by Jordan “TheJordude” Hong Tai
Last week we looked at Druid, Warrior, Hunter, Mage and Warlock and how they have evolved and where they fit in the current Mean Streets of Gadgetzan meta. Now we will look at Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, and Priest and how they have been impacted by MSG.
Paladin started off strong initially after the release of MSG. With the release of powerful hand buffing cards such as Grimestreet Outfitter and Smuggler’s Run in addition to card draw with Small-time Recruits, Aggro and Zoo Paladin seemed to never run out of fuel and constantly pushed out midsize threats. Players were also experimenting with Murloc builds, which ran similarly but with murlocs as the core support to the strategy. Paladins are also able to utilize the Pirate package because of cheap weapons like Light’s Justice. However as your first impressions may infer, running a build with suboptimal cards like Light’s Justice proved to be less effective in comparison to other decks like Pirate Shaman and Warrior. The deck also relied on having to build up a hand that can be buffed multiple times to have explosive turns, otherwise it was just dropping a couple of low impact one-drops in the mid game. Just like what we talked about Hunter, Paladin is a class that is just suboptimal in what it wants to do compared to similar archetypes, like Shaman or Warrior. It will be interesting to see if Zoo Paladin will continue to be underpowered or if anyone can find a stronger build in the future whether it be more a midrange deck or bringing back the Control or Murloc OTK.
Just like all the other classes that wield a weapon, Rogue has also included the Pirate package of Small-Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate. Even though Rogue was not an exciting class when the MSG cards were announced, Rogue has proven to be a top tier class in the current meta, particularly the good old Miracle Rogue. Miracle has risen to be a top tier deck as it has a very favoured matchup against the popular Reno decks as well as Druids, as it has the time to set up big Auctioneer turns and burst them down with the Leeroy + Coldblood combo. It also does decent against aggressive decks like Shaman, since it runs additional early game in the name of Pirates, which can help carry them into their mid game threats of Tomb Pillager and Azure Drake. The Counterfeit Coin has also been a nice addition since it can help cycle with Auctioneer, push out midgame threats sooner, and can help make a large Edwin Vancleef that a lot of classes can not deal with at the moment. Out of the entire MSG set, the Counterfeit Coin was the most exciting card for Rogues, however even though we see the strength of it in Rogue builds, it has only been used at most a one-of, since two can be clunky. Though Miracle is the top favoured Rogue deck at the moment, other decks have also been experimented with decent success such as Jade and Aggro Rogue. Aggro Rogue does well particularly against other aggressive decks since it can race fast with Cold Bloods, and have reached #1 Legend in the Asia servers.
The overlords from last format that is Midrange Shaman, and the class itself, has died down after the initial release of MSG. However, players quickly realized that Shaman is still an extremely powerful class that supports the Pirate package really well with strong early weapons like Spirit and Jade Claws. Instead of midrange, Aggro Shaman has risen in power once again, as a lot of classes cannot outrace or deal with 4-Mana 7/7’s and the early game pressure which Shaman consistently outputs. The addition of Jade Golem cards like Jade Claws and Jade Lightning were also surprising good in Aggro Shaman. Being able to remove minions or deal burn damage while also spawning a small minion creates great tempo, as opposed to the traditional Shaman burn spells which cause tempo loss from Overload, and the additional damage the Golems deal does add up. It looks like Shamans will be a dominant class for another few seasons until their strong early game of Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem gets rotated out next expansion. When that does happen, we may see the rise of other builds such as Midrange, Control, and Jade Golems, but for now Aggro Shaman just seems to be the best variant of Shaman at the moment.
The class that has been the end of everyone’s joke has finally seen some presence in the meta with the support brought by MSG. For the Dragon archetype, Priest received the strongest cards of Drakonid Operative and Dragonfire Potion. Drakonid Operative is not only a very powerful midgame minion, but its effect generates a lot of value and utility. Dragonfire Potion is the AoE Priest has been lacking since Lightbomb left Standard. Kabal Talonpriest is also an addition that is more effective than the similar counterpart Dark Cultist. Having the +3 health immediately as a Battlecry gives much more value when trading minions which already have high health to begin with. Aggressive decks and Druids find it hard to deal with Dragon Priest’s on curve threats with high health. Players have also been experimenting with some success with Reno Priest. Priest received the strongest Reno class specific legendary, Raza the Chained, which allows Priest to constantly heal for free every turn and take advantage of Inspire effects. Additionally, Reno Priest allows the player to use strong cards they otherwise can’t fit in Dragon Priest, such as Excavated Evil, Kabal Songstealer, and Cabal Shadowpriest. Priest does not have any very favoured matchups at the moment, but they have become stronger as a class because they now have decent matchups across the board rather than being unfavoured in most matchups pre-MSG.
With that, we have discussed all the classes and how Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has affected them. As it is still relatively early in the meta, it is likely that we will still see innovation in decklists and the meta change a couple times before it finally stabilizes until the next expansion. As for now we can enjoy what is a rock-paper-scissors meta where players can enjoy any type of playstyle such as aggro, midrange, control and combo and still win games in tournaments and constructed based on what they queue into.
Jordan Hong Tai, also known as “TheJordude”, is a developing player for compLexity Gaming. For over a year he has enriched the coL.HS squad with his presence while becoming a fierce grinder on ladder and a threat in every collegiate competition. Apart from his business studies and the ladder grind, the youngster from Vancouver, Canada is a warrior in Open tournaments, a coach and the organizer and host of local tavern get-togethers. Monthly he delivers though-provoking pieces like for compLexity Gaming and other outlets. Follow him on: