TGT: An Early Meta Report

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Greetings Hearthstone fans, The Grand Tournament has been out for almost a week; it’s time to do an early review of what’s popular, and what’s not. In this article, we will be looking at the rising meta decks for each class, to give you a better idea of what you’ll face on the ladder while climing. The meta has slowed down somewhat, and it shows with the dominant decks mostly being control, or midrange oriented.

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Players have found success with the new class legendary, Avina. In conjunction with cards like Darnassus Aspirant, and Astral Communion Avina provides powerful ramp capabilities for the already strong Ramp Druid archtype. Cards like Living Roots have given Druid powerful early game removal, as well as Token synergy. Token Druid has also risen in popularity, and provides players with a faster archtype to grind out the games to Legend rank.

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Next up is Hunter. The class has slowed down a fair amount in the early days of TGT. Beasts have become a popular tribe in the expansion with cards like Ram Wrangler, and King’s Elekk. Midrange variants of Beast decks have flourished so far, with many people piloting them to Legend, including popular streamer Kripparrian. It remains to be seen whether or not Control Hunter will work, but you can be sure many people will give it a shot, as it remains one of the most coveted archtypes for the class.

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Dragon mage has taken flight in TGT, popularized by Brian Kibler. The neutral legendary Chillmaw has given rise to the Control style Dragon Mage, and allowed for some impressive board clearing ability. There have been small tweaks to the existing Tempo Mage, with cards like the new secret Effigy that has brought a strong replacement for the commonly ran Mirror Entity. The class legendary, Rhonin has also seen play in Tempo decks, but it might end up being a tad bit too slow for anything but a Grinder style mage.

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Paladin is one of, if not the, class that has benefited the most in this expansion. Mysterious Challenger has created a Secret archtype for Paladin, and shows little signs of slowing down. The deck currently dominates on the ladder, and will do so until players learn to counter it. The streamer Reckful was among the first to bring Secret Paladin to the ladder, and will surely refine it in the days to come. Justicar Trueheart, a popular neutral legendary, has seen quite a bit of play in the tried and true Midrange decks. When combined with the Paladin hero power, and the neutral card Silver Hand Regent the value can be quite overwhelming. Murloc Knight has also gained a spot in many Paladin decks of all kinds, as the insane value it generates makes it a force to be mrgled with.

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Dragon Priest, created by Reynad, has seen quite a bit of ladder play since the beginning of the expansion. This Control style deck brings as massive amount of taunts to the board, as well as a large amount of Dragon synergy. The Twilight Guardian card is a cornerstone of Dragon Priest, as it provides the class with the ability to hold strong in the midgame. The deck’s ability to grind the opponent down has proven to be a boon for Priest players, many of whom felt uninspired by the early releases of TGT Priest cards.

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Rogue is one of the classes that has benefited the least from The Grand Tournament. The Pirate tribe is still not strong enough to really see competitive play, despite new cards being added in every expansion. Burgle is perhaps the most exciting card that Rogues have recieved, and will likely be a 1-off in many decks. Oil Rogue remains the dominant Rogue deck, with little changes aside from a possible Refreshment Vendor. Aggro Rogue might see some ladder play due to cards like Argent Horserider, and Buccaneer.

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Shaman has seen quite a jump in terms of viability in TGT. Midrange Shaman, in particular, is a commonly seen deck on the ladder at the moment. Trump was one of the first to round out the TGT incarnation of this deck, as well as Amaz, who prefers a more late game oriented version. Cards such as Totem Golem, and Tuskarr Totemic were on the top of many pro player’s teir lists before the expansion launched. However, the deck can run out of steam fairly quickly, despite the constant stream of totems. Time will tell if it becomes a staple.

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In a surprising turn of events, a new Warlock deck has come about in the early Grand Tournament days. Dreadsteed has given rise to an interesting style of play for Gul’dan. Underplayed cards such as Baron Rivendare, and Twisting Nether, in conjunction with Mal’Ganis, can yield impressive results when combined with Dreadsteed. Kripparrian was one of the first to show this deck to a wide audience. Zoo players are currently experimenting with Wrathguard, but are undecided if he brings enough value to be included as a staple.

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Warrior has refined the already powerful Dragon Control archtype it ran prior to TGT. The class legendary Varian Wrynn has proven to generate massive tempo, and can often swing games in a decisive manner. Alexstraza’s Champion provides the class with valuable early game, which it often lacked. Twilight Guardian also brings a valuable taunt to the tribe, and allows the Warrior to stall even further into the late game, where it shines. As a side note, Patron Warrior is still considered to be one of the stronger decks on the ladder, despite not having a large presence at the moment. Once the meta stabilizes, you can be sure we’ll see a resurgance of the deck that has dominated teir lists since early GvG.

It remains to be seen how many of these decks will make it to the long term meta. Many of them are slight variations on exsisting deck types though, and it will not be surprising if we see them in the months to come. Until then keep climing, and may the RNG be with you!

Dave Eaton

An avid Hearthstone player after the game released. When he isn't writing, he can be found sipping on coffee, enjoying some EDM, and gaming with his girlfriend. Don't let him fool you, she's better than he is.

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