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The Class Meta Ranking for January 2020 is based on our findings from our December Wild Hearthstone Meta Snapshot. For Class 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 the strongest deck will be ranked higher.
Note that this Class Meta Ranking is released after the first wing 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.
Rank 2 (-1) – 544 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. For now, though, you can only play with Animated Avalanche, the other Mage-specific Elemental that is available in Galakrond’s Awakening’s first wing.
Rank 3 (+3) – 254 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.
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.
Rank 5 (-1) – 226 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.
Rank 3 (-2) – 195 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 will be 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 1 (+1) – 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.
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 8 (+1) – 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. Breath of Dreams is the glue that’s sticking the pieces together, draws you a card and gets you to your big drops earlier. Both Ramp Taunt Druid and Malygos Druid are trying to build-around the Dragon package to exploit this interaction. The new Emerald Explorer provides both value and a big body guarding your face, while Evasive Drakonid is just a generally solid card. Maybe we will see these decks surfacing in stronger forms after an expansion or two.
Rank 9 (-2) – 84 points
We saw it coming. With no meaningful addition from Descent of Dragons, Priest is now officially the worst class in Wild by a small distance. With all six decks in Tier 3, Priest saw it point total halved from the Descent of Dragons meta.
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.
Inner Fire Priest and Mind Blast Priest have been mostly abandoned for simply not being strong enough. However, with Galakrond’s Awakening ahead, 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. Priest might look like a completely different class when our next report is released.
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.