Wait, before we start, here’s our obligatory Murloc Yule Log video, because we couldn’t possibly expect anyone to read this without the ambient caroling of the bubbly ones in the background.
The latest expansion of Hearthstone, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, is finally here, and what a fun set to contemplate over the holidays! Gadgetzan has the set flavor of 1940s’ era gangster noir mixed with Warcraft’s cartoony universe. You half expect to see Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valiant running around. Now grab your trenchcoat and fedora and let’s hit the bricks…
Cards to Watch Out For…
Pull ‘em or craft ‘em! Here, in no particular order, are the cards from this expansion which I see making the most impact:
Mistress of Mixtures – I’ve seen these already in Reno decks. It’s a cheaper Refreshment Vendor, and having it be a deathrattle effect puts an interesting tactical spin on it. Your opponent will think twice about killing it if they’re also trying to do damage this turn.
Small-Time Buccaneer – Boy, have Pirate Warrior and Rogue ever made use of this card! It’s already a mainstay in anything that runs weapons.
Patches the Pirate – Another Pirate Warrior and Rogue mainstay. He knows how to make an entrance. While he’s not that special by himself, being nothing more than a Stonetusk Boar, the fact that he tutors himself out and casts himself from an easy trigger is what’s making him so handy.
Alleycat – Hunter finally has another playable aggro 1-drop next to Fiery Bat and On the Hunt. It’s beginning to look a lot like face season again.
Smuggler's Crate – All the ‘buff something in your hand’ spells are winners this set. This one’s a little better than average.
Rat Pack – OK, maybe this hasn’t found its niche yet, but just wait and see. There’s plenty of buffs available to Hunter and plenty of people wanting to run this just for the flavor alone.
Volcanic Potion – Mage has needed a middle range board wipe for a while now. This gets better with spell damage, while still not being a threat to your own Azure Drake.
Smuggler's Run – Just a crazy good turn one in any Paladin aggro.
Grimestreet Outfitter – And an even crazier good turn two. I’ve already seen this guy played plenty. Buffing minions in your hand is so much better than buffing on the board because your opponent can do nothing about it but wait to see what you cast.
Drakonid Operative – Priest continues to be the underdog of this game! This is the only priest card that ever shows promise, and it’s dicey. Seriously, Blizzard, what have you got against Priests? Are there some childhood issues we need to discuss?
Jade Swarmer – Rogue Golems has already become a deck overnight. While Rogue gets several good Jade Golem cards, this one’s the pick of the litter. It’s a stealth minion that summons a replacement – at common, yet.
Counterfeit Coin – This is the real showpiece of the set. Miracle Rogue is making a comeback, bet your bottom dollar.
Devolve – I’ve already fallen in love with this card, and if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. It solves problems. It’s won me games already, turning a hopeless board state into easy victory. Has your opponent played a finisher like Ragnaros the Firelord or Tirion Fordring? Play Devolve and wipe that confident smirk right off their face!
Felfire Potion – Warlock also didn’t get many cards to write home about this expansion. If there’s hope for Warlock Zoo, this is it, being a nice companion to Hellfire and a decent finisher when your opponent is wiping out all your stuff anyway.
Grimestreet Informant – It’s just about a strictly better Jeweled Scarab. Already seeing heavy play.
Aya Blackpaw – Jade Golem strategies have this as a solid finisher. While she’s slow, she’s just about impossible to deal with when she does come out.
Kazakus – Of all the tri-class cards, this one is getting the most righteous buzz and it’s well-earned! Putting together a five-mana spell seems to be the most popular choice. Every time I’ve seen this played, it turned the game around. Should become a staple in Reno Mage or Warlock.
Decks On the Horizon:
Pirate Warrior – The pirate synergy is great with Warrior’s already strong weapons cards. Warrior hasn’t seen top ranks in awhile, so it’s a refreshing break.
Jade Golem Rogue – While there is some talk of Druid or Shaman making better use of this archetype, the Rogue cards really seem to come out on top. This gives Rogue a second viable archetype beyond the tired Miracle formula, at least.
Miracle Druid – Don’t laugh, I’ve lost to it! Gadgetzan Auctioneer works just as well in Druid as in Rogue, and next to Rogue, Druid has comparable cards to break it.
Murloc Paladin – Don’t look now, but Paladin has gotten Grimscale Chum this set, along with those cards that buff the minions in hand. I’ve adopted this as my pet deck. It doesn’t always win, but when it does, it’s hysterical. I’ve climbed to the mid-ladder range on this deck alone, just catching people by surprise.