After the first week of the Tombs Of Terror event, here’s what the metagame looks like in the Conquest Best Of 3 format. The data analyzed here comes exclusively from Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Arlington 16-30. You will see that the cards that have been brought back from Wild are having an impact, some of them more than others. Flamewaker and N’zoth, for example, had been overhyped, whlie Evolve and Ragnaros are making bigger waves.
Here are, in our opinion, the 30 most interesting combinations of decks we’ve seen this week. The qualifier winners were invited to share tips about their lineup, and some of them did. We understand that the players who are currently in Bucharest want to keep every bit of information to themselves. You can click on the titles to find the 3 decks codes directly on yaytears.com.
I saw that the most popular top 8 archetypes of the first qualifiers of this week were Combo Priest, Evolve Shaman and Tempo Rogue, and also realized that there weren’t a lot of Control Warriors, so I chose an aggro line up. I decided to ban Shaman and target Combo Priest. In a couple of rounds I faced players with Control/Mecha’thun Warriors and that was my ban in those cases. Since it was on Asia server and I don’t have a lot of cards there, I played a second Lightning Bolt instead of Vessina in Shaman and second Cruel Taskmaster instead of Grommash in Warrior.
I took Maxxe’s lineup minus the Drud because I think that it’s targetable (by Priest, notably). So I kept his Shaman and his Priest, and I went with Highlander Paladin, because I believe in its power level, above other Highlander decks.
I have done a video with the meaning fo my lineup since i have a youtube channel called Zio Maruth, but is full italian. My point of view about this initial meta was that the Shaman is god tier for me, so i want a lineup that ban him ( second choice ban Control Warrior) and try to counter 2 good decks that every player probably brings in his lineup, Combo priest and Quest Druid, since my Tempo Rogue and Tempo Warrior are pretty good in contesting first round of Priests and Priest never wins without his board. My Quest Shaman was hard teched vs Priest and is a sort of Control Quest Shaman since I play Plague of Murlocs and double Scoundrel but a lot of games he was banned. The power of my Tempo Rogue and Warrior also were the possibility to play aggro vs greedy decks like Nzoth decks, Sap is very powerful tempo play vs Karthut and slow taunts and I play a Spellbreaker in my Tempo Warrior
I built this lineup because I saw the meta in the tournament had a lot of aggo lineups such as Aggro Rogue, Combo Priest, Aggro Evole Shaman, etc. So my target is aggro deck. My deck is a little bit counter aggro, for example in the Mage deck, you will see Ooze, Bone Wraith and a lot of defensive cards. Most of deck that I ban in tournamnet is Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter and Holy Wrath Paladin.
So first of all my highlander decks were a little bit budget since i don’t have that much dust on NA. Otherwise i would have played Houndmaster Shaw in the Hunter deck and Grommash in the Warrior deck. My main target was Combo Priest which worked out perfectly the entire cup. That’s why I played Wing Blast and Desert Spear in the Hunter, super strong against Priest. Tempo Rogue with double Sap is extremely favoured against Combo Priest and the Warrior is also decent against it and overall a really underrated deck right now and in my opinion way better that the classic Aggro Warrior. So talking about the ban strategy i’ts kinda difficult. The ban is pretty flexible and really depending on the opponents lineup. I think in general you can say Shaman is the main ban with this deck. That’s what i did almost all of the first rounds where I faced a lot of aggro lineups. Even though Tempo Rogue and Highlander Hunter have a decent chance at beating it here and there. In the later rounds i faced a lot of control lineups with and without Shaman. Control Warrior was always my main ban when they had it in there lineup since all of my decks are unfavoured against it. Druid is also not a good matchup for my decks but there are really not that many and it’s beatable with a good starting hand.
Hey everyone! I’mlulnenko, and in the past two months I have hit #23 and #3 legend in wild using Quest Shaman. My current build features two copies of Coldlight Oracle, giving the deck the somewhat misleading name of “Quest Mill Shaman.” This guide will focus on my current build, which has been featured in multiple major meta reports and deck aggregators.
Quest Shaman is a difficult archetype to play due to the extreme diversity of possible game plans and the high amount of random card generation. Quest Shaman offers value, aggression, and mill, requiring players to constantly assess their situation to maximize their chances of winning. In this guide, I will highlight card choices, mulligans, and a few of my own game replays.
In this section, I’ll write the bulk of my guide, as I think it makes more sense to explain the intended synergies between cards and the strategies created by my card inclusions than it does to try explaining every possible matchup and game state.
Corrupt the Waters is the main build around card for Quest Shaman, for obvious reasons. This quest is fairly easy to complete without making many sacrifices in the early game (excluding, notably, a card in the mulligan). Compared to a deck like Evolve Shaman, Quest Shaman has less explosive starts, but matches up considerably better against control decks due to the value generated by the completed quest in combination with cards like Sludge Slurper, Zola the Gorgon, and Barista Lynchen.
Evolve is a great tempo bomb tool. In combination with Doppelgangster or Mogu Fleshshaper, Evolve provides a way to end games quickly in many matchups. Using Evolve in a less optimal situation, like with an EVIL Cable Rat and one lackey on board, is often also very strong tempo in situations where you may have otherwise fallen behind.
Glacial Shard allows you to freeze an opponent’s big minions until you can close out the game. Glacial Shard’s low cost, in combination with the abundant methods of bouncing and copying minions, allows players to easily freeze out their opponents while furthering their own game plan.
Sludge Slurper is a key tool for completing the quest, and provides quadruple value after quest completion because lackey battlecries and Slurper’s own battlecries are all doubled. Additionally, Sludge Slurper provides draw targets for Ice Fishing.
Devolve is a blatantly overpowered card in a wide variety of matchups. Most notably, magnetized mechs will lose all buffs when devolved, allowing this card to single handedly destroy Mech Paladins and Mech Hunters. Devolve is also strong against deathrattles, taunts, Odd Paladin’s silver hand recruits (to prevent them from being buffed), and any overstatted minions such as Flamewreathed Faceless. However, Devolve should not be considered a counter to SN1P-SN4P Warlock (at least not by itself), as Target Dummy allows Warlock players to create large mechs that cannot be devolved.
EVIL Cable Rat is a key tool for completing the quest, and provides quadruple value after quest completion because lackey battlecries and EVIL Cable Rat’s own battlecries are all doubled.
Ice Fishing: 2 mana draw 2 cards. If you are not already sold, note that it will usually draw at least one Sludge Slurper, which is a strong card in every matchup and at any point in the game.
Novice Engineer is a decent way to draw 2 cards cheaply after quest completion, and can be played before quest completion if necessary. Its low stats make it a suboptimal play in many situations, which is why I only run a single copy.
Questing Explorer is a fantastic card before quest completion and a pretty terrible one after. Regardless, this card is definitely worth running due to its strength in the early game and because you will often have enough value in your hand that drawing this late will not significantly hinder you.
Sandstorm Elemental is a strong tempo play against aggressive decks (and sometimes others). It pairs nicely with Devolve.
Bog Slosher can be used to help complete the quest early or make a variety of strong plays. When the quest is complete, Slosher gives huge stat buffs, which is particularly useful in combination with cheap minions like Lackeys, Glacial Shard, and Mogu Fleshshaper.
Coldlight Oracle is in this deck to make the copy of Ice Fishing look less silly. In all seriousness, this card is by far the hardest inclusion to explain and almost certainly the one that most readers skipped to. It is worth noting that this deck DOES NOT run any cards that allow for an anti-fatigue gameplan, meaning that playing Coldlight Oracle to kill an opponent in fatigue will only work if the opponent has drawn more cards than you have. It is also worth pointing out that hero power + 2 copies of Coldlight Oracle will make both players draw 8 cards, meaning that this “combo” is nearly guaranteed to destroy many cards in the opponent’s deck. The primary purposes for Coldlight Oracle are milling opponents’ combo pieces, milling cards against any warlock deck (because warlocks will generally draw faster than shamans), milling cards against priests who have already played Psychic Scream (because this will allow you to fatigue the priest), killing mages who have played Aluneth (which is hilarious), and desperately drawing in situations where doing so is deemed necessary.
Zola the Gorgon is one of the best value generators available to shaman due to its cheap cost and strong synergy with quest completion. Compared to Bog Slosher, Zola is often a bit weaker before completing the quest, but after quest completion she gives double copies of minions allowing for freeze gameplans in combination with Glacial Shard, board swings in combination with Mogu Fleshshaper, and many other strong plays.
Lifedrinker benefits greatly from quest completion and offers both healing and burst in the form of a fairly cheap minion that also buffs Shudderwock.
Barista Lynchen is a “greedy card” in the sense that she is a bit slower than most of the inclusions in this deck. She is a passable tempo play in the early game and a phenomenal amount or resource generation in the late game if needed. In slow matchups, pairing Barista with EVIL Cable Rat, Sludge Slurper, or multiple copies of Kobold Lackey is often ideal.
Doppelgangster pairs well with Evolve and/or Mogu Fleshshaper as a huge tempo play and has fantastic synergy with Shudderwock. Returning one Doppelgangster to hand with Bog Slosher lets you create a board full of buffed Doppelgangsters. Playing Doppelgangster early, when possible, is also often a good play even without Evolve, as it’s a decent tempo play and makes your future Shudderwock into a huge tempo bomb.
Mogu Fleshshaper, even without any synergies, is one of the strongest cards in Hearthstone. Seriously. Mogu allows for massive board swings vs aggressive decks and massively boosts Evolve turns. Mogu also has strong synergies with Doppelgangster, Bog Slosher (cheap 7/8 rush, anyone?), and Zola the Gorgon (2 cheap 3/4 rushes that can be Evolved into 8 mana minions), making it a no-brainer inclusion.
Shudderwock does all sorts of cool nonsense. He’ll often be played as a big tempo bomb, due to the Doppelgangster, Glacial Shard, Lifedrinker, and lackey battlecries he will replay. Additionally, Zola, Barista, and Bog Slosher battlecries will often add followup Shudderwocks to hand, and the battlecries of both lackey generators and lackeys will fill your hand with (mostly) useful cards. In some situations, Shudderwock can use Coldlight Oracle’s battlecry to kill the opponent (or you, if I am being honest) in fatigue.
Card Exclusions (and Possible Substitutions)
Earth Shock, Hex, or Plague of Murlocs can be used to significantly improve the SN1P-SN4P Warlock matchup. Devolve would be fine alone, except that strong Warlock players know to stack their magnetized threats onto Target Dummy, which is a 0 mana minion and thus cannot be devolved. Earth Shock and Hex can be used on the same turn as Devolve as a way to deal with Target Dummy (so, in a sense, they are anti-tech card tech cards). Plague of Murlocs can be used against a full board, but will often need followup such as Sandstorm Elemental to deal with the resulting murlocs. Strongly consider running these cards in some combination if you plan to play at high legend.
Eater of Secrets is a passable, but totally unnecessary mage hate card. My September decklist, which hit #23 Legend, ran two copies of Eater of Secrets, but my winrate against mage actually improved significantly after removing Eater of Secrets in favor of the Coldlight Oracle package. Only run this card if you REALLY hate Secret Mage.
Baleful Banker, Archivist Elysiana, Body Wrapper etc. could be added if you specifically want to go all in on the “mill” part of this decks game plan and win in fatigue. In my experience, these seem unnecessary.
Loatheb is just a generally strong card and should be a decent inclusion if you can find space to run a 5 mana 5/5.
Jade Cards can be used to build a different Quest Shaman list, but don’t fit in this one without removing too many strong cards.
Mind Control Tech is a reasonable choice if you want to gain a lot of points in various Shaman matchups, but is unlikely to be particularly helpful elsewhere.
Other cards can certainly be experimented with as well! Quest Shaman excels at several different game plans, so you could probably fit a wide variety of cards into this deck if you would like.
Making the proper mulligans in Wild can be difficult, because there is a wide variety of deck archetypes available to every class. For the purpose of this guide, I will assume that the most common matchups are the matchups I most commonly experienced from ranks 4 to Legend #3 in October and from ranks 7 to Legend #23 in September. For skilled players, it may be more beneficial to know my reasoning behind certain mulligan decisions than to know exactly what choice I would make. Here are the general mulligan principles I would suggest, although there is room to experiment.
Always keep Corrupt the Waters. You could make a case for throwing it back against Paladin in an attempt to draw Devolve, but I would not recommend doing so.
General Mulligan: Keep Sludge Slurper, EVIL Cable Rat, Ice Fishing, and Questing Explorer almost all the time. Keep 2 copies of any of these. Don’t keep Ice Fishing if you also keep 2 Sludge Slurpers because Coldlight Oracle is usually weak in the early game.
vs Druid: Assume Star Aligner Druid, use General Mulligan.
vs Hunter: Assume Mech Hunter, use General Mulligan but also keep Devolve.
vs Mage: Assume Secret Mage or Reno Mage, use General Mulligan either way.
vs Paladin: Assume Mech Paladin or Odd Paladin, use General Mulligan but also keep Devolve and Sandstorm Elemental. If you are certain it is Mech Paladin, don’t keep Sandstorm Elemental. If you are certain it is Odd Paladin, also keep Mogu Fleshshaper. If keeping Mogu Fleshshaper, consider keeping Evolve.
vs Priest: Assume Reno Priest, use General Mulligan.
vs Rogue: Assume Odd Rogue, use General Mulligan but also keep Sandstorm Elemental. The main purpose of Sandstorm Elemental in this matchup is to kill the common Rogue opener of any 1 mana pirate which pulls Patches the Pirate.
vs Shaman: Assume Even Shaman or Questless Evolve Shaman, use General Mulligan but also keep Mogu Fleshshaper and Evolve if you have both. If you are certain it is some Control Shaman (any deck as slow or slower than the one you are currently reading a guide for), do not keep Mogu Fleshshaper or Evolve.
vs Warlock: Assume SN1P-SN4P Warlock or Reno Warlock. Use General Mulligan, but also keep Devolve. If you are certain it is SN1P-SN4P Warlock, keep Bog Slosher if you already have any of the minions mentioned in the General Mulligan.
vs Warrior: Assume (Taunt) Quest Warrior. Use General Mulligan, but also keep Devolve.
A common mistake is keeping Novice Engineer. While she isn’t a totally horrible turn 2, there are always several cards you would rather have.
In this game, my opponent does not have a particularly explosive opening hand, opting to keep Aluneth in an attempt to kill me with burn damage. However, this allows me to take control of the early board using lackeys and kill my opponent using fatigue damage.
This game shows how Shaman is able to simultaneously out-tempo and out-value control decks like Reno Mage. The tempo gained by lackeys and Evolve allows me to play Barista Lynchen, setting me significantly ahead of my opponent in resources even if my board is cleared.
In this game I am able to repeatedly stall, push chip damage, and answer any threats played by a Reno Mage who has an early Frost Lich Jaina. Pushing chip damage allows me to set up a surprise lethal using Coldlight Oracle to draw my opponent into fatigue.
Here, Archbishop Benedictus denies me any game plan using Coldlight Oracle to kill my opponent in fatigue. Additionally, my Shudderwock board is easily dealt with and my Shudderwock makes no extra copies of himself in my hand. Regardless, I am still able to continually pressure Reno Priest with near endless threats.
While Devolve is not able to answer Target Dummy, Glacial Shard can stall the Dummy for a very long time. Here I use Glacial Shard to stall until I am able to kill my opponent using fatigue from Coldlight Oracle.
The League of E.V.I.L. has crashed the floating city of Dalaran into Blackrock Mountain, meaning there is an all new solo adventure in this week’s Tavern Brawl! Play as Dr. Boom, Hagatha, Lazul, or Togwaggle and take down 8 Blackrock bosses in this limited-time-only dungeon-run-style event. For the first time ever, Hearthstone will track your speed and reward you based on how quickly you can defeat 8 bosses. If you can beat all 8 bosses in under 1 hour, you’ll receive a golden Bronze Herald, and completing the run in under 40 minutes will get you a golden Recurring Villain.
Hearthstone begins timing you after the initial mulligan and times you continuously until you defeat the final boss, Ragnaros the Firelord. That means even your card and treasure choices will need to be quick if you want to get a fast time! Rather than give a comprehensive guide detailing the strengths and weaknesses of every class, I will guide you through the fastest and most powerful strategy, aggro warrior. I will highlight the strongest strategies, card choices, and treasures; describe my approach to each of the 8 bosses; and give some tips for the TRULY speedy. If 40 minutes was easy for you, here is an appropriately E.V.I.L challenge for you: do it in 15!
Key Strategies, Tips, and Cards
For this run I will focus on strategies you can use as Dr. Boom, as I have found him to be the most reliable, most powerful, and fastest hero. Dr. Boom’s hero power, which shuffles 2 bombs for 1 mana, is extremely effective for killing bosses early, and warrior is offered consistently strong card choices. However, every class is viable (even for a speedrun) and many of the general tips and strategies are the same across all heroes.
As Dr. Boom, you will need to create a deck that operates partially using a burn plan and partially using an aggressive minion-based beatdown. Due to the extreme power of Dr. Boom’s hero power, it is nearly always better to prioritize hero powering over playing a 1 or even a 2 cost minion. However, exactly how far you commit to either plan will be determined primarily by your first choice of treasure.
Robes of Gaudiness is massively overpowered. Always choose this treasure if it is offered to you in your first choice of treasures, as it will allow you to build an aggressive deck that plays big minions early and destroys bosses by around turn 4. Robes of Gaudiness makes your cards cost half their normal price, but it also rounds down, meaning 1 cost minions become free, 3 cost minions cost 1, 5 cost minions cost 2, etc. Avoid the trap of drafting expensive cards like King Mosh just because they receive a big discount. Instead, focus on drafting powerful 3 and 5 cost minions like Augmented Elekk and Leeroy Jenkins as well as any cards that can help your goal of developing a powerful early board.
Hand of Rafaam is also massively overpowered. The treasure adds 2 curses to your opponent’s hand, dealing 2 damage every turn unless they spend 2 mana to remove each curse from their hand. Bosses in Blackrock have very low health totals compared to bosses in dungeon runs, meaning the curse damage is far more relevant, and the bosses will usually let you develop your minions uncontested while they pay to remove curses from their hand. Additionally, Hand of Rafaam is extremely powerful as a stacked effect, making any run with 2 or 3 Hands chosen an easy victory. With Hand of Rafaam as your first choice of treasure, you can afford to focus more of your turns on shuffling bombs or even force your opponent to draw bombs using Coldlight Oracle. Focus on drafting cards that help your bomb plan like Augmented Elekk and Coldlight Oracle, charge minions like Leeroy Jenkins and Korkron Elite, and strong early game minions.
Receiving neither of these treasures as your first pick will slow you down significantly, but you can still defeat all 8 bosses with a great time. When choosing any other treasure, consider the following: any non-passive treasure reduces your deck’s consistency compared to a passive, any non-passive treasure above 4 mana is likely too slow to be particularly powerful, and anything that helps you win early is stronger than anything that helps you play a slower game plan. These all point to the strongest choices being passive treasures such as Dr. Boom’s Remote and Small Backpacks (note, however, that Robe of the Magi does not make your bombs deal more damage and as a result is a terrible choice). Again, try to draft minions you can play for early aggression, but draft cheaper cards than you would while playing Robes and draft more proactively than you would while playing Hand of Rafaam. For example, a Hand of Rafaam deck may pick Coldlight Oracles to accelerate their bomb plan, whereas a Dr. Boom’s Remote deck may choose pirates to fight on board in the early turns. Regardless, you should still weave in hero powers whenever possible, ideally “curving out” by using 1 mana to hero power and your remaining mana each turn for minions.
Highlord Omokk, the first boss, has a 1 mana execute hero power, only 15 health, and a small deck. Prioritizing shuffling bombs is usually the fastest way to defeat this boss. Use your hero power on turns 1 and 2 (ideally alongside N’zoth’s First Mate on 2) and play a 3 cost minion on 3. Also note that killing Omokk’s loot hoarders is often a strong play as it can draw into bombs. As this boss ideally dies by turn 4, Boombox is too slow of a card to play and should not be kept in the mulligan. In fact, this is true of Boombox against nearly every boss.
The second boss, Baron Geddon, has a 0 mana hero power that deals 5 damage to your hero if you have any unspent mana. Fortunately, Dr. Boom’s hero power makes it easy to use all of your mana. Play aggressively, as Baron Geddon will generally damage himself by playing Flame Imps early. You may choose to play Vicious Scraphound on turn 2, but otherwise mulligan similarly to how you mulliganed for Omokk.
Omnotron Defense System has hero powers that make progressively more powerful mechs, although you are unlikely to see past the second mech if you play aggressively. You may want to kill the mech summoned on turn 2, which grants +2 spell power to both players, because Omnotron can use spells like arcane missiles to clear your board and take control of the early game. Otherwise, most of Omnotron’s early turns are low-impact, allowing you to shuffle bombs and develop minions to win before anything gets too scary.
The fourth boss, Garr, is the trickiest, because defeating Garr requires a little bit of thought about how to clear the board. Additionally, Garr runs Volcanic Lumberer which can cause huge problems if played early. Garr starts with a board full of 0/5s which have a deathrattle that deals damage based on the number of them that have died that turn and a hero power that damages all minions for 1. The best way to avoid getting burned (and to avoid volcanic lumberer) is to damage these 0/5s to different health totals so that they die on different turns. For this boss, put more focus on developing early minions or weapons, but remember that your minions will take damage every turn. A strong curve is turn 2 Scraphound into turn 3 Rampage, as these cards will gain you a lot of armor while letting you put damage into Garr’s 0/5s. Try to push damage for lethal starting around turn 4 or 5 and shuffle bombs whenever possible.
Atramedes has a hero power that grants a weapon which is buffed every time you play a card, and you start the game with three copies of a card that destroys this weapon. There are a few things to note here which work in your favor: Atramedes will often trade for no good reason, the weapon costs mana to create, and three weapon destruction cards should always be more than enough. Play this match aggressively, without worrying too much about buffing the weapon, and remove the weapon when you have spare mana or if it gets large enough to significantly threaten your health. Atramedes will not usually contest the board strongly, so developing strong minions like Augmented Elekk is key to winning the matchup.
Nefarian, boss 6, has another automatic hero power that gives a random spell. These spells will almost never be relevant if you play aggressively, so this boss is essentially wasting mana every turn. Play aggressively and you should have no problem.
Boss number 7, Vaelastrasz, automatically draws 2 cards for both players every turn and plays some aggressive cards like Flame Imp and Implosion. Play proactive minions to make sure you do not fall behind on board, and shuffle as many bombs as possible. Some bombs will be burned by overdraws, but this should not be an issue as you can always shuffle more into the deck.
Finally, the boss that rules them all, Ragnaros the Firelord! Ragnaros starts with a weapon that grants him a powerful 8 damage hero power when it breaks. He has a tendency to swing his 2 attack weapon into minions that aren’t going to die, so setting up minions like Augmented Elekk or Clockwork Goblin for him to trade into will usually result in some extra damage. If necessary, clean up his Magma Ragers using small minions like N’Zoth’s First Mate or spells like Improve Morale while you set up minions or burst him using weapons and charge minions. If the game runs long enough that Ragnaros gets his upgraded hero power, Boombox is a strong counter play which can also set up lethal using brawl on the following turn. If all else fails, keep shuffling bombs, as they can sometimes give you a surprise lethal!
Blackrock Crash Week 1 Speedrunning
So you’ve completed the run in under 40 minutes, unlocking some free golden cards. But how fast CAN you go? I’ve personally managed 15 minutes and 27 seconds, but https://twitter.com/geyuan6_hs has posted proof of a 13 minute 16 second run (as King Togwaggle)! For this section I will assume you are already using most or all of the above tips.
The easiest, but perhaps least fun, way to ensure a fast run is to concede on boss 2 if you are not offered either Robes of Gaudiness or Hand of Rafaam after defeating boss 1. Each of these treasures will usually save several minutes compared to the next best option.
The next time saver I use is click-spamming. In Hearthstone, animations can be sped up significantly by clicking on the card or hero power icon that appears when your opponent makes an action. Entire enemy turns can be sped up significantly by placing the cursor on the left side of the board where these cards will appear and spamming clicks. Unfortunately, bomb animations cannot be skipped.
Total animation time can also be reduced by reducing the amount of unnecessary cards played and attacks made. It can sometimes help to think several turns ahead when determining which cards and attacks are really necessary. For example, I will generally skip playing Improve Morale unless I am setting up a Rampage or I believe that having a lackey in hand is very likely to benefit my gameplan. Additionally, if I have a 1 attack weapon and my opponent is at 5 health, I will generally choose not to attack as my opponent will still die to 1 bomb draw or die to my minions next turn regardless of the weapon swing.
My next speedrunning tip – admittedly an extremely obvious tip – is to play very quickly. However, this goes beyond making quick actions in game, as the timer used to determine your speed is a real world timer. While your general strategy does not need to differ from what is described in the first section of this article, if you are attempting a speedrun you need to quickly identify your choices of treasures and cards. You can save time if you are able to quickly identify key cards like Robes of Gaudiness, Hand of Rafaam, and Augmented Elekk. Gotta go fast!
Finally, it’s worth acknowledging that much of this speedrun will be out of your control. The most significant time-wasters that cannot be controlled are treasure randomness, bomb randomness, and lag or loading times. While these are out of your hands, there are a few things you can do to try to minimize the impact that bad luck can have on your speed.
While an ideal run’s treasure choices look something like Robes followed by 2 copies of Hand, this is an extremely unlikely outcome and you can still get a great time even if you need to pick a treasure like Wondrous Wand or Dr. Boom’s Remote. In this case, it is worth considering your general gameplan, the deck you’ve drafted so far, and the remaining bosses. For example, Wondrous Wand is unlikely to be valuable against Vaelastrasz (due to his hero power filling your hand) or Ragnaros (because the fight nearly always ends around turn 4 anyway). However, it can be a strong choice if you have already drafted some high cost cards or strong charge minions and you want the potential to highroll your opponents.
Bomb randomness (that is, whether or not your opponent will actually draw the bombs you are shuffling into their deck) is also out of your control. What you can control is when you choose to shuffle vs. when you choose to play other cards. As mentioned in the Key Strategies section, cards like Augmented Elekk and Coldlight Oracle are extremely powerful because they will often force an early bomb lethal and they therefore drastically increase your deck’s speed and consistency.
Finally, in game lag or high loading times will also decrease your speed. Generally, this will be dependent on your internet connection, but if you have significant lag issues you may also save time by decreasing the graphics quality in the options menu.
Now, you have some scheming to do! Do you have what it takes to be the EVILest – or at least the speediest – villain at Blackrock Mountain?
Seoul Masters Qualifiers are over! Open cups will resume on Thursday, but they will be about Bucharest and they will be in the High Inquisitor Whitemane metagame. This report covers the Hearthstone tournaments in the specialist format in the past week.
Week Eight was a story of meta consolidation and fewer risks taken as we entered the final week of Seoul qualifiers. More so than any week prior, we saw extreme consolidation into a handful of decks, with fewer outliers surprising us with breakout performances. This might be a sign of the meta finally being solved, or that risk tolerance decreases as fewer opportunities to qualify remain, or both.
Cyclone Mage was the big winner this week, as more players turned to it as the natural counter to the glut of Bomb Warriors we saw last week. Representation went from 10.6% in week 7 to 13.6% in week 8, and while the same percentage of Cyclone Mage players progressed to Top 8 as last week, those players were more rewarded for their choice of deck this week, with a 62% win rate in Top 8. This is no surprise given how many Bomb Warriors also progressed to Top 8, but that goes to show that Cyclone Mage is performing in its role as the Warrior killer.
Shark Rogue continued to perform, and was even in popularity with Bomb Warrior this week. Its matchups against non-Warrior classes actually improved (Bomb Hunter and Holy Wrath Paladin, two of its only even matchups, moved to favorable), so if Warrior sees a decline based on its poor performance, Shark Rogue could be poised to take over as the top deck. Players looking to bring Cyclone Mage based on this week’s results could do so at their own peril, because Shark Rogue is one of the only decks favored against Cyclone Mage.
Midrange Hunter also rose to the top of the list based on its good matchup against Warrior. In past weeks, we’ve described this deck as being a poor choice, since does effectively the same thing as Cyclone Mage but not as well. However, if we do see a rise in Cyclone Mages, it could see some success given that it can effectively counter both that deck and Bomb Warrior. That said, Midrange Hunter’s win rate against Shark Rogue is a miserable 28%, so this will continue to be a risky pick as long as Shark Rogue is relevant.
We’ve talked around Bomb Warrior but not about it thus far, and that’s because it actually falls out of the level of meta defining decks given its performance this week. While still the most popular deck and boasting a very good 53% win rate in Swiss, in Top 8 that win rate cratered to 39%. Not to belabor the point, but the entire meta is gunning for Bomb Warrior, and it’s unlikely to see a favorable matchup in Top 8. Of 134 decks that actually played in Top 8 (excluding players who qualified by reaching Top 8 for the 6th time), nearly half were either Cyclone Mage, Midrange Hunter or the mirror, which makes for an extremely hostile environment for a Bomb Warrior to try to string together two consecutive wins, and as a result, few were successful.
Bomb Hunter continues to be an enigma, hanging around but never quite able to maintain consistent performances. The deck had below 50% win rates both in Swiss and Top 8 but still managed to win 3 qualifiers, which says it more than likely beats itself more than is countered.
The low sample size qualifier winners this week are Token Druid, Zoo Warlock, and Midrange Token Shaman. These decks have been discussed in this space before, and really should only be considered by players who are exceedingly comfortable with them. That said, Zoo seems worth calling out due to its favorable matchup against Shark Rogue (though with a very small sample size). If Shark Rogue takes off, Zoo might emerge as a reasonable meta choice.
As for decks that reached Top 8 but did not win a qualifier, we saw an uptick in Control Warriors this week, but that deck still seems to be an inferior pick in Specialist compared to the bomb variety, with only a 44% win rate in Swiss and no wins in Top 8. Freeze Mage fared slightly better at 49% in Swiss, but given Cyclone Mage’s success, there really doesn’t seem to be any argument for bringing Freeze Mage unless one wants to both play mage and counter Cyclone Mage.
We continue to monitor rogues without Spirit of the Shark, and saw both Sharkless Tempo Rogue and a Raiding Party variety reach top 8 this week, but neither variant topped 51%, while Shark Rogue finished with a 53% win rate despite a high number of mirrors. At least in specialist, it’s still Shark Week somewhere.
Mech Paladin reached Top 8 twice, but given its only favorable matchup is against Bomb Warrior, there are more well rounded ways to counter that deck. Murloc Shaman is to Cyclone Mage as Mech Paladin is to Bomb Warrior, and while it’s harder to counter Cyclone Mage, you can do it without giving up nearly every other prevalent matchup like Murloc Shaman does. Aggro (Overload) Shaman, however, may be worth considering, given it had even or favored matchups against all of the prevalent decks this week (though with only 30 players bringing the deck, this is based on an extremely small sample size). Finally, Deathrattle Hunter and Nomi Priest were brought in single digit quantities and successful in even fewer.
Meta Defining Decks
Top 8 Capable
Party Tempo Rogue
Sharkless Tempo Rogue
As always, we thank the players who generously share their pro tips. You can click on their name under the quote to find them on Twitter, most of them stream or create other awesome content. Clicking on the deck name will bring you to Yaytears for deck codes.
Secondary vs Hunter/Rogue and tertiary vs Warrior. I think Galaxy is good enough to run in all lists for the high roll potential. Scavengers help a lot vs aggro and found it helps more than Rabble Bouncer. Wanted to try out Alex again vs Warrior. Also I tried playing a lot more for tempo against aggro (Sorcerers Apprentice/Cyclone hands for example) and it helps immensely.
This was my first attempt with Mage. The deck’s power level is unmatched in my eyes. The only additions I made were Cairne Bloodhoof into the Warrior list over Astromancer. I think 1 6 drop is always a good thing to have plus Cairne specifically calls out Garrosh which I love. I think Cairne is stickier vs brawl and I think Astromancer plats directly into Supercollider. As far as strategy a few tricks I learned were that sometimes picking any secret off Magic Trick can be good just to make your opponent test for different possibilities. Also vs Mech Hunter or any Token deck trading into say a Replicating menace to fill their board with minions and then nova after stops them from being able to magnetize anything and keeps your threats safe from Missile Launcher poison combos. Also Doomsayer I think is the best response to Faerie Dragon which sometimes gets in for 9 or 12 damage vs Mage. The 1 Polymorph is Mech Hunter/big Edwins but I think maybe a 2nd half time scavenger would be better. Last thing I think is worth noting is playing your sorcerer’s apprentice on 2 is often the best play. Feels weird to not save it for combos but every time I wasn’t greedy with cards it seemed to pay off. Mage just has more resources than most classes (maybe not Rogue). Again this was my first attempt with Mage so I’m literally noprohere but I think the fact that it was my first attempt speaks to the power level of this deck and if anyone is on the fence about trying Mage I would do it asap 😀 Don’t be like me and try and play Egg Paladin for 238 cups! Just get in with Mage! 😛
I’ve tried some different versions of this deck, with Foxes and Vendetta or just Tempo/Lackey based, but this seems to be the best Rogue you can ever play and Rogue is the best class you can ever choose, especially when there are so many Hunters outside. The first list can basically win vs everyone, and I kept using it especially vs Hunters and other Rogues. For the second list, which you play vs Warrior, I’ve tried some greedy versions but if you go full greedy with Schemes and other stuff like that they can just SMOrc and win so this one with drakes seems to be the best one to keep pressuring them. The third list is vs Mages, and I’m pretty sure Faerie Dragons are better than going full removals with like second Betrayal for example, because you play for tempo and pressure, and Faerie Dragon is not a dead card in those spots. With this being said, SN1P-SN4P is the NUTS in every match-up and I will keep playing it until I can. Special mention to Edwin, who is still here with us yayyy and carried vs Warriors.
Credit where credit is due: the lineup isn’t mine, I copied the list that I liked the most from yaytears’ site (I don’t know the original author of the lineup but this is where I copied it from: link). As for the different decklists: The first one is the decklist you use against most decks. This includes Midrange/Bomb Hunter, the mirror, Aggro Shaman etc. The flex spot for the list is Eviscerate or 1 Cable Rat for sn1p-sn4p. It’s the least reactive of the three, so often you go pretty aggressive against the midrange decks and keep board control against the aggro decks. Lackeys help enormously in both aspects, so good usage of them is mandatory. The second is the anti-mage list. Betrayal and Walk the Plank help dealing with the giants, Faerie Dragon helps pushing some early damage and is hard for Mage to deal with. Both the first list and the second list are close to optimal. The third list is the one you mainly use versus Warrior (and in some cases versus Control Shaman). I chose this list over the one that runs Mechs because most Warrior specialist decks still have an anti-Mech build. With this one you can put an immense pressure if you manage to shuffle Togwaggle and you do get more sustainability/midgame power. It’s the one I’m least sure about (Warrior remains a tough matchup even with this build), but it worked good enough for me. I changed Cairne into Jepetto, but looking back at it, I should’ve left the Cairne in the deck and replace one Scheme instead.
This version and its sides was largely inspired by Bunnyhoppor, and was built by my teammate Dreivo who played this deck a lot. I just tried his list after other Midrange Hunter versions, and liked it the most in the current Qualifiers meta. You have all the tools in it to control the game if your opponent is aggro, or to be aggro when your opponent is passive. In a lot of matchups you want to play aggressively so that your opponent is busy dealing with your threats and you can reach your Zul’Jin to finish the game. If your hand is not aggressive then it’s very likely that you have the tools in hand to deal with your opponent’s aggression, so you can achieve the same objective. I don’t feel like I need the Hatchet too much, It feels pretty awkward versus Rogue and Warrior, which I face more than Hunters or Token Druids against whom it is pretty useful. I like two Deadly Shot, which often deals with an Elekk on T3, a Shark or an early Van Cleef. Marked shot is very strong as well, giving you good options very often. You want to play the Secondary version against Warrior and Holy Wrath Paladin, the Savannahs help you fight for the board against the first and have some minions stick after a boardclear against the second. I didn’t feel the need to add a Rhino to this side yet, but that’s something I’m still considering. The Tertiary deck is meant to face Rogues. Rat trap on turn 2 is strong most of the time and will force your opponent into sub-optimal plays. However I’m still not sure about this anti-Rogue side since my Main performed equally if not better against Rogue the last two weeks. I might replace it by an anti-mech side, inspired by the one used by Maricochet and FlècheNoire to win the Qualifiers 167 and 137M.
I didnt make the lineup – I think it was Magoho. In regards to strategy, I think you often should see Warrior as a tempo deck. Don’t trade too much – getting face damage is really important especially vs Rogue, since they get so much value late game after sideboard. Also the mirror really rarely goes to fatigue so don’t be scared to draw cards and try to out tempo the other Warrior. Most Warrior lists also only play 1 Brawl, so they will run out of removal at some point.
I don’t want to put Elysiana on the primary deck that I use three times for Rogue and Hunter. Secondary deck is for mirror match. This match after game 1 will be very aggressive. I think Wargear is better than Gromash on early game. Tertiary deck can compete with both Mage and Mech Hunter. Against Mage, it is difficult to remove all card after game 1. So I need to beat face while removing enemy minions. Faerie Dragon is the best card for this plan. Spellbreaker is good to silence Twilight Drake or my frozen minion. Supercollider is the only card that can remove double Giants and essential card. so I put it in primary and add for tertiary. Against Mech Hunter, they always play Mechanical Whelp and Nine Lives. Supercollider and Big Game Hunter is good to remove 7/7. 2-drop is also good for Mech Hunter to trade Ursatron.
After many open cups grinding, I sat through the statistics that the good people at offcurve.com provided to find out how the field looked like. For quite a few weeks, the top 4 consisted of Bomb Warrior, Shark Rogue, Midrange Hunter and Cyclone Mage (in no particular order). So I sat down and went through all possible decks of my stats and the stats of offcurve.com to find a deck that has a good winrate against them and came down to Bomb Hunter. But instead of going with a lot of Bombs, I start my primary list with the Nine Lives, Necromechanics and Mechanical Whelps in the list. This will give me quite an edge against Warriors, Shark Rogues (due to Spider Bomb) and Midrange Hunters due to the sheer amount of value. Mages were the problem and it’s a 50-50 winrate against them. Cyclone Mages can get some good cards from Mana Cyclone or some bad ones. It also depends on whether they put in a lot of Freezes, which is detremental to you, or if they go with silences/mind control techs. Highlighted card choices: Necromechanic is a 4 mana 3/6. Do not fear to play it as a tempo card to get on board, but know the matchup. If you can combo it with Nine Lives into a Mechanical Whelp, it spawns 2x 7/7s for the cost of 7 mana. And that they are Mechs will help magnetize them. Know the matchup when you can use it as a tempo card. Sn1p-Sn4p: Already a broken OP card, but it’s even better in a Mech deck. Bomb Toss: One Bomb toss is in there. It is for early removal like Scavenging Hyena, push for an extra ounce of lethal or use it to remove Zilliax. Don’t use Bomb Toss to get the token out, use it for removal. The primary deck is for everything. It is an all-rounder and can go either quite aggressive or midrangey. The secondary deck is for your worst nightmare; Token Druid. While the deck will help pull off a win potentially, it is a hard matchup you are unfavoured for. The tertiary deck is meant to play against more aggressive Mech Hunters or Shamans. However, I only got to use it once and it didn’t really work as expected. The tertiary deck definitely can be tinkered upon. Don’t fear the anti-mech packages, but play around it. Spread your mechs, plan around their removal and MCTs. The three times opponents brought an anti-mech package, I won against all of them by playing differently and taking value trades and making sticky deathrattles. The anti-mech package is not as unfortunate for you as it may seem.
This Shaman deck is made for beating those common deck in masters qualifiers: like Warrior, Mage & Rogue. The strategy is simple, play most Battlecry cards I can, and get the value from Shudderwock. Also a lot of people don’t know how to play around this deck, if they don’t clear my board, I can use the legendary spells to get many huge minions, or just use the Bloodlust to kill them. My primary deck counters the Warrior decks, deplete Warrior removal cards and use the Bloodlust kill them at last. Card choices: Barista Lynchen, get more value from the small Battlecry minions, sometimes I can get back my Shudderwock, create more value. Jepetto Joybuzz, draw two minions and made them become 1 mana, it’s so good when you draw the Shudderwock or Barista Lynchen. Storm Chaser, draw Bloodlust or legendary spells. My secondary deck is play around the Rogue and aggro decks, this matchup is so important in the early game, I usually keep the weapon and the lowcost spells, to get the board before Rogue plays Spirit of the Sark. Card choices: Mossy Horror, kill spirit of the shark and those small minions. Rabble Bouncer & Sea Giant, punish opponent playing too many minions. My tertiary deck counters mage, I removed all those high mana cards, and added the Murloc, because the best way play against Mage is become the aggro, kill them before mage play the Giant. Card choices: Underbelly Angler, if Mage can’t kill it, I can get many Murlocs, become the Murloc Shaman. Murloc Tastyfin, get two murlocs from my deck. Big Game Hunter, kill the Giant. Mossy Horror, clear mirror & Khadgar combo.
Primary deck is the standard form. 2nd deck is anti-Warrior deck. I use Savana Highmane and Dire Frenzy and Zul’jin in order to maximize the deck value. 3rd deck is anti-Rogue. I use Rat Trap to contain Rogue’s card play and Multi-Shot to clear Rogue’s field. But I think removing two Acidic Swamp Ooze is my mistake. So if you want to use this deck in a Masters Qualifier, remove one Sunfury Protector and one Wing Blast instead of Acidic Swamp Ooze.
This Shaman list is very versatile with many options and different game plans. There is Thunderhead with overload cards to clear the board vs aggro decks, Former Champ with Mutate to create a strong board and the Shudderwock, Mojomaster, Swampqueen Hagatha package for a late game plan. The primary list is overall fine, the secondary list is played against Mage because Zentimo with Hex or just Big Game Hunter can deal easily with big minions. The tertiary list is for token decks.
Murloc Shaman is the best deck in the game if you want to destroy Mage (they can only win if they get coin and nut draw every game), and have game against Warrior, Rogue and Hunter but it is bad against other aggro decks like Zoo or Aggro Shaman. There are many ways to build it but I like having a ton of Murlocs for consistency and starting with greedy list since the upside against Warrior is way bigger than the downside against other classes.
This Nomi Priest is Purple’s deck. It is not much different from ordinary Nomi Priest, but I felt that the number of Warriors decreased and the number of Rogues and Hunters increased, so there was less hard match-up. Find a winning line in Elysiana against Bomb Warriors. The timing to put out Elysiana is when the Bomb is buried with Nomi and Seance closed. The other is when the other party deals with Nomi without using Brawl. The secondary deck is looking at the Mage, the tertiary deck is looking at the Rogue. However, there is a better construction, as neither of them has been considered deeply.
With the announcement of the new expansion, Rise Of Shadows, comes our next new keyword – Twinspell.
Similar to echo, this simple keyword will add another copy of the spell you just cast back into your hand to use again at a later date. Things to note are that the spell is a permanent copy and will not disappear at the end of the turn, and that the copy of the spell will not include the keyword. No infinite value for you!
That sounds cool, is it good though?
Other than a cool name, a keyword has to be functional too. I mean, nothing can be worse than the Inspire keyword, right?
The thing you have to remember about keywords like Inspire and Twinspell is the world they live in. Inspire didn’t work during its lifetime due to the raw power and kill potential of decks like face hunter and secret paladin.
Twinspell lives in a different world though, a different universe even. One where value cards like Deathstalker Rexxar and Frost Lich Jaina are leaving, and leaving a big void for value cards. With blizzard attempting to step away from this combo and OTK meta, perhaps its finally time for value to take its rightful throne.
Twinspell is a very clear concept of creating extra value out of one card. With a large crowd of value cards from the year of the Mammoth leaving us (I’m looking at you Stone hill defender and Shadow visions), this leaves a big empty space for Twinspell cards to thrive and prosper. I expect this keyword to not only be good for us, but i think it will be great, as long as future cards are better than the one currently released to us.