Altenberg runs the numbers after week 4 so you don’t have to. Check out the latest Lineup Trends from last week’s Hero Series matches!
It’s great to be back writing about Hero Series after the nerfs a few weeks ago, and then the week off due to administrative league issues that needed to get taken care of. It feels like it’s been forever since we had meaningful data to analyze. I must give a shout-out to RidiculousHat this week as he has some done incredible data automating for me to make the number crunching and analysis much easier. This also means I will be streamlining the article a little bit and providing a little less data than I used to. As Hat says, “I giveth, and I taketh away.” Thank you so much Hat, this makes writing this article series much easier!
If you remember the Hero Series meta-game before the nerfs, there was a “Top 3 Classes” of Hunter, Paladin and Priest with a “swing” 4th class that was usually Rogue or Warlock, but sometimes Warrior. Hunter was used in nearly every lineup. I made some predictions right before the nerfs came out, and I got some of it right, and some of it wrong. I predicted Mage to be a big winner of the nerfs and Rogue to be a big loser, and in that regard I was right. But I also thought Paladin would see a decline, and it pretty much held steady. I also thought Hunter would see a bigger drop, and while it declined a little, it remains the most popular class. In fact, Hunter, Paladin, and Priest are still the top 3 classes, although Hunter and Paladin dropped a little while Priest saw a slight uptick in usage. Shaman completely collapsed, seeing almost no usage at all. Druid and Warrior both saw a slight uptick in usage as well, but not enough to be meaningful. In any case, what follows are the five most popular lineups from Week 4.
Week 4 Popular Lineups
Lineup #1 – Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest
Week 4 Stats
Matches: 9-6 (60%)
Games: 32-27 (54%)
We have a brand-new lineup to talk about, so thank you nerfs! This was the most popular lineup last week after the nerfs, and you might notice that it uses the “Big 3” classes, plus Mage. While Rogue and Warlock were popular choices as the 4th class pre-nerf, Mage seems to have taken over as the 4th most popular class. And this lineup was quite effective winning 60% of its matches. It wasn’t quite as effective in games meaning that many of its wins were of the 3-2 variety and likely could have gone either way. So, while it had a great first week, it remains to be seen if it can sustain a 60% match win-rate going forward.
Lineup #2 – Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Warlock
Week 4 Stats
Matches: 5-7 (42%)
Games: 22-27 (45%)
This familiar lineup was the 2nd most popular lineup through the first two weeks of the season, and it survived the nerfs to hold on to the #2 spot once again. While it was one of the most effective lineups pre-nerf, it had a bad showing last week winning only 42% of its matches. It was equally bad in overall games. While this is still a small sample size, early returns are not good for this lineup.
Lineup #3 – Hunter, Mage, Priest, Warlock
Week 4 Stats
Matches: 4-3 (57%)
Games: 17-12 (59%)
Once again, we have a popular lineup that utilized the Mage class. Interestingly this lineup ditched Paladin (one of the “Big 3”) and used two “swing” classes in Mage and Warlock. We have a very small sample size to work with here, but it had a positive win rate in both matches and games, so there could be some potential here.
Lineup #4 – Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Warlock
Week 4 Stats
Matches: 5-1 (83%)
Games: 15-7 (68%)
This lineup was mildly popular last week, but it was by far the most effective that was brought by at least 6 or more people. Like Lineup #3 above, it ditches on of the "Big 3" (this time Priest) and uses two "swing" classes in Warlock and Mage. It only lost one match and had an incredible overall game win rate as well. With only 6 lineups though, take all of this with a grain of salt as we’re dealing with the smallest of sample sizes. Still, perhaps there is something to this “No Priest” lineup.
Lineup #5 – Druid, Hunter, Paladin, Priest
Week 4 Stats
Matches: 4-2 (67%)
Games: 14-8 (64%)
The last popular lineup I identified also happened to use Druid, one of the least used classes before the nerfs. Druid saw some modest usage last week, but I think it deserves to be used more. With several different archetypes available (Malygos, Spiteful, Mecha’Thun, Togwaggle and Hakkar), and great matchups against Paladin and Priest, it should see more usage. And hey, this lineup performed very well with Druid included. Again, there’s a small sample size here, so we’ll see if it can maintain this level of performance going forward, but it certainly has potential.
Week 4 Class Popularity
If anyone was hoping that a few nerfs to a small handful of cards would dramatically alter the meta-game, then I have some bad news for you. We basically have the same meta with just a few tweaks. The biggest and most noticeable change is the drop in usage of Rogue and the increase in usage of Mage. Everything else pretty much held steady with the over-saturation of Hunter being reigned in just a tiny bit. While Druid saw a small uptick in usage, at the end of the day only 15 people brought Druid and it sits as the 2nd least popular class in the format. Poor Shaman…it’s in a really bad spot and I don't see that changing. Now that we have an infusion of Mage into the meta-game, I expect to see a few more changes heading into this week. I would not expect to see any more nerfs from Blizzard until the conclusion of Hero Series Season 8, but I guess anything is possible. I’m excited to watch the Lineup Trends evolve over the rest of the season.
Until next week, good luck and have fun!
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