Hello everyone! Today’s article will be about sweet new decks in the upcoming Standard format and what kind of decks you need to gravitate towards to during the first few days. Whenever a new set comes out, things are a little bit crazy, because there are a lot of inferior decklists being played, that after a while will simply disappear. Personally I enjoy the time shortly after a set release the most, because as a good player and deckbuilder, I have a far bigger winrate than normally.
So far as it looks like various iterations of Shaman will be probably be among the most played decks. Not because Shaman ist just flat-out the best class, but because building an Aggro Shaman will be rather easy. Just take an ordinary Aggro Shaman decklist with Lava shock and find room for flamewreathed faceless and eternal sentinel.
Because of that, and I personally don’t enjoy playing Aggro Shaman that much I won’t focus on Aggro Shaman, instead I will focus on good decks that are a little bit more creative.
Whenever a new expansion comes out and you just want to give yourself the best chance of winning any given game, I would recommend gravitating towards proactive, consistent decks that punish inconsistencies from other decks. The first few days or weeks you will find a lot of bad slower decks, that frequently stumble if confronted with a high pressure deck.
The deck I want to talk about in this paragraph is Aggro Rogue. Aggro Rogue was a Top Tier deck during Vanilla. It has always been very explosive with even more burst than the notorious Face Hunter. The downfall of the deck was the increase of Warrior decks and the prevalence of strong Deathrattle minions like Haunted Creeper that trade favorably into your one health minions. I think that in the upcoming Standard format Aggro Rogue will be one of the premier aggressive decks, if people build it correctly.
League of Explorers gave Aggro Rogue Pit Snake, which is a very strong card and the most recent expansion gave them another powerful one mana minion with Bladed Cultist. But the biggest bonus to the deck is by far the rotation of the resilient Deathrattle minions, good burst heal with Antique Healbot and the always annoying Sludge Belcher.
Aggro Rogue will be the first deck I will try out, because not only does it seem very consistent (8 one mana minions and Defias Ringleader is very good again, which means a lot of high pressure openings with the deck will be common sight, and it has a decent amount of card draw to make sure you don’t run out of gas), it will also be favored against every Shaman deck and Freeze Mage. And I expect both decks to be rather popular.
At first, you might look at this card and think it’s bad, because it only has one health and your opponent can just use his hero power and ping it and then it’s gone. Yes of course he can do that, but Aggro Rogue is a blistering fast aggressive deck. Very often your opponent will lose a lot of tempo by using two mana for a hero power. Imagine the following situation: It is turn 5 and you have a Bladed Cultist, Argent Squire and Pit Snake against an empty board of a Druid. He simply can’t play Druid of the Claw, he has to use his hero power in favor of playing a minion. That is a huge tempo loss for the Druid and Pit Snake is even more potent against Classes that don’t have a ping hero power like Shaman. flamewreathed faceless will be a very popular card and with Aggro Rogue you not only have Sap as a very powerful answer, you also can have Pit Snake on the board, which the Shaman needs to remove before he can play his 7/7.
Because of the decks high density of 1 mana minions and the very consistent initial high pressure output (you can build a big board rather quickly), you put your opponent on a time constraint. Using removal or a hero power on Pit Snake will put him even further behind. And sometimes your opponent can’t remove the Pit Snake, and is then in a terrible spot.
Because of the decks overall low curve, you will very consistently activate the Combo effect and get a Zombie Chow without a drawback. While it is unlikely that this card will see play in other Rogue decks, because outside of Backstab there is not an easy way to trigger the combo early if your curve is not very cheap. But with Aggro Rogue you have lots of cheap minions.
The last card I want to talk about is Xaril. He is a rather slow card, but gives you two Toxin cards. And I consider them to be quite valuable not only in Miracle Rogue (Gadgetzan Auctioneer is good with 1 mana spells), but also in Aggro Rogue. Every Toxin can be translated into some form of damage, so Xaril makes sure that you don’t run out of ways to kill your opponent. Although the body is rather weak, I think you can afford to play such a weak body on Turn 4 in Aggro Rogue, because the rest of the deck has such a low curve (which means you are very likely to have board control on Turn 4), meaning that the tempo loss from playing a 3/2 for four mana is not that bad.
How to play:
Generally you keep every one mana minion in your opening hand. With the Coin you can also keep Defias Ringleader or SI:7 Agent. Against weapon based classes you can also keep Cold Blood with Argent Squire.
During the first few turns you want to have board control and try to keep it by making favorable trades. After the early stages of the game, there are two possible scenarios. Your opponent can’t get board control and will simply lose, or he is regaining board control. In the later case you want to start assembling some burst and possibly use some card draw to draw into it. Coldlight Oracle and Shadowstep will help you doing that. A combination of Southsea Deckhand, Wolfrider, Leeroy Jenkins, Cold Blood, Eviscerate and Shadowstep will give you an abundance of possibilities to finish your opponent from a very high lifetotal (15-20+).
At first I did not want to mention this deck in my article, because I think it is really strong and I want to finish at a high legend Rank, but after some consideration, I have chosen otherwise. Because the deck is very similar to the old Backspace Aggro Rogue, it is actually rather hard to play. For example cards like Shadowstep and Coldlight Oracle are not easy to use optimally and the opimal usage is different in some matchups and game states. Skill wise there are literally worlds between this deck and something like Aggro Paladin or Aggro Shaman. So when you start playing the deck, don’t expect a lot of miracles, because it will take quite some time to play the deck very well if you are not familar with the old Backspace Aggro Rogue.
King Mukla can be a very good addition to the deck, especially with the nerf to Big Game Hunter. Your opponent can’t feed Mukla with the Bananas and then use BGH. Mukla is very strong against Druid and Control decks. But he is rather bad against other aggressive decks, so I’m not sure.
I think Control Warrior and some sort of Taunt Druid will be rather difficult matchups. ButTaunt Druid has a very high chance to just be a shitty deck. The lack of good card draw, good mass removal, good removal for bigger minions and the lack of any kind of burst make Taunt Druid look rather bad to me. I don’t see this deck sticking around. Of course people will try playing it, and get farmed for several days by Shamans, Control Paladins, Freeze Mages and even Control Warriors.
Another deck that will be strong against Shaman. Building a Control deck is a hard task before a metagame has settled down. You can only guess how prevalent aggressive decks or how value oriented Control decks will be. Because I think aggressive decks will be rather popular when Standard comes out, I have chosen to build this Control Paladin very defensive and with a lot of lifegain.
Control Paladin has a lot of cards that deal with flamewreathed faceless. I think flamewreathed faceless connecting for 7 damage against this kind of Paladin will be a rather rare sight.
I think this card is one of the best cards in the set. During spoiler season a lot of people undervalued this card, but I think it is great. It excels at what it does, which is healing you for a lot. The thing with lifegain is that it is of littlle importance against aggro in the early stages of the game, because you try to diminish their board presence and gain board control. But then at one point in the game, when you have board control, lifegain is utter importance and you will gladly spend your entire turn to heal yourself for a big chunk, because you are in danger of dying to burst.
In the metagame of The League of Explorers without Whispers of the Old Gods, Aggro Shaman and Face Hunter are bad matchups for slower Paladins. You will gain board control against at one point, but chances are very high that you are close to dying. And you don’t have anything that heals for more than 8 life points (Antique Healbot, Lay on Hands). Luckily with the new set, you will crush all these Face decks, because you can realistically expect to outheal them with the help of Forbidden Healing (If you spend 8+ mana it is almost like a Reno Jackson, I don’t see Face decks beating that).
Just another good anti aggro card. I want to make sure that I don’t lose against aggressive decks. Ragnaros not only heals for 8 life when you play him, your opponent also has to find a way to handle Ragnaros, otherwise he will keep on healing you. Overall I just love this card, it has a big body which ends the game against aggressive decks rather quickly and increases your survivability. Be aware that your opponent can damage Ragnaros to get a 50/50 chance that Ragnaros does not heal you.
Because of the lack of good early game minions, I think Doomsayer is a good choice to have some early game removal. Your opponent plays a minion and you just play Doomsayer on Turn 2. Chances are very high that the opponent has to skip his turn, and you will start your turn with an empty board.
Probably the best neutral legendary in the new set. You don’t need to fulfill any deckbuilding conditions, and just get a decent big minion. He has also some synergy with all your Humility– effects.
How to play:
You always keep Equality and Doomsayer (very good at slowing down the early progression of your opponent). Keeping Truesilver Champion is also good against almost everything but the most aggressive decks. Playing a game out is not that hard, you just want to make sure that you don’t die and then simply win by default in the lategame against the majority of decks. You have fantastic removal against Control and Aggro decks.
I think this deck is quite powerful in an open metagame. You will farm every Warrior, Druid, Hunter and Shaman with this deck. Bad matchups will be very greedy ones (but you can adapt to that) and Combo decks.
Keep in mind Freeze Mage looks rather hard with this deck (you cannot outheal them, you need to pressure them, otherwise they will just draw their deck and deal 30 damage in one turn). So maybe you also have to play Ragnaros the Firelord to have more pressure against Combo decks. If Miracle Rogue is viable you have another extremely bad matchup. They will just destroy you and all the healing in the world will not prevent defeat the majority of time. I’m also quite unsure how this deck plays out against Aggro Rogue, but I think it is fine because Forbidden Healing can be a big swing.
Good old Control Warrior, just updated for Standard. The loss of Death’s Bite is devastating. There is nothing in the new set that comes even close to Death’s Bite. I have my doubts that Control Warrior will be a very good deck, but it will definetely be decent. I have tried building a C’thun with Ancient Shieldbearer and I will probably play it just for fun, but I don’t think that deck will be played competitively. Ancient Shieldbearer and Twin Emperor Vek’lor are powerful cards for sure, but in order to make use out of them you have to dilute your deck and put quite a lot of shitty minions in your deck. Beckoner of Evil does not trade favorably with popular minions like Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem, same is true for Twilight Elder. So overall the drawback of putting bad cards in your deck is just too big and Ancient Shieldbearer and Twin Emperor Vek’lor are not enough of a bonus (They are only 3 cards after all).
I could have also built a Dragon Warrior, but I also have my doubts about Dragon Warrior’s viability. You have a super hard time finding enough slots for all the Dragons and Shield Slam with enough armor gain. And I think in the Standard metagame you need Shield Slam to have lots of ways to deal with bigger minions.
First of all, we might have a new Patron Warrior staple here that makes the archetype possible in Standard. In addition to that I also think it is quite strong in Control Warrior. It has some nice synergy with Fiery War Axe, Slam and Bash to deal with midgame minions. It’s also another card that triggers Execute.
I’m really unsure when it comes to this card. I don’t think it is a great card and possibly Fierce Monkey or Refreshment Vendor are better.
Arcanite Reaper saw a decent amount of play before Warrior got Death’s Bite. Gorehowl could be another option, but it is really slow in some matchups, and therefore I think I want to play a weapon that is a little bit faster than Gorehowl.
I think this card is one of the sleeper cards in the new set and is quite powerful. On average you will get a 3/2 weapon, which is already quite strong (considering that Fiery War Axe is worth more than two mana), but you also have a chance to get something even better like Truesilver Champion, Gorehowl and Doomhammer. A free Tentacles for Arms can also be very good against slower Shamans or Paladins, so that you can infinetely slay totems and recruits.
There is only a 5 % chance that you get Cursed Blade, which is only really bad against aggressive decks. Against other Control decks, Cursed Blade won’t be that bad. So overall because you have way more decent or even amazing outcomes than bad ones, this card is actually very good and should see play in Control Warrior or even Tempo Warrior where you can just use the free weapon to get some face damage in.
How to play:
The deck guide may be a little bit outdated, but the overall strategy of the deck is still correct.
So far as it looks like Control Warrior does not look that great in the new Standard format. I think it’s quite an impossible task to be favored against every version of Shaman. And Control Paladin looks also really rough. Oh yeah and then there will also be Midrange Hunter with Call of the Wild.
Baron Geddon and The Black Knight are tech cards I think are useful, but you might want to play something like Hogger, Doom of Elwynn instead. If Aggro decks or fast Midrange decks are very popular, Doomsayer can be a good addition to the deck.
That’s it! I hope you like my article and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.