Hello everyone and welcome to what should be a very interesting read for most of you!
Since we’re about to get into standard, I decided to make a simple – yet fun – article to talk about the skill level required to play each and every single deck in the game right now.
I decided to make this article because the biggest discussion I see people having about Hearthstone right now, since there is nothing to talk about when it comes to card choices and deck building, is about how much skill does it takes to pilot each and every deck.
So we’ll be averaging the skill required from 0 to 100, 0 being Justin Bieber level of skill, and 100 being Albert Einstein level of skill – Obviously hyperbolizing in both edges, no Hearthstone deck can be dumber than Justin Bieber or smarter than Einstein.
Also note that since averaging skill level to “Master a deck” is very subjective, we’ll be averaging skill level to “Win with a Deck” which should be possible to tell without going personal about it. You’ll read the titles as: “Tier – Name (Skill level)”. Let’s do it!!
Tier 5 – The Cancer (0-20)
Current “Cancer” Style Decks:
Midrange Druid and Secret Paladin.
These are the easiest decks to win a game with in Hearthstone. Usually whenever a deck reaches “cancer” status it has to have the following attributes:
- Have a very simple playstyle.
- Be stronger than every other deck.
Meaning that these decks are often forgiving, automatic and too powerful. Usually playing against these decks feel overwhelming and unfair, while playing with these decks feel like you’re being “robotized”, because the decision making is extremely limited and there is usually only one “correct thing” to do.
The biggest decision you’ll have to take while playing one of these decks is “do I trade or do I go face?”, and even if you choose wrong the odds of you winning are still very high as decisions usually don’t affect the direction of the game.
Cancer decks are also in this category because misplays, even when dramatic, have little probability of affecting the outcome of the game.
Tier 4 – The Face (20-40)
Current “Face” Style Decks:
Face Shaman, Face Hunter, Face Paladin, Face Druid.
Face Decks are often confused with Cancer decks because of the rage they generate whenever they’re being piloted against unprepared opponents by those said opponents.
It isn’t so often that Face Decks go into the “cancer” status, as whenever that happens the deck stops being a “Face” deck and starts being something else, as happened to Huntertaker during Naxxramas when the deck obtained “Cancer” status.
The reason why Face Decks takes more skill than general cancer decks is that they have limited resources to be worked with, and sometimes managing these resources badly can result in a loss.
Despite the name, Face Decks don’t always go face, and it is harder to tell whenever you need to kill something or not than when playing a Cancer deck.
Losing to Face Decks often feels like you either weren’t prepared enough, or you were just too unlucky.
In Face Decks, the decision making is still very limited, but at least they have the potential to affect the outcome of the game, and that is why we’re putting it ahead of Cancer decks.
Tier 3 – The Tempo (40-60)
Current “Tempo” Style Decks:
Tempo Mage, Raptor Rogue, Warlock Zoo, Midrange Hunter, Dragon Priest.
Tempo is the last category of decks that often gets confused with Cancer decks. Its inconsistent nature often can take explosive forms that can make the Tempo deck resembles a Cancer deck, but in general these decks have limited, but powerful, resources that needs to be spent wisely otherwise the defeat is assured.
The reason I put Midrange Hunter and Dragon Priest in here is that I couldn’t fit it into Fair deck’s skill level (although I believe they should go into that category), nor could I fit them into “cancer” or “face” decks skill level, so I ended up noticing that playing both Midrange Hunter and Dragon Priest often takes as much skill as playing Tempo decks, since it fits the skill category quite well:
- A deck that has limited resources(but not as limited as the other Tempo decks).
- A good hand can feel like the deck belongs into the cancer category(but in this deck’s case, that is less likely to happen).
- Requires average resource management.
Losing to one of the “main” Tempo decks often feels like you got unlucky with the RNG gods, while losing to Dragon Priest or Midrange Hunter just feels like your opponent’s draws were much better than yours.
Given its inconsistent nature, Tempo decks don’t have the power to reach Cancer status without dropping into the “Face” category first.
Tier 2 – The Fair (60-80)
Current “Fair” Style Decks:
Warrior Control, Patron Warrior, MIdrange Paladin, Reno Lock.
Now we start to see decks that can never be confused with Cancer ones. The Fair decks are often all about Controlling the board and spending its resources wisely.
Whenever making a more “robust” analysis of skill level one can end up comparing Fair decks to Skill decks, since both have similar resource management requirements but in the end spotting a mistake into Fair decks is a lot easier than doing so in skill decks, and that is what makes all the difference between the requirement skill level to pilot a deck good enough.
Often, playing Fair decks feels like you are in Control of the game’s destiny, and your decision will take total effect on the game’s outcome.
Tier 1 – The Skill (80-100)
Current “Skill” Style Decks:
Malygos Rogue, Oil Rogue, Freeze Mage, Murloc Paladin, Handlock, Control Priest.
The Pinnacle of Hearthstone skill currently lies in these deck’s hands. Whenever playing a Skill deck the resource management required to win evenly matched matchups is absurd, and often losing these matchups will make you feel like you deserved to.
High-end misplays are not that easy to spot when playing Skill decks, as the number of decisions is often big and there never seems to be a “righter” play unless you have played that specific matchup a great number of times and already know the correct course by committing mistakes multiple times and learning from them.
Unless we’re talking about hard-countering, losing to Skill decks often feels like you got outplayed, meanwhile losing while playing skill decks often leaves the feeling of “I might’ve done something wrong”.
It is nice to note that even when a Skill deck becomes “overpowered”, the deck doesn’t fall into the “cancer” category, and having a skill deck become overpowered might make it so you’ll be seeing the same player(s) dominating the ladder for a long period of time (see: Hyped when Miracle Rogue was OP).
Another important thing to note is how misplays will often lose you the game, even if it has passed a dozen turns, that missplay you did twelve turns ago might lose you the game now, and that is why the resource management level required to correctly play these decks is so high and also why it feels so hard to spot misplays.
And this is it! I hope you guys liked my little game here of naming skill level requirements and enjoyed the read!
Writing this article was fun, but I have to admit I just can’t wait to start theorycrafting more about Standard, mister Ben Brode could at least tell us the nerfs in advance, or at least release a minor spoiler with some of the next expansion’s cards.
And this is it for today’s article guys, here is me spamming Hearthstone news websites waiting for news about standard, love you all and see you in my next article,