Knights of the Frozen Throne Cards and Decks Are Back in Standard, But Are They Good Enough Anymore?

It’s been a busy week for Hearthstone! The next expansion will bring a new class to the game as Death Knight enters the fray in December. In celebration of this, Blizzard has unleashed the entire Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion upon Standard format!

All Knights of the Frozen Throne cards have been added to the Core set for one month. They are available to all players for free! Note that if you own the original cards, you will have two copies of the cards during this event. Use the Core set versions in any Standard decks. The Core set versions will be removed as the new expansion is launched.

Now is a unique time to relive Hearthstone’s past from 2017! Or is it? Can cards from five years ago still compete against the power of modern Hearthstone? Sometimes they can, but overall the effect on the meta has been more minor than I had hoped. Hearthstone of 2017 simply was not as powerful as it is today, and in some cases, the cards also miss synergy pieces from other old expansions. Shadowreaper Anduin without Raza the Chained just isn’t the same powerhouse we remember it as.

There are nonetheless some interesting things you can do with Knights of the Frozen Throne cards in Standard. Let’s look deeper into what is working, what is not, and what may yet be uncovered!

Frozen Throne Druid Was Busted

The top success story is the return of Ramp Druid. Ramp Druid always appreciates new big cards that it can play, and let’s be honest, Druid in Knights of the Frozen Throne was just busted.

Stinzy’s take on Ramp Druid brings back the fan favorites Spreading Plague and Malfurion the Pestilent alongside the ever-looming presence of The Lich King. I still have nightmares of Spreading Plague. If you played Hearthstone during that era, it is all coming back to you as well, isn’t it?

Well, some people are taking things even further. Meet the devourer of dreams:

Lunaloveee played this monstrosity on her way to Legend when Knights of the Frozen Throne returned, and it has since taken on a life of its own, haunting and haunting. The deck is largely similar to Stinzy’s Ramp Druid, but it adds two more cards that bad dreams are made of: Celestial Alignment and Ultimate Infestation.

Lunaloveee has more recently played a more regular version of Ramp Druid with only Spreading Plague from Knights of the Frozen Throne.

Still, a set that brought us Spreading PlagueMalfurion the PestilentThe Lich King, and Ultimate Infestation was a pretty good set for Druid.

Actually, that is not even all. Remember Taunt Druid?

Yes, Hadronox is also back and now strives to resurrect not only its old buddy The Lich King, but also Mo'arg Forgefiend and Sesselie of the Fae Court. However, Taunt Druid seems to be inferior to a regular Ramp list.

That Druid set. I’m still in awe.

Priest Wants to Resurrect Stuff Too

Do you remember how fun it is when Priest resurrects stuff? Now, it can happen in Standard too for one month!

Big Priest has been the most popular and most talked-about deck that features Knights of the Frozen Throne cards. It is not the strongest! Ramp Druid is a better deck. However, the Priest deck is defined by these old cards, as its best cards by far are Shadow Essence and Eternal Servitude. At least there’s no Barnes.

Big Priest has also found some fun ways to interact with new cards, as Masked Reveler finally has a use in Standard. It has never been good enough to make it in Wild Big Priest, but it can shine in Standard Big Priest right behind the Frozen Throne superstars.

I don’t expect Big Priest to remain nearly as popular as it is now. The deck is barely viable, but it is something not seen in Standard recently and it is completely carried by the returning cards. That said, the deck was popular in Wild even when its win rate was really low. I guess that people just like this kind of straightforward, high-roll playstyle that feels powerful when you manage to pull everything off?

Mage Has Too Many Hero Cards Now

The third class where returning cards see successful play is Mage. Specifically, Ping Mage has returned!

The competition between the new Hero cards and the old Knights of the Frozen Throne Hero cards is fierce, but generally, it is the new card that prevails in that duel. As iconic as the old Death Knight Hero cards are, they are built for a slower game with less power, and simply do not have the time to get into action in today’s ruthless combat.

Frost Lich Jaina is one of the few that make the cut, as she can be used in a deck together with Magister Dawngrasp. You generally still want the newer Hero card, but you don’t always find it, and Jaina can get the job done too.

Animated Enraging Warriors

Enrage Warrior has solidified its place in the meta and the return of Frozen Throne has helped the class a little.

The addition of Animated Berserker has given the deck another good one-drop that has a lot of synergy with the two-drops already in the deck.

Forge of Souls is a bit more questionable. It does curve out nicely into Imbued Axe, but if you spend all those turns playing spells and weapons, you will have no minions to buff. Weapons Expert still looks like the superior option for that slot.

Remember Defile?

Warlock got back one of its most iconic cards. It might not be a big flashy win condition, but it does win games. It’s Defile, one of the strongest and most skill-testing board clear cards in all of Hearthstone. The power of this cheap board clear has even brought Phylactery Warlock back to the fringes of the meta:

Phylactery Warlock did not suddenly turn into a top-tier deck but is above the waterline now with a slightly above 50% win rate. It turns out that a great AoE removal makes this combo deck much better, who would have thought?

Things That You Remember Were Good, but Are No Longer

One of the most iconic cards from Knights of the Frozen Throne is Prince Keleseth. Do you remember the insane power of a Shadowstepped Keleseth? The game was all but lost on turn two and you had a steep hill to climb. Most of the time it was just better to save time and give up.

Prince Keleseth has not aged well. People are still trying to build Keleseth Rogue, but the results are abysmal. Some versions of the deck are the worst decks you can play in the game right now. Well, even the best version is one of the worst decks you can play. The days when giving your deck +1/+1 mattered are long gone.

Deathstalker Rexxar is another victim of the faster game. The endless hordes of Zombeasts provide infinite value, but the game does not provide you with infinite time anymore, even if you manage to gain board control. Deathstalker Rexxar is the weakest card in modern Beast Hunter and should not be included in the deck.

Bloodreaver Gul'dan also struggles. It is slow, but it still occasionally shows some promise. Its biggest problem is the current Demon pool. Mo'arg Forgefiend and Dark Alley Pact. That’s about it. Even the good old Despicable Dreadlord cannot help. While there are uses for one point of area-of-effect damage in the current meta, those uses are not at five mana. Four mana still works if you save the Coin for that to counter some Imps, but by five they are already too big.

Evolve Shaman also does not work. Saronite Chain Gang has finally found its answer. It can not go on anymore. Thrall, Deathseer cannot find a good place in Shaman’s mana curve and simply is not the miracle worker he once was.

Uther of the Ebon Blade lacks the synergy cards to manage a one-turn kill. Without that constant threat of multiple Horsemen appearing out of nowhere, Uther is just too slow. I did see the most hilarious Frozen Throne clip that featured the good old one-turn kill, but it is not repeatable. Stealing a Reckless Apprentice from Mage with Theotar, the Mad Duke can enable multiple Hero Power effects in a single turn if your opponent has multiple minions on the board. Yeah, that is kind of stretching it. You cannot build a deck around that concept, as mind-boggling as it is.

I already mentioned Shadowreaper Anduin in the introduction. Without Raza the Chained, there is no machine gun. And what is Anduin without his machine gun? Just an angry dude.

Things Yet to Come

The above decks and cards are the ones that players have been testing the most. We are starting to get a grasp of how strong they are. The top-tier decks from before the patch are still the top-tier decks of today, but Knights of the Frozen Throne cards have had an impact on tier-two (especially Ramp Druid) and tier-three decks in the meta.

But Knights of the Frozen Throne can be so much more. There are still nooks and crannies left to explore, so things should not get too boring too fast.

For example, Zoroark has been playing Dead Man's Hand Warrior. No article about Knights of the Frozen Throne can be complete without a Fatigue Warrior deck, so here goes:

Maybe you too can bore your opponents to death? Lock the board down, and shuffle shuffle shuffle.

There are 135 free Knights of the Frozen Throne cards available in the game right now. Even though many show signs of age and have been outpaced over the years, many of these cards have already made their way into playable decks. There is still a chance for more interactions between the old and the new to be found. Big Priest is a wonderful example of this: Masked Reveler cannot fit into a Wild version of the deck, but it has found a completely new life together with the returning cards in Standard.

There is one month to explore this meta and its opportunities. Then, in December, it will be time for March of the Lich King.

Old Guardian

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

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

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