Running Wild: Relics Of The Wild
Welcome, dear readers, to another installment of ”Running Wild”, the article series where I cover just about all things related to the wild format. Last time we took a look at the shape of the current wild metagame and the time before that we’ve taken a look at some more obscure wild decks. I did read your comments and I understand the demand for more obscure wild decks. Trust me, I am working on that article and I can’t wait to share it with you, but for now there is something similar that I wish to share with you. I’ve noticed how often did I mention the old wild decks from the previous metagames yet I’ve never really visited those decks. I know that there is no need to go over something unplayable like the old Undertaker hunter but there are some very old wild decks, relics you might call them, that are still somewhat viable and are still in a playable shape. Today I wish to share some of those relics with you
Sit back, relax, and let’s dive right into this!
What Are Relics?
The first thing that I want to do is to give you a clear definition of relic decks. Relic decks are very old decks that once saw play but they don’t see play anymore. This can be said for a lot of decks, just like the Undertaker hunter of combo druid, but there is a key difference in why those decks won’t be mentioned and these decks will. There are decks like Undertaker hunter that don’t see play because they were nerfed into unplayability so they simply can’t see play and there are the relic decks that I’m going to mention, decks that don’t see play mainly because they were forgotten as time went by and more cards were introduced, but they are still completely viable to this day. Good example, and I will cover both, are Grim Patron warrior and mech mage. None of those two decks were nerfed into unplayability yet neither no longer see play because they were simply forgotten as new sets came out. So yes, if you’re a fan of old decks that are still viable, this is the perfect article for you
Robots In The Snow
The first deck that I’m going to list as a relic deck is mech mage because, besides patron warrior, I really can’t find a better example than mech mage. This is a deck that once dominated the ranked, back when Goblins vs Gnomes came out, and it was an absolute nightmare to deal with. The meta has just been recovering from the Undertaker nerf, along with nerfs of a few other cards, and aggro players were in a need for a new toy to play with. Luckily for them, and unluckily for all others, the developers have provided the aggro players with the absolute monster that was mech mage. This deck had everything. It was extremely fast, it had a 3 attack 1 drop, it had various ways to freeze weapon focused classes, it had a damage spray in the form of Goblin Blastmage, and it had utilized the insane power of Mechwarper to flood the board at the very start of the game and then just overrun its opponents with an army of mechs.
So, how does this deck work? Mech is one of the oldest tribes in Hearthstone, the first tribe to be both introduced and expanded upon in the same set, and the only tribe to not have any further support after Goblins vs Gnomes. One might argue that the reason behind the lack of support for this tribe is its insane power and I would have to agree with that opinion. Mechs are an extremely powerful tribe with really good synergy and the fact that this deck is still viable, although forgotten, to this day stands as a true testament to that. I might be in the minority here, I don’t know, but I would be happy if mech never got any strong new support because they are good enough to be very viable but not too overpowered.
The idea behind the deck is to both hit your opponent in the face, just like with every other deck, and quickly establish a strong board presence. Because of that your mandatory mulligan will always be at least one Mechwarper. If you get two in your opening hand you might as well keep them. For those of you who aren’t sure about how Mechwarper works, yes, it can reduce the costs of your mechs to 0 (but not below, obviously). You slam your Mechwarper and then you just keep vomiting mech minions from your hand for barely any mana up until turn 4 and if your opponent isn’t dead by then than you play to deal some more damage to him/her and his/her minions on the board before hitting face some more.
This deck might seem a bit weird, on paper, but it is an absolute powerhouse and the best part of it is that the deck is really cheap to make. 920 dust is all that you require to make this deck and, for a deck of that power and ease to play, it is a very good price. I personally haven’t played much of this deck lately but I did play it on and off during the previous year and it did work very well. Can it get you to rank 5? I’m sure that it can. Can it get you to legend rank? Maybe. It has some freeze effects so it can stand up to pirate warrior but is the deck better than the pirate warrior is a completely different debate. With a good hand you will most likely beat pirate warrior before he beats you but if you find yourself having a hard time climbing to legend with this deck than I would suggest switching to a different deck…but if your goal is simply to reach rank 5 than go for it
Everyone, get in here!
No! No! Stay away, ye bastards, the tavern is full!
I still get the sense of dread when I say those words, as well do all others who have been on the receiving end of the pre nerfed patron warrior. The original version of this deck came out with the first wing of Blackrock Mountain and it took the ladder by storm. This deck was absolutely insane due to a single card which was the pre nerfed Warsong Commander. For those of you who weren’t here before the Warsong Commander nerf, the lucky ones who have avoided the Patronpocalypse, let me explain the deal behind the Warsong Commander. Pre nerfed Warsong Commander gave charge to all of your minions with 3 attack or less. The idea behind the deck was to drop your Warsong Commander and fill your board with Grim Patrons, get an army of chargers, and then go for lethal. Even worse was when you had a Frothing Berserker on the board, made it huge because you are constantly damaging your own Grim Patrons in order to make more of them, and then swing for lethal with one huge minion because Frothing Berserker will still have charge that Warsong Commander gave it before the sudden increase of its attack. This was obviously extremely broken, there are a lot of youtube videos of Patron warrior players dealing about 40+ damage in a single turn, so the Warsong Commander had to be nerfed into the version that we have now.
One would think that this nerf was the end for Patron warrior. Well, one would be wrong. To everyone’s surprise, instead of just going away as the result of the nerf, Patron warrior had remained as a powerful deck on the ladder. It turns out that if you don’t have a reliable way to clear a full board of 3/2, with dealing at least 2 damage when killing them in order not to create more of them, you’re going to have a bad time. If I recall correctly, Patron warrior was even played up until some point in last year’s standard format, though don’t quote me on that one because I honestly can’t remember.
How do you play this deck? This is very much a combo oriented deck, in a way, as you want to have as many tools to create Grim Patrons as possible. If you play Grim Patron and then just create one or two Grim Patrons then that is a waste of your Grim Patron. The point is to create as much of them as possible. Towards this end you’re going to keep your Inner Rage, Whirlwind and Ravaging Ghoul. Deal damage to your opponent’s minions, maybe clear some of them, and get a board full of 3/2 minions and a single 3/3 minion. That is a very good deal.
Another minion to look out for is Frothing Berserker. This is a minion that can spiral out of control really quickly, especially if you have a lot of other minions *hint hint* that you’re dealing damage to the entire time. Don’t underestimate the value of a well-timed Frothing Berserker because this is more often than not the card that will win you games.
Last but not the least, I feel the need to comment that you don’t need any of the new cards in order to make this deck work. Some variations of Patron warrior, although only a handful of them, play Emperor Thaurissan in order to get a discount on their damage dealing spells but the card has become less important since the Warsong Commander nerf. Other than that I don’t see a need for any other card and I think that the list is perfect the way it is
Here, Have A Card!
The last relic deck that I’m going to talk about today is the mill rogue. Now, some might argue that mill rogue was never viable, and I wouldn’t completely agree with them. Was it a viable deck? Yes, it was a viable deck, although it did not always work out the way that you’ve wanted it to work. Was it a viable deck for reaching legend? Hell, no! This deck might have seen some tournament play, MAYBE, way back when it was first made but it was never good enough to climb to make the climb to legend. It was, as I’ve said, viable but not too competitive. However, the deck got a few new toys, unlike the previous decks, so I will post my updated version of it
Behold, the updated mill rogue deck!
First and foremost lets talk about why didn’t this deck make it to the big time (legend rank or tournament play). As all of you know already, the metagame has always been infested with aggro decks, and aggro decks love to draw cards. Card draw is the one thing that you don’t want to give to aggro decks because they will completely crush you with their extremely cheap damage dealing cards. This is the main reason why this deck didn’t work. With the meta filled with aggro decks you would run into one 8/10 when you hit the play button and you will more than most likely lose to it. Things might have changed a bit now though there is still way too much pirate warrior going around.
How do you mill your opponents? In order to mill your opponents you are going to play Coldlight Oracle and then bounce it back into your hand with cards like Shadowstep, Vanish, Youthful Brewmaster and Gadgetzan Ferryman. Your goal isn’t to mindlessly spam Coldlight Oracles to fill your opponents hands with cards but to wait until you can make them have 10 cards in hand and then force them to draw more cards with your Coldlight Oracles. Besides making them draw their deck, another great way of dealing with your opponents is to force them to burn through their card and pray that they lost one of their key cards.
The Caverns Below is a natural pick for this deck because you’re going to play a ton of Coldlight Oracles and after you play the quest you will be throwing down a lot of 5/5 murlocs for 3 mana. It seemed only fitting to place it in this deck because bouncing minions is the entire point of the deck. Brann Bronzebeard is here to make your opponent draw even more cards so that you can either fill their hand with cards quicker or just make them burn away 4 cards. It can also be used as a healing tool when combined with Antique Healbot to heal you for 16. Deathlord is here for obvious protection and Vanish is your board clear. Remember, if your opponent has more cards in his or her hand than he or she has minions on the board than Vanish will destroy the extra minions because no player can have more than 10 cards in their hand. Just be careful not to burn your own cards while milling your opponent and not to destroy your own minions when you cast Vanish. You would be surprised as to how often does that happen to players who don’t pay attention (luckily we can now see how many cards we have in our hand without counting them one by one).
In summary, mill rogue is a fun relic deck that is semi viable. It might get you to a decent rank but it won’t get you to legend. The deck requires a decent amount of skill, a lot of calculating and a ton of luck to pilot with great success. Maybe one day the deck will become more viable but we’ll just have to wait and see (although I doubt it).
This brings us to the end of yet another ”Running Wild” article. I hope that you have enjoyed revisiting these old decks that were forgotten by time. I was honestly torn between putting mill rogue or mill druid on this list but I went for mill rogue instead because it is a more viable deck, although some might consider mill druid to be such. I’ll be sure to place my version of giants mill druid on the list for more obscure decks because I’ve noticed that you like weird wild decks
So, what relic decks comes to your mind? Have you played any of these decks before or have you faced any of them back when they were played a lot in the format that we today call the wild format? Mill druid vs mill rogue?! Leave your comments and feedback in the comment section below and I will reply to you as soon as I can. I’m a bit busy all the time but I read each and every of your comments and I do my best to respond although sometimes, due to personal reasons, I respond a few days late 😛
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