Standout Rastakhan’s Rumble Decks From Week 1

Rastakhan’s Rumble – the third and final expansion of Year of the Raven – launched a week ago. I was going to do a Day 3 deck roundup, but I’ve decided against it, since it would be too similar to the Day 1, and thus counterproductive. To be honest, I was kind of on the edge about doing this one too – I feel like most of the decks I’ve mentioned in the Day 1 compilation (after some changes, of course) are still the best meta decks. Still, some update would be nice, so here it is – compilation of best decks from Week 1!

Check out our Best Rastakhan’s Rumble Decks for Every Class!

Over the course of the week, I’ve been playtesting dozens of different decks – completely new archetypes, old archetypes with a few new cards, as well as the decks that didn’t really change at all. Overall, I have to say that I’ve been a bit disappointed with Rastakhan’s Rumble – even though I have a lot of fun with some of the new cards, overall it’s been quite underwhelming in terms of power level. According to stats from HSReplay, over the last 3 days, at Ranks 10-Legend, we had only two popular Rastakhan’s Rumble cards – Zul'jin, obviously (#21) and Baited Arrow (#35), mostly because of the massive Hunter’s popularity. There are no other new cards in top 50, which is rare even for pretty low impact expansions.

Still, I’ll try to do my best to list some of the most impactful decks we had so far. Keep in mind that I’m mostly judging them by the power level, NOT by how new they are, which means that we’ll also have some decks that are taken straight out from the Boomsday Project. I know that just linking Boomsday decks might seem like a lazy thing from me, but that’s just how a part of the meta looks like – I can’t really do anything about it, even though I would love to. But without further ado, let’s start.

Deck Import

This specific list was used by tenergy in Post-Nerf Boomsday meta, but honestly, it doesn’t even matter. Just go to the HSReplay.net, pick decks from the latest expansion and sort by the win rate. You’ll get an entire page of Odd Paladin decks. You might think that things are getting better at higher ranks? You would be only partially right. If we look at the Ranks 5-Legend, only 2 out of 12 decks on the first page aren’t Odd Paladin.

I could start talking about the deck, its strengths and weaknesses, but every one of you knows it already, so there’s no point. Instead, I will use this space for a short rant.

The funny thing is that Odd Paladin didn’t even get a single good card in Rastakhan’s Rumble. It’s the same Boomsday Project deck. But wait, we can go even further back. Odd Paladin didn’t really get any amazing cards in Boomsday Project either – some of them were okay (such as Mecharoo or Glow-Tron), but most of the time they were cut from the most optimized decks. So we’re basically playing against exactly the same Witchwood deck third expansion in a row. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s getting really tiring already.

This time around, new cards for the class were all about Control Paladin, Heal Paladin, Combo Paladin – admittedly, those decks also got significantly better (OTK Paladin in particular), but Odd Paladin is just absolutely dominating the new meta in terms of win rate without even trying. I know, a lot of that is because it’s a fast, refined, Aggro deck that obviously preys upon non-optimized, experimental decks that people were taking to the ladder. And that would be fine for the first day or three, but it’s still the case, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change.

So unless something changes (let’s say Baku the Mooneater gets nerfed), I think that we’ll have to play against the exact same deck for another ~4 months until the rotation. And I would absolutely love if something did change after all.

Deck Import

While not as popular as the Odd variant, Even Paladin is also quite powerful in Rastakhan’s Rumble. To be fair, the deck’s power was sort of already realized in the post-nerf Boomsday meta, where it started becoming more popular. The deck’s general play style didn’t really change that much, but it got some new tools to play around with.

When it comes to new cards added to Even Paladin, there are two – Spirit of the Tiger and Mojomaster Zihi. Some build play one of them, other play both, I’ve even seen builds that didn’t include any of them and just play the old Boomsday deck, although that’s pretty rare.

Spirit of the Tiger is a good example of a card that’s slow initially, but can snowball the board state out of control if left on the board for longer. I mean, you don’t really need THAT much – a single 6 mana spell like Avenging Wrath or Spikeridged Steed already makes it worth it – you pay 4 mana for a 6/6, although delayed. If you throw in another spell, even a 4 mana one like Blessing of Kings or Consecration, the card already did its job and even more than that. It’s not always easy to get value out of it (if you drop it without playing a spell immediately, it might even get AoE’d before you can do anything with it), and it’s quite slow to just spend 4 mana doing initially nothing vs a faster deck (once they get ahead, you might have a hard time catching up without Equality combos), but from what I’ve seen, it’s been doing its job quite well. That said, if anything, it will probably be the first card to cut from the list, as it seems to be the most clunky one.

As for the second new addition, Mojomaster Zihi, I’m really surprised with how well she works. It would seem that a 6 mana 5/5 minion is very bad (even worse than just drawing Genn Greymane), but her effect works very well in the right matchups. Of course, against Aggro it’s basically useless, but against slower decks – especially Druids – it does wonders. You see, most of your deck costs 6 or less mana, so you don’t really care THAT much about getting down to 5 (because you will be back at 6 anyway next turn). There are rare scenarios in which you topdeck your 8 mana play right after, but it’s not the end of the world. Your opponents, however, might not appreciate it that much. Playing against Control Warlock? Well, they can’t Lord Godfrey for one more turn, Twisting Nether for two, Voidlord for three and Bloodreaver Gul'dan for four, just in case they wanted to do any of those things. It’s also a great anti-Druid card – you don’t even have to wait, just drop it on the curve. When you’re at 6 mana, they’re probably already at 9, most likely waiting for that sweet Ultimate Infestation refill next turn. Now they either have to ramp again (if they have it, that is) or wait a few more turns before they can drop it. Really game-winning. Of course, it’s also a nice counter to any combo that requires a lot of mana, although in this case you need to pick the right moment (when you suspect that they want to combo you already).

All in all, Even Paladin is not that different in Rastakhan’s Rumble, but the two new cards are working alright, especially Zihi. Spirit might be cut if the meta gets faster, since it’s too slow initially, but it can be great in a more greedy meta, adds some nice threats to the deck.

Deck Import

And while we’re at it, here’s another Paladin deck. Some players have been trying to make OTK Paladin work again ever since the rotation (I’m looking at you, Thijs), but it just wasn’t good enough. However, Rastakhan’s Rumble has seemingly changed that, as Exodia Paladin is both popular and competitive, for now at least.

The deck’s basic goal didn’t change at all, but if you aren’t familiar with it, let me explain it quickly. Basically, you play Uther of the Ebon Blade, and then start Hero Powering. You want to bounce back three unique Horsemen to your hand (first one is unique 100% of the time, second one 75%, and the third one 50%), then on your final turn, drop 3 of them and press Hero Power to win the game. Of course, the basic combo is very simple (although RNG plays a significant factor in it, something I don’t particularly like – you can lose the game just because you get the wrong Horsemen few times in a row), but the problem was always actually getting there, not doing the combo.

However, that’s where the new Rastakhan’s Rumble cards come into action. Let’s start with new Legendary Champion – High Priest Thekal, who lets you go above and beyond. Without it, a bunch of your healing cards can be quite useless when you’re near max health, but once you drop it, you can play them to your heart’s content. The effect comes really handy versus damage-based combos, such as the ones from Malygos Druid or Control Priest – not only Thekal makes Alexstrasza a non-threat (until you heal up a bunch yourself, she actually HEALS you instead of setting up a combo), but your opponents are rarely prepared to deal 40, 50 or even more damage to you in a single turn, which they often have to do in this scenario. But even ignoring combo decks, just getting to high health total means that you have more time to set up your bounces – even a regular, non-combo Control build will want to rush you down after all.

Thekal would be useless without some good ways to heal up, but we’ve also got some of them. Flash of Light is a card I’ve been particularly happy with – healing for 4 is not a significant effect, but when combined with cycling a card, it makes perfect sense. Combo decks want to draw cards, and survive until they can pop their combo and win the game – and that’s exactly what this card helps with. Then, we have more of a late game option – Shirvallah, the Tiger. While getting it down to just a few mana points is not the easiest thing ever, with the amount of spells you run and the number of cards you cycle through, getting to your expensive spells like Shrink Ray or Spikeridged Steed is pretty consistent, and so is making Shirvallah cheap. It’s not always relevant vs Aggro, where it would be most useful, but you never mind having a free 7/5 with Rush, Lifesteal and Divine Shield even in the slowest matchups. I also like the combo with Crystalsmith Kangor – dropping both at the same time means healing for 14 as well as removing a threat, which is a great swing.

And finally, while not directly a healing card, it’s another way to survive – Time Out!. The card is basically an Ice Block on demand, and while I’d say that Block was stronger (since you could set it up early and then don’t worry about it), Time Out definitely has its moments. The card buys you a turn, which means a lot for a combo build. If you stare at lethal and you don’t have a board clear, you can just play Time Out and try to dig for it. If you draw it – then the card has saved your skin. You know that your opponent is setting up a combo that will hit you next turn? Time Out! You have not one, but two extra turns in the late game, since you run two copies, and those extra turns are often enough to win the game. You’re looking to bounce your final Horsemen, but your opponent is putting too much pressure? Time Out! Now you can do whatever you want for the next turn or two. The card has saved my skin many times already. You can even use it just before hitting a big threat with your weapon, or before triggering a Secret like Explosive Runes – remember being immune starts on your turn, and while it might not be relevant that often, there are ways to take advantage of that.

All in all, this is definitely the best time for Exodia Paladin in Year of the Raven, possibly even ever. If you like slow Paladin decks or combo builds in general, you should love it.

Deck Import

If you’ve played even just a few games since the new expansion has launched, you have definitely noticed a trend. Hunter class, and Spell Hunter archetype in particular, is all over it. And I mean it – it’s by far the most popular deck in the meta right now. And it’s not even surprising – it’s strong, pretty fun to play and it utilizes the new Hero card – Zul'jin. Actually, Zul’jin is the main reason why the deck is so strong in the first place.

Spell Hunter was already a pretty relevant and strong deck over the course of Year of the Raven, but it was always outshined by other Hunter decks (mostly Deathrattle Hunter) which had some extra unfair win condition (like pulling 20 mana worth of stats for 8 mana). And finally it got one – the Hero card I’ve already mentioned.

As you can probably imagine, repeating every spell in a deck that’s full of spells is a pretty powerful effect. While a lot of the spells are randomly targeted (you can e.g. kill your own minion with Flanking Strike), the end result is always similar – you end up with a full or nearly full board, clear some of your opponent’s minions, play a bunch of Secrets and end up with a few extra cards in hand (from TrackingFlareSecret Plan etc.). Effect well worth the 10 mana you’re paying for it. But to be honest, the card could as well be a Legendary spell, because you play it for the Battlecry – upgraded Hero Power is a nice touch, but not nearly as relevant as Hunter players would like it to be.

Other than that, the second new card from Rastakhan’s Rumble is Baited Arrow. Since the deck can’t naturally play minions, it likes ways to put minions on the board through spells, and this is a solid one. You can either clear a token/small minion and put a 5/5 up for 5 mana, or combo it with Hunter's MarkKill Command or other removals to clear a bigger minion (and also put a 5/5 up, of course). The card can also target Heroes, so extra 3 burn damage is sometimes relevant, even though it costs a lot.

Other than that, it’s the same Spell Hunter that was played before. Most of the players play basically the same lists, but there are some interesting tech choices you can make. For example, Flare is one of them – given the mirror matchups popularity, Secret destruction is a pretty solid addition. Also, whether you play Eaglehorn Bow or not. The most popular lists don’t play it, but it actually makes quite a lot of sense, both as a board control tool vs faster decks and a way to deal extra damage vs slow decks. But in the end, it doesn’t matter that much what tech cards you add. Variants of Spell Hunter might not be the best decks on the ladder, but they will definitely be at least Tier 2, and given how popular the deck is right now, it has to be on this list.

Deck Import

Deathrattle Hunter is another archetype we all know, the deck was dominating a big portion of the Year of the Raven meta. While it didn’t get a lot of direct support this expansion, given that it was one of the best ladder decks before it and the expansion didn’t have a massive impact, it’s not surprising that it still stays relevant.

The most common new card played in Deathrattle Hunter is Oondasta – it’s present in the majority of new builds. I like the card a lot, since it gives you a way to get an extra tempo swing in case you draw your Big Beasts (normally you’d rather pull them out with Kathrena Winterwisp). Even just playing Oondasta from hand, clearing something, and pulling out a King Krush is an insane tempo play – if you pull Oondasta from Kathrena, it’s even better – it’s basically a board wipe or bust kind of situation most of the time.

This specific build also plays Dragonmaw Scorcher, most likely because of how popular Odd Paladin is. Since the deck is very common, and it’s always been a bad matchup for Deathrattle Hunter, adding a way to deal 1 AoE damage can’t hurt. I don’t necessarily agree with cutting one Flanking Strike (I’d rather play it than Stitched Tracker or Tar Creeper, for example – although Stitched Tracker comes handy to get extra Beasts in hand for Oondasta), but Katagami has climbed to top 10 Legend with the list, meaning that it works quite well in the end.

If you liked Deathrattle Hunter before the expansion, you should still like it now – it didn’t really change that much. To be honest, you could probably even run the old Boomsday list and it would still work very well.

Deck Import

And the last Hunter deck I wanted to feature is Secret Hunter. A deck that has gained some notoriety after Subject 9 was released back in Boomsday Project, it was a quite solid (although not very popular) deck last expansion. The deck has gained some new tools in Rastakhan’s Rumble, and it’s aspiring to be the best Hunter deck (although we’ll see how it will turn out after a while).

Of course, again, the deck got quite a nice boost thanks to the Zul'jin – it’s another deck packed with spells, and while it won’t swing the game as much as it would in case of Spell Hunter, it should at least be a board flood (thanks to the Spellstone and Animal Companion) + replay a bunch of Secrets.

But maybe more importantly, a new Secret-related card was released. Masked Contender, which is kind of a Mad Scientist 2.0, fits into the Spell Hunter deck perfectly. Well, in all fairness, it’s probably a bit weaker than Mad Scientist, which didn’t have any condition (other than it dying without getting Silenced), in case of Contender you need to already have a Secret up. But given that Hunter’s Secrets cost 2 mana, and they often aren’t triggered right away, it’s not very difficult to get the value on the curve. And of course, the value is massive – drawing AND playing a 2 mana card from your deck is a crazy effect on a 3 mana card. Even if you don’t get value on the curve, on Turn 5 you can combo those two – 2/4 + 2 Secrets for 5 mana is also a nice tempo play, although not as good as just getting it on the curve.

An additional new card that this deck runs (although it’s not a staple in Secret Hunter, at least not so far) is Bloodscalp Strategist. With two copies of two different weapons, one of which is often kept around for long because it gets extra durability from Secrets, this kind of effect is not very hard to trigger. Getting an extra Hunter spell can be pretty nice, you can pick whatever you need at a specific time (e.g. removal, more burn, or a third Spellstone, which is nuts) and then it will also most likely make your Zul’jin stronger. An interesting option, definitely.

Between all of those and Subject 9, the deck has quite a lot of power plays throughout the game. Pulling an extra Secret on Turn 3 or swinging the board with Zul’jin in the late game, on top of drawing a bunch of Secrets with Subject 9 are all solid ways to get ahead and possibly even run a way with the game. Right now it’s hard to say which Hunter deck is best, but Secret Hunter is definitely a contender for this title.

Deck Import

I’ve noticed that Shudderwock Shaman has been getting more popular lately, especially at higher ranks. Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s basically the same old Boomsday deck without any new additions. And I get it, the deck was already refined, but I really thought that some of the new cards might see play in the build. Maybe Haunting Visions, maybe Krag'wa, the Frog. But in the end, it seems like they are too clunky in this build and it’s already packed (although Earth Shocks are kind of a flex slot).

Given that it’s an old deck, there’s not really much to talk about it. I kind of hope that it evolves and people will try out some new cards. I know that the old, refined build is always safer, but we wouldn’t have some of the best decks in the history without experimenting in the first place.

Deck Import

I would like to say that it’s the first completely new archetype on this list, but I would be lying. Of course, it’s still interesting, and I had quite a lot of fun playing it, but it’s not really that new. Playing it feels very much like playing Taunt Druid or Big Druid with Hadronox. The basic premise is similar – you either win the game by playing Taunt after Taunt (works quite well vs Aggro), swinging the game with Master Oakheart, or through the Hadronox combos. That’s where the deck is closer to Big Druid than Taunt Druid, though – it doesn’t run Witching Hour, it doesn’t run Carnivorous Cube, but it does run Spreading Plague. No Witching Hour or Cube means that you have less clunky combo pieces that are useless until the late game, and Spreading Plague is your best way to counter Odd Paladin.

The goal of the deck is to drop both Astral Tiger and Hadronox, kill them off, and then play Da Undatakah to get both of those Deathrattles. Now, on death, Undatakah will BOTH flood the board with Taunts and shuffle himself back into the deck. Now, if your Astral Tiger dies a second time, Undatakah will get TWO Tiger Deathrattles as well as the one from Hadronox, which means that it will shuffle itself TWICE whenever it dies. That’s also a nice counter-measure to stuff like Silence and Transform effects – as long as you kill off your first one or two Undatakahs, you will get a bunch of extra copies, so only one of them needs to survive. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t really want your Tiger to die for the third time, because you might get 3x shuffle Deathrattle and no Hadronox Deathrattle (good to keep away from fatigue, but you’d rather flood the board with Taunts too).

Spreading Plague kind of screws up the Hadronox, but it’s not really that relevant. In slow matchups, you can just keep it in your hand if you want. And if you absolutely need it, like if your opponent has set up a strong board you can’t answer, it’s better to have Plague messing up with your Hadronox later than to die on the spot before you even get there. And in all honesty, given that that you can drop Undatakah so many times, even getting mostly 1/5’s is good enough, because once your opponent runs out of removals, they will be enough to kill them.

When it comes to other new cards, Dog has decided to run Mosh'ogg Enforcer. Not only it’s a nice Taunt to get revived from Hadronox (2/14 with Divine Shield is VERY hard to get through), but it’s also pulled from Master Oakheart. I’ve seen some players running Rabble Bouncer in that slot instead, which is better against board flood decks when played from hand. Oh, and no matter which one you play, be careful around Priests – they would LOVE you to play a huge, 2 Attack minion after turn 6.

One more twist that Dog has added to the list is Savage Roar. It can act as a game finisher. Not only you might be able to catch your opponent off-guard after Plague (he doesn’t really expect Roar from a slow Druid deck), but also have a finisher after Hadronox (or Undatakah) dies. Most of your Taunts have low attack, but Roar on a full board means 16 extra damage, often more than enough to win the game (especially if you add another 14 from Branching Paths).

And that’s basically it. Despite sharing most of the cards with Big/Taunt Druids, it’s probably the most “fresh” archetype on this list. So far it is my favorite Druid deck this expansion, next to the Hakkar, the Soulflayer Togwaggle Druid (although I haven’t seen anyone on the ladder playing it).

Deck Import

And finally, a new version of the Rogue’s Kingsbane build. Last time the deck was truly viable in Standard was when the Legendary weapons were initially released, in Kobold & Catacombs. Rotation, in which the deck has lost many ways to buff weapon, along with moving Coldlight Oracle to Hall of Fame basically killed it, but it’s been slowly regaining its power over the year. And finally, it’s a pretty good build again in Rastakhan’s Rumble.

It’s mostly thanks to a single new card – Raiding Party. Drawing 3 cards for 3 mana is already powerful, but it’s even better if you consider the context here. Pirates are the weapon synergy and weapon buff minions, and weapon is obviously Kingsbane. So the card will ALWAYS draw Kingsbane (as long as you Combo it), as well as either ways to buff it or extra tempo from Dread Corsair. Combo deck benefits greatly from drawing cards, especially if those draws tutor exactly the cards you need.

With more ways to pull Kingsbane and buffs, the deck became much more consistent. With basically 5 ways of getting Kingsbane, it’s very rare that you don’t get it in the early game. Pulling minions out of your deck means that you have some board presence in the early/mid game, and a higher chance to draw the cards you need in the late game (e.g. SprintValeera the Hollow etc.).

Another way to take advantage of drawing Kingsbane multiple times is that you can now be much more aggressive with it – if you buff it to 4-5 damage early, you can start punching face and just drawing it over and over again. Unlike minions, weapon is much harder to destroy or counter, not to mention that this one in particular will come back even after getting cleared by Ooze. It’s a strategy that has won me a lot of games – I’ve even outraced some Aggro and Midrange decks that way thanks to the Leeching Poison – a 5 attack weapon with Leeching Poison means that your opponent needs 6 attack on the board to even do anything, and probably 3-4 more to actually start putting pressure (and at that point, you can counter them nicely with Blade Flurry or even Vanish). Of course, the deck is still not THAT good against Aggro, because if it doesn’t draw well, it is prone to getting rushed down, but it has a significantly higher chance now than it did before.

Deck Import

It’s the same deck list that was featured in the Day 1 compilation – it’s still the most popular Odd Mage build on the ladder. We’ve actually got an interesting twist on the archetype, as some players have decided to go for a faster, more aggressive version (because keep in mind that even though 2 damage Hero Power makes a good board control tool, it can also be used just as the Hunter’s one – to put the opponent on a clock). Some builds are also going for more Elemental synergies, and I think that those are my favorite.

The deck has two main win conditions. First one is the new Loa – Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk. It’s very easy to meet the card’s condition in Odd Mage, and summoning a 7 mana Ragnaros the Firelord alone is good enough (keep in mind that the card has seen a lot of play at 8 mana and it still sees some play in the Wild), and you also get an extra 4/4 body on top of that. It’s crazy and if your opponent doesn’t have a good answer, it can win you the game.

The other win condition is Frost Lich Jaina, just like in any Control Mage build (including the most popular Big Spell Mage). Even though you replace your upgraded Hero Power, it’s well worth it – the card can carry the game alone. Not only it will give you a bunch of free Water Elementals, but it forces your opponent to play extra carefully, so you won’t summon even more of them.

And of course, the 2 damage Hero Power can also be a nice win condition. If you manage to put some mid game pressure, especially if you run a faster deck list, hitting your opponent for 2 every turn can put some nice pressure.

But all in all, I like Odd Mage, the deck is pretty fun, but I thought that it will be a bit more powerful than it is. It’s not a bad deck per se, but it might not even land in Tier 2 in the end. After more and more optimized decks are popping out on the ladder, Odd Mage’s win rate has been slowly declining.

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over five years of playing and four years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

48 Comments

  1. Justin
    December 17, 2018 at 8:01 am

    I don’t get why everyone in the comment is ranting about odd paladin. Personally, I play the control archetype (taunt druid) and whenever I meet paladin on latter I hard mulligan for swipe or spreading plague. Perhaps, for those in the comment who are getting cucked by aggros should look for a more practical hand at the start. Don’t be too greedy with the control hand.

  2. Raymond
    December 13, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Am I missing something? Playing arround with my full Elemental Shaman deck at level 4 at the moment. Beating all Rogue, Hunter, Mage and Druid and Priest decks. Do not see a lot of Warrior, and have to say The new Cube Egg Warlock is Strong and HealLock seems strong against me. I like the Disco, and see all kinds of Priests, Druids, Shamans (Aggro, Shudderwock and everything (Evolve) in between,) and all kinds of Paladin decks (Even, Heal, OTK and sometimes Odd). Even Rogue is there, just like Pirate and Deathrattle Rogue. Even Tempo Mage is back.

    What a huge amount of different decks to try and to beat.

    WoW!!!

    If Odd Paladin is the deck to beat. Beat it. Easy win with the right deck…

    At the end of the Witchwood season it was hardly rewarding to play with Odd Paladin. And nothing changed there.

    I myself am really really happy that they keep very stupid and brainless builds with Malygos and Mecha’tun and Kingsbane out if the ladder.

    I rather try to kill all your dudes then wait for you to come off on your own deck.

    Long live the aggro that kills the combo decks. The reason control can and will rule.

  3. Nickname23
    December 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    In my opinion, Rastakhan’s Rumble is a great expansion design-wise. It has a lot of interesting, usable cards. Playing around with the new stuff the first few days after release has been more fun than Witchwood and Boomsday together. There is also high potential in a decent amount of cards.

    It’s just a shame that everything gets overshadowed by Odd Paladin. I’m on ladder, lose 2 in a row against that deck, quit the game. I start watching Deathstar playing Master’s Call Hunter at high legend and he has to face it 3/5 games. It’s so frustrating, that I even want to quit watching. He finally finds other opponents. From now on, the stream is enjoyable. Then he gets hit with another Odd Paladin army all over again. I stop watching.

    I think Baku has to go. I can immagine that Odd Paladin won’t be a deck without Level Up, Vinecleaver, etc. But doesn’t that limit design space for another year? I somewhat agree with Stonekeep saying: Odd Warrior doesn’t do unfair things. On the other hand: Isn’t it problematic in a polarizing and unfun way to just shut down every aggressive/burst strategy just by clicking button. Isn’t stuff like Shield Slam and Reckless Flurry just too consistent in that deck. (Is it ok that druid ramps for card advantage, hiding behind taunts and armor, and we have to wait for rotation, although community asked for nerfs, btw)

    2cents on Genn: The same lame card design as Baku, but doesn’t feel as unfair as Baku, at least to me. Genn is “only” Tempo advantage and not power advantage and you can’t play 1 Drops in Even decks. Nevertheless, Even Paladin already showed us, how a broken Even deck looks like.

    Tldr: I don’t want to wait until Baku(/Genn) rotation. Druid core cards was enough staleness to shrink my enjoyment for the game to a minimum in 2018. Don’t let Baku/(Genn) be in the way of 2019.

    • JoyDivision
      December 13, 2018 at 1:03 am

      I’m with you – Odd and Even they way they did it is a mistake that needs to be corrected.

      Sadly, your options are very limited when it comes to the core design. What should be done (some Pros already pointed that out) is the actual cards (Baku and Genn) should be made unplayable – for example, Baku could be a 10 Mana 0/1. Problem is, even then the upgraded Hero power might make up for the chance of drawing a completely useless card …

      • Nickname23
        December 13, 2018 at 2:25 am

        I’d say, for the sake of the game, just “warsong” Baku as soon as possible and keep an eye on Genn. I don’t know, what’s going on in upcoming expansions, so it might be a mistake to not touch Genn in advance. If they know it, they should do it on Genn, too.

        • Skoopy
          December 13, 2018 at 7:01 am

          can someone explain the rotation to me? when exactly is a card leaving standard? after how many expansions/years? when is Jaina/Uther/Valeera and all other DKs rotating out?

          • Mooko
            December 13, 2018 at 9:06 am

            Whenever the first expansion in a year releases (probably March or so), the expansions released two years prior rotate out. For the next expansion, Un’Goro, Frozen Throne and Kobold’s will rotate out.

          • JoyDivision
            December 14, 2018 at 12:52 am

            Yeah, we will get a ‘new’ meta around March/April 2019. Hopefully. Problem is, Genn and Baku will still be around for a loooong time.

    • GlosuuLang
      December 13, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Baku and Genn are fine as they are – in half of the classes they are not worth running. The problem is that there’s a bunch of cards out there that hugely synergize with the upgraded Hero Powers. Odd Paladin is the most aggravating example: Level Up!, Vinecleaver and Fungalmancer make the power-level of the deck very high. And thank goodness they can’t run the 3/4 that adapts Recruits or Tarim. Once rotation hits, they’re mainly left with Raid Leader as a synergy to their Hero Power, so I’m expecting it to be much weaker. Even Warlock can be built because Twilight Drake and Mountain Giants are good pay-offs, and AOEs are even-costed. The opposite is true of Odd Warlock: no pay-offs and no AOEs. We’ve seen this with Odd Mage too: before this expansion it really didn’t have much going on for it, and finally now that it has more support you can actually make a T3 deck with it.

      The scariest deck after rotation for me is Odd Warrior. The only decks it will always lose to are Mecha’thun decks, but without DK Rexxar, DK Jaina and Quest Rogue it’s going to be the Control deck to beat, only losing Reckless Flurry and Quest to rotation. Odd Rogue will probably still be there because Hench-Clan Thug carries the deck, although no Vilespines and no Fungalmancer should tune down its power.

      In any case I do agree that some upgraded Hero Powers should be tuned down, since they were not designed to be available from the start of the game. Odd Warrior should get 3 Armor per button-press (why does Hunter go from 2-damage to 3, but Warrior goes from 2 to 4?). Odd Paladin should summon a Silver Hand Recruit with a +1/+1 on it (so a 2/2 for 2). Odd Rogue… I don’t know how that could be nerfed. Giving it a 1/3 weapon would kill the deck, especially when you have Serrated Tooth as a fair card. And I’d rather have a 1/2 weapon than a 2/1 weapon.

      • JoyDivision
        December 14, 2018 at 1:00 am

        The point is that with Genn and Baku – in contrast to Justicar Trueheart – the upgrade is guaranteed 100% and available at the start of the game. That offers a level of consistency that makes up for all deck building restrictions and – even more important – restricts design space in a way it was never restricted before.

        Thank god that this ‘only’ gets problematic with SOME classes right now.

        Those two legendaries definitely are the problem. 😉

        • GlosuuLang
          December 14, 2018 at 2:57 am

          The thing is, the deck restrictions are SO BIG that you do need some pay-off, and besides, the upgraded Hero Powers is what allows you to weave them in the curve. And you’re already including a bad tempo card (6 mana vanilla 6/5 and 7 mana vanilla 7/8). Not drawing Keleseth on 2 or not drawing Reno sucks, but you can still play Hearthstone. If you don’t get a 1-mana Hero Power from Genn at the start of the game, what do you do on T1? And in T3 you just drop a two-drop? That would make the deck unplayable.

          Another thing to consider is that Justicar Trueheart’s upgraded HPs were only designed with the late-game in mind, so obviously some of them are too powerful from the beginning of the game: namely Odd Paladin and Odd Warrior. It’s also a reason why Odd Priest is bad: the upgraded Hero Power is great in the late game, but it does absolutely nothing in the early game, so the deck-building sacrifice is not worth it. As I say I’m all for nerfing Odd Paladin’s and Odd Warrior’s upgraded Hero Power from Baku, and still leave them as is for Justicar Trueheart.

    • Jason
      December 13, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Odd paladin is stupid and boring as hell. I dont think Gen and Baku are bad designs i think they are cool and creative. What makes odd paladin is level up. if level up wasnt printed we would never have seen this lame deck for so long. Looking forward to next rotate as shudderwock and kingsbane will be gone. at least shudder cant operate properly without chain gang.

      • GlosuuLang
        December 14, 2018 at 2:40 am

        I agree, Level Up! is what makes Odd Paladin scary in Standard. And in Wild it’s even worse since they have “Two-arms men” and the 3-mana soldier that gives all Silver Hand Recruits +1 attack. Odd Paladin’s Hero Power should be nerfed to summon a 2/2 Silver Hand Recruit, especially looking at Wild. Next rotation is going to be a breath of fresh air, although I’m scared of Odd Warrior, it will probably beat most decks (horribly rolling over aggro) except Mecha’thun decks. That’s why I also believe Tank Up! should be nerfed to 3-mana.

      • JoyDivision
        December 18, 2018 at 3:10 am

        Level Up! wasn’t played before Baku. Not even in Wild, where there was lots of Silver Hand Support before.

        So … is this card problematic or a card that guarantees a swarm of Silver Hand Recruits on turn 5?

        Besides that … even if Level Up! gets nerfed … is Paladin supposed to not get good odd costed cards anymore?

        Regarding a partial upgraded HP nerf for Baku – that would be very dowdy design, then. I’d reconfigure all HPs and call them differently to Justicar’s ability. Moon Power, or something like that. 😉

  4. JoyDivision
    December 12, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I think that for as long as HS exists, real metagame shifts (read: new decks with new or unexplored mechanics) will only happen with the standard rotation – or in Wild, where it is much easier to miss some broken interaktion with old and new cards …

    Over time, Blizzard reduced their howlers per expansion to a minimum – yes, there are cards like Patches or Keleseth, but in my opinion, they’ve learned from those. So, if they don’t decide to delve deeply into power creeping and produce sets that are strictly superior to their predecessors, only few new cards will make it into trusted and working deck lists.

    Besides that: Hearthstone is to ‘expensive’. Most of the time, trying new ideas requires owning the according cards. I for myself opened 140 packs of RR by now and I’m still missing

    14 Legendaries
    10 Epics
    2 Rares (I didn’t get a single copy of Shriek and the Paladin Spirit)

    So let’s say I’d want to test Dragon Warrior. To play a good version (and let’s be honest, it doesn’t make any sense to test a highly suboptimal list) I’d need to craft:

    2 Smolderthorn Lancer
    1 War Master Voone
    plus older cards like 2 Reckless Flurry and some other cards that I didn’t open back then

    Most players simply can’t afford all those ‘fun crafts’, so they stick to the decks they already own.

    Another example for this is Discardlock – I’m pretty sure many people would like to test this deck right now – but look at how many ‘useless’ legendaries you’d need to craft for playing an optimal version – Lakkari Sacrifice, Clutchmother, Lana’thel. I’m sure many players couldn’t afford to safe those cards and dusted those them for what they actually needed. And so … most players stick to their Lifegain Zoo list for the time being.

    tl;dr:

    1. balanced set design decreases the amount of new archetypes
    2 . serious metagame shifts only happen when Standard rotates
    3. Most players don’t have the chance to play new cards because they don’t own them / can’t afford to craft all cards they want to test

  5. Omnitarian
    December 12, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Poor little expac. Nothing they printed could have competed with the power/consistency/value of the cards from KFT and KnC. Well, they could’ve, but then they’d find themselves with the same powercreep problem a year from now.

    The thing is, though the meta is stale, it IS quite balanced and diverse. Raising the question of what, if anything, they’ll nerf? You could make a case for Play Dead, Lesser Emerald Spellstone, and Deathstalker Rexxar (ideally Branching Paths/Spreading Plague too, but Blizzard seems contractually obligated to never nerf Druid). The thing is, any nerfs would be more about winkingly retiring cards ‘early’ rather than actually balancing OP cards/overtuned decks. That rubs against the philosophy of what nerfing is for. Will be interesting to see how Blizz plays this one out.

    At least we all save on dust and will have extra fun once the rotation happens :\

  6. DukeStarswisher
    December 12, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Thank you for the rant about Odd Paladin. I have the exact same gripes about people who play that deck. Everyone is trying new decks with new cards and then Odd pally is sitting there with NOTHING NEW and still owning the meta. It seriously has to stop.

    The deck isn’t even fun to play. I imagine the people who play it are masochists.

    • DukeStarswisher
      December 12, 2018 at 7:58 am

      And the lvl of shade by putting “Rastakhan’s Rumble” Odd pally is over 9000 LOL

    • JoyDivision
      December 12, 2018 at 8:41 am

      In my oppinion, you can’t blame no one for playing a good deck on ladder.

      To be honest, I think (as harsh as this might sound) that laddering isn’t about fun, it’s about competition. And within any competition, you use the best possible combination of available ressources to achieve the best result possible.

      Therefore, the reasons why there are so many Odd Paladins on the ladder are manifold … for some players, winning is more fun than trying new stuff. Others can’t afford all those fancy new cards, so they stick to what they got.

      So, as I said in the beginning, you can’t really blame people for playing good decks in a competitive environment.

      • DukeStarswisher
        December 12, 2018 at 11:53 am

        When you play a boring aggro deck to get a little more dust at the end of the season then you should really check your life priorities.

        I can understand Odd pally showing up in tournaments and such (with ACTUAL competitive stakes) but ladder is just sad. You are just playing to brag and if that is your goal then go check yourself.

        And the funny thing is, there is very little to brag about! If someone told me they got to legend I’m like “awesome!” but if they then said it was using only Odd pally I wouldn’t care. Its not an achievement, its a scourge.

        • JoyDivision
          December 13, 2018 at 12:49 am

          Hm.

          I for myself play Control Mage and Combo Priest, because my priority is ‘getting all classes to 500 wins’ and those 2 are the only ones left.

          All I wanted to say that different people have different priorities. And I believe that it’s not fair to judge others by your own standards because, you know … yours aren’t any better or worse than theirs. 😉

          Besides that, I don’t see that bragging about Odd Paladin players is any better than playing the deck. Just relax and have fun playing HS?

          • nickus
            December 13, 2018 at 2:43 am

            I understand what you are saying, but I am completely on the Duke’s side. Hearthstone is a game after all and by design it is made for having fun. People should cheer up and try new stuff, play around and not be such try hards netdecking.
            On the topic off odd paladin: I am truelly sick of this deck already. It’s been around since witchwood. In last 20 games I played on lather, 12 were odd paladin, 5 were hunters and remaining 3 were priests and warlocks. It gets really boring after a while.

          • DukeStarswisher
            December 13, 2018 at 8:00 am

            I’m just going to say, if Odd paladin continues to be the scourge it is, paying players will begin to stop playing until the rotation. nbd right? Not for Team 5. If their <50% base of players who actually pay nod off for an entire quarter, they are going to take a hit in their overall revenue. At that point, they won't care in the least about the f2p players out there. They survive on the players who actually pay for the game.

            I don't think its at that point *yet* but if I and everyone else continue to see HSReplay's stats of highest winrate and 12 different versions of Odd pally all above 60% percent win rate, I'm sure they are going to need to address that at some point. They cannot afford to lose paying players until the rotation.

          • JoyDivision
            December 14, 2018 at 12:50 am

            Maybe we should first clarify which ranks we’re talking about!?

            I’m a Wild player mostly, until I hit ‘dad legend’ (which isn’t very difficult to achive 😉 ). After that, I’m playing for golden heros, in both formats.

            I’m lingering at Rank 8 in Standard and I so so wish I would face MORE Odd Paladins with Control Mage … sadly, I’m mostly paired against Hunters, Rogues and Shudderwo … sorry Shamans.

          • nickus
            December 14, 2018 at 1:22 am

            I was playing those 20 games on my climb to legend with rush warrior: so to be specific rank 4-legend

      • DukeStarswisher
        December 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm

        And I hear you on the “can’t afford it” but I have a hard time believing that is the majority of Odd pally players.

        • JoyDivision
          December 13, 2018 at 12:54 am

          I’m not saying it’s the majority – but you can’t deny that efficient-wise, investing in that deck was a good decision back when it arose.

          And there ARE those who are strictly F2P and on a tight budget – in this case, a deck like Odd Paladin is a very good investment.

  7. WildRage
    December 12, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Why is Deathrattle Hunter considered a better deck than Recruit Hunter?
    They’re similar concepts but Recruit Hunter replaces all minions but Kathrena and the big bois with Secrets, the Emeralds and a huge Zul’Jin turn.
    Isn’t Zul’Jin worth it?

    • GlosuuLang
      December 12, 2018 at 7:04 am

      Hybrid Recruit Hunters with a secret package and a high end have always been quite inconsistent. Ideally you want to have secrets to play early game, a buffed Spellstone by Turn 5, and then drop the Deathrattle Ooze and/or Kathrena and start bringing the big boys to finish the job. The problem is that it only happens like 20% of the time: sometimes you don’t draw secrets or Spellstones in the early game and you get run over, other times the enemy deals with your Spellstone and you don’t find the extra gas. 10-15% of your games you will draw your 3-4 big beasts in the early turns and then have nothing to recruit with Ooze or Kathrena. Cube Deathrattle is just so much more consistent: a Play Dead can help you trigger a Devilsaur Egg on Turn 3 or 4, but it’s also a great card once you have a Cube or Kathrena on the board. As you know Deathrattle Hunter can still get bad draws and not pressure enough in the midgame, but Recruit Hunter runs into that situation much more frequently.

  8. squark66
    December 11, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    release a 25 cost legendary, discard legendary, a legendary that allows my opponent to discover cards also another useless priest legendary (all of which I opened of course), only to realise what we knew at the outset, that they are not prime ladder cards – sadly it is no surprise the rastakhan set has not impacted the meta. Yes niche legendaries add spice but spice seems to equal low win rate for hacks like me so they don’t get played

    • Swolelord
      December 12, 2018 at 2:45 am

      Just play dragon mindblast priest mate. Still tier 2 I’d say

  9. BlooSnow
    December 11, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    I’ve been stuck at rank 8-10 for the last 2 days playing the new version of Even paladin but I don’t have mojomaster. Is mojomaster good enough to craft? I want to finally reach rank 5 because i’ve never really tried enough to push.

    • D930065
      December 12, 2018 at 7:02 am

      It’s a good tech in the right meta, but definitely not necessary.

  10. Timeotheo
    December 11, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Man, this is pretty depressing… Do you see any nerf that could really create a new meta ? I mean, here the problem is not that any one deck is too powerful, it’s just the whole new expansion that has a low power level. You can’t nerf ALL the boomsday decks at once, can you ?
    Nerfing odd paladin would make kingsbane rogue pretty happy (and I’m not even sure there is much to nerf – they can’t go back with the odd-even mechanic now). As for hunter, I can’t imagine them nerfing Zul’jin since it’s the hero card this expansion.
    Really, does anyone see a way we can hope for the meta to freshen up ? Any contender for tier 2 at least among Rastakhan new archetypes ?

    • GlosuuLang
      December 12, 2018 at 4:56 am

      We have to wait until rotation. I believe after rotation we are going to have a very fun meta. All the broken stuff from Year of the Mammoth will be gone from Standard. Odd Rogue and Odd Warrior will still be around, unfortunately, but other top decks are losing a lot from rotation. Odd Paladin won’t be the same without Level Up!, Vinecleaver and Fungalmancer, for example.

  11. SenseiDragon
    December 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I have problem to counter shudderwock shaman. Any suggestion? literally any deck I play loses against it

    • Tokoyamis beak
      December 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      Well, I don’t know much about matchups, but you could play a control Warlock deck and include 2 demonic projects …, even include 2 gnomferatus.

    • Tokoyamis beak
      December 11, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Idk how well it would work, but I think you can use mojomaster zihi to stall their shudderwock, while you do your thing, maybe in a midrange deck … not sure.

  12. Tokoyamis beak
    December 11, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Have you tried experimenting with Dragon Warrior (non-odd)? Is it any good ?

    • Ealk
      December 11, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      I tried it. It’s afun deck to play, especially when you are fan of dragons and Warriors. The fact that it has access to even cards make it interesting to play, you can create a lot of different decks that are still viable. However, new dragons are more control-oriented which make it pretty hard to survive the early and mid-game stage. I believe that there is working deck, but I refused to find it and I am trying Dragon Mage and Dragon Hunter right now. But if you want to have fun and test your deck-building abilities, definitely give it a try

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      December 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      I’ve tried, and it feels a bit underwhelming. If you go for a more Midrange build, it doesn’t have enough ways to swing the tempo, the Dragons are mostly too slow. And if you play the Control variant, Odd version just seem better. And both Odd & regular Control Dragon Warrior share a similar problem – they’re too fair. They don’t have any infinite value win condition (like Deathstalker Rexxar / Frost Lich Jaina) or powerful combos (Shudderwock Shaman, even Control Priest). I mean, there’s Boom, which is nice, but it’s too random. For the sake of value, you want the Discover Hero Power and it happens only 1/5 of the time.

      I’d say that those decks have a higher chance to work after the rotation, when a lot of those crazy win conditions other slow decks have will rotate out.

      • Tokoyamis beak
        December 11, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        That makes sense, I was trying to go to a more control-ish direction. I’ll just try to see what I can come up with, I’m not trying to hard climb anyhow. Thank you very much for the response.

  13. Tokoyamis beak
    December 11, 2018 at 11:37 am

    When taking about dog’s Undetakah Druid you linked Mosh’Ogg Announcer, instead of Mosh’Ogg Enforcer. “When it comes to other new cards, Dog has decided to run Mosh’Ogg Announcer.” Its easy to confuse those 2.

  14. TheActualBaker
    December 11, 2018 at 11:33 am

    When talking about the Da Undatakah druid, basically the hadronox druid, there is a typo. You wrote Mosh’ogg announcer instead of Mosh’ogg enfrocer.
    Anyway, great insight that preety much sums up the actual meta!

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