Hearthstone 2016 Awards

Today we’re going to do something new. This year is nearing its end and as we look back at it what it had meant for Hearthstone it is only natural that our minds start sorting things out in categories like ”what was the best deck of this year?” or ”what was the worst card that […]


Today we’re going to do something new. This year is nearing its end and as we look back at it what it had meant for Hearthstone it is only natural that our minds start sorting things out in categories like ”what was the best deck of this year?” or ”what was the worst card that came out this year?” so why not take it a little bit further than that and have some fun while doing it? Ladies and gentleman, dear readers, I present to you my first Hearthstoneplayers yearly awards!

Yep, that’s right, I went there. This week I want to focus on fun and although many claim that this was the worst year in a very long time it has been quite good for Hearthstone, something that we all love and something that connect us all, so why not pay tribute to this year of Hearthstone by making a yearly awards article?

Sit back, relax and lets dive right into it 🙂

The Opening Ceremony

Welcome to the opening ceremony. While you’re waiting for the show to start I’ll explain the rules of the competition as well as the various categories, the judging system and how data is gathered so that there is no confusion when the show begins.

The Rules

First and foremost, all participants must be a part of the standard format. Despite this being a yearly awards it would be unfair and unwise to judge decks and cards that came out this year but to ignore those that came out last year. Not just unfair and unwise but also impossible. Therefore, all cads and decks that will participate in this awards must be from one of the following sets: Classic Set, Blackrock Mountain, The Grand Tournament, League of Explorers, Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night In Karazhan and Means Streets of Gadgetzan.

Second, each category will have four participants. The participants can be either single cards, combos of multiple cards or decks. As mentioned above, all participants must be a part of the standard format. The participants are chosen by the means of popularity and influence on the ladder. Some participants, however, will be chosen by the community vote which will be explained in a minute. Needles to say, only one out of all four participants can be the winner.

Third, some participants will be chosen via community vote. Those participants will be chosen via the card voting system in the Card Compendium which can be found on Hearthpwn. The compendium was featured in a previous article but I’ll explain how it works for those who had missed the article. The compendium functions through individual card scores. As members of the community rate cards throughout the card reveal season their votes are counted and each card is given a score between 1-100. The higher the score the better the card and vice versa. This means that if there is a category ”Worst card of the year by community vote” the card with the lowest score will be chosen as the winner. If there are two or more cards with the similar score than the ladder presence will be taken into consideration. Please not that the community vote system will only be used in the categories which have no other way for acquiring data. This means that if there is a category called ”The best deck of the year” it won’t be chosen via the community vote system but via the data collected from the VS Data Reports.

Fourth, the scoring system will be determined either by the card’s effect on the game or by the usage percentage in the VS Data Reports. Unfortunately, since multiple VS Data Reports will be used to determine various winners, I won’t be linking you all of them because that would take too much space, especially since all reports from this year are being taken into consideration and those come out quite often. I will provide you with the link to the VS Data Report page if you wish to check it out for yourself.

Fifth, no streamers or other personalities will participate in this contest. We all have our favorites, mine is Kibler, and some people can get passionate when discussing the topics like ”which is the best streamer?” or ”which is the worst pro player?” so I’ll be avoiding that altogether. If you want to hear my opinion be free to ask me that on twitter.

The rules are set. Now let’s take a look at the categories!

The Categories

We can’t actually have an awards show with categories, right? So, here is the list of categories that we’re going to go through.

The Golden Monkey: The best performing deck of the year

A New Rager: The worst performing deck of the year

How’s the air up there: The best performing class of the year

What is that hole like: The worst performing class of the year

Veteran explorer: The best League of Explorer’s legendary minion bonus: the worst

Respect Your Elders: The best old god bonus: the worst

Game Is Broken: Most overhyped card of 2016

Fire the Devs: Most hated card of 2016

The Awards

Now that the rules and categories are out of the way it is finally time for what you’ve all probably been waiting for, the actual award ceremony. The categories will go in the same order as they were listed above, from The Golden Monkey to the Cool New Kid. Let’s see who won what 🙂

The Golden Monkey

The Golden Monkey category is all about the best performing deck of the year. Just like the actual golden-monkey, this deck has achieved a legendary status multiple times over the course of the year all the while bringing joy to its pilots and salt to its enemies. The contestants in this category are the following: midrange shaman, aggro shaman, dragon warrior and midrange hunter.

Midrange shaman: Midrange shaman is on this list because it has been the top dog of the standard metagame all until December. The sheer power of this deck was absurd, it was used everywhere, it was stated by multiple source that it is the single strongest deck in the game and the last time we’ve seen a deck do this well was probably with secret paladin and undertaker hunter (though undertaker hunter did do better than midrange shaman). I think that the reason why is this deck so high up the list is self explanatory.

Aggro shaman: Aggro shaman was the midrange shaman before midrange shaman was midrange shaman if that makes any sense to you. Much like pirate warrior right now, aggro shaman had shown up with the introduction of a new set and it took the ladder by storm. It was a top tier deck along with midrange shaman for a very long time until the nerfs to rockbider-weapon had pushed it down and allowed the midrange shaman to reign supreme.

Dragon warrior: Dragon warrior was a little bit of close call. From the data that I’ve gathered, dragon warrior was always more played than control warrior until the nerfs came and then control c’thun warrior pushed dragon warrior away and took its place. Though dragon warrior still saw play, c’thun warrior was the dominant one. However, the main factors for dragon warrior being on this list are that it was a better performing deck for a much longer period and that it sees play even now (with pirates) while control c’thun warrior has fallen from grace this month.

Midrange hunter: This last spot was a very close call between midrange hunter and zoo warlock. For the longest time these two were fighting for dominance but once the nerfs came and a bit after the One Night In Karazhan you can see a clear increase in both midrange hunter and secret hunter will there is a huge decrease in the usage of zoo warlock. Midrange hunter is on this list instead of secret hunter for the same reason as dragon warrior is on the list but not control c’thun warrior: it has been better performing for a longer period of time.

And the award for the best performing deck of the year goes to…midrange shaman!

Yes, we all saw it coming from a mile away. From all the gathered data it is very obvious that midrange shaman was the best performing deck of the year. The deck was insane, it was over the top powerful with a very few ways to actually combat it and it has been here since the introduction of standard. I personally hate the deck, probably most of you do, but I don’t think that anyone can argue that this deck doesn’t deserve the best performing deck of the year award. Gg shaman, you win again.

Note: If this was a competition between decks that were played in the entire year, not just since the beginning of the standard format, secret paladin would have won easily.

A New Rager

A New Rager category is all about the least performing deck of the year. The decks that are in this category are among the worst recorded decks on the ladder, the worst of the worst, the absolute trash tier decks that were for some unknown reason still played on the ladder in an enough capacity to get recorded. The contestants in this category are the following: c’thun priest, control paladin, dragon priest and deathrattle rogue.

C’thun Priest: Without a doubt the worst c’thun deck in the game. When Cthun cards were revealed it was painfully obvious that the priest got the short end of the stick. Druid and warrior got far better C’thun cards and their C’thun decks had performed a lot better than this one, but that is not the only reason why is it on this list. This is one of the few decks with the absolute lowest ladder presence recorded with sometimes even less than 1%. A truly terrifying abomination.

Control paladin: Coming in next is the control paladin. There have been several different types of paladin and if you check the Data Report you may find that secret paladin has a bit lower usage than control paladin, but placing a deck that had dominated the game until April and is continuing to do so in high wild ranks on the worst performing decks list would be a huge disservice to the deck. Thus we are left with control paladin, a deck that, much like the class itself, saw barely any play and had eventually faded from memory and got replaced by a much more powerful deck, the Anyfin paladin.

Control Priest: Now, to be 100% honest with you, I could have just filled the list with 3 priest decks and control paladin because they were at the very bottom but that would not be any fun. Control priest did a little better than C’thun priest, which was garbage, but at the end it suffered the same fate as all other priest decks…it was simply too bad. How bad was it? One control priest, ONE, saw serious tournament play and the guy who had played it lost. That is how bad the deck was.

Deathrattle Rogue: There is probably a deathrattle rogue fan out there who had performed well with this deck and now is angry at me for placing it here, but hey, I’m doing what the numbers tell me and the numbers say that after priest and paladin the worst performing deck was deathrattle rogue. Sure, there were tempo rogue and aggro rogue but those came and went from time to time while this one had remained along with miracle rogue. Was it a neat concept? Yes it was. Did it make me want to cry when it played nzoth-the-corruptor and then shadowstep? Yes it did, but it was a bad deck nonetheless.

And the award for the worst performing deck of the year goes to…C’thun priest!

Yes, probably no one is surprised with this one either. It was such a bad deck. From the gathered data it has the lowest ladder presence out of the four decks and it is a part of the least played class in the entire year. So, yes, C’thun priest, take your prize and well earned place as the worst deck of 2016.

How’s The Air Up There

How’s the air up there category is all about the best performing class of this year. We’re talking about the class with the largest ladder presence and the best deck combined into one. I know that some of you might already have the idea which class will it be but let’s do this nevertheless. The contestants in this category are: hunter, shaman, warlock and warrior.

Hunter: Hunter has been in the top 4 classes, by the VS Data Report, for a very long time. Actually he was there for the most of the year. Despite now being forgotten, hunter sure did left its impact on this year’s metagame and thus deserves and honorary spot on this list.

Shaman: Shaman is here for a very obvious reason. Not only did it had the best performing deck of the year but midrange shaman actually made 20% of the entire ladder at one point and is still in the top classes to this day.

Warlock: This one was a bit tricky. Hear me out, all of you mage fans. Yes, if you go check the data you will see that there is a period of time when mage was far above warlock in usage, but it was the opposite for a very long time as well. Not even that but warlock is once more the top dog in the game. It was a bit of a back and forward with this one but ultimately I had to give a spot to the warlock. Warlock has one of the most persistent decks on the ladder, the zoo deck, and Reno warlock which has been stomping other decks this entire month and has been well performing for a long time. It would be crazy not to put him on this list.

Warrior: Warrior has been in the top 4 best performing classes in this year. Dragon warrior and C’thun control warrior have had a powerful impact on the meta, have been ever present in tournaments and have been among the best performing decks in the game. Nowadays pirate warrior is the deck that most players use to rank up quickly. We can’t deny the impact that warrior had on the ladder this year.

And the award for the best performing class goes to…shaman!

Thrall, you bastard, why do you simply refuse to lose!? Yes, once again it was as clear as day that shaman will emerge on top. Shaman has been the top dog for a long time, had the biggest ladder presence out of all nine classes, and had one of the most broken decks in recent Hearthstone history. Despite how we feel about the class it is obvious that it had won 2016. Well played, shaman, may the elements guide you to countless nerfs.

How Dark Is That Hole?

How Dark Is that Hole that you’re category is all about the worst performing class. It is the very opposite of the previous one and it is equally as predictable but if we’re going to do this than let’s do this right and let’s cover everything. This is all about the class that has been thrown in the deepest, darkest hole at the bottom of the ladder where the sun never shines and where only the bold or the crazy few dare venture. The contestants in this category are: priest, priest, p…sorry, that was unprofessional of me, I got a bit carried away. The contestants in this category are: mage, paladin, priest, rogue.

Mage: Again, some of you will be asking why is mage on this list? Hasn’t mage been performing well and hasn’t warlock been in the bottom 4 for some time as well? Yes, warlock has been at the bottom 4 at one point but mage has been there for far longer than warlock. Even when warlock climbed out it has soared back to the top 4 where it was before it fell down and the nerfs. The three that were on the bottom were a constant, someone had to be the fourth and it was mage. It doesn’t mean that mage is necessarily bad, it is just here because it was at the bottom 4 for a very long time and someone had to be number 4. I couldn’t have 4 priests here.

Paladin: Paladin has been at the bottom for a long time. The class, much like rogue, has one really functional deck that is not the easiest one to play and the rest is simply bad. Unfortunately, that one deck is not good enough to help Uther escape the hole as even now he finds himself at the very. Poor Uther, how the mighty have fallen. I guess that it is karma.

Priest: At the very bottom we have the laughing stock of the Hearhtstone community, the purifier himself, the priest. Yes, priest did manage to escape the hole this month, but up until then it was the worst class in the game.

Rogue: Rogue is right after priest most of the time. It suffers from the same problem as paladin. One strong deck that is hard to pilot but very efficient if you know how to do it unfortunately isn’t enough to help it escape the hole. Sorry, rogue, maybe next time.

And the award for the worst performing class of 2016 goes to…priest!

No one is shocked! As I’ve mentioned, priest has been the laughing stock of Hearthstone for almost an entire year. The worst of the worst. I’m glad that it is getting to see some play now but up until this month there was no doubt that priest was the worst class in the entire game. I’m sorry, priest, but you take this one. Hopefully it will be the final time.

Veteran Explorer

Veteran Explorer category is all about the best legendary minion from the League of Explorers adventure. In my opinion that was the best adventure that Blizzard had ever made, which is also why One Night In Karazhan was such a disappointment, and for the first time every legendary minion saw some degree of ladder play and had some impact on it. The contestants in this category are: reno-jackson, brann-bronzebeard, elise-starseeker and arch-thief-rafaam.

reno-jackson: The richest guy in Hearthstone, reno-jackson, had spawned a completely new deck archetype with its powerful effect. He is the cure that we turn to when there is too much aggro, the self proclaimed high king of Gadgetzan (apperantly), and the grandfather of highlander decks. There is no doubt that Reno Jackson had a huge impact on the game.

brann-bronzebeard: Brann is what I would call a card with an eternal value. It has an effect that will never ever get weaker but will only become stronger as more cards are released. It had found its home in numerous decks and has been performing quite nicely since its introduction.

elise-starseeker: While less played than the previous two, Elise has been a staple in control warrior deck since its introduction. It is the control vs control matchup winner that has been seeing a bit less play this month but it has been going strong since its introduction.

sir-finley-mrrgglton: Finley is an incredibly fun and diverse card with a very unique effect. The ability to change your hero power into another hero power has caused Finley to be played in most decks since its introduction. He is usually used to get you a hero power that fits a deck that doesn’t do well with the hero power that is provided by the class. A great example is dragon warrior where you aim to be aggressive but your hero power is too defensive so you play Finley in hopes of getting hunter’s hero power. Same goes for aggro shaman who played Finley in hopes of getting either druid or hunter hero power.

arch-thief-rafaam: Rafaam was apparently in some tempo warrior decks…somewhere.

And the award for the best legendary minion from League of Explorers goes to…reno-jackson.

Is everything so obvious this year? There is no other card that can take this award except for reno-jackson, the card that single handedly introduced a completely new deck archetype that became so popular that the developers have actually made new cards to support it even further. Well played, sir Reno, well played indeed.

Respect Your Elders

Respect Your Elders category is all about the best old god from Whispers of the Old Gods. As you are well aware, there are four old gods and each of them had found a home somewhere and brought something new to the table. We will be looking at how each of them had impacted the game and performed this year. The contestants in this category are: c’thun, nzoth-the-corruptor, yogg-saron-hopes-end and yshaarj-rage-unbound.

C’thun: C’thun is the old god that Blizzard wanted to push the most. It has a very cool and unique effect, it has its own cards and it has decks built solely around it. Unfortunately, not all C’thun decks had performed too well and Blizzard had said that there won’t be any more C’thun support cards in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that the card didn’t had impact on the game. Every player got one, even the new players, and it had served the purpose of helping newer players get introduced to standard format by giving them a big legendary minion to play with.

nzoth-the-corruptor: I believe that N’zoth is the most powerful card in the entire game. I’ve stated this multiple times but I mostly play wild and N’zoth is that one card that will not only remain powerful for as long as Blizzard servers are running but will become increasingly more powerful whenever a new deathrattle minion is added to the game. The card is without a doubt pretty insane and has been terrorizing wild since it came out in April.

yogg-saron-hopes-end: Yogg was probably the most hated card that I have seen this year. It was so unfair that it was simply stupid. It was originally designed to be a joke card but players have found a way to make it work and ever since then it became the ”panic button” of Hearthstone until it was nerfed this summer.

yshaarj-rage-unbound: Apparently there are four old gods. I haven’t really seen the fourth one but I did hear that it found home in some astral for memes and dreams decks.

And the award for the best old god goes to…yogg-saron-hopes-end!

Hear me out on this one. Although I’ve made it painfully clear that N’zoth is the best card in the entire game, Yogg had a much larger impact on the game as a whole this year and a much larger impact on the standard format, the format that we’re looking at. It had created such an outrage in the community that Blizzard had to nerf it to save Blizzcon from becoming a total joke. Yogg was probably the most hated card this year. It is safe to give this award to it. Praise Yogg!

Game Is Broken

Game Is Broken category is all about those single cards that were extremely hyped up as the meta defining cards but ended up being a complete joke or simply less efficient that we were led to believe. These cards aren’t necessary bad, they are just not as good as we all thought that they would be. The contestants are picked from the Hearthpwn compendiums. The contestants in this category are: flamewreathed-faceless, master-of-evolution, menagerie-warden and pint-size-potion.

flamewreathed-faceless: I HAD TO PUT THIS CARD HERE. I know, it wasn’t the worst card that came out in that set, but it was so painfully overhyped that it spawned its own meme, the ”4 mana 7/7” card. People blew this card way out of proportion because when the standard season began no one knew how to deal with it but later on, as midrange shaman grew into popularity and people had learned how to deal with the card, it turned out to be just a decent minion.

master-of-evolution: This was the second highest voted card in the compendium after C’thun but it ended up on this list because, unlike C’thun, this one is actually bad and saw almost no play anywhere…and it was voted meta defining by 59% users! Talk about overhyped.

menagerie-warden: This is another card that everyone thought it would break the game because it is super powerful and beast druid will become the new shaman much like dragon priest will become the new shaman and it ended up being a letdown. Yes, it is still played in every beast druid ever but that is mostly because it makes no sense not to play it. It is not a meta defining card that people had thought it would be. It is just decent at best.

pint-size-potion: Now, I’m not kidding you, this card was voted to be meta defining card by 55% users on Hearthpwn where only 1,6% realized that it is complete trash and 0,6% knew that you should dust it instantly. Yes, talk about overhyping a very bad card.

And the award for the most overhyped card of 2016 goes to…flamewreathed-faceless

PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES DOWN, PLEASE! Yes, you have all lost to this card. Yes, it is not a bad card, but it is seriously overhyped! I mean, c’mon, let’s be real. According to Hearthpwn, only 27% of all shaman decks in the past 30 days have used this card. Most midrange shaman lists, the most powerful and dominant version of shaman, didn’t even run this card or ran just a single copy of it. It is not as powerful as people were led to believe and yet it spawned a cult following all over the internet. I’m sorry, but that is the definition of overhyped to me.

Fire The Devs

Fire The Devs Team is our final category and it is all about the most hated card of 2016, standard format. What a joyous topic to end the awards with. The contestants in this category are: yogg-saron-hopes-end, small-time-buccaneer, flamewreathed-faceless and tunnel-trogg.

Yogg-saron-hopes-end: Yogg was so hated by the community and threatened to ruin Blizzcon with its insane RNG effect that Blizzard had to eventually nerf it into being reasonable. There was nothing worse than feeling cheating out of a win because of Yogg.

small-time-buccaneer: A recent addition to the game, the Buccaneer had caused so many ”OMG WHY ISN’T THIS NERFED YET, STUPID BLI$$ARD” threads on both official forums and Hearthpwn salt thread that it isn’t even funny anymore. People really to hate this card…a lot.

flamewreathed-faceless: The meme prince itself finds a home on this list for the previously mentioned reasons.

tunnel-trogg: Once people had learned how to play against the faceless they began hating on the Trogg. I wasn’t sure who deserved to be on this list more, the thing-from-below or the Trogg, but I went for the Trogg because it is known to spiral out of control extremely fast.

And the ”award” for the most hated card of 2016 goes to…yogg-saron-hopes-end!

Here, Yogg, take your ”award”. I haven’t seen this much hate since the mysterious-challenger back in the pre standard format. I hope that you’re proud of yourself.


That is all I have for you today, folks. This will be my last article for this year. Before I go let me wish you all the best in the following year, may you reach that legend rank multiple times and may RNG always be on your side. Enjoy the rest of the year and I’ll see you next week with the definitive guide to pirates (yay, we’re starting a new year with something that nobody hates -.-). As always  if you’ve liked this article do consider following me on twitter https://twitter.com/Eternal_HS. There you can ask me all sorts of Hearthstonequestions (unrelated to this article) and I’ll gladly answer them as best as I can.