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We would like to thank these top legend players who have given us their expert opinions: RenoJackson, Hijodaikan, Jack, Memnarch, 燁魔, xtuliop, Goku, SmellyHuffer, Eddetektor, Weatherlight, and ksr. Their Twitters are to be listed at the end of the report.
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Welcome to the First Edition of Team Rankstar’s Wild Meta Snapshot for 2020! In this meta report, we will be going through a tier list of 74 decks we’ve seen frequently on ladder, explain the method of computing the tier list, break down the meta and analyze the decks as detailed as they need to be. In this report, we have included a Meta Ranking and will be further discussing the state of each class in terms of power and diversity. Also, we’re including some Rankstar special decklists that were made by none other than our experts!
We collected our experts’ opinions through a spreadsheet, where our 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 and categorize them in 4 different Tiers. This is what they mean:
Tier 0 (Absolute oppression)
The one deck to beat. You either play it or play decks that can beat it.
Tier 1 (Meta-defining)
Highly-optimised decks with extreme raw power that are very well positioned in the meta.
Tier 2 (High-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 (Legend-viable)
Fringe decks that can capitalise on pocket metas that allow it, however, are either suboptimal or outmeta.
Tier 4 (Average)
Decks at a weaker power level that require an extensive understanding to be able to pilot well, however, are not recommended for ladder experience.
Tier 5 (Meme)
Decks that aren’t typically played to get for the purpose of climbing ladder, but still have a decent enough presence to be included in the report.
Within each tier, decks are categorized to either High tier, Mid tier or Low tier to further differentiate their power level.
For Meta Ranking analysis, we allocate points to each deck from Tier 0 to Tier 3 then sum them up. The point system for rating a single deck is as below:
Tier 0: 22
Tier 1: 18 (High), 15 (Mid), 12 (Low)
Tier 2: 9 (High), 7 (Mid), 5 (Low)
Tier 3: 3 (High), 2 (Mid), 1 (Low)
Each deck is also assigned a popularity ranking and a respective coefficient multiplier based on its popularity. The highest multiplier is 12 and the lowest is 7. For example, if Odd Paladin is High Tier 1 and has a multiplier of 12, it will bring the class an additional 216 points.
Therefore, a class can be placed highly on the Ranking system based on one (or both) of these elements: having a few strong decks (deck power) or having many decks (class diversity). If classes share the same score, the class with more top decks will be ranked higher.
Apart from a few naturally occurring oscillations in the meta, the Wild scene is expected to be shaken up by the introduction of the new adventure mode, Galakrond’s Awakening. We expect there to be quite a few cards that will affect the Wild meta in some form, particularly for Mage, Priest, Hunter, and maybe for Warrior, Paladin, and Rogue.
Right now, we welcome the new additions from the first two wings of Galakrond’s Awakening, which have already made their marks on the meta. Established decks like Time Warp Mage and Beast Hunter have already seen a surge in playrate, while Even Paladin is being heavily experimented. For now, Galakrond’s Awakening has brought a somewhat new breeze to the meta, but the impact of the first two wings alone is not enough to bring about stalwart changes.
Here are the biggest winners and losers of the month (only counting the highest 3 tiers):
Winners: Even Paladin (+17); Tempo Warrior, Evolve Shaman (+12); Even Hunter (+10); Inner Fire Priest, Murloc Shaman (+8)
Losers: Odd Mage (-17); Galakrond Shaman (-16); Reno Hunter (-13); Reno Shaman (-11); Aggro Rogue, Aggro Shaman (-10)
Potentially underrated: Inner Fire Priest, Evolve Shaman, Aggro Rogue, Reno Paladin
Potentially overrated: Reno Control Mage, Jade Druid, Odd Rogue, Secret Mage
This is a single screenshot taken from our spreadsheet if you find the tierlist infographics too long (you can open the photo in another tab to see the full-size picture).
Egg Cube Warlock
Ranked: 1 (+2)
Egg Cube Warlock is a specific variant of the Cube Warlock family. It uses early Eggs to Control the board with highly synergistic cards like Plague of Flames and EVIL Genius. In the later stages, it transitions into a heavy demon package with Voidlord, Doomguard, Mal’ganis, and Skull of Man’ari.
Egg Cube Warlock has officially dethroned Reno Time Warp Mage to become the strongest deck in the format right now. Playing against the Egg Cubelock, one might think that the ghost of SN1P-SN4P might not have disappeared at all. You have to deal with a similar early game of tokens into Plague of Flames, then will start to worry about completely losing control of the game after Turn 5.
Egg Cube Warlock is not seeing any new additions, and it seems like the best list has been figured out. Top players like Taldaram on the three-drop slot as it synergises incredibly well with both early eggs and late-game demons. A single Faceless Manipulator is also used as a weaker Taldaram, but you’d gladly welcome a second Taldy in this deck anyway.
Egg Cubelock can be very highrolly and not as hard to pick up as slower versions. Thus, it is a recommended deck to climb from Rank 5 to Legend for its sheer power.
Hijodaikan’s #2 Legend Cube Warlock
Reno Time Warp Mage
Ranked: 2 (-1)
Reno Time Warp Mage is a Highlander deck that occupies the spot between Reno Mage and Time Warp Mage. On one hand, it retains the powerful extra turn win-condition provided by the quest. On the other hand, it uses Kazakus, Reno the Relicologist, Reno Jackson, and Zephrys the Great as stabilising tools or extra value.
Reno Time Warp Mage has gained Licensed Adventurer from Galakrond’s Awakening, but that surely isn’t the reason why the deck is so strong right now. Even with more potentially bad matchups trying to prey on slow combo decks, Zephrys and Reno still proves to be more than enough to keep the deck’s winrate consistent. Even in matchups where the Reno Mage might seem to fold easily in the past (Handbuff Paladin and Zoo Warlock, for example), it oftentimes just need to draw its Highlander cards to stabilise. The damage output from the combo is now even more guaranteed with the introduction of Mana Giant; as such, only control decks with the potential to gain massive amount of armour can outlast the damage. Another potential inclusion (that is not yet released) is Sky General Kragg, who provides both protection and 4-damage removal in a single card.
Even though the Reno Mage received Licensed Adventurer, it still got kicked out of its #1 spot due to an increase in aggressive Warrior, one of the worse matchups for it. Control Cube Warlock is also an unfavourable matchup due to the presence of Bad Luck Albatross and many defensive demons. Cubelocks might be the reason people are switching to Time Warp Mage, a deck with more firepower and less reliance on Highlander cards.
Our featured decklist is a pre-built Reno Mage by top legend player Hijodaikan, who put in Kragg, a not-yet-released card. Feel free to swap him for a card of your choice in the meantime.
Hijodaikan’s Time Warp Reno Mage w/ Licensed Adventurer
Ranked: 3 (+8)
Even Shaman is the midrange deck that got its name from playing only Even-costed cards. Powered by Genn Greymane, the Even Shaman can spam early totems to power up highly-synergistic cards like Vessina, Thing from Below and Draenei Totemcarver. The deck overwhelms opponent in the mid-game with overstatted Overload card which can activate many high-tempo cards such as Likkim and Thunderhead.
Like Odd Warrior, Even Shaman receives the return of a fast meta with glee. The deck is a certified aggro killer, one that’s even better at its job now it’s taken on a new shell: totems. With Totemic Surge and Splitting Axe, you can get on board so early and give the aggro deck little chance to establish a board whatsoever. Draenei Totemcarver, Totem Golem, and EVIL Totem are naturally added for synergy, while Devolve and Golakka Crawler ensure you win even more against Aggro if needed. You might beat yourself sometimes when you make all the totems and not hit any totem weaponiser, but that’s a necessary risk for a better winrate overall.
Even Shaman doesn’t like Reno Mages and Warlocks with Plague of Flames, however, or any deck that can efficiently remove its big threats. Those matchups are far from unwinnable, however. That’s the beauty about Even Shaman, a jack-of-all-trade deck that can squeeze wins out of any game.
Memnarch’s #1 Legend Splitting Axe Even Shaman
おてぃか’s #1 Legend Runespear Even Shaman
Ranked: 4 (+6)
Mecha’thun Warlock is a Control-Combo deck that revolves around cycling until you run out of cards and finish off your opponent with Mecha’thun + Bloodbloom + Cataclysm, with an Emperor tick on the former two. The most popular version of Mecha’thun Warlock utilises a Voidlord package for survival, but there have been versions that play many low-costed cards so Hemet, Jungle Hunter can get rid of them all.
With lots of defensive options and the ability to hard cycle for the combo, Mecha’thun rises up as a great deck against most other meta decks at the moment. Add a good matchup spread against strong Tier 1 decks like Pirate Warrior, Mechbuff Paladin, and Even Shaman, and you get yourself a Tier 1 deck.
The cycle Mecha’thun Warlock is not good against most Tier 1 decks, but can bully many slow decks to how consistent it is to get the combo online around Turn 10. Mecha’thun Warlock can survive well against aggro with Defile, Plague of Flames, and the newly-added Dark Skies. It does have trouble when the opponent pressures it with an unending flow of minions. If the Mecha’thun can’t drop Thaurissan comfortably, it has little ways to win. Because of that, Zephrys and Reno Jackson are in the deck to make sure the last wave of assault can be dealt with.
There’s a new version floating about now that uses Dollmaster Dorian as an alternate win-condition. The deck opts to exclude Emperor Thaurissan to play Dorian and Plot Twist. With Dorian on board and a Mecha’thun on your hand, you can play Plot Twist when your deck is empty to guarantee a 1-mana Mecha’thun on board so you can play Cataclysm. Whether this version is better than the original version is to be seen, but it surely scores more cool-factor point.
Memnarch’s #3 Legend Archaeology Mecha’thun Warlock
Memnarch’s #7 Legend Mecha’thun Warlock
Gu1Dan1el’s #13 Legend Mecha’thun Warlock
Time Warp Mage
Ranked: 5 (+3)
Time Warp Mage gets its namesake from the card Time Warp, the reward of the Mage quest Open the Waygate. The Mage tries to complete the quest quickly to pump out either Flamewakers, Arcane Giants, or both, and try to kill their opponents in the extra turn allowed. Archmage Vargoth is sometimes used to give the Mage another turn to comfortable set up for lethal.
Time Warp Mage is a more relentless, less consistent version of the top dog Reno Quest Mage. It can unleash much more damage and can finish games earlier, but doesn’t have the sturdy defensive power that fends off aggro decks provided by Reno cards. Unless you’re able to hit that Sorcerer + Flamewaker turn, a faster meta will generally give you trouble.
If there’s one deck that can abuse Licensed Adventurer the best, that must be non-Reno Time Warp Mage. Unlike the Reno version, this deck can immediately yield value from a Coin much better with Flamewaker and Chen’vaala. If it can go off earlier, it can definitely beat aggro more consistently. As such, some have touted Time Warp Mage as the best deck in the format right now. Luckily, a single coin is not (yet) able to turn the whole aggro matchup around, so we still have Pirate Warrior and friends to thanks for keeping this deck in check. If there’s one more support card for this archetype, though…
Hijodaikan’s Time Warp Mage w/ Licensed Adventurer
Control Cube Warlock
Ranked: 6 (NEW)
Control Cube Warlock is a specific variant of the Cube Warlock family. This slow Warlock deck plays many slow Deathrattle cards that can gain value from Carnivorous Cube and N’Zoth, the Corruptor. Rather than trying to get on board early, the Warlock defends in the early game with reactive spells like Defile and Dark Skies, before cheating out demons or outvaluing their opponent.
It’s been a long time since a Value Control deck last shown up within Tier 1, but Control Cubelock was able to do it. The new additions including Dark Skies and Bad Luck Albatross have helped the matchups the deck has historically struggled against: aggro and combo decks. It is now relatively well-rounded, which is a necessary condition for a Tier 1 deck.
Control Cubelock is the example of how many boxes a Value Control deck needs to tick in order to succeed in Wild: incredibly efficient early removals, some form of mana cheat, premium-statted disruption tools, and late-game finishers packed in a single card. It’s really hard to satisfy all these conditions, which is why we haven’t seen many Value Control decks succeeding in this format.
李副帮主’s #9 Legend Control Cube Warlock
CONCERNEDMOM’s #5 Legend Control Cube Warlock
Ranked: 7 (-3)
Pirate Warrior is a weapon-based aggro deck that relies on a strong early game Pirate synergy to create recurring damage with Pirate and weapons. Ship’s Cannon into pirates provide consistent damage, while the Warrior is also capable of cheesing wins with late-game chargers like Leeroy Jenkins and Kor’kron Elite.
Pirate Warrior has gotten a major boost following Descent of Dragons, and unsurprisingly, their ranking skyrocketed to the Middle of Tier 1. Ancharrr is the one card the deck needed to cover its weakness of card draw, and it’s even better considering the cards it draws are Bloodsail Cultist and Captain Greenskin, which in turn gives it even more pirates. Parachute Brigand is being deemed as the ‘Patches from hand’, and it indeed is as strong as it looked at first glance.
Pirate Warrior has been pushed down the pecking order with the rise of Galakrond Warrior and Even Shaman. Both of these decks can effectively match the Warrior’s aggressive opener before gradually seizing control of the board. On the other hand, fewer people are tech-ing Golakka Crawler, but the nefarious crab still finds room in many Reno decks and decks that can find room for it.
Pirate Warrior is a necessary evil. Some people loathe playing against it, while some just wish that it disappears from the face of the Earth, but it’s undeniable that Pirate Warrior is the major player that’s keeping Mages (and many slowish decks with a lack of taunts) in check. The Warrior doesn’t gain significant advantage against other aggro, and can be countered with a single tech card, so it’s a healthy deck to have for the meta.
Hijodaikan’s #22 Legend Pirate Warrior
Kohai’s #12 Legend Pirate Warrior
Ranked: 8 (-6)
Mech Handbuff Paladin is a premier aggro deck that maximises the highroll potential of efficient mech and handbuff cards. Early handbuff cards like Smuggler’s Run and Grimestreet Outfitter buffs up other mechs, who retain their buffed stats when magnetized on existing minions. Mechwarper and Galvanizer allow for really early swarm boards.
Mech Handbuff Paladin is still very strong, but the fact it hasn’t gotten anything meaningful in a while when other decks improved exponentially have hurt its performance. Mechbuff Paladin often relies on killing their opponent with their first wave of minion, so if they are somehow neutralised, the Paladin runs into problems. More decks are running Silence, freeze, Devolve, and Zephrys at the moment, so the Paladin can be stopped on their track fairly often.
Sky Claw is the only strong mech introduced in this expansion, and it’s pretty good at wrestling for board control. However, the Claw clashes with the typical Handbuff blowout turns of going tall really early, and is an activator for Defile. Other than that, there isn’t any new addition to the deck, and there doesn’t need to be. The fact Handbuff is generally good against Mages alone warranted a high spot on the tierlist.
FilFeel’s #37 Legend Mech Handbuff Paladin
RenoJackson’s #7 Legend Mech Handbuff Paladin
Ranked: 9 (-4)
Secret Mage is a variant of Aluneth Aggro Mage. It seizes control of the board in the early game by playing discounted secrets along with highly synergistic secret build-around cards. The deck has the ability to both tutor secrets and deal burn damage, while Aluneth provides a way to utilize all of its value in the most tempo-efficient manner.
Secret Mage is not enjoying the new influx of hyper-aggro decks. While it can deal with board-based aggro decks fine with Arcane Flakmage and Flame Ward, you’d much rather want to queue into slower decks like Warlocks and other Mages. Druids are being pushed out of the meta, but Odd Warrior jumps right in the first opportunity they see to keep Secret Mage players unhappy. But the pain in the neck must be Pirate Warrior and Aggro Rogue. While the former is much more resilient against Wards due to weapon damage output, the latter can turn your Explosive Runes into a free 7/7 Whelp for your opponent.
Nevertheless, Secret Mage is still incredible when you find the right combination of secrets, and Aluneth can simply turn games into non-games. It seems that double Flame Ward should be reintroduced, given how effective they are against other aggro decks.
Kingsbounty’s #37 Legend Secret Mage
Rank: 10 (+12)
Tempo Warrior, as the name suggests, is a midrange deck that wins by out-tempoing the opponent in the mid-game. The Warrior has access to some very good tempo tools in Frothing Berserker, Kor’kron Elite, the Rush package, and a number of weapons. Some package choices for Tempo Warrior includes Dragons, Dragon-Pirate hybrids, and Galakrond.
If Pirate Warrior has had a solid foundation, Tempo Galakrond Warrior is pretty much a self-made man. One-third of the deck is made of completely new cards from Descent of Dragons, and the rest is just the matter of picking the right package. The Pirate package has been proven to be effective for early game Control, and Scion of Ruin made the matchup against Aggro relatively easy. Another package that found success is the Bomb package, which is designed to win against Reno decks, Mecha’thun, and Aluneth.
The most notable inclusion in Wild must be Brann Bronzebeard. Not only does Brann enable the Invoke effect twice, but he also summons two extra Rush dragons from Scion of Ruin that can be quite devastating if their stats are enhanced by Galakrond. Scion of Ruin still look like a very relevant card at 4 mana that can decide games by itself, which suggests that it could have been way overpowered before.
RenoJackson’s #9 Legend Galakrond Tempo Warrior
觉醒之魂’s #2 Bomb Galakrond Tempo Warrior
Ranked: 7 (-3)
Odd Rogue is a tempo-midrange deck which gained its name for playing only odd-costed cards. Powered by Baku the Mooneater’s Start of Game effect, the Rogue gains access to a 2/2 weapon at any stage in the game. This gives the Rogue an incredibly consistent damage output as well as early board control, and allows it to play a variety of synergistic Combo and Pirate cards.
Odd Rogue is not quite fast enough for anything. Pirate Warrior and Aggro Rogue outpace it, Reno Mage has Reno, and Warlocks have a turn 4 Voidlord. The upside that Odd Rogue offers is that it is more consistent at getting going than many other decks, so you can prey on your opponent’s bad hand.
Odd Rogue is still among the better decks in the game for its consistency, a consistency that allows it to beat all the sub-optimal decks in the meta. Coincidentally, people play a lot of janky decks in Wild, so Odd Rogue capitalises on that. When having to face Tier 1 decks, the Rogue shows its weaknesses. Odd Rogue is even-unfavoured into every other Tier 1 decks, except Reno Mage if it plays Albatross.
Memnarch’s #9 Legend Odd Rogue
Ranked: 9 (+5)
Odd Paladin is a tempo-midrange deck which gains its name for playing only odd-costed cards. Powered by Baku the Mooneater’s Start of Game effect, the Paladin can summon two 1/1 recruits at any stage in the game. This gives the Paladin an incredibly consistent board presence that synergizes with cards like Quartermaster, Warhorse Trainer and Steward of Darkshire.
Like many other aggro decks, Odd Paladin has been able to slot in Faceless Corruptor and Bad Luck Albatross to reasonable effect. In addition to that, it gained Righteous Cause, a 1-mana delayed mini Quartermaster which seems like and sounds like great value. Righteous Cause goes some way in filling the gap left by Level Up! since its nerf, and its cheap cost and liberty in when you choose to get the effect off proves to be worthy. An important trick to be aware of is that if you summon more minions than would be necessary to complete the sidequest, all of the summoned minions will still receive the buff.
Odd Paladin actually doesn’t like an Aggro meta all that much. It’s really hard for the Paladin to get a board while other decks just get on board faster than it then trade all the Recruits away. This is the main reason why both Odd Paladin’s power level and playrate have dwindled lately.
Corbett’s #3 Legend Odd Paladin
MMMHMMMMMM’s #4 Legend Odd Paladin
Darkest Hour Warlock
Ranked: 13 (+8)
Darkest Hour is a highroll deck that aims to cast Darkest Hour to destroy spell-generated tokens and summon that many high-value minions from their deck. Some big drops in the deck include Ragnaros, the Firelord, the demon package, The Lich King, and the very important Nerubian Unraveler to lock any potential boardclear.
Darkest Hour Warlock has never been in a more favourable spot. It can almost win every single time it gets a timely Darkest Hour, and new board clears like Dark Skies allow it to do so without being threatened on board more often. Reno Time Warp Mage also has a big problem with a Darkest Hour turn, which is another upside of playing this coinflip deck.
Darkest Hour Warlock is still capable of winning in some matchups even without drawing its namesake card – the Voidcaller package can just win games on its own sometimes. All in all, Darkest Hour should be a good deck for a climb from Rank 5 to Legend, since it’s a coinflip deck that wins its coinflip more often than not.
Memnarch’s #3 Legend Darkest Hour Warlock
태조샷건’s #2 Legend Darkest Hour Warlock
MasochismDog’s #1 Legend Darkest Hour Warlock
Reno Control Mage
Ranked: 14 (-1)
Reno Control Mage is a slower Highlander deck that relies on not having duplicate cards to activate power spikes such as Reno Jackson, Reno the Relicologist, Kazakus, and Zephrys the Great. Reno Control Mage might play a heavy minion package with Luna’s Pocket Galaxy, or a Big Spell package.
Though not as oppressive as Time Warp, Control Reno Mage has found themselves in quite a comfortable spot utilizing some of the new dragons. Dragoncaster is perhaps the strongest dragon synergy card available to Mage. Not only can you use it to cheat out powerful spells like Luna’s Pocket Galaxy and 10 mana Kazakus Potions, but it also works fine as a sort of Arcane Tyrant with the traditional big spells like Blizzard or Meteor. The new Malygos has been a solid addition with the deck naturally playing a decent amount of dragons, and the wide range of spells offered means that he is useful in many different situations.
Reno Control Mage is another value-control decks amidst a faster-paced meta for its ability to just curve out like a Midrange deck. The Mage often has enough value to win any long games, while their unique class card Reno, among others, offer just enough ways to grind wins against faster decks.
Neo’s #26 Legend Galaxy Reno Mage
Hijodaikan’s #5 Legend Big Spell Reno Mage
Ranked: 15 (-3)
Even Warlock is a beatdown midrange deck that’s reminiscent of the Handlock of old. By aggressively tapping, the Even Warlock player can increase their handsize and decrease their life total until they can play overstatted Mountain Giants, Molten Giants, and Hooked Reavers. This unique correlation puts other decks in a dilemma of whether to get their opposition to a low health or preserve their health total.
Even Warlock was supposed to be a breakout star for its good matchup into both fast and slow decks; however, there is a slight problem when your win condition revolves around hitting face with a couple of 8/8s: Plague of Flames. Having your Mountain Giants be destroyed by an Egg while your opponent gets a free Nerubian is so devastating that it actually turns the matchup against other Warlock decks from really favourable to really unfavourable.
Otherwise, Even Warlock is still a well-positioned deck. It wins against aggro more often than not, and it is also not terrible into Time Warp Mages if you can build a wall of taunt. The prevalence of combo decks like Mecha’thun and Quest Mage made Mojomaster Zihi a legit tech choice that is often seen being in and out of lists.
BenFromWork’s #14 Legend Even Warlock
Ranked: 16 (-10)
Aggro Rogue is an aggressive deck that relies on cheap minions (usually pirates) to take control of the early game. The deck traditionally utilise efficient damage cards like Eviscerate and card draws like Myra’s Unstable Element to finish the job.
Now that post-nerf Apothecary is just as useless as post-nerf Barnes, nobody bothers playing it anymore. People thought that Aggro Rogue will die along with it like how Big Priest and Big Rogue died. But it turns out that an aggro deck that hasn’t seen its core being hit can find a way back up one way or another.
Aggro Rogue can still snowball incredibly early with Ship’s Cannon and cheap Pirates like Bloodsail Flybooter, and it now utilises another tempo package for mid-game in Fal’dorei Strider and Stowaway. Cards shuffled to your deck from Strider are not originally in your deck, so they will be drawn with Stowaway. Better yet, those cards you draw both summon a free 4/4 AND draw you an extra card, so in the ideal scenario, with 5 mana, you will yield a total of 12/12 worth of stats and two extra cards. The whole setup takes an extra turn to get online compared to the old Apothecary combo while giving you less stats, so it’s not as good. But it is definitely good enough to keep Aggro Rogue in Tier 2.
You can expect Aggro Rogue to be as strong in the coming weeks, if not a little better. Skyvateer is a very promising early game pirate that replaces itself, so it might provide a little boost to this already solid deck.
RenoJackson’s #9 Legend Aggro Rogue
Ranked: 17 (NEW)
Beast Hunter is one of the oldest midrange decks in the game. Depending on the build, the gameplan can be either simply curving out or taking advantage of highly synergistic beast cards. Beast Hunter uses cheap beast cards to kill their opponent in the mid-game, and they can refill with Master’s Call or Deathstalker Rexxar to complete its job.
With Rush minions, Golakka Crawler, and Scavenging Hyena, Beast Hunter is back on the menu. All of the Beasts in the deck coincidentally serves as perfect counter cards against the popular meta decks. If the Beast Hunter knows to keep their Rush minions and Unleash the Grounds to combo with Timber Wolf and Scavenging Hyena, they can win aggro matchups more often than not. A turn 2 Scavenging Hyena can neutralise Defile, Golakka Crawler beats Pirate, while Bad Luck Albatross shuts down Reno Mage. Beast Hunter needs to draw the right card at the right time, but many other decks do anyway.
Another catapult that trebuchets the deck to Tier 2 is the inclusion of Frest Scent. It makes your Turn 2 as a Hunter much stronger if you’re able to curve out, since you only have Razormaw as a real Turn 2 play. This enables much more damage output, which is fairly important if you’re a Hunter. The downside is that you obviously have to curve out to maximise the card’s effect, and sometimes it can sit dead on your hand. So the debate here is whether to slot Frest Scent in existing builds or make a deck in which Frest Scent can get value more often.
Duwin’s #23 Legend Fresh Scent Beast Hunter
Rankstar’s Fresh Scent Beast Hunter
Ranked: 18 (-1)
Jade Druid is a Control-Fatigue deck that aims to outlast its opponents by generating infinite Jade Golems. Jade Idol allows for this Fatigue-heavy playstyle, while access to various stall cards and board clears like Malfurion, the Pestilent, Poison Seeds, Ferocious Howl, and Spreading Plague means the Druid can often comfortably get there. The deck reloads by late-game card draws such as Ultimate Infestation and Overflow. Jade Druid can comfortably go to fatigue, but oftentimes it just wins by surviving.
One Ysera and a couple tech cards later, Jade Druid has crawled back into Tier 2, though just barely. Ysera has proven to be a great card in many matchups, one that can provide much-needed pressure against decks that won’t wait for you to build up your Jade counts. Some people are even playing Mojomaster Zihi on the account that when you need to play Zihi against combo decks, it will most probably not interfere with your gameplan.
Zul’Drak Ritualist is kind of a big deal. It is a 4 mana 3/9 from Oaken Summons, and it summons extra minions for you Spreading Plague. Most of the time, the small minions do nothing but clogging up your opponent’s board. This Taunt might be the undisputed 4-drop along with Archmage Vargoth for your Oaken package.
It is not impossible that Jade Druid players will find ways to improve their deck. We’ve already seen how the sheer value offered by Ysera, Unleashed can swing games versus Control in the Druids favour, and how Druids can out-armour Reno Time Warp Mage. Building towards the right balance between defence and offence might be the key for Druids to make a resurgence.
Evildevil’s #14 Legend Phaoris Jade Druid
Memnarch’s #4 Legend Jade Druid
Inner Fire Priest
Ranked: 19 (+8)
Inner Fire Priest is any variant of Combo Priest that uses its namesake card – Inner Fire – as the main win-condition. Utilizing high health cards like High Priest Amet and Deathlord, the Priest buffs them up with Power Word: Shield, Divine Spirit and other cards to create a huge Inner Fire minion. Northshire Cleric serves as an excellent draw engine, sometimes can even draw the Priest a full hand in a single turn.
Inner Fire Priest is back on the menu. Cleric of Scales is as good as expected, providing both early presence and consistency in getting the combo online. The condition to trigger her effect is relatively simple as well, only requiring dragons, a tribe that has historically been played in Inner Fire Priest that has been made better with Big Ol’ Whelp. Some included tech cards are Silence for pesky Taunts, and Mindflayer Khaarj as a very annoying high-tempo 3-drop. High Priest Amet and Bwonsamdi are also other cards worth thinking about, according to Inner Fire Priest pilot Corbett.
With high health minions, Inner Fire Priest is quite resilient to many popular board clears and removals, namely Reno the Relicologist and Flame Ward. Thus, it’s a relatively good counter to Reno Time Warp Mage. However, it still has weak matchups against Warlocks due to big taunts and Plague of Flames, and against decks with many Silence/Transform effects like Even Shaman. A good Inner Fire Priest player can manoeuvre through these matchups, but it takes quite a skilled player to play Inner Fire Priest correctly. For now, we conservatively put Inner Fire Priest at the bottom of Tier 2.
Corbett’s #7 Legend Inner Fire Priest
Ranked: 20 (-4)
Zoo Warlock is one of the most iconic decks in Hearthstone. It typically involves swarming the board with endless waves of cheap, overstatted minions to gain an early advantage. The archetype has access to several powerful finishers, including Power Overwhelming, Soulfire, and Doomguard. Zoo Warlock can play one or multiple packages, including Demons, Eggs, Discard, Galakrond tokens, and more.
Just like Galakrond Shaman, Zoolock was hit with the nerf axe as soon as it showed potential in Wild. Unlike Galakrond Shaman, the nerf to Fiendish Rites didn’t kill the deck. Fiendish Rites is one of the weaker cards in the deck that’s just in there for reliable Invoke effects, and Galakrond Warlock is much less reliant on the hero compared to other Galakrond decks. The core strength of Galakrond Warlock comes from token, not Galakrond, and the Invoke effects just happen to suit that gameplan really well. For now, one Fiendish Rites is good enough, replaceable by traditionally good cards like Knife Juggler.
From the last report, we saw another major change to the deck besides Fiendish Rites, and that’s Sea Giant. Sea Giants provides the power spikes that the previous Zoo lists sometimes lack.
Zoo Warlock both has game against Aggro and Control decks. Like Odd Paladin, it is particularly good against decks that don’t have infinite answers to swarms of 1/1s, which is most decks in the game right now. Unlike Odd Paladin, you have many more blowout turns with Grim Rally and Eggs. However, the deck can naturally run out of juice or doesn’t activate Galakrond fast enough, which means that it is less consistent. The nerf to Fiendish Rites pushes the deck just outside of Tier 2, but it’s still a very valid deck for laddering.
Rankstar’s Zoo Galakrond Warlock
Ranked: 20 (+7)
Kingsbane Rogue is a deck that revolves around buffing and redrawing its namesake card, Kingsbane, to create an infinite around of damage that can eventually end the game. Kingsbane Rogue used to play a Mill package with Coldlight Oracle, but after the nerf to Leeching Poison, it has switched to an early aggressive Pirate package.
Kingsbane Rogue is back on the menu after undergoing progressive changes. The Fal’dorei Strider and Stowaway package is good in this deck, for the aforementioned reason in the Aggro Rogue section, and also because the Stowaway can draw a reshuffled Kingsbane from the deck. This has allowed for more liberty in deckbuilding; for example, obscure draw cards that were included just to draw Kingsbane (like Raiding Party) were cut.
Kingsbane Rogue can produce consistent pressure against Control with early pirates, Spiders, and Kingsbane. It can also win against Aggro with Ship’s Cannon, but not too often. Unlike before, Kingsbane Rogue is no longer an absolute nightmare for Control decks to queue into due to how slow it is to take off compared to before the nerf to Preparation. For now, it stays in Tier 3.
EpigPlayer’s #6 Legend Kingsbane Rogue
Rankstar’s Kingsbane Rogue
Rank: 22 (+3)
Aviana Druid is any combo deck that uses the interaction between Aviana and Kun, the Forgotten King to play their minions for one mana after refreshing their mana crystals. Aviana Druid can either uses Malygos, Star Aligner, Togwaggle/Azalina, or some combination of those cards as their combo pieces. The aim of the combo is to either kill the opponent outright or disable their access to more resources.
Aviana Druid climbed another few ranks, preying on Control, anti-aggro decks, and slower combo decks. Druid’s defensive shell, while not strong enough to fend off aggro consistently anymore, is still capable of holding off the opposition until the combo gets online. It is a bit tricky now Aviana is 10 mana and have to throw an Innervate into the mix, but that hasn’t stopped Aviana Druid enthusiasts from achieving high ranks with the deck before.
Aviana Druid gets better now as it is a legit counter to Reno Time Warp Mage and slow Warlocks. Oftentimes many of your opponent’s crucial combo pieces will still be in their deck after you’ve swapped them, rendering their strategy useless. The weak matchup against decks with strong pressure and midrange still proves to be its kryptonite, though.
Hijodaikan’s #2 Legend Aviana Togwaggle Druid
Sleight’s #10 Legend Aviana Togwaggle Druid
Ranked: 23 (-1)
Reno Warlock is a Highlander deck that relies on not having duplicate cards to activate power spikes such as Reno Jackson, Kazakus, and Zephrys the Great. The Warlock core is different from other Reno decks in that it usually revolves around Demon synergies. There is a multitude of ways to build Reno Warlock, but not every Highlander Warlock will be listed under Reno Warlock. A Reno Warlock deck is listed under Renolock if the Highlander cards are a crucial part in their gameplan.
It’s weird to see the day where Reno Warlock becomes the weakest Kabal Reno deck. An unfavourable matchup spread saw the Warlock dropped all the way to Tier 3, and even Dark Skies wasn’t able to stop the fall.
Reno Warlock is just inferior to other Warlock decks like Mecha’thun Warlock. You still lose to Mages often, and you can only play one copy of your strongest board clears. That almost makes the payoff from Zephrys, Kazakus, and Alexstrasza not worth it. You can try slotting in Mecha’thun in Reno Warlock, but it’s just slower than actually playing the cycle Mecha’thun deck that can usually activate its Zephrys and Reno anyway. Reno Warlock loses the value game against Reno Control Mage and Reno Priest, and more often than not can’t stabilise against Reno Hunter. Altogether, there is just not enough payoff to justify playing the deck right now.
Some minor improvements to Renolock include Dark Skies and Valdris Felgorge. While Dark Skies is a must-include in many slow Warlock builds, Valdris hasn’t found his place in many decks. He’s a strong card draw, but it’s not like Warlock has ever been short of card draws. Him being a 7-costed card hindered his potential a little bit as well. But in Reno Warlock where you play thirty different cards, having another strong option is welcomed. This particular version we feature from xXFroBroXx45 does not play Valdris, but you can easily remove a card for him.
xXFroBroXx45’s #5 Legend Reno Warlock
Ranked: 24 (+12)
Evolve Shaman is a Midrange deck that relies on unleashing powerful turns with various Evolve effects like Evolve, Unstable Evolution, Thrall, Deathseer, and Mutate. Evolve Shaman typically plays understatted minions with a battlecry to maximise the highroll potential.
Evolve Shaman is a winner of Galakrond’s Awakening. The new Evolve spell, Explosive Explosion, doesn’t look that good at first glance for sure. However, it actually solves a number of Evolve’s problem. Firstly, it allows the Shaman to immediately weaponise their one-drop; thus, encourage them to play more one-drops and fortify their early game. Furthermore, it’s a really good 2-mana spell to chain-draw from Spirit of the Frog, instead of situational spells like Devolve. Finally, it’s an extra Evolve effect to ensure consistency.
The nerf to Mogu Fleshaper hasn’t hit as hard as people thought. The card is slowed down for sure, but in exchange, the outcome from Evolving a Fleshaper has been substantially improved. There are many good 10-drops with enormous upsides like Y’shaarj, Colossus of the Moon, and Tyrantus. While Evolve can no longer set its eyes on Tier 1, it certainly can become a reasonably strong deck. If only it can stop Evolving its Corridor Creeper into Hireek every so often…
Rankstar’s Evolve Shaman
Ranked: 24 (-9)
Odd Warrior is a reactive control deck that gains access to 4 extra armour every turn from Baku the Mooneater’s Start of Game effect. Odd Warrior can call upon some of the strongest removals in their arsenal in Brawl and Shield Slam, while their armour accumulation opens up synergies with various armour-related cards.
Odd Warrior finds itself in an odd spot: it wins against many aggro but folds against Druids, Reno Quest Mage and Doomguards. It can win grindy matchups but it needs the right card at the right time, while hoping the opponent doesn’t play too much value.
The deck was good against Aggro before, and now it’s given another early tool to catch up the lost tempo from hero-powering: EVIL Quartermaster. The Quartermaster and its lackey both synergise with Brann Bronzebeard, so including Brann and Coldlight seem more natural now. Odd Warrior can sometimes lose against aggro if they manage to either pressure it hard enough or exhaust it, but both of those cases don’t happen too often.
Odd Warrior’s weakness has always been value-heavy Control, and the nerf to Dr. Boom, Mad Genius only exacerbated the problem. Many Odd Warrior players have turned to Azalina Soulthief as a solution. If you can’t make value, just take value! But if you can’t draw Azalina, you will probably take that fat L. Even though it’s auto-losing or auto-winning like before, queuing Odd Warrior is still a dangerous sport. It’s best to not play Odd Warrior if you are facing a slower meta.
Goku’s #2 Legend Odd Warrior
Ranked: 26 (+1)
Treachery Warlock is a Control deck that outvalues its opponent by playing Treachery on Fel Reaver or Howlfiend to burn or discard opponent’s cards and exhaust their resource. In addition to the typical Warlock defensive package, Treachery Warlock can also play Treachery on their Doomguard for a guaranteed 5-mana clear. It’s a tricky deck to play and often requires extensive knowledge of the meta.
Treachery Warlock remains to be that lesser-known, lesser-played played deck that is only reserved for a few who are really into it. There aren’t many reasons to play Treachery Warlock when other Warlock decks are doing so well.
At its core, Treachery depends on eliminating your opponent’s future value using a few specific combo pieces. They have a few lines of defence through Voidlord and then Bloodreaver Gul’dan and N’Zoth. Secret Mages and Quest Mages were never slow Warlock’s favourite matchups to run into, so most slow Warlocks all suffered from the shift in meta. At it’s best, Treachery was very finely tuned to beat the competitive, high-end meta and requires a thorough understanding of cards in your opponents’ decks. It struggles when you can’t figure out your opponent’s deck or when they play unexpected tech cards.
Skylight’s #8 Legend Treachery Warlock
Combo Reno Priest
Ranked: 26 (-1)
Combo Reno Priest is a specific variant of Reno Priest. It relies on killing the opponent using burst damage provided by Spawn of Shadows (and/or Prophet Velen) in conjunction with Shadowreaper Anduin. Raza the Chained is a crucial part of this strategy, as it allows for a much greater damage output with 1-mana hero power.
We made the decision to separate Combo Reno Priest and Control Reno Priest on the same grounds we assessed Reno Mage. The two decks have a relatively different playstyle, and their results on ladder are at least somewhat different. Combo Reno Priest does better in a meta where you often find yourself in a race to kill off your opponent before they kill you.
Reno Priest’s matchup spread doesn’t look too good in this meta. They lose to the most popular decks like Mages and Warlocks, and only consistently beat Even Shaman and Paladins. Of course, the Highlander package ensures you’re going to win some games, but if you have to rely on power spikes, your deck has a problem.
Corbett’s #3 Legend Combo Reno Priest
Ranked: 28 (-14)
Reno Hunter is a Highlander deck that relies on not having duplicate cards to activate power spikes such as Reno Jackson, Dinotamer Brann, and Zephrys the Great. Reno Hunters are usually built pretty aggressively and revolves around playing either small beasts or big beasts. But generally, the Hunter’s gameplan involves much more pressure than other Reno decks.
Reno Hunter is not a bad deck, but it’s in a rather rough spot at the moment. It’s a tad too slow to win Mages and Warlocks often, and is a tad too slow to consistently fend off Aggro. The introduction of Fresh Scent encouraged some players to try faster Reno lists with more low-curve beasts, but even those lists aren’t yielding results yet.
Nevertheless, Reno and Zephrys shore up Hunter’s weaknesses. While Reno is much-needed healing, Zephrys acts as Hunter’s only board clear in many situations. Other than that, the N’Zoth package has been dropped in favour of faster cards that create more pressure like Dragonbane. Veranus is strong enough to be included without many synergies, as it presents comeback potential and answers to big bodies. Lastly, the Dragonqueen shines brightest in Hunter, where she can top off a tempo-heavy start with an aggravating blow. Some lists have reintroduced Deathstalker Rexxar, claiming that it’s just a card slow Hunters can’t live without.
Duwin’s #58 Legend Reno Hunter
RenoJackson’s #7 Legend Zul’jin Reno Hunter
Rankstar’s Beast Reno Hunter
Ranked: 29 (+5)
Malygos Warlock is any variant of combo Warlock that utilises Malygos as a win condition. Relying on Warlock’s rich cheap damage in Darkbomb, Soulfire, and Nether Breath, as well as enablers like Emperor Thaurissan, the deck can finish off their opponent in a single turn. Typically, Malygos Warlock lean on the Bloodreaver Gul’dan package for survival, but some lists plays a singleton package with Reno and Zephrys instead/to complement.
Malygos Warlock is expected to be a breakout deck after Descent of Dragons with so many support cards offered to the archetype. It has a long way to go to achieve that, but so far, the deck has shown glimpses of potential.
Nether Breath is one of the best cards for Warlock in Descent of Dragons, and it has seamlessly and naturally found ít way into a Malygos list. The existence of Nether Breath means that Malygos Warlock no longer has to rely on 50/50 Soulfire discards. Crazed Netherwing is also a good card, as expected. It’s not just because it’s a Hellfire-on-a-stick, but also because the sheer damage the card and its battlecry can do. Netherwing makes it so the opponent is rarely at full health, reducing the burden of chipping in all the little reach damage.
Malygos Warlock is a consistent combo deck, but it suffers from the same problem as many other Warlock decks: there are just better options. Mecha’thun Warlock usually kills earlier, and is better against Aggro. The only consideration for playing Malygos over Mecha’thun is that one might like old-school damage-unleashing combo better.
Krane’s #30 Legend Malygos Warlock
RaidriC’s #102 Legend Malygos Warlock
Ranked: 30 (+4)
Aggro Druid is an aggressive deck that plays a large number of small tokens then buff them up with cheap board buffs like Mark of the Lotus and Power of the Wild. Aggro Druid typically plays small Beasts and good early token generators, but there have been tribal-focused decks like Pirate, Mech, or Water Druid.
Embiggen is broken. Many people have come to this conclusion even before this card started to make waves in Standard. In Wild, however, it hasn’t been that outstanding. Recently, though, Aggro Druids with Embiggen have seen innovation to guide it towards being competitive. A Water package with Pirates and Murlocs seem to be the best for maximum tempo, with the restriction in cost negated by getting Brigands, Patches, and murlocs from Finja for free. Another list featuring mostly only Pirates has been making waves as well.
Aggro Druid can outright win any game if it is lucky enough, but it’s held back by two things. First, even with the new changes, it’s still too consistent. It relies on either drawing Embiggen early or playing many tokens into board buffs, in that exact order. Second, it loses to Warlock. Badly. We don’t see Aggro Druid improving anytime soon, especially when the new card Rising Winds doesn’t complement Embiggen at all.
Valrhona0110’s #16 Legend Embiggen Aggro Druid
Beeozan’s #50 Legend Embiggen Aggro Druid
Ranked: 31 (+7)
Murloc Shaman is an Aggro deck that wins by snowballing early game with Murlocs. A plethoric amount of Murloc synergies help to achieve this, especially cards like Underbelly Angler, Murloc Warleader, and Everyfin is Awesome! Some variations of Murloc Shaman also incorporate Unite the Murlocs for extra value, this makes the deck feels more like a Midrange deck.
When Murloc Shaman was Tier 1, it was really good into many top Control decks. That’s the reason it found itself a spot in Tier 3 now: it occupies that space reserved for Mage and Warlock counters. Murloc Shaman is so sticky and packed with value that it can win even a Hungry Crab from Zephrys.
To consistently win against Mage and Warlock, most successful Murloc Shaman lists now play the Quest, Unite the Murlocs. Since Control decks are now much better equipped to deal with sticky boards, you need another wave of attack to finish them off, and a 5 mana 8/8 that fills your hand do just that. You do need to sacrifice a few percentages against Aggro, but let’s be honest, many of those games you won’t win even without the quest. Or, you can just mulligan the Quest away.
RenoJackson’s #28 Legend Murloc Shaman
Deckcodes (for decks without separate sections)
Do note that we are missing a few decklists for some Tier 4 & 5 decks we observed in the meta, but weren’t able to contact the players for their decklists.
RenoJackson’s #104 Legend Deathrattle Hunter
Rankstar’s Fresh Scent Even Hunter
Knoepklapper’s #10 Legend Even Hunter
Rankstar’s Secret Hunter
Rankstar’s Odd Hunter
Rankstar’s Odd Dragon Hunter
Rankstar’s Odd Mage
RenoJackson’s #87 Legend Elemental Mage
SRL’s #32 Legend Mech Mage
Moeglichkiet’s #5 Legend Exodia Freeze Mage
Knoepklapper’s #89 Legend Taunt Druid
RenoJackson’s #36 Legend Taunt Dragon Druid
Malekith’s #50 Legend Taunt Dragon Druid
Corbett’s #16 Legend Malygos Druid
Jaehyuk’s #9 Legend Malygos Reno Druid
Eddetektor’s #100 Legend Dinomancer Warlock
LuckyDice99’s #15 Legend Reno Zoolock
DamnRinger’s #15 Legend Big Shaman
Rankstar’s Corrrupt the Waters Jade Shaman
Beeozan’s #302 Legend Aggro Shaman
RenoJackson’s #18 Legend Reno Shaman
nvocmoc’s #25 Legend Reno Rogue
Rankstar’s Galakrond Rogue
Eddetektor’s Galakrond OTK Rogue
Jack’s #59 Legend Flik Skyshiv Mill Rogue
flugel’s #46 Legend Miracle Rogue
Cooky’s Legend Burgle Rogue
xtuliop’s #91 Legend Burgle Rogue
RenoJackson’s #36 Legend Dragon Exodia Paladin
Jack’s #6 Legend Reno Exodia Paladin
Corbett’s #24 Legend Even Paladin
Rankstar’s Air Raid Even Paladin
Rankstar’s Token Paladin
Applecat’s #6 Legend Murloc Paladin
EpigPlayer’s #26 Legend APM Priest
Corbett’s #26 Legend APM Chef Nomi Priest
Kohai’s #10 Legend Togwaggle Priest
sipiwi94’s Weasel Albatross Priest
Rankstar’s Control Reno Priest
Rankstar’s Dragon Mind Blast Priest
Hijodaikan’s #3 Legend Big Burn Priest
Rankstar’s Defensive Big Priest
RenoJackson’s #24 Legend Dead Man’s Hand Galakrond Warrior
RenoJackson’s #36 Legend Tempo Taunt Warrior
Note that this Class Meta Ranking is released after the first two wings of Galakrond’s Awakening is available for unlocking. Therefore, it will account for the initial impact of these cards with regards to the Wild meta.
Rank 1 (+1) – 751 points
Gul’dan has yet to receive a card from Galakrond’s Awakening. But frankly, he doesn’t need any. Even with the arguably strongest deck in the history of Hearthstone being completely annihilated, Gul’dan showed that he’s still capable of greatness. Cube and Mecha’thun Warlock benefited from the Snippy’s disappearance, and have done an excellent job in filling the gap left by SN1P-SN4P Warlock. The separation of archetypes in this report has helped Warlock even further, increasing the total number of decks in the top three tiers to a whopping nine – our new record.
Cube Warlock now have two sub-archetypes worthy of Tier 1: Egg Cube and Control Cube. The two decks still heavily relies on Voidcallers and Bloodreaver Gul’dan, but their approach to early game and their end-game finishers in some matchups are a little bit different. If Egg Cubelock can fend off aggressive strategies better, Control Cubelock has more value and disruptions in slower matchups and is better against the egg variant itself. We have not seen a value-heavy Control deck like Control Cubelock doing so well in the meta for a while; this could be a sign that Warlock’s defensive package is seriously overtuned.
Mecha’thun Warlock is flourishing due to Warlock’s defensive package and its good matchup into the rest of the field. Even Warlock and Zoo Warlock have seen a slight dip in playrate as the other Warlock decks gain popularity, but they are still relatively strong compared to the rest of the meta. The former deck has dropped a few ranks due to the rise of Plague of Flames Warlocks, but not enough to knock it outside of Mid-tier 2. The latter deck feels like it should get more recognition for its sheer resilience and its ability to just squeeze out wins from unsuspecting opponents. The nerf to Fiendish Rites has weakened the deck a bit, but luckily not enough to render it irrelevant. Fiendist Rites is one of the less important Invoke cards in the deck, that’s why Zoolock was able to get away with it.
On the other hand, Darkest Hour Warlock finally gets the recognition it deserves, if not too much. A few meta reports have placed them as the absolute best deck of this meta (before Galakrond’s Awakening). While we don’t necessarily agree with that assessment, we concur that Dark Skies and Plague of Flames have made the deck a lot more consistent against aggro, while Colossus of the Moon is even more annoying to deal with than the typical big minion. It still doesn’t win too much when it doesn’t get the combo out timely, though. However, Darkest Hour should be a good deck for a climb from Rank 5 to Legend, since it’s a coinflip deck that wins its coinflip more often than not.
Heading the other direction is Reno Warlock. With Quest Mages running rampant, all Reno decks that are naturally weak to it have seen their influence dwindling. Reno Warlock, like many other decks in the same spectrum, doesn’t line up well against the strongest decks in the meta, including Quest Mage, Cube Warlock, and Mecha’thun Warlock. Treachery, on the other hand, has a high skill cap and requires a thorough understanding of the meta. There is only one known player who took it inside Top 10 Legend since the launch of Descent of Dragons, and it was Skylight, who has probably played the deck for as long as it has existed.
Malygos Warlock has finally fulfilled its potential, somewhat. Its two variants, Malygos and Reno Malygos, have both enjoyed local successes. The incorporation of a defensive Voidcaller package, good removals and strong new burst such as Nether Breath have made the deck more consistent than ever. Malygos Warlock can chip away damage with its minion presence and combo without Thaurissan if you play Frizz Kindleroost.
For people who are more into the memes, Dinomancer Warlock is an archetype worth noting. The Dinomancers are great fodders for Plague of Flames since they just stick around on board, and the pressure from these unremovable boards can bring the toughest control decks into succumbing. Dinomancer Warlock might never step outside of meme territory, but it sure feels good cheesing wins out of boards full of 5/5s.
The new classic additions to Warlock are Twisted Knowledge and Fiendish Servant, and for now, they’re kind of disappointing. Fiendish Servant, in particular, looks like it might be decent in any Demon-based Zoolock in the future if they pop up, but for now, it’s just a decent Battlegrounds card.
Rank 2 (-1) – 558 points
Mage actually gained points from the last report, but that’s nowhere near enough to cover the tremendous boost that Gul’dan got. Even though it’s not as diverse as other top classes, Mage can still support a multitude of strategies. Both of its combo variants received a big boost, Secret Mage is still well-positioned in a Warlock meta, while Reno Mage can pose a problem for slower deck with its grindy cards.
Both Reno Time Warp Mage and Time Warp Mage received a reasonable upgrade from the first wing of Galakrond’s Awakening: Licensed Adventurer. The Coin is probably one of the best spells to use in these decks for its utility, and Adventurer both allows for flexibility and quest completion, especially in Time Warp Mage where you can play two of them. This new card has pushed Time Warp Mage to the middle of Tier 2 and increased its playrate, resulted in a massive point surge for Jaina.
Although Secret Mage now has a harder time against aggro, it’s one of the better counters into a Warlock and fellow slower Mages. Secret Mage can also punish sub-optimal decklists fairly effectively; therefore, it is a decent deck for climbing from Rank 5 where people are playing more experimental lists.
Odd Mage has fallen off the map because people are not willing to try it over stronger, more established Mage decks. The new Elementals from Galakrond’s Awakening might bring in some huge excitement for the deck, though. Arcane Amplifier is such a good card for Odd Mage’s already reliable hero power, and it might be the glue that sticks all Elemental cards together. Animated Avalanche is another potentially powerful card; however, it might be too slow. The Elemental shell is obviously being tried in Odd Mage, but there might be evidence suggesting it’s stronger without the Baku restriction. Some people have tried an Aggro Elemental deck with Mana Cyclone and Elemental Evocation being power plays, on top of being able to play more spells to consistently fuel Flamewaker and Chen’vaala. Time will tell if this deck is the new breakout.
Rank 3 (+3) – 272 points
Thrall is back into the Top 3 (barely), no thanks to yet another nerf to his Galakrond’s core package. It is rather the ol’ reliable Even Shaman that pulled it back somewhat from the dump. The Totem-centric Even version proves to be very well positioned in the current meta, and has found its way back into Tier 1. Unfortunately, that’s about the only Shaman deck that’s doing well at the moment.
Even Shaman has finally found a way to innovate itself. Simply playing overstatted minions doesn’t do well anymore, so Even Shaman goes back to the basic successful Wild deck formula: insane synergy. Various cheap totem cards are extremely efficient at swarming the board and wrestle for board control early on, which makes the deck even better against aggro. To sum up, Even Shaman is well-positioned into the current aggro portion of the meta, while can still pressure both Mage and Warlock very effectively.
Other Shaman decks are not doing well, but Murloc Shaman might be able to turn the tide around. Murloc Shamans, especially the Quest version, can prey on slow decks like Mage and Warlock with its blowout gameplan, even if they play Zephrys. If there’s an increase in slower decks, Murloc Shaman might be able to sneak back into Tier 2.
Of the seven decks presented in the relevant tiers, six of them are down in Tier 3. This anomaly is mostly caused by the abrupt nerf to both Shaman forerunners at once: Galakrond and Evolve. It is not exactly known how weaker Mogu Fleshshaper has become in Evolve archetypes, but one thing for sure is that the deck is seeing much less play now. Mogu, along with Desert Hare, is the card that brought Evolve Shaman to the apex of their strength, and it getting the nerf axe has to be a massive blow to the deck. Mogu Fleshshaper is still okay at 9 mana and will still be played in Evolve decks, but only being okay isn’t good enough in Wild. There is another addition to the Evolve package in Explosive Evolution, and it helped the deck a bit in hitting more consistent Evolve effects. As for other released Shaman cards from Galakrond’s Awakening, let’s just say we haven’t seen how they can fit in existing decks yet.
With traditional Shudderwock no longer able to abuse Evolve mechanics, Reno Shudderwock Shaman might be the strongest Shudderwock sub-archetype there currently is. Reno Shudderwock has the Highlander stabilising tools, Loatheb disruption, and the end-game inevitability. It’s just a matter of finding the right package to fend off aggro, and you have yourself a half-decent deck.
Even though Shaman is currently the third-strongest class, it’s miles behind the Top 2. Although the current meta is one of the more diverse Wild meta there is, this observation poses a question of whether Warlocks and Mages are being seriously overtuned. But then again, there has been so many meta being ruled by aggro decks in the past, so this development might not entirely be a bad thing.
Rank 4 (+1) – 252 points
Warrior keeps marching on. Garrosh has proved over and over again that in Wild, his best friends are weapons and pirates. It’s been such a long while since Pirate Warrior last wrecked havoc, and this time it seems that it’s here to stay. Galakrond Tempo Warrior is also jumping on the Pirate bandwagon, and shaking off the Scion of Ruin nerf like it never happened.
Pirate Warrior continues to be a force to be reckoned with, with the ability to bully both aggro and control decks alike given a good opening.
The aggressive version of Tempo Galakrond Warrior is like a slower and more resourceful Pirate Warrior, capable of the same opening into Galakrond cards as finishers. Before the Scion of Ruin nerf, it could have been a Tier 1 deck. Unfortunately, Tempo Warrior wasn’t optimised then. There’s another version that has been seeing success, which plays a Bomb package to counter Aluneth, draw-heavy decks and Reno decks. Naturally, it’s weaker against Aggro, so it’s best to pick the version that suits your current pocket meta.
Odd Warrior is pushed down to Tier 3 in this report, part of the reason being it bad matchup into Mages. The weakening of Odd Warrior is one of the reasons that Warrior barely loses out to Shaman in the race to Top 3. Odd Warrior does have enough tools to beat a Cube Warlock, but it becomes a big nuisance when your opponent starts playing Doomguard. The first wing of Galakrond’s Awakening introduced Bomb Wrangler, which can be a reasonable tempo tool for Odd Warrior from its synergy with Dyn-o-matic and Zilliax. Of course, that card will only be used to help Aggro matchup even further, which is probably not what the deck desperately need.
One deck that might make a long-overdue comeback is Patron Warrior, now enhanced with Risky Skipper and Bomb Wrangler. Both of these are really good early game cards for board control, and might give Patron enough game against aggro.
Rank 5 (-1) – 234 points
Uther is finally feeling the impact of a lack of innovation. Mech Handbuff Paladin is feeling short of breath as it saw zero worthy addition over the past expansions, and is finally pushed down to the Bottom of Tier 1. Odd Paladin isn’t as fast or explosive as other aggro decks. Reno Paladin is getting better, but is still a gimmick. Looking at the cards given to the class in Galakrond’s Awakening, it seems like Paladin is hitting a brick wall.
A weakness of Mech Paladin is that it’s not often that it’s able to keep up the pressure after its first wave has been neutralised. As more decks are having answers to an early Mech Paladin board now, the Paladin player finds easy wins harder to come by.
Odd Paladin is still at the top of Tier 2, but it’s pretty underplayed at the moment, which affects its popularity coefficient. Paladins are naturally great against most Rogue decks out there, and their rising popularity only helped elevate the archetype. It is also not bad against Mages. On the other hand, Paladins are farmed by Warlocks, who happens to have the best board clears against their recruits. You can’t have the best of both worlds.
North American player Jack piloted a version of Reno Exodia Paladin to legend which revived interest in the deck. The excessive healing offered to Paladin in conjunction with Zephrys and Reno is enough to delay until Uther can execute his combo. There are still potential for improvement with this deck, for example, dragons such as Amber Watcher are strong enough on their own.
Air Raid is a new card that was released within the first week of Galakrond’s Awakening, and it is understandable that it was experimented in various obscure decks such as Token Paladin, Even Paladin, and Recruit Paladin, but a decent card alone cannot pull such weak decks into viability. The best performing version of Even Paladin is actually one with older cards and strong new minions like Gyrocopter to enable a Corpsetaker package. It can still find room for a couple of Air Raids, but the card is certainly not pivotal to its strategy.
Rank 3 (-2) – 206 points
R.I.P Necrium Apothecary. Without this borderline unfair card, Rogue is literally back to where the class was before Descent of Dragons: one-dimensional and undistinguished. Odd Rogue hasn’t been a top deck for quite a while, and Aggro Rogue while trying to adapt to a Apothecary-less situation, is not finding its former prime.
Odd Rogue looks as optimised as it can get. It has incorporated all the best cards from Descent of Dragons, and some even tested the now 5-mana Apothecary. To no avail. It just doesn’t look like Odd Rogue can get any better. The only hope the Rogue has is for the meta to somehow turn to be favourable for it again.
Aggro Rogue is now dropped to Tier 2 as it’s struggling to replace Necrium Apothecary. The Stowaway + Fal’dorei Strider package previously used in Kingsbane Rogue is a replacement, and it’s not a bad one either. Aggro Rogue can still abuse Cannon and a bunch of early pirates (there was another good one in Galakrond’s Awakening!), and can comfortably curve into Fal’dorei Strider, which solves its end-game gas problem. The same package is dragging Kingsbane Rogue back onto the map, with Stowaway also able to fetch a Kingsbane that’s been shuffled back into the deck.
Big Rogue isn’t as lucky. It seems that being able to land an Apothecary on Turn 4 was a pretty big deal for the deck, and it finds itself highrolling less often and slower now. This is not a good sign for a deck that wins almost solely from highrolling. As such, Big Rogue has been completely removed from competitive play.
There are two Galakrond Rogues that are seeing very modest play, one plays Pirates for tempo and the other plays Umbra Skulker for an OTK. These decks have very different playstyle that you have to pick up to get the hang of it. Especially with the Umbra version, you need to know when to go off with your Spirit of the Shark + Umbra Skulker + Spectral Pillager combo to get lethal. The similarity of these two deck is that they are both bottom Tier 3 material at the moment.
Rank 7 (0) – 121 points
With no meaningful addition from Descent of Dragons, Priest was the worst class in Wild by a small distance. Luckily, Anduin has received timely upgrades just in time for our next Rankstar report.
Inner Fire Priest and Mind Blast Priest was mostly abandoned for simply not being strong enough. However, with Galakrond’s Awakening arrival, they are actually decks to look forward the most for the class. Cleric of Scales reminds you of Shadow Visions for Dragon decks that is 1 mana cheaper and offers a body on board. This card will make Inner Fire and Mind Blast much more consistent in both the early game and the late game. For now, Cleric of Scales have not yet solved Priest’s problems against Voidlords, Devolve/Transform effects (Inner Fire), and faster combo decks (Mind Blast Priest), but they’re welcome additions nevertheless.
Reno Priest is still a strong deck, but the rise of Quest Mages, in general, has not been well-received. They do have an abundance of reactive answers, but none of those matters if they can’t interact with Arcane Giants and Mana Giants the turn they come down. For these reasons, they find themselves at the top of Tier 3 along with many other Reno decks. Otherwise, Reno Priest is a solution for Aggro deck, if you play enough early cards and don’t go uber greedy. The Combo Reno version has been picked up again for having a definite out against other combo decks while still being as good versus Aggro.
Togwaggle Priest, touted as ‘the next big thing’, has failed to make a splash. It is just like Miracle APM Priest, it’s just that you have to draw your whole deck and have to spend two turns playing 8 mana cards. It’s just not going to work out. You are extremely vulnerable the two turns you play Togwaggle and Murozond (to cast the Ransom spell), and you’ll eventually run out of resources. Maybe a more proactive strategy like APM Chef Nomi Priest or APM Holy Smite can work better.
Rank 8 (0) – 110 points
Hunter has been slightly improved this month, mostly thanks to the resurgence of one of the cheapest and oldest decks in the history of Hearthstone: Midrange Hunter. Taking on the beast shell, Beast Hunter looks like a solid deck that can steal many wins off of Mages and Aggro Pirate decks if you play your cards right. Hunter is still the joint-worst class in Wild, but it has found glimmers of hope.
The new Hunter card Fresh Scent might be the strongest addition to Hunter we’ve seen in a long while, but it is the matter of how to utilise it. The easiest way is just to play more one-drops to get the best value out of your Frest Scents, but then you might have to drop some really powerful tech cards like Unleash the Hounds which might make your deck weaker overall. Nevertheless, Beast Hunter might be better than a Bottom Tier 2 deck once its best build is figured out.
The same story goes for Reno Hunter. It might be worth it to play a lower beast-heavy curve just to try and take advantage of Frest Scent. This might be the way to go for Reno Hunter anyway, as the slower version is struggling in a meta full of aggro, Mages and Warlocks. The popular version is dropped to Tier 3 for now, but a little bit of tinkering might push Reno Hunter back to Tier 2 in the future.
Mech Hunter is still at the Middle of Tier 3 with little renovation being done apart from Dragonbane. But exciting time might be ahead, with Chopshop Copter promises of being an insane value generator. If we have learned anything from cases in the past like Underbelly Angler and Ancharrr, giving value generators to aggro deck is treading on dangerous water.
Even Hunter has been bumped to Tier 3 given its recent success. The pressure from the hero power is enough to kill your opponent in some games, and free Hunter secrets are good at fending off aggro. If Even Hunter can try and fit in Frest Scents in the deck, it might become a decent laddering choice.
Rank 9 (0) – 110 points
Rexxar and Malfurion seem to have quite a bond, since this is the second time in a row they end up with the exact same point total. Once again, Druid loses out for having the top deck ranked lower; this time, the defeat is even harder to swallow as Jade Druid is literally one rank below Beast Hunter. On a good note, though, almost every single Druid deck have seen improvement from our last report.
Jade Druid crawls back to the Bottom of Tier 2 as people finally found out Ysera, Unleashed is an excellent alternative win condition. With its ability to out-armour Mages and beat Aggro often enough, Jade Druid is once again a fairly reliable ladder choice.
Aviana Druid also made a small climb upward as it’s a great option against slow Mage and Warlock decks. Its matchup spread is not too different from Jade Druid: it beats up Control more and loses to Aggro more. If we see even more slow decks, Aviana Druid is definitely a valid ladder option.
Like we discussed in our last report, the biggest problem with Embiggen Aggro Druid is finding a package good enough to win on its own but incredible with Embiggen. The ‘Water’ package with Pirates and Murlocs seems to do just that. Brigand and Patches are often free resources that negate the cost increase, while Bluegill Warrior can be a lethal charge minion, especially when pulled for free from Finja. Embiggen still shows its inconsistencies very often, however, and you can find games hard to win when you don’t draw either Embiggen or board buffs.
The Dragon core in Druid shows potential but needs more support. Therefore, people have been tinkering with Winged Guardian in Taunt Druid instead. An extremely powerful card on its own, Winged Guardian also has synergy with Stampeding Roar and Hadronox. As of curent, the deck is still deep insinde Tier 4, but it’s worth noting that the archetype is very under-refined.