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 in Druid
Important Druid cards that you lose access to if you use Genn:
- Malfurion the Pestilent
- Living Mana
- Savage Roar
- Crypt Lord
- Greedy Sprite
- Jungle Giants
- Lesser Jasper Spellstone
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:
- King Krush
- Crushing Walls
- Lesser Emerald Spellstone
- Tol'vir Warden
- Tundra Rhino
- Eaglehorn Bow
- Animal Companion
- Deadly Shot
- Kill Command
- Unleash the Hounds
- Hunter's Mark
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:
- Frost Lich Jaina
- Dragoncaller Alanna
- Archmage Antonidas
- Dragon's Fury
- Arcane Intellect
- All Mage Secrets
- Kirin Tor Mage
- Open the Waygate
- Arcane Artificer
- Mana Wyrm
However, all the Secrets are gone as well!
Can we build something relatively aggressive without Secrets? There’s still a ton of burn available: Frostbolt, Fireball, and Pyroblast are all still there, and there’s Primordial Glyph and Aluneth too.
Perhaps throw in some Elemental synergies? Shimmering Tempest, Steam 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 Lackey, Medivh'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:
- Uther of the Ebon Blade
- Lynessa Sunsorrow
- Level Up!
- Unidentified Maul
- Divine Favor
- Aldor Peacekeeper
- Lost in the Jungle
- Righteous Protector
That’s a lot of good cards, again.
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:
- Obsidian Statue
- Lesser Diamond Spellstone
- Psychic Scream
- Prophet Velen
- Lyra the Sunshard
- Shadow Word: Death
- Curious Glimmerroot
- Twilight Acolyte
- Inner Fire
- Power Word: Shield
- Northshire Cleric
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.
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 Dragon, Twilight Drake, Bone Drake, and Primordial Drake. Perhaps something can be built around those.
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:
- Valeera the Hollow
- Vilespine Slayer
- Fan of Knives
- Edwin VanCleef
- SI:7 Agent
- Cold Blood
- The Caverns Below
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.
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:
- Snowfury Giant
- Lesser Sapphire Spellstone
- Thrall, Deathseer
- Windshear Stormcaller
- Far Sight
- Healing Rain
- Mana Tide Totem
- Lightning Storm
- Hot Spring Guardian
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 Elemental, Fire Plume Harbinger (make your own odd-cost cards!), Fire Plume Phoenix, Grumble, Worldshaker, Fire Elemental, Kalimos, 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:
- Skull of the Man'ari
- Despicable Dreadlord
- Possessed Lackey
- Mortal Coil
- Dark Pact
- Flame Imp
- Kobold Librarian
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? Defile, Corrupting Mist, Hellfire, Lesser Amethyst Spellstone, Siphon Soul, and Twisting Nether, they’re all even.
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:
- King Mosh
- Arcanite Reaper
- Direhorn Hatchling
- Fiery War Axe
- Shield Block
- Frothing Berserker
- Reckless Flurry
- Fire Plume's Heart
- Shield Slam
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? Woecleaver, Geosculptor Yip, Grommash Hellscream, Rotface, Scourgelord Garrosh, and Gather Your Party provide some tools to work with. There’s Blood Razor and Execute. Dead 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:
- Paladin: Most key Paladin cards are even-cost, so Genn can find a place in almost any archetype.
- 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.
- Mage: The burn is there. Secret Mage loses a lot of synergies. There may be room for some competition.
- 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.
- Druid: Put in Ultimate Infestation and Spiteful Summoner and hope it works out. With UI, it should always work out, right?
- Priest: Spiteful Priest? Something with Auchenai? There are some tools, but there are significant gaps too.
- 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.
- Warrior: Finding a balance between hardly any removal and still needing Armor. Tricky. Recruit mechanic is the best chance I can come up with.
- 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?