IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS: WEAPONS TO WIELD ON THE LADDER
The hearthstone ranked ladder isn’t always the safest place. As soon as you think you’ve gotten the meta figured out: BOOM. Hunter, 24/7. Wasn’t Hunter unplayable? Now you can’t take a stroll in the hearth without a Starving Buzzard
But don’t fret. [DKMR]Varranis of Team Don’t Kick My Robot is here to put a few weapons in your arsenal. In those immortal words of 8-bit glory:
Except we’re not offering you a broadsword. We’re offering an expansive look at the current meta, including the decks you’ll be playing against and should be playing.
This deck came out of nowhere and dominated the competitive meta for a few long days. It’s faded somewhat out of fashion, but it’s still an important deck to be aware of. There are several cards that get switched around depending on the meta and player preference, but the core of the deck revolves around Eaglehorn Bow
The cards that fluctuate are Tracking
Some players prefer not to run Arcane Shot as it can often have too little impact or no creatures to remove. I’ve found one or two to be the correct number as it allows extra reach in the final turns or a clutch removal spell for a particularly troublesome minion. It gains additional value in an aggro heavy meta, so one may be the correct number at the moment. Some players even prefer one Deadly Shot
Timber Wolf is generally a one or two of. It is very low impact until you land a big Unleash the Hounds and can rot in your hand until that point. I would hesitate to play a second although it may not be incorrect.
Starving Buzzard is a peculiar critter in this deck. It would be more accurate if this card read “2 mana: if you play an Unleash the Hounds, draw 3 cards.” There will be some situations where you play the Buzzard followed by an Animal Companion
As far as playing the deck, it is usually right to always attack your opponent and ignore his minions. Eventually your Steady Shot will find its final mark or you’ll win in explosive fashion with a large Unleash the Hounds
I would also recommend this deck to newer players as it is very competitive and relatively cheap to build.
Hunter was the fad a few days ago, but I swear I can’t click “Play Ranked” twice without facing at least one Druid. It’s particularly surprising either. Druid provides a dearth of answers in most metas and has a reasonable to good match-up against the much hated Hunter deck. So what’s a good list? Here’s the list I’ve been sporting:
This list is an evolution of StrifeCro’s original Legendary Druid deck from last season. The deck plays a particularly powerful top end with Ancient of Lore
You can vary the top end of this deck to your liking. Cenarius and the two Ancient of Lores tend to be staples, but the Cairne Bloodhoof
Many players have eschewed the Wild Pyromancer
Another build of Druid that has cropped up recently on the ladder is Druid OTK (“one-turn-kill”). It isn’t quite an OTK like Unleash the Hounds Hunter or Molten Giant
I’ve featured one such build to the right, but I’ve encountered quite a few different variations. Some choose not to run Power of the Wild
Frequently the deck plays out like any other Druid deck and you don’t even realize your opponent is running Leeroy, Force of Nature, and Savage Roar until it’s too late. This surprise factor is one of the more appealing aspects of the deck. Often your opponent will set themselves up for defeat by not playing a crucial Taunt minion because they do not anticipate a lethal swing on the following turn.
Whether you want to play this version of the deck or not, it’s an important piece of tech to be aware of when you’re grinding on the ladder. If your Druid opponent is playing a few peculiar cards, there could very well be a good reason for it.
There are a ton of great decks to play right now, but I’ll be honest; Shaman mid-range has been my go-to when I hit a rough patch on the ladder. Shaman has access to an excellent suite of removal and some great tools for a mid-range dominated meta.
Your win condition is
The particular list highlighted here was used by TidesOfTime and DKMR team member Alcehmixt to reach Legendary. I’ve been having success with the same list. It is particularly good against Druid, but can struggle against Paladin and sometimes Hunter. You can add an Earth Elemental
My how the times have changed. The once dominate Warlock is now merely a fringe player in today’s metagame. Aggro Warlock still pops up from time to time, often in the form of Murlocs, but the real Warlock deck of the current meta is Warlock Control.
The Warlock’s Hero Power allows you to meet the conditions on both Mountain Giant and Molten Giant simultaneously. Your plan is usually to drop a turn 3 or 4 Twilight Drake
This deck saw a rise in popularity right before the patch due to its very favorable Druid match-up. The Warlock player can deploy larger threats faster than the Druid, making it very difficult for the Druid to stick a threat or stay alive. Unfortunately for Warlock aficionados, this deck has a very poor Hunter match-up. It’s possible to get your Taunts early and frequent enough to stymie Hunter, but they will usually have enough direct damage to seal the game or will just be too fast.
Warlock Control is not an entirely unreasonable deck to pilot at the moment due to the preponderance of Druid players, but be careful if you see a lot of Hunter decks about.
As for Warlock Aggro, I’ve tried my hand at a fair number of builds, but have yet to find one I feel is particularly apt for the current meta. The only conclusion I’m comfortable with is that Millhouse Manastorm
Paladin seems like a very good place to be in this meta. Most builds of Paladin have a reasonable to good Druid and Shaman match-up. Paladin also has access to enough healing abilities to make Hunter feel silly.
The most common builds of Paladin you’ll run into will be mid-range or control decks. These decks will be packing all the Paladin staples including Equality
Wild Pyromancer is especially good in Paladin since when paired with an Equality, he can serve as a global board wipe. Equality is generally one of Paladin’s most powerful cards and should always be played around if possible when facing Paladin. It’s usually never right to overcommit to the battlefield against Paladin as they can use Equality to make short work of your best minions.
While not terribly good value in most match-ups, Holy Light
Another interesting card I’ve seen put to good effect is Redemption. While somewhat situational, it can provide a lot of value with Tirion, Cairne, or Sylvanas. It can even allow you to trigger and revive a Wild Pyromancer who dies to its own effect.
Although not particularly common, we have seen some Paladin Aggro at the higher ranks of the ladder. The deck plays a very aggressive curve, going so far as running to Blessing of Might
An interesting exclusion from most builds of Paladin has been Sword of Justice
Warrior Control had been picking up steam right before the patch, but things got grim when both Charge
The deck relies on a broad base of early game removal and a powerful, star studded cast at the top end. Generally, your goal is to Armor Up and survive until turn 6 when you can start dropping game ending bombs. Ragnaros the Firelord, Grommash Hellscream
I would also caution against playing too many Brawl
Warrior Control goes bigger than most of the other mid-range and control decks out there. It should have a slightly favorable match-up against Druid and Shaman and have enough removal to compete with Hunter. I encourage you to give the deck a try and see that Warrior can compete even without an OTK. If you run into a lot of Hunter, I encourage you to add a
If Priest were ever to be the power house it once was, now is the time. Priest’s Hero Power allows it to out grind Druid, Paladin, and Shaman while
While it involves too much RNG for my taste, I’ve come to terms with Thoughtsteal
Wild Pyromancer also put in significant work for me. Power Word: Shield and the Priest Hero Power allow Wild Pyromancer to trigger more times than most players expect. On several occasions, I was able to control my opponent’s board in the early turns with Wild Pyromancer and Power Word: Shield
Another interesting card I tried but eventually cut was Cabal Shadow Priest
Another card I eventually cut was Auchenai Soulpriest
This deck was a blast to play and I highly encourage you to try it out. My favorite moment I had with the deck was Mind Controlling my opponent’s Cenarius and returning it to my hand with a Dream I had drawn from Ysera in order to use Cenarius’ Battlecry. It almost won me the game, but glitched instead! Something to keep in mind for the future perhaps.
I hope this article helps you navigate the dangerous terrain of ranked constructed! A lot of the lists in this article are perfect for creating a gauntlet of decks to test against in the current meta. I would say Druid, Hunter, and Shaman are the most prevalent currently, but almost every class has a competitive archetype.
Let us know your thoughts on our forums at http://dontkickmyrobot.com/forums. DKMR will be posting additional “Budget” decks as well as our current ladder decks that can be found on our website and HearthstonePlayers.com. Please tune in to my twitch broadcast every Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM EST at http://www.twitch.tv/varranis. You can find all of DKMR’s streamers on their website with times and the days they stream!
Guide written by [DKMR]Varranis
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