In the Hearthstone Grandmasters 2019 Week 1 Meta we got to see the unfortunate shortcomings of the Specialist format. Only five classes were represented in total, and from that, only three classes represented by more than three decks. Warrior and Rogue ruled the meta this week, but hopefully change is on the horizon.
Bomb Warrior was the most popular pick for Grandmasters players during the first week. 22 of the 48 total players brought Bomb Warrior. There were also two players in the Europe region who brought Control Warrior. Specifically in the Americas region, 13 of the 16 players brought this deck. It’s disappointing when nearly 50 percent of the decks are mirrors resulting in tons of mirror matches.
Tempo Rogue was the second most popular class with 12 of the 48 players bringing it. It was much more popular in the Asia-Pacific region, with 9 of the 16 players there with the deck. The Asia-Pacific region was also the least diverse in class representation, with only three classes present: Warrior, Rogue and Mage.
Mage had two archetypes representing it this week. The more popular list was the Cyclone Mage with six players bringing it. The other Mage was Conjurer Mage with two players bringing a lineup with it.
Hunter had just three players representing it. Two players in the Europe region brought Midrange Hunter and a single player in the Americas region brought Mech or Bomb Hunter. Lastly was the sole Nomi Priest player in Europe. Warlock, Paladin, Druid and Shaman had zero players represent the class in the first week of Grandmasters.
In the Americas region, despite it being mostly Warrior, those Warriors still tended to beat the other classes present in the group. Through Saturday, only a sole Mage was able to take a win off the Bomb Warriors in the Americas. The one Bomb Hunter in the group went 0-2 for the weekend.
In Europe, the Cyclone Mages actually performed quite well. Cyclone Mage went 5-0 in its first five games of the Grandmasters first season. Unfortunately the pair of Midrange Hunters in Europe had a hard time getting traction against the Warriors. The sole Nomi Priest lost its first match to a highly unfavorable Bomb Warrior match up.
In the Rogue heavy region of Asia-Pacific, the Rogues actually performed well against its bad match up in Warrior, and struggled against Mage. Through the first five games between Rogue and Mage, the Mages led 3-2. Through Warrior’s first three games in the group it was 1-2.
Polarizing Tech Cards
Given the nature of the meta, players’ lineups contain card inclusions that are good against one specific archetype. This leaves most players with no option to switch decks in a particular match up. When facing Rogue for example, a player’s main deck may be the only deck they can play against it, as their side decks are made for specifically Warrior and Mage.
This sort of way of creating a Specialist lineup ruins the excitement of the Specialist format in Grandmasters. Considering players will only play two matches in a given week before switching decks, it is not unlikely they play a single one of their decklists for the whole weekend.
The way each decks key components are built seems very cut and dry. Mages will have their main list teched to beat Rogues. Then their side decks will be teched to beat Warrior and Token/Zoo decks.
Warriors will tech their main list in order to beat Rogue, and sometimes slide an Archivist Elysiana to beat Warrior. Their side decks will be teched to beat Warrior and Mage.
Rogues will be teched to beat either Warrior or the mirror. Then their side decks will be teched to beat Warrior and Mage.
Hopefully a healthier meta will shape up as the Grandmasters continues and less refined classes get their lists solidified. It may simply be that they cannot compete with the power level of the top three classes.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.