Understanding What’s New About Whispers of the Old Gods
Since the release of Hearthstone’s most recent bi-yearly expansion, Whispers of the Gods, the game has really changed. While the previous expansion, The Grand Crusade, seemed to favor giving players a variety of utility for both the start of a game and the later portions of it, Whispers of the Gods seems more dedicated towards making games last longer and having players use higher power (and cost) cards.
The biggest change is that with Whispers of the Gods came some new legendaries that completely change the way that you can create decks; these two legendaries, Yogg-Saron and C’thun, typically have entire decks structured around them. In addition to introducing these two game-changing legendaries, the modes of play in Hearthstone have been divided – you now have the option of choosing between the Standard and Wild mode. Standard focuses on the previous two expansions of the game, as well as including all the Classic cards. Wild allows for the player to use a deck consisting of cards from any expansion release, including the adventures.
Overall, it appears that the game is seeing a largely shift in the metagame towards controlling decks and later-game decks. Read on more to understand more about some Hearthstone tips and tricks to creating a powerful deck that can easily take you into Legend and beyond.
C’Thun and Yogg-Saron, the Old Gods
These two cards have been the large focus of the expansion, since they are some of the Old Gods – C’thun was even given out for free to players who logged in within a week’s release of Whispers of the Old Gods. C’thun and Yogg-Saron are the big baddies of their decks, and definitely pose the biggest threat to ending a game the turn they’re played.
C’thun works as a massive nuke, and forces your opponent to play any removal they may have. However, since C’thun requires massive amounts of buffing to play properly, you will have to include many cards into your C’thun deck that buff him. Not all of the cards that buff C’thun are useful, so you have to find a way to offset this – in my warrior C’thun deck, I typically offset the minions that are meant to buff C’thun with spells that give me armor, or minions that have taunt. The cards that buff C’thun are unique and situational – you probably don’t want the Crazed Worshipper in the same deck as the Disciple of C’thun, since you’re both trying to control the board and play aggressively. Pick the cards that complement each other for your deck – the Druid, Priest, Warrior, Mage, and Warlock classes all have cards that will somehow interact with C’thun, either buffing you with some effects when C’thun is strong enough, or simply just buffing C’thun to increase that damage spike when you play him and making him an even more immediate threat to be handled.
Yogg-Saron is the second big baddie which you’ll frequently see in play. Yogg-Saron will randomly cast a spell on random targets (if applicable) for each spell you’ve cast in a game – this is entirely unpredictable, as there are 226 spells in the Standard format alone. Really, Yogg-Saron is mostly a gamble card – you don’t know what you’re going to get, but 51% of the time it’s probably going to be good and the remaining 49% you’re probably going to hurt yourself by playing Yogg-Saron. Thus, Yogg-Saron favors any classes that have low spell costs and classes that can typically regenerate their cards. Yogg-Saron fits great in a mage, priest, rogue, warlock, or hunter deck. Yogg-Saron fits great with all types of decks, really, but is the most effective at a point where you can still efficiently cast spells and maintain some board control.
Both C’thun and Yogg-Saron pose immediate threats, and they can be easy to detect when an opponent is banking on playing these cards. As you get closer and closer to turn 10, you will know if an opponent is playing C’thun since they will have been buffing the card the second they drew a card that could and the second they had enough mana. The most appropriate thing to do to counter an impending C’thun drop is to drop as many minions as you can, heal up, and them armor yourself up, preferably in that order. Since C’thun costs 10 full mana to drop, you have a turn to deal with him should you survive the initial massive burst of damage – save your removal spells if you know a C’thun is coming.
Yogg-Saron can be more difficult to predict, but any decks that are spell-heavy should be a giveaway. Plus, classes that favor lower-cost spells, like mages and druids, are more likely than any other decks to contain the Yogg-Saron card. Overall, I do not have any advice for dealing with a Yogg-Saron card, other than crossing every appendage you have in your body – Yogg-Saron can be either a really fun or really bullsh*t card to play against. All you can do is hope. However, Yogg-Saron will only select valid targets for his spells – you won’t Mind Control your own minions to your enemy, cast Blizzard on your side of the board, or Lay on Hands your enemy. Just proceed with caution, as you can easily light yourself up with several Fireballs.
However, do be aware of the Astral Communion card; a druid can pull out a C’Thun or a Yogg-Saron before you even get 4 mana.
The Aggro Shaman
The Aggressive Shaman, or aggro shaman, is almost unfair in how stupidly strong it is. The main centerpiece of the Aggro Shaman deck is his Doomhammer, which lets the shaman smack any enemies twice thanks to the windfury effect, and has strong minions that can come out early due to the overload effect. Minions like the Totem Golem and the Flamewreathed Faceless pose such a dangerous threat to anybody early on. In addition, Whispers of the Gods seems to be very heavy on cards that overload the shaman’s mana crystals, giving Lava Shock and Tunnel Trogg much more use.
The Aggro Shaman deck is a very physical deck, and almost has no way to be stopped – the highest cost card found in the professionally-assembled deck is two copies of the Doomhammer card, which is the absolute finish for the Aggro Shaman. The reason why the Doomhammer is so dangerous is thanks to the combination of Doomhammer with Rockbiter Weapon, which will allow the shaman to hit you for 10 in one turn due to Windfury.
If you need some tips and trucks to help stop these monsters, just know that most Aggro Shamans will come out very early – they will want to end the game as early as turn 5, but the earlier, the better. The most appropriate response is to shut out their early game aggression with any potential midrange cards you have – taunt cards and removal will prove very effective at shutting down a shaman that is quickly gaining board control.
Aggro Shamans may be the strongest deck archetype to come out of Whispers of the Gods. While they’re fun to play as due to the low cost of crafting (only about 2000 dust for the professionally-assembled deck), be prepared to face a lot of them as you rank up in the seasonal ladder.
Miracle Rogue fell out of relevancy, thanks to the amazing synergies from Goblins vs Gnomes. However, with the introduction of Whispers of the Old Gods, the Miracle Rogue has come back into the spotlight once again.
The Miracle Rogue deck archetype is literally just that – a miracle. You need a miracle to win, and to achieve this, you use your main source of drawing cards, which is the Gadgetzan Auctioneer. The Gadgetzan Auctioneer causes you to draw a card whenever you cast a spell, allowing for you to throw out numerous spells and quickly draw a ton of cards, which means a hand full of cards is meant to give you a variety of options to respond to the appropriate situation on the board.
The Miracle Rogue deck is dependent on numerous staples, including the Gadgetzan Auctioneer and low cost spells such as Backstab, Cold Blood, Conceal, and Sap – included in the listing of cards for the Miracle Rogue is also a number of Combo cards, which build up to let you drop a devastating number of minions, buffs, and spells in one turn. The Miracle Rogue is based around the card draw and the smart use of buffs in order to properly control the board. The Miracle Rogue’s kit involves lots of minion removal (Shiv, Backstab/Eviscerate, Shadow Strike, SI:7 Agent), and plenty of early-game minions that combo together to drop some serious damage. Unfortunately, the Miracle Rogue deck requires the Bloodmage Thalnos and Edwin VanCleef cards in order to be properly effective – this makes the Miracle Rogue a little harder to get access to.
The Miracle Rogue is very much a tempo deck, relying on the luck of the draw in order to finish the game early or scrape by the skin of their teeth – there almost is no happy medium. The best advice I can give to a Hearthstone player is to work a way to stop the spells and combos that a Miracle Rogue will play – Loatheb was instrumental in stopping the spread of the Miracle Rogue, due to its ability to halt spell-casters in their tracks. Mill decks can also be efficient against Miracle Rogues, forcing them to play cards that don’t synergize early-game in order to avoid taking damage.
The N’Zoth Control Paladin
Thanks to the introduction of some powerful Deathrattle cards and the Old God card, N’Zoth the Corruptor, Paladins once again have a deck that they can turn to that isn’t the overplayed Secret deck. The N’Zoth deck, for paladins, is one of the better decks – N’Zoth, the Corruptor, has the effect where he will summon every Deathrattle minion that died this game, triggering Deathrattle effects twice. Paladins used to have strong board control, but due to the introduction of Goblins vs Gnomes and the shifting of the game to a more early-game approach, Paladins fell off due to their lack of a good early-game. However, since Goblins vs Gnomes is now out of the question, Paladins have grown quite strong once again.
To make full use of the N’Zoth, the Corruptor card, the deck is supplied with numerous Deathrattle effects. The entire deck is really based around card draw and throwing minions out which deliver devastating effects. The professionally-assembled N’Zoth, the Corruptor Paladin deck includes monsters like Doomsayer, Wild Pyromancer, and Acolyte of Pain, all of which contribute towards keeping board control or allowing you to keep a healthy hand by maintaining card avantage. The deck is then rounded out with numerous legendary minions, including both Ragnaros the Firelord and Ragnaros, Lightlord, Tirion Fordring, Cairne Bloodhoof and Sylvanas Windrunner.
The control N’Zoth Paladin will typically play an attrition type of game – thanks to the N’Zoth card, the Paladin can throw out minions with Deathrattle and not worry about them being effective the first time, as they will eventually come back when N’Zoth is played. Once the Paladin gets more and more mana, he begins to largely become a threat if he has not drawn an important legendary, as there are so many legendaries in a properly constructed N’Zoth Control Paladin deck. The legendaries can absolutely wreck you, the opposing player – Sylvanas will let the Paladin take a minion, Tirion Fordring is a huge obstacle to surmount, and both Ragnaros cards are just plain annoying to fight against.
Surprisingly, the most effective way to fight back against a Control N’Zoth paladin is with your own control deck – it appears that control warriors have had the most success against these decks so far. However, controlling the battlefield is important – be ready for the N’Zoth to drop, as his battlecry means that N’Zoth will summon the deathrattle minions even if he is instantly killed. However, attempting to win in the early game is probably your best bet – if you can’t close in for the kill, an N’Zoth Control Paladin will probably have no problem clinching the win once their card draw starts around turn 5 or 6.
Finally, the last stop of this guide – the Tempo Warrior. The tempo warrior is deadly because he is so unpredictable – one turn his board is clear, and the next he has a Grommash Hellscream dropped with the enrage effect active and is smacking your face for 10 damage before you can even properly reply. The Tempo Warrior relies on card draw and responding to the enemy’s minions in order to achieve their win.
The Tempo Warrior, much like the Miracle Rogue, is stocked with a variety of different options to respond to threats on the board. A properly-constructed Tempo Warrior deck will have a variety of weapons, including the Fiery Battle Axe and the Arathi Weaponsmith cards. After weapons, the empo Warrior has cards that synergize with each other in one of two fashions; the cards in the Tempo Warrior’s deck will either have effects that buff the card when they are damaged, or the card will deal damage. Think of the Grim Patron and Whirlwind combo, which is great for fleshing out your board control at little cost. The Tempo Warrior has a variety of cards, including numerous legendary cards to seal the deal. Most of the legendaries included in professionally-crafted Tempo Warrior decks include Varian Wrynn, Ragnaros the Firelord, the new legendary Malkorok, Cairne Bloodhoof, and of course, Grommash Hellscream.
Battle Rage is the primary method of card draw for the Tempo Warrior deck – using Battle Rage will allow the warrior to draw a card for every 1 damage character, including Garrosh or Magni himself. This gives the warrior the ability to quickly accelerate his card draw and regain card advantage, and allows for the warrior to armor themselves with 2 armor every turn, drawing the game into a war of attrition. If you cannot go for
the kill on a Tempo Warrior by the time they’re nearly through half of their deck, you will be in big trouble, as the cards begin to grow into a real problem the time they start synergizing at around 5 or 6 mana.
The most proper way to deal with any Tempo deck, be it in Hearthstone or Magic the Gathering or the YuGiOh! Card game, is to play aggressively. Set the tempo quickly – tempo decks wait for the other player to set the pace of the game, and then the tempo player will react accordingly. Either fake them out by trying to maintain card advantage as long as you can, then drop all your minions and don’t give the enemy time to regain board control or continue to expand on their options.