The Wailing Caverns Hearthstone mini set released June 3 with 31 new cards. Now a good few weeks into the new expansion, let’s see how the new cards have changed the meta.
Sigil of Summoning: It has seen some play in midrange DH lists but there is a problem with the card. The most popular Demon Hunter list is the Deathrattle/N’Zoth version, which runs Illidari Inquisitors and N’Zoth. Illidari Inquisitor is a demon that needs to be revived from N’Zoth. The minions summoned by Sigil of Summoning are demons, which can interrupt the plan. Therefore, it does not see much play.
Taintheart Tormenter: Some players tested Big Demon variants with Fel Summoner and Pit Commander, but the deck is not as strong as Deathrattle variants. Thus, Taintheart Tormenter has not seen much play.
Felrattler: Felrattler is one of the most played cards from The Wailing Caverns. It has an amazing synergy in Deathrattle Demon Hunter because it is a strong 3-mana deathrattle minion which can be summoned by Razorboar and Razorfen Beastmaster. It is also a beast that can be revived by N’Zoth.
Deathrattle Demon Hunter, which was not a great deck, is now one of the top contenders in the meta thanks to Felrattler and Devouring Ectoplasm. OTK Demon Hunter does not play any new cards. The average win rate at the ladder is not great. However, it is one of the most popular decks at Masters Qualifiers because of bans and its ability to win against any deck. Skilled players also show better results than the average ladder players.
Fangbound Druid: It does not see play in the current meta.
Lady Anacondra: Lady Anacondra is an incredibly powerful card for Celestial Druid and increased the archetype's win rate by about 5%. The problem is that Celestial Druid was a 30% win rate deck before anyways and is too weak even for Lady Anacondra to carry.
Deviate Dreadfang: Players tested a new variant of Token Druid with Deviate Dreadfang but it seems to be a worse version of the old Gibberling Token Druid. For now, it does not see much play.
Serpentbloom, Sin'dorei Scentfinder, Venomstrike Bow: None of these cards sees play in the current meta.
Hunter does not play a single new card. Regardless, Face Hunter is one of the best decks on ladder currently because of its favored matchup against the field.
Shattering Blast: Most of the freeze spells in the classic set have been kicked out from the core set of the Year of the Gryphon. There are not enough freeze spells to play this card.
Frostweave Dungeoneer, Floecaster: These minions do not see any play because the only viable Мage deck in the current meta is Spell Mage (a.k.a. No Minion Mage). Frostweave Dungeoneer is good when it is created by Font of Power, but that’s about it.
Seedcloud Buckler, Judgement of Justice, Party Up!: None of these cards sees play in the current meta.
Paladin took multiple nerfs since the launch of Forged in the Barrens and took another one with the release of the Wailing Caverns. The nerfed cards, First Day of School and Hand of A'dal, were core cards in all of the Paladin decks. The same Libram / Secret / N’Zoth Paladins with no new cards see niche play, but there is not much merit left to play Paladin.
Devout Dungeoneer: The current Control Priest lists keep their hand size with “Created By” cards. They run little if any card draws. The card itself seems fine but doesn't fit in the current lists.
Against All Odds: There are some Control Priest lists that play Against All Odds with Wave of Apathy and Cabal Acolyte. This version of the list is better in the mirror and slower matchups. However, most players prefer the standard N’Zoth Control Priest because there are many fast aggro decks on ladder.
Cleric of An’she: In Masters Qualifiers, some players had success with it in Giant Priest for aggro matchups. On ladder, however, most of the Control Priest lists are N’Zoth variants, which do not play card draws — the same reason as to why Devout Dungeoneer doesn't see play.
Two new cards are played as tech cards in Control Priests with Mutanus the Devourer and Archdruid Naralex. As always, high-ranked players prefer Control Priest more than the average players and it is one of the most played decks in Masters Qualifiers.
Water Moccasin, Shroud of Concealment, Savory Deviate Delight: None of these cards see play in the current meta. Nevertheless, Miracle Rogue is still a popular choice because it can win against any deck. Secret Rogue is similar but less popular. Poison Rogue sees niche play.
Primal Dungeoneer: A 3 mana 2/3 minion drawing two cards is powerful enough to carry Shaman from the bottom to the top of the meta. While there are few variants of Shamans played, Primar Dungeoneer is key in every list.
Perpetual Flame: The card itself is fine. The problem is that it is not a Nature spell. Primal Dungeoneer only wants Nature spells in the deck. It is strong when it is created by cards like Wandmaker or Instructor Fireheart. Some players play it in Doomhammer Shaman even with the risk of losing a card draw from Primal Dungeoneer, but most players do not take the risk.
Wailing Vapor: 1 mana 1/3 minions have been historically great. Wailing Vapor sees play in every Shaman list because it is an Elemental minion benefitting from Primal Dungeoneer. Although it is not as strong as old cards like Tunnel Trogg, it is still a great minion to play on 1. It is played even in Doomhammer Shaman, which only plays 4 Elemental minions including Waling Vapor itself.
On the back of Primal Dungeoneer, Shaman finally came back to the meta. There are many variants of Shaman lists currently in test. Most of the archetypes fall into either Doomhammer Shaman and Elemental Shaman and all are strong in the current meta. Evolve Shaman has been tested a bit but is not as strong. Without a doubt, Shaman is the class that benefited the most from Wailing Caverns.
Unstable Shadow Blast, Final Gasp: None of these cards sees play in the current meta.
Stealer of Souls: While this card is bad in Standard, it's also banned in Wild as it's an engine for crazy OTK combos. This article only deals with the Standard meta, but the fact that this is the first time a card is banned from a Constructed format is worth mentioning.
Control Warlock remains the only viable deck. It saw some play before the miniset because it beat Control Priests very well but Warlock is unfavored against pretty much every other deck in the meta. Even the new decks in the meta like Deathrattle Demon Hunter and Doomhammer Shaman have a 70-80% win rate against Control Warlock. While it got a new neutral control card in Mutanus the Devourer, that card actually helps Priests more.
Man-at-Arms, Whetstone Hatchet: None of these see play in the current meta.
Kresh, Lord of Turtling: Kresh on its own is a great card and even has a great synergy with Overlord Saurfang and N'Zoth. It is played in both Rush and Control Warrior, regardless of Saurfang and N’Zoth.
Warrior is still in a great position, with a little bit of support from the Wailing Caverns. Rush Warrior is still one of the top contenders in the meta. Control Warrior is not as popular as Rush Warrior but sees some play.
Mutanus the Devourer: Mutanus is probably the most popular card in the Wailing Caverns, played in every slow deck and even in some midrange decks. While it works as an interruption to destroy a card in your opponent’s hand, it also works as a tempo minion when it eats a large one. It also synergizes with N’Zoth, a very popular card after the buff.
Archdruid Naralex: Naralex also sees some play in decks like Control Priest and Rush Warrior as dream cards in the early game are very powerful. Although it is not as popular as Mutanus, Naralex is also a card that can be played in a lot of archetypes.
Devouring Ectoplasm: This card is more of a Demon Hunter card than a Neutral card. It only sees play in Deathrattle Demon Hunter but is very strong in the list. With Felrattler, it helps Deathrattle Demon Hunter stay on the top of the meta.
Selfless Sidekick: Right after the release of the Wailing Cavern, some players tested Evolve Shaman and played Selfless Sidekick as a synergy card with Boggspine Knuckles. Most players have now moved on to other Shaman lists.
Meeting Stone: It does not see play in the current meta.
All images by: Blizzard