Alongside Awedragon and RenoJackson, we would like to thank these top legend players who had taken part in giving us experts’ opinions: Spiral, Siveure, Corbett, Bananaramic, Hijodaikan, SgtSlay3r, Dean, xxxFroBro45xx, ksr and Dajmond. Their Twitters are to be listed at the end of the report.
Welcome to the First Edition of Team Rankstar’s Wild Meta Snapshot for 2019! In this meta report, we will be going through a tier list of 40 decks we’ve seen on frequently on ladder, explain the method of computing the tier list, break down the meta and analyse the deck as detailed as it needs to be.
We collected experts opinion through a spreadsheet, where our 12 Top Wild legend players will rate the given decks with a corresponding score from 1 to 4 in increments of 0.5 (with 1 being top Tier 1 and 4 being bottom Tier 4). We then collect the result, standardize them and categorize them in 4 different Tiers. This is what they mean:
Tier 1 (Meta-defining)
Highly-optimized decks with extreme raw power that are very well positioned in the meta.
Tier 2 (Legend-viable)
Competitive decks that are not as well-rounded, but can snatch games off of tier 1 decks or prey on their direct counters.
Tier 3 (Average)
Fringe decks that can capitalize on pocket metas that allow it, however are either suboptimal or outmeta.
Tier 4 (Underwhelming)
Decks at a weaker power level that require an extensive understanding to be able to pilot well, however are not recommended for ladder experience.
Within each tier, decks are categorized to either High tier or Low tier to further differentiate their power level.
On February, we saw the nerfs to Cold Blood, Hunter’s Mark, Equality, Flametongue Totem, and Emerald Spellstone, all of which had influenced the Wild meta, one way or another.
Even Shaman and Odd Rogue, the two archetypes that used to consistently and undoubtedly sit on the better half of Tier 1, has fallen in power level. While Even Shaman proved to be able to thrive somewhat comfortably following the departure of Flametongue Totem, it can no longer weaponize its totems to the extent it used to, which limits its flexibility and allows for more counterplays. However, over-statted minions, Maelstrom Portals and Devolves are still very much constant threats that prey on many aggro decks, which kept the deck in the bottom of tier 1. With Odd Rogue however, it’s a different story. The lost of Cold Blood, Odd Rogue’s damage output significantly decreased and reduced the effectiveness of charge minions. Argent Horserider is no longer a high threat without the pairing of Cold Blood so players opt to run higher statted minions instead. Now that Odd Rogue is more board-centric, it has a difficult time bursting the opponent once board is lost, setting the deck at the middle of tier 2.
Equality has always been a staple in all versions of control paladins. At 2 mana, the potency of the card gave Control Paladin and also aggressive Paladins the ability to combat high health threats with ease. With the nerf to the mana cost, paladin now lacks a cheap, flexible board clear. All forms of Control Paladin struggles to find playability and sees little to no competitive play. Aggro Paladin and Anyfin Paladin, on the other hand, can strive without the card even considered two of the more dominant decks in the meta placing at tier 1 and 2 respectively.
Hunter hasn’t seen substantial play in Wild, unlike the Standard counterpart. The two decks that do use Emerald Spellstone and Hunter’s Mark, Secret Hunter and Spell Hunter were never any higher than tier 2, and he nerfs solidify even more so on the viability in the decks both being at low tier 3. The two more popular hunter decks, Mech Hunter and Beast Hunter, barely if not at all affected by the changes, both considered tier 2 decks.
Overall, the nerfs on Even Shaman and Odd Rogue gave room for other aggressive decks to shine. Control decks with favorable matches against them now less viable. Many Combo decks also see increasingly more competitive play. The meta is much more diverse for the better. For now.
If there’s one thing we are completely sure about, is that Kingsbane Rogue is the absolute best deck in the format in terms of raw power and influence on the metagame (shocking revelation we know). Proof? 11 out of 12 experts rated Kingsbane high tier 1 (the 12th one rated it low tier 1). Kingsbane Rogue can get on board as quickly as any other premium aggro decks out there, while having the infinite damage weapon to fall back on. Preparation and Myra’s Unstable Portal are a scary refill for only 2 mana, and can ensure that you will never be without your scary 10/3 weapon ever. One of the most meta-defining decks, many tech-ed in weapon destruction and Golakka Crawler just so they can have a fighting chance against it. As the deck preys on Control, the fall of Even Shaman and Odd Rogue only solidify its position in the meta, and it’s all up to our friend Uther to keep Valeera in check.
Our long-time Wild overlords Warlock aren’t that far behind, both in deck power level and the feeling of helplessness it creates. An army of 8/8s that comes down as early as turn 3 with a consistent hero power to reload makes the deck a nightmare for many board-centric strategies, especially when the Warlock can consistently give their Giants taunt. Evenlock is also very flexible when it comes to tech choices, ranging from Golakka Crawler, Acidic Swamp Ooze for Rogues to Spellbreaker and Mojomaster Zihi to fend off Control. There are a few decks it can’t beat, and a crazy opening can even seal wins against unfavourable matchups like Odd Warrior and Big Priest.
Barely missing out on High tier 1 is another Warlock deck that has gathered varying opinions, with half our experts rate it as a top tier deck, while the other half only think of it as tier 2. Mecha’thun Warlock can be really good in shutting down aggressive strategies since it can reliably get a Voidlord down on turn 4, while Defile and Lord Godfrey are arguably the best clears there are in the game. The absence of Dirty Rat in the current meta makes the deck even more consistent in getting its combo off. There are two variations of Mecha’thun Warlock currently, one with the demon package and another one with Hemet and many cards that are lower than 3 mana, but the Demon package seems to be performing more consistently on ladder. 4 mana Voidlords ain’t no joke.
Many people think Odd Paladin is being overrated, but apparently our expert panel disagree! What’s good about Odd Paladin is its reliability – you won’t often have a weak turn with this deck! Odd Paladin still has an abundance of value to fight the long game through cards like Vinecleaver and Divine Favor, while tech cards like Ironbeak Owl and Stonehill Defender cover a multitude of matchups. We feel like this is one of the easier decks to tech against, but in a meta that is shaped by Rogues and Warlocks, Paladins are getting the breathing space it needs.
Aggro Paladin is probably Odd Paladin’s feisty cousin. It sacrifices some consistency for crazy swing potential with Thekal + Molten Giant and Sunkeeper Tarim. High Priest Thekal is proving to be the new Barnes, where you can slot him and Molten Giants into almost every Paladin decks that allows them, and they’ll boost your winrate by a few percentages. (Or cry when you don’t draw Thekal with Molten Giant in hand.) Along with Paladin’s solid core, Aggro Paladin is really shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with.
We think that the general consensus is that Even Shaman had been on top for too long and its time for our good friend Thrall to retire for a while. Even Shamans certainly felt the effect of Flametongue Totem nerfs, but they do have a long line of volunteers waiting for their chance to shine. From Windfury, Dire Wolf Alpha to Spellbreaker and Hex, we’ve seen it all. There are certainly many more options you can slot into the allotted 30 cards that doesn’t sacrifice much of Shamans strength. If there’s anything Shamans really needed Flametongue Totems for, is probably to clear that relentless army of Giants put down by Even Warlocks.
Mind Blast Priest
This is probably the deck that generated the most controversy among our experts. A couple of us rated this combo-control deck as low as tier 3, while others confidently put it on the top of the pack. Similar to its Standard counterpart, this deck utilize a Dragon core to keep control of the game. But its much stronger than its Standard version in that it can draw better with Azure Drake, it can get generate much more value in Operatives and Historians, and it has a built-in OTK with Prophet Velen. Certainly an under-represented deck, it feels like Mind Blast Priest has game against most decks in the format right now, which earned its spot on top of Tier 2.
Aluneth Mage variants are mostly secret right now, and they’re back doing what they do best: handing sweet justice to all those slow grindy decks. With its bad matchups in Even Shaman, Odd Warrior and Odd Rogue not all that prevalent, the Mage is only really afraid of Paladins and Hunters. It is regarded by the majority of experts as one of the best decks to queue into a Control-heavy pocket meta, so if you’re seeing a few too many Anduins, Jaina is ready to swing her great staff.
The good news is Big Priest is NOT Tier 1! With only 1 out of 12 experts think that the deck is the top dog, it might turn out that the deck isn’t as oppressive as many people think. It’s just… really annoying. Big Priest’s inconsistency and abysmal matchups into Kingsbane Rogue and Mages keep the deck at bay, while Control decks aren’t afraid of it as they once were. Big Burn Priest with Velen and Malygos might shore up quite a few percentages against control, but at the cost of many aggro decks preying on ladder. So what’s the bad news then? Barnes might not get nerfed anytime soon.
We’ve come to the realization that most Control decks need some sort of built-in OTK to stay relevant on top of the meta now. Cubelock is the odd one out, as technically it doesn’t have an OTK. But Cubelock sure has that highroll potential with Voidcaller and Skull of the Man’ari, which means that sometimes it can even seal games faster than Aggro decks. Cubelock feels like it can win against anything, but unlike Kingsbane Rogue, it can also lose against anything. Note that we have one Aggro/Midrange Warlock, one Control Warlock and one Combo Warlock in top tier, so it’s safe to crown Gul’dan as the overlord of the Wild format, no?
Anyfin deck has that ultimate murloc burst, but in return, you sacrifice… everything else. It’s a way less consistent Aggro Paladin that offers you the option to close out games where Aggro Paladins lacks in reach. But generally, it does the same thing as other Paladins: it beats Rogue and it wins boards, and on rare occasions, you might do it even better with Finja! However, you might find it a bit harder to smash through Warlock and Priest taunts without huge early Murlocs though.
With the nerfs to Wild Growth and Nourish, Druids were forced to find a new shell in order to stay relevant in the format. Luckily, it has found one, in the form of crazy cycle with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and a bunch of cheap spells into Togwaggle + fatigue burn, or simply take your opponent’s deck. Wild Pyromancer allows the deck to have a fighting chance against Aggro, while Togwaggle Druid usually cycles way too fast for any other combo decks to compete. However, a couple of our experts are unconvinced by the deck, which leaves it right at the middle of Tier 2. Hey, it could’ve been worse! You could’ve been Jade Druid and were forced to play 6 mana Nourish!
No longer the best of the best, Odd Rogue is now tier 2. The damage output drastically lowered with the loss of Cold Blood. This forces constant board presence to deal damage majorly of the time. Leeroy into Cold Blood was often a finisher for Odd Rogue dealing often 12 damage of burst in one turn. Now down to 8 damage or maybe 10 with Southsea Deckhand, many decks have much more breathing room facing the former Boogeyman. If there’s any reason to play Odd Rogue over Kingsbane Rogue though, is that it’s more resilient against all the Rogue hate in the meta right now.
Ever since Boomsday, Mech Hunter has been a strong contender in the meta. It gained more ways of cheating out minions early and different ways of sticking the board. Hunter has the best way of abusing a wide board of mechs using Metaltooth Leaper to permanently buff the minions. Once the hand is depleted, it can use Jeeves to refill and constantly do so if not contested. Even leaving one Mech alive can bring doom upon their opponents, buffing with one of the many magnetic minions in the deck. Pairing with Hunter’s extremely aggressive hero power, Mech Hunter is a threat you’ll have to watch out for.
First seen in Standard, Beast Hunter is quickly becoming a threat in the meta. With access to every single card, the wild version of the deck gained Alley Cat, Kindly Grandmother, and Quick Shot. These two minions are good early and synergize well with Scavenging Hyena and Tundra Rhino; whereas Quick Shot is a good finisher with a slight upside of cycling once the hand is depleted. Master’s Call and Deathstalker Rexxar now relieves the main problem Beast Hunter once had in card draw and ensure the Hunter has constant fuel to play with. Stack up your Hyenas, we can smell the nerfs from far away!
Considered a top tier 1 deck in the past, the terrifying past where Spreading Plague costed 5 mana, Jade Druid’s strengths continue to bring it back even with the nerf of core cards, Wild Growth and Nourish. The primary reason the deck is still powerful is due to Jade Idol and its abilities to win any matchup in terms of value. Over time it gained more tools to interact with aggression, while also winning games against control with the immense number of card draw. Just avoid those pesky Skulking Geists and you’ll win against most control matchups.
Inner fire Priest
Deathlord? Nope. Dragons? Yes! Inner Fire Priest has been part of the meta since the release of Radiant Elemental. But with the power of Odd and Even Decks, it’s presence was at an all-time low. But now with two unfavorable matches, Even Shaman and Odd Rogue, weakened it can now SMOrc their opponent with 28/28 Radiant in peace (more like in the absolute bottom of tier 2). In the past, Inner Fire Priest did not depend on dragons but with synergy cards for that archetype it now has, it’s seen to be superior to the old version. Duskbreaker and Drakonid Operative are the main reasons the deck gained traction – more ways of sticking a minion mean one step closer to combo-ing your opponent.
Tier 3 & 4
Skimming through the decks, you might have noticed a few keywords popping up here and there, like ‘Reno’, ‘Shaman’ and ‘Warrior’. Although might be surprising to some, most of our expert panels agree that these decks are ‘where they should be right now’. ‘Reno’ decks, which were boasted for their ‘flexibility’, now can’t make up for their weakened power level anymore. While most other decks got a massive upgrade, Highlander variants have not seen any significant boost since Kazakus, and that’s quite a while ago. Mecha’thunlock, Cubelock and Mind Blast Priest just execute their plans better than Renolock and Reno Priest, while Reno Mage is still widely regarded as the weakest Highlander variant.
Rastakhan hasn’t treated Warriors and Shamans nicely. In fact, Warrior is the only class with no deck higher than tier 3, which is quite a feat considering the format’s diversity. The classic Pirate Warrior didn’t receive any new toys and now dwindles in comparison to Kingsbane Rogue and Aggro Paladin. Odd Warrior, while powerful (probably the most powerful Fatigue-type Control deck there is right now), has too polarised a matchup spread, and its winrate against aggro is not good enough to ensure its frequent presence on ladder. As with Shaman, it has always been the case: Even Shaman and everything else. However, Malygos Shaman appears to be a deck to watch out for, with several of our experts rated it tier 2. Malygos Shaman certainly does have the ability to cycle really quickly with Spirit of the Frog, while fending off non-Kingsbane Aggro with its abundance access to board clears and healing.
Lojom’s Aggro Druid – AAEBAZICBqIC2Qf1DZG8Ap/AAobBAgz3A+YF5QeOEOgVwasCtrMCzbsC5MIC68ICm80Ci+UCAA==
RenoJackson #6 Legend Aggro Druid – AAEBAZICBPoOhBe2swLqiQMN9wPmBd8V6BXBqwLNuwKGwQLkwgLrwgKbzQKR0AKe0gKL5QIA
Gunnolf’s Malygos Druid – AAEBAZICBrQDxQSKDuwV4LsCmdMCDEBf/gHTA8QG6BWgzQKHzgKU0gKe0gKE5gKP9gIA
Duwin’s Secret Hunter – AAEBAR8MxwOHBMkElwj+DPoO0RTTzQKG0wLL7AKA8wKnggMJ8gX3DdQR+LECxLQC3dIC39IC49IC4eMCAA==
PsyKK #18 Legend Spell Hunter – AAEBAR8E/gyFuAKG0wKoqwIN4eMClwj4sQKHBI0B1BHf0gK1A6gCpIgD2wnd0gLj0gIA
V1sby #20 Exodia Mage -AAEBAf0EBsHBAu0EudECrgPWEbgIDJbkAooB9w2cArT8AuYEqwT4B8sEwAHaxQLJAwA=
Flatch’s Freeze Mage –
Element91’s #24 Legend Reno Mage – AAEBAf0EHk2KAcAB0AL2Aq4DyQOrBMsE7Af3DYkO9Q/WEcMWhRe/rALpugLYuwL9vQLfxALTxQKWxwKb0wLX4QLD6gK+7AKm8AK38QKvhwMAAA==
Zach0’s Odd Mage – AAEBAf0EBJ4Qm9MCnvgCqIcDDbQEuQbjEe4TjBS6FqO2AuvCAvvsAr36Arn/AqSHA82JAwA=
Nalguidan’s Even Paladin – AAEBAZ8FDIoH/fsCs8EC6/cClgnN9ALAjwOIxwK5wQK3BPYCws4CCfUN+g3qD68H3AOW6ALJFvIFzwYA
Bananaramic’s #7 Legend APM Priest -AAEBAa0GBu0F+AePD/wPlsQC6NACDPsBlwKcAuUE0cEC2MEC8M8CqeICgvcCof4C8YADl4cDAA==
Memnarch’s #3 Legend Reno Priest – AAEBAa0GHtIK6owDlhTyDLW7AuUE64gD7QWKAdHBAtcK8M8C9gf7DPgH08UCw8EC0wrtAdi7AvcTtxeDuwLqvwLWEZIPwxYJ6NACkNMCAAA=
Corbett’s Big Rogue –
Lowkey’s Mill Rogue – AAEBAaIHCIgHgBLg+gKFF/4N2+MCgNMC4KwCC4YJ7QLexAKKAc0D+AebBfUPxfMCgQ7EAQA=
awedragon’s Aggro Shaman – AAEBAfWfAwb/BYQX7QX2vQKgtgKGBgz28AL5A8oWnP8C0hPWD/ER9ooDshTuAeAGjIUDAA==
Heisnotaxel’s Jade Shaman – AAEBAaoICvsMhReZ+wLTxQLD6gL1D/oOlL0C5rsC7/cCCva9AtG8AqC2ArIG8+cCgQT+BYe8As+8AsfBAgA=
Corbett’s Malygos Shaman – AAEBAfe5AgS0A84P1hGFuAIN+QP1BP4FsgbLB9YP8RHSE6C2AsfBAvPnApv/AoyFAwA=
Player671’s Shudderwock Shaman – AAEBAaoICvoO9Q/6qgLTxQKr5wLD6gKn7gLv9wKggAOMhQMKgQT+BbIGoLYC9r0C+b8Cl8ECx8EC8+cC7/ECAA==
Spirituus #14 Legend Renolock – AAEBAf0GHvLQAt7EAqf3Aq0Q58sC38QCigGuzQKFF/4N08UCkgfD6gK2B9i7Ao4O+Qz3zQLF8wKggAPWEcMW2OcCoM4CnPgC2wbCD+jnApfTAuCsAgAA
RenoJackson’s Treachery Warlock – AAEBAf0GDNsG3Aa+D/UP1hGSzQLy0AKX0wKe4gLo5wKc+AKggAMJigHnEZfBAt7EAtPFAufLAsXMAvfNAvb9AgA=
RenoJackson’s Dead Man’s Hand Warrior -AAEBAQcE+BGwFYUXkvgCDUuiBJEG+Af/B/sM38QCzM0Cjs4C8dMCz+cCm/MCnvsCAA==
Mooner’s Odd Warrior – AAEBAQcO+Qz+DakVhReCrQLTxQKixwLPxwKa7gKS+AKe+AKD+wKO+wKggAMIS6IE+Af/B5vCAsrnAp77ArP8AgA=
Spiral’s Patron Warrior – AAEBAQcI0gKvBPoOnhCGsAKc4gLN7wKggAMLFhz8BI4FjQ7nEevCArrsAp3wAtH1Ap77AgA=
Control’s Pirate Warrior -AAEBAQcGsAKvBIQX0ZECkbwC6okDDBz/A44FqAXUBe4G5wfvB40O+w+CsAKIsAIA
Decks to watch out for
In this section, we showcase new decks that have achieved success on ladder that was only piloted by one or a few people. We cannot guarantee that they will evolve into anything more than a seasoned fad, but they’re certainly a fresh breath of novelty.
An aggro deck that plays Doomsayer, Frost Nova, Emperor Thaurissan AND Aluneth? No way this is going to work, that must be what you are thinking! However, RenoJackson cruised through to legend from rank 3 with an impressive winrate against a fairly diversed meta. The deck has game against both aggro and control, and freezing mechanics actually give it an edge against pesky Kingsbane Rogues.
RenoJackson’s Aggro Freeze Mage – AAEBAf0EBuYE7QXWEY/TAqLTApX/AgyKAawBwAH7AbsCqwTLBJYF9w26Fte2ArT8AgA=
Meanwhile, Corbett proved that you can put anything in a Voidcaller demon shell and do reasonably with it. With an Emperor tick, Malygos, 2 Darkbombs and 2 Soulfires can actually kill your opponent from 30. But of course, you don’t really need to have the full combo often, sometimes the game just ends when the first Voidlord comes down. Otherwise, just chip in damage with Bloodreaver Gul’dan until they’re in range! Make sure you’re good enough to not discard the other Soulfire with your first one though.
Corbett’s Malygos Warlock – AAEBAf0GCLQD7QXCD9YRhbgCl9MCnPgCoIADC6MB3Aa2B84HxAiODq0Q58sC8tACiNIC6OcCAA==
Quinoa incorporated a built-in combo within an Inner Fire Priest shell that performed fairly well on ladder. You can heal back up against aggro with Amara, while you can just zoo out and chip in damage against Control before finishing them off with a big Stormwind Knight. Ah, the classic ‘smash my opponents face for 24’ combo!
Quinoa’s Quest Inner Fire Priest – AAEBAa0GCO0F1grWEZbEAvDPAoL3AtD+ApeHAwv7AeUE7gTRCvIM0cEC2MEC3sQC6NACqeICof4CAA==