Galakrond’s Awakening has launched three weeks ago, and tomorrow we’re getting the final chapter. It will add 8 last cards, for a grand total of 35 new cards from this mid-expansion adventure. While it’s not nearly as big as a full set release, it had a pretty significant impact on the meta already. Week 1 and 2 has seen the rise of popularity and win rate of Embiggen Druid thanks to the Winged Guardian (as well as Quest Druid to a certain extent, thanks to the Rising Winds). Week 3, on the other hand, belonged to Hunter thanks to Sky Gen'ral Kragg (Quest) and Rotnest Drake (Dragon, Highlander). Chapter 4 looks pretty promising too, some of the cards have a very high chance of seeing competitive play, so the meta might shift again. But what new strategies / decks we might expect? Find more about it below alongside a full list of upcoming cards and encounters!
Cards Released This Week:
Unlike Week 1, no content is free this time around. You have to buy everything. Keep in mind that you DON’T have to pay 700g or $7.99 per side – buying it once will give you both sides.
League of E.V.I.L. Side:
League of Explorers Side:
Potential New & Buffed Decks / Strategies
- Aggro Decks – I know that it’s pretty broad, but I’ll list some examples soon. Frenzied Felwing should be a powerful addition to any Aggro deck. It reminds me of Happy Ghoul in Zoo Warlock – the deck shifted towards more healing mostly because to be able to drop a 0 mana 3/3. Because yes, 0 mana 3/3 is strong in Aggro. Unlike Ghoul, however, you don’t need to alter your deck list or play style to run Felwing. At the same time, it’s also not so… binary. Ghoul was 0 or 3 mana – nothing in between. Felwing can be anywhere between 0 and 4 mana depending on how much damage you deal. And while 0 mana 3/3 is obviously the best, even at 1 mana it’s amazing and at 2 mana it’s playable. And let’s be honest, it’s not very hard to deal 2-3 damage to the opponent as an Aggro deck. It will often come down for 0-1 mana as soon as Turn 3-4, adding more power to the board. In a way, it’s also a bit similar to Dread Corsair in faster builds running weapons. As for the specific decks that will run it… I honestly want to say that all of the faster builds will probably try it. Pirate Warrior and Face Hunter are definitely the best candidates – Warrior because of weapons/charge minions and Hunter because of Hero Power/burn cards (in either case you don’t need to already have a board to drop it for cheap). Other Aggro decks that are more board-oriented, such as Zoo Warlock or Mech Paladin, should also benefit from it, but maybe not to the same extent, because for the most part they need to already have a board to deal damage.
- Lackey Decks – While I still have my doubts about Grand Lackey Erkh, it’s easy to see that the card has a lot of potential. Generating 3, 4 or even more Lackeys during your turn can be very powerful – it will be a massive tempo and/or value gain (depending on which ones you end up getting). Even more so if you play it in Warlock with Dark Pharaoh Tekahn – imagine flooding the board with 4/4’s while also generating a lot of other resources. Tekahn himself has seen some play in some Warlock variants, but it was never really AMAZING – it always turned out that builds without him have a higher win rate. Erkh might change that. Other decks that run some Lackey generators (so they can consistently have the first one to start the chain with Erkh) might also try the card out. It adds more late game punch, and sometimes you might also go for a high-roll and drop it on curve, hoping that it will survive. I can see it being tested out in Galakrond Rogue, for example.
- Mech Paladin – The deck is already gaining some popularity and Shotbot wasn’t even released. After it’s out, it will DEFINITELY fit into the build. Mech Paladin is a pretty aggressive deck which absolutely loves sticky minions like that. In fact, the deck doesn’t really have a very strong, on-curve 2-drop. Galvanizer is good, because it makes your future turns better, but it’s just a 1/2. Micro Mummy is better, but it’s still pretty bad if you didn’t open with a 1-drop (or it was destroyed by your opponent). Shotbot is a 2/2 Mech that “Deathrattles” into a 2/1 Mech. The card is comparable to the oldschool Shielded Minibot, which was one of the strongest 2-drops at the time. Another point of comparison is Harvest Golem, which costs 1 more mana for just +1 Health (and again, Harvest Golem might not be a very powerful card, but it’s certainly not bad). I suspect Mech Paladin play rate and win rate to jump even higher, possibly taking a Tier 1 position.
- Highlander Mage – The deck is in a pretty weird spot. Ever since Descent of Dragons launched, it got up from its knees (after Blizzard shot it down in Saviors of Uldum), but never had enough strength to run. It was actually working very well in tournaments, but not so much on the ladder. But I can’t say that it’s a bad deck – it’s an okay Tier 3 build, some people had a lot of success with it. But it’s really, really close to being promoted to a higher tier – and The Amazing Reno might help with that. Yes, I know that the card has an incredibly random Hero Power. Yes, I know that casting random spells at random times is not good for a deck like that. But I would argue that its Battlecry is so amazing and frankly necessary that you really want to run it. One of the biggest problems with Highlander Mage is that it has NO board wipes. The only one is Zephrys the Great into Twisting Nether, but you can’t always save Zephrys for that. While cards like Blizzard, Flamestrike or even Reno the Relicologist work very well against fast decks, as soon as opponents puts a bigger board, Highlander Mage suddenly struggles. And when you’re at the point where you need to play Reno, you’re probably behind, so possibly the random spells might not be that bad. However, that card alone is not enough for Highlander Mage to raise – we would need a meta shift to follow. The problem is that Mage has really bad matchup vs all kinds of Hunter, and Hunter has been getting A LOT more popular following Chapter 3 release. Reno would help a lot in Embiggen Druid matchup, which is still the most popular deck, and it’s good to have another board clear vs Quest Hunter build, it doesn’t really do enough against Dragon Hunter, Face Hunter or Highlander Hunter builds.
- Other Cards – While I think that some of the other cards have potential, I’m not really sure what builds they would fit into. Boom Squad is pretty flexible, but not really something faster builds want, and Control Warrior (which is non-existent anyway) already has Omega Assembly. Chaos Gazer seems more like a tech card than something you would put into main builds, but players might still try it out. Escaped Manasaber is a weird ramp, since it will realistically only give you one mana on average (most of the time it won’t survive to attack second time). While Steel Beetle is a solid card in theory, but none of the currently popular Druid builds would want to run it (Embiggen doesn’t play expensive spells, Token doesn’t care about Armor, Quest is really packed and would prefer a strong Choose One card instead for the most part).