Check out previous parts if you haven’t already:
- What Do Streamers Play? – Karazhan Edition (1st wing)
- What Do Streamers Play? – Evolve Shaman, Secret Hunter and more! (1st wing)
- What Do Streamers Play? – The Opera (2nd wing)
- What Do Streamers Play? – The Menagerie (3rd wing)
- What Do Streamers Play? – The Spire (4th wing)
I just woke up and I see that quite a lot of new decks are still being tried. So like I’ve promised in the last one, I’m going to write another compilation with the fresh lists streamers have played in the last few hours. I hope you’ll like it!
Streamers I’ve covered this time are: StrifeCro, Reynad, Gaara, Xixo, Nostam
I’m (usually) posting the latest versions of the deck I’ve seen on the stream at the time I’m writing this. Some streamers were changing the decks throughout the stream and some are still streaming when I’m finishing this article. If there will be a new, dramatically changed versions of some of those decks, I’ll try to update this post.
Some of those brews might not be the original creations of those streamers. When only a few cards come out, many people start building very similar decks, so don’t be surprised if you see almost the same list on another stream. I’m just checking what they PLAY, especially in Legend/close to Legend, not what decks they’ve made personally.
StrifeCro – Dragon Paladin
So I’ll start exactly where I took off yesterday. With StrifeCro and another one of his Dragon decks. This time around it’s a Dragon Paladin, probably the deck that had the highest hype before it’s release and it never really worked too well. I was around the time of BRM, when Dragon Consort and few more Dragons were out. But it turned out that the deck just didn’t work. Later, people have tried it now and then with – again – little to no success. Fast forward to today, it might be the BEST time to play Dragon Paladin, with so many new Dragon cards being released and even a dedicated Dragon Paladin 3-drop. But I’m still not sure about that…
StrifeCro took pretty greedy approach and I’m not sure whether I like it. On the other hand, there isn’t much you can do, because Paladin has no good early game cards and there are no good early game Dragons (Faerie Dragon is alright, but he already runs it). So the idea is to survive through the early game and then start swinging the tempo back with the mid game Dragon moves. Blackwing Corruptor kills something, then Book Wyrm kills something, then you swing a Truesilver again, then drop Tirion and start winning the game. Stuff like that. But it’s easier said than done. Sure, Dragon Consort helps with getting out more than a single card in one turn, but it’s only 2 of them and they only work on Dragons. Plus they don’t do anything else by themselves immediately.
The deck has amazing value. It actually seems very strong in that matter – it can play a threat every turn, refill the board after every removal/clear/etc. But that’s in slow matchups. In fast matchups, it can get rushed down too easily. It’s very clunky, which was always the problem with Dragon Paladin. New cards helped a bit, but did they help enough? Most of the games StrifeCro lost, he lost with a lot of cards in his hand. A lot of cards that might have saved him if they were cheaper etc. Dying with a full hand all the time is not a good sign. It’s a sign that your deck is greedy.
The direction of most successful Dragon decks was always Tempo, not Control. Abuse the fact that some Dragon synergies are great tempo plays and then build on that. I don’t think that more tempo-oriented Dragon Paladin would be as strong as Warrior, but I still think it’s the way to go if we want to make this deck successful. Everything still requires much more testing, but I’m not very optimistic about this archetype.
Reynad – Malygos Druid
Yogg or Malygos Druid were the two most dominating (in terms of power) Druid forces in the last weeks. The deck features heavy ramp with a lot of cycle, spell synergies etc. This one has Malygos as a finisher. The +5 Spell Damage works really nicely with the free/cheap spells like Moonfire (now 0 mana Fireball) and Living Roots (now 7 damage for 1 mana). While it’s not really an OTK deck (I mean, you can theoretically kill enemy in a single turn from 30 health after Thaurissan discounts and with the help of Innervate, but it’s not likely), it should whittle opponent down throughout the course of the game and then finish him with Malygos and a bunch of spells.
Reynad, just like always, changed the deck a few times during the course of stream (e.g. removed Yogg), but I think that I got the latest one. I’ll focus on the new cards. Besides the 2x Arcane Giant we’ve got from the 2nd wing, which are AMAZING in this deck, because eventually you’ll get to play them for free and running out of steam is rarely your problem (so you can afford to have a potentially dead card in your hand). But when it comes to new cards – it also runs Moonglade Portal and Medivh, the Guardian.
I’ll start with Portal. It has sweet, sweet golden animation by the way, so if it will stay in the meta I’m definitely crafting it. The card is pretty nice in this kind of deck. It’s a slow, more Control-oriented deck. In most of the matchups, Druid is the one UNDER the pressure, not the one creating pressure. So healing is always nice. 6 points of healing with a random 6-drop seems like a pretty good deal if you need it. Let’s think about it this way – would you play a 6 mana 5/5 (that’s the average stats of 6-drop) with Battlecry: Heal for 6? Imagine something similar to Darkshire Alchemist. But more random. The 6-drop can be 2/3 (Corrupted Seer, worst case scenario), but it can also be a 6/7 (Boulderfist Ogre), or it can be nuts card like Sylvanas Windrunner, Savannah Highmane, Cairne Bloodhoof etc. If we assume that Alchemist is a good card (because it is), this one might be way worse or way better depending on your roll. I mean, wouldn’t you like to play Sylvanas that also heals for 6 without any additional cost? So sure, if you’re feeling lucky, you’ll definitely put 2 of those into your decks. In this deck, however, the minion outcome is not THAT important. I’d say that the healing part is. You want to stall the game until the late game. Until you can get value out of your Arcane Giants, out of Malygos, out of Medivh. So 6 healing helps with that and any body, unless it’s one of the worst ones, is okay.
Then we have Medivh, the Guardian. One of my first thoughts about this card was “Druid”. The class is so spell heavy and the most popular builds are spell heavy, so Medivh would fit. The one problem with the Druid is that most of the spells are cheap. There are 12 spells at 2 mana or less. And you prefer to use 4+ mana spells with Medivh. When it comes to higher mana cost spells, Druid has Swipe, Nourish and the new Moonglade Portal. But, it’s not like you HAVE to cast only those. Getting a two 2-drops and a 6-drop (for example) out of Medivh is also okay. Then, you use him in the late game, when you can afford to cast those high mana cost spells usually. Moonglade Portal seems amazing with Medivh – now it summons TWO random 6-drops, so the chances that you’re going to get something great are even bigger. This card is another win condition. Not only enemy has to remove the 7/7 body, but then he also has to remove a few smaller bodies. If you manage to survive after initially playing him, it’s also good against the high tempo decks. You can immediately do stuff with spells – remove minions, heal your stuff (or yourself) and you get random minions on top of that to fight for the board control or threaten lethal.
It’s a pretty cool deck. It’s strong, because Malygos Druid is strong. Are the new additions correct, I don’t know. Moonglade Portal definitely feels right. But I’m not 100% sure about Medivh in this deck yet. Or rather IN THIS META, not in this deck. The initial tempo loss from 8 mana minion that does nothing immediately is really a big thing. Compare it to something like Ragnaros the Firelord your enemy might play and you’ll see why.
Gaara – Dragon Priest
It feels like a very cool blast from the past. I remember Dragon Priest being one of the strongest and most commonly seen decks after BRM. Although not very similar to the classic Control Priest, it was still a good time for the class. We probably can’t say that about Priest right now, but Gaara at least tries. And while it doesn’t work poorly, I’ve expected slightly more.
Dragon Priest is something between the high tempo Dragon Warrior or low tempo Control Dragon decks. On the one hand, it wants to play proactively, on the curve, play a threat after threat and get value out of increased stats of the minions (e.g. 2 mana 2/4 Taunt, 3 mana 3/5). And then swing the tempo even further with mid game removals. And if that doesn’t work, play big threat like Ysera and hope that it will carry him.
Previously, Dragon Priest usually played more late game. But thanks to the Netherspite Historian, he could take some of that late game out. After all, another big Dragon is nearly useless against fast decks. But with Netherspite you have a chance to pick something smaller, like Twilight Whelp to get more early game tempo or Twilight Guardian to Taunt up. And then, there is a also a huge chance that you’ll get one big Dragon offered. I mean, there are just so many of them that it’s unlikely to not see one. And so in slow matchups you pick Nefarian, you pick another Ysera, you pick Chromaggus. And you don’t have to put them into your deck.
The deck really wants to play proactively, as it struggles with coming back and AoE removals. Without Lightbomb in Standard, after this deck completely loses the board control, it most likely loses the game. The only AoEs it runs are Holy Nova and Chillmaw. Oh, and Wild Pyromancer, but you aren’t likely to do more than 3 AoE damage with Pyro – the deck isn’t exactly the most spell-heavy. So the trick is to assume the board control in the early game and never lose it. In the mid game you can trade nicely thanks to the cards like Blackwing Corruptor and the new Book Wyrm. Those are great when you’re ahead – especially since enemy often can’t afford to play around them.
We’ll most likely see more Dragon Priest builds soon. My own would probably be different – I’ll playtest it on the ladder and report back with the results in the next few days (if it works). Right now it seems like we have another Tier 3 Priest deck, similar to Resurrect Priest in power. Meaning that it can work, you can hit Legend with it if you try hard, but you shouldn’t expect wonders.
Xixo – Aggro Shaman
At this point, Xixo can be seen as an Aggro Shaman master. He contributed greatly to the development of the deck we all hate, “inventing” one of the most popular builds that you probably faced dozens of times on the ladder. So we probably can trust Xixo, at least when it comes to Aggro Shaman.
This deck doesn’t play a lot of new cards. Actually, it only plays 2x Spirit Claws. But because of that, the rest of the deck also had to be altered slightly. While it keeps the same crazy tempo early game opening, Xixo decided to not play the infamous 4 mana 7/7 (Flamewreathed Faceless), dropped one Lava Burst and one Doomhammer and instead plays a single Hex and 2x Azure Drake.
My biggest problem with Spirit Claws was that we don’t have too many solid Spell Damage minions. Sure, there is Bloodmage Thalnos and there is Azure Drake. And that’s it. Shaman CAN theoretically have a Spell Damage minion on demand – Wrath of Air totem – but it’s RNG and you won’t always roll it when you need it. Potentially, Spirit Claws might be one of the most broken cards ever. 1 mana for 3/3 weapon if you meet the requirement. That’s 9 damage for 1 mana. That’s almost a 1 mana Pyroblast if you hit face with every charge. Luckily for us, that’s only the best case scenario and the card doesn’t look so broken otherwise. To guarantee turn 2 activation, Shaman has to drop Bloodmage Thalnos, which isn’t really a highest tempo play in Aggro deck.
So how I see this card, which is also the reason why Xixo has took out one Doomhammer, is that it’s okay in the early game, MIGHT get some value, but it really shines as a mid/late game tempo move. You roll Spell Damage when you need it – you can also equip Spirit Claws and immediately get value. And then enemy just HAS to remove your Spell Damage, which might be hard without minions on the board (Spell Damage = majestic Maelstrom Portal). And even if he removes it, you might just reroll Totem and possibly get it again or drop Azure Drake. Spirit Claws is NOT stronger than Doomhammer and even in the best case scenario it doesn’t come close to the Doomhammer’s damage. But its strength is the low mana cost. Doomhammer is 7 mana in total. Spirit Claws is 1 mana in total. And even just a single hit with Spell Damage justifies it. After all, if you hit enemy 3 times with the weapon in the face and one hit was with spell damage, that’s 5 damage for 1 mana. Which is also amazing.
I don’t know if it’s stronger than the normal Aggro Shaman. It might be. But we’ll have to playtest it a lot before giving out a verdict. Just remember – when laddering against Shaman right now, prioritize killing Spell Damage minions or totems even more than you did before.
Nostam – Aggro Rogue
I remember paying Nostam’s Aggro Rogue to Legend over a year ago and then writing a big guide for it. It looked way different, seemed even more aggressive and played heavy cycle Coldlight Oracles. It was really fun. This one seems way different, but also fun to play, so I don’t mind.
Aggro Rogue. Just like any other Aggro deck, it runs a pretty low curve and wants to kill enemy as fast as possible. Rogue is a master of tempo. Rogue’s Hero Power is probably the highest tempo one out of them all. Backstab might be the best early game tempo tool in the game (well, Innervate or Preparation might be slightly better, but they also require another card to work). And then Combo cards like Bladed Cultist, Defias Ringleader or SI:7 Agent are amazing tempo moves as long as you can activate the Combo mechanic.
So basically, this deck is about tempo. And guess what? It got a new cool tempo tool. Normally, Burgle is a negative tempo card. You lose 3 mana and you don’t gain anything for it. Sure, you have more cards to work with, but you once again have to pay for them and it’s just slow. Normally this card wouldn’t fit into high tempo deck like Aggro Rogue. Swashburglar – okay, because it’s still a 1 mana 1/1 minion, so while the tempo gain is weak, it’s not zero tempo at all. But then, when you combine Burgle with the new Ethereal Peddler, you can run Burgle without slowing down a lot. Sure, you initially have to pay the 3 mana, but then if you discount those 2 cards by 2 mana each, assuming they’re 2+ mana (you can’t really discount a 0 mana card) now when you play them, you might actually GAIN tempo. And it’s not only Burgle. With 2x Swashburglar and 2x Undercity Huckster, that’s 8 cards from opponent’s class you can potentially get. I mean, you won’t likely have more than 3 in your hand at the same time, but even then it’s a great deal. Ethereal Peddler is also quite a threat by itself. 5/6 stats are the best you will get on a 5-drop without negative effect. And in the deck that is very fast, opponent very likely has thrown most of the removals already at smaller stuff.
I honestly think that this combo fits the Tempo Rogue much more than it fits Aggro Rogue. And to start thing off, I’m not even sure if the combo works at all. One thing I can say that this will definitely not be a common meta deck. But if you like Rogue and like to experiment a lot with the class, I can’t see why you shouldn’t try this deck out.
And that might be the last post with the fresh decks straight out of Karazhan. I hope that you’ve liked them and that you had fun with some of the decks I’ve posted. I might still write one of those from time to time to compile the decks that streamers play, but they will definitely be less frequent. After all, a month or so after the expansion meta will probably be very stale gain and new deck will be like an oasis on the desert. Very refreshing, but seldom encountered. We’ll see how things go, but for now, I’ll focus on the other stuff, including writing guides for the most successful Karazhan decks.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!