The long off-season is finally over, and competitive Hearthstone players are back on the open cups circuit fighting over an invitation to Masters Tour Ironforge. This means that we have new data on the performance of all the deck archetypes, just un time for the new cards from Darkmoon Races.
30 Ironforge Qualifiers, Blizzards’s official entry level tournaments, happened this past weekend. This report analyses every single match that happened during those events. 22 of the 30 winners were generous enough to share some thoughts about their strategy with us. You will find their comments below.
A frequently asked question is “where can I watch Qualifier gameplay and learn from experienced players in the scene?” We decided to put together a list of links from content creators who broadcast their runs in these tournaments. Click here to see the list, which will be updated in the future. It is not meant to be complete by any means. If you think that your name should be on there, let us know in Discord.
Data summary from Off-Curve:
Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from D0nkey. The names in bold are qualifier winners who were generous enough to write comments about the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.
Meta Defining Lineups:
Ramp Paladin, Resurrect Priest, Bomb Warrior (Rain / Bravo)
OTK Demon Hunter, Highlander Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (현명한라이언 / LooGiiQQ)
Token Druid, Stealth Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Cursed / qaz1291)
Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (Reliquary / Theseus)
OTK Demon Hunter, Resurrect Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (Silvors)
OTK Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Enrage Warrior (karsid)
OTK Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Silas OTK Warrior (Sialed)
OTK Demon Hunter, Highlander Priest, Enrage Warrior (MarkusCap)
Soul Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Stealth Rogue (foghi8)
Soul Demon Hunter, Secret Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Staz)
Token Druid, Secret Rogue, EnrageWarrior (Athanas)
Aggro Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Stealth Rogue (levik)
Pretty Good Lineups:
Token Druid, Stealth Rogue, Zoo Warlock (Pain)
Fel Demon Hunter. Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (metafalica)
OTK Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Enrage Warrior (LeandroLeal)
Highlander Priest, Whirlkick Rogue, Silas OTK Warrior (HKroms)
OTK Demon Hunter, Secret Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Paljuha)
Highlander Priest, Secret Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Alpis)
Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Enrage Warrior (winner / soleil / SuperFake)
Token Druid, Whirlkick Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Universe)
Highlander Druid, Ramp Paladin, Highlander Priest (Tincho)
Token Druid, Ramp Paladin, Enrage Warrior (NaySyl)
OTK Demon Hunter, Galakrond Warlock, Control Warrior (Chewie)
OTK Demon Hunter, Whirlkick Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Karolos)
Token Druid, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (Sloug)
OTK Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Enrage Warrior (Dekay)
Spell Mage, Pure Paladin, Enrage Warrior (pHi11Colins)
Galakrond Priest, Secret Rogue, Silas OTK Warrior (CheeseHead)
OTK Demon Hunter, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (davidek / Phoeba)
Token Druid, Highlander Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (From0tohero)
Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (mido11010)
Libram Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (Lumble)
Token Druid, Control Priest, Enrage Warrior (Zukys / Kle)
Highlander Priest, Whirlkick Rogue, Bomb Warrior (ChaboDennis)
Fel Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Highlander Priest (Petain)
OTK Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Highlander Warrior (Faeli)
Libram Paladin, Highlander Priest, Control Warrior (UnholyMurloc)
Token Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (Melon)
OTK Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Silas OTK Warrior (funashi)
OTK Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Bomb Warrior (Pascoa)
Aggro Demon Hunter, Secret Mage, Stealth Rogue (Jaredpullet)
Clown Druid, Libram Paladin, Big Warrior (캡틴리드)
Soul Demon Hunter, Dragon Spell Druid, Whirlkick Rogue (현명한로나)
Mozaki Mage, Resurrect Priest, Bomb Warrior (てっぺ)
Token Druid, Highlander Mage, Whirlkick Rogue (Thouruk)
Aggro Demon Hunter, Secret Rogue, Zoo Warlock (NikolajHoej)
Rally Priest, Aggro Shaman, Zoo Warlock (RobotWizard)
Big Druid, Duel Paladin, Galakrond Priest (XOVE)
Comments from the winners:
Rain on Ramp Paladin, Resurrect Priest, Bomb Warrior:
“I chose the Priest and the Warrior because they performed well in the ladder, and the Paladin as the third strong deck. Ban Druids and Paladins.”
Bravo on Ramp Paladin, Resurrect Priest, Bomb Warrior:
“My lineup does pretty well against Highlander Priest, Warrior and Whirlkick Rogue. And I mostly banned OTH DH and Token Druid. Most opponents banned Resurrect Priest so it was a free slot for ban.”
현명한라이언 on OTK Demon Hunter, Highlander Priest, Silas OTK Warrior:
“I still have a lot to learn and lack of skills, so I will only comment on what is banned. There are two OTK decks in my lineup, so Priests using Mindrender Illucia should be banned. If the opposing lineup does not include a Priest, I banned based on HSReplay stats and my experience. I usually banned Token Druid or Zoo Warlock in the upper rounds.”
LooGiiQQ on OTK Demon Hunter, Highlander Priest, Silas OTK Warrior:
“We prepared a lineup last Thursday with Sialed (who qualified on Friday) and Totosh (who got a top 8 on Sunday). We guessed that there would be a ton of aggro decks like Rogues, Token Druids and Tempo Warriors. So we decided to bring a Highlander Priest with good anti-aggro tech because it’s already strong enough vs control and OTK with Illucia. Sialed didn’t like it so he switched to Libram Paladin. We went with OTK DH because the deck is just too strong and destroys aggro (I had never played it before this weekend and I won 23 games in a row).We first tested Bomb Warrior, with the new 1 mana 1/3 that gives 4 armor, but finally Silas Control seemed stronger and more reliable. Armorsmith is still incredible vs aggro and enables good Battle Rages vs control.
The priority ban is Priest. Against an all aggro lineup you ban Zoo because it can be problematic for the Priest and even for the DH. The decks we want to farm are Token Druid, Rogue and Warriors, and I think that we’re also good vs Paladin.”
qaz1291 on Token Druid, Stealth Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“The main way that I chose my lineup was through doing some meta analysis on the previous events and seeing a bunch of stuff like the OTK Demon Hunters and Secret/Whirlkick Rogues and realized that Stealth Rogue and Token Druid would do great to combat that 1 for aggro / evasiveness the other for aggro/ go wide ( against OTK DH I always started Rogue since it was the safer bet, but Druid only lost to OTK DH once and Rogue not at all). Then with the Warrior it was a bit of an after thought but I have played a lot of Enrage Warrior in the past and trusted it to get me through decks that were’nt super taunt heavy (it was obviously a good choice due to it taking 4 bans). Specifics wise I ran a Livewire Lance in my Warrior over Reapers Scythe to give me extra outs in weird situations and took out a Prep from my Rogue to add a Sap to help deal with people trying to buy time at low health with taunts. My main priority on bans was the OTK Armor Warrior, they have way too much board clear and armor gain for the Rogue and Druid, Then the next problem is Res Priest and that is one of the specific reasons for the Sap tech (since I can bounce the first taunt on like turn 5 then kill). I would ban it if the opponent didnt bring OTK Warrior but they were commonly brought together. Honestly the only other thing I have to say about this is I think a lot of what helped me through this was meta research, paying attention to my opponents lists, and trying my best to stay calm.”
Reliquary on Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Silas OTK Warrior:
“I actually copied the lineup from Vrestrita since I know he is a good player and he did a second place with it. The lineup objective was to target Combo Demon Hunter while having good chances against aggressive strategies. Some players had a similar lineup but with Combo Demon Hunter, but replacing the Demon Hunter for the Paladin actually give us a good edge and the removes the Demon hunter mirrors, they are pretty volatile and we don’t want those. If I had to qualify again I would probably change the warrior list a bit for the mirror, with an howl or zephyr to deal with the Rattlegore. The Priest can also be changed, I saw some people doing well with highlander too.”
Theseus on Libram Paladin, Control Priest, Silas OTK Warrior:
“After seeing that Vrestrita got Top 8 twice and my teammate Reliquary won a qualifier with this 90 cards I decided to play it as well, it got good results in my firsts attempts and eventually I qualified as well. This line up intends to ban Priest or Paladin, while putting in a bad spot Demon Hunter and Warrior.
To everyone that’s still trying to qualify my advice is don’t play tired, playing a lot of qualifiers not gonna make you qualify faster.”
Sialed on OTK Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Silas OTK Warrior:
“Aggro/Weapon Rogue and Tempo Warrior have good win rates and are inexpensive, so I expected to see a lot of them on day one. This lineup is desinged to farm them.
Oozes everywhere to destroy the game plan of Weapon Rogue and to slow down Tempo Warrior.Pyromancer in Paladin to be even more favored against Stealth Rogue. Zephrys is in the Warrior instead of an anti-aggro tech. Aggro lineups ban Warrior anyway, so we go for one more option against greedier decks. No Corsair Cache, Bulwark or Libram of Judgement because I expected to also face many Oozes.
Rogue is the major target, that’s the reason for running Paladin instead of Priest. Priest is also a lot weaker than Silas Warrior or OTK DH against face decks. Priest would have made sense if the number one target had been Warrior. I chose to bet on Rogue being popular.
Priest is the priority ban, then it’s Token Druid. Luckily there were not too many OTK DH.
I worked on the lineup with LooGiiQQ and Totosh, thanks to them. Quite happy that QQ took his cup too.”
foghi8 on Soul Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Stealth Rogue:
“Since I didn’t have many cards on the Asia server I had to just come up with a cheap strategy that I thought would work so i just went with the classic ban Enrage/Control Warrior strat with 3 aggressive decks which were in this case Stealth Rogue and Token Druid which I thougth were S tier decks and then a budget Soul DH which surprinsgly had the best win rate and went like 7-1 or something.
I ended up having to run 1 Lunar Eclipse and 1 Guess the Weight as replacements for Rising Winds in the Druid since I didnt have Galakrond’s Awakening set, and then I took the Stealth Rogue from moso I believe or whichever the most played Stealth version and the Soul DH was just the most budget possible wihtout Kayn or Il’gynoth.”
Staz on Soul Demon Hunter, Secret Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“Basically the goal of the lineup is to target popular decks like Token Druid, OTK DH, Whirlkick Rogue, Mozaki Mage and Zoo. Priority ban is Ramp Paladin due to huge high roll potential then next are either Priest or Warrior (depending on the list but most likely Priest if they have some anti-weapon tech). There are some lineups that bring both Ramp Paladin and Res Priest and usually have Bomb Warrior as their 3rd deck. You can target the Bomb Warrior and ban whichever you find the most annoying. My Rogue is a bit greedy compared to the usual list to improve the matchup against Warrior and Priest just in case I can’t ban both. I am not 100% sure about the matchups though. I just came up on some of it with small sample size and a little bit of instinct.”
Athanas on Token Druid, Secret Rogue, EnrageWarrior:
“Seriously mate my strategy was before you lose, win, this way you won’t lose“
levik on Aggro Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Stealth Rogue:
“I expected to face a lot of Ramp Paladins and slow Token Druids so tried to soft target these decks. Thats why I’ve added double Mana Burn to my Demon Hunter and chose Aggro Rogue with double 1-4 Murloc. Main ban was Warrior (except Bomb Warrior), the second ban was Zoolock as it’s quite bad MU for DH and Druid.”
LeandroLeal on OTK Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Enrage Warrior:
“Tech cards: Ooze in DH and Illucia, Moarg, Pyro and Ooze in Priest. I got the Priest and the Warrior from NayaraSylvestre, and the DH from Pascoa. I banned Priest and other decks that have board control and can out value my decks. I was targetting aggro decks specially Weapon Rogue and Token Druid. I would like to make a special thanks to Andafern who helped me prepare for the qualifiers!”
Paljuha on OTK Demon Hunter, Secret Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“I picked Warrior and Demon Hunter because those are the decks I am most comfortable and have most games with. I needed to find a 3rd deck and I went with Secret Rogue because it performs well against almost everything I faced. It’s not doing that well against Enrage or Control Warrior but my plan was to ban them. If my opponent didn’t have Warrior (8/10 games they had Warrior) then Priest is a good ban, also Broom Paladin is a good choice to ban as well. This lineup soft targets Aggro Rogues, also I farmed Treant and Token Druids on the tournament. Nothing special with the card choices, I took Rogue list from Athanas, he won Americas Qualifier, Warrior list is standard although I removed Reapers Scythe from the list after this tournament because i feel like there is too much weapons and for Demon Hunter I adjusted this list a little from standard one because I like to have Zephyrs as an extra finisher or an extra board clear and extra silence was very helpful.”
Alpis on Highlander Priest, Secret Rogue, Enrage Warrior:
“I created this lineup to mainly target otk demon hunter. Initially, I had a combo rogue, but it didn’t do well against other decks, so I switched to a secret rogue. I always banned warrior because it’s by far the strongest class and if you have a rogue in your lineup I think warrior is a must to ban. And for card choices in a priest, I play Harrison over Stickyfinger because Stickyfinger is only good against bomb warriors and Harrison lets you cycle cards which for me is more valuable than one durability weapon or low-value weapons like libram of justice or sphere. In secret rogue, Flik was mainly used for token druids and moargs. Everything else is pretty much standard.”
Tincho on Highlander Druid, Ramp Paladin, Highlander Priest:
“For the lineup I was looking something that beats Warrior in general and control, and also something that’s good enough to beat aggro as well. I thought about Pally and HL Priest, and then I remembered that Blastoise made really well with HL Druid, which is also really good similar decks as HL Priest. And my main ban is always Token Druid.”
Chewie on OTK Demon Hunter, Galakrond Warlock, Control Warrior:
“I noticed from the first tournament that there were a LOT of aggro lineups, so I wanted to bring a full control lineup to put them in place, and I felt that OTK DH is very strong and consistent. I chose Tikatus to have a better shot against slower decks and it was a comfort pick, whilst the Warrior was a deck that i changed a lot of cards in to fit better for my playstyle.
I liked this OTK version more than the more draw one because this one has a bit more room to angle your playstyle than the one with Double Jumps and stuff.
Ooze/Stickyfinger was really important to have in all decks, really liked it.
For bans it was mostly Enrage Warriors/OTK DHs/Libroom Paladins, depending on the other decks but that was the prio order most of the time, always leave Cheese Paladin up since all the decks has a lot of removal and outlast options and I always left up the aggro decks since I felt very safe against all of those except Weapon Rogue.
I was the only winner so far with Galalock, which honestly felt like my strongest deck in the meta right now, where it only lost one game where all the invokes/win cards were in the bottom against a control, but other than that a really comfortable deck to run.”
Faeli on OTK Demon Hunter, Libram Paladin, Highlander Warrior:
“I played aggro lineups the first day and fell short. Day 2 I switched to control with a Priest ban. Highlander Warrior and Libram Paladin are my comfort decks and i felt like OTK DH is a deck people often ban or misplay against and also fits the lineup. I played the whole qualifier on my (cz) stream, so you can check exactly how it went.”
UnholyMurloc on Libram Paladin, Highlander Priest, Control Warrior:
“In my opinion the meta was all fuzzy still, and I was trying to grind the top32 and started to notice the classic Enrage Warrior (without ETC) getting very popular again so I decided to try a antiwarrior lineup, choosing Highlander Priest, Control Warrior (in my opinion the best way to counter any Warrior deck – specially enrages since I run brutes) and Jarla’s Broom Paladin list (-1 Kobold +1 Hammer of the Naaru). Nothing fency, just 3 solid decks that also performs well in many matchups. I was surprised because I didn’t practice Priest at all and I did well against some Combo Rogues as well.”
funashi on OTK Demon Hunter, Control Priest, Silas OTK Warrior:
“The target is Aggro (Stealth) Rogue. Most of the time the ban is Priest, but if there’s a Bomb Warrior that’s the priority ban. Because I wanted to ban Priest, I chose to play Control Priest which is better against aggro, whereas Highlander Priest wins the mirror. I took the Demon Hunter list from Paljuha in #16, the Priest from Reliquary in the #15, and the Warrior from iNS4NE in the Battleriff Invitational 3.”
Pascoa on OTK Demon Hunter, Token Druid, Bomb Warrior:
“Honestly, I’ve seen through offcurve that OTK DH and Enrage Warrior were popular decks (as well as some aggro lineups), so I wanted to play things that beat it – but i didn’t have HL Priest on Asia. I was super confident with my gameplay on OTK DH and Druid, so I’ve decided to bring both even though they don’t sinergize well together.
Bomb was great at forcing bans from the more greedy lineups, so I’ve brought Barricade to help against Bomb’s weakness (aggro). Druid I’ve brought a couple Wild Growths to help curve and try to ramp into Glowfly Soul to beat Enrage more consistently (since my ban was flex, although I’ve decided to often ban it), and the DH has the Acrobatics (which are just better than double jumps) and Twin Slice + Blade Dance (which are mandatory if I wanted to play vs Enrage Warrior)
Honestly, I didn’t thought the lineup was great at first, but seen it in action, it’s super flex and can work against many different things, it’s never super good or super bad against anything so you have a fair shot against anything if you play well.
If I had to change anything, id probably make the Bomb even better against aggro though.”