Impact of the 2017 Standard Rotation: What We Will Miss
With the next rotation about to hit Hearthstone in a matter of weeks, let’s take a look back at some of the most powerful cards and decks we will miss in the Standard meta and how some changes can potentially change the identity of some of our favorite classes. Wild might also gain popularity considering how popular some of the cards that are leaving us are and hopefully Un’goro will help fill the void left by some of our favorite cards by bringing us some innovative decks and mechanics.
If you are someone who loves sticking to the Standard format then you should make the most of the time we have left with some of the best cards that came out in the sets that are moving out mid-April.
Beast Druid: Beast Druid is taking massive hit with a lot of good Beast Druid cards moving out including Savage Combatant, Druid of the Flame, Druid of the Saber and many more. While Beast Druid has never been meta breaking, Blizzard has been pushing the archetype for quite some time now and it is definitely a fun mid-tier deck to play.
Token/Malygos Druid: Living Roots enabled a lot for Druid and it is one of the most low key impact cards Druid received in the past 2 years. Being able to generate early game board presence or be used as removal, Living Root is definitely going to be missed. Malygos Druid managed to be a top tier deck for several months in the Karazhan meta and not having access to burst damage is definitely going to hurt Druid’s cause. Raven Idol is another high impact card that helped out Druid a lot and it’s one of my favorite spells in the game.
Quick Shot: Quick Shot is one of the cards that made Hunter a whole lot better, be it Face Hunter or Mid Range Hunter. Hunter has poor methods of card draw and the neutral options available in Hearthstone don’t quite cut it. Tracking and Quick Shot are pretty much the only options available and the flexibility of the card pushed Hunter decks in the older metas quite a bit.
Freeze Mage: Freeze Mage already lost Mad Scientist in the last expansion and there is little hope left for the deck in the Standard meta with Ice Lance from the Classic set moving to the Hall of Fame set along with Forgotten Torch from League of Explorers and Emperor Thaurissan from Blackrock Mountain. Freeze Mage has always been a problematic deck in the early days of Hearthstone but with several nerfs to cards in the deck and the rise of highly aggressive decks, the archetype moved into a niche and few players played the deck. A lot of high ranked players choose to pilot the deck from time to time and the deck archetype has always been a firm favorite in the competitive scene.
Tempo Mage: Flamewaker pretty much defines Tempo Mage and with cards like Arcane Blast also moving out, Mage is in a very tight spot. Arcane Blast and Forgotten Torch are just some of the other casualties in the Standard rotation and with Freeze Mage and Tempo Mage being left bare, Mages need to pull something out of the new out of Un’goro to maintain their presence on ladder. Azure Drake moving out is also a big blow to the deck since the card has been a part of most Mage decks in existence since the release of the game.
Reno Mage also lived a short life in the higher tiers of the meta and with Reno Jackson moving out, Mage seems to be a class that’s completely reliant on the new cards to stay relevant.
Mill Rogue: Gang Up was one of the cards that kept Mill Rogue alive and the card doing out of Standard along with key cards like Brann Bronzebeard is going to make things difficult. Mill Rogue relies on burning your opponent’s cards while maintaining your deck size and winning on fatigue. While a lot of people do not enjoy playing against such decks, it’s a very unique course
Miracle Rogue: Tomb Pillager singlehandedly revived Miracle Rogue since its arrival and made Gadgetzan Auctioneer viable once more. It’s going to be tough times for Rogue as a class to remain viable with Pillager moving out of Standard. Azure Drake’s departure from Standard is also going to make things hard because of how important the card has been for the class since the release of Hearthstone. Conceal takes a hit too with the card being moved to the Hall of Fame set, Conceal has been notorious in several metas and Blizzard wants to avoid non-interactive turns as much as possible.
Zoolock: Zoo is getting a big hit with Imp Gang Boss and Power Overwhelming being moved out. These two cards are absolutely deck defining and Zoo is going to need a lot of help to survive. Imp Gang Boss is not only seen in Zoolock decks but even in Renolock due to its resilient nature and the ability to stick on the board.
Renolock: Reno Jackson moving out means singleton decks are at risk unless a replacement for Reno comes along. While cards like Kazakus try to enable singleton decks, a lack of burst healing in form of Reno will be missing – requiring a replacement in the upcoming expansion or sources of powerful healing for the class to keep the archetype alive.
Anyfin Paladin: Blizzard never intended Anyfin Can Happen to be used as a combo deck and after tinkering with multiple versions of the deck, several refined lists popped up over time and it has been a really fun deck in the meta to try out over the past year and a half.
Secret Paladin: Mysterious Challenger from The Grand Tournament singlehandedly brought forward Secret Paladin. Initially people thought Mysterious Challenger is a bad card because Paladin secrets aside from Avenge were considered to be pretty bad, but over time Secret Paladin broke into the meta and there was no looking back for the class for a long time!
All archetypes: Aggro Shaman, Mid Range Shaman and Control Shaman will all take hits as some of their most powerful cards happen to lie in The Grand Tournament, which otherwise is considered to be a weak expansion compared to other set releases. With devastating early game and lategame engines like Thunder Bluff Valiant going out along with control cards like Elemental Destruction, which is one of the best cards to pair with Hallazeal the Ascended things need to shake up for the class because as of now Shaman is heavily reliant on cards from TGT and LoE.
Control Warrior: Control Warrior stands to lose a lot with Justicar Trueheart, Revenge and Bash moving out. While there is no doubt the archetype will survive like it always has, the deck will be severely weakened especially with Justicar moving out. Sylvanas Windrunner is also a key card that the deck has always liked to include and she will be dearly missed in the meta.
Grim Patron Warrior: Grim Patron Warrior has been one of the most difficult decks to pilot correctly and even though players did not find much success with the deck in the low to medium ranks, competitive players who play professionally or simply play at high ranks found great success with the deck. The deck was extremely rewarding to play and Grim Patron is in my books, one of the best designed cards to ever be printed in the game. Despite seeing several nerfs and the OTK version of the deck ceasing to exist, the deck lived on in many metas.
While the older version of the deck is definitely the more powerful version, the subsequent Grim Patron decks that followed after the Warsong Commander nerf held their own and managed to survive in the meta for a long time.
Blackrock Mountain was all about Dragons and some of the key cards like Blackwing Corruptor, Twilight Whelp and many others are moving out. Priest has benefited from the use of Dragons the most and there are some great cards from The Grand Tournament as well that cemented Dragon Priest as a viable deck to play. Twilight Guardian and Wyrmrest Agent are some of the most powerful Dragon themed cards to be printed and. While the big Dragons didn’t quite fit into the meta, the mid range options provided by both BRM and TGT brought a lot to the table for people to experiment with. Dragon Warrior also thrived now and then, being extremely aggressive and effective even in long drawn games.
Emperor Thaurissan enabled combo decks in a way like no other card has in the game, it’s definitely going to be hard for crazy combo decks to live on in Standard with Blizzard having a seemingly negative stance on such decks. Regardless of how oppressive some decks can become through Emperor Thaurissan with Combo Druid (old Force of Nature version), Freeze Mage and Malygos decks being some of the best examples – there are some really fun combos that can be pulled off with Emperor using cards you would otherwise not use and it’s definitely sad for me to see Thaurissan move out of Standard.
Brann, Reno, Elise and Finley are some of the best legendaries to enter Hearthstone and each of these enabled new archetypes or improved existing decks in really fun ways. Brann and Finley are more like Swiss Army Knives while Reno allows you to explore deck building options through singleton inclusions. Elise was considered to be a weak card but control decks realized the potential Elise has in slow and drawn out games – allowing her to break into decks like Control Priest and Control Warrior consistently.
With Journey to Un’Goro coming in close, we have to say goodbye to some of our favorite cards but I’m sure new and exciting decks will pop up and freshen things up for Hearthstone since change is something we definitely need in the meta right now. Happy spoiler season everybody and we’ll be back with card reveals, reviews and brews in the coming days so stay tuned!