Decks to look out for at IEM Shenzen

With IEM Shenzen’s $10,000 tournament coming up this week, it’s a great time to take a look at the current hearthstone meta. What decks can we expect to see this week and why? We broke down the top played decks in this most recent season to show what makes them perform so well in the current meta. Of course, in a tournament you can always expect to see some off the wall stuff, but here are our guesses.

The Current Meta

At the highest level of any competition, the most crucial factor is adaptability. While you’ll occasionally see cheesy or offbeat strategies take a win here or there, gimmicks very rarely last for long. Sure,Freeze Mages exist and perform well, but we’ve seen them before and we’ve seen them disappear in a round of balancing. The reason each of the below decks have earned a spot in the article is because they have very few weaknesses. They allow a player to adapt to any sort of opponent and consistently perform well.

Handlock

This deck doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, or strengths for that matter, which may be the reason why it’s doing so well recently. With the current meta favoring Miracle decks or the freeze Mage type combos, the goal of this deck is simply to stay out of combo range. The name of the deck comes from relying pretty heavily on having a massive hand.

By making use of the Warlock hero power, your goal is to fill up your hand and toss out extremely cheap Mountain Giants or huge Twilight Drakes. Then, in the event that you’ve brought your life total too low, you can also summon Molten Giants for extremely cheap. Staying out of combo range comes down to effectively using both taunts and heals. Both Siphon Soul and Earthen Ring Farseer are crucial for the deck to keep working.  

Miracle Rogue

Miracle Rogue is another deck that is extremely flexible, but arguably takes much more skill to correctly play. The deck has been dominating the meta for two seasons now. Playing this deck well relies on understanding all of the potential threats your opponent still has available. Not a good deck for beginners, it’s typically found at the highest ranks and all throughout Legendary. The name of the game with this deck is combo-ing cards. The deck is heavily reliant on card draw so that you can get the right cards into your hand to execute those combos. If you mistakenly lose your Gadgetzan Auctioneer, you’ve pretty much lost the match.

As you may notice as you read through a few deck lists of various Miracle Rogue variations, the mana curve is extremely low. This low curve allows each card to be used to its full potential relatively early. Take for example Leeroy Jenkins, Shadowstep, and Eviscerate. That’s an instant 16 damage for 8 mana. Add in the fact that you’ve got a card draw engine pushing more cards into your hand, and a smart player can easily pull off 30 damage for less than 10 mana. Like I mentioned before though, the deck requires you to know exactly what your opponent has available to them. There are a few ways that your combo can get thrown off and put the Miracle Rogue into a world of hurt. 

Token Druid

Token Druid is an interesting deck that makes use of, you guessed it, tokens! The strength of this deck comes from the element of surprise. Since Druids have access to Savage Roar and Power of the Wild, they can turn a bunch of small creatures into a force to be reckoned with. The goal of the deck is to maintain control of the board and wait for Savage Roar or Power of the Wild to turn a very weak looking board into a one turn sweep. The mainstays of the deck also include Violet Teacher for token generation as well as Druid of the Claw, Swipe, and Wrath for board control.

The Road the Shenzhen

The reason we can expect to see iterations of these decks at Shenzen is that they’re each flexible. Other decks like Freeze Mage or the recent Paladin decks fill very niche roles and can easily be countered. The three decks above on the other hand are safe for tournament play because they perform well regardless of the opponent

The tournament this week is set to be the biggest Hearthstone tournament to date and looks to be a very interesting match up between various superstars from the ladder. There’s always a chance for one of the master minds to surprise us during the tournament, so stay tuned to see if there’s anything you can take with you into the ladder. Check out yesterday’s article on the players attending the event and other big news in the HS scene!

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