The Best Performing Karazhan Decks Week 1 ReviewPosted by Hearthstone 21 August 2016 in
So far “One Night in Karazhan” has been a very exciting expansion, lots of experimenting is still going on and it looks like the meta isn’t stabilized yet.
Even though a lot of focus has been going to the big game changers, the addition of class cards like Maelstrom Portal, Firelands Portal and Silvermoon Portal also seem to be reshaping certain archetypes.
Let’s take a look at the best performing decks of Karazhan so far:
- Secret Paladin #5 Legend – Jambre
- Aggro Shaman #1 Legend – Hotmeowth, FenoHS
- Barnes Firelands Portal Mage #5 Legend – Kolento
- OTK Arcane Giant Warrior #10 Legend – Senfglas
- Arcane Giant Yogg Druid #3 Legend – Xixo
Every decklist is also accompanied by additional info on how to play the deck, how to mulligan and a few pointers. In order for you to pick up the deck and start playing right away.
“Jambre” is a name that might ring a bell to a few people, he has had multiple high legend finishes and also competed in the spring preliminaries. Some of those top 100 finishes were exclusively with Secret Paladin. Which he now readjusted for the Karazhan Expansion.
Jambre – Twitter
You want to be taking control of the board from the start, while at the same time making your board difficult to remove. You are running plenty of buff cards & divine shields to make your board resilient to most board clears.
Make sure you establish control of the board, when you are far ahead you can ignore the value trades and just start pushing in damage. Remember that you are running a lot of charge cards so games can finish rapidly.
“Vs pretty much everyone you want to be looking for : Argent Squire, Dragon Egg, Rallying Blade. If you have some of these already you can keep [Abusive sergeant]. Abusive Sergeant is fine going first for the most part, particularly vs rogue and hunter.
Your main objective for the first few turns is to have something on board ready for your strong 4 mana plays. Try to make removal awkward for your opponent and utilise hero power. If you are on 2 mana and have a 1 drop in hand, it may be a better play to hero power t2, and then 1 drop + hero power t3.”- Jambre (Source: Old Gods Secret Paladin Hearthpwn Guide)”
- Barnes: An extra 1/1 body (often with divine shield in this deck) can have great synergy with buff cards
- Dragon Egg: A card that makes Secret Paladin a lot more sticky, has synergy with a ton of buff cards.
- Silvermoon Portal: Interesting card, that does what an aggressive paladin does best, buff up creatures and flood the board.
- Silent Knight Interesting card, pretty much guaranteeing that it will stick the next turn.
- Argent Commander: A long forgotten hero
“Karazhan out? Me still go face”
Aggro Shaman seems to be a very effective ladder deck at this time, a lot of players are tinkering around with decks and if you are that kind of guy that doesn’t care very much about experimenting, ranking up can go very quickly.
Although Karazhan does not bring a whole lot of new additions to Aggro Shaman Maelstrom Portal is definitely an interesting pick. It’s also what “Hotmeowth” used to take rank 1 legend on NA. Right before the second wing of Karazhan released. Another player that reached rank 1 legend with this deck archetype was “Feno” on EU, using -1 Maelstrom Portal and +1 Argent Horserider
FenoHS – Twitter
Keep in mind that when playing Aggro Shaman that“the face is the place”, your goal is to rush down your opponent. However in order to get your opponent down to 0 you will need early game damage coming from your minions so don’t be afraid to protect your minions with a Lightning Bolt. Minions that stick can deal a lot of damage over time.
Plan your future turns and count your damage, sometimes you have the damage in hand to kill your opponent in two turns. Apply pressure early game with minions and use burn spells and Doomhammer to finish.
In almost every scenario, you want early minions such as Tunnel Trogg, Argent Squire, Totem Golem, and Sir Finley Mrrgglton. When you have no other minion in hand keeping Abusive Sergeant is also reasonable, especially with Argent Squire.
Against control or midrange you’ll want Feral Spirit they are great versus weapon classes and protect your board.
When you have an okay hand keeping Doomhammer versus Priest / Rogue is also reasonable
- Maelstrom Portal: 1-Drops on average are pretty decent cards, considering you get a whirlwind effect that can synergize with spell power it’s definitely a strong addition to the deck, especially when facing Zoo.
Combos & Tips
Flametongue Totem placement is important, you usually want to place your sticky minions (for example: Flamewreathed Faceless, Totem Golem) on the left and your weaker minions, such as Abusive Sergeant on the right so you can get the most out of your Flametongue Totem]Tempo Mage has been a lot more popular lately, it’s seen quite a bit of tournament play and has been used by multiple players to reach the top of the ladder. Xzirez first created a Tempo Mage list after the release of the first wing of Karazhan, cutting [Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End] from the list and just using double Firelands Portal (Tweet).With the release of the second wing, Kolento had a similar plan also adding Barnes and a lot more draw to the deck.
The early-game turns are of extreme importance to this deck. You have plenty of synergy between your early game cards to provide you with a lead in the first few turns. The deck relies on utilizing spell synergy to take over the board early with Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Arcane Missiles, and Flamewaker making it extremely hard for your opponent to recover.
Azure Drake and late game bombs such as Firelands Portal / Ragnaros the Firelord help you keep tempo during the mid & late game. Be sure to count your damage in hand; sometimes all you need is to pick up that extra Frostbolt to turn the game into a win. Especially with the addition of Firelands Portal that’s an extra 5 damage face if you are on the “Burn” plan.
Always try to mulligan hard for Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Cult Sorcerer look at what can synergize with your hand Sorcerer's Apprentice + Arcane Blast for example. Flamewaker becomes a lot better with The Coin in hand but in most matchups you will still need a turn 1 / 2 play.
- Azure Drake / Cult Sorcerer / Bloodmage Thalnos + Arcane Blast
- Use Sorcerer's Apprentice to cheaply play your spells
- Sometimes you want to wait with going off with your Flamewaker until you can launch a few spells (in combination with Sorcerer's Apprentice to clear the board
This brings back memories with the old OTK Molten Giant Warrior, but this time you don’t need to be at Life-Threatening HP to activate your combo. The OTK Warrior has seen multiple variants over time, with Raging Worgen OTK making a comeback lately. This time the new Karazhan card Arcane Giant was added to deck. The creator of the deck “Senfglas” was able to pilot it to #13 Legend and both Dog & SuperJJ have been hitting top #10 Legend consistently playing this deck.
The strategy with this deck is straightforward. You just draw as much as possible early game while also clearing the board. In mid-game we try to overwhelm (and surprise) the opponent with a Grim Patron board or just dropping down a Tempo Arcane Giant. Late game we try and refill the board with maybe a second wave of Grim Patron or just combo down your opponent with Arcane Giant + Faceless Manipulator + Charge
Here are some essential tips when playing the deck:
- Try holding on to the Commanding Shout till you get the Wild Pyromancer to use it for a board clear, you can however use it if you can get in some really good trades or if you get to flood the board with some fresh Grim Patron copies.
- Execute is usually reserved for big threats, but using them to get a better board state to go for a set of Grim Patron on the following turn is no mistake.
- It’s fine to just drop an Arcane Giant for Tempo, or just copy a high value minion for Tempo. However when you are facing against control you want to save Faceless Manipulator for your combo.
Always keep Fiery War Axe
Yogg Druid has been a decklist many players have had a lot of success with recently both in tournament and ladder play. Due to it’s often snowbally nature games can be over quite rapidly, especially when an early Innervate happens. When all else fails we still get to praise Yogg as our lord and savior. Arcane Giant seems like a natural fit for the deck, seeing how the deck is filled with spells, dropping an Arcane Giant cheaply or for free is a common occurrence.
- 1Living Roots2
- 1Raven Idol2
- 2Power of the Wild2
- 3Wild Growth2
- 4Fandral Staghelm1
- 4Mire Keeper2
- 7Ancient of War1
- 4Violet Teacher2
- 5Azure Drake2
- 6Emperor Thaurissan1
- 10Yogg-Saron, Hope's End1
- 12Arcane Giant2
A while back, J4CKIECHAN wrote an excellent “Yogg Druid” guide. It covers mulligan, strategy and more. I based most of the strategy, mulligan & tips on this guide (with his permission).
I would most definitely recommend you checking out J4CKIECHAN ( if you haven’t heard of him already )on Twitch. He’s a great player and a plays a lot of innovative decks.
“The aim of this deck is to use combinations of cards together to create extremely powerful turns. For the first few turns you are usually stalling with Wrath, Living Roots and Swipe, while using Wild Growth and Mire Keeper to ramp. After this you are looking to use Violet Teacher and Fandral Staghelm in combination with AoE buffs such as Power of the Wild / Soul of the Forest from Raven Idol to create a board which your opponent cannot deal with. Or if they can, just build it back up with some more Violet Teacher power, If you’re getting destroyed you’ve just gotta Praise Yogg!” – J4CKIECHAN
In general, you are always looking for Wild Growth and Innervate. Being able to cheat mana is one of the things that makes Druid so strong. Having access to a lot of “quick” mana is particularly great in this deck as it relies on synergy to create extremely powerful turns.
- Always keep: Innervate / Wild Growth, keep Raven Idol if you are not on The Coin as a turn 1 play allowing you to dig for Innervate / Wild Growth. If you have Innervate / Wild Growth, keep your 4-drop.
- Versus Aggro: Keep Living Roots, Wrath, Feral Rage if you have Wrath / Living Roots already.
- Versus Control: Keep Mire Keeper, Violet Teacher
Combos & Tips
- Power of the Wild – This card can be used much more effectively later in the game. Do not keep it in the start only when you have a very specific hand. An example of this would be: The Coin and double Living Roots (The Coin -> double Living Roots turn 1, then Power of the Wild turn 2) Another example is if I have The Coin, Innervate, and Violet Teacher (turn 3 The Coin -> Violet Teacher -> Innervate -> Power of the Wild).
- Using Power of the Wild + Violet Teacher will generate an extra token that gets buffed up
- Use Yogg-Saron, Hope's End when you are behind / drawing dead, not when you are far ahead, it might backfire.