Gadgetzan Week 2 (December 16, 2016)
by Nick ‘Hellthrower’ Gavra
The second week of Gadgetzan has officially gone by, the hype has slowed down, and players have decided on the strongest decks for the meta. 2 new decks have risen since the last meta breakdown, while Dragon Priest and Jade Druid have fallen down in popularity and success.
What is most noteworthy is that among the 4 decks we’ll be covering, 3 of them include [Patches the Pirate]. This card has been absolutely dominant and proves once again that although the community says that a new card set will slow down the meta, Aggro will never die.
In no particular order, these are the Tier 1 decks as of December 16, 2016.
No changes have been made to Pirate Warrior. Still remains true to its aggressive nature. Try to quickly get on board with the 1 mana pirates and finish your opponent at turns 5-8. Use your charge minions earlier if you are afraid your opponent will have a taunt, as you can always bypass the taunts with [Mortal Strike] and potentially [Steady Shot] or [Fireblast], if you are lucky with [Sir Finley Mrrgglton].
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.
Pirate Warrior has 1 flexible spot, where you can include [Acidic Swamp Ooze], [Hobart Grapplehammer], [Argent Horserider], or any other aggressive card of your choice.
AGGRESSIVE SHAMAN (NEW)
People were exhausted after a 3 month midrange Shaman meta, so during the first week of Gadgetzan’s release we didn’t see much of that. However, aggressive Shaman has managed to reach Tier 1 right now. This is a mix of Burn Spells, the [Patches the Pirate] package and some Jade Golem cards. Similarly to Pirate Warrior, you need to get early on board, use chargers when there are no taunts, and finish off your opponent with burn spells. Remember to manage efficiently your overloaded crystals and plan out your lethal strategy many turns ahead.
Plenty of good cards can be kept depending on your opponent and whether or not you are holding [The Coin]. Generally you want to look for [Tunnel Trogg], [Spirit Claws], [Small-Time Buccaneer], [Southsea Deckhand], [Totem Golem] and [Sir Finley Mrrgglton]. Just like with Pirate Warrior, avoid Mulliganing away many cards in fear of getting [Patches the Pirate] in your oppening hand, as that would slow you down a lot.
If you wish to go with a more midrange style, but still be aggressive, you could swap the [Argent Horserider]s with [Feral Spirit]s, and remove [Doomhammer] for [Aya Blackpaw].
All the new wonderful cards have helped Renolock remain a Tier 1 deck in the second week as well. A very difficult deck with lots of decision making. The key points are to not be afraid to use your combo pieces against an aggressive deck, if you have your back against the wall, and to use [Kazakus] with [Brann Bronzebeard] against a control opponent. When playing Renolock you need to keep an open mind, and adapt to every opponent accordingly. Due to it being a Reno deck, you can still play it if you are missing some cards, as not all of them are necessary.
- Against defensive decks you have many cards you can keep. [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] or [Mind Control Tech]. [Dirty Rat] is only good against pirate warrior, but you still run a high risk.
- Against control decks you could look for [Twilight Drake] and [Mountain Giant] to be brought out on turn 4. [Dark Peddler] and [Imp Gang Boss] are also great cards to play on curve.
- Cards that could be removed: [Mountain Giant], [Second-Rate Bruiser], [Refreshment Vendor], [Earthen Ring Farseer], [Acidic Swamp Ooze], [Dirty Rat], [Mind Control Tech]. (You should have at least 2 healing cards, apart from [Reno Jackson] and [Lord Jaraxxus])
- Cards that could be included: [Felfire Potion], [Mistress of Mixtures], [Kabal Courier], [Ragnaros the Firelord], [Sen’jin Shieldmasta] and any other card you deem necessary.
PIRATE MIRACLE ROGUE (NEW)
You heard it right. Rogue is now a Tier 1 deck. The underdog of this expansion, despite the bad cards it got, has managed to take advantage of the Patches the Pirate package to climb to Tier 1. The success of this deck is
- [Swashburglar]: A very solid 1 mana pirate exclusive to Rogue that can bring out Patches early.
- [Counterfeit Coin]: Going second as Rogue has always been a huge advantage, and now you are always guaranteed to have more coins. Works great with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Combo Cards.
- [Dagger Mastery]: Rogue’s Hero Power synergizes very well with [Small-Time Buccaneer], and therefore [Patches the Pirate].
Pirate Miracle Rogue, AKA Piracle Rogue has not any differences than a standard Miracle Rogue deck. Amazing tempo swings with [Backstab], [SI:7 Agent], [Sap] and [Edwin VanCleef]. Remember to keep some cheap spells for [Gadgetzan Auctioneer], [Edwin VanCleef] and [Questing Adventurer] (if you choose to run that card). By the time you have drawn [Leeroy Jenkins] and double [Cold Blood], you will most likely have dropped your opponent down to 14 HP to kill them.
[Swashburglar], [Small-Time Buccaneer] and [Backstab] are what you are looking for. If you are holding a coin consider keeping [SI:7 Agent], and if you have many cheap spells, [Edwin VanCleef] is also a keep. Again, just like Warrior and Shaman, try not to risk getting [Patches the Pirate] in your hand, as it will lower your win chances by a lot.
- If [Flamewreathed Faceless] and Renolock were not so common, you could consider cutting one [Sap] for a [Shadow Strike].
- If you are not finding the Pirate package too efficient you can add [Questing Adventurer]s and [Conceal].
- If there are too many control decks in the meta you can remove one [Counterfeit Coin] for a [Conceal].
- A popular decision is the replacement of one or two of the priates with [Bloodsail Corsair], to counter the weapon classes.
3 out of 4 decks run the Pirates package. It is still early in the expansion and this is why aggressive decks are so popular. We do expect the meta to slow down a bit eventually. Shaman will probably settle with a more midrange variant, and we have seen warrior using the Pirate package in a more midrange Dragon archetype.
Honorable Mention goes to Dragon Priest and Jade Druid, but they did not feel as strong to reach the Tier 1 spot.