Category Archives: Hearthstone

Oktoberbrawl Recap

This year, as part of a cross-promotion between Twitch Prime and Hearthstone, the first-ever Oktoberbrawl took place. Featuring six popular streamers divided into two teams, as well as a rule-set that was different from anything seen before, this mini-tournament had four weeks of matches from September 11th to October 6th, with the Oktoberbrawl Grand Finals taking place at TwitchCon on October 20th.

The premise of Oktoberbrawl was simple: All six players participating in the event would receive a fresh account, 10 Classic packs, and a Welcome Bundle. On the Monday of every week, the contestants would each receive 10 packs from two different expansions. Then, on Wednesdays, they would receive a percentage of the second group of packs based on how many times players using their team’s card back (which came for free with a subscription to Twitch Prime) won games in Ranked Play.

Because Oktoberbrawl was a partnership between Hearthstone and Twitch, the players chosen for this event were some of the highest profile streamers in Hearthstone right now: Dog, Thijs and J4CKIECHAN for Team Void, and Kripparrian, Reynad and Alliestrasza for Team Light. All six of these players have popular Twitch streams, which made them the perfect candidates for this competition.


Week One:

The excitement began on September 11th, when the contestants opened their first card packs and got to work building new decks with their very limited resources. Because of the Welcome Bundle and the 30 packs they were given, the players all were guaranteed to receive at least 4 Legendaries and a large variety of Epics, Rares and Commons, which would serve as the foundation of the decks they’d create.

On September 15th, Team Light and Team Void had their first showdown. Using their Basic and Classic cards, along with a small selection cards from Goblins vs Gnomes and The Grand Tournament, the players each brought three decks to use in this grudge match.

The first round of the day pitted Thijs of Team Void against Alliestrasza of Team Light. In the first game of this round, Thijs played an Aggressive Mech Shaman against Alliestrasza’s Midrange Hunter. Thanks to the superior tempo tools present in the Shaman class, Thijs took a commanding early game lead over the Hunter. Alliestrasza actually nearly managed to come back, but then Thijs top-decked the lethal Lightning Bolt, putting the series score to 1-0.

In the second game, Thijs attempted to run a Control Priest, but Alliestrasza was on the verge of beating him with her Mech Mage when she suddenly lost connection. This forced the players to restart the game, but Alliestrasza’s deck was still better, and she soundly defeated him once again to tie the series 1-1.

Mech Mage made another appearance in the final game of the first round, as Thijs played it against Alliestrasza’s Zoo Warlock. For a while, the two players battled back and forth fairly evenly, but then Thijs managed to take a commanding board lead, and he took the series 2-1.

In the second round of the first day, Reynad of Team Light battled against J4CKIECHAN of Team Void. The first game of this round marked the third appearance of Mech Mage so far, as Reynad ran it against J4CKIECHAN’s Control Paladin. Traditionally a very favorable matchup for the Mage, the lack of powerful control cards in J4CKIECHAN’s deck only served to exacerbate this issue, and Reynad quickly won to go ahead in the series, 1-0.

In the next game, J4CKIECHAN brought out a Zoo Warlock against Reynad’s Shaman. This game should have been somewhat close, but Reynad failed to draw any early-game cards, which led to J4CKIECHAN easily taking the match, which brought the series score to 1-1.

In the final game of the second round, Reynad played a Control Paladin against J4CKIECHAN’s Midrange Druid. Reynad had a lot of powerful control cards, but he was unable to keep up with the power J4CKIECHAN managed to generate thanks to several lucky—or unlucky if you were supporting Team Light—jousts. Despite this, Reynad still nearly managed to come back in the game, but then J4CKIECHAN top-decked a Savage Roar to win the game and take the match 2-1.

The final round of the first day pitted Kripparrian, a streamer well known for his success in the Arena, against Dog, who is famous for not taking his shirt off. In the first game of this round, Kripparrian played a basic Zoo Warlock, while Dog ran the fourth Mech Mage of the day. This game was very back-and-forth until Dog pulled a Roaring Torch off the top of his deck at just the right time to win the match and take a lead in the series, 1-0.

The second game of the final round featured the first and only mirror match of the day, as two Mech Shamans went toe-to-toe. This should have meant that it would be a close game, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth, as Kripparrian shot off to an early lead and never looked back, tying up the series 1-1.

Mech Mage returned one last time for the final game of the day, as Kripparrian played it against Dog’s Aggro Warrior. In every game of the day up to this point, Mech Mage had easily triumphed over its opposition—however, after a pair of Kripparrian’s Spellslingers gave Dog the perfect cards for the situation at hand, the Aggro Warrior brought out Leeroy Jenkins to seal the game and take the series, 2-1.

Week 1 VOD —


Week 2:

The second week of Oktoberbrawl began on September 18th. This week, the contestants were given Whispers of the Old Gods and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan card packs to add to their arsenal, in preparation for the second grudge match, which took place on September 22nd.

In the first round of the second week, Reynad battled against Thijs in an attempt to reverse the course of the first week. At first, it looked like he’d succeed, as his Zoo Warlock got off to a quick start against the Mech Shaman Thijs was running. Unfortunately, however, Reynad ended up running out of steam about halfway through the match, and Team Void took a 1-0 lead in the series.

In the second game of the first round, Mech Mage returned once more, as Reynad took on a Control Paladin from Thijs. As Reynad had experienced in the first week, Mech Mage is very strong against Control Paladin, and he managed to defeat Thijs and tie the series, 1-1.

In the final match of the first round, Reynad brought out an Aggro Shaman against yet another Mech Mage. Mech Mage had only lost one game in this entire competition, and this success continued, as its powerful tempo plays drowned out Reynad’s minions to take the series 2-1.

With Thijs’s victory, Team Void had won 4 games in a row, which meant that it was up to Kripparrian to turn things around for Team Light against J4CKIECHAN. Fortunately, Kripparrian had the tools to do just that, as he brought out the Mech Mage once more against J4CKIECHAN’s Aggro Rogue. Like it had done so many times before, the Mech Mage absolutely dominated the match, and Kripparrian took the Rogue down to take an early 1-0 lead in the series.

In the second game of the round, Kripparrian ran a Mech Shaman against what appeared to be a Zoo Warlock. However, J4CKIECHAN’s deck soon showed its true face, as he played the infamous Renounce Darkness. Transforming all of the Warlock Cards in his deck into random Shaman cards that cost one less than normal, J4CKIECHAN attempted to out-tempo Kripparrian with a swarm of cheap cards. Unfortunately, J4CKIECHAN ended up drawing a bunch of low-impact cards, which led to Kripparrian taking the first series win for Team Light in a 2-0 victory.

In the final round of the second day, Alliestrasza took on Dog in a match that would determine who would win the week. In the first game, Mech Mage made yet another appearance, as Alliestrasza used it against Dog’s Aggro Shaman. Up to this point, Mech Mage had only lost one game in the entire competition, but Dog managed to out-tempo Alliestrasza in the early game, which led to her defeat.

Things were looking bad for Team Light, but then, Alliestrasza brought out a C’thun Druid against Dog’s Midrange Hunter. Thanks to the massive Taunt minions included in this deck—and the Coins from a Cutpurse she pulled out of a Piloted Shredder—Alliestrasza shut down Dog’s aggression and tied up the series 1-1.

In the final game of the second week, Alliestrasza played a Mech Hunter against Dog’s Mech Mage. One of the closest games of the entire competition so far, this match went back and forth between the two for several turns until Alliestrasza managed to secure the board with a Houndmastered Carrion Grub. Two turns later, she crushed the Mage with a charging King Krush, and she took the series 2-1 for Team Light.

Week 2 VOD —


Week Three:

The third week of the Oktoberbrawl started on September 25th, as cards from Journey to Un’Goro and Knights of the Frozen Throne were brought into the mix. Packs were opened, decks were modified, and then, on September 29th, the third grudge match began.

For the third week in a row, Reynad was the starter for Team Light, going up against Dog in the first round. In the first match of the day, Reynad played a Zoo Warlock against a Shaman Deck that the casters referred to as ‘Melting Pot Shaman’, because of all the different tribes it featured. Thanks to a wide selection of powerful early-game cards, Reynad shot off to a quick lead in this match, but Dog managed to come back (thanks to a pair of cheap Things From Below and an Invocation of Air from Kalimos), before sealing the match with an army of Totems to gain the series lead 1-0.

In the second game of the first round, Reynad played Mech Mage against a Control Paladin from Dog. In both of the occasions when this matchup had appeared in earlier weeks, it went very well for the Mech Mage, and this was no exception, as Reynad managed to take the game and tie up the series 1-1.

Mech Mage made yet another appearance in the final game of the first round, as Dog played it against a Control Warrior from Reynad. Back in the day, this was a fairly even matchup—however, in this game, Dog used a Micro-Machine to gain a quick damage advantage and he finished off his opponent on turn 6 with a Fireball-Frostbolt combo to take the first series 2-1.

With Reynad falling yet again, it was now time for the second round, where Alliestrasza took on J4CKIECHAN. In the first game, Alliestrasza brought out a Mech Shaman against a Midrange Token Paladin from J4CKIECHAN. Despite having better cards overall, Alliestrasza was unable to deal with the wide boards J4CKIECHAN created, and she ended up falling in defeat, which gave J4CKIECHAN a 1-0 lead in the series.

In the second game, Alliestrasza brought out her Midrange Mech Hunter from week two against J4CKIECHAN in the hopes of evening the series. Unfortunately, J4CKIECHAN decided to play a Mech Shaman, which absolutely tore apart the Midrange Hunter and gave Team Void the series win, 2-0.

These defeats put Team Light out of contention for the day, but there was still one round to go, as Thijs took on Kripparrian. In the first round of this final match, Thijs pulled out the Mech Handbuff Paladin against Kripparrian’s Mech Shaman. Thanks to an early Grimestreet Outfitter, Thijs was able to generate a lot of pressure early and nearly secure the game. At the last moment, however, Kripparrian used Thrall, Deathseer to turn an injured 6-mana minion into a charging Grommash Hellscream, which quickly won the game for the Shaman and put Kripparrian up 1-0.

In the next game, Thijs brought out a Control C’thun Druid in an attempt to control the game. This turned out to be utterly impossible, however, as Kripparrian fielded a heavily tuned Control Warlock that ran every board clear in the game, along with the mighty Lord Jaraxxus. Preventing Thijs from ever developing any kind of pressure, Kripparrian took complete control of the board and eventually took the game to win the series 2-0.

Even though Team Light had failed to win the day, Kripparrian had played really well yet again, which was a ray of hope for the future.

Week 3 VOD —


Week Four:

In week four—which began on October 2nd—the players did something different. Instead of getting cards from one of the expansions, the contestants were allowed to play one Adventure of their choice for a short period of time in an attempt to collect a few more powerful cards. For example, Kripparrian played through the first several wings of One Night in Karazhan, while Alliestrasza ran through League of Explorers.

The grudge match for week four occurred on October 6th, and the first round began with Kripparrian of Team Light battling against Dog from Team Void. In the first game of this round, Kripparrian decided to play a Control Priest with lots of healing, Taunts and board clears, while Dog used a basic Aggro Shaman. For a while, this game was very close, but eventually, Dog managed to break through Kripparrian’s wall to take him out and secure the lead in the series, 1-0.

The second game of the first round was a Warlock mirror match, as Kripparrian played his Control Warlock from week three against Dog’s Hobgoblin Warlock. Combining cheap cards such as the Murloc Tinyfin or the Wisp with the powerful Hobgoblin effect, Dog consistently got onto the board—only to be driven off by Kripparrian’s powerful board clears. For a while, Dog tried to hang in the game, but it wasn’t long before he ran out of resources and was defeated, evening the series to 1-1.

In the third game of the first round, Mech Mage popped its head up once again in opposition to Kripparian’s Mech Shaman. For a match between two Aggro Decks, this game was actually surprisingly back and forth, until Dog finally secured the game with a Fireball and Fireblast combo to take the series 2-1.

In the second series of the day, Reynad took on Thijs in a rematch of the first week of the competition. In the first round of the match, Reynad brought out the Mech Mage against a Mech Shaman from Thijs. While Mech Mage is very strong at getting onto the board, it also struggles heavily if it ever runs out of resources, which is a situation Reynad found himself In about halfway through the game. Overwhelmed by Thijs’s big minions, Reynad attempted to fight back, but it wasn’t good enough, and he went down thanks to a top-decked Fire Elemental.

This put Team Void up 1-0 in the standings for this game, but Reynad wasn’t done yet, as he brought an Aggro Shaman to battle against Thijs’s Control Paladin. Despite an early lead in this game, however, Reynad just wasn’t able to maintain his control of the board (an issue that plagued him throughout the entire event), and he was eventually taken down by Thijs, who went 2-0 in the series.

In the final round of the fourth week, Alliestrasza took on J4CKIECHAN, who was trying out something a bit different with these decks. In the first game, Alliestrasza ran a Reno Paladin against a Control Priest from J4CKIECHAN in what was probably the slowest game of the entire event. Lasting for more than twenty minutes, it went all the way into fatigue before Alliestrasza was finally defeated, and J4CKIECHAN jumped to a 1-0 lead in the series.

In the second-to-last game of the final regular day, Alliestrasza pulled out the Mech Mage one last time, while J4CKIECHAN played a Control Druid of some kind. Unlike in the previous game, however, J4CKIECHAN ran out of ways to deal with Alliestrasza’s minions, and he was beaten into submission by a tide of damage, tying up the series 1-1.

With all these games in the book, it was now time for the final match of the fourth week. Alliestrasza was all ready for this, as she brought out a Reno Control Paladin. After week two, everyone was expecting some kind of crazy antics from J4CKIECHAN, so there weren’t that many that were surprised when he brought Renounce Darkness once again. However, when J4CKIECHAN transformed into a Shaman and actually began winning the game, everything changed.

Alliestrasza was simply unable to keep up with the high tempo J4CKIECHAN was managed to put out, so in the end, he and his Renounce Darkness Warlock managed to take Alliestrasza down and secure the 2-1 victory over Team Light.

Week 4 VOD —



Even though Team Void was ahead 3-1 in the weekly grudge matches, they had not yet won the tournament. If they truly wanted to triumph in the Oktoberbrawl, they would have to defeat the members of Team Light in one last match at TwitchCon, which would take place on October 20th.

Both teams were gearing up for this final confrontation, but then, a real-life disaster struck for Team Light. On October 17th, just days before the final matches of Oktoberbrawl, Kripparrian—who up to this point had been the one bright spot on his team—came down with a case of acute appendicitis. Fortunately, he was able to get to the hospital before any permanent damage was done, but this meant that he would be unable to travel to TwitchCon for the championship.

Team Light was forced to scramble for a worthy replacement for the Arena Master, and they found it in the form of Disguised Toast. One of, if not the most popular Hearthstone streamer on Twitch right now, Disguised Toast was the perfect choice to take Kripparrian’s place.

On October 20th, the final showdown between Team Light and Team Void began. Now, in this final best of three, there was an added twist thrown in. For every week that a team won, they’d get to give a member of the opposing team a sabotage. As Team Void had won the opening rounds 3-1, they got to give all three members of Team Light a sabotage, while Team Light only had one to apply to Team Void.

In the first game of the Oktoberbrawl Championships, Reynad ran a Control Rogue against Dog’s Hobgoblin Warlock. Team Light used their only sabotage in this game (forcing Dog to dress as a Murloc while playing) while Team Void used the first of their three (by making Reynad play with heavy gauntlets).

Dog got off to a quick start in this game, playing a Hobgoblin and three 1-attack minions on turn three for a very powerful board. Unable to deal with this board, Reynad took a lot of damage up to turn 6, when he used a Gadgetzan Auctioneer and a bunch of 0-mana spells to deal with Dog’s board. Unfortunately, Dog was able to build up a board once more, and he dropped Reynad all the way to 2 health—but then, Reynad pulled out the Yogg-Saron.

In a flurry of spells, Yogg-Saron destroyed Dog’s biggest minion and cleared the rest of his board (with the exception of a 0/2 Nat Pagle). Things were looking great for Reynad, but then, with the final spell, Yogg-Saron gave Dog’s Nat Pagle a Blessing of Kings. Reynad had no way to clear the now 4/6 minion, and he ended up losing on the following turn, giving Team Void the lead, 1-0.

In the second game of the championship, Disguised Toast took on J4CKIECHAN. Playing in place of Kripparrian, Disguised Toast brought out the Control Warlock, while J4CKIECHAN played his Renounce Darkness Warlock. Team Void also applied the second of their three sabotages in this game, which meant that Disguised Toast was only given thirty seconds to play each turn.

This game started slowly enough, but the excitement factor jumped to eleven on turn four, as J4CKIECHAN played Renounce Darkness and transformed his Warlock deck into a Priest deck. Leveraging the tempo lead gained by the reduced cost of his Priest cards, J4CKIECHAN took control of the board for a bit, but then, Toast managed to clear his minions with the help of Mogor the Ogre and a powerful Defile.

A couple turns later, Disguised Toast transformed his hero into Lord Jaraxxus, only to discover that J4CKIECHAN had a few surprises of his own. Using Shadowform (the Classic card, not the Knights of the Frozen Throne Hero Card), J4CKIECHAN began chipping away at Jaraxxus’ health, while using some board clears stolen from Disguised Toast’s deck to help defend against the Infernals summoned by Jaraxxus’ Hero Power. For several turns, it was a very tight game, but then, J4CKIECHAN failed to make the correct read on the potential burst damage in Disguised Toast’s hand, and he was defeated.

With the series tied 1-1, everything came down to the final game, where Thijs’s Control Paladin faced off against Alliestrasza’s Burn Mage. Using their third and final sabotage, Team Void forced Alliestrasza to say a Mage emote at the beginning of every turn. Fortunately, Alliestrasza was up to the task, ably reciting Jaina’s emotes as she progressed through the game.

Starting out strong, Alliestrasza seized control of the board, using her hero power and cheap removal spells such as Flamecannon to deal with Thijs’s minions. Moving into the mid-game, she started playing Ethereal Conjurer’s to discover more spells and reload her hand in preparation for a late-game Antonidas.

Unfortunately, this is where everything went wrong. Thijs was able to get a Bonemare on the board, which he promptly buffed into a 10/10 with Blessing of Kings. Alliestrasza managed to deal with this minion by freezing it with a Frost Bolt, but this was only a temporary solution, as Thijs built up a massive board with Sunkeeper Tarim. Alliestrasza did everything she could, but it wasn’t enough, and in the end, she fell to the relentless onslaught from Thijs.

With this victory, Team Void won the series and the entire Oktoberbrawl. Despite their defeat in the end, however, Team Light played really well, and overall, this was one of the most entertaining Hearthstone tournaments that I’ve seen. Hopefully, Blizzard takes some cues from this when designing events in the future (although preferably without requiring players to buy into Twitch Prime), as it could open up a lot of fun options!

TwitchCon VOD — (Starts 32 minutes in)

Quests vs. Death Knights

The most iconic cards of their respective expansions, the Quests from Journey to Un’Goro and the Death Knight Hero Cards from Knights of the Frozen Throne are very similar in concept. The Quests are class-specific Legendary Spells that completely define the decks they’re played in, while the Death Knight cards are class-specific Legendary Hero Cards (a new type of card) that are the cornerstone of their decks.

Because of these traits, both Quests and Death Knights have played a pivotal role in many of the decks that have appeared recently. As a result, there’s only one question left to be asked: which type of card is better? To answer this important question, I’m going to compare Quests and Death Knights in several different categories in order to see which of them is truly the most powerful card type in Hearthstone.


The Basics

Quests: One-Mana Legendary Spells, Quests always start in your opening hand so they can be played on turn one. Depending on which of the nine Quests you’re running, you’ll then have to accomplish a specific goal—such as discard 6 cards or play 7 minions with Taunt—in order to receive a powerful reward. These rewards are 5-mana cards (with the exception of the Warrior quest reward) which do incredible things.

Death Knights: Legendary Hero Cards, the Death Knights range in cost from 5-mana to 10-mana. When played, the Death Knight will actually replace your current hero, grant you 5 armor, change your hero power into something new, and somehow affect the board state in a major way (such as equipping a powerful weapon or summoning all of your Demons that died so far in the game).


Power Level

Quests: The most powerful Quests are Fire Plume’s Heart and Open the Waygate. The rewards you receive from these Quests (Sulfuras and Time Warp, respectively) are incredibly powerful and are their decks’ main win conditions. The Caverns Below used to be on this tier as well, until it got hit by the nerf bat and dropped out of contention.

As good as these Quests are, however, some of the others are on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Lakkari Sacrifice (the Warlock Quest), Jungle Giants (the Druid Quest) and The Marsh Queen (the Hunter Quest) are all easy enough to complete, but their rewards are very weak. The Imps generated from the Nether Portal (Lakkari Sacrifice’s reward) die too easily to board clears or zoo decks, and while the 5-mana 8/8 stats of Queen Carnassa and Barnabus (the rewards for The Marsh Queen and Jungle Giants, respectively) are kind of good, their effects just aren’t very strong.

Finally, in between these six quests, there are three more (The Last Kaleidosaur, Awaken the Makers and Unite the Murlocs) which are neither insanely strong nor very weak. While the rewards from Awaken the Makers and Unite the Murlocs are good, they aren’t really game-winning. As for The Last Kaleidosaur, while Galvadon (the reward) is incredibly strong, the Quest itself is difficult to complete reliably. As a result, these three Quests—while not as useless as Lakkari Sacrifice, Jungle Giants or The Marsh Queen—aren’t the type of cards you’d run in top tier decks.

Death Knights: While only one of the Death Knights (Shadowreaper Anduin) possesses the game-ending power of Open the Waygate or Fire Plume’s Heart, all of the Death Knights are strong in their own ways. Bloodreaver Gul’dan, Malfurion the Pestilent and Frost Lich Jaina grant their users board presence and late-game healing; Uther of the Ebon Blade and Scourgelord Garrosh receive powerful weapons; Deathstalker Rexxar and Valeera the Hollow gain infinite (or near-infinite) value; and Thrall, Deathseer grants some cheap, early-game tempo.

All of these cards are very good for their mana cost, which means that they can all be safely run in nearly every deck that isn’t an aggro deck.

Winner: Tie. While the high-end Quests are more powerful than the Death Knights, most of the Quests are a bit worse. As a result, the average power level of the two types of cards is about the same.


Required Deck Dedication

Quests: By their very design, Quests require a lot of deck dedication. If you want to complete Open the Waygate, you’ll need to include lots of ways to get additional Spells, while if you’re playing Fire Plume’s Heart, you’ll need to add lots of Taunt minions. As a result, you can’t just add a Quest to your deck—you have to build your deck specifically around it.

Death Knights: Unlike Quests, most of the Death Knights require little to no deck dedication. Of course, there are things you can do to make them work better, such as include lots of cheap cards for Shadowreaper Anduin or toss in a bunch of Demons for Bloodreaver Gul’dan, but even these cards are pretty good without any support.

Winner: Death Knights. You can slot Death Knights into nearly every non-aggressive deck, which makes them a bit more versatile.



Quests: While the Quests only cost one Mana, their main cost is in cards. By keeping a Quest in your opening hand, you’re reducing the number of tools you have to work with in the early game. In some cases, this won’t make much of a difference, but in many cases (especially when playing against aggressive decks), sacrificing that card can cost you the game.

Death Knights: Death Knights cost a lot more than Quests, with the cheapest (Thrall, Deathseer) costing 5 Mana and the most expensive (Bloodreaver Gul’dan) priced at 10 Mana. Despite this, however, Death Knights don’t cost a card in your opening hand (unless you happen to pull them after the Mulligan), which means that they don’t hamper your early game while still being available late.

Winner: Death Knights. The cost in card advantage that you pay for Quests is usually more harmful than the cost in Mana paid for Death Knights.



Quests: Because they start in your hand, getting Quests into play is incredibly easy. The trick comes in trying to complete them. For some of the Quests, such as Fire Plume’s Heart, it’s pretty easy to get all the cards you need; on the other hand, Quests like The Last Kaleidosaur can be very difficult to complete. On the whole, however, Quests are usually pretty consistent from game to game.

Death Knights: Because they don’t start in your opening hand, Death Knights can be a bit hit or miss. Fortunately, because most of them are late-game cards, you have a bit of time to go through your deck to look for them. Even with this caveat, however, Death Knights are still a bit less consistent than the Quests.

Winner: Quests. While Death Knights can be drawn with time, they can’t beat the reliability of always having your Quest in your opening hand.


Free-to-Play Viability

Quests: Because of how dependent Quests are on having just the right synergies to work with them, you’ll need to craft a lot of (potentially very expensive) cards in order to get the most out of the Legendary Spells.

Death Knights: Because of their versatility, Death Knights can be run in any deck, even if you have nothing but Basic Cards. This means that players without any money can easily build good decks around any of the Death Knights they open.

Winner: Death Knights. Unlike Quests, Death Knights can be used without any supporting cards, which makes them a lot more viable for Free-to-Play players.



Even though Quests have the potential to be a bit more powerful, most of them fail to live up to their expectations. Only two of the nine Quests are actually playable in reasonably high-tier decks, and those require a large amount of supporting cards. On the other hand, all nine of the Death Knights are powerful and are all viable on the ladder. In addition, Death Knights—while not quite as consistent as Quests—cost fewer resources to play, and are much easier for Free-to-Play players to build decks around.

The Grand Winner: Death Knights


So, what do you think of this competition? Do you agree that the Death Knights are the more powerful cornerstone cards, or are you a fan of the Quests? Tell me what you think in the comments below, and I’ll see you on the ladder!

Gamescom 2017 Highlights

Gamescom, one of the largest European gaming conventions, has been going on for several days at this point, featuring huge announcements from many different gaming companies. On Wednesday, it was Blizzard’s turn, and they did not disappoint. New content was revealed for nearly every one of their major franchises, all of which I’ll cover in the sections below.



Knights of the Frozen Throne was released just a few weeks ago, so no one was really expecting any real announcements—which meant that everyone was surprised when the Hearthstone team debuted a new cinematic entitled “Hearth and Home”.

In this cinematic, a young girl named Ava finds a Hearthstone box on the ground in a frozen forest. Upon touching the box, Ava is teleported to the Hearthstone Inn, where she is met by a large cast of friendly characters, who tell her that ‘Hearthstone is Home’. This cinematic is of a much higher quality than the previous Hearthstone animations, and according to the Hearthstone team, several more videos and comics featuring these characters will be released in the months to come.

Heroes of the Storm

It’d been several weeks since Garrosh was released, which meant that Heroes of the Storm was due for another character. Due to the prominence of Gamescom, everyone was hoping that we’d get a famous character, and we were not disappointed, as the Archlich Kel’thuzad was revealed to be the next hero coming to Heroes of the Storm!

In addition to the arrival of this powerful new hero, Heroes of the Storm will also be getting several new skins (Dreadlord Jaina, Death Knight Sonya and Crypt Queen Zagara) and a new event, the Call of Kel’thuzad. During this event, players will be able to unlock several brand new cosmetic items by securing 30, 60 or 90 takedowns in Heroes of the Storm Matches.

Finally, it was announced that Blizzard will be releasing a 5-part documentary entitled ‘Resurrecting Kel’thuzad’, which will show much of the process involved in bringing this much-loved character to Heroes of the Storm.


Overwatch also got quite a lot of content, including a pair of new animated shorts and a brand new map! The map, Junkertown, is set in Australia, and showcases the home of everyone’s favorite criminal duo, Junkrat and Roadhog. Junkertown is an Escort map that starts in the Australian desert before entering a futuristic domed city full of guns and gold.

To go along with this new map, we got a new animated short entitled “Junkertown: The Plan”. This short is more of a trailer than an actual animated short—as its quality isn’t quite as good as that of the other cinematics—but it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

In addition, we got a second animated short called “Rise and Shine”, which features Mei, the Chinese climatologist. Unlike “Junkertown: The Plan”, “Rise and Shine” is an actual cinematic, and it shows what happened to Mei after she was woken up from her cryosleep.


StarCraft announced a brand new Co-op Commander in the form of Dehaka, the Primal Zerg leader. Like most of the other Zerg commanders, Dehaka appears as a hero on the battlefield, and while he starts out on the weak side, if he can consume enough of his enemy’s essence he will quickly turn into an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction. In addition, Dehaka commands large packs of Primal Zerg, which he can use to destroy his enemies while he builds his own strength.

World of Warcraft

Some people were hoping that the next expansion for World of Warcraft would be announced at Gamescom, but it was not to be, as we instead got a detailed description of Patch 7.3. In this patch—which is entitled “Shadows of Argus”—we are going to travel to the Legion’s homeworld and end their threat once and for all.

At Gamescom, we learned about all the story elements coming in this patch, such as the three new zones on Argus (Krokuun, Mac’Aree and the Antoran Wastes) and the two new factions, the Army of the Light and the Argussian Reach. Both of these factions have a large number of special items you can purchase from them as your reputation goes up, so grinding reputation with them will bea  top priority.

The game will also be getting a new feature called Invasion Points, where players can use large portals to teleport to Legion-controlled worlds and battle the demons there. These worlds include a Blood World, a Fire World, an Ice World and a March World, and if you can defeat all the demons on these planets, you’ll receive powerful items as a reward.

In addition, a new progression system will be coming in 7.3, which will allow you to empower your relics with the aid of a device called the Netherlight Crucible. This means that players will be able to modify their artifact relics, which should help to improve the power-level of previously weak relics.

Finally, World of Warcraft will be getting a new dungeon (Seat of the Triumvirate) and a new raid (Antorus, the Burning Throne), which will be coming out some time after the patch releases on the 29th of August.


Overall, there was a lot of really exciting stuff announced at Gamescom, and I can’t wait to check it all out! What do you all think of these exciting announcements? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Knights of the Frozen Throne Deck Experiments

The Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion is here, and I’ve already started work on new decks. So far, I’ve tried out several different decks and archetypes, to varying degrees of success. These are the decks I’ve created so far, as well as my thoughts on how they performed.


Freeze Shaman

Originally, I was planning to start with a Paladin deck of some kind, but then I opened both Moorabi and Thrall, Deathseer in my first few packs, I decided that I had no choice but to build a Freeze Shaman deck. Tossing in all the new Freeze cards (along with some older ones), I tried to see if the deck would work out.

At first, things went pretty well—a lot of the decks I was matched up against were Midrange, minion-based archetypes (such as Paladin and Enrage Warrior), and I easily defeated them. Things were looking great…but then I started running into the spell-centric control decks (like Freeze Mage), and things started to go downhill.

Unlike most Shaman decks, Freeze Shaman has no way to put pressure on the enemy hero outside of Bloodlust or the new Snowfury Giant. This means that, while they can eventually chip down most Midrange or Aggressive decks, Freeze Shaman has a lot of trouble against any kind of Control deck, which is what 90% of players appear to be running at the moment.

As a result, Freeze Shaman is an unpredictable deck to play at the moment. Once the meta settles, it could actually be worth playing, but for now, it’s best left to the casuals.

The Upsides: Very strong against Aggressive and Midrange decks, as it can stall and clear enemy boards for a very long time.

The Downsides: Very weak against Control decks, as it has no way to threaten lethal.

The Interesting: In one game against a Death Knight Paladin, I stole his Tirion twice with Moorabi before turning it into a Frog. I won the game a couple turns later.


Discard Warlock

Back in Journey to Un’Goro, I attempted to make a Discard Warlock—but it failed, miserably. With Knights of the Frozen Throne, however, I decided to give the archetype another go (a decision that was perhaps influenced a bit by the fact that I pulled Blood Queen Lana’thel from one of my preorder packs), and it actually worked out pretty well.

Discard Warlock has always had some trouble clearing enemy minions, but thanks to the presence of new cards like Defile and the Despicable Dreadlord, I found it a lot easier to maintain control of the board. As for Blood Queen Lana’thel, she turned out to be surprisingly good in any matchup against Aggressive or Midrange decks, as she almost always healed my hero for 6-10 health before getting killed.

Unfortunately, Discard Warlock is still pretty bad against Control decks, but even these matches are winnable thanks to the endless value of Lord Jaraxxus and the Nether Portal. As a result, the deck actually did pretty well overall, and helped me to climb several steps up the ladder.

The Upsides: Very strong against Aggressive and Midrange decks, as it has several strong Taunt minions and some powerful healing in the midgame.

The Downsides: Somewhat weak against Control Decks. In addition, if you get unlucky with Discards, the deck will suddenly become laughably bad.

The Interesting: In one game against a Rogue, I was at 4 health, but then the Rogue used Betrayal on my 7-attack Blood Queen Lana’thel. Lana’thel proceeded to kill off two of my weaker minions and healing me for 14, which put me out of range of the Rogue’s attacks.


Enrage Warrior

After playing a game where I discarded my Lord Jaraxxus, Blood Queen Lana’thel and both of my Despicable Dreadlords in a single turn, I was feeling pretty angry, so I decided to go play Enrage Warrior. Sadly, I had not opened the new Warrior Hero, Scourgelord Garrosh, but I had collected Rotface (the new Warrior Legendary) and most of the new Enrage-synergy cards, so it wasn’t long before I had made a complete deck.

Thrilled with my new creation, I headed into ranked—and things did not go well. My early game minions were often too weak to contest the board against my foe’s plays, so I was never able to get a large enough board to take advantage of powerful Midrange minions like the Dark Revenant. Then, in the late-game, I attempted to use Rotface to gain tempo, but in most cases, he failed to really accomplish anything.

It should be noted, however, that I do not own either Scourgelord Garrosh or the Classic Legendary Grommash Hellscream. As a result, I ran out of plays in the late-game, a situation that could have been rectified by either of these minions. As a result, I don’t want to completely write the deck off—but I will say that if you want to play the deck, you’ll need to be prepared to spend some dust.

The Upsides: Can occasionally beat other Midrange deck. I wouldn’t count on it though.

The Downsides: Loses to pretty much everything.

The Interesting: If you’re somewhat lucky, Rotface can have some very interesting results. For example, there were a few games where I ended up with four or five powerful Legendary minions on the board.


Handbuff Paladin

First introduced in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, the Handbuff Paladin Archetype focuses on using cards such as the Grimestreet Enforcer and Smuggling Run to increase the power of its hand. Back in Mean Streets, the archetype was absolute garbage, and any Paladins who attempted to make it work were quickly driven out of town in defeat.

In Un’Goro, the archetype had a couple bright moments, but it was too weak against Aggressive decks such as the omnipresent Pirate Warrior to actually accomplish a whole lot. With the arrival of Knights of the Frozen Throne, however, the meta has—at least temporarily—slowed down quite a bit, which gives Handbuff Paladin a chance to thrive.

Using the classic Handbuff cards mentioned above, along with new cards such as Bolvar, Fireblood and Uther of the Ebon Blade, I brought the deck into standard—and actually had a surprising amount of success. Thanks to the increased power of minions affected by the Handbuffs, the deck performed very well against other Midrange decks. In addition, I also won several games against Aggro decks like Pirate Warrior, as the Lifesteal effects from cards such as the Chillblade Champion or Corpsetaker allowed me to outheal the incoming damage.

As for Control Decks, the matchups are often relatively even. Against most variants of Control, Handbuff Paladin actually performs pretty well, but it really struggles against any type of Control Priest deck, as they have too many ways to Destroy or Silence large minions.

The Upsides: Is very strong against other Midrange decks, and is slightly favored against Aggressive and Control decks.

The Downsides: Is very weak against Control Priest, which is seeing a bit of play in the meta right now.

The Interesting: Prince Keleseth (the 2-mana Legendary who gives all the other minions in your deck +1/+1 if you don’t have any other 2-cost cards) is surprisingly good in this deck. This is because the deck doesn’t normally run any 2-mana cards, so Keleseth can always get his Battlecry off.


Evolve Shaman

As noted above, my first attempt to create a viable Shaman deck failed pretty badly. Freeze Shaman, while a fun enough deck to play, just isn’t strong enough in the current meta to overcome everything that is stacked against it. Freeze Shaman isn’t the only Shaman archetype to come out of Knights of the Frozen Throne, however, which is why I turned my attention to Evolve Shaman.

Starting with the new Shaman Hero Card (Thrall, Deathseer) I added as many Evolution synergy cards as I could, such as the Dopplegangster from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and the Saronite Chain Gang from Knights of the Frozen Throne. Finally, I added a pair of Bloodlusts (for the finishing burst), and I headed into Standard to see how it would go.

I started playing around rank 15, and after playing ten or more games, I was still at rank 15. This was due to the fact that Evolve Shaman—while a lot of fun to play if it works out correctly—is incredibly inconsistent. In several of the games I played, I didn’t draw into any of my Evolution cards, and even when I did, I often struggled to develop a board that could be Evolved. As a result, I ended up losing just over half of the games I played, which means that ultimately, the deck was unsuccessful.

It should be noted, however, that a large part of my strugglers were due to terrible draws or bad Evolves. In the games where these random effects actually worked out correctly, I had a lot more success (and a lot of fun). Because of these factors, I wouldn’t completely discount this deck yet, but I also wouldn’t recommend playing it if you solely are interested in climbing the ladder.

The Upsides: Can be very strong if the draws work out, and if you pull off a monster Evolve it’s one of the coolest things in the game.

The Downsides: If the draws or Evolves don’t work out, the deck is incredibly weak, and will lose to nearly everything.

The Interesting: I created all kinds of crazy minions with the evolution effects, and ultimately had a lot of fun.


These are the main decks I’ve been playing so far. Most of them aren’t particularly good, but despite that, they’ve all been a lot of fun to play. As a result, I’d highly recommend you play as much Hearthstone as you can in the next week or so, because this is one of the most fun opening week metas I’ve ever played in!

Knights of the Frozen Throne Meta Predictions

The Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion has nearly arrived, but before it does, I thought I’d write down my thoughts on what I think the meta will become in the next few weeks.



Druid is a class that has had many identities over the years. Back in Classic, the main focus of Druid was around cheating out large minions with mana-ramping cards such as Wild Growth or Innervate. Then, after all the nerfs before Whispers of the Old Gods came out, Druids began experimenting with token decks such as Egg Druid. These token deck worked great up until Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, when the Jade Golem archetype appeared.

Since then, the meta has been about evenly split between Jade Druid and Token Druid, but now, with the arrival of Knights of the Frozen Throne—honestly, I don’t think anything is going to change. From everything that I’ve seen, it looks like we’re going to be heading for a more control-centric meta, a meta that Jade Druid excels against, thanks to its ability to generate insane value over time.

In addition, a lot of the new cards coming in KotFT fit very well into a Token Druid deck (Crypt Lord, Fatespinner and Strongshell Scavenger seem particularly interesting), which should help the deck survive the coming weeks. The new Druid Hero Card (Malfurion the Pestilent) also seems like it could be good in a Token-style deck, but its 7-mana cost may make it a bit too clunky for some of the more streamlined lists.

On the other hand, the Taunt Druid archetype that Blizzard seems to be pushing is unlikely to work well. Despite the power Hadronox (the new Legendary minion) potentially represents, it’s still just a 9-mana 3/7 when you play it, which is very weak in comparison to what a Jade Druid could drop. In addition, a lot of Druid’s most powerful Taunt minions (such as Ancient of War and Druid of the Claw) don’t actually count as Taunt minions, which severely dampens the card’s potential power.

The Decks We Will See: Jade Druid, Token Druid

The Decks We Won’t See: Taunt Druid

Cards to Watch Out For: Strongshell Scavenger, Crypt Lord

Notes: If Jade Druid becomes too common, it’s possible that other decks will start running Skulking Geist, which will cause Jade Druid to become unplayable.



“If the face goes Taunt, me still go face,” has been the cry of Hunters everywhere ever since Hearthstone launched several years ago. Since then, Blizzard has done everything in its power to push the deck towards a Control archetype, but up until now, nothing they’ve tried has succeeded. With the arrival of Knights of the Frozen Throne, however, it appears that Control Hunter might finally be a thing.

Thanks to cards such as Deathstalker Rexxar and Professor Putricide, Hunter finally has a way to generate value, which is something they’ve always lacked. In addition, they have gained some powerful new board clears (such as the Exploding Bloatbat and Deathstalker Rexxar’s Battlecry), some single-target removal (Toxic Arrow), and even a way to heal (Bloodworm). Will it be enough to push Control Hunter over the edge into the realm of playability? I think it will be.

The Decks We Will See: Control Hunter, Midrange Hunter

The Decks We Won’t See: Face Hunter

Cards to Watch Out For: Deathstalker Rexxar, Professor Putricide, Bloodworm

Notes: Bloodworm is very interesting in this deck, because while it isn’t strictly a Hunter Card, it is a Beast, which means that Hunters could use cards like Houndmaster to transform it into a genuinely powerful way to heal themselves.



In the recent Journey to Un’Goro expansion, Mage was given two new archetypes to play with: Elemental Mage and Quest Mage. Both failed miserably at the time, but now, thanks to Knights of the Frozen Throne, it appears that they might have received a second chance at viability.

The new Mage Hero Card, Frost Lich Jaina, causes all your Elementals to gain Lifesteal. Now, at first, this might sound somewhat underpowered, but you have to remember that Mage is a class without any natural way to heal in the Standard Format. With Frost Lich Jaina, however, suddenly, every Elemental represents a few points of healing, which is something that cannot be overstated.

As for Quest Mage, the vast numbers of new Freeze effects that are being added will buy Mages the time they need to get their Quest complete, at which point they are free to destroy their opponents however they see fit.

As for the other, more common Mage decks (such as Secret Mage and the old Freeze Mage), there’s a good chance that they’ll all survive, as they’re getting a lot of support in the upcoming expansion. Overall, things are really looking up, which means that it should be a great time to be a Mage.

The Decks We Will See: Elemental Mage, Quest Mage, Secret Mage, Freeze Mage.

The Decks We Won’t See: Mech Mage, because it doesn’t exist anymore.

Cards to Watch Out For: Frost Lich Jaina

Notes: Sindragosa (the new Mage Legendary) seems interesting, but it’s unlikely to see a lot of play, as it doesn’t really fit into any of the currently established archetypes.



In the days before Journey to Un’Goro, Paladin was a dumpster-tier class. The handbuff mechanic introduced in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan had utterly failed, and the old Control Paladin archetypes were useless against the dangers of Pirate Warrior. With the arrival of JUG, however, Paladin’s fortunes were completely reversed thanks to the addition of powerful cards such as Sunkeeper Tarim, Spikeridged Steed and Vinecleaver. Now, Paladin is one of the top decks in the game, and this will not change in Knights of the Frozen Throne.

Uther of the Ebon Blade (the new Hero Card for Paladin) is one of—if not the—strongest Hero Card coming to the game, as it makes decks such as Control Paladin and Midrange Paladin even harder to kill. Meanwhile, Paladins are receiving a host of new Divine Shield minions (including Bolvar, Fireblood, the new Legendary), which should make their ability to control a board even stronger than before.

As for Aggro Paladin, there are a lot of people who believe that these decks are going to become even stronger. I would heartily disagree, however, as I think the meta is going to become such that Aggressive Paladins have trouble maintaining a board. Without the reach that decks such as Pirate Hunter or Face Shaman have, Paladins won’t be able to close out games, and they’ll lose a lot more games than they win.

The Decks We Will See: Control Paladin, Divine Shield Paladin

The Decks We Won’t See: Aggro Paladin, Murloc Paladin

Cards to Watch Out For: Uther of the Ebon Blade, Blackguard

Notes: A lot of people don’t think Bolvar, Fireblood will amount to anything, but I don’t think it can be written off quite yet, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up being one of the best cards in Paladin.



While Priests are supposed to be associated with healing, they have always had a knack for stealing their opponents’ cards, a skill that has been turned up to 11 in Knights of the Frozen Throne. With cards such as Devour Mind, Embrace Darkness and Archbisop Benedictus, Priests are able to rob their opponents of more cards than ever before.

At first glance, this might not seem like a good thing, but then you have to remember the power level of the cards we’re going to be looking at. Knights of the Frozen Throne is bringing a large number incredibly strong cards (including the Hero Cards) to the table, all of which Priests would be glad to get their hands on. As a result, a lot of these theft cards (especially Devour Mind) seem like they might actually make a pretty large difference in the meta to come.

In addition, the new Priest Hero Card, Shadowreaper Anduin, is exactly what the Shadow Priest decks have always been looking for. Providing a way to control the board that was previously difficult to obtain in Shadow Priest, this card could make the low-tier deck actually viable.

The Decks We Will See: Control Priest, Steal Priest, Shadow Priest

The Decks We Won’t See: Dragon Priest

Cards to Watch Out For: Shadowreaper Anduin, Devour Mind

Notes: A lot of people are predicting that Priest will be the best class in the upcoming, and honestly, I think they might be right.



For the past several expansions, Rogue has been suffering a bit of an identity crisis. Unlike most of the other classes, Rogue hasn’t had a solidifying theme in years, and while Quest Rogue was a decent deck, it sprang out of a single Rogue card from Un’Goro, and only used one or two others. In Knights of the Frozen Throne, this unfortunate trend appears to have been stopped, as Rogues got a lot of cards dealing with weapons.

With the Shadowblade (a new weapon), Leeching Poison (a weapon modifier) Doomerang (a Spell that uses your equipped weapon to take out minions) and even more, it appears that Rogue is heavily invested in a weapon archetype…which is unfortunate, because weapon decks have never worked out well.

As long as cards such as the Acidic Swamp Ooze exist, weapons are going to get destroyed, no matter how much you buff them. As a result, a weapon-based Rogue deck is simply too difficult to make much use of, so many of these cards will likely be pointless.

That doesn’t mean that Rogue is completely useless, however, as they got some very powerful cards in the form of their Hero Card (Valeera the Hollow) and their Legendary Minion (Lilian Voss). Both cards work very well in a Spell-centric Miracle deck, which could turn out to be very good in the upcoming meta. As a result, Rogue shouldn’t be written off quite yet, though I wouldn’t advise putting too much faith in them in the first few weeks.

The Decks We Will See: Miracle Rogue

The Decks We Won’t See: Weapon Rogue

Cards to Watch Out For: Valeera the Hollow, Lilian Voss

Notes: The cards from Un’Goro that generate the 1-mana Razorleaf Spells synergize very well with Lilian Voss, as they provide lots of Spells for her to transform.



Shamans are well known as the masters of the Elements, and so in Journey to Un’Goro, they got lots of Elementals. Unfortunately, the Elemental Tribe turned out to be useless, so Shaman was kind of out of luck. Learning from their mistakes, the Hearthstone Team completely abandoned the Elemental Tribe for Knights of the Frozen Throne, and instead focused around Freeze Effects.

From minions that freeze others (like the Brrrloc and the Voodoo Hexxer) to spells that freeze minions and buff them (Cryostasis) to minions that add frozen minions to your hand (Moorabi), Shaman is getting a lot of Freeze effects. Despite all these new cards, however, one question still remains: is Freeze Shaman good? Honestly, I have to say no.

In-and-of-itself, the deck isn’t bad, but there are way too many cards that have a very weak statline to compensate for their ability to Freeze. This just isn’t good enough (generally speaking), and when the deck’s new Legendary minion is a 6-mana 4/4, you know you’re in trouble.

On the other hand, the new Hero Card (Thrall, Deathseer) actually looks pretty good, and it will likely be a staple in many of the Evolve Shaman decks (which are actually quite prevalent). As a result, Shaman isn’t completely dead yet—but they didn’t do too well in this set either.

The Decks We Will See: Evolve Shaman

The Decks We Won’t See: Freeze Shaman, Evolution Shaman

Cards to Watch Out For: Thrall, Deathseer

Notes: In addition to Thrall, Deathseer, Evolve Shaman got several new cards that support the archetype, such as the Saronite Chain Gang, a pair of 4-mana 2/3 Taunts that turn into 6-mana minions when Thrall, Deathseer Evolves them.



For the longest time, Warlock was king. If it wasn’t Handlock destroying enemy boards, it was Zoolock flooding them or Renolock healing out of their range. Things were good for Gul’dan—but then, the Year of the Mammoth arrived. Many of Warlock’s best cards rotated out, and in exchange, they got the Discard mechanic…which is absolutely terrible.

The Legendary minion and Quest from Un’Goro were both unplayable during the Journey to Un’Goro meta. With the arrival of Knights of the Frozen Throne, however, the time has come to see if Discard will actually be a viable strategy. To be honest, I highly doubt it, but time will tell.

In the meantime, Warlocks actually got a very good Hero Card. Bloodreaver Gul’dan (which resummons all the Demons that died this game) is a very strong card for rebuilding a fallen board state, and it also has a lot of tools dedicated to keeping the Warlock alive. In addition, Warlocks got one of the most powerful AOE spells in the game (Defile), which means that Gul’dan might actually regain a semblance of his former power in the upcoming patch.

The Decks We Will See: Control Warlock

The Decks We Won’t See: Discard Warlock

Cards to Watch Out For: Bloodreaver Gul’dan

Notes: The Despicable Dreadlord is also a very strong new card, and since it’s a Demon, it synergizes well with the new Hero Card.



“Aaargh, I’m in charge now,” is the cry of the Pirate Warrior, as they send Patches the Pirate in to claim yet another victory. Ever since the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Pirate Warriors have been dominating the meta—but now, in the frozen wastes of Northrend, things might finally turn around.

In Knights of the Frozen Throne, Warrior didn’t get a single aggressive card. Instead, they got lots of cards relating to damaging their own minions, including their Legendary, Rotface. Even their Hero Card, Scourgelord Garrosh synergizes very well in an Enrage Warrior deck like this, as his hero power deals one damage to all minions. As a result, Enrage Warrior might finally be a deck worth exploring.

In addition, it appears that the old Control Warrior may be making a return, thanks to cards such as Dead Man’s Hand, which provides Warrior with a lot more resources than they’d normally have access to. Overall, however, it’s hard to say for sure, so it will most likely be some time until Control Warrior’s place in the meta is fully realized.

The Decks We Will See: Enrage Warrior, Control Warrior

The Decks We Won’t See: Pirate Warrior (Hopefully!)

Cards to Watch Out For: Scourgelord Garrosh

Notes: Despite the meta being completely against Pirate Warrior, there’s honestly a good chance that it will make a comeback simply because it’s so solid.

Learn to Play: Recruit Paladin

Learn to Play is a series that introduces readers to popular Constructed Decks in Hearthstone. This week, we’re going to be talking about the Recruit Paladin deck, one of the most powerful Paladin decks in the Wild Format (and the deck I used to get to Wild Legend in the May 2017 season).


The Basics:


Recruit Paladin is a Midrange Paladin deck that focuses around summoning and empowering Silver Hand Recruits. The deck generates a board by using cards such as Muster for Battle, Lost in the Jungle and Stand Against Darkness to flood the board with Recruits, while also including the new Vinecleaver to help stagger Recruits through several turns.

To empower the Silver Hand Recruits summoned from these cards (and the Paladin’s hero power), the deck includes two copies of Quartermaster, Steward of Darkshire and the new Lightfused Stegodon. Finally, the deck also runs the new Paladin Legendary, Sunkeeper Tarim, who allows your Silver Hand Recruits to trade into minions that are normally much larger.

Midrange and Control Tools:

Despite being based around the core focus of summoning and empowering Silver Hand Recruits, this deck also has a lot of powerful minions to help gain tempo against other midrange decks. These cards include Zombie Chow, Shielded Minibot, and Truesilver Champion, which allow you to make efficient trades against enemy minions.

This version of Recruit Paladin runs two copies of Stonehill Defender to generate extra defenses against aggressive decks such as Pirate Warrior. Stonehill Defender is also good for granting late-game value against control decks in the form of extra copies of Tirion Fordring and Sunkeeper Tarim.

In addition to these midrange tools, this deck runs Consecration and Equality to help deal with other aggressive and midrange decks. It also runs Loatheb to prevent potentially lethal damage near the end of the game, and Ragnaros, Lightlord to heal your hero back up. Finally, the deck runs Tirion Fordring and two copies of Spikeridged Steed, which give the deck survivability and a late-game threat.

The Mulligan

Depending on the class and archetype you’re facing, the cards you’ll want to keep will change. Against Pirate Warrior, Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman and Egg Druid, you’ll want to look for a copy of Zombie Chow or Lost in the Jungle, a copy of Shielded Minibot, and a copy of Muster for Battle. Stonehill Defender is also an acceptable option against Aggro Shaman and Face Hunter, but it’s very weak against Pirate Warrior and Egg Druid, who run minions that are unaffected by the Stonehill Defender’s one attack.

Against control decks like Reno Warlock and Reno Mage, you’ll want to get rid of Zombie Chow—as you don’t want a card that heals your opponent—as long as you already have at least one copy of Lost in the Jungle. Otherwise, you should keep the Zombie Chow, as it’s still a decent turn one play. In addition, Shielded Minibot and Muster for Battle are quite good in this matchup.

Against Paladins, you’ll want Zombie Chow or Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, and one copy of Consecration (to counter the Paladin’s Muster for Battle). Stonehill Defender is also very good in this matchup, as its one attack doesn’t matter against Silver Hand Recruits, who only have one health.

The Early Game

In the early part of the game, your main goal will greatly depend on the deck you’re facing. Against aggressive decks, your main goal will be to defend the board by trading your minions efficiently into the smaller minions of your opponent. This is especially important against Pirate Warrior and Egg Druid, as their minions can get out of control if they are allowed to live.

Against control and midrange decks, your goal is to gain tempo by getting minions onto the board. Lost in the Jungle, Shielded Minibot and Muster for Battle are especially good at getting control of the board. You’ll want to avoid committing too many resources to the board, as in the beginning of the game, your Silver Hand Recruits are only 1/1s, which makes them very vulnerable to a lot of board clears (especially Maelstrom Portal, a powerful 2-mana board clear that is almost always in a Shaman’s starting hand).

The Mid-Game

Around turns 4, 5 and 6, your strategy will start to revolve around combining your Silver Hand Recruit Generators with your buff cards. On turn four, if you’ve managed to keep at least 2 of your Silver Hand Recruits on the board, you can use the Lightfused Stegodon to increase their power. Another good play on turn four (or turn 3, with the Coin) is to combine the Steward of Darkshire with Lost in the Jungle, which will create a 3/3 and a pair of Silver Hand Recruits with Divine Shield.

On turn 5, if any of the Silver Hand Recruits buffed by the Lightfused Stegodon or Steward are still alive, you can use the Quartermaster to increase their power. The big issue here, however, is to ensure that you don’t overcommit to the board. If you use too many of your Silver Hand Recruit generators—only to have all the minions destroyed by a board clear—you’re going to lose.

The End-Game

As the game goes on, there will be more and more opportunities for you to combine your Silver Hand Recruit generators and buff cards. On turn eight, Steward of Darkshire can be combined with Stand Against Darkness (to create a 3/3 and five 1/1s with Divine Shield) and on turn nine, you can play Quartermaster and a Lightfused Stegodon to empower the Silver Hand Recruits.

At this point, your late game cards—Ragnaros, Lightlord and Tirion Fordring—will come into play, which will grant you a lot of power on the board. Again, you have to be careful not to commit too many of your late-game threats at any time, or else a single powerful board clear could get rid of everything you have.

On every turn, you’ll need to be looking for a potential chance at killing your opponent, as the damage increases allowed by Lightfused Stegodon’s Windfury and +3 attack Adaptations—or even just the +2 attack granted by the Quartermaster—can often allow for surprisingly fast kills.

Finally, you’ll want to be aware of your opponent’s win condition, and plan accordingly. If you’re playing against an aggressive deck, all you have to do is prevent them from dealing too much damage to your hero with the help of Taunt minions. If you’re playing against a control deck that relies on bursts of damage to win, you’ll want to save your only source of healing (Ragnaros, Lightlord) until they’ve played their Alexstrasza or done a lot of damage to you with burn spells or minions.


Overall, Recruit Paladin is a very powerful deck. Despite having no card draw tools, the deck is surprisingly consistent because of the Paladin hero power, which generates a Silver Hand Recruit every turn (minions that can then be buffed by all the Silver Hand Recruit synergies in the deck).

Recruit Paladin is very strong against control and midrange decks, and while it can struggle against some aggressive decks (especially Pirate Warrior and Egg Druid), the Paladin can win these matches as long as it draws well. As a result, the deck is a lot of fun to play, and I’d greatly recommend testing it out if you enjoy playing in the Wild Format.



Card Replacements and Substitutions

Despite being a token deck, Recruit Paladin contains some very expensive cards to craft. Fortunately, only a couple of these are essential to the deck, and most of them can be replaced with other cards:

Tirion Fordring—This Legendary minion is very powerful, but he doesn’t actually have any synergies with the deck, so he can easily be replaced by either a big minion such as Volcanosaur or a card that does synergize with the deck, such as a second Vinecleaver.

Ragnaros, Lightlord—This Legendary minion provides a large heal, which is necessary against decks such as Freeze Mage, in addition to being a powerful force on board. If you don’t own the card, however, you can duplicate the healing effect with an Antique Healbot, which doesn’t have the large body of Ragnaros but it’s a bit cheaper both to craft and to play.

Sunkeeper Tarim—This Legendary minion has a lot of synergy with the deck, but it is very expensive to craft, so it’s possible you won’t have him. In that case, the best plan is to run a card that has a similar effect, such as the Warhorse Trainer.

Loatheb—This Legendary minion is useful for denying enemy spells, but it isn’t required, so in most cases another midrange minion such as the Piloted Shredder or Azure Drake are just as good in this slot.

Quartermaster—The only Epic card in the deck, the Quartermaster is the foundation for much of Recruit Paladin’s Power. If you don’t have a copy of it, however, a board-buffing minion such as Warhorse Trainer or Mukla’s Champion can work as a replacement.


The “Do Not Craft” Cards of Un’Goro

The Journey to Un’Goro expansion is here, and already, the meta has been flooded with a host of new decks. Of course, just because there are a lot of new decks doesn’t mean they’ll all be viable.  In fact, there are a lot of decks that—once the meta settles—will be completely unplayable. As a result, there are a lot of cards that seem powerful now, but should not be crafted until the meta has a chance to stabilize.


The Caverns Below:File:The Caverns Below(55481).png

The Rogue Legendary Quest, The Caverns Below was one of the most underrated cards before the expansion launched. No one thought it was a good card (the term ‘worst Quest of Un’Goro’ was tossed around quite a bit) however, in the few weeks since the expansion launched, Quest Rogue has already become one of the most dominant decks.

Just because Quest Rogue is good, however, doesn’t mean it will stay good. Quest Rogue is very vulnerable to aggressive decks such as Pirate Warrior, which has survived the shift into the Year of the Mammoth. As time goes on, these decks will only get more refined, and Quest Rogue will have trouble keeping up.

As a result, The Caverns Below is a card that’s a bit dangerous to craft right now. It may keep its power level throughout the expansion, but for now, its 1600 dust cost makes it too much of a risk.


Spiritsinger Umbra:File:Spiritsinger Umbra(55522).png

A Legendary minion, Spritsinger Umbra is run in a lot of the Priest Deathrattle decks. Her effect (after you summon a minion, trigger its Deathrattle effect) is very powerful, and if left unchecked can singlehandedly win games. As a result, she shows up in nearly every Netdeck that contains powerful Deathrattles.

Despite being a very powerful card, however, Spiritsinger Umbra isn’t actually necessary in most of the decks that run her. While partnering her effect with cards such as Cairne Bloodhoof and Shifting Shade is powerful, it only serves as a win-more effect. There are very Deathrattle minions that affect enemy minions, and the few that do are relatively ineffective. The only card that would have really made a difference is Sylvanas Windrunner, but she left with the last Standard shift.

Because of this issue, Spiritsinger Umbra isn’t a ‘must-craft’ by any means, and should only be purchased by players with a lot of dust that they don’t know what to do with.



A mighty Elemental, Ozruk is a great fit in many of the slower Elemental decks. Between Ozruk’s massive health and the Taunt keyword he carries, the Elemental is great at stopping late-game pushes.

Unfortunately, despite his power, Ozruk is very weak to hard removal (such as Execute or Shadow Word: Death) which completely ignore his massive health totals. As a result, Ozruk is unreliable, and completely unworthy of his 1600 dust cost.


Lyra the Sunshard:File:Lyra the Sunshard(55545).png

The Priest Legendary, Lyra has received a lot of attention recently due to some impressive highlight clips, where the resources she generated singlehandedly won the games. Because of this, the card has been seeing a lot more play, and is becoming increasingly tempting as a crafting option.

Similarly to Spiritsinger Umbra, however, Lyra the Sunshard is a card that doesn’t need to be crafted. While her effect is powerful, and it can be game-changing, many times it won’t be. As a result, Lyra is just too unpredictable, so players who are tight on dust have no reason to craft her.


Lakkari Sacrifice/Clutchmother ZavasFile:Lakkari Sacrifice(55447).png

With the exit of Renolock, the Warlock variant known as Discardlock has begun to make a resurgence. This archetype got a lot of support in Un’Goro, with both the Legendary Quest and the Class Legendary directly supporting the discard playstyle.

File:Clutchmother Zavas(55464).pngDespite the obvious synergies, however, Lakkari Sacrifice has been absent from nearly all Warlock decks, and Clutchmother Zavas is rarely seen as well. There are many reasons for this neglect—however, the biggest is that the cards simply don’t work well enough. Lakkari Sacrifice isn’t a powerful enough Quest Reward, and Clutchmother Zavas—while powerful—isn’t as strong as many Legendaries.

Because of these issues, the two new Warlock Legendaries just aren’t worth the dust it’d cost to craft them.


The Marsh Queen:File:The Marsh Queen(55497).png

Once thought to be the best card coming out of the Journey to Un’Goro expansion, The Marsh Queen has instead turned out to be nothing but a great disappointment. The deck that needs to be made to complete The Marsh Queen is simply too inconsistent, with lots of tiny minions and very little card draw.

Consequently, The Marsh Queen is virtually unplayable at the moment, and is definitely not worth its 1600 dust cost.


Open the Waygate:File:Open the Waygate(55551).png

Yet another Quest, Open the Waygate is a difficult card to assess. When everything goes right, the card is possibly the most powerful card in the game—this scenario doesn’t happen too often, however, and most of the time, Open the Waygate ends up amounting to nothing more than a waste of one mana.

Thanks to this inconsistency, Open the Waygate isn’t currently worth crafting for new players. However, unlike many of the other cards on this list, Open the Waygate does have one thing going for it—the card is a lot of fun to play, and can instantly turn any game around.

As a result, Open the Waygate—while perhaps not the best card ever—is one of the most entertaining to play, which means that for players with lots of dust lying around, it’s the perfect card.


That’s all of the ‘Do Not Craft’ cards that have come out of this expansion. Once the meta has stabilized a bit, some of these cards (such as The Caverns Below) might actually be worth crafting. For now, however, things are just too uncertain, so it’s best to simply save your dust. Finally, while there are other bad cards in this expansion, they are mostly just Commons and Rares, which are fairly cheap and are unlikely to be an issue.

Journey to Un’Goro Deck Experiments

The Journey to Un’Goro expansion is here, and I’ve already started work on new decks. These four are the best I’ve come up with so far, and while they’re not quite perfect yet, I had a lot of fun playing them and I got several wins on the ladder.



Excerpt from the journal of Elise Starseeker:

Day 4—We arrived at the bubbling Lakkari Tar Pits this morning, where we discovered the remains of a primitive tribal ritual. After some examination from the Warlocks of our expedition, it was determined that the ritual’s purpose was to open a portal directly to the Twisting Nether!

The ritual had been unsuccessful, apparently due to a lack of life energy. The Warlocks suggested a way to ‘remedy’ this problem, but I firmly declined their offer, and we left the area shortly thereafter. 

The first deck I played, Discardlock centers around completing the Warlock class quest, Lakkari Sacrifice. Lakkari Sacrifice requires you to discard six cards, and if you do, you receive the powerful Nether Portal (which summons a pair of 3/2 Imps at the end of your turn). The Nether Portal cannot be destroyed—even with complete Board Clears like Twisting Nether—so once you get it out onto the board, you’ll gain a lot of tempo for the rest of the game.

Of course, because Discardlock focuses so heavily on discarding cards, there will be times when you lose important resources at the worst possible time. In addition, while the Nether Portal is a powerful tempo card, it isn’t an instant win condition like some of the other quests. As a result, there are a lot of decks that can out-value Discardlock in the long run.

The Pros: Very powerful early game, with lots of high-tempo minions. Once the quest is complete, constant pressure that lasts the rest of the game.

The Cons: Can struggle if important cards are discarded. The deck also runs out of cards very quickly, going into fatigue when its opponent still has fifteen or more cards remaining.

Notes: There are a lot of Discardlock decks that aren’t running the quest, in favor of a more aggressive list. These decks are good, but the quest is also quite powerful, so it’s up to the individual player to decide what they want to do.


Elemental Paladin

 Excerpt from the journal of Elise Starseeker:

Day 7—While most of the Paladins seem determined to track down the elusive Galvadon, there are some who have set their focus on the elementals who dwell in the Crater. These Paladins are…inexperienced, but their enthusiasm is unmatched, and they’ve successfully imbued many elementals with the power of the Light.

The Shamans and Mages in our party see the Paladins as nothing more than amateurs—I find their efforts quite interesting, however, and intend to keep a close eye on their progress. 

The second deck I played, Elemental Paladin isn’t the most obvious archetype for the class. Despite this, the deck was actually surprisingly successful, due to a few interesting interactions.

The first had to do with the Servant of Kalimos, a 5-mana 4/5 that discovers an Elemental as long as you played an Elemental on the previous turn. Because of the occurrence bonus class cards get in discover effects Ragnaros, Lightlord (Paladin’s only Elemental) showed up nearly every time. Now, Ragnaros wasn’t always the best choice, but always having him as an option made a huge difference in many games.

The second had to do with combining Ozruk (a 9-mana 5/5 with Taunt that gains +5 Health for every Elemental played on the previous turn) with the Adaptation that grants immunity to Spells and Hero Powers. In most cases, Ozruk would get up to a 5/15 or higher, which is pretty hard to deal with when he can’t be targeted by Spells.

The third centers around the new Paladin Legendary, Sunkeeper Tarim. Because of all the little 1/2 Elementals received from cards such as Fire Fly and Igneous Elemental, Sunkeeper Tarim nearly always has a large board to interact with. This allows Elemental Paladins to get a lot of value against heavy decks like Jade Druid or Taunt Warrior.

The Pros: Very powerful tempo throughout the game, with a lot of big minions near the end (including up to 3 Ragnaros, Lightlords).

The Cons: A little weak against decks that can generate massive amounts of small minions quickly, such as Murloc Shaman and Quest Hunter.

Notes: While Sunkeeper Tarim is powerful, he can be replaced by a second copy of Tol’vir Stoneshaper if budget is an issue.


Adaptation Priest 

Excerpt from the journal of Elise Starseeker:

Day 11—Several of the Priests in our party have begun examining the rare beasts that inhabit the Crater. They seem fascinated in general by the creatures, but they are especially intrigued by the beasts’ rapid adaptations.

Applying what they have learned from their extensive time with Dragons, the Priests have begun to use their holy magic to influence the adaptations. So far, the results have been…interesting, to say the least, and I am eager to see what they come up with.    

Adaptation Priest is a deck that uses Priest spells like Power Word: Shield and minions such as the Kabal Talonpriest to empower Adapted minions. The deck’s main win condition is the Vicious Fledgling, a 3-mana 3/3 that Adapts every time it attacks a hero. If this card can stay alive for more than a turn or two, it quickly becomes unmanageable.

In the event that the Vicious Fledglings don’t succeed, this deck runs Ysera and two copies of Free From Amber (an 8-mana spell that Discovers a minion that costs 8 or more mana, then summons it) to help close out games.

In addition, there is a little bit of Dragon synergy in the deck, as well as a few tech cards such as Mass Dispel (to help deal with all the Taunts/Deathrattles/Adapted minions that have been inching their way back into the meta). These cards can be swapped out, however, as they aren’t crucial to the deck.

The Pros: This deck is very strong against opponents without any real means of targeted removal, such as Paladins or Druids.

The Cons: Is definitely a win-more deck, so it struggles to come from behind.

Notes: This is more a fun deck than a serious competitive deck, so it is unlikely to pick up a lot of wins at high ranks. That being said, it is a really fun deck to play, and it often catches players off-guard.


Elemental Control Shaman 

Excerpt from the journal of Elise Starseeker:

Day 13—The Shaman in our party have joined the Paladins in examining the Elementals. Unlike the Paladins, however, the Shamans have a lot of experience with mastering the Elements, and they quickly bound many of the most powerful Elementals to their will.

I have my reservations, however, about the Shamans’ methods. While the Paladins treaded carefully in their experiments with the Elementals, the Shamans have thrown caution to the wind. When I asked, they cited their years of experience in taming Elementals—however, the Elementals of Un’Goro are like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I fear they might be in over their heads. 

Control Elemental Shaman forgoes playing many of the smaller Elementals in favor of massive minions such as the Earth Elemental (a 5-mana 7/8 with Taunt that Overloads for 3). Once these minions are established, it then uses cards such as Ancestral Spirit and Faceless Shambler to maintain the wall.

In addition to the massive Taunts, this deck also runs a pair of Volcanos and Lightning Storms, which help keep the board clear of enemy minions. The deck also runs a lot of healing in order to survive early aggression.

Control Elemental Shaman is very powerful against basic Aggro decks like Pirate Warrior, as once the Earth Elementals are played, the Aggro deck is instantly stopped in its tracks. Control Elemental Shaman is also relatively good against Midrange decks, as it can often outvalue them in the midgame.

The Pros: This deck is very strong against Aggro and Midrange decks, as its Taunts and healing allow it to survive long enough for its big minions to wreak havoc.

The Cons: Is very weak against decks with hard removal, such as Priest or Mage.

Notes: I don’t own Kalimos, so I didn’t include him in the deck. He fits the deck concept very well, however, so he would be a good inclusion.


These are the decks I’ve mainly played so far, but I’m sure I’ll create many more over the next few weeks. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for your own deckbuilding, and I’ll see you on the Journey to Un’Goro.

The Fate of the Classic Class Legendaries

Hearthstone’s newest expansion, Journey to Un’Goro, is just around the corner. When it arrives, the Blackrock Mountain, Grand Tournament and League of Explorers expansions will be shifted out of Standard and be restricted to the Wild format. This will completely change the meta as we know it, as powerful cards like Emperor Thaurissan and Reno Jackson will no longer be playable.

In addition to the loss of Reno and the Emperor, a pair of Classic Legendary minions (Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros the Firelord) will also be leaving Standard. As a result, there is now a power gap among the Legendaries, which means that some of the old Class Legendaries that have never seen much play (looking at you, King Krush) may now actually be viable.

There are some Legendaries, however, that greatly benefited from the existence of cards such as Emperor Thaurissan. For example, the Warlock Legendary Lord Jaraxxus is exponentially more powerful at a discounted 8 mana (where you can play him and get in a hero power on the same turn) than at his default 9 mana. Not all the Class Legendaries will be impacted this heavily by the Standard shift, but they will all be affected in one way or another.


Druid: CenariusFile:Cenarius(605) Gold.png

Cenarius (a 9-mana 5/8 that summons a pair of 2/2’s with Taunt or gives all your other minions +2/+2) has experienced a very up-and-down ride over the history of Hearthstone. Back in the early days (when Ramp Druid was a popular and powerful deck) Cenarius was often played as a soft win condition. Since then, however, more powerful Druid cards have been released, and—aside from a short stint in the Token Druid deck popular around the time Whispers of the Old Gods was released—Cenarius has seen little to no play.

Now, however, Cenarius is primed to make his return, thanks to the introduction of the Druid Quest reward, Barnabus. Barnabus is a 5-mana 8/8 who makes all the minions in your deck cost 0. As the main barrier to playing Cenarius was his oppressive 9-mana cost, this is a huge change, and the Classic Druid Legendary will likely see play in any deck that runs the Quest.


File:King Krush(194) Gold.pngHunter: King Krush

King Krush (a 9-mana 8/8 with Charge) has always been a fairly weak Legendary, as he is basically nothing more than a more expensive Ragnaros. As a result, the Hunter Legendary has never really seen much play—except on the rare occasions that he’s acquired via a Webspinner or Ram Wrangler.

Now that Ragnaros is leaving the Standard format, however, King Krush might actually have his time in the sun. Eight instant damage is nothing to sneeze at, and with powerful removal tools such as Entomb leaving for Wild, the powerful Devilsaur could very well be the tool Hunters are looking for.


Mage: Archmage AntonidasFile:Archmage Antonidas(220) Gold.png

Ever since the beginning of Hearthstone, Archmage Antonidas (a 7-mana 5/7 who puts a Fireball into your hand every time you cast a spell) has been a staple in many Mage Decks. His ability to generate resources was unparalleled, and there are many games where Antonidas singlehandedly generated the resources needed to defeat the Mage’s opponent.

With the upcoming Standard Rotation, however, Mages are losing one of their most powerful spells, in the form of Ice Lance. Between this, and the loss of Thaurissan, Antonidas will struggle to produce more than one or two Fireballs before he’s killed off.

Overall, things look bad for the Archmage, and while he has some synergy with the Mage Quest (which requires players to cast 6 spells that didn’t start in their deck), it’s unlikely that he’ll see a lot of play.


File:Tirion Fordring(391) Gold.pngPaladin: Tirion Fordring

The backbone of nearly every Paladin deck since the beginning, Tirion Fordring (an 8-mana 6/6 with Divine Shield, Taunt and a Deathrattle that gives the minion’s owner a 5/3 weapon) has always been a powerful card. He’s a powerful force on board, and when he dies, the weapon he grants can be used to control the board or finish off the Paladin’s opponent.

With the upcoming Standard rotation, Tirion’s main counters (Entomb and Sylvanas) are going to Wild, which means that the Paladin Legendary will be even more powerful than ever. In addition, Tirion synergizes very well with the Paladin Quest, as his main weakness is to Silence effects—which will likely have already been used to deal with the Buffs played earlier in the game.

Overall, Tirion is a great Legendary, and he will only get better in the upcoming Standard rotation.


Priest: Prophet VelenFile:Prophet Velen(228) Gold.png

Similarly to King Krush, Prophet Velen (a 7-mana 7/7 who doubles the damage and healing of the Priest’s spells and hero power) has never been an overly powerful Legendary. While his effect is good, Velen is overpriced, and he’s difficult to combine with other cards.

Unlike King Krush, however, Velen doesn’t really benefit from Ragnaros or Sylvanas leaving Standard, and there’s nothing in Journey to Un’Goro that boosts his power. As a result, Velen will likely remain a rarely-played Legendary for a while to come.


File:Edwin VanCleef(3) Gold.pngRogue: Edwin VanCleef

Like Tirion Fordring, Edwin VanCleef (a 3-mana 2/2 who gains +2/+2 for every card played earlier on that turn) has always been a highly-played Legendary. His effect is one of the most powerful in the game, and he synergizes very well with the general Rogue playstyle.

With the upcoming Standard rotation, however, Rogues are losing Conceal (which grants Stealth to all friendly minions for one turn). This is a huge blow to VanCleef, as it means that he can no longer be shielded from targeted removal. As a result, VanCleef will likely see a large drop in popularity for the first time in his entire Hearthstone career.


Shaman: Al’Akir the WindlordFile:Al'Akir the Windlord(335) Gold.png

The Shaman Legendary, Al’Akir the Windlord (an 8-mana 3/5 with Windfury, Charge, Divine Shield and Taunt) has always lurked on the edge of playability. Whenever a new Shaman deck is created, Al’Akir will appear in early builds of that deck—however, in many cases, the Lord of Air will later be removed as the deck is optimized with cheaper, more powerful cards.

With the arrival of Un’Goro, however, Al’Akir is catapulted back into relevance, thanks to his acquisition of the Elemental tag. As Shaman is one of the classes to feature Elementals, there is a good chance that Al’Akir will make it into the new Elemental decks. It’s hard to say for sure—as he could end up getting dropped as the Elemental lists are optimized, but in general, things are looking up for everyone’s second favorite Elemental Lord.


File:Lord Jaraxxus(482) Gold.pngWarlock: Lord Jaraxxus

A staple of his class, Lord Jaraxxus (a 9-mana, 3/15 who replaces your hero) has been a part of Control Warlock decks ever since the beginning. From Handlock to Renolock, Jaraxxus has been the win condition that every Warlock strives for.

With the upcoming Standard rotation, however, things are primed to change drastically for the popular Eredar Lord. Emperor Thaurissan is rotating out, which means that Jaraxxus can no longer be played on the same turn as a hero power. In addition, Journey to Un’Goro is pushing a heavy Discardlock theme (with both the Quest and the new Legendary), which happens to be a deck that doesn’t play Jaraxxus.

Because of these factors, there is a good chance that Lord Jaraxxus will no longer be playable in Standard. Jaraxxus is still a very powerful card, however, so it’s possible he survives the transition—only time can tell for sure.


Warrior: Grommash HellscreamFile:Grommash Hellscream(643) Gold.png

Grommash Hellscream (an 8-mana 4/9 with Charge that gains +6 attack while damaged) has always been the finisher in Control Warrior decks. With the rise of Pirate Warrior and Jade Druid, however, he’s lost a lot of popularity, as he’s too slow to compete with these decks. This situation is looking to turn around, however, with the arrival of Journey to Un’Goro and the powerful Taunt minions it brings.

Thanks to all the new Taunt minions, Control Warrior should actually be able to hold its own against Pirate Warrior and other, similar Aggro decks. As a result, Grommash should once again see some play to help finish off all the new Midrange and Control decks that appear to be coming with the new expansion.


Overall, the future looks bright for many of the old Legendaries. While there are a few (Lord Jaraxxus and Edwin VanCleef) that got indirectly nerfed, there are more that only gained in power (King Krush, Cenarius and Al’Akir). As a result, the Classic Class Legendaries should see a rise in popularity amongst the dinosaurs and Elementals of Un’Goro.

The Quests of Un’Goro

Hearthstone’s newest expansion, Journey to Un’Goro, is just around the corner. There are many new features coming with the expansion (such as the new Elemental tribe and the Adapt mechanic), but the most exciting of all are the new Legendary Quests.

Quests are 1-mana Legendary Spells that are always in your hand at the beginning of the game (though you can choose to mulligan the Quest away if you want). Once you play the Quest, you then have to complete a certain task, such as summoning 7 Deathrattle Minions or discarding 6 cards. These tasks will often take several turns to complete, but if you succeed, you will receive a game-changing reward.

Every class is receiving one of these new Quests, each with a unique task and reward. They are all very powerful, but their impact on the game varies from Quest to Quest. In this article, we’re going to go over all nine of the new Quests, so you can know exactly what to expect.


Druid: Jungle Giants File:Jungle Giants(55538).png

The Druid Quest, Jungle Giants, requires players to summon 5 minions with 5 or more Attack. Aside from Token Druid—which hasn’t been a viable deck in a long time—every Druid deck’s main focus has been summoning the largest minions possible, so this Quest will often be completed just through normal gameplay. In addition, many Druids don’t play anything on turn one, which makes this card an auto-include in nearly every Druid deck.

File:Barnabus the Stomper(55539).pngOnce the Quest is completed, Druids receive Barnabus the Stomper, a 5-mana 8/8 with Battlecry: Reduce the Cost of minions in your deck to (0). Needless to say, this is an incredibly powerful effect for Druids, as their minions are often on the high end of the mana curve.

Overall, Jungle Giants is a very powerful Quest, as it rewards Druid players for playing naturally. As a result, it will likely be an auto-include in nearly every deck.


Hunter: The Marsh QueenFile:The Marsh Queen(55497).png

The Marsh Queen is one of the easier Quests to complete, as it only requires you to play seven 1-mana minions. Hunter already plays a lot of powerful 1-mana minions, including the Fiery Bat and Alleycat, and they’re getting even more in Journey to Un’Goro, which makes completing this quest a cinch.

The reward is Queen Carnassa, a 5-mana 8/8 who shuffles 15 Raptors into your deck. Raptors are a 1-mana 3/2 that draw a card when they’re played, which means that once you get this quest out, you’ll be able to fill the board with minions every turn.

File:Queen Carnassa(55498).pngThe Marsh Queen is a solid Quest that fits into both Aggro and Midrange Hunter. These decks both struggle with running out of resources, so the Raptors you get from the reward are perfect for winning a tight game.

The main downside to The Marsh Queen is that its victory condition (swarming the board with Raptors) is weak against control decks with lots of board clears. During the Gadgetzan meta, the only prominent deck that ran board clears was Renolock. With the arrival of Journey to Un’Goro, however, the meta will likely shake up a good deal, and board clears could be a lot more common.

Overall, The Marsh Queen looks like a powerful card, and it will likely be the staple of Hunter decks for a while to come.



Mage: Open the WaygateFile:Open the Waygate(55551).png

Unlike Jungle Giants and The Marsh Queen, which are both pretty straightforward, Open the Waygate requires players to think a little outside the box. In order to complete Open the Waygate, Mages have to cast 6 spells that didn’t start in their deck.

Now, at first glance, this seems incredibly difficult—however, it really isn’t that bad. With cards like Babbling Book and Cabalist’s Tome and the new secret, Mana Bind, Mages have many ways to get spells from outside their deck. Once File:Time Warp(55554).pngthe Mage completes the Quest, things get even crazier, as the reward is the powerful Time Warp.
A 5-mana spell, Time Warp allows you to take an extra turn. This is an incredibly powerful effect, as it allows you to unleash 15-mana worth of spells before your opponent has a chance to react. As a result, Open the Waygate is one of the most powerful Quests in the game, and will likely show up in many Mage decks.


Paladin: The Last KaleidosaurFile:The Last Kaleidosaur(55512).png

The Paladin Quest, The Last Kaleidosaur asks players to cast 6 spells on their own minions. Now, minion buffing has been a core theme of Paladin ever since the beginning—but the archetype never really worked in constructed due to the prevalence of silences and polymorph effects. As a result, the Quest seemed like an impossible task—until the rest of the Paladin cards were revealed.

New, powerful buffs like Spikeridged Steed (a 6-mana spell that gives a minion +2/+6 and Taunt and Deathrattle: summon a 2/6 with Taunt) and Adaptation (a 1-mana spell that lets you Adapt a friendly minion) were added to the Paladin arsenal. Even more importantly, Paladins got the Primalfin Champion, a 2-mana 1/2 with Deathrattle: Return any spells you cast on this minion to your hand. This card allows Paladins to get double value from their buff spells, which in turn will make The Last Kaleidosaur much easier to complete.

File:Galvadon(55444).pngAs for the reward, Paladins get Galvadon, a 5-mana 5/5 with Battlecry: Adapt 5 times. This is an incredibly powerful effect, as possible Adaptations include Stealth, Windfury and +3 Attack. Put all these together, and you get a 14/5 minion with Stealth and Windfury, which is capable of putting out 28 damage in one turn.

Needless to say, Galvadon is incredibly powerful—however, he is susceptible to untargeted board clears such as Twisting Nether and Dragonfire Potion. In many cases, however, these board clears won’t be available when Galvadon is played, which means that The Last Kaleidosaur is a pretty good Quest.


Priest: Awaken the MakersFile:Awaken the Makers(52588).png

The Priest Quest—Awaken the Makers—is pretty basic. Summon 7 Deathrattle minions, and you’ll get your reward. Ever since the Dark Cultist back in Naxxramas, Priest has always had a lot of powerful Deathrattle minions, and they’re getting even more in Journey to Un’Goro. As a result, this is a pretty easy Quest to complete, and should be finished in nearly every game.

File:Amara, Warden of Hope(52584).pngThe problem with Awaken the Makers, however, is the reward: Amara, Warden of Hope. A 5-mana 8/8 with Taunt, Amara’s Battlecry sets your hero’s Health to 40. Now, at face value, this is very good—however, in many games, ten extra Health won’t actually make a big difference. Priest is losing several of their most powerful control cards, and they aren’t getting anything to fill the void. As a result, if a Priest falls behind on board, they will struggled to regain control, and they’ll die from 40 as easily as they’d die from 30.

Overall, the Priest Quest is underwhelming in comparison to the others, but it is still a full heal, so it isn’t bad—it’s just not game-winning in most cases.


Rogue: The Caverns BelowFile:The Caverns Below(55481).png

Similar to the Mage Quest, The Caverns Below is a Quest that requires a bit of planning. In order to complete this Quest, you have to Play four minions with the same name. Unlike many of the other Quests, The Caverns Below specifies ‘Play’, so you’ll need to use bounce-back cards such as Gadgetzan Ferryman and Shadowstep in order to pull this off.

This isn’t an easy task, but the payoff is huge, as you get the powerful Crystal Core. A 5-mana spell, Crystal Core makes all your minions File:Crystal Core(55482).png5/5 for the rest of the game. This includes minions on your board, in your hand, in your deck and even tokens that are summoned by other minions!

Overall, The Caverns Below is a powerful card. It isn’t easy to complete, but once you do, you’ll be in a commanding position for the rest of the game.


Shaman: Unite the MurlocsFile:Unite the Murlocs(55470).png

As Shamans are known for their connection to the elements, many players were expecting their quest to revolve around summoning the new Elementals. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as Shamans instead got Unite the Murlocs, which requires them to summon 10 Murlocs.

This is a fairly easy task to complete, as cards like Call in the Finishers (summon four 1/1 Murlocs) and Finja, the Flying Star (who summons two Murlocs from your deck whenever it attacks and kills a minion) will consistently get you the Murlocs you need.

File:Megafin(55472).pngNow, while Murloc Shaman has always been a potentially powerful deck, there’s been one main factor that holds it back: the lack of resources. Fortunately, this problem is completely solved by the Quest reward, a Murloc named Megafin. A 5-mana 8/8, Megafin’s Battlecry fills your hand with random Murlocs. This is an incredibly powerful effect, as it gives Murloc Shaman the extra fuel they need to finish their opponents off.

Overall, this is a very powerful Quest—however, there’s a good likelihood that the vast majority of Shaman decks in the upcoming months will be Elemental Shamans, rather than Murloc Shamans, which would make this Quest useless. For now, though, Unite the Murlocs seems like a solid card, and it will likely see some play.


Warlock: Lakkari SacrificeFile:Lakkari Sacrifice(55447).png

For the past several expansions, Warlocks have been pushed toward the Discardlock archetype. However, despite powerful cards such as the Silverware Golem (a 3/3 that summons itself when discarded) and Malchezaar’s Imp (which draws cards whenever cards are discarded) the archetype was sidelined in favor of the more powerful Renolock.

With the upcoming arrival of the Year of the Mammoth, Reno Jackson will rotate out of the Standard format, opening the door for a new type of Warlock deck. Thanks to Lakkari Sacrifice, Discardlock may just be the deck to fill this void.

Lakkari Sacrifice requires players to discard 6 cards. This might have been difficult in the past (as players would often end up discarding their discarders), but with the addition of new cards like Clutchmother Zavas (a 2-mana 2/2 that returns to your hand and gains +2/+2 whenever it’s discarded), Warlocks can discard their hand much more consistently.

As for the reward, Warlock players get the Nether Portal, a 5-mana spell that opens a permanent portal on the board. This portal cannot be destroyed, and it summons a constant stream of 3/2 imps for the rest of the game. This is an incredibly powerful board control card, and easily makes up for the 6 cards that were discarded.


Warrior: Fire Plume’s HeartFile:Fire Plume's Heart(55523).png

The final Quest, Fire Plume’s Heart requires Warriors to play seven Taunt minions. In the past, this might have been a difficult task, but thanks to the new cards introduced in Journey to Un’Goro, Warriors now have a massive pool of powerful Taunt minions to choose from.

As for the reward, Warriors get Sulfuras. Once wielded by Ragnaros the Firelord, Sulfuras is a 3-mana 4/2 weapon that changes your hero power to ‘Deal 8 damage to a random enemy’. This is a massively powerful effect, as 8 damage a turn will quickly whittle File:Sulfuras(55531).pngdown even the toughest enemy—however, it comes at the cost of losing the ability to gain armor. Against Aggro decks, this is a big deal—however, it is mitigated by the sheer number of Taunts that have been flooding the board in order to fulfill the Quest in the first place.

Overall, Fire Plume’s Heart is a very powerful quest, and it will likely see a lot of play—assuming that Warriors are capable of playing anything other than Pirate.


For the most part, the upcoming Quests seem very powerful. There are a few (Open the Waygate and The Last Kaleidosaur) that create potential one-turn-kill scenarios, as well as a few others (Unite the Murlocs, The Caverns Below and Lakkari Sacrifice) that will provide powerful tempo swings.

The remaining Quests don’t quite provide the immediate benefits of the aforementioned, but they are all very powerful in their own ways. Overall, the Quest system seems like a formidable addition to Hearthstone, and I can’t wait to see how players utilize it in the weeks to come.