The Standard rotation of 2023 is almost upon us. When the Festival of Legends expansion launches on April 11th, the cards from 2021 will leave the Standard format. Cards from Forged in the Barrens, United in Stormwind, and Fractured in Alterac Valley will still be available in Wild and many Tavern Brawls and Solo Adventures, but they will no longer be legal in Standard.
While some decks will survive the rotation more or less unscathed, this will be the end of the road for many archetypes in Standard. Let’s take a look at some decks you may want to take out for one final ride before the sunset!
Big Spell Mage
It’s ironic. Festival of Legends comes with multiple cards that would fit into Big Spell Mage. DJ Manastorm is the ultimate Big Spell Mage minion. However, if there will be a Big Spell Mage deck in Festival of Legends, it will be completely different from the current deck. Drakefire Amulet, Rune of the Archmage, Grey Sage Parrot, Deepwater Evoker, and Balinda Stonehearth are all leaving the Standard format behind.
Nonetheless, I will miss this deck. It has a good toolkit to answer a wide variety of threats. It can play fair and still be strong. It also has some silly high rolls for that modern Hearthstone feel. Just a flexible, fun deck to play.
Big Spell Mage’s sister deck is also leaving. Spearheaded by Wildfire, Reckless Apprentice, Magister Dawngrasp, and Mordresh Fire Eye, Ping Mage gave people a reason to fear Mage’s Hero Power. However, the entire Ping package is now rotating out of Standard, so this archetype is completely dead on April 11th.
This just goes to show how fundamental 2021 was for Mage. Two innovative, fair, and powerful archetypes. That’s a big accomplishment for the class.
I really thought they would do it. Love it or hate it, Wildheart Guff has been an iconic part of Druid’s identity for the past two years. I thought there was a chance to see Guff in the Core set. But nope. Druid will have to figure out other ways for their Ramp plays. The class still has Wild Growth, Widowbloom Seedsman, and Nourish, but nothing compares to Guff.
In their final days in Standard, the two Guffs worked side by side with Lost in the Park giving Wildheart Guff the survivability it needed. Both are about to depart and that will be an end of an era for Ramp Druid. Even Festival of Legends chose to go with hippie as the Druid music style over rap, so there will be no Rap Druid coming to the rescue.
The Questlines from United in Stormwind had a good run. Most of them were relevant at some point. Many of them got nerfed. The Demon Seed got nerfed many, many times. Defend the Dwarven District had the best run of them all in the end. Hunter’s Questline always found a way to return to relevance, no matter what. But eventually, the Standard rotation catches up to us all.
- 1Arcane Shot2
- 1Barbed Nets2
- 1Defend the Dwarven District1
- 1Ricochet Shot2
- 1Trinket Tracker2
- 1Urchin Spines1
- 1Wound Prey2
- 2Conjured Arrow2
- 2Dun Baldar Bunker2
- 2Explosive Trap2
- 2Furious Howl2
- 2Ice Trap2
- 2Motion Denied2
- 2Quick Shot2
- 3Aimed Shot2
- 3Stag Charge2
- 3Wild Spirits2
- 6Beaststalker Tavish1
The final iteration of Questline Hunter returns to the Secret package for its early game. Wildseeds have been ubiquitous in the deck since their introduction. For a deck that just wants to play damage spells and get the machine gun Hero Power online, Questline Hunter went through a lot of different versions for its early and mid-game. This flexibility is what kept it relevant throughout its time in Standard.
Perhaps Arcane Hunter can take over from here. I don’t think it will though, at least not during Festival of Legends. The new expansion offers some support for spell-slinging Hunter decks, but nothing specifically for Arcane. Arrow Smith is the main support card that is coming. Jungle Jammer‘s random Beast does not fit in quite as well unless you can cast a lot of spells early and just roll on with an early big minion, and the new repeatable spells are not Arcane spells. Even if you will cast spells as a Hunter, they will not be going face in the same way Quest Hunter’s spells did.
Non-Aggro Demon Hunter
Demon Hunter faces changes like few other classes. Jace Darkweaver and Kurtrus, Demon-Render have fit in just about every deck of the class ever since they were added to the game. Sure, there’s still Aggro Demon Hunter, but will it be able to close out games without Kurtrus? Sure, there’s still Souleater's Scythe, but what will you put in there instead of Jace Darkweaver? I think there are potential answers to both questions, but the look and feel of Demon Hunter will be very different after the rotation compared to what it is today.
The combo-style Fel Demon Hunter is currently the stronger Demon Hunter archetype. Souleater's Scythe is close, but slightly weaker. Therefore, the most successful farewell to Jace and Kurtrus can be had with the Fel plan.
Judging by the deck downvotes on this site, this might be a deck whose departure will cause more rejoicing than sadness. Either way, Tamsin Roame and Tamsin's Phylactery are leaving Standard behind, and much of Warlock’s combo potential leaves with them. Naval Mine is sticking around for another year though, so who knows where it might pop up again.
The best time to blow up your enemies with mines was yesterday, but the second-best time is today.
Do you still remember Kazakusan? The once-feared win condition has seen better days and no longer sees mainstream play in these final days before its retirement. Dragon Paladin is the last bastion of this mighty Dragon, and it is not doing too well, to be honest. It will do even worse after the rotation though, as it will lose both Kazakusan and Lightforged Cariel, and those are pretty much the entire deck.
This is your one last chance to equip The Immovable Object and charge into battle with your draconic friends as Paladin.
Priest is losing its ability to play infinite spells every turn with the loss of Radiant Elemental. Not that there would be great spells to play anymore either with Bless rotating out at the same time. Festival of Legends will arrive with a more moderate take on the same theme thanks to Love Everlasting, but it is not quite the same thing.
If APM Priest is what you love to play, there is still a bit of time left to rapid-fire your cards.
The inevitability of Purified Shard generated after a long trek through Seek Guidance has placed the upper limit to the length of a Hearthstone game for some time. Now that it will be gone, how long can games go on? The answer is hardly any longer than before because even Questline Priest rarely won with the Shard. Its actual win condition was its ability to exhaust its opponent’s will to live. This is why Plaguespreader is such a great fit in the deck, too.
- 0Desperate Prayer2
- 1Gift of the Naaru2
- 1Seek Guidance1
- 1Shard of the Naaru2
- 1The Light! It Burns!2
- 2Thrive in the Shadows2
- 3Amulet of Undying2
- 3Cathedral of Atonement2
- 4Shadow Word: Ruin2
- 5Clean the Scene1
- 5Spirit Guide2
- 6Lightshower Elemental2
- 6Mi’da, Pure Light1
- 7Blackwater Behemoth1
- 8Xyrella, the Devout1
I don’t know if we will see any decks as slow as this in Festival of Legends, so if you really want games to last a long time, there is still some time to truly enjoy Hearthstone.
Raid the Docks has not been a mainstream choice for some time. Neither has Warrior, to be honest. Yet, browsing through statistics it is possible to still find them. I could not find any streamers who would have played with this deck, but it exists, and it even rocks around a 50% win rate in Diamond 4-1. I cannot explain it either.
Anyway, if you want a real double blast from the past in the form of a Pirate deck and a Warrior deck, this could be the deck you want to play with before it leaves the Standard format.
Have Fun Before and After the Rotation!
There are a couple of different approaches you can take to the upcoming rotation. Perhaps you want to play to Legend as fast as possible, in which case the top-tier decks like Frost Death Knight and Undead Priest are a good choice. Perhaps you want to take a break from Hearthstone for a few days and come back to the new meta. Or perhaps there is something you have yet to experience or something you want to play one more time before it is gone. In that case, the above ten decks are now having their final days in Standard, and it is a fine time to give them a proper farewell.