The 2019 Wild Open is underway! Among Hearthstone’s available tournaments at the start of this new year, January’s Wild Open Qualifier is the biggest and most available competition for the game’s most dedicated players. Placing top 100 on the Wild Ladder in your region at the end of the season will grant you entry into the next phase of the tournament, the Playoffs. Glory and a $30,000 prize pool await those who proceed even further in the Wild Open!
While this is no easy accomplishment on any ladder, the Wild Ladder has traditionally been the easier means of getting a Legendary card back for players with an extensive enough collection to duel in the format. The fewer competitive opportunities in Wild does not provide the format the same established level of refinement and drive that we experience in Standard, where pro players and ladder gurus are constantly grinding for the latest and greatest micro-adjustments to the most powerful decks for the Hearthstone Championship Tour. Still, community resources and groups exist where the Wild Ladder is tested and refined by dedicated players, such as those who contribute to HS Replay, the Wild Hearthstone team One Trick, and the Wild forum, r/WildHearthstone, to name a few.
Here are the two most prevalent decks on the Wild ladder and what they’re about.
With 1-mana Totems maximizing your mana-efficiency with board presence, Even Shaman is currently one of the best decks to climb the Wild Ladder with. Most of its popularity in this format is driven by Genn Greymane’s buff to the Shaman hero power, at the cost of only using even-mana cards. This doesn’t seem to restrict the deck by much, with the wide range of cards made available in Wild. This is made evident by the presence of Aya Blackpaw and two copies of Thing from Below, both of which replace Fire Elemental in the deck’s Standard counterpart. Two copies of Flamewreathed Faceless (The 4-mana 7/7) give the deck great board swinging capabilities, or can end the game by turn six with a wide enough board.
It serves a unique function as one of the few anti-control decks to find mostly favorable matchups against aggro. The popularity of Odd Paladin also rewards this deck in a big way, both for Even Shaman’s ability to clear Silver Hand Recruit boards with Maelstrom Portal, and neutralizing buffs and Silver Hand Recruit synergies with Devolve in combination with Maelstrom to win and keep boards control.
Even Shaman’s overall winrate would have been stronger had Druid still been relevant in the meta, but it still finds a wide range of favorable matchups, and is popular enough that as of the publication of this article, 10 of the 12 top decks being played are some form of Even Shaman! The most recent snapshot from Vicious Syndicate places Even Shaman among the top two decks on the ladder, so this is one case of a deck being popular for being incredibly strong in the Wild meta.
While Odd Rogue has found middling success in Standard over the past couple of months, the aggressive Rogue archetype has been one of the hardest-hitting decks in Wild for almost half a year. Cards like Argent Horserider and Shady Dealer give the deck more power in the format, relying less on the staying power of Hench-Clan Thug and Vicious Fledgling on turn 3 and more on the total amount damage you can burst with all the odd-costed cards you have available.
What separates Odd Rogue most from its Standard counterpart is the wider range of removal options. Vilespine Slayer and Si:7 Agent seem to be enough in the more popular format, but Wild has access to Dark Iron Skulker, which finds regular use against board-centric aggro decks like Token Druid and Odd Paladin. Loatheb also locks out control decks from casting big removal spells on critical turns, and Dr. Boom gives the deck a dependable late-game drop that can clear boards or deal further damage.
Vicious Syndicate also places Odd Rogue among the top two in contention with Even Shaman, though finds less popularity due to how much harder the deck can be countered by midrange decks with strong anti-aggro tools like Even Shaman and Even Warlock. Cards like Argent Horserider are the reason why competent Odd Rogue players can navigate these matchups and find a consistent enough winrate to hit Legend eventually. With only Even Shaman finding significant popularity on the ladder, Odd Rogue is a safe, and powerful choice for climbing the Wild ladder with, especially in the absence of viable Druid archetypes since the December balance patch.
While Reno Priest is one of the harder counters to Even Shaman and can hold its own against Odd Rogue, Odd Paladin has been finding more recent popularity as a convincingly strong response to Odd Rogue while being generally better against the field, in exchange for a slightly worse matchup against Even Shaman. It relies on the insane hero power provided by Baku while using Wild exclusives such as Muster for Battle, Rallying Blade and Quartermaster to use and abuse the Silver Hand strategy to greater extremes than we experience in Standard.
Secret Hunter and Even Warlock are two other decks that can be considered as strong responses to pocket metas where more players are relying on the two, especially as they happen to find favorable matchups against both Even Shaman and Odd Rogue.
The higher you climb the ladder, the more likely you may run into counters against Even Shaman and Odd Rogue more frequently. When you experience diminishing returns on playing either Even Shaman or Odd Rogue, that will be the time to consider what other options you may have available. After the HCT Winter Playoffs for the European region, we’ll be back to guide you further into the Wild Ladder. Until next time!