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A Month in The Wild: Wrapping up and Moving Forward

Hearthstone Michael “Zechs_” Radford

June is over and we had a blast playing Wild. What did we learn though, and what will we do looking forward? This journey is just beginning.

My expedition into the wild format has come to a close (for now). I ended it playing my favourite deck from pre-rotation standard and over the course of the past week I kept up a 60% win rate with Reno Warlock. I’ll wrap up a few of my thoughts about the deck first and then move on to some observations about wild as a whole.
 
So, last week I started out with what I knew was a sub-optimal version of Reno Lock. I made multiple changes over the week, but the demon heavy build did at least give me one amusing anecdote before we get into the serious stuff: It started with me coining out a Voidcaller on turn three and passing the turn. My mage opponent fireballed it, waited for a moment as he heard the unfamiliar-but-sweet “I AM MAL’GANIS, I AM ETERNAL” and then conceded on the spot. I don’t think that game was un-winnable for him but it made me chuckle.
 
Despite that very above average outcome, I cut the entire demon package and ditched Tar Lurker almost immediately. In came a more reliable way to win: Leeroy, Faceless Manipulator, Power Overwhelming and Emperor Thaurisan. I only had maybe five games with the pet deck version so it’s fair to say that most of my wins came with they more typical build you can see below. It was definitely an improvement and having the ability to out-pressure certain control matchups is still as good as it’s ever been. It does give up some leverage against most aggro decks but I actually went 2-0 against Aggro Druid. All you have to do is mulligan for your AoE and draw perfect - easy!


Pirate Warrior is still a huge problem, just in wild in general, in my opinion. I really didn’t tech this deck to beat it and since the matchup only came up once that seems reasonable. The trouble is, the Pirate Warrior I did face was really poorly built (this was today, after the reset) but it still beat me easily. Should I be playing Oozes and Harrison? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem ideal to dedicate so many cards to a deck I rarely play against. Similarly, there were only two rogue matches all week so a lot of the time those cards are just under-statted vanilla minions. This is a broader problem with Hearthstone in general, of course, but the wide variety of decks in wild, which is one of the format’s selling points, makes the issue even worse.
 
Otherwise, things haven’t changed much for Reno Warlock. It is still very powerful and has draws that can beat any deck. It’s also still a dog to certain decks - Reno Mage, for example, beat me both times I played it and the games weren’t really very close. Weirdly, I lost two games two Quest Shaman as well. I think that matchup should normally be quite good but sometimes you play decks that flood the board and you don’t draw your AoE spells. Eventually the murlocs get too big to clear with damage, though, and without Twisting Nether you can’t win post-Megafin. It’s hard to complain too much about losing to Megafin though: that card is sweet.
 
Wrapping up A Month in The Wild
 
I had a lot of fun playing Wild throughout June. More fun that I’ve had with Hearthstone in quite a while if I’m honest. The vast array of decks is a blessing and a curse. In a total of 96 recorded games (skipping a few Quest Rogues) I played 41 unique decks. In reality, it was more than that, because I had to crowd some together for sake of clarity. Some decks I listed as Aggro Shaman had way more totems than others, for example. Some decks I assumed had Reno in even though I didn’t always see the card, too. This made a great change from facing the same decks over and over again in Standard (except for Quest Rogue, that’s still in Wild, sadly) but it also meant that building your deck to match up against the format is difficult. A potentially tech-heavy deck like Reno Warlock has to be careful not to overload for a certain match-up because even the most common deck wasn’t that common.
 
It also means that, fairly often, you play against some really badly made decks that don’t really teach you anything. I have several entries in my spreadsheet that are like “WTF Mage” or “Malchezaar Dragon Paladin.” I included them in the data for completion’s sake but winning against those decks wasn’t very helpful in terms of learning about Wild. That said, there were also a lot of somewhat viable decks that just didn’t show up very often. I got crushed twice by N’Zoth Priest, for example, but never saw it again.
 
The most common deck was still Quest Rogue, which is a bummer, but I usually just conceded on the spot and moved onto the next game. Hopefully the upcoming change to the quest will see this tediousness disappear altogether. After that, Reno Lock stands out with seven games. As mentioned above, I fared relatively well with the deck but over the course of the month I had a winning record playing against it. What does that mean, exactly? I think I just queued into the deck with good match-ups, to be honest. The deck is definitely solid in the format but, like every Wild deck, it does have bad match-ups and I was lucky enough to exploit them in earlier weeks.
 
After Reno Lock there were a bunch of decks I played four times: Reno Mage, Dragon Priest, Quest Priest, Miracle Rogue and Secret Paladin. Even in the mostly regularly played decks, there is still quite a lot of variety. Having said that, I did go 4-0 against Quest Priest so maybe that shouldn’t be as prominent as it seems.
 
So Wild is pretty fun and I definitely recommend giving it a shot, even if Blizzard doesn’t announce another tournament for a whole year. I will carry on with content about the format next week so don’t forget to vote.
 

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Michael “Zechs_” Radford
<p>Michael &quot;Zechs&quot; Radford is an esports veteran and has been writing about professional gaming for longer than he cares to remember. He currently lives in Leeds and is hoping his upcoming offspring will be talented enough to play esports professionally rather than just write about other people doing it.</p>

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