The new expansion is upon us and we can’t wait to see what the Hearthstone meta has in store for us. As soon as all the cards in the set were revealed, we began theorycrafting, in order to explore possible new directions that classes take with their new cards. In this article, we present you with some of these ideas and speculate on the future prospects of each class.
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Note that the decks we present are completely untested, and there is no telling if they will be powerful. In addition, we’ve deliberately tried to stay away from established archetypes and build decks that either attempt to do something new, or revive a strategy that lost favor. It’s relatively easy to refine an already-strong deck with new cards; it’s much harder to figure out new synergies and establish strategies that were previously either weak, or non-existent. If you’re tight on dust and packs, we highly recommend that you DO NOT make big crafting investments on any card. Wait at least a few days, if not a whole week, to see what strategies end up being strong before making a decision.
History tells us that many surprises are in store when a new set of cards releases. If you’re thirsty for information regarding the meta during the first few days of the expansion, join our DISCORD channel and discuss with us whatever is on your mind!
Taunt Druid looks to play very similarly to Big Druid, focusing on ramping to big threats. However, it could potentially be stronger against aggressive decks due to the large number of defensive tools it has available. This deck is very grindy in nature and runs both N’Zoth and Hadronox to really wear down opponents in the late game. It takes advantage of Astral Tiger’s potential infinite value, and the synergy it has with the new 4-mana recruit mechanic. Master Oakheart is a fantastic swing card in this deck, but running Hadronox does carry a sacrifice, which is not running Spreading Plague. If this deck doesn’t make it into the K&C metagame, it might become more relevant once Jade Idol rotates out in April.
Malygos Druid could make a long-awaited comeback, and we’ve built a crazy combo deck that tries to make the archetype work. Twig of the World Tree enables a possible 20 mana turn. What do we do in this turn? Play Ixlid, copy it with Faceless Manipulator, swing the last charge of our weapon, gain 10 mana and then drop Malygos. With three Ixlid’s, this one Malygos turns into 4, which means we can deal 42 damage with a couple of Moonfires! However, we don’t have to wait for this combo to win games. We can use a 0-cost Arcane Giant to create 4 Giants with the same combo, without needing to break the Twig. Sounds sweet.
Emerald Spellstone is crazy strong, and definitely encourages running Secrets – so here is a new Secret Hunter. Kathrena is a very strong card in a deck that runs a few large beasts. We think there is a strong synergy between the two, since Secret Hunter can cut the early game beast minions from its curve without hurting its synergies. In this build, we utilize secrets to create board presence that we can then leverage into the Houndmaster and Spellstone turns. The late game is extremely powerful, fueled by Kathrena that is sure to create an oppressive board presence. This deck can become faster by dropping Kathrena and Dred, as well as Fire Flies, in order to run an early game beast package.
Dire Mole is such a great boost to Hunter’s early game due to Crackling Razormaw’s need for a beast presence on turn 1. Candleshot could be a sneaky addition to new Hunter builds simply because it enables a pirate package with Southsea Deckhands. This Face Hunter looks to run amok in the early game and end games quickly. The build is also very flexible, and can be slowed down to a midrange pace by cutting Leeroy and the Candleshot/Pirate package in order to add a stronger mid-game, starring Savannah Highmane.
Priest is going to dominate? Exodia Mage licks its lips, and now it doesn’t need to run the Quest. Two Simulacrums on an Apprentice and a Leyline Manipulator create two free Apprentices, which are dropped the next turn with the 2-cost Apprentice, an Antonidas and a Molten Reflection. This means we can reach infinite damage with 10 mana. We can build the deck with redundancy in order to accelerate finding the combo, or we cut the redundancy and run a Control Mage shell.
Many of the cards given to Mage in this set encourage the usage of big spells. The strongest build-around card that promotes this synergy is Dragon’s Fury. The problem is that in order to make it consistent enough, we have to cut Mage’s powerful secret synergies. That’s a tough sell, but we did it anyway in this build. It’s possible that such a deck could find more justification in April, since Mage could potentially lose Ice Block to the Hall of Fame (which was only hinted). This build looks to try and fend off early game aggression as best as it can, wipe the board on turn 5, and start dropping late game bombs by abusing cards that work well with big spells: Medivh, Spiteful Summoner and Alana.
Call to Arms is nuts, but the Paladin class itself doesn’t look as strong to us. Control Paladin’s biggest issue is the lack of a powerful win condition that can challenge Druid and Priest. It doesn’t seem to have received that win condition this expansion, but it could abuse Call to Arms in order to cover up one of its biggest weaknesses, which is card draw. In this build, Call to Arms becomes an insane draw and stall turn through Loot Hoarders, Dirty Rats and Doomsayers. Our win condition is the Horsemen Exodia combo with Auctionmaster Beardo and coins/bananas given to us by Burgly Bully and Mukla. If you can’t beat Priest in Hearthstone, try to play a different game that circumvents board states as well as life totals. This is what this deck tries to do.
Quest Paladin, really? We’ll admit that Paladin doesn’t look great to us at initial glance. Murloc Paladin should add Call to Arms to its build and be happy, while the recruit synergies introduced in this set don’t appear to be powerful enough to bring Recruit Paladin back to life in standard. Quest Paladin got a really cool addition in Lynessa, which acts almost as a 2nd quest reward. Wax Elemental is potentially a great card in the deck, which has also received a boost in the form of Heroic Potion.
Priest looks scary. The class has received two absurdly strong dragon synergy cards. Duskbreaker is going to help Dragon Priest a lot in its worst matchups, against faster decks that flood the board in the early game. Twilight Acolyte is a fantastic tool that can help the deck deal with large threats proactively (rather than play Shadow Word: Death) as well as enable a 9 mana Mind Control combo with Cabal Shadow Priest.
Psychic Scream is a nightmare card to deal with and it currently looks like Razakus Priest will remain one of the strongest and most prevalent decks in the game. The cycle build is unlikely to change much, but we are curious whether or not it will be beneficial to incorporate a dragon package into the deck. We think it’s worth a shot.
Rogue is the most unpredictable class in the game. You never really know what it’s going to do. We think Fal’dorei Strider is a great addition to Miracle Rogue and there are merits to explore a deck that looks to repeatedly bounce this minion through Shadowsteps and Cheat Death in order to activate its battlecry multiple times and simply grind slower decks out. We also think Elven Minstrel is a very powerful card that increases the chances of drawing your key minions when you need them. It might even justify dropping the early game pirate package to increase its impact.
Could Quest Rogue make a return? It might, considering that Sonya Shadowdancer is a ridiculously good card in the deck, that significantly accelerates the quest completion rate. Sonya can complete the quest alone by repeatedly running a single charge minion into your opponent’s board, making her a high mulligan priority. Standard caveat about all Rogue combo decks: “If the meta is slow enough….”
Elemental Shaman was almost forgotten since the first month of Journey to Un’Goro. It has faded away quickly and has never been prevalent since. Murmuring Elemental looks to change that by taking advantage of many of the deck’s powerful battlecry effects and Grumble looks to do the same on a whole different level. Together, they may justify the archetype being revisited, since it does have a lot of potential against aggressive decks, and just needed better finishing capabilities against slower decks. Blazecalling 10 damage to the face sounds pretty good.
Shaman is the best class at taking advantage of Guild Recruiter because of its overload mechanic, with minions such as Flamewreathed Faceless and Drakkari Defender. Overload has also been supported in this set through Sapphire Spellstone, which promotes a board focused value game. The synergy between Sapphire Spellstone and Snowfury Giant then becomes obvious and this list attempts to live the 4-giants for 7 mana dream. Control Shaman lacks pressure and lethality in the late game, and running this synergy package could help it beat a deck like Jade Druid more often. Aya Blackpaw and Cairne Bloodhoof are included as fantastic on-curve targets for Sapphire Spellstone, making them very dangerous to ignore.
The biggest question mark is about slower Warlock decks, rather than Zoo Warlock, which is likely going to be very strong and quite similar to current builds save for the possible exclusion of Keleseth for more demon synergy. On paper, Warlock got some fantastic survival tools: Amethyst Spellstone, Dark Pact and Hooked Reaver are incredible cards. The challenge is what every other late game deck faces, how do we beat Druid and Priest?
One approach is to tempo them out and kill them. Warlock has some big demons available, so why don’t we vomit them all out with Krul, and if they die, revive them with Bloodreaver Gul’dan (And if Priest plays Psychic Scream, cry)? With the addition of powerful life gain to its kit that was missing since Reno Jackson left the scene, Highlander Krul Warlock could well become a thing. Remember that we’re reaching the point where the card pool is the largest in a standard year, and the increased options help Highlander decks find more redundancy and consistency.
Let’s kick it up another notch. How about we don’t try and play a normal Hearthstone game. How about we hold our hand up and say: we can’t beat these decks, so we’re going to destroy their cards. Yes, we’re talking about Rin, the First Disciple, a card that was labeled a meme. In this build, we’re trying to make Rin work. Bloodbloom can cheat out some of the Seals so that we don’t lose too much tempo by playing them, and Arcane Tyrant does the same job through a different mechanic. Stonehill Defenders can discover Rin in cases where she’s not drawn, and Dark Pact allows you to sack her off in order to prevent her from being silenced in the slow matchups you need her for. If we can reach this win condition quickly enough, Priest and Druid may not have enough to finish us off (even if the Jade Druid, for example, shuffles an Idol sitting in his hand).
This list has superb defensive tools which can make every aggro deck sweat, and it’s why finding a way to make Control Warlock able to compete against the late game monsters of the meta could be extremely rewarding.
In general, this set has a lot of support for EZ BIG EZ decks due to the recruit mechanic. However, Warrior is the only class that got the unconditional recruit cards with Gather Your Party and Woecleaver. This sets the stage for Big Warrior to potentially make its mark on the meta. With some very powerful survival tools given to the class, this list should be quite potent against aggressive decks. Reckless Flurry, in particular, is an amazing card to build armor gain around, making Iron Hide a worthy inclusion. Sleepy Dragon is also a really nice addition, since unlike Priest, Warrior can instantly drop the original body to the board, making big taunts attractive targets. Barnes, however, is not nearly as good in this particular list.
Control Warrior decks face a similar issue to Control Warlock decks, which is finding a way to disrupt the late game plans of Razakus Priest and Big/Jade Druids. Much like we did with Rin, we’ve built a deck for Warrior that adopts a similar strategy of deck destruction and utilizes another card which was labeled a meme, King Togwaggle. This list utilizes a plethora of defensive tools and card draw, aiming to survive and cycle as quickly as possible into three cards: Togwaggle, Explore Un’Goro and Skulking Geist. Once it has drawn these cards, it plays Togwaggle followed by Explore Un’Goro. This switches decks between the players, and changes the deck you just stole from your opponent into 1-mana discover cards. Geist is meant to stop any consideration of your opponent switching the deck back. If he switches the decks back, you play Geist and nuke his deck straight into fatigue. If he doesn’t, he’s left trying to beat you with whatever’s left from your deck and his hand. Your opponent will be closer to fatigue and only draw useless cycle or defensive cards without any threats, while you’ll be drawing 1-mana discover cards that can be translated into value. Needless to say, you’ll be in a very advantageous spot. The question will be whether this deck can reach this spot consistently without dying first, and whether opponents will carry their own Skulking Geist to nuke your deck once you’ve played Togwaggle and Explore Un’Goro.
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