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.

Card Replacements:

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.




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.

Card Replacements:

If you wish to go with a more midrange style, but still be aggressive, you could swap the Argent Horseriders with Feral Spirits, 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.


Card Replacements:




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

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.

Card Replacements:

Final Thoughts

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.