Blog

Hearthstone Battlegrounds: Meet the Heroes!

Introduction

Hey everyone! I’m lulnenko, a Battlegrounds player with a peak rating over 10.3k. For more Hearthstone and Hearthstone Battlegrounds content, follow me at https://twitter.com/lulnenko and https://www.twitch.tv/lulnenko. You can also chat with me on the NoProsHere Discord server at https://discord.gg/vjA7DYu.

Today I want to take a brief look at each hero. I’ve ordered them from best to worst by equally weighing my opinion of each hero with HSReplay’s data for the top 20% of Battlegrounds players. I’ve heavily considered HSReplay stats while writing this, but mainly focused on my own experiences in high rank lobbies. I’ll explain why each hero ended up in the spot they did, and give some helpful tips for some of the heroes!


Millhouse Manastorm

The Great Heroes

When played well, these heroes consistently place in the top 4 due to their hero powers granting a significant advantage over other heroes.

Millhouse Manastorm

Passive Hero Power: Minions cost 2 Gold. Refresh costs 2 Gold.

Now that Millhouse starts with 3 gold (formerly 2), he can easily flood the board with minions, winning early fights. His early strength and discounted minions also allow him to upgrade his tavern earlier than most heroes while retaining strength. In the late game, the expensive refreshes become a significant detriment, but early high tier minions can often snowball into a victory.

Nozdormu

Passive Hero Power: Your first Refresh each turn costs (0).

Saving loads of gold over the course of an entire game is obviously good. It allows players to get more rolls for key units and helps them afford to play more units in a turn if they are using their refreshes. Perhaps less obviously, Nozdormu also grants important retries in early turns, which can prevent getting blown out early, and he lets players immediately reroll for higher tier units after upgrading their tavern.

Arch-Villain Rafaam

(1) Hero Power: Next combat, add a plain copy of the first minion you kill to your hand. 

Sometimes, Rafaam steals his opponent’s extremely powerful units and uses them to win the game. More commonly, Rafaam uses his hero power to find triples more effectively than other heroes without wasting much time along the way. Rafaam also has the luxury of purchasing a unit on turn 2, as using his hero power early generally grants an early advantage which allows him to catch up in levels later.

Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End

(2) Hero Power: Hire a random minion in Bob’s Tavern and give it +1/+1.

Yogg’s hero power grants such a ridiculous early game advantage that it is truly bizarre to see Yogg finish in the bottom two spots. On turn 3 (5 gold), Yogg can use his hero power to get a buffed random unit and a normal unit without having to sell anything. On turn 4 (6 gold), Yogg can sell a unit, upgrade the tavern, and use his hero power, keeping him stronger than nearly every other hero in the early game while still being ahead in tavern tiers. On turn 6 (8 gold), Yogg can upgrade the tavern for 6 gold and hero power. At this point, Yogg’s board lead has likely diminished, but he is one to two turns ahead of most opponents in terms of tavern tier and can leverage that into a victory. While this exact line of play isn’t optimal in every single game, it’s a solid guideline. Regardless, Yogg’s early strength allows him to crush the early game and quickly ramp into high tavern tiers, much like Millhouse.

Dancin’ Deryl

Passive Hero Power: After you sell a minion, randomly give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1 twice. 

Deryl can be difficult to play perfectly, but generally making a few big minions by isolating them in the store and selling a bunch of small minions is a good enough plan. Anything with divine shield, Rat Pack, Cave Hydra, or even something like Imp Gang Boss is generally a reasonable target. In a pinch, just about any unit is strong if buffed enough. Don’t underestimate the value of buying and immediately selling units, and don’t underestimate the power of pure stats!

Edwin VanCleef

(1) Hero Power: Give a minion +1/+1 for each minion you’ve bought this turn.

Edwin is strong for many of the same reasons as Deryl, but with the downside of buffing minions more slowly and the upside of having the buffs be both targetable and usable on minions you have already placed (which also means he is able to buff discovered units, unlike Deryl). Unlike Deryl, Edwin can be played without significantly altering your normal playstyle. Like Deryl, Edwin often ends the game with gigantic Deflecto-o-Bots and Cave Hydras.


Infinite Toki

The Good Heroes

These heroes either lack the consistency of the great heroes or require more skill to perform well. However, they still often get strong results and offer a lot of power to those who know what they’re doing.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Passive Hero Power: At the start of the game, Discover a Hero Power.

The strategy behind Finley is pretty simple. If your other two options aren’t either great heroes or good heroes that you feel confident playing, choose Finley as a reroll. Whether you choose him over a reasonably strong hero like Elise is up to you, but stats do seem to suggest that taking Finley often pays off. Finley often creates lobbies with multiple copies of the same strong hero, which can occasionally lead to mutually beneficial scenarios for each of you (like the whole lobby awkwardly trying to navigate double Rafaam) or mutually destructive (like the whole lobby gobbling up units that summon tokens, so that they can defeat two Deathwings). It remains to be seen whether the recently added option to choose between 4 heroes instead of 3 makes choosing Finley less attractive.

The Great Akazamzarak

(2) Hero Power: Discover a Secret. Put it into the battlefield.

Akazamzarak is one of the most under-picked heroes for how strongly he tends to perform, at least according to available statistics. Ice Block alone often offers enough stalling to convert a potential 5th place finish into a 3rd place, and secrets like Splitting Image and Redemption are often game-deciding. While some of the secrets in Akazamzarak’s arsenal are truly abysmal, Redemption is particularly strong with deathrattle minions like Goldrinn and Splitting Image is great with large taunt minions.

A. F. Kay

Passive Hero Power: Skip your first two turns. Start with two minions from Tavern Tier 3.

A. F. Kay’s strength depends quite a bit on the strength of tier 3 minions, but with strong early game units like Deflect-o-Bot, Hangry Dragon, and Soul Juggler available, she can quite regularly convert her first two turn losses into multiple turns of wins. The difficulty in playing her comes in navigating the games where suboptimal tier 3 minions are offered, but even in these games she rarely falls too far behind.

Infinite Toki

(1) Hero Power: Refresh Bob’s Tavern. Include a minion from a higher Tavern Tier.

Toki’s hero power shines in the mid to late game, as cheating out tier 5 and 6 minions early can offer a substantial advantage over other heroes. Toki can also take advantage of this by leveling aggressively, getting her tier 5 and 6 units into play early and mitigating the drawbacks of early leveling by guaranteeing high tier rolls. However, Toki players are often weak in the early game, so learning to minimize early health loss is key to effectively playing Toki.

Elise Starseeker

Passive Hero Power: When you upgrade Bob’s Tavern get a ‘Recruitment Map’.

While Elise does not offer huge power spikes like some other heroes, she offers general consistency. Maps can be used on turns when no good options are available in the shop or can be used immediately after upgrading the tavern tier to get a higher tier unit without having to reroll.

Deathwing

Passive Hero Power: ALL minions have +2 Attack.

Despite having a symmetrical hero power (that is, one that affects both players in a fight equally), Deathwing usually gets a net benefit from his hero power because he will generally spend every turn purchasing units that benefit from the hero power while his opponents will not. In some lobbies, Deathwings may struggle if their opponents purchase copies of Rat Pack, reducing the number of Rat Packs available and keeping themselves strong against Deathwing. Deathwing players who find Rat Packs early will sometimes level extremely aggressively, but I would not advise this in most lobbies as opponents will generally begin to outpower Deathwing within one to two turns. It’s worth noting that the nerf to Deathwing (previously +3 Attack) weakens Deathwing in early fights due to 4 health minions like Vulgar Homunculus and Steward of Time now surviving attacks from minions with 1 base attack, like Alleycat and Mecharoo.

Malygos

Hero Power: Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier.

Malygos combines two of the themes common among good heroes: “having options is good” and “having a strong start is good.” With an Alleycat or Murloc Tidehunter, Malygos gets to upgrade the 1/1 token for free, and without this start bad units can still be rerolled into (hopefully) better options. The hero power can also be used to look for triple, to reroll high tier units that don’t fit Maly’s current board, or to upgrade units like Nathrezim Overseer which are valuable for their battlecries but do not have strong stats.

The Rat King

Passive Hero Power: Whenever you buy a Beast, give it +1/+2. Swaps type each turn.

Free stats are great! Rat King usually gets a strong start, which can be used to try to get ahead of the rest of the lobby. Unlike Yogg and Millhouse, Rat King cannot as easily convert his early stats into a tavern tier advantage, because he cannot purchase minions for a discount. However, the tempo advantage from getting +1/+2 on several minions is often at least enough to help The Rat King avoid low finishes.

Alexstrasza

Passive Hero Power: After you upgrade Bob’s Tavern to Tavern Tier 5, Discover two Dragons.

Statistics from HSReplay.net show that Alexstrasza is the definition of a boom-or-bust hero. She gets more first and last place finishes than almost any other hero, with relatively few results in between. That indicates a couple things: many players are simply dying before getting value out of this hero power, and those who do make it to turn 5 experience wild variance in how strong it actually is to discover two dragons. It goes without saying that players who find Razorgore and Kalecgos will generally finish much higher than players who do not, but experienced players can reduce Alexstrasza’s variance a bit by playing carefully. I would recommend leveling to tiers 3 and 4 at a normal or even slow pace, as rushing to 5 rarely pays off. After leveling to tier 4, leveling to 5 immediately the next turn will allow the player to catch up to other players in tavern tier while offering either a huge buff (with minions like Kalecgos) or some playable minions (like Cobalt Scalebane). Using this strategy, it is rare but not impossible to hit dragons which simply leave Alexstrasza dead in the water.

The Curator

Passive Hero Power: Start the game with a 1/1 Amalgam with all minion types.

The somewhat recent addition of dragons to Battlegrounds increased the power level of cards like Zoobot, Menagerie Magician, and Lightfang Enforcer, all of which are also fantastic for The Curator. Curator’s Amalgam also slots nicely into other tribal synergies, even if it’s just being used to make Soul Juggler juggle just a little bit more or it’s helping Razorgore grow. Realistically, though, it’s not uncommon to miss buffs for the Amalgam, and in those games it may serve as little more than a coin and a near-guarantee to win the first fight. Do not be afraid to sell your Amalgam.

Pyramad

(1) Hero Power: Give a random friendly minion +4 Health.

Stats are good. While the benefits of 4 extra health per turn dwindle in the late game, Pyramad can often hero power his way to early fight victories. As seen with many heroes higher on this list, early fight victories can be converted into an advantage later in the game. Interestingly, it is fairly common to see Pyramad players play murlocs, as early game murlocs which might normally lose fights become fairly strong with health buffs. This approach is risky, though, as its strength will fall off quickly if Pyramad does not find Murloc Warleaders and then immediately transition to their late game. Another interesting interaction with Pyramad is using the hero power to buff Micro Machine, a unit which quickly gains attack but usually struggles due to its low health.

Reno Jackson

(3) Hero Power: Make a friendly minion Golden. (Once per game.)

Like Alexstrasza, Reno comes with a late game payoff which can be game winning but usually comes at the cost of losing early fights. Reno games often go one of three ways: 1. Finding a triple on tier 4, discovering a tier 5 minion, and hero powering that minion; 2. Hero powering an early minion like Soul Juggler or Iron Sensei; or 3. Dying before the hero power accomplishes anything. While a golden Brann, Baron, or Lightfang Enforcer is generally stronger than a golden Soul Juggler, it’s also usually a bit harder to pull off, so the direction a Reno player chooses to go depends a bit on how quickly they are taking damage and how quickly they find pairs (which represent potential triples into tier 5 discovers). If opting to go for discovers, tier 5 discovers are usually much stronger than tier 4s, and waiting until tier 6 is usually much too slow. Don’t be afraid to use Reno’s hero power on suboptimal minions like Drakonid Enforcer or Iron Sensei, as a modest strength boost in the early to mid game is much better than waiting for a large boost when it’s already too late.


Shudderwock

The Bad Heroes

These heroes are very inconsistent or are much weaker than the good heroes. It’s still worthwhile to learn how to play them well, as these heroes will still frequently be the best ones available. Any hero can perform well, and these are still significantly stronger than the terrible ones.

Nefarian

(1) Hero Power: Start of Combat: Deal 1 damage to all enemy minions.

Nefarian’s hero power is fantastic against divine shields in the late game, but does not impress overall due to a lack of early game strength. Additionally, dealing 1 damage to all enemy minions is almost exclusively good against divine shields, and even then not ones that are generated by minions like Nadina the Red. In many fights, the hero power will simply be ineffective.

Sindragosa

Passive Hero Power: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1.

Sindragosa, formerly one of my personal favorite heroes and likely still in my top ten most played heroes, has sadly fallen into the “bad” category. Sindragosa offers a significant stat boost in the early game (starting on turn 3), but in a fairly unconvincing way compared to some heroes available. Sindragosa players are often forced to play subpar units (but with a stat bonus), and unlike Yogg and Millhouse, Sindragosa neither plays minions faster than other heroes nor generally gets the luxury of upgrading the tavern faster than other heroes. As a result, Sindragosa’s strength often falls off by the mid game.

The Lich King

(1) Hero Power: Give a friendly minion Reborn for the next combat only.

When I first saw that Lich King’s hero power was changed to be targeted, I thought it was overpowered. I was wrong. While it is quite strong to consistently get double value on powerful deathrattles like golden Spawn of N’Zoth, Goldrinn, or Ghastcoiler, Lich King still seems to fall flat in many games. In a meta where powerful deathrattles are more easily found, The Lich King may prove a serious threat. Currently, he’s fairly inconsistent and often weak.

Patchwerk

Passive Hero Power: Start with 50 Health instead of 40.

10 extra health is not very much when you are unfavored to win fights from the beginning of the game until the end. It may be enough to buy a little extra time, so that Patchwerk finishes 6th instead of 8th or 4th instead of 5th. It also lets wrath weaver players play a few more demons before dying. Patchwerk is bad, but playable in a pinch.

Galakrond

(1) Hero Power: Replace a minion in Bob’s Tavern with a minion from a higher Tavern Tier.

I have a soft spot for Galakrond, but realistically the most common Galakrond strategy, building a tier 6 minion early in the game, is nearly never a good idea. Galakrond can actually be played by progressing normally in the early game before trying to create higher tier minions using the hero power, a strategy which will both increase consistency and drastically decrease highroll potential. I personally enjoy playing Galakrond this way – very similarly to how I would play Toki – but for many players it may be advisable to only pick Galakrond if they believe in their ability to make a turn 6 Mama Bear.

Illidan Stormrage

Passive Hero Power: Start of Combat: Your left and right-most minions attack immediately.

As the newest hero on this list, Illidan is also the one with the most uncertain placement. While his hero power can be extremely beneficial when running powerful deathrattles or cleave minions, Illidan is generally weak in the early game and needs specific minions to really shine in the late game. While Illidan players may develop new strategies for him in the upcoming weeks, the initial stats are not promising.

Bartendotron

Passive Hero Power: Reduce the Cost of Tavern Tiers by (1).

Upgrading the tavern early sounds like a great idea. In practice, a 1 gold discount doesn’t actually line up nicely with the amount of gold players are likely to have most of the time. In general, Bartendotron does not benefit from his hero power compared to most heroes until around tier 4 or 5. Compared to other heroes who can level aggressively, like Millhouse, Bartendotron offers almost no benefit while also lacking the early game board advantage.

Shudderwock

(1) Hero Power: Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice.

Are Shudderwock’s stats lowered a bit by players who attempt to force Pogo Hoppers? Probably. Regardless, the HSReplay stats actually show Shudderwock’s odds of winning a fight increasing pretty steadily throughout a game. Doubling battlecries is a very strong effect, especially in the late game with valuable battlecries like Annihilan Battlemaster and Murozond, but some team compositions don’t benefit greatly from battlecries and the late game disadvantage is often insurmountable.

George the Fallen

(3) Hero Power: Give a friendly minion Divine Shield.

3 gold is expensive. George, like Shudderwock, actually gets quite strong in the late game, should he make it to the late game with a team composition that makes sense. With divine shield synergy units like Drakonid Enforcer and Bolvar, George can create a powerful team, and hero powering important units like Mama Bear or Baron Rivendare is also strong. Highly experienced players should likely value George a bit higher than his placement on this list, but as this list takes into account all HSReplay statistics for players at 6700+, he places very poorly.


Lord Jaraxxus

The Terrible Heroes

These heroes should be avoided at all costs. A few of them may offer high entertainment value, but they are all consistently weak. Regardless, highly skilled and highly lucky players can sometimes manage to win with these heroes.

Millificent Manastorm

Passive Hero Power: Mechs in Bob’s Tavern have +2 Attack.

Forcing yourself to play a specific tribe is a very bad idea. Even with the extra attack on mechs, it’s often better to just take other things that are offered and accept that your hero power is accomplishing almost nothing. If you do manage to build a strong team, it’s unlikely the +2 attack was what really got you there.

Queen Wagtoggle

(1) Hero Power: Give a random friendly Mech, Murloc, Beast, Demon, and Dragon +2 Attack.

Sure, it’s strong to buff Cave Hydra, Holy Mackerel, Bronze Warden, Annihilan Battlemaster, and Mechano Egg. Those are not the minions Queen Wagtoggle will be buffing early in the game. She spends a fair amount of time and resources buffing early minions that will be sold in the mid to late game to start the buffing process over again. Without finding strong minions to buff early, the Queen will fall apart in the mid game.

Ysera

Passive Hero Power: At the start of your turn, add a Dragon to Bob’s Tavern.

First, let’s establish that staying on a low tier and making red whelp triples is a bait and a terrible idea (even if you saw Purple gain ranks doing it). Ysera does benefit from often having a decent turn 1, and having extra minions in the tavern is never really a bad thing, so she is perhaps a bit better than some of the other “terrible heroes” when played well. The truth is that playing a dragon build is often just very weak unless a Kalecgos or some early Razorgores are involved.

Fungalmancer Flurgl

Passive Hero Power: After you sell a Murloc, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern.

A common theme among the terrible heroes, Flurgl baits players into playing a very weak, inconsistent strategy. Playing and selling a bunch of murlocs early in the game is not a good idea. Once Flurgl gets to tavern tier 5 or 6, cycling murlocs for triples may be strong, but the odds that he should actually be playing a murloc build after making it to that stage of the game are actually fairly low. Flurgl will usually die before getting the crazy payoff turns you may be imagining.

Professor Putricide

(1) Hero Power: Give a friendly minion +10 Attack for the next combat only.

Putricide is a bit like a “find Cave Hydra” simulator. Putting all of your eggs in that basket is probably not a good idea. Giving extra attack to a divine shield minion or a Rat Pack can be strong in early fights, but will quickly be outpowered without extra health to go with it. It’s hard to imagine a game where Putricide’s hero power isn’t outclassed by every other hero power in the lobby.

Lord Jaraxxus

(2) Hero Power: Give your Demons +1/+1.

YOU FACE JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION! Forcing one tribe is still bad, and 2 mana is hilariously overpriced for this hero power. Interestingly, Jaraxxus actually performs decently at low ranks, where players generally make their boards stronger at a much slower rate. I would still advise against picking Jaraxxus even in low ranks, because learning to play any other hero well will still give better results than playing Jaraxxus.


Thanks for reading! For more Hearthstone and Hearthstone Battlegrounds content, follow me at https://twitter.com/lulnenko and https://www.twitch.tv/lulnenko. You can also chat with me on the NoProsHere Discord server at https://discord.gg/vjA7DYu.

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #17

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

Once again in #46 to #60, the Hearthstone Masters Jönköping Qualifiers were dominated by lineups made of Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior, and any third deck. By now, we can say that the Conquest metagame is pretty much solved. This report includes all the statistics from last week’s online tournaments, including the bans data, plus comments from some of the winners.

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are Qualifier winners who generously sent us an explanation of the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:

Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Toastmonster / yeschickenDabs)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (topopablo11 / MoneYZ / pAc)

Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Cptnkitty / Bravo)

Proven Lineups:

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Player671)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Mikro)

Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (香菇奾汁)

Pretty Good Lineups:

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Highlander Rogue (petrovic)

Embiggen Druid, Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage (레몬박하)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Déjàvu)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior (Lethal)

Quest Druid, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (L3bjorge)

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest (Lucasdmnasc / Torph)

Quest Druid, Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage (NikART / Muigetsu)

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Solojazz)

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (JhenRs)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (grr)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (약강)

Interesting Lineups:

Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Hand Warlock (J4YOU)

Mech Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Highlander Warrior (Gregoriusil)

Embiggen Druid, Dragon Hunter, Hand Warlock (BladeMaster)

Highlander Mage, Quest Priest, Galakrond Warrior (Silvors)

Face Hunter, Mech Paladin, Galakrond Rogue (AnMul)

Comments from the winners:

Toastmonster on Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“So the general idea of the lineup was to be in a favourable position vs almost all of the popular Hunter decks while not being over weak to lineups that didn’t include Hunter. I don’t actually have a full collection on Asia, so I had to make some budget replacements; things like Faerie Dragons in Rogue could (and probably should) be replaced for cards like Skyvateer. With the ban strategy primarily being Rogue I would not include Bully in my Rogue list anyway as that is really only for the mirror. The lineup felt really good for the field, and there was not a single series I felt I favoured going into.”

Dabs on yeschicken’s Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“First, it should be noted that I netdecked my lists from yeschicken who won qualifier 50. I picked those lists because I think they have the strongest match up spread and chances at winning their unfavorables. Gala Rogue vs. Highlander Mage and Gala Warrior vs. Quest Druid, for example, are very skill dependent and much deeper than just drawing Galakrond. Though, that is a pretty strong play. As for the Priest, that got banned every set and I brought it because its beats up on Hunter and Warrior so hard. Hunter is definitely the class I was most comfortable playing against. Eternium Rover in Warrior and Bone Wraith in Rogue are nice additions against it. I think if you’re going to bring this lineup, you need to be confident in your mirror matching because you will find a lot of sets banning to Warrior Rogue vs. Warrior Rogue.”

topopablo11 on Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“Actually, I chose for this tournament, the 3 decks that I play the most. The decks are quite solid, but I decided to go for the experience rather than the strategy and I’m generally a player who does a lot of weird lineups xD the ban was Priest and Druid, mainly. I have to be honest, in the tournament I drew a lot of topdecks, there are sometimes where you have the luck of the champion and in fact, example in the final I drew topdeck lethal xd. It was quite rewarding to win, since I haven’t been able to play so many qualis for Sweden, so I was a little afraid of running out of time, but I could win 😀
I can tell you that I was surprised at how strong Boompistol is, sometimes that card carry so hard and also very important is the correct use of Bomb Wrangler, this card is very aggressive and in early if you play it well it can do a lot of damage, play around Rogue removals, you wanted to play it in turn 3 + Inner Rage.”

CptnKitty on Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“The lineup doesn’t have a real strategy and is mostly based on just playing good decks. Hunter often takes the ban which leaves you with Rogue and Warrior which are some of the best decks at the moment. The lineup does slightly target the popular Druid – Rogue – Mage lineup.Because you’re often left behind with your Rogue and Warrior vs their Rogue and Mage, which makes you favoured. In the Rogue list id swap second faceless for second Bully, which is already fairly common.”

Bravo on Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I just took the fastest and cheapest decks since America is not my main region. I added Korkron to the Warrior for the greater good of Galakrond. I might add to the Warrior Acolyte of Pain. And the Hunter has at least one secret. Most often I was banned by a Hunter, most often I banned a Druid.”

Mikro on Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I love this lineup I like to ban Priests and Warriors my targets is make 3/0 versus Rogue and Mage.”

香菇奾汁 on Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“In fact, that was an accident. It’s my first time playing that Druid in qualifier
and I play Rogue less. Just try to face everyone’s Rogue and Warrior. Win a lot Rogue Warrior VS Rogue Warrior. So i think just luck made me win. The semifinal I didn’t win any single game. First game I died but opponent didn’t finish his last step, he took the 2 damage back already. The third game he just used the class I banned.”

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #16

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Jönköping #31 to #45 happened last weekend. Here’s a look at the Conquest metagame of the late Year of the Dragon!
Make sure to scroll all the way down, this week 10 of the 15 open cup winners share their thoughts and strategy tips.

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are Qualifier winners who generously sent us an explanation of the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:

Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (jerry / Gaby)

Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (insania / MeninoZAP)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior (LeandroLeal / haborigini)

Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Pepe / Jakaso27)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Habugabu / tholwmenos)

Proven Lineups:

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (로좀)

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Mariana / ShamazinGG / Stacker)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman (Tatchan)

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Reliquary / zlsjs)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Jarqoni / Fungggg / iLiDan / Coricarsi)

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Johnnybambou)

Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (Maelstrom)

Pretty Good Lineups:

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Combo Priest (Felzak)

Quest Druid, Quest Hunter, Galakrond Warlock (Gev)

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage (N8BIZ)

Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue (모리노아)

Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (LostHead / Mikro)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Hatul)

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Highlander Rogue (LzJohn)

Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Nerdstrom / DK07)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (Polar / rascal)

Interesting Lineups:

Quest Druid, Highlander Quest Hunter, Galakrond Priest (WaningMoon)

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest (Xeno)

Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warlock (Jozelui)

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Aggro Shaman (TmwKOxyd)

Embiggen Druid, Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Priest (Kholgan)

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Highlander Rogue (Valento)

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Mech Paladin (Aristippe)

Comments from the winners:

Gaby on Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“No real strategy this time around, just a lot of practice on ladder, and I brought the decks I’m most comfortable with.”

insania on Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I really liked Priest as it took lots of bans. I always banned Rogue, and if they didn’t play Rogue I banned Druid. Galakrond Warrior was MVP it went like 9-1 or something!”

MeninoZAP on Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“My choice was based on something that could hit head-on against the Priest/Druid/Warrior line, I trained a lot with Priest to better the bad battles and makes them fairer, my main BAN is the Rogue with Priest as a second option, my path was difficult with several well-balanced battles, as a forward i picked up third in qualy #41 and first in the #45, I think the differential for this composition is know how to play very well the mirror of Warrior.
I would like to thank my teammates Torph and Haborigini for training during the week and my NYXPROGAMING team for calling us for this project.”

LeandroLeal on Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior:
“I don’t have much to say, I got the lineup from Rase who qualified last week. All decks are insanely good against Galakrond Warrior and decent against all Hunters. I banned all the Rogues that I faced and Highlander Mage. The thing I most like in this line is the Pirate package in Galakrond Warrior, it really helps you to never run out of gas.”

haborigini on Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior:
“The choice of my lineup was easy, several players won with it, it is really very strong. I wanted to target Hunter and Warrior. My initial idea was to ban Rogue, but in the course of it became a Priest because it was favorable against all my decks, my most difficult ban was
against the line that had Paladin, Druid and Priest because there it would be easy to lose 2/0 if the Paladin beat the Warrior, but I ended up winning 2/0. In the top 8 games my draws were good and I managed to reach the final, it was the final of my dreams against Hunter and Warrior, resulting in 2/0.
The priest and Druid decks were the traditional ones but Warrior for not having the weapon I opted for 2 Kor’kron and 2 Acolyte of Pain which ended up being very good. I would like to thank my teammates Torph and Meninozap for training during the week and my NYXPROGAMING team for calling us for this project.”

Habugabu on Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“Galakrond Rogue and Warrior are the two meta-defining decks at the moment. I chose Hunter as my third class so that my lineup would target Highlander Mage. Highlander Hunter is a lot better against Galakrond Warrior than other Hunter variants, so it seemed like the best choice. The most important bans are Quest Druid and Resurrect Priest. I expected to leave Rogue open in a lot of matches, which is why I play 2x Boompistol Bully in my own Rogue list. They were definitely worth including; not only did they win otherwise lost games against Rogue but also against Mage.”

tholwmenos on Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“This time I actually focused on Ladder, it just happened I qualified through this open cup. I played the Rogue list which performs greatly for me in Ladder, and Hunter/Warrior which I feel that are the strongest classes after Rogue. Comfort picks, decks based on Tempo and killing your opponent in the midgame. I didn’t work on Warrior and Hunter lists, I got lists which were performing well for other players and they just happened to do the job for me. I banned many different decks, Res Priest was the priority ban. Then it really depended on what the opponent had. The lineup is doing ok vs. Rogue but I had to ban it when opponent had Rogue/Warrior and some other bad deck. Other decks I banned often was Quest Druid, Face Hunter and even Mech Pala in a weird lineup. Highlander Hunter was my ban in the mirror, but I am not sure if it’s correct. The lineup targets bad decks or plays coinflips, that’s pretty much it. I did top 4/top1 in 3 attempts with this lineup so it should be good enough. I played without stress so that maybe helped, my mulligans and decision making were pretty good I think. Sadly, luck is very important factor in winning a qualifier and that’s why I prefer Ladder which rewards more, if you can win consistently. I suggest all players to play good decks which they feel comfortable with, reflect on their mistakes, and ALWAYS play Rogue. Lineups without Rogue are a total joke.”

Tatchan on Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Shaman:
“Shaman can still fight!”

Maelstrom on Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior:
“I played a typical lineup with Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warrior and Galakrond Warlock, decks that I’m used to and comfortable playing.
My plan was to ban aggro decks, in this case mostly Hunter which I banned every time.
I think I won 100% of my games as Warlock, it carried my matches, it’s a versatile deck that I recommend to everyone in Bo3.
Also, I played without deck tracker and I think everyone should do that in order to prepare for Masters Tour.”

Felzak on Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Combo Priest:
“I noticed in the past qualifier that most of my opponents were playing Quest Druid so I tried to target it. Combo Priest and Highlander Mage destroy it and Highlander Hunter does well enough. I made sure I am not going all in and I am actually playing good decks so I have a good shot against lineups with no Druid. The lineup also does really well against Rogue so I didn’t have to ban that and I usually ended up banning Hunter since it preys on the Mage. Just played good decks that also happened to hard target one of the most popular decks. There should be a Manasaber in the Mage.. oops.”

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #15

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

Online qualifiers for Hearthstone Masters Tour Jönköping have continiued last weekend with open cups 16 to 30. This report explores the data from these 15 conquest format tournaments. We are also extremely pleased to be able to feature the explanations from 10 of the 15 tournament winners about the decks that helped them get there!

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are Qualifier winners who generously sent us an explanation of the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Cursed / Woven / Coolkid2001)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior (Pinche / Rase / 執念の蒼汁)

Proven Lineups:

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Zuhex)

Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Wizllire)

Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Sergio932 / Acorn)

Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (DashingHenry)

Highlander Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Burr0)

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Maverick / doge34)

Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Sintolol)

Pretty Good Lineups:

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Warlock (Smaug)

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Highlander Rogue (P2Reinn / LzJohn)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (NikolajHoej / Valou / STePaN)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Balorix / Lawfuldog / BabyBear)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (LooGiiQQ / Jaziel / Fungggg)

Quest Priest, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (L3bjorge)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (MegaGliscor)

Embiggen Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Captain)

Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (jwrobel)

Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Highlander Warrior (Silvors / TopDeckMan)

Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Fujitora)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (HonestZaib / NoHandsGamer)

Quest Druid, Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Coricarsi / lalasong)

Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (PadrePio)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (IrvinG)

Treant Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior (reqvam)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (WoT / Kimberlay402)

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (DrEddy)

Interesting Lineups:

Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (Jozelui)

Quest Hunter, Mech Paladin, Galakrond Warrior (AngryToad)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Warlock, Highlander Warrior (martim)

Quest Druid, Highlander Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage (CoravStenom)

Treant Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Warlock (갓윤나)

Malygos Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Habugabu)

Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman, Galakrond Warrior (Pardub)

Highlander Druid, Highlander Quest Hunter, Murloc Paladin (란탄)

Comments from the winners:

Cursed on Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I played this lineup with the strategy of leaving Rogues and Hunters open in mind. I consider this Galakrond Rogue list to be one of the strongest ones and I like the flexibility of 1 Questing Adventurer and 1 Shark. In my opinion, Devoted Maniac is the weakest invoke card and you can easily get away with running only 1 copy. The Galakrond Warrior I used was a forced budget choice, since I was playing the qualifier in the Asian server, despite my main one being the European one. I would have went with a more standard Galakrond Warrior, with Skippers and Armorsmiths, if I had the option. My third deck was Face Hunter and it was the best performing by far, going undefeated and getting banned in a couple of series. In my opinion, Face Hunter is heavily underestimated, despite being in a very good spot in this meta. It has very good matchups with Rogues and other Hunters, so in a bo3 conquest environment where you can just ban your opponent’s third deck Face Hunter really shines. My ban priority was Highlander Warrior, Resurrect Priest, any Druid deck and finally Mech Paladin, anything else did not worry me too much.”

Coolkid2001 on Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“My lineup being aggro targeted decks like Highlander Mage/Galawarlock. The Hot Air Balloons in Rogue is an idea i got from Rezdan, it helps a lot against aggro decks like the other two in my lineup and Dragon Hunter etc. the Dragonmaw Poacher helps a lot in the Dragon Hunter matchup and the Embiggen Druid matchup if you end up having to let it through. Main bans were Quest Priest, Highlander Warrior and Quest Druid. Against lineups similar to mine the opponent always banned Warrior which i think is wrong, I banned Rogue in these scenarios as my Rogue i believe is favoured against all Hunters except Quest Hunter. Start running Hot Air Balloon peeps it’s the nuts.”

Rase on Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior:
“So when I saw most of the people playing some Hunter and Galakrond Warrior, I tried to build a lineup that was good against it. So Priest is super good against both, and I also had 2 Albatross + 2 Grave Runes to help against the “bad” matchups.
About the Quest Druid, I think it is favored against Galakrond Warrior and also good against Hunters (I was using 2 beetles to gain armor and help at this matchups) Highlander Hunter is a bit tricky, but kind of a 50-50 And the deck also have Cenarius, Ysera and Phaoris, to help at the mirror and against the “bad” matchups.
And then I had Galakrond Warrior, that I think is favored against all Hunters (I was also using 2 armorsmiths to help).
About the ban, it is kind “flex” Even tho you want to ban Rogue (because of your Priest), sometimes I just left Rogue open, expecting my Priest was going to be banned and then I had Druid and Warrior against Rogue (that I think is fine). You mostly want to ban Priest (because you have 2 bad matchups and a mirror) Druids (specially Embiggen) was my ban sometimes, so I could have better matchs for my warrior. Warlock/Mage are also annoying but winnable. So you are expecting to face Warrior and Hunters and you don’t like to see the Rogue+Galakrond Warlock+Highlander Mage lineup (even tho it is winnable).
And of course you don’t want to face the “mirror lineup” like I did on Saturday finals facing Pinche :P”

Zuhex on Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue:
“It was my first qualifier with all adventure cards so I just tried to play the most broken decks I have seen in ladder. The main ban was Dragon Hunter but I met 0 Dragon Hunters so I ended banning Embigen Druids and Highlander Mages. I decided to ban Embigen because it counters my Rogue and most of my games were to protect my Rogue. I feel like a lot of people tried to target Rogue and ban Hunter so I just ban the deck that counters my Rogue. Also I decided to play normal Rogue list with Snip and Zilliax because Gala Warrior and Face Hunter, I feel like Bullies are overrated and it is a bad card for Rogue. I think Druid you must play Cenarius and Phaoris because only with Ysera something you lack of win conditions and you let your oponent come back in board.”

DashingHenry on Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock:
“I just played 3 decks that I like and are strong. My ban strategy was simple: Just ban Rogue.”

Burr0 on Highlander Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue:
“The purpose of the lineup is pretty simple: target Rouges and always ban Hunter. If your opponent doesn’t have Hunter you can be very flexible what you ban (just make sure to leave Rogue open). Sometimes I imagine what my opponent will ban and queue first so I try to ban and pick accordingly to get a favorable in the first game. The Rogue is heavily teched for the mirror with 2x Bullies and 1x Skyvateer. The Bullies are also good against the other Galakrond and Highlander decks, Snip+Zilliax are not needed because you ban Hunter. Mage is a standard list, I don’t like The amazing Reno because he’s better for your opponent than for yourself. My hunter is pretty unique, the mix of Highlander and Quest is really good against Rogue and Quest Druid. Another advantage of the Hunter is that people understimate it and don’t ban it so you often get a free win in the first game with it.”

Sintolol on Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue:
“Muzzy sent me the decks because I asked for a lineup without adventure cards. I banned Rogue or Warrior most of the time. Not really targetting anything but fine against Druid, Mage and Highlander Hunter. I had to play opens because I was’nt sure if I’d have enough time for ladder.”

Smaug on Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Warlock:
“I used 3 decks – Highlander Mage, Highlander Hunter and Galakrond Warlock (non-Zoo version). All three of these decks are very vulnerable to all Hunters (be it a Quest, Face or Highlander), so it was quite easy to decide on a ban every time. You see the Hunter – you ban the Hunter (although each time I checked the winrates of my decks against the opponent’s decks anyway, but each time I was convinced that there was nothing worse than a Hunter.
And as a rule, such three matchups as a Hunter do not have all three decks. For all 9 rounds, I only had to play a bad matchup in 1 game. And against a strong player, and also it was a game for top 16 (for me top 8 was already an excellent result that would satisfy me). This was perhaps the most difficult moral and mental plan for me – the game was decisive, the opponent would not make a single mistake (like the players can do at the beginning of the tournament) and most importantly – my Warlock has 40% winrate against the opponent’s deck (this was a Galakrond Warrior). It was very scary to start the game with the idea that according to statistics, I have to lose the game and fly out in round 5 … But I was lucky, my opponent made a not-so-good start, and I found answers to all his threats and even played excessively carefully.
All other games were either 48-50%, or 55%. So I am very pleased with the choice of decks, and most importantly, I was able to find the ban against which I was extremely unpleasant to play my decks.
As for the other decks, when compiling the lineup, I realized that there would be a lot of Rogues at the tournament, and somehow I need to build on this. Either ban it by picking up the decks accordingly, or play purposefully against them. But the Rogues are now such that even if it is written in HSReplay – that you have to win the Galakrond Rogue in 99% of cases (I will exaggerate, of course), this does not mean that you will win it very easily. So the strategy game – to take decks that are good against the Rogue – did not suit me.
Spending a ban on a Rogue means letting your opponents play even more unpleasant decks (for me personally, these are Priests, Hunters). So I decided that I would simply pick up decks that play either plus or 50% with Rogues and ban something else – with my set of decks, it was Hunter.
When the opponents didn’t have a Hunter in the lineup, I likewise compared the percentage of victories against all opponent’s decks and chose the most negative for me (all statistics are available for free on the HSReplay website). In the fifth round (which I mentioned above), I didn’t ban the Galakrond Warrior, which was supposed to be banned by the percentage of victories (there was no Hunter in the enemy’s lineup), but the Galakrond Warlock (this is the only time I deviated from my strategy). This happened only because I realized that my decks well suffer very much from the Bad Luck Albatross, which in the Warlock deck were already as many as 2! (By the way, I advise everyone to play with them. Highlander decks interfere very much with life). Well, and as a result – I had to play a negative matchup for myself in the decisive game with a score of 1-1.
But in general, to be honest, the tournament was surprisingly easy for me. For me there were absolutely no winnings matchups, somewhere even I allowed myself to make mistakes, but the game on the same strategy, strong concentration and wild motivation to get to Sweden did the job!”

Fujitora on Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I have targeted aggressive decks such as Mech Paladin, Galakrond Warrior and Hunters because people play those in Asia cups due to lack of cards. You always have advantage while in the pick/ban phase because everyone bans Priest even when they are favored against it. (8/9 banned in my run) I mostly ban Embiggen Druid because that is Warrior’s worst match up. I have used a Snip-Snap/skyvateer version of Rogue to get a better chance vs aggro. I used this kind of rogue because I did not have Quest Druid in my Asia account. And my Warrior has double Armorsmith / Anchar to be better in the mirror and and it is already super good versus all other aggro decks. Not much to say about my Priest card choice. The same morning I was playing face hunter and my opponent got Ancestral Guardian to beat me, and in the finals I did the same as Rogue vs Face Hunter. It was poetic. In conclusion, It was gg.”

reqvam on Treant Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior:
“After tanking hard in early rounds I decided to change up my strategy and try to target Hunter with this lineup. As Gala Warrior had been doing very well for me on ladder vs a plethora of Hunters it seemed like a natural fit. I basically made a hybrid of BoarControl’s and Wirer’s lists from a couple of days ago. Armorsmith improves the already favorable Hunter matchup, while Ancharrr substitutes an Acolyte of Pain as card draw and tutors Risky Skipper (a key card that made the deck a lot better than before). 1 Sky Raider is there to make Ancharrr more consistently draw 2 cards while providing a cheap minion to combo with Skipper. (In addition, sometimes it’s nice to have a turn 1 play.) To make room Korkrons have to be cut. – I didn’t run into matchups where I needed the OTK/burst potential to close out games (e.g. Resurrect Priest) so they weren’t missed. Ancharrr is still busted, run it in every Warrior deck if you can. (Gala) Resurrect Priest has been a classic Hunter/aggro counter for a while now so I copied this list from NoHandsGamer, the resident Resurrect Priest expert. Pretty straightforward choice that took the brunt of the bans, very good vs aggro in general, and all Hunter archetypes. Try to shuffle a lot of Albatrosses vs slower decks. That’s about all the insight I can provide for this deck as it was my first time playing this iteration. If you want to learn the deck, NoHands is your guy. Token Druid was a sketchy, last second pick but it worked out. I was frustrated with Quest Druid letting me down in previous qualifiers, so guided by the thought of beating up on Highlander Hunter I turned to Token Druid. I found a list I liked from MT Arlington and went with it. The deck also has a passable Warrior matchup but with the addition of Risky Skipper it’s obviously worse than in the past. I would definitely not suggest playing Token Druid in the future as the deck’s power level is just not that high. Quest Druid should be a better fit in this slot (in line with what Pinche and Rase did in a later qualifier where they finished 1st and 2nd respectively). With this lineup, I defaulted to a Rogue ban vs most lineups I faced (a lot of aggro), but adapted when necessary (e.g. vs NikolajHoej in top 8 when I banned Gala Lock). Ban priority for this lineup should probably be Res Priest > Druid (Quest or Embiggen) > Rogue. Obviously, very dependent on the entire lineup your opponent is bringing.”

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #14

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

The first weekend of Herthstone Masters Qualifiers for Dreamhack Jönköping, Sweden is already behind us. Here’s all the data about open cups 1-15, followed by comments from some of the winners.

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are Qualifier winners who generously sent us an explanation of the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:

Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (T4COTASTIC / Soxiik)

Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Ap3lkuchen)

Quest Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Mikkel)

Embiggen Druid, Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Utopia)

Proven Lineups:

Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Highlander Warrior (DimitriKazov)

Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (Maricochet)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (Noflame)

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (iNS4NE)

Pretty Good Lineups:

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (MaeveDonovan)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (Gamerrvg)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Highlander Warrior (Faeli)

Highlander Mage, Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue (дарк)

Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (Zockmeister)

Embiggen Druid, Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (NaySyl)

Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Trec)

Embiggen Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (PenhaDani / lak1pro)

Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Jacke)

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (J4kubb / JohnnyBambou)

Embiggen Druid, Dragon Hunter, Galakrond Warrior (koniuu)

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Aggro Shaman (TmwKOxyd)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (MidLight)

Quest Hunter, Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Hypno)

Quest Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (levik / Mat1er)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock, Highlander Warrior (Lethal / Ecta)

Interesting Lineups:

Highlander Hunter, Quest Priest, Highlander Warrior (Silvors)

Face Hunter, Highlander Paladin, Aggro Warrior (에렛지디)

Quest Druid, Quest Hunter, Highlander Warrior (龜毛老頭)

Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue (TechnoGoose)

Quest Druid, Fave Hunter, Galakrond Warrior (AVZ075)

Embiggen Druid, Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman (AndreiRO)

Murloc Paladin, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (BloodEdge)

Comments from the winners:

Ap3lkuchen on Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue:
“Basically i think Quest Hunter and Rogue are the two Decks you need to play right now. And I felt like Highlander Mage has overall the best matchups if I ban the most aggressive deck of my opponent because they counter Quest Hunter und Rogue as well. So i banned either Face Hunter or Quest Hunter and if my opponent didn’t play that i just banned Rogue which ist overall the best deck right now. In general i think there are to many people trying to counter Rogue and play bad decks like Druid. Because Rogue gets the win most of the time anyway.
And I think that Boompistol Bully isn’t good in tournament meta because it doesn’t make the matchup against Rogue that much better and its very hard to time the card so it really hurts.”

DimitriKazov on Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Highlander Warrior:
“Basically I tried to target Embiggen Druid and Control Priest. I used cards like Dragonmaw Poacher, which is good against Druid and Highlander Hunter. This lineup is bad against Rogue and Face Hunter (if my opponents ban my Warrior), so I have always banned one of these. My score was 6/0 with Mage, 5/2 with Rogue and 5/2 with Warrior, and I felt quite comfortable playing this lineup.”

Maricochet on Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock:
“Bans are Hunter > Galakrond Warrior > Galakrond Rogue > Holy Wrath Paladin.
This lineup is good against Highlander Warrior, Resurrect Priest, Embiggen Druid and Quest Druid. It’s also just 3 very strong and versatile decks.
In Warlock, the Albatrosses are insane. In mirrors where my opponent had Amalgams instead, I had the advantage.
In Rogue (which was banned a lot of the time), Bully is good against all Galakronds and Mage.I think that the Lifedrinkers could be replaced by Poachers or Faceless Corruptors.
In Mage, I cut the Taunts because there were less Warriors this weekend. Classic list, with the addition of a Bully, which has been incredible.”

Noflame on Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock, Galakrond Warrior:
“It’s pretty simple lineup and I was targeting mostly Rogue. Bans are different and they depend of your opponents lineups, (for ex. if opponent has Face Hunter, they always ban your Warrior, so you’re gonna ban something, that you think worst to face for your Rogue and Warlock). New Warrior 1-drop is the nuts.”

iNS4NE on Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“To be honest I only played these decks because I have a limited collection on NA, but it turned out to be a good lineup in this meta. There’s a lot of Highlander Mages and Galakrond Warlocks and all of my decks are favoured against both (not sure for Warrior vs Mage but I won all of the games). With my lineup your main ban priorities are Quest Priest (or Resurrect), Quest Druid, Embiggen Druid, Highlander Warrior and maybe Quest Hunter if you know that they will ban your Face Hunter. On EU I would probably play something like Quest Druid, Highlander Mage and Quest Hunter, I think that’s the best lineup and I also think that Rogue isn’t great in this meta even though I won a qualifier with it :)”

MaeveDonovan on Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I’ve just played really good and solid decks, I think this is the best way to reach the goal. Moreover, these decks are really good vs Gala Lock and you’re slighlty favorable vs Highlander Hunter and vs Gala Warrior too. But this was not my first strategy when I built this line up, it’s just an addition (that helped me feeling good vs most of the lineups of course). It was more about solidity and confidence. The best part of this line up is that your ban is quite flexible, and you can guess and play around your opponent’s ban (I love this kind of things) but most of the time I’ve banned Embiggen Druid or Face Hunter. Regarding the deckbuilding, there’s not much to say: the rogue is basically standard, I don’t know if 2 bullies are too much but they are so good in a lot of match-ups so I would keep them; the warrior list is the best one I’ve tried, don’t need Leeroy + Sn1p was a really good boy; hunter is pretty solid too, Kragg is obviously insane and staple in this deck and the adventurer helps you playing swarm 1 turn before (no joke, it seems pretty good) 😀 but you can also play other cards like Halazzi or Shu’ma. That’s all, good luck everyone <3”

Faeli on Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Highlander Warrior:
“First of all I think this time my lineup was very close to optimal, but also next week might totally change that.
Highlander Hunter is a deck I just like very much and have been playing it for a while. As strong as it is in current meta there was no other way for me.
Highlander Warrior was my switch choice for this cup since I played Gala Warlock in other cups and it didnt perform to my expectations.
And there should always be a Rogue nowadays, right? So I picked this version last minute when I saw it on Muzzy’s Twitter in order to beat Druids while losing very little in other matchups. Ban is flex, so you think every time 😉 Good Luck!”

Zockmeister on Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock, Galakrond Warrior:
“For the lineup, I tried picking decks that don’t have too many one-sided matchups, i tried to ban mostly Hunter and Galakrond Warrior, since they have a lot of over-the-top damage against my Warlock and Rogue. Some different card choices: I play double Albatross in Warlock over Fiendish Rites, since you rarely stick a board and desperatly need something to do on turn 3, it’s really good against Highlander decks and Embiggen Druid. With the card draw the deck has, you can still consistently invoke enough. My Warrior list also doesn’t play Leeroy, since in my opinion the deck has enough burst damage and he often just sits in your hand. I mainly chose decks that i’m confortable with and i prefer Highlander Rogue over Galakrond Rogue, because it’s way more fun to play and can find a win in every matchup through Zephrys and Dragonqueen.”

Hypno on Quest Hunter, Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue:
“Well the idea is to be good against aggro, which there are plenty in open cups, while playing decks that are just good overall in the field.. The main ban is Rogue but I sometimes ban something else over it, especially if I think they are going to ban my Priest, other possible bans are Quest Druid, Quest Priest, Face Hunter. I don’t have the new adventure on NA but I would have played the new Pirate Captain in hunter and the 1/3’s in Rogue that are good against aggro if I had, apart from that, the hunter is especially good against board centric decks and the mirror match with the revenge of the wilds, the priest has the Albatrosses that carried me twice against Highlander mage and make the matchup better against Gala Warlocks as well.”

The Best Hearthstone Decks You Won’t See At Masters Tour Arlington

By NPH Pasca

The best Hearthstone players from around the world are converging to Arlington, Texas for this weekend’s Masters Tour event. Over 500 competitors have qualified for this tournament where the prize pool is $250,000 plus the money from the “esports bundle”. These earnings count towards determining the next Grandmasters.

I have reached out to six of the top competitive players who will not be in Arlington. FreddyB, RayC, CaraCute, LostHead, Torph and Maricochet share with us the lineup that they would use in this format, their predictions on the metagame, and their advice to those trying to bring it home this weekend.

The format of the competition will be Best of 5 Conquest, so the players have to bring 4 decks, ban one of their opponent’s decks, and win one game with all 3 of their decks that didn’t get banned.

FreddyB

Twitter | Twitch

FreddyB went 9-3 in Masters Tour Las Vegas, 6-6 in Masters Tour Seoul and 5-4 in Masters Tour Bucharest, which makes him one of the most consistent players on the Tour. He also won Hearthstone Global Games with team Denmark. His contract with team Nordavind just expired, so he is looking for a new home.

Druid: AAECAZICBK8EoIADiLADn7cDDUDhBNKlA9mpA/utA/2tA4yuA96vA+ewA/+wA4WxA4exA/+1AwA=
Hunter: AAECAR8eqAK1A8cDrwThBOsHlwjbCZjwAu/xAvr+AqCAA96CA6CFA7acA/yjA+SkA6alA4SnA4qtA4utA46tA/uvA/yvA/6vA4ewA4KxA5GxA9iyA5+3AwAA
Rogue: AAECAaIHCLICrwSggAOSlwPBrgPjtAOftwPLwAMLtAHtAs0DiAePlwP1pwO5rgP+rgOqrwPOrwOCsQMA
Warrior: AAECAQcEkAOvBOO0A8XAAw0WHJ0CnfACs/wC9KcD3KkD2K0D2q0D/q4Dqq8D0q8Dq7YDAA==

NPH: What do you expect the metagame to look like in Masters Tour Arlington? Which decks do you expect to be the most popular?
FreddyB: I think that we will see a 90+% Rogue appearance since it’s clearly the strongest in a tournament setting right now and can’t really be countered by a whole line up. I expect the other top class appearences to be Hunter, Warlock and Warrior. Hunter has a wide variety of different decent decks and the two latter would probably be with Galakrond.

NPH: What is the stategy behind your lineup? Does it target anything specifically? What would you ban? What tech choices do you think can have a big impact?
FreddyB: This lineup is based around the type of decks I like to play and usually perform best on (tempo). All the decks have in common that they wanna be in the driving seat and kill the opponents rather fast and I think they counter speculative techs or target line ups pretty well. It doesn’t really make sense to ban Rogue with it as I am actually trying to soft target Rogue (I know that it can’t really be done). Instead my main ban is Ressurrect Priest, which I expect to be an off-meta deck that sees some play. If I can’t ban that, it’s suddenly very fluid regarding the ban and really depends on tech choices etc. and would probably often come down to a mindgame.

NPH: What is the best advice you would give to a less experienced player who will play their first major tournament this weekend?
FreddyB: My main reason for choosing this lineup is that it fits me and I know all the decks very well. In a high pressure situation I think an important often overlooked thing is to make it as “easy” as possible for yourself. Even though another line up could be better when played 100% correctly, this is what I think I could perform the best with. It’s a very pragmatic view on the game and might go against some mindsets that won’t allow themselves to think that their own play abillities could hold a line up back, but this is my advice: Optimize your own chances of doing well and don’t go for some theory line up you are not comfortable with.

NPH: Any predictions on who could win it all?
FreddyB: I have been running into my former teammate Jarla on ladder all month long. He is grinding and has been #1 on EU and NA at the same time this month. I would put my money on him! I will of course be cheering for my fellow Danish friends aswell; Furyhunter, Hoej, NikolajHoej, Impyyyyy and Balorix. They are all great thinkers and have prepared well, so watch out for them too!

RayC

Twitter | Twitch

RayC is a professional Hearthstone Player and streamer for Panda Global. He has played in many tournaments, open and invitational, and is frequently at the top of the legend ladder. In last December, his version of Galakrond Shaman became the most popular list after he hit #1.

Hunter: AAECAR8ExwOHBK8E3gQNqAK1A8kE7QaXCNsJ/gzv8QLzpwP5rgP7rwP8rwOFsAMA
Priest: AAECAa0GBKUJ5fcC0P4CqaUDDfgC5QT2B9UI0QrSCvIM9wz7DK+lA9KlA/2nA4SoAwA=
Rogue: AAECAaIHBrICrwSSlwPBrgPjtAPLwAMMtAHtAs0DiAePlwP1pwO5rgP+rgOqrwPOrwOCsQObtgMA
Warrior: AAECAQcEnQKvBOO0A8XAAw0WHJADjgWd8AKz/AL0pwPcqQPYrQParQP+rgOqrwPSrwMA

NPH: What do you expect the metagame to look like in Masters Tour Arlington? Which decks do you expect to be the most popular?
RayC: Rogue (Highlander and Galakrond), Galakrond Warrior, Hunter, X will be the strongest lineup in my opinion. X is going to be Druid, Priest and Warlock most of the time unless the new cards shake up the metagame more than expected. There will always be those people who play a more controlling lineup with Holy Wrath Paladin, Mage, Warrior etc.

NPH: What is the stategy behind your lineup? Does it target anything specifically? What would you ban? What tech choices do you think can have a big impact?
RayC: You would ban anything anti aggro. The goal of this lineup is to just play the good decks and SMOrc. I think Rogue and Warrior are still nuts at the moment and fleshing out the rest of the lineup aggressively will punish people messing around with midrange shenanigans and slower decks like Galakrond Warlock. I think Spellbreaker could be popular this tournament with the rise of untargetable Druid.

NPH: What is the best advice you would give to a less experienced player who will play their first major tournament this weekend?
RayC: Play what you know. Don’t change decks last minute to a lineup you have never tested before just because you hear that X group of pro players are on it etc. Stick to your guns and have confidence in your ability. You qualified for a reason!

NPH: Any predictions on who could win it all?
RayC: HotMEOWTH because he really wants to win so he can get a girlfriend.
Wish I could go and hang with everyone but medical circumstances prevent it. I hope everyone has a good time and I’ll miss you all ❤

CaraCute

Twitter | Facebook

CaraCute plays for Team Liyab. She has a ton of experience in local and international tournaments such as HCT Bangkok, Electronic Sports Gaming Summit (ESGS), HCT Singapore, WESG and World Showdown of Esports 2 in California. She won the WCG Philippine Qualifiers. She was considered on the short list for the first cohort of Grandmasters. She went 7-5 in Masters Tour Las Vegas and 1-3 in Masters Tour Bucharest. Last weekend she won a Qualifier for Masters Tour Indonesia so we will see her again in Bali.

Hunter: AAECAR8eqAK1A8cDrwTJBOEElwjFCNsJmPAC7/ECoIADoIUDtpwD/KMD5KQDpqUDhKcDi60Djq0D+a4D+68D/K8D/q8Dh7AD57ADgrEDkbED2LIDn7cDAAA=
Rogue: AAECAaIHBrICrwSSlwPBrgPjtAPLwAMMtAHtAs0DiAfdCI+XA/WnA7muA/6uA6qvA86vA4KxAwA=
Shaman: AAECAaoIApn7AualAw7vAeAC+QPgBrDwAvbwAo/7Apz/AoyFA/aKA8aZA7WtA7atA/muAwA=
Warrior: AAECAQcGHJ0CrwTjtAOftwPFwAMMFpADnfACs/wC9KcD3KkD2K0D2q0D/q4Dqq8D0q8Dq7YDAA==

NPH: What do you expect the metagame to look like in Masters Tour Arlington? Which decks do you expect to be the most popular?
CaraCute: I feel like there would be a lot of Rogues. Galakrond Rogue is a sure bring for most players because of the power of the deck. I expect a lot of control decks as well with the likes of Resurrect Priest, Hand Warlock, Highlander decks etc.

NPH: What is the stategy behind your lineup? Does it target anything specifically? What would you ban? What tech choices do you think can have a big impact?
CaraCute: Basically this is a lineup that I have played a lot and I’m comfortable playing. It’s mostly good decks. Ban priority would be Resurrect Priest, then Galakrond Warrior. Target would be Rogue since all my decks are good against it, I just have to win the mirror match.

NPH: What is the best advice you would give to a less experienced player who will play their first major tournament this weekend?
Caracute: You will feel intimidated and overwhelmed at first, just try to relax and remember everyone here qualified so it just means that you are as good as them. Don’t settle on being happy just to participate try your best to reach the 2nd day and try to reach 7 wins to qualify to the next 2 stops.

NPH: Any predictions on who could win it all?
CaraCute: This is really hard. Hopefully not a GM so new players will be welcomed in the league.
Good luck to everyone playing this weekend. I will be watching from home and supporting Staz and Waningmoon.

Torph

Twitter

Torph went 9-3 in Masters Tour Las Vegas, 7-5 in Masters Tour Seoul and 2-3 in Masters Tour Bucharest. Now that PapaJason has taken Amnesiac’s spot in Grandmasters, Torph is the first name next on the list for the Americas region. In January, he qualified for MonkeyBubble Masters.

Druid: AAECAZICBKCAA9aZA4iwA5+3Aw1A4QTSpQPZqQP7rQP9rQOMrgPerwPnsAPwsAP/sAOFsQP/tQMA
Hunter: AAECAR8eqAK1A8cDrwThBJcIxQjbCZjwAu/xAqCAA6CFA7acA/yjA+SkA6alA4SnA4utA46tA/muA/uvA/yvA/6vA4ewA+ewA/CwA4KxA5GxA9iyA5+3AwAA
Rogue: AAECAaIHCLICrwTdCKCAA5KXA8GuA+O0A8vAAwu0Ae0CzQOIB+/xAo+XA/WnA7muA/6uA6qvA86vAwA=
Warlock: AAECAf0GCsUE2wac+AKggAP8owPTrwORsQPjtAOftwPxvwMKowHECJ2pA+WsA+isA+qsA+usA+ysA/6uA6qvAwA=

NPH: What do you expect the metagame to look like in Masters Tour Arlington? Which decks do you expect to be the most popular?
Torph: I expect Rogue and/or Embiggen Druid to be present in the majority of lineups, and for Rogue lists I would say like 80% pure Galakrond and 20% highlander. Third on popularity I would place Galakrond Warrior.
I would say there’s a few types of lineups you should consider people will bring:
The one I consider will be the most popular, and also the best in this meta is the “good decks” lineup, as the best decks as of right now have extremely few counters, and I would say not enough to build a 4-deck lineup to target. They also have really high high-roll potential, so even if you DO face a bad matchup you could double down on that (ie: mulligan out “just ok” cards). I would say those decks are Galakrond/Highlander Rogue and Embiggen Druid. Below those, there’s a pretty big range of filler lists to include, naming a few: Galakrond Warrior, Galakrond Warlock, Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage. There are some “harder” to include ones like Face Hunter, Token Druid, OTK Paladin, Highlander Warrior, Highlander(ish) Shaman.
These are only a few of the decks, and apart from the top lists the meta is pretty diverse. This is what makes it hard to build the second type of lineup, which would be to target 1 or 2 popular lists to counter. You could for instance try to abuse Rogue’s weak first few turns with an aggressive lineup. On the other hand Rogue is also able to fit a few cards like Zilliax/SNIP-SNAP, Lifedrinker, Bone Wraith, SI’s, Faceless Corruptors in its flexible slots which is also why it’s hard to counter.

NPH: What is the stategy behind your lineup? Does it target anything specifically? What would you ban? What tech choices do you think can have a big impact?
Torph: This is what I would consider a best decks lineup, that fare pretty well amongst most of the field I expect to see. In general I would say all the decks could at least come close to 50% against Rogue, allowing us to ban Druid. The bans can get pretty specific to a matchup though, and having certain techs allow us to better predict our opponent bans. So for instance, having the Dragonmaw Poachers is great against dragon lists, which include embiggen druid itself and highlander lists, so if our opponent have a few of those, it increases the chance they will choose to ban our Druid.
Also, with this lineup having poachers on both Hunter and Druid, together with the Warlock list having extra removal might also make our opponent think we would probably be ok facing Druid, and thinking we will ban something else. I really value those mind games on the higher levels of play. One other example is secrets, and without using tracker, is something can throw off a lot of players. I really would like to include a Freezing Trap on the Hunter list for that reason (and it’s good against Druid), as having a wider variety of secrets make the opponent have to play around more things, and doing less than optimal plays. Ended up with only two secrets which I think are the most useful ones in most scenarios.
What I mean to get to is the bans are not linear with this composition. If the opponent has Token Druid in his composition, it might look like a good ban considering the 4 decks of ours. It has but if the rest of his lineup suggest he will be banning our Druid, we can try to target something else to get an advantage. It’s also worth remembering that differently than on ladder, we know exactly which archetype we are facing, and that allows us to mulligan really aggressively for early answers against a deck like Token Druid. OTK Paladin I would say has two good matchups against us (Druid and Warlock), one even (Hunter) and one really bad (Rogue). If we again think his lineup suggest he’ll ban Druid or Warlock, suddenly on average we’ll be favored against it and could choose to ban something else instead.

NPH: What is the best advice you would give to a less experienced player who will play their first major tournament this weekend?
Torph: Best advice I could give, and always mention to my friends, is to try to keep calm and always focus on what you’re doing next. Past games shouldn’t matter, neither should future ones. If you’re 5-0 on Swiss, don’t let that get to your head, and focus as hard as any game, because you could end up losing all the next ones. If you start 0-2, keep focused, as not everything is lost, and you can still win all of your next games. Just telling you to focus harder or keep calm might sound like impractical, because you can’t control those things really.
So here’s some practical things you can do: Firstly, the day will be really long, you’ll play lots of matches, and will probably be exhausted at the end of it. Take breaks whenever you have a little spare time, and try to eat something if possible. Also, avoid going to your friends telling what awful RNG you had last round, and how little were the odds of exactly that happening. That’s precious time you could be resting your mind a bit, and when you keep talking about situations like this, you’re probably more likely to get tilted when something doesn’t go your way the next round. And when you’re in a match, you can take your time to think. Make sure you know your win condition(s) going to a matchup, and consider important cards you and your opponent can have that could swing the game. You could take notes of those cards, and the way I would advise you to do it would be to use the first turn of the game to write these key cards (either yours or your opponents), and then later just cross them out when they’re drawn (for yours) or played (your opponents). Ideally you could write literally everything down like a deck tracker, but I feel that just distracts you too much and take too much effort, and again, the day is long and you need to be focused.

LostHead

Twitter

LostHead plays for team Swagoi. He was in the HCT playoffs, fall 2018, and has achieved multiple high ladder finishes. He went 8-4 in Masters Tour Las Vegas, 6-6 in Masters Tour Seoul and 6-3 in Masters Tour Bucharest, which makes him one of the most consistent players on the Tour. He played 83 Arlignton qualifiers with 62,1% win rate (no one else can boast a win rate this high over that many tournaments) but lost in the finals multiple times. He is already qualified for Indonesia.

Paladin: AAECAZ8FDPoBhQPtBfQFzwb7DP37AoT8Ar2GA/yjA4iuA/22AwmcArMD3AP2B6f3Avz8Atn+As+GA+yGAwA=
Priest: AAECAa0GCNMKoIADjYID2IkD1pkDk5sDg6AD3asDC9YKl4cDgpQDmJsDmZsDoaEDr6UD0aUDmakDn6kD8qwDAA==
Rogue: AAECAaIHBrICrwSSlwPBrgPjtAPLwAMMtAHtAs0DiAfdCI+XA/WnA7muA/6uA6qvA86vA4KxAwA=
Warlock: AAECAf0GCMUE2waggAP8owORsQPjtAOftwPxvwMLowHECJ2pA+WsA+isA+qsA+usA+ysA/6uA6qvA9OvAwA=

NPH: What do you expect the metagame to look like in Masters Tour Arlington? Which decks do you expect to be the most popular?
LostHead: Despite the second wing of Galakrond’s Awakening coming out a few days before the tournament I don’t expect the new cards to change the meta too much. Galakrond Rogue is definitely the strongest deck right now and finding any counter-strategy for it feels impossible. Embiggen Druid has raised in popularity recently so I would expect a lot of Rogues and Druids combined with other decks players already know and can rely on such as Galakrond Warrior or Highlander Hunter.

NPH: What is the stategy behind your lineup? Does it target anything specifically? What would you ban? What tech choices do you think can have a big impact?
LostHead: These are just very good decks that can also soft target Embiggen Druid. The deck is going to be popular but it doesn’t feel as unbeatable as rogue. Hard targeting anything doesn’t feel right since there’s one really good deck (Rogue) and then there’s plenty of solid tier-2 decks that you may or may not encounter. I can’t imagine not banning Rogue in the current meta.

NPH: What is the best advice you would give to a less experienced player who will play their first major tournament this weekend?
LostHead: First of all try to enjoy the overall experience while you’re there. Qualifying for this kind of tournament is no small feat so remember no matter how it goes you’ve already won just by making it there. Don’t get too fancy with your lists. Even if you think the deck is good but you’re uncomfortable with it better give it a pass since it’s going to be the worst possible time and place to learn. Stick to what you’re comfortable and confident with. Remind yourself to take time on your turns even if the play seems obvious. Be cautious with your diet before and during the tournament so you don’t get unnecessary distractions. And of course try to get good sleep the night before!

NPH: Any predictions on who could win it all?
LostHead: It’s absolutely impossible to make any predictions for a field of 300+ players who vary from “very good” to “genius” in terms of skill. So I’m going to say Orange just because of the storyline.
Shoutouts to my SwagoiGaming teammates Gle and Coookiemonst, and also to my friends HonestZaib, StormFever, bobbyex, CmaccompH, and Eggowaffle, all of whom will be competing in Arlington this week!

Maricochet

Twitter

Maricochet plays for Esports Pandaria. She is one of the top players on the French Hearthstone scene, with an impressive history in local tournaments. She went 5-7 in Masters Tour Seoul and is already qualified for Indonesia. This past weekend, she also qualified for MonkeyBubble Masters in a best of five format that looks a lot like what will take place in Arlington.

Druid: AAECAZICBkCvBI3wAqCAA4iwA5+3AwzhBNKlA9mpA/utA/2tA4yuA96vA+ewA/+wA4WxA4exA/+1AwA=
Mage: AAECAf0EHooByQOrBMUEywThB+wHjQi+7ALO7wLu9gLG+AKggAPoiQODlgOfmwOgmwOKngOhoQP8owOLpAOSpAPypQOEpwP6rAPwrwPwsAORsQPhtgOftwMAAA==
Rogue: AAECAaIHCLICrwSSlwOEpwPBrgOCsQPjtAPLwAMLtAHtAs0DiAfv8QKPlwP1pwO5rgP+rgOqrwPOrwMA
Warrior: AAECAQcGnQKvBI4Fs/wC47QDxcADDBYckAOd8AL0pwPcqQPYrQParQP+rgOqrwPSrwOrtgMA

NPH: What do you expect the metagame to look like in Masters Tour Arlington? Which decks do you expect to be the most popular?
Maricochet: I think that most lineups will contain Galakrond Rogue and Galakrond Warrior. These two tier 1 decks fit in any lineup and are very hard to counter.
It’s much harder to choose a third deck: Galakrond Warlock? Embiggen Druid? Highlander Hunter? Highlander Mage? Quest Resurrect Priest? Quest Hunter? Holy Wrath Paladin?

NPH: What is the stategy behind your lineup? Does it target anything specifically? What would you ban? What tech choices do you think can have a big impact?
Maricochet: If I was going to Arlington, I would take Galakrond Warrior, Galakrond Rogue, Embiggen Druid and Highlander Mage.
This lineup dodges polarising matchups. It has a lot of 50% and a lot of highroll potential. The bans would be Face Hunter, then Highlander Hunter, then Galakrond Rogue. Of course we need to anticipate the opponent’s ban to give the best possible shot to our weakest deck. This lineup can 4-0 Galakrond Warrior, but there will probably be a mirror, and Mage vs Rogue is very close.Against Highlander Warrior we’re extremely good. If we face a Galakrond Warlock, our Rogue, Warrior and Mage are clearly favored.
My favorite Warrior list is the one with the single Rover, a Frothing Berserker, double Bomb Wrangler, Leeroy and two Kor’krons.
Galakrond Rogue is pretty standard, the version without SN1P-SN4P / Zilliax, but with Siamat.
My Mage doesn’t run Ooze or Azur, but Karthut Defender is excellent against Galakrond Warrior. I haven’t had time to test it, but the Elemental Evocation, Water Elemental and Arcane Amplifier package could be solid. Ampliifier would be a good answer to Bomb Wrangler (problematic for Mage), for example. Dragonmaw Poacher is super strong versus Embiggen Druid and decent against Highlander Hunter.

NPH: What is the best advice you would give to a less experienced player who will play their first major tournament this weekend?
Maricochet: Trust in yourself, don’t fear your opponent, no matter if they’re a Grandmaster or if you’ve never heard of them, assume that they will make the best play every turn. Don’t hold back, play agressively. Make the best plays and don’t have regrets… but most importantly enjoy the moment!

NPH: Any predictions on who could win it all?
Maricochet: I will bet on the French folks by support but also because they’re so hot right now. LooGiiQ, Gunzerker and totosh to just name 3 of them.

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #13

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

The Qualifiers for Masters Tour Indonesia are over. This past weekend (106 to 120) was the last one, and when open cups resume, they will be for the Jönköping event.
Masters Tour Arlington starts in less than 4 days, and the players are still trying to figure out which of the cards from the first wing of Galakrond’s Awakening are worth adding to their decks. If you are looking for 4 decks lineups for Best of Five conquest, look at Monkey Bubble Masters Open Division: EU.
Winged Guardian has had the biggest impact on the Hearthstone metagame, with the rise of midrange Embiggen Druid running Strenght in Numbers, Witching Hour and a Dragon package. Licenced Adventurer is probably not worth it in Quest Hunter, but more testing is needed, and at least one player thinks it’s even worth running a Quest in Galakrond Rogue just for him and Questing Adventurer.

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears.

Meta Defining Lineups:

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (duce / CaraCute)

Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Greenice / DimitriKazov)

Proven Lineups:

Galakrond Rogue, Aggro Shaman, Galakrond Warrior (TmwKOxyd)

Quest Hunter, Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Bozo)

Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Trec)

Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (SubUss)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Dragon Hand Warlock (Paradox)

Pretty Good Lineups:

Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Impyyyyy / Haffax / Dawido)

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (Jorge)

Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (maneti)

Embiggen Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Bozo / Cassia / LSVfanboy)

Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock. Galakrond Warrior (etovityusha)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (Reliquary / HotMEOWTH)

Embiggen Druid, Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (DeathBoose, A2Battleship / doge34)

Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Zoo Warlock (JohnnyBambou)

Interesting Lineups:

Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Bomb Warrior (Bierathlet / brimful)

Holy Wrath Paladin, Quest Priest, Highlander Warrior (N8BIZ)

Treant Druid, Quest Hunter, Galakrond Warrior (香菇奾汁)

Highlander Hunter, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (ophtalmo)

Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (あなる王子)

Embiggen Druid, Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue (DollPA / BoC)

Quest Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (RossFTW / 龜毛老頭)

Highlander Hunter, Quest Priest, Galakrond Rogue (LastHopelolz)

Highlander Hunter, Quest Priest, Galakrond Hand Warlock (Pardub)

Treant Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (s8ris / Ethorf)

Embiggen Druid, Face Hunter, Quest Rogue (Skye)

Highlander Hunter, Malygos Rogue, Freeze Warlock (davidek)

Holy Wrath Paladin, Resurrect Priest, Galakrond Control Shaman (Flasch)

Highlander Mage, Galakrond Quest Priest, Highlander Rogue (Sjoesie)

Resurrect Priest, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (IhaveLethal)

Midrange Hunter, Quest Priest, Highlander Warrior (Balorix)

Embiggen Druid, Highlander Rogue, Aggro Shaman (Zockmeister)

Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest, Galakrond Hand Warlock (모리노아)

Highlander Hunter, Malygos Rogue, Galakrond Hand Warlock (Gonkra)

Mech Paladin, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Zoo Warlock (Doublesixes)

Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Control Shaman, Freexe Warlock (Dennis)

Holy Wrath Paladin, Quest Priest, Galakrond Warrior (pHi11Colins)