He Zong Lian Heng Chinese Wild Meta Report #17.5: Hit Face Era

Hi everyone, I've translated the latest Chinese meta report from He Zong Lian Heng (合纵连横), first published 5 March 2021.

Decklists and codes

Original source

After Tiller Warlock was nerfed, the Wild meta gradually stabilized. Compared to the last report, overall trends have practically continued to stabilize. Darkglare Warlock, after being restricted by effective individual cards, is still the strongest deck, but it cannot hold its previous absolutely superior position. Kingsbane Rogue, extremely strong in theory, has been brutally sniped by Kobold Stickyfinger and Glacial Shard, and its real performance is not ideal. Rather, it is the old aggro decks Odd Rogue, Secret Mage, and Odd Paladin—not easily targeted—which have better development in the meta. Since the last report, the meta has experienced a gradual increase, then a decrease, in the numbers of Kobold Stickyfingers and Glacial Shards, the corresponding logic being the contest between tech cards and Kingsbane Rogue.

To respond to the targeting of Kobold Stickyfinger, players have developed Scimitar Rogue, which drops Kingsbane for Hooked Scimitar. It runs pure damage cards in Sinister Strike and Pen Flinger in pursuit of greater direct damage to kill the opponent before they can heal. In a period inundated with Darkglare Warlocks and when weapon removal is popular, it's partially replaced Kingsbane Rogue, becoming a mainstream deck at high ranks. The "hit face" archetypes are not limited to proactive aggro. OTK Mozaki Mage has also emerged, fully implementing "hit face". It effectively targets Darkglare Warlock and Priest, but it can't resist face decks itself, being extremely unfavored against Rogue and Secret Mage. Perhaps Mozaki Mage is just a flash in the pan. In addition, there is the Flamewaker Mage which appeared during the Tiller Warlock period. It achieves the same result as Mozaki Mage with different methods, but it's not as popular as the simple, crude Mozaki Mage.

It can be said the current "hit face" meta has entered a new high tide such that Scimitar Rogue and Mozaki Mage, the products of extremization, have sprung up. But the "hit face" era, no matter to what extent, is still the "hit face" era, its established foundation being Darkglare Warlock rather than any one face deck. As long as Darkglare Warlock is not fundamentally nerfed, or a deck stronger than it does not appear, the "hit face" era will not end. The Year of the Gryphon will soon arrive. The designers have said that this will have the greatest influence on Wild ever. Rogue may also be nerfed. Darkglare Warlock will even gain a more effective card, Drain Soul (copy of Penance). Even with nerfs to Rogue, the vanguard of face decks, the "hit face" era will probably not end. The "hit face" meta will only enter a new era, led by other classes and decks. Darkglare does not die, "hit face" will not end.


Tier Score Deck 1 Deck 2 Deck 3
1 93 Darkglare Warlock
92 Odd Paladin
91 Big Priest Secret Mage Odd Rogue
90 Reno Priest Reno Warlock
2 (high) 89 Kingsbane Rogue Scimitar Rogue Reno Secret Mage
86 Aggro Druid
85 Pirate Warrior
84 Cube Warlock
2 (low) 74 Quest Mage
71 Odd Warrior
70 Mozaki Mage

Deck Notes Score
Darkglare Warlock Darkglare Warlock is currently one of the most popular decks in the meta, being more popular at higher ranks. S
Kingsbane Rogue Some of Kingsbane Rogue's popularity has been replaced by Scimitar Rogue, but it is still pretty popular. A
Odd Rogue Its popularity precipitously dropped in the new expansion, after the meta stabilized, it still retains a definite popularity. S
Scimitar Rogue The product of Kingsbane Rogue being severely targeted, it is inherently a substitute for Kingsbane Rogue, and lacks sufficient promotion, only popular at high Legend. C
Odd Paladin Very effective against Rogue, its worst matchup in Big Priest is unpopular at high Legend, but is less popular at 10 star MMR. A
Reno Priest Reno Priest is always extremely popular, the combo version has recently become popular again. S
Reno Secret Mage Its popularity has almost vanished, but its inherent strength can still keep up. D
Cube Warlock After gaining Armor Vendor and Hysteria, it can contend with and is clearly favored against Darkglare Warlock, so its popularity in the meta is ok. C
Reno Warlock A deck popular to the point of overcomplication, though its strength is not enough to support its overcomplication. S
Aggro Druid Beginning to poke its head out again after being blessed with Crabrider and Arbor Up! C
Big Priest A deck with no skill expression, a god at 10 star MMR, but struggles against Reno Priest. A
Secret Mage Extremely popular at 10 stars, popularity drops the higher you climb, such that some Darkglare Warlocks even cut Lesser Amethyst Spellstone, but still has a definite popularity at high Legend. S
Pirate Warrior Theoretically the strongest deck in aggro mirrors, but its disadvantage against Darkglare Warlock and the nerf to Voracious Reader make its popularity not ideal. D
Quest Mage Though it can't beat Darkglare Warlock or aggro, its advantage against Reno decks is evident enough, still has some popularity. B
Mozaki Mage Effective against slow decks and Darkglare Warlock, but its sudden popularity may be short-lived. B
Odd Warrior The easiest deck to face Darkglare Warlock aside from face-type decks, but it has many 0-100 matchups, so it only exists in parts of the meta. D

1, Darkglare Warlock

Popular builds of Darkglare Warlock on China server differ completely from builds on foreign servers. China server tends to use the framework popularized by 西索: Malchezaar's Imp and Wicked Whispers, with further optimizations. Some also play the Leeroy build. Foreign servers prioritize Cheaty Anklebiter and don't run Enhance-o-Mechano.

At top Legend, since Secret Mage has declined, Darkglare Warlock even considers cutting Lesser Amethyst Spellstone and begins to run Glacial Shard. But Secret Mage has not completely disappeared from high Legend. A buffed Drain Soul will enter the build in the future. In short, build adjustments must depend on real performance in the meta instead of rigidly adhering to any build.

paradox (player) has invented a new build: Demon Darkglare Zoo, which has spread on China server, but its strength cannot supplant traditional Darkglare.


2, Scimitar Rogue

Scimitar Rogue is the result of Kingsbane Rogue being severely targeted. Its characteristics are identical to Kingsbane Rogue, both being the products of damage extremization. It differs from Kingsbane Rogue in that its damage is allocated to Sinister Strike and Pen Flinger, so its damage investment will not go up in smoke if the opponent has Kobold Stickyfinger, and is even more favored against Darkglare Warlock. But the trouble with not playing Kingsbane is that there's no way to punch through the opponent's multiple health bars. If the opponent can clear the board and play Reno on time, Scimitar Rogue doesn't possess enough direct damage to fight on.


3, Mozaki/Flamewaker Mage

Mozaki Mage's traits are very distinct. Dirty Rat and Loatheb can both devastate it, and Mozaki Mage's own resistance to aggro is insufficient. It doesn't have any board clearing ability, and if aggro is fast enough, Mozaki Mage can't hold its own. Now the majority of aggro decks have a crushing advantage against Quest Mage, but Mozaki Mage is more popular. Mozaki Mage's appearance accords with that famous remark: "A person's fate is inseparable from their own struggle, but the course of history must also be considered". (This quote is by Chinese politican Jiang Zemin). Flamewaker Mage was a product of the Tiller Warlock era. It's too reliant on Incanter's Flow and Stargazer Luna to draw. Its early game is hard to distinguish from Mozaki Mage. Its reliability is subpar, nor is it as popular as Mozaki Mage, so it's not recommended.

Mozaki Mage


Flamewaker Mage


4, Reno Warlock

Reno Warlock's popularity is indeed high. Under the conditions of this popularity, overcomplication must occur, especially when Reno Priest is going the thief variant. Running Envoy Rustwix and even N'Zoth to summon more Rustwixes is completely logical. But in reality, Reno Warlock's strength does not support this overcomplication. Running Rustwix and N'Zoth means giving up some useful defensive or tech cards. In the end, this overcomplication leads to being caught off guard by Reno Combo Priest, which is very stupid.


5, Odd Rogue

Odd Rogue has much leeway in its build. Spymistress, Beneath the Grounds, freeze effects, and spells are all movable slots. Pen Flinger is a recent innovation. But the specific build reasoning is different for every individual. The reasoning of Odd, Kingsbane, and Scimitar Rogue are identical. They are purely face damage decks, differing in how the damage is expressed. Odd Rogue, with its hero power and Deadly Poison, can keep up with the effectiveness of Scimitar Rogue's Hooked Scimitar, differing in that it cannot play the explosive cards Preparation and Eviscerate. The amount of burst damage can be played around by the opponent.


6, Odd Warrior

In theory, Odd Warrior is the strongest deck against Darkglare Warlock, but its strength is not ideal enough. Facing a host of 0-100 matchups, Odd Warrior gradually slips into contemplation… To reluctantly contend with the numerous extremely unfavored matchups, a build with the reinsertion of Deathlords and Azalina Soulthief is recommended here.


Source: reddit.com

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