By ecoutepasca, MegaHertz and Siveure
The refinement of control decklists continued in week 4 of Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers, and Control Warlock got most of the attention. Builds with Prince Keleseth and Omega Agents acquired real popularity, entirely justified by a remarkable win rate and the fact that 5 players obtained their tickets to Las Vegas with it. At one point on Thursday, it looked like Control Warlock had pushed Midrange Hunter out of Tier 1. However, the Master’s Call decks came back with more Dire Frenzies and more Bittertide Hydras to win six of the next 10 Qualifiers.
The rise of Warlock hurt Rogue and Paladin, but these two classes and Priest, to some extent, also suffer from players playing bad decks (Quest Rogue, Exodia Paladin and Gallery Priest, for example, are not well-suited for the current metagame).
Warrior counters most of the field, but is hard-countered by some of the decks with modest representation. This could explain why its decent win rate did not translate into any victories this week. The same can be said about Druid.
Shaman player Jambre reminded us that this game does in fact have 9 different classes, as he was the first to reach a top 8 with Thrall. Don’t get too excited, though, nobody could replicate his success.
•Midrange Hunter •Control Warlock
•Odd Mage •Cube Hunter •Even Warlock
•Malygos Druid •Odd Warrior •Mind Blast Priest •Cube Paladin •Hybrid Hunter
•Odd Paladin •Kingsbane Rogue •Myracle Rogue
This week, we decided to let the players speak for themselves! We contacted some of those who have qualified for Las Vegas and invited them to send us comments about their card choices or strategy tips about their deck. They were generous beyond our expectations, so make sure to read everything they have to say!
As always, we provide links to YAYtears so you can get deck codes. The names that follow the quotes are also linked to the Twitter page of their authors. Go check out what else they do for the community.
In deck 2 we are sideboarding in to beat control decks. Our cuts are the weapons, unleash, and baited arrow, since all of these are concerned with fighting for board. Instead we play 2x Hydra, since they require large removal spells to deal with, and these matchups do not often threaten out lifetotal. We play one copy of dire frenzy since the games are slow, meaning we often have time to draw the buffed beasts, and in Deathknight matches it can buy us several turns against the fatigue clock. Owl is there to deal with taunts, and the Matchups where this is most relevant is control warlock, though many control decks are playing smaller taunts as well.
In deck 3 we are sideboarding to beat the most common and threatening aggro decks that we face, which are pirate rogue and odd paladin. We cut our highest cost beasts, because the advantage in these matchups is often fairly well established prior to turn 5 or 6. In their place we are running 2 Golaka Crawlers, which are often game winning against pirate rogue, and they are also reasonably well stated against Odd Paladin as early game creatures. We also use 2 Witchwood Grizzlies since the decks we play this against like to dump their hand early & will often allow us a rather large bear for 5 mana. these decks also play relatively few hard removal to deal with the bear, so catching them without those cards can often trade for a huge pile of stats from their board thanks to taunt we have also traded one hatchet for one Candleshot.
In the first one: ‘Owl is there to deal with taunts **and cubes**…
First of all I did not create the lineup, two fellow Greek players qualified with it (Athanas, Hawkeye). Knowing the very high power level of Hunter in the current meta , the lineup made a lot of sense to me so I decided to try it for my first open cup.
The first deck is designed to be strong in the very usually occurring mid-range Hunter mirror.
The second deck, focuses more on value with double frenzy and Hunter’s marks, being able to remove taunts in matchups like Deathrattle Hunter, and high health minions in matchups like Control Priest and Mage.
The third deck is only used in very aggressive matchups like the Odd Paladin, double unleash is really likely to win the game and beetle contests the board early.
I replaced Leeroy with Basilisk in the secondary because I wanted to deal with big minions like Mountain Giant, and I tought that it had better versatility than Big Game Hunter. I was just not convinced about Leeroy’s role in the deck. It was not tested in a big enough number of games to draw conclusions for sure.
I think odd mage is in a great place in the specialist meta right now. I started with ApxVoid’s 3 lists after watching him play his qualifier on stream. I ended up playing 5 qualifiers using a variation of this list going 22-6 (2-1, 6-2, 0-1, 8-0, 6-2) in swiss rounds. I didn’t drop a single series to mid hunter, rogue or paladin using the primary deck. The secondary deck was used against control decks. From my experience your slightly favored against Odd Warrior, Control Warlock, 50/50’s against Maly-Mill Druid, with the only really bad matchups being Deathrattle hunter, Control Priest and OTK Paladin. One thing that I noticed was I never used my tertiary deck, since the first deck was so dominant against aggro and the secondary list was greedy enough to beat control lists. I decided to take a super greedy list and cut the card draw from Black Cat for the mirror. Servant of Kalimos won me a series in the qualifier I won. The mirror is either a blow-out, if one player gets Jaina, or a fatigue matchup, if both players get Jaina around the same time. I was able to leverage my slight card advantage and a Baron Gedon pull from Kalimos to take game 3 in fatigue.
As a global strategy I looked at which decks were the most popular at the moment and I noticed that aggro was decreasing and Mage was increasing. Then I acknowledged that I don’t like too defensive lineups for Deathrattle Hunter, therefore I went for a fast build that can stabilize and finish early with Kathrena.
I needed a side deck that would be stronger against control, with more beasts, and I cut Nerubian which I did not find useful in the meta currently.
For the last one I brought double Doomsayer for Odd Paladin and Rogue, but I didn’t face any, so I didn’t use it. I’m not sure about this list.
One debatable choice is Tracking, which is considered a core card in the deck, but Stitched Tracker opens up more different lines of play.
The primary list tried to leave as flexible as possible, few tech cards. The second list to face hunter and the third just to odd warrior (I lost to an odd warrior, did not like the deck. maybe mecathun combo is better)
Well the lineup is really good vs hunters (both deathrattle and midrange). The Dr Hunter matchup is a bit tricky: you have play this matchup as an aggro deck, play 2 drop on turn 2, play another two drop or coin out 4 drop on turn 3 etc. Nerubian in the main deck was unusual but I feel like other even warlock lineups went way too anti-aggro which means they almost always lose game 1 vs control decks. Also Nerubian doesn’t have to win you the game, it’s just a good minion that can make your opponent’s turn very awkward. E.g. it can prevent Dr Hunter from playing cube – play dead. Black knight in tertiary deck was really good vs Dr hunters. Idk what else to add cause I’m bit tired
. It’s just a good midrange deck that has tools to win any matchup.
The secondary deck is mainly targeting Odd Warrior and Druid, whereas the tertiary deck is only for aggro decks(odd paladin, midrange hunter). I haven’t used the second version because I mainly faced deathrattle hunters, control priests, control warlocks and midrange hunters. The primary deck is most versatile that’s why I used it in most of my games. I decided to use gluttonous ooze in all my decks, because it helps a lot against aggro rogue which is also popular in the tournaments. Mass dispell in primary deck is another tech which helps a lot against deathrattle hunter and midrange hunter. As to the third deck, there is tar creeper, divine hymn and double pyromancer which are essential to deal with aggro decks.
I picked the deck for an open cup at the last minute after I saw some favorable stats for it on HSreplay, and I netdecked the primary list from that site. I’m currently running the same deck on ladder with -1 Countess Ashmore, +1 Spiritsinger Umbra. The secondary deck (with the OTK) is for matchups where you may have trouble getting your opponent to 0 before you fatigue, like Odd Warrior and Quest Priest. The tertiary deck (with Wild Pyros) is for aggro decks like Odd Paladin and Miracle Rogue that either kill you early or burn themselves out. I wouldn’t play Equalities again in the tertiary deck– I was thinking maybe +1 Flash of Light and +1 Acidic Swamp Ooze, but I haven’t tested.
Reason to play Hybrid Hunter over Midrange Hunter: way better matchups against the supposedly counter lineups (Odd Mage, Control Priest, Odd Warrior) while being favoured in the mirror.
Primary deck is what i would queue up on ladder; versatile and has a good shot to win against any deck.
Secondary deck is teched to be even better against Midrange Hunter. It also serves as a counter to Odd/Even Paladin and Pirate Rogue. Since Kill Command is mostly removal in those matchups anyways i opted to replace them with Wing Blast, which is better removal. Explosive Trap over Freezing Trap to deal with token boards, and double candle shot for obvious reasons.
Tertiary deck is there to deal with decks that try to beat you with tall minions (Deathrattle Hunter, Even/Cube Warlock) and control decks (Odd Mage, Odd Warrior). Stoneskin Basilisk is an excellent card to prevent your opponents on curve play and often goes 2 for 1. in late game you can charge it with Tundra Rhino to deal with an 8 drop (hence the second copy of Tundra Rhino). Again you don’t win these matchups with Kill Command burst but with controlling the board therefore double Deadly Shot is preferable as removal.
Second copy of Dire Frenzy is meant for greedy Odd Warrior lists.
Against Control Priest I stay on my primary deck because tertiary is too weak against Cabal.
Basically it’s a different flavor of Pirate Rogue. First list is pretty standard meant to play against hunter. KB rogue is a bit slower than pirate but unless hunter goes 1-2-3 curve it is fine. Once the weapon is buffed it controls the board even better. Sometimes you take too much damage and hunter can burn you out in midgame, Zilliax helps against that. I dont like common cards like Deckhand because consistency of 5 pirates is crucial and often you want more value from raiding party than what Deckhand can provide. Especially useful to get Dread Corsair and Greenskin on demand. In slower matchups most of the damage comes from the weapon hitting over and over, unlike Pirates Rogue’s spiders for example. Thats why I emphasize on weapon buffs in my list, even though as a card Cutthroat Buccaneer and Toxicologist are not amazing. As for the other lists i did not play them in tournament, but in concept third list is anti-Paladin obviously and second one can be used against Warrior. Saying that im not actually sure if the winrate increases adding cards like valeera and vanish to the list, drawing Myra’s is usually most important and also getting enough weapon buffs to actually deal damage through Tank up.
Hey! I’ll try and keep it short: the core of Myracle is to burn fast die young, trying to pull out spiders and playing your draw everything ASAP. Constant fuel. The secondary deck is aimed at slightly longer games, where the two saps might not be enough to get through big minions. The third deck is exclusively for warrior, and GreenSheep is to thank for that list. He probably has more insight on that. The base game plan though is just to toss out everything on curve, get board control by turn 3 or 4, and then just cycle through your deck and reach critical mass. It’s an aggro deck played in a tempo class, so it performs very well against the current midrange hunter meta.
Editor’s note: We were unable to contact OneeChan for a comment. We feature his deck because it won and because Zoo Warlock is probably an interesting meta call, but we are skeptical about how optimal the build is. We do not recommend Hellfire in all 3 decks.