Is there a meta? Are we even really alive? Do you want to read an article about THL stats? The answers are yes, maybe, and hell yes.
The Week 8 meta was very similar to the Week 7 meta except for one thing: we saw an INCREASE in lineup diversity from 40 unique lineups to 45 unique lineups. While the meta continues to solidify around three classes and we continue to see two lineups rise above the pack in popularity, there are many choices for the 3rd and 4th classes and many different ways to attack opponent’s lineups. And unlike previous Metas there isn’t one clear-cut villain archetype, which aids in diversity. The Hunter class has risen in popularity and sits comfortably alongside Druid and Warlock to make up the three most popular classes. Priest is quickly becoming the forgotten about class, having been utilized in only 20 lineups last week, but the remaining five classes are all being used almost equally: Mage (32), Paladin (28), Rogue (39), Shaman (35) and Warrior (27). It’s worth noting that Paladin saw a bit of an uptick in usage last week compared to the previous two weeks, and it could be in direct response to Hunter’s rise in popularity, since Paladin is a nice counter to the main Hunter archetypes.
The same two lineups that were the most popular in Week 7 were once again the most popular lineups in Week 8 as well. Both improved their performance dramatically and I’ll have more to say on that below. Stats from last week are shown in bold, while “total season stats” are shown in italics and are only those stats that have accrued since the balance changes (so Week 4 onwards). The ban data is showing how the lineup performed in those specific scenarios when its own classes were banned. Since there are no new “popular” lineups to talk about, I’ve added a new section for this week where I’ve chosen to highlight a couple of lineups that THL should pay attention to.
Popular Week 8 Lineups
Lineup #1 – Druid, Hunter, Rogue, and Warlock
11 lineups, 27-14 record (66%), added 3.2 points per team
Post-Nerf Season Stats: 46 lineups, 114-86 (57%)
Druid Bans: 50-37, 57%
Hunter Bans: 12-4, 75%
Rogue Bans: 21-13, 56%
Warlock Bans: 31-34, 48%
This has been the most popular lineup for three weeks in a row, having been brought a total of 46 times since the nerfs. This has been a solid lineup choice and while it has kind of had up and down performances week to week, overall on the season this lineup is 29-17 in matches (63%) and sports a 57% game win rate. What I like about this lineup is that it uses the two most popular classes in Druid and Warlock to have access to some of the more powerful decks in the game in Taunt/Token Druid and Even/Cube Warlock, while also having access to two very different classes in Hunter and Rogue. Hunter and Rogue both have different archetypes that beat different decks and lose to different decks, which makes it a difficult lineup to game-plan against. Having said all that, banning Warlock appears to be the best way to counter this lineup though. It’s also worth pointing out that while this lineup has been the most popular lineup since the nerfs, it still hasn’t been brought by more than 17 people in any given week and isn’t the top performing lineup on the season, despite a good showing last week.
Lineup #2 – Druid, Hunter, Shaman, and Warlock
9 lineups, 23-12 record (66%), added 3.3 points per team
Post-Nerf Season Stats: 30 lineups, 66-56 (54%)
Druid Bans: 13-10 (57%)
Hunter Ban: 11-10 (52%)
Shaman Bans: 18-12 (60%)
Warlock Bans: 24-24 (50%)
After exploding in popularity in Weeks 6 and 7, this lineup declined a little bit in popularity in Week 8. I pointed out in last week’s article that the lineup was basically breaking even, and that the Shaman class had kind of a down week in Week 7, but this lineup came roaring back to life in Week 8 winning 7 out of 9 matches and sporting a 66% game win rate. One good week does not a lineup make, but it does improve its stats on the season to somewhat respectable numbers. Overall, it’s now 17-13 in matches. It’s very similar to the lineup above except that it swaps out Rogue for Shaman, so depending on your opponent’s lineup, this might be a better or worse choice then Lineup #1.
Lineups of Note
What follows are two lineups that I think are worth mentioning due to their excellent performance. They aren’t necessarily the most popular lineups, but they seem to be beating the competition and I think they are worth highlighting. One of them I’ve mentioned before (several times in fact), and the other is a relative newcomer.
5 Lineups, 13-6 record (68%), added 3.4 points per team
Post-Nerf Season Stats: 20 lineups, 54-26 (68%)
Druid Bans: 20-10, 67%
Shaman Bans: 9-5, 64%
Warrior Bans: 9-4, 69%
Warlock Bans: 16-7, 70%
This lineup has had a small, but devoted following having been brought by 4-5 people every week since week 5 (though not necessarily by the same people). But with 20 matches now under its belt it has a healthy set of stats and it continues to dominate the meta week in and week out. I can understand why people would be hesitant to bring a one-dimensional class in Warrior, especially seeing as how its game win rate has been declining each week (and it finally had a sub-50% week last week, see below), but the results speak for themselves. There is no consistent ban strategy that has been effective, it has a high game win rate (68%), and the lineup is now 17-3 in matches, which is absurd. It’s been one of the best performing lineups for 4 weeks in a row and deserves to be played by more people.
4 Lineups, 9-5 record (64%), added 3.0 points per team
Post-Nerf Season Stats: 7 lineups, 18-6 (75%)
Druid Bans: 9-4 (69%)
Warlock Ban: 3-0 (100%)
Warrior Bans: 6-2 (75%)
Could Priest find its way to relevancy once again? Combo Priest is on the rise and Quest Priest isn’t going away anytime soon. This is a relatively new lineup that finally saw a little bit of representation last week. It was brought twice in Week 7 and once in Week 5, but it showed up 4 times last week and it has performed extremely well. Keep in mind this is a very limited sample size, but it is 6-1 in matches and has a 75% game win rate, making it an even better lineup than the one above. Again, take it with a grain of salt because of the low sample size, but perhaps there could be something here.
Week 8 Class Breakdown
Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, we have a stable meta right now. Druid and Warlock are dominating as the 1st and 2nd choice with Hunter being a popular 3rd choice. The top five classes ranked the same last week as the week before too, further suggesting a stable meta. Warrior dropped two spots in popularity, despite continuing to maintain the best win rate in the game (see below). In terms of popularity, the classes were ranked as follows last week:
1. Druid (86 Lineups)
2. Warlock (74 Lineups)
3. Hunter (51 Lineups)
4. Rogue (39 Lineups)
5. Shaman (35 Lineups)
6. Mage (32 Lineups)
7. Paladin (28 Lineups)
8. Warrior (27 Lineups)
9. Priest (20 Lineups)
However, if we break down the classes by game win rate, we get a very different ranking. The table below shows class win rates by lineup. For example, the first line Druid shows how many individual game wins and losses every lineup that included Druid managed in Week 7. The second table shows the same data but for the post-nerf season.
If you remember the past few weeks, Warrior has had the best win rate in the game. But last week the class suffered from a very poor showing and had its first sub-50% win rate in a given week (although there were still 4 other classes that did worse, and Warrior still maintains the best win rate of any class despite the one bad week). Based on last week’s stats, there appears to be a good reason that Druid, Hunter and Warlock have risen to the top, because those were the three classes with the best win rates in Week 8. If we ranked the classes by overall win rate on the season though, here is how the classes would rank:
1. Warrior (53%)
2. Shaman (52%)
3. Druid (51%)
4. Hunter (51%)
5. Warlock (51%)
6. Priest (48%)
7. Rogue (48%)
8. Paladin (46%)
9. Mage (45%)
Not much has changed in the overall ranking from Week 7 to Week 8. Shaman and Druid swapped places, but otherwise the rest remain the same, further suggesting a defined meta.
We are now five weeks into the post-nerf meta. On the one hand, we’ve still got plenty of lineup diversity. On the other hand, we also have a defined meta that has been consistent for the past three weeks. How is it possible to have both? Well, isn’t consistently diverse a possibility? Also, Druid and Warlock have been locked in as the top 2 classes for awhile now, with Hunter emerging as the most popular 3rd choice. Yes, there has been a lot of diversity in the 4th class slot (and 3rd class in some cases), but that has been true in other well-defined Metas too. In looking at class win rates though, Warrior and Shaman deserve mention as the top two classes by game win rate. While Warrior is a little one-dimensional as a class choice, Shaman has two viable and totally opposite archetypes in Even Shaman and Shudderwock Shaman making it a flexible and desirable closed deck-list tournament choice. In my opinion, Shaman deserves a bit more representation.
With a defined meta, I’ve decided to leave off the “other lineups” table and will just point out lineups that seem to be doing well from this point onwards. We’ve only got one week left of the regular season with many teams fighting for playoff spots. So, until next week, good luck and have fun!
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