Don’t adjust your web browsers or send me angry tweets. That title is not a typo. Today we’re going to talk about the analysis of metagame analysis. For those of us who are casual players or just getting into Hearthstone, the Standard ladder can be a very intimidating place. What class should I pick? What cards should I craft? What am I going to be playing against?

This kind of analysis is generally known as the meta-game, a game outside of the game you’re playing. Where Hearthstone is the game, picking your deck wisely is the game outside of the game. Losing the metagame can put you at a serious disadvantage when it comes to trying to win at Hearthstone.

The metagame has been frustrating card players for decades, beginning with Magic the Gathering, the nascent internet of the 90’s, and the negative connotations of “net-decking.” Back in the infancy of both Magic and AOL, players would find successful decks, build them, and then crush their friends around the dining room table.

Now, 20 years later, we have the luxury of being able to type into Google, “What hearthstone standard deck is the best” and Google happily sets on the path to winning (or at least not horribly losing) the metagame.

This guide is not a comprehensive means of navigating the Hearthstone metagame. What we’re hoping to achieve here is just a very, very basic level of understanding of the kind of analysis that goes into reviewing the different decks that are most common, and more importantly most successful, on the Standard ladder. With this information you’ll be able to better expand your knowledge, build your decks, and hopefully climb all the way to Legend.

Voices of the CommunityHearthPwn

If you’re new to Hearthstone and you aren’t really sure what’s going on, HearthPwn can be simultaneously wonderful and terrible. The interface is clunky and the home page is not easy to get the hang of. What you’re looking for is the big block in the middle that looks like this:


These are decks that have been up-voted and viewed and commented on the most by the community at HearthPwn. By default, you see decks from the previous week, but you can change that to monthly or by patch release.

Clicking on one of these decks will give you the full list, the creator’s guide, the crafting cost, and some more information such as the mana curve (how many cards of each cost appear in the deck) and the style of deck (e.g. aggro). If you see something you like, and have the dust for, then you might have your winner.

If you have a better idea of what you want to play, say a Mage deck with Babbling Book in it because you recently got that card and really want to play it, then you can use HearthPwn’s search tool. You can click on the Decks button and you’ll be brought to a fairly simple search tool. I did a quick search for Standard Mage decks with Babbling Book costing less than 4,000 dust. The top result is a “Secret Mage” deck with Babbling Book and Medivh’s Valet. Sweet!

Voices of the ProsMetagame Tier Analysis

When I searched for “What hearthstone standard deck is the best” in Google I didn’t just get back a link to HearthPwn to see what decks the community is talking about. I also got back links to four different metagame analysis sites. These are websites that specialize in competitive Hearthstone analysis and are trying to help guide you (yes you) in your search to pick the right deck.

I am not making a value judgment on these sites over others. I want to emphasize that these four analysis sites are the top results in Google and therefore most likely to be used by casual and new players (which is most players). If you think another site does better analysis that’s great, please let me know so I can check it out if I haven’t already, but also you should let them know they might want to considering improving their Google ranking.

The four analysis sites that we discovered were (in alphabetical order):

Each of these sites brings something different to the table, so if you want the best odds at playing the metagame you’re going to want to check out all of them.

Hearthstone Top Decks provides a list of the top decks on the ladder by class with an overview, a mulligan guide (invaluable), an incredibly detailed strategy guide, tips, alternatives, and a budget version of the deck list. You can also find lists of featured decks from the ladder and from tournament play as well as community decks (similar to HearthPwn).

Icy Veins is structured very differently, with a guide to each class instead of specific decks. Within the class guide you’ll find ladder decks, non-ladder decks (somewhat non-competitive), and budget decks. Icy Veins also has crafting guides to help those of you having trouble deciding what to do with your dust, though those haven’t been updated with either Wrath of the Old Gods or Karazhan, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

MetaBomb publishes a monthly seasonal guide to which decks you should expect to see on the Ladder in the coming season. They follow that up with guides to playing each of the top decks in the format throughout the season. Their guides are as in-depth as Hearthstone Top Decks, but they focus on only the top decks from the ladder.

Last, but certainly not least, is Tempo Storm. Tempo Storm is well known for their Standard Snapshot in which they break down the top decks into multiple tiers of competitive level. In addition to giving detailed guides for strategy and mulligans, they also provide trends from week-to-week, and also recommendations for modifying the deck based on whether or not you’re playing against more aggro or control.

Getting onto the bottom rung of Hearthstone’s Standard ladder is easy, but figuring out how to take the next step can be challenging, especially if you’re not keyed into the metagame. You don’t need to pick a metagame deck to win but knowing what you’re going to be up against is an absolute must if you want to move into single-digit rungs of the ladder, let alone reach the legendary top.

Rich has been playing Hearthstone on and off since the closed beta and has a golden E.T.C. to prove it. He enjoys playing Zoolock on the ladder and wishes he could figure out how to get more than five wins in the Arena. He’s really looking forward to playing Silence-Aggro Priest once Karazhan is live.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.