by Jordan “TheJordude” Hong Tai
Last time, we saw Druid become one of the most dominating forces post Karazhan, as well as how Hunter, Mage, and Paladin evolved. Let’s continue to look at how Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior have been impacted from the release of all the new cards.
Priest continues to be the most underplayed and underperforming class post Karazhan. The class did get some decent support through Priest of the Feast and Onyx Bishop, making Resurrection Priest the best type of archetype for the class at the moment. What the class is lacking is an efficient way to dealing with threats. There is plenty of removal through Shadow Words, Wild Pyromancer, and Excavated Evil, yet the class still struggles to deal with threats as drawing removal can be unreliable and they can fall behind quickly. Priest needs to find a playstyle where it can be more proactive, especially in the early game, but with a defensive hero power it will be hard. Resurrection Priest looks like it is going in the right direction, and we will need to see over time and with more cards how Priest can develop.
The new cards from Karazhan push toward a “thief” archetype, which revolves around getting cards from your opponent’s class and reducing their cost with Ethereal Peddler. The deck works similar to a tempo playstyle, as there is no finisher or win condition in the deck. As the deck is more fun than competitive, it does have good matchups similar to Miracle Rogue, except against control. It has good matchups against Zoo and midrange decks because of the tempo the Rogue can generate, but is weak to aggressive decks like Shaman and Dragon Warrior.
Traditional Miracle Rogue is in a pretty good spot post Karazhan. Players have been incorporating Swashburgler in their decks as a 1-drop that cycles as well as having a body to help trade with the dagger on turn two. Arcane Giant has also been included in some player’s decks as Rogue utilizes a lot of spells anyways. With all these new options at Rogue’s disposal, it is actually a standard Questing Adventurer list with the inclusion of Barnes that gets the spotlight. Fr0zen won the ONOG circuit with this list, having good matchups against midrange, control, and combo decks. Like Paladin, Rogue is better in the tournament format as it fits into a specific strategy, not against the aggressiveness we see on ladder.
Face Shaman continues to be the dominant deck in the meta post Karazhan due to their ability to play lots of stats early on and the opponent having limited options to deal with them. Maelstrom Portal was included into the deck right after its release in the first wing, being piloted to #1 Legend as well as performing well in the NA Summer Preliminaries. The card fits into the deck as it can help fight for board early on and build up the board as well. Spirit Claws is also a great aggressive weapon, as it represents nine damage for one mana if you can meet the spell damage condition. In order to work Spirit Claws into the deck, players have been experimenting with what is needed to make it consistent, with Azure Drakes and Bloodmage Thalnos. It is yet to be determined if Spirit Claws will stay in Face Shaman, or it will fall out due to the conditions not aligning as well as traditional Face Shaman.
Recently players have been trying out variants of Midrange Shaman as well including totems and Evolve. Totem Shaman has been more popular recently, focusing on filling the board with totems and finishing the game off with Thunder Bluff Valiant or Bloodlust. This archetype has been possible with the Wicked Witchdoctor, having synergy with Shamans cheap spells. Though the deck can go off, it still lacks some consistency when you don’t draw the burst in the right time before all your totems die. Definitely look out for this deck in the future if more totem support is released in the future.
Control Warlocks get next to zero support from Karazhan, however Zoo gets a new playstyle through the discard mechanic. Malchezaar’s Imp as well as Silverware Golem fits perfectly into a Zoo strategy by getting onto board early. Malchezaar’s Imp not only allows cards like Soulfire to be essentially played without a cost, but also being a 1/3 body on turn one is very powerful, especially with all the buff cards Zoo uses. Silverware Golem is a great way of gaining tempo as you will often be able to manipulate your discards. With the power of these synergies, it looks like this is the direction Zoo has headed and has replaced the pre Karazhan Zoo build. Zoo continues to be a dominant deck in the meta, having great matchups against Shaman and the growing popularity of Hunter.
Zoobot and Menagerie Magician are cards to consider in the future of Zoo. On paper they look like great cards in Zoo as they have the potential to buff three minions at a time. The condition however is hard to meet, especially with the current options that Beast, Dragon, Murlocs Warlock has access to. If the next set releases decent low cost minions of those types, we can definitely see those cards work into Zoo.
Warrior continues to be one of the most powerful and versatile classes. Dragon Warrior continues to be dominant as it has such a power curve and tempo swings. The Curator has added to the fuel, making the deck more consistent and less likely to run out of resources. Book Wyrm is also a solid addition as it substitutes out the Drakonid Crushers; adding towards tempo swings while still producing a strong body. Dragon Warrior also has great matchups against Shaman, Druid, Rogue and Zoo, making it Tier 1 in the current meta.
With Fool’s Bane and Ironforge Portal, players have been moving away from C’thun builds and experimenting with “kill everything” control builds, using a deck full of removal and armor spells and including Yogg-Saron. Many players recently have been finding a lot of ladder success with these types of builds, however there is a lot of changes and fluctuations between lists so it is yet to be fully refined. One thing to look out for is seeing if Prince Malchezaar is actually good in Control Warrior, or if Elise Starseeker is just better. With this style of Warrior, the spells are often used, and so Elise does not generate as many legendaries; making the five additional cards from Prince Malchezaar a little more appealing to myself personally.
As Karazhan is still fresh in the meta, it is guaranteed things will shift over the course of time. There are a lot of different options in classes and card choices in decks that are yet to be tested and refined. Players have a lot of time to experiment as it is off season, so we most likely will find a stabilized meta come around last call and Blizzcon time.
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: