Our favorite Tavern Brawl went live the day after Rastakhan’s Rumble was released! This gave many players the opportunity to take their latest deck innovations and new tech to reap the greatest in-game rewards Hearthstone has to offer. Most pro players resorted to old favorites to earn the elusive 12-win run, while others took to revamped archetypes that took many by surprise, reaping the rewards for their ingenuity. In our first Hearthstone article of the new meta, we want to give our readers the opportunity to take some of these Brawliseum decks to the ladder while Rastakhan is still young.
Secret Hunter continues to depend on the Emerald Spellstone and a range of traps to develop a wide, game-ending board presence of Wolves by turn 5. However, it also received a huge swing card in the form of Zul’jin. Nothing else is different about the deck, yet the prospect of a second wave of Wolves and replaying as many traps as you have room for, was enticing enough for Meati to include it in his 12-2 deck in the Brawliseum. Flare also made an appearance in the deck, recognizing the power and popularity of trap-oriented Hunter archetypes. This success did not go unnoticed, as other community members found similar results using the list, and eventually led to many players using either Secret or Spell Hunter to capitalize on both the huge swing of Zul’jin, and the inevitability of Deathstalker Rexxar.
Also going 12-2 was Zalae‘s Control Warlock variant using Doomguards. It has many similarities with the Cubelock archetype except for the addition of two Rastakhan cards. The deck appears to have dropped Carniverous Cubes and Dark Pacts in exchange for Shriek (a 1-mana, 2-damage AOE at the cost of discarding your cheapest card) and Soulwarden (a minion that recovers three-random discarded cards). Warlock traditionally doesn’t lack in removal, but the flexibility of Shriek makes the Odd Paladin match up more bearable in games where Defiles are hard to find. The ability to develop a board while casting such cheap removal has brought slower Warlock archetypes to new heights. Soulwarden also makes playing Doomguards from hand less punishing, and even presents the opportunity of getting multiple copies of discarded cards. If two Soulwardens are cast, a discarded Bloodreaver Gul’dan can become two waves of demons.
Our first 12-0 deck by hi3_hs is Togwaggle Druid with the addition of Hakkar, the Soulflayer. For several months, Malygos Druid reigned over the Boomsday meta while occasionally including Togwaggle to contest pure control decks such as Odd Warrior. This didn’t stop players from also relying on Togwaggle Druid as it’s own archetype to climb the ladder. In fact, standard decks had a hard time beating the combination of King Togwaggle and Azalina Soulthief, aside from the rare Warlock playing Demonic Project. The addition of Hakkar adds another element of pressure to Togwaggle Druid, forcing an opponent on fatigue to take even more damage to close out games.
Once you’ve stolen your opponent’s deck, a Naturalize on your own Hakkar would add a Corrupted Blood to both your decks. Then your opponent would be forced to draw twice. The combination of damage and the multiplying effect of Corrupted Blood, along with fatigue damage, would force your opponent to take a lot of damage by the time they’ve drawn their next card. The Druid package remains incredibly strong, and Hakkar has now added more sudden pressure that Togwaggle Druid was lacking in the Boomsday meta. However, this does not change the fact that Druid struggles against tall, wide boards, so it’s not indomitable. Players can still evidently take advantage of the shifting meta landscape to make convincing climbs in the early December ladder season.
The final deck we’re featuring the Brawliseum is Handerman‘s take on Kingsbane Rogue, which achieved a 12-2 run. Two notable additions from the Rastakhan set are Walk the Plank and Raiding Party. The former is a 4-mana removal spell that destroys any minion that’s undamaged, that has apparently replaced Vilespine Slayer in this list. The latter is a powerful addition to the archetype, which draws two pirates from your deck, as well as a weapon if the spell is combo’ed. That makes two Cavern Shinyfinders and two Raiding Parties, as well as the mulligan, to help you find Kingsbane and begin assembling a massive, life-stealing weapon that will end games.
Despite the substantial additions Rastakhan cards have made to the above archetypes, there remain Boomsday archetypes that have achieved successful 12-win runs in the Brawliseum without featuring a single Rastakhan cards. Malygos Druid shouldn’t be a surprise to most standard veterans as a strong performer, but Mecha’thun Warrior balances a strong range of survivability and cycling to achieve their Boomship, Mecha’thun and Shield Slam combo.
Any of these decks seem like strong candidates to carry players to the highest ranks of ladder, standing out as tools tailored against the majority of standard archetypes. We look forward to seeing how much further Hearthstone’s competitive ladder experience grows, especially in light of recent announcements regarding the competitive season. This extended downtime is a perfect opportunity for players to make their first legend, and for legend grinders to find their first #1 Legend.