attackthemeta4-2.jpg

Written by Kevin Hovdestad.

About Attack the Meta

Attack the Meta is Hearthhead’s new ‘anti-meta’ meta report. Periodically, we’ll look at the state of the game in Hearthstone, and - in consultation with pro players and community feedback - develop a list of decklists that are well positioned to challenge the established top tier archetypes.

Traditional meta reports focus on identifying which decks are some combination of the most popular (frequency) and the most effective (win rates). AtM will certainly look at those variables as well, but focus instead on how - if you’re the type of player who prefers playing something a little off the beaten path - to target the lists you’re seeing the most of every day when you queue up for Ranked in Standard.

We’ll be bringing decklist suggestions based on the following:
  • Giving players an idea what’s likely to ‘come next’ in the meta
  • Identifying the weaknesses in a given ‘style’ of play - knowledge of the relationship between aggro decks, tempo decks, etc.
  • Helping players discover fresh decklists and new ideas in a consolidated, up-to-date fashion that counters some of the things that can be frustrating to play against so frequently!
If you have feedback on the decklists or what you’re seeing on the ladder that could inform future reports, please let us know in the comments.
With another couple of weeks and the latest slew of tournaments and HCT events behind us, it’s time for the latest edition of Attack the Meta! For reference, if you haven’t already, check out the decklists being brought to the Americas Spring Championship. In addition to the other data that’s out there in the community right now, these lists confirm the suspicion that Shaman and Warrior are the two most popular classes, while Priest and Paladin are going almost totally unplayed.

If you haven’t been following the Attack the Meta series, you can go back and check out AtM #1 and AtM #2. In the first report, we recommended Hunter and C’Thun (control) Warrior, which have both since gone on to become very strong meta picks; in the second, we pushed for more non-traditional decks, including Dragon Priest and Malygos Rogue (both of which, sadly, struggle against the now-most popular ladder class, Warrior).

Due to a combination of factors - a more balanced overall meta from Blizzard, more and more players utilizing meta reports/deck sites, additional (and more robust) data tracking, and so on - there are very few good ways to sneak up the middle in this largely figured-out meta. We’ve highlighted some clever Rogue decks and tried to focus on classes that were seeing less play overall in previous editions of AtM, but targeting specific decks or classes is what the overall goal of AtM has always been. In that spirit, this week’s report strays a little closer to more ‘popular’ meta decks, but with an air to helping you win the matchup you are seeing (or dislike!) the most.

For reference, this report is looking at Standard format only at this time.

attackthemeta-zoolock.jpg

Attack the Meta - Zoolock

Seeing Midrange Shaman or Hunter? Play Zoo Warlock.

While Zoo is a hugely prevalent decklist in the meta right now, it remains so because nothing grabs the board quite as efficiently as Zoo. The modern take on Zoo relies heavily on a very low curve and maximizing the value of your Darkshire Councilman when they hit the board.

One interesting note - the popular Zoo lists (including examples like those being brought to the Americas Spring Championship) are very close to the ‘Ancient Hordes’ Deck Recipe in-game, with a handful of minor tech choices included.

Given the relative infrequency with which Doomsayer is being played again, we tend not to recommend the seemingly popular Crazed Alchemist tech. Getting more favourable trades with Flame Jugglers or an extra late-game minion (anything from a Dark Iron Dwarf or Gormok the Impaler to a Sea Giant) is preferable right now.



attackthemeta-cthundruid.jpg

Attack the Meta - C'Thun Druid

Seeing Warrior? Play C’Thun Druid.

C’Thun Druid struggles against the decks that can race to deal damage quickly, especially from the board - so it suffers at the hands of Zoo and some Hunters - but thrives in a ladder environment populated primarily by Warrior.

There are minor variations from one decklist to the next - choices like Mulch are more popular in tournament lists - but the core strategy of ramping, using efficient trades, and maintaining a wall of taunts permeate through every iteration on this style.

attackthemeta-patronwarrior.jpg

Attack the Meta - Patron Warrior

Seeing Zoo? Play Warrior.

As much as it pains us to admit it, Warrior is the only viable counter to Zoo in the current meta. Which flavour you want to run is up to you, since almost all Warrior archetypes right now include the tools to disrupt Zoo decks - weapons, whirlwind effects, on-demand targeted removal - but the midrange variants (Tempo, Dragon, Patron) tend to fare the best overall right now.

We’re strong proponents of the power of Patron, but it has the highest skill floor and ceiling out of the available Warrior choices right now (in most, but not all, matchups). If you choose to pilot Patron, take the time to practice and watch how pros play the deck!



attackthemeta-tempomage.jpg

Attack the Meta - Tempo Mage

Seeing Aggro Shaman? Play Tempo Mage.

Tempo Mage is phenomenally well-positioned right now (as long as you’re not seeing primarily Zoo players!). It beats two of the most highly recommended decks out there (Aggro Shaman and Control Warrior) handily.

Some players are favoring the Hotform list that runs Yogg-Saron, Hope's End, but Hotform himself says that you only play the card situationally, and that except against Warrior, Warlock, and Priest, he only played it in maybe 25% of matches.

Change Notes

Update 6/26/16:
Removed - 2x Faceless Summoner, Polymorph, Flamestrike, Conjuring Sorcerer, Archmage Antonidas.
Added - 2x Acolyte of Pain, Bloodmage Thalnos, 2x Forgotten Torch, Mirror Image.

Discussed by: Hotform.




For a tech recommendation this week, we strongly recommend Spellbreaker. Almost every top deck is running a strong target for a Silence effect, and the enormous prevalence of Cairne Bloodhoof/ Sylvanas Windrunner in so many tempo-oriented decks makes silence immensely valuable. You can sneak this 4-drop into most archetypes fairly easily, and a 4/3 body on turn 4 is perfectly fine in the current meta.

You’ll get far more value out of Spellbreaker if you’re playing against more Warrior, Hunter, and control than against things like Aggro Shaman or Zoo, but it’s a safe tech that will improve the majority of your matchups. Hitting Cairne with Spellbreaker, as an example, is a net tempo gain in almost all cases.