Knowing which classes are the most effective in Arena is vital for those who want to maximize their reward potential, with the intent of increasing their gold and dust capacity, but is also especially important for newer players, who are looking to build their card collection. With the introduction of Death Knights from the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, Arena has become more diverse and interesting, as DKs have the ability to “snowball” the game out of control as compared to a normal “legendary”. The Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion focuses more on class-specific cards, while most of the neutral cards are relatively mediocre, with some exceptions of course (ahem, Bonemare). As a result, this heavily affected the rankings of the different classes from the previous expansion.
Other best-of lists:
This short guide is intended to provide you a brief introduction to the “best” Arena classes in terms of the quality of their class-specific cards that results in their respective high win rates. However, please keep in mind that this guide should only serve as a blueprint, and should not be followed as though it was set in stone. This is merely to help you formulate your own opinions about these classes using the knowledge available here combined with your own personal experiences.
It is also important to note that a successful arena run is not entirely reliant on the quality of the cards you draft, but is also dependent on the decisions you make such as the mulligan and the proper way of trading efficiently. If you’re a beginner, and are looking to improve your decision-making skills, or learn how to make efficient trades, you may check out a beginner’s guide on Arena here, where it would provide you with the necessary tools that you need to become an expert in no time.
If you look at any tier list on the web, there are few lists that are exactly identical. This is because most of them are based of personal experiences, and contain data from different sources. However, they do share common trends, and have minor differences.
While I am not saying that it is impossible to obtain 12 wins with a tier 4 class such as Warrior, their tool set makes it quite difficult to do so, especially when your opponent has a god-like draft combined with a decent class.
- Tier 1: Rogue, Paladin, Warlock
- Tier 2: Mage, Druid, Priest
- Tier 3: Shaman and Hunter
- Tier 4: Warrior
Strong early game, efficient Hero Power, combo-oriented playstyle (especially when given the coin), various single-targeted hard removal.
May find difficulty in enabling combo pieces if the deck’s mana curve is too high, lack of board clears, no natural heals or taunts, is more susceptible to being rushed down by aggressive decks.
In the recent expansions, Rogue has always secured its spot as one of the best classes for Arena due to their ability to create high-tempo plays with cards such as SI:7 Agent, Vilespine Slayer, and Envenom Weapon. The KFT expansion gave the class more survival and tempo-oriented tools with cards such as Shadowblade, Plague Scientist, and Runeforge Haunter. Also, their Death Knight, Valeera the Hollow, though is somewhat underwhelming in Arena, is still great at generating additional resources that allows you to generate more value in a value-oriented game.
Strong set of buffs, capable of fighting for the early board, decent amount of anti-aggro tools.
Lack of hard removal, reliant on having minions on board for buffs to be effective, difficult to make massive board swings once behind.
Paladin is arguably one of the more consistent classes, constantly scoring in the top ranks in Arena, and its position is even further reinforced in the KFT expansion with cards such as Righteous Protector and Dark Conviction being added to their arsenal. Paladin is currently so versatile in Arena – it has early game minions and weapons to help establish board control, and yields a powerful late game with buffs such as Spikeridged Steed and Dinosize. It even has enough taunts and healing to prevent yourself from being rushed down!
Strong early-game and late-game AoEs, decent hard removal, reliable card draw, efficient early-game minions.
Hero Power may be too risky to use on low HP, most AoEs does damage to himself, lots of fun and useless class-specific cards.
This may be a surprise to many of you because Warlock has not always been known for its high ranking in Arena due to their main weakness – their susceptibility to being rushed down easily by more aggressive decks. However, it feels that this weakness was mitigated in the KFT expansion with effective early-game removals such as Defile and Drain Soul being introduced. Despicable Dreadlord is also insane against token-based classes such as Hunter and Paladin.
Versatile Hero Power, efficient board clears, can often outvalue her opponent, can adapt to most situations.
Lots of situational and reactive spells, lack of class minions, may not have a lot of proactive plays.
While Mage is still one of the top tier classes in Arena, her rank is lowered as compared to some of the other classes. This is not to say that her set of tools per se are bad, but it is just that the other classes received a lot more in the KFT expansion. While cards such as Breath of Sindragosa and Coldwraith are not terrible, they are mostly situational cards and they don’t reliably do a lot in Arena. The only card that may be considered overwhelming is the Death Knight itself, Frost Lich Jaina – that card can single-highhandedly win games. However, Mage still remains a strong contender as one of the best classes when drafted well due to the previous expansions.
Ability to ramp, contains some of the best stated minions, has a lot of taunts and heals.
Lack of AoE and removal, minion-heavy class.
You might be wondering, “why is Druid now considered a high-tier class in Arena all of a sudden?” Well, have you ever heard of a card that gives you a 5/5, 5 cards and 5 armor? Yes, I’m talking about – Ultimate Infestation. Have you ever got Ultimate Infested in ranked? Well, it’s pretty much worse when it’s done in Arena. Aside from that, Druid got some nice early game from KFT such as Druid of the Swarm and Crypt Lord. Spreading Plague is also not bad against token decks. Their Death Knight, Malfurion the Pestilent, can also be insane at times.
Hero Power allows for efficient trading, tons of single-targeted removals, effective AoEs, high-health minions.
Lots of gimmicky and situational spells, Hero Power is useless without the control of the board.
While the Priest class gained a lot from the Journey to Un’goro expansion, they ultimately didn’t receive a lot this time around. We mostly got cards such as Shadow Essence and Eternal Servitude that are gimmicky and mostly relies on serendipity. Though, they did receive Shadow Ascendant and Obsidian Statue, which may be effective at times. However, it must be noted, that their Death Knight, Shadowreaper Anduin, might be one of the most powerful DKs in this expansion, especially in an Arena because it’s essentially a nuke in the late game.
Contains some of the best AoEs in the game, single-target removals, burst potential, Overload cards can help you snowball.
Inconsistent Hero Power, lack of effective minions, overload can disrupt your late-game curve.
While Shaman does contain some of the best AoEs in the game whether it would be in the early or the late game, they do lack some efficient minions to contest the board. From the KFT expansion, they didn’t receive anything worthwhile or amazing. They did receive Brrrloc, which seems to be just an inferior version of Glacial Shard and while Drakkari Defender has decent stats, its Overload is too disruptive to your mana curve, almost ensuring that you won’t be playing anything the following turn. Not to mention, their Death Knight, Thrall, Deathseer, may be inconsistent and relies on you having already established board control.
Aggressive playstyle, beast synergy buffs, Hero Power can finish off low-health opponents, high-stated and value-orientated minions.
Hero Power doesn’t affect the state of the board, lack of hard removals and AoEs, difficult to make comebacks once board control is lost.
It seems that Hunter is getting more popular as more expansions release. While Hunter does have a lot of high-stated minions such as Savannah Highmane, its effectiveness is heavily reliant on establishing early board control, then pushing for lethal damage. Its aggressive playstyle is further complemented in the KFT expansion with cards such as Bearshark, Venomstrike Trap, and Stitched Tracker. Their Death Knight, Deathstalker Rexxar is alright. It sort of contradicts the playstyle that the original Hero Power entails, but it can generate decent value when running low on resources.
Weapons capable of generating value through weapons, lots of taunts, decent early game tools.
Useless Hero Power, reliant on drafting weapons to be effective, lack of decent minions.
Is there ever going to be an expansion where Warrior isn’t definitively the worst class in Arena? Oh well, only time will tell. If the state of Warrior in Arena wasn’t bad enough, the nerf to Fiery War Axe was the nail to the coffin, as it made it more difficult to efficiently remove early game threats, and it disrupts their mana curve. Almost always, Warrior is playing from behind due to the abundance of situational and reactive cards and the lack of proactive plays they can make. While they did gain Mountainfire Armor and Blood Razor, it wasn’t enough to rescue the class from the pithole it is in. The Death Knight, Scourgelord Garrosh, isn’t spectacular either, as it barely affects the state of the board or generates value by itself.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t solely attribute your success in Arena to the quality of cards you’ve drafted. Your mindset shouldn’t be, “Oh I lost that game because my opponent had better cards than me.” While at times, you may find yourself to be extremely unlucky, losing seemingly impossible games, you should also recognize that your ability to make in-game decisions has a definite impact on your long-term success. With a combination of a strategic mindset and a bit of luck, you’re on your way to becoming an Arena legend.