The Witchwood: Early standout decks

Johann Leffler Roar Pro

By Johann Leffler, Johann Leffler is a Roar Pro

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    The Witchwood brought 135 new cards and several new mechanics.(Picture: Blizzard Entertainment)

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    It’s been a few days since the yearly rotation and the arrival of the newest Hearthstone expansion. With it has come the inevitable meta shakeup as players experiment with the new cards and synergies on offer.

    After playing the expansion, watching professional players and browsing forums, I’ve come across some interesting new decks that are worth discussing. Only time will reveal as to which ones with stick around and which ones are just passing fads, but for now, the ladder is bursting with variety.

    Here are a few decks that have been getting a lot of run as of late.

    Even and odd (Paladin)
    Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane were probably the two most heavily discussed cards in the lead up to the expansion, with their odd and even card restrictions leading to some interesting theorycrafting.

    As it turns out, anything that allows Paladins to put more tokens on the board is going to be strong. In the case of Baku decks, getting two 1/1s for the price of one is good enough to justify dropping the likes of Call to Arms and Sunkeeper Tarim.

    The odd version of the deck can exploit the power of Level Up!, while the even version utilises a shell more closely resembling Silver Hand Paladin from the Kobolds and Catacombs meta. Either way, both builds can flood the board with tokens like never before, and a lot of opponents won’t be able to keep up with your constant refill as you set up lethal by turn seven.

    Sample decklist (odd)

    Sample decklist (even)

    Shudderwock OTK (Shaman)
    Another highly anticipated card, Shudderwock comes with the unique ability to repeat all your previously used battlecries when it is played.

    After only a few hours, Disguised Toast was running rampant through the ladder with a Shudderwock combination deck that utilized the battlecries from Lifedrinker (damage opponent for 3, heal yourself 3), Saronite Chain Gang (summon a copy of this minion), Grumble, Worldshaker (return your minions to your hand) and Murmuring Elemental (your battlecries trigger twice).

    Simply put, after playing all those combo pieces at some point during the game, you drop Shudderwock and end up with a bunch of one mana copies of a card that is going to damage your opponent, heal you and summon new copies of itself.

    Then, you drop your copies and relax for a bit – the animation is incredibly slow and obnoxious, taking somewhere from three to five minutes to slowly drain your opponent to zero health.

    Now, that form of the deck doesn’t seem like it’ll really be competitive for long, as it is slow and reliant on drawing your entire deck in most cases, but it is extremely fun to play a few games with here and there.

    However, I’m sure that there will continue to be more creative uses for Shudderwock as the weeks go on – it doesn’t have to be an OTK card to be useful in a Control Shaman type of deck. Right now, it feels a bit like Quest Mage in its early days: a fun but difficult to play off meta deck.

    Sample decklist

    Hadronox combo (Druid)
    Hadronox has always been a card with a lot of potential but has lacked the support to really create a viable deck around it.

    The Witchwood may have solved this problem with the introduction of a few new cards, namely Rotten Applebaum (5 mana 4/5 taunt with deathrattle: restore 4 health to your hero) and Witching Hour (summon a friendly beast that died this game).

    The goal here is to ramp and play your taunts, such as Applebaum and The Lich King, and then use a combination of Hadronox, Naturalize, Carnivorous Cube and Witching Hour to bring back more and more copies and refill your board, walling off your opponent.

    To ensure that Witching Hour always hits Hadronox, you must cut Druid mainstays Spreading Plague and Malfurion the Pestilent as the scarabs and spiders they summon are beasts.

    The deck can create some imposing boards, and the inclusions of Mossy Horror (6 mana 2/7, destroy all minions with two or less attack) and Primordial Drake have helped me find success against Paladins and their relentless token spam.

    Sample decklist

    Spiteful Summoner (Priest, Druid)
    One of the strongest archetypes from the last meta continues to perform, benefitting greatly from the Old Gods rotating out – now a ten-mana spell guarantees you an 8/8 at worst. On top of that, three out of your five possible ten drops are 12/12s, which means you have a great chance to win by just dropping this card on curve.

    Priest appears to be stronger of the two here, shaking off the loss of Drakonid Operative and maintaining a strong dragon package with cards like Duskbreaker and Scaleworm (4 mana 4/4 with Rush, gain +1 attack if you’re holding a dragon).

    Scaleworm was seemingly overlooked in the lead up to the expansion but has proven to be a great board control tool.

    Sample decklist (Priest)

    Sample decklist (Druid)

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • April 19th 2018 @ 11:40pm
      Kaiden said | April 19th 2018 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

      Turns out Shudderwock is actually pretty bad at the moment

      • Roar Pro

        April 21st 2018 @ 7:37pm
        Johann Leffler said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

        Yeah, the deck is terribly slow – that’s why I said I didn’t think it would remain competitive. Had to mention it as it was all over the ladder for a few days though!

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