You clicked! Welcome to the first edition of Meme of the Week! Each week, we build a deck around a card that is perceived as... limited in its ability to be useful! The goal is finding a niche (or just a game mode) where it can work. Sometimes we might succeed, sometimes we might fail, but the important part is to at least find something fun to do!
To start us off, we're going to try and make something good with...
Attempt #1: Standard Dragon Warlock
Initially, I made a Standard deck. My first [wrong] assumption was I needed to have a lot of high-cost cards so that having them cost (0) would make the Quest worth running. I decided to go for a weird combo: Dragon Warlock.
As you can see, there were a lot of inadequate cards that existed only for their high-cost "shock value". Swamp Dragon Egg was there just to provide a clutch dragon in case I needed a dragon synergy and did not have one, as well as give access to some of the fancier, class-restricted dragons like Kalecgos.
The crux of the deck consists of: Plot Twist x2, Archmage Vargoth and Augmented Elekk. The dream combo is to play all three of these on the same turn, but playing merely a combination of the two is already enough to do most of the work achieving that 20/20 Quest requirement.
This deck was bad. Dragons were too few and too high-cost to carry the early game, so playing against Mech Hunter or any other aggro deck proved disastrous. I had some success against a few fringe Priest decks, and managed to survive for quite a while against Mech Warrior before I lost, but that silver lining was too thin for me to accept. Thus, it was time to go Wild!
Attempt #2: Wild Dragon Warlock
Now, I don't actively play Wild, however I have quite a decent collection of cool cards, so I copied the deck to Wild and added even more dragon synergy, hoping I would find more success with cards from the dragons' glory days.
Immediately, you can see a lot has changed. The cool dragons arrived (Wrathion, Book Wyrm, Azure Drake, and I even added Rend Blackhand because of my newfound confidence!), as well as a few much-needed switcheroos such as Antique Healbot instead of Deranged Doctor.
Firetree Witchdoctor is a card I never truly acknowledged until I played it in this deck; it was a worthy replacement of Swamp Dragon Egg. Another card I wanted to check out was Vulpera Scoundrel, in hopes that it could sometimes supply a third Plot Twist if I happened to find myself in a game with my gimmick cards stuck at the bottom of the deck (and one of its mystery choices was actually Plot Twist!)
This deck was more effective. "Survivability" went up, and the card cost was slightly better distributed. As usual, Wrathion kept bumping into non-dragon cards, ending his Battlecry on draw 1, but he was still a decent tank. Body Wrapper turned out to be an "Antique Healbot Shuffler Bot", so Aggro decks were a bit easier to fight against.
The trouble was, this still didn't feel like enough. The dragons, even after their upgrades, were too slow and situational to get enough value out of them in a Warlock deck. I had to try something else. I had to improvise. I had to succeed!
Attempt #3: Wild Control-ish Warlock
This is the deck's final form. I fired all the dragons, and went for an even more balanced mana curve. This deck has actually won me some decent match-ups! It's still a bit rough, and there are probably a few more modifications it could undertake (looking at you, Acolyte of Pain), but overall, it ticks the two criteria I am looking for:
- It's fun
- It's somewhat useful!
I really wanted Anubisath Warbringer to work, since he can provide a huge boost in the late game, however he ended up being just too slow. His mana cost would force me to choose between the beautiful upgraded hero power, or a minion with a great Deathrattle, that would most times be silenced or thrown back into my hand. I will miss Rend Blackhand the most, however. When he came out, his reception was not extraordinary. After throwing him into a few decks like vintage Dragon Warrior, it turned out he was actually pretty great! I was hoping to bring him back to his old glory, but - as with the rest of the dragons - he does not fit into a Warlock deck, and legendary cards these days are not the high-stat behemoths they once were; there are better ways to remove them from the board than an 7-cost 8/4 with a requirement on his Battlecry.
Allow me to go over the synergies:
- Bread & Butter of the deck: Supreme Archaeology, Plot Twist x2, Archmage Vargoth, Augmented Elekk
- Cards that round out the Bread & Butter cards: Baleful Banker, Body Wrapper, Portal Keeper, Impbalming, Elise Starseeker
- Cards that help with Draw: Bloodmage Thalnos, Acolyte of Pain, Azure Drake. Harrison Jones
- Cards that benefit from Draw: Diseased Vulture, Fel Lord Betrug
The deck will not properly function without the Bread & Butter cards, and will be much less effective without the ones that round them out.
Elise Starseeker: Swap with Arch-Villain Rafaam if you have it, Conjured Mirage to bounce off Augmented Elekk, or Portal Overfiend to speed up the Quest completion. Elise exists in this deck as an alternative win condition. I did not want to put Arch-Villain Rafaam in, for a couple reasons: First being his high cost, while Elise can be played on turn 4 and has decent stats to slow down the opponent for a moment. The second reason relates to their effect. Eventually, they both give the same effect, but the journey they take there is very much different. The deck's main win condition is getting the Quest completed, then ramping up your board with all the free cards and overwhelming the opponent. One of its alternate win conditions is using the Golden Monkey, but given how many gimmicky Legendary cards you can get in Wild, this strategy should be the last you try.
The beauty of Elise is that she shuffles a card into your deck. That can bounce off Augmented Elekk and turn into two cards. Those two cards shuffle another two cards into your deck. Overall, it gives you more cards that draw more cards that draw even more cards. There is a small downside to this, though you should not run into it too often: I had a game with a funky Priest, and he summoned The Lich King. I destroyed him, but then he resurrected two Lich Kings! Those two gave our enemy 2x Death Grip. One of them managed to steal the [Hearthstone Card (Golden Money) Not Found], and eventually, I was beaten with my own deck. So watch out for things like this when you spam your deck with powerful shuffle effects!
Bloodmage Thalnos: This one is hard to replace. We are looking for card draw, however the Spell Damage +1 has been quite useful in some situations. In the end, this deck relies on card draw, so I would suggest the following replacements: Kobold Librarian or Loot Hoarder.
Harrison Jones: Harrison Jones is also tough to replace. His card draw is great, however he is especially useful in Wild, as there are still decks running the Legendary weapons from Kobolds & Catacombs. The best replacement would be Gluttonous Ooze, as any Warlock could use a bit of extra health, but Acidic Swamp Ooze can also be used if your choice is based on budget.
Fel Lord Betrug: Does not have a clear replacement. His main use is infinite removal through his unique effect. Thus, to preserve his use, the following replacements should do the trick: Plague of Flames, only if you have space to add another Impbalming, so you can sacrifice more Worthless Imp, or an upgraded Rafaam's Scheme. Defile can be run but only if there is some manner of beefy Spell Damage minion on the board. Shadowflame can also work, assuming you have a beefy minion willing to take the hit.
Emperor Thaurissan: His purpose in this deck is to twofold, depending on the situation. If you have the wombo combo of Plot Twist, Augmented Elekk and Archmage Vargoth in your hand, he will enable you to play it all on turn 7 for maximum value. His more common use, however, is after the Quest has been completed. The cards you hold in your hand right after you complete the quest will still cost their regular amount. The Emperor can help with playing some of them a lot faster, and reducing the amount of high-cost cards you are left with from the start of turn draw and Discover effects. Maiden of the Lake could be a half-decent replacement, giving you an extra mana to spend each turn after your Hero Power, but Naga Sea Witch could also come in handy. The cards you draw with your upgraded Hero Power will inherently cost (0), so if you have a high-cost card in your hand that you want to play, Naga Sea Witch can facilitate that, after which it may be traded into another minion, opening up whatever cards you collected with your Hero Power. None of these replacements are ideal, so I am curious to see if anyone has some other suggestion in the comments!
Overall, making this deck has been a very interesting experience. Most of my games that I've won was with the regular win-condition of using the Hero Power to keep ramping up the board, so Fel Lord Betrug and Elise Starseeker aren't fully necessary in order to win, though they do prove useful. There were moments when I played Fel Lord Betrug and the opponent did not have a removal ready the next turn, which provided an insane boost to board control and face damage; and while Elise Starseeker seldom found its final purpose fulfilled, her shuffling helped complete the Quest and provided more cards to stave off Fatigue.
I think I might replace Acolyte of Pain with another Augmented Elekk, but I am not sure if it would be valuable enough to make up for it. Let me know if you find it would be more efficient!
That would be all for this week. If you have any suggestion as to which "meme" card should be covered next week (please no Millhouse Manastorm), drop a comment down below and let us know!