Questlines are the main feature of United in Stormwind: they function like Main Quests in that they are all one-cost spells that are always offered to you in the mulligan, but you complete them piecemeal and get some small intermediate rewards for completing each step and then finally a big reward for completing the last step. In United in Stormwind, all Questlines consist of three subquests.
Quests and Questlines share the same main strengths and weaknesses: completing a Questline provides a major reward that is often game-winning, but always having the Questline take one spot from your opening hand and typically having to use your first turn to play it makes you weaker against aggressive decks.
The first Questline that was showcased was Priest’s Seek Guidance, a slow, control-style Questline that provides the Priest with a game-winning card. Literally. If you manage to complete the Questline and draw and play Purified Shard, you win the game.
However, this initial impression of Questlines can be misleading. Most of them are not for control decks at all! Sure, you sacrifice some early tempo, but many of the Questlines have ways to regain that tempo early in the game, and they are often completed within six or seven turns. In fact, the Priest Questline is likely the weakest Questline, and the others are able to close out games far faster than Priest.
In this article, I will take a look at all the Questlines and theorycraft some decks for the ones that seem to be the most promising.
The Demon Hunter Questline is Final Showdown, which requires you to draw four, five, and then again five cards in a single turn to get Demonslayer Kurtrus that makes subsequent cards you draw in the game cost two less. You also discount some of the cards you draw while completing the Questline. Note that your natural draw counts as one, so the first step is completed with three additional cards drawn, and so on.
The Demon Hunter Questline does not provide you with a clear win condition as such, all it does is discount some cards. Therefore, you need to consider how to actually win the game. You need a win condition where spending your first turn on playing the Questline does not hurt you too much, where you naturally want to draw a lot of cards, and where discounts on some of your cards can be useful. You don’t have to be a genius to see that the most natural archetype fit for these criteria is a combo deck.
The main focus of the deck will be the combo. With the current card pool, we’re probably looking at an OTK Lifesteal Demon Hunter deck that just happens to run the Questline for the discounts. However, it is not obvious that sacrificing a card from your mulligan is worth the additional discounts, so a traditional OTK Demon Hunter may still prove to be the superior deck.
The Druid Questline is Lost in the Park, which requires you to gain four, five, and then six Attack with your hero to get Guff the Tough that gives you a one-time effect for eight Attack and eight Armor. You also gain 10 Armor while completing the Questline.
There are multiple approaches you can take to the Druid Questline. Blizzard’s own recipe deck is a Spell Druid with Glowfly Swarm and Arbor Up mixed with damage-increasing cards like Pounce, Feral Rage, and Moontouched Amulet. There is also Mark of the Spikeshell to make copies of Guff the Tough. You could also go for a more minion-based approach and try to build a pure aggro deck because the extra Armor you gain from the Questline should allow you to race other aggro decks.
I played with the recipe deck in a Fireside Gathering, and the one thing I wondered about was whether it really needed the Questline: Glowfly Swarm was often game-winning, so perhaps more focus on supporting it, I don’t know, maybe with Gibberlings and stuff, could make for a better deck. Yeah, sometimes an old trick is better than a bag of new ones. I am intrigued about the possible aggro version though.
The Hunter Questline is Defend the Dwarven District, which requires you to deal damage with two spells, three times. The Questline will first change your Hero Power to also be able to target minions, then makes it free, and ultimately Tavish, Master Marksman will make your Hero Power refresh whenever you cast a spell in a true Machine Gun
Priest Hunter style!
Blizzard’s deck recipe is built around the Questline, so I had a chance to try it out, and the machine gun is real. At best, I was able to line up 25 damage from hand for turn nine thanks to the Questline and some Aimed Shots. I have high hopes for this new Spell Hunter deck: it feels effortless to play and using the machine gun is a lot of fun.
Quest Hunter is perhaps the most straightforward Quest deck to build: put just about all Hunter damage spells in a deck and you’re almost done! Blizzard’s deck recipe looks really good. I might consider replacing Venomous Scorpid with Resizing Pouch, but the deck already has a clear plan.
Unfortunately, Mage is being left behind by Blizzard. It is already doing poorly in Forged in the Barrens, and it is not getting good tools in United in Stormwind either, apart from Ignite. Either Ignite provides the Mage with enough direct damage to overcome their opponents, or the class is in dire straits.
Sorcerer's Gambit does not help: it is crazy hard to play three spells from three different spell schools, and while the reward would help a burn deck finish the game, it takes so long to complete that the game will end before you can get there. Maybe there is some way to make it work in a No Minion Mage, but any Mage deck with minions struggles too much to find enough of the right kinds of spells to play.
The Paladin Questline is Rise to the Occasion, which requires you to play three different one-cost cards, three times. Note that each part of the Questline is independent of the others, so you can use a Pen Flinger as part of each three segments. Also, all one-cost cards are eligible, not just minions, so Paladin Secrets, First Day of School, and Blessed Goods can all be used to advance the Questline. You get the improved Hero Power to summon two 1/1 Silver Hand Recruits during the Questline, and the final reward is Lightborn Cariel that gives all your Silver Hand Recruits +2/+2. This effect is an aura, so the buff cannot even be silenced away!
Blizzard has added support for Token Paladin steadily over the past expansions, and this looks like a key moment for the archetype. Getting access to the improved Hero Power is what made Odd Paladin a thing, so while you cannot get to it immediately with the new Quest Paladin, it is available in just a couple of turns. The key thing that remains to be discovered during testing is how many one-cost cards are needed in the deck to reliably activate the Questline. Once that has been figured out, the rest should fall in place rather easily.
The Priest Questline is Seek Guidance, which requires you to play a two-, three-, and four-cost card, followed by a five-cost card and a six-cost card, and finally a seven-cost card and an eight-cost card. The reward is Xyrella, the Sanctified, who will shuffle a Purified Shard into your deck. If you’re able to cast Purified Shard, you win the game.
Unfortunately (?), the Priest Questline is difficult to complete and very slow. It is hard to see decks running it as their main win condition, but it can still become a mainstream Priest archetype that defeats any slow opponents with the Quest and simply out-controls faster opponents. There is a small penalty in the mulligan for keeping the Questline, but the intermediate rewards add some card draw that Priest is typically lacking, so if Priest can survive to the mid-game with a one-card disadvantage, they can make up for it with the increased draw.
The Rogue Questline is Find the Imposter, which requires you to play two SI:7 cards, three times. You get two Spy Gizmos during the Questline, and finally, you get Spymaster Scabbs, who gives you one copy of each five Spy Gizmos.
The Spy Gizmos are Fizzflash Distractor (one-mana Sap that prevents the minion from being replayed next turn), Spy-o-matic (tutor that allows you to Discover your opponent’s next draw), Noggen-Fog Generator (Attack buff and Stealth), Hidden Gyroblade (3/2 weapon), and Undercover Mole (Stealth minion that generates random cards).
The Spy Gizmos are crazy good for one-cost cards and provide the Rogue with tons of tempo. Blizzard Rogue deck recipe is a Quest Rogue, so I had an opportunity to try it out already, and when it’s on a roll, the games just flow. On the other hand, I also experienced the classic Rogue hands that consist of Preparation, Backstab, and Shadowstep. Once the weakest of those cards are cut from the list and adequate replacements are found, I expect Quest Rogue to be a fast and exciting deck.
Here’s a rough sketch of what I imagine Quest Rogue to look like. With the need to find those SI:7 cards, I am seriously considering giving Shroud of Concealment a try:
The Shaman Questline is Command the Elements, which requires you to play three cards with Overload twice followed by one set of two cards with Overload. The reward is Stormcaller Bru'kan, who makes all your spells cast twice for the rest of the game.
There are multiple directions a deck built around this Questline can take, and in a game where many of the archetypes are pushed, such freedom of choice is a sign of successful design. Blizzard’s deck recipe is an Aggro Shaman with the Questline and Doomhammers, but I have to wonder whether an aggro deck would be better off without the Quest and a slower approach would benefit from the Quest more. Then again, I am uncertain whether a slower approach is even viable in the upcoming meta.
I had a hilarious moment while testing the deck recipe, where I used Lightning Bloom to play Doomhammer and activated the intermediate reward that unlocked all of my Overloaded mana crystals so that I had full mana available already next turn. If that could happen on regular basis, maybe the Aggro Quest Shaman has some sweet things going for it.
The Warlock Questline is The Demon Seed, which requires you to take six, seven, and then eight damage during your own turns. The Questline will heal you for six while you complete it, and the ultimate reward is Blightborn Tamsin, who turns all damage you take on your own turns into damage for the opponent for the rest of the game. This damage includes damage from your Hero Power, minions like Flame Imp, spells like Backfire, and fatigue damage you take during or at the start of your turn!
Many of the theorycrafting streamers who got to play with the cards freely were extremely impressed by this new Quest Delete Warlock where you drive yourself to fatigue and have all of that fatigue damage hurt your opponent. Watching the games, it was a crazy ping-pong fest of Health going down and jumping back up thanks to all the Lifesteal effects in the deck. However, I did not see any games against good aggressive decks, so I am a little bearish on the Warlock Quest: taking a lot of damage and then healing a ton can look impressive, but once you meet opponents who are trying to win the game instead of just chilling and having fun with the new cards, it can become a deadly game.
The Warrior Questline is Raid the Docks, which requires you to play three Pirates, followed by two sets of two Pirates. The reward is Cap'n Rokara, who will summon The Juggernaut. The Juggernaut is a permanent minion that summons a Pirate, equips a random weapon for you, and deals two damage to a random enemy twice at the start of your turn. Over time, it will result in lots of weapons, Pirates, and random damage!
Raid the Docks was used in theorycrafting streams in aggressive Pirate decks and even as a win condition in Control Warrior decks! It is one of the more difficult Questlines to evaluate, but there are plenty of opportunities for it to shine.
What Are The Best Questlines?
Overall, Questlines seem much stronger than I initially anticipated. The Priest Questline being full control gave a slightly misleading first impression, as most Questlines are here to chew bubble gum and hit face, and they are all out of bubble gum. Most of the slower Questlines seem unplayable (Mage) or something that is not the main focus of the deck (Priest), whereas the faster Questlines are build-around cards that the entire deck is based upon (Hunter).
Questlines also seem to be designed in a way that it is not immediately obvious how they should be used. You can take an aggro or a midrange approach to multiple Questlines, and it will take a few days before we know for sure what is the best approach to each of them.
Anyway, here are my predictions on the relative strength of Questlines based on the theorycrafting streams and the pre-release:
10. Mage (Sorcerer's Gambit): Playing such a high variety of spells does not look practical at all. Difficult to complete, still need a lot of spells left to make use of the rewards. Unplayable.
9. Priest (Seek Guidance): Potentially will see play in Control Priest, but unlikely to be important in the vast majority of games unless the meta is absurdly slow.
7. Demon Hunter (Final Showdown): I just don’t see this outside of combo decks. Can see play in OTK Demon Hunter.
6. Druid (Lost in the Park): Can a good aggro list be found? If it’s just spells, then why use the Questline at all?
5. Warlock (The Demon Seed): The balance between damage and healing can be difficult to find, but if it can be found, this Quest can do some serious harm.
4. Warrior (Raid the Docks): Pirate Warrior has armor gain to fight aggro mirrors, and Raid the Docks can make the deck a bit more midrangey, potentially successfully. It will also be interesting to see if a control variant can be fine-tuned.
3. Paladin (Rise to the Occasion): There is a lot of Silver Hand Recruit support now, and getting the improved Hero Power from the Questline can be a game-changer. I expect the small recruits to accomplish great deeds.
2. Rogue (Find the Imposter): Once a consistent list is found, this will be a deck that dominates the tempo game and just never lets go.
1. Hunter (Defend the Dwarven District): The machine gun is back! It’s in a different class, but it’s still looking good.
Overall, I expect only the Mage Questline to be completely unplayable, and multiple of the faster Questlines to see mainstream play. I’m impressed.