The following is a guest post from Tehl (@TehlHS), multi-legend player and my occasional arena co-op partner. He is the creator of Snakes and Drakes. You can catch him on the Hearthstone podcasts Top Deck Kings and Hearthcore.
10 Bold Predictions for The Frozen Throne
10. Rogue got the best Death Knight.
Valeera the Hollow is an insane card. This card essentially locks out the game with infinite Vanish followed by Arcane Giants allowing you to continuously swing in for 16 damage as long as your opponent doesn’t have removal for them. In addition, to that the stealth that gives you when it comes down allows you the time that it takes in order to set up the combo. The only decks that are going to punish this are burn mage and decks that play aggressively on the board, which brings me to my next point…
9. Druid is going to be the only class playing on the board.
With Mage and Taunt Warrior (particularly good matchups for Jade Druid) probably sticking around, Druid now has insane tools to combat aggro as well, especially Spreading Plague. This card is at worst a stall of probably two turns and at best clears their board in the process, but either way, aggro is losing one of it’s best matchups in the game. Rogue also has new tools to combat aggressive decks with the Shadowblade and it’s counterpart Doomerang which will undoubtedly see varying degrees of play depending on how long aggro sticks around. Either way you will have time to play your Death Knights because I predict a much slower meta where aggro will be punished.
Bonus Bold Prediction: Skulking Geist was printed for the sole purpose of beating Jade Druid and it will see some (if it makes up over 30% of the meta a lot of) play for that reason. (Note: I don’t count Taunt Warrior as a deck that plays on board)
8. Hunter is going to be worse.
The new hunter cards that are being introduced are terrible…I guess that’s all I really have to say. Deathstalker Rexxar is the worst Death Knight and arguably may give you a worse hero power than Steady Shot. For Hunter to continue to challenge the meta they needed more sticky aggressive minions to pressure the opponent, instead they got durdly, inefficient, clunky minions that when everything goes perfectly you probably still are going to lose a majority of your games…
7. The Lich King is the best neutral legendary in the game.
This one may be slightly hyperbolic, but if I said The Lich King is a very good card that wouldn’t exactly be a bold prediction. The Death Knight cards are as powerful as the Ysera Dream Cards, with taunt it gives it initiative, and if all goes right it can give you insane value while smashing face for 8. While I am less confident in this prediction than some of the other ones, I also have no doubt this will be in more meta decks than any other card currently in the game.
6. Ultimate Infestation was a mistake.
When you look at this card it instantly looks like a Firelands Portal that gains you some life and gives you approximately 8 mana worth of card draw. So we already have a card that should cost approximately 16 mana, but the card is actually better than that, doing all of this at the same time gives this card increased value. Normally we would have to play one card that is a Firelands Portal, one card that is an Iron Hide and one card that is a super-Sprint, now all of this is combined onto one card, meaning that this card kind of reads draw seven cards and play three of them…
5. Priest moves up a tick.
While most of their new cards are as disappointing as the Hunter cards, Eternal Servtiude should definitely see a good chunk of play and their Death Knight is a game-changer. While Shadowreaper Anduin on it’s surface may not be that impressive as far as the Death Knights go, it gives priest an opportunity to do something that it’s never been able to do very efficiently, close games. Raza the Chained also could see an appearance back in the meta allowing priest to machine-gun chain two damage as long as they can continue to play cards.
4. Aggro Paladin will see a come-back.
I know this is completely contrary to point number nine, that no one is going to be playing on the board, but on the backs of Bolvar Fireblood, Righteous Defender, and Light’s Sorrow all of the board clears that are going to be in the game may be playing right into this decks trap. I don’t think this will be a very good deck, especially out of the gate, but with some tweaking and as the meta starts to settle, you may be able to catch some people off-guard with this old classic.
3. Mage will not play any of the cards released, and it will still be good.
Frost Lich Jaina and Sindragosa are definitely cuspers, and I may end up being wrong about them not seeing play, but neither of these cards buy you the late game tempo advantage that Medivh the Guardian does that usually wins you the game just fine on his own. With the deck already relying on Alexstraza to stabilize, I don’t think there will be room for the new cards. That being said, this will be one of the most fun decks to mess around with, although I think the best Mage list is already established, and it will continue to stick around, as it is one of the premier decks to contend against new Rogue.
2. Freeze Shaman will not be a thing.
While you aren’t going to be bummed out ripping a Voodoo Hexxer from a Stonehill Defender, it is still going to be the third-best taunt that you are hoping for and that’s the best freeze card to be introduced by a mile. Blizzard is definitely afraid of making another overpowered Shaman deck and acknowledges the power of Jade/Token Shaman in the meta, so they do the thing they are apt to do, which is try to introduce a new mechanic. This deck will not be good, it will not be fun to play, and it will lose to everything in the game, maybe including new players playing Chillwind Yetis and Boulderfist Ogres. With nothing being implemented to help its existing archetypes, shaman will definitely be taking a major step back in the Frozen Throne meta.
1. Defile is the best card in the game, and Warlock still may not be playable in Standard.
This card was my whole reason for wanting to write this article to begin with. I rated Ultimate Infestation a 10/10 and could see a nerf, I rate this card an 11/10 and will probably see an emergency nerf. Everyone is sleeping on Defile. This is the most efficient, cheapest, and easy to accomplish board clear in the game, that requires little to no set-up. Next time you are playing a game pay attention to how many huge boards could be cleared with a Defile. On top of this, after this card stops clearing the minions on the board, it starts clearing their deathrattles, making minions like Dragon Egg and Haunted Creeper also susceptible to it’s reign of devastation, if you are playing Egg Druid or Pirate Warrior in Wild, I’m sorry to say that your days are numbered. On top of this, this card has an insane synergy with Grim Patron which allows you to defile ad infinitum and wipe all boards and leave yourself with 15-21 power on the board. Okay so we’ve established that this card is the most broken wild card ever printed, but will it have any impact on Standard?
If Warlock is viable in standard, it will be on the back of Defile. Possessed Villager is still around to kick the defile train off and it will really punish Token Druid, Shaman and Pirate Warrior, furthering point #9, but Warlock may not have powerful enough tools to contend in the late game, even with the most efficient AoE in the game. Honestly it makes my brain hurt trying to think of what a standard warlock deck would look like these days, cards like Kabal Trafficker have never seen any play and on an unchecked board, may make for an alright deck with the new warlock Death Knight which is okay and the Lich King definitely making a cameo, but even I am not bold enough to say that Kabal Trafficker Warlock will be the new meta.