It has been a rough week. Shamans were everywhere, and playtesting has been a pain.
Why, you ask? Well, it is simple: Right now Shamans is uncontestedly the best class in the game and if you are not playing Shaman, then you are not being successful at the game.
In two days I playtested various decks for about 10 hours total, playing tons and tons of games with different decks to give you guys my personal opinion on the best ladder decks and metagame state.
As a disclaimer, I am going to go ahead and tell you that this article is going to feel quite weird, so get ready for it!
So we start the list with the best deck in the game right now, which is the Standard Midrange Shaman. The deck has been getting a lot of techs lately, and everyone is playing the deck in their own way to try and counter ITSELF. Well, you read it right: The metagame is composed of 25% to 30% exclusively of decks running 27/30 of the same deck.
This happens because of the nerfs that hit the game a couple of days ago: While it nerfed all the other competing classes to a level where Shaman simply became better, the nerfs that were supposed to aim Shaman simply didn’t have much effect because of the huge number of powerhouse cards Shamans have at their disposal. All the decks that used to counter Shamans were nerfed by the nerfbat, so don’t expect Shamans to go anywhere until the first expansion of the next year arrives, rotating part of the super-overpowered package out of the metagame.
The list featured in this article reached #1 Legend and was the list I playtested. This list was played by a lot of different players on the stream, and I can’t quite tell whoever was the first one that invented it. However, the list is so obvious and standard it probably was created by everyone at the same time.
Well, what did you expect? Another class maybe? Nop. Totem Shaman has the second place as the second best deck in the game right now, which is a variation of the Midrange Shaman that “only” uses about 20/30 of the deck base, give or take.
Totem Shaman is the second best deck in the game because it somehow counters the third best deck in the game, which is the only deck I ended up having a Positive winrate against Midrange Shaman. This deck seems to not be as good against Midrange Shaman though, because it has a few cards that are conditional, giving time for the Midrange Shaman to snowball out of Control.
As to the deck itself, the cards are pretty self explanatory so I’ll get to it: The deck aims to win by the sheer pressure of Totem spams and buffs while it also has most of the “Shamaning” things traditional Midrange Shaman does. The thing about this deck, though, is that if you are able to build a board full of Totems you’ll be taking full advantage of cards like bloodlust, winning the game on the spot against Control decks more easily than any other Midrange deck in the game without hurting your aggro deck so much in the process.
This deck still takes a big portion of the metagame, and in the end if you sum up all the Shaman decks in the ladder right now, you’ll end up facing one Shaman every two games.
What. Did. You. Expect? Another class maybe? Nop.
Control Shaman closes the rock-scissors-paper of today’s Standard. It is a deck capable of winning basically any Control mirrors while maintaining a good win rate against the best deck in the game right now.
Control Shaman is a deck that aims to win the game by constantly clearing the opponent’s board while gaining tons and tons of health while playing an absurd amount of late-game threats. This deck is being so successful right now because the Aggressiveness of the metagame has slowed down quite a bit, so there almost always is time to react. Another thing that makes Control Shaman better than most Control decks in the mirror is how good and multi-value the cards are.
Control Shaman also became much better after Karazhan with the addition of spirit-claws and maelstrom-portal, but because it is a Control deck (meaning it actually has decision-making process) the deck is only played by the most courageous of the players to reach high Legend rank against all the Midrange Shamans and Control Warriors.
The list featured in this article is WiReR’s #1 Legend Control Shaman.
And now let’s give credit to where’s due: ShtanUdachi reached #1 Legend in Europe playing this rather untraditional Anyfin Paladin.
So you’ll start making this deck, copy-pasting like we all do, but then you’ll notice that there seems to be 32 cards in the deck. You’ll check it, you’ll re-check it, but you won’t be finding the extra card. Well: It’s the aldor-peacekeeper that the deck DOESN’T have!
Yep, you read it right: A Control Paladin deck just dumped Aldor Peacekeeper, and not any Control Paladin deck, but the most successful of the lot. And why is that, you ask me? Well, it is simple: The card is useless against literally 50% of what you’ll be facing: SHAMANS!
Shamans don’t care about having 1-attack minions as long as they have minions, and Aldor Peacekeeper kind of becomes useless in half of the matchups you’ll be facing in the ladder, which means it makes him a bad card in today’s metagame.
Well, outside from the no-Aldor, the deck also runs azure-drake, the-curator and stampeding-kodo, in favor of proactiveness.
But you would ask me: How on Earth does this deck wins when half the metagame is playing hex?? Well, it is simple: YOU kill your own Murlocs the turn you play them! As long as you are killing your own murlocs you should be fine, but keep in mind this is a very hard deck to play with, so don’t expect to have easy wins as you would with Shamans. This deck also isn’t as good as any Shaman deck in a void, despite being a deck that countered a bunch of specific decks to Rank 1 Legend.
Just as Anyfin Paladin, Control Warrior is nowhere close to being as good as Midrange Shaman, but it makes it’s way into the Top 5 because it has the slightest chances of playing equally against Midrange Shaman.
I played my Control Warrior version, which is the one that runs soggoth-the-slitherer for a lot of games in the ladder earlier today, and since I only had around 50% winrate against Shamans (losing sometimes even against Shamans that would constantly miss-play) I decided to stop playing Control Warrior and went to play Control Shaman instead, which is a much better deck at anything Control Warrior can do in today’s metagame.
Control Warrior used to be much better than Control Shaman because of the Hunter spam in the Ladder that would easily crush Control Shaman. Since the call-of-the-wild nerf, though, Control Shaman became the go-to Control deck to play in the Ladder.
However, if you are not into playing Shaman right now, well, there is this tier-2 Control deck called Control Warrior that you can play and have a 50-something per cent winrate against Midrange Shamans while getting completely destroyed by both Totem Shaman and Control Shaman.
The list featured in this article is Rosty’s #1 Legend Yogg Control Warrior.
I know, that is kinda sad, and I am simply unoptimistic right now about the metagame as it seems like the only thing I faced for 10 long hours of playtesting were Shamans. I played a bunch of other apparently awesome deck lists that would have good winrates against most classes but would get completely outclassed by Shamans, which currently can do anything other classes do but better.
If there were to be some kind of “meta snapshot” right now Shamans would be Tier-1 decks, there would be no Tier-2 decks, and everything else deemed viable would be Tier-3, that is how much better Shamans are than the other classes.
There are, however, a bunch of other decks I am still to playtest, so maybe we can find the hidden gem that counters all the Shamans in the near future!
Stay tuned at Hearthstoneplayers because I will try SUPER HARD to find something that beats Shamans and aren’t Shamans!
See you guys in the next article!