It is finally here! Yesterday we’ve had a full set reveal live stream on twitch and the expansion was announced to come out this Thursday for NA players and Friday for EU players. What this reveal means to us, though mostly me, is that after four weeks of gang analysis articles this will be my final Mean Streets of Gadgetzan set analysis article and soon we will be moving on to theory crafting and brewing new decks. You’ve probably already went and saw the other card reviews on this site so I’ll go ahead and do something a bit different for you instead of giving you another card review. Now that we have a full set I’ll give you my opinions on the new deck archetypes that we will probably see in a very near future and I’ll do my best to guess how will this set impact the metagame and what we might see some times after the release of the set. With all that out of the way, lets dive right in!
A Grimy Situation
The first thing that I want to get out of the way is a problem that I have noticed with the Grimy Goons mechanic. If you’ve seen my article about the Grimy Goons (if you haven’t then click here) I’ve talked about how the hand buffing mechanic might have some potential but that it will truly shine in paladin. Now that we’ve seen this mechanic in action we’ve also seen something that I consider a huge problem which is the fact that your opponent will see exactly how many minions you have in your hand when you play cards like smugglers-run because to him/her buffed minion cards in your hand will glow.
That, dear readers, is a huge problem and I don’t understand why did the developers do this. It is not that big of a deal when you have four cards in your hand and you buff one random minion but when you buff all minions in your hand you are essentially telling your opponent ”look, I have exactly this much minions in my hand and the other cards are spell cards.” which puts you in a massive disadvantage. The information that you’re giving to your opponent is huge because now they know what to expect. For example, I am playing a zoo deck and my opponent is playing a hand buffing aggro paladin. I have some minions in my hand but I don’t wish to play too many minions because it is turn 6 and I don’t want to lose due to a well known board clear so I’m holding back. My opponent has four cards in his hands and plays smugglers-run. The cards start to glow and I see that he has one/none spell cards in his hand. Now I know that it is safe to dump my hand the next turn without the fear of my board being cleared. You see the problem here? I honestly hope that the developers will fix this but I wouldn’t hold my breath and if they don’t then aggro Goons paladin might be less played than I thought it would.
Which Goons class will use this mechanic the most?
After watching the stream than checking out all the cards and thinking about the implications of this ”card glow” I’ve come to a conclusion that the class that will make most out of this mechanic is most likely going to be Hunter unless the card glow is removed in which case it will be paladin. Paladin, in my opinion, still has a far superior hand buffing mechanic than hunter or warrior but the I’m struggling to not see the ”card glow” as a major disadvantage. Perhaps I’m wrong and aggro paladin could care less if you know with how many minions will he bash you in the face the following turn. Warrior doesn’t have much use for this mechanic which leaves us with hunter.
The Golem Infestation
Those of you who have watched the stream yesterday have seen how powerful Jade golem druid appears to be. You’ve seen how powerful the jade golem mechanic appears to be. You were mislead a bit. HS_Orange had explained this on twitter perfectly when he had said that Jade Golems look this powerful because they are playing vs slow decks. Aggro-decks should be favored against this mechanic. This is true and I’m pretty sure that if those Jade golem decks were playing against fast aggro decks that they would lose and players would think that the mechanic is bad.
We’ve seen both Jade golem druid and Jade golem rogue in action. After seeing this mechanic at work I can safely say that it is pretty insane and that it can spiral out of control very quickly. Aggro decks will be here to keep the Jade golem decks in check but Jade golem druid had just murdered control decks. This mechanic is a perfect counter to control decks because the golems are so huge and so difficult to fully remove that if you’re going for the long game, the fatigue game, they will eventually overrun you and you’ll lose. It is definitely a mechanic that I’m looking forward to and if RNG blesses me on Friday with some must craft cards I’ll be crafting myself a golden Jade golem druid.
Making it Rain
Before moving on to other stuff that I haven’t reviewed so far it is only fitting to end this gang discussion first. Last but not the least we have the Kabal and their no duplicates mechanic. Not much was revealed except for the warlock legendary minion krul-the-unshackled who has been getting some hate recently because, when you think about the effect a bit more, it does seem like a bad card. Worry not, Krul, for I am here to defend you! I don’t think that it is a bad card in general but it is a bad card for the standard format. In wild it will probably see more play because you have some demons like malganis who would love to be cast for free along with one or two other demons.
We’ve seen a Reno mage and a Reno dragon priest in action and both of them were quite decent and fun to watch. If I am to choose a single Kabal class that probably won’t see much play with its Reno deck I would go with priest because it does appear weaker than the other two and the other two have already had functioning Reno decks. Reno warlock will probably still be the most powerful one out of the three. Before I finish this discussion about the Kabal I would like to turn your attention to the big daddy kazakus because we’ve seen just how his ability functions and this is very important. When you get your first choice of 3 spell effect do keep in mind that there is a chance that the choices that you haven’t picked yet might appear when you’re picking your second choice and that you can’t get the already picked choice again.
One additional archetype that I would like to mention in this section because I’ve talked about it in a previous article (click me) is the secret mage. I’m mentioning it here because there really isn’t anything new to say about it. It appears to be quite strong with the new secret synergy cards and I think that it will find its place in the metagame. I won’t go any further into the archetype because I’ve already said all that there is to it and I don’t wish to copy paste stuff from the previous article. If you’ve missed it then go check it out.
Yarrharrharr or Death!
While warrior did get the short end of the stick when it comes to the gang mechanic it did get some pretty nice reinforcement for a weapon heavy pirate aggro deck. There are two cards for this deck that really stand out and those are hobart-grapplehammer and small-time-buccaneer.
hobart-grapplehammer provides you with a huge buff to all your weapons and pirate warrior is known to play a couple of weapons and weapon upgrades. Getting +1/+1 on your fiery-war-axe or arcanite-reaper while they are still in your hand or in your deck is a huge buff. I can’t see hobart-grapplehammer seeing play outside of the aggro pirate warrior. The next card that I would like to talk about is the small-time-buccaneer which acts as a cogmaster for weapons. Yes, it could be more consistent in rogue because rogue more often has weapons but pirate rogue has historically been much worse than pirate warrior and the two have very different playstyles. Dream scenario is coining this guy out on turn 1 after playing nzoths-first-mate. I’m quite sure that pirate warrior will see some level of play.
Long Live the Black Prince
On Sunday I’ve watched the Six Gamers card reveal video when I’ve suddenly paused after he had mentioned Wrathion being in Gadgetzan and seeking out Kazakus. I could have dismissed it as nothing but then I’ve remembered that this guy has worked with Blizzard in the past and that they had a strict control over what he may or may not say in his video so I’ve figured out that mentioning Wrathion probably means that we will be getting him in this expansion. I was really hyped when he was revealed during the stream.
For those who don’t know about this character, wrathion, the Black Prince, is the last son of Deathwing and the first uncorrupted black dragon in the last 10,000 years. Because Deathwing was corrupted and driven into madness by the Old Gods his offspring were born mad and corrupted as well with wrathion being the only known exception. Enough with the story, lets talk more about the card itself. This card is a nice boost to all dragon decks as it functions as a decent card draw. While the-curator is more consistent in the amount of cards drawn with its effect, wrathion has the ability to draw you a couple of cards when you need it the most. Besides, the-curator isn’t played in a dragon priest deck because it is a 7 mana 4/6 taunt that draws you a single card while wrathion has one health less for 1 mana less but has the potential to draw you multiple cards. All in all, this is a nice addition to dragon decks and it pushes the archetype a bit further.
This section is for the other deck archetypes that the developers are trying to push but probably won’t see much play or they haven’t gotten enough cards to really talk about them. These decks would be minion freeze mage which was given cryomancer and freezing-potion, murloc shaman which was given call-in-the-finishers, thief rogue which was given shaku-the-collector, taunt warrior which was given i-know-a-guy, public-defender and stolen-goods and demon warlock which was given crystalweaver, bloodfury-potion and kabal-trafficker.
The Mean Meta
It is time for me to make a lucky guess! After analyzing these cards for weeks and theory crafting I’ve come to a conclusion that decks that will shape the new meta will be Jade golem druid, dragon priest, secret mage, Reno warlock and midrange Goons hunter IF the glow isn’t fixed in which case aggro paladin will dominate the meta. Midrange shaman will remain as strong as ever and the only real struggle will probably be against dragon priest because of the crazy board clears like dragonfire-potion. Miracle rogue and Malygos rogue will remain in the format as the only two good rogue decks while control warrior will get pushed out by Jade golem druid while Malygos druid will still remain viable. Reno warlock will turn out to be the best Reno Kabal deck. That is my prediction for what will the metagame look like once the dust has settled.
We’ve arrived at the end of our four week set preview journey and the shores of Gadgetzan are visible on the horizon. Soon the city will open its gates to a bunch of new gang members and the experimental month of Hearthstone will begin once more. I hope that you have enjoyed this four weeks of mine gang reviews and that you’ll have an awesome time trying out new decks. Now that this is over I’ll have to find something else to write about. As always leave me your feedback in the comments below and if you’ve liked this article do consider following me on twitter https://twitter.com/Eternal_HS. There you can ask me all sorts of Hearthstone questions (unrelated to this article) and I’ll gladly answer them as best as I can.