The first days of Gadgetzan: A decklists collection
After a month-long tease campaign, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has been released to the Hearthstone world. The 132 new cards couldn’t have come sooner, with ladder and tournament metagame suffering from ostensible staleness up to the point where two of the classes in Paladin and Priest are not even considered viable, two more in Hunter and Rogue are niche picks and the floor is ruled by the oppressive trio of Midrange Shaman, Malygos Druid and Zoolock.
A big part of Gadgetzan is the separation of the classes in three distinct factions with shared themes. The Grimy Goons (Hunter, Warrior and Paladin) are exclusively midrange focused, playing minions on curve and using their tribal mechanic to buff the hand to onset a heavy-hitting beatdown tempo. The Kabal (Priest, Warlock and Mage) make use of powerful board control potion spells and each of their legendary cards makes use of highlander – a.k.a. Reno – decks. Finally, the assassins of the Jade Lotus (Druid, Shaman, Rogue) aim to resummons a scaling Jade Golem, which can grow up to double digits in attack and health given enough time.
The first week of any new meta never shows the stable decks of the future but players have already found out many decks which are work more than alright in the current meta. Below is a comprehensive lists of those decks, ordered by faction, so you can pick and choose what your initial Gadgetzan adventure will be like.
Kicking and punching: The Grimy Goons
Just on the face of it, the Grimy Goons are the most powerful, consistent and well-rounded faction in Gadgetzan. The modern style of Hearthstone is focused on playing efficient minions on curve, which takes advantage of the poor state of spells and board clears in recent sets. Decks like Midrange Shaman and Zoo have used this playstyle to take over tournaments with ease and the hand-buffing mechanic of the Grimy Goons looks to take the midrange decks to new heights.
Paladin stands out as a big winner in the set. Uther was for a long time stranded in control land, forced to play N’Zoth and Anyfin Combo decks, which occasionally worked as niche picks but never became consistent performers. With Gadgetzan, Paladins are getting back to their army roots – playing a lot of cheap minions and building a durable board through buff synergies. To add to their many Divine Shield cards, Gadgetzan is bringing several MVP cards: The fantastic Smuggler’s Run and its minion equivalent Grimestreet Outfitter as well as the 3-mana draw spell Small-Time Recruits, the card advantage that every aggro deck needs.
As a result, Paladin has become arguably the most tested and played class in the first days and the builds vary from extremely aggressive hand-dumping decks to more curve-oriented midrange decks.
F.l.t.r.: Dog Aggro Paladin • Firebat Murloc Paladin • StrifeCro Midrange Paladin
Another class which has fully embraced the hit-bad-guys-in-the-face creed is Warrior. There are a lot of two-way synergies between Pirates and weapons in Warrior and the Pirate Warrior archetype is one of the strongest and fastest way to crush the ladder. Have you ever been hit for 19 from a single Arcanite Reaper? It doesn’t feel good… unless you’re on the delivering end.
Surprisingly, despite strong on paper cards like Dispatch Kodo and Rat Pack, Hunters are not getting a lot of love in the first days and that’s likely because there’s nothing really outstanding that forces an archetypal revolution as in Paladin and Warrior. Still, if you’re feeling in SMOrc mood, we provide you with Noxious’ face Hunter list that eats you alive with bats and kittens.
F.l.t.r.: Lifecoach Pirates • ThijsNL Pirates • Noxious Face Hunter
There can be only one: The Kabal
Until Gadgetzan, highlander decks – or those featuring just a single copy of each card – were an exclusive domain to the Warlock class as their hero power worked in magical synchrony with the archetype’s title legendary: Reno Jackson. Someone in Blizzard headquarters must have really fallen in love with how these decks are played, however, and now we have the entire Kabal of Priests, Mages and Warlocks building singleton decks.
The reason is not only each class’ new legendary but also the powerful Kazakus, a new 4-mana minion that lets you build a custom spell for 1, 5 or 10 mana, which often results in a combination of board control and card advantage at the same time.
Priest has been a big talking point throughout the entire Gadgetzan reveal cycle, and the powerful initial reveals in Dragonfire Potion and Drakonid Operative are to blame. Eventually, Priest also got Raza the Chained, a highlander legendary that makes their hero power free for the rest of the game. Three AoE spells and a dreamy legendary? Sounds like Reno Priest time.
For the fans of the arts of wizardry, Reno Mage is also a thing now. In one of the decks shown below, StrifeCro puts the highlander trio of Kazakus, Inkmaster Solia and Reno Jackson to work and the end product is a deck chock full of board control, burn spells and high value minions.
F.l.t.r.: Hotform Reno Dragon Priest • Amaz Reno Control Priest • StrifeCro Reno Mage
1 mana 10/10 and how is that fair: The Jade Lotus
Apart from the Grimy Goons, the Jade Lotus have the easiest deckbuilding mechanic in the new set: The Jade Golem summoning. The concept of the Jade Golem is quite simple. Selected Lotus cards put in play a 1/1 Jade Golem and each next golem summoned costs 1 more and grows with +1/+1. Thus, the second Jade Golem card you play will put a fresh 2/2 on the battlefield, the third one a 3/3, the fourth one a 4/4, and so on, and so on.
The whole golem manufacturing starts slow at first but grows to terrifying sizes given enough time. Especially against control decks, the Jade Lotus can get to 9/9 or even 10/10 golems for a handful of mana crystals. For novice players, it’s a deckbuilding heaven, similar to what C’Thun and his cultists provided at the release of Whispers.
For the pros, Druid has been the obvious choice for consistent Jade Golem decks, due to how much a cad like Jade Idol benefits from Fandral Staghelm. Furthermore, the ramping capabilities of Malfurion speeds up the golem summoning by a significant margin and cards such as Innervate greatly mitigate the tempo loss at which the Jade Lotus normally operates. Although not nearly swingy as Druid, Shaman has too found his way to summon Jade Golems and fit the mechanic in its midrange playstyle.
Rogues, on the other hand, have been vastly diverse in their playstyle. From apDrop’s blind aggression (the deck is affectionately named “Turn 6” indicating when opponents usually die) to Frodan’s N’Zoth Jade Golem, Valeera players have a variety of archetypes to choose from.
F.l.t.r.: ThijsNL's Jade Golem Shaman • Xixo's Jade Golem Druid • apDrop's Turn 6 Rogue • Frodan's N'Zoth Rogue