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. Note that the main criteria used for this tier list is based on the class’ consistency, which is determined through the effectiveness of their class cards, and takes into consideration their respective Hero Powers.
In case you haven’t been made aware of, the developers are constantly making changes in Arena through “micro-adjustments” in terms of the offering rates of individual cards in order to balance the classes, and prevent a single class from having a significantly higher winrate than the rest of its peers. Essentially, the developers are keeping a close tab on how each card performs in Arena, and consequently making changes to the offering rate of these cards. These changes are made not through patches, but through hotfixes, and unfortunately, not all of these changes are documented through official channels, which results in parts of the community not being aware of said changes, and having to resort to statistics (such as HSReplay) to observe noticeable patterns. For more information about micro-adjustments in Arena, you may read this Reddit post here.
Needlessly to say, it is 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.
Arena Class Tier List
If you look at any tier list on the web, they will be very different. This is because most of them are based of personal experiences, and contain data from different sources. However, despite having minor differences, they do share common trends. Still, you should always retain an open mind, and not use anecdotes as sufficient evidence to support your claims.
Right now, the class balance is pretty good. While there are better and worse classes, thanks to the dynamic changes to the card offering rates, there are no huge outliers (in the past, some of the classes used to have sub-40% win rate). Below, I’m listing the current tier list, as well as the average win rates of the class over the last 48 hours. They are pulled from HSReplay.net at the time I’m writing this, so they could be different at the time you’re reading (especially because a new set of dynamic changes might went out already).
Tier 1 – >51% win rate
- Warlock – 54.3%
- Rogue – 53.2%
- Druid – 51.6%
- Warrior – 51.5%
Tier 2 – 49-51% win rate
- Mage – 49.1% – Right now, the middle tier is nearly gone, but Mage still managed to squeeze into it.
Tier 3 – <49% win rate
- Priest – 47.5%
- Shaman – 47.5%
- Paladin – 45.1%
- Hunter – 45%
Strong early and late-game AoEs, decent single target removal, reliable card draw, efficient early-game minions.
Hero Power may be too risky to use at low HP, many cards do damage yourself, lots of situational or useless (in Arena) class-specific cards.
Warlock is still on a crazy rollercoaster – over the last few expansions it’s been everywhere – on the top, the bottom, in the middle and now it’s on the top again. The Boomsday Project was definitely an okay expansion for Warlock in terms of Arena. Both Spirit Bomb and Doubling Imp are above average, and a bunch of other cards are somewhat okay. However, the card that really stands out this time around is Omega Agent. According to HSReplay, it’s the first best card in Warlock (and in Arena in general as of right now), after Lord Godfrey and Despicable Dreadlord. Omega cards in general are great in Arena – they are often playable on curve and have a massive positive effect in the late game. When it comes to the Agent, 4/5 for 5 is pretty bad (you basically pay 1 extra mana for a Chillwind Yeti), but it’s absolutely insane once you get to 10 mana. Being able to flood the board with three midrange minions for just 5 mana and a single card is great – no class can answer it easily and efficiently, it usually gets at least 2 for 1, and if they have no way to clear it (and another minion you play alongside), then you just shave off half of their health.
We also need to keep in mind that Warlock’s position is heavily influenced by an amazing Year of the Mammoth it had (Knights of the Frozen Throne + Kobolds & Catacombs in particular). Year of the Raven so far was okay, but not impressive – the class will probably suffer a heavy hit once all of the 2017 cards rotate out.
Strong early game, efficient Hero Power, combo-oriented playstyle, various efficient single target removals.
Combo cards might be hard to activate, lack of board clears, is more susceptible to being rushed down by aggressive decks since it takes lots of damage from Hero Power and has almost no defensive Class cards.
Rogue has been always relevant in Arena – even when the win rate didn’t show it, good players found a way to make Rogue runs work. Since it’s now on the second position, I believe that it might be the #1 class in Arena in hands of an experienced player (because it’s generally harder to use correctly than the others). As for the Boomsday Project, it worked quite well for Rogue. Two most notable new cards are Crazed Chemist and Blightnozzle Crawler. The first one can either make your small minion trade up or let you put lots of immediate pressure with 4 extra attack, while the second one is just awkward for the opponent to deal with, especially the classes without 1 damage Hero Power. Necrium Blade is also pretty good – even though you usually won’t trigger the effect, a 3/2 weapon alone is good enough to see play (Fiery War Axe). What’s worth noting, though, is that Rogue got two terrible Arena Epics this time around – Necrium Vial is very inconsistent (it might work in a deck full of good Deathrattles, but those rarely happen in Arena) and Academic Espionage (even though it might seem amazing, the immediate tempo and card advantage loss makes it very risky).
Ability to ramp, flexible “choose one” cards, contains some of the best statted minions, has a lot of taunts and survival tools.
Lack of AoE and hard removal, often relies on single big minion, difficultly in generating tempo, poor comeback mechanisms.
Boomsday Project was great for the Druid class. From one of the worst classes it advanced to the top 3. The class has got a bunch of above average cards, especially Rares. But let’s start with Commons – Landscaping is just good. Even if we ignore Treant synergies (which will happen from time to time given the bonus offerings on new expansion), summoning two 2/2’s for 3 mana is just worth it. It can easily trade into any other 3-drop, but it’s also good when you need to have more than one minion at a time. Gloop Sprayer is also interesting – by itself it’s pretty bad, but it makes a good deck even better. If you’re already ahead on the board, dropping him and adding 4/4 + two more copied minions is amazing. That said, it’s pretty useless if you’re behind, so overall it’s pretty average.
However, it’s the Rare cards that really shine for Druid this time around. Starting with Tending Tauren – the two treants option is pretty much always good. Putting 3/4 + 2x 2/2 on the board is well worth it for 6 mana (it’s like playing two good 3-drops on T6), but the fact that it’s also a Power of the Wild (AoE buff part) on a stick pushes it over the edge. If you have a decent board, you can buff it to get some good trades or to push more damage. Then, we have Mulchmuncher. By itself it’s pretty bad – 10 mana for 8/8 with Rush is not something you would really want, even in Arena. However, Treants are pretty common right now, if you have already picked a few cards such as Landscaping or Tending Tauren, then Mulchmuncher gets significantly better. Even getting it down to 7-8 mana, which should not be that hard, makes it solid. But if you draft it alongside let’s say Living Mana and get it down to 4-5 mana, then it’s an amazing tempo play. Finally, Dendrologist is also very solid card. Even without the text, it’s a vanilla 2-drop, and Druids definitely needed some more 2-drops in Arena. And later in the game, you can even get an extra card out of it – there are a lot of good spells you can pick, and even if you get something meh, it’s still for free.
Weapons capable of generating value and tempo, lots of taunts, decent removals.
Hero Power that is useless in many situations, reliant on drafting weapons to be effective, too many different synergies make drafts awkward.
Every time Warrior is not on the bottom of the stake, I’m really surprised. The Warrior’s biggest problem is actually easy to identify – it’s the class Hero Power. It’s the only Hero Power that has zero impact on the board state other than Hunter’s, and unlike Hunter’s, it can’t be used as a win condition. It’s not Constructed, where gaining health is often important and you have some Armor synergies and such. In Arena, it’s often irrelevant whether you are at 40 health or 15 health, if you lose the tempo or value war, Armor isn’t going to save you anyway. Other problems include too many synergies required for the class to function properly. In Constructed, you can easily pick what kind of Warrior you want to play – Pirate, Taunt, Rush, Tempo, Control, Recruit, whatever. In Arena, you can’t do it that easily. You will often end up drafting a bunch of different synergy cards, but no cards to work with those synergies.
However, Boomsday Project was a really good expansion for the Warrior (both in Constructed and Arena), and it moved it up to Tier 1 – barely, but still. That huge jump from the bottom was mainly thanks to the two new cards – Dyn-o-matic and Supercollider. Coincidentally, those are also the cards that brought Warrior back in Constructed. Dyn-o-matic is just amazing board control tool. Arena is usually about playing on the curve – your opponent plays a 4-drop, you play yours. Your opponent plays a 5-drop, you play yours. And as it happens, most of the 4-drops and 5-drops are in the 5 health range, so assuming that it’s the only minion on the board (which will be often the case), Dyn-o-matic can completely clear it while leaving a solid, 3/4 body in play, putting Warrior ahead in terms of tempo. But a card that works even better is Supercollider – it’s one of the best cards in Arena right now. Weapons in general are great, but this is better than most of them. While you can’t use it in aggressive deck as well as let’s say Arcanite Reaper, it should usually clear two minions on the turn you play it, as well as at least 2 more later. Other than playing one minion at a time, it’s very hard to play around it, especially in Arena, which is all about the minion pressure. If your opponent takes it slowly, then you can just get ahead on the board and win the game. And finally, another card that’s worth mentioning is Omega Assembly. I’ve already mentioned that Omega cards just work well in Arena, and this is no exception. Discovering a card for 1 mana is okay, average spell. But the fact that in the late game you can get 3, a really good refill for almost nothing, lets you outvalue some of your opponents just like that. Other cards are about average – the only bad Warrior card from Boomsday is Weapons Project. Just like Omega cards are good in Arena, Project cards are bad – they are designed with a specific strategy and against a specific meta in mind, which just doesn’t work in Arena.
Versatile Hero Power, efficient board clears, can often outvalue her opponent, can adapt to most situations.
Lots of situational and reactive spells, many class minions have heavy spell synergy and work poorly without them, may not have a lot of proactive plays.
Right now, Mage is right there in the middle – the only Tier 2 class we currently have. It’s not as good as the top 4, but not as bad as the bottom 4. And that’s basically Boomsday Project in Arena for Mage. The class didn’t get many great cards. Only one, to be precise – Astromancer. While it might seem that the card wouldn’t be great in Arena, it’s like a new version of Faceless Summoner. For 1 more mana, you get a very similar effect on the same body. Even if you get basically the same effect, it’s still alright – 5/5 + a 3-drop is okay result for 7 mana. But if you manage to get a random 4-drop or even a 5-drop, then the card gets very powerful. Sadly, besides Astromancer, Mage didn’t get anything special. Shooting Star is a solid card, but without Spell Damage it’s not great. On the other hand, Cosmic Anomaly is amazing if you have lots of cheap spells (especially Shooting Star), but it’s bad by itself (4 mana 4/3). If you mange to draft those together, then you can get a really good deck. Other than that, most of the cards were average – again, with an exception of Project card (Research Project) – mirrored effects like that just don’t work in Arena, because you can’t guarantee that your deck will benefit from it more than your opponent’s deck.
Hero Power allows efficient trading, tons of removals (both single target and AoE), high-health class minions, solid buffs.
Weak early game, lots of gimmicky and situational spells, Hero Power and buffs are useless without the board control.
Priests have been known to dominate the late game with their ridiculously value-oriented spells, but they have trouble in the early game with regards to tempo, as their Hero Power doesn’t impact the board state, and often requires spells to swing tempo back in their favor. The Boomsday Project tried to fix that a bit, introducing three early game cards – Dead Ringer, Omega Medic and Extra Arms. All of them are good (Dead Ringer only if you have a bunch of Deathrattle cards in your deck, though), and sometimes they let you run away with the game early and not worry about the late game. However, they don’t fix the issue entirely. Dead Ringer is more of a value card – the 2/1 stats mean that it usually can’t compete with other 2-drops on the board. Extra Arms also require a minion to be already there, so the card doesn’t always work. Omega Medic is the only great new card – even though it gets an extra effect in the late game, you actually mainly play it for the 3/4 body on T3. While 3/4 for 3 is not as exclusive as it once used to be, it’s still a great play, especially with healing Hero Power and potential buffs.
That said, Priest still has an early game problem, so it relies on drafting Psychic Scream to have a late game come back card in case it falls behind (which often happens). And other new Priest cards don’t do anything to fix that. Test Subject is an interesting Constructed card, but you really need to build an entire deck around it to make it work. Cloning Device is another slow, value tool, while Topsy Turvy, a high tempo card, often doesn’t have enough impact in Arena. We also have situational Epics like Reckless Experimenter (played mainly for the stats, to be honest) and Power Word: Replicate (would be great if you could guarantee some board presence on the curve, but you just can’t). So in the end, Priest landed in the lower tier again – it’s not really the worst class right now, but it it doesn’t win as much as it could.
Contains some of the best AoEs in the game, single-target removal, and burst potential. Basic Totems can be amazing if you roll the right one. Overload cards can help you snowball.
Lots of RNG (including inconsistent Hero Power), lack of effective minions, overload can disrupt your late-game curve.
Despite Shaman getting one of the better cards in Boomsday Project – Menacing Nimbus – the problem is that it didn’t get much on top of that. Well, there’s also Thunderhead, which is definitely above average, but that would be it for the good cards. Nimbus gives Shaman a really good T2 play – 2/2 stats are not best, but solid enough, and it replaces itself with another random Elemental in the hand. Since an average Elemental is pretty good in Arena, the effect works well. Thunderhead is more specific card – it’s pretty bad if you don’t draft Overload cards (4 mana 3/5 without any effect is only passable in Arena), but it gets better and better the more Overload cards you draft.
However, besides those two, Shaman’s Boomsday lineup is rather underwhelming. Omega Mind is an okay card, because it’s a 2 mana 2/3 with a slight upside – but the upside is not as good as the other ones in Arena. This requires you to combo it with another card, so it doesn’t work “by itself” like Omega Agent or Omega Assembly. Voltaic Burst is also okay, but not impressive – in Arena, you often don’t have enough ways to capitalize from a big board, so the card loses a lot of its value. Storm Chaser is good if you manage to draft some 5+ mana spells, but the only one you really want to draft is Volcano, because the new Eureka! is a bad Arena card. And finally, both Beakered Lightning and Elementary Reaction can come handy in specific scenarios or decks, but are pretty bad by themselves.
Strong set of buffs, good weapons, 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 was a big Boomsday Project loser when it comes to its win rate. Even Glow-Tron, which is the best card this class got, couldn’t really save it (because while it’s definitely GOOD, it’s not amazing). The only other notable card is Annoy-o-Module, which is like a guaranteed Lone Champion – given that you usually play it into 2 or 3-drops, the Divine Shield and Taunt combination works pretty well. Both minions have Magnetic, which is a nice addition, because it seems like Mechs are better in Arena than they are in Constructed. But it’s still not good enough.
Paladin’s main problem in Boomsday Project is that falling behind often means losing the game. It’s one of the most on-curve classes, if it stays on the curve, then it’s great, but if it gets disrupted, then it might be very, very difficult to come back. Shrink Ray is definitely an option, but it has one big issue – it’s good if you fall behind, but it’s a dead card when you’re ahead – and that’s the state you want to be in. But then, having one dead card might mean that you ultimately fall behind, on the one hand making it useful, but on the other you’d rather stay ahead.
A slight upside of Boomsday is Paladin getting another solid Secret – Autodefense Matrix. It’s not amazing, but it’s good enough to be drafted, meaning that your opponent might have a harder time playing around them.
I’m also pretty sure that they nerfed Paladin in some micro-adjustments. While Boomsday Project wasn’t amazing for Paladin, it wasn’t bad enough that it would fall to the bottom of the tier list.
Aggressive playstyle, beast synergy, Hero Power can finish off low-health opponents, strong minions.
Hero Power doesn’t affect the state of the board, lack of consistent hard removals and AoEs, difficult to make comebacks once board control is lost.
For quite a while, during Kobolds & Catacombs, Hunter was absolutely dominating the Arena, thanks to all of the new, powerful cards it got. However, it was hit by the micro-adjustments time and time again, until it became one of the worst classes. Those micro-adjustments still hurt so much that despite getting some okay cards in Boomsday Project, it landed on the bottom again. Boomsday wasn’t AMAZING for the class, but cards like Venomizer, Secret Plan or Spider Bomb are more than fine. The class has got only a single bad card, Goblin Prank, and even that is alright, especially with Deathrattle minions in your deck.
I feel like Hunter suffers from the same problems Paladin does, to a certain extent. The class has very limited comeback mechanics, once you fall behind, you usually stay behind. In case of Hunter, the Hero Power doesn’t help either – if you’re ahead, it’s amazing, as you can add more pressure and put your opponent on the clock. But once you fall behind, unless your opponent is really low, it’s just useless. It looks like the current Arena is even more punishing to that kind of play style. Which, besides the microadjustments, seems to be the main reason why both Paladin and Hunter are on the bottom.
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.