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)
Fourth – and last – wing of Karazhan was just released worldwide. And so I’m coming with another portion – last one – of the fresh Karazhan decks. I honestly didn’t think that this adventure will have such huge impact and shake things around, but as it happened, it made some new archetypes viable and maybe even buried some old ones. Whether those will be strong enough to survive in the rough, tempo-heavy meta or not, we can be happy about some new decks for now.
Streamers I’ve covered this time are: Sjow, Hotform, MrYagut, Senfglas, StrifeCro
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.
Sjow – Discard Warlock
This deck was very, very close to working. But without Malchezaar’s Imp it was still slightly outshined by the old, more classic Zoo. Things might have changed now, though. New Warlock’s 1-drop is here and it’s very strong.
The deck is similar to the normal Zoo lists. When it comes to extra cards that Zoo wouldn’t play, it runs 2x Malchezaar’s Imp, 2x Darkshire Librarian and 2x Silverware Golem… and that’s it. Oh well, and both Soulfire and Doomguard in a single deck – Zoo would rather play one or another, not both. But the deck is still very similar to Zoo Warlock. So, what’s the difference?
Discard Warlock is like Zoo’s little brother with ADHD. It can’t sit in one place, it wants to do more and more things, it wants THE TEMPO. You have a card in your hand? PLAY IT, PLAY IT. And so, it’s less consistent in what it does, but when things work it has much bigger potential. Zoo is already a high tempo deck, Discard Warlock is twice that. When it doesn’t backfire.
And that’s the whole point. The deck has INSANE early game swings potential. Imagine this. Opponent plays t1 Tunnel Trogg. You play Malchezaar’s Imp into Coin into Soulfire. Kill opponent’s minion and discard Silverware Golem. Since you’ve discarded it, it now drops on the board. And since you had Imp on the board, you also draw a card in its place. Next turn you drop Darkshire Librarian and discard a second Silverware Golem. Oh, and you draw a card. It’s turn 2 and you have killed opponent’s 1-drop, played 1/3 minion, 3/2 that draws a card on Death and 2x 3/3.
Okay, that’s a best case scenario. It won’t happen often. It will happen very rarely. But I don’t think there is any other deck that can swing tempo so hard and potentially not even lose a lot of value. But, even if we ignore best case scenario. Any time in the early game you discard something and that something is Silverware Golem, you get a huge tempo swing. Potentially winning tempo swing. I mean, not only the cards that discard something are already positive tempo (but come with a discard disadvantage, obviously), but you also get a 0 mana 3/3 on the board. In Zoo. Hell yeah.
I think that this deck still needs to be refined, but it might take the place of classic Zoo. Or at least be on the same power level. When I’m writing is, Sjow is 31-15 with the deck and that’s pretty good for an unrefined deck on the first day of the season when everyone is tryharding to climb. A lot of stuff still needs to be tried – maybe a more discard-heavy list with Fist of Jaraxxus? Or maybe, I don’t know, make the deck even more aggressive? There are some more ways you can approach it and I guess people will figure it soon enough.
Hotform – Tempo Mage
Yesss. Hotform, the master of Tempo Mage. I wrote about his deck after wing 2, it was a really fun Arcane Giant madness. Now we get the Medivh madness. Yes, Mage is definitely a class that Medivh might fit into. Tempo Mage is so heavy on the spells that Medivh seems very good in the deck.
But, for those who aren’t familiar with his effect yet – you have an 8 mana 7/7 that gives you a 1/3 weapon. You can obviously attack with it, like with every weapon, but that’s not really what you want to do. Every time you cast a spell, you lose one charge, but instead you summon a random minion of the same mana cost as the spell. Think about Summoning Stone, but with only 3 charges. Still, “only” 3 charges is still kinda a lot. Summoning Stone had unlimited uses, but costed 5 mana and you rarely played more than 3 spells with it anyway (besides cheap/free stuff like Innervate). Here, for 3 more mana you get an extra 7/7 body and a WEAPON. And weapons are much harder to remove. Enemy needs to play Ooze or Harrison and draw it. He can’t get rid of it with normal removals. So most of the decks can’t even stop it.
Initially, Medivh is not a great play. You pay 8 mana for 7/7 that doesn’t do anything immediately. But then, let’s say that you cast 3 spells – 2 mana, 4 mana and 5 mana. Feels about right, I’m not talking about any crazy scenario of 7+ mana spells. So for 8 mana you get 7/7, a random 2-drop, random 4-drop and random 5-drop. And that, on the other hand, is a HUGE tempo gain. But it takes at least a turn before you start getting that tempo. It means that if you can afford to slow down for one turn, you can get rewarded nicely next turn.
When it comes to other Karazhan cards, it runs 2x Babbling Book and 2x Arcane Giant. Book is cool, because it’s another t1 play and makes possible to answer some 2-drops with ping, while not being useless in the late game, because of the random spell you’re getting. And Arcane Giant, while I don’t necessarily like it in the normal Tempo Mage, it fits this much more. This list is more spell heavy with 2x Cabalist’s Tome, so it’s way easier to get Arcane Giant in 0-5 mana range.
Besides that, it has the standard Tempo Mage core of things like Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Cult Sorcerer, Flamewaker, burn spells etc. But with 2x Arcane Intellect, 2x Azure Drake, 2x Cabalist’s Tome, Medivh, Yogg and Arcane Giants – it’s pretty heavy on value and you can play a lot of longer games without really running out of steam.
I don’t think it’s the most optimal Tempo Mage lists, because Hotform really likes to experiment with new cards and play them in let’s say a gimmicky way. So even if the deck won’t be amazing, it will definitely be fun to play!
MrYagut – Burgle Rogue
Oh, MrYagut. I really like you for being very innovative. Even when everyone plays cookie-cutter stuff, you always find a way to make an unique appearance. Well, right now it’s not HARD to be unique with all the new cards, but you’re still making it seem easy.
I was honestly surprised that he was doing so good with the deck. I mean, it wasn’t one big win streak, but he had quite nice win rate. I didn’t expect this kind of Rogue to really work. But maybe, maybe?
A few words about the deck. It’s kind of a Tempo Rogue, or maybe Midrange Rogue. It’s minion-based with not that many spells. It’s not based around Gadgetzan Auctioneer and drawing your whole deck by turn 10. It’s more about taking the board control in the mid game and trying to slowly smash enemy down once you clear everything they play. And cycle and cycle and cycle. This deck rarely runs out of cards. Swashburglar, Undercity Huckster and Burgle all add random cards from opponent’s class. This mechanic is tricky, because it’s very inconsistent. You might receive Shatter from Mage, while you might also receive Fireball. There is a huge difference between those two – one is useless and one can win you the game. But, pretty much no matter what you steal is still okay if it costs 2 mana less. That’s why he plays a new card from the last wing – Ethereal Peddler. Once you have a bunch of cards from opponent’s class in your hand – you just play Peddler and feel that insane tempo gain. Then, when it comes to the card draw/cycle, it also runs 2x Azure Drake, 2x Fan of Knives, 1x Bloodmage Thalnos and 1x Sprint. That’s 14 cards that give you some sort of card advantage. I honestly haven’t seen him running out of cards even once.
Brann Bronzebeard seems like a nice addition to the deck too. The cheapest combo is the one with Swashburglar. How about getting two cards? It’s very easy to combo, because they cost 4 mana together. Then, you can draw extra card with Azure Drake. But maybe most importantly, you can get the Ethereal Peddler‘s effect twice. That means -4 mana on every card from other classes. And yeah, that’s very nice deal. Now even cards like, I don’t know, Power Word: Tentacles are suddenly amazing.
I’ll definitely test the deck. I didn’t really like playing Rogue, since I like more minion-focused decks. This one seems pretty fun. Although it can cause some salt rushes when you get the worst possible cards from your Burgle effects.
Senfglas – Control Warrior
Also known as “the deck that can’t lose Control mirrors’. Well, unless opponent also runs Prince Malchezaar AND Elise Starseeker. I’ll have to say that I’m not really sold on that idea, but it’s interesting enough that I just had to share it.
What’s the point of playing Prince Malchezaar? Yes, first of all – in Control mirrors, where things usually go to the fatigue, it’s often a free win. You have 5 more cards than enemy does, if he doesn’t play it of course. So assuming you both draw the same amount of cards, you start hitting fatigue 5 turns later. Which in the end is most likely going to give you a win. Let’s even say that you get to 5 fatigue damage, it means that enemy took 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = 40 more damage than you. It’s pretty hard to survive that.
Since Prince Malchezaar gives you random Legendaries, you could cut your win conditions. I mean, you don’t have to run stuff like Grommash Hellscream or Ragnaros the Firelord and instead you can focus on more defensive stuff. There were a lot of cards that were very hard to fit into the deck. And here you go, in that case it was easy, because you were working with few extra slots. The Prince himself is also not that terrible. I mean, you wouldn’t deliberately put Pit Fighter into the deck, but it’s not like a 5 mana 5/6 always sucks.
The thing I don’t like about it is that the Legendaries are completely random. Sure, you can get Ragnaros the Firelord, Grommash Hellscream, Sylvanas Windrunner and such. But you can also end up having Lorewalker Cho, Nat Pagle and Millhouse Manastorm. This is KINDA neutralized by the fact that you can reroll the Legandaries with Elise Starseeker, but if you get a weak Legend in the early/mid game, that’s a dead card for nearly the whole game.
The deck also runs another new card – Ironforge Portal. It’s pretty cool. I’ve read somewhere that the expected result should be a 4/4 or 3/5 minion, possibly with an effect too. And +4 Armor. So it’s pretty much in line with the old Shieldmaiden, although much more RNG-heavy. After all, you can get the dream Flamewreathed Faceless or you can get insta-concede Faceless Shambler. That’s the problem with the card. Short rant: why they couldn’t just make it more consistent? Like a 3/5 with the effect? SURE, we had Shieldmaiden and this is very similar. But not every card has to be unique. By making it so RNG heavy, just like any other Portal, we once again reduce the skill factor and require more luck with rng rolls. RNG is fine if the outcomes don’t make a huge difference. I mean, random 1 damage of Flame Juggler might matter, but it will rarely win or lose a game straight up. But the difference between having a 1/1 minion on turn 5 and a 7/7 minion is immense.
Alright, back to the deck. I feel like the deck might be better in Control mirrors, where you both really want to go for the long game. But I feel like it’s weaker in matchups that don’t go to the fatigue. You don’t care that you have 35 cards in the deck, you won’t likely even draw half of them in faster matchups. In fact, it’s even worse, because you’re less likely to get a t2 Fiery War Axe or let’s say Execute when you really need it. So I’ll just leave this list here and see how things go with the new meta. MAYBE, just MAYBE in case that there will be a lot of Control decks, playing Prince Malchezaar + Elise combo would be good. But right now I’d stay with just the Elise.
StrifeCro – Dragon Control Mage
It’s a Dragon Mage. And Control Mage. Two in one. I’ve seen similar decks waaay back in TGT when Twilight Guardian and Coldarra Drake. The second one is really cool, but didn’t make a cut here. Probably because it’s way too slow. But, StrifeCro test a lot of new cards in this one deck.
The story of this deck is – survival and value. A lot of the slots of this deck are wasted for survival tools. 2x Ice Barrier, 2x Ice Block, 2x Doomsayer… Then a lot of removals/AoE like 2x Blizzard and 2x Flamestrike. More single target removal in form of minions – Medivh’s Valet, Blackwing Corruptor and Book Wyrm. But, you can’t win slower matchups by just REMOVING stuff. You actually have to kill enemy, or well, outvalue him. The deck is also good at doing that. Netherspite Historian, Medivh, the Guardian, Cabalist’s Tome… I think the deck is really a cool deck and illustrates the Control play style very nicely.
When it comes to the new cards, there are a lot of them. Starting with Medivh’s Valet – this guy is insanely strong as long as you have the Battlecry active. And what better deck can you run it in than a 2x Ice Block deck? While on turn 2 it’s just a vanilla 2/3, in the mid/late game it’s very easy to proc this effect. And the effect is very strong. I mean, this is the effect of Fire Elemental. Then the stats were scaled down a bit and we had Blackwing Corruptor. Which was even stronger than Fire Elemental when it hit. And now we have this. Remember that when you scale just the stats and leave the effect, the one that’s already good on a 6 mana card will be insane on a 2 mana card. And that’s how it is – it’s very good after you play your Ice Block.
Then we have Netherspite Historian. It’s a value card, a card draw of sort (depending on the situation, Discover might be even stronger than card draw). For 2 mana. On a 1/3 body. The body is the main reason why this seems so good. Remember, a vanilla card draw is on a 1/1 body – Novice Engineer. Priest got “Discover a Deathrattle” on a 1/2 body and it was really good (Museum Curator). Now we have a 1/3 that Discovers a Dragon. And Dragons are pretty strong. The only downside is that you actually need to have Dragon in your hand first. So it’s more of a pick in a slow, Control Dragon list, like this one, where it’s very likely that you have Dragons in your hand. And it’s worse in heavy Tempo deck like Dragon Warrior, because the chances you will have a Dragon in your hand are smaller, and since you run out of cards relatively fast, being in todpeck mode makes it useless. But, it’s almost never useless in this deck. While you might not always play it on turn 2, it’s consistent enough to get a slot in probably most of the slow Dragon lists.
Book Worm is the next new card. Another Dragon with a Dragon synergy. I like to compare it to Stampeding Kodo. But a stronger version, obviously (not that Kodo is a weak card, but it’s very much a meta call). It costs 6 mana and it combines a 3/6 body (worth 4 mana) with a Shadow Word: Pain effect. So, you get 6 mana worth of stuff for 6 mana… is it really that good? Yes, it is, for a few reasons. First of all, those “two in one” cards are very efficient. It costs only 1 card, unlike the 2 cards combo. Then, SW:P is only available in Priest and it’s one of the strongest removals in the game for that mana cost. After all, it can straight up remove let’s say a 3/5 minion or something with Divine Shield like Argent Horserider. It’s high value and nice tempo at the same time.
And last, but not least, the new Medivh, the Guardian. This card can get INSANE amounts of value, because this deck is quite heavy on high cost spells. It runs five 5+ mana spells in total. Following Medivh with a Flamestrike not only most likely clears the board, but also summons a random 7-drop. It’s great. But very, very slow. I think it’s most useful in those slow, grindy matchups where you want every bit of value. Then you can even wait with Medivh until you get all your high cost spells to get as much as you can from the new Legendary.
Overall, I love this deck. Probably because I like Control and I like Dragon play style. I’ve always wanted to make some Control Dragon deck work, but the best ones were always more tempo-oriented (first Dragon Priest and now Dragon Warrior). I’m not sure whether this list will be good enough, but I really like it and I’ll definitely playtest it on the ladder soon.
So, we’ve finally got through the whole adventure. On the one hand, I hate adventures, because we have to wait a month before getting all the cards. On the other hand, I love them, because the meta changes on a weekly basis and we always see something new. It’s a month of constantly shifting meta with a lot of fun decks being played. And then probably another month with pretty diverse meta until it gets figured out. And then probably a few months of Hunter, because it seems to dominate the meta… sigh.
Because the last wing was out for only a few hours and not many streamers have made new decks yet, I’ll probably make another compilation of decks when I get up. It’s almost dawning when I finish this one, so just like the last few times I’ve pulled an all-nighter because of the new wing. Yay for adventures, yay for Hearthstone!
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!