The first week of the new Hearthstone expansion United in Stormwind is coming to an end. The new cards were powerful enough to completely shake up the meta. These new decks are also quite different from those we've seen in the past.
Here, we look at the best decks for the new meta — and how to play them.
1. Quest Mage
Quest Mage has been one of, if not the most popular deck since day 1. While other day 1 decks like Garrote Rogue and Quest Druid got pushed out of the meta, Quest Mage still remains a popular and strong choice. It is a deck that is new, powerful, and relatively easy.
The plan of this deck is pretty simple. Play Flame/ Frost/Arcane spells according to the progress to finish the Sorcerer's Gambit Questline. Play Arcanist Dawngrasp (the reward), draw cards, and play burn spells to the face to win.
Mulligan is also fairly simple. Other than the Quest, Incanter's Flow is the most wanted card. You may keep cards like First Flame or Ice Barrier depending on how your hand looks to fit the Questline but the only card you ALWAYS want to keep are Sorcerer's Gambit and Incanter's Flow.
Currently, there are two different types of Quest Mages in the meta: one with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and one without it. Both of them are seeing success, but the one without Gadgetzan Auctioneer has been rising in popularity recently. The decklist above is a list that RaFaEl hit #1 Asia with.
2. Face Hunter
Hearthstone's steady seller is back to the top of the meta. Face Hunter currently has the highest winrate from Diamond to Legend. The list is almost exactly the same to the Face Hunter lists during Forged in the Barrens. Aimed Shot is the only new card added to the list, but a very powerful one.
Aimed Shot is essentially a 3-mana 5-damage spell without any penalty and Hunters can now deal more damage overall with better consistency. The card itself is already powerful but even better with Barak Kodobane. Before United in Stormwind was released, the only 3-mana card in Face Hunter was Mankrik, which had to be played before Barak Kodobane for it to draw a 3-mana spell. Now, Barak Kodobane can consistently draw all 1, 2, and 3 mana spells.
The game plan is always the same for Face Hunter. Play a few early game minions then hit face. Face Hunter's popularity is low relative to its extremely high win rate, probably because there are other new and fresh decks people are enjoying at the moment. Hunter is very favored against the new Quest/Combo decks, so if you don't care about trying out new decks and only want to win, Face Hunter is the best option.
3. Handbuff Paladin
We said Face Hunter is the best deck from Diamond to Legend. But what about the lower ranks? Handbuff Paladin is currently holding the highest winrate from Bronze to Platinum.
Although Handbuff Paladin is technically a new archetype, the game plan is fairly similar to good old Aggro/Midrange Paladins. The difference is that the minions get buffed in your hand before getting played. The power of Handbuff Paladin comes from Battleground Battlemaster. If you can stick two minions on board by turn 5, you can kill your opponent with Conviction (Rank 2) + Battleground Battlemaster. Giving +3 attacks and Windfury to two friendly minions can deal a massive amount of damage. If those minions were buffed in your hand beforehand, they can easily deal 30 damage in one turn.
4. Quest OTK Demon Hunter
Quest OTK Demon Hunter is one of the more difficult decks in this meta. Although it looks similar to the original OTK Lifesteal Demon Hunter, the game plan is very different. The only part that is the same is playing Il'gynoth, a few Spell Damage minions, and some Lifesteal spells to kill your opponent.
The original OTK Lifesteal Demon Hunter focused on collecting and reducing the mana cost of combo piece cards with Outcasted Skull of Gul'dan. Surprisingly, the new Quest OTK Demon Hunter does not run Skull of Gul'dan. Instead of waiting until turn 6, this list uses the Questline to reduce the mana of drawn cards. Oddly, this list benefits more from the checkpoint rewards of the Questline rather than the final reward. Demonslayer Kurtrus (the reward) is definitely a strong card if you get to play it. However, this list often kills the opponent even before completing the final Quest. Instantly reducing mana cost of cards you drew is usually good enough to pull the combo trigger.
The unique mechanism for Final Shodown is the use of Tradable cards. Drawing a card by Trading counts toward the Questline progress. Tuskpiercer and Persistent Peddler is in the deck only for the Questline progression. Tuskpiercer will always draw Persistent Peddler and you can always Trade it back to the deck for more draw or for the second Tuskpiercer. You will almost never play Persistent Peddler on the board. Utilize it well to complete your Questline.
5. Quest Combo Warlock
Quest Combo Warlock is another new type of Combo deck with a higher difficulty. Like Quest OTK Demon Hunter, this list has a unique playstyle. The game plan is to complete the Quest, play Blightborn Tamsin (the Reward), then kill your opponent with the combo. As easy as it sounds, the actual game play is not that simple.
The combo finisher of Quest Combo Warlock is very odd. Blightborn Tamsin's ability makes every damage you take during your turn to be burn damage that hits the opponent's face. Stealer of Souls makes the card you draw cost Health instead of Mana. With these two together, every card you draw becomes a free card that deals damage to your opponent's face. To put a cherry on the top, Gadgetzan Auctioneer is there to let you draw more cards with the free cards.
Theoretically, completing the Quest should be easy because Darkglare helps cheating Mana before playing Tamsin. However, the problem is that there are many decks that hit face. Warlock quickly runs out of Health, which is the most important resource for this deck.
Another problem is APM. The combo finisher for Quest Combo Warlock requires many cards to be played. Playing many cards isn't usually a problem but Stealer of Souls has a long animation effect that takes several seconds every time you draw a card. Given that Stealer of Souls is a core card in the combo, it is not avoidable. Therefore, even if you safely complete the Quest, you might not be able to finish the combo. Practice playing the turn quickly before trying this deck.
6. Quest Zoo Warlock
Quest Combo Warlock is not the only viable Quest Warlock. Quest Zoo Warlock is also a decent build seeing some popularity in the meta. Quest Zoo Warlock is an aggressive list that is similar to the old Zoo Warlock lists but with a spicy finish. It starts as a Zoolock but once the Quest is done, Tamsin can help you finish off your opponent.
The main difference between the Zoo variant from the Combo variant is that this deck does not rely on completely finishing The Demon Seed. Similar to Quest OTK Demon Hunter, this list utilizes the checkpoint rewards well. The whole Questline is about damaging and healing yourself, which means that Flesh Giant becomes cheap fairly quickly. You want to play Flesh Giants as soon as possible to hit face with 8/8s.
If you want to enjoy the combo potential of the Demon Seed but can't deal with the APM requirement for the full OTK combo, try the easier version with this Zoo variant.
7. Quest Rogue
Quest Rogue is another new archetype that came with United in Stormwind. Unlike the combo nature of most Quest decks, Quest Rogue is a tempo deck. Playing SI:7 minions on curve will give you Spy Gizmo cards, which are great tempo cards.
The unique win condition for this deck comes with Battleground Battlemaster. Unlike Handbuff Paladin, Quest Rogue can almost guarantee lethal damage with Spymaster Scabbs. One of the Spy Gizmo cards is Noggen-Fog Generator, which gives a minion +2 Attack and Stealth. This guarantees the final Questline reward to be a 6-mana 9/7 Stealth minion. With Battleground Battlemaster, Scabbs will connect to the face for 18 damage. This could happen before completely finishing Find the Imposter if you get Noogen-Fog Generator as a Spy Gizmo reward.
Although this is not an OTK deck, keeping your tempo early game and using other Spy Gizmo cards like Hidden Gyroblade should help dealing the other 12 damage to the face.
8. Elemental Shaman
Elemental Shaman is another strong tempo list which got buffed with new cards from United in Stormwind. Like Face Hunter, this list is essentially the same as in Forged In the Barrens. Canal Slogger and Granite Forgeborn are powerful cards that allowed Elemental Shaman to stay up in the new meta.
There is not much to study to play Elemental Shaman. Play minions on curve and hit your opponent's face. Like Face Hunter, it's a simple aggressive list that can easily farm wins against greedy combo lists. The charming point of Shaman would be hitting face for a lot with Doomhammer and Rockbiter Weapon/Stormstrike. If you want Face Hunter but with a different taste, try Elemental Shaman out.
9. Other decks
Here are other lists that are not as relevant in the meta but could possibly become one. If any of these decks fit your interest, go ahead and try it!