Less than a day remains until the next Hearthstone expansion arrives on live servers! Journey to Un’Goro introduces 135 brand new cards to the game, some of which will no doubt form the core of dominant strategies. Although nobody can really predict how things will look ahead of time, it’s a valuable exercise in deckbuilding to imagine what might be strong in the future meta! It’s clear that a wide variety of themes are (at least theoretically) supported by the new set; let’s look at what decks might be potent!
At this point, everyone should be aware of the incoming “retirement” of some Classic set favorites. With the departure of neutral powerhouses like Ragnaros the Firelord and Azure Drake to the Wild format, there’s serious uncertainty about which cards will rise to fill the void. I’d like to share some ideas for decklists that I believe will perform well once we’re all cracking packs!
Midrange Elemental Shaman
This first deck was featured last week, but returns due to the power level of some of the final spoilers. Many strong cards and cool synergies have been revealed, but none are as obviously pushed as Midrange Elemental Shaman. This deck presents a resilient defense against aggressive decks like Pirates or Hunter, flooding the board with beefy minions like Hot Spring Guardian instead of relying excessively on board wipes. Nevertheless, it can curve out through the late game and overwhelm opponents with value cards like Servant of Kalimos and Stone Sentinel. This decklist techs heavily to reach the later stages of the game, running a few solid anti-aggro cards in Devolve and Stormforged Axe.
I’m extremely high on this list because there should still be a strong aggro meta with the new options for Hunter and Zoo, while Pirate Warrior has very few cards cycling out. Tech choices are going to be made based on how the meta sways, but the basic structure of the deck is nearly perfect in my eyes. However, if we see a lot of slower competition with large minions, I would add a second Hex and cut one copy of Fire Fly. If you’re missing any of the mid game cards, try to find other Elementals to substitute!
Marsh Queen Hunter
Marsh Queen Hunter, aka Quest Hunter, was also featured in last week’s meta predictions, and is back due to popular request! This version is actually from CzechCloud, and is much more a classic Midrange Hunter. The highlight is probably the inclusion of everyone’s favorite overpowered 6-drop, Savannah Highmane! This list still offers awesome combo potential with a copy of Tundra Rhino, so you can throw out massive bursts of damage! With the addition of Cult Master, you can draw through your deck and constantly present a board for your opponent to answer once the Quest is complete!
The idea of the deck is simple: mulligan aggressively for 1-drops in your opening hand, then to complete the Quest on curve to play Queen Carnassa on turn 5. A few new cards like Jeweled Macaw and Stampede help keep your hand filled with minions throughout the game. Compared to the Aggro Quest Hunter variant, I think this will have a better Elemental Shaman matchup with late game cards like the Highmane and Call of the Wild. Save Cult Master for key turns to get more card draw and overwhelm your opponents with Carnassa’s Brood!
There’s also a variation of this list that runs 2x Loot Hoarder, Novice Engineer, and Coldlight Oracle while leaving the rest of the deck 1-drops. This keeps your hand stocked up, and still lets you complete the Quest extremely fast. By contrast, I think versions running Hemet, Jungle Hunter will be too slow. In order to get value from the card, you would need to play the 6-mana minion before your 5-mana one! It creates a lot of really awkward hands, and I just don’t personally believe it will be viable.
Questing Zoo Warlock
The final deck for the week is a new take on an old favorite: Discard ZooLock! With the new quest and many cards themed around discarding, it’s clear that Blizzard is pushing us to play this archetype once again. Although several great Zoo cards are cycling out, many intriguing new ones have appeared! Probably my favorite card in the deck is Un’Goro sleeper, Devilsaur Egg. Minions of this sort have historically been weak, but the Deathrattle here is huge and synergizes well with cards that buff or sacrifice it like Defender of Argus and yet another 4-mana 7/7, Ravenous Pterrordax. An Egg on turn three into Pterrordax on turn four is a huge swing, giving you a 5/5 Devilsaur and Adapting your Pterrordax twice!
Without Power Overwhelming, it has been an open question whether Zoo will remain a viable archetype. However, there are enough synergistic cards between the new Quest Lakkari Sacrifice, Clutchmother Zavas, and Ravenous Pterrordax to make this seem like a reasonable new variant. If you’ve never played DiscoLock, it can be tricky to figure out which cards to play on curve and which to hold in hand. Now we have more straightforward options for discard effects, like Silverware Golem and Clutchmother Zavas. Another new card, Cruel Dinomancer, even gives you the chance to resurrect your Doomguard if you discard it to terrible RNG! There’s a lot of room for tech choices in this deck: you can include minions like Succubus or Void Terror, or double down on cards with Deathrattle effects!
With the impending release of Un’Goro tomorrow (or Friday, if you’re in the EU), I highly recommend trying out some variation of these decks! These are sure to diverge from the lists that will eventually dominate the ladder, but I believe that each of these three is a great starting point. And don’t hesitate to experiment if you don’t have enough Arcane Dust to craft the exact decks! You might just be discovering the new face of the meta… Thanks for reading!