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.
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, noproshere.com 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.
The League of E.V.I.L. has crashed the floating city of Dalaran into Blackrock Mountain, meaning there is an all new solo adventure in this week’s Tavern Brawl! Play as Dr. Boom, Hagatha, Lazul, or Togwaggle and take down 8 Blackrock bosses in this limited-time-only dungeon-run-style event. For the first time ever, Hearthstone will track your speed and reward you based on how quickly you can defeat 8 bosses. If you can beat all 8 bosses in under 1 hour, you’ll receive a golden Bronze Herald, and completing the run in under 40 minutes will get you a golden Recurring Villain.
Hearthstone begins timing you after the initial mulligan and times you continuously until you defeat the final boss, Ragnaros the Firelord. That means even your card and treasure choices will need to be quick if you want to get a fast time! Rather than give a comprehensive guide detailing the strengths and weaknesses of every class, I will guide you through the fastest and most powerful strategy, aggro warrior. I will highlight the strongest strategies, card choices, and treasures; describe my approach to each of the 8 bosses; and give some tips for the TRULY speedy. If 40 minutes was easy for you, here is an appropriately E.V.I.L challenge for you: do it in 15!
Key Strategies, Tips, and Cards
For this run I will focus on strategies you can use as Dr. Boom, as I have found him to be the most reliable, most powerful, and fastest hero. Dr. Boom’s hero power, which shuffles 2 bombs for 1 mana, is extremely effective for killing bosses early, and warrior is offered consistently strong card choices. However, every class is viable (even for a speedrun) and many of the general tips and strategies are the same across all heroes.
As Dr. Boom, you will need to create a deck that operates partially using a burn plan and partially using an aggressive minion-based beatdown. Due to the extreme power of Dr. Boom’s hero power, it is nearly always better to prioritize hero powering over playing a 1 or even a 2 cost minion. However, exactly how far you commit to either plan will be determined primarily by your first choice of treasure.
Robes of Gaudiness is massively overpowered. Always choose this treasure if it is offered to you in your first choice of treasures, as it will allow you to build an aggressive deck that plays big minions early and destroys bosses by around turn 4. Robes of Gaudiness makes your cards cost half their normal price, but it also rounds down, meaning 1 cost minions become free, 3 cost minions cost 1, 5 cost minions cost 2, etc. Avoid the trap of drafting expensive cards like King Mosh just because they receive a big discount. Instead, focus on drafting powerful 3 and 5 cost minions like Augmented Elekk and Leeroy Jenkins as well as any cards that can help your goal of developing a powerful early board.
Hand of Rafaam is also massively overpowered. The treasure adds 2 curses to your opponent’s hand, dealing 2 damage every turn unless they spend 2 mana to remove each curse from their hand. Bosses in Blackrock have very low health totals compared to bosses in dungeon runs, meaning the curse damage is far more relevant, and the bosses will usually let you develop your minions uncontested while they pay to remove curses from their hand. Additionally, Hand of Rafaam is extremely powerful as a stacked effect, making any run with 2 or 3 Hands chosen an easy victory. With Hand of Rafaam as your first choice of treasure, you can afford to focus more of your turns on shuffling bombs or even force your opponent to draw bombs using Coldlight Oracle. Focus on drafting cards that help your bomb plan like Augmented Elekk and Coldlight Oracle, charge minions like Leeroy Jenkins and Korkron Elite, and strong early game minions.
Receiving neither of these treasures as your first pick will slow you down significantly, but you can still defeat all 8 bosses with a great time. When choosing any other treasure, consider the following: any non-passive treasure reduces your deck’s consistency compared to a passive, any non-passive treasure above 4 mana is likely too slow to be particularly powerful, and anything that helps you win early is stronger than anything that helps you play a slower game plan. These all point to the strongest choices being passive treasures such as Dr. Boom’s Remote and Small Backpacks (note, however, that Robe of the Magi does not make your bombs deal more damage and as a result is a terrible choice). Again, try to draft minions you can play for early aggression, but draft cheaper cards than you would while playing Robes and draft more proactively than you would while playing Hand of Rafaam. For example, a Hand of Rafaam deck may pick Coldlight Oracles to accelerate their bomb plan, whereas a Dr. Boom’s Remote deck may choose pirates to fight on board in the early turns. Regardless, you should still weave in hero powers whenever possible, ideally “curving out” by using 1 mana to hero power and your remaining mana each turn for minions.
Highlord Omokk, the first boss, has a 1 mana execute hero power, only 15 health, and a small deck. Prioritizing shuffling bombs is usually the fastest way to defeat this boss. Use your hero power on turns 1 and 2 (ideally alongside N’zoth’s First Mate on 2) and play a 3 cost minion on 3. Also note that killing Omokk’s loot hoarders is often a strong play as it can draw into bombs. As this boss ideally dies by turn 4, Boombox is too slow of a card to play and should not be kept in the mulligan. In fact, this is true of Boombox against nearly every boss.
The second boss, Baron Geddon, has a 0 mana hero power that deals 5 damage to your hero if you have any unspent mana. Fortunately, Dr. Boom’s hero power makes it easy to use all of your mana. Play aggressively, as Baron Geddon will generally damage himself by playing Flame Imps early. You may choose to play Vicious Scraphound on turn 2, but otherwise mulligan similarly to how you mulliganed for Omokk.
Omnotron Defense System has hero powers that make progressively more powerful mechs, although you are unlikely to see past the second mech if you play aggressively. You may want to kill the mech summoned on turn 2, which grants +2 spell power to both players, because Omnotron can use spells like arcane missiles to clear your board and take control of the early game. Otherwise, most of Omnotron’s early turns are low-impact, allowing you to shuffle bombs and develop minions to win before anything gets too scary.
The fourth boss, Garr, is the trickiest, because defeating Garr requires a little bit of thought about how to clear the board. Additionally, Garr runs Volcanic Lumberer which can cause huge problems if played early. Garr starts with a board full of 0/5s which have a deathrattle that deals damage based on the number of them that have died that turn and a hero power that damages all minions for 1. The best way to avoid getting burned (and to avoid volcanic lumberer) is to damage these 0/5s to different health totals so that they die on different turns. For this boss, put more focus on developing early minions or weapons, but remember that your minions will take damage every turn. A strong curve is turn 2 Scraphound into turn 3 Rampage, as these cards will gain you a lot of armor while letting you put damage into Garr’s 0/5s. Try to push damage for lethal starting around turn 4 or 5 and shuffle bombs whenever possible.
Atramedes has a hero power that grants a weapon which is buffed every time you play a card, and you start the game with three copies of a card that destroys this weapon. There are a few things to note here which work in your favor: Atramedes will often trade for no good reason, the weapon costs mana to create, and three weapon destruction cards should always be more than enough. Play this match aggressively, without worrying too much about buffing the weapon, and remove the weapon when you have spare mana or if it gets large enough to significantly threaten your health. Atramedes will not usually contest the board strongly, so developing strong minions like Augmented Elekk is key to winning the matchup.
Nefarian, boss 6, has another automatic hero power that gives a random spell. These spells will almost never be relevant if you play aggressively, so this boss is essentially wasting mana every turn. Play aggressively and you should have no problem.
Boss number 7, Vaelastrasz, automatically draws 2 cards for both players every turn and plays some aggressive cards like Flame Imp and Implosion. Play proactive minions to make sure you do not fall behind on board, and shuffle as many bombs as possible. Some bombs will be burned by overdraws, but this should not be an issue as you can always shuffle more into the deck.
Finally, the boss that rules them all, Ragnaros the Firelord! Ragnaros starts with a weapon that grants him a powerful 8 damage hero power when it breaks. He has a tendency to swing his 2 attack weapon into minions that aren’t going to die, so setting up minions like Augmented Elekk or Clockwork Goblin for him to trade into will usually result in some extra damage. If necessary, clean up his Magma Ragers using small minions like N’Zoth’s First Mate or spells like Improve Morale while you set up minions or burst him using weapons and charge minions. If the game runs long enough that Ragnaros gets his upgraded hero power, Boombox is a strong counter play which can also set up lethal using brawl on the following turn. If all else fails, keep shuffling bombs, as they can sometimes give you a surprise lethal!
Blackrock Crash Week 1 Speedrunning
So you’ve completed the run in under 40 minutes, unlocking some free golden cards. But how fast CAN you go? I’ve personally managed 15 minutes and 27 seconds, but https://twitter.com/geyuan6_hs has posted proof of a 13 minute 16 second run (as King Togwaggle)! For this section I will assume you are already using most or all of the above tips.
The easiest, but perhaps least fun, way to ensure a fast run is to concede on boss 2 if you are not offered either Robes of Gaudiness or Hand of Rafaam after defeating boss 1. Each of these treasures will usually save several minutes compared to the next best option.
The next time saver I use is click-spamming. In Hearthstone, animations can be sped up significantly by clicking on the card or hero power icon that appears when your opponent makes an action. Entire enemy turns can be sped up significantly by placing the cursor on the left side of the board where these cards will appear and spamming clicks. Unfortunately, bomb animations cannot be skipped.
Total animation time can also be reduced by reducing the amount of unnecessary cards played and attacks made. It can sometimes help to think several turns ahead when determining which cards and attacks are really necessary. For example, I will generally skip playing Improve Morale unless I am setting up a Rampage or I believe that having a lackey in hand is very likely to benefit my gameplan. Additionally, if I have a 1 attack weapon and my opponent is at 5 health, I will generally choose not to attack as my opponent will still die to 1 bomb draw or die to my minions next turn regardless of the weapon swing.
My next speedrunning tip – admittedly an extremely obvious tip – is to play very quickly. However, this goes beyond making quick actions in game, as the timer used to determine your speed is a real world timer. While your general strategy does not need to differ from what is described in the first section of this article, if you are attempting a speedrun you need to quickly identify your choices of treasures and cards. You can save time if you are able to quickly identify key cards like Robes of Gaudiness, Hand of Rafaam, and Augmented Elekk. Gotta go fast!
Finally, it’s worth acknowledging that much of this speedrun will be out of your control. The most significant time-wasters that cannot be controlled are treasure randomness, bomb randomness, and lag or loading times. While these are out of your hands, there are a few things you can do to try to minimize the impact that bad luck can have on your speed.
While an ideal run’s treasure choices look something like Robes followed by 2 copies of Hand, this is an extremely unlikely outcome and you can still get a great time even if you need to pick a treasure like Wondrous Wand or Dr. Boom’s Remote. In this case, it is worth considering your general gameplan, the deck you’ve drafted so far, and the remaining bosses. For example, Wondrous Wand is unlikely to be valuable against Vaelastrasz (due to his hero power filling your hand) or Ragnaros (because the fight nearly always ends around turn 4 anyway). However, it can be a strong choice if you have already drafted some high cost cards or strong charge minions and you want the potential to highroll your opponents.
Bomb randomness (that is, whether or not your opponent will actually draw the bombs you are shuffling into their deck) is also out of your control. What you can control is when you choose to shuffle vs. when you choose to play other cards. As mentioned in the Key Strategies section, cards like Augmented Elekk and Coldlight Oracle are extremely powerful because they will often force an early bomb lethal and they therefore drastically increase your deck’s speed and consistency.
Finally, in game lag or high loading times will also decrease your speed. Generally, this will be dependent on your internet connection, but if you have significant lag issues you may also save time by decreasing the graphics quality in the options menu.
Now, you have some scheming to do! Do you have what it takes to be the EVILest – or at least the speediest – villain at Blackrock Mountain?
This week, the transition from Seoul Qualifiers to Bucharest Qualifiers translated into a reset of the open cups playerbase. This amplified the impression of a stale Hearthstone metagame. Four of last week’s winners (Hatul, Disq, Languagehacker and MaeveDonovan) proceeded to qualify for Masters Tour Bucharest in the first week, in an unprecedented hotstreak. NAGON, matff and KNMDehua did really well too. In other words, it was a lot of the same players playing the same decks.
With the metagame mostly settled down, we have tried to trend specific decks themselves to try to find which version of each archetype the community is coalescing to. Below are Bomb Warrior, Midrange Hunter, Shark Rogue and Cyclone Mage.
Languangehacker’s Cyclone Mage is the unanimous pick. It also won multiple open cups this week, after Languagehacker won the last Seoul Qualifier and the first Bucharest Qualifier back to back. In Bomb Warrior, Gallon and NAGON are two versions that gained a lot of traction. Players are copying Tars and Cosmo when it comes to Shark Rogue. The other archetypes are still all over the place at the moment.
Week 1 of Bucharest qualifiers picked up where Week 8 of Seoul qualifiers left off, with the same four decks vying for what appear to be three spots in the tier of meta defining decks, and accounting for the overwhelming majority of decks brought by qualifiers participants. As the meta seems to have settled, we’ll cover any major developments, but barring any surprise nerfs or other meta shakeups, the majority of the meta seems to be Shark Rogue, Cyclone Mage, Bomb Warrior and Midrange Hunter (with a non-trivial amount of Bomb Hunter sprinkled in for variety) between now and the release of Saviors of Uldum. As our tier score formula accounts for top 8 representation (which roughly aligns with Swiss win rate) as well as number of qualifiers won, the positions of the Fab Four decks may shift around over the next month, but if there was a deck waiting in the wings to unseat one of those contenders, we likely would have seen it by now between Las Vegas Masters Tour, the experimentation at Grandmasters and players trying to outsmart the meta in qualifiers.
That said, Shark Rogue rose in representation this week, accounting for 25% of all qualifier entries and 11 qualifier winners. Our working theory is that the fact that the other three popular decks all take time to set up (barring Cyclone Mage with the perfect start) paves the way for a slower, greedier Rogue build to thrive, with less worry that a deck like Murloc Shaman or Token Druid will be able to capitalize on that slowness. We continue to track other rogue builds and none of them seem to be as effective against this field as the Spirit of the Shark build. (Just don’t complain to us if you try to take it on ladder and don’t do as well as expected.)
Cyclone Mage saw a big uptick in representation following Languagehacker’s win in qualifier #1 with the deck, and as we began tracking the trend of specific lineups, we saw his exact 90 card lineup was the most popular Cyclone Mage lineup for the remainder of the week. Since Bomb Warrior isn’t going away, Cyclone Mage is still a reasonable pick to bring given its even matchup against Shark Rogue and its favorable matchup against the Warrior.
Speaking of Bomb Warrior, it improved in its win rate in Top 8, but still sits at a 44% win rate at that stage as opposed to a 52% win rate overall. Given its positive win rate against Shark Rogue, there may yet be a chance for Bomb Warrior to regain its spot as king of the hill.
Midrange Hunter was the odd deck out this week, likely because of the proliferation of Shark Rogues. If those numbers change and Cyclone Mage or Bomb Hunter becomes more popular again, Midrange Hunter should rebound.
Bomb Hunter continues to hang around despite having no favorable matchups against meta decks except Control Warrior, which is not being brought in enough quantity to matter. Despite the odds, some players are managing to win qualifiers with it, so if that’s the deck you’re most comfortable with, you could do worse. (There’s probably something to be said for shorter match times as well.)
This week’s surprise performer was Mech Paladin, piloted by Adriano to the top of qualifier #2. The deck is actually not as bad as it is on ladder given that it has positive winrates against Midrange Hunter and Bomb Warrior, but it also had a below 50% win rate overall, so players planning on bringing Mech Paladin should be extremely confident in their ability to pilot it in unfavored matchups.
Token Druid was one of this week’s surprise performers, qualifying gtapack and Hatul for Bucharest. As with Bomb Hunter, it doesn’t seem to have any overwhelmingly positive matchups (except against Bomb Hunter itself), so much like past surprise performers, there probably isn’t too much to read into this in terms of predicting future performance.
The other top 8 contenders are the usual suspects, and none are brought in enough numbers to justify discussing in detail. One note on a deck not on this list – 84 players brought Control Warrior (without bombs) to qualifiers this week, but the deck performed miserably. It had a 38% win rate, and not one of those players progressed to a top 8 bracket. This is one of the clear cases where Specialist and ladder diverge; if you want to bring Warrior, do yourself a favor and set yourself up the bomb.
Seoul Masters Qualifiers are over! Open cups will resume on Thursday, but they will be about Bucharest and they will be in the High Inquisitor Whitemane metagame. This report covers the Hearthstone tournaments in the specialist format in the past week.
Week Eight was a story of meta consolidation and fewer risks taken as we entered the final week of Seoul qualifiers. More so than any week prior, we saw extreme consolidation into a handful of decks, with fewer outliers surprising us with breakout performances. This might be a sign of the meta finally being solved, or that risk tolerance decreases as fewer opportunities to qualify remain, or both.
Cyclone Mage was the big winner this week, as more players turned to it as the natural counter to the glut of Bomb Warriors we saw last week. Representation went from 10.6% in week 7 to 13.6% in week 8, and while the same percentage of Cyclone Mage players progressed to Top 8 as last week, those players were more rewarded for their choice of deck this week, with a 62% win rate in Top 8. This is no surprise given how many Bomb Warriors also progressed to Top 8, but that goes to show that Cyclone Mage is performing in its role as the Warrior killer.
Shark Rogue continued to perform, and was even in popularity with Bomb Warrior this week. Its matchups against non-Warrior classes actually improved (Bomb Hunter and Holy Wrath Paladin, two of its only even matchups, moved to favorable), so if Warrior sees a decline based on its poor performance, Shark Rogue could be poised to take over as the top deck. Players looking to bring Cyclone Mage based on this week’s results could do so at their own peril, because Shark Rogue is one of the only decks favored against Cyclone Mage.
Midrange Hunter also rose to the top of the list based on its good matchup against Warrior. In past weeks, we’ve described this deck as being a poor choice, since does effectively the same thing as Cyclone Mage but not as well. However, if we do see a rise in Cyclone Mages, it could see some success given that it can effectively counter both that deck and Bomb Warrior. That said, Midrange Hunter’s win rate against Shark Rogue is a miserable 28%, so this will continue to be a risky pick as long as Shark Rogue is relevant.
We’ve talked around Bomb Warrior but not about it thus far, and that’s because it actually falls out of the level of meta defining decks given its performance this week. While still the most popular deck and boasting a very good 53% win rate in Swiss, in Top 8 that win rate cratered to 39%. Not to belabor the point, but the entire meta is gunning for Bomb Warrior, and it’s unlikely to see a favorable matchup in Top 8. Of 134 decks that actually played in Top 8 (excluding players who qualified by reaching Top 8 for the 6th time), nearly half were either Cyclone Mage, Midrange Hunter or the mirror, which makes for an extremely hostile environment for a Bomb Warrior to try to string together two consecutive wins, and as a result, few were successful.
Bomb Hunter continues to be an enigma, hanging around but never quite able to maintain consistent performances. The deck had below 50% win rates both in Swiss and Top 8 but still managed to win 3 qualifiers, which says it more than likely beats itself more than is countered.
The low sample size qualifier winners this week are Token Druid, Zoo Warlock, and Midrange Token Shaman. These decks have been discussed in this space before, and really should only be considered by players who are exceedingly comfortable with them. That said, Zoo seems worth calling out due to its favorable matchup against Shark Rogue (though with a very small sample size). If Shark Rogue takes off, Zoo might emerge as a reasonable meta choice.
As for decks that reached Top 8 but did not win a qualifier, we saw an uptick in Control Warriors this week, but that deck still seems to be an inferior pick in Specialist compared to the bomb variety, with only a 44% win rate in Swiss and no wins in Top 8. Freeze Mage fared slightly better at 49% in Swiss, but given Cyclone Mage’s success, there really doesn’t seem to be any argument for bringing Freeze Mage unless one wants to both play mage and counter Cyclone Mage.
We continue to monitor rogues without Spirit of the Shark, and saw both Sharkless Tempo Rogue and a Raiding Party variety reach top 8 this week, but neither variant topped 51%, while Shark Rogue finished with a 53% win rate despite a high number of mirrors. At least in specialist, it’s still Shark Week somewhere.
Mech Paladin reached Top 8 twice, but given its only favorable matchup is against Bomb Warrior, there are more well rounded ways to counter that deck. Murloc Shaman is to Cyclone Mage as Mech Paladin is to Bomb Warrior, and while it’s harder to counter Cyclone Mage, you can do it without giving up nearly every other prevalent matchup like Murloc Shaman does. Aggro (Overload) Shaman, however, may be worth considering, given it had even or favored matchups against all of the prevalent decks this week (though with only 30 players bringing the deck, this is based on an extremely small sample size). Finally, Deathrattle Hunter and Nomi Priest were brought in single digit quantities and successful in even fewer.
Meta Defining Decks
Top 8 Capable
Party Tempo Rogue
Sharkless Tempo Rogue
As always, we thank the players who generously share their pro tips. You can click on their name under the quote to find them on Twitter, most of them stream or create other awesome content. Clicking on the deck name will bring you to Yaytears for deck codes.
Secondary vs Hunter/Rogue and tertiary vs Warrior. I think Galaxy is good enough to run in all lists for the high roll potential. Scavengers help a lot vs aggro and found it helps more than Rabble Bouncer. Wanted to try out Alex again vs Warrior. Also I tried playing a lot more for tempo against aggro (Sorcerers Apprentice/Cyclone hands for example) and it helps immensely.
This was my first attempt with Mage. The deck’s power level is unmatched in my eyes. The only additions I made were Cairne Bloodhoof into the Warrior list over Astromancer. I think 1 6 drop is always a good thing to have plus Cairne specifically calls out Garrosh which I love. I think Cairne is stickier vs brawl and I think Astromancer plats directly into Supercollider. As far as strategy a few tricks I learned were that sometimes picking any secret off Magic Trick can be good just to make your opponent test for different possibilities. Also vs Mech Hunter or any Token deck trading into say a Replicating menace to fill their board with minions and then nova after stops them from being able to magnetize anything and keeps your threats safe from Missile Launcher poison combos. Also Doomsayer I think is the best response to Faerie Dragon which sometimes gets in for 9 or 12 damage vs Mage. The 1 Polymorph is Mech Hunter/big Edwins but I think maybe a 2nd half time scavenger would be better. Last thing I think is worth noting is playing your sorcerer’s apprentice on 2 is often the best play. Feels weird to not save it for combos but every time I wasn’t greedy with cards it seemed to pay off. Mage just has more resources than most classes (maybe not Rogue). Again this was my first attempt with Mage so I’m literally noprohere but I think the fact that it was my first attempt speaks to the power level of this deck and if anyone is on the fence about trying Mage I would do it asap 😀 Don’t be like me and try and play Egg Paladin for 238 cups! Just get in with Mage! 😛
I’ve tried some different versions of this deck, with Foxes and Vendetta or just Tempo/Lackey based, but this seems to be the best Rogue you can ever play and Rogue is the best class you can ever choose, especially when there are so many Hunters outside. The first list can basically win vs everyone, and I kept using it especially vs Hunters and other Rogues. For the second list, which you play vs Warrior, I’ve tried some greedy versions but if you go full greedy with Schemes and other stuff like that they can just SMOrc and win so this one with drakes seems to be the best one to keep pressuring them. The third list is vs Mages, and I’m pretty sure Faerie Dragons are better than going full removals with like second Betrayal for example, because you play for tempo and pressure, and Faerie Dragon is not a dead card in those spots. With this being said, SN1P-SN4P is the NUTS in every match-up and I will keep playing it until I can. Special mention to Edwin, who is still here with us yayyy and carried vs Warriors.
Credit where credit is due: the lineup isn’t mine, I copied the list that I liked the most from yaytears’ site (I don’t know the original author of the lineup but this is where I copied it from: link). As for the different decklists: The first one is the decklist you use against most decks. This includes Midrange/Bomb Hunter, the mirror, Aggro Shaman etc. The flex spot for the list is Eviscerate or 1 Cable Rat for sn1p-sn4p. It’s the least reactive of the three, so often you go pretty aggressive against the midrange decks and keep board control against the aggro decks. Lackeys help enormously in both aspects, so good usage of them is mandatory. The second is the anti-mage list. Betrayal and Walk the Plank help dealing with the giants, Faerie Dragon helps pushing some early damage and is hard for Mage to deal with. Both the first list and the second list are close to optimal. The third list is the one you mainly use versus Warrior (and in some cases versus Control Shaman). I chose this list over the one that runs Mechs because most Warrior specialist decks still have an anti-Mech build. With this one you can put an immense pressure if you manage to shuffle Togwaggle and you do get more sustainability/midgame power. It’s the one I’m least sure about (Warrior remains a tough matchup even with this build), but it worked good enough for me. I changed Cairne into Jepetto, but looking back at it, I should’ve left the Cairne in the deck and replace one Scheme instead.
This version and its sides was largely inspired by Bunnyhoppor, and was built by my teammate Dreivo who played this deck a lot. I just tried his list after other Midrange Hunter versions, and liked it the most in the current Qualifiers meta. You have all the tools in it to control the game if your opponent is aggro, or to be aggro when your opponent is passive. In a lot of matchups you want to play aggressively so that your opponent is busy dealing with your threats and you can reach your Zul’Jin to finish the game. If your hand is not aggressive then it’s very likely that you have the tools in hand to deal with your opponent’s aggression, so you can achieve the same objective. I don’t feel like I need the Hatchet too much, It feels pretty awkward versus Rogue and Warrior, which I face more than Hunters or Token Druids against whom it is pretty useful. I like two Deadly Shot, which often deals with an Elekk on T3, a Shark or an early Van Cleef. Marked shot is very strong as well, giving you good options very often. You want to play the Secondary version against Warrior and Holy Wrath Paladin, the Savannahs help you fight for the board against the first and have some minions stick after a boardclear against the second. I didn’t feel the need to add a Rhino to this side yet, but that’s something I’m still considering. The Tertiary deck is meant to face Rogues. Rat trap on turn 2 is strong most of the time and will force your opponent into sub-optimal plays. However I’m still not sure about this anti-Rogue side since my Main performed equally if not better against Rogue the last two weeks. I might replace it by an anti-mech side, inspired by the one used by Maricochet and FlècheNoire to win the Qualifiers 167 and 137M.
I didnt make the lineup – I think it was Magoho. In regards to strategy, I think you often should see Warrior as a tempo deck. Don’t trade too much – getting face damage is really important especially vs Rogue, since they get so much value late game after sideboard. Also the mirror really rarely goes to fatigue so don’t be scared to draw cards and try to out tempo the other Warrior. Most Warrior lists also only play 1 Brawl, so they will run out of removal at some point.
I don’t want to put Elysiana on the primary deck that I use three times for Rogue and Hunter. Secondary deck is for mirror match. This match after game 1 will be very aggressive. I think Wargear is better than Gromash on early game. Tertiary deck can compete with both Mage and Mech Hunter. Against Mage, it is difficult to remove all card after game 1. So I need to beat face while removing enemy minions. Faerie Dragon is the best card for this plan. Spellbreaker is good to silence Twilight Drake or my frozen minion. Supercollider is the only card that can remove double Giants and essential card. so I put it in primary and add for tertiary. Against Mech Hunter, they always play Mechanical Whelp and Nine Lives. Supercollider and Big Game Hunter is good to remove 7/7. 2-drop is also good for Mech Hunter to trade Ursatron.
After many open cups grinding, I sat through the statistics that the good people at offcurve.com provided to find out how the field looked like. For quite a few weeks, the top 4 consisted of Bomb Warrior, Shark Rogue, Midrange Hunter and Cyclone Mage (in no particular order). So I sat down and went through all possible decks of my stats and the stats of offcurve.com to find a deck that has a good winrate against them and came down to Bomb Hunter. But instead of going with a lot of Bombs, I start my primary list with the Nine Lives, Necromechanics and Mechanical Whelps in the list. This will give me quite an edge against Warriors, Shark Rogues (due to Spider Bomb) and Midrange Hunters due to the sheer amount of value. Mages were the problem and it’s a 50-50 winrate against them. Cyclone Mages can get some good cards from Mana Cyclone or some bad ones. It also depends on whether they put in a lot of Freezes, which is detremental to you, or if they go with silences/mind control techs. Highlighted card choices: Necromechanic is a 4 mana 3/6. Do not fear to play it as a tempo card to get on board, but know the matchup. If you can combo it with Nine Lives into a Mechanical Whelp, it spawns 2x 7/7s for the cost of 7 mana. And that they are Mechs will help magnetize them. Know the matchup when you can use it as a tempo card. Sn1p-Sn4p: Already a broken OP card, but it’s even better in a Mech deck. Bomb Toss: One Bomb toss is in there. It is for early removal like Scavenging Hyena, push for an extra ounce of lethal or use it to remove Zilliax. Don’t use Bomb Toss to get the token out, use it for removal. The primary deck is for everything. It is an all-rounder and can go either quite aggressive or midrangey. The secondary deck is for your worst nightmare; Token Druid. While the deck will help pull off a win potentially, it is a hard matchup you are unfavoured for. The tertiary deck is meant to play against more aggressive Mech Hunters or Shamans. However, I only got to use it once and it didn’t really work as expected. The tertiary deck definitely can be tinkered upon. Don’t fear the anti-mech packages, but play around it. Spread your mechs, plan around their removal and MCTs. The three times opponents brought an anti-mech package, I won against all of them by playing differently and taking value trades and making sticky deathrattles. The anti-mech package is not as unfortunate for you as it may seem.
This Shaman deck is made for beating those common deck in masters qualifiers: like Warrior, Mage & Rogue. The strategy is simple, play most Battlecry cards I can, and get the value from Shudderwock. Also a lot of people don’t know how to play around this deck, if they don’t clear my board, I can use the legendary spells to get many huge minions, or just use the Bloodlust to kill them. My primary deck counters the Warrior decks, deplete Warrior removal cards and use the Bloodlust kill them at last. Card choices: Barista Lynchen, get more value from the small Battlecry minions, sometimes I can get back my Shudderwock, create more value. Jepetto Joybuzz, draw two minions and made them become 1 mana, it’s so good when you draw the Shudderwock or Barista Lynchen. Storm Chaser, draw Bloodlust or legendary spells. My secondary deck is play around the Rogue and aggro decks, this matchup is so important in the early game, I usually keep the weapon and the lowcost spells, to get the board before Rogue plays Spirit of the Sark. Card choices: Mossy Horror, kill spirit of the shark and those small minions. Rabble Bouncer & Sea Giant, punish opponent playing too many minions. My tertiary deck counters mage, I removed all those high mana cards, and added the Murloc, because the best way play against Mage is become the aggro, kill them before mage play the Giant. Card choices: Underbelly Angler, if Mage can’t kill it, I can get many Murlocs, become the Murloc Shaman. Murloc Tastyfin, get two murlocs from my deck. Big Game Hunter, kill the Giant. Mossy Horror, clear mirror & Khadgar combo.
Primary deck is the standard form. 2nd deck is anti-Warrior deck. I use Savana Highmane and Dire Frenzy and Zul’jin in order to maximize the deck value. 3rd deck is anti-Rogue. I use Rat Trap to contain Rogue’s card play and Multi-Shot to clear Rogue’s field. But I think removing two Acidic Swamp Ooze is my mistake. So if you want to use this deck in a Masters Qualifier, remove one Sunfury Protector and one Wing Blast instead of Acidic Swamp Ooze.
This Shaman list is very versatile with many options and different game plans. There is Thunderhead with overload cards to clear the board vs aggro decks, Former Champ with Mutate to create a strong board and the Shudderwock, Mojomaster, Swampqueen Hagatha package for a late game plan. The primary list is overall fine, the secondary list is played against Mage because Zentimo with Hex or just Big Game Hunter can deal easily with big minions. The tertiary list is for token decks.
Murloc Shaman is the best deck in the game if you want to destroy Mage (they can only win if they get coin and nut draw every game), and have game against Warrior, Rogue and Hunter but it is bad against other aggro decks like Zoo or Aggro Shaman. There are many ways to build it but I like having a ton of Murlocs for consistency and starting with greedy list since the upside against Warrior is way bigger than the downside against other classes.
This Nomi Priest is Purple’s deck. It is not much different from ordinary Nomi Priest, but I felt that the number of Warriors decreased and the number of Rogues and Hunters increased, so there was less hard match-up. Find a winning line in Elysiana against Bomb Warriors. The timing to put out Elysiana is when the Bomb is buried with Nomi and Seance closed. The other is when the other party deals with Nomi without using Brawl. The secondary deck is looking at the Mage, the tertiary deck is looking at the Rogue. However, there is a better construction, as neither of them has been considered deeply.
Here’s our weekly summary of the decks that were played and the decks that won in Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers in the past week!
Because it seems to be a source of confusion (judging by comments people leave on the internet), we want to clarify that this report doesn’t take the ladder into account at all. It uses all the data from the official Specialist format tournaments that award qualifications for Masters Tour Seoul, and only that data. Decks will show up on our tier list if and only if they reached the top 8 of one of these OpenCups during the week.
NOTE: We’ve decided to retire the Tier 1/2/3 classification for meta decks because we found it was causing confusion with other meta reports that are focused on ladder play. Going forward, we will group decks into the decks driving the specialist meta, decks that have won qualifiers this week, and decks that have reached top 8 in at least one qualifier this week.
Week Seven continues to be the story of Bomb Warrior‘s dominance, both in representation and performance. There’s not much more to say about Bomb Warrior that hasn’t already been said; if you’re not playing Bomb Warrior, you should probably be teching a deck against it, and it’s worth considering whether that deck should be your primary.
Shark Rogue had a remarkable comeback this week, returning to the top of the list with just two fewer qualifier wins than Bomb Warrior. It continues to have a good matchup against nearly everything but Bomb Warrior, so it’s surprising to see it have this level of success, but even the matchup against Bomb Warrior isn’t disasterous (it had around a 42% win rate this week), and may be improving as players learn what techs fit into the deck. It’s important to note that Spirit of the Shark isn’t going away; we’re tracking decks not running Spirit of the Shark separately, and those decks aren’t performing nearly as well as the Spirit of the Shark versions. (What’s unclear from the view of only having data down to the match level is whether Spirit of the Shark is good, or if the deck is performing despite the card, but we’ll leave that to other analysts to discuss.)
Cyclone Mage remains in the third spot this week because of the prevalence of Bomb Warrior. It should be noted that while the deck has a fairly good win rate in Swiss, its performance in Top 8 is not nearly as consistent as last week given the likelihood of running into a Shark Rogue, which is by far Mage’s worst matchup.
Long story short, if you want to play the best deck, play Bomb Warrior. If you want to counter the best deck, play Cyclone Mage. If you want to next level all the people trying to counter Bomb Warrior, play Shark Rogue.
Midrange Hunter is the most popular of the qualifier winners that falls below the level of meta defining. Its fortunes tend to mirror Cyclone Mage’s; it wins when it hits Warriors, it loses when it hits Rogues, and it has a reasonable matchup against everything else (except Token Druid).
The rest of the qualifier winners have much lower sample sizes in terms of individual matchup win rates, but Holy Wrath Paladin, Murloc Shaman, Control Warrior and Token Druid all have good matchups against at least one of the meta defining decks, and the nature of all of those archetypes is that they can high roll into wins even when they’re heavily unfavored.
Bomb Hunter once again struggled to win its sole qualifier this week, despite being the terror of the meta just a week ago. As we suspected, this deck’s performance will continue to be volatile, given that it doesn’t have a consistently positive win rate against any prevalent deck in Specialist. (Note that this differs wildly from ladder, where Bomb Hunter is one of the best decks in Standard; some combination of knowing in advance that your opponent is on Bomb Hunter coupled with the ability to hard tech in silences and life gain makes a difference in a best of 3 format.)
Mech Paladin and Freeze Mage both take a step back this week as well. Mech Paladin suffers from the rise of Shark Rogue, not least because Sap is magnetic’s worst enemy. What’s interesting is that Mech Paladin’s win rate against Warrior, which is the entire reason to play the deck, is only 48%, likely a result of hard sideboarding as we saw in Las Vegas last week.
Freeze Mage increased in prevalence but had an abysmal percentage of players reaching Top 8, likely because the deck is much more difficult to play than Dog made it seem last week. It has a slightly better matchup against Bomb Warrior than Cyclone Mage does, but its matchups against Shark Rogue and Cyclone Mage are dramatically worse, so even if Warrior continues to increase in prevalence, the better play is still probably just to bring Cyclone Mage instead.
The rest of the top 8 participants, Aggro Shaman, Party Rogue and Resurrect Priest, were brought in such small numbers that we don’t have sufficient sample sizes on which to draw any conclusions. Suffice to say these are all decks to monitor for now.
Meta Defining Decks
This lineup borrows ideas from Gallon, Ace103, and Mick. The primary is essentially Gallon’s primary Vegas list. The secondary is Mick’s greedy list meant for the mirror and midhunter. Elysiana into Zihi can often win the mirror. Zihi on turn 9 vs midhunter can often buy you the time you need to draw Boom or snowball a favorable board state. The tertiary merges the anti-mech and anti-mage sideboards into one (Ace’s idea). I primarily built the tertiary for the current Asia server cup meta, but it’s entirely possible that on your server, going completely anti-mage or completely anti-mech is better. Snip-Snap was lowkey MVP in many of my close games.
You play it basically the same as normal cyclone mage, it’s just a better list. You use deck 2 against Rogue and dumb stuff like Token Druid and Murloc Shaman, and deck three against Warrior and dumb stuff like OTK Paladin.
I played Holy Wrath Paladin in Las Vegas Masters Tour and I really liked the tertiary deck at that tournament (made for Rogue) so I decided to try it out as my primary deck and I won my first qualifier with it, so it worked out I guess. I would queue the primary in every matchup except for Warrior and Mage. You queue the secondary deck vs Warrior unless they run 3 silence in a deck (then you queue the primary because this secondary deck doesn’t run Holy Wraths so it’s very hard to win vs 3 silence). I would usually play Kangor’s Endless Army in my secondary instead of Lightforged Blessing but I can’t fit in Zilliax because it’s not in the primary deck (which is mostly because Zilliax is pretty bad vs Rogue since they can very easily deal with it). The tertiary is vs Mage – I tried out an extra Shrink Ray in this list so you have 4 removals but I found my hand to just be full of removal and no draw so I cut it again. You can also play the tertiary vs a control deck like Control Shaman because the 1 drops are not that good vs this deck and the extra draw from Soup Vendor can be nice. Sometimes it can come down to “mindgames” vs Warrior because if they think I will queue primary because they have 3 silence in a deck, they will not queue their 3 silence deck but then if I think they won’t queue their 3 silence deck I can just queue my secondary etc.
The first Hearthstone Masters Tour event has taken place in Las Vegas this week, drawing broad attention to the Specialist format. Meanwhile, the series of Qualifiers for the Seoul event continued, with meta trends of its own.
Warrior is very popular in Qualifiers, but not nearly as much as it has been in Las Vegas.
The data that powers this report can be found at offcurve.com/specialist-meta
The story of week six of Seoul qualifiers revolves around Bomb Warrior and the different ways that players have attempted to counter it. The week began with leaks from before the start of Las Vegas Masters Tour on Friday showing that over 100 players (of 297) had decided to bring Warrior to that tournament. As the week progressed, the frequency of Warrior has crept up to above 30% by the end of the weekend. Bomb Warrior isn’t necessarily the best deck in Tier 1 this week, but it is defining the meta based on how many times a player will need to play against it in order to qualify.
Bomb Hunter continues to defy the odds and take a slot in tier 1. It doesn’t seem to have a particularly great matchup against any of the decks that are prevalent in the meta, but it has an even matchup against Bomb Warrior, and the way the deck is built makes it hard to sideboard against for any other deck, so even though the matchups don’t look good, Bomb Hunter has a puncher’s chance almost irrespective of matchup, and it showed that this week. However, the move from tier 3 last week to tier 1 this week demonstrates the deck’s inconsistency; we could easily see it drop back to tier 2 or tier 3 next week.
Midrange Hunter (featuring Master’s Call and Dire Frenzy) is the traditional counter to Bomb Warrior and also has an even matchup against Cyclone Mage. As was the case with Cyclone Mage, the decline of Shark Rogue has made Midrange Hunter’s matchups more reasonable across the board even when it’s hunting classes other than Warrior.
Cyclone Mage remains in tier 2 this week, primarily because of its favorable matchup against Bomb Warrior, with the ability to go even greedier in the sideboard with cards like Astromancer, Harrison Jones and Archmage Antonidas to overcome the Bomb Warrior’s armor. It also benefits from the decrease in Shark Rogues, which were the deck’s biggest predator last week.
Mech Paladin joins Holy Wrath Paladin in tier 2, thanks to its good matchup against Warrior (though this decreases in games 2 and 3 as Warriors have learned to sideboard for it, as evidenced by Gallon’s Las Vegas lineup featuring three silences and two EMP Operatives). It also has good matchups against both prevalent Hunter decks, but struggles mightily against Cyclone Mage, which can get off to a faster start of gigantic nonsense than can the Paladin.
Holy Wrath Paladin remains relatively unchanged from last week, though it does lose a bit with fewer Rogues in the meta to beat up on. Note that only one player progressed to top 8 with Holy Wrath Paladin but then went on to qualify, so players planning on bringing this deck should be extremely confident in their ability to pilot it.
Freeze Mage is a new entry in Tier 3, and gained popularity thanks to Dog piloting the deck to top 8 of Las Vegas this weekend. The deck goes all in on freeze effects and large minions, hoping to play Luna’s Pocket Galaxy on curve and then draw into a steady stream of 1 mana threats. Freeze Mage is difficult to pilot correctly, but ultimately performs as a better version of Dragon Conjurer Mage, with the ability to crush Warrior under the weight of all the huge minions in addition to the standard Conjurer’s Calling package that already gives Warrior fits. It’s worth noting that the deck is in early days of refinement; it may get stronger as more players experiment with different builds.
Murloc Shaman is also in tier 2. True to the spirit of the Specialist format, Slysssa took the midrange build of Murloc Shaman that she originally piloted to a high finish on ladder and adapted it for Specialist, winning qualifier #173.
Control Warrior continues to have a generally less favorable matchup spread than Bomb Warrior, but fares better against Cyclone Mage, with more deck slots available for tools like Supercollider and Execute, allowing the deck to go all in on additional techs like Big Game Hunter in the sideboards. Should Cyclone Mage continue to rise in popularity, a switch from Bomb Warrior to Control Warrior could be a smart lineup choice.
The biggest story in tier 3 is the fall of Shark Rogue, last week’s terror of the meta. As we stated last week, Shark Rogue’s primary counter is Bomb Warrior, so as more players moved to that deck, Shark Rogue’s performance dropped. Despite being the second most popular deck, it showed a disappointing win rate in top 8 and hovered around 50% overall. There also is some debate whether Spirit of the Shark is even worth running in the deck, and Rogue may go back to the drawing board in favor of Raiding Party focused builds (which are also in tier 3 and have a 55% win rate in Swiss), or Burgle style Rogues that cut Spirit of the Shark for more proactive cards.
Tier 4 consists of a number of somewhat off-meta decks with one top 8 appearance apiece, though this list does feature decks that had some deep runs in Las Vegas, including Secret Hunter and Token Druid. One new deck worth highlighting is Mech Priest, which abuses magnetic synergies while taking advantage of the buff to Extra Arms and the classic Divine Spirit/Inner Fire finishing combo; it makes tier 3 despite a very low representation, so this could be a deck to watch over the coming weeks (though the tendency for decks to load up on silence effects to counter other mech decks could hurt it as well).
Holy Wrath Paladin
Raiding Party Rogue
YAYtears.com is currently unable to provide deck codes and visualisations, due to Battlefy updating thei API to fix the issue that caused the leak ahead of the Las Vegas event. This is why the images displayed here are inconsistent and why there are no links attached to them.
S4mule’s Bomb Hunter
The first deck is what I considered the most standard for the meta. The secondary is a beast against Warrior, practically free win. And the third list is focused only against Rogue that is possibly the worst confrontation on the deck. I would have liked to put Harrison Jones in the second list but in Asia I do not have it.
Primary list is for everything except Warriors and Mech decks, secondary has Elysiana and some extra Bombs for long Warrior matches and tertiary uses 3 silences and 2 EMP Operatives because of Mech Hunter’s popularity. At a specialist format, this lineup is pretty weak against the old school Control Warrior, it also struggles with Mages but with a decent draw it can rush pretty easily. The qualifier we used the deck was the same time Vegas event occured, so all the good Mage players were AFK, thats why i didnt use an anti-mage sidelist. The main concept is to look for Dr.Boom as always, other key cards to keep is 1drops vs aggro and Augmented Elek-Clockwork Goblin vs everything. Usually at mirrors i tend to smorc the enemy and pray for bombs to explode fast, most people use greedy lists so punishing them asap is almost always better than going for the outvalue plan.
2nd deck is better against Warriors, 3rd deck is better against Mages.
ShinePG’s Mech Paladin
Posesi’s Cyclone Mage
にん’s Holy Wrath Paladin
It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to place high using Holy Wrath Paladin, so I’d like to write about Holy Wrath Paladin. Last month, I was able to finish top 100 in Asia, and top 200 in NA with this deck. This month, I was able to place top 2 in the Master’s Tour Qualifer for Seoul and decided to go to Seoul. Since combo decks are fairly simple at a conceptual level, I felt that it was a suitable deck for me. DECK PLAN Empty out your deck with cycle cards, play Shirvallah, shuffle a copy in with Baleful Banker, and then deal 25 damage with Holy Wrath to your opponent. This is the optimal combo you want to play with this deck. You have about three different ways to win with this deck. – Use your Shirvallah Holy Wrath combo to your opponent’s face, and deal 50 damage. Rushdown your opponent’s face with the Shirvallah Holy Wrath and cards such as Truesilver Champion, etc. (In this case, a Shirvallah Baleful can be used at anytime outside of the combo) Take control of the board with Shirvallah(You will often take the board mainly against aggro decks.) Against Warrior, or control opponent’s such as Shaman: If they have higher than 25 armor, you would use the first route as you cannot pierce their armor. Against Mage, Mid-Range Hunters, or Rogue Opponents: I think that the game will often be decided by the second plan, as their recovery is poor. Against Zoo, Murloc Shaman, Token Druid, or other such aggro Opponents. – I think that it’s alright to go with the third plan, as once you often get board control when using Shirvallah in a similar manner to the second plan during the early stages of the game. You should watch how your opponent can recover, what your opponent’s deck type is, and these will affect how you win a little. It is better to think about which plan to take from the beginning of the game. MULLIGAN Crystology Every match is a must-keep. Of course, 1 mana draw 2 is strong, but if you pull it in the second half of the game, you will often find that there is no 1 attack minions left in the deck, and I think that this is the card I want the most in the mulligan. Prismatic Lens Keep on Control Warrior or other such opponents that are not very fast. As they do not play minions at the beginning of the game, it is not a problem to draw at the cost of board development. From the middle stages of the game and onward, removal with ShrinkRay is used! Such a nice defensive card is surely in your hand, so boards can be dealt with without difficulty. Truesilver Champion Keep on Bomb warrior, or other such opponent’s that summon troublesome minons in the early game, such as Rogue, Midrange Hunter, Etc. I think the early stages of the game will change entirely depending on whether you can keep it. It is often the case that you will lose the board control without a way to remove it before being able to Holy Wrath Combo. Therefore, by equipping the weapon on turn 4, the opponent’s attack is delayed and you have an easier time to play the combo. Wild Pyromancer, Consecration. Token Druid, Zoo, Etc, or any deck that wants to go wide with minions. The reasoning is similar to Truesilver Champion, as often the minions cannot be cleared before playing out the combo. On wide board minion decks, the Truesilver Champion won’t keep up with enough removal, so I keep 2 pieces that can totally remove the board. SUMMARY This deck is recommended for people who do not want to fight their opponent’s deck in their current enviorment, as they can refuse to interact and decide on doing the combo without fighting the opponent. There is only one impossible match, and that is Bomb Warrior, I think that it’s a deck that is easy to win against if it can be controlled early. If anyone wants to talk to me personally, it’s possible to reach me through Discord, Hearthstone, Twitter, etc. Please feel free to speak to me about it.
Since the Masters Tour in Las Vegas was so Warrior heavy I wanted to play Mage, and because Open Cups tend to catch up with bigger tournments’ metas, and Dog was 8-0, I ended up using his line up. The deck looked better against Warrior than Cyclone Mage because it is more pro-active while not playing straight into Big Game Hunters after game 1. The deck has a lot of impactfull minions that aren’t 10 drops, so it’s easier to use conjurer’s call earlier in the game and I felt this was an important factor to beat warrior. Regarding the secondary deck, I used it against Rogue since Rogue goes really wide these days with Lackeys, and it can also be used against other aggro decks. Finally, the terciary deck is, once more, against warrior with a few more value cards and healing in the form of Deranged Doctor.
Slysssa’s Murloc Shaman
datLMF’s Control Warrior
I always loved to play Control Warrior, even if it’s a very slow deck and games can take you much time. Personally I feel like the deck is better than Bomb Warrior, because it has more reactive tools against aggro classes and can pressure late game anyway with Dr. Boom’s aura and Mechs. The primary list tries to be well rounded against every matchup, trying to win game 1; but the main target is Bomb Warrior, especially with the Scheme tech, since game 2 and 3 are harder to win because opponent may have greedy sides vs you. On ladder I have 46-29 (low sample size but games are long), but I would advise to play Theo’s list instead, since it looks way cleaner. Secondary deck is for Mages, not much to say about that. The tertiary list is the one that you run vs most matchups that require you to clean board and put late game pressure. Rogues go greedy in side, so your goal is to kill them. Midrange Hunter is the worst matchup, followed by Mech Hunter and Mech Paladin, and here your goal is to get Boom going quickly and kill them, using the silences to clear the greedy cards. OTK Paladin may be tricky, here you have to read if opponent switches to Undertaker list or keeps the main deck, but the answer probably is the second one. I haven’t met any shamans, but on ladder list 1 is fine and list 3 should win more against them. Priest and Warlock sadly don’t see play, so Nomi Priest being a bad matchup is irrelevant, and Zoo should still be fine if he doesn’t get some explosive Rafaam going. Conclusion: in tournaments Elysiana decks may be pretty problematic to people, especially because games take so much time when we’re talking about control mirrors. But I found this to be the best performing deck at the moment, and even if the meta changes every day, I feel like CW will keep its spot until the new expansion, with many players being constantly in high legend.
Neirea’s Shark Rogue
I think the deck is built pretty straightforward. I didn’t like Sea Giant in the meta (felt like a win more card). Secondary deck is for Mages, tertiary is for Warrior. Me and Rdu had exactly same lists and Thijs had 1-2 cards off. Secondary deck techs were copy pasta from existing lineups. We tried to build tertiary to make Warrior feel awkward removing our minions and mechs plus Magnetic were good for that! Also we threw in Zihi because when it denies Omega Assembly and Omega Devastator it feels so good! Overall, i didnt have much experience with meta as i only got legend from rank8 this month, so i had to trust Radu and Thijs.
The primary deck is copied from Yogg’s winning list in Qualifier #148 minus 1 Preparation plus one Zilliax because of the synergy with Sn1p-Sn4p. The secondary deck (anti Warrior) has 4/5 additions the same with mine adding a Harrison in place of the 2nd scheme and cutting 1 SI instead of a prep since I am playing 1 only. My tertiary deck is tuned to battle flood decks that want to make use of Sn1p-Sn4p and Replicating Menace that create board states that Tempo Rogue usually can’t effectively trade into or race hence the double Fan of Knives and 1 Vanish. Also Faerie Dragon on 2 is usually backbreaking against Mages and that’s one of the things that made me really want to play Yogg’s lists and it proved itself vs the Mages in this qualifiers forcing them on some really suboptimal lines in order to deal with it.
xin’s Control Shaman
Yachster’s Mech Priest
Primary is really strong against Warrior which is what I made it for as long as they don’t run EMP and Silence, secondary targets decks that go wide like Zoo, Murloc Shaman (Hungry Crab to make them mad) and Zoo with the Holy Novas, tertiary is for Rogue if they are running Waggle Pick. Don’t use it if they are not using the Pick. And you can switch to Tertiary if it is a Bomb Warrior or even Control with Weapons Project/Super Collider. Primary also does decent against most decks.
Control’s Raiding Party Rogue
Bunnyhoppor’s Pogo Rogue
bronynosets’s Secret Hunter
PapaJason’s Token Druid
Jambre’s Token Shaman
Deck one is mostly a ladder deck. It has good techs vs Warrior. You can play Mojomaster Zihi the turn before Warrior has 10 mana to block their Omega cards and 5 damage Warpath. When it rolls round to just before their 10 mana turn again you can Shudderwock to reset the mana, usually making a big board and refilling your hand. The Warrior will have the mana to Brawl only and you will just pull ahead in tempo. The format is mostly Mage Warrior Hunters and Rogue. There aren’t great tech cards vs Mid Hunter or Rogue so dedicating a sideboard to them probably wouldn’t gain much %. Instead, I wanted to have a heavy teched sideboard for OTK Paladin and Mech decks, even if I’m unlikely to face them. Spellward Jeweler and Earth Shock are so gamewinning vs OTK and Mechs respectively that I could combine them into one deck and have it be powerful in each matchup i.e. I don’t mind playing a Spider Tank vs Mechs or an extra Earth Shock vs OTK as long as I draw the power cards. The 3rd deck is anti-Mage. Late game cards are largely irrelevant as the game has been won or lost before turn 7+. When the opposing Mage plays Sea Giant for cheap the board often stays the same number of minions, so you can swing back with your own cheap Sea Giant turn. This deck can also be okay vs Zoo. 1 Murloc Tastyfin is a nice include since it will usually draw you 2 Murlocs to start your Underbelly turn.
The first week after the buffs to some Boomsday cards was also the first one with the new rules in Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers: each event grants two players their qualification, and some of them are Single Elimination instead of Swiss. This is also our last report before Masters Tour Las Vegas, for which the decklist submission deadline is this Friday. All the data shown here comes from Qualifier Seoul #133 through #150.
Together, Midrange Hunter, Shark Rogue and Bomb Warrior represent more than half of the field. We strongly suspect that some players are innovating and tinkering strong and interesting new decks, but they are withholding them for a surprise effect in Las Vegas. Some serious contenders have clearly taken a break from anything that’s open decklists this week, and we can’t wait to find out what they have been up to.
You can explore the database that powers this report at offcurve.com/specialist-meta.
We have reworked the definitions of Rogue archetypes this week. First, the algorythm checks for Tess Greymane or Academic Espionnage (Burle Rogue), then for Gadgetzan Auctioneer (Miracle Rogue). Then it pulls Malygos (Malygos Rogue), Necrium Blade (Deathrattle Rogue), Pogo Hopper (Pogo Rogue) and Captain Hooktusk (Hooktusk Rogue). That’s when it becomes interesting. We call it PartyTempo Rogue if it contains Raiding Party, Shark Rogue if it has Spirit of the Shark, and if it has none of them but still EVIL Miscreat then it’s Tempo Rogue. The madmen who bring Rogue decks without Miscreant (or any of the previously mentionned cards) fall under Other Rogue.
The biggest impact of the buff patch wasn’t the introduction of any new decks into tier 1, but the fall of Midrange Hunter all the way from tier 1 to tier 3. This doesn’t seem to have as much to do with Midrange Hunter or the card buffs as much as the continued refinement and increased prevalence of Shark Rogue (which we’re classifying as any deck running Spirit of the Shark). Shark Rogue is heavily favored against Midrange Hunter, so as more players bring Shark Rogue, Midrange Hunter fares worse. Shark Rogue also has an even or favored matchup against nearly every other deck on the tier list, with a couple of notable exceptions. As such, Shark Rogue is the new deck to beat going forward. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
The other deck in tier 1 remains Bomb Warrior, mainly because it has a good matchup against Shark Rogue while maintaining favorable matchups against the rest of the popular decks. There’s not really a lot to say about Bomb Warrior that hasn’t already been said, to be honest; it’s a solid deck that’s easy to tech, and Dr. Boom, Mad Genius is a hell of a card. Every lineup should have a plan for Bomb Warrior and Shark Rogue in one of the the three decks.
Tier 2 is where we start to see some more interesting developments. Cyclone Mage is seeing a bit of a resurgence, thanks to fewer players teching against it as well as fewer Midrange Hunters, which was one of its worst matchups. Shark Rogue is still unfavored, but at least Bomb Warriors don’t have the luxury to go all in to hate it out of the meta. The lists that have been successful don’t seem to run Luna’s Pocket Galaxy, however; that seems like it’s reserved for Freeze Mage exclusively.
Holy Wrath Paladin makes its way into tier 2 thanks primarily to the buff to Crystology. With a good matchup against Shark Rogue as well as against Midrange Hunter, the extra speed is the shot in the arm that it needed to start performing. The Warrior matchup is still pretty bad, however, which may be keeping it from tier 1.
The surprise new entry this week is Midrange Shaman. This list takes advantage of the buffs to Thunderhead and The Storm Bringer and acts kind of like Token Shaman of old, building a big board and either using Bloodlust as a finisher or Storm Bringer to make a board that’s too big for the opponent to deal with, and has Shudderwock to abuse powerful battlecries as a plan B for control matchups. It was only brought by 20 players this week, but two of those players (Coookiemonst and Pikatwo) qualified with the deck, and neither player lost a match within top 8. The sample size is still low, but this remains a deck to keep a close eye on.
Aside from Midrange Hunter, the rest of Tier 3 are last month’s decks: Control Warrior without bombs had some success but is just an inferior version of Bomb Warrior as far as Specialist is concerned. Bomb Hunter does slightly better than Midrange Hunter against Shark Rogue but falls flat against Bomb Warrior. Some players have experimented with Raiding Party based Rogues as well, but these have the same or worse matchups as Shark rogue across the board, with the exception of the matchup against Shark Rogue itself, in which it’s favored. Time will tell if the list gets refined or if Shark Rogue becomes a big enough percent of the meta that Party Rogue is worth bringing instead.
Holy Wrath Paladin
Raiding Party Rogue
Here are some of the best decks from this week! You can click on the deck name to get deck codes from YAYtears. Some players were generous enough to write insights about their strategy and we thank them very much. Aside from Coookiemonst, the players who will be in Las Vegas unanimously replied that they wanted to every bit of information for themselves (some of them going as far as actively asking us to tell how bad their deck is and promote the one that they try to target) and we understand that. Special thanks to zflow, our friend in Korea.
The main strategy of the deck is to stick a resilient board in the midgame with Thunderhead, Twilight Drake, Earthen Might, and chip away at their life. You also can go for a more value plan with the Hagatha’s and Shudderwock. Overall, the deck is pretty flexible. The secondary is primarily for Bomb Warrior where you have inevitability with Elysiana, but can still pressure with the chunky midrange minions. Tertiary is for aggro decks where you want to have more of a control plan and remove the opponent’s board and outvalue them. MVPs of the deck are Spirit of the Frog, Thunderhead, and Likkim.
I’ve been mainly playing off meta decks that I think are just as strong and very fun to play but a little less popular (sometimes due to one particular matchup). Mecha’thun Warrior and Holy Wrath Paladin have been my favorites for tourney qualifiers this season, and with the buff to Crystology, I think Holy Wrath Paladin is definitely a strong contender now. The 1 mana cost now allows you to draw two cards on turn 1, play it easily whenever you have spare mana, or combo with Pyromancer for more draw or clear. In terms of matchups, the third deck was made to counter aggro which doesn’t seem to be prevalent right now (but is a weakness of the deck). The second deck counters Warriors very well, making up for Holy Wrath’s overall weakness against their armor gain (which is probably the reason Holy Wrath isn’t as common on ladder). The main difficulty for Holy Wrath Paladin is balancing your heal turns, your 2 invincible turns and your clear turns – holding out one more turn for a clear so that you’re closer to a combo makes all the difference a lot of times. Additionally, the other factor to consider is sometimes prioritizing spells if you have Shrivallah in hand given that you can often use him once for combined heal and clearing – many matchups will only require one 25 dmg face hit to win.
I mainly target Rogue and Warrior, the last deck can be used to fight Bomb Hunter. There is still a need to adjust, I will put Zilliax back. I don’t think Vex Crow and Rrog is a good choice because we have to cast spells for it.
Primary is all around a great deck and slightly teched for mirror, the Highmane is good in the mirror and helps a ton for game 1 in Warrior matchups. Secondary is for control, all control decks need to kill you to win because of insane value from Zul’jin and Dire Frenzies, that’s why healing is really good. Tertiary is for Rogues, it’s the least refined list, but I really like the secrets because people often try to play around them and fall far behind.
Hello, I am Nambarjin “Lambo” Tumenbayar from Mongolia. After reaching #3 Legend this month with Control Warrior (73% Winrate 130 games) I decided to play open qualifiers with it. My primary deck is targeted Rogue and Aggressive decks while my secondary and tertiary prepared for Bomb Warrior and Control respectively.
Galvanizer and Ursatron are the MVP cards in my deck, keep them in any matchups. Also, galvanizer expels most non–mech cards out of our deck. Magnetic Magnetic cards are better to be buff cards than played without magnetic. Not only is soleremoval card unpopulared and weakened, but also magnetic cards are already grab tempo before they are removed. Although I suggest putting some token mechs so as to split value, sometimes we have to gamble. Gambling is even better than no chance for gambling and being silence is even better than nothing to magnetic. (Warning: try not to filling the board when against rogue&mage) Non–mech cards To be consistent, I even hope all 30 cards are mechs, and if it is not there must be a reason running it. Tracking: the BEST searching card when you NEVER draw out of your deck. Boommaster flark: Comparing with Dr doom(both) , we say flark is good enough for “later” game. Leeroy: Most effective card to deal damage when we can’t run killcommand. Usually our opponent falls into that paradox: kill our bomb-> die to leeroy; ignore our bomb–> die to magnetic
These decks led me to qualify Seoul 🙂 Primary list is solid. This is favored vs Shark/Vendetta Rogue I think. As unusual point compared with standard Party Rogue,this list adopts only 4 pirate guys.(standard one does 5 or 6 guys) For, when you cast Raiding Party, you are likely to draw double Dread Corsair. It’s “dread”ful for your opponent Kappa. And 4 is enough to use R Party i think. Although this is solid, Hench-Clan Thug slot is replaceble. For example, 1×Wisp, 2×Harvest Golem+zilliax, 2×fox, 1×Fan and so on. And new card called SN1P-SN4P is awesome. Secondary list i use vs Warriors. Probably this list needs 1 or 2 Shadowstep (swap it with Thug or Deadly Poison). Tertiary list i used vs Mage, Bomb/Mech Hunter, Mech Paladin. Betrayal is real. This generates value with Walk the Plank, Sap. If you have any question,i can answer on Twitter DM.
I have played 16 games in three tournaments, only twice lost to a class other than Mage. The strategy of deck is to swing with Glaston Technologies and low-cost mech cards. This deck is good to tech for Warrior and Midrange Hunter. Even having two Spellbreakers or Ironbreak Owls on the side deck by Warrior is very favored, and you can also have a half-and-half match-up against Warrior, which added E.M.P. Operating. And this deck is also favored against Mech Hunter because there is a Faceless Manipulator that can tech to Mech Hunter’s core combo, Venomizer and Missile Launcher. I think this deck is a fifty-fifty winning rate against Rogue, which has benefited a lot from the trend to add only one Sap to the deck. The class that hard to against in the tournament was Mage. I even prayed that I wouldn’t match up with Mage. In my experience, it’s a serious one-to-nine disadvantage. I tried and failed the Big Game Hunter, Shrink Ray, Coppertail Importer and even Rebuke on the side deck(On the contrary, it was not bad card against other classes except Mage). If there is a way how to tech against Mage, this deck have a potential to become a top tier. I think people who are looking at this report can find a better answer than me.
My first version was « ok » versus all matchups (except Mechanical Whelp bad vs aggro and Sap). I use the second version vs Warrior (with the 4 mana spell beast) for out value. The tertiary deck was built for aggro and Mid Hunter. I think the secret package and Safegard is good against Mid Hunter (to counter his smorc plan).
Freeze Mage is a very powerful deck in ladder. It has many strong combos using Conjurer, Jepetto, Galaxy. But this deck was not brought enough in specialist format. So I tried to test how the deck performs in this format. The decklist was almost all of a copy of SoLegit’s deck. It was because I thought that was the most powerful deck. I didn’t want to add wasteful cards which prevent using powerful combos, so I changed minimum cards in the secondary and tertiary deck. Instead of removing Astromancer which is relatively useless in vs aggro match, I added Polymorph to secondary to deal with Venomiser+Missile Launcher, and Mossy Horror to tertiary to destroy spirits and lackeys. Now, I think I should have been more considered secondary and tertiary. In the #146 tournament, I beat many Warriors with primary deck. The combos with Alex and Antonidas + freeze cards contributed to beat decklists added BGH and Supercollider. Tertiary help me beating Rogue once. The secondary wasn’t played. Freeze Mage is very good at beating Bomb Warrior and Cyclone Mage and other relatively slow decks. On the other hand, it may have some difficulty in dealing with Rogue and Hunter. If you found a better way to deal with them, it would get worth using in specialist format.
The deck plan of this “Luna’s Galaxy Mage” is to stall the game as long as possible with your freeze spells to be able to draw into your Luna’s Galaxy, Doomsayer for boardclear or just the classic Giant + Conjurer´s combination. To be able to do this it is crucial that you search for Luna’s and your draw engines in the mulligan. If you play versus aggresive decks that are very popular right now like Tempo Rogue, Mech Hunter or agressive Shaman lists you also try to find Doomsayer. After that you just try to get as less face damage as possible while also drawing as much cards as possible. In most games the game winning turn is when you are able to to freeze all enemy minions with Frost Nova while also playing a cheap giant or 1-mana Alextrasza/Kalecgos/Astromancer. Against control decks the game is in general very easy as long as you dont commit to hard on the board and run into a brawl or Hagatha’s Scheme. Therefore you only try to tech against agressive decks in your Seondary and Tertiary. Im personally not a 100% happy with my 2 side decks so you should just think by yourself what cards you could play to avoid the matchups you dislike. You can play for example silences if you face a lot of Mech Hunters or just Rabble Bouncer against Zoo/Token Druid. In my opinion the deck isn’t easy to play but the main tipp I have for you is to keep ur next 1-2 turns and your overall game plan/winconditions in mind and not just play your cards because they seem good in this turn.