It’s the final week of One Night in Karazhan and this adventure is going out with a bang. There are a ton of fun decks running around the meta right now and a lot of interesting lists taking up the ladder. Wing four promises to continue to add to that by giving us some extremely powerful (and fun) cards that I cannot wait to play with. The last part of the adventure always adds some interesting twist to the coming meta, and I have no doubt this adventure is going to continue that trend. This week we get cards that build out Dragon decks, Secret Mage, Discardlock and even slower control. There are a lot of options here than I cannot wait for. So, for the last time in Karazhan, lets get to brewing!
While Silverware Golem never made a huge impact, that wasn’t that big of a surprise. We always knew Discard Warlock (or just Discard Zoo) wasn’t going to be at full caliber with one strong card. No. It needed two. Malchezaar’s Imp is that second piece and should bring the deck to the forefront of ladder play. While I think this card is going to be much stronger in Zoo (as covered below) I think the discard deck could really have something going on. Another one drop with a strong body is going to help your opening immensely, and curve right into your Succubus (if that card is good enough to make the cut) or Darkshire Librarian. Librarian is particularly strong because you get to play a 3/2 Loot Hoarder that could also give you a free 3/3. Being able to have a strong one-two-three opening that also can cheese out some massive plays with both Silverware Golem and Fist of Jaraxxus could really make the deck a contender. I am excited to see the different applications.
As noted, this card (along with Silverware Golem) is also going to have a large impact on Zoo. Even without the golem, having yet another 1/3 for one is extremely important in a deck that only cares about board control. Three health is not only very difficult to deal with early on, but it also plays extremely well with buff cards like Abusive Sergeant and Dire Wolf Alpha. This plus Voidwalker just gives Zoo a much better chance to drop two 1/3’s on turn one. The game pretty much just spirals out of control from there and will overwhelm a lot of slower decks or decks that have clunky draws. In addition, the body also helps randomly offset a Soulfire or Doomguard (two cards already being played in the deck). Most of the time Zoo can set up those cards being the last ones in their hand, which then turns the Imp’s ability into pure value.
Netherspire Historian/Book Wyrm
I am not sure if dragon decks are going to make a comeback in the coming weeks, but these two cards are definitely going to help. Netherspite Historian gives the archetype a two drop and plenty of extra options, while Book Wyrm slots in a solid six drop that doubles as removal. More dragons in a dragon deck is never a bad thing and, just like Beast Druid, you now have strong options all the way up the mana chain. Priest has the advantage of being able to start out with Twilight Whelp on turn one, but Paladin has their new three drop/army in a can in Nightbane Templar. I am lumping these two cards together because they are both going to see play in similar decks. However, it is worth mentioning that historian is only going to be in control variants, while I think Book Wyrm has such a good ability it could find its way into more midrange-focused lists like Dragon Warrior.
If I had to put my chips on the table, I think these two cards are going to bring the control version of Dragon Paladin back to the top of the meta. Nightbane Templar has already shown to be an extremely powerful three drop, and being able to improve your curve with a two and six drop is just absolutely incredible. Just look at how strong that curve is and how well it could play during the middle game. Book Wyrm is especially going to have a large impact because of Paladin’s inherent lack of spot-removal. There are a lot of three-or-less attack minions in the game and this could lead to some massive swings. Though a lot of people have been hating on Netherspite Historian because a 1/3 dies to just about every popular early card in the game. However, it has a very strong effect that helps out your curve, gives your more dragons, and can even supply an extra finisher. Even using it just get a way to trigger your Twilight Guardian can be helpful. Also, a 1/3 body may not be strong, but it does have to be killed, which means it is often going to eat removal or damage.
This two drop is easily my favorite card in the set. Without a doubt. Medivh’s Valet is an awesome mix of a cool effect with a solid mana cost/body that supports two very specific interesting archetypes. The first, as I mentioned last week, is Control Mage. This is the deck that is most likely going to want to use this card, where you simply play an Ice Block to trigger your Valet’s and Avian Watchers while you use AOE and solid removal to kill everything your opponent has. Adding two more Frostbolts that come with 2/3 bodies on top of your two 4/7 taunts makes that deck much more consistent and much more powerful. Control Mage has always had the burn and removal they needed, they just didn’t have the bodies or board presence. This almost always forced them into a tight corner where they needed to play Reno Jackson in order to get healing and rebound against faster decks. Now, it seems like they can fight on the board, which changes the deck around as a whole. Though the finishers have not yet been realized, I think the Alexstrasza/Archmage Antonidas package is the best way to go with the current options.
While I am not sure if it will be as strong as Control Mage, Pure Secret Mage could also exist because of this card. While it is hard to imagine such a deck being able to keep up with some of the other midrange decks running around, you have some very strong tools that have not seen the light of day in some time (if ever). The biggest problem with Mage is that playing a secret is a huge tempo loss because, unlike Hunter secrets, it does nothing to impact the board. However, Kirin Tor Mage helps curb that issue, as does Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Ethereal Arcanist also helps out curve with a 5/5 for four that just grows and Avian Watcher is an insanely powerful body. All of those pieces, along with the valets, could really give the deck some real fire-power. The curve looks very strong to me, and seems to play like a bigger version of tempo (which is not a bad thing). The hardest part of building this list is trying to come up with what secrets to run. Mirror Entity and Effigy are both solid in terms of board, but I feel like Spellbender and Counterspell are very good at protecting your above-curve minions. You may also want Ice Block just to have a constant secret up. There is a lot of testing that needs to be done, but this is the deck I am going to start next month’s climb with.
At first glance, this card seems very underwhelming. Gaining four armor is really meh for five mana (especially when Shield Block gets you five for three) and there are a lot of weak four drops running around. However, I really think there is something here that people are missing. Yes, the card is not exciting or particularly powerful, but armor is an incredibly strong for Warrior. So strong, in fact, that every single Warrior-based armor card has seen serious competitive play. Shield Block, Shield Slam, Bash, Armorsmith, Shieldmaiden, Ancient Shieldbearer and Justicar Trueheart have all been seen in control and each has helped it last through the years. For that reason, I think Ironforge Portal has a lot of potential. A four drop may not be amazing, but it is board presence in addition to healing, which is quite difficult to come by. A new all-armor control deck could exist simply because of this card, and it is something I am excited to try out. The portal is no Shieldmaiden, but it still does what control wants. Warrior is at its best when it can just tank up and never have to worry about taking damage. For that reason, you should never underestimate armor.
Another card I am excited for, Ethereal Peddler is has some serious potential to help fill out a few decks. If you have been paying attention to the shifting meta over the last few weeks, you know that a lot of people have had success with all different versions of Rogue. Deathrattle, Deathrattle Tempo, Value and straight Tempo have all made it to legend. Peddler seems like it could want to be in a lot of those decks as another threat they previously did not have access to. Not only does it not punish your for running it (having a 5/6 body for five) but it also occasionally gives you one or two Innervates to boot. Discounting cards is very strong, especially when those discounts comes with an on-curve minion. Yes, you don’t get to control what or where those discounts go, but the body is so good I think this is at least worth testing and should pop up in more than a few tempo lists in the coming days.
Beyond simply slotting right into the pre-existing Tempo Rogue decks, I think this card, Undercity Huckster and Swashburglar could help make Thief/Value Rogue into a real deck. The idea here is to play a curve-based Rogue deck that plays like the tempo decks of old. However, not only do you have a solid curve and ample removal, you are also able to gain advantage by never running low on cards. Being able to steal your opponent’s cards with minions helps you put early drops onto the board without losing card advantage. That is very good as the game progresses and can help fill out your curve or combo. In addition, the fact that you can curve right into peddler to discount those cards while advancing your presence is very strong. This is a deck that could even look at Deadly Fork as another way to use your board to generate tempo in your hand.
Medivh, the Guardian
Taking us out of the expansion is the insanely cool Medivh, the Guardian. A lot of people are sleeping on this card, but I really think Medivh is going to see serious play during his time in Standard. This card is inherently strong and just provides an amazing amount of value for any deck that wants to live for a long time. A 7/7 body for eight is one point behind the curve, but in a dedicated control deck the powerful body at the end of the game is often going to be enough because it is rarely going to come down on turn eight. Even if it does, a 7/7 has always been a solid threat (just ask Shaman). From there, you just generate free value from the weapon and can even attack for one, which can help with lethal or clearing minions your AOE cannot quite reach.
While I do not think Medivh is going to be in every control list (though he may well could be), this card is probably a natural inclusion to most Yogg decks, especially Yogg Hunter (which already loves running big cards with King’s Elekk). A version of the deck that packs Medivh, the Guardian and Arcane Giants could be very interesting. I would also like to see this in Reno decks, which welcome the ability more than most. The eight drop seems like it could also go right into Priest decks as well as slow Mage and Concede Shaman. All of those classes love to cast spells, and getting a minion with removal is very strong. While he seems good for Yogg or Miracle Druid, I think the deck is too tight and wants consistency more than another big threat. The same is also true of Control Paladin, which doesn’t run many spells anyway.
Wow, what a great four weeks. This has been a very cool adventure that has really opened up some new decks I did not think it was going to impact. There is still plenty more brewing to be done, and I am more than up to the challenge. While I am not sure how many lists are going to last once the meta settles (or exactly what the meta is going to settle on), I know I will be brewing hard through all of it. I hope you enjoyed the weeks with me and I am looking forward to the future. Tune in to my other series to see what we can make and, as always, thanks for reading!