HearthStone

He Zong Lian Heng Chinese Wild Meta Report #18: Spacetime Racetrack

Hi everyone, I've translated the latest Chinese Wild report by He Zong Lian Heng (合纵连横), first published 28 March 2021.

Decklists and codes

Original source


Patch 20.0 has come online, aside from the predicted nerf to Nitroboost Poison, the developers have opened a space-time portal and ported in some of the old horse race decks, as if intentionally restarting the large-scale horse race era. Call to Arms, Quest Rogue, and Bad Luck Albatross were all well known in old Wild. Big Dragon Rogue, represented by Necrium Apothecary, was also extremely disgusting. Their reverts seemingly will cause Wild to mutate. However, as Darkglare still exists, they are crushed to the point of not being able to stick their heads out; a pressing need to hit face still appears in the meta.

Actually, early in patch 20.0, Wild players realized that Darkglare Warlock's place is unshakeable. With weapon-buffing Rogues being nerfed, the deck will probably be even more unrestrained. Ignoring Darkglare Warlock, players eagerly awaited the reverts to Call to Arms and Quest Rogue, but their real performance was not ideal. Call to Arms Paladin can't resist removal like Defile, nor can it completely flip the board when played in a disadvantageous position. The arms race between aggro decks' aggressive cards and slow decks' defensive cards has evolved for three years. Times have changed; the most feasible Paladin build is rather Aggro Paladin, which relies on Nerub'ar Weblord's sealing effect to target other decks, but this build can't fully manifest Call to Arms' dominance, as the sealing card is best played from hand instead of summoned by Call to Arms.

Quest Rogue can definitely suppress various midrange and slow decks, but its aggro resistance is still not ideal. Though Bloodsail Flybooter can increase minion count, it only has 1 health. After the opponent has engaged in 4-5 turns of value trading and snowballing, Quest Rogue has no way to resist. The first day of the patch, Quest Rogue's performance was okay, but starting on the second day, the meta became very challenging. As players gradually grasped the rules of the meta, and began to use aggro decks, like Odd Demon Hunter, there was no way for Quest Rogue to survive. After all, it's not only Quest Rogue that can target slow decks. Aggro decks playing Bad Luck Albatross can restrict Reno Priest and Reno Warlock. When Odd Demon Hunter rose, that was the announcement of Quest Rogue's time of death. Soon after, Quest Rogue's popularity greatly fell, as its freshness had passed, and it was no longer suited to the meta.

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So in reality, the strongest deck is still Darkglare Warlock, which has increased its dominance after the Nitroboost Poison nerf. Even against high-damage decks like Odd Demon Hunter, Darkglare Warlock has healing, putting it in a wilderness of its own. In the several meta reports following the revival of Darkglare Warlock, we emphasized that the only way to contend with the deck, aside from clearing its board, was to use high amounts of burst damage. Nitroboost Poison's nerf makes it harder for Rogue to have the same single-turn explosiveness, but the good thing is that the revert to Arcane Golem gave many decks the additional burst, especially Odd Demon Hunter. That deck also gained Bad Luck Albatross and Leper Gnome, improving its meta performance. Odd Rogue also gained those same cards, so despite the Nitroboost Poison nerf, the deck can maintain its position, though it is slightly weaker. But Arcane Golem is best played in Warlock. While compensating for aggro decks' ability to contend with Darkglare Warlock, it also greatly strengthens Darkglare Warlock's explosive might. After all, only Warlock currently has access to 4 damage for 1 mana to pair with the Golem. This causes Reno decks to be unable to contend with it, as you simply can't guard against the explosiveness of Arcane Golem + Power Overwhelming.

Control decks that can clear Darkglare Warlock's board include Odd Warrior, Dead Man's Hand Warrior, Reno Priest, Cube Warlock, Big Priest, and even Reno Warlock. Reno Priest is one of the decks that's contended with Darkglare Warlock the longest. But there's also the need to consider the rest of the meta, as it's not limited to Darkglare Warlock. In particular, the popularity of Bad Luck Albatross severely assaults Reno decks. Actually, now that Cube Warlock has gained Drain Soul and Albatross, it's very suited to the meta. Under the precondition of having strong removal, Armor Vendor and Drain Soul compensate for the deck's lack of healing, enough to contend with damage decks in Odd Hunter; Demon Hunter; and Rogue, while the revert to Albatross compensates for the awkward problem of being unable to beat Reno Priest. But Cube Warlock running Albatross doesn't have the space for Glacial Shard, so its performance against Darkglare Warlock has slid noticeably. The loss of Shard removes the ability to freeze giants and removes a cheap minion for Plague of Flames.

Of course, the current meta has only evolved for a short time, unlike in Darkmoon Races, where the nature-defying Tiller Warlock immediately dictated the meta, the current meta is far from stabilized. Various unsolved mysteries, like Big Priest being strong in theory but not present, and Reno Priest still being popular while facing Bad Luck Albatross and Quest Rogue, have no answer. There's not much more time for the meta to evolve, as Forged in the Barrens is fast on the heels, after which the meta will have more time to evolve. Whether Call to Arms Paladin with Conviction (Rank 1) can prove itself, whether the new Naga Giants Druid is feasible, how Darkglare Warlock with double the Shadow spells will turn out, and whether it will cross the designers' line and get nerfed, let us wait and see.

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Tier Score Deck 1 Deck 2
1 100 Darkglare Warlock
92 Odd Demon Hunter Odd Rogue
91 Cube Warlock Odd Paladin (estimate)
90 Big Priest (estimate)
2 (high) 88 Aggro Druid
87 Secret Mage (estimate)
86 Reno Priest Aggro Paladin
81 Mozaki Mage
80 Even Paladin
2 (low) 79 Reno Warlock
77 Quest Rogue

1, Darkglare Warlock

Japanese player paradox's Darkglare Warlock ideas, which spread to China server, is not limited to the Zoo build, but also includes a build that runs double Backfire and Zephrys, and cuts Enhance-o-Mechano, a build which has become gradually more popular recently. Especially now Arcane Golem has entered the build, Arcane Golem + Power Overwhelming + Zephrys to find Windfury has become more and more popular. paradox also doesn't run Malchezaar's Imp or Wicked Whispers. Chinese players, while appreciating his build, also have their own tweaks. In short, Darkglare Warlock has manifested two variants: one runs Malchezaar's Imp and Cheaty Anklebiter/Crystallizer, the second runs one Backfire and Enhance-o-Mechano, or two Backfires and Zephrys. Recently, Chinese player Ctailor hit rank 1 China with the provided build running Zephrys and Crystallizer.

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2, Quest Rogue

After Odd Demon Hunter arose, Quest Rogue could declare its own phased defeat. Bloodsail Flybooter can admittedly help trade with enemy minions and slow the bleeding, but Odd Demon Hunter's Mana Burn and Dreadlord's Bite reject humanity. Besides, Quest Rogue is also definitely unfavored against Darkglare Warlock, which can create inscrutable boards. Even with Armor Vendor to slow their giants, Quest Rogue must still bear high amounts of damage if they have Darkglare + Wicked Whispers. Perhaps Quest Rogue will have more room to develop with Efficient Octo-bot (2 mana Thaurissan) plus Pen Flinger, but for now, it's just too weak.

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3, Aggro Paladin

Aggro Paladin began to emerge at the end of the last expansion, but its strength was undoubtedly below expectations. With the addition of Call to Arms this patch, Aggro Paladin did not rise much; it's only that the board created by Call to Arms is more menacing than playing minions one by one. The deck's explosiveness still relies too much on Crabrider plus buffs. Its explosiveness might be slightly increased by the addition of Conviction (Rank 1) next expansion. But whether it's feasible or not is another question.

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4, Odd Rogue, Odd Demon Hunter

These two decks are very characteristically similar. Both rely on their hero powers and aggress with a combination of hero attacks and small board presences. The difference is that Demon Hunter has silence, Mana Burn, and Dreadlord's Bite, while Rogue has more endurance, able to win even after Reno or board clears. Odd Rogue is also favored against Odd Demon Hunter, but its biggest problem is taunts and it is worse against Odd Paladin than Odd Demon Hunter is.

Odd Rogue

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Odd Demon Hunter

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5, Albatross Cube Warlock

Previously, Cube Warlock's biggest problem was its insufficient healing. Of course, there is no shortage of healing cards, but effective ones were few. Drain Soul simultaneously acts as removal and healing, being a basis for Cube Warlock's rise. With this card, the deck has clearly gained more chances against damage decks. The matchup against Odd Demon Hunter is even, or even slightly favorable, and it's not weak against Odd Hunter. These are all benefits brought by strong healing. Bad Luck Albatross solving the problem against Reno decks is also very key. Albatross repeatedly restricts their highlander cards and reduces their resources, making the Death Knight and N'Zoth more effective finishers. Don't be greedy with the Death Knight or N'Zoth. When the opponent's resources are limited by Albatrosses, there's no need to drag it out. Using N'Zoth to shuffle more Albatrosses is key to victory.

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