Last Thursday, Blizzard released Hearthstone’s latest expansion, the gangster-themed “Mean Streets of Gadgetzan.” Since then, Brian “Th3RaT” Courtade has played 570 games and counting. Before his eyeballs melt out of his skull from playing so much Hearthstone, we asked him to share what wisdom he’s gleaned about the new set, and to speculate on the future of the game’s meta.
THE META: You’ve been playing the new set for a little while now, I imagine? What were your first impressions over the last few days?
TH3RAT: My first impressions is that the set is a good direction for Blizzard to move in. It has more depth than I think people give it credit for.
THE META: What cards have you been using? Are there any new decks you’re trying out?
TH3RAT: I’ve been playing a variation on Evolve Shaman, using Doppelgangster. You drop the latter to get three five-mana creatures on the board with one card, then play Evolve to get a board of six mana drops with only two cards. It’s a fun deck.
THE META: What are the strongest decks you’ve been playing against lately? What decks aren’t really working?
TH3RAT: Shaman is still the strongest deck, but not the midrange version anymore. Now it’s Jade Aggro Shaman. Behind that, Reno Warlock and Pirate Warrior. Jade Druid was thought to be good at first but is falling a little flat, same with Dragon Priest in my opinion. The best Druid deck is probably the Kun combo, which uses Aviana and Kun the Forgotten King to play powerful minions like C’thun and Malygos for a single mana.
THE META: Are Jade Golems turning out to be scary after all?
TH3RAT: Jade Golems are good, but not scary in the way people thought they would be, especially in the late game. You can still see some Jade Druids doing impressive stuff with it—thanks to Jade Idol, for example, Control Warrior is a lot less effective, since infinite cards in a deck mean that fatigue is no longer a viable game plan. The real strength of Jade cards can be seen in the Aggro Shaman, though, where they allow you to get minions while using a spell to do damage or develop a weapon.
THE META: In your opinion, what are the most powerful cards in the set?
TH3RAT: The most powerful cards in the set are Patches the Pirate, Kazakus, and probably Aya Blackpaw. As far as non-legendaries go, I’d have to say Pack Rat, Grimy Gadgeteer, Drakonid Operative, and Small-Time Buccaneer.
THE META: What’s the biggest change you expect to the Hearthstone Meta thanks to Mean Streets of Gadgetzan?
TH3RAT: I think that the meta will see more tech inclusion [cards that counter meta-heavy cards], and more variance as opposed to standard 30 card lists. Less staples. Hopefully with such a robust card pool, an almost circular meta can be born. Definitely will be a stray from the complete midrange dominated meta we came from with Karazhan, which was mostly dictated by tempo swings.
THE META: What do you expect the most powerful classes in this set to be? Do you think we’ll see a rise of Priest?
TH3RAT: I think the most powerful class will continue to be Shaman, with Warlock close behind in the form of Reno. Probably right behind that Warrior and Druid. Priest got a lot better, but there has to be a fifth worst class.