The Hearthstone-playing community has no idea when the game will face it’s biggest shift ever, when Standard Play and Wild become established. There is an upcoming Hearthstone announcement in about 2 weeks, so perhaps the end is nigh for our current state of the game. While there are going to be changes to basic/classic cards, and a whole new expansion, let’s take a look at a deck in particular, and look for ways to fix the hole afforded by the exclusion of Naxx and GvG cards.

Reliquary Zoolock

Currently this is one of two decks I ladder with in February 2016, and I am currently Rank 9. Fairly standard Reliquary/Flood Warlock deck. It plays a little heavier by excluding a 1-drop for having both Enhance-o-Mechano and Gormok. Brann has revitalized the deck, allowing doubled battlecries that work great with Reliquary Seeker, Dark Peddler, Gormok, and most of the other cards. This deck is fast and has limited removals.

Cut list

  • 2x Nerubian Egg
  • 1x Loatheb
  • 1x Echoing Ooze
  • 2x Haunted Creeper
  • 1x Enhance-o-Mechano
  • 1x Dr. Boom
  • 2x Imp-losion

1/3 of the deck is restricted for Standard Play, so a fairly big loss!

Current replacement options (in some order of relevance)

  1. Imp-losion – Seems like the biggest blow to this deck. You are losing a token generator and the only spell removal of the deck.
    • Bane of Doom – A small spot removal, with the potential to make a bigger demon on your side. While not great in this deck, the removal + minion effect directly gives what Imp-losion did. The minion will be stickier than the imps you get, but that will depend on RNG.
  2. Haunted Creeper – Just a great value card, where you get 3/4 worth for 2 mana. The staggered effect of spiders also works very well.
    • Knife Juggler – A lot of people run Knife Juggler in the current Reliquary format, given some synergy with cheap minions. To make it work, the deck will have to get smaller, with more 1-drops. Loss of Imp-losion also works against it.
    • Flame Juggler – A sturdier 2/3, with a battlecry that could trigger twice with Brann. Another 2-drop consideration.
    • Sunfury Protector – A 2-drop that can let you taunt up big guys or Imp Gang Boss.
  3. Nerubian Egg – Another big loss, as this was the prime target for buffs in this deck, to make a 4/4 minion.
    • Dragon Egg – This egg is inferior, but can fill the same role as the Nerubian. You’re getting a 0/2 for 1 mana, so a Power Overwhelming will give the same 4 attack egg beater, and summons a 2/1. A Defender of Argus will make a 1/3, which has potential to spawn 2 2/1’s. Really the only benefit of Dragon Egg is that it costs 1 and has the potential to make 2 Black Dragons.
    • Ancient Watcher – Only has utility to be taunted up, or if you want to waste your Owl to let it attack.
  4. Loatheb – He served as the protection play to save the board, close out a victory, or just be a 5/5 for tempo.
    • Lorewalker Cho – Right now, Cho serves as the immediate “protection” from spells. This protection is more a mental stressor on the opponent, as nothing is preventing them from taking action to play the spells. Against a flood deck, playing a Blizzard, Flamestrike, or Consecration is likely well worth it getting copied by Cho. In other cases, you will get a spot removal spell, when they kill Cho. Cho also only costs 2, which is good for this deck. Also, this deck runs almost no spells.
    • Frostwolf Warlord – Can fill the 5-drop tempo hole, and has the potential to be fairly big minion (10/10) in a flood deck. The best case scenario has Brann out as well, so can become a 16/16. There are enough beaters in it though with the Reliquary Seekers and Sea Giants.
  5. Dr. Boom – Token generator and great value that fit very well in this deck.
    • Onyxia – A subpar legendary replacement, but the flood of Whelps could have a use for setting up the rest of the deck.
  6. Echoing Ooze – Just a token generator, not the hugest loss for the deck.
    • Murloc Tidehunter – A clearly inferior option, as the 2/1 and 1/1 Murlocs can be readily killed by hero power, while the Oozes were 1/2 minions.
    • Razorfen Hunter – Gives you a 2/3 and 1/1 for 3 mana, which something to think about.
    • Imp Master – Provides a steady stream of Imps, but is a little slow at 3 mana.
    • Silver Hand Regent – An infinite token generator that is a bit slow to set up for this deck.
  7. Enhance-o-Mechano – Just an RNG-dependent upside card, one that could provide a big swing with the windfury, or some protection.
    • Blood Imp – Theoretically Enhance-o-Mechano was always the budget Gormok, so he can be replaced by the “Zombie Chow” that was always in the deck. But no Zombie Chows in Standard Play. The 1-drop Blood Imp will remain on the board if you’re not facing Mage, and gives buffs to keep your small things alive.
    • Gadgetzan Jouster – While providing use with early surveillance on your opponent’s deck, the only way she wins a joust if you reveal your own Sea Giant.
    • Argent Squire – Sticky 1-drop. Very good!
    • Leper Gnome – More aggressive and likely not to make the deck.
    • Flame Imp – Another 1-drop for consideration

 Standard Version

Reliquary Zoolock

Of course this exercise is moot given the new expansion, but this is a good starting point of thinking about the effect of Standard Play on a deck like this.


2 thoughts on “Fixing a Hole: Brainstorming Standard Play Adjustments

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