Yesterday saw the eagerly awaited Wailing Caverns Mini-Set come online along with the 20.4 patch, and most people have now had at least 24 hours to experiment with the new cards in a refreshed meta field. Has anything made any initial powerful impact? We're about to inspect several decks from top quality players.
Mind that it's all very early impressions and what seems good now may be less-than-stellar later as improvements are being made and counters arise. Things often develop once millions of tested games have taken place. But that shouldn't stop you from grabbing the Mini-Set for yourself - it is a fine deal. Dust-wise and gold-wise, you are extremely unlikely to pull 4 Legendaries from the comparable value of 20 packs; not to mention all the rest.
One last note: we are not including Grandmasters' submitted lists on purpose, as these haven't originated from a live ladder environment (they just had access to a test server ahead of time). You can follow the Playoffs meanwhile and find everything listed here. As usual, we will also be sure to highlight the best performing decks from the competition once this last weekend of Season 1 is over.
Avalon will join in for this one to offer commentary on a few selections of his choice (whoever created the deck in question is also responsible for the relevant blurb, in case you wish to point out how wonderful either of us is).
Here's how the early takes are shaping up (feel the love for Shaman).
Ruby's Big Deathrattle Demon Hunter
Ruby (ルビー) was able to hit rank #27 Legend with a deck featuring Fel Summoner - yep, that card exists and is still in Standard. It appears the release of Taintheart Tormenter has awakened the community's desire to experiment with Big Demon Hunter once more.
What's new this time is obviously the solid Deathrattle package that tops with Death Speaker Blackthorn and N'Zoth, God of the Deep as extra layer of threats for the late game. What a gem.
Pocket Train's Celestial Alignment Druid
PocketTrain often manages high legend finishes (with #8 EU and #2 NA just last month), and seemed to believe this early take on Celestial Alignment Druid was a worthy rank 1 contender. You can find some extra advice on the mulligan and plays in the tweet itself.
Could Lady Anacondra prove to be just the tool the archetype needed to get off the ground, or will it continue being a bait?
HattriK's Rush Face Hunter
Most players are really underestimating the new Hunter cards, and this list may show you why. Sin'dorei Scentfinder is such an interesting unit: not only it represents a relevant pile of stats for its cost, but it also has great synergy with Scavenging Hyena, Parade Leader (a stronger Unleash the Hounds that cannot go face) and the new Serpentbloom, which can turn one of your Hyenas into a Deadly Spore. Thanks to HattriK for this juicy list!
Casie's Control Priest
Priest seemed quite powerful even before the Mini-Set, and whether any of the new cards become mainstays remains to be seen. But meanwhile, Casie was having some fun on the ladder with this N'zoth package that included the new Hungry Murloc Mutanus the Devourer and Against All Odds. Notice the latter's synergy with Wave of Apathy? Much Anduin's wow.
Zyrios' Spellemental Shaman
Even if he doesn't quite know how to post deck codes, Zyrios had a very nice run from Silver straight to high Legend rank with this Shaman package featuring weapons, spells, and some elementals to pack a punch. Overload being in fashion again?
wiRer's Evolve Shaman
While everyone and their mother still has PTSD from the Doom in the Tomb event and early Darkmoon Faire's Evolve Shaman, wiRer tries to bring the archetype back.
Now that Thrall finally has some form of card draw in Primal Dungeoneer, the class can actually think about adopting a game plan that isn't solely about rushing down the opponent or taking it as slow as possible. In particular, this Evolve Shaman list is packed with value in Kazakus, Golem Shaper (whose Golems may be very convenient for a Boggspine Knuckles swing or Bogstrok Clacker's Battlecry) and Archdruid Naralex (Dream cards are just very good if you don't have to wait until turn 9 to get a couple of them). Funnily enough, this seems to be a very good deck to use Selfless Sidekick in.
Zeh's Aggro Shaman
Primal Dungeoneer is definitely one of the strongest cards of the Wailing Caverns Mini-Set, and Zeh tries to integrate it to the existing Aggro Doomhammer shell that people have been trying out in the last few months with little success.
While Wailing Vapor acts as a solid game opener with potential to deliver some relevant chip damage, Selfless Sidekick allows you to equip Doomhammer without having to pay its Overload cost, especially in case your Custodians don't want to show up.
Could the suicidal Zoo archetype be back? Orange may not fancy himself as the best deck builder in the entire universe, but he has been hard at work coming up with and trying to refine this build featuring the newly added Stealer of Souls - even considering suggestions from the community as it went along. The initial version used cards like Midway Maniac and Wriggling Horror, so you can spot some differences in the evolving approach.
Meati's N'zoth Rush Warrior
Getting to #5 Legend at the time, Meati has adjusted the N'zoth Rush Warrior package to include the new best turtle friend Kresh, Lord of Turtling and the hungry big murloc Mutanus the Devourer, along with a few other cards that have seen little play. In his own words, it felt much better than "the usual Day 1 garbage".
Bunnyhoppor's Control Warrior
Many people put their faith in Control Warrior early on (you might even encounter various takes with Silas Darkmoon OTK resurfacing here and there, Rattlegore being added and taken out, and so on), with Bunnyhoppor being one of them. We got new arrivals in the form of Mutanus the Devourer, Archdruid Naralex, and of course Kresh, Lord of Turtling. Then there is also N'Zoth, God of the Deep and C'Thun, the Shattered. Can you feel the overwhelming greed?
Brian Kibler's Frenzy Hatchet Warrior
Even though Brian Kibler, the Dragon Master himself, admitted that there's room for refinement, we may have found another fun yet competitive deck for you to play on ladder. Kibler built this list focusing around the Frenzy keyword, a mechanic which has met a few highs and lots of lows.
This list is pretty aggressive and features the new Whetstone Hatchet and Man-at-Arms, as well as other niche cards like Warsong Envoy and Oasis Thrasher, and Grommash Hellscream and Overlord Saurfang as finishers. A very solid off-meta deck you can jam all the way to Legend!
How about yourselves, took fancy to any of the new cards from the Wailing Caverns Mini-Set? Anything else you are hoping to see in terms of archetypes being played, or a secret tech of your own you'd like to share with the rest of us? Tell us below!