Altenberg gives you his Lineup Trends data for Legacy, Hero, and Pro Series.
Well, we had a bunch of card nerfs affect the meta-game last week, so the Week 2 Lineup Trends article was kind of a moot point. I didn’t write anything, so I hope no one missed it too much. In any case, I'm back to cover Week 3 before the next set of card changes affects the meta again next week. It’s tough to pin down the meta with such frequent card changes and it makes on-going data collection tough (and annoying for yours truly). In any case, enjoy the data as you prep for Week 4, because there won’t be an article in the new meta as we prep for Week 5. But then we’ll be back it for Week 6!
Week 3 of Legacy Series saw an increase in lineup diversity compared to the first two weeks. There were 35 unique lineups brought, and a tie for the most popular (both outlined below). Hunter was by far the most popular class, included in 90 out of 94 lineups with Warrior and Druid in 2nd and 3rd place; used in 66 and 63 lineups respectively. Shaman and Mage were in 4th and 5th place used in 58 and 55 lineups respectively. While Warlock had some fringe usage in 28 lineups, Paladin, Rogue and Priest were complete afterthoughts with none being used in more than 17 lineups. What follows are the two most popular lineups from week 3.
Most Popular Lineup 1a – Druid, Hunter, Shaman, Warrior
Week 3 Stats
Matches: 11-3 (79%)
Games: 37-23 (62%)
This lineup had an incredible performance last week, dominating its opponents. The only scenario where it almost struggled, was when opponents banned its Hunter, but even then, it still managed a 50-50 match record. Another scenario where it performed “less good” is when pilots chose to ban opposing Druids. It only won 60% of it’s matches (lower than its overall average of nearly 80%). But when pilots chose to ban Hunter or Warrior, or when opponents banned Druid or Warrior, this lineup seemed nearly unstoppable. 14 Lineups is a decent sample size, but I’d like to see more from it before I declare it the best lineup for Legacy. Unfortunately, we’ll only have one more week in this meta so we’ll never really know.
Most Popular Lineup 1b – Druid, Hunter, Mage, Warrior
Week 3 Stats
Matches: 5-9 (36%)
Games: 26-34 (43%)
This lineup was also equally popular as the one above, but unfortunately the swap of Mage for Shaman proved to not be a great option. This lineup struggled mightily. That said, as I look over the pilot bans, it seems like some of the poor performance might be due to pilot error more than matchup spreads as there were MANY different ban strategies employed by the various pilots, none of which seemed very effective. That said, opponents of this lineup figured out that they could ban Warrior or Druid and be pretty well off.
If Week 1 saw the least lineup diversity ever in the history of Lineup Trends, then Week 3 one-upped the competition as there was even LESS lineup diversity. It seems the nerfs (which almost exclusively hit Rogue) just narrowed the field and meta-game in the LHS format. There were only 23 unique lineups last week. Hunter was by far the most popular class, used in 71 out of 76 lineups. Warrior, Mage and Druid were all used nearly equally in 57, 54 and 51 lineups respectively. Shaman saw a bit of usage, found in 39 lineups and Warlock also saw a bit of viability in 23 lineups. Rogue, Paladin and Priest were all complete afterthoughts with none used in more than 10 lineups. There was one lineup that stood out from the pack as being the most popular.
Most Popular Lineup – Druid, Hunter, Mage, Warrior
Week 3 Stats
Matches: 7-5 (58%)
Games: 25-24 (51%)
In looking at the bans pilots of this lineup made, while Hunter was the most popular choice, it wasn’t all that effective. Druid and Warrior were far less popular ban choices by the pilots, but seemed to be more effective, so it makes me wonder if this lineup could have done even better if pilots had chosen better bans. Opponents of this lineup were split on whether to ban Druid or Warrior, but Warrior was by far the better choice against this lineup. As far as popular lineups go, this was the most effective, but there were several lineups that out-performed this one. Unfortunately, they had very small sample sizes (5 or less lineups) so not much can be drawn from them. The next most popular lineup (Druid-Hunter-Mage-Shaman) performed VERY poorly (30% in matches and 44% in games). So while there was not very much lineup diversity last week, I think a bit more creativity is needed to solve this LHS meta. Alas, we only have one more week of it, before more card changes throw everything into chaos again.
Data on Pro Series is limited right now, but just like in Legacy and Hero, Hunter proved to be the most popular class last week, used by 17 out of 39 players. Warrior was the 2nd most popular class used by 9 players with Druid and Mage tied for 3rd (4 players each). Rogue and Shaman were tied for 5th (2 people each), while 1 lonely person brought Paladin. Literally no one brought Priest or Warlock, so either they are completely not viable in the format, or everyone has an equal hatred of those classes. As I mentioned in the previous Lineup Trends, this 1-deck format is entirely about trying to get a read on your opponent and bringing the counter to whatever they bring. It can be an exhausting mental exercise as you try to determine if they will bring what they brought last week or the counter to that counter, or will they try to counter what you’ve been bringing, etc, etc. Guess wrong, you are in for an 0-2 loss. Guess right, and you’ll get that 2-0. It is my opinion that the 5-card "sideboard" of a secondary and tertiary deck does not have enough of an impact to improve a deck's match-up, and that simply guessing the right deck is the most important factor. Think about it. How could changing 16% of a deck's composition make a difference in a polarized matchup where one decks wins 60% of the time or more? This is the danger in bringing polarized decks in the Specialist format. And so far, players in Specialist seem content to choose polarized decks and roll the dice hoping they hit a favorable match-up. I think the designers had hoped more players would utilize mid-range strategies to iron-out their match-up spreads to go for less polarized games, but so far, that isn't happening.
What I will point out is that while Hunter was the most popular class last week in Specialist, it had a terrible outing going a combined 18-21 in games and 6-10 in matches (1 has yet to be updated on the website and is likely a DQ). There were only two Hunter archetypes brought: Midrange and Mech, and Mech was by far the most popular. Unfortunately, Mech also proved to be the least effective of the two going 12-16 in games while Mid-range went 6-5. Hunter does match-up very well against Warrior, the 2nd most popular class (especially Mech Hunter), but Warrior once again had an overall positive win-rate going 10-8 in games. Of the 17 players who chose Hunter, only 4 of them played against a Warrior. And even then, the four Mech Hunter players only went 2-2 in matches (5-4 in games!!!) against Warriors. There were 6 Hunter mirrors as well. In a meta where Hunter was the most popular class brought, Druid would stand to benefit, and it did go 5-3 in games (but only faced a hunter in 2 its 4 matches, going 4-0 in games against Hunter). So, it seems like everyone was trying to counter a Warrior meta with Mech Hunter, but you can’t do that when everyone brings Mech Hunter. So, good luck guessing what your opponent brings, because that is more than half the battle in this format.
Until next week, good luck and have fun.
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