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Contributed by

Quackles and Bocharaenai

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Last Updated

April 17, 2018

Table of Contents

The Raven Takes Flight: The Effects of The Current Hearthstone Rotation, Part 2

Introduction

The Year of the Raven has arrived! The Witchwood is live and people are creating decks with the new cards. It’s time for the new Hearthstone metagame to come forth, and this pair of articles looks at the rotation’s effects and the upcoming meta.

Part 1, which came out several weeks ago, looked at the rotating expansions (Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan), focusing on how classes would miss the cards that were off to Wild.

Part 2 (this article) looks at each class in turn, analyzing archetypes that might hold potential for each class once the Witchwood meta stabilizes. It also has a ‘tier list’ that suggests a possible forecast of who’ll be on top when the (wood)chips are down.
Let’s get started!

Note to readers: While this article does take into account trends in the evolving Witchwood metagame, it’s more a prediction than a meta report. We can’t account for every deck that’s being experimented on right now, but we’ll do our best to list the decks we think have potential.

Druid


The circle of life is over! With the demise of the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Jade Druid has finally left Standard. The aggro nerfs in the middle of the Kobolds meta, as well as the rise of Cubelock, had suppressed Druid decks, but the rotation leaves the class scrambling. With old favorites gone, and new cards to pick, what can Druids play?

Blizzard (Tries to) Give Druid a Hand

Sorry, but I’m a Linux user.

Just like in Un’Goro, Blizzard has decided to try and send Druid in a new direction. This time, though, their focus is something that used to happen as a byproduct of Druids playing high-cost cards: a large hand size.
The idea is that Druids use Witchwood Apple and their natural focus on card draw to bulk up their hands, before segueing into cards that benefit from the boosted hand size. Ferocious Howl provides survivability and cycle, Bewitched Guardian serves as a nice large taunt on Turn 5, and for those who want big minions, there’s always the classic Mountain Giant.

There’s only one problem with ‘Hand Druid’. The deck has a bit of a slow start because it’s busy filling up its hand, so aggressive decks (like Odd Paladin – see below) will take the opportunity to run it over. Meanwhile, Cubelock (which survives the Raven rotation nearly untouched) will happily put up Voidlords – or Mountain Giants of their own – as a response to the Druid.

More generally, Hand Druid is missing a win condition for the late game once it’s full on cards and ready to go. In all likelihood, the deck will not make the cut in the coming days.

A Spiteful Surprise

It’s always Huffer this guy.

While Jade and Token Druid have departed for greener pastures, one Druid archetype has come from the Year of the Mammoth almost untouched. Spiteful Druid, an archetype with 28 minions (notably Spiteful Summoner) and 2 copies of Ultimate Infestation, loses only Mire Keeper.

In its place, the deck has new longevity cards it can run – while Bewitched Guardian is likely to be Chillwind Yeti-sized when played on curve, it can double as a supertaunt once the Druid player has filled their hand with Ultimate Infestation. Druid of the Scythe should also see play, as an early Taunt or a way to remove a troublesome enemy minion (especially as Spiteful Druid doesn’t run Swipe).

On top of all that, the rotation has given Spiteful Summoner a boost. Thanks to the loss of the low-statted Old Gods, Spiteful Summoner, when pulling a 10-mana spell, will now always summon an 8/8 (Sea Giant, Emeriss), a 7/14 (Ultrasaur), or a 12/12 (Deathwing, Tyrantus). Any deck that wants to deal with Spiteful Druid will need answers handy after Turn 6— and Druid will be happy to ask the questions.

Hunter


Hunter, as a class, is most famous for one thing: going face. However, in the Witchwood, Blizzard has taken great care to give the class only tools that are not suitable for that purpose. Fortunately, Hunter has some solid (and not-so-solid) decks to play over the next few months.

A Classic of Hunter?

What do you do with this card, exactly? We’re not in a Rush to find out…

No matter what the meta is, people will always try to craft Midrange Hunter. However, only a very few of the Witchwood cards Blizzard has printed are useful for the deck. Wing Blast will likely see play, as a cheap control option— but Vilebrood Skitterer and Carrion Drake are only really useful for trading, and not for Hunter’s eventual goal of going face (they’re too slow for that). Houndmaster Shaw further exemplifies a trading-first gameplan, and is unlikely to be useful until 1-2 turns after he’s played (if he survives that long).

Meanwhile, Duskhaven Hunter must sit in the Hunter’s hand for a turn until it can be deployed at its most aggressive statline— and while Dire Frenzy is a solid buff, part of its cost comes from its shuffle effect. As a deck, and class, with poor draw, it’s unlikely Midrange Hunter will ever get to use the buffed copies.

All in all, Midrange Hunter will have to make do with cards from previous expansions (plus Wing Blast) – making its prospects poor. However, a more aggressive variant of the classic Hunter deck should be more successful.

The Odd Alternative

This is not the last time you’ll be seeing this card.

Baku the Mooneater is a powerful neutral Legendary that garnered significant hype before the the Witchwood came out. Its Hero-Power-empowering effect promises great rewards for any deck that can meet its requirement of giving up even-Cost cards entirely. Baku’s effect on Hunter is to upgrade its hero power from 2 damage, to 3 (Ballista Shot). This effectively puts the opponent on an even quicker clock than normal for Hunter— 10 turns of Ballista Shot by itself is normally fatal.

The most critical even-Cost loss for an aggressive ‘Baku Hunter’ deck is Secrets. Without Hunter Secrets to activate it, Lesser Emerald Spellstone (one of the best odd cards in Hunter’s current midgame) will stay Lesser for the whole game, rendering it nearly unplayable. This prevents Odd-cost Hunter from using a midrange gameplan— which means the deck must take a hyper-aggressive face approach instead. Classic Hunter cards like Animal Companion, Eaglehorn Bow, and Kill Command should see great use in an Odd Face Hunter.

The only concern about this deck is how it will fare against some of the other decks of the Witchwood metagame. Odd Paladin snowballs faster thanks to its token generation, and can protect its face from Hunter’s initial rush with Taunts, while Cubelock has too many control tools and healing to list! However, this is not to discount Odd Face Hunter’s potential, and it will likely be a solid Hunter deck for months to come.

A Shift in Spells

Playing Spell Hunter is gonna be a blast!

Spell Hunter survives the rotation mostly intact. The biggest losses are Barnes and Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound, which gave Spell Hunter a helping of early cheese if everything went off properly. (Cat Trick is also gone.) However, these losses do free the deck up to run To My Side! and Rhok'delar, just as Blizzard intended. Wing Blast will also likely see play in the updated version of Spell Hunter, as well.

While Spell Hunter is certainly a solid deck, the current metagame may not be as suited for it as other Hunter builds. Deathstalker Rexxar is a powerful win condition for the deck, but a slow one— Warlocks will almost always have more value than Spell Hunter (even with Rhok’delar), and tempo-focused decks can have a head of steam ready to respond to anything the Hunter does by the time they abandon Secrets to really get going.

Mage


The secrets of the Kabal are gone, and with Ice Block vanished, Mage must survive on its own merits from now on. However, Blizzard has seen fit to provide Mage with support for a brand new archetype.

Mage Minions Unite!

The draw spell Mage never knew it needed.

Elemental Mage looks to be finally getting its day in the sun. Archmage Arugal and Book of Specters provide a draw-duplication combo worthy of a master of Elementals, while Bonfire Elemental accelerates Elemental-using mages further. Combining these new cards with Frost Lich Jaina creates a powerhouse of a deck shell. The inclusion of Book of Specters means the deck will avoid running too many other spells, so Elemental Jaina Mage may turn to Voodoo Doll for minion-based removal.

On top of this, a focus on minions over spells gives Elemental Mage one other option: putting Spiteful Summoner in the deck, and running only Book of Specters and high-cost spells like Flamestrike or Pyroblast. While Spiteful can whiff, pulling out a 2-mana minion, the potential benefit is worth the risk— not to mention the possible payoff if Spiteful Summoner is copied by Archmage Arugal.

It seems likely that (Spiteful) Elemental Mage will become a strong Mage deck in the Witchwood metagame, giving a fresh and different experience for all Mage players. However, for those who want a more classic experience, another, less famous archetype of Mage deck has come untouched from the Kobolds meta.

Super-Sized Spell Synergies!

Killer board control and killer emotes. Can anyone ask for more?

Big-Spell Mage was a deck during the Kobolds and Catacombs meta. It was not, however, a very good one, with terrible matchups against Jade Druid, Control Warlock, Secret Mage, and Dude Paladin.

With the metagame upended by the Raven rotation, Big Spell Mage’s time has come. Jade Druid and Secret Mage are no more. Warlock can no longer outpace Big Spell Mage’s AoEs with N'Zoth, the Corruptor. Dude Paladin is now Odd Paladin, and its increased density of Silver Hand Recruits is not enough of a threat to Big-Spell Mage to make up for the loss of some of its best buff and refill cards. Finally, the deck has gained a bit of support in the form of Voodoo Doll (extra removal for an already control-based deck, and a source of Elementals for Frost Lich Jaina) and Toki, Time-Tinkerer (general value, as well as the chance to get something amazing like Emperor Thaurissan or Dr. Boom).

With its plethora of AoEs and removal, and a favorable meta, it seems possible that Big Spell mage is in a position to become one of the top control decks in the Witchwood (though it must still respect Cubelock’s power).

What About Odd Mage?

This minion won’t be played much in Standard? Bad luck.

People who watched the Witchwood final card reveal stream may have noticed an unusual Mage deck: Odd Mage, with Baku the Mooneater. The deck used the boosted Mage hero power (a 2-damage ping) to provide a hefty dose of board control, and also ran the new card Black Cat for a little extra card draw.

There is, as with many odd decks, only one problem: Mage gives up too many good cards to make Odd Mage playable on the much harsher environment of the ladder. The Mage removal spells Frostbolt, Polymorph, Fireball, and Blizzard are all 2, 4, and 6 Mana— as are some of their high-quality minions, Sorcerer's Apprentice and Water Elemental.

While a 2-damage (potentially double-able to 4 damage) Hero Power is an attractive benefit, and Black Cat is a powerful minion, chances are that Odd Mage still doesn’t have a strong enough early game to survive until it can start playing win conditions like Frost Lich Jaina.

Paladin


From one viewpoint, Paladin decks didn’t lose too much in the rotation. From another, they’ll need to reinvent themselves to survive. Fortunately, the tools have arrived to let them do so.

The Dude is Dead: Long Live the Dude

The Kobolds-era Dude Paladin was doomed with the loss of Rallying Blade and Steward of Darkshire (which had strong synergy with one another), along with Stand Against Darkness (an important source of refill). However, two conflicting saviors have arrived for the deck in the Witchwood: Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane. Classic Dude Paladin has potential to be reborn as both the “Odd Paladin” and “Even Paladin” archetypes.

Buy now! Two for the price of one.

At first glance, Odd Paladin would appear to be the weaker of the two archetypes. Paladin’s best spells (Blessing of Kings, Spikeridged Steed, Call to Arms), synergy minions (Sunkeeper Tarim, Crystal Lion, Lightfused Stegodon), and removal (Equality, Consecration) are all even-costed, and Odd Paladin must do without them.

What Odd Paladin does have is a nearly limitless supply of Silver Hand Recruits, thanks to both the The Silver Hand Hero Power and the synergy cards Lost in the Jungle and Vinecleaver. Many decks are completely unable to keep an Odd Paladin’s board clear— which becomes critical around Turn 5, where opponents must beware of a Level Up! or Fungalmancer from out of nowhere. Ironbeak Owl lets the deck punch through troublesome taunts, and an archetype that at first seemed a bit ridiculous now suddenly starts to seem quite dangerous. Odd Paladin is likely to become the top Aggro deck of the Witchwood meta, simply thanks to its near ‘infinite value’.

Genn’s not as popular as Baku, but he’s a lot more even-tempered.

Even Paladin, meanwhile, has all the Paladin ‘power cards’ Odd Paladin was lacking, along with a discounted hero power courtesy of Genn Greymane. The deck’s main strong suit comes from its guaranteed early tempo: having a Turn 1 play (a Silver Hand Recruit) is a passable opening, and the deck can do its best to keep up the pressure with cards like Dire Wolf Alpha, or by playing Knife Juggler and another Recruit on Turn 3. From there, Paladin’s powerful buff and synergy cards can take over.

It’s a little too early to say how well Even Paladin will stack up, especially as the deck can lose its early tempo if its board is cleared in the midgame. That said, the sheer amount of power in the deck does make it one to watch.

What’s the Opposite Of A Murloc Uprising?

CAUTION: Murlocs on vacation.

Murloc Paladin lost a good chunk of its early game (Vilefin Inquisitor, Grimscale Chum), but that doesn’t mean the deck is competely dead. The deck can rely on non-tribal Paladin early game (Argent Squire, Righteous Protector, etc.) while it waits for its Murlocs to show up.

This is a sound strategy, but a side effect is that the deck starts snowballing several turns later, and snowballs less effectively to boot. The classic Murloc Paladin gameplan started with a Turn 1 Murloc, either a Turn 2 Rockpool Hunter or several 1-drops, and a buffing Murloc (such as Murloc Warleader) on Turn 3, with the intent of playing Gentle Megasaur on Turn 4 (or 5) to a wide board. Call to Arms provided refill in case of an unexpected upset.

The updated curve of a Turn 2 Murloc into a Turn 3 Rockpool Hunter (into a Turn 5-6 Megasaur) isn’t quite as impressive, even with Call to Arms backing things up. Due to the decrease in the deck’s tempo, Murloc Paladin risks getting rolled by more aggressive (or defensive) decks. Murlocs have always been an inherently aggressive archetype, so a shift in gameplan isn’t really possible for this Paladin— while intrepid deckbuilders may try to make the archetype work, it seems likely that Murlocs will be relegated to the ocean of Rank 20 once the Witchwood meta settles.

Priest


With scores of good Priest cards rotating to Wild, the class finds itself scrambling for something to play. The only thing that still seems solid is an archetype from the previous metagame.

Just the Spite, Ma’am


The new face of Slightly Dragon-y Priest.

During the Kobolds meta, Spiteful Priest relied on a strong Dragon package for its early game, before curving into Spiteful Summoner for ridiculous amounts of board presence. The Raven rotation has sandbagged this gameplan a bit, thanks to the loss of Netherspite Historian and Drakonid Operative.

Priest can (and still wants to) use a Dragon package, but it’s not as powerful. Scaleworm and Nightmare Amalgam can provide early board control, and the power of Duskbreaker to flatten Aggro decks is something they must still respect. However, Spiteful Priest has become a bit slower as a result, and doesn’t have as much immediate value to draw on.

Also, the quality of Spiteful Summoner summons when pulling an 8-mana spell have gone down slightly. While this is not as major a factor in the deck’s performance, the hypothetical 8-drop from Year of the Kraken sets was an 8/7 (taking the average of stats of all 8-mana minions from those expansions), with the slight possibility for minions with an upside, like Ragnaros, Lightlord or Giant Sandworm. Witchwood 8-drops tend to be a bit smaller, averaging a 6/7 in stats, and can yield some more dubious results, such as Splitting Festeroot or Tess Greymane.

Spiteful Priest is not a deck to count out in the Witchwood, but Tier 1 will likely elude Anduin once again.

Rogue


With the release of the Witchwood, Rogue has a chance to show the meta what it can do. Most of the cards Blizzard gave it in the expansion aren’t that useful, but that won’t stop Rogue if there’s good Neutrals to use!

Back into Tempo

He’ll work for any clan he can find. Yesterday, it was a bunch of bards— today, it’s Rogues.

After the mid-Kobolds aggro nerfs, Tempo Rogue was believed to be dead. However, you can’t keep a good Rogue down. Tempo Rogue looks set to resurge in the Witchwood, thanks to Baku the Mooneater (to continue something of a pattern with decks trying to gain strength through upgrading their Hero Power).

Odd Tempo Rogue does lose the ability to draw well with Elven Minstrel, but it can make up for that by going for a highly aggressive gameplan, with numerous 1-drops and the new Neutral minion Hench-Clan Thug. As Odd Tempo Rogue’s main gain from Baku is a 2-damage dagger (critical for early board control), it’s likely that players will attack with their face nearly every turn when playing the deck, making the Thug into a dangerous threat.

Marsh Drake could also make the cut in the deck, as Rogue can use their dagger to easily negate the drawback of the Drakeslayer summoned for their opponent. Moreover, Tempo Rogue can still close out games with Leeroy Jenkins, though the classic Tempo Rogue plan of Leeroy-Shadowstep-Leeroy is no longer an option due to Baku excluding Shadowstep from consideration.

Though this iteration of Rogue has a lot to fear from control decks with tools to help them survive, it could be a particularly serious pain in the rear for multiple other forms of aggro on the Witchwood ladder. Tempo Rogue should fully live up to its namesake in the coming weeks.

The Miracle That Did Not Happen

Not wanted: Auctioneers!

Miracle Rogue, the saying goes, will also never die. While this is probably technically true as long as Gadgetzan Auctioneer remains in play, the deck’s chances during the Witchwood do not look good.

To begin with, the deck received almost nothing of value in the current crop of cards. After the loss of Counterfeit Coin, Miracle Rogue wants some new means of coin generation. That said, WANTED! probably isn’t it. The spell’s hefty mana cost renders it difficult to use in a deck that focuses on cycling with cheap spells. Most of the other Rogue cards Blizzard printed in the Witchwood focus on an archetype that steals cards from other classes, and aren’t useful for the deck. Even Cheap Shot is extremely borderline, especially with Eviscerate as an evergreen option.

There’s also the matter of the metagame. Miracle Rogue, classically speaking, has no good means of protecting itself from highly aggressive decks, and will do poorly in any meta that has many of such decks running around. Sadly, Odd Paladin, Odd Face Hunter, and Odd Tempo Rogue will likely all be ready to make Miracle’s life miserable.

While Miracle Rogue will not likely see much play overall, players shouldn’t count it out entirely. The deck’s adherents are loyal and clever at deckbuilding, and because of this, the deck’s success rate can be hard to predict. Can Miracle Rogue defy all odds and make a comeback?

Shaman


At the end of the Year of the Mammoth, Shaman was on its last legs. Token Shaman was dead to aggro nerfs, and aside from a few attempts at a control Shaman, no suitable archetypes remained.
At the beginning of the Year of the Raven, everyone’s talking about Shaman: fueled simply by the power of one Legendary, the class has a brand new deck with an unexpected gameplan.

Shudderwock: The Heir to Exodia

Turning ‘caw caw’ into ‘pew pew’ since 2018.
Pictured: the other minion that makes it all possible.

With the loss of Ice Block, Quest Mage is no longer a viable deck. However, Blizzard decided to oblige lovers of Combo decks by printing Shudderwock, a legendary that replays all past friendly Battlecries that took place during the game.

This card is powerful enough to be its own win condition, and Shaman theorycrafters have happily obliged. The keys to the combo are spread across different expansions. Saronite Chain Gang’s Battlecry multiplies the initial copy of Shudderwock, in time for Grumble, World Shaker to return (cheap!) copies of Shudderwock to its owner’s hand. Lifedrinker, a new Neutral minion that deals damage to the enemy hero and heals its player, is the final piece of the puzzle.

When everything lines up, the enemy hero will find themself dealing with multiple, repeated Lifedrinker Battlecries that whittle away their health with no effective chance to respond. Murmuring Elemental is there to tie everything together, copying the Battlecries of any of the cards in the combo (even Shudderwock, when it’s discounted).

The only reason Shudderwock Shaman isn’t going to end up at the top of the meta is that it’s a combo deck, and combo decks have classically made enemies in the form of anyone who could kill them before they can go off— and the Shudderwock combo takes quite a lot of setup, even with minions like Sandbinder to help the process along. That said, though, the deck looks to be quite popular, and should see significant play on the Witchwood ladder.

Warlock


Warlock looks to continue exactly what it was doing at the end of the Kobolds meta: winning! Blizzard has thoughfully provided it with some support to help it along.

Cubelock Continues

Abandon all hope of maintaining a board, ye who enter here.

Everyone noticed that Cube Warlock was losing very few cards in the Raven rotation. To add to that, it’s gained some new tools that more than make up for it. Lord Godfrey is effectively a mega-Defile on a body, while Dark Possession further activates Warlocks’ Lesser Amethyst Spellstones and has the potential to give them extra Voidlords to boot.

Most of Warlock’s other new cards aren’t really useful for Cubelock… something players may be glad of! Deathweb Spider is a solid minion, but doesn’t really fit in the deck’s gameplan, while Blood Witch‘s benefit/drawback is not worth its statline. Ratcatcher can be used to pop Carnivorous Cubes and Possessed Lackeys, but Dark Pact already does a better job.

While Warlock’s loss of N'Zoth, the Corruptor does give it a less dominating matchup against certain control decks (notably Big Spell Mage, as mentioned above), the deck is still set to be the top deck in the new Witchwood meta. Decks must respect it, or perish.

There’s really not much else to say.

Zoo: The Forgotten Archetype?

The term ‘Zoo’ wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

Zoo Warlock needed something powerful to replace the loss of Malchezaar's Imp and Darkshire Councilman, among other cards. It didn’t get much – Witchwood Imp is underwhelming, and Fiendish Circle overcosted. The Legendary Glinda Crowskin is made for a different (and slower) archetype entirely. Zoo might be able to scrape together a deck using Duskbat, but things are by no means guaranteed.

People will certainly experiment— Zoo Warlock is a popular, classic deck that players will put work into to make sure it ‘never dies’, but it’s unlikely the deck will be good. Other, stronger decks at all points on the spectrum of fast and slow exist.

Warrior


After its fall during the Frozen Throne meta, Warrior has not found itself a meaningful part of Hearthstone. This situation is finally, finally ending. Warrior has not one, but two strong archetypes to try out in the Witchwood.

The Rush of Power

We’ll call this weapon… ‘Fiery Wood Axe’.

Blizzard is heavily pursuing a Warrior archetype that uses Rush minions in this expansion, with cards such as Woodcutter's Axe, Rabid Worgen and Militia Commander adding up to an early-game power curve. The release of Town Crier in particular shows how committed Team 5 is to getting Rush Tempo Warrior in good shape.

The archetype appears to have a substantial amount of power behind it. Rush, as a mechanic, is excellent at keeping an opponent’s board mostly clear, and this is just what Warrior needs to go for the enemy hero unopposed.

Darius Crowley is particularly dangerous in this regard— after the Legendary kills two minions, it effectively becomes an 8/4, something you basically don’t want hitting your face. With Woodcutter’s Axe offering Warrior a replacement for the nerfed Fiery War Axe, and Countess Ashmore to provide later-game refill, Tempo Warrior has all the tools it needs to stay on top of board control.

It’s good to see Warrior in Standard once again, and Tempo Rush Warrior should be a very solid deck (though it must still fear Cubelock like everyone else). But that’s not all that Warriors have to offer.

Taunt Warrior Lives!

At this point in the article, the name Baku the Mooneater has come up a number of times, with varying results. In Warrior’s case, those results are pretty impressive.

You get a fireball! And you get a fireball!
And you get a fireball!

Limiting Warrior to odd-Cost cards doesn’t slow it down. While a Rush Tempo archetype is off the table (especially as Woodcutter’s Axe is unavailable), it turns out that Fire Plume's Heart, and most of its associated Taunts and control cards, are odd-cost. In particular, the new Taunts Phantom Militia and Rotten Applebaum help the deck stick around and complete its Quest easily.
The expanded Hero Power provided by Baku (Tank Up) enables Taunt Warrior to easily survive the early game, as well as allowing it to use its Armor as a resource for removal like Shield Slam and Reckless Fury.

Once the tables are turned and Taunt Warrior goes volcanic with Sulfuras, there are two other Witchwood minions that can give the deck an edge. Blackwald Pixie’s Hero Power refresh can give the Warrior a second 8-damage fireball in a turn, and Clockwork Automaton turns the fireball into a 16-damage cannon. Automaton in particular is dangerous if the opponent can’t answer it, as it almost guarantees a Warrior victory once one of Sulfuras’s fireballs goes the wrong way.

The end-game power of Taunt Warrior has one weakness: against decks that go wide, many of the Warrior’s shots will miss the enemy hero. This isn’t a fatal flaw, however. Taunt Warrior should be a fun, and powerful, deck for anyone who loved it in Un’Goro.

Witchwood Tier List


Prediction time! In this section, we’ll try and rank how we think each deck will do once the Witchwood meta settles down. Like common meta snapshots, we’ll divide our ranking into tiers. Within a tier, decks are sorted by their class, in alphabetical order.

Tier 1 – Outstanding

These decks rule – as simple as that. They’ve got synergy, value, tempo, raw power— or all of these!— and they’ll use them to cement their place on top of the meta.

  • Spiteful Druid – With the buff to Spiteful Summoner, and a favorable meta, Druid is back on top.
  • Big Spell Mage – Every AoE and removal tool you could ask for, and a few you didn’t— with Arcane Artificer to survive until Frost Lich Jaina comes down.
  • Odd Paladin – The sheer amount of value the Hero Power provides makes this deck dangerous to contend with.
  • Cubelock – The one and only.

Tier 2 – Pretty Good

The best decks? No. Good decks? Yes. Tier 2 decks should do decently on ladder, even if some matchups aren’t as enjoyable as they’d like. In some cases, Tier 2 decks can be used as anti-meta counters against a particular Tier 1 deck that’s annoying everyone in range.

  • Odd Face Hunter – Hyper-aggression can win games, and the upgraded Hunter Hero Power is extremely dangerous if the opponent has no good healing.
  • Spiteful Elemental Mage – A minion-based mage with a good curve, powerful minions and draw, and potential explosive finishers with Pyroblast. There’s a lot to love.
  • Even Paladin – Early tempo into Paladin power cards promises strong results from this deck, but it can fizzle. May not match up well with some top meta decks.
  • Odd Tempo Rogue – Strong early minions and Rogue’s boosted-damage dagger should give other Aggro decks hives, but this deck wins quickly or not at all.
  • Shudderwock Shaman – A brand-new combo deck with a wacky ending? Everyone will want to try this deck out.
  • Odd Taunt Warrior – Taunt Warrior’s new, upgraded hero power can keep it going through a hostile early game, but the randomness of its fireball finisher hurts it against decks that like to go wide.
  • Rush Tempo Warrior – Clear the board? Yes! SMOrc? Well, not immediately. But half the pleasure’s in the anticipation.

Tier 3 – Fair to Middling

Tier 3 decks are missing something— a key component to the archetype— that they’d need to really shine. Of course, this won’t stop theorycrafters from experimenting to try and find that perfect card to launch a Tier 3 deck to stardom.

  • Spell Hunter – Not aggressive enough to shine in the early game, and not enough value to do well in the later game.
  • Spiteful Priest – Having to fall back to a poorer dragon package renders Spiteful Priest a second-class Spiteful-type citizen.
  • Miracle Rogue – Gained nothing from the expansion, and various types of aggro run it over.
  • Zoo Warlock – Can Duskbat make this deck work? And if not, what can?

Tier 4 – Bad

Tier 4 decks are often more amusing— or beloved— than consistent. Other decks will probably run these decks over, but for those with the free time, and dust, to spend, the option is there.

  • Hand Druid – Blizzard gave the Druid some tools, but forgot to add a win condition.
  • Midrange Hunter – Midrange Hunter doesn’t get enough good tools to have a chance against other decks that did.
  • Murloc Paladin – Rolled by other aggro decks, stopped in their tracks by other slower ones. A Murloc’s lot is not a happy one in the Witchwood!

Conclusion


That’s enough prediction! It’s time to go play some Hearthstone, and dive into the brand-new metagame.

What’s been working well for you in the Witchwood meta? Do you have a meta breaker that we didn’t see coming? Or do you just think one of the cards or decks we’ve talked about will do differently than our forecast? If you’ve got anything to say, leave us a comment below- and if you liked the article, don’t forget to upvote it (that big green button below) or share it with your friends!

Thank you once again for your interest in the astrology of Hearthstone— and, see you next year!

Enjoyed this article?



Bocharaenai is a 39-time legend player who has obtained the rank with a wide variety of decks. Rumor has it that he currently resides in the Emerald Dream, waiting for Blizzard to make Zoo great again. Quackles is an inveterate scribbler who occasionally finds time to play Hearthstone.

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