Arena balance - Class tier list

  • #1 (Beta Patch 3388)

    /!\ Whole new edit on 09/010, now based on Beta post-wipe /!\

    Hi guys,

    Same disclaimer as before: this post is my opinion only, for the purpose of giving feedback and stimulating conversations based on my impressions (and those of my beta-enabled friends). I'm not claiming any of this is "true" or "right" by any means, it is simply a sum of our observations.

    For the people who need to see creds before reading: I'm not a tcg bawss, however, I've played Magic in a few pro tours, but never did better than day 2 - so that's that. Do what you will of it. :)

    And now, on with the show!

    General feeling for the patch: good job Blizzard! As far as balance in the Arena is concerned, we feel that classes are in a tighter pack than before. As a result, we've dropped a tier, and focused on 3 only. The following tiers seem right to us, but every class is now closer in potential / power compared to last patch.

     

    UPDATED 09/10/2013 - Tier 1 - what we feel are the strongest classes in the Arena format.

    Shaman (control) - Mage (control) - Hunter (aggro-control) - Paladin (control)

    Previous patch's tier 1: Rogue, Mage.

    The meta is going a little slower due to Rogue taking a hit, and to an extent, Priest being less crappy. This meta favours decks that can modulate between putting pressure on the opponent, or hold back a bit and focus on card advantage. The exception to this is the Hunter, because his hero power gives him enough pressure to finish things off, so we currently feel it's the best choice if you want to play aggressive decks.

    The other 3 classes have the best hero powers and either the best "I WIN" cards (Shaman / Mage) or the best synergies (Shaman / Paladin). Producing "bodies" now that ghouls are common wins a lot of games. Mage is still up here, as usual, her kit is just very strong.

     

    UPDATED 09/10/2013 - Tier 2 - Still strong picks in that format, but a notch below others.

    Rogue - Druid

    Rogues now gets a bad deck about 50% of the time. The hit on the hero power was well deserved but really hurts her. We feel she's all about aggro now. If you like rogue, she's still a force to be reckoned with, but our best results are with really aggressive, cheap decks, coupled with 2-3 Sap to win on pure tempo.

    Druid is a little better, because it benefits from a slightly slower meta. It still relies heavily on BFTM (big fat taunt minions) to win, and if your opponent is really aggressive with cheap removal / bounce, you get overwhelmed pretty easily. Good Priests will also likely tear you apart if they draw their mind controls. Aside from that, it's totally possible to build disgustingly powerful druid decks.

     

    UPDATED 09/10/2013 - Tier 3 - Now the only bottom tier. Current classes that still get outshined in the Arena. Can you do your 9 wins with them? Absolutely. I did, several times. Are you more likely to get your 9 wins with other classes? Yes, I believe so.

    Warrior - Warlock - Priest

    It's getting better. Priests are definitely better, and we hesitated with tier 2. They're ok. They just tend to lose games with the feeling that there's nothing they could do about it. What they need is a stronger mid game. Early they're not great, but that's ok, it's part of their plan. Super late game, when everyone drops 8/8 and legendaries, they're great thanks to MC. In between is where things fall apart. If your opponent has a bunch of 3/3 and 4/4... you're in trouble.

    Warlocks are in a weird place. Super aggro is fun to play and works, but it's a gamble. If your opponent stabilizes at 10+ health, you're done for, because you don't have Rexxar's awesome "TO THE FACE" button. Control warlock looks like it can work, but then all of the discard cards hurt your card advantage too much compared to the mage. 

    Warriors... yeah. He's ok too, he wins games too, on the back of Battle Rage which is the biggest OP scandal since The Coin counting as a spell. :) (it's a great concept, it's just too cheap to cast). Most warrior decks feel uninspired and not resilient to unexpected situations. It's like you either steamroll with full on all charge minions and the right removal for the right situation, or nothing falls into place, minions always have 1 health too much, and life sucks. ;) I need to play more of Garrosh the Fallen. Take what I say with a grain of salt.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wait, there's more! Bonus! Our MVP common cards, per class. Those cards are incredibly strong, and you want to pick them above everything else!

    Mage: Flamestrike

    Rogue: Sprint (stick to 2 max) / Assassin's Blade

    Shaman: Stormforged Axe / Bloodlust 

    Warrior: Arcanite Reaper / Arathi Weapon Master

    Priest: Holy Nova / Mind Control

    Druid: can't find something that really stands out. Most druid commons are good, though.

    Hunter: Animal Companion / Houndmaster

    Paladin: Consecration / Truesilver Champion

    Warlock: Hellfire

    That's all I've got, folks. Looking forward to your feedback!

    Last edited by Nodata on 10/9/2013 9:38:06 AM
  • #2 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Adrenaline Rush has been replaced by Shiv

  • #3 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from AshDK »

    Adrenaline Rush has been replaced by Shiv

    Good to know, thanks for the info.

    Like with many of my comments, of course a lot will change once the simulator is updated!

  • #4 (Beta Patch 3388)

    hunter - the beast synergy is common/unco and really strong. All the hunter spells are great and he can play bows. Even with an average hero power, he deserves his 1 tier.

    Priest - his slow board build up can be out of control during the mid game. Mind control is easy to get and will certainly seal the end game in his favor. 1st tier too.

    warrior - having access to both charge and good weapons will make the warrior the king of the board control. Tier 1 as well.

    Shaman - if he could secure an easier access to the elementals, he would be tier 1 too. Anyway, his swarm strategy can kill surprisingly fast with Windfury and Rockbiter Weapon. Tier 2.

    Warlock - his common cards are just great. But the way they force you to discard, pay health or lose the mana balance can be dangerous in a non-constructed environement. That said, some demons (Void walker, infernal) are real pains for the opponent once they reach the board. I would put him in tier 2, not in tier 3.

    Paladin - the problem of the paladin is that his power makes you wanna play a swarm strategy, but with no real good common card (like Blood lust) to support it. And if you just try to play something else, well you will face a bunch of average-to-bad common cards that won't please you during the draft (Like divine shield). Maybe he'll find himself a real role and real strategy to be competitive, but until then, I beleive he is in the lowest tier.

    Rogue - only Fan of Knives and Assassinate are really awesome in the Forge. Shiv is just average. Everything else is too hard to pick when you are not sure what your deck will look like. Basically, anything that bounce an opponent creature can be a good thing for your tempo, but it can also be a waste of a card if your deck doesn't follow behind. And, direct damage cards are the same... He will be with the Pal in the lowest tier.

    Mage - mage is certainly one of the hardest Forge deck to build, and one with insane potential. if you are lucky on the picks... If not you will find yourself looking at secrets combos with no secrets in hand, with spell power creatures that will get crushed on the board and with a hand full of one for one cards. Tier 2.

    druid - druid is awesome... If you know what you will play. You can go swarm and hope for a savage roar or two and build a very good forge deck. You can go heavy with wild growth, a few lucky rares (alarm bot, nourish, pint-size dude) and drop big creatures all game long. You can go spellpower, you can go bear form, etc. that's the problem, too much viable options Can make your deck blurry or unfocussed and cost you games. That said, it is not that hard to make it work anyway due to the versatility of the druid playstyle. Tier 2.

     

    Well, we only disagree on the warlock, that's nice. :)

     

    Named "Bronto" In the EU Beta.

  • #5 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Druid is miles better than any other class both in forge and constructed.

  • #6 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Montanx »

    Druid is miles better than any other class both in forge and constructed.

    Care to develop a bit more? From a Forge perspective? Why do you think it is miles better? What is your strategy / plan when you draft / deckbuild?

  • #7 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Nodata »

    Quote from Montanx »

    Druid is miles better than any other class both in forge and constructed.

    Care to develop a bit more? From a Forge perspective? Why do you think it is miles better? What is your strategy / plan when you draft / deckbuild?

    Ok I welcome a challenge and seeing as I made a pretty broad statement and got called on it, it's only fair that I try to elaborate. First of all we need a mutual understanding that as a whole, it's consensus that Druid is the best class currently for constructed. They are the best at pretty much everything. Best direct Dmg spells Swipe/starfall/wrath, best removal naturalize, mana accel nourish/innervate/wild growth, best aoe swipe/starfall/savagery, best single target bite/all the direct dmg spells, best token aggro savage roar/force of nature. All of this without a single drawback, none. Now all that is a debate for another topic, so ill stick to forge, but in constructed its well known that Druid is vastly superior to every other class.

         So for forge, I say they remain the best due to their cards being so good by themselves and not needing as much synergy to work well. The class cards are so powerful, like nourish, swipe, starfall, wrath, innervate etc. Add to that some very strong forge class minions like druid of the claw and ironbark, they dont need as much synergy since they are good on their own. So we have to judge forge power based on class cards, since every class will have access to to the same neutral cards. Other classes like rogue for example have cards that go great in a focused deck but not really in a random scenario. So my point is that having the best standalone class cards gives the best chance of having ur picks work well w the neutral choices. Strategies and deck builds will always vary depending on the neutral choices but Druid can go any direction and have a strong deck due to the standalone power of the class cards.

  • #8 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Montanx »

    Quote from Nodata »

    Quote from Montanx »

    Druid is miles better than any other class both in forge and constructed.

    Care to develop a bit more? From a Forge perspective? Why do you think it is miles better? What is your strategy / plan when you draft / deckbuild?

    Ok I welcome a challenge and seeing as I made a pretty broad statement and got called on it, it's only fair that I try to elaborate. First of all we need a mutual understanding that as a whole, it's consensus that Druid is the best class currently for constructed. They are the best at pretty much everything. Best direct Dmg spells Swipe/starfall/wrath, best removal naturalize, mana accel nourish/innervate/wild growth, best aoe swipe/starfall/savagery, best single target bite/all the direct dmg spells, best token aggro savage roar/force of nature. All of this without a single drawback, none. Now all that is a debate for another topic, so ill stick to forge, but in constructed its well known that Druid is vastly superior to every other class.

         So for forge, I say they remain the best due to their cards being so good by themselves and not needing as much synergy to work well. The class cards are so powerful, like nourish, swipe, starfall, wrath, innervate etc. Add to that some very strong forge class minions like druid of the claw and ironbark, they dont need as much synergy since they are good on their own. So we have to judge forge power based on class cards, since every class will have access to to the same neutral cards. Other classes like rogue for example have cards that go great in a focused deck but not really in a random scenario. So my point is that having the best standalone class cards gives the best chance of having ur picks work well w the neutral choices. Strategies and deck builds will always vary depending on the neutral choices but Druid can go any direction and have a strong deck due to the standalone power of the class cards.

    Yeah, in constructed, they are certainly the most promising. I'm 100% with you.

    The problem is, in Forge, that you must base your opinion on the rarity of the class cards, not on the whole pool of cards. if you can have a single Nourish, you'll be lucky. While the priests will certainly have 2 mind control, 1 or 2 holy novas, etc... 

    And the worst part is that, even if you include a few rares/epic in the evaluation process, the druid stays way behing Warrior, Hunter and Priest. You don't wanna deal with a Lightwell in Forge. 

    Don't get me wrong. Druid is strong. Every hero is. You will have paladins winning their 20 games streak in Forge as well as you will have druids, hunters and every single one of the heros. The game is well balanced. Luck is always lurking at the corner. Everything can happen. Still, if you give me the choice between Warrior, Druid and whatever, I will pick Warrior with my eyes closed Every day Because Warrior is Tier One, while Druid is Tier Two.

    i like this discussion Btw. Thanks guys for creating it and participating. 

    Named "Bronto" In the EU Beta.

  • #9 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Moneypenny »

    Quote from Montanx »

    Quote from Nodata »

    Quote from Montanx »

    Druid is miles better than any other class both in forge and constructed.

    Care to develop a bit more? From a Forge perspective? Why do you think it is miles better? What is your strategy / plan when you draft / deckbuild?

    Ok I welcome a challenge and seeing as I made a pretty broad statement and got called on it, it's only fair that I try to elaborate. First of all we need a mutual understanding that as a whole, it's consensus that Druid is the best class currently for constructed. They are the best at pretty much everything. Best direct Dmg spells Swipe/starfall/wrath, best removal naturalize, mana accel nourish/innervate/wild growth, best aoe swipe/starfall/savagery, best single target bite/all the direct dmg spells, best token aggro savage roar/force of nature. All of this without a single drawback, none. Now all that is a debate for another topic, so ill stick to forge, but in constructed its well known that Druid is vastly superior to every other class.

         So for forge, I say they remain the best due to their cards being so good by themselves and not needing as much synergy to work well. The class cards are so powerful, like nourish, swipe, starfall, wrath, innervate etc. Add to that some very strong forge class minions like druid of the claw and ironbark, they dont need as much synergy since they are good on their own. So we have to judge forge power based on class cards, since every class will have access to to the same neutral cards. Other classes like rogue for example have cards that go great in a focused deck but not really in a random scenario. So my point is that having the best standalone class cards gives the best chance of having ur picks work well w the neutral choices. Strategies and deck builds will always vary depending on the neutral choices but Druid can go any direction and have a strong deck due to the standalone power of the class cards.

    Yeah, in constructed, they are certainly the most promising. I'm 100% with you.

    The problem is, in Forge, that you must base your opinion on the rarity of the class cards, not on the whole pool of cards. if you can have a single Nourish, you'll be lucky. While the priests will certainly have 2 mind control, 1 or 2 holy novas, etc... 

    And the worst part is that, even if you include a few rares/epic in the evaluation process, the druid stays way behing Warrior, Hunter and Priest. You don't wanna deal with a Lightwell in Forge. 

    Don't get me wrong. Druid is strong. Every hero is. You will have paladins winning their 20 games streak in Forge as well as you will have druids, hunters and every single one of the heros. The game is well balanced. Luck is always lurking at the corner. Everything can happen. Still, if you give me the choice between Warrior, Druid and whatever, I will pick Warrior with my eyes closed Every day Because Warrior is Tier One, while Druid is Tier Two.

    i like this discussion Btw. Thanks guys for creating it and participating. 

    Well, I disagree but not to the point where I can give any hard facts or dispute anything you said. Forge is just pretty balanced I feel and a perfect format. every class can win and every class can stumble, thats how it should be.

  • #10 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Hey! Just to throw my two coppers in, I'll start by saying that the simulator is still likely very (very) inaccurate as far as card representation and rarities. Commons and Basics seem to be mixed up, and some cards simply do not show up.

    And as for your observations about "Tiers", I wholeheartedly agree with the way you divided them. Hunter's inherently powerful aggression is the perfect counterpoint to the otherwise more useful Warrior and Priest Hero Powers that let them drag the game on to actually pull ahead. This is a CRUCIAL part of the Forge as far as I've noticed from "playtesting" and from my general pre-testing expectations.

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only Forge nuthead around, though :D You seem like you've done a fair share of playing yourself...

    /feelsgoodman.jpg

  • #11 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Hey! Just to throw my two coppers in, I'll start by saying that the simulator is still likely very (very) inaccurate as far as card representation and rarities. Commons and Basics seem to be mixed up, and some cards simply do not show up.

    Well, that explains why my forge decks looks very similar to each other. Good to know.

    The list certainly makes sense from a general view. The classes who's cards can easily work together becomes the stronger ones while the classes that require certain combos will have more often end up having a bad forge round. The only thing I could argue shamans and paladins as they could try go for a higher amount of bigger cards as their hero powers could back them up with minions for the early stage of the game.

    But yeah, it's hard to judge anything before you actually played the forge. Can't wait to try it out for real.


  • #12 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Erskow »

    Hey! Just to throw my two coppers in, I'll start by saying that the simulator is still likely very (very) inaccurate as far as card representation and rarities. Commons and Basics seem to be mixed up, and some cards simply do not show up.

    Well, that explains why my forge decks looks very similar to each other. Good to know.

    The list certainly makes sense from a general view. The classes who's cards can easily work together becomes the stronger ones while the classes that require certain combos will have more often end up having a bad forge round. The only thing I could argue shamans and paladins as they could try go for a higher amount of bigger cards as their hero powers could back them up with minions for the early stage of the game.

    But yeah, it's hard to judge anything before you actually played the forge. Can't wait to try it out for real.


    I know that we studied cards lists, sorted by rarity, as well as we studied the imperfect current Forge tool to build up our opinion. There are a few things that we still need to consolidate it, and they can be all sum up into this: "playtesting". 

    Playtesting will help us cristalizing the board control concepts (even if they are really similar to Shadow Era's), the influence of the 30/2 deck building rule (which is kinda new), and the impact of some weird and new effects like Overcharge has on a curve. 

    Still, I am confident that tiers won't change that much after the playtesting. :)

    Named "Bronto" In the EU Beta.

  • #13 (Beta Patch 3388)

    (Ok. Just forget my last sentence. :) )

    We just finished a big playtesting session with Nodata and tons of uncomfortable printed cards. The main thread is now updated with a very solid pre-beta Tier list. Expect huge changes everywhere.

    Enjoy, and please, leave a feedback if you feel outraged, pissed off, or just in harmony about it. 

    Named "Bronto" In the EU Beta.

  • #14 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Hmm, I'd like to have a recap of what the old tier list showed for comparison. The only thing I remember is that Hunters used to be Tier 1. (Which honestly surprised me finding them on the bottom now, thought it would be easy mopping up some synergy some random beasts.)

  • #15 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Well the playtesting certainly changed your minds about the tiers. It's nice to have peopl give a preview of what they think after extensive playtesting, but it's still only a very small sample size.

    I think some of the things you mention seem to make sense. Control decks take some specific cards to stay in control, with a lack of them you are in far more trouble then an aggressive deck that doesn't have the cards to be fully aggressive. That in turn leading to specific champions being better doesn't surprise me much, though the champions you came up with do.

    I'm guessing more beta playtesting (and balance changes!) will possibly change this list up a bit here and there. Looking forward to your continuing appraisel of this subject :)


    If you see a bad post on the forum use the report function under it, so me or someone else of the moderation team can take care of it!

  • #16 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Erskow, that's a very good point.

    The old tier list was based on the "old" simulator, that had no common cards, only the free ones (the ones with white gems in the middle weren't included, so basically the whole thing was very very misleading).

    In the example of the hunter, the old simulator would give you a beast minion every turn, and therefore the whole deck was broken-good. Now we have a relatively accurate simulator, thanks to the awesome folks at Curse. We've been playing a lot since they updated the engine, and so we felt it was the time for a broad update with the "correct" data.

    In the same manner, the rogue deck was missing all of his good stuff before, and now is way - I mean WAY - did I say way? - better. :]

    (For recap, our old tiers were: tier 1 - hunter / priest / warrior   tier 2 - druid / shaman / mage   tier 3 - rogue / paladin / warlock. They are of course irrelevant now.)

    @xskarma: you're right about control decks needing specific, often rare/epic cards to work well. Thanks for the encouragements, let's hope we can systemize testing with the (soonish?) opening of the beta. In the meantime, we'll keep playing with our printed proxies! :p

  • #17 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Took some time revisiting the forge arena stream to recap some of the intel about it. Seems like they are a step ahead with the balance as they said they increased the number of rares/epics you will get in the deck as you no longer can get the cards you get in the arena.

    That exact sentence got me thinking. Now I don't know how exact the simulator we have on the site is compared to the old forge formula but if you have some statistics there might be some info to extract from all this testing.

    1. As the old "forge" used boosters as entrance, the cards you received had to be of equal value of a booster. So if we use the statistics from the forge simulator of how many the average amount of common/expert/rares/epics/legendaries there were in the forge, we might get a hint how likely there will be to get one rare/epic/legendary from the booster packs (Unless they changed the formula for that too)

    2. With the average amount of common/expert/rares/epics/legendaries from the old forge simulator you can compare it to Eric and Ben's arena deck. While it won't be that accurate considering there is only one sample of the new arena formula, it might give a hint by how much more rares/epics/legendaries there are in the newer version of forge. (They hinted that they got a bit more rares than expected.)

    It would also be interesting to know the highest amount of rares/epics/legendaries you ever got in a forge deck.

    They speak about the raritys at 3.00 min, 19.20 min and 27.15 min in the video: http://sv.twitch.tv/playhearthstone/c/2639827
    The arena deck: http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/1257-eric-and-bens-mage-arena-test




    As for the tier list. There seems to be a heavy empathies on having as many weapons you can carry. Is there any special reason why? What are the priorities that you mostly use the weapons against?

  • #18 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Hey, you're making interesting points here. Of course if the rarities are off in the sim... well, we're back to square one. \o/ 

    Now, about weapons. Not all of them are great. But the good ones? The card advantage they create is game-defining. I'd encourage you to play test with / against a warrior deck that has 2 Arcanite Reaper and 2 Fiery War Axe or some Arathi Weaponmaster. I barely could win a game with a very strong rogue deck against this. On a side note, yeah, you should systematically pick [card]Acidic Swamp Ooze[card] very high. If you don't have any, chances are Warriors, Shamans and Rogues will steal games you should have won. If you're gunning for 9 wins, I'd say don't leave those to chance. ;)

    Last edited by Nodata on 8/5/2013 7:18:47 PM
  • #19 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Nodata »

    Hey, you're making interesting points here. Of course if the rarities are off in the sim... well, we're back to square one. \o/ 

    Now, about weapons. Not all of them are great. But the good ones? The card advantage they create is game-defining. I'd encourage you to play test with / against a warrior deck that has 2 Arcanite Reaper and 2 Fiery War Axe or some [card]Arathi Weaponmaster[card]. I barely could win a game with a very strong rogue deck against this. On a side note, yeah, you should systematically pick [card]Acidic Swamp Ooze[card] very high. If you don't have any, chances are Warriors, Shamans and Rogues will steal games you should have won. If you're gunning for 9 wins, I'd say don't leave those to chance. ;)

    Weapons will certainly generate as many kills as they have durability with no loss of tempo. Also, they allow you to capitalize on your third ressource: your Health (which is a privilege given to only a few heros). 

    A card like the Arathi Weaponmaster has a "three for one" card advantage potential, requires two different solutions to deal with it and will not cause a loss of tempo. We easily (too easily?) reached that potential each time we got them during our playtests. 

    If there are more epics given during the Arena, Gorehowl and Doomhammer may become more present. I call these 2 weapons "Octocards", because they can virtually destroy 8 cards just by themselves. :)))

    Named "Bronto" In the EU Beta.

  • #20 (Beta Patch 3388)

    Quote from Nodata »

    Erskow, that's a very good point.

    The old tier list was based on the "old" simulator, that had no common cards, only the free ones (the ones with white gems in the middle weren't included, so basically the whole thing was very very misleading).

    In the example of the hunter, the old simulator would give you a beast minion every turn, and therefore the whole deck was broken-good. Now we have a relatively accurate simulator, thanks to the awesome folks at Curse. We've been playing a lot since they updated the engine, and so we felt it was the time for a broad update with the "correct" data

    We talking about the Forge Sim here in Heathpwn.com or another Forge/Arena sim?

    Banner the9tail
    Nozdormu wins you every game where you opponent has to go to the bathroom on turn 9.

     

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