Hearthstone’s Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion is now live, adding another 135 cards to the collection.
In the last expansion for the Year of the Phoenix, the newest set brings a return of the popular Old Gods and a new keyword that changes how you look at your mana curve in the form of Corrupt. As the last expansion in a Hearthstone year, multiple cards look to make one final push for many archetypes since the three sets from the Year of the Dragon—Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, and Descent of Dragons—are rotating out once the next expansion drops.
Here are 10 of the best cards from the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion that could change the Hearthstone meta heading into the 2021.
10) Y’shaarj the Defiler
As the first updated Old God to appear on this list, Y’shaarj takes a departure from his original form’s playstyle pattern from Whispers of the Old Gods. Instead of being an incremental value-generating engine that was strong due to being summoned early by effects like Barnes and Shadow Essence, Y’shaarj is now a hand refill tool that serves as a finisher for the new Corrupt mechanic.
While Y’shaarj the Defiler lends itself toward being a top end card for value-based decks, there are multiple directions that Y’shaarj can go in. From leaning towards combo strategies by dealing massive damage with Shaman or by being anti-control in Warlock by using Tikatus to burn up to 10 cards from the opponent’s deck, Y’shaarj can help push the Corrupt mechanic to viability.
9) Petting Zoo
Hunter was a top class during the Scholomance Academy Standard meta. While Highlander variants have all but faded from popularity, Aggro has been among the top-performing archetypes for the class on the ladder. With Petting Zoo and all the new Secrets added with the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, the deck is looking to be even more aggressive with an overall lower mana curve.
Similar to Hyena Alpha from Saviors of Uldum, the payoff for having hidden Secrets will help boost your board with tons of extra stats for both of their mana costs. Due to how strong those effects are, it may even be worth it for Hunter to pick up some Secrets that are difficult to activate, like the new Open the Cages, to help guarantee Petting Zoo reaches its maximum value.
If a player has just one Secret on the board, Petting Zoo already provides a ridiculous amount of value. But if they have three or more Secrets, this card can help players overwhelm any opponent who lacks quick board clear.
8) Lunar Eclipse/Solar Eclipse
Spell Druid has always been a potent Druid archetype in recent Hearthstone metas. While the strategy took a backseat to Ramp and Guardian Animal-type builds, with the recent nerfs and all the new support cards, Spell Druid has an opportunity to retake a strong spot on the ladder. Thanks to the power and flexibility of Lunar and Solar Eclipse, the two new Eclipse-based cards can now affect the board and augment the strategy of Spell Druid even further.
Lunar Eclipse helps control the board while allowing multiple spells to be weaved within the same turn. Solar Eclipse is antithetical to Druid’s identity of casting multiple cheap spells within the same turn, since Solar Eclipse wants to ideally double cast expensive spells. But with new cards like Cenarion Ward or value-generating cards like Fungal Fortune and Guess the Weight, Solar Eclipse has multiple avenues to accrue value for a player.
If it turns out two copies of both Lunar and Solar Eclipse aren’t enough, Kiri, Chosen of Elune can fetch an extra copy of both.
7) High Exarch Yrel
Paladin’s recent success in Standard has mainly been centered around the Pure Paladin-style of deck lists. With its ability to buff their board and summon cheap yet powerful minions like Argent Braggart, Pure Paladin has been one of the major archetypes to always be conscious of when constructing your deck.
One weakness the deck suffered from, however, was its ability to stabilize against aggro and burn once it established the board. With High Exarch Yrel, a Zilliax-like effect will crush any offensive effort from any opponent. While being a two mana more expensive form of Zilliax doesn’t bode well for the initial viability of the card, the fact that it has even more stats, which in turn brings more healing from its Lifesteal, adds to how it helps secure the aggro matchup.
If Pure Paladin still has a spot in another new expansion meta at the top of the ladder, it can be safely expected that Bomb Warrior should be an apparent deck to equally counter it.
6) Sayge, Seer of Darkmoon
In the Standard format, Secret Mage has had limited viability when compared to its Wild counterpart. In the older format, Secret Mage is hyper aggressive and uses many mana-cheating cards and powerful refuel cards like Kabal Crystal Runner and Aluneth. In Standard, the archetype plays less like aggressive burn and more midrange for board control and value with cards like Apexis Smuggler.
Sayge further pushes that slower identity by allowing players to draw multiple cards after triggering Secrets within the game. The major downside to Sayge is noting how many Secrets have been triggered throughout the game. If you triggered too many and the game has gone on late enough, you risk milling yourself.
While Sayge is not as strong as Aluneth from Kobolds and Catacombs, Standard Secret Mage will still appreciate the newest form of refuel for the aggressive archetype.
5) Inara Stormcrash
Throughout the year, Shaman has been struggling to break into the upper echelons of the Standard tier list. While players devoted to the class have made success with Quest and Aggro Overload variants, the class has yet to find a deck that the overall community could share general success with.
Inara Stormcrash and the other Enhancement-style cards introduced with Madness at the Darkmoon Faire are helping Shaman out with a new strategy going forward. The ability to make any power you grant to your hero twice as effective is a powerful tool in Hearthstone. While some weapons don’t scale as well with Inara, namely ones that already have Windfury like Doomhammer, keeping yourself at a high life total will be imperative when facing off against Shaman.
Regardless of how much Shaman taps into the weapon style archetype, Inara Stormcrash is an inherently powerful card that aggressive and tempo-based decks will use since it’s four free damage a turn that you can use as long as you control her.
4) Sword Eater
Warrior’s main archetype that was pushed in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire has been Menagerie Warrior, which points the class toward including Dragons, Mechs, and Pirates in their decks. Sword Eater looks to be a premier card that will fill the Pirate slot.
For his mana cost, a 2/5 body with Taunt and a 3/2 weapon are both powerful tools to help control the board once he’s dropped on turn four. Due to his Pirate tag, he can be tutored by Ringmaster Whatley and Ancharr, while being buffed by Ringmaster’s Baton. In addition, Sword Eater also helps reduce the cost of Tent Trasher, a powerful Rush minion that’s another essential piece to the Menagerie Warrior-type build.
Even if Menagerie Warrior doesn’t take off, Sword Eater is just a fine card on his own that will strengthen Warrior as a whole in both Standard and limited formats like Duels.
3) Bladed Lady
During its tenure in the Scholomance Academy meta, Demon Hunter’s newest Soul Fragment archetype quickly became the most popular build for the class to climb the ladder with. One potent strength of that archetype was its ability to amass high attack totals on the hero due to Marrowslicer, Soulshard Lapidary, and Twin Slice.
Bladed Lady looks to accentuate that strength by providing a powerful 6/6 body with Rush for only one mana once you achieve that goal. It will be tough figuring out which slots to fit the Bladed Lady into the current builds of Soul Fragment Demon Hunter. The deck list is already refined and finding space for her may be difficult in first drafts.
Since the inception of the newest class, Demon Hunter has always been a potent force with its aggro and combo variants. Il’gynoth looks to combine the best of both worlds by being a strong tempo play to follow up Aldrachi Warblades or as a combo tool preceding Eye Beam and Mo’arg Artificer.
Being able to effectively turn your Lifesteal into dealing double damage against your opponent is dangerously strong. With Aldrachi Warblades in hand, any strength gain on your hero is effectively multiplied. This exponential damage can end opponents fairly quickly, especially when combined with Twin Slice and Soulshard Lapidary.
While Il’gynoth looks to revive combo variants of Demon Hunter and boost the viability of tempo versions, the Legendary card itself does have notable weaknesses. If you’re facing off against aggressive decks, Il’gynoth does remove the inherent strength of Lifesteal against those fast decks, so throwing him away in the mulligan is advised when facing that scenario.
1) Yogg-Saron, Master of Fates
The ultimate highlight reel of whacky and devastating board swings returns in a retrained glory. In his initial days during Whispers of the Old Gods as Hope’s End, Yogg-Saron was able to push Druid and Mage to the forefront of the ladder and tournament meta. His strength was so unparalleled that he had to be nerfed to be less consistent. Now, with a new requirement and effect, Yogg-Saron, Master of Fates aims to bring a similar level of “high risk, high reward” to the table as his previous form once did.
Back when Yogg-Saron was in Standard, you’d normally cast him when you’re behind. This was because if a board was unsalvageable, Yogg-Saron could usually turn an unwinnable game into a revived chance of victory. The new Yogg-Saron has a natural 38-percent chance to swing the board in your favor (with Devouring Hunger or Mindflayer Goggles). In addition, if your opponent’s board is more full and you land on Curse of Flesh, you have higher odds of clearing your opponent’s minions since you get more chances at stronger variances than your opponent does. Ignoring every other factor of chance, Yogg-Saron always has a 19-percent chance to act exactly like his original form, which casts random spells for each spell you cast this game. This was an effect that’s already proven to be powerful since it was nerfed once.
In a more hilarious way to reach a conclusion, there’s always a five-percent chance that the game will end in flames, as the Rod of Roasting will launch Pyroblasts until one player is slain.
You can try out these new cards and more now since Hearthstone’s Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion is live.