Hello! What a crazy journey it's been so far, right? We've gone through a whole host of themes and other weird concepts, so this week we are going to go a bit more meta. This week, we're taking a look at mind games. And when I say mind games, I mean decks that are so unusual and stressful to play against that your opponent plays sub-optimally.
There's a lot to unravel here. Aside from the usual thieving cards such as Madame Lazul or Shifting Shade, there are other, less popular additions such as Mindgames and Seance. All this theft is brought together by some cute dragons and dragon-adjacent cards that help round out the deck with powerful situational counters:
This deck heavily relies on copying cards from your opponent, and getting an idea of what their deck is made of, which in turn enables you to consider whether you want to use spell X or minion Y in a more pressing situation, or hold off until whatever you saw in that deck is played. I will say this is surprisingly powerful against decks revolving around very few minions, as I had the pleasure of copying a Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound from my Mage opponent's deck, and summoning a second one with Mindgames!
The deck does not necessarily have a set of cards one should hope to mulligan for. Use Activate the Obelisk as soon as possible, of course, and slowly build it over time. This card also contributes to the aforementioned mind games, giving your opponent the idea that your deck is based around the quest. Little do they know your deck is based around duping their deck!
Hold on to Chameleos until you get a strong, key card from their arsenal. Keep in mind how many dragons you still have to make sure you can still trigger all your dragon-related effects. Try use Binding Heal when its effect is as close to maximum as possible, to complete your quest faster and gain that impressive amount of defense.
Card Analysis & Replacements
Chameleos: Keeping things on the 1-cost line, Crystalline Oracle is, I believe, the best option for replacement in terms of card spirit. Northshire Cleric can also be picked up for its stats, though its effect is not necessarily needed. Twilight Whelp is also a useful addition, provided you have a dragon in your starting hand (the deck contains 4 dragons, with one more available from the Netherspite Historian)
Madame Lazul: Her effect is so unique that it is impossible to replace with something similar. In this case, we need to look at other 3-cost cards that have synergy with the deck. Blackwing Technician is a great card for Priest, giving a lot of headroom for surviving attacks and being healed, which boosts Activate the Obelisk. Curious Glimmerroot could offer more insight into your opponent's deck. Omega Medic could almost instantly finish your quest if you find yourself post-turn 10 and missing a good chunk of health.
Nobody expects Eye for an Eye.
What we have here is a mix of Secrets and buffs. Your mission is to confuse the opponent, and get him to die with Eye for an Eye! For this, we have to employ the skills of Commander Rhyssa. She is essential to our strategy.
We have 2x Eye for an Eye, so one gets eaten by the Mysterious Challenger, making sure you have at least one left to play when optimal. It is hard to fool someone into skipping Rhyssa and going for your face, so make sure not to make any weird plays like buffing their big minion. Try and pretend that everything is normal as much as possible. If you have low health and are looking to call this a draw, drop a "Threaten" emote! Assess the situation and react accordingly.
Obviously, for this to work, you need to take damage. To stave that off, we have a few healing options, namely Illuminator, Ivory Knight and Paragon of Light. If I had High Priest Thekal, I would include more healing options, and this deck would be very different; alas, I do not own him, so I cannot vouch for him in this case! If you try it this way, it could work, maybe even better!
Use your cards as liberally as possible, aside from the two that you need for your combo. It is of utmost importance to set up your opponent's board so that there is only one strong minion left. Enter the Coliseum can help.
Gnomeferatu. Need I say anything else?
Here we have a Warlock deck that employs a bunch of demons. Those demons are there as fodder, pressure, you name it. The star of this deck is Gnomeferatu, and its ability to chop your opponent's deck. I love this card. It is so much more elegant in its effect than the regular strategy of milling and more painful.
The cards for your combo are as follows: Gnomeferatu x2, Brann Bronzebeard, Youthful Brewmaster x2, Ancient Brewmaster x2 and Emperor Thaurissan. The combo is fluid, meaning you can use these cards at any time together. The optimal combo is, of course, using them all at the same time in the biggest capacity possible. If you were to have all your combo cards costing zero, you would be able to mill 12 cards in one turn! That is ideal, but near impossible, so don't hoard everything until it's too late.
There are other minor synergies present in the deck. Jumbo Imp will benefit from a lot of your cards. Mad Summoner is the primary one. The summer, in return, can be used in tandem with Impferno in order to mitigate the negative part of its effect and provide some meat shields for your opponent to spend resources on destroying.
Sacrificial Pact can be used on a decent number of low-cost minions. Dreadsteed is the safest option in desperate times. Do not be afraid of using your Hero Power; Floating Watcher even benefits from it. Your goal is to get as many of your combo cards under Emperor Thaurissan's "umbrella" as possible, and that means drawing a lot. Remember, Aransi Broodmother, if not drawn at the start of the game, is your friend! As long as one of them is in the deck, assume your maximum health pool is 26.
Other than reducing the cost of your combo parts, there is not much else that needs special attention in this deck. Your objective is simple: Discard as much of your opponent's deck as you can. It is fun, it can be stressful against some match-ups, but it can definitely work. Your opponent will likely not suspect anything until you throw down the first Gnomeferatu!
This facet of Hearthstone is one of my favourite parts of the game. Fooling your opponent is tough, in no small part due to the predictable nature of cards' effects. I would love to see more cards such as Fatespinner make it into the game, as they enrich the experience even more so than Secrets. Fatespinner's effect differs from a regular secret, due to the fact that it's... non-binary, for lack of a better term. Secrets only have one function - Fatespinner is essentially a Choose One-type Secret. If Druid Secrets ever make it into the game, I would not be surprised if they were designed under this format.