Hearthstone fans have noticed a large amount of Shaman decks currently dominating the ladder, but what exactly happened to make this class rise to the top?
As with any game, Hearthstone has seen constant updates, balance changes, and more in an attempt to shake up the meta and keep things fresh.
The latest update hit the game on October 4. Doom in the Tomb was Blizzard’s latest attempt at revitalizing a stale competitive scene dominated by the same decks, and it worked, at least until everyone figured out how strong Shaman had become.
The update re-added two old, iconic cards to each class which had been retired in previous years due to the game’s set rotation, as well as five neutral cards that all classes can use. This brought back fan favorites like Sylvanas Windrunner, Ragnaros the Firelord, and the Shaman’s Evolve.
Thanks to these cards being reintroduced exciting new decks could be made, which slowly led to people realizing how powerful the Shaman class now was, with three different decks becoming some of the best in the game, raising the class to an enormous 30% play rate.
In a game with nine different classes, it’s difficult to imagine how one class could see such a large majority of play, especially as it is over double the class in second place, which is Rogue sitting at a 13.7% play rate.
It’s very rare for a deck to dominate so much in Hearthstone, but it is easy to see how it rose to power so quickly.
What makes Hearthstone's Shaman so strong?
Shaman decks were greatly improved by the return of Evolve – a card that turns all of a player's minions into more powerful ones. This, combined with a large amount of cheap, easy to mass minions allowed the class to dominate the board from turn one and pile on the aggression.
An already powerful Shaman deck was also greatly improved by the card. A deck focused around Battlecry’s was a contender for one of the best decks before the patch, but instantly became the kingpin after the update hit.
This deck could make some incredibly strong plays like summoning three powerful minions in the early game with a Desert Hare card, which was only improved with Evolve upgrading them even further.
Now Shaman sits atop the Hearthstone ladder, taking on all in its path while fans call out for a solution from Blizzard, however, the company has yet to respond to their complaints.