Welcome! Come on in, have a seat! This week, we're doing beasts. But not just any beasts! We're doing beasts in classes that do not have a natural proclivity to them (so, no Druids or Hunters!) and checking out a few other funky things while we're at it.
I have set a simple rule: Each deck must contain 15 beast cards to be deemed a Beast deck. There are a plethora of beasts to choose from, and some classes have quite a few beasts, even though they lack any spells or effects that directly relate to them.
Without further ado, let's dive right in with...
Odd Beasts & When to Play Them
A combination that works! Turns out, all Rogue-specific Beasts have an odd cost!
This is one of those decks where you need to be aggressive, yet also keep in mind when the right time to play cards is. Your main ability to stress your opponent is Poisoned Daggers, given to you by Baku. Use this as much as possible! If your opponent isn't playing any minions, just keep going face! A renewable two damage a turn, with the added benefit of killing minions as well, is a great advantage; you can pretend to be a Hunter when nothing's going on, or remove early minions with ease should the occasion arise.
Always hope to mulligan for cards such as Silithid Swarmer, Buccaneer or Pharaoh Cat. Do not worry if your starting hand is bad, as your upgraded Hero Power will generally carry you through the first turns.
- Silithid Swarmer: Great card in this deck for two reasons: You can do a total of 5 damage a turn with your weapon and him, and he is rather tough to remove in the early game. Some players even underestimate him!
- Buccaneer: If dealing merely 2 damage with your Hero Power wasn't enough, this guy will turn you into a beast as early as turn 2!
- Pharaoh Cat: While its Battlecry effect is great and can provide you with sticky minions to play later, I like it due to its stats. A 1/2 is often disregarded, but with your upgraded Hero Power, this cat can help kill a 3-health minion (a very common health pool for early-game cards) and keep the board clear.
- Pit Snake: It is debatable whether this card should be played at the start of the game or later, however, I prefer the start. If your opponent's Hero Power isn't a 1+ damage ping to minions, this Pit Snake might survive more than a turn. If your opponent has no 1 damage removal in their hand, they will be effectively crippled. I had a match with a Pirate Warrior that played no minion until turn 5, when he finally managed to pick up a removal spell.
- Dark Iron Skulker: Great card, potentially up to 7 Backstabs included. With your upgraded Hero Power, he enables you to take out even 4-cost minions.
- Stampeding Kodo: Super useful tech card. Use it in situations where you're fighting beefy minions, such as Archmage Vargoth or Convincing Infiltrator. Also note its ability to destroy powerful minions hiding behind Taunt minions or Stealth, such as Northshire Clerics or the Spirit minions from Rastakhan's Rumble
- Gral, the Shark: Now that the late-game is closer, it's time to start eating some of your deck so you can access high-cost cards faster. Unless he is silenced, this card will have already been worth it.
- Pit Snake: If you choose to play Pit Snake later on - or draw him later on - I have included Sunborne Val'kyr for the main purpose of giving it a bit of extra survival.
- Wasteland Scorpid: Essentially a power-crept Maexxna, this card can be incredibly tricky to defeat. It's insane health pool allows you to confidently play it when the going gets tough, or when things are calm to just show your opponent you're all business, no play. If it does not get removed the turn right after it's played, the game will greatly swing in your favor.
- Loatheb: Always attempt to play Loatheb offensively. That is, playing him when you're already mostly in control of the game, to enable you to keep control long enough to defeat your opponent.
- North Sea Kraken: What a beast. He's your go-to Eviscerate, a card that is sadly not usable in an Odd deck.
Card Analysis & Replacements
Gral, the Shark: While he can turn into a pretty big minion if you're lucky, our main use of Gral is to confidently draw a minion. As such, we look towards draw as the key aspect that needs to exist in whatever replacement we find. As we have the odd-cost restriction, only two cards are really an option here: Acolyte of Pain or Fan of Knives. It's not great, but it's something. The Acolyte can net you more cards, or die without giving you a single one, while the Fan of Knives only gives you one card, but can remove some minions from the board. The choice is yours!
King Mukla: Why is Mukla here? Good question. It seems I was fighting against lots of opponent that would hoard cards in their hand. He helps mill one while providing awesome board stats for a 3-cost minion. Alternatively, consider another Silithid Swarmer or a Corridor Creeper as potentially useful replacements. Whilst their effect does not resemble Mukla's, they are nonetheless useful additions to this deck.
Beefy Beasts & When to Play Them
This deck was made possible with the addition of Armagedillo. Thanks [Hearthstone Card (Armagedillo!) Not Found]
It happened. It's got Beasts. It's got Taunt. And it actually works.
This deck relies on all your Taunt minions to make sure you never have to worry about your face. There's a surprising amount of beasts with Taunt that Warriors have access to, which makes it perfect in terms of synergy with cards such as the Armagedillo or Into the Fray. Do not play too many minions at once; try and have just enough to be safe and have some survive for more than one turn; you don't want them all taken out by a big removal.
Try and mulligan for a lot of Taunt minions and Into the Fray. A turn 2 Public Defender with buffed stats is insane. Always keep an Ironbeak Owl handy, in this meta there's always something to silence, and you'll need it if you want to keep your Taunt minions alive longer.
- Redband Wasp: Early removal.
- Frightened Flunky: Not much to do with this fellow. We use him to get access to more powerful Taunt minions, which we then hope to buff with Into the Fray or Armagedillo.
- Into the Fray: You should have amassed enough Taunt minions in your hand by now to make the most use out of this card.
- Armagedillo: For the same reason as Into the Fray.
- Prince Valanar: Its Battlecry will always trigger. Make sure to use him when you're actually missing health!
- Nesting Roc: Remember this card will not benefit from Taunt hand-buff effects, so there's no reason to hold on to it for too long.
- Amani War Bear: Marvelous removal, especially if buffed; will take care of most threats.
- Alley Armorsmith: Try playing this once it's at least once buffed. The armor gain will be phenomenal.
- North Sea Kraken: Great removal, great value, hard to remove.
- Soggoth the Slitherer: The most badass card in your arsenal. There are very few ways to remove cards with such an effect. Hold on to Soggoth as long as you can, preferably until you're through with all your hand-buff cards. By that time in the game, your opponent should have very few removal left, allowing this card to tear through their defenses and hit face for maximum destruction.
- Primordial Drake: Great stats, great effect. Will absolutely decimate any aggro deck, and mess with a lot of the current Mage decks. Goodbye, Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Card Analysis & Replacements
Prince Valanar: The Prince is not absolutely necessary to include. He fills a nice spot, since we don't have many great options for 4-cost cards, but that's about it. In this case, his purpose was to heal you; the Taunt was just extra flavor. I would suggest Khartut Defender as a replacement, for some extra Taunt synergy as well as more health (at additional cost, no less), or Rotten Applebaum.
Soggoth the Slitherer: It's impossible to find a decent replacement for this beautiful card. If you don't want to craft him, there is a discount version available in Arcane Nullifier X-21. It gives you a little extra room to play something more on the same turn; however the stat difference will be felt.
Beasts & Lackeys: Does This Even Work?
There are lots of Warlock beasts that feed off of chaotic effects, such as your hero taking damage, or destroying minions. This deck incorporates all of that and strives to make calculated sacrifices at key points in order to secure victory.
Mulligan for cards that don't require much synergy, such as Helpless Hatchling or any of the Lackey-generating ones. Attempt to have Hir'eek, the Bat in your hand as soon as possible, to ensure he benefits from as many hand buffs as he can. Use Baleful Banker strategically, shuffling a Lifedrinker if you're fighting an Aggro deck, or more Lackey cards to benefit from Tekahn's awesome effect.
- EVIL Genius: Use indiscriminately!
- EVIL Recruiter: Use as fast as possible! You only have access to a total of 7 Lackeys in this deck, 9 if you shuffle an EVIL Genius in. Make sure you always save one to proc the Recruiter's effect (if you draw him late.)
- Helpless Hatchling: Use as fast as possible; his Deathrattle helps you set up the mid-game.
- Vicious Scalehide: Small heal in order to stave off your Hero Power drawback.
- Ravenous Pterrordax: Use on minions with 3 or less health, ideally 2 or less. Great card, great value, scary effect.
- [Hearthstone Card (Dark Pharaoh Tekhan) Not Found]: Use immediately once drawn. Completely changes the game.
- Deathweb Spider: A good time to use this is when your hero is under 20 health, which should fit right into the mid-game. Remember you don't have to draw, you need only play Emerald Reaver, allowing you to play this card on turn 6.
- Stampeding Kodo: Just as I wrote in the deck above, great card for removing strong 2-attack minions. Use wisely!
- Hir'eek, the Bat: Keep this fellow in your hand until he's buffed enough that you're confident he won't be taken out by an AOE removal instantly. Synergies include: Grim Rally, Soul Infusion and Arena Fanatic.
- Diseased Vulture: Even though it can very well be played in the mid-game, I would strongly suggest to hold off on that until you have 10 mana. Two of these, plus two Emerald Reavers will fill your board up in just one turn.
You have a lot of cards that benefit from you taking damage, so use your Emerald Reavers wisely!
Card Analysis & Replacements
I cannot find much to replace in this deck. It could use some big removal, such as Twisting Nether, however, there's not much place for it to fit. You could replace Duskbat with it, though that will make it a bit tougher to find a useless minion to use Dark Pact on.
There is also something to be said about the lack of targeted draw. You could, instead of Twisting Nether, use DOOM!, though it's a bit tougher to play. Cult Master could probably find some work in this deck, though its stats leave much to desire.
I want to highlight just how useful Emerald Reaver is in this deck. It helps you proc all your masochistic card effects, while also dealing damage to your opponent. You are effectively sharing your regular Hero Power damage with your opponent, at a discount, enabling your card effects. In a turn where you want to summon those masochistic cards, you generally won't have much of a reason to draw, so overall it is a much better outcome! They are also useful as canon fodder for EVIL Genius, Dark Pact, Grim Rally and Ravenous Pterrordax, so do not be afraid to put something that looks so useless into your deck!
After last week's hit-or-miss decks, I am super thrilled that this concept worked to the level that it did. Both the Rogue and Warrior decks can compete against quite a bunch of powerful decks, and the Warlock one is not far off either! There seem to be a couple of things missing from it, so I can't wait to see what suggestions you come up within the comments!