All of us were hyped up for Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and it deliver up to the premise so far. With plenty of niche decks becoming suddenly viable like Reno Mage and new archetypes cropping up like Jade Druid, it’s safe to say people are having a blast trying out the new decks. While a lot of the classes are still in uncharted territory and have not been experimented with much yet, we are sure to get plenty of new builds in the coming weeks. Some of the most glaring misses have been Aggro Paladin, Control Priest (non-highlander version) and Hunter. People are yet to experiment enough with them even though they have promising tools in the expansion and we hope to get a clearer picture of a lot of underplayed decks and how they function in the meta.
In our first installment of Legend Decks of Gadgetzan, we are going through some of the top decks that hit top at least top 50 Legend on Europe or Americas. The sources of these decks are from the respective stream or social media account of each player. I tried all of these lists on ladder myself and have a fairly decent idea on how most of these work and am figuring out what changes might be suited to refine them better for the meta once things are more stable in a couple of weeks. We will be back with more Legend decks next week so stay tuned for more Legend decks at Hearthstone Players to try out in the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan meta that has been nothing short of refreshing!
Miracle Pirate Rogue (by MatGagne)
Rogue, after all the uproar against the new class cards seems to be doing just fine and Valeera is back in business in the meta as of now. MatGagne hit Rank 40 Legend with this variant of Miracle Rogue. It puts together a more aggressive package with Pirates and it pulled off plenty of convincing wins for me as well on ladder. The deck has a lot of aggressive early game and your Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Questing Adventurer Shenanigans as well. It does very well against aggressive decks, which is quite a surprise considering the Rogue class is known to be poor against fast paced decks. Small-Time-Buccanneer is one of the highlight minions of this expansion and it fits into any deck at all that seeks to capitalize on early game board presence. One of the most glaring choices in the deck is the inclusion of only one si7-agent and one copy of Counterfeit Coin. I do not see a valid reason to cut out one of the SI:7 Agents in the current meta with so many aggressive decks floating around but there have not been too many instances where I missed having another copy of him in the games I had so far. Another thing one can point out is that you have access to Tomb Pillager, which is one of the best 4 drops in the game and it generates coins for you to use with your snowball effect minions, speed up your mana curve or simply use to draw with your Gadgetzan Auctioneer for a lot of card draw to assemble your win condition.
Counterfeit Coin is one of those cards you do not want to run two copies of and one should be enough. It is one of the worst topdecks you can have in the whole game and despite the utility it can offer, it can also fizzle a lot which makes the inclusion of just one copy being enough.
Gameplay: If you have never played Miracle Rogue before, the deck plays very differently from any other deck you have played in Hearthstone. It is one of the exclusive archetypes for Rogue and no other class has this style of gameplay. You want to use your cheap minions to generate board presence in this particular deck and also use your cheap spells for removals. Once you head to your midgame you can get a lot of burst damage out through concealing your board or drawing through your deck using a concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Questing Adventurer and Edwin VanCleef serve as standalone win conditions that can outright win you the game or you can slowly develop your board and stealth it before attacking again for two turn lethal. One of the most interesting exclusions in the list is that Cold Blood, one of the most popular damage dealing tools in Miracle Rogue is missing and the deckbuilder feels that it is not necessary at all in the meta right now since you are going to be favored in the control matchups either way. With a lack of hard removal in the meta, you have more threats to throw on the board than what your opponents can answer, so do not be surprised if you see giant Questing Adventurers going unanswered or eating up multiple resources of your opponent even without Conceal.
Fan of Knives and Shiv are excellent tools in the meta right now with so many 1 HP minions being popular and the return of 2/1s makes multiple pings being available to you a lot more valuable. One of the cards that might seem out of place in the deck is Patches the Pirate. Swashburglar has become a card that every Rogue wants to run anyway and if you have Patches the Pirate, being able to pull out a 1/1 Charge minion without needing to invest any form of resource is what makes Patches so great. Small-Time Buccaneer is also a great pick in the deck because your hero power allows you to equip a weapon so you do not have to run weapons to get value out of the card. A 3/2 body for 1 mana is really good and it works well with your combo cards quite well.
If you are someone who doesn’t see streams of keep up with meta snapshots and such, you would like to know that Pirate themed Rogue decks are doing quite well with multiple pro level players hitting legend with more aggressive builds of this deck as well. So if you were thinking Rogue is in a bad spot, it seems like it is not the case with multiple playable neutral cards for Rogue despite the class not getting too many good cards that you would want to run from the new expansion. This deck in particular is quite great when it comes to mitigating damage and also works great in the control matchups. It’s all about having the tempo and as long as you are able to mitigate pressure while building your board presence your opponent will always be on the backtrack and you will be able to use your snowball effect minions to victory through multiple turn lethal setups.
Note: If you are missing Edwin VanCleef you can switch it out for a second SI:7 Agent and if you did not unpack Patches the Pirate you can just run a second Shiv.
Aggro Shaman (by Gaara)
Gaara hit top 20 Legend with the deck just a few days back and boy does it work well on ladder. Aggro Shaman is one of the primary decks that I used for my grind to Legend this season and it worked exceptionally well amidst the horde of decks that are trying to counter each other. The concept of Aggro gets beaten by Control gets thrown out of the window when it comes to Aggro Shaman more often than not. You have enough fuel to last a very long time and no matter what kind of build you want to use, you should be getting the same winrates in your popular matchups with just slightly varying styles of gameplay. Reynad hit Rank 1 Legend with Aggro Shaman being one of his most used decks for the grind to Legend and it did quite well with the inclusion of various Jade Golem synergy cards and Jade Lightning working as a form of burst damage in the deck. Yet again, Patches the Pirate and Small-Time Buccaneer make appearances in both of their lists and I decided to include Gaara’s list in this article because it is very streamlined and it is quite similar to the Aggro Shaman lists we are accustomed to.
While Aggro Shaman might seem easy, it is in fact easy to pick up but not even remotely close to being easy to master. Knowing the total burst potential and what you outs are each game if you fall behind are definitely not something someone new to the deck will pick up. Managing your resources and knowing when to play aggressively and when to fight for the board are things that take time to pick up and it’s not as simple as playing stuff on curve and going face that a lot of people make it out to be.
If you are not accustomed to Aggro Shaman, the deck seeks to dominate on board in the first few turns and then go all-in on the ‘face’ plan with plenty of burst damage and weapons that can push through most decks that do not run heal. If with Reno decks floating around, they have a really hard time with the kind of damage you have. With a lot of decks running weapon removal you can easily bait out weapon removal on your cheap 1 cost weapons while saving your Doomhammer for massive burst combos without any issues at all. Even though Rockbiter Weapon was nerfed a couple of months ago, the burst potential is too good to pass up on despite the increase in cost and you will be able to cut down the health pool of your opponent in no time.
Some of the pirates find their home in this deck and yet again. Patches the Pirate makes its way into this Aggro Shaman list which has been wrecking most greedy decks in the game while doing substantially well versus aggro as well. One of the biggest advantages you have as an aggro deck is the availability of taunts through Feral Spirit and Thing From Below, they are very good at mitigating damage and Maelstrom Portal outright destroys Pirate Warrior for playing so many 1 HP minions.
A lot of people have been questioning the state of Shaman and from my observations, Shaman is going nowhere. It’s just that Mid Range Shaman did not get too much in particular to try out in the new set that’s keeping Shamans away for the most part and I feel they are very well suited to compete against most decks that are out in the meta right now due to the abundance of AoE Shaman has access to and also taunts to protect the health pool.
Control Warrior (by Fibonacci)
When it comes to Control Warrior there is absolutely no one who is better than Fibonacci at the deck due to his ability to ascertain the meta and make the right picks. You will find him take cards in and out of his decks all the time and with valid reason. He understands the meta better than most people and builds his decks to counter top decks to high ranks every season. From adding Deathwing to counter Zoolock to cutting out core cards like Ravaging Ghoul to add more sticky minions, the man has done it all and despite most people thinking Control Warrior is dead due to Jade decks floating around it is not the case at all. His list is very unorthodox and is heavily teched to counter aggressive decks without losing out on value against control decks as well. The list screams anti-aggro while maintaining the lategame shell that N’zoth Warrior is known for.
One of the all time auto-include picks Justicar Trueheart faces the cut in here as well. So if you have been wondering if Justicar’s departure when the Standard rotation hits in a few months will kill off Control Warrior, it most definitely won’t.
One of the most underrated cards in the expansion has been Alley Armorsmith. While every aspect of the card might seem bad compared to a lot of other options Control Warrior has access to, it is not a bad card at all as it turns out. With enough health to take care of aggressive decks and armor gain attached to it, there is plenty of value up for grabs from the card and you will be able to take care of Pirate Warrior with ease. Ysera, a long-term control deck favorite in the past that has gone missing for over a year now with most decks choosing to include something like Elise Starseeker instead makes a comeback and in the few games I saw the deck in action Ysera is as good as ever against control decks.
It seems that Armorsmith is going to make a comeback as well in the meta with so many 1 HP minions making the card extremely valuable for trading with low HP minions and also gaining you armor at the same time. Even without Justicar, being at 50+ HP is not exactly an unrealistic dream and the deck performs admirably on all fronts. Your goal is to establish complete dominance when it comes to the lategame but in the early turns you need to be as defensive as possible and eliminate all enemy threats and keep removing minions. As long as you do not take too much face damage to be burst down you are good to go. With Armorsmith and plenty of taunts thrown in, you will not have issues when it comes to negating face damage and Fiery War Axe should be good enough when it comes to dealing with aggressive early game for the first few turns.
It is not very different from classic Control Warrior lists that have existed in the past and it its ability to do well against both aggressive decks and lategame heavy decks makes it a great choice to climb with if you are a Control Warrior purist. Jade Druid is the only extremely poor matchup if they play it right and it will have to be upon you to play extremely aggressive and keep dropping minions on curve. If they get a good ramp turn into their big threats it is going to be extremely difficult and you will need to play the game very carefully against them and try to swing the game in your favor after forcing them to over-commit and baiting them into getting a good board clear.
Jade Druid (by Kolento and JustSaiyan)
I talked about this deck in a previous article as well and it seems that the lists are slowly getting refined to the point where you do not lose as often to aggressive decks. JustSaiyan used Kolento’s build and modified a bit and hit Rank 1 Legend with it just a couple of days back. I added his list in the article and it includes two copies of Feral Rage and one Acidic Swamp Ooze as well to ensure you have enough life gain and weapon removal on the side to ensure you can hold your ground while your Jade Golems begin to get bigger and bigger on board. Ancient of War and Jade Behemoth do a great job at fighting off aggressive minions. Against slow decks you do not have to worry much because you will beat them with your golems quite handily and fatigue is never a concern. However, the lack of spot removal in the deck can make things very difficult in the mirror and also against control decks that begin to dominate you on board as a counter to your golems.
You want to keep removing early drops and keep the board clear while ramping up as aggressively as possible to get to your big drops and taunts. One of the things that Druid players tend to mess up is extending too much with your cards and going all in on some turns. If you keep spending too many cards instead of being conservative and get countered for it, you will not be able to get back into the game. While a turn 3 Ancient of War might be a great idea at first sight if you get the chance to drop it but if you do not have anything to play in the next few turns that help you continue building momentum, then you are likely to lose the game more often than not.
Playing Jade Idol late in the game and when you have sufficient card draw is what you should do as well instead of playing it as a turn 1 play since it is only going to make your draws a lot less consistent. You should mulligan aggressively for cards you need in specific matchups as well since the deck can have a lot of slow or dead draws that don’t do much against faster decks.
Sequencing your cards is of utmost importance and you do not want to ruin the consistency of your deck by playing cards in the wrong order and knowing when to pressure your opponent and when to be on the defensive is important. Brann Bronzebeard is one of the cards that can swing the board in your favor and there are quite a few battlecry minions that can take advantage of his effect and turn the game in your favor or simply offer you some extra value in clutch situations.
Hope you like the decks and be sure to try them out. Let me know if you need decklists for specific archetypes in the comments below or if you want to offer suggestions on any of the above decks that you think would make them better so we can try them out and refine the lists. With the meta in a state of flux, these decks might change a lot in the coming weeks and it’s important to tune your decks to ensure you do not run cards that are out of place. Hope you guys have a great weekend full of fun Hearthstone games with your new Mean Streets of Gadgetzan cards. Until next time!