Where to watch

Times

  • Friday, November 4 from 12:15 p.m to 10 p.m. Pacific
  • Saturday, November 5 from 10:30 a.m to 3:45 p.m. Pacific

You may not be a pro, but you can always learn from them.

On November 4 and November 5, eight of the best Hearthstone players in the world compete at BlizzCon in Anaheim for a $1 million prize pool in the Hearthstone World Championship. With stakes this high, those competitors better bring their best decks.

And thanks to Blizzard, we actually know exactly what those decks are. Below, you can see the five decks that each of the eight players are bringing to the tournament. Peeking at them gives us some insight into the current state of Hearthstone before the release of its next expansion (which Blizzard should be announcing on November 4).

Spoiler alert: You won’t be seeing a lot of Priests.

The decks

Takeaways

The popular classes

Looking at everyone’s decks, you see a lot of the same classes popping up time and again. Every single competitor has a Shaman and Druid deck. Seven of them are bringing Warrior. These are all some of the most popular and powerful classes in the game right now.

The aggressive Shaman deck can outpace other fast decks but still deal enough damage to take down control decks. The class has dominated Standard play because of its reliability. It makes sense to see it used in tournaments.

Druid is another flexible class, since mana-raising cards like Innervate and Wild Growth can allow players to use expensive cards earlier in their matchups. A lot of tournament players have been using a spell-based Druid deck that can can deal a lot of damage with a Malygos and Moonfire combo. Some of them are even still playing the recently nerfed Yogg Saron, as it’s spell spam can turn a hopeless loss into a win if a player had cast a lot spells that game.

The Warrior’s armor can increase its life pool past 30, making it a natural counter to many aggressive decks, which is why so many players run it. However, it’s also a versatile class that can use many different archetypes. In the lists above, we see a C’Thun Warrior from Pavel (which just has to outlast an opponent to win), a Dragon Warrior from DrHippi (a more aggressive, value-oriented deck), and a Patron Warrior from HotMeowth (which can use the Grim Patron card to summon an endless onslaught of minions).

The unpopular classes

Poor Paladin and Priest — they’re only in one deck apiece … and from the same player, Hamster. So if you’re looking for an unconventional competitor to watch, he may be your guy (even if his other three decks are the popular Warrior, Druid, and Shaman).

Paladin and Priest just don’t have the tools to compete with the popular aggressive decks — a lack of early minions that are strong — and their control game is too slow and can’t survive the high amounts of damage dealt by classes like Shaman, Druid, and Warlock. Rogue isn’t far behind, only showing up twice these deck lists.

Hopefully, that next expansion will make these suffering classes more viable.

Surprisingly, Hunter also only has two appearances. That’s not a top-tier class right now, but it’s also not an awful one. Still, Hunter’s specialty is mid-range, which Shaman simply does better. The class also took hit recently when Blizzard increased the cost of Call of the Wild, arguably the Hunter’s best card, from 8 mana to 9.

The rest of them

Mage and Warlock make up the rest of the classes. Mage shows up six times, while five are playing Warlock. Those using Mage are competing with a tempo version of the class, which specializes in trying to play a perfect mana curve (1 mana card on the first turn, 2 mana card on the second, and so on) that uses strong spells like Firelands Portal and low-mana spells like Arcane Missiles that can synergize with Flamewalker. Mage is also one of the strongest counters to Shaman, which explains why a decent amount of players would want to run it.

All of the Warlock decks are working with the new discard mechanics released in the last adventure, One Night in Karazhan, thanks to cards like Malchezaar’s Imp and Silverware Golem. But they still focus on what Warlock always does best: overwhelm the opponent with a bunch of minions.

Conclusions

Fast decks still reign supreme in the world of Hearthstone. Despite Blizzard’s many attempts to slow the game down, those that can outpace opponents with early and mid-game minions often have the best chance to win. Warrior is the only class that can consistently compete with a control-style deck, thanks largely to the armor mechanic.

So, who will win? That’s impossible to say. Not only are these all fantastic competitors, but Hearthstone still has enough randomness that you rarely see a single player dominate the tournament scene. The most skilled competitor can still suffer from bad luck. Some may want to root for Hamster, the out-of-nowhere player from China who dared to play a Priest deck, while many American hearts will be with the 16-year-old Hearthstone prodigy Amnesiasc.

As for me, I’m picking Jasonzhou to win it all … just because if he does, I’ll win more card packs.

But we do know one thing for sure. Whoever wins, they’re running a Shaman deck.