The sixth week of the Grandmasters Tour for Hearthstone wrapped up with many predictable results in shielding, bans, and matchups. As players now realize, the most popular classes remain Priest, Druid, Shaman, Hunter, and Paladin. Warrior is still popping up, but is seeing less inclusion in lineups as the nerfs to Dr. Boom finally appear to have caught up with the control archetype. While the meta feels stable now, Ragnaros and other Wild cards will be back to shake things up in only a matter of days.
A Druid "Highlander" Deck Gains Steam
The week brought some surprises for the Priest class, as it was still shielded more than other decks, but showed less overall dominance compared to previous weeks. This weekend we saw Cong "StrifeCro" Shu face off against Edward "Gallon" Goodwin, and while both players shielded their Priest decks, there were no big changes from the previous weeks’ matchups. In the end, Strifecro took the matchup 2-1 with his Druid and Priest decks.
Strifecro played what some are terming a “Highlander” Druid, which is primarily a tempo-based quest druid with plenty of duplicates. However, it is one that aims to use the power of Zephrys the Great if the game goes long and there is enough time to draw through the deck to activate the card’s battlecry effect.
Attempting to include Highlander cards in decks that do not meet the strict activation conditions has always been an on-and-off again strategy, especially during the days of Reno Jackson and the “League of Explorers” adventure, but most players shy away from the unnecessary risk of drawing the card early only to have it sit in one’s hand for too long.
Dr. Boom Nerfs Take Their Toll
Alexandr “Kolento” Malsh faced off against Jon "Orange" Westberg in a match that began in a bland fashion with a combo Priest mirror match. The matches after were far more interesting with Kolento showing off the power of his Highlander Hunter and Holy Wrath Paladin. The final game between the two saw Kolento’s Hunter against Orange’s Warrior, and the match is a great example of the power now available to tempo classes since Dr. Boom is no longer playable so early in the game.
Tempo Decks Remain Strong
Another matchup where Priest again failed to shine was Euneil "Staz" Javiñas vs Jang "Dawn" Hyun Jae. Staz protected his Hunter deck as he has done for most of the Grandmasters Tour. We then saw Staz win a second game easily with his Malygos Druid, although the help of the dragon was not needed, and DawN was simply unable to keep up with the board development.
One might consider this a changing of the meta away from combo priest in the long-term, however we will not know for sure thanks to the incoming event on October 4 which will bring over twenty cards from the Wild pool over to Standard, including two heavy hitters with Ragnaros the Firelord and N’Zoth, The Corruptor.