Tickatus Facts

Hey all, J_Alexander back again today to address the hot topic of Tickatus. In my last post on why cards get changed, I received many comments about Tickatus in particular. Given how much it's talked about here, I wanted to present something of a reality check on the card and deck that it's found in, Control Warlock. Hopefully these Tickatus facts can help create a more solid foundation for discussing the card in a reasonable manner (surely).

Tickatus Warlock isn't a good deck

Tickatus decks are predominately the terror of low ranked players in terms of power and popularity. As you climb the ladder, the power level of the deck and its frequency drops dramatically. Here is the meta tab data from HSReplay since forged in the Barrens released. The win rates of Control Warlock at various ranked brackets is as follows:

  • Bronze-Gold Ranks: 51.2%

  • Diamond-Legend Ranks: 48%

  • Top 1000 Legend: 44.5%

The reasons for this decline over ranked brackets likely has a lot to do with players simply playing better decks at higher ranks. When Control Warlock faces more real decks, it tends to lose games. It's possible a skill factor enters into the equation as well, with players at lower ranks not playing properly against Tickatus Warlock, giving them time to execute their ploddingly-slow game plan.

These numbers accord well with the VS data from the last Darkmoon meta. If we look back to the win rate chart from the VS report 191 in Darkmoon, they estimate Control Warlock was the worst Tier 4 deck in the game from Diamond forward with around an expected 40% win rate.

In either case, if you want to win games, this doesn't seem to be the deck to go to. It simply hasn't been a good performer in the meta since its release. If you think the deck is overpowered, your view should be adjusted there.

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Tickatus Warlock doesn't oppress control decks

There are some who say that, "sure, the overall winrate isn't a problem, but Tickatus oppresses control decks!" The abundant data from our last meta shows that this isn't true either.

Here's the Control Warlock matchup chart for all ranks from VS report 191. Red boxes mean unfavored, white mean even, and green means favored. You'll notice that Tickatus Control Warlock sits in a sea of red with precisely 3 favorable matches and every single one was against Priest. Control Warrior actually went even with Warlock. Big Warrior was slightly favored. Bomb Warrior – another Control deck – demolished it.

What does that help us learn? Tickatus Control Warlock was good against decks that didn't really have a way to win the game proactively. It doesn't oppress control decks when those control decks actually have a good plan to win the game beyond sit back and hope the opponent runs out of stuff. When a deck contained some ways of actually winning a game proactively, the Warlock went even or struggled.

This isn't a matter of "just go play an aggro deck if you want to be able to beat Warlock," as much as it's a case of "go play a deck that actually has a plan to win the game and you should be fine". The two are far from the same concept. And if you don't want to play a deck with a win condition beyond outlasting? Then you'll have a bad matchup into Control Warlock, but you'd likely have that bad match there anyway because of Jaraxxus even if Tickatus didn't exist.

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Indeed, Jaraxxus being changed to a hero card is far more impactful in that respect, as the major downside of the card (being made vulnerable at 15 life) was removed. His powerful button offers near endless value and tempo in the long game, capable of both fighting for board and closing out games on its own.

Regardless, what we learn here is that the issue isn't Tickatus oppressing the archetype of control decks. It's that control decks need win conditions to beat Warlock beyond waiting; doubly so now that Jaraxxus is the only playable hero card in Standard.

Tickatus Warlock seems to be fun to play

Perhaps you don't find Control Warlock fun to play against because of Tickatus. You see cards burned sometimes and get sad. I doubt I can convince you to have fun in that respect.

However, I can also point out that Tickaktus Warlock seems to be pretty fun for people to play. Right now, Control Warlock is actually the second most popular deck in the game according to HSreplay, and that's in spite of its poor performance. What's interesting about it is how the play rate falls right before legend rank to a low of 5.8% of the meta, then jumps to 8.5% in legend. It seems that many players – even good ones – want to play the deck when they're not afraid of losing ranks. It's perhaps more popular at the lower ranks due to a false perception of power (and improved performance against jankier decks/misplays), but nothing about its win rate there suggests it should be as popular as it is either. It seems that players kind of just want to play the deck and Tickatus people because they find it fun.

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Now I don't want the people who hate Tickatus decks to have a bad time in Hearthstone. Really, I don't. I'd happily suggest the card be changed if you find it simply unfun to play against to improve your experience. However, in changing the card you also take that fun away from people who enjoy using it. There's a certain zero-sumness about the issue where your experience has to come at the expense of someone else's. Given these Tickatus facts, I'm not happy with the idea of changing it at this time, personally.


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