Hello, I am Cursed, a competitive hearthstone player representing Team Phantasma.
Hearthstone expansions have always turned the meta upside down, but even an update featuring nerfs made to a handful of cards, like the recent one, can have tremendous impact on what is being played and which decks are the most efficient for ladder or tournament modes. In this article, we will be going into detail on how the nerfs have been shaping the meta and affecting each class.
Firstly, let us address the elephant in the room. Priests had already been dominating the meta before the recent update and the fact that the nerfs completely missed the class did not help challenge their reign.
Not only did their two main archetypes (Clone Priest and Control Priest) maintain their power level, but the class also gained some new very strong decks. Namely, Wall Priest has been terrorizing ladder from the very first days the nerfs hit. Faster, Divine Spirit combo decks and the occasional Spiteful Priests complete the roster of Priest decks.
Clone Priest still appears to be the strongest deck out there. Despite being weak against some hyper aggressive decks, Face Hunter for example, it cannot be completely countered and can muscle through any deck.
Control Priest and Wall Priest are also really powerful and can deal even better with aggression, but they can often struggle against control decks like Odd Warrior and even an occasional, early Hunter Death-Κnight.
Divine spirit combo decks seem to be a little weaker, but they can often catch people by surprise with a fast kill from full life with minimum board presence. There really isn't a point in playing Spiteful Priest with so many strong Priest archetypes, but the deck can perform well when it manages to hit its curve.
A close second to the power house that is Priest is no other than Hunter! Even though the nerfs hit the class hard, they surely did not cripple her. The strongest and most popular Hunter archetypes at the moment are Midrange Hunter, Deathrattle Hunter, Secret Hunter and last but not least Odd Face Hunter!
To begin with, Midrange Hunter had no trouble replacing Hunter's mark with more bodies, or even a cute revenge of the wild tech. Some lists still run one but it seems disruptive of their fast paced, aggressive play style. The deck is probably the strongest Hunter has to offer at the moment, being able to beat anything, whether it is by curving and killing you faster than you might have expected, pulling a huge hyena buffing turn or going the long way with some DeathΚnight assistant.
Deathrattle Hunter is also a very strong deck that has an amazing match-up against control and slow decks. Probably not the best Hunter has to offer in terms of ladder, it becomes a deadly weapon in certain tournament lineups that try to target exactly those decks.
Odd Face Hunter and Secret Hunter exist in this meta for pretty much the same reason. While being mediocre in raw power, they have a good match-up against some of the more popular decks in the field. Odd Face Hunter is a natural predator to every Warlock deck, has a pretty good match-up against the Priest archetypes and can punish slow decks like Deathrattle Hunter.
Secret Hunter has a very good match-up against Midrange Hunter!
On the contrary to Hunter's nerfs, the one that hit Paladin was indeed a crippling one for a number of archetypes. To general great dismay, Uther OTK Paladin and Holy Wrath Paladin are no more!
This nerf was probably the biggest one of the five making it very tough for a slow Control Paladin to see successful play. However, not everything is grim for the champions of light, since Odd Paladin is still going strong, Even Paladin is very much alive and there is even a new promising archetype, Secret Paladin!
Among the three, the most popular seems to be Odd Paladin, even though they all have strong match-ups against Hunters and other aggressive decks.
Not much to talk about here. The Flametongue nerf was a huge blow to an already struggling class. It single-handedly destroyed the only popular archetype Shaman had. Unless you want to give yourself a headache playing Peanut Shaman the only real choice you have is Elemental Shaman. Still, the deck seems generally weak against the field.
The Post-Nerf Meta analysis will conclude, with the rest of the classes, in the second part that will be published in the following days!
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