Today marked the last competitive events for the original Witchwood Meta. After the end of Hearthstone Championship Tour Dreamhack Grand Prix on the 21st of May there will be no competitive events until June. The nerfs that Blizzard previously announced will go live on the 22nd of May. In little over a month The Witchwood went from a new expansion brimming with hope to one of the most obnoxious Meta’s Hearthstones ever experienced. Honestly it’s impressive that each general deck archetype (Aggro, Combo & Control) managed to get it’s own special deck that everyone hated to play against. Now whether or not any single one of these deck’s is actually overpowered is up for debate (at least to me). I figured it would be the most productive to break down the newly deceased Meta by each deck type (not mid-range because reasons) and try to predict whats to come.
Aggro, Because Face Is The Place
Even Paladin had a monster weekend at HCT Asia Pacific Playoffs and the HCT Dreamhack Grand Prix. Here’s a more detailed analysis of the HCT Asia Pacific playoff but generally speaking Even Paladin is the most dominant Aggro deck in the Meta. Call To Arms is getting removed from this deck because it’s such an incredible tempo swing. Especially when Call To Arms brings out a Knife Juggler or two. Call To Arms also has the added benefit of thinning out the players deck so it’s easier to draw Val’anyr. Without Even Paladin around it’s possible the Meta could slow down from it’s blisteringly fast pace but honestly that’s probably not likely.
Thankfully most of the other Aggro decks in the current Meta lack the consistency of Even Paladin. Odd Rogue, Tempo Mage & Token Druid both made appearances this weekend and neither deck performed enough to warrant replacing Even Paladin’s in most pro players line-ups. While that could make for a good first week it’s highly likely that either of those decks will be refined as this week goes by and it’s possible they see more play on ladder before making an appearance at an HCT event. Tempo Mage doesn’t have the issue of refinement that the other two decks have and in fact Tempo Mage probably has the most consistency issues out of those three decks. When Tempo Mage doesn’t line up correctly (not perfectly, just in a way that’s usually best for the player) it’s disastrous for the player. Even when Tempo Mage does work the deck has a very limited range of damage and if your opponent can heal themselves out of that range Tempo Mage just straight up loses.
What concerns me most is Even Shaman. Shaman has had a rocky month with the Witchwood and before that Shaman was one of worst classes to play. Even Shaman takes advantage of Genn just like Even Paladin (albeit to a much lesser extent given Shaman’s lackluster Hero Power) but Even Shaman does not have any card similar to Call To Arms to generate an enormous board swing. Shaman standbys like Flametongue Totem and Flame Elemental can both swing the board and Hex could be crucial to Even Shaman’s success. Whats most worrisome about Even Shaman is the inclusion of Hagatha the Witch. Hagatha allows the player to generate additional random shaman class spells with every minion played. A high-roll on a random Hagatha spell could be game ending like a Bloodlust or an additional Hex. Low-rolls on Hagatha could mean cards as useless as Totemic Might and Ice Fishing. Having a card with such an unpredictable nature in competitive events can be infuriating, to say nothing of the rage Hagatha could unleash on the Ranked Ladder.
Combo, Mostly Just Aggro With Style
The nerf to Dark Pact will effect the winrate and playrate of Cubelock. Now to what degree no one can tell right now, only the healing on Dark Pact was touched, not it’s ability to easily combo a Carnivorous Cube on the same turn as playing the Cube. Hopefully the nerf to Cabal Lackey will bring Cubelock down to par with other Combo decks.
Now if there’s room in the new Meta for other Combo decks it will be interesting to see what rises to the top. Token Druid had a number of solid performances last weekend but like many other decks featured here it suffers from consistency issues. Taunt Druid is similar to Token Druid in that aspect but it’s easier for Taunt Druid to function as a straight-up Aggro Deck.
Combo is probably the most interesting archetype to think about right now. Without Quest Rogue looming over the Ranked Ladder it will be easier for many slower paced decks to function. Granted if the Meta doesn’t slow down enough it’ll still be hard to play anything other than the best Combo decks.
Control, Because Sometimes You Hate The Other People Who Play Hearthstone
Control Warlock could be in a good place after the nerfs, Cabal Lackey could still work as a 6 Mana card. If that works out Control Warlock is in a very good place to remain one of the top Control decks on the Ranked Ladder (or competitive for that matter). We won’t know until later this week (and probably a few more weeks after that) if Warlock is still a competitive class. As much as I despise Cubelock, I’d be excited to have Control Warlock around just to have a deck that uses Rin the First Disciple.
Priest and Mage are in a strange place right now. Both Classes have a control variant that actually works. Control Priest did have a place at both events last weekend though it was more of a niche pick than a mainstay of most players lineups. Now because of the awkward match-up situations that Control Priest has it’s not a very attractive class for ranked play. Control Mage sees slightly more play on the Ranked Ladder but it still has many of the match-up issues that Control Priest does. Both of these classes will be heavily reliant on what kind of meta forms after the nerfs go live.
Warrior is in a very strange place right now. The class has similar match-up issues to Priest and Mage but to a lesser extend because of the nature of Warrior decks right now. Both Odd Warrior and Dead Man’s Hand Warrior were featured this weekend and both decks had good results. Despite the aggressive Meta both decks try to force the opponent into fatigue while keeping their armor total high enough to slowly kill of their opponent.
Honestly I feel hopeful about tomorrow. I am genuinely excited for Even Paladin to (probably) meet its demise and maybe the Meta slows down a bit. Maybe someone will make a competitive deck with Dollmaster Dorian or Countess Ashmore. Personally I’d love to see the Last Kaleidosuar be viable but I think I’m hoping for too much there.