Well met! Ever since the start of Hearthstone, the players have tried to define what are some of the most played decks in the game. For quite some time now, the more serious teams or organisations have been professionally handling these analysis, sorting the decks into Tiers and sorting the strong decks on the ladder into those tiers based on their popularity and the rate of success. A curious result has come out of these reports and that is that they actually end up shaping the meta, not analyse it. Today we are going to discuss this peculiar phenomenon a bit more into detail and discuss whether it is a thing at all.
Meta Reports & Netdecking
The Meta Reports really are a great asset to players in any card game, even though the community has somewhat of a divided opinion on them. It’s a fact that most of the Hearthstone community are generally players that don’t (or can’t) spend that much time on the game but they still want to experience the fun and the thrill of entering the Tavern. People who don’t really have the time to make a deck from scratch, test it out for a huge number of games and then refine it. There really is a lot of time put into that usually, especially if a new archetype is in question. Additionally, there are also the new players or less experienced players who believe they aren’t capable enough of making a deck on their own and would rather find another one online to play.
They instead resort to something known as netdecking. A lot of people in the community think that people shouldn’t netdeck, as they are breaking one of the biggest charms a card game has to offer, and that is to create your own deck from your collection. The other part finds it by all means fine, as everyone should be able to have a “shot at the game”. The Reports are a great way to netdeck, as most of them are being written by either (ex)professional players or people who are closely connected to them and can get the freshest information on which deck(s) are currently being played in the highest ranks of the Legend ladder.
The Use of Meta Reports
Generally, the players check the Meta Reports for two reasons. The first and the most common one is to see what is currently strong and what should be played in order for one to reach higher ranks faster. From that point on most of these players try to find the faster deck from the Tier 1 and then carry on playing it as it’s either easier to play or providing the player with faster games.
The second reason is again to check what is being played, but to actually see what is the best way to counter that/those deck/s. Since every deck has some kind of a counter deck (Aggro beats Tempo, Tempo beats Control, Control beats Midrange, etc.), for some players it’s very convenient to see what are the decks they should play in order to counter the most popular ones.
The “Meta Report” Phenomenon
Ever Since the time of the Old Gods but also before, the Meta Reports have been showing the best decks and also explaining why are these decks good. Some of them even give a proper decklist that the player can try out on his own. Since most of the Hearthstone community netdecks, it’s logical that these meta reports are commonly used for reference and that the best decks presented by them are going to seem the most attractive.
When the community comes to these websites and sees what the decks in the Tier 1 are, they play them. After a lot of people do the same thing, the meta starts being filled up with the deck, like during the prime times of the Pirate Warrior.
Of course, there is still this second group of players (usually the more successful ones) that do try to figure out the counter decks to these Tier 1 decks and have a much easier time laddering.
At many points throughout the history of Hearthstone, there were some decks like Patron Warrior, Secret Paladin and Face Hunter which were very hard to stop and people had a lot of problems figuring out what were the right decks that are going to have a high win rate against any of these. One of the reasons why the staleness from decks like this had happened before was the fault of the game’s design, with the prime example being the Warsong Commander and how much it exploited the Grim Patron’s effect. On the other hand though, the staleness also comes as a result from the Meta Reports and their effect on the community.
Meta Diversity is one of the biggest requirements that a game needs to have, and ever since Un’goro came out, that has definitely been covered for the great part. Diversity mainly derives from great game design and also from the knowledge of how streamers and professional Hearthstone players work, as they are the ones who start trends in the meta.
Even though the Meta Reports are a great tool for any Hearthstone player to use, they are more often than not the initiators of these deck trends. Even though it’s nowadays somewhat impossible to not be able to netdeck, it would be interesting to see how would the meta develop and look like if there were no Meta Reports and if netdecking wasn’t a thing.
Author: David “Sigma” Bakic
Sigma is a Hearthstone content creator for Good Gaming. If you like to take a look at a fresh perspective on a wide range of topics while being hit with a marvelous burst of in-depth information, try giving one of his articles a read. You won’t regret it. He also streams very occasionally where he gives away a bunch of rewards all the time!