What Decks Can Rise to the Meta Thanks to the Hearthstone’s Castle Nathria Mini-set?

All cards for the Maw and Disorder mini-set have been revealed and the mini-set itself is launching tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27. You can find all the revealed cards in our dedicated article. In this one, I want to go a little bit deeper. What decks will rise thanks to the mini-set? What will happen to the meta?

Historically, mini-sets have changed the meta quite a lot. Mini-sets usually buff some of the weakest classes, and while they generally do not become top-tier decks, we have seen tier-four decks rise up to become tier-two decks fairly often. Mini-sets also cause changes at the very top. They have not always been for the better though! The Rogue wave that immediately followed the last mini-set comes to mind as an example of a mini-set resulting in a more dominant best deck.

That said, not all cards in a mini-set are good. There are only 35 cards in it, but 35 cards can change everything. However, between one-third and one-half of the cards in a mini-set will see no meaningful play after the first days. Cards that end up defining archetypes are sometimes rare: Throne of the Tides only really had two such cards in Herald of Nature and Clownfish.

However, some mini-sets just define archetypes across the board, like Deadmines. Deadmines gave us the buff-based Face Hunter with Doggie Biscuit, various decks with Mr. Smite, repeatable spells for Mage and Shaman with Grey Sage Parrot and Brilliant Macaw, Phylactery Warlock with Wicked Shipment, and much more. Deadmines is by far the strongest mini-set we have had so far. It was also the mini-set for the second expansion of a Standard year, so expectations are high for Maw and Disorder to also make a meaningful mid-year impact!

Let’s take a deeper look into Maw and Disorder to properly evaluate where this mini-set will land.

The Rise of Aggro Demon Hunter

The most obvious upcoming superstar in Maw and Disorder is Sightless Magistrate. Draw five cards. Five! Five cards!

Aggro Demon Hunter is a fine aggro deck, but it does run out of steam unless you draw your Magnifying Glaive, which is by far the strongest card in the current iteration of the deck. Giving the archetype another two copies of an instant refill card is huge.

There are multiple ways Aggro Demon Hunter may be built after the mini-set. Currently, the Naga approach is superior to the extended one-drop approach. However, Sightless Magistrate may change the balance of power to favor the faster approach.

Updating the Naga list with Sightless Magistrate and Prosecutor Mel'tranix results in a deck like this:

Whereas going for more one-drops and trusting Sightless Magistrate to fill your hand looks something like this:

In BanditKeith’s one-drop approach, card draw tools like Chaos Strike and Fossil Fanatic have also been dropped. Peasant remains, but it has been one of the weakest cards in the current one-drop lists, so I’m a little skeptical about it.

It’s a hard choice for Demon Hunter. The Naga package is strong, but it may interfere with Sightless Magistrate‘s card draw. There will be a fair bit of experimentation after the patch to determine the optimal build, and find out just the right amount of card draw to fully use the new tools.

Wherever Aggro Demon Hunter will end up, I am confident that it will be a meta contender.

Secret Mage Will Win or Die Trying

With the addition of Objection! and Contract Conjurer, Blizzard is going all-in with Secret Mage. I think we may see bigger effects from those two cards in the Wild format, but Secret Mage should also gain some ranks in Standard. Secret Mage just has not had enough useful Secrets in Standard, and being able to ditch Oasis Ally should make the deck more proactive.

On the other hand, card draw is a problem for Secret Mage in Standard. If you ditch Oasis Ally, you lose the only Frost spell in the deck, which makes Multicaster even weaker. It was not great in the deck in the first place, but it has been one of the few adequate card draw tools available.

It will take a fair bit of experimentation to figure out how Secret Mage can draw the cards it needs in Standard. If a solution is found, the deck can be scary on a consistent basis. If not, it still has some scary high rolls with Anonymous Informant, Secrets, and Contract Conjurer in the early game.

I Thought Hunter Was Doing Well Already

Every time Hunter gets a direct damage spell, you need to think about what will happen to Quest Hunter. Nerfing the Quest slowed the deck down, and Motion Denied is not the easiest card to use, but it is a potential direct damage spell. It can also fit into Face Hunter, and if Quest Hunter cannot rise, then that may be a more likely place for the card.

Ditch Ice Trap, add Motion Denied. Can it be that simple? It will reduce the number of Frost spells in the deck, so Multicaster will be weaker, and that may be something to consider. On the other hand, more spells that advance the Questline are always good.

Hunter also got a powerful new Legendary card in Defense Attorney Nathanos. Beast Hunter is pretty much a pile of good cards, and another Legendary card will fit right in. Whether Nathanos can help build something more cohesive remains to be seen.

Hunter’s wild card is Shadehound that may or may not help build a Token Beast Hunter deck. I do not think there are enough tools for that, but that is something new to experiment with anyway.

Is Paladin Still Too Fair?

Paladin is getting some of the better cards in the mini-set. Class Action LawyerOrder in the Court, and Jury Duty can all potentially see play. Pure Paladin and Silver Hand Paladin are both getting some new treats. The big question is, are these enough? Paladin lacks big tempo swings and has to try to win the game by just playing Hearthstone, and that is a foreign concept in today’s game.

It is unfortunate that Order in the Court is not a Holy spell. Many of the mini-set spells seem to lack a spell school, and that makes it more difficult to build synergies in the decks. Pure Paladin could nonetheless use Order in the Court to dig for its power plays: Lightforged CarielThe Leviathan, and The Countess. I do wonder whether you’d still want to include Lightrays for mind-game purposes to obscure the moment you will draw your Cariel. Theotar, the Mad Duke makes one a little paranoid.

If Lightrays are not needed, this might be something to go for:

Alternatively, Silver Hand Paladin might have a future. There are essentially three ways to build the deck. It could be a package within Pure Paladin. It could be a token deck with Dun Baldar Bridge. It could also be a Quest deck. Yeah, I guess that’s unlikely, as the Paladin Questline is one of the few that have not been good at any point. But it would work the way mini-sets often have, by boosting a tier-four deck up a notch, even if not to the very top.

I’d just want to play with some Silver Hand Recruits again, it has been a while since the good old Brann Bronzebeard and Quartermaster days.

Priest Gets Buffs Everywhere

Which Priest archetype did you hope Blizzard would buff? Quest Priest? Thief Priest? Naga Priest? Bless Priest? With Theft AccusationClear Conscience, and Incriminating Psychic, Blizzard just decided to buff them all.

Clear Conscience provides Naga Priest and Bless Priest a buff that can make their big minions harder to destroy.

Incriminating Psychic is a Dragon that can help Drakonid Operative become more consistent and fits in well in both Quest Priest and Thief Priest. Actually, with Theft Accusation providing some additional hard removal, perhaps there might even be a hybrid list between the two in the cards.

More Implock Tools and a Sliver of Handlock Hope

Imp-oster is one of the most flexible cards in the set. It can find a place in Imp Warlock, copying whatever Imp is the strongest, including buffed-up copies of tiny Imps. It can also become a copy of the Fiend from Dark Alley Pact, which makes me hopeful that a version of Handlock could rise. Probably not to greatness, but at least to viability.

There are some Renathal versions of Curse Handlock on the ladder right now, and maybe Imp-oster will help them out. For a deck that really wants to roll high with an early Dark Alley Pact, I would prefer to try a 30-card version first. It is, of course, possible that a 30-card list just does not have the Health to survive against aggression.

Control Warrior Built on Disruption?

I am still trying to fully grasp the new possibilities for Warrior. The new cards don’t seem to support Enrage Warrior, which was basically everything Warrior was supposed to be in Castle Nathria. Instead, I am getting some scary ideas of building a Control Warrior deck with so much disruption that the opponents will have no win conditions left. Between Call to the StandTheotar, the Mad Duke, and Mutanus the Devourer, can you simply eat all of your opponent’s ways to win the game? And if you can do that, don’t you just win?

Blizzard has been building the game in a direction where games end to a win condition, not to exhaustion, but I am hopeful (or afraid?) that there could be more to this all and that Warrior might end up with a playable deck. This could also just be crazy talk, and Enrage Warrior remains everything there is to Warrior in this expansion.

What About the Remaining Classes?

That’s seven classes that all have something new to try. How many of them will succeed, that’s another matter. But what about the remaining three classes?

Secret Rogue does not look like a thing even with PerjuryMurder Accusation is unlikely to go places. That leaves Scribbling Stenographer, which looks like a fine addition to Edwin/Miracle Rogue. It makes the Rogue swing turns even stronger, but it also does not add consistency to the deck, and some more consistency in the form of card draw is what Rogue has been looking for throughout Castle Nathria.

Druid gets some situational cards that mostly support Aggro Druid. Attorney-at-Maw is a great Silence tech card for the deck, and I am curious whether Dew Process can serve as the deck’s main card draw tool. Still, they feel like cosmetic changes at most.

Shaman does not get much of anything. Totem Shaman’s main issue is giving basic Totems some attack, and it is completely dependent on The Stonewright to accomplish that. If the card always started in your hand, it would be a good deck, but that’s obviously not the case. Most of the time, Totemic Evidence just gives the deck more zero-Attack bodies, which is not useful. The deck is a single attack buff card away from being something, but this mini-set does not provide that.

The Era of Disruption Is at Hand

Overall, I am hopeful for the mini-set. Blizzard is adding a lot of disruption to the game, and this promises to take Hearthstone to uncharted waters. For good or for ill, it is too early to say. But there will be many things to try out when the mini-set is released.

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/old_guardian

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

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One Comment

  1. KhAoS99
    September 27, 2022 at 1:17 am

    Thanks for the article, really looking forward to some of these decks. I think the 2 mana paladin card that rearranges the deck will be crazy for a control pure paladin as well to find an early Cariel!