Hearthstone Best Arena Class (for 2018 and 2019)

Hearthstone-Boomsday-Cover
Boomsday science is all about explosions.

Now that Boomsday is Released, What's the Best Class for Arena?

Every Hearthstone expansion brings about exciting new changes to the game’s dynamic. The latest expansion keeps the party going with boomin’ cards and an attractive new game mechanic. Players have received a trove of content this year, and I’m sure there’s still more to come as we approach the fourth quarter.

It’s been three weeks since the release of Boomsday and the differences in class and card balances are becoming more apparent. The latest expansion has made Arena way more board-centric and tempo heavy. Board clear cards are less popular for every class, and opponents  have a tougher time dealing with your minions.

Be aware most decks will still have more than one copy of a powerful swing card, but it’s more advantageous to be ahead on the board than to be reliant on board clears. Currently, most Arena decks will be filled with minions that are common, have simple effects, or no effects at all. Due to the emphasis on keeping minions on your side, having a strong early game is key to prevailing in today’s Arena.

That being said, we’re beginning to see some changes in the dominance of classes in Arena. As of today, the performance of classes in Arena according to https://hsreplay.net/ is as follows:

Arena rankings were accurate as of September 11th, 2018.

I’ll get into the details of every class in this article, but first I wanted to highlight a couple neutral cards that are dominating the scene and how to deal with them.

If you’ve played at all since the expansion you’ve certainly encountered the infamous Giggling Inventor.

Giggling Inventor is leading the Boomsday Project as the most played and most annoying card out of the expansion. 

If you’ve gained board control before turn five, playing him on the fifth turn will allow you to maintain control and keep beating away at your opponent. He’s just as good for defense, too. When you’re behind and reach turn five simply drop him on the board to create an easy stall, enabling you to play cards like Flamestrike or Lord Godfrey to turn the tide.

The best way to deal with this fifth turn terror is by crushing him with the equally jolly Mossy Horror. He’ll clear the board of any pests your enemy has on the board, swinging the match in your favor. Another notable counter is Blood Knight, a 3 mana drop that would instantly become a 9/9 minion capable of decimating whatever your enemy puts down.

The other troublesome 5-drop I’d like to mention is none other than the funky Fungalmancer. Managing to pull off his battlecry on the fifth turn gives you an overwhelming advantage. Usually pulling ahead with this card means winning the game outright. There’s no easy way to counter this fun guy from ruining your match; if your opponent plays him you better have a strong swing card to chop him down.

Alright that’s enough about neutral minions, let’s start talking about the actual classes. I’ll cover them in ascending order.

Paladin

Leader of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Best-selling author of The Light and How to Swing It.

Since the meta is heavily focused on controlling the board or being able to swing it in your favor, it makes sense that Uther is having a hard time in the Arena. Currently, the Paladin lacks any type of consistent board clear making it difficult to achieve any type of long-term control. Focus on picking up strong early game  cards in order to gain control. The goal is to last long enough in a match to roll out his powerful buffs and weapons.

What to pick: Tirion Fording and Sunkeeper Tarim are the best legendary minions to pick up. Most of the Paladin’s weapons perform relatively well, especially the high cost Vinecleaver and Silver Sword. Lasting long enough in the match to play these cards can be a challenge, so shift your focus on creating a strong early game. Aldor Peacekeeper, Argent Protector, and Consecration all make useful picks that stall your opponent’s attacks. The most game changing cards the paladin has at his disposal are buffs. Pick up Sound the Bells!, Spikeridged Steed, and Blessing of Kings to punish your enemy when they allow you to keep minions on the board.

What to avoid: Disregard Eye for an Eye and most Paladin secrets. They’re useless and should never be picked. Don’t count on keeping your Silver Hand Recruits for more than a turn, so avoid direct buffs to them like Level Up! and Lightfused Stegodon. Blessed Champion sounds great in theory, but is too high cost and difficult to integrate in a realistic Arena match.

Hunter

"You were too slow, old friend. The hunt began long ago. And now...it will never end."

The hunter deck faces the same problems encountered by the Paladin. Although it has some great cards, it lacks definitive board clear mechanics that allow it to reverse control of the game. Steady Shot has no direct impact on the board, making it a rather useless hero power unless you’re ahead.

What to pick: The Hunter’s best legendary card is Houndmaster Shaw. If you manage to keep him on the board for more than a turn he can become a great removal tool. Hunters do have some removal with cards like  Flanking Strike and Candleshot so be sure to draft them. You’ll get the most consistent success from its beast minions which always make solid picks. Crackling Razormaw, Savannah Highmane, and Hunting Mastiff should be the core of your class minions. Boomsday also gave Hunters the exciting Boommaster Flark, which unfortunately is rarely found in arena decks.

What to avoid: I shouldn’t have to mention it but Exploding Bloatbat is quite possibly the worst card in the entire game, so please don’t pick it. To My Side! shouldn’t even be allowed in Arena, and Rat Trap usually doesn’t get triggered since most players try to conserve cards. Finally, although Emeriss is tempting you’ll almost never have a full enough hand by turn ten to make it a worthwhile pick.

Shaman

Thrall quit his former job as Warchief to save the world and spend more time with his family. 

The Shaman deck holds some of the best AoE in the game, most of the overload cards can heavily impact the game’s momentum. Despite powerful spells,Thrall doesn’t have many strong class minions to rely on. You’ll have to pick strong neutral cards to stay ahead. Additionally, an inconsistent hero power can oftentimes leave you vulnerable.

What to pick: Shaman cards heavily rely on Elementals, so picking a decent amount of them will help give your deck some tempo. The best legendaries are Kalimos, Primal Lord and Al’Akir the Windlord who are strong picks both offensively and defensively. Fire Elemental and the newly introduced Menacing Nimbus are currently the strongest common class minions. Most Shaman removal spells are great, always grab a Lightning Storm or Volcano when possible. Hex and Lightning Bolt can also be useful as single target removal spells in clutch situations. Shaman buffs can also be great when properly timed. Earthen Might is extremely strong if you can synergize it with the rest of your deck; Unstable Evolution can be rewarding as well as pretty damn fun.

What to avoid: I like the idea of Totem Cruncher, but unfortunately you’ll  rarely have totems on the board long enough to make use of his Battlecry. Windfury can be a great situational pick but is usually outclassed by other Shaman spells. Most of the Frost cards in the game are underwhelming, so stay away from Frost Shock, Ice Breaker, and Moorabi.

Priest

The future King of Stormwind is a kind, gentle soul. Except when he's in Shadowform.

The hardest part about playing a Priest in Arena is getting through the early game. If you can position the board in your favor in the first few turns, chances are you’ll stay ahead for the rest of the match. Priests will need to rely on strong early game neutral cards to survive the first few turns.

What to pick: Prophet Velen and Lyra the Sunshard are your go-to Legendary cards as a Priest. Filling your deck with dragons is worth it just to have Duskbreaker save you from a bad/slow start and can be devastating if paired with Holy Nova. The Priest’s minion control cards such as Mind Control and Cabal Shadow Priest are great ways to gain an advantage in the late game. Getting to the late game is the difficult part, so choose Extra Arms, Power Word: Shield, and Shadow Word: Death to help you survive.

What to avoid: The Priest deck has tempting Legendary cards that are rather useless in Arena. Never draft Dragon Soul, Temporus, or Archbishop Benedictus; they all seem powerful but are too unrealistic for Arena matches. A lot of the class minions such as Test Subject and Gilded Gargoyle are underwhelming and shouldn’t be picked over neutral cards.  Lastly, seemingly strong late game spells like Lesser Diamond Spellstone and Zerek’s Cloning Gallery often stifle your deck more than they help it.

Mage

The Kirin Tor's leader is a powerful sorceress. She used to be a lot nicer before the Theramore thing.

Mage has consistently performed well in Arena throughout all seasons of Hearthstone. Mages can usually outvalue their opponents and adapt to most situations thanks to their powerful spells. However, since the meta is shifting towards strong minions it’s understandable to see them slip a bit from the top positions.

What to pick: Powerful removal spells are the basis of a good Mage deck. Spells like Meteor, Flamestrike, and Fireball perform well in almost all scenarios. The tricky part of playing a Mage is choosing the right minions and being able to balance your spell to minion ratio. Pyros offers great repeat value throughout a match and Stargazer Luna can create tempo mid-game. Water Elemental, Mana Wyrm, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice will help you snowball if you gain an advantage over your opponent. You should also strive to include a few pesky secrets such as Counterspell and Mirror Entity.

What to avoid: Deck of Wonders can be a lot of fun up until one of the spells backfires. Curio Collector and Snap Freeze both require very specific scenarios to be picked. Unexpected Results and Luna’s Pocket Galaxy are usually not worth the trouble.

Warrior

This former Warchief of the Horde isn't bitter about being deposed. Not at all.

Warrior has probably been the worst Arena class since the game took off. Its poor performance is largely due to the class hero power which has no direct board effect. It’s cool to be able to add more health to your hero, but in Arena it doesn’t really matter if you have 20 health or 60 health. If your opponent gains control of the tempo you’re going to need a major swing card to be able to come back.

That being said, I’m excited for what the future holds for the Warrior class. The current minion-centric meta is working in the favor the Warrior class, as it has decent minions and an arsenal of weapons to help with removal. It’s currently placed at mid-tier, but I can see the class evolving as the year continues.

What to pick: The Warrior class has a ton of great cards this season. It’s tough to choose the best Legendaries but you can’t go wrong with King Mosh, Darius Crowley, or Grommash Hellscream. I recommend you pick up multiple weapons when playing Warrior, I usually try to pick about 3 or 4 of them. Blood Razor offers excellent board clear as well as Garrosh’s favorite new toy, the Supercollider. Other weapons worth mentioning are Woecleaver and Woodcutter’s Axe, both of which fit perfectly fine into the current meta.

Warrior class minions offer an extremely high value in most cases. Arathi Weaponsmith is arguably the best offensive 4-drop you can make while Militia Commander can help clean up most enemy minions. Rush minions are all the hype at the moment and sync perfectly with Town Crier and Woodcutter’s Axe.

Aside from bulky minions, the Warrior class has excellent removal spells this season. When presented, Execute and Warpath should be included in every Warrior deck. Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the Warrior performance this season and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds.

What to avoid: Dead Man’s Hand, Explore Un’Goro, and Gather Your Party don’t offer much value to your deck so leave them out. Also be sure to leave out cards that have low board impact like Blackhowl Gunspire, Iron Hide, and Weapons Project.

Druid

The lord of the night elves is a wise and noble leader. Yes, those antlers are real.

Druid is currently doing well in the Arena due to the versatility and strength of his cards. Druid minions have some of the best stats and include a variety of taunts and heals. The only fallback for this class is a lack of consistent AoE. This class typically relies on strong minions to gain board control.

What to pick: Cenarius and Flobbidinous Floop are the best Legendary cards for Druids. They both have a high degree of flexibility in how they can be played. Druids lack strong removal spells so grabbing Ultimate Infestation or Swipe is crucial for a player to survive. Webweave has also been gaining popularity, but I found it difficult to use at times due to the low health stat for  the poisonous spiders. The Druid’s greatest strength is in its minions. Cards like Druid of the Swarm, Ancient of War, and Tortollan Forager offer amazing stats at all stages of the game.

 

What to avoid: Most Druid cards work extremely well, simply avoid the cards that require special conditions to be met for a full effect. This would include cards such as Dreampetal Florist, Bewitched Guardian, and Giant Anaconda. Steer clear of passive effect cards such as Forest Guide and Duskfallen Aviana, although they can be useful in normal play they don’t have much viability in Arena.

Rogue

Expert assassin. Deadly gladiator. Best knife skills in her cooking class, according to survivors.

Rogue players are thriving in the arena for several reasons that are easy to point out. Rogues have excellent minion removal, a good pool of weapons, and an army of minions with excellent stats and special effects. Additionally, Rogues enjoy an excellent early game thanks to their hero power which trades hero health for minion removal. The current meta favors all of these attributes and even the less experienced players are finding success within the shadows.

What to pick: Minion removal is at the core of Rogue play. Vilespine Slayer, Kidnapper, and Sap currently have over 62% win rate when included in an Arena deck. That’s one hell of a statistic. Poison cards are doing extremely well at the moment so picking up a Plague Scientist, Envenom Weapon or Blightnozzle Crawler will add a touch of deadliness to your deck.

On top of spectacular effects, Rogue cards also carry decent value. Blink Fox and SI:7 Agent offer great early game value that can help establish early game control. Minions such as Crazed Chemist and Cursed Castaway offer unmatched tempo in the mid-game. Rogues arguably have the most versatile decks in the game at the moment. Cards like Cheap Shot, Elven Minstrel, and Shadowblade make it  easy to fill holes in your Arena deck. I like to think of the Rogue class as the Batman of Hearthstone.

What to avoid: Although a lot of fun in regular play, cards like Pogo-Hopper and Kingsbane don’t perform nearly as well in Arena. Cards with no direct board effect such as Leeching Poison, Sinister Strike, Headcrack, and Evasion should be disregarded.

Warlock

Talented, persuasive and hard-working. Too bad he wants to feed your soul to demons.

Warlocks are currently dominating the Arena scene with their army of demonic souls. Their decks are brimming with early game strength, single target and AoE removal, and reliable card draw. It’s no surprise that Warlocks are at the top of the Arena chart. The only setback from playing Warlock is the risk of draining your own health low enough for your enemy to slip in and secure a victory.

What to pick: The single strongest Legendary in Arena at the moment is Lord Godfrey. His ability to clear the board and establish a strong presence is unmatched by any other card in the game. Warlocks can keep control of the match with their amazing removal tools at all stages of the game. Cards like Defile, Siphon Soul, Feeding Time, and Hellfire help you deal with anything your opponent throws at you.

Aside from strong spells, Warlocks command some of the strongest early game minions, at a price. Vulgar Homonculus, Kobold Librarian, and Flame Imp all offer early game dominance that is usually worth the HP investment. The constant threat continues in mid-game with monsters like Dread Infernal, Tar Lurker, and the notorious Despicable Dreadlord. Voidlord makes an excellent drop for endgame as more options like Hooked Reaver and Doomguard open up to help you secure the match

What to avoid: Like with other classes avoid cards that require special conditions to be worth their cost. In the Warlock’s case it would include Ectomancy, Skull of the Man’ari, and Treachery. Also avoid cards that can put you in an obvious disadvantage such as Bloodbloom and Cataclysm.

Conclusion

Obviously none of this information is ever set in stone since the game is constantly evolving. However, if you’re serious about improving your Arena game you should take the time to learn where the metagame currently stands. Knowing the metagame can help you consistently achieve a higher Arena ranking and earn better rewards.

If you’re struggling in Arena, don’t give up! Remember that many of us enjoy Arena for different reasons. Personally, I enjoy playing a mode of the game that requires 100% skill and no luck at all. Hah!

For More Useful Hearthstone Tips Check Out:

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