Hearthstone Meta Snapshot – December 2018

Here is where our current meta sits in Standard.  With the meta coming to a close, there’s a lot of changes that could be coming with the new expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble.  However, before these new cards and decks are optimized, be prepared for plenty of players sticking with the tried and true for now.  

Tier 1:

Deathrattle Hunter

For many, Death Rattle Hunter has replaced Druid as the boogeyman of the current format.  As the format continues to slow down, the power behind Kathrena, Cube and Rexxar continue to be highlighted.  With such strong late game potential, and the explosiveness of an early Devilsaur Egg and deathrattle activator, Deathrattle Hunter has shown to be not only powerful,but a very consistent way to gain the board and keep it.  Its weakest match ups are still aggressive line ups, but cards like Defender of Argus and Zilliax have helped minimize the disadvantages.

Togwaggle Druid

Tog druid has been gaining a lot of traction recently.  A few months ago, it was considered much more fringe in comparison to other Druid lists like Malygos Druid. Gaining more popularity recently, particularly in Legend and in tournaments, since it is favored against most other Druid lists. By utilizing King Toggwaggle to swap decks and Naturalize as a tool to mill their opponent (or deny them ever getting King’s Ransom from Toggwaggle in the first place) along with Azalina,the deck has a very flexible and reliable win condition.  Definitely one of the higher skill cap decks on our list, but truly fun to play once you get more experienced with it.

Malygos Druid
The tried and true Druid list continues to play a large role in our meta.  Still the most popular Druid list by a considerable amount, it has stayed the favorite from having decent match ups across the board, and the ability to just blow out your opponent with an optimal hand.  Malygos has seen slightly less play in tournaments, but that is mainly because of how many lineups are being designed specifically to be able to beat Malygos Druid.  Even if its numbers go down, it is still influencing our tournament meta as much as Deathrattle Hunter.

Shudderwock

Shudderwock hasn’t gone anywhere, and it has proven that it’s still a reliable win condition against all of the greedy, slower decks like Druid and Odd Warrior.  One of Shudderwock’s biggest advantages is its lack of unfavorable match ups.  There are very few highly unfavorable matchups, aside from odd paladin.  A deck that is strong against Odd Rogue and control line ups is hard to come by, so Shudderwock has been an amazing deck to fill holes in lineups currently.  I expect this deck to continue to perform through rotation, although stats always seem to position it as unfavored.

Odd Paladin

The only true aggro deck in our tier 1 section.  Odd paladin has returned since the nerf of Giggling Inventor. Its biggest advantage is simply never running out of threats.  A good odd paladin pilot can space out their threats very far and threaten a lot of damage from cards like Level Up with very little commitment to the board.  It still has its weaknesses, particularly to even lock and druid lists.  However, at the moment I consider it to be the most reliable aggressive list in the meta.

Even Warlock

Even Warlock has continued to have a place in the meta,although its popularity has dropped slightly. The increase of odd paladin and decrease of odd rogue has been a benefit to the deck, and its strength has been back on the rise.  Its biggest strength is that virtually all of their match ups range between 45-55%, and a good pilot can turn most match ups into a favorable position.  Also, turn 3 Mountain Giants are still very, very good.

Even Paladin

Even Paladin is by far the most recent archetype that we will be talking about in this meta article. It gained traction on the ladder, but it really made a splash at HCT Atlanta, where we saw it in many lineups. What sets Even Paladin apart from many other lists is that it’s favored against Hunter, Druid, and most aggro lists. Where it tends to have issues with is decks with a lot of redundant removal, like Control Mage or Odd Warrior. This has been found to be a fantastic deck to fit into your bo5 line up to shore up unfavorable match ups and has shown to even have decent sweep potential.  Playing cards like Corpsetaker, Lich King, Tirion, Spikeridge Steed, and the Equality/Consecration combo give this deck high damage output and ability to clear the board.  I expect to see a lot of changes to the deck in the next few weeks, but I expect it to be a player in the meta for a while to come. 

Tier 2:

Odd Rogue

Odd Rogue has fallen in popularity, but it is still a strong deck that can’t be ignored in the current meta. Odd Rogue rises and falls with the popularity of warlock and hunter, and if we continue to see more even lock and death rattle hunter it is likely that Odd Rogue won’t be far behind.  Having a bad match up against Druid is a big disadvantage for the deck, but the return of aggressive paladin lists and having a negative match up to those as well pushed it down to tier 2. 

Odd Warrior

The slow grind of Odd Warrior is the most popular Warrior list currently.  Still a highly polarized archetype, with several match ups, many feels are severely disadvantaged such as Tog Druid and Shudderwock.  This, coupled with its weakness to the Rexxar Death Knight, pushes this deck into tier 2.  It’s still a fantastic list to run if you want to make sure you beat the aggro decks you queue into on the ladder, or in any event. 

Clone Priest

Clone Priest has gained a lot of traction in the last few months.  It’s strong match up against much of the slower parts of the meta has given Clone Priest a chance to shine.  It struggles against much of the aggressive decks in the meta, making it a polarized deck and keeping it in the tier 2 spot.

Zoo

Zoo is still a strong deck archetype that continues to post results.  With cards like Keleseth, Happy Ghoul and Soul Infusion the deck has plenty of high tempo play opportunities in the early game.  One of the biggest strengths of this deck is the fact that it can go wide and have fairly beefy minions depending on the circumstance, giving experienced pilots opportunities to play around various removal options. Being one of the cheapest decks to craft in the competitive realm,expect to see a lot of zoo still, particularly at lower ranks. 

Cube Lock

Although it doesn’t have the popularity of Even Lock, Cube Lock has shown it still has relevance in the meta game.  With a much larger array of threats, one of the greatest advantages of Cube Lock is that two of the most popular classes,druid and hunter, often do not run silence. This lets the deck play much more aggressively with their death rattle effects.  Particularly a good choice for tournament play, don’t be unprepared for a Skull of Gul’dan.  You’ll regret it.

Token Druid

One of the many archetypes of Druid that is still played is token.  If warlock or warrior are not archetypes you expect, token druid is a strong choice as it can still create aboard of minions threatening potential lethal with just a few cards.  It’s strong match up against decks like odd paladin and odd rogue give it an advantage in aggressive metas.  It also does well against Deathrattle Hunter, another good reason to run this list. 

Quest Rogue

Yep it’s still around. Although not nearly in the numbers we used to see it.  It seems the Giggling Inventor nerf was the straw that broke the back of the notorious sweeping deck in last hero standing formats.  It’s match up against aggro has gotten much worse, however it is still a great tool at punishing slow and greedy lists.  I’m hesitant to push this deck to tier 3, as it still does an amazing job against Odd Warrior, Druid, and even Death rattle Hunter. 

Secret Hunter

Secret Hunter was popular just a few months ago but has steadily dropped off for higher value decks. Double secret into coin Spellstone is one of the best curves you can have in Hearthstone early game, but dead draws or drawing multiples of the same secret leave this deck to be a tad slow at times and just not quite ‘getting there’.  Still a solid deck that might gain some new tools with the upcoming expansion.

Tier 3:

Taunt Druid

Taunt Druid is a great bring if you expect a very greedy meta.  The infinite chain of Hadronoxes and taunt minions is often too much for decks like Odd Warrior or other decks with finite removal.  Polymorph and Hex effects will always be the bane of this deck, and while Shaman is a commonly played class, Taunt Druid will have a hard time pushing itself to tier 1 status. 

Murloc Mage

With the mana wyrm nerf, those who still wanted to throw fireballs at face turned to murlocs for the new aggressive mage package.  Cutting most of the spells, they now rely largely on minion damage, making the strategy much more fragile to board clears.  It punishes poor draws and has a lot of bad match ups in the current meta. I think control mage has a better chance of gaining momentum.

Control Mage

Speaking of, Jaina Mage is still holding on.  With the inclusion of Keleseth and some taunts, the deck has become more creature focused, but still packs all the board clears you need plus Frost Lich Jaina for the late game value.  The biggest problem with this deck is how much it relies on getting Jaina to apply pressure.  The games that Jaina is drawn by turn 9 or later than turn 12 feels very different. Still, you can’t deny the power of that Death Knight.  Cards like Sindragosa and Astromancer give this deck a surprising amount of distance, but not fast enough to deal with decks like Shudderwock or Deathstalker Rexxar’s constant generation of beasts. 

That’s it for our look into the current Hearthstone meta!  Expect a new analysis of the Hearthstone meta with Rastakhan’s Rumble in the upcoming month!  Use code “TRS12” to get 12% off your order at InkedGaming.com to support Team Rankstar.

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