Before we begin talking about decks, quick tip for all you players out there: if you can avoid it, don’t click the “mass disenchant” button. We have seen tons of balance patches in the past few expansions due to a restriction of restrains on card design. The new expansion, Scholomance Academy, is looking like a set that continues this trend, with plenty of excessively-powerful cards.
With a higher power level, lots of new deck building options open up. However, the urge to explore those new ideas needs to be tempered by the assumptions that (1) games may last fewer turns, and (2) you’re going to need to get more power out of each mana and card you have. The more the power level increases, the harder it can become to get too fancy with your game plans.
With that in mind, I’m happy to share some ideas for the most aggressive decks you might have seen in Standard in some time. These decks want to get it hard, fast, and stop the opponent before they have a chance to get off the ground.
Aggro Glide Demon Hunter
The focal point of this deck is Glide. The 4-cost spell replaces your current hand with 4 cards from your deck and, if it’s outcast, your opponent does the same. This encourages us to build a deck with a very low curve, empty our hand onto the board, then refill while effectively making our opponent discard cards. This plan works well with Voracious Reader, a 2-cost 1/3 minion that makes us draw until our hand has 3 cards at the end of our turn. It’s comparable to an older card – Jeeves – that used to do the same, but for both players and at twice the cost. Once you find one of your pieces of card draw, you can likely find another, then reload into more reload. Altruis the Outcast may end up being too slow (I’d consider King Mukla instead), and Transfer Student might end up being a flex spot as well, perhaps for a little more disruption in Cult Neophyte. Whatever the replacement, keep the curve low and get under your opponents without running out of cards. Ever.
Midrange Soul Fragment Demon Hunter
This approach to Demon Hunter runs a higher curve, but also a ton of burn damage to compensate. You try to gain the early board in the same fashion, but instead of trying to constantly refill with cheap resources, you just make your cards do more damage. Marrowslicer represents 8 damage from the weapon that curves out nicely into 4-5 additional damage from either Glaivebound Adept or Soulshard Lapidary on 5. Focus on gaining the early board on turns 1-4, and then by 5 you should be comfortably ahead and looking to move in for the kill. It’s possible the deck may want more card draw or burn, like Metamorphosis (flexing out Wandmaker), but we want to be wary of including too many cards that end up being slow.
Aggro Weapon Rogue
Secret Passage is possibly the defining card of Rogue. For 1 mana, the card may allow you to “draw” 1-5 cards, depending on how much mana you have. The card should work similar to how Myra's Unstable Element worked, where you empty your hand early, then get one big refill, except this one doesn’t fatigue you and your hand doesn’t necessarily need to be empty. Even in the case where you can only play 2-3 of the cards passage shows you, drawing that much for 1 mana is insanely strong.
Combined with Greyheart Sage, this list may have access to tons of resources, naturally leading us to focus on cheap, aggressive cards to establish plenty of early board presence and damage. This plan synergizes well with the additional damage you get from your weapons. Vulpera Toxinblade and Self-Sharpening Sword both give you access to 3-damage weapons by turn 4, which curves into Steeldancer for about 7/7 worth of stats. Then just use your Saps and Maiev Shadowsong to punch through all opposing Taunts/slower minions and finish the job. Your opponent won’t have the time to replay anything before the game ends.
Burgle Galakrond Rogue
As I envision a cheaper, more aggressive meta, the focus of Galakrond Rogue may now shift towards a Burgle archetype that utilizes Underbelly Fence and Vendetta to control the early board. You can’t heal much, so focus on not taking damage if you want to get to the late game. Wand Thief offers us a new, efficient activator for burgle cards, while Headmaster Kel'Thuzad synergies well with cheap burn like Backstab, Vendetta, Eviscerate, and even Seal Fate to set up large swing turns. Jandice Barov offers a huge pile of stats that cannot be ignored, and synergizes well with Witchy Lackeys you may pick up throughout the game as a bonus. In the interests of keeping the curve down, Flik Skyshiv has been cut, but depending on the meta and your need for removal, it could be flexed back in. Alternatively, you might consider the new Coerce or Brain Freeze card for cheaper removal that synergizes with Kel’Thuzad as well.
In case Stealth is your preferred list, Sneaky Delinquent looks like a nice upgrade on the disappointing Skyvateer, and Infiltrator Lilian is a nice fit for the package. In case more removal is needed, Questing Adventurers can be flexed out for options like Flik, Sap, or Coerce.
Aggressive Quest Rogue
No theorycraft would be complete with something of a meme, and that’s what this Quest Rogue represents. The list attempts to hybridize the previous Burgle Galakrond and Weapon decks into a list that can fight aggressively for the early game, and then close the game out with big swing turns combined with your perpetual 3-damage weapon burning over time The 3-damage weapon also synergizes well with the Steeldancer, even if you are unlikely to complete the quest and have an equipped dagger going into turn 4. One thing to bear in mind with this particular list is that, if you have a Wand Thief in the opening hand, you may want to save your Quest for a guaranteed combo activation with it on turn 2. If the deck finds itself needing more value, cards like Shadowstep can be flexed for Secret Passage or EVIL Miscreant.
Pure Stealth Aggro Rogue
Finally, if you want to run more of pure stealth build for your aggro deck and pretend that the new weapon package doesn’t exist, we still have plenty of new options for getting on board and going face. Tour Guide provides a surprisingly-useful 1 drop complete with a 1/2 dagger, saving you the mana on hero powering, which in turn allows you to curve into a 2-drop stealth minion and then Greyheart Sage or Vulpera Toxinblade. Hooked Scimitar offers more up-front damage, while Self-Sharpening Sword does offer more over time and works better with Deadly Poison, so pick your favorite weapon.