пятница, 21 апреля 2017 г.

Hearthstone. Standard Un'Goro Competitive Meta Guide

Hello, folks!

This time I would like you to know everything that I have learned Standard tournament and ladder meta with Journey to Un’Goro. I am not just going to reference archtype names and give a few tips. I will give many tips, describe trends and also prepare you for the format, in case you are not a regular player. In case you are, but you don’t play many tournaments, this guide will still be useful for you.

I maxed at Rank 1 in the April season as of writing this. Mostly with Aggro Mage. Then I hit the meta shifting waves, which I will talk about here. There are no definite answers in the meta still, because after it stabilized, each deck still has a counter.    

Good Crab and Bad Crab

Hunter decks can get away with running them, since it is a beast. But at tournaments you are likely to ban Warrior just not to test your luck or not play against Taunts with an aggro lineup. Even on the ladder Pirate Warrior seems to be dying out, because the meta now is not just about Rogue, and many control decks have picked up. It is a very effective card, but against Rogue you would just want better aggro starts for general meta or be on the aoe side with burn.

Murloc Midrange Paladin thing

The deck has certainly picked up. Should be strong both on Ladder and at events.
I would recommend Murloc version over more classic N’Zoth ones, because then, while you do lose some top end, you do retain some, but you get crazy aggro starts in the style of Token Druid, that both Rogue and control decks might not handle.

Midrange Hunter is awkward for many

There are a few reasons this deck is, in my opinion top tier atm and takes a large portion of meta. Early aggro game against Rogue and decent late game version Control. It’s not just any mid-late game, but “sticky” board, that keeps the pressure going. Pumps, burst and hero power just round it up. However, a smooth control/midrange deck like Medivh Priest or Medivh Mage or Elemental Shaman can have good stats vs Hunter.  

Control Meta has arrived

It is here. Control Priest, Value Mage, Midrange Paladin, Quest Warrior, Shamans. Compared to Week 1, Week 2 has progressed into a very grindy Ladder experience. There are no easy win streaks against aggros anymore. And playing aggro just asks for trouble vs all value decks. Unless you are a Hunter, then you have chances due to a grindy deck composition.

Pirate Warrior is too risky on Ladder. Not only because of taunts, but also due to healing and secrets in many decks, and because Crabs didn’t go away yet. Plus Murloc Paladin can race you as well. You can still do fine with Token Druid or Quest Rogue, of course, but simply because you can have nut draws and do degenerate things. But decks like Zoo Warlock cannot. But they still can thrive, if you spot enough consecutive Rogues and Hunters at your rank.  

Freeze Mage is great but clunky

The deck is one of the new stellar forces to reckon with. However, there is a reason why Medivh mage appeared as the new approach. Freeze Mage would often lose to itself and suffer from awkward draws against Hunter or Rogue, or Murloc Paladin for that matter. Medivh Mage lacks in ways to deal with massive boards, but it has flexibility, can adapt to the situation, and can also get on board early and stem the bleeding before it gets out of hand and you fall too far behind. Freeze Mage’s matchup against Quest Warrior is not even that good, it is rather fair.

At tournaments Freeze Mage is probably better, since then you have more information. But the shake ups on Ladder each week can easily translate into Cups, if most people catch up with the shifts. And they probably will, considering the sheer amounts of data and coverage on the web. Hence, adaptive powers might be indeed needed for Mages as well, just to hedge against the massive variety.

Control Dragon Priest is great value

Dragon Priest are catching more momentum at the moment compared to other versions. Probably based on the “safe” nature of the deck. Non-Dragon Control is probably something I favor more, but proactiveness and better board is a nice bonus with Dragons. It makes Hunter and Rogue, and Murlocs a bit more manageable I suppose.   

It’s 2 of 9 quests format
By now we can probably say that only 2 Quest out of 9, are actually worth it in terms of competitive play. Others just don’t really fit into the shells they are designed for. Quest Mage takes too much setup, in Zoo you are better off speed wize without any “cuteness”, and so on. All Quests are great entertainment and fun value, though.   

Knowledge is power

If you know what decks are actually the best ones and you know what is inside them, you can even build your own deck, use any class, use any acrhtype. Teching is a mastery that comes to the most active players. Opportunities in this Standard format are very vast,

Paper, Scissors, Rock

Elemental Shaman is very polarized. It beats aggro, but that’s pretty much it. Quest Warrior is soft to Rogue, and some value control decks. Rogue is soft to a few aggro decks. Value control decks are just dicy, meaning that remind you why you love and hate this game. Token Druid is soft to control decks. And then there is slow and Murloc Paladins. Those are strange. They do not necessarily have bad matchups and can adapt a bit, but sometimes they lack power or flexibility.      

Tournament versus Ladder

One doesn’t simply play control on Ladder. It is either that the meta pushes you this way, or you want to have proper games or have fun, or high enough on the Ladder, that you want to have, well, more control over the games, and do your best to win them, since they matter more. It is not like Rogue decks are that fast, and not exhausting to play with. Obviously, you are not playing control with the aim to climb and win streak the Ladder quickly.

At tournaments on the other hand, you can afford to play the durdliest control deck. You have the time, and the events are usually single or double elimination. So the games are worth way more. And the rounds usually are not timed. But Round 3 games could be starting while some control mirrors are wrapping up their match in Round 1.   

Lineup Roulette

Aggro Lineup is not good anymore. Although, that doesn’t mean that having an explosive aggro deck in your tournament lineup would hurt you. Usually, the more diverse your lineup in strategies the better. But if there is a deck ban included for the event, then sometimes you might get away with an all control lineup by just banning your worst control or worst aggro matchup (like Rogue). Anyhow, there now too many value control decks refined to justify going all aggro.
It was good Week 1, and All Control was also a good plan was also good. Control decks were just not sorted out that well right after Un’Goro launched. But Week 2 and moving one, your best plan is to have flexible decks and a flexible lineup. All heavy anti-aggro type of lineup would not work, unless you are certain about, say, your local meta.    
Each class is playable with multiple archtypes within

Speaking more about diversity and opportunities, this is basically what the the subheading says. All classes are potent, and most classes have several archtypes within then. Although Warlock is suffering a bit. There is no consistent control Warlock deck and Zoo is just badly positioned after Week 2. Zoo cannot grind and doesn’t get nuts like Rogue or Druid.

Ways to read your opponent in first few turns

If warrior doesn’t present the Quest first turn in the matchup he should keep it, they are on Pirates. Certain cards in Priest indicate a particular build. Mage is very hard to read atm, could anything, or any hybrid. That regards early turns, but after turn 5, you would know. Rogue might be able to afford to hold on the Quest against a slow deck to keep you guessing, but I don’t see a good benefit in that. Ramp Druid is not that popular to worry about it here.   

Think for your opponent

Most likely the play or card you expect will be cast/made at that spot at that spot. If it wasn’t, well, good for you. In general, this format is pretty easy to plan your opponent’s turns. There are enough liner decks to forecast how the game will go. Playing a lot, and playing different decks certainly helps here, just to see, e.g. what turn they can possibly complete their quest or how much reach with burst and charge they can have left.   

Think of your turns during theirs

On Ladder this is especially important. Time is valuable, and the time you save on reaching Legend, that is reach it faster, you can use on HCT Cups to try to qualify further up, etc. But try not to let this habit trap you at events.

Try tempo pressure  

If you can afford to play fast and play correctly, that is a big advantage. It does not imply any sort of bad manners or bad sportsmanship. You simply pressure your opponent with time, because often they may get trapped by this and play as fast. And that may lead to a lot of mistakes on their part.
No insane aggro, no great healing

This is a myth by now. Week 2 proved both of these statements wrong. Rogue and Druid are still badass, but other aggro decks have more challenges. Hunter is just not that hard to counter.

Murloc Paladin can have insane aggro draws, but my statement implied rather having an aggro deck, that just doesn’t fall off that hard against a good counter. Aggro had/has a lot of burst spells to go around taunts and catch opponents off guard, when they think whether they have to heal this turn or not. Bloodlust does help a bit, especially in Token Shaman, but simple Aggro Shaman is something I hope would get even more momentum. At tournaments at least.

In the past few days you may have noticed Paladins with decent amount of healing, Quest Warrior lists with armor to generate, and various Priests with cakes and funnels and spells, Alexstraza and Barrier count for healing I suppose, and maybe even Ice Block, but it is still different without Reno. Maybe that’s why we now have hybrid Mages.      

Timing of the day

You are more likely to face aggro decks in the morning and in the afternoon, and then control decks towards the evening, but then, in my opinion, aggro decks again late in the night. You can certainly use this to your advantage, depending on your goals. But this also largely depends on your rank too. People at lower ranks probably don’t care much about fast laddering.   

Many small and big minions from Un’Goro

Journey to Un’Goro brought upon us piles of Taunts and Quest Rogue, but from the perspective of amounts of cards being used in Constructed, it is, well, astonishing. Myriads of neutral 2 and 3 drop minions see competitive play, as well other cost cards. You probably should admit, that this amount of commons, and rares used from the new set is an achievement of its own.

Matchups Roulette

Hunter stands a chance against most decks. Zoo Warlock is good versus Hunter and Rogue. Control decks are just flexible. And yes, some control decks just win fast matchups, or otherway around, only slow matchups. I play this game for about 2 years perhaps, and I haven’t seen such a matchup roulette before.

Nickname Spotting

Silly sounding nickname probably means aggro version. This is a slightly rude stereotype, but it has its merit.    

Filter your perception

High Legend Streamers will be going for experiments and entertainment, but will also give long-run decks, if you notice them running the deck during more than one of the days.

Data mining by weeks

Week 1 decks might not hold on and move to Week 2 in a fresh format. Just get used to the fact, that there are enough people playing and publishing about it in all major card games, that even a casual player might want to get more in touch with what is happening each week.  

Just play, observe and reflect

This just means that if you think of all card games like this not just like an eSport, but, well, sport, then it becomes much easier in terms how to improve or get ready for something.

Watch compilations and streams

To have laughs, to get better, to know new updated decks’ versions and trends.

Tutors and discover cards are insane

Primordial Glyph and Shadow Visions are some of the best cards in the set. And I would like to see more cards like Tracking as well. More discovers, tutors and so called “cantrips” are good for most card games. Discover cards do bring a bit of extra RNG, but they bring much more balance and consistency at the same time.

Polarized decks at tournaments

Silence or OTK Priest might be great for Ladder, but it is very narrow for current tournaments.
Quest Mage may counter slow draws and Quest Warrior, but even that is not guaranteed, and even not very likely, just possible.

Thank you very much for reading!
Good luck at your local and online tournaments!
Stay tuned for more articles!

- Aarne Pyulze
- OthalaBor on Hearthstone
- Ekvilor or BoatBrew in other game accounts

- BoatBrew at all channels and media  

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