Audiopocalypse looks like a fairly strong mini-set so far. It has especially boosted Warrior with multiple cards that fit into Enrage Warrior and Menagerie Warrior. The set also includes a powerful Neutral Legendary card, Magatha, Bane of Music that will undoubtedly see play in many minion-based decks for the next two years.
If the mini-set leaves something to be desired, it is the lack of completely new things. This is no revolution of the meta, it is more of an evolution of the meta. Sure, Warrior becoming a mainstream player for the first time since it was nerfed back in Voyage to the Sunken City one year ago is a notable event. However, the decks are not exactly new. The strong Warrior decks are the best decks Warrior had before the mini-set, now as stronger versions. Many of the other decks buffed by the mini-set are also decks that were played with earlier during Festival of Legends, and now they are able to fill some missing pieces and become stronger.
Nonetheless, Audiopocalypse has something to contribute to multiple archetypes, so even old favorites can find some new shine from the mini-set. Let’s dive right into the decks!
Enrage Warrior is the deck that everyone is talking about when it comes to Audiopocalypse. Jam Session is such an incredible addition to the deck. Jam Session can enable your Foul Eggs, it can provide more handbuffs with Anima Extractor, it provides a bigger board clear with Sunfury Champion, and it resurrects Thori'belore. It is the perfect card for Enrage Warrior. Wild Pyromancer has been left in the dust, it is jamming time!
It is also possible that there will be more refinements for Enrage Warrior. Backstage Bouncer, Abyssal Bassist, and Remixed Tuning Fork are viable cards that may enter the deck in the near future. They are not as perfect as Jam Session, but they expand the pool of options Warrior has access to considerably. This mini-set has been great for Warrior.
There are a few competitors for the meta Enrage Warrior list. The most popular one includes two copies of Frightened Flunky, but this version with two copies of Roaring Applause instead looks stronger so far.
Sadly, none of the early popular lists include other new cards than Jam Session, so we will need to wait some more before we find the true strength of the new Warrior.
While most eyes may be on Enrage Warrior, Menagerie Warrior is quietly climbing up the ranks as well. Menagerie Warrior decks have been experimenting with Magatha, Bane of Music, Backstage Bouncer, Abyssal Bassist, and Remixed Tuning Fork in various combinations. Under the right circumstances, they all look good!
Remixed Tuning Fork is the early-game weapon Menagerie Warrior has been missing, and it goes great with Abyssal Bassist. Between the Tuning Fork and Sword Eater, the deck has good consistency in discounting the Bassist.
However, the strongest early Menagerie Warrior list opts to leave out that package and instead goes with Magatha, Bane of Music and a pair of Backstage Bouncers. Given how well the Fork package performs in the competing lists, it will be interesting to see if they can all be fitted into the same deck.
While Warrior gets a lot of attention because it has now entered the meta in full, the mini-set also improved some of the existing top meta decks. Perhaps the strongest of them all is Pure Paladin. While the slower The Garden's Grace list pioneered by Diapsalma was the forerunner Paladin deck before the mini-set, it has now been replaced by more aggressive variants.
The strongest current Pure Paladin deck is WuLing’s Horn of the Windlord Pure Paladin that pushes Doomhammer-style damage with Feast and Famine. Horn of the Windlord is a remarkably flexible tool that can remove big threats or push big damage. Just a phenomenal card.
Hollow Hound in Death Knight and Hunter
Hollow Hound is one of the most successful dual-class cards in the early Audiopocalypse meta, especially when judged by actually seeing play in both of its classes. Blood Death Knight has plenty of synergy with Lifesteal and a defensive minion that hits multiple targets is a great fit for the archetype. Hunter, on the other hand, has always lacked defensive tools. A rushing Lifesteal minion that is also a Beast is a major asset for all slower Hunter decks.
Overall, Blood Death Knight looks much like before. Hollow Hound improves the deck without changing the way it works.
Hunter is in a more interesting position. The strongest slow Hunter list adds Hollow Hound as just another Beast, but it also goes for some Arcane synergies with Halduron Brightwing and Star Power adding even more defensive tools to the list. I do not remember a time when Hunter would have had as good defensive opportunities as it does now.
Hunter received plenty of good cards in the mini-set, and the class can look forward to some experimentation before the ideal list is found.
Another meta deck that was improved by the mini-set is Totem Shaman. Remixed Totemcarver and Magatha, Bane of Music are easy additions to the list. However, WuLing went a step further and also added Backstage Bouncer and Horn of the Windlord to the mix. The success of the latter cards is not yet confirmed in the class, but overall, things are looking good for Shaman.
Spell Demon Hunter
Spell Demon Hunter was just removed from the meta by the previous nerf to Sinful Brand, but it is back now thanks to Through Fel and Flames. Turns out that additional zero-cost cards that make Lady S'theno attack and also buff her are pretty good if you want to set up a one-turn-kill combo.
Cage Head OTK Death Knight
On the topic of OTKs, there are some opportunities to enable more OTK combos with the new Death Knight / Hunter dual-class card Yelling Yodeler.
In Death Knight, the combo that multiple people have attempted to make work is summoning multiple big Charge minions with Cage Head, Yelling Yodeler, Death Growl, and Dead Air. It is scary when it works, but luckily the deck is not consistent enough, at least yet.
This is MarkMcKz’s version of the combo:
In fact, adding Yelling Yodeler into a regular Unholy Death Knight has shown better results than the full combo deck. However, it is weaker than a regular Unholy Death Knight without the Yodeler, so there does not seem to be any reason to add the card unless you are going for some of that combo play. In the future, Yodeler can become a potent combo enabler, but the card pool to make it successful does not seem to exist yet.
Priest is a class with a dedicated fan base. The class has often been one of the weaker ones, but now it is a strong meta class thanks to Undead Priest. However, the Priest fans want something more from their class, and the mini-set has encouraged two directions of experiments.
First, the addition of Plagiarizarrr has given a boost to Thief Priest, which is really getting full of cards that steal stuff from the opponent.
We do not yet have the statistics to show whether this approach is strong, but it is unlikely to be stronger than Undead Priest.
Another approach has been opened up by Ambient Lightspawn: Overheal Priest. Ambient Lightspawn is not a good fit into Undead Priest because Undead Priest does not have a healing Hero Power, but in a dedicated deck, it can turn into some major buffs over time.
Overheal Priest has been played a bit more, and it can clearly be seen that it is a highly polarizing deck. It crushes slow decks but falls easily when met by other aggressive decks. The archetype will not survive for long. However, it again showcases the strength of Magatha, Bane of Music in a minion-based deck, and there may still be other approaches, such as Menagerie, that could end up working even in Priest.
Evolution, Not a Revolution
The more experimental new decks do not look viable. However, Audiopocalypse does add a lot of playable cards into the game, they just mostly happen to support existing archetypes. Warrior is back in a big way, which is the main takeaway from the new mini-set. Many other decks received some improvements as well, which makes the field harder for brand-new decks to compete. There might still be something new that can be found, especially around minions and Magatha, but the main expected developments are continued refinement of Warrior and Hunter, who received the most playable new cards.