The last batch of cards for the Year of the Hydra is upon us, and the community is buzzing with what these new 38 cards could bring to the table.
Let's cut to the chase, as you didn't open this piece for the words but for the cards. Here's a list of a bit of everything that could be built around the new cards, from gimmicky decks to potential scary synergies.
The goal here isn't to guess what the next metagame will be like but to offer some perspectives around the new cards. If we are clear with that, let's get to the decks!
Shadow Burn Undead Priest
With another batch of damage cards tossed to Priest, it seems like Blizzard really wants the community to play a Shadow Undead Priest.
This time, the archetype is getting two new direct damage tools with Mind Sear and Rotting Necromancer.
The former seems to be a great hybrid card in order to both deal damage to the enemy while removing cheap units or finishing the trades on a bigger one. With the metagame focusing more on the board, I have no doubts Mind Sear should be a solid card in the near future.
Rotting Necromancer is a bit more of a niche card and forces the build to really go hard on the Undead synergy when most aggressive starts want to play Irondeep Trogg and other, more versatile 1-cost cards.
Even with that restriction, Priest amassed quite a lot of damage cards during this year, and there should be a point where Priest will have enough to reliably burn the opponent from a distance.
Aggro Outcast Demon Hunter
After it had a few days in the spotlight, Outcast Demon Hunter really doesn't have much to remember from the first part of March of the Lich King.
In the mini-set, the archetype is getting a new weapon, Calamity's Grasp to make it even more stable in the early turns.
Considering the struggles of the archetype, it is hard to imagine the card being enough to put it back on the map, alongside the Relics or Souleater's Scythe archetypes. But we'll leave that up to your testing.
Midrange Murloc Shaman
An excellent deck during the first two weeks of February, with several players ranking in top 10 on the ladder using it, Midrange Murloc Shaman has a new card to experiment with in the form of Frostfin Chomper.
Adding a Murloc to the deck is really tricky, as it makes Gorloc Ravager less stable in finding Clownfish. However, considering the deck's love for Bloodlust and Rotgill, summoning four units for 3 mana is pretty appealing.
The elemental requirement should be too hard to fulfill either, as Amalgam of the Deep and Sleetbreaker are two staples of the archetype.
Quest Druid is a deck that many believed was going to be the big winner of Anub'Rekhan joining Druid's arsenal. Nothing happened on that front last expansion, and the deck barely existed during the last two months.
Rake feels like a solid, cheap card for the archetype, which pushed some players to reconsider the archetype as a possibility. We'll see if this new way of gaining attack to complete the quest was the missing piece.
Rainbow Death Knight
The latest Death Knight variant received a card apparently designed for it: Frost Queen Sindragosa, the first multi-runes card printed for the class.
I think many people agree that Construct Quarter will be the real star for the Lich King in the mini-set, but the Rainbow archetype is the perfect occasion to test both cards together.
Aggro or Secret Shockspitter Hunter
I cannot see how the new Hunter cards would push another archetype to top Shockspitter before April's rotation.
However, there might be different avenues to explore, as two of the new cards seem like great tools to support Rexxar high-tempo game plans.
Trinket Tracker should see play immediately, as Tracking is included in every Hunter deck, or will be now that this card exists.
ZOMBEEEES!!! might be a little more tricky to evaluate, as secrets aren't really performing lately for the Hunter class. The card still seems to be a good secret, able to easily trigger and even develop some board in the process.
Fire Pirate Enrage Warrior
Hookfist-3000 is so good, it made me want to play Harbor Scamp again. Alongside Weapons Expert, they should form a trio to anchor Warrior's draw package, and make sure it doesn't run out of options early in a game.
As of now, the card seems perfect for Enrage Warrior, the archetype with the most pressing need to find proactive draw. I do believe the card could become a staple for any archetype in the class though, that's how good it seems to be.
It's been some time since Rogue considered going back to the Pirate synergy, but Jolly Roger might ring that bell for the Rogue Class.
Alongside Concoctions, the Pirates crew finds a perfect complement for value and removal. This allows the deck to play a very low curve, focused on bringing tons of pressure onto the opponent.
Also, we finally have a proactive deck with lots of cheap units to see how much abuse we can get out of Potionmaster Putricide in a deck full of minions.
Control Pure Paladin
Paladin inherited a nice midrange trio of cards in the mini-set. Goldwing probably doesn't have enough support to create the Dragon Mech deck it looks to be made for.
The Purator and Knight of the Dead on the other end, seem to be well indicated in the Pure archetype, particularly the control one.
There, The Purator can find most of the late game cards, such as Anachronos, The Leviathan or both Lightrays. Knight of the Dead is just a big-bodied unit, which can anchor the board early in the game, or just serve as a good unit paired with healing later in the match.
It was quite a disappointing mini-set for Warlock to be honest, as the most impactful card revealed might be Thaddius, Monstrosity in the end, but we'll talk about this one in another deck.
In this one, we are looking to abuse Nofin's Imp-ossible, a solid card for the Imp Warlock archetype, the variant without the curses. As a board only deck, finding some sustainability to our board could feed our infuses even more, or serves as a recipient for Shady Bartender later on.
Big Demon Hunter
Just like it happened several times this year already, Big Demon Hunter received a new card (Felscale Evoker) and is getting our hopes high.
Is this the card to finally bring enough reliability to the deck and make it somewhat viable for the next two months? Lovers of the archetype have already begun trying, so we'll know soon.
Mage is one of the classes which felt a little disappointing in the cards it received. Both Spectral Trainee and Whirlweaver seems too weak to see play in the current Hearthstone, and Tear Reality might be nothing more than a gimmick when it is all set and done. The card still pushes the concept of Casino Mage even further, now allowing to dig in the Wild spells pool.
Fortunately for Mage, there weren't a lot of gaps for archetypes such as Aggro Mage, Ping Mage, and Big Spell Mage. They've all been doing fine and will likely stay right there.
This is one of the decks I am a bit worried about, as the abuse could quickly be very frustrating if the idea behind this new Evolve Shaman comes to fruition.
Here the idea is to abuse the Goldshire Gnoll even more than we did in the past. Once we played the card, we can use it to make a trade, and before evolving it with the new Blazing Transmutation, which already might cause some problems. You can also copy your Gnoll with Cold Storage and have another one ready for next turn!
Shaman is a scary class right now.
Thaddius Curse Warlock
The Undead package of Amorphous Slime cheating out a big Undead early in the game might have got a serious upgrade with Thaddius, Monstrosity joining the game. Also, it seems quite convenient that both Flesh Behemoth and Dar'Khan Drathir cost 7 mana, lowering them to 1-cost card the turn you get to summon Thaddius.
It isn't clear where to fit this package so far, as the 6 to 8 cards it represents aren't so simple to fit in very stacked Warlock decks. I tried to surround it with the Curse package for control potential, but it really is about trying to find a way to abuse Thaddius, Monstrosity early.
Most of the decks on this list saw very little play in the week leading up to the mini-set. In that regard, Return to Naxxramas seems to provide cards in the right direction.
The only thing left to do now is to hope a few of those decks can rise and be a part of the next metagame. Happy testing, and Good Game, Everyone!
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