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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.