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Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #14

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

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.

The data that we used can also be found at offcurve.com/specialist-meta, where it is updated daily.

Tier List:

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
Bomb Warrior
Shark Rogue
Cyclone Mage

Qualifier Winners
Control Warrior
Holy Wrath Paladin
Murloc Shaman
Token Druid
Midrange Hunter
Bomb Hunter

Top 8 Capable
Aggro Shaman
Freeze Mage
Mech Paladin
Party Tempo Rogue
Resurrect Priest

Featured decks:

Cmaccomph’s Bomb Warrior

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.

cmaccomph

Tars’s Shark Rogue

Deck 1 vs Rogue and Mech Hunter
Deck 2 vs Warrior, Paladin OTK, Midrange Hunter
Deck 3 vs Mage, Token Druid and Mech Paladin

tars

Caravaggio’s Cyclone Mage

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.

carvaggio

Adshooter’s Control Warrior

FuryHunter’s Holy Wrath 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.

furyhunter

ProBeater’s Murloc Shaman

我愛首贏’s Token Duid

Gilgamesh’s Midrange Hunter

XTYLING’s Bomb Hunter

TrollEugene’s Aggro Shaman

Dog’s Freeze Mage

Adriano’s Mech Paladin

KNMKarsa’s Raiding Party Rogue

Oktrab’s Resurrect Priest

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Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #13

by ecoutepasca, SnakeFawdz and WickedGood

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).

Tier List:

Tier 1:

  • Bomb Hunter
  • Bomb Warrior
  • Midrange Hunter

Tier 2:

  • Mech Paladin
  • Cyclone Mage
  • Holy Wrath Paladin

Tier 3:

  • Freeze Mage
  • Murloc Shaman
  • Control Warrior
  • Shark Rogue

Tier 4:

  • Control Shaman
  • Mech Priest
  • Raiding Party Rogue
  • Pogo Rogue
  • Secret Hunter
  • Token Druid
  • Token Shaman

Featured decks:

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.

s4mule

Gallon’s Bomb Warrior

Step 1 : put bombs in opponents deck.
Step 2: play Blastmaster Boom on turn 6 or 7.

gallon

SomiTequilla’s Bomb Warrior

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.

somitequilla

Ipackman’s Midrange Hunter

2nd deck is better against Warriors, 3rd deck is better against Mages.

ipackman

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.

にん

Dog’s Freeze Mage

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.

reliquary

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.

datlmf

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.

neirea

DarkBeef’s Shark Rogue

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.

darkbeef

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.

yachster

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.

jambre

Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #12

by ecoutepasca and WickedGood

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.

Tier List

Tier 1:

  • Shark Rogue
  • Bomb Warrior

Tier 2:

  • Midrange Shaman
  • Holy Wrath Paladin
  • Cyclone Mage

Tier 3:

  • Midrange Hunter
  • Control Warrior
  • Bomb Hunter
  • Raiding Party Rogue

Tier 4:

  • Mech Paladin
  • Murloc Shaman
  • Secret Hunter
  • Tempo Rogue
  • Token Druid
  • Freeze Mage
  • Zoo Warlock

Featured decklists:

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.

Chatthon’s Shark Rogue

Yogg’s Shark Rogue

SubUss’s Shark Rogue

Warma’s Bomb Warrior

TnraAy’s Bomb Warrior

Coookiemonst’s Midrange Shaman

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.

coookiemonst

Dragonfires’s Holy Wrath Paladin

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.

dragonfires

小呀小春辛’s Holy Wrath Paladin

居公公’s Cyclone Mage

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.

居公公

Sigge’s Midrange Hunter

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.

sigge

Lambo (Goatie)’s Control Warrior

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.

lambo

Rpbalance’s Bomb Hunter

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

rpbalance

min’s Raiding Party Rogue

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.

min

우리동네따악대장’s Mech Paladin

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.

우리동네따악대장

Tholwmenos’s Murloc Shaman

Yozek’s Secret Hunter

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).

yozek

D3oxy’s Tempo Rogue

jtamonda’s Token Druid

KusonaE’s Freeze Mage

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.

kusonae

MasterOfRush’s Freeze Mage

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.

masterofrush

芷晴’s Zoo Warlock

Alucard’s Hybrid Hunter

Meet The Hearthstone Players Who Will Be Competing For The First Time In Las Vegas

by ecoutepasca

You don’t know their names yet, but they have proven themselves to be world class Hearthstone players. They are coming to Las Vegas without an established team, without a reputation, without expectations. They have won an open cup and Masters Tour will be their first experience in international esports.

Team NoProsHere has had the priviledge to interview thirteen of these freshmen.

Shaun “Kittii” Norem

Origin: Colorado Springs, US
Age: 31
Occupation: Software Engineer
Qualified with: Control Warrior

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing Hearthstone just before the Naxx expansion was released. I had a background in Magic: The Gathering already and wanted to try this new virtual (and potentially free to play) card game I had heard about. I played something around 500 games and then stopped because the game wasn’t interesting enough at the time and I was sick of losing to Leeroy Jenkins. To be fair, I still hold a grudge against Leeroy, but the game has gotten a lot better as a whole. My collection is fairly complete for the standard format, but I dust all but my favorite cards that rotate into wild. I’m still missing a handful of legendaries, but most of them aren’t very useful anyway.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: Qualifying for Vegas is the biggest achievement. Other things like regularly beating pro players on ladder, getting 12 wins in arena, and making legend as a completely free to play player (at the time) are all neat, but they don’t quite compare to this.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: As much as I’d like to win it all, let’s be realistic – that probably won’t happen, I’m still going to do my best though! Other than that, I’m excited to meet some of my favorite personalities in the hearthstone scene. 🙂

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: My friends list before taking part in open cups consisted of a handful of people that don’t even play hearthstone. So for practice I bring my deck ideas to ladder and accept the losses that come with unfavorable match-ups (which are often handled with the other two deck variants). I also take part in other events when I’m able to. Unfortunately, with a full-time job and standard event hours falling within my work hours, I’m only able to take part on the weekends. 😦

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I hear Jia is going to be there! She’s my favorite caster and a solid competitor. To any casters that see this, I like you too, she’s just my favorite. 😛 It looks like Dog will be there and as an extension I assume Hafu will make an appearance as well. Meeting the two of them would be pretty cool. (Also, Kittii vs. Dog, show match of the century, am I right?)

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Hearthstone is probably one of the few games with a competitive scene that I could see myself having a shot in since it’s less reaction-time based and more contemplative. I’m not often a very lucky person, so the RNG element can be a hindrance, but I will take any opportunity I can get to find myself in the competitive scene for sure! My long term goals as a gamer are.. to just keep doing what I’m doing. I love games. So much that I went through college specifically to develop them myself. (I don’t have much to show for that yet, but give it time.) If I can will myself to stream more regularly, or if I can do well at Vegas, then becoming a well-known personality wouldn’t be so bad either. 🙂

Greg “TopDeck” Staffopoulos

Origin: Gainesville, Florida, USA
Age: 22
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Qualified with: Myracle Rogue

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing around when Naxx came out. I had no other experience in card games of this type, but I had played poker and other more traditional ones, so I figured it could be a new game type to get good at. I started playing Magic after Hearthstone, funnily enough. Hearthstone is my favorite game, probably of all time, just based on hours put in and fun had with it. I even got my mom to start playing! As for cards, I have pretty much every meta classic card, and I craft as needed for changes. I have basically no Warrior cards, since I was a Freeze Mage player, and I’m spiteful.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: Probably getting to go to Vegas, if I’m honest. Never been anywhere non-local, or this big. I’m very excited!

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: I’ll be happy to make it in the money of any kind, but I’m playing to win. I’ve been practicing, reading stats, and testing so many decks. If you shoot high, it’s hard to fall short!

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I watched a lot of tourney play, and delved way too deep into ladder for a month or two. For practice matches, my go-to players were Kirk “Derivus” VonHilsheimer and Tyler “Tendors” Kramer. Kirk is really experienced with the game and gave me a lot of tips and play advice during our Tespa season and in practice, and Tyler plays Warrior. And it helps to have Warrior practice.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: Oh man, like all of Omnislash, since I watch their show all the time. Firebat mostly. For play against? Any of them, just for the experience of facing them in bracket. (I did beat Zalae on ladder once!)

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Oh, absolutely. I’d love to make a splash in Vegas and have a career go from there, this is what I want to do!

Benjamin “FlècheNoire” Gayraud

Origin: Toulouse, France
Age: 22
Occupation: Engineering student
Qualified with: Midrange Hunter

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started hearthstone 4 years ago! Magic when I was 7-8 years old.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: 1st man qualified to Vegas!

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: Top 32! I want to go to Seoul!

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: After finals exams I trained a lot of different matchups and different decks. I practice with my teammates (warma and Loogiiqq) and my practice group (pyramide) .

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I like Feno’s stream, but I don’t care to play against professional players, I just want to play well and win games.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Of course! Improve, improve improve and improve and If I’m good enough I will win tournaments.

Ted “NoGlocko” Hollingsworth

Origin: Virginia, USA
Age: 22
Occupation: Lifeguard
Qualified with: Bomb Warrior

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing Hearthstone in January of 2015. My friend wanted me to help him with the “Return of Mechazod” tavern brawl, and after he showed me the basics, I was hooked. I played a little bit of Yu-Gi-Oh and a fair amount of Pokemon TCG. I love Hearthstone, however before the latest expansion I was starting to get fatigued by the lack of new strategies. I try to keep all the relevant standard cards, but I don’t play wild so I generally dust those cards.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: Aside from qualifying for masters in Vegas, I would say hitting legend for the first time using Bomb Hunter.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: To win Obviously 😉 Honestly though I’m just trying to have a good time and hopefully recoup some of the costs with my winnings.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: It’s kinda hard to prep for this because I don’t really have any friends that still play. I’ve been watching Grandmasters and testing primary deck ideas on ladder.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I honestly have no idea what pros will be there, and I’ll probably keep it that way so I don’t worry about it.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: I don’t know about competitive, but I’ve been wanting to branch out into Twitch and YouTube for a while so I’m looking to start that up when I get a new place with better internet.

Romaric “AyRoK” Dubois

Origin: Lyon, France
Age: 18
Occupation: Accounting and management student
Qualified with: Cube Hunter

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing Hearthstone in 2016, and tournaments in 2017. I didn’t play other card games like Magic but I like board games and some IRL card games (poker). This game allowed me to meet new people and compete with them. Competition is my favorite part in any game. My card collection isn’t full but i have all essential cards (not golden) to create all competitives decks.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: My qualification to this Master Tour Las Vegas. I didn’t make any DreamHacks or HCT tour stops so I don’t think anything will be at the same level.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: First step is to make Day 2 (do 4-3 day 1 but 5-2 for a hope to make top 8). After that everything is possible 😉 In my dreams I’m in the top 8 at the end of day 2, But there is a long way to complete this objective.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I practice with my teammates from Konix eSport and other French players who are qualified too to Las Vegas but not only. Help from each player helps me a lot. I play 8-12h/day in open cups, practices and 1/2h to watch some gameplay from other players.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: The majority of Grandmasters players, in particular Europeans players like Bunnyhoppor, Viper, Hunterace or Fenomeno… To play against them first, cause it’s a real challenge to play in this kind of tournament with high level players. Interesting to gain experience. And then talk to them to learn and share a good moment 😊

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Yes I will definitely continue in the competitive scene, try to qualify to Masters Tour Seoul maybe with a top 32 in Vegas but when I go back in France I will try to win an event. My long term goal is quite a dream, to be a pro player but I’m 18 yo and this dream can begin now 😁 btw I will continue to play tournaments at semipro level in the same time I study.

Michael “Mick” Lessard

Origin: Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec, Canada
Age: 19
Occupation: Cook
Qualified with: Midrange Hunter

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing Hearthstone since the beta! I never played any other card games before, but when I started playing Hearthstone, I fell in love and I became an addict. One day, I wanted to start playing competitively so I improved every single day and now it’s 2019 and it’s gonna be my first year of Competitive Hearthstone and I’m ready to show the world who Mick is.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: Definitely proud of qualifying for both Masters Tour Las Vegas and Masters Tour Seoul!

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: My objective in Las Vegas is achieving 9 wins so I can go back home with 3K so I would be able to compete in Seoul as well, but like everyone I’m gonna try my best to win the Masters cause I’d love to become a professional one day and maybe become part of Grandmasters League.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I’m going on Discord with my practice group and we just test different archetypes and adapt our decklists to the current meta and try what we think is good! I’m practicing with a bunch of good players, but I can’t name them all cause we are 20 people, but here are some of the names : Aviously, Storm Fever, Cmac, Dono, Meati, TheLastChamp, Mattf, Tris, Saturos, Sigge, Lambyseries…

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: Not really, I’m just foward to make some friends and have a good time in Las Vegas!

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: My long term goal as a gamer like I said would be to become a professional Hearthstone player and depending how I’m doing, might as well join Grandmasters League if I get invited one day!

Hector “Metalcat” Aguilar

Origin: Montevideo, Uruguay
Age: 37
Occupation: Inventory analyst
Qualified with: Odd Mage

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: Started playing TCG with Magic: the Gathering, in the invasion set (a long time ago) but as a hobby with friends then i quit because i cant keep updated with the game because it was a little expensive in for me in those years, then i found Hearthstone just before Naxxramas was released and since then i enjoy the game a lot. in terms of relationship with the game, I learn about the competitive scene 2 years ago and i like the idea of give it a try and then became more and more into know how to get better at the game playing every day. My card collection is almost complete from Un’Goro to Rise of Shadows… made a big mistake burning all the wild collection when Un’Goro comes out, since then i am trying to get all the old cards back.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: As a competitive person i always want more, started with a Fireside, then a THQ then Las Vegas Qualifier, who knows whats next…

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: Go as far as i can.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: Was waiting for the buffs so i can try and learn new decks and evaluate how the meta evolves and think what to play. I practice in ladder and with friends to test matchups.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: With anyone, playing against the best is always the best way to learn and improve your game. And i’m glad that i have got to that point.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Yes, my goal this year is to attend the three masters tours. Vegas is checked, next stop Seoul! and who knows maybe GM one day XD but that will take a lot of work.

Marco “denker” Calderón

Origin: Santiago, Chile
Age: 20
Occupation: Sociology student
Qualified with: Odd Warrior

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing Hearthstone in 2015 thanks to some friends from school, I had never played a card game before. I currently like to compete in Hearthstone tournaments but my card collection is not very good.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: I have played HCT Americas Summer Playoffs in 2017, have qualified Master Tour Las Vegas and having reached the number 1 of legend.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: Give a good level to reach the first places.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I prepare myself playing tournaments and practicing with Chilean players.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I don’t expect to meet someone special, I just hope I can give a good level when facing them.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: If I would like to continue competing because I like to do it, my expectations are to continue playing big tournaments to get experience.

Matt “Nerdstrom” Czap

Origin: New York, USA
Age: 36
Occupation: Animator, Illustrator, Comedian
Qualified with: Control Warrior

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing in December 2014 but never played any card games before. Whenever I pick up a new skill or hobby, I like to get really good at it. I think I have nearly the entire classic set, except for 2 or 3 legendaries. I have a good collection but I’m very stingy with my dust and gold.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: Qualifying for Masters Tour Las Vegas is the highlight so far, but slowly improving year after year to get to that point feels like a big accomplishment.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: Have fun, play to the best of my ability. See if I’m good or if it’s all a fluke.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I’ve just been practicing on ladder and sometimes with myself. The buffs dropped and the meta is shifting slightly. Also watching and absorbing Grandmasters helps, trying to pick up on what makes them have an edge over everyone else.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I watch a lot of the pro tournaments, so seeing any of them in person will probably be cool.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Maybe! I don’t consider myself a “GAMER” so I don’t really have goals in that sense. If I could have some kind of success and have it help my career in anyway, that’d be dope.

Avi “Aviously” Lessure

Origin: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Age: 17
Occupation: Incoming college freshman
Qualified with: Myracle Rogue

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started playing Hearthstone in between Naxx release and GVG, I used to play a ton of Magic: The Gathering competitively.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: I’m proud of Qualifying for Vegas and Seoul, and making Top 8 in the north region for Tespa the past 2 spring seasons.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: To win it all 🙂

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I’m preparing in a discord server featuring star players Mick, LastChamp, CmaccompH, Saturos, Tris, StormFever and BillSnyder, just to name a few of the awesome players. We’ve been testing lineups every night and they’re just awesome people to hang out with.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I’m excited to meet all of my online friends in person, and Dog and Firebat are 2 players I love to watch that I’d love to meet in Vegas.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: I love hearthstone, and I’m definitely planning on continuing to play hearthstone in the future. I’d love to turn it into a job, whether it be in content creation/pro play or as a game designer, but I’m also planning on working.

Adam “CheeseHead” Nemeth

Origin: Budapest, Hungary
Age: 25
Occupation: Mathematician
Qualified with: Conjurer Mage

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started when League of Explorers came out, didn’t really play any card games before. Now I play Hearthstone a lot, trying to be better every day. I have all the important cards on EU, and I can play two classes on NA.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: I won the regular season of our national league this year, finishing at 4th place after playoffs. But I was super happy, when I qualified for Vegas.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: Everyone wants to win the whole thing, right? I would be happy with a positive score, but I want to go as far as possible.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I’m checking stats a lot and trying to predict the meta. I have some friends who I can talk to about my ideas, and testing some matchups. I am playing mostly on ladder now, and testing different lineups in the Battleriff league and Seoul qualifiers.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: Honestly, I’m looking forward to meeting the people who I am playing against every day on ladder.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: I would love to make a living out of this, so I will try my best this year and hope I can continue to attend these events.

Ayden “Blitz” Murray-Tuffin

Origin: WA, Australia
Age: 25
Occupation: Mail orders at a soap factory
Qualified with: Midrange Hunter

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: Started playing casually around the time Blackrock Mountain came out. Was the first ccg i played regularly. Got interested in the competitive side of it when i saw Navioot in a Blizzard tournament back in 2016 and that’s when I started playing a lot. Been playing a long time so I have a pretty full collection. If you do all your quests and brawls you can get a lot of cards!

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: Being Nominated for the 2018 Australian Hearthstone Global Games team and beating Ostkaka in a Vegas qualifier and making him unfriend me mid game 😀

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: Have fun and hopefully win a few matches.

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: Mainly by looking at stats and following the results of other tournaments.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: Looking forward to meeting some of the other Aussie players and everyone really.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: For sure, i love gaming and esports. Would love to make it a full time job, Competing, coaching or anything really.

Cara “CaraCute” Vergel De Dios

Origin: Manila, Philippines
Age: 32
Occupation: Quality Assurance Manager
Qualified with: Special Invite

Q: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Did you play any other card games before? What is your relationship with the game? How complete is your card collection?

A: I started October 2014 right around the Goblin Vs Gnomes expansion. I don’t have any other card games experience. My collection is large because I don’t disenchant Wild cards. My team always sponsor my pre-purchase. Aside from that I don’t buy much cards.

What Hearthstone achievements are you most proud of?

A: To be invited in the WSOE 2 and Las Vegas and Finishing Top 4 in the WESG APAC Finals.

Q: What is your objective in Las Vegas?

A: I want to reach at least Day 2. In case I didn’t, I want to play for a slot in the Masters Tour Seoul Qualifiers

Q: How do you prepare for this tournament? Who do you practice with?

A: I practice everyday after work. I practice with other fellow players in my country.

Q: Are there any professional players that you look forward to meet or play against? Why?

A: I’m a big fan of Mitsuhide. I haven’t met him personally so looking forward to meet him.

Q: Would you like to continue in the competitive scene beyond this event? What are your long term goals as a gamer?

A: Of course. Playing Hearthstone is a way for me to unwind after a long day at work. I want to be the best in my country and South East Asia.

Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #11

By ecoutepasca and WickedGood

Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Seoul #91-120 was the last week of open cups before the buffs to Boomsday cards. This is a report about the metagame for Standard Specialist tournaments between two consecutive rounds of balance changes.

The interactive data dashboard that powers this report can be found at http://offcurve.com/specialist-meta

Midrange Hunter remains at the top of the meta for the second week since the nerfs, regularly accounting for anywhere from 25-40% of the decks brought to any given qualifier. It succeeds because of its impressive matchup spread; it has an even or better win rate against all but two decks in the Specialist meta, and is maintaining a better than 50% win rate overall, despite a high number of mirrors. If you’re looking for a safe pick, Midrange Hunter is the deck you want.

Bomb Warrior remains in tier 1 for another week as well. While its matchups aren’t as universally good as Midrange Hunter’s, it is generally favored against most decks, especially the Rogues which have begun a resurgence as players have figured out the right mix of cards to play. One thing to watch this coming week after the buff patch hits is how successful Mech Paladin becomes with Crystology at 1 mana and Glowstone Technician at 5 mana. This deck preys on Warriors, so that could affect Bomb Warrior’s win rate if it gains popularity.

Tempo Rogue moves into tier 1 this week, accounting for the next most number of decks brought, players progressing to top 8, and players qualifying for Seoul. There seem to be two reasons for this swift recovery: One, Rogue still has a really strong toolkit, even after the nerfs to Preparation, Raiding Party and EVIL Miscreant, so the new decks that are emerging are still strong against the field. Two, Tempo Rogue is one of the only decks in the meta that is favored against Midrange Hunter, so it goes into a significant number of matchups with an advantage from the start.

(Note: There are a number of different variations of this deck, but there aren’t enough clear differentiations to justify separating the lists yet, so they are all currently combined into Tempo Rogue. We’re monitoring the developments and will update as the decks are refined.)

Tier 2 is where things begin to change from last week. Secret Hunter is the big surprise of week 4, responsible for 1 qualifier win and an eye-popping 64% match win rate within top 8. Though sample sizes are limited, the deck appears to be succeeding because of extremely favorable matchups against Midrange Hunter and Tempo Rogue, and is only slightly unfavored against Bomb Warrior. Time will tell if this success is because of actual advantages or because opponents haven’t practiced enough against the deck. If the meta weren’t about to change due to the introduction of the buffs, Secret Hunter would be a strong recommendation as a meta-breaker deck.

The rest of tier 2 consists of Zoo Warlock and Murloc Shaman, which have fairly similar matchup spreads, but have unfavored matchups against all of the tier 1 decks. Despite this, both decks have managed to secure a handful of qualifier wins, so a skilled pilot can still find success against the field with either list.

Cyclone Mage is a sadder story; for the second week in a row, it features the lowest percentage of top 8 qualifiers for any deck with at least one top 8 appearance, and secured only one qualifier win this week. In fact, despite having the most top 8 appearances outside of tier 1, it has the lowest percentage of appearances for any deck because of its popularity. While Cyclone Mage maintains its prevalence because of its performances at Grandmasters, players not yet at that level of play may want to look elsewhere.

Bomb Hunter rounds out Tier 2, with a better record of reaching top 8 but no qualifier wins this week. Bomb Hunter seems to be the deck hurt most by the resurgence of Rogue; its neutral matchup against Midrange Hunter and favorable matchup against Bomb Warrior help it get through Swiss, but once it reaches single elimination in top 8, it’s fairly likely to run into an unfavored matchup against Rogue.

Tier 3 contains a number of promising decks that have yet to secure a qualifier win. Token Druid is the best performing out of this group, but is easy to tech against, especially once players have an opportunity to switch to a secondary or tertiary deck, where all the techs against Zoo and Murloc Shaman also hurt them, The rest of the tier features off-meta choices like Heal Druid, Resurrect Priest, and Holy Wrath Paladin. Mech Paladin is also a deck we’re watching closely, as we expect it to get significantly better with the buffs to Crystology and Glowstone Technician.

Tier List:

Tier 1:

  • Midrange Hunter
  • Tempo Rogue
  • Bomb Warrior

Tier 2:

  • Bomb Hunter
  • Secret Hunter
  • Murloc Shaman
  • Cyclone Mage

Tier 3:

  • Zoo Warlock
  • Holy Wrath Paladin
  • Token Druid
  • Oblivitron Hunter
  • Lucentbark Druid

Tier 4:

  • Resurrect Priest
  • Miracle Rogue
  • Conjurer Mage

Featured decks:

Here are some of the best decks of the week! Special thanks to the players who once again were genrous enough to share tips about their strategy, and to Zflow who helped with Korean translation.

Soleil’s Midrange Hunter

I played Mage right after the balance changes. I prepared Mage because it was not a victim of the changes. But it turned out be a victim of its popularity and hype. Mage was teched by the meta more than it is supposed to be. That’s why I changed my mind into playing Hunter. Primary deck is a normal one. and Secondary deck is for Warrior match-up. Tertiary deck is for Rogue match-up since popularity of Mage was decreasing and that of Rogue was increasing. The strategy of Tertiary deck is adding Oozes in addition to Master’s Call. The reason why is that I think it’d be better to discover Ooze than to have 3 beasts so that I can destroy Waggle Pick. I defeated NaviOOT with this strategy who is my favorite player at #98. Destroying the Pick led me to the victory. Another key point of Tertiary deck is that there is no Zul’jin. I thought my Tertiary deck can’t stand late games, which means I didn’t need Zul’jin. I also used Leeroy addtionally at #98. But I cut it after I was defeated at semi-finals where Leeroy didn’t perform well. Tundra Rhino replaced Leeroy.

soleil

GreenSheep’s Midrange Hunter

The initial list is quite standard and should be fine against most decks. 2x Deadly Shot since Mage was quite popular.
Secondary list i use vs Warriors and the mirror. Since Deadly Shot gets worse vs those i cut it and added Highmanes since they are good in the mirror and vs Warrior. Lifedrinker is a good minion to play on 4 since you dont have 4 drops.
Tertiary is used only against Mage. Bloodfen Raptor applies pressure. Double Hunter’s Mark and Deadly Shot for Giants. Rat Trap also makes it hard for them to have optimal turns.

greensheep

Ostkaka’s Raiding Party Rogue

Felkeine’s Vendetta Shark Rogue

Mikelemata’s Bomb Warrior

Bomb Warrior is a very strong deck but is difficult to play in a specialist format beacuse every lineup have a side deck targeted at it. The primary deck is a standard Bomb Warrior with Rush package, Darius is very good vs aggro/midrange like Hunter, Druid and Lackey Rogue. The secondary is for mirror, Alexstrasza face is like 3 Bombs and is good for mindgames, playing around it is a difficult turn 9 for the opponent. Grommash is a good choice too, i win 70% of mirror with Grommash+Warpath! The terciary is for Mage. I played this and i won also vs Deathrattle Hunter, the worst matchup for Bomb Warrior. A little tip: vs Midrange Hunter Omega Devastator played like a Yeti 4-5 in turn 3 with Coin or tunr 4 is very very good! This deck can win tempo or with value, depends of your starting hand.

mikelemata

Cydonia/Aviously’s Bomb Warrior

IllustBeast’s Bomb Hunter

Mojomaster Zihi is in the primary deck to prevent Midrange Hunters from playing Zul’jin. The secondary is built to counter control decks, but can also be used vs Midrange Hunter.

Illustbeast

ZhangFei’s Secret Hunter

I believe Secret Hunter is the strongest deck in Standard on the ladder and it only improves in the specialist format. I’ve only been playing Hearthstone one month and I exclusively played Secret Hunter but I was able to finish ranked in the top 200 this season, peaking at 25th, and after 7 qualifiers I finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th. I felt it was best to remove Deadly Shot, Unleash the Hounds, Baited Arrow, and Zilliax for Tracking, Harrison Jones, Cairn Bloodhoof, and Unleash the Beast from my Secondary deck which I used only against Warrior decks. I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to craft the Cairn Bloodhoof on speculation before the tournament but in my first game with it I was able to Marked Shot to discover Nine Lives which I was able to cast again with Zul’Jin. I removed Freezing Trap, Deadly Shot, Kill Command, and Kill Command from my Tertiary deck for Snake Trap, Explosive Trap, Unleash the Hounds, and Baited Arrow. Mixing up the traps felt like a natural way to make myself harder to play against and after studying the Hunter decks from Hearthstone Grandmasters I saw a lot of Tertiary decks adding Baited Arrow. This deck was only used for Token Druid and Warlock Zoo. My Primary deck was used most often and has great matchups against Midrange Hunter, Mage, and Rogue.

zhangfei

Fled/Pinche/Topopablo’s Murloc Shaman

The first list is the most standard I could find. No tech cards and the intention is just to play on the curve.
The second list is to win aggro. I was able to win a Rogue and a mirror with it.
And the third is for Mage. You do not need value, you have to be very aggressive. I only faced Mage in the final and also managed to win

fled

TIZS’s Cyclone Mage

The main strategy of these decks I use primary deck against Hunter and Rogue. Even though Rogues use 2 Waggle Picks these days, I still dont use cards like Harrison Jones and Acid Swamp Ooze because I fear Hunter more. The secondary deck is built to counter Warrior. The strategy against Warrior is giving pressure every turn after turn 4. And end the game with big minions or Antonidas. Some people choose not to put Zilliax into the deck against Warrior because it is a defensive card. But bomb warrior is very aggressive nowadays. Zillax is a key card to recover from Bombs. I build the tertiary deck to beat Zoo and Murloc Shaman. However, my only loss in the Masters Qualifier Seoul 110 is against Zoo. So I think i should improve the the tertiary deck.
The main strategy of these decks is use Giants and Conjurer combo or Cyclone and lots of spells combo.
You need to keep the amount of cards in your hands and try to reverse the situation in one turn.

tizs

RazieL’s Zoo Warlock

Alan870806’s Holy Wrath Paladin

Nerdstrom’s Holy Wrath Paladin

I saw a couple of people in GM playing OTK Paladin this week and thought it could be fun…and it was! None of their tertiary decks accounted for Murloc/Zoo/Token though since they’re much less likely to face it, so I found a list that Sequinox was using that seemed like it might give a better shot. Most of the matchups were Hunter, which is winnable as long as they don’t get snowball early into something real nasty that you can’t answer. Against Bomb Warrior I lost every first game. If they just armor up to past 50 health it’s unwinnable. But the secondary deck just out-values them. You have to be careful with your healing since you’re drawing so much and they’re going to be on their list with even more Bombs. By the second Undatakah, they usually can’t handle all the 7/7’s. I lost in the first round of top 8, but definitely think I could have taken it all the way. By that point though, it was late and I was making little mistakes. That is not good in general, but VERY not good for this deck.

nerdstrom

Meliador’s Token Druid

가짜자유’s Oblivitron Hunter

2nd deck for Warrior and 3rd deck for Token type deck.
Play this deck when you dont like Warriors.
After the patch I’m thinking remove Countess Ashmore and Batterhead and add Necromechanic.

가짜자유

マイマイ/YeHo’s Lucentbark Druid

CheeseNaan’s Resurrect Priest

VampireZ’s Miracle Rogue

ColaPopcorn’s Conjurer Mage

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Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #10

By ecoutepasca and WickedGood

The Hearthstone metagame has been shaken up this week by nerfs to EVIL Miscreant, Raiding Party, Preparation and Elysiana, and the open cup players have been quick to adjust their decks.
The scope of this report is Masters Qualifiers #66 to #90 (66 being the first one where at the time of deck submission deadline, the players knew that they would be playing all the rounds with the new version of the cards).

The week started and ended in an unpredictable way, first with the nerfs announced to happen sometime during a normal day of Qualifiers, so the players would bring decks that planned for it to various extents. Events 61 and 62 were played entirely before the patch, while players in 63,64 and 65 ended up with new versions of their cards at some point. Then during the weekend, events 81 and 82 were cancelled because of a Battlefy outage.

Quickly after the nerfs went live, Midrange Hunter and Bomb Warrior surfaced as the dominating meta decks. They proved their strength throughout the week with multiple Qualifier wins each. Rogue is still very good, but the best way to build it seems to not have been figured out yet. Spirit of the Shark is a consensus, but the Vendetta package isn’t. Zoo Warlock and Murloc Shaman seemed very strong early on but didn’t sustain their win rate like Midrange Hunter did. Mage disapointed, and it’s not because people didn’t try.

Midrange Hunter is top tier because it has a positive or neutral win rate against every deck on the tier list except Nomi Priest, Deathrattle Hunter and Burgle Rogue, and the latter is the only one actually being brought in meaningful quantities.
Bomb Warrior has good matchups against everything commonly brought except Midrange Hunter, which it’s unfavored against. So if you can figure out how to tech against Midrange Hunter, it should be a fairly safe choice.
Cyclone Mage is still in tier 2 because it’s managing to win qualifiers, but it’s not as dominant as players might assume from how often it’s being brought to qualifiers. The matchup win percentages may not tell the entire story because Cyclone Mage is an extremely difficult deck to play, and a player skilled in it can outperform the average, but it’s far from an auto-win, and the results have proven that out.
Burgle Rogue is picking up where Tempo Rogue left off, and it’s having more success in specialist than on ladder because it’s easier to target individual decks with the secondary and tertiary deck. Shark Rogue is something to keep an eye on (which sometimes also runs burgle cards as well), but the lists are still being refined so the results haven’t quite caught up with the more refined decks yet.

Head to http://offcurve.com/specialist-meta if you want to explore the database that powers this meta report. It is updated daily.

Pure control decks (namely Warrior and Shaman) have fallen completely out of relevance with Rogue declining in popularity and Dire Frenzy being in so many decks. The Bomb package now seems mandatory in Warrior.

Tier List:

Tier 1:

  • Midrange Hunter
  • Bomb Warrior

Tier 2:

  • Vendetta Rogue
  • Cyclone Mage
  • Shark Rogue
  • Bomb Hunter
  • Conjurer Mage

Tier 3:

  • Oblivitron Hunter
  • Holy Wrath Paladin
  • Zoo Warlock
  • Token Druid
  • Murloc Shaman
  • Secret Hunter
  • Lucentbark Druid
  • Big Shaman

Tier 4:

  • Nomi Priest
  • Miracle Rogue

Featured decklists:

Here are some of the decks that have performed well since the nerfs. You can click on them to get decks codes on YAYTears. We thank the players for their pro tips and Lilhearthie who helped with Chinese translation.

Xavier/LostHead/Toastmonster’s Midrange Hunter

First lineup is just a regular Midrange Hunter deck. It doesn’t feel that optimal but it has tech cards such as Unleash he Hounds for aggro. There are the one ofs Scavenging Hyena and Tundra Rhino in case there is control, I don’t completely lose. Second list is for aggro. The deck has a one of Crab for Murloc Shaman, and a 1 mana 1/2 beast is also not bad vs aggro decks (so you keep it opening hand often to play on 1). It also has Shimmerflies to get more spells as well as more cheap minions to counter the opponents. The one of Rapid Fire and Explosive Trap is good for managing board control. When I played the cup, I only had to queue the second deck like once or twice, that may have been because meta hasn’t completely shifted since it was the first America’s cup fully on the new nerfs. Third list is for control matchups. This includes Warrior and Mage for the most part. The special thing about this deck is that I haven’t seen other people do is put Snipe in it. It’s so good vs Mage when they decide to do a Sorcerers apprentice turn or when a Bomb Warrior tries to play an Elekk on curve. Its also deals 4 damage to a Giant on curve, which makes it more manageable vs Mages. The rest of the cards are pretty straightforward. More Rhinos to shuffle in to deal more damage late game and a one of Savannah Highmane because it’s a really sticky minion. Lists feel super solid but I’m not sure if they are the most optimized. With other people reaching the top and winning cups with it too, it means it definitely is top tier but changes may still need to be made.

Xavier

XiOh’s Midrange Hunter

Definition’s Midrange Hunter

Palijuha/NaySyl/AKAWonder’s Bomb Warrior

People think that Midrange Hunter is favoured against it, but if you play around Tracking and Zul’jin by not playing all the Bomb cards, you are good to go.
Also important to not play Elysiana in main deck. The card is way too situational right now.
Tip against Hunter: they Will use Dire Frenzy on Scalehyde for sustain so sometimes not to play a single Minion on board is the right line to go.

akawonder

Ohdollar’s Bomb Warrior

NoFlame’s Vendetta Rogue

I think it’s not final version of this Rogue. Waggle Pick seems good in this non-Ooze meta. It easily beats Hunter and Mage but struggles vs Warrior (you can still beat them). Secondary deck is for Warriors, tertiary – for Mages, primary – for everything else.

noflame

Gaboumme/Kalas’s Cyclone Mage

For the Primary I went with what was going on in open cups: a much more aggressive meta due to Rogue’s brutal disappearance. So I looked around to find a way to answer aggro without making my mana curve too high (Rabble Bouncers and Geddon cost 7) and I adopted Kolento’s Magic Dart Frogs.
Despite Odemian’s advice to run Geddon in the secondary, I decided that in my experience it was too situational and not game-breaking enough.
Versus Bomb Warrior, not having an early game can be a problem so I added the Messenger Ravens which can be extremely strong. Then I chose Harrison to cycle as well as remove Supercollider. Mojomaster Zihi was recommended by Den to block Omega Devastator and Assembly and also Holy Wrath Paladin. Then there’s Malacrass, very underrated in my opinion, to refill the hand and pressurize control decks that hate when you play Khadgar twice in the game.
In the Tertiary, Voodoo Doll is good vs Mech/Deathrattle Hunter and for the Mage mirror.

gaboumme

Silvors/Jobsad’s Shark Rogue

My secondory deck is really strong against Mage because of cards like Betrayal or Walk The Plank and double Sap from primary deck.
Tertiary deck is trying to counter Warrior with combo cards like Toggwagle’s Scheme or Jepetto. You are trying to draw your Heistabaron Toggwage and then you can easily win on board.
The primary deck is for Hunters, Rogue mirrors and the rest of metagame.
Obviously if you play against Control Shaman you would definitely use the tertiary like for Warrriors.

jobsad

THJester’s Bomb Hunter

The popularity of midrange Hunter has caused Mech Hunter to fly under the radar even though it is 50/50 or better against all the popular decks. But while standard aggro Mech Hunter can run out of gas in any value matchup, the double Nine Lives / Mechanical Whelp gives you much more flexibility and a way to put quick mid-game pressure on the board against Rogue / Midrange Hunter. It also gives an edge in the mirror since landing one Mechanical Whelp on board can usually win you the game – especially if you can Zilliax the deathrattle. Similarly, Nine Lives with Ursatron gives you an extra card refill the standard lists often lack. Warrior is a quasi-auto win with the primary list, but the anti-control tertiary list guarantees it. The 2x Bomb Toss are mainly for killing Zilliax, Timber Wolves, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice (since it is usually behind Mirror Image taunts), but it is also the only direct damage from hand that doesn’t require magnetizing while creating a board presence.
The secondary list is largely for aggro, but I rarely ended up using it given so few Zoo / Murloc Shaman / Token Druid, and it still feels miserable against Token Druid so it probably needs to be reworked if aggro popularity rises again. The anti-control tertiary list I’ve actually found to be the most effective against Midrange Hunter (since current midrange builds are more control-oriented than usual), and it pretty much carried me to the finals after I lost game 1 of each the quarter and semifinals. Since Midrange Hunter is the most popular deck, I’ve actually swapped out one Explodinator for a Flare. Explodinator will often lose you games against MR hunter more than any other card (given Hyena, Timberwolves, and Unleash), and Flare allows you to deal with secrets while also drawing a card and clearing secrets again post Zul’jin. I don’t run Boommaster Flark in my primary because of how slow it is, and it likely would be my next cut in my tertiary deck since it has same issue as Explodinator in creating a wide board space and you don’t need it against Warrior to easily win. Mulligan you almost always just want to hard mulligan for Galvanizer and Ursatron, and those two cards influence rest of keeps depending on synergy. Mecharoo you always keep if you are going first, and Bomb Toss you always keep against Cyclone Mage. Main thing to remember is nine lives requires deathrattle minions to die naturally – meaning they can’t be magnetized on to something else. So even if it is awkward, dropping a Spider Bomb early will often lead to tempo later on.
Overall the primary/tertiary lists feel great in the current meta, as an equality off Hench-Clan Burglar and a round 8 Token Druid are the only thing that kept me from going to back to back top 8s with them. As long as Token Druid, Murloc Shaman, and Zoolock deck percentages remain low, the deck should remain competitive.

thjester

Kuonet’s Oblivitron Hunter

After Rogue nerf, I feel Deathrattle Hunter has a lot of potential because it can beat Warrior, Mage and Beast Hunter. After several tries, I find this list is pretty solid against everything except Holy Wrath Paladin and Rogue. Other players like Jakaattack and NoHandsGamer also have high winrate with similar decks. In my primary deck, it’s pretty easy to clear Bomb Hunter and Murloc Shaman’s early board with Pyro combo. Spellbreaker is also good against Bomb Hunter or silence our minions to pressure Cyclone Mage. Rat Trap is good against Rogue and Mage, but it’s not that important since Mage will freeze the Rat most of the time so I have put one in. Overall the primary deck is pretty flexible and good against most aggros. This deck is also good against Beast Hunter because you have some big minions in the middle game which is hard to deal with as Beast Hunter. The secondary deck is for Warrior matchup. Nowadays since most Warriors run double BGH and Brawl in their sidedeck for the Mage, this matchup is just favorable but not a free win. Hunter needs to play more aggressively to win this matchup. The tertiary deck is for Mage matchup, most of the time I just crush Cyclone Mage with this deck, Mage need to refill their hand with Cyclone early games instead of playing Giant to win this matchup (and it’s hard!). In the next patch on 6/3, Necromechanic will cost 4 mana instead of 5, which make Deathrattle Hunter much more better and I think it will be more popular in the future tournaments. But still, the amount of Deathrattle Hunter depends on the amount of Holy Wrath Paladin and Rogue.

kuonet

BabyBear’s Zoo Warlock

After the Rogue nerfs I expected more Hunter / Mage and because of this also fewer Warriors in the qualifiers so I went looking for a good counter. Zoo felt like a strong pick and so far has proven to be consistent for me. The primary list is strong overall and mostly good in board centric match ups. The secondary list has more burst cards to go face in certain match ups like Mage or Rogue. I also added Faerie Dragon to this list because it is very difficult to clear for both Rogue and Mage so it can deal a lot of damage when it sticks on the board. The tertiary list is teched for the Warrior match up with some Mechs which are harder to clear and of course Rafaam which is a good way to generate some value in the late game.

babybear

SirSalty’s Murloc Shaman

Primary deck for Mech Hunter (I always like my primary deck to specifically counter a deck and not just be a weird hybrid)
Secondary deck Warrior (8-1 game record against warrior over 2 qualifiers)
Tertiary deck for Mage. The 3rd deck is pretty bad tho, should definitely still play the Coldlight Seers.
Tinkmaster was there as an answer to Missle Launcher + Venomizer but was unplayable in every other situation so I’ve cut it adding Amani Berserker instead.

sirsalty

Aldoc’s Murloc Shaman

小呀小春辛’s Holy Wrath Paladin

When it comes to Holy Wrath Paladin, you don’t want cards Bloodmage Thalanos, which will cycle cards for you but won’t do so until the next turn. You want cards that can cycle for you on the same turn they’re played, like Novice Engineer or Soup Vendor. As for Soup Vendor, I’m just testing it, but I think it’s really useful in general. Sometimes you can draw multiple cards with it, instead of the other cycle cards which will only draw one. Elven Archer has good synergy with both Acolyte of Pain and Equality. The main deck kind of hedges my bets against everything, it can beat anything. My secondary deck is for the Warrior matchup. But sometimes, if the warrior doesn’t have Eternium Rovers, then I’ll actually still play my primary. My warrior opponent will definitely be expecting me to use my secondary deck against them, so they will use their deck with a silence effect (like Ironbeak Owl) and Supercolliders against me. If I keep using my primary, then those cards are useless against me and I can get the edge. My tertiary deck uses an anti-aggro sideboard. It’s better against decks like Token Druid, Mech Hunter, Zoo, and Murloc Shaman. Against Rogue and Midrange Hunter, though, I believe my primary deck is better suited than the anti-aggro sideboard. Besides Warrior, I am favored against all popular decks in the meta right now. Against Mage, I only use my primary deck. Like Rogue and Midrange Hunter, I am pretty favored against Mage.

小呀小春辛

JoeyLinch’s Conjurer Mage

The deck is a nice combination between the two Mage decks you’ll see.. Dragon Mage will often get smorc’d down by aggressive decks and Cyclone Mage relies on the other halves of their engine and can brick. In a long round tournament where a lot has to go your way I don’t feel Cyclone can get there as often as you’d like. As far as match ups the Secondary is for aggressive token match ups (Token Druid, Mech Hunter) which has been popular. The Tertiary is for Warrior, highlight being Mechanical Whelp.. it’s very good vs Brawl obviously but was very helpful against Bomb Warrior, it combos with Zilliax to that often important 10 heal.

joeylinch

Disq’s Token Druid

Strategy: essentially the same as how you play Token Druid on ladder. Primary deck is designed to work against pretty much anything your opponent can throw. Acornbear/Argent Squire on turn 1, Dreamway Guardians on turn 2 is the nuts. Just playing Keeper Stalladris on turn 2 on an empty board is also pretty sweet as most try to kill it inefficiently. You want to mulligan for token generators, so throw away any buff cards you have. Early game is important. You generally mulligan for anything that costs under 5 mana, but having a 1 or 2 drop will set you up big time. your biggest problem will be mages. Hunters: Make sure you watch for turn 5 when you have a big board. That’s generally the turn they want to play Unleash the Hounds and Scavenging Hyena. If you have only 1 drops on your board (like with Whispering Woods), you are generally dead. Some hunters also like to tech in Explosive Trap, make sure to buff your minions out of range. Warriors: This is where your tertiary deck comes in. Eccentric Scribe is a slow card, but the more token generators you have, the better against warriors as they will run out of removal. Don’t overextend your board too much, try to stay around 3 or 4 tokens, so that they feel forced to play removal. Brawl, Dyn-O-Matic, Warpath and Supercollider are removal you want to watch for. Mages: This is your hard counter, so hopefully you’ll avoid these. Your secondary deck will help with Big Game Hunter to remove any early giants that come on the board. Go hard on the board, as mages generally don’t tend to have board clears. Flood it, so they feel pressured and make sub-optimal plays. If they play Khadgar and Conjurer’s Calling on a giant, it’s nearly guaranteed a concede.
From the primary deck, most of the list is very core. Argent Squires and the Sea Giant are flexible. Crystalsong Portal can also be flexible, but it gives extra gas when you are running low. Wrath can also be removed, but it’s very handy to either remove a taunt, draw a card or deal with the early game. Archmage Vargoth is very juicy. Try to play it in such a way that it can’t be cleared. If not cleared, it can run away with the game very easily. Don’t be afraid to use a buff card like Blessing of the Ancients or Soul of the Forest on just two minions if Vargoth is up, because the value he gives is huge. Some lists like to run ooze, but I generally tend to stay away from it. There’s no point in running weapon removals as when they use weapons, they already use a suboptimal play by keeping the board clear for us. In conclusion; token druid has in my opinion an even matchup across the board except against mages. Avoid those and play well, you should be okay. Or nerf Conjurer’s Calling, that works too 🙂

disq

ZhangFei’s Secret Hunter

マイマイ’s Lucentbark Druid

Primary deck can beat aggro. The secondary deck targets the Mage and the tertiary deck targets the Warrior.
About primary decks: Crystal Stag has excellent board processing. Flobbidinous Floop is often used as Crystal Stag or Lucentbark.
About the secondary deck: I have never used it, so I don’t know if the list is appropriate.
About Tertiary Deck: Active than expected. You can use this as a control partner. We decide Lucentbark plan or Malygos plan in the early stage. If you take the Malygos plan, discard all unnecessary minions and lower the mana with two Dreampetales as much as possible. As you can take out 3 or 4 Malygos, aim OTK.

マイマイ

KNMDehua’s Big Shaman

The secondary deck is used for Rogue (even though it was nerfed). It cuts all the minions that don’t have Taunt or Lifesteal, to make sure that Muckmorpher can protect my life. The tertiary with the Splitting Festeroot is used to fight Warriors. The tokens it generates are difficult to handle for Warriors.

knmdehua

MATSURI’s Nomi Priest

My deck is the Nomi Priest, centered on Mountain Giant. Thoughtsteal not only puts out a giant quickly but also puts in a value match to win. Especially effective for Mage. As the Nomi Priest is at a disadvantage against the Bomb Warrior, the Secondary deck aims to break through with an endless combo by Da undatakah and Seance. Tertiary Deck uses SW Death to remove Mages giants and Hunters rats. Primary deck is valid for Zoo, Token Druid and Murloc Shaman. Secondary deck was used for Warriors and Tertiary deck for Hunters. I did not play against Mage, but I was planning to use a Tertiary deck if I was playing. There were many matches that were hit by Bomb Warriors, so it might be better if you put Zilliax.

matsuri

Leta’s Hand Rogue

I feel like the idea of the deck might be very strong but the list is still not optimized. It is too much dependant on Evil Miscreant.

leta

Team NoProsHere Specialist Meta Report #9

By ecoutepasca and WickedGood

Brace yourselves, nerfs are coming!
The balance changes to EVIL Miscreant, Raiding Party, Preparation and Archivist Elysiana will happen on Wednesday, during the open cups that will run nonetheless.
We have elected to publish this metagame report on Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Seoul #31-60 regardless, because most of the specialist format decks that we planned to feature are unaffected by the nerfs anyway.
We will soon publish another article with our thoughts on how the specialist meta will shift post-nerf.

Image

This week, Bomb Warrior was on its way to surpass FaceTempo Rogue in popularity. This lines up with the power of the deck, but could also have been influenced by the debut of the Grandmasters league.
Mage has completed the transition from Dragon Conjurer to Cyclone Miracle.
Hunter and Shaman are the most diverse classes, seeing experimentation with three different archetypes each, but the latter has yet to find success.
Last week, Mech Paladin was very promising despite seeing fringe play. The class repeats this patern this week, but with the Holy Wrath OTK.
Token Druid is still strong as long as sideboards are not teched against it, which means that there’s a balance between its strength and its popularity.
Warlock and Priest are dead.

The live dashboard with all the data that powers this report (and more) can be found at http://offcurve.com/specialist-meta.

Tier List:

Tier 1:

  • Bomb Warrior
  • FaceTempo Rogue

Tier 2:

  • Miracle Mage
  • Control Warrior

Tier 3:

  • Bomb Hunter
  • Token Druid
  • BurgleTempo Rogue
  • Midrange Hunter
  • Holy Wrath Paladin
  • Secret Hunter

Tier 4:

  • Miracle Rogue
  • Conjurer Mage
  • Deathrattle Hunter
  • Big Shaman

Featured decks:

Tansoku’s Bomb Warrior

Cairne Bloodhoof is too strong vs Warrior. Should add Elysiana to primary deck to improve it vs Warrior.

tansoku

Mick’s Bomb Warrior

I’m using Azalina, because it’s better than Elysiana against other primary deck. Primary deck is mostly for Rogue and other than that there’s Token Druid and OTK Paladin. Secondary is only for the mirror match, so I added Elysiana + a Banker to make sure I can stand a chance vs other Warriors. Tertiary deck is mostly for Hunter and Mage, I will also use it against Nomi Priest and Zoo Warlock. BGH is making my matchup vs Mage super favoured with at least 70-80%, because it’s really good to deal with early Giants. I havent built this lineup, S/O to Meati!

mick

muffins’s FaceTempo Rogue

The lineup was based around a new ladder deck I had been testing. I wanted a primary deck that could do reasonably well vs both Rogues and Warriors to get an early lead in the series. The 1x Shark can give you some insane swing turns and is the reason I included double Cable Rat, which also makes Toggwaggle extremely consistent. The strategy generally went primary for the mirror, secondary for Warriors, and tertiary for Mages/Hunters. If I could go back and make changes to the lineup I would definitely keep Sharks in my secondary and tertiary decks since it is very strong vs Warriors and Mages.

muffins

Posesi/Cassia’s Miracle Mage

Primary for Rogue, secondary for Warrior, tertiary for Mage mirrors and Mech Hunter. Rabble Bouncer is overrated. Most importantly, pray for coin and AI.

cassia

Yocto’s Control Warrior

I chose Control Warrior from the beginning because i think it’s one of the most solid decks right now. Probably not the strongest but you can win against all anyways. I decided to build my line up in this way. Primary is almost good against all especially for aggressive match up (Rogue for example) because you have the chance to control the game with lots of tempo plays. It’s not so strange that you are in the scenario in which Warrior pushes lots of damage and takes the lead of the game. Secondary is for control matchup (mirror to be honest). It’s not for sure the final build but Hecklebot and Saboteur can help a lot in mirror because of cutting out of some value cards (Elysiana in the best scenario or Omega Assembly before turn 10). According to tertiary deck i was in doubt about teching it against Mage or Hunter but i decided to do it against the first one. BGH and 2x Collider are nuts even if there are weapons removal. I saw that Supercollider unfortunately is strong only in this matchup so there is no presence of it in the other two lists.
Overall i can say that control can win against everything in my opinion. I don’t wanna say that control is also over Bomb version but I have good vibes in this sense.

yocto

Scarface’s Bomb Hunter

This deck is very strong vs Warrior which is well represented. The secondary version is even better vs Warrior and also vs Dragon Mage. The teritary gives us a chance vs Rogue. Cyclone Mage looks like it would be a tough one.

scarface

MrAtchoum’s BurgleTempo Rogue

Unfortunately, nerfs have just been announced, and I’m already working on a whole new aproach to Vendetta Rogue.
On the mulligan I’m looking for Miscreant, Backstab and Blink Fox. No matter the matchup. Versus aggro, Backstab Blink Fox and Vendetta. Vendetta is a real tempo swinger in agressive matchups. In the sideboards, Sap and Walk the Plank deal with Mage, Toggwagle and Scheme with Warrior.
The game plan is always to play for tempo. You want to dictate the pace so that your opponent has to react every turn. Chip dammage matters because Leeroy-Shadowstep can happen anytime.
Thegame plan vs Warrior is to upgrade the Scheme and play it on Togwaggle or Pogo-Hopper. Scheme is better than Nomi vs Bomb Warrior because you dilute the Bombs.

mratchoum

Shadowstorm’s BurgleTempo Rogue

En1gma’s Midrange Hunter

Kevin’s Holy Wrath Paladin

Secondary is for Warrior only. Tertiary is for Mage only. Card selection continues to change as we do a lot of matchups.

kevin

Zanananan’s Holy Wrath Paladin

Gosh’s Secret Hunter

Un33d’s Miracle Rogue

Secondary vs Mage, Hunter and Mech Paladin. Tertiary vs Warrior but it’s clearly not optimized. The goal is not necessarily to go aggressive, but rather to generate value with the Sharks and the Heistbaron.

un33d

Eason’s Conjurer Mage

Kamaretai’s Deathrattle Hunter

KNMDehua’s Big Shaman