Journey to Un’Goro Deck Recommendations #2
It’s time for the second Journey to Un’Goro deck recommendations. The meta is already starting to stabilize, but we’re still getting some new decks every day. Even more, it seems that a lot of them might be viable and played in the future. So far Un’Goro is like a paradise for deck builders, because not only the new archetypes seem to work out, but most of them require a lot of playtesting & optimization, which is a very important process when building a new deck. And while the process doesn’t create new decks by itself, people who love deck building have hands full of work and the meta still feels very fresh with new builds popping out every day.
I have so many interesting decks I’d like to show you, so I’m pretty sad that I have to cut it down to 4-5. However, don’t worry, as I’ll be posting those articles every now and then!
All the decklists have been playtested by me – most likely either in Legend (mid-late season) or close to the Legend (early in the season). They were all working at the time I was writing this and in the meta I was playing, but I can’t assure that you’ll get similar results. Let’s start!
Machamp’s Midrange Murloc Paladin
This one is very interesting. Midrange Paladin and its variants (like Secret Paladin) was a pretty strong archetype before the 2016 Standard rotation. The thing about this class is that it always had strong mid/late game, but it struggled in the early game. Problem was “fixed” with cards like Shielded Minibot or Muster for Battle, which on the other hand made the Paladin’s early game busted. After Secret Paladin was dominating the meta so hard, it seems like Blizzard didn’t want to print more strong Paladin early game. Instead, they were printing… Murlocs. Murloc Paladin was never a thing, but surprisingly Un’Goro added enough Murloc synergy to push the deck to a viable state. Murloc fills the Paladin’s early game quite nicely – it’s not as busted as it was, but the class can have some explosive starts.
One pretty cool Paladin card was printed in WotG – Vilefin Inquisitor. While by itself it doesn’t do much, it makes Paladin’s Hero Power synergize with all the Murlocs on the board. That was enough for people to try to build the decks with Murloc Warleader (who wouldn’t want a 3/2 Hero Power?), but they didn’t work too well. However, Un’Goro pushed that synergy even further by printing 2 strong Murlocs and 1 incredible Murloc synergy card. Hydrologist is used in pretty much every Paladin deck right now, no matter if it’s Murloc list or not. The card is very powerful, because even though Paladin Secrets aren’t that impactful, Discovering the one you need when you need turned out to be quite strong. You would never put that Eye for an Eye into your deck, but it might be the best card after putting Freeze Mage down to 1 health after he just played Alexstrasza on you. Repentance is not that good, but if you know that you play against Ramp Druid with tons of huge minions, well, it might get value (like 9 damage for 1 mana). But Getaway Kodo is the MVP – bouncing back your value cards to the hand is incredible. The other two cards are Rockpool Hunter, which is nothing “special”, but it’s just a powerful drop – vanilla stats with Murloc tribe and +1/+1 buff and the Gentle Megasaur – oh boy, this one can do wonders. I mean, you summon 1/1 Murlocs with your Hero Power – adapting them all with Poisonous and then trading them into 2-3 minions, or even giving them +3 attack for better trades or tons of damage… The card delivers most of the time.
However, surprisingly, the best new card in the deck might be Stonehill Defender. The card turned out to be incredibly powerful in Paladin. Class cards have 400% offering rate, so you see one of the Paladin Taunts nearly every time. And oh boy, Paladin Taunt cards are pretty strong. Wickerflame Burnbristle, Grimestreet Protector, Tirion Fordring and the new Sunkeeper Tarim – each of those choices is very strong in the right situation. I’ve played a game with 4 Tirions in total – 1 from my deck, 2 from Stonehill Defenders and 1 from Getaway Kodo. I didn’t even have to play the last one, my opponent just conceded, for a good reason.
The deck is pretty strong. Machamp has hit #1 Legend with it, while I’ve been having a blast on the Legend ladder. If you like Paladin or Murlocs, the deck is perfect for you.
Payton’s Freeze Mage
2 weeks before expansion I’ve been hearing that Freeze Mage is finally dead after losing so many cards – Emperor Thaurissan, Forgotten Torch and most importantly Ice Lance. But I’ve just calmly responded – don’t worry, Freeze Mage won’t be dead. People have been telling that since the first Beta nerfs to the deck and yet it was played in every expansion (while not necessarily a popular ladder choice, it was very common tournament choice).
The deck’s burst potential is gone. It can do 15 damage in a single turn, but not more than that (not counting some random discounted spells from Primordial Glyph). But the thing is, it doesn’t need to do more. The 25+ damage burst turns were necessary because of the previous meta. Reno Jackson was bane of this deck. Normally you’d play Alexstrasza, bring your opponent down to 15 and then kill him from that. But no, with Reno Jackson in Standard, the opponent would just heal back to full. So the burst was necessary. Right now it’s not that much.
Sure, there are still Paladins and Priests in the meta, which can heal up quite easily, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Both of those matchups are beatable unless they tech in heavily to beat you. On top of that, you’re beating most of the popular ladder choices – including Taunt Warrior. Yes, Taunt Warrior is not a counter to the new Freeze Mage like the old Control Warrior was. A lot of the builds don’t even run the Shield Block package and the only Armor gain is Hero Power + Alley Armorsmith. You of course prevent Alley Armorsmiths from attacking even a single time (like Frost Nova + Doomsayer or just Fireball them) and you can manage the 2 Armor per turn. I’m like 7-1 in this matchup and the only time I’ve lost was when my opponent had a really Armor-heavy deck (with 2x Armorsmith and 2x Shield Block, which is the list I’m also running by the way).
The new card – Arcanologist – is MVP of this deck. I’ve mentioned it in the review, the card is just nuts in any Mage deck that runs Secrets. It’s a 2/3 that draws you a card, and a 3 mana card that you can curve out with. It’s just insane and it’s one of the reasons why the deck is so consistent. If you get Arcanologist, you’ve got turn 2 and 3 covered and early game is often most awkward in the Freeze Mage. Primordial Glyph is also interesting – you have a high chance to discover a Freeze, another AoE (like Flamestrike or Meteor), Ice Block or more burn. The card is bad maybe 10-15% of the time, as in I have no good option to pick from, but even then you can at least pick the smallest thing to combo it with Antondias for an extra Fireball.
Freeze Mage is the deck I’ve hit Legend this season. From rank 3 to Legend and in Legend so far I have ~65% win rate with the deck, which is quite solid. When the vS meta snapshot comes out, I think that it will be Tier 1, especially in the higher ranks. But I’ll be honest – even though the deck is still not very easy to play, it’s much easier than the builds from previous expansions. Some hands are pretty straightforward and just auto-win you the game. If you curve out with card draw, then Freezes, then Alex into burn, some decks just can’t stop you no matter what they do.
Eloise’s Miracle Rogue
You know what’s another deck people thought will be dead in this Standard rotation? Miracle Rogue. But no, obviously it didn’t happen. It’s still here and it has some new tricks. The new builds are a bit different from what we were seeing in Gadgetzan. No more early game snowballing, no more Questing Adventurer, no more Conceal shenanigans. The deck is much more focused on a long game plan right now, which – similarly to Freeze Mage – makes it much more like the old-school version.
The new Miracle Rogue is built around Sherazin, Corpse Flower. Of course, it’s not all about this one card, but it’s a very important part of the deck in every longer game. Playing it as early as possible means that you might revive it even up to 5 or 6 times. How is that even possible? That’s like 20-24 cards to do that, and you’re not reviving him every turn. Yes, that’s true, but a fun thing about this deck is that it runs much more than 30 cards. Hallucination, Swashburglar, and Mimic Pod all bring extra cards from outside of your deck, which is a great way to keep reviving the Sherazin.
Gadgetzan Auctioneer, while significantly weaker without the Conceal, is still powerful. With 2x Counterfeit Coin, 2x Preparation and tons of cheap spells, you can hit a huge draw turn even as soon as turn 7-8. Not to mention that one such turn is usually enough to also drop for free or nearly free. Tempo swings are one of the main win conditions. You want to get 3-4 big turns in a row, playing 2-3 minions and reviving Sherazin every time. Basically your opponent is forced to AoE clear or he takes too much damage and eventually dies. You repeat it until he runs out of answers. Of course, it doesn’t always work, but the deck is amazing in slow matchups. The deck still sucks against Aggro, but that’s how it always was and there is nothing you can do about it.
But Vilespine Slayer might just be the strongest Rogue card from the latest set. I mean, come on, it’s really easy to activate the combo. And then you just kill anything you want with a 3/4 body. With the right draws, you can keep opponent from playing anything for like 3-4 turns in a row. One minion you Backstab + Eviscerate, then you Sap, then you play Vilespine Slayer or two. I won some games like that and it felt really dirty. My opponent was trying to play something each turn, hoping that it will finally contest the board and.. nothing, I didn’t allow him to.
The deck is pretty hard to play, arguably it might be even harder than the Gadgetzan version. There is a lot of decision making, especially past the early game stage (which is rather simple and honestly, pretty weak). Oh and the Sherazin Miracle mirrors are just amazing. The fight for whoever brings the Sherazin back to the board more times. Nothing like the Miracle mirrors from the Gadgetzan where it was mostly about who gets a more snowbally start and rushes the opponent down.
Savjz’s Ramp Druid
Ramp Druid was one of the first “full”, non-budget decks I’ve built in Hearthstone and it was one of my most played decks back in the 2014, so it always has a soft spot in my heart. I like to see new versions popping out every expansion. The deck is the Timmy players wet dream and I have to say that I really like playing such decks from time to time. There is just something really satisfying about being 3 mana ahead and dropping a huge minion each turn, finally overwhelming the board so much that your opponent just has to give up. Ramp Druid is exactly that kind of deck.
It’s a deck that runs almost no small minions. I mean, big is better. You want to use your early game to ramp up the mana and then drop a huge threat after huge threat. And the potential shenanigans… Innervating out a Giant Anaconda early when having Deathwing, Dragonlord in the hand. Dropping Dragonlord on the board. Your opponent kills it just to see you dropping Ysera and the normal Deathwing. Your opponent cries and concedes. Oh, oh, here’s another one. Turn 4 Barnes which pulls out Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound, which pulls out the actual 10/10 Y’Shaarj. But there is more! Turn 2 Wild Growth, turn 3 Bright-Eyed Scout, turn 4 whatever 10 mana card you drew. Or wait, one more! Barnes pulling out a huge minion that turned into 1/1? Like Tyrantus or Deathwing? You can Silence it and have your 12/12.
That’s why the deck is so fun. There are so many cool plays you can pull off. Sure, it’s not the most consistent deck ever, but when it works, it can beat almost anything. While it, of course, struggles against decks like Pirate Warrior which just rush you down, it’s wonderful in some slower matchups. Like against Freeze Mage. Not only the deck can’t deal with so many big minions early (outside of freezing them, but it will run out of freezes), this deck has 16 Armor gain from 2x Feral Rage + a lot of extra Armor gain from Earthen Scales. You just play it on a 12/12 and gain +12 extra. With Hero Powers, that’s like +35 Armor in total throughout the whole game, not to mention +12 health gain from , which is more than enough to completely destroy Freeze Mage.
The Giant Anaconda which seemed like a bad card at first turned out to be really powerful in this kind of deck. Even 1 mana difference is huge in such big decks, not to mention 3 mana. In many matchups you just wouldn’t survive until 10 mana to drop that Y’Shaarj or Dragonlord, but if you Innervate that Anaconda out at 5 mana you can actually manage to have that big minion out a turn or two earlier than you normally would. Not to mention that it’s actually quite nice AoE protection in the slower matchups. It’s great against something like Brawl or Equality clear from Paladin, because you still end up with something on the board.
Primordial Drake also turned out to be very solid in Druid. One of the biggest Druid’s weaknesses was lack of strong AoE. Swipe is a good card, but it’s hard to qualify it as a “strong AoE” with only 1 AoE damage. Primordial Drake fills that gap a bit and lets Druid deal with the floods. And there is also Deathwing when all things go wrong – while you most likely discard a significant part of your late game, it’s still a great card in faster matchups when you’re out of options. Clearing that huge board of a Midrange deck after they blew their removals on your previous drops, then killing them with a 12/12 is the best feeling.
I’ve really enjoyed playing this deck, so far it’s one of the most fun things in this expansion. It’s not best, it’s not 100% consistent, but it’s at least viable – Savjz peaked in top 5 Legend with it as far as I remember and my score wasn’t bad at all too. I would recommend it to everyone who has big enough collection to play it. On the other hand, if you’re a lot of cards off, I wouldn’t recommend crafting it yet. I only had to craft one Giant Anaconda so it was fine, but those aren’t very safe crafts yet – the deck requires a lot of Epics and Legendaries that might not see play in the future at all. Anyway, those of you with big collection (or deep wallets), I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did!
Do you know any fun/interesting decks that can also get you to high ranks? Some decks with non-meta choices, techs that you haven’t seen before etc.? If yes, let me know and I can include them next time! I hope that you’ve liked this batch of decks, I have played a few of those myself and I found them really cool. I’ll try my best to provide you with more fresh lists every now and then.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. And if you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.
Good luck on the ladder and until next time!