14 February 2018 - 14:39

What is the best Hearthstone class right now?

The meta has changed dramatically—so which class is on top?
Morning Editor
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Kobolds & Catacombs fundamentally changed Hearthstone's meta. As 2017 turned to 2018, the order of things had been upended. One class was dominating above all others, while a deck long-thought dead had risen again.

But then a surprise nerf patch changed everything. Patches the Pirate, Raza the Chained, Bonemare, and Corridor Creeper were all nerfed to reduce their popularity. And that's affected the standings for all of the classes.

So which class is on top right now? It's not an easy question. But combining meta snapshots from sites like Vicious Syndicate and Tempo Storm, among other factors like viability and success in competitive play, we've attempted to build a picture of the meta as it currently stands.

Here are where the classes stand right now.

1) Warlock

It's been a long road back to the top for old Gul'dan.

Zoo Warlock was once dominant, with Handlock and later Reno Warlock also being a big focus of the meta. But since the rotation of Reno Jackson, the class has seriously struggled.

The addition of the Warlock Hero card in Knights of the Frozen Throne helped move things along, but the class still struggled. But not anymore.

Control Warlock is back. Voidlord as a single card has done a hell of a lot to revive the class, and the interaction with Bloodreaver Gul'dan makes a great combination. The Carnivorous Cube variant is also strong, with both seeing play in major tournaments.

With Priest nerfed, Warlock is now the strongest control deck in the format. It was the only sigificant deck not to get hit, and that makes it very powerful right now.

2) Paladin

Aggressive Paladin decks are back in fashion, thanks to Tempo Rogue getting hit with the nerf bat. The hit to Priest is also of benefit to Paladin.

The deck comes with or without Murlocs, but the strategy is the same. Flood the board, buff your guys, and deal damage. Cards like Divine Favor and Blessing of Kings are evergreen in the Classic set, so as long as there are decent cheap minions for Paladin then Aggro Paladin will be a thing.

But there's an additional wrinkle: Control Paladin. With Priest on the decline players are looking for a new slow deck, and Control Paladin was popular in the recent HCT Germany tournament.

3) Priest

Priest was dominant in the post Kobolds meta. That was mostly down to the combination of Raza the Chained and Anduin Shadowreaper, which created a powerful combination that can kill opponents from obscenely high life totals.

But that all changed with the nerf. Instead of making your hero power cost zero, Raza now only reduces it to one. That means the combo is all but dead, and players had to find a new strategy for the class.

Fortunately Priest is still very strong. Lyra the Sunshard is an insane card, so decks revolving around that strategy will still see play. The Grand Archivist and Spiteful Summoner package is also still great in Priest, with a strong core of Dragon cards to drive the deck forward. It's still in almost all tournament line-ups—but Priest is nowhere near as oppressive as it was.

4) Mage

Just two players brought Mage to the recent Hearthstone World Championship—but it worked out pretty well.

Now post-nerfs, Mage is in a much better spot than it was just a month ago. Thanks to Arcanologist and Kabal Crystal Runner, the secret package is performing incredibly well. A secret-focused Mage deck was the most popular at HCT Germany. The deck controls the board with secrets and removal, and packs enough of a spell damage punch to get the job done.

Alternatively, players are looking a slower control variant. It still has a secret package, but includes cards like Frost Lich Jaina, Dragoncaller Alanna, and even N'Zoth for a powerful late game. Quest Mage has a spot too. It's a great time to be a Mage!

5) Druid

Druid has fallen far from it's position four months ago as the dominating force in the meta. The drop off from the top four to the rest of the classes is pretty stark at this point.

A few months ago you could reasonably assume one in three ladder players was running Druid. Now the class has been left behind by the very top tier of decks. But all is not lost for Druid, with two archetypes still viable

Aggro Druid has a bit of a problem in this meta. It's still really good against a ton of decks, including Jade Druid, Paladin and Rogue. But it comes up short when Priest and Warlock can overwhelm them with AoE effects. It just runs out of steam without making much of a dent.

Jade Druid is also still around too, with some players adding Oaken Summons for a more defensive approach.

6) Rogue

Tempo Rogue was the unfashionable darling of the pre-nerf meta. But now two of its biggest neutral tools, Corridor Creeper and Bonemare, have been nerfed, the class is back to struggling.

Some players are still trying to make Tempo Rogue work. J4CKIECHAN brought an Elemental variant to HCT Germany, but with limited success. Others are returning to Quest Rogue, but without the Pirate package it's much less impactful.

7) Hunter

The attempts to push a slower Hunter playstyle with Frozen Throne simply did not work. You can build as many Zombeasts as you like, you're just going to get run over with Druid or Priest or really anything else.

Big Hunter does appear to have found a niche now however. Two players brought it to HCT Germany, taking advantage of cards like Barnes and Y'Shaarj to dominate the board.

Some players are still committed to trying to make Spell Hunter work, while others stick with the tried and tested aggressive formula. But once again, the latter is hampered by the Patches nerf.

8) Warrior

Pirate Warrior has now been completely usurped. Some players still play it, but mostly out of habit probably. The Patches nerf only made it worse.

Control Warrior at least exists again, and is generally good to be picked by one maverick per tournament.

9) Shaman

Token Shaman is about your lot here, and that deck just isn't good. Sorry Thrall—better luck next expansion.

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