Cubelock looks set to be the new deck to beat for the Year of the Raven meta. All of the current standard decks that have a consistent edge against it lose too many key cards to pose a threat. Hope must come from the new decks and archetypes that the Witchwood may bring. With 135 powerful cards introduced, it’s likely that a good number of powerful new strategies will emerge. But will any of them stand a chance against the endless tide of clears, healing, Voidlords and Doomguards?
Warrior’s Rush package is looking extremely solid. Combined with Warlock’s difficulty dealing with snowball minions, an aggressive Rush warrior could have the kind of “Tall” boards that Defile and Hellfire simply won’t break. If Rush Warrior can fulfill the same kind of aggressive promise as Pirate Warrior, then it may be able to beat down the Warlock with huge snowball minions. A solid early game, bolstered with Frothing Beserkers and the new Festerroot Hulk could punch through hard enough to end the game early.
Though the chances are better without Mistress, things still look tough for aggressive Warriors. The Rush package looks strong but is still not as potent as Charge. Rush will likely fall far below the dizzying heights of Pirate Warrior at its peak, and still, struggle to get through Voidlords.
Hand Druid is getting a huge amount of support this expansion. From a previously non-existent archetype, it received multiple support cards. Could early Mountain Giants, Twilight Drakes and full boards of 1/1s be enough?
It seems unlikely. Not only would hand Druid likely bad at establishing early board presence, Cubelock can cheat out Mountain Giants just as easily. And while Warlocks struggle at hard removal, Druid is far inferior. Outside of Jaspar Spellstones, Druid has no halfway good hard removal; and even that can’t take out a Doomguard cleanly. Meanwhile, Warlock simply laughs at Hand Druids other potential synergies. Creating full boards of 1/1s isn’t the best strategy against a class with so much AOE.
There are also fundamental questions to be answered. For instance, how does Druid seek to consistently maintain a large hand size if its best draw option does so in 5 card chunks? And without Jades, will the deck have enough beef to outlast Bloodreaver Gul’dan’s hero power, let alone its board?
Mage has received a plethora of tools that focus on atypical class strengths. The Mage identity is built around spells, but in Witchwood Team 5 are pushing another archetype; Zoo Mage. By incentivizing minions, the hope perhaps is to push a more midrange, less burn-focused archetype. This does look powerful, with Book of Spectres and Archmage Arugal looking like strong draw engines for an Elemental or simply efficient minion-based strategy.
However, this is likely to be catastrophic against Warlocks. Normally Mage’s strengths vs Warlock lies in going over the top of Voidlords with burn. With a more minion focused strategy, Warlock’s huge quantities of AOE are likely to pose a problem, as are Voidlords huge health walls.
Baku Face Hunter
Face hunter is not a new archetype, but Baku the Mooneater may give it new life. Whilst dropping the 2 drops cuts consistency, the additional damage on the hero power may quickly whittle down health. With most of Hunter’s power cards falling on 1, 3 and 5, cutting 2 drops doesn’t seem too bad.
By capitalizing on Warlock’s early weaknesses (especially without Mistress), Hunter could simply grind down Warlocks before they can find enough healing or the mana to play Gul’dan. And Voidlords do little to stop Ballista Shot, Arcane Shot and Kill Command. For the time being, this may be considered the meta’s last best hope to best Warlock.
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