond Rogue (Tanaka)
Quest Druid, Resurrect Priest, Enrage Warrior (EzXarT)
Pure Paladin, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (내목숨을아이어에)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (yudinnnn)
Dragon Hunter, Resurrect Priest, Enrage Warrior (INER)
OTK Demon Hunter, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (En1gma)
Face Hunter, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Zoo Warlock (topopablo11)
Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (IrvinG)
Comments from the winners:
Pain on Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Enrage Warrior:
“The lineup is build to target Rogues and Mages mostly while having decent matchups into DH and Zoo as well. You prioritize banning Warrior over other decks and Priest after that. Now about card choices it turns out that Beaming Sidekick is really important in aggro Demon Hunter (especially good vs Rogues) and the Boar package in Hunter is just better than the Porcupine one because it’s faster. In Warrior you always need Grommash I think in opens to maximize your chances vs Priest lineups that potentially leave it open.”
Dreivo on Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Enrage Warrior:
“I just stole the lineup from Pain the cup just before; I’ve seen he was top 8 before next cup start, I feel like it is the best lineup in not 3 control deck (the 3rd deck really often weak against this lineup).”
IlBestio on Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“I played kind of a standard line-up trying to capitalize on the most consistent decks. That’s why I cut all weird engines in rogue (no secrets no stealth package). I was always banning Warrior, which meant I would often play vs Demon Hunter. That’s why I put two of the Freeze guy in every deck.”
Leta on Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“To be honest it was nothing special. I was expecting many Hunters and wanted to cut dead draw for that match up (Bully / Flik) for the tech Khartut. It was good enough but the meta changes every day, don’t think many players will continue with Hunter and the Khartut build will be very bad in the mirror or maybe vs Mage.”
Maverick on Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“The plan was to play the 3 best decks and ban Warrior, which is rather typical in the current meta. The open cup meta being mostly DH, I opted for a few anti-aggro techs in my decks. Their power level allows to beat control if you ever face it.”
FudoV on Tempo Demon Hunter, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior:
“You either ban Warrior in this meta or target Warrior hoping your opponents are bad Warrior players because in my opinion it has no real unfavorables if played correctly (which might be reasonable estimation because most people you face in the cup are not top-50 caliber players). But the fact that I consider myself good in aggro mirrors (for example, my dh mirror stats this month is 29-9) was the factor that made me bring aggro lineup. Primary idea behind lineup is soft targeting Rogue while banning Warrior, and tech choices in both Zoo and Demon Hunter are either for full mirror lineups or for DH/Warrior/Rogue lineup. Warrior tech choices (no Teron, inclusion of Grommash) are against lineups that dont ban Warrior. To be honest agressive Hunter might be better than Zoolock in my lineup but I haven’t played that deck and it just started rising in popularity exactly on Friday 🙂
TLDR: ban Warrior, wanted to face aggro mirrors / Rogue lineups, I think lineup is still pretty good against control lineups because of sheer power level of fast decks in the meta.
Last words: not running Sidekick in DH should be bannable offense.”
あれっくす on Pure Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior:
“My lineup is anti- Tempo Warrior. In current meta, most players bring Warrior and DH with Rogue or Hunter or Warlock. And I think it’s not hard to build anti- Warrior lineup, because Warrior’s big move to beat control lineups is only Rampage or Bloodsworn Mercenary. Compared to Warrior, DH has many big moves.
This control lineup can beat Warrior and Face Hunter, in addtion more than equal DH and Zoo and other aggro lineups. So I thought control lineup is good in current meta.
Hard matchups are Gala Rogue and Gala Priest and Highlander decks. So we must ban them. Fortunately I seldom encounter them, only Rogue. Rogue is savage deck and breaks our mental, so I like to avoid Rogue.
Paladin: Other Japanese used this to climb Legend, I replaced only 2/2/1 Murloc legendary with Lightforged blessing. I think this list is unrefined.
Priest: Anti-weapon must, against Warrior and DH, Harrison Jones is great to draw heal cards and value cards. (It’s important to get value cards against Warrior.) On the whole, I adapted low cost cards against aggro liuneup. (I dont suppose against control lineup because they may ban my Priest.)
Warror: I think real Control Warrior is not good against Tempo Warrior because it can’t make opening board. So I used Control Warrior that’s based on Tempo Warrior. If I encounter a control liupeup, each Warrior is the worst, so I adapted Archivist Elysiana.
I don’t know if control lineup is the best, but understanding the meta is the best to win.”
Montu on Tempo Demon Hunter, Dragon Hunter, Enrage Warrior:
“I took the idea from Rombosman, a mexican player. With Demon Hunter and Enrage Warrior being a forced pick, the third slot is the only real choice. A lot of players are trying Face Zoo Warlock in that slot because it has a really good WR vs Rogue and Priest, but it dies so easily against Demon Hunter because you have to always ban Warrior. That’s where I consider Dragon Hunter, a deck that still punishes Rogues and Priests, and vs Demon Hunter the double explosive trap gives you a great comeback if you are behind (4-0 vs them). It also kills Zoo Warlock before they can do anything! So its the best third deck for me in the current state of the meta.”
Nadavt on Highlander Priest, Control Galakrond Shaman, Control Warrior:
“Obviously, this is a control lineup. I’ll start by saying that this is more a style choice, I don’t really like the tempo decks in this meta, and usually I prefer control/combo decks anyway. This of course does not mean that the tempo decks are worse than the control decks, and results suggest otherwise… For about a month I’ve been tinkering with a Shaman build. I started this out when Res Priest was on the rise again, I put in Elysiana and wanted to take free wins on the priests, while maintaining good chances vs the dmeon hunters. As time went by, Galakrond Priest has become more popular and also very refined, to the point where it is favoured vs my Shaman. However, Warrior rose in popularity and I tweaked the Shaman to have a good matchup vs the warriors and DHs (The Shaman is really good at having tempo in the mid-game, and the late-game heals are crazy!). The Highlander Priest is taken (almost card for card) from a friend, CrazyMage, and I like it much better than the Galakrond Priest, mostly due to the diversity of games. I believe Galakrond Priest is a better deck, but there’s a limit to how many games I can play with that deck. Also, in open cups the surprise factor is meaningful, and many opponents do not know how to handle unknown decks very well. Last, I took Bunnyhoppor’s Control Warrior. It took me quite some time to understand the gameplans of the deck but once I started nailing it, it appeared to be quite powerful. The lineup mostly targets tempo warriors, while maintaining fine odds vs DH and zoo. Also, face hunter rose in popularity, and this lineup absolutely crashes Face Hunter (there’s way too much heal/armor). Priests are slightly favoured vs this lineup, and mages, rogues and Gala Warlocks are very annoying. Always ban Rogue or Gala Warlock if the enemy has it.”
S8ris on Highlander Priest, Control Galakrond Shaman, Control Warrior:
“Finding the line-up took some tries.
There was 2 logical dominating strategies:
-Strong decks (Egg/Enrage Warrior, Rogue, Tempo DH)
-Strong decks, but Rogue -> Face Hunter/Zoo to get edge in mirrors.
Was having 0 luck playing mirrors myself, so decided to try and counter the most popular deck – Warrior.
First attempts was with Priest, Control Warrior, Big Druid.
It was performing well, but Druid kept getting swept, when meeting someone without a Warrior.
Was glad to see other people taking up Hate Warrior line-ups and doing well. Got motivated and inspired namely by PeaceHawk, あれっくす and nadavt wins.
Tried PeaceHawk’s lists and ran into trouble with Mage when meeting Hunters, witch were gaining popularity at this point. And it felt weird to ban it, since Warrior and Priest are very good against it.
So it was clear that the third deck has to be good against Warrior AND Face Hunter/Zoo.
In that sense あれっくす line-up is very good, and I am surprised more people didn’t get wins with Pure Paladin after his win.
Was about to craft Paladin myself to give it a try, and then nadavt came clutch and won a cup with his homebrew Galakrond Shaman.
I am not much of a deckbuilder myself. So I yoink bits and pieces of line-ups and decks that I prefer.
Egg-control Warrior from あれっくす and PeaceHawk felt very comfortable for me vs Warrior. Keeping up with tempo early and consistent skipper battlerage turns are key.
It even has an edge against control versions like Nadavt’s – Teron is very anoying to deal with, can also use it to get more Kargaths.
Highlander Priest: My good friend and former teammate SirVilgaudas was nagging me to try Languagehacker’s priest for a week now.
Was playing Galakrond Priest myself, but found that with correct approach Warrior has a decent shot at winning with a Gromash list.
They just go for Korkron+Mercenary combo into Grom next turn, not giving space to heal+remove at the same turn.
Might be results oriented, but felt like Highlander Priest was applying more pressure than the Galakrond version, not giving enough time to assemble all combo pieces or forcing them to use it for clear.
Galakrond Shaman from nadavt. In theory good against Warrior and Zoo/Face hunter. Didn’t expect much, just decided to try it out and it was a pleasant surprise. It went 7-0, and got banned once.
The decks I borrowed fit nicely for the strategy without changing any cards. If you’d compare mine and Nadavt’s line-ups. It’s basicaly the same, just Warrior and Priest lists are the ones I prefered and felt are stronger personally.
The line-up is weak to Rogue and Priest. But it’s hard to make logical line-up with both, so we just ban the one they have.
TL;DR: Main Target: Egg/Enrage Warrior; Secondary target: Face hunter, Zoo. Ban Priority: Priest/Rogue > Demon Hunter.”
PeaceHawk on Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior:
“The line up was designed to target the Warrior. During the tournament, I always started with the Priest since it was stronger than the Warrior, and any other class left to the opponent. I was never able to play with my Warrior as it was banned. Finally, i think that you have to have a little luck with the Highlander Mage which I had throughout the tournament.”
LzJohn shared his thoughts on Highlander Hunter, Resurrect Priest, Highlander Rogue their his Facebook page.