Hearthstone Arena Tier List – Best Arena Classes (Forged in the Barrens, June 2021)

There are always winners and losers in Arena and some classes go 0-3 in terms of card pool power while others surge to 12-0. With the introduction of the Core set and the launch of the Wailing Caverns mini-set, the previously seen class win rates are all over the place, and a good understanding of which is the best Arena class in the meta is important for maintaining a high average at all times.

Click here to jump straight to the tier list!

Arena in June 2021: Rules and Strategies

Here’s what you need to know about the current format of the Arena: the old system of “buckets”, cards of supposedly similar power levels offered against one another are gone, which means the drafting is once again based around card rarities. This means that many of the picks are straightforward as the power level difference between something like a Runed Orb and a Murloc Tinyfin is pretty easy to grasp. As such the quality of your draft becomes a bit more about the luck of the draw than it used to be, which is something worth keeping in mind when gauging the strengths of your opponents.

So where do you find your advantages these days in the Arena? Understanding the differences between the various classes’ power levels in any particular meta and figuring out which cards appear disproportionately often (or rarely) as the effect of “micro-adjustments”. Perhaps macro-adjustment would be a more appropriate term as Team 5 regularly nukes cards out of existence in the format, making them almost completely absent from drafts.

These are the currently available sets in the Arena rotation:

  • Wailing Caverns mini-set
  • Forged in the Barrens
  • Darkmoon Races mini-set
  • Madness at the Darkmoon Faire
  • Scholomance Academy
  • Ashes of Outland
  • Kobolds and Catacombs
  • Goblins vs Gnomes
  • Core

Also, Far Watch Post, Mor'shan Watch Post, Crossroads Watch Post and Kargal Battlescar were removed from the Arena in the 20.0.2 patch.

Notable Neutral Cards in the Wailing Caverns Arena Meta

As the drafting process is pretty straightforward due to the power level difference across the various options, a certain subsection of neutrals show up quite often in the format, and are well worth keeping in mind when planning out your turns.

Venomous Scorpid – No matter which format you’re playing, you probably know that this is a good card. Emperor Cobra with a spell discover option is ridiculous, regardless of your class or archetype.

Hog Rancher – Similarly to Hench-Clan Hogsteed, the tempo applications of this cheap card make it a potent tool in the battle for board control.

Claw Machine – Think Starfire but with a bunch of added stats on the card you draw. It’s been a premium Arena card since its arrival and it will no doubt remain so going forward.

Sunwell Initiate – Since this card is so hard to kill cleanly on curve, its Frenzy effect is a real threat in a format with a low(er) power level like Arena.

Devouring EctoplasmHarvest Golem on steroids, one of the chunkiest three-drops in Arena history. Since it’s a common card, it shows up all the time, often against very poor alternatives.

Ysera – Though not exactly omnipresent, the reworked version of the Emerald Queen is an incredibly powerful option in the Arena nowadays as a game-winning card advantage bomb. It is the premier choice when it comes to any dragon generator, most notably Priest’s Draconic Studies.

Arena Class Tier List

With the recent micro-adjustments further shifting the landscape, this state of the meta is expected to stick around until the next big content release, if Blizzard’s past adjustments to the Arena are to be taken as gospel. The patches pushed Demon Hunter, Paladin, Shaman and Warlock down a notch, with all other classes with the exception of Warrior seeing an uptick in the quality of cards offered.

Win rates listed below are at the time of writing – they might be slightly different when you’re reading this, but the overall power level shouldn’t shift much.

Tier 1

Currently, Warrior offers the most bang for your buck, topping the charts with a global win rate of 53.2%. Garrosh benefits from the great offering rates of Stonemaul Anchorman and Whirling Combatant to construct consistent midrange threats alongside the top tier cards of Sword Eater and Outrider's Axe. Toss in Imprisoned Gan'arg as a potential insta-win on turn one and you can see why the class can do a lot of damage depending on how the offering odds are tweaked.

Looks like Demon Hunter still remains potent even after the micro-adjustments, clocking in at 52.4% at the time of writing: the raw power level of the class’ cards (with Cycle of Hatred, Coilfang Warlord and Expendable Performers serving as guaranteed board-flippers) ensure that it is always a top tier contender before Team 5 steps in, and if they don’t put their thumbs on the scale hard enough, the low rarities of these cards ensure that Illidan is a threat. Shoutout to Felrattler and Netherwalker as the new and old problem cards for the class.

Druids went from bust to boom with this round of changes, a raw increase in power levels propelling the class to third place with a 52.1% global win rate. Watch out for mana cheating shenanigans with Fangbound Druid and nightmarish stat piles from Arbor Up – which you will see more often from Nature Studies than as a natural draft choice.

Priest is the fourth class on our list and the last one with a positive win rate, boasting 51.0%, and it’s no surprise that Draconic Studies and Renew (into Draconic Studies) serve as the main source of win condition generators. Velen's Chosen and Apotheosis can flip the early tempo battle on its head or stabilize off Lifesteal against aggressors.

Tier 2

Rogue, Mage, Hunter and Shaman occupy the uncomfortable medium (around 48-49% in terms of global win rate) where you sacrifice just enough in power level where you should only play the classes as a fan but you can still make things happen with them. Some of the standout cards are Stormstrike, Efficient Octo-bot (what a surprise) and Runed Orb – you should keep an eye out for these if you go up against these classes. Hunters usually try to go for hyper-aggressive strategies, so pay attention to that both when you play them and against them.

Tier 3

Warlocks and Paladins were punted to the shadow realm by Team 5, crushing their win rates to the extent they’re now on the wrong side of 47%. In fact, right now they’re sitting closer to 45%. You can have successful games when using those, but you need to get very lucky with your draft (and luck shouldn’t be the deciding factor if you want to win consistently). Avoiding them is the only correct strategy.

Yellorambo

Luci Kelemen is an avid strategy gamer and writer who has been following Hearthstone ever since its inception. His content has previously appeared on HearthstonePlayers and Tempo/Storm's site.

Check out Yellorambo on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

29 Comments

  1. 9ameplay
    July 21, 2021 at 12:00 am

    how paladin tier 3.. doesn’t make any sense…

  2. Asperkraken
    June 25, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Great info but it was a bit light around tier 2 (i understand tier 1 is optimal, but luck doesn’t always pan that way).

    I would love to see a drafting guide for Arena class-by-class – it’s a totally different ballgame than Standard/Wild and even Duels deckbuilding and would love to see more of that. I saw plenty of good suggestions in the article though – would just like more. Keep up the good work.

  3. Kukaloko
    June 24, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for the article!! Its hard to find something for arena

  4. Skysolstice
    March 26, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Does any of you guys participating the upcoming WCG event? If yes, from what region are you?

  5. GlosuuLang
    September 14, 2018 at 3:33 am

    I’ve been enjoying Arena quite a lot in Boomsday, except for one little thing: Giggling Inventor. The card is already too good in Constructed, and in Arena it’s bonkers good. And more annoying than MC Tech. By turn 5 you might have one or two minions on board. They drop the Giggling, and it’s a very annoying stall. What usually happens is you can take out one Annoy-o-Tron, and the opponent magnetizes the other Annoy-o-Tron (usually with Wargear) and swings the board in his favor, sealing the game. So either you have a Giggling Inventor of your own, or a hard-counter like Mossy (I’ve been prioritizing crafting it), or you probably lose. This wouldn’t be that much of a problem if classes still had plenty of AOE spells, but since we have less spells now, decks normally have one or two AOEs. Wasting it on a Giggling means you can’t swing the game back in the future, but you’re kind of forced to do so if you don’t want Annoy-o-trons to get magnetized. So yeah, card’s busted. Make it 6 mana already. And offer it less often, just like MCT was adjusted and we see it less often now.

  6. Stonekeep - Site Admin
    September 12, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Arena Tier List was updated for Boomsday Project. Comments below this one were made about one of the previous versions of this article.

  7. AnUn
    August 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Already some insights regarding Boomsday? 🙂

  8. Heki
    June 24, 2018 at 2:44 am

    I gave a warrior a chance in arena and I have managed to get 8,6 average wins in 5 runs. The key is to draft 2 Spellstones plus 4-6 Weapons and some new 5/6 Dragons for value. Then add some heal and Warpath for reset and you are good to go.

  9. Quekjr
    June 13, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I think pulling stats off hsreplay during the taverns of time event was a bad idea, it reduces the longevity of this articles accuracy to 2 weeks

  10. JoyDivision
    June 13, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Asides from once again requesting a change log for such articles, you should delete (or archive, or mark) comments that were posted to older versions of the article.

    It’s a litte … irritating to read through them, only to raise eyebrows, only to look at the date they were posted, only to find out they are referencing to an older version of the article. 😉

  11. Remieh
    June 12, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I just love how I got to choose between Priest, Druid and Warrior in my Taverns of Time arena, so classic! 😀 At least it was free…

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      June 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Don’t worry, the Arena’s balance is not that bad right now. Even the worst 3 classes can get an insane draft, they just lag behind a bit in terms of averages 🙂

  12. Cyrusbahraini
    December 30, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    x1 blizzard
    x1 cairne bloodhoof
    x1 kabal crystal runner
    x2 bog creeper
    x1 firelands portal
    x1 sleepy dragon

    How many of these are mage cards? 17/30. Just disagree mage is always going to be good in arena unless they get rid of blizzard and flame strike.

    I know this is just an article but I wanted to add to the debat saw another comment someone made and I totally agree with the guy. I was playing with mage as I was reading this in arena.

  13. Cyrusbahraini
    December 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    yeah I think mage should be higher. Massive board clear in general is good in arena to get board advantage/ Game advantage. I almost feel like this is talking about what cards are best in each class for arena ( just need a few good mage cards and natural/ Heck I can find good mage cards in classic set forget about new sets). Not what is the best arena class ATM. I have played pally and ran out of steam multi-able times but when I play mage I get stuff like flame strike and primal helps me get those as well for cheaper. other examples Blizzard. Arcane missile.

    your telling me if I have blizzard 2 arcane missile and primal in my deck that I cant beat an aggro pally. Im tier 3 I totally disagree. In most games the lowest tier means unplayable

    6-1 right now
    x1 shifting scroll
    x1 arcane missile
    x1 mana wyrm
    x1 wax elemental
    x1 archane explotion
    x1 arcanologist
    x1 faerie dragon
    x2 medivh valet
    x1 primordial glyph
    x1 emperor cobra
    x1 explosive runes
    x1 frozen clone
    x1hyldnir frostrider
    x1 kirin tor mage
    x1pterrordax
    x1 spellbender
    x1 viloet illusionist
    x1 water elemental
    x1 bittertide hydra
    x1 green jelly
    x1 nesting roc

  14. Cyrusbahraini
    December 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    yeah I think mage should be higher. Massive board clear in general is good in arena to get board advantage/ Game advantage. I almost feel like this is talking about what cards are best in each class for arena ( just need a few good mage cards and natural/ Heck I can find good mage cards in classic set forget about new sets). Not what is the best arena class ATM. I have played pally and ran out of steam multi-able times but when I play mage I get stuff like flame strike and primal helps me get those as well for cheaper. other examples Blizzard. Arcane missile.

    your telling me if I have blizzard 2 arcane missile and primal in my deck that I cant beat an aggro pally. Im tier 3 I totally disagree. In most games the lowest tier means unplayable

    6-1 right now
    x1 shifting scroll
    x1 arcane missile
    x1 mana wyrm
    x1 wax elemental
    x1 archane explotion
    x1 arcanologist
    x1 faerie dragon
    x2 medivh valet
    x1 primordial glyph
    x1 emperor cobra
    x1 explosive runes
    x1 frozen clone
    x1hyldnir frostrider
    x1 kirin tor mage
    x1pterrordax
    x1 spellbender
    x1 viloet illusionist
    x1 water elemental
    x1 bittertide hydra
    x1 green jelly

  15. Mattzilla
    December 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Crushing hand is Shaman, not Hunter. I agree with this list. Arena has seen the most evolution from the new expansion with all he new OP cards like Voidlord, spellstones and such.

  16. BlueSpartan
    December 26, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Looks reasonable, but I might swap Priest to tier 1 in place of Paladin, and Mage to tier 2 in place of Rogue, based on latest win rates on hsreplay.

  17. Chalupa
    December 14, 2017 at 2:35 am

    when i do 12 win arena all i ever see are priests/rogues/hunters and occasionally locks/pallys. mage/druid are like 1 every 10 games. and i never really see any shaman/warrior.

  18. Swuirrel
    December 5, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I stopped reading when I saw Mage listed as tier 2…

    • Ian
      February 24, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Yeah I keep looking for somebody to justify this. Cause priest has so much removal…

  19. Drake
    November 1, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Free arena tickets just remind me why I don’t arena. Run into decks with epics and legendaries and you don’t have any. Real fun lol.

    • TheCLoudDreamer
      December 2, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Probably the dumbest com I’ve read in years, thanks.

      • GnarlyRabbit
        December 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm

        I think he meant he hates free arena tickets for reminding him arena exists.

    • Wikinnes
      December 5, 2017 at 12:44 am

      So I guess you’d rather play in constructed against bullshit decks like Razakus priest and Exodia mage

      • Grease
        December 6, 2017 at 5:19 am

        Probably says Druid, with most boring (with or vs) and most easy to play deck ever (maybe with pirate warr).. wouldn’t play it even when I have all the cards for… would be ashamed

      • Cano
        December 6, 2017 at 8:59 pm

        1. Exodia mage isn’t very popular (or good) right now because of tempo rogue, and midrange huntee

        2. Razakus still takes skill to play

        I do hate exodia mage, but it isn’t seen on ladder that often, so quit your salt.

        • Jeanpeso
          December 27, 2017 at 5:12 am

          Razakus still takes skill to play. Its not even 2018 but you made my whole year. Thanks

        • Spyder9899
          December 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm

          Lol. Face hunter takes more skill to play than razakus priest.