Ask anyone that's active in the Hearthstone community what the given meta is like and they could probably tell you. American and European information is readily available and we also get some insight from time to time into what the Asian server is up to. The differences aren't immediately obvious between the first two, but oftentimes Asia can be experimenting with vastly different decks. This is even more true for the Chinese server which rarely sees information reach the Western world outside of competitive players like TiddlerCelestial.
We've been working with some friends in China to gain access to the "official" meta-reports that are released each week by Netease to give the community some insight as to how the game is shaping up in what is the largest player region in the world.
For those who are unaware, there's an official deck tracker in China called "Hearthstone Hezi" (HS Box). It was created by an organization affiliated to Netease, who handles all of Blizzard's games in China. This is why most refer to it as "official data". For added clarity, the organization of HS Box provides our partner with the data who then translates it for us.
This is based on what is likely the single largest data set in the world because China has the largest player base and because HS Box is pretty much an official application. The drawback is that we can't get as analytical as the Vicious Syndicate reports since we only get very rudimental numbers regarding popularity and win rate.
The company does not share official numbers like games played or players contributing, so while we can't tell you exactly how this big this data set is, it's safe to assume that it is significant.
This data covers April 24th-30th.
Chinese Meta Bulletin
Bulletin bul·le·tin - noun - a short official statement or broadcast summary of news.
We thought it appropriate to refer to this series as a Meta Bulletin.
We don't offer the same level of analysis that sites like TempoStorm and ViciousSyndicate do, rather we focus on simply reporting the facts from the Chinese server. This information is very hard to come by outside of the region and it's a giant unknown for anyone who isn't regularly exposed to it.
Seeing how the Chinese meta evolves over time is sure to be interesting, especially when comparing to the information we see coming out of other meta reports.
We'll be taking a look at both Constructed and Wild as well as Arena, something that hasn't yet been documented at this level. Fans of the game type are going to see win rates from the largest sample size ever. Are Mage and Paladin truly the kings of the Arena?
Hunter is the most popular class in China.
We were just as surprised. Compared to ViciousSyndicate's latest data, Hunter is the fourth most popular class with nearly all of that being Midrange Hunter.
But the major differences don't end there. There's an underwhelming number of Paladins on the ladder. While the West may have embraced diversity with Murloc, Midrange, and Control variants seeing play across all ranks, China is not yet seeing this happen.
We expect Paladin to rise in popularity, especially given the fact that it currently holds the second highest win rate, losing only to Hunter which continues to surprise.
As a whole, it appears as if all of the classes are viable outside of Priest and Warlock. The latter is to be expected, it's seeing similar struggles in the West, but Priest only beating it out by less than a percentage point is surprising, to say the least.
While we don't an archetype by archetype breakdown, HS Box does provide a matchup chart on a class by class basis.
Here you can see Warlock's failings, particularly when it comes to Hunters and Warriors - the two most popular classes on the ladder. It only beats those about 40% of the time, far from viability in the current meta.
The most polarizing matchup right now? Rogue versus Priest. Rogue wins that matchup about 65% of the time.
Wild is a much different picture. Warrior dominates here and Hunter falls all the way to the bottom of the heap. Shaman, just removed from the Aggro Shaman heyday might be seeing some signs of fatigue. Players simply aren't playing the class all that often.
Just like in Standard, despite being the least popular classes, Shaman and Hunter are actually top tier. Rogue and Priest are currently struggling a bit, falling a good bit below the 50% win rate mark.
Strangely enough, the Wild matchup chart is much closer across the board. More than thirty matchups are within the 48 - 53% win rate, showed below in grey.
China is really big into the Arena. It's part of the reason that Netease started hosting a special Arena leaderboard which rewarded players with prizes at the end of each month.
Many in the West consider Rogue, Hunter, Mage, and Paladin to be the top classes and the Chinese data confirms that. Granted the Arena meta may be slightly different, these four classes have the highest win rates across all nine decks. Their popularity does not match up, however.
Most Popular Class Cards in Arena
We've also received the most popular class cards for each class in the Arena. Keep in mind that Common cards are more likely to appear than Rares, Rares than Epics, etc.
Thanks for checking out our first ever Chinese Meta Report! Hopefully, it provides you with a different perspective on the Hearthstone meta is shaping up outside of our servers. We hope to bring you more of these in the future with more improvements and commentary based on how the meta is changing.