Optimized and adaptable decklists – these decks dominate the high legend ranks.
With Sower of Revenge and Wood Orc Headhunters as its finishers, midrange warrior has the best reach and ability to push damage. It utilizes the resilient cards of Endurance (Windkeep Spellsword, Haunting Spirit) to hold the board down and the aggressive cards of Strength (Steel Scimitar, Morkul Gatekeeper) to burst down the opponent.
Matchups: It does well against other midrange decks as it has far better reach and burst, and can simply race the other midrange decks. It can have a weak matchup against control decks like scout and archer if they are able to efficiently remove all its threats.
*This orc variant is probably a tier two deck, but has similar strengths and weaknesses to midrange warrior.
The addition of Cradlecrush Giant allowed the deck to cut Ice Storms which was a hindrance in control matchups. With this more proactive strategy, it has a better matchup against control while maintaining its ability to play from behind against tokens or other midrange strategies. The mass amounts of warded abilities like Breton Conjurer, Sentinel Battlemace allow it to control the board very efficiently. Meanwhile, the late game giant package offers insane value, tempo swings and big creatures to smack face.
Matchups: There are many variations of this deck, some which have cut atromancers and opted for the giant strategy as its finisher. Since it is a flexible deck, it can be teched against aggro or control, and does not have extremely unfavorable matchups other than control mage which has fallen out of favor.
Token Strategies – Mage/Monk/Crusader
Although not as popular as before, token mage still remains one of the strongest decks in game. As with most token strategies, it centers around Willpower cards such as Fifth Legion Trainer, Scouting Patrol and Pit Lion to swarm the board to overwhelm opponents. The inclusion of Intelligence allows it to have access to Wardcrafter and Daggerfall Mage to control the board, and access to reach in Lightning Bolt.
Matchups: The ability to go wide and under opponents makes the deck favored against midrange strategies and control decks that do not run many area of effect (AOE) removal. It also has the ability to recover from behind with healing cards like Bruma Profiteer or Dawnstar Healer. On the other hand, it is unfavored against control decks or midrange decks that run AOE such as Skaven Pyromancers, Cradlecrush Giants, Drain Vitality, Ice Storm.
Although not as strong as decks in tier one, they are still popular and can even find favorable matchups against tier one decks.
Rage Archer/Factotum Archer: – Control/Journey/Rage Archer
With rage being 8 mana, archer was at a awkward spot because it used to run triple 8 drops – Vigilant Giant, Eclipse Baroness and Unstoppable Rage and it became very easy to draw very awkward hands with nothing playable in the early game. However, with the introduction of a powerful draw mechanic like Namira’s Shrine, a new archetype evolved – a more defensive variant that got rid of all of those expensive cards in order to be more defensive with cards like Giant Bat and Finish Off and no expensive 8 drops. It’s whole late game was reliant on Journey and Conscription combo. While this deck was probably tier 1 before the Journey nerf, it’s late game severely hit by the last nerf because it can no longer cheat out Journey value. However, this is not noticeable against midrange and aggro decks.
Matchups: This variant is very strong against anything aggro and midrange – which is most of the ladder right now – but struggles to close out games against other control decks or decks that can starve it out of cards by denying Namira’s Shrine – like control scout or doomcrag warrior.
Item sorcerer is not a new deck, and has been one of the top tier decks in the past. One of the weaknesses was it’s tendency to lose to itself when it did not draw its cycle items. Now that Treasure Map is a card, along with Master Swordsmith to buff these weak cycle items, item sorcerer has become one of the strongest decks again as Eyenie piloted this list to #2. It’s strength comes from the ability to manipulate stats to take favorable trades while able to draw. Furthermore, Master of Arms and Gardner of Swords offer the deck immense resource extension against control.
Matchups: Since it’s strength comes from the ability to easily take favorable trades, it’s weakest matchups are tokens or aggressive decks. Against other midrange decks, it has control tools with its shackle, blue removal and buffed up guards.
With the introduction of Bleakcoast Troll, midrange sorcerer is even harder to control and has seen a rise in popularity. Midrange sorcerer’s minions are more sticky on the board but it doesn’t have access to the power 5 drops in midrange warrior, so there is less burst potential and an early board wipe like drain vitality is a lot more efficient against midrange sorcerer. Overall, that makes it more susceptible to hard control decks.
Matchups: As it depends heavily on control over the field lane, midrange sorcerer struggles against faster decks like tokens and has a decent chance of winning against other midrange decks. It is somewhat susceptible to shout scout and control archer.
Tullius’ Conscription Assassin
The introduction of Tullius Conscription led to the creation of Tullius/Journey Assassin deck which utilizes various 2-drops to be able to play Conscription without the need of Journey to thin 6-8 cards while have utility such as draw, shackle and guards. To finish control decks, this variant of Assassin will most likely find its Journey/Conscription quite quickly due to its cycle.
Matchups: Drain Vitality and Cruel Firebloom makes the deck quite decent against midrange and aggressive strategies. However due to all the cheap minions to make conscription viable, it can sometimes be overwhelmed by midrange, particularly sorcerer, when it does not draw its AOE.
Real question is wether they are still playable? Now that CVH is CM first and player 2nd, we may never know.
Average in terms of power level and in need of refinement.
The introduction of Namira’s Shrine led to a control variation of Doomcrag Warrior that was able to cycle extremely efficiently to effectively use Journey as its win condition. The deck uses cheap minions to fight against aggressive decks while able to convert them into value through Namira’s Shrine, Disciple of Namira or Doomcrag Warrior. The nerf to Journey did not hinder this deck too much, as it only really stops the OTK potential.
Matchups: It handles tokens and aggressive strategies well due to its ping strategy for removal. However it can struggle against resilient minions as it relies on Doomcrag as its hard removal, so Midrange Sorcerer and Warrior can be tough matchups. Against control, it is the best at finding Journey if the Shrines are left on board; control decks that do not run or draw their support removal will be favorable matchups while those that do will be unfavorable matchups.
While it has favorable matchup the tier one decks, it loses too frequently to any other form of control or combo decks. Control mage typically runs no support removal so it has a hard time dealing with common support cards like Namira’s Shrine. Prior to the Journey nerf, it was nearly unplayable due to the popularity of the Journey/Conscription combo.
The combination of Cliff Racers, Lightning Bolts, Ancano and Tazkad offers this class the best form of reach. Yet it struggles against the other midrange decks as its minions cannot compete with those of Willpower or Endurance. The addition of Doppelganger pushes the archetype more towards reach based gameplans, although it does allow for some synergy with tempo cards such as Leaflurker and Shearpoint Dragon. Still, its over reliance on finding and sticking a power 2 drop (Traitor or Skulk) to make up for less than resilient mid game minions makes it too inconsistent.
It is a good deck to efficiently climb ladder, and it will punish greedy control decks. However when faced against opponent’s who know how to play around prophecies, it’s power level can be quite weak.
After the nerf of the core ramp cards, the latest version of scout uses shouts as it’s main win condition. With Greybeard Mentors, Word Walls and Scout’s Report (in some cases even Merchant Camels) you can reliably find your power cards and quickly buff your shouts to lvl 3. The lack of ramp hurts your matchup vs other control decks but allows you to be a lot more defensive against midrange and aggro.
Matchups: With the right draw no matchup is unwinnable but Control Scout struggles to stabilise against what is probably the most common archetype currently on ladder – Midrange Warrior – and this is the main reason we’ve not placed it in tier 1. However, barring this matchup, it is in a very strong position.
Decks that struggle in the meta, but are popular and can find success when played at a high skilled level.
The once mighty aggro slayer utilised Mage’s impressive Prophecy suite and Midrange board control tools to terrorise the ladder. That was last year though. The deck saw a resurgence post RTCC with players embracing the extra reach granted by Clockwork Apostle but still had a miserable control matchup. Midrange decks in general trended away from relying on prophecies as defensive tools. Thrives when aggro is abundant but folding to slow decks with 3 fateweavers in hand keeps Mid Mage as an occasional climbing deck early in the season.
Pack Leader as the monthly card saw Mid Monk decks of all stripes handing out free wins early last season. The Nobel Prize for duh was handed out to the first player to play without the garbage wolves, and the card established itself as the powerful yet strictly worse 4 drop for those who want to feel clever or role play. The archetype eventually returned to its former use as a way for Petamax to casually demonstrate his godhood, and with high quality drops at almost every point on the curve a standardised (non animal) version is yet to truly emerge. It’s like Spellsword, but with good prophecies and fantastic burst in Cliff Racer and Tazkad. Goblin Skulk, Cloudrest Illusionist and Hive Defender are ubiquitous, and that sounded so smart <3.
A few people thought that Black Hand Messenger is the card Altar Assassin needed to be pulled out of tier 4. Unfortunately, as it has always been the case, Altar costs a bit too much considering that it needs several turns of sacrificing creatures in order to get positive value. While Messenger helped, Altar Assassin still struggles against decks with support removal or decks that apply consistent pressure.
Support Mage is a deck that usually wins by amassing massive amounts of value through support cards like Orb of Vaermina and Goldbrand and Tower Alchemist. Unfortunately, while this deck used to be a lot stronger, it has a very hard time dealing with all the support removal floating around the ladder and just loses to other high value support cards (like Namira’s Shrine) as it usually doesn’t run support removal itself.
Goblin Assassin/Goblin Archer
As it has always been the case, the problem with Goblin decks is that they rely a bit too much on Goblin Skirmisher. While there are games where goblins can snowball beyond anyone’s capability to comeback as early as turn 3, this is not going to happen in your average game and goblins have proven to be a bit too unreliable to have consistent matchups. Still, it’s certainly worth a run if you find yourself matching against constant purple midrange decks such as Warrior or Sorcerer, as its burst combined with a little bit of move to get around guards wins most races.