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Dealing with Aggro Shaman - a battle against the Meta

Dealing with Aggro Shaman - a battle against the Meta

This most recent Meta snapshot has one of the strangest Tier 1’s I’ve seen in my 30+ seasons of Hearthstone. It’s either an aggro matchup that steamrolls an attempted control deck, or a control mirror that takes 15+ turns to end the game. It’s quite the game of rock-paper-scissors right now, and much like it was several seasons back, a lot of the Meta has to do with the matchup.

It all started with Pirate Warrior. When the Mean Streets first dropped about a month ago, Patches the Pirate seemed like an interesting card that might be able to see some play. Pirate Warrior has been trying to be a thing for a while now, and come every expansion, people try it again, only get this – this time, it stuck. A turn 1 pirate play that summons Patches is a huge amount of board control in one turn, and better yet, it fills up your board with smaller minions, which can be sacrificed on turn 4 when a Frothing Berserker comes into play to set the snowball in motion. From there, if a direct answer is not found, the game is often decided then and there.

The counter-matchups, in this case, were not what they should be. In any other Meta, the usual answer to inherently Aggro decks are usually the Midrange variant, but it wasn’t working. Instead of developing the deck to stop the early snowball and curve it out late game, many decided that it would be much easier to deal with the aggro deck styles by killing them before they kill you.

Thus, Aggro Shaman rocketed to top tier in a matter of days. Just like the old days, if you want ranks fast and a consistently murderous deck to get them for you, Shaman is the way to go. It has not failed here, either – it adapts the early game Pirates to develop a fast board, often to curve into a Flametongue Totem, and with a combination of burst spells and fast board control, find a victory before your opponent can do anything about it. In this case, Pirate Warrior applied to this list of opponents, as Aggro Shaman scored a 70+% winrate against Pirate Warriors this last snapshot.

This became a battle of the Pirates for a while, with some occasional Jade Golem Druids thrown into the chaos, until many decided that this was becoming an incredibly unreliable way to rank. When players think reliability, late game control always comes to mind first, and boy did we bring it. Renolock and Control Warrior were two of this snapshot’s favorites, and they did their jobs well, bringing down the hammer on both Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman. Ironically enough, much like the Mean Streets’ rivaling three factions, the state of the Meta is in a constant struggle for control, between Pirates, Aggro and Control decks, and it is as competitive as ever.

In the end, there is no ‘secret’ to dealing with Aggro decks this season. There is no miracle cure deck that can deal with the Aggro in the Meta and also have the late game for control matchups – it simply doesn’t exist. In the end, the only solution that many have been able to come up with – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Form the ranks of the late game decks endlessly hoping to out-tempo their opponents late game, or join the charge of the Pirates and Aggro, sometimes together and sometimes opposing each other. If Legend if your goal, take your pick, and hope that you can demonstrate a better sense of the game than anyone else. This Meta, despite the complaints it receives, is a true test of skill and perseverance – if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

Thanks for reading, folks, and I hope you all have a fantastic holiday, and safe Feast of Winter Veil!