The current stale, and rather frustrating, meta of Hearthstone Shaman and Pirate decks is finally being addressed by Blizzard later this month.
It’s not uncommon to see a community of players, especially the professional tier, take refuge in the strongest offering a game. However, it does become bothersome when the popularity soars to a point where anything else is simply not viable.
For a while now, Hearthstone Shaman and Pirate decks have been overwhelming the ranked ladder. Players at both the amateur and professional level have been consistently requesting Blizzard to introduce balance changes for the class and decks. It has taken some time but the developer is finally pointing its nerf-gun in light of this year’s Hearthstone Championship Tour. After all, what value is there in a competitive environment where every player is boasting the same deck and class.
In a comprehensive post on the official forum, game director Ben Brode highlighted troubling numbers for the Shaman class. About 17 percent of players are currently using Shamans in their games. However, this number spikes to nearly 30 percent at the Legend rank. No wonder high-tier players are facing Shamans in most of their games.
Additionally, a shocking 50 percent of decks above rank five are using pirates, which usually includes Small Time Buccaneer and Patches, the Pirate.
As to the question of just how dominant Shamans are right now in Hearthstone, Brode revealed that Aggro Shaman (aggressive) decks register a win-rate of over 53 percent. It’s the lowest for any popular deck in the history of the game. Even the Undertaker Hunter deck from 2014, which Brode reffers to as “the worst point of imbalance in our history”, hit a win-rate of 60 percent at its peak.
So how such a low win-rate is still making Hearthstone troublesome for everyone, particularly at high ranks?
“When metas stagnate for too long; When there are no good counters; When the best decks aren’t fun to play or lose to; these are all reasons we have made balance adjustments in the past.” said Brode. “If a deck is popular for a few weeks, that isn’t a reason to make a nerf on its own. We’d have to be concerned about the fun, not be seeing any emerging counter-strategies, or be far enough away from a new content release to be worried about stagnation for a long time.”
As such, the next major update is scheduled to arrive later this month. Based on the tone of Blizzard, it’s time to say goodbye to the current meta of Hearthstone Shaman and Pirate decks. Expect the developer to drop more information on the changes in the next couple of weeks.