Tired of pirates? Try some of the cooler decks in Hearthstone coming into 2017
Plundering, pillaging and general buccaneering have taken over Hearthstone with the arrival of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The “Pirate Package” – the pair of 1-drops including Patches and Small-Time Buccaneer – has been adopted in the majority of the decks, except the heaviest of controls.
As always, there’s more to Hearthstone than meets the eye and if the pirate package has got a lot of players to legend this season, the game still offers depth in deckbuilding. At the end of the year, this is our gift to those of you who refuse to succumb to the pirate hype: A list of five decks for you to try and tinker with.
The Finja Anyfin Paladin
SeatStory Cup champion J4CKIECHAN and Tempo Storm’s Gaara recently raised a few eyebrows, bringing the good old OTK Murloc Paladin to tournaments. Even world champion Firebat was seen playing the deck a lot on stream and in high legend rank, too, proving there’s still strength in the Murloc army.
The contemporary Anyfin lists haven’t changed much from the original and the one outlying addition is, of course, Finja. The new Murloc legendary speeds up the combo by a lot, getting out free copies of Murloc Warleader and/or Bluegill Warrio, which also helps with keeping the board clean.
The remainder of the list remains flexible and can be tuned to personal preferences or to match specific metagames. Wickerflame Burnbristle is a card J4CKIE uses in his build but it can easily be dropped for tech cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze or second Aldor Peacekeeper, or more card draw. Ivory Knight and Acolyte of Pain are – as always – cards to consider when building Anyfin Paladin.
The Alley Armorsmith Control Warrior
With Gadgetzan, Warriors went from the most to the least diverse class in Hearthstone as Pirates and Dragons stood out as the dominant archetypes. Nevertheless, Control Warrior is far from dead.
Once again, Firebat was one of the first to bring Control Warrior to a tournament (at ELC Superstars) but Tempo’s VLPS also favored the build on ladder. With a lot of whirlwind effects, two Dirty Rats and double Alley Armorsmith, this Control Warrior has just enough survivability to withstand the pressure from Pirate decks. Super-safe, anti-aggro builds of the archetype also include double Armorsmith just for good measure.
You will note that these modern Control Warriors run fewer finishers than normal, notably cutting Ragnaros, Baron Geddon, Cairne and the likes and are solely made to endure. The Golden Monkey from Elise provides them with the legendary power they need to close games in the late game.
The Aviana/Kun Druid
Druids underwent a lot of transformation this year. Once the terror of tournaments through the Force of Nature combo, Malfurion then had to play Tokens, and then Malygos and Arcane Giants while solitairing with spells and now they’re going the Jade Lotus way.
Yet, an entirely separate archetype was spawned by Kun the Forgotten King, a new edition from Gadgetzan. One of Kun’s options give you 10 full mana crystals, making him essentially a free 7/7 body. Pro players quickly figured out the best way to use him: Through the mighty Aviana which makes all minions cost 1. Get to ten mana and you can play both. And then, you can play everything. On the same turn 10.
The concept of the Aviana/Kun build is another take on OTK decks. Currently, two distinct variants are played. One is a twist on the old Malygos build, where the Aviana/Kun combo is followed by Alexstrasza, Malygos and full-face burn for lethal. The other uses C’Thun and his helpers, but the principle is the same: Play Aviana and Kun to refresh your mana, play a 1-mana Brann and a 1-mana C’Thun, watch enemies evaporate.
All of the decks listed above are hard to pilot, but RenoMage takes the cherry. It’s the nature of highlander decks, after all – their inconsistency in card draw makes them unpredictable and the decision making critical.
RenoLock has been the longest standing representative of this archetype but players have started to gradually gravitate towards RenoMage nowadays. Although it lacks the card draw on a stick mechanic, RenoMages favor a lot of anti-aggro cards including Ice Block and Volcanic Potion and have more than decent match-ups against control, especially if they choose to run Cabalist’s Tome over, say, Faceless Summoner.
Unfortunately, as with every Reno build, you will require quite some legendaries. Even if you skip on Inkmaster Solia, Kazakus is a must and so are Brann and Bloodmage Thalnos and neither of them really have worthy replacements for a budget build.