Lineup Trends is back and this season Altenberg is covering Hero Series! After covering Legacy Series for the past two seasons Altenberg wanted to give our other formats some love. This is the first time he's covered Hero Series stats with any depth, so enjoy!
If you remember last week, I tried to make some predictions about what I thought the Hero Series meta would look like, and for the most part I think the blog post was accurate. Hunter was by far the most popular class brought by 90 out of 96 qualified lineups (94%!!!) with Paladin in 2nd place and Priest in third. In fact, 54 out of the 96 qualified lineups (56%) included exactly Hunter, Paladin and Priest. So, there was enormous consensus around the top three classes. Among those 54 lineups that included Hunter, Paladin and Priest, the 4th class was mostly a toss-up between Warlock (19 lineups), Rogue (19 lineups) and Warrior (10 lineups), which will all be highlighted below. Shaman was used sparingly with the top 3 classes (4 lineups) while Druid and Mage were each brought once each. There were 31 unique lineups brought last week, which is on par with recent trends in the previous two Legacy Series seasons, but also on the low end of the diversity spectrum. I'm not sure if this is par for the course in Hero Series, since I've never looked at Hero Series in depth. So that either means we have an unhealthy meta which lacks diversity, or the meta was very quickly and easily solved. I’m guessing it’s the latter, since the ladder meta was well established prior to the start of Hero Series season 9 (pun not intended). I was able to identify four lineups that stood out among the crowd and could be labeled “popular.”
Week 1 Popular Lineups
Lineup #1a – Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Rogue
Week 1 Stats
19 Lineups, 11-8 (58%)
Hunter Bans: 2-1 (67%)
Paladin Bans: 4-2 (67%)
Priest Bans: 4-2 (67%)
Rogue Bans: 1-3 (25%)
This and the lineup below were tied for representation in the Week 1 meta, both having been brought 19 times. This lineup was effective going 11-8 in matches, but also 43-37 (54%) in total games. As you can see by the ban breakdown, banning Rogue was the only effective way to drop this lineup’s win-rate. Opponents who tried to ban Hunter, Paladin or Priest did not find success overall. Take all these stats with a grain of salt though, because we’re dealing with only one week’s worth of data and very small sample sizes. I would not be surprised to see these results change as we go forward.
Lineup #1b – Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Warlock
Week 1 Stats
19 Lineups, 9-10 (47%)
Hunter Ban: 2-3 (40%)
Paladin Ban: 2-4 (33%)
Priest Ban: 3-3 (50%)
Warlock Ban: 0-1 (0%)
Like the lineup above, this one was tied for the top spot in representation, also having been brought 19 times. The swap of Rogue for Warlock however did not turn out that well overall, as this lineup won 2 fewer matches. It also had a losing record overall in games going 39-41 (49%), although it was very close and perhaps if two of those games go differently this lineup is looking at an overall winning record in both games and matches. In looking at the ban data, it would appear that just about any choice was effective, except maybe the Priest ban where the lineup went 50%. There is one ban missing, and that is because someone tried to ban Druid against this lineup, but of course it doesn’t have Druid in the lineup so that must have been a mistake; or maybe someone was meme-ing? Who knows! The lineup won the Druid ban match-up even though I didn’t include it in the ban data. At first blush it would seem that including Rogue was the better choice last week than Warlock, but always keep in mind the small sample sizes after only one week. As I said, the results are only 2 matches different and could easily swap next week.
Tht Lineup #3 – Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Warrior
Week 1 Stats
10 Lineups, 4-6 (40%)
Hunter Ban: 1-2 (33%)
Paladin Ban: 0-2 (0%)
Priest Ban: 0-2 (0%)
Warrior Ban: 3-0 (100%)
If the swap from Rogue to Warlock seemed like a poor choice in the lineup above, then swapping to Warrior was even worse. This lineup won only 40% of it’s matches, and if three people hadn’t decided to ban Warrior, it might have been even worse than that. It also went 18-23 in its individual games (44%). I was very curious to see how Warrior would do in this tournament meta, and the early returns are certainly not good, at least not in this lineup. I’ll also be curious to see if anyone stays with Warrior. That said, keep in mind that 1 more win for this lineup puts it at 50%, so with this small of a sample size, it's tough to read too much into anything.
Lineup #4 – Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Warlock
Week 1 Stats
7 Lineups, 4-3 (57%)
Hunter Ban: 2-1 (67%)
Paladin Ban: 2-2 (50%)
Rogue Ban: 0-0 (0%)
Warlock Ban: 0-0 (0%)
This was the only somewhat popular lineup that didn’t use the “Top 3” most popular classes. That said, it is very similar to lineup #1a in that it swaps out Priest for Warlock, and it’s also very close to Lineup #1b in that it swaps out Priest for Rogue. In other words, it has a lot in common with the two most popular lineups, except it doesn’t have Priest. And that strategy of omitting Priest seemed to work out well, leading to an overall winning record in matches. When you look at the individual games things still look decent, as the lineup went 16-13 (55%). Interestingly no opponents of this lineup decided to ban Rogue or Warlock and between the two ban choices, the Paladin ban was the most effective. But as is a recurring theme, we are dealing with an extremely low sample size here, so I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions about this lineup, or its ban data until we have more representation. Still, early returns are good.
Week 1 Class Breakdown
The class breakdown of Week 1 in Hero Series looks very similar to the current ladder meta. The top three classes were Hunter, Paladin and Priest by a landslide with Rogue and Warlock next in line. Warrior saw a little bit of representation and then Mage, Shaman and Druid were complete after-thoughts showing very fringe representation. But as you’ll see in the table below, there could be reason for optimism about Shaman. There were 96 qualified lineups in Week 1, and here are the nine classes ranked in order of most popular to least popular after Week 1, along with how many total lineups included each class:
I think the Week 1 meta clearly established itself with a “Level 1” lineup that was Hunter-Paladin-Priest with a 4th “swing” class that was a toss-up between Warlock, Rogue and Warrior. That isn’t to say that there weren’t other options out there, because there were still 42 lineups that didn’t include the "Top 3 + Swing Class" setup. But there appeared to be at least some level of consensus about what the best classes were for Hero Series and based on the ladder meta and the most recent HCT events, I don’t expect that to change too dramatically going forward. While Hunter and Priest appear to have under-performed as classes overall, and Shaman appears to have pretty remarkably over-performed given its tiny slice of the meta-game pie, I don’t expect we’ll suddenly see a surge of representation of Shaman this week and a decline in Hunter and Priests. Although I guess you never know!
Until next week, good luck and have fun!
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