Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is just around the corner. We’ve seen the majority of the cards already and it’s only safe to assume that we’re going to see the actual expansion in around 2 weeks.
Since we know most of the cards, we’ve also learned most of the gimmicks the expansion offers. So instead of writing about the existing decks which won’t last too long, I’ve decided to make a summary of the new effects and mechanics we’re going to see. Is the effect promising? What potential decks we’ll be able to base on it?
I also have a quick announcement to make – after all the cards will be revealed, I’ll start writing a new, short, daily series of articles – Daily Brews. Every day until the expansion is released, I’ll make and write briefly about one completely new deck or new version of the old deck (updated with the Gadgetzan cards). And for those of you who don’t really read the closing, here is the poll asking which Class would you like me to brew decks for first. But more about it later, let’s start with the new tricks of Gadgetzan.
The Grimy Goons
The Grimy Goons and all 3 classes that belong to that gang – Hunter, Paladin and Warrior – will get the opportunity to play around with a completely new mechanic. Buffing the cards in your hand. This time around, those classes will focus either on cards that give extra stats to other cards in your hand or the cards that benefit from those buffs.
First class – Hunter – is mostly about the second kind of cards. Even though we don’t know all the cards yet, Hunters already have 3 cards that like to receive the buffs – Rat Pack, Dispatch Kodo and Knuckles. Each one of them gets significantly stronger with each +1/+1 it gets. Because of that, a new version of Midrange Hunter, centered around buffs, might pop out.
Second Goons class – Paladin – focuses on the “AoE” buffs. Just like the Druid’s Mark of the Lotus can buff all the minions on the board, Paladins will be able to buff all the cards in the hand through the cards like Smuggler’s Run, Grimestreet Outfitter and Grimestreet Enforcer. Since this strategy works best with multiple small minions, it might be utilized by Aggro Paladin decks. With a new 1-drop that greatly benefits from the buffs (Meanstreet Marshal) and yet another way to refill the hand (Small-Time Recruits), Aggro/Buff might become the new, viable Paladin’s strategy.
And last, but not least – Warrior cards are about Taunts and Weapons. Taunt minions benefit greatly from the buffs, especially in the fast matchups. Dropping an early 8+ health Taunt can turn the whole game over. There is a new way to discover a Taunt minion – I Know a Guy, new Taunt minion that works really nicely with the buffs – Alley Armorsmith and a way to greatly buff one random Taunt in your hand – Stolen Goods. For example, the two last cards greatly synergize with each other – they allow Warrior to drop a 5/10 Taunt with AMAZING effect on turn 5. There are also a few weapon-related cards – Grimestreet Pawnbroker, who goes nicely with the weapon decks and Brass Knuckles which is a really nice idea for the buff mechanic, but the card itself is probably too slow to see play. However, I think that Warrior might drop the Taunt strategy and go for the Midrange Buff deck instead. Building the deck around the strong mid game card buffs and cards that benefit most from buffing, not only the ones from the new expansion.
When it comes to notable Tri-Class or Neutral cards, Don Han’Cho is the Goons Legendary and it will be an auto-include into any slower buff deck. I’m super excited to play around with him. There are also some neutral cards that you will want to put the buffs on – Dopplegangster has a huge tempo swing potential, the best case scenario (hitting it with Don) makes it 5 mana for three 7/7’s. I think it’s right about time for a new meme to be born – 4 mana 7/7 got boring already. We also get Fight Promoter, who works amazingly well with the buffs – if you buff it to 6 Health, it can proc off itself and immediately draw 2 cards.
Second family – The Kabal – unites the Mages, Priests and Warlocks. This time around, there are two shared mechanics. The first one are Highlander cards – cards that work only when you have no duplicates in your deck, but are way stronger than the regular cards, similar to Reno Jackson. The second mechanic are Potions – each class gets a few unique “Potion” spells, but thanks to the Kabal Chemist they might easily be played in other classes two. I also think that we might get some other Potion synergy too.
First Kabal class – Mage – will get a new, great reason to play Reno deck – Inkmaster Solia. It’s an auto-include into the Reno Mage, as it offers and amazing tempo boost in the late game. So far we know only two Mage potions – Volcanic Potion and Potion of Polymorph. But I’d say that the main Mage theme this expansion will be Secrets. Besides the one new Secret, Jaina gets two incredibly powerful Secret-related cards: Kabal Lackey and Kabal Crystal Runner. Both of them are insane tempo boosts and might make a Tempo-like Secret Mage a really viable deck.
When it comes to the Priest, it also gets its own, strong Reno card – Raza the Chained. Incredibly powerful, because once you drop it, you get extra tempo or value each turn. No matter if you need to heal yourself, keeping your minions alive, maybe protect your board from AoE removals – you will be able to do that without disturbing your turn at all. It also has insane synergy with Justicar Trueheart. The other Priest’s gimmick are Dragons. Dragon Priest was a thing pretty much since TGT when Wyrmrest Agent was printed. It got an occasional new card here and there, but this is the first time when it gets two incredibly strong Dragon-related cards – Dragonfire Potion and Drakonid Operative. Expect to see a lot of Dragon Priests after the expansion! Besides that, Priest will also get some fun tricks around the Pint-Size Potion card. Just imagine all the possibilities it brings. Synergy with cards like Shadow Word: Horror, Potion of Madness, Cabal Shadow Priest and more!
And now on to the Warlock. This one is still a big mystery, as we’ve seen less that half of the cards. Since vote for the Warlock Legendary reveal failed, we can’t be sure what its effect will be, but looking at the other Kabal Legendaries – I have to assume that it will have something to do with Reno. Besides that, Warlock gets two new strong AoE cards (that will also fit well into the Reno deck) – Abyssal Enforcer and Felfire Potion. There is also a slight Murloc touch with the new Seadevil Stinger – in case another good Murloc would get released, maybe it would be a huge Murloc Warlock comeback? So far we haven’t seen anything that’s good in Zoo Warlock, but with 5 more cards everything can happen.
And of course, the Kabal Legendary – Kazakus. It will be another auto-include into the Reno decks, as its effect is very, very powerful. Not only you will be able to choose between 3 mana costs – 1, 5 and 10, depending on how much tempo or value you need, you’ll also be able to pick two effects of the potion (including single target and AoE damage, drawing cards, resurrecting minions etc. – click here to see more).
The Jade Lotus
The Jade Lotus is the latest revealed gang and it’s still mid way through the reveals, so this one will be more brief. We should know most of the cards by the end of this week, so stay tuned! Classes that belong to the Jade Lotus are Druid, Rogue and Shaman. They all share one, new, unique mechanic – Jade Golem. Each of those classes will have cards that summon Jade Golem, which is like a snowball mechanic. First Jade Golem you summon each game will be 1/1. Second, 2/2. Every new one will get +1/+1 stats. So while first, early game Golems will be a tempo loss, each card that summons Jade Golem will have insane scaling into the late game. The mechanic is priced somewhere between 1 and 2 mana – let’s say 1.5 mana on average. A 1.5 mana 1/1 is weak, but a 1.5 mana 6/6 is great. That’s why expect to see some Jade Golem decks early in the expansion.
First Jade Lotus class – Druid – shapes to be a great Jade Golem deck already. Jade Blossom is a nice way to ramp up while pumping your Jade Golem already (the card is somewhat comparable to Mire Keeper). Jade Idol is one of the most discussed cards of the expansion, as it in theory allows you to outlast any deck that relies on fatigue damage to kill you. But even disregarding that, it will make some combos incredibly powerful (imagine having few of those in your hand with Gadgetzan Auctioneer or Fandral Staghelm on the board). And the latest card – Jade Behemoth, while not very exciting, it should be a solid late game way to summon Jade Golem while having some protection against faster decks too. The other mechanic Druid gets seem to be minion-focused decks. Most of the Druid decks right now are based around spells – even the Beast Druid runs 10+ spells. However, cards like Lunar Vision or Pilfered Power will work way better in the more minion-heavy decks. Then we have the Mark of the Lotus which is a cheaper, but less flexible version of Power of the Wild – great in both minion-heavy Aggro and Token Druid.
Blizzard still doesn’t seem to give Rogue any solid kind of identity and the class gets a little bit of everything. Jade Golem synergy? Jade Shuriken and Jade Swarmer – both okay, but not amazing cards. They still might work well if Rogue gets more Jade Golem synergies, but I wouldn’t expect too much. Then it got some Miracle/Gadgetzan Auctioneer synergy with Counterfeit Coin. Then it got another Stealth card – Lotus Assassin – which will definitely be a great Arena card, but doesn’t seem like a Constructed material. And on top of that it got another “Thief Rogue” card – Shaku, the Collector, which will be a weaker version of the Undercity Huckster a lot of time. So far I’m really not impressed with the Rogue cards and it seems like they’re trying to push too many things instead of giving the class one or two strong mechanics.
And last class – Shaman. This is another big unknown, similar to Warlock. So far we’ve only seen three Shaman cards – Jade Lightning, Devolve and Call in the Finishers. First one seems like a pretty good Jade Golem card. I like to compare it to the Firelands Portal or Fire Elemental, but one that scales with the game length heavily. The second one – Devolve – I’m not that excited about. It seems pretty weak, too RNG-oriented, very situational and probably most importantly – it doesn’t really fit into any current deck’s game plan. The third one is a new Murloc card for Shaman. I don’t think it has any real Constructed value, because Murloc Shaman isn’t a really viable deck. One thing I’m sure of is that it makes Everyfin is Awesome way better – this card costs 4 mana and reduces the mana cost of Everyfin by 4, so you can basically squeeze it for free into your Anyfin turn. With 2 Murlocs on the board already, you can cast this combo as soon as turn 5. If the whole deck would be more consistent, this would be a deadly combo. Maybe the card will be playable in Wild in the future. But it’s just the beginning, we’re going to see more Shaman cards and maybe some new theme will emerge (right now we’ve got 3 completely unrelated cards).
When it comes to the Tri-Class cards, we get two more ways to summon Jade Lotus. Probably the most basic Jade Spirit, which seems like a baseline card for the Jade Golem decks. We also get Aya Blackpaw, which on the other hand is amazing in any Jade Golem deck, as it summons two in total. So even if it’s going to be a 3rd and 4th Golem, the card will already be solid. It will also have insane late game scaling – in the control matchups, far into the late game, it might summon let’s say a 10/10 on Battlecry and 11/11 on Death.
Closing & Daily Brews
So far those are all the new mechanics we’re getting this expansion. Just like after each release, first few weeks should be an “experimental” period of time. Everyone is going to test new decks, new ideas and at least for me that’s the best time in Hearthstone. No developed meta, you never know what you face, you can surprise your opponents and deck building skills are actually really useful.
I have A LOT of ideas for the fun decks already. And so, every day since all cards all revealed (it’s really bad idea to brew before we know the whole set) I will release a new deck with a short description. I’ll briefly talk about the idea behind the deck, how I think it’s going to fare and possible tech choices. Obviously, it will be only theorycrafting – I’ll test the actual power of those decks after the expansion’s release. And just like after the WoG, I’ll focus on the ones that work best and write full guides for them.
But I would like YOU to pick which classes you’d like me to cover first. Of course, if I have time, I’ll try to make at least one brew for each of the classes, but it all depends how long it will take between all cards are revealed and the expansion is released.
That’s all folks. Thank you for reading. If you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.
Good luck on the ladder and until next time!