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May 4, 2017

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Running Wild: Meta Report


Greetings, dear readers, and welcome to another installment of ”Running Wild”, the article series where I cover just about all things regarding the wild format. We’re finally here. It has been a bit less than a month since Journey to Un’Goro had launched and now it is time to take a look at the current wild format metagame! Wonder what the wild metagame looks like now that we’ve got new cards? Well, wonder no more and get ready to dive into our first wild meta report! As always I will be using MetaStats (meta report) as my source of information because it is one of the rare wild metagame report sites that uses actual data.

Sit back, relax, and let’s dive right into this! :)

Pre-Report Predictions

As you all know, I’ve been covering the impact of Journey to Un’Goro ever since the expansion was announced and I’ve made a lot of predictions about what the next wild metagame might look like. I would like to share with you some opinions that both I and a good portion of the wild community have had about the upcoming new wild format meta and let’s see how far off were we. It was almost unanimous that Awaken the Makers is going to be the absolute MVP of the wild metagame. There were tons of comments how Reno deathrattle dragon priest is going to be the most powerful deck for a very long time. Even I’ve shared my opinion on this and I was extremely hyped about the priest quest card.

Pirate warrior was said to remain strong because it didn’t really lose anything with the nerf and there were a lot of opinions about Reno decks dominating the wild because, apparently, Reno players will shift to wild once their favorite deck becomes unplayable. Quest hunter was hyped to no end as one of the most powerful decks because the quest card seemed to be completely insane and quest mage was hyped for both standard and wild. I personally have had high hopes fo zoo warlock because it is one of my favorite decks. I also remember some people saying that murloc shaman is going to be insanely strong but I’ve had my doubts about that one.

So, this is the short summary of the pre-report predictions. I know that it doesn’t look like much but eternal formats, such as wild, have extremely solid meta games which are quite hard to shake and it is really rare for a completely new deck to come out of the blue and make a huge impact on the wild format. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the wild report, shall we?

Pirates Still Dominate

This didn’t come as much of a surprise as it did as a disappointment. Pirate warrior currently dominates the wild metagame wih a 12,39% popularity on the entire ladder and 18,91% popularity on ranks 5-legend. For comparison, the following most popular deck on those ranks is Reno priest with only 5,14% popularity. That is 13,77% less than the pirate warrior! The power level of this aggro deck is absolutely of the charts and one would thing that at least the wild format, the format with the most anti-aggro tools, would have a fighting chance against this scourge but it seems like the deck is just too effective. It pushed a lot of decks out of the metagame, including secret paladin which is currently 17th out of 20 meta decks and with the popularity of only 2.44% on all ranks!

I really can’t express my full frustration regarding this. Wild has been my go to format since forever and I’ve been playing it the whole past year but ever since Means Streets of Gadgetzan the format has been taking a beating from the pirate warrior which had turned out to be everywhere. The developers have nerfed the deck but it apparently did nothing because pirate warrior is still the top tier and the most played deck in both formats, which is absolutely insane! I honestly hope that, after the upcoming wild tournament, the developers will finally see the light and do something about this deck in both formats because this is becoming unbearable. The deck has a very hard impact on the metagame and it forces the players to play specific decks to counter it. If you’re not playing pirate warrior than you either make a deck that can hard counter it or play pirate warrior. It is a complete disaster!

I won’t be posting the decklist for this deck because I’ve already posted it multiple times in my previous wild articles. I hate repeating myself but if you really want to check the deck than feel free to go over my previous meta reports and you will find it there. There aren’t really different versions of this deck because it is fully optimized in its current form. If you’re the type of player who wants to get to high legend and maybe even compete for a chance to participate in the big wild tournament that is going to happen next month (you need to end the season in the top 64 legend players) than I strongly recommend that you play this deck because it is clearly the most powerful deck in the format and not playing it would be handicapping yourself.

On The Hunt!

Hunter has been called a dead class for a very long time and it has been struggling to find its place on the ladder. The class was non-existent when Mean Streets of Gadgetzan came out, in both formats, but now it is slowly but surely climbing its way up to the very top of the ladder and if it weren’t for pirates, midrange hunter would have been the top deck of the wild metagame. Midrange hunter currently holds the second spot on the list with a popularity of 6,28%. Yes, it doesn’t seem much when compared to the popularity of pirate warrior, but we can’t really compare anything to that undying aggro deck. As with every deck on this list, there are multiple versions of the deck and I will try to show you those that deviate from the standard format the most, but keep in mind that if you wish to try to ladder with your standard decks that you’re able to do so quite efficiently.

Class Cards (22)2800
Hunter’s Mark 1
Jeweled Macaw 1
Webspinner 1
Crackling Razormaw 2
Explosive Trap 2
Freezing Trap 2
Quick Shot 2
Animal Companion 3
Eaglehorn Bow 3
Kill Command 3
Unleash the Hounds 3
Houndmaster 4
Savannah Highmane 6
Call of the Wild 9
Neutral Cards (8)
Haunted Creeper 2
Mad Scientist 2
Piloted Shredder 4
Loatheb 5
Dr. Boom 7

This deck reminds me of the midrange hunter from way back in the Whispers of the Old Gods metamage, mostly due to Call of the Wild. I really haven’t seen this card being played in an extremely long time but I’m glad that it had found some place somewhere, even as a one off. The deck is pretty self-explanatory. You have a very good early game, especially with Jeweled Macaw which is probably the best hunter 1 drop minion. Crackling Razormaw is another powerful new minion which has brought the hunter back from the bring of extinction. Thanks to a very large number of beasts in this deck it is not hard to get a lot of value of out your Crackling Razormaw.

You’re playing some secrets in your deck which mainly help you get tempo advantage over your opponent. Although this deck runs two copies of Freezing Trap I would strongly recommend that you drop a single copy of it and add an additional copy of Explosive Trap because of tons of pirate warriors that are running around the ladder. Their early game minions don’t have more than 1 HP so clearing them is a lot easier when you have the Explosive Trap. If you didn’t get it in your opening hand then Mad Scientist is here to help you out and get the secret for you.

I would also remove a single copy of Hunter's Mark because there are far more cheap and low HP minions in the meta than big ones with a lot of HP so you probably don’t need this card. Instead you could play an additional copy of Quick Shot which acts both as a damage dealer and card draw, something that this deck, like very other hunter deck, lacks.

The deck itself plays like every other midrange hunter deck. If you’ve played one midrange hunter than you’ve played them all. All in all it is very good to see hunter finally making a comeback on the ladder and I’m excited to see will it remain on the 2nd spot after this month!

The Awakening

I was right about this one! Ok, I was partially right, but I was still somewhat right! The priest quest is absolutely insane in the wild format because there are just so many powerful deathrattle minions to put into your deck.  The only thing that I’ve got wrong about this card is that it is going to be played in a Reno deck which is going to run the dragon package as well but it seems like the card fits just fine in a pure deathrattle Reno priest and that the dragon package would only slow the deck down. I agree excluding the dragons from this list because whenever I’ve ran this deck with the dragon package I’ve found myself having a hard time completing the quest and having an even harder time trying to balance the dragon synergy and the deathrattle package.

The Awakening
Class Cards (17)10360
Awaken the Makers 1
Northshire Cleric 1
Potion of Madness 1
Power Word: Shield 1
Resurrect 2
Shadow Word: Pain 2
Dark Cultist 3
Mirage Caller 3
Shadow Word: Death 3
Kazakus 4
Shifting Shade 4
Tortollan Shellraiser 4
Excavated Evil 5
Holy Nova 5
Onyx Bishop 5
Entomb 6
Lightbomb 6
Neutral Cards (13)
Zombie Chow 1
Loot Hoarder 2
Deathlord 3
Piloted Shredder 4
Spiritsinger Umbra 4
Feugen 5
Sludge Belcher 5
Stalagg 5
Reno Jackson 6
Sylvanas Windrunner 6
Dr. Boom 7
Kel’Thuzad 8
N’Zoth, the Corruptor 10

So, how do you play this deck? Well, you play it like you would play any other Reno deck. The idea is to survive until you complete your quest and then survive again until you get to play your Reno Jackson and then survive again until your opponent has absolutely no removals left which is when you simply play your N'Zoth, the Corruptor to refill your board and you watch your opponent concede after a 20+ minute game and probably send you a rage friend request calling you a ”slow playing noob”. You would be surprised how often does this happen when you play such a super slow deck 😛

You have 13 deathrattle minions in your deck so getting to play 7 of them to complete your quest as soon as possible really shouldn’t be any problem. I agree with almost the entire list except for the Tortollan Shellraiser. I really don’t think that this is a good card. It might be good for standard play but in the wild format it just seems to be really weak and if I could replace it than I would replace it for either Mistress of Mixtures or, my personal favorite, Justicar Trueheart. Why this deck isn’t playing Justicar Trueheart is completely beyond me because it is an insanely good card for priest and it will provide you with a much-needed survivability until you get to the point when you can play your key minions. Then again, in such an aggressive metagame, you may wish to hold on to as much taunt minions as possible. I think that it is the best for you to try this deck yourself and then decide whether you wish to keep Tortollan Shellraiser or not.

Onyx Bishop and Resurrect are two cards that I never really thought about using when I was making my own quest priest deck but now I do see value in them. They summon your dead minions which means that if they summon a deathrattle minion you will be getting one step closer to completing your quest. It is a very good way to speed up the quest completion process. I must say that I overestimated the difficulty of completing the quest cards. I think that most of us did way back when they were first revealed. It is not that the process of completing the quests is difficult (it varies from quest to quest) but that building a deck around the quest and making sure that the deck works perfectly is not an easy task to do. Just look at how ”powerfull’ the hunter quest turned out to be? No one is playing it because it is insanely hard to build a functioning deck around it. At least you have these two cards to help you reach your goal, although I would probably remove one of them to fit a Museum Curator just to be sure that I’m getting a deathrattle minions 100% of the time.

All in all I think that this is a very strong deck with a lot of potential and it will only get stronger as time goes by and more deathrattle minions are introduced to the game. If you’re going to play priest in the wild format than this is without a doubt the best deck for your to pick. I highly recommend it.

Predicting the future

It is always hard to predict the future when it comes to a metagame of an eternal format but I’m going to give my best shot. Usually I wouldn’t do this at least until the pirate warrior deck gets nerfed to the ground but because there is a huge official wild tournament about to take place I think that the outcome of that tournament and the decks that players will be playing will define the format for quite some time. I know that the wild format has, for a very long time, looked exactly like the standard format with small differences here and there but you have to keep in mind that this is only happening because a big portion of the playerbase probably doesn’t have as much wild cards as do the older players who haven’t been disenchanting their wild cards so most of the playerbase is still forced to play standard decks in the wild format. Another reason is because there are no pro players that are playing wild exclusive decks, let alone the wild format, which results in a lack of exposure for some better but unheard off wild decks.

Placing high legend players into a wild a tournament enviroment where they don’t need to build decks around the standard decks that are roaming around makes it easier for them to come up with new wild decks to compete against each other and I bet that every new wild deck that we see on that tournament will see play as soon as the tournament ends. Due to the lack of guides and decks on the internet new players don’t really know how to build a good wild deck so they just use the standard ones but this will give them at least some guides as to how are these decks made. I predict that we will see a sudden rise in murloc shaman because it is a very good deck, a completely new version of the control warrior, zoo warlock showing up once more and hopefully a good ramp druid.


This brings us to the end of yet another ”Running Wild” article. What do you think about the current metagame? Do you have high hopes of it changing after the tournament or do you think that it will remain pretty much the same? Let me know in the comments below and I will reply to them as soon as I can. As always  if you’ve liked this article do consider following me on twitter There you can ask me all sorts of Hearthstone questions (unrelated to this article) and I’ll gladly answer them as best as I can.

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Communications expert and an aspiring community manager with a deep passion for card games and a writing. TCG veteran with competitive experience in almost every card game. Hearhtstone experimenter, researcher, wild format enthusiast and theory crafter.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for putting together this analysis! Wild is my favorite format and there isn’t as much content out there as there could be.

    • EternalHS says:

      Hey there :)

      I’m glad that there are more of us who enjoy the wild format :)