After completing the comprehensive Darkmoon Faire preview article, it’s time for theory-crafting! We encourage you to read the card preview as it is likely to shed light on many of our decisions regarding deck building.
Our first Data Reaper Report for Madness at the Darkmoon Faire is scheduled for Thursday, November 26th! We will note that should there be balance changes within the few days of the expansion, the Data Reaper Report could be delayed. We will provide an update in such a case on our Twitter.
Once again, we remind you that you can help us perform our analysis by contributing your Hearthstone game data. This can be done using Firestone, which provides us with all its user data (with an option to opt out). Alternatively, you can contribute data through our Hearthstone Deck Tracker plugin. Installing the plugin is very easy and will only take a couple of minutes of your time. We appreciate and thank all our contributors for keeping this project going. We remind our existing plug-in contributors to check on their plug-in and make sure that it is still active. Sometimes, with big patches, the plug-in deactivates inadvertently.
Remember that while we have extensively worked to produce the featured decks, they are still untested, and nothing can replace the post-launch refinement that is backed up by real-time game experience and data. These decks aren’t based on whatever’s been done in the early access streams either since we don’t watch them!
If you have a limited collection, we highly recommend that you DO NOT make big crafting investments on any theory-crafted deck. Wait at least a few days to see what strategies end up being strong and fun before making a significant commitment.
Now that we’ve got our disclaimers out of the way, it’s time to get down to business.
We expect that Soul Demon Hunter will be one of the strongest decks in the format. The archetype has received perfect additions that should strengthen its game plan and alleviate some of its current weaknesses.
At the center of it is Il’gynoth, which is a 4-mana card you can easily drop on curve and exert quite a bit of pressure on your opponent. That said, its late-game implications are massive. With an Aldrachi Warblades equipped, you can drop Il’gynoth and proceed to get twice the value from your attack buffs. This combo can deal over 15 damage quite easily and gives Soul Demon Hunter significant burst damage capabilities.
Then you have Bladed Lady, which is going to be a very easy card to activate in the deck. She will provide you with a brutally efficient answer to any beefy minions the opponent develops, for just 1 mana. Relentless Pursuit is another attack buff that synergizes with the rest of the deck, and in some cases, allows you to pick off a minion without suffering damage for it.
This deck looks clean and might be the one to beat on day 1.
Redeemed Pariah and Line Hopper are two interesting cards that encourage larger incorporation of Outcast cards in Aggro Demon Hunter. The featured build attempts to maximize the potential of the two.
Crimson Sigil Runner and Consume Magic cost 0 mana when Line Hopper is dropped to the board, so they make a lot of sense in this deck. Spectral Sight and Eye Beam could also become more valuable, while Dreadlord’s Bite is the clear weapon of choice, helping protect Pariah on-curve.
With the deck focused on running cheap cards, it only makes sense to top the minion curve at Altruis, who could make some crazy plays alongside Line Hopper. This list’s playstyle isn’t quite the straightforward aggression you’d normally see from the archetype. There will likely be moments when the player is required to set up a big swing turn rather than look to gain incremental advantages.
This list is resembling the Aggro Demon Hunter you’ve seen during Scholomance Academy, but its curve is even lower to take advantage of the unique draw engines in the deck. We all know about Voracious Reader incentivizing a lower curve, but Acrobatics takes it to another level.
The goal is to have so many cheap cards that playing Acrobatics on turn 6 will more often lead you to draw those 2 extra cards. With Voracious Reader and Skull of Gul’dan, the deck should be able to power through its resources with great efficiency.
The early-game curve should remain identical to SA’s Aggro DH, but one new addition that could be extremely powerful when your early development is this consistent is Wriggling Horror. Look for this 2-drop to make a huge impact on aggressive decks going forward.
This deck is very f2p, btw.
Is there a Druid life after Guardian Animals? While GA could remain impactful at the Darkmoon Faire, we think the class is poised to switch to an alternative build that doesn’t include the infamous build-around card. We specifically look at Clown Yogg Druid to potentially emerge as the new flagbearer of the class.
This build is all about relentlessly ramping while paying no mana for cards, and we sure like free cards! Lunar Eclipse could help you fend off aggression on your normally passive ramp turns. Umbral Owl should quickly be discounted in a spell-heavy shell. Cenarion Ward replaces Guardian Animals as the mid-to-late game stabilizer and activates both Anubisath Defender and Strongman. These cards also ensure that Survival of the Fittest should never be a blank turn.
The most interesting aspect of this deck is its top end. Yogg-Saron makes its return to the Druid class, more powerful than ever before, while the deck’s win condition centers on Survival of the Fittest followed by Carnival Clowns. This could be one of the most warping win conditions in the format, demanding either two mass AOE’s, or a certain Flik Skyshiv.
But what’s also striking is this deck’s flexibility. Opponents running mass removal and killing your clowns? You could still add late-game win conditions such as Ysera and King Phaoris to increase your threat density. The featured build is intended to be light to fare better against aggressive decks, but you could cut Lunar Eclipse for those late-game cards to get greedier.
One final interaction to remember: Omu/Solar Eclipse allows you to get double the value off Cenarion Ward and Survival of the Fittest. Use it wisely!
Could Big Druid make its return at the Darkmoon Faire? We’re a little unsure, but what we do know is that the archetype can run a pretty good mix of tribal minions to potentially summon with N’Zoth. Fizzy Elemental and Circus Amalgam (which conveniently activates Breath of Dreams) are the two main additions, complementing our dragon package and Wing Guardian.
You may ask us, why would we run Strength in Numbers when it can pull N’Zoth? We must take that risk, as the deck is simply not functional without the sidequest. It provides Big Druid with the best opportunity to create a tempo swing. This deck must ramp extremely aggressively and curve out threats one turn after another since it doesn’t have good removal options.
Those lightweight Druid decks only run one Old God. Quest Druid is here to blow your mind with two! The archetype is a perfect fit for Yogg-Saron since it runs a very spell-heavy shell that can easily activate it; In addition, its strong draw engine, life gain options, and removal mean it’s a pretty good candidate to utilize C’Thun as well. We essentially replace Ysera’s trickling value with C’Thun’s slower, but instantaneous win. If Chef Nomi worked for Quest Druid in the past, this could be feasible.
Another key addition that we believe could boost Quest Druid’s prospects is Solar Eclipse. It works extremely well post-quest completion as a massive amplifier to your already jacked up spells. Think of using Solar Eclipse to duplicate Hidden Oasis, Starfall, or Nourish. Even more innocent applications such as using it on Wrath is enough to deal 8 damage to a minion while drawing two cards! It should be a very flexible piece in this deck.
When it comes to the Hunter class, the most promising package that will be introduced at the Darkmoon Faire is the secret package. We can see multiple archetypes of the class attempting to incorporate secrets into their build to take advantage of the power of Petting Zoo.
Face Hunter should be the first in the queue, but since it has already been running secrets, it will be more about expanding that package and slightly changing its characteristics.
In a Petting Zoo deck, we want our secrets to not activate on turn 2 to set up our turn 3 power play, so we run Pack Tactics, Snake Trap, and the newly released Open the Cages. All these secrets are board-centric and work well with each other, allowing the Hunter to take over the board in the mid-game. Since Petting Zoo will likely be a prominent turn 5 play as well, it slows down the deck to some degree and may push Voracious Reader out of the build.
Then we have the new additions that help Petting Zoo become a more consistent threat. Mystery Winner allows us to increase the number of secrets in our deck without risking drawing them (we run the minimum 6 to get pulled by Stalker and Rider). Rinling Rifle is going to be an incredible card for all Hunter decks as it oozes both tempo and value.
The most difficult decision involves Hyena Alpha . We think it’s an awkward inclusion for two reasons. The first is that our early-game secret may get triggered by the time we reach turn 4. The second reason is that it works poorly with Scavenger’s Ingenuity and Wolpertinger.
The incorporation of a more sizeable secret package in Highlander Hunter shouldn’t be difficult, and we expect this archetype to remain a feature of the meta alongside an evolved Face/Secret Hunter deck.
We’ve simply dropped some of the more situational cards from the build that closed Scholomance Academy to increase the number of secrets to 4. We add Rider, Rifle, Winner and Petting Zoo. We add Wriggling Horror because it’s most definitely good enough for a highlander build’s curve. Job’s done.
Building a Deathrattle Hunter that didn’t look like a complete pile of garbage was challenging, but after much deliberation, we ended up content with the final product. We think that this archetype’s best chance of success is to run an early game secret package to contest the board proactively. The class’ removal options are very weak and shouldn’t allow it to stall effectively to the late game, where this deck is supposed to shine. Petting Zoo gives you that strong turn 3, or turn 5, to occupy the opponent while you’re gearing up to your win condition.
Jewel of N’Zoth is a very intriguing build-around card that may push Hunter into a very strange choice – running Khartut Defenders! Darkmoon Tonk is your biggest threat, and it’s enabled by the nearly forgotten Oblivitron. We think Maxima doesn’t fit this build, as its deckbuilding restriction makes it extremely difficult to make use of, especially when you realize that the early game curve must contain minions.
This deck also has a few more subtle synergies, such as Carrion Studies allowing you to drop a Deathrattle a turn early. Ursatron tutors your big mech pieces for your explosive turns 6-7. Zixor provides an alternative win condition and a comeback mechanic which works well with Scavenger’s Ingenuity. Vectus is a cute gimmick that either gives you small advantages on turn 5, or more explosive results in the late-game thanks to Tonk and Oblivitron.
The nerfed Cyclone Mage has been floundering recently, and now the archetype will have to find ways to reinvent itself at the Darkmoon Faire. The featured build is an attempt to do that, taking advantage of new cards that encourage Elemental synergy.
Confection Cyclone should be a fantastic card in the deck. It allows us to run Elemental Allies to have some draw redundancy alongside Cram Session (an upgrade on that single Arcane Intellect you often see today). The Sugar Elementals reduce the cost of Mana Giants and are important activators for Grand Finale, which could be a very powerful win condition in the deck.
The key to success with this build could be its Confection Cyclone management. When to use sugar elementals, and when to save them for Grand Finale in the absence of other strong elementals (we really don’t like Gyreworm).
Of course, Grand Finale isn’t the absolute finale for this deck. Yogg-Saron represents the deck’s ultimate end game card, and Cyclone Mage should always have him activated on turn 10, ready to roast some people.
Secret Mage has received some strong cards in this set, but once you get to theorycrafting, you realize how utterly miserable its early game plays are. The deck simply has no suitable 1-drops. There is no real synergy with Lab Partner or Violet Spellwing, and while Intrepid Initiate and Secretkeeper have implied synergy, the play patterns of the deck mean they will rarely be meaningful turn 1 plays. Both are overly reliant on Arcane Mysteries to be of any use.
And so, we suggest not running 1-drops (!) and simply focusing on swinging the game back against aggressive decks through Arcane Flakmage and Occult Conjurer. The strength of this iteration of Secret Mage might be its card draw, ensuring that we never gas out against defensive decks thanks to Rigged Faire Game and Sayge.
As for closing out the game, we have the burn through Fireball, Cloud Prince, and Mask of C’Thun. We think Mask of C’Thun could be an underrated piece in Mage, as it provides tons of burn damage to a class that is reliant on it yet doesn’t have much of it available in the format. If you’re even slightly behind on board, Mask should do some work, and when you’re ahead, it can just be a Pyroblast to the face for 7 mana.
Since its introduction, Spell Mage has been an unconventional deck, which means there’s a chance it will be able to use some cards we don’t particularly like in other archetypes.
Ring Toss is a card it could very well appreciate, providing it with some flexibility in the absence of minions. It gets activated by both Apexis Blast and Rolling Fireball on-curve, so it should be corrupted consistently.
Deck of Lunacy could find its best home in Spell Mage simply because our entire deck is made of spells, which means there’s a higher likelihood that we will get back tempo quickly after we play it. In this deck, Deck of Lunacy provides an alternative win condition and a Hail Mary.
The main win condition is burn, which has always performed well in the archetype. Spell Mage normally doesn’t like to sit and fool around, it wants to kill the opponent relatively quickly. This is where Mask of C’Thun once again comes in, to provide a closer and a follow-up to your Apexis Blast and Fireball.
Paladin’s set will mostly affect its late-game win conditions as well as potentially shift its playstyle within the Libram shell. Pure Paladin is well known for its tall development of the board and is mostly about making a big threat and snowballing it off Argent Braggart.
Darkmoon Faire could provide the deck with an alternative game plan, and that’s through the production of Silver Hand Recruits, better known as “Dudes”.
We see quite a bit of potential in the dude package, as it is more resilient to removal and has strong defensive capabilities as well through Air Raid. Lothraxion the Redeemed is the centerpiece of this package and ramps up the pressure you can exert on your opponent through dudes, turning Air Raid into an incredible card.
Carnival Barker is another card that could be underestimated, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up spawning a more aggressive deck, but it’s a huge enabler of Day at the Faire. Just imagine playing Lothraxion into a turn 6 Barker/Day combo. And if your Lothraxion wasn’t drawn, you can still produce a sticky board with Balloon Merchant.
While the Dude package is an interesting proposition in Pure Paladin, the one sure addition to the deck is High Exarch Yrel. It’s a late-game card of pure power, and it’s going to win some games.
We think Libroom Paladin may receive its strongest upgrade yet, the ultimate win condition on top of an otherwise flawless deck. While any addition of an Old God carries uncertainly, here’s our rationale for why Libroom Paladin could find C’Thun, a 30 damage Pen Flinger, to be a perfect fit.
Libroom Paladin has abundant card draw, which works well with C’Thun. The card draw engine gets another upgrade in that department thanks to Redcale Dragontamer replacing Loot Hoarders. This early game body pushes us to include a few dragons, and we think a balance of two Amber Watchers and one Bronze Explorer is solid. Devout Pupil isn’t that important of a card and Amber Watcher makes it extra hard to burn us down.
We’ve got High Abbess Alura, which can also cast the C’Thun pieces in our deck! The C’Thun pieces themselves, while not outstanding cards, are specifically better fits for Paladin. Two of them combo with Libram of Justice and Lord Barov to clear the board. Another offers single target removal, which Paladin doesn’t naturally possess, while the last one is a solid body.
Can we have C’Thun call our opponent a loser when he’s in a Paladin deck, by the way?
Here’s a way Paladin essentially never runs out of threats. The Paladin set has provided an opportunity for the class to go the menagerie route and add the big late-game bomb of N’Zoth.
You have Carousel Gryphon getting corrupted by another tribal card in Hammer of the Naaru. We’re running Circus Amalgam for the obvious N’Zoth synergy, and have it drawn by Redscale Dragontamer. Just to add consistency to that package, we’re running another dragon in Evasive Wyrm to make sure our Carousel Gryphon is nice and corrupted.
Our N’Zoth should produce a massive wall of protection, fitting to the tanky Paladin class. And if our opponent uses their resources to deal with it, they’re less likely to deal with Murgur Prime, which is a… different kind of wall.
We’ve tipped the Priest set to be the strongest in this expansion, as it has all the markings of an assortment of meta-defining cards. Priest may not dominate the meta simply because the player base is extremely fixated on countering the class even when it’s only moderately popular. We’ll see how they fare against this menace of a deck.
Control Priest is already a strong deck now, but Palm Reading and Nazmani Bloodweaver could take it to another level. The mana cheating implications of these cards are massive and can enable some of the most disgusting (or beautiful, depending on your perspective) plays you’ll see in this expansion.
If that’s somehow not enough, G’huun the Blood God should add further unfairness to the occasion. It certainly feels like Anduin has learned a lot from the usual antics of Valeera and Jaina in this set.
Finally, there’s Yogg-Saron too, which is the perfect Old God for this deck. This deck is just perfect, isn’t it?
The relentless emoting could take things to another level with the potential comeback of Resurrect Priest. The current fringe archetype is getting some massive new cards in Idol of Y’Shaarj and Blood of G’huun, providing it with a very intimidating late game. The featured build runs Activate the Obelisk, to add another layer of inevitability to the deck’s game plan.
Priest’s mana cheating mechanics could become a significant staple of the new Resurrect Priest thanks to Palm Reading as well as Insight. While Insight is a strong consideration for every Priest deck, it should be particularly effective in the expensive curve of Resurrect Priest.
And then we’ve got G’huun, which we realize doesn’t have resurrection synergy, but do we honestly care? This deck is so expensive that playing G’huun will almost certainly result in a big tempo swing that is very well worth it.
Tell us you’re not intimidated by this deck.
We’ve mentioned two decks that could very well compete at the top of the meta, so let’s close things out by featuring a more off-the-wall idea with this Miracle C’Thun Priest. The goal of this strategy is to rapidly cycle through the deck with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and finish games with C’Thun, in a similar style to Nomi Priest back in the day.
This list takes advantage of a low-minion count to pull our extremely impactful minions. Wild Pyromancer is our primary win condition in aggressive matchups alongside Apotheosis. Nazmani Bloodweaver helps us discount an Auctioneer in hand or a C’Thun piece. Gadgetzan Auctioneer is obviously the heart and soul of this strategy and is surrounded by an endless number of cheap spells it can use.
We’ve decided to include Galakrond for cases where C’Thun wouldn’t kill our opponent and we need those extra minions to punch away some health. Draconic Studies should also help with that.
If this deck works…
Rogue’s set is another one that has left us with a very strong impression, and several of its cards should be monumental for the class going forward. Foxy Fraud is a top 5 card in this set, while Swindle should be as ubiquitous as Elven Minstrel.
Miracle Rogue is one deck that significantly benefits from these additions as well as other cards in this set. Inconspicuous Rider tightens the consistency of the secret package and further enables Blackjack Stunner. Rider also encourages us to run Ambush as a tempo-focused secret, and we were even tempted to run Bamboozle if not for some awkward anti-synergy.
A card we think could be a strong fit in Miracle Rogue is Ticket Master. It might be nearly as good as Fal’dorei Strider. While its shuffle effect is a deathrattle, we should remember it can come down a turn earlier. In addition, it opens the possibility of running a single copy of Stowaway. Stowaway might be tipped to be an important piece of a more dedicated shuffle Rogue decks, but in this build, it’s just a 5 mana 10/10 that draws two cards. We’ll take it, thanks.
We can see Foxy Fraud and Swindle also making an impact on more aggressive Stealth builds. The presence of Foxy Fraud allows us to comfortably run both EVIL Miscreant and Hooked Scimitar, as well as Edwin/Shadowstep. We essentially hybridize Miracle Rogue and Aggro Rogue and produce an aggressive deck that’s far more difficult to run out of resources.
Indeed, whether you’re running the Stealth package or the Secret package, you have a lot of options thanks to this set.
Galakrond Rogue has had a terrific end to Scholomance Academy, and it’s licking its lips at the prospect of adding some of these new cards. Foxy Fraud and Swindle are auto-inclusions. Fraud helps us smooth out the early game while Swindle’s card draw increases the overall consistency of the deck without needing to invest in a “package” of cards. It also makes it less important to run the underwhelming Devoted Maniac.
Tenwu is a legendary that we think will be a particularly good fit in Galakrond Rogue since many of the deck’s battlecry minions are expensive, so bouncing them with Tenwu is cheaper and more efficient than using Shadowstep. It makes our 6-drops far more dangerous to ignore after they’re dropped onto the board.
The featured build attempts to add another jewel to the crown, with the addition of C’Thun. The deck could be better off without the Old God, but we’re exploring the possibility for the content. Galakrond Rogue’s mana cheating draw mechanics are a pretty good fit for C’Thun’s pieces. You might be surprised we’re not running Stowaway in this deck, but it’s more important for us to have a generally strong all-around plan and look to draw the pieces with Togwaggle/Galakrond discounts, rather than force ourselves to run suboptimal cards (the same goes for Malevolent Strike). We could play an undersized minion just to draw the pieces, then find ourselves falling behind on board and unable to play them.
If C’Thun doesn’t end up working out as a viable win condition in Galakrond Rogue, we just add a second copy of Preparation to this list and call it a day. The archetype looks very strong regardless.
Shaman desperately needed some powerful cards, and we think it got them. The question is whether they are enough to close the gap on the more established strategies and produce a viable and competitive Shaman deck. Cagematch Custodian is at the top of the list when it comes to contributing factors to a successful Shaman deck at the Darkmoon Faire.
One deck that has received the most extensive support in this set is Aggro Shaman. Outside of Cagematch Custodian pulling a guaranteed Doomhammer, we have Stormstrike and Dunk Tank offering us strong removal and damage options. We particularly like the idea of equipping Doomhammer on turn 5, followed by a Corrupted Dunk Tank that makes up for the tempo loss of the earlier turn.
At the top end, we have Inara Stormcrash, a sizeable threat that makes our Rockbiter Weapon and Stormstrike double dip. There’s a lot of over-the-top damage in this deck, and the question is whether it can carry a relatively weak focus on the board.
How hyped is Jambre for the new expansion? The Evolve Shaman wizard is surely excited by the prospect of drawing Boggspike Knuckles consistently thanks to Cagematch Custodian, as well as the addition of Revolve, bringing back the Desert Hare combo in a slightly more tempered form.
This deck’s Galakrond foundations already exist, and it’s even sporadically seen on ladder these days with an unfortunate horrid win rate. The question is how dramatic will its win rate spike be thanks to its best card (Knuckles) consistently being played on turn 5? We think the spike will be very significant, as will be the one that comes from the flexibility of Revolve, but whether that will be enough, it’s hard to say.
If you love Evolve Shaman, this could be the set that brings it back from the dead.
Shaman’s late-game prospects have improved thanks to the addition of the Old Gods. The class currently has pretty good defensive tools but lacks a way to close the game. An Old God could provide that finisher that the class has missed since the loss of Shudderwock.
And what better way to take advantage of an Old God than to have him double his battlecry? Quest Shaman has the tools required to execute an OTK win condition centered on Y’Shaarj. You have the usual early game plethora of minions fighting for board, completing the quest, and generating value. You have Circus Medic and Dunk Tank providing the burn damage, and you have the late game AOE’s to corrupt them and set them up for Y’Shaarj.
The late game combo involves playing Tour Guide a turn before, then casting a 0-mana hero power followed by Y’Shaarj. The Old God will provide you with double the amount of corrupted Dunk Tanks and Circus Medics you’ve played during the game (as many as you can hold in your hand), which sets up a massive amount of burst damage that can easily surpass 30.
We’re a bit concerned for Warlock, as it didn’t seem to get the all-powerful set it needed to launch itself back to the meta. However, nobody can predict the future, and there’s still some stuff very worth experimenting with.
Zoo Warlock seems to be getting pushed towards a Demon-focused direction. The card we’re most intrigued by is Free Admission, and our immediate reaction was to explore whether it was possible to build a Pure Demon deck that guarantees every Free Admission to be a mana positive play. The featured build is the result.
This list is a bit more midrange-y and carries some tools that can help it catch back up in faster matchups. Most notably, Fire Breather should be a very strong card in aggressive mirrors, while Man’ari Mosher can provide a sizeable life swing that can win lethal racing situations. Since we’re running an all-demon deck, it makes sense to run Demonic Studies and Felosophy to provide some powerful early game set-ups.
But at the end of the day, this is still an Imprisoned Scrap Imp deck. Guys, I can’t move!
Of course, Zoo Warlock doesn’t have to go in the beefy, demon direction. We think the superior path could be a low-to-the-ground, flood build. This variant of Zoo has received some very powerful additions that could push it to playability by leveraging the development of wide boards.
At the center of it all is Wicked Whispers, which is a very powerful board-wide buff that is at the level of Mark of the Lotus. If you can use it to discard Boneweb Egg, it’s particularly powerful as it will summon the spiders resulting from its deathrattle and also buff them!
Since we’re running one egg, it only makes sense to run the other, Serpent Egg, as well as EVIL Genius/Teron Gorefiend to make sure they’re always a threat on the board. Teron Gorefiend has a tasty combo with Animated Broomstick to keep in mind too.
To top things off, we run Wriggling Horror, because of course we run the strongest aggressive neutral in this expansion in a deck that floods the board. What a nutty little fella this guy is going to be.
But what about the late-game? Can Warlock compete there? One of the problems we see in this set is that late-game strategies of the class haven’t really seen a boost in their survivability. So, while there is speculation about several potential Warlock decks, we’re not sure they can actually live through being smacked in the head by an increasingly efficient meta. Even in Scholomance, they are far away from the competitive range due to this very issue.
The one exception to that is Galakrond Warlock, an archetype that we feel has the most potential to reach a breakthrough at the Darkmoon Faire. It has a great removal toolkit (which stands out from the rest thanks to Plague of Flames and Kronx) as well as life gain options through Nether Breath and Soul Fragments. We’ve decided to run both the dragon and the soul package to maximize our survivability.
Currently, it misses a strong win condition, and the featured build attempts to incorporate a unique one in Y’Shaarj/Tickatus/Cascading Disaster. Conveniently, Tickatus is activated by the big payoff cards of both the Galakrond package and the Soul Fragment package (Galakrond and Malicia). We also have plenty of cards that upgrade Cascading Disaster to be a very powerful removal tool on top of the already powerful Plague of Flames. The deck has removal for days.
Then, we finish things off with Y’Shaarj. We’re aware of the idea of running Felosophy to copy Tickatus, but we don’t think it’s necessary to run two largely dead cards to make this win condition work. By the time we play Y’Shaarj and burn a total of 10 cards from the opponent’s deck, we probably bring our opponent to fatigue at that very moment. It’s all about getting there for Warlock.
We’ve mentioned our concerns regarding the menagerie package in Warrior and its ability to succeed in yesterday’s Card Preview. The essence of it is that a “Tempo Warrior” deck either needs to be lighting fast to kill opponents or carry late-game burst damage to close the game. When you’re just hand-buffing and slowly dumping stats on the board, we’re going to be skeptical of your chance of success.
This build attempts to speed Menagerie Warrior into a pace that’s closer to Pirate Warrior levels. We’ve got “three” copies of Ringmaster Baton (thanks to a Corsair Cache) and we’re running the lowest curve of minions possible from the three main tribes, including a Faerie Dragon!
This mix of tribal minions is complemented by Circus Amalgam, Tent Thrasher, and the powerhouse Sword Eater. Whatley and Stage Dive provide the gas, while Kor’kron Elites provide some lethality.
This is a very weird deck, yes.
So, we’ve said that slowly dumping stats to the board is not that great of a strategy these day., But what if it’s a LOT of stats? What if all those stats are put into taunts? At what point does it start working? This build is an attempt to push the limits on stat dumping, taking advantage of Warrior’s potential synergy with N’Zoth.
We’re running all the taunt buffing cards: Into the Fray, Armagedillo, Feat of Strength, and Ringmaster Baton. We’ve got as an assortment of taunts that scale with buffs: Scrap Golem, Tomb Warden and Carnival Clown (!). Clowns offer us the ultimate final wall post-N’Zoth but should be strong enough even without being corrupted thanks to our hand buffs.
There are other cute synergies in the deck, such as Strongman (great follow up to Deathwing), and the Stage Dive/Kargath combo, which should be very popular amongst slower Warrior strategies going forward.
If this deck ever becomes meta, we’ll call it Gandalf Warrior, because you shall not pass!
Warrior’s set has pushed for some serious memes in this expansion. However, fans of the class worrying about its competitive place in the meta, in case these experiments fall flat, should relax. The class still has a strong foundation with multiple existing archetypes that have a great chance of claiming a strong spot in the field. It’s just that Bomb Warrior and Enrage Warrior are unlikely to be any different than what they are right now, so we didn’t find it interesting enough to feature them in this article.
The existing archetype that we could see shifting its philosophy in a promising direction in Control Warrior. It could add the ultimate win condition to its build, providing it with inevitability to end games in control matchups. It allows us to drop that weird Galakrond/Kronx/Rattlegore top end and potentially help Warrior’s standing against the Priest class.
C’Thun is a strong fit for Control Warrior because, much like Paladin, it has very good defensive tools, strong card draw options but lacks the final punch. Another notable inclusion in the deck is Minefield, which should be a fantastic early game removal tool for Control Warrior decks going forward. A small package of Stage Dive/Kargath should also increase the consistency of Kargath Prime dropping down on turn 8, and that can turn many L’s into W’s.
A control deck that essentially tops the curve at 5 mana just feels right, you know?
That’s it for our pre-expansion content. The window from the final reveal stream to the launch of the expansion was particularly narrow this time, so we had to work around the clock to produce the usual vS pre-expansion content that you enjoy. It was certainly challenging, but also fun! We want to give special thanks to America’s Grandmaster, Impact, for helping us produce and curate these last two articles.
We’ll see you on the other side of the Darkmoon Faire!
The Vicious Syndicate Team