Hearthstone at its core is a game that people should have fun with, but that can get bogged down in the pursuit of competitive meta strategies. Thus, I humbly present Memes and Dreams, a series on Out of Cards looking to bring some good ol' memey fun into people's Hearthstone experiences. Each week we will do a deep dive on a different 'for fun' deck, discussing the basic ideas of the deck, what makes it tick, and roughly how to pilot it. This week we tell the tragic tale of Mankrik and his wife...many times.
Number 15: Barrens Foot Lettuce
The last thing you want in your Barrens questing is someone else's dead wife, but as it turns out, that might just be what you get. The moment Mankrik got revealed I knew I wanted to make this deck. I wanted to find a way to play Mankrik the most amount of times in a single game, and Rogue is almost always the go-to for such a game plan. This deck is going to function a lot like a Miracle deck, with a plan to draw through the deck ASAP via Field Contact. Copious draw in combination with playing many Mankriks in a game means that we will be able to find Olgra, Mankrik's Wife very quickly and can supply a decent amount of burst. The spicy inclusion of this deck in case the opponent doesn't get rid of Mankrik, Consumed by Hatred is Crazed Alchemist, which will turn our 3/10 beefcake into a very nice burst to close out the game.
The Meme - Draw through the entire deck with Field Contact in typical Miracle fashion and spam what you can.
The Dream - Among the standard Miracle spam, save some resources and stall until you can pop off and play a ton of Mankriks in the mid-late-game and watch a hoard of angrier Mankriks stampede over your enemy!
Of course, the card that makes this deck at all is Mankrik. With an effect that throws all sense of clarity out the window, Mankrik was a meme the moment he was revealed. Although the typical deck will want to play Mankrik on curve, unless you have Shadowstep in hand, you'll want to hold off on playing him. Our ultimate plan is to play a minimum of 3 Mankrik's, so we can't have him die early.
Shadowstep, as previously stated, is integral to playing many Mankrik's throughout the course of the game. Shadowstep is the cheapest way to get Mankrik back to your hand, but also provides an amazing 2-mana discount, which makes it far easier to play the other Mankrik bounce/duplication effects, such as Tenwu of the Red Smoke and Potion of Illusion.
Field Contact is a card I expect to see around for a long time. The amount of card draw this guy can represent is truly insane. It can be a bit tricky to play it early since you might need to Shadowstep it for later use, lest it be killed off before you get squeeze the value from it.
Scabbs Cutterbutter is a card that many people thought would bust the game open. It did not. However, Scabbs does provide the powerful ability to cheat out a few cards out in a turn, allowing for Mankrik to be played along with just about any other card in the deck. This means that Tenwu of the Red Smoke and Potion of Illusion become much easier to play, and can even create huge chains of Mankrik value.
Potion of Illusion is the primary way to reach those aforementioned Mankrik chains. Unlike other bounce effects in the deck, Potion actually creates additional Mankriks, allowing the potential for many many more wives to be shuffled into the deck. A potion is also very nice in that you do not lose out on tempo and lets you bank on cheap copies for later chains. A 1-mana Mankrik and Scabbs can lead to some very explosive turns later.
Budget / Alternate Options
Tenwu of the Red Smoke is thankfully very easy to find a budget option for in Youthful Brewmaster. The exact same stats for the cost, a very similar effect, and it's even still a Pandaren! You lose out on the mana discount, but it's not a backbreaking loss. Cutting out Scabbs Cutterbutter on the other hand is a bit messier. There isn't really anything that's going to get you the kind of pop-off turn and setup potential that he can. Instead, a single copy of the recently buffed Sprint could help to add a tad more consistency. Another copy of Preparation could also act as a stand-in since it can cost-reduce Potion of Illusion for the pop-off turns or can simply help smooth out curves and tempo in the early-mid game.
Potion of Illusion unfortunately doesn't really have a good stand-in either. It's effect is pretty unique and has a hard niche to fill, so the best idea will be to fill in with some generically good-decent cards. Ticket Master has some inherent synergy with the deck as another card that shuffles Cast When Drawn effects into the deck. It's a bit slower to get them in, but its decent tempo in the meantime. Animated Broomstick on the other hand is a card that is far more reactive. You can use it to round off a turn of many battlecry effects or you can give Rush to Mankrik, Consumed by Hatred to help keep up board presence. Secret Passage is only a one-of due to its wonky interaction with Cast When Drawn effects since you aren't technically drawing the cards. As such, it can be replaced with almost anything you might want.
Grand Empress Shek'zara is a very interesting card since it can draw all the wives you shuffled into the deck, making it a surprise burst tool. However, its bulky cost means its a bit clunky to use and becomes somewhat useless once you've already drawn a fair amount of your deck. Speaking of, you could also find alternate ways to draw through your deck, such as through Secret synergy in Sparkjoy Cheat and Dirty Tricks. It gets kind of hard to include all the secrets as well as cheap fuel for Field Contact, so try to stick to one or the other. The best Nozdormu the Eternal swap is probably Crazed Alchemist. Alchemist is ambitious and reliant on a few factors to shine as a surprise extra burst, so it might be better to include a more consistent meme.
This matchup can be tough since you need some time to get everything online and don't have any way to recover health. Make sure to play everything for tempo, except for maybe Field Contact and Scabbs Cutterbutter since those need other pieces to really work. With luck, you'll be able to pump out enough pressure to make sure that the opponent can't hold a board and you can prevent them from establishing threat. However, some Aggro decks like Hunter don't care if you have a board and will be able to burst you through any established board presence. If you're finding issues with Aggro matchups, Cloak of Shadows or Armor Vendor might help out.
It can be tricky keeping the opponent in range for your Mankrik, Consumed by Hatred onslaught, so try to pace out threats. If you can make sure the enemy needs to have a clear or removal all the time, then you might be able to overwhelm them with stats. The enemy also likely doesn't expect you to have Crazed Alchemist to turn your 3/10s into big burst sticks, so definitely use that to your advantage if one happens to stick around. The resource generation in the deck from Wandmaker and Wand Thief will be exceptionally helpful in keeping up with their resources, so don't be afraid to go greedy.
This matchup will usually be pretty tough since this doesn't put out a ton of pressure in the early-game even with decent tempo tools. Most of the minions in this deck have low attack and there is very little in the way of keeping up the pressure; Combo decks can have a hard time dealing with the 3/10 bodies you generate though since most of their removal will be through damage. Just dump out cards as fast as you can and hope that you can put down enough pressure that they can't deal with.
Alas, poor Mankrik, doomed to relive the horror of Olgra's death over and over, spawning in an endless cycle of being consumed by hatred. It would be quite sad if it weren't so funny. The sheer goofiness at playing so many Mankriks and watching an army of 3/10s pour forth from your deck is way too good to pass up on. I would also like to apologize for putting up a deck that runs Pen Flinger, as I understand many people in the community validly despise the little bugger. His consistent battlecry is too good of an engine for Field Contact to pass up though, even after the nerfs. Between the constant "Hey, loser!", "Please, help me find Olgra." and "OLGRAAAAA!", you and your opponent's ears will have their work cut out for them.
What is your meme deck of choice? Do you try different ones for each expansion or do you try to evolve old ones with new cards? Do you have any meme dream stories? Tell us in the comments below!