Standout Witchwood Meta Decks From the First Day

The Witchwood is out! Another Standard year has come, and it has brought some very interesting strategies. But how much has really changed? Do we still see same old decks? Or maybe the meta is completely fresh? Well, to be fair, I’d say that it’s somewhere in between. Some new and fun decks are being playtested, but the most dominating archetypes are the ones we’ve already seen in the past, sometimes with a small twist.

Check out our Best Witchwood Decks for Every Class!

I’ve been playing the game for 5 or 6 hours and watching streams on the lookout for the best decks. If I had to name one thing that surprised me most so far is that Odd & Even decks seem to be working quite well. Of course, not every class has a viable Odd/Even deck, but some of them have two (*cough* Paladin *cough*).

Below, I’ll list some of the decks that already caught my attention. Just like every new expansion, remember that the early meta is very chaotic and it might look completely different in a few days. Decks are chosen based on my ladder experience (going from R3 to Legend), watching the steamers & pros, talking with other high ranked players and early statistics from sites like HSReplay.net or Vicious Syndicate.

These decks are only example lists – meta is adjusting very quickly and there might already be more optimized builds.

When it comes to Odd/Even decks, there were TONS of theorycrafts before the expansion. When it comes to Baku the Mooneater, Paladin was one of the first classes I thought about. 2x 1/1 is one of the best upgraded Hero Powers and having that from the early game can make things really annoying for the opponent. But then I’ve realized that you need to drop Knife Juggler (and all of the other 2-drops), Call to ArmsSunkeeper Tarim… and I was almost sure that it won’t work. Too many sacrifices.

But as it turned out, the deck works and it works really well. It’s like an epitome of board flood decks – every single turn you’re putting at least 3-4 bodies down on the board and you put your opponent in a very awkward spot, because clearing so many minions is not easy. Does he trade into your minions? Well, it’s too slow, because you’re putting much more bodies than he can handle. Does he AoE your board? Most of the time you can reflood it back very easily. Or maybe he ignores it completely? Well, then you punish him with board-wide buffs. Talking about the buffs, this is the first competitive deck I’ve ever seen running Stormwind Champion – how crazy it is?

It’s still up in the air how the final build will look like, as there are lots of things you could change. E.g. how many 1-drops you run, do you go for a more aggressive route or maybe you build it in a more Midrange way, and finally what kinds of buffs you play. For example, some builds are even trying out a Raid Leader – yes, you’ve read that right. For example, this build runs Witch's Cauldron, which I don’t necessarily agree with (feel free to make your own adjustments).

One more thing that I want to mention is that Odd/Even decks will only get stronger throughout the year. Lists with strict deck building restrictions heavily benefit from redundancy, from having more card available. So if anything, they should only get stronger with the second and third expansion of this Standard year.

StrifeCro, even though he’s not playing as much as before, is still one of the best innovative deck builders and his early builds are often close to how the deck will look like in the end. In this case, he tries out an Even Paladin build. Just like the Odd Paladin, going for the Even build means that you have to make some sacrifices, but your Hero Power gets better. In this case, it costs 1 mana. There are a few reasons why this is strong. You always start with a 1-drop and it’s easier to summon Silver Hand Recruits every turn for the sake of your synergies For example, if you go for Hero Power on T1, then 2-drop on T2, then again 2-drop with Hero Power on T3, you can drop a nice Lightfused Stegodon or Crystal Lion on the curve. Normally, you’d have to sacrifice lots of tempo to make that happen – play Hero Power on T2 and T3.

In the mid/late game, with the 1 mana version of HP, it’s much easier to squeeze it into your turns, including Tarim turn – HP + Tarim can not be done on Turn 7 instead of Turn 8. While I’d say that 1 mana Hero Power is worse than upgraded Hero Power in this case, Even Paladin still has access to some of the class’ most powerful tools, such as Call to Arms and Sunkeeper Tarim.

Only other new card (besides Genn Greymane) is actually Silver Sword – this build can’t run Vinecleaver, which would probably be better, but Silver Sword is also solid. If you get that far with even just a few minions on the board, it can really snowball the game by dealing lots of damage and putting your board out of AoE range (I won a few games vs CubeLock already by putting my minions out of the DefileLord Godfrey range with Silver Sword).

In the end, you could say that the Kobolds & Catacombs’ Dude Paladin has now split into two decks, each taking a part of it. Odd Paladin has the Silver Hand Recruit board flood and Level Up!, while this build has the rest of synergies.

This isn’t really a big news. Rotation didn’t really affect Cube Lock in a significant way – Mistress of Mixtures and N'Zoth, The Corruptor were the only significant cards rotating out. And the deck has got plenty of new tools to replace them.

This build doesn’t even run lots of them – a single copy of Voodoo Doll is the only new card. And yet Meati has already hit #1 Legend using this build.

There isn’t really much to say about the deck for obvious reasons. The fact that Aggro/Midrange Paladin builds are very popular right now makes it an even better choice. On the other hand, decks like the new Odd Face Hunter or even Spiteful Priest seem to have a good matchup against it, so at least it doesn’t completely dominate the meta.

Note: It links to the guide which still isn’t updated – we’ll start updating our guides over the weekend!

Spiteful Priest has survived the K&C nerfs (despite being hit pretty hard) and now it survived the rotation again. It’s all simply because the deck’s core is intact – Spiteful Summoner and Grand Archivist aren’t going anywhere (yet), same goes for the Free From Amber and Mind Control.

Despite losing a big value generator / mid game threat in a form of Drakonid Operative, the deck didn’t drop a Dragon package. It’s hard to say whether Duskbreaker alone would be worth the hassle, but other Dragon-related cards like Scaleworm or Wyrmguard turned out to be above average. I’m really happy with Scaleworm in particular – the card nearly always gets 2 for 1 in this deck and it’s really good to have a mid game removal in the deck that can’t run cheaper spells. Twilight Acolyte is great when dealing with bigger minions, but if your opponent drops e.g. a Tar Creeper, Acolyte is pretty useless, while Scaleworm is a Tar Creeper destroyer.

Since another Dragon-related 2-drop (Netherspite Historian is also gone, lots of the builds have decided to go with the Prince Keleseth. There are some alternatives like Shadow Ascendant and Faerie Dragon, but I don’t believe they’re good enough to drop Keleseth. Hitting him on Turn 2 turns an already high tempo mid game into something next level.

Nightmare Amalgam is… okay. It performs its job. A vanilla 3 mana 3/4 isn’t great, but having extra ways to activate synergies isn’t bad. So far no Crabs and such are in the meta, so you shouldn’t really be afraid about getting punished (outside of some random effects).

So far it feels like one of the more powerful decks in the meta, we’ll see how it develops.

P.S. I don’t know whose deck it is – it was taken from the HSReplay a few hours ago. I’ve playtested this exact build on the ladder too and it worked out really well for me.

Oldschool Face Hunter is back in a new form. If you haven’t played it, or against it, you might be really surprised how fast this deck can kill the opponent. Even with an average hand, a Turn 4-5 lethal is possible. You punish everyone really hard for skipping the first turn or two. I’ve played against Priest who had no 1-drop or 2-drop, and he just conceded on Turn 3 despite dropping a Nightmare Amalgam, because he was at half health already and there was basically no way for him to come back into the game.

I’ve even outraced some Baku Odd Warriors who had 4 Armor per turn just because they couldn’t answer my early board. The deck is crazy when it works. It also punishes Cube Warlocks – unless they get a perfect opening, they will just crumble under all the damage.

The deck isn’t flawless, though. It has a pretty poor matchup against Paladins – with a solid hand they can quickly take the board control from you, and then put you on a pretty fast clock. You might want to tech in Unleash the Hounds or two if you face lots of Paladins, especially the Odd builds (UTH can punish the flood quite nicely).

The best thing about it, though, is that it can be built on the budget quite nicely. The only Legendary you need is Baku. Leeroy Jenkins is nice, but not absolutely necessary to play the deck. And the rest of your deck is full of Basics and Commons with a few Rares here and there.

While I knew that Hench-Clan Thug is going to be strong in Rogue (I rated it 8/10), I didn’t think that it’s going to have so much impact on the class. It feels like one of the best cards from the expansion. I won some games simply because I had it on Turn 3 – nothing more. It just snowballs so hard, 3 mana 4/4 is already good and the fact that it grows even further makes it absolutely insane.

The deck plays very similarly to the older Tempo Rogue builds. You want to get onto the board, keep the board clear as efficiently as possible while you sneak some face damage here and there, and then close out the game with a mix of Charge minions, Cold Bloods, Eviscerates etc.

I’m not sure if Tess Greymane build is the best one – probably it’s more “fun” than “good” card. The main problem with Tess is the lack of consistency. I’m telling you, she won me some games by herself. Like, I’ve got DoomhammerMana Tide Totem and Fire Elemental against Shaman from my burgle cards. Tess was a 6/6 + 6/5 + Mana Tide + Doomhammer – crazy good turn that basically won me the game. On the other hand, if you don’t draw your burgle cards, or you get something weak, Tess is nearly unplayable.

I’ve also seen Prince Keleseth builds back in action, both with and without Tess. Hard to say which one is better. On the one hand, the deck doesn’t really have a 2-drop anyway, so putting Prince Keleseth wouldn’t impact your early game negatively. On the other hand, you need to drop Sap, which is really crucial in some matchups like CubeLock. I’m leaning towards a Keleseth build, but it will probably be a meta call.

While I think that it’s not as good as Spiteful Priest, the Spiteful Druid deck is also a force to reckon with. 10 mana minion slot got SO MUCH stronger after the rotation. Most notably, Old Gods have rotated out – 3 out of 4 had subpar stats and were low-rolls. Right now, there are exactly five cards left in a pool – Sea Giant, Emeriss, Ultrasaur, Deathwing and Tyrantus. Now 8/8 is a low-roll (but still much better than e.g. Yogg), 7/14 is an average roll and 12/12’s are high rolls. Tyrantus in particular is amazing – thanks to the fact that it can’t be targeted by spells, it’s very hard to remove.

While Spiteful in Priest also got improved, the change is even bigger for Druid, since the build runs only a 10 mana spell – Ultimate Infestation. Which means that in the worst case scenario you’re getting a 6 mana 4/4 + 8/8, and just as often you get a 12/12 instead.

Both builds have their advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to the Priest, the fact that it has lots of good Dragon synergies makes it pretty good even if you don’t hit Spiteful. At the same time, Druid can get Spiteful one turn earlier if he gets Greedy Sprite, and Spiteful itself is stronger, because it always hits 10 mana card.

No matter which Spiteful build is better, I feel like both of them will stay in the meta in some way, as the card’s power level is even higher than it was before the rotation.

And finally, Shudderwock Shaman. It was the first deck I’ve played after the rotation, because it looked so fun! It already reached meme status after the first 24 hours. In terms of popularity, it’s one of the most common decks on the ladder. But in terms of strenght… well… it’s kind of like Exodia Mage looked back in the Un’Goro. The build got very popular very quickly, but the win rates were awful.

While some players had enough skill, luck or both to get this build to higher ranks, neither stats of my experience so far suggest that it will be meta-defining. However, it has some really good matchups and the combo has lots of potential. That’s why I feel like Exodia Mage comparison might be even better.

While the deck definitely requires lots of optimization, I don’t think it will catch up. One could say that the low win rate is related to the deck’s difficulty, and generally you might be right, but the thing is, this deck shows an even lower win rate at higher ranks than at lower ranks.

I believe that after optimization, it will become a sort of “off-meta combo deck” of this expansion. A somehow viable build played mostly to target specific matchups.

Also, Blizzard pls. Do something about the animation of Shudderwock. Maybe have some way to skip the animations, because right now some of the turns take literally a few extra minutes – mirror matchups are insane!

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over four years of playing and three years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

15 Comments

  1. Mr Bump
    April 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Good work Stonekeep, but damn, what a boring expansion! Apart from that Shudderwock BS (and it really is BS), this has got to be the weakest New Year to date. It all just feels very stale. Yes, the Odd/Even idea makes for some interesting deck building, but the results feel very much like stuff we’ve been playing for years. Other than that, it’s just the same decks we’ve seen for ages with some slight variations. :/

    Reply
  2. MemeLord
    April 14, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Really liked the commenting!

    Reply
  3. Klausdieter
    April 14, 2018 at 2:13 am

    I had lots of success (72% in about 50 games) with the First Version of RDUs Spiteful Druid

    Reply
  4. Livestrong
    April 13, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Stonekeep killin’ it. This is really helpful

    Reply
  5. Amoeba
    April 13, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    As a free to play with a bunch of dust due to the rotation, I was wondering if you thought that the rotation proof astral tiger druid would still hold up against these decks. I’m considering making it as I have a lot of the cards, but I would like to know if you think it would be equal enough with these decks.
    I’ve also seen a Baku quest warrior going around, and could also build that. Is that deck good or is it just a fringe deck?

    Reply
    • Hello
      April 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      I’d say it is way too early to make any statements regarding any deck’s power level (except for cubelock). If you have limited dust and want to get a competitive deck, you should probably wait at least a week before crafting cards.

      Reply
  6. Opacho
    April 13, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I can see Face Collector on some pro player’s decklists, but I haven’t seen any stream yet. Did you test him? It seems similar to Shaku, but I like Shaku more. One health and stealth feel more useful than board and hand filling ability and i guess 9 mana or even 6 mana echo play is not so common. Anyway Shaku is gone and Face Collector for sure supports a bit Tess, sometimes, but is it necessary. Hallucination and new fox package just to feed Tess seems very cool. Cards are good by itself and you don’t rely on Tess that much. playing only 4 burgle cards. Your opinion can save me some dust. Greetings from Poland 🙂

    Reply
    • FatherMicah
      April 15, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Don’t craft face collector i haven’t had much use with it. also I don’t think Tess is that game changing.

      Reply
  7. Scodge
    April 13, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Gotta say it’s oddly fun to see what card you choose as your avatar each expansion. Keep it up my man!

    Reply
  8. hag
    April 13, 2018 at 10:11 am

    glad to be able to cut hagatha from the shudderwock deck.. think it might be the wrong way to go tho..

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 13, 2018 at 10:33 am

      I think that those are two different builds and both have their merits.

      If you play Hagatha, you go for a Control Shaman with a combo finisher in a form of Shudderwock. You don’t entirely rely on the combo to win, you can also outvalue your opponent.

      And this specific build goes all-in on the combo, basically it’s the deck’s only win condition. This one doesn’t need Hagatha – it closes out most of the games around Turn 10 anyway (if it doesn’t die before, of course).

      Reply
  9. Nickname23
    April 13, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Thanks, writing down your thoughts and some explanation about the decks is a nice service!

    Reply
  10. Css09
    April 13, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Great content as always!

    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.