Genn Greymane – Can Even-Cost Decks Be Viable?

With The Witchwood expansion, Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane will bring two new archetypes to Hearthstone: odd and even decks.

While Reno Jackson limited your deck to single copies of cards, Baku and Genn limit it to cards that cost an odd amount of mana or even amount of mana, respectively. We have previously ventured into the possibilities opened up by Baku, and in this article we’re turning to Genn and take an in-depth look at what opportunities the card can open.

Genn Greymane Overview

Genn Greymane is a six-mana 6/5 Neutral minion. While it has decent enough stats, the real reason to use it is for its effect: at the start of the game, if your deck has only even-cost cards, Genn changes the cost of your starting Hero Power to mere one mana. This happens automatically at the start of the game, you do not have to draw and play Genn to activate the discount. As long as your deck is built to fulfill Genn’s condition, you get the discounted Hero Power at the start of the game.

Players have had a number of questions about Genn, and we have received some clarifications from Blizzard:

  • All 30 cards in your deck have to fulfill the condition (cost an even amount of mana – 0, 2, 4, 6 and so on) for Genn’s effect to activate.
  • You cannot play the Journey to Un’Goro Quest cards that cost one mana in a Genn deck. Well, you can, but Genn’s effect will not activate.
  • Zero-cost cards are considered even-cost, and work with Genn. Shifting Scroll is considered a zero-cost card.
  • Genn only upgrades your starting Hero Power. If you change your Hero Power later – from a Death Knight hero card, for example – Genn will have no effect on your new Hero Power.

Genn’s power is not quite as flashy as Baku the Mooneater‘s – and yet, as Malfurion the Pestilent has shown, flashy and strong are not always the same thing.

Genn in Druid

Important Druid cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

This list throws out many of the mainstay aggressive tools Druid has used recently – it is just hard to imagine an Aggro Druid without Living Mana and Savage Roar.

You will also lose access to some of the ramp tools that slower Druid decks have been using, as well as some of the better control tools in Malfurion the Pestilent and Lesser Jasper Spellstone. Is discounted Hero Power worth losing all of that removal and the great upgraded Hero Power in the late game?

You still have access to Ultimate Infestation, so it should always be possible to build at least a decent deck around that alone, right? A Spiteful Summoner Druid should be possible at least, but even then the cost seems barely worth the reward.

Genn in Hunter

Important Hunter cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

So.. With the current card pool, you do not have the tools to build a Spiteful Hunter, Big Beast Hunter, Quest Hunter, Secret Hunter (you have Secrets, but lose the Lesser Emerald Spellstone and Eaglehorn Bow), or even much of a Face Hunter if you go with Genn.

One-mana Hero Power that goes face seems to most naturally fit some kind of a Face Hunter build, so is it possible to build one without Kill Command? Maybe, but you’re also missing all one-drops, so you can’t even get on the board early.

Perhaps there is something you can do with a lot of Hero Power and some Secrets – Wandering Monster is a tool that can help you come back from a blank first turn – but overall it looks like the cost is just crippling for very little benefit.

Genn in Mage

Important Mage cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

Without Frost Lich Jaina and Arcane Artificer, Mage’s survivability in the long term is quite low, so we’re not looking at a control deck here.

However, all the Secrets are gone as well!

Can we build something relatively aggressive without Secrets? There’s still a ton of burn available: FrostboltFireball, and Pyroblast are all still there, and there’s Primordial Glyph and Aluneth too.

Perhaps throw in some Elemental synergies? Shimmering TempestSteam Surger, and Fire Plume Phoenix? There’s also Pyros and maybe even Ice Walker can finally find a home in a deck with 1-cost Hero Power? Lesser Ruby Spellstone could also work in that.

For Mage, some tools exist to create an aggressive or a midrange deck, perhaps with Elemental synergies. With Kabal LackeyMedivh's Valet,  and Kabal Crystal Runner rotating out of Standard, Secret Mage is getting weaker in Standard anyway, so perhaps there is some room for competition after the rotation.

Genn in Paladin

Important Paladin cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

That’s a lot of good cards, again.

However, those are not the best Paladin cards. You will still have Sunkeeper Tarim and Call to Arms. There’s also Spikeridged Steed, for which you can always create a target with one mana!

You can also use the classic Paladin board clears: EqualityWild Pyromancer, Consecration, and Doomsayer are all there.

There are also some Silver Hand synergy cards available: Crystal LionLightfused Stegodon, and Drygulch Jailor are all available, as is the recently popular Dark Conviction.

Paladin looks promising for Genn. Sure, you lose a few cards, but you also gain the ability to create 1-mana 1/1s from here to eternity. This ability can be useful for aggressive builds, midrange builds, and even control builds, given that all the board control tools remain available to Paladin. A very interesting class for Genn, indeed.

Genn in Priest

Important Priest cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

Those are some severe losses again. If only Genn worked with changed Hero Powers, but no, you cannot use it to build a new version of Shadowreaper Anduin deck. Shame on you for even thinking about that, we just bid farewell to Razakus.

No Prophet Velen and no Malygos means no spell damage.

No Inner Fire means that health-into-attack combos are difficult to pull off. Void Ripper is odd-cost too, leaving only Crazed Alchemist available.

Something board-centric? Spiteful Priest? Spiteful SummonerFree From Amber, and Mind Control are all still there, as is Duskbreaker.

Will there be enough Dragon support for Duskbreaker though with Drakonid Operative heading out into Wild? I’m sure Spiteful Priest with access to the full card pool can figure something out, but cutting all the odd-cost cards makes life that much more difficult. There’s still Faerie DragonTwilight DrakeBone Drake, and Primordial Drake. Perhaps something can be built around those.

Twilight Acolyte is another big loss. Combining it with Cabal Shadow Priest has been one of the big moves available to Priest, and losing the attack-reducing effect will hurt.

If the deck is something else than Spiteful, there’s still Auchenai Soulpriest and Circle of Healing. Auchenai even benefits from the cheaper Hero Power.

There are some pieces to build an Even Priest. The deck just seems to be missing something to make it attractive. Still, if some suitable new cards are printed with The Witchwood, it is possible that a viable build may be found.

Genn in Rogue

Important Rogue cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

OK, so no Kingsbane Rogue or Quest Rogue with Genn.

Maybe Tempo or even Miracle? Think about it, this changes the Rogue early game. The classic Rogue early game is turn one pass into turn two dagger up. Now, it can be turn one dagger into a two-drop! Razorpetal Lasher just got a lot more attractive for Rogue, and Prince Keleseth became slightly less so, if you run Genn, anyway.

Maybe there is still some life in the Prince Keleseth and Shadowstep combo, but losing one-drops and three-drops most likely means that any attempt to fit in Keleseth into a Genn deck results in an abysmal early game.

You end up losing a bunch of survival tools, too. No Fan of Knives to fight wide boards full of small minions. No SI:7 Agent for that early swing turn. No Vilespine Slayer for hard removal. Really hard to come back if you fall behind.

However, Gadgetzan Auctioneer is there, as is Fal'dorei Strider. All those sweet zero-cost spells are still there. Even Elven Minstrel remains available.

Miracle might be too fond of its various odd-cost tools though, it really needs some survival tools to live until Auctioneer comes online to save the day.

That leaves the tempo-based approach. Razorpetal Lasher could be a key tool in such a build alongside Elven Minstrel, but it is difficult to see how to put the whole deck together from the current card pool.

Genn is interesting in Rogue, because it reverses the order of Rogue’s early-game turns. Whether that is powerful enough to include the card is another matter.

Genn in Shaman

Important Shaman cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

To compensate, Shaman gets a special synergy card for even-cost decks: Murkspark Eel. It is a powerful card indeed, almost an unconditional Medivh's Valet – deals two damage instead of three, and, of course, requires an even-cost deck.

Looking at the losses, any Spellstone shenanigans are out of the picture. Also, cheap totems but no Bloodlust makes me a bit of a sad panda. And no, you cannot even try Windshear Stormcaller, although I suppose that is a good thing, as no one should try to use him anyway.

There are still Primalfin Totem and Flametongue Totem. Turn one Totem into one of those or Murkspark Eel on turn two gives the deck some early game. Shame about the lack of Bloodlust and general totem synergies right now. If some totem synergy cards come in The Witchwood, there might be something in the totem line, even Kobold Hermit could be useful then.

What about Elementals? Murmuring ElementalFire Plume Harbinger (make your own odd-cost cards!), Fire Plume PhoenixGrumble, WorldshakerFire ElementalKalimos, Primal Lord, and Al'Akir the Windlord provide some tools to build around.

Even Shaman is another deck that has some tools lying around. Building a habitable shelter from these pieces of scrapwood can be difficult though. If something interesting comes along with either Elementals or Totems, it might all work out.

Genn in Warlock

Important Warlock cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

I guess a Demon-based deck is not going to work out with Genn. Carnivorous Cube is also out, alongside most Cubelock cards. Zoo cannot survive without one-drops.

So what do we have? Super cheap card draw combined with just about all of Warlock’s removal spells? DefileCorrupting MistHellfireLesser Amethyst SpellstoneSiphon Soul, and Twisting Nether, they’re all even.

There’s even some kind of a win condition with Rin, the First Disciple. Perhaps Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake too or instead of Rin?

Sacrificing Dark Pact and Voidlord is a big deal. There should be some major upsides to having improved card draw for those sacrifices to be worthwhile. You can use the two main cards that benefit from having cards in hand – Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake – but those cards are quite easy to use with the regular-cost Warlock Hero Power too.

Game-ending combos would go nicely with card draw, but Warlock currently does not have any big combo plays outside of Cubed Doomguards. Malygos is not even available for a Genn deck.

There are some possibilities for Warlock with Genn, but they currently do not seem worth the sacrifice.

Genn in Warrior

Important Warrior cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:

All that Warrior Hero Power does is give you Armor. It does not help you to kill the opponent. It does not help you protect your minions. It does not help you remove any of your opponent’s minions. Therefore, the only deck types that care about the Warrior Hero Power are those that are willing to take the game long.

Well, then, if you lose all of your removal, how do you plan to take the game long? That is a crippling question for all the Even Warrior hopefuls.

Maybe you can do a Recruit Warrior? WoecleaverGeosculptor YipGrommash HellscreamRotfaceScourgelord Garrosh, and Gather Your Party provide some tools to work with. There’s Blood Razor and ExecuteDead Man's Hand to shuffle some more stuff for Woecleaver to Recruit. Perhaps even Gemstudded Golem?

You can’t build a Fatigue Warrior with Genn, but some kind of a slightly slower build that cares about Armor could be possible.

The Best Classes for Genn Greymane

Nothing in the current card pool strikes me as a perfect fit for Genn. We really need to see The Witchwood cards, even more so than for Baku, in order to evaluate whether Genn is viable.

With the information currently at hand, I’d rank the classes as follows:

  1. Paladin: Most key Paladin cards are even-cost, so Genn can find a place in almost any archetype.
  2. Shaman: Murkspark Eel seems strong enough to warrant a try. Shaman is so bad now anyway, I’m willing to grasp at straws with the class.
  3. Mage: The burn is there. Secret Mage loses a lot of synergies. There may be room for some competition.
  4. Rogue: Hero Power on one and a minion on two sounds interesting and different for Rogue. I hope it works out, even though it looks difficult.
  5. Druid: Put in Ultimate Infestation and Spiteful Summoner and hope it works out. With UI, it should always work out, right?
  6. Priest: Spiteful Priest? Something with Auchenai? There are some tools, but there are significant gaps too.
  7. Hunter: Secrets and hit face, but no Spellstone? I’m not really convinced it will work out, but it’s the best I can think of.
  8. Warrior: Finding a balance between hardly any removal and still needing Armor. Tricky. Recruit mechanic is the best chance I can come up with.
  9. Warlock: You want to do something that requires you to have lots of cards. You have them anyway. Not sure how much better Genn makes that. At least you get to keep all of your removal.

What do you think? Will Genn see play? What kinds of decks could be built with Genn?

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks.

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

16 Comments

  1. Luca
    March 31, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Great article and good observations! The only correction that I would make is that when you listed decks that would be viable with Baku the Mooneater, you actually said Genn instead of Baku.

    Reply
  2. CD001
    March 22, 2018 at 5:25 am

    The problem with the Elemental synergies, mentioned for Mage and Shaman, is that to build any kind of Elemental deck you normally want to be dropping an Elemental every turn to ensure you proc the abilities on things like Kalimos, Steam Surger or Tol’vir Stoneshaper.

    However, in an even-cost deck, you loose Fire Fly, Igneous Elemental and Servant of Kalimos – all things that generate additional Elementals to enable you to keep to stream going. Granted Mage gets to keep Flame Geyser, Steam Surger and Pyros so Elemental Mage might actually work slightly better than Shaman – despite the fact that Shaman gets some very cool even-cost Ellies.

    … and there might even be room for some Coldarra Drake (6 mana) / Fallen Hero (2 mana) shenanigans in Wild!

    Reply
    • GlosuuLang
      March 22, 2018 at 7:55 am

      In an even deck you’re supposed to curve out your odd turns with something even + Hero Power. Losing Firefly definitely hurts, since that’s two easily-triggering elementals in one card. But you should still be able to play elementals in pseudo-curve (one every turn) pretty reliably. We’ll see what other cards we get in The Witchwood.

      Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      March 22, 2018 at 10:37 am

      No viable Elemental deck has had enough Elementals to drop one every turn to maintain the synergy going throughout the game. They’ve all had to plan ahead for when to use the synergy cards. Sure, in the early days of Journey to Un’Goro, such all-encompassing Elemental decks were planned, but they were never good enough.

      Reply
      • CD001
        March 23, 2018 at 5:32 am

        Oki – maybe not every turn; but losing Fire Fly, Glacial Shard, Tar Creeper, Servant of Kalimos and Blazecaller is really not going to do any Elemental deck any favours – and, as already noted, Elemental decks aren’t really all that strong to begin with.

        I can’t see the benefit from being able to summon 1-cost totems in Shaman outweighing the loss of those cards, especially with Evolve rotating out (though I’m interested to see what the Totem Cruncher is!).

        For Mage it *might* be possible – but as soon as you play Frost Lich Jaina (which you’re going to do with an Elemental Mage) you lose the cost reduction on the hero power.

        Reply
  3. JoyDivision
    March 22, 2018 at 2:06 am

    I hope they’ll implement odd and even search strings for filtering the collection accordingly. Would be very annoying to click through all the numbers one by one.

    Reply
    • Stonekeep
      March 22, 2018 at 4:05 am

      That’s actually something I haven’t thought about. Allowing to search for even/odd cards would also make building such decks much more clear.

      On the other hand, you wouldn’t be able to look at all those cards you’re missing when making an even/odd deck and think about your life decisions.

      Reply
    • CD001
      March 22, 2018 at 5:12 am

      You could build the deck here where it *is* implemented and then use the deck code to import it into Hearthstone as a kind of workaround I guess 🙂

      Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      March 22, 2018 at 10:34 am

      They will! You can choose to see only odd/even cards when building a deck with Baku or Genn, it has been confirmed by the developers.

      Reply
  4. Joopiter
    March 22, 2018 at 12:55 am

    A lot of work with this article, but I don’t think it was worthed 🙂 We don’t know the rest of the expansion yet and we know that there will be more cards with Odd/Even effect so writing arcticles like that now has no sense. Your predictions can be completely wrong.

    Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      March 22, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Actually, there will be no more odd/even effect cards, Iksar has confirmed that.

      Obviously, there will be plenty of other new cards in The Witchwood, but getting some of the analysis done already makes it easier to evaluate those cards in proper context, because reveals will come fast when they start and there will not be much time to really think them all through from scratch.

      Reply
  5. Spyder9899
    March 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Who’s going to be the masochist and try a Reno-Greymane deck?

    Reply
    • GlosuuLang
      March 21, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      In Wild there should actually be enough cards to make a decent Even or Odd Highlander deck. So Reno-Genn is worth a try!

      Reply
  6. Sirius Cord
    March 21, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Awesome write-up! It’s worth noting though that while paladin still has access to Call to Arms, they would only be able to include 2 drops in the deck to pull with it. I think this would probably make the card a lot worse.

    Reply
    • GlosuuLang
      March 21, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Loot Hoarder, Knife Juggler, Dire Wolf Alpha, Drygulch Jailor, Plated Beetle. You need a minimum of 8 low-cost minions for Call to Arms to work reliably with your deck. Here I mentioned 5 of them, of which you could introduce 10, and we haven’t even seen the rest of The Witchwood’s cards. In my opinion, having only 2-drops makes Call to Arms better, not worse. If I open Genn, I’m definitely trying Even Paladin.

      Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      March 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

      As mentioned in the other reply – that was a fast one – pulling three two-drops is generally stronger than pulling a mix of one-drops and two-drops. You want a lot of two-drops in the deck anyway to have a play on turn two and turn three (two-drop + Hero Power).

      Righteous Protector makes pulling one-drops seem good, that card is insane, but other than that, two-drops are better.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Register to keep track of your comments. You can also build and favorite decks!

Comment Policy: Any comments that are overly derogatory will be removed and could result in an account or site ban.