We’re adding a new layer to the weekly Showmatch Series here on HearthstonePlayers.com – deck techs with the players! This will give you an insight into the players’ decks, why they played the cards they did, and what decks they recommend you play on ladder. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Hello, I’m LightsOutAce!
This week I participated in the 3rd HearthstonePlayers Showmatch against Camzeee.
The Showmatch follows ESL format (blind pick the first three games with three different decks, then play any of those decks for games 4 and 5 if necessary).
I’m going to go through each of the decks I chose, explaining my choices and give out a bit of advice on when and how to play each of the decks.
LightsOutAce’s Control Warrior (Break Upon Me)
The main thing that sets my list part from most Control Warriors is the addition of Piloted Shredder. I swapped out a whirlwind and a shield-block from the standard list for these guys to combat Paladin, Mech Mage and Druid.
In these matchups (and Priest as well, though that deck is less common), you need to put on some midgame pressure to avoid falling too far behind. Piloted Shredder is the stickiest and arguably best 4-drop in the game currently. The two defensive cards (Whirlwind and Shield Block) aren’t needed as much when Zoo and Hunter are less prevalent, and Shredder is perfectly serviceable in those matchups as well.
The second point of contention is the addition of Ysera. I like to have at least six big threats, and I think Ysera is the best choice to fill the last slot (the other five legendaries in the list are auto-includes). I had Troggzor the Earthinator for a while, and while he is usually a nice 2-for-1, he doesn’t win the game by himself like Ysera can.
I chose to leave out Baron Geddon due to the almost complete lack of Shaman and Zoo in the current meta. Ysera is best played as your final threat, sometimes even after fatigue hits. Against Priest with the combo of Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest or Paladin where you need to bait out both copies of Equality, she’s a game ender. She also shuts down Druid if you’re not dead to the Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo.
This is the best deck against aggro of the three decks I’m highlighting today. If you are facing mostly Druid and Paladin like I was at the end of the January season, this list is best left at home as those are the deck’s two worst matchups. You can further tech for aggro by removing Ysera for the second Shield Block.
LightsOutAce’s Value Hunter
Five nerfs later and Hunter is still one of the best decks in the game.
I cut Undertakers when the nerf went live and replaced them with some standard value minions. This list is stuffed with the best possible cards at every spot on the curve. Your opponent will have a very difficult time answering Mad Scientist on 2 mana and Savannah Highmane on 6 mana, and all the while you get to tick away with Steady Shot. If there’s ever a tough decision to be made between trading and going face, you should probably just go face and force your opponent to have the answers for your threats.
The Piloted Sky Golems and Highmanes together put immense pressure on your opponent in the midgame, and answering one of them equitably is nigh on impossible. Any decent start with these guys batting cleanup will usually result in a victory, so that’s why the one-drop deathrattle minions are still included in the list with the departure of Undertaker.
Feign Death is another questionable inclusion, but when one of your 6-drops lives a turn it closes the door on the game. When you draw it, try to save a Webspinner in your hand for the Feign Death turn, as tacking “draw a random beast” onto your 2 mana spell is pretty good. Turn eight 6-drop + Feign Death is also good if the board is contested and your opponent still has a decent amount of life. If your opponent is at 10 or less health, hero power damage will generally be better at closing out the game than Feign Death.
This list is really tight, but if you aren’t facing any aggro you can cut the Knife Juggler + Unleash the Hounds combo. This combination is the new Starving Buzzard – Unleash. Against Zoo, Mech Mage, or Hunter you just win the game if you pull it off, and you need it to win the board a lot of the time. If you aren’t facing these decks, Tracking is a great card to fish for 6-drops and Kill Commands.
You can also cut Explosive Trap for Snake Trap if you want, but I personally don’t like Snake Trap, and I like it even less when I’m playing slow 6-drops and my opponent can race me by going face. If you’re facing only control decks and Druid, Sylvanas Windrunnerand Dr. Boom could even slot in, although that is making your deck dangerously slow. Even with all these 6-drops in the deck you want to put on early pressure.
I would play this list on ladder if there is a lot of midrange Druid, Paladin, and control type decks. Of the three, this is the best deck on ladder if the metagame is in flux – I even have a winning record against Taunt Druid with Senjin-Shieldmasta, Sludge Belcher, and Ancient of War. Sometimes you just have to play Hunter.
LightsOutAce’s Handlock (Into the Nether)
My Handlock list is fairly standard. I cut Lord Jaraxxus and Alexstrasza because of the amount of Hunters and Druids on ladder – any class that can kill you from 15 makes them a liability. The 9 mana threats are only safe to play on an empty board in those matchups, and that rarely happens.
This list is extremely focused on staying alive – I have 2 copies of Mortal Coil, Darkbomb, Siphon Soul, and Antique Healbot. It’s so defensive that you can have trouble winning the game if you get multiple threats removed in a single stroke, e.g. Equality or Brawl. Because of this, generally you only want to play out one giant or Dr. Boom at a time. If you find yourself running out of beefy dudes and dying to fatigue, cut a Siphon Soul or Mortal Coil for Ragnaros the Firelord or Lord Jaraxxus.
The reason the deck is so defensive is that I have a very conservative playstyle. If you can stay alive as Handlock you will eventually win the game on card advantage due to your hero power, so gaining life and removing everything is the name of the game.
I would play this deck if Zoo, Druid and Warrior are prevalent and Hunter is rare. Mech Mage is also a close matchup that hinges on you drawing Antique Healbot before they draw Fireball. Mech Mage has exploded since I played this Showmatch, so going forward I would cut the Mortal Coils for Earthen Ring Farseers since Clockwork Gnome is the only 1-toughness minion they play.
Hi there! Camzeee here with my chosen 3 decks in the Showmatch against LightsOutAce.
Between the two of us, we have most of the current meta decks covered and there were some great games (look out for the Handlock vs Druid game).
Let’s start with my Handlock deck (the one shared class/deck type between the two of us)
Handlock has long been my best/most comfortable deck in competitive play. Naturally, I decided to bring it to this Showmatch series and it did very well for me. The deck is what I consider to be Handlock in its purest form without any gimmicks or tech cards and containing all the expected threats you might anticipate.
Unlike LightsOutAce, I chose to play Lord Jaraxxus since it is one of my favorite cards in the game and is one of the absolute best late-game cards in all of Hearthstone. (I also have it in gold so how can I not play it?!) It does a fantastic job of locking down games that you’re ahead in, and acts as a heal if you’re forced low on health. Jarry does struggle sometimes against combo decks but his strength in the other matchups makes him worth his spot in my opinion.
I have the standard suite of early game Handlock tools such as Darkbomb, Mortal Coil and Sunfury Protector. But it’s not quite as defensive as LightsOutAce’s version that runs x2 Antique Healbot and another copy of Coil. I find that over-healing as Handlock is pretty easy and this can stifle your ability to play your Molten Giants. I’m an advocate of playing Handlock aggressively and trying to secure the board at the expense of life. In short, I like to live dangerously!
That said, I still prefer playing x2 Siphon Souls over another late-game threat like Sylvanas Windrunner or Ragnaros The Firelord. For me, it’s about consistency. Siphon Soul is a crucial card for hard removal and having just one can sometimes leave you floundering against some large threats.
The deck does however run Dr. Boom for its superior stats and comeback potential. Boom offers even more than just raw stats too, because you can put up two taunts with a Sunfury rather than just one.
This version of Handlock has great matchups across the board but particularly against Zoo, Druid and Warrior. Weaknesses are Aggro Mage and Hunter, but even those matchups can be won with good draws and solid play.
Camzeee’s Mech Mage
My Mech Mage has gone through a lot of revisions over the last few months. I started out with more freeze elements including Ice Lance and Water Elemental but have since moved away from that and instead pursued a tighter curve.
Throughout testing, I’ve discovered a lot about how the Mech Mage deck really works, and I can honestly say that the most important card in the deck is Goblin Blastmage. This card synergizes with the rest of the deck incredibly well and the Battlecry is one of the most important ones in the game for generating tempo.
Mech Mage is all about gathering tempo for a final burst of damage and value minions like Piloted Shredder and Harvest Golem make this a fairly simple task. Mechwarper is the enabler for early game and generating card value out of it can really help snowball the match in your favor.
My variant plays all of these cards, but it differs from some lists because it runs both Dr. Boom and Archmage Antonidas. I even found space for a single copy of Flamestrike for putting the game to bed when I’m ahead on board. In my experience, Mech Mage sometimes has difficulty finishing out a game if you don’t draw your direct damage spells. Putting in two 7 drops makes this less of an issue, and Antonidas in particular is great at generating additional burst through spare part Fireballs.
I wouldn’t say they’re necessary, but for my playstyle, I don’t like relying on just an amazing curve to win me games because sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Having another win condition is important to me, and Antonidas gives me that additional push that can win me some games I wouldn’t otherwise.
Camzeee’s Ramp Druid
This deck is one of my newest creations. I haven’t had much of a chance to test it out on ladder, but as a seasoned Druid player I felt pretty comfortable with the ‘Ramp’ style and I knew what each of the cards did to accomplish the deck strategy.
Starting from the bottom, essential Ramp cards Innervate and Wild Growth help to give me a head start in mana and board presence. Zombie Chows were also a natural fit because they smoothed the curve out when played either on 3 with Shapeshift or just a turn 1 drop to counter aggro. In either case, I’m not worried about the health given by the Zombies and it only starts to be a hindrance when played in the late-game.
The deck in the middle features some of the most potent value cards in the game. Chillwind Yetis make an appearance as well as the slew of Druid staples like Keeper of the Grove and Druid of the Claw. As we transition into late-game, I like to keep a single copy of ‘The Combo’ for threatening my opponents and because it helps to finish off a game that you’re well ahead on instead of playing longer in uncertainty.
A single copy is also good because even if it’s split up, they both have fairly versatile uses in a pinch (take a look at the Handlock vs Druid game!) while making your opponent fearful of the double combo. You know you don’t have it, but they don’t and that can really influence they play if they’ve seen a copy of Force of Nature used early on!
The late-game legendaries and epics are what makes this deck so tough to take down. Kel’Thuzad is one of my favorite additions to the deck. It allows some really big swing turns and can turn a slight lead into an enormous one. Cenarius is also a personal favorite of mine because of its decent matchup against Dr. Boom. I choose to forgo my own Boom to ensure my entire deck is Big Game Hunter proof.
The Black Knight is the final piece of the legendary trio and is incredibly powerful in longer games. I love its swing potential, and Druid’s lack of good hard removal means that this is often crucial in securing the board for you in the late-game or just as a tempo play on 6.
Both Ancients are amazing cards by themselves, and both fulfill key roles in this deck of card draw and large Taunts respectively. They will win you games, and that’s a fact! You’ll want to heavily control the board, ramp out early and stay ahead by grinding your opponent down with mid-game value they can’t compete with. The deck is incredibly solid and I’d say that it has no worse than a 45% win rate against ANY deck in the game.
Give it a try and you’ll see just how good it can be.
Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, check out the Showmatch video between our contributors LightsOutAce and Camzeee broadcast by Mr. Shine and commentary from Ra-V.
Feel free to leave any comments and thoughts below and we’ll have another Showmatch for you next week!