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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The Class Meta Ranking for March 2020 is based on our findings from our March 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.
Generally, the Wild meta has pretty much settled. We can see a lack of movement within the stronger classes and only slight movements from the weaker ones due to exploration of lesser archetypes. Hopefully, the nerf reverts as announced by Iksar will switch things up a bit.
Rank 1 (0) – 724 points
In our assessment, Warlocks are weaker this time (barely), as they saw a 27-point reduction. They thriving off defensive tools that are capable of dealing with any board state, and these tools don’t look like they’re going to get nerfed anytime soon.
Cube Warlock now has two sub-archetypes worthy of Tier 1: Egg Cube and Control Cube. The two decks still heavily rely on Voidcallers and Bloodreaver Gul’dan, but their approach to the 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.
Meanwhile, Mecha’thun Warlock seems to be short on breath against the other Warlock pillars. The deck is falling off due to not being able to pressure Quest Mages and draw the combo before them. It’s still a very good deck against Aggro, however, but the Egg Cubelock can do that just fine. Mecha’thun just seems less versatile and adaptive than the aformentioned archetypes.
Darkest Hour Warlock is certainly a deck to watch out for. The ‘highrolly’ combo has gotten so consistent, to the point people just expect it to be the norm instead of labelling it as highroll. 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 way more often than not.
There really is not much else to add to other decks like Zoo Warlock, Reno Warlock, Treachery Warlock, and Malygos Warlock. They are still more or less in the same spots as they were in January, earning roughly the same points, and having the same matchup spread. Playing Warlock in this meta is never a bad choice, though, since your defensive package (or Galakrond package in case of Zoo) will always be strong enough to keep you alive. Until other classes have a core set of the same strength, it seems unlikely that anyone is going to overthrow the king.
Rank 2 (0) – 588 points
With good performance from Time Warp Mage and Reno Control Mage, Mages once again closed the distance between them and Warlocks by a small margin. 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 decks with its grindy cards.
Although both Reno Time Warp Mage and Time Warp Mage has received some support, it is the latter that outshone its sibling. As the meta gears toward more deck disruption in the form of Bad Luck Albatross, the Reno player finds wins more difficult to come by. In many games, the Reno Mage has to rely on more creative, more risky plays instead of their power Highlander cards. Time Warp Mage doesn’t suffer from this problem, and its good matchups into both Reno Mage and Cubelock means it fares really well in the current meta. Licensed Adventurers make mana cheating easier and more crazy turns to fend off aggro as well.
Reno Control-Midrange Mage utilizing Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is seeing an uptick in popularity. The deck is surprisingly decent against many other decks, with no real bad matchups and no dominant matchups. These types of deck are generally going to fare well in the meta. It is scary to think about how Pockey Galaxy might get unnerfed, and how stronger Reno Galaxy Mage might get.
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. Elemental Mage is another deck that has materialised with more added Elemental cards. While it has a similar playstyle as Quest Mage, it uses Elemental Allies as the draw engine. Getting the right Elementals at the right time might be what’s holding the deck back, since it’s nowhere near as consistent or explosive as Time Warp Mage.
Rank 3 (0) – 276 points
Shaman is the best of the rest, riding on the ol’ reliable Even Shaman to sweep up the rest of the meta. The Totem-centric Even version proves to be very well positioned in the current meta, and has clawed its way into Top Tier 1. Unfortunately, that’s about the only Shaman deck that’s doing well at the moment.
We can all agree that the Totem-centric Even Shaman version is vastly superior to the Overload build. 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 summarize, Even Shaman is well-positioned into the current aggro portion of the meta, while still being able to pressure both Mage and Warlock very effectively. That is indeed the recipe for a successful deck in this meta: just be reasonably good against most stuff.
Every other Shaman deck has been a massive disappointment. Murloc Shaman, although decent against Mage and Warlock, is way too weak into other aggro decks to be worth the payoff. Reno Shudderwock has some material to build a good deck, but is struggling to string the pieces together. Maybe a slight buff to Saronite Chain Gang might help give the deck more breathing space.
Speaking about nerf reverts, Mogu Fleshshaper is probably one of the most highly anticipated cards, and is one of our picks for a nerf revert. Evolve Shaman looked dangerously close to become a top dog before it was hit by various nerfs to Fleshshaper and the Galakrond package. Evolve is not terrible now (Galakrond Shaman is), but just a slight tweak and we can see them being competitive forces in the meta again. It’s about time Jaina and Gul’dan has a worthy opponent!
Rank 4 (0) – 272 points
Once again, Warrior loses out to Shaman by a hair. The class is constantly cementing its position as the gatekeeper against some of the most oppressive strategies in Wild. Just like Shaman, Warrior is longing for a revert to some old favourites like Dr. Boom or Warsong Commander to be placed within the elites. Unlike Shaman, Warrior only has three decks, all of which are really decent.
It’s been such a long while since Pirate Warrior last wreaked havoc, and this time it seems that it’s here to stay. Although it’s power level has been weaker recently, it’s still one of the best answers to every variants of Time Warp Mage; thus, ensure it can’t fall off the map.
Galakrond Tempo Warrior is also jumping on the Pirate bandwagon, and shaking off the Scion of Ruin nerf like it never happened. Tempo Warrior bullies many other board based decks with ridiculous tempo, and is part of the reasons why Pirate Warrior is as prevalent as before. 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. However, it is the Midrange version that is picking up traction, as veterans found it very useful against Even Shamans.
Still a queue roulette, Odd Warrior has found its way back into Tier 2. This time, it gleefully adds one more matchup into its prey list: Darkest Hour Warlock. Odd Warrior has two boardclears that are able to answer a Darkest Hour board: Brawl and Reckless Flurry, and if they can clear the first wave, the game is more or less over. The other side of the spectrum is of course, every other Warlock and Mage decks (apart from Secret). With Azalina, though, Quest Mage is far from unwinnable. The Odd Warrior can stack up a lot of armour, and steal the quest reward to threaten lethal the turn the Mage completes the quest.
Rank 5 (0) – 211 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.
It’s long overdue, but Mech Paladin is shipped back to Tier 2. The deck has become much weaker over the last few expansions, with no notable new tools and the prevalence of Warlocks and Zephrys. If the first wave of aggression is fend off, Mech Paladin can easily be sent packing.
Odd Paladin, on the other hand, has much more resilience, surprisingly so 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 6 (0) – 181 points
Rogue is weakened even further, even with a brand new deck popping up. 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 the deck can get any better. The only hope the Rogue class has is for the meta to somehow turn to be favourable for it again (or if The Caverns Below and Leeching Poison gets unnerfed).
Some Aggro Rogue pros are saying no to any non-core packages, instead opting to optimize the Pirate synergy and damage output. The new (or old) Aggro Rogue from Corbett has been seeing some success, and it’s functioning like Pirate Warrior more than ever. It seems like the debate as to what’s better between Hooked Scimitar and Waggle Pick is finally over, as Corbett just… plays both of them.
Kingsbane is still Kingsbane, consistently mediocre. Sometimes it can highroll off of a Fal’dorei package, but perhaps people have found the package to be quite a fraud, hence has dropped it from every Rogue deck altogether.
There is another player in town who would love to have the Fal’dorei package, and that is Galakrond Rogue, who is definitely the breakout deck this time around. The non-OTK version has been exhibiting lots of promising results, with the capability of applying consistent pressure. With more refining, the archetype will have a lot of potential going forward.
Other Rogue decks are weak and retired, so it’s better to talk about the implications of potential reverts. Mill players will rejoice if Leeching Poison is unnerfed, and it might be now that Preparation is weaker. Mill Kingsbane Rogue would hypothetically be a great answer to any slow Cube decks and Reno Mage, since their weapon just won’t go poof after a Zephrys is played. Caverns Quest Rogue might be really annoying for Warlocks to deal with, but they might be a tad too slow for Quest Mage. There are implications that the revival of these decks might push Control decks out of the meta, but frankly, Control decks have no place in this format anymore.
Rank 7 (+1) – 137 points
The only change in ranking in this Report comes from Druid and Hunter, with these two classes swapping places of each other. While other Druid decks haven’t seen much movement, it is Aviana Druid (and somewhat Reno Druid) that have propelled the class from rank 8th to a respectable rank 7th (and closing in on Rogues, even!).
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. With Ysera and even Phaoris, this gives the Druid a better chance against decks like Cube Warlock, who will have to waste a turn removing a sudden big board, or die.
Aviana Druid has long been a fairly underrated deck by the community, and it’s refreshing to see the deck back in Tier 2. It’s not that the deck has gotten any better; it hasn’t. Rather, it’s more due to the fact people found out that stealing a Mage’s deck before they finish their quest or stealing their quest then just kill them on board would be really good against Mages.
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. Other considerations for the 2-drop slot include Nerub’ar Weblord, an excellent card in this Battlecry meta that is capable of slowing down many Mage decks, and of course, Frenzied Felwing.
A very interesting development in the past weeks has been the return of Linecracker Druid, a deck that deemed to be too slow and without a real win-condition. People figured out you can simply add a win-condition to the deck by playing Mecha’thun, Naturalize, and Emperor Thaurissan. 3000 armour is often more than enough to stall until then. Whether this is enough to make Linecracker Druid viable is remain to be seen.
Rank 8 (-1) – 121 points
New Hunter decks are popping up, finally, and that means more bad Hunter decks. With its main players — Reno Hunter and Midrange Hunter — dropping off of Tier 2, every other innovation within the class gets cancelled out.
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. And it looks like the community is failing this quest so far. Theoretically, the easiest way is just to play more one-drops to get the best value out of your Fresh Scents, but then you might have to drop some really powerful tech cards like Unleash the Hounds which might make your deck weaker overall.
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 Fresh 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. Chopshop Copter has made the deck a bit stronger by providing Underbelly Angler style value, but Mechs are, on average, much bigger than Murlocs, making it harder to offload them.
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. Frenzied Felwing is the newest addition to the deck, one that can so easily be played for 0 mana with the aid of a hero power. The best thing about Even Hunter is that its rapid damage output makes it one of the better decks against Time Warp Mage, the boogeyman of the current meta. Cat Trick and Rat Pack are real nuisances for Mages.
Dragon Hunter completes the trifecta of bad-but-not-unplayable Hunter decks. Infinite weapon charge and a free Deadly Shot seems to be just enough payoff for the Dragon synergy to not fall apart. There aren’t nearly enough Dragons though, so the deck still has to fill its curve with some beasts, which makes it seem like just a Beast Hunter but not as good.
Odd Hunter secures the very last spot in Tier 3, mostly because of how good it is against Time Warp Mage. Similar to Even Hunter, Odd Hunter can unleash repetitive and consistent damage that is oftentimes problematic for Mages and Warlocks.
Rank 9 (0) – 79 points
Priest is somehow even in a worse state than last report, even with an upgrade to their core decks and the resurgence of Big Priest.
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. If Team 5 wants to save Priest, reverting Raza the Chained is definitely one of the solid options to give the Priest a better chance against Warlocks.
Cleric of Scales should’ve been the saviour for Inner Fire Priest and Mind Blast Priest. Instead, she did… nothing at all. It seems like being able to do what you do more consistently is not good enough when you’re bad.
Big Priest is now resurrected, with players like CONCERNEDMOM finding success with it. Loads and loads of taunts seem to help against Reno Quest Mages a bit, and the deck can still highroll without Barnes. But without Barnes, mid-Tier 3 is the best it can do.
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.