Rock is Aggro, Paper is Control, Scissors is Combo. Here are more than ten decks to attack a heavily polarized Hearthstone meta.
Hearthstone is in turmoil. Well, rather– the people that play Hearthstone are in turmoil. “A state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty”– when you test the air, it feels like the community at large is troubled. This is undeniably a weird Hearthstone meta. We as combatants went from a “Turn 10” format to a “Turn 6” format overnight– that’s huge! That’s an enormous, bounding leap. If you remember the format before Forged in the Barrens, with Galakrond and Friends, that too was slow. Scholomance zoomed us up a little bit with some of the most powerful cards of the year, but even still it was a juggernaut-style format full of gigantic back and forth swing turns.
Now, you just die. Well, rather– it feels like you just die. But a lot of the feelings surrounding this metagame come down to the fact that we aren’t just slamming sweepers turn after turn anymore.
There are actual factual combo decks that are doing extremely powerful things– but you can kill them before they go off.
This Hearthstone meta has insanely aggressive beatdown strategies that can just kill you on turn five– but you can stem that bleeding with effective removal spells if you’d prefer.
There are stiflingly strong decks full of piles of answers that just never let you get your footing– now minion-less combo is good again.
- Rock = “Aggro”
- Paper = “Control”
- Scissors = “Combo”
This is the Rock-Paper-Scissors of the Hearthstone meta we have right now. There is plenty to learn, explore and enjoy, no matter what archetype you prefer. If you want to have fun playing card games you need to accept that metagames do cycle, that change is a virtue, and that every new meta is a jungle. It is up to you to decide if you want to put in the effort to decipher the map. Not every jungle is easy.
Here are ten decks. Find which one best suits you, sharpen it, and try carving away at some vines.
Fel Demon Hunter (Paper/Scissors)
Demon Hunter has gone through some changes, but you’ll find a lot of fan favorites here. Referred to as “Fel DH” this is the reincarnation of OTK Lifesteal Demon Hunter, but mixed with some Soul Demon Hunter that won with Marrowslicer. This deck is a great example of a Paper/Scissors hybrid– it’s hard to tell whether it should be Combo first or Control first, but it does both very well.
Jace Darkweaver acts as a great secondary win condition, re-casting your entire game like a green Yogg-Saron with better glasses. Mr. Darkweaver does everything: he clears the board, gains a ton of life, and sets up a big Punch. This deck often wins in chunks when it wants to be more like Paper, but can suddenly OTK you just like you remember when it’s Scissors time.
If you want to play a deck that loves to slay Aggro (Rock) while still having corner-turning wombo combos (when you go Scissors to beat other Paper), this might be for you.
Mulligans: Card Draw, Skull on the Left, and Removal vs. Aggro
Deck Code: AAECAea5AwTQ3QON9wOXoATsoAQN6b4D2cYD3dMDx90D8+MDlegDwvEDifcDjPcDmfkDg58Etp8EtKAEAA==
Bonus List: If you want a Pure Scissors Demon Hunter, check out Brutes, the very fun and very hard Lion’s Frenzy OTK deck.
Taunt Aggro Druid (Rock)
When Oracle of Elune first hit the streets there was a brief flutter of talk, but then it disappeared. No one bothered to play too much of this deck while the focus was on Warlock and Shaman, but Ike believes. This deck is a Rock deck that can get ahead of other Rocks with “fast mana” Blooms and Innervates while still trying to be sticky and explosive enough to beat Scissors.
This is his first list, and the cute new interaction is between Stormwind Guard and Razormane Battleguard. Stormwind Guard is a card you have literally never seen before– this was in the chunk of Neutrals just released in Stormwind that people straight up ignored. But Ike compares him to Fungalmancer, a card from long ago with a strong board presence that can now be played as early as turn three.
A density of five-mana taunts are an important consideration for this deck because of how the Battleguard curves right into them. Greybough is a common inclusion and a very strong card, but isn’t necessary if you want to Budget this.
If the Drake is in your hand when you have a Razormane Battleguard in play the Drake will cost (1), then be Corrupted by almost anything! Be careful to not accidentally get rid of the temporary reduction by playing another Taunt, and yes, Oracle copies the Corrupted 5/6 Drake if it costs (1)!
Mulligans: Squirrel, Battleguard, Oracle, look for power turns with fast mana.
Deck Code: AAECAZICAvvtA/zoAw6unwTw1AO50gPs9QOE9wOB9wOK7QO57AOt7APJ9QOM5AO++QOS7gOI9AMA
Quest Hunter (Paper/Scissors)
This is a list from Hunter Streamer Extraordinaire HattriK, a reliable source on all things Rexxar. This Quest is far more powerful than the play rate it carries, and I want to highlight it as a legitimate option.
Hunter has been a very good Pure Rock deck lately, and that traditional Face list can be found here. If the Hearthstone meta continues to trend towards some of the Control decks getting better as Combo gets nerfed, Quest Hunter deserves a peek.
If Face Hunter was the purest of Rock, this Hunter list represents the other sides of the triangle. This is another Paper/Scissors deck that gets to have a good matchup into Aggro like Shadow Priest or Taunt Druid but can also completely light up the other Control decks with Super Tavish.
This deck has similar vibes to Fel Demon Hunter but at a much more consistent, metered pace. You have to shoot some bullets every turn, building up tempo to a huge repeating-crossbow-style kill. Failing to load your gun or running out of gas is a legitimate issue, so carefully managing resources is critical.
This deck also gets to benefit from the “Zoo vs. Handlock” mulligan cheese where all of your opponents will hard mulligan as if you’re Face Hunter, netting you free equity on Ladder. Normally Aggro decks like Shadow Priest and Druid like to play against Hunter, but now when you start with the Quest they’ll groan in defeat.
Mulligans: Mystery Winner, Scorpid, and cheap Quest enablers based on matchup.
Deck Code: AAECAR8G5NQDj+MD5e8D/fgD0PkDl6AEDPvOA7nQA/LhA43kA4/kA5boA9zqA9vtA/f4A6mfBKqfBLugBAA=
Quest Mage (Scissors/Paper)
Quest Mage is weird. The deck is full of removal spells, yet for some reason the stats have it struggling versus Aggro. This Spice Bread Baker version slid into the Top 8 of Master’s Tour Silvermoon, and is even teched with Devolving Missiles. It truly seems like this deck should have a good matchup vs. Aggro, and I wonder if changes to the meta, playstyles or tech cards might make the difference.
This is still a deck that can farm Quest Shaman and Warlock, which are huge players in the metagame. Those two decks are Paper slanted, solidifying Mage as more of a Scissors, but I still believe in the power of a version that can smash Rock. Maybe it needs more Bread, more Missiles, or a different meta, but this deck somehow underperforms compared to how good the deck looks on paper.
One of the issues here is that Quest Shaman feels and plays very similarly to Quest Mage. With more powerful Mana abuse and easier access to Life Gain, Shaman stands tall in a hyper-fast format. But Mage beats the Combo decks better than Shaman does while also beating Shaman, so let that inform when to bust out these clippers. Try adding more Devolving Missiles if Shadow Priest and Paladin pop up, and more Bread if you see more Hunter.
Mulligans: Runed Orb, Incanter’s Flow, Arcane Intellect, cheap removal vs. Aggro
Deck Code: AAECAf0EBODMA+j3A8D5A/T8Aw3BuAPHzgPNzgP30QPU6gPQ7APR7AOn9wOu9wOy9wP8ngT9ngTonwQA
Secret Midrange Paladin (Rock)
Okay you want the spice? Here’s the spice.
Warrior and Paladin have basically been presumed dead, which feels bad for the Holy Gamers since they’ve suffered through multiple droughts in a row now. But worry not! This list is from SuperFake and levik, and though there were was some memery, I wanted to showcase this as an option.
Paladin has the tools to be a disruptive Aggro deck while Divine Shields line up well versus a Non-Polymorph Meta. This list goes a little deep– playing double Crossroads Watch Post, Double Ogremancer, and two servings of Blessing of Authority– but it gets the job done.
Though the list looks unnecessarily hateful, this deck wants to play semi-defensively until it Just Kills You. With Saps and Devolving Missiles at an all time low +8/+8 actually sticks versus damage-based removal. With the help of Battlemaster it then suddenly turns into a “20 Your Face.”
Secrets still have tons of equity against all of the Quests and critical spells needed to complete them, and the early minions target the Miracle strategies with things like Neophyte and Far Watch Post.
If you thought Paladin was dead, at least try this. There’s definitely still time to revive that little yellow slice on your Deck Tracker.
Mulligans: Knight of Anointment, Far Watch Post, Sword of the Fallen, Goody Two-Shields.
Deck Code: AAECAZ8FAvy4A5XkAw6/0QPK0QOO1AOL1QOD3gP36AP46APM6wPO6wPP6wPb7gOI9APw9gPH+QMA
Shadow Priest (Rock)
This is the de facto “new” Aggro deck of United in Stormwind. People compare it to a re-skinned Face Hunter, but this deck trades away late-game inevitability for an obscene amount of early stats.
The Gandling version seen here is becoming more and more accepted as The Best One. This deck has a number of really powerful synergies but is heavily carried by a few cards in particular.
Illucia is no longer an “oops, hee hee I disrupted your combo!” Now it’s “oops, hee hee, you have no cards in your hand for a whole turn now you’re dead.” People weren’t sure this card could get any more toxic, but now we’re privy to a whole new side of Illucia. This effect is so hard to balance, but while it’s still legal, you should steal wins with it.
Gandling + Desk Imp/Murloc Tinyfin + Raise Dead provide the final combo. Slam Gandling on 3 or 4, then make multiple 4/4s in the same breath with the help of Raise Dead. He actually kills the minions, so Raise Dead can scoop them back up. Play a ton of 0s and then replay them for 0, creating a board only Soul Rend can stop.
This is a Rock deck that really struggles into the Paper of Shaman and sometimes Warlock, but boy does it smash.
Mulligans: Frazzled Freshman, Gandling + 0s, good curves.
Deck Code: AAECAa0GBOfRA/vRA6P3A7v3Aw2wugPevgObzQPXzgO70QPG0QPP0QOL1QPK4wOK9AOt9wOVoATboAQA
If you want the full other end of the spectrum to live out your Control Priest dreams, hope isn’t lost. Here’s a bonus Holy Priest list.
Garrote Rogue (Scissors)
If you loved Miracle Rogue, then this is almost for you. If actual Miracle was your jam, it turns out you can just still play it, card for card.
But this list here fills the opposite role– old Miracle would be something like Rock/Paper, but Garrote is Pure Scissors.
The plan is this: assemble a hand of cheap cards and hit it with an Octo-bot reduction. Take your first Field Contact and draw five+ cards and removing whatever awkward opposition is in the way. That Contact always dies, but then your second Field Contact and second Octo-bot end the game. Loop Ethereal Augmerchants onto your minions to give +2 to +4 Spell Damage. Fill your deck with only Bleeds– each one then slices for 4+ damage, OTKing opponents for 30 or more.
A lot of Pros have lauded this deck as one of the hardest but most rewarding ones in the format. But this deck can be tough on Ladder. I’d recommend adding Kazakus and Brain Freezes over the Broomsticks and Pen Flingers so you can compete against random Rocks a little better.
Mulligans: Field Contact, Octo-bot, and card draw.
Deck Code: AAECAaIHAA/evgPgvgOqywOVzQOfzQOk0QOL1QPf3QPn3QPz3QOo6wOr6wP+7gOO9AP2nwQA
Quest Shaman (Paper)
This is one of my favorite decks in the game right now. This list comes from the Master’s Tour and features some odd inclusions like Entrapped Sorceress, but it goes to show how there’s actually a reasonable range of fun stuff to toss in here.
There are some other versions that, in my opinion, will likely be the future of this archetype. Doomhammer has taken hold in the hearts of the Grandmasters again, and it makes sense. This deck brutalizes Aggro– so make your Tech Cards be for Scissors and the Paper Mirror.
When a deck can actually afford to spend a few key cards to beat its bad matchups while still maintaining ground against its good ones, that’s a recipe for a scary strong deck.
This is the Paper-iest of Paper decks right now because it truly struggles to ever lose to Aggro. Perpetual Flame is a super all-star against Priest, Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Paladin, Aggro Shaman… and that’s just one card. Throw on top of it some more removal spells, Taunts, life gain, and a host of “Generated By” to fill the holes and you’ve got yourself a heater.
Mulligans: Lightning Bloom, Wandmaker, 3 mana Discover minions vs. Control and Perpetual Flame vs. Aggro.
Deck Code: AAECAaoIBJzOA8L2A4X6A/CFBA3buAOYuQPhzAP+0QPw1AOK5APq5wP67APN8gPB9gPk9gP5nwT6nwQA
Giant Quest Warlock (Rock/Paper/Scissors)
I’m sorry to say the nerfs didn’t do much of anything– it’s just the same deck as before.
One could even argue that killing 6Demons, the other Quest Warlock variant, took out this deck’s worst matchup.
You still ramp out your Giants and Gnolls and Anetheron incredibly quickly to pretend to be Rock against the Scissors.
There’s a host of removal spells and life gain to beat nearly any Rock deck.
And Super Tamsin still guarantees a late-game victory versus Paper.
If you want to play competitively, you still need to learn this deck.
We might see some changes to Backfire, the Quest itself, or Flesh Giants all the way up to 12. But until then this deck is probably the best in the room.
Mulligans: Tour Guide, Backfire vs. Slow decks and Removal + Soul Rend vs. Aggro.
Deck Code: AAECAa35Awby7QPA+QPH+QOE+wOH+wOxnwQMm80D184DwdEDi9UDk+QD2O0D8O0D8e0DiO8DxvkDg/sD56AEAA==
“Big” Warrior (Paper)
At least we get to go from The Most Meta to The Very Least Meta to close things out.
Warrior has been stuck ever since Rush Warrior died out (or did it?) and the Quest hasn’t been helpful, but Garrosh is still here. Technically.
This deck comes as a unique angle on how to still do Powerful Things in a forgotten class. There has been a relentless pursuit of How Best To Mimic Flesh Giants, and this is yet another way. If this deck is ever allowed to get to the late game, every turn is a string of one Gigantic Minion after another. Warrior might be late to this Hearthstone meta, but don’t give up yet!
On Ladder, this deck will farm the Rocks with some of the best life gain in the game and clean sweepers like Brawl. Even Quest Warlock struggles to stick Flesh Giants against this deck.
You could even try squeezing in things like Vol’jin and Mutanus to gobble up Quest Rewards, or trying to finagle more of an early beatdown shell to be a split between Rush Warrior and Control.
And hey, maybe there are still Pirates looking for an adventure somewhere.
Mulligans: Athletic Studies, Cowardly Grunt, Mine Field / Bladestorm vs. Aggro.
Deck Code: AAECAQcGwLkD+cIDq9QDju0DxvUDx/UDDLi5A+LMA6fOA9LRA7beA/fjA4/tA8T1A8z5A/iABIigBImgBAA=
“Fly, you fools!”
Now go, fly, be free!
If you don’t like this meta or it doesn’t feel like it’s “for you,” just use this as an opportunity to level yourself up.
Where do you think everyone that skipped this meta is going to be if you charge forward?
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