Hello everyone. It has been 2 weeks already since the Arena 7.1 changes were implemented into the game. After having played 15+ runs I’d like to share my experiences on the meta, how it has changed and how to play in this meta. With Arena becoming standard and so many changes in offering rates happening, current meta is way different from what it used to be. So let’s jump right into the changes and see what Arena has to offer.
Early game changes
Early game in the Arena completely shifted with the new changes. When before most people would start curving out on turn 2, now most people don’t get offered enough 2 drops during their draft to consistently have something to play on turn 2. This is because with Arena becoming standard many neutral 2 drops got rotated out and are no longer offered. GvG had 8 neutral common 2 drops with most of them being average-good quality. Naxxramas had 4 neutral common 2 drops. Currently there are 42 common neutral in Hearthstone and with Arena going standard 25% of them rotated out. On top of that neutral classic cards which are the backbone of curve (chillwind-yeti, bloodfen-raptor and river-crocolisk are good examples) got their offering rates reduced. If that wasn’t enough increased spell offering rates and common card offering changes also made early game much less consistent.
What does this mean? Well because early game is not as consistent and now more often than not people will start curving out on turn 3, 2/3 minions became a lot worse than they were. The biggest upside of 2/3 minions is that can kill 1 drops and 2/2 minions. Since these are seen a lot more scarce since the changes, it makes sense that 2/3 minions go down in value. On the other hand 3/2 become the best 2 drops since they trade well with 3/3 and 4/3 minions. Also there aren’t that many 3 drops with 4 health (5 minions that costed 3 mana and had 4 health rotated out when Arena became standard).
Because Blizzard increased the number of spells you will be offered and the average amount of spells has gone up significantly 3/5 minions became better than 5/4 or 4/4. This is because small removal will be more common and things like frostbolt + hero power that deals 1 damage can easily remove your 5/4 or 4/4 minions. On top of that 3/5 minions can deal with 4/3 minions efficiently without a hassle and since most 3 drops are either 4/3 or 3/3 it makes 3/5 a lot better than they have been before.
Since not so many people curve out well in the early game, if you manage to curve out well it is possible to snowball and win before the big board clears come out, however it isn’t easy because of the spell changes which I will talk about later. This is especially true for classes which have good curve options in their class cards (like Hunter or Rogue for example). I have drafted quite a few decks which had a strong curve and some tempo spells which let me win on turns 6-8 quite often. The important thing when drafting a tempo deck like that is to make sure you have a good amount of damage from hand. This is because in the late game all your board will most likely be cleared and then you are going to rely on drawing your damage from hand.
Changes in late game
With the increased offering rates to spells, epics and legendaries all decks seem to have way more value (in terms of card advantage) and late game than previously. Since most of the legendaries are big mid-late game threats which have greedy effects, it makes sense that decks have a lot more cards which can grant card advantage. If left unchecked many legendaries can win the game on their own. On top of now that the offering rates for spells have been increased, board clears and other card advantage generating cards like arcane-intellect can be seen in decks more often. Epic cards usually swing the game and now cards like dragonfire-potion or brawl are more common in turn making decks generate a lot more value and being able to play the attrition game.
People draft more greedily since the patch. This is because now that the early game curve is not as important people allow themselves to pass up early game minions and take strong late game value cards. People have noticed that not everyone starts curving out on turn 2 now and that if you don’t play a 2 drop on turn 2 you don’t reduce your chances of winning by a ton, how it was before the changes. These curve changes mean people are allowed to draft more value cards which makes the decks heavy in late game and card advantage.
With those changes on average decks have more late game and are able to play the attrition game. Because of that classes that are known for card advantage became a lot stronger now. Notably Warlock Priest and Mage got better with the Arena 7.1 since these are the classes that have many card advantage generating cards and in general these classes perform very well in the late game
Blizzard really revamped the removal aspect in the arena. They’ve mentioned that their goal is to make Arena more interactive and spell based instead of curvestone which it was before. The spell offering rates got a huge increase when you add up the bonuses for spells, rarities and the reduction of neutral common cards. All of these small changes add up and now spells are offered way more than they have been before. This changes the meta completely. Previously you’d expect your opponent to have 2-3 board clears in the deck at max. Whilst now I’ve seen Warlock decks with at least 6-8 AoE clears. It’s not over there.
Hard removals are seen even more often now. Before huge minions would be very threatening and would be hard to answer but now as soon as you play kvaldir-raider don’t expect it to stick on the board as it is going to get killed by fireball, hex or some other hard removal. Small removals haven’t spiked too much and aren’t as common as hard removal or board clears. This is most likely because decks have less early game so there is no need for many small removals.
With the changes to removals snowballing is a lot less common now. Building a big board and snowballing it to victory isn’t as viable as it used to be. It is hard to build a strong resilient board and because of that cards that require for you to have a board like stormwind-champion or cult-master are a lot worse now. On the other hand cards with deathrattles are very strong now. If you have cards like rat-pack or kindly-grandmother on your board they are incredibly strong in case opponent plays a board clear.
With the changes Arena became a lot different from what it used to be. These are my experiences from playing 15+ runs during this 2 week period. Feel free to discuss how you think the meta has changed and what you do to get on top of the meta. That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more arena articles.
Until next time