The Boomsday Project – second expansion of Year of the Raven was released nearly 24 hours ago. Mechs with Magnetize keyword, Project cards, Omega cards are only some of the themes of Boomsday Project. The ladder is full of interesting experiment decks. But are they any good? How much the meta has changed compared to The Witchwood? Did we already see any huge surprises, or maybe the new Tier 1 decks are yet to be discovered?
Check out our Best Boomsday Project Decks for Every Class!
Since yesterday, I’ve been testing a variety of decks and playing against even more of them. Besides playing, I’ve spent most of my time watching pro players’ streams, trying to find some of the best Boomsday Project decks so far. Below, I’ll list some of the lists that already caught my attention. Just like every new expansion, remember that the early meta is very chaotic and it might look completely different in a few days. Decks are chosen based on my ladder experience (going from R4 to Legend), watching the steamers & pros, talking with other high ranked players and early statistics from sites like HSReplay.net or Vicious Syndicate.
These decks are only example lists – meta is adjusting very quickly and more optimized builds might be out at the time you’re reading it!
Just like players have suspected before the expansion, Druid is doing quite well after the launch. It has got some of the strongest cards in Boomsday Project, to the point where it can’t even run all of them, because you would need to remove other very strong cards to fit them. I feel like Togwaggle / Mill Druid has seen the biggest improvement thanks to the new cards. This is the list I’ve been running today and hit Legend with 7-2 score – my only two loses were against Odd Mech Warrior with Beryllium Nullifier (which, funnily, despite getting terrible reviews basically hard-counters this deck, as you have no way to remove it once it’s Magnetized into something). The deck is great against Zoo and Odd Paladin because of Spreading Plague and AoE, and it’s great against slow decks because of your late game combo.
When I first featured King Togwaggle Druid in one of the first The Witchwood deck compilations, I’ve said that it has lots of potential, but is mostly held back by the fact that weapon destruction simply counters your main game plan. However, thanks to Dreampetal Florist, it’s no longer the case. You don’t even need your weapon – you just need to hit a single discount on either Togwaggle or Azalina Soulthief and your combo is set and it’s no longer possible to counter it (well, technically Warlock can with Demonic Project, but it’s not Neutral like Dirty Rat was).
Other than that, the deck benefits heavily from the new Biology Project. It adds more ramp consistency, and you want to get to your cycle cards (especially UI) as quickly as possible. Sometimes it’s also a good T1 play – the deck’s early game was always very awkward, consisting mostly of Hero Powering + passing unless you hit your ramp curve perfectly. With this card, you can skip the early game and jump right into the mid game. While Aggro decks can also take advantage of it and flood the board, it’s risky for them to go all in (or else they lose to Spreading Plague) and they run out of cards much faster than you do. Them skipping their 1-2-3 curve can be good if you have some way to deal with a potential flood. Of course, whether Project is good or not really depends on your hand – if you don’t have cycle or answers for the Aggro’s board, you might want to not give them that kind of early advantage. Unlike other ramp cards, which are pretty straightforward, there is actually some skill involved when it comes to Biology Project’s timing.
All in all, I expect Togwaggle Druid to be one of the key decks in the upcoming meta.
Similarly to Togwaggle Druid, Malygos version has also got a solid boost. Biology Project is strong for the same reasons as above, so I won’t repeat that. But unlike Togwaggle, which is pretty much set on the Dreampetal Florist (because Twig doesn’t really give any real advantage), the best Malygos Druid build isn’t decided yet. On the one hand, Florist is harder to counter. On the other hand, Malygos builds run more minions, such as Alexstrasza and the new Flobbidinous Floop, which makes Florist less consistent (because Malygos is still generally the best target).
Talking about the new cards, however, Floop is amazing in Malygos Druid. Not only it acts as a cheaper Faceless Manipulator for the sake of the combo, the fact that it can be played the turn after, when Malygos is usually already dead, makes it a very impactful card. Even if opponent counters your Twig, you can still drop Malygos, let it die, and then play Floop’s copy next turn and still have 6 mana to work with (Swipe + 2x Moonfire is 21 damage then, 22 with Hero Power, not the best combo ever, but a nice fail-safe).
What might be surprising to the general playerbase is that Juicy Psychmelon, the memed “cheaper Sprint that tutors”, the card that was going to break the game… is just not necessary. While some Florist builds do run it, it’s not particularly amazing, at least in Standard.
But, the two slow, combo Druid builds above are not all that class has to offer. Token Druid, another prominent build from pre-Boomsday, got a slight upgrade. While again, the best build wasn’t found out yet, the most popular (and highest win rate) version runs exactly two new cards – Floop's Glorious Gloop and Giggling Inventor. I can’t credit the original creator, as I found it very early into the expansion on HSReplay, and then faced it multiple times on the ladder (as well as played some games with it).
Basically, in the right scenario, Gloop is like an ultra-Innervate. When playing against other board flood decks, there are turns in which you can easily get 5+ mana from it. For example, Zoo floods the board, you play Spreading Plague, they do some trading. Next turn, you play Gloop, Swipe and trade a bunch of minions. One game I was at 9 mana, I’ve played Gloop, Swiped, traded stuff and then went up to 10 so I could Ultimate Infestation (and then I could also play Spellstone for a good measure, but there was no target left). Situations like that happen quite often when you play against Zoo, Odd Paladin or in the mirrors. But you should be able to get some value out of it in pretty much every game – the only issue is that the card is situational. Unlike Innervate, which could be used in the early game, it’s more of a mid/late game card.
But, Giggling Inventor is probably even a better addition. It serves a few purposes. It’s a good defense when you need it (tanking 4 hits is often lots of healing), and another way to flood the board. Even Giggling Inventor alone can be scary if opponent leaves it on the board, because let’s say 2x Savage Roar turns 4 damage into 20 damage. It’s especially important against reactive decks, where Spreading Plague was underperforming – having two more ways to develop often means that your opponent runs out of AoEs to answer everything, and then you deliver your massive burst turn.
Other than that, the general game plan is basically the same. Power of the Wild was cut in order to fit those, but I think that it was a good decision – as much as Plague + PotW was sometimes the winning play, having a nice Turn 5 play if you don’t draw Nourish is probably even more important.
Some players, such as RayC, have been experimenting with the Treant version too. I don’t have much to say about it, as I’ve faced it only once, but if you have more experience, you can share it in the comments.
Another deck, which was good before the expansion and is still good. Odd Paladin, which became the #1 Paladin archetype after Call to Arms (and thus Even Paladin) nerf, is also looking quite well this expansion. Most of the players are experimenting with the Mechs right now. Glow-Tron is obviously an amazing card, but it’s basically a Dire Mole if you can’t use the Magnetize effect, because you have no other Mechs. But luckily, there are some solid Odd Mechs to run, such as Mecharoo and Wargear.
Depending on the player, the Mech theme is pushed with different force. For example, Janetzky’s list features only a handful of Mechs. On the other hand, Zalae was experimenting with a Mech-heavy list featuring Kangor's Endless Army. You can find his list here. It’s probably too early to tell which direction is right, but it’s already clear that Odd Paladin has got a lot of new tools.
Deathrattle Rogue was a point of many theorycrafts before the expansion’s launch, but it was probably too much to expect that it will actually work. However, Egg Hunter has proven already that triggering Devilsaur Egg lots and lots of times can be powerful. In Boomsday Project, Rogue has got two new cards that can do exactly that – Necrium Blade and Necrium Vial. The first one is a rather standard 3 mana weapon (3/2), but has a very powerful Deathrattle. If you have Egg on the board, it could basically read “Deathrattle: Summon a 5/5”, which would obviously be broken. Even better – with Mechanical Whelp on the board, it summons you a 7/7. Necrium Vial, while way more costly than Play Dead, triggers twice, something that can’t be underestimated, especially since Rogue has access to Preparation. Getting 2x 5/5 for 2 mana on Turn 4, right after dropping Egg, can sometimes win you the game on the spot.
This build is like a new take on Tempo Rogue. It has quite a similar play style, despite being a bit slower – you want to be aggressive and make mid game tempo swings, and then finish your opponent with a burst. However, unlike Tempo Rogue, this deck can really talk about the burst. Thanks to the Leeroy Jenkins + Carnivorous Cube combo, you’re able to deal 21 damage just like that (Leeroy + Cube + weapon hit + 2 more Leeroys). However, if for some reason it’s not enough and your opponent survives, then you still have a massive board. Your opponent might be too busy killing 6/2’s that he won’t be able to deal with the Cube – and then Necrium Vial gives you extra 24 damage out of nowhere.
While the deck is definitely not optimized yet, it looks quite interesting, and I’ve seen at least a few players having solid runs with different versions. I wouldn’t call it a “metabreaker”, but I think that it has a chance to survive in some form.
Another deck getting quite a lot of support is Even Shaman. For quite some time, it was considered one of the best decks in The Witchwood, but it eventually fell out of favor, and Shaman players have switched over to Shudderwock version. Tom’s build runs three new cards, one of which really surprised me.
First one is Menacing Nimbus, which is just a solid 2-drop. 2/2 stats, cycles itself. Not much to talk about – just an okay card. Then, we have Thunderhead, which can be MVP in the right deck. While you can’t combo him with cards such as Lightning Bolt or Voltaic Burst in Even build, Tom has decided to run two activators – Zap! and Stormforged Axe. Thunderhead, while having a below average body, becomes one of the best 4-drops in the game with just a single activation. The Sparks it summons combo really well with the deck, particularly with Knife Juggler and attack buffs.
And finally – a card that I’ve seen being theorycrafted about in Even Shaman, which I didn’t think will work – Arcane Dynamo. Given that Shaman has only five 5 + mana spells right now, you have a 60% chance to discover Bloodlust, which would be absolutely broken in Even Shaman for obvious reasons. Other spells you can get aren’t that bad either, especially The Storm Bringer, which can turn a board full of Totems / small tokens into random Legendaries. I’ve played around with the card for a bit and while not the best, it’s a great way to take advantage of having a solid board. The main problem with Arcane Dynamo are very weak stats – after all, paying 6 mana to get a 3/4 minion (stats of 3-drop) is painful. However, it looks like Shaman can handle that kind of tempo loss, especially in slower matchups, where the deck is ahead in tempo most of the time anyway.
Even Shaman looks pretty scary, even more so than it did in Witchwood.
During my yesterday’s and today’s Legend climb, nearly 50% of my matchups (R4 -> Legend) were Zoo Warlocks. I don’t know how it looks around the other ranks, but different Zoo versions are basically all over the ladder. And for a good reason – the deck is absolutely powerful right now. It has seen a massive comeback roughly a month ago, when someone discovered Heal version of the deck. Zoo Warlock’s play rate has increased from around 2% to nearly 15% (Ranks 4-1) over the course of a week.
Boomsday Project has brought more good news to Zoo fans – a lot of new cards to test out. Starting with the Legendary spell – The Soularium – which can get massive value in the mid/late game, through the Soul Infusion + Doubling Imp combo putting lots of stats on the board for just 4 mana, up to the wall of Giggling Inventor used by some of the builds.
Right now, you can find lots and lots of different versions on the ladder. Some run Keleseth, some don’t. Some run new Legendary spell, others don’t. Some use Leeroy Jenkins, others Doomguard. There are also builds with or without Despicable Dreadlord. It will probably take at least a few days to figure out the strongest version, but at this point it’s pretty certain that Zoo will be a part of the meta in one form or the other.
However, as much as Zoo being strong was possible to predict, most of the players didn’t really see Mecha'thun working. I also dismissed it as a meme card, but it looks like some of the classes (especially Druid and Warlock) can activate the win condition quite easily. The main problem is getting to the end of the deck, but both builds have found a way to do it efficiently. This time around I’m going to feature the Warlock, not Druid, because I’ve seen more people having success with it, that said both versions might actually be viable.
When it comes to Warlock’s combo, it’s quite simple. All you need to do is discount Mecha’thun twice with Galvanizers. Then you have enough mana to play Mecha’thun + Bloodbloom + Cataclysm on the same turn. Since Cataclysm discards your entire hand and kills Mecha’thun, his effect activates, winning you the game as soon as you hit fatigue. Of course, hitting fatigue against the flood of Zoo Warlocks and Odd Paladins isn’t easier thing ever, but the deck is quite well equipped to deal with those. Between AoE removal, healing and Taunts, it can withstand the pressure, and Warlock’s natural cycle coupled with a few more card draws is enough to get to the bottom of your deck quite quickly.
Of course, Mecha’thun builds are still in their infancy. Do we go for more cycle? Or maybe we need more survival? Those questions will heavily depend on the actual meta, but the fact that you can trigger Mecha’thun’s effect quite consistently already makes it scary. After all, it’s the best combo win condition you can imagine – you just kill your opponent and that’s it. Just like other combo decks it will obviously face many problems – getting rushed down by Aggro, burning combo pieces, counter cards (like Demonic Project I’ve already mentioned) etc. but they might be a surprising part of the meta, just like not many expected Shudderwock Shaman to work seriously after seeing its initial win rates.
As a honorable mention, I’m putting the Dog’s Topsy Turvy Priest (not sure how to call it honestly). Right now, its variations are the LOWEST win rate decks on the ladder, no matter what rank you’re looking at. The most popular version has a whooping 27.2% win rate at the time I’m writing this. It’s so bad and yet it’s so good. I really wonder whether the win rate is so low only because players have absolutely no idea how the combo works, how to pull it off etc. or whether it’s actually a bad deck by itself too. It’s the most complicated combo turn Hearthstone ever had, maybe outside of some Patron Warrior lethal puzzles.
The combo actually gets pretty easy and obvious to pull off, but the fact that you need so many pieces, you need to play them in the right order, on the right minions etc. makes it absolutely counter-intuitive. My first two times I actually managed to gather all combo pieces – first time I misplayed and wasted Vivid Nightmare on Radiant Elemental when I only had one, and second game I ran out of time. I barely managed to pull it off on the third try (which was like 8th game, because other times I died before I got all of the pieces).
For those of you who still haven’t seen it – here’s how the combo looks like in practice (it’s a VoD from the combo turn during one of the many, many games Dog played with this deck). As you can see, if you do it correctly, you should be able to OTK your opponent no matter how much Armor he has, and even if he’s hidden behind Taunts.
I’m quite sure that the version Dog was playing (which he changed many times during his stream) is not the most optimal one, and a new, better one will be found. Will it be good enough? Hard to say. But it’s one of those decks for which global stats will be pointless – it will always be underperforming just because of how complicated the combo is.