GADGETZAN: WEEK 1 RECAP
THE DECKS EVERYONE HAS BEEN PLAYING
by Nick ‘Hellthrower’ Gavra
The Intimidating Grimmy Goons, The Fearsome Kabal, and The Menacing Jade Lotus have been lurking around the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, growing their shady businesses and getting involved in gang fights.
After a whole week since the release of Hearthstone’s latest card set, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, we have experimented with plenty of decks. Casual players and professionals equally have been taking advantage of the new powerful cards and each faction’s unique mechanic. As a results, 4 very strong decks have risen to the top, being the most dominant in both ranked ladder and tournaments.
Obviously, this is just the first week of the newest expansion. We do expect the meta to shift many times before it eventually settles.
We will be providing those 4 decklists along with a small guide for each of them, and some card replacements. Clearly, we won’t be covering older decks that have had some very small changes, such as Midrange Shaman or Miracle Rogue.
Without further ado, here are in no specific order, the 4 most dominant decks from the past week.
Pirate Warrior has made its appearance a few times in the past, but this seems to be its most dominant form so far. 2 new cards from Gadgetzan are the reason for that, Patches the Pirate and Small-Time Buccaneer. The deck runs six 1 mana Pirates, which makes it almost guaranteed to get Patches the Pirate on board on turn 1. Small-Time Buccaneer greatly reminds us of Cogmaster, a card that was used in the similarly aggressive Mech Mage deck.
Pirate Warrior does not demand extraordinary skill to handle to success. Even small mistakes are easily bypassed by the sheer power of the deck. As any aggressive deck, your goal is to end your opponents life as quickly as possible, while making decisions as to wether you should use your life total or your minions as resources. The timing of Upgrade is crucial, as it can provide tremendous value through an arcanite Reaper, or early game tempo if used alone or on the 1/3 weapon you get from N'Zoth's First Mate.
During the mulligan phase, you are looking for N'Zoth's First Mate as the most important 1-drop. Southsea Deckhand, Small-Time Buccaneer, Sir Finley Mrrgglton and Fiery War Axe are also important keeps, and depending on your cards you could consider keeping Bloodsail Raider and Bloodsail Corsair. It is important to avoid mulliganing away too many cards, as you are running the risk to get Patches the Pirate in your starting Hand.
After two quite weak card sets for Priest, Gadgetzan provides some incredible cards that enable the Dragon Priest archetype. Kabal Talonpriest is the better version of Dark Cultist, Drakonid Operative has great stats combined with an incredibly valueable battlecry, and Dragonfire Potion is the spiritual successor of Lightbomb.
As a tempo deck, you should focus on playing on curve. This deck’s minions have above average health, which helps you get the more efficient trades every turn. Dragon Priest is not particularly difficult to control. Some things you should bear in mind is keeping a dragon in hand, to work as an activator. This could translate in possibly keeping a Twilight Guardian or an Azure Drake in your opening hand, if you already have a Twilight Whelp or a Wyrmrest Agent. Another consideration would be to include a high cost dragon, such as Ysera or Nefarian, to be kept as an activator. Another thing to remember is that this deck does not include Holy Nova or Excavated Evil, so you should be as conservative with your Dragonfire Potions as possible.
Northshire Cleric and Twilight Whelp are always a keep. Netherspite Historian and Wyrmrest Agent are also valueable, if you are guaranteed to have a dragon in your opening hand. If the above conditions are met, you could consider keeping a Power Word: Shield or a Kabal Talonpriest, to assert your dominance on the board.
If you face many aggressive decks then it is greatly suggested to include cheap tech cards, like Acidic Swamp Ooze and Potion of Madness. If you face slower decks, then you could consider including an expensive dragon, such as Ysera, and maybe 1 copy of Entomb.
So far, Druid is the most suitable Class for the Jade Lotus package. We have seen some different variants, chosing for more cycle, or the inclusion of Arcane Giants. Most people, however, have settled with this particular list. Nonetheless, Jade Druid is the nightmare of every control deck, as its infinite power potential cannot be countered by a slow deck. It does, however struggle, against more aggressive opponents.
Jade Druid’s power shows in the late game. This is the reason you need some defensive and ramp options to safely get out of the early stages of the game. Try not to recklessly use all your spells, as they can be benefitially used with Fandral Staghelm and Gadgetzan Auctioneer. Against control decks you should not forget to use the second Jade Idol to shuffle more copies into your deck and so on.
Innervate, Wild Growth and Jade Idol are pretty important keeps. Against aggressive decks you should dig for removal, such as Living Roots, Feral Rage and Swipe. Against control decks you are looking for ramp through Wild Growth and Jade Blossom. If you have that covered you can keep a Jade Spirit and some card draw, like Nourish.
Against Aggressive decks you can remove 1 Nourish for Moonfire. Against slower decks you can remove 1 Living Roots, 1 Raven Idol or 1 Feral Rage for Brann Bronzebeard and a second copy of Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Wrapping up with the final deck and certainly the most difficult, Renolock. Despite all the new cards, Renolock stays true to its classic Leeroy Jenkins + Power Overwhelming + Faceless Manipulator combo to finish off his opponent. It is mainly Kazakus that helped the return of Renolock, but more new cards played their part in it as well. As a Highlander/Reno deck, you can make many subtitutions and only a couple of cards could be considered necessary. The list above, is one of the most standard ones.
The decisions a Renolock has to make are very crucial. The timing of you Doomsayer and your board clears, the target for Siphon Soul, your decision from Kazakus and the activation of Lord Jaraxxus will greatly define the outcome of the match, and differ from opponent to opponent. For example, against a very aggressive deck you should not be afraid to use your combo pieces for removal, even if that deactivates you 20 damage potential. On the other hand, in a control match-up your true power derives from Brann Bronzebeard + Kazakus. 2 potions from Kazakus can turn the tides of the battle. There are not many tips you could be given for Renolock in general. It’s a deck that has to adapt to each math-up. You have to understand your goals against every opponent in the meta through experience and practice. Since the deck has many versatile spots, you can put in your own techs depending on the problems you are facing.
Against defensive decks you have many cards you can keep. Mistress of Mixtures, Doomsayer, Demonwrath, Mortal Coil and Shadow Bolt (really useful against Totem Golem and Frothing Berserker). Some times you could even consider keeping Second-Rate Bruiser.
- Cards that could be removed: Felfire Potion, Mountain Giant, Second-Rate Bruiser, Refreshment Vendor, Earthen Ring Farseer, Shadow Bolt, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Mistress of Mixtures. (You should have at least 2 healing cards, apart from Reno Jackson and Lord Jaraxxus)
- Cards that could be included: Kabal Courier, Dirty Rat, Mind Control Tech, Ragnaros the Firelord and any other card you deem necessary.
More decks have been on the spotlight. Some of them include Jaderattle Rogue, N’zoth Shaman, OTK Aviana Kun Malygos Druid, Handbuff Paladin, Reno Priest and Mage.
We will be looking forward to week 2 and the months to come to see what the Hearthstone community will come up with. Which deck are going to be Tier 1 for the Ranked ladder and the official Tournaments?