HearthStone

Summary of the 10/9/2021 Vicious Syndicate Podcast (third one for 21.3 patch)

Listen to the most recent Vicious Syndicate podcast here – https://www.vicioussyndicate.com/vs-data-reaper-podcast-episode-62/

As always, glad to do these summaries, but a summary won't be able to cover everything and can miss nuances, so I highly recommend listening to their podcast as well. Next VS Report will be out next Thursday, next podcast on Saturday.

General – With no expected balance changes until the miniset, we might see a Wild Report soon! Alec Dawson will also be missed (Big Boss Salute).

At top level play, meta is shaping up to have 0 Tier 1 decks in the near future. Happens because those players are more aware of meta developments and quicker to switch decks.

Mage – Still most popular class at all levels of play outside of top Legend. ZachO goes into complaints of interactivity with the deck. Brings up cards like Dirty Rat and Illucia which were designed to interact with other players cards, but while players clamor for these types of cards, they often become some of the most hated ones in format. Talks about how Quest Handlock is highly influenced by opponent's decision making while Quest Mage is less influenced by it. There are cards in Standard that can have an influential impact on Quest Mage's gameplan like Far Watch Post, Crossroads Watch Post, and Ogremancer, but there's not enough of these types of cards. ZachO argues that these are better than hard tech cards, because those types of cards make games less interesting and boil down to if you drew the hard counter or not (think Stickyfingers vs Evolve Shaman). Hat argues that unfortunately the current tools available aren't enough to meaningfully slow down Quest Mage's gameplan. ZachO brings up a theoretical card that would read "increase the cost of your opponents spells by 1, reduce the cost of their minions by 1", or one vice versa to be able to counter Mage and Rogue. Wildfire Mage still booty butt cheeks. Hat is curious about Mage miniset – thinks it'll either be completely useless like Caverns, or it's going to be dangerous. If Wildfire Mage gets 3 good minions, it could potentially be viable. Modresh on 8 is still incredibly strong.

Druid – Taunt Druid still good. Many Mage counters do not want to run into Taunt Druid. Kazakus build looks slightly better than standard build right now, the 1 mana +1/+1 golem is great for the deck. Anacondra still is what it is, beats things and loses to other things.

Rogue – Contact Rogue is the biggest skillcap deck they've ever seen since the VS Data Report started back in Whispers of the Old Gods. Guild Trader makes sense at Top Legend meta, but because the deck is generally only worth running at Top Legend, that's why it shows up in their list. "Do not play this deck on mobile". Historically a deck that improves 3-4% in winrate between Diamond ranks to Top Legend is extremely high skillcap – Contact Rogue basically doubles that at 7.5%. ZachO concedes that deck might be the best in the format because of how much it scales at top play. Demon Hunter is a counter to the deck, but if you're playing the Guild Trader variant, Warrior may not even be a counter. He really hopes the deck doesn't get nerfed in the near future "because it's a data goldmine for me." Quest Rogue fell off a bit because of the meta, Poison Rogue good at Top Legend.

Demon Hunter – Lifesteal DH beats the non interactive decks people complain about (Quest Mage and Contact Rogue) by being even more uninteractive than they are. Big winrate disparity at rank brackets. Fel Demon Hunter is the same story, but it's not a skillcap issue. "Thijs ruined this deck for everyone on ladder".

Hunter – Face Hunter more popular and better at Top Legend than other ranks, which is usually opposite. This mainly has to do with Taunt Druid – it drops off in popularity at higher ranks. If you're playing in a slower meta, run Guardian Augmerchant over Wound Prey. Wound Prey is much better in faster matchups and the mirror. Trueaim Crescent helps a lot with the Taunt Druid matchup. Quest Hunter declined a little bit, but it completely dominates the most common ladder deck in Quest Mage.

Warrior – Warrior as a whole has cooled off a bit. Adding 1 copy of Troublemaker to Aggro Quest Warrior looks to be good. Control Quest Warrior looks better at higher levels of play where you have more Rogues and less Mages. Brawls are better than Bladestorm in the current format in that deck. Mutanus is better than Rattlegore in this deck since Rokara is your Rattlegore type win condition. ZachO thinks Control Quest Warrior is Tier 1 caliber if Quest Mage were ever to be nerfed. Big Warrior – the quantity of threats seems to not matter as much as the quality of them (you want to pull out Troublemakers and Rattlegore), so Scrapyard Colossus variants look slightly worse for now. It's a thin margin.

Paladin – Secret variant of Libram Paladin gaining traction. 50/50 matchup with Quest Mage, much better than the vanilla variant. If you want to play a Tier 1 deck pretty much anywhere on ladder, and you're frustrated with Mages, this might be the deck for you. It is worse versus things like Taunt Druid (nearly 10% worse). Taelan questionable in the deck, it's only there because they didn't have data on other variants. No new news on Handbuff or Secret Paladin lists.

Warlock – As they were predicting, Handlock's winrate went down over time as play level picked up in play. Barely Tier 1 right now at high Legend, may drop below that next week. If you really want to beat the deck, you can (play Face Hunter). Altar of Fire is useful in the DH and Hunter matchups, burns combo pieces in DH matchup, gets your Bristleback online for the Hunter matchup. Baker can also be teched in, but ZachO suggests that the data shows Altar is better. Hat agrees and says Baker feels like you're still losing, but just slower. Zoo is sadly the worst deck they have at High Legend statistically. "It's so bad."

Shaman – Quest Shaman is okay. People probably not playing it because of the Mage matchup. Elemental Shaman gaining a little more traction, mention Pizza's list with 1 gavel, 1 nimbus. Evolve Shaman not being played, probably not good enough that it's worth exploring. Good thing since Evolve Shaman previously ruined two previous metas.

Priest – Shadow Priest still okay, but there's no reason to play it over Face Hunter. Will be interesting to see what Priest's win condition becomes going forward with the mini set and future expansions. Hat brings up TonberryBleu's Reddit comment that with every other quest, we're worried about a concentration of cards that could speed up the quest's completion. With Priest, there's zero way to do so. Both Hat and ZachO bring up that win the designers made a card that says "win the game", they're not intending for that to be something that sees play in 10% of decks. It's supposed to be fringe.

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