We are a few days into the Rise of Shadows expansion. The set rotation has enforced an entirely new meta to form in competitive Hearthstone. We’ll be taking a look at the Week 1 Rise of Shadows competitive meta through the archetypes present in this week’s Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers.
Overwhelming Warrior Representation
In a majority of the first few tournaments after the rotation, there has been around a 40% Warrior representation. The class had initial popularity thanks to the new Bomb Warrior archetype and then people began to realize Control Warrior can beat just about everything.
A lot of Bomb Warrior’s strength has not been because of the Bomb cards but rather the fact that Dr. Boom, Mad Genius provides incredible value. Blastmaster Boom is a really great card after the Dr. Boom Hero card has been played because all of the Boom Bots have Rush. The threat of some bombs blowing up and killing the opponent allows for a nice tempo deck that has an unfair amount of defensive tools as well.
The real horror in the Masters Qualifiers has been the unbelievably slow Control Warrior. Control Warrior had a small presence before the set rotation, but since the power level went down across the board, it’s rising up to the top. Without the other infinite value Death Knight cards like Deathstalker Rexxar or the Deathrattle Hunter archetype, Control Warrior can confidently beat just about everything.
There are a few good decks against Control Warrior like Mech Hunter. However, these decks aren’t good enough or consistent enough against the entire field of decks, like Rogue, to be more popular. On top of its ability to control the game, Warriors can also force a game to go all the way to the turn limit with Archivist Elysiana.
Rogue Provides Great Tempo
The second most popular class, that sometimes even has more representation than Warrior in the Qualifiers is Rogue. The deck has a very similar skeleton to the last meta’s competitive deck, utilizing Raiding Party to take advantage of a many card draw in a meta that lacks card draw.
The first form of Rogue is the more aggressive Pirate Rogue. It uses the same core Pirates with Southsea Deckhands, Dread Corsairs and Captain Greenskin. It adds in EVIL Miscreants for the additional early game tempo, and replaced the Fire Flys with Crystallizer to contend on turn one. Hench-Clan Thug is still good when going first and Myra’s Unstable Element can easily finish a game and pull lethal damage.
The somewhat newer Tempo version of Rogue has the same skeleton but benefits from Rise of Shadows cards. Instead of Deckhands it runs Hench-Clan Burglars to discover more value spells. They also run Blink Foxes for more cards to activate Vendetta’s four damage for zero mana. Underbelly Fence also adds a nice 3/4 rush for only two mana in a deck that plays for tempo.
Rogues can also tech their decks to beat those pesky Control Warriors with Heistbaron Togwaggle and and Togwaggle’s Scheme to beat the Warrior should they still be sticking around after playing Myra’s Unstable Element. They can even add in Archivist Elysiana to go head-to-head into the late game.
Hunter and Druid Clawing Back In
Hunter and Druid were still seeking more optimized lists on day one of the expansion. People have seemed to settle into a couple of archetypes as the two classes grow in popularity. Druid has even won one of the recent Qualifiers.
The Hunters have remade their Midrange Hunters from the last meta. Hunter’s Call is a fantastic card, so it can still utilize it’s power. While Zul’Jin is no where near the power level of Deathstalker Rexxar, he can still allow the Hunters some great late game value to close out a match.
Another Hunter archetype seeing some play is mostly in response to the Control Warriors. Mech Hunter takes advantage of the cards Nine Lives and Oblivitron in order to create some nice swing plays. Mechanized Whelp creates board states that are extremely difficult to deal with when its Deathrattle is triggered before its death. The anti-Mech cards of Control Warrior, specifically Dyn-o-matic, have no effect on all the Mechs in this deck.
Token Druid has become a more refined deck over the course of a few days. The deck is really strong against all of the Rogues that lack AOE board clears. It also beats Hunter due to their lack of AOE. The deck even performs well against Warrior thanks to cards like Soul of the Forest and The Forest’s Aid. The Warrior needs to draw all of its AOE cards in the match up to confidently beat the Druid. It is able to repeatedly spread, buff and stick minions on the board.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and Battlefy.