ith Means Streets of Gadgetzan completing the release cycle for the calendar year of 2016, we now have the maximum possible number of cards in Standard since the Standard and Wild split. Needless to say, things have shaken up a lot and a lot of classes have dropped down to oblivion while others have come back from the dead. New cards, new decks – the expansion has it all. So how does Mean Streets of Gadgetzan fare against the older sets and how did it affect the meta?

Dragons Are Back!

Priest is unlikely to be a tier 1 class anytime soon due to how the class plays out. Its reactive playstyle and situational cards in the Classic set form a massive chunk of the class identity of Anduin and Tyrande. But before MSOG came out, Priest was in as bad a spot as it gets with little representation on ladder for a very long time but things finally changed for the better. Priest is finally a very viable class to play and it’s neither overpowered nor weak against Tier 1 decks. The class is in a good spot and it has been performing admirably against most of the aggressive meta decks that we are seeing right now. Dragon Priest is a great deck to play and the addition of various powerful minions and AoE effects have brought back life to the class.

Highlander Priest decks are doing quite well, but sadly not as good as its Warlock counterparts. If you happen to be someone who never got around to trying the class out, then now is the best time to give Priest a shot because a lot of the powerhouse Dragon cards will be moving out in the next rotation in a few months and you won’t be able to see a big chunk of the Dragon package soon.

Dragon Warrior is also in a great spot with many pro players hitting top legend ranks with the deck. There haven’t been noteworthy additions to the deck aside from the Pirate package being added in some instances. The fast and aggressive playstyle of the deck is quite effective in the current meta and Warrior as a class is in a great spot at the moment.

Ahoy Matey – Pirates Rule Hearthstone!

Most of the top tier decks are running the same package of weapons, Small-time Buccaneer

and Patches the Pirate
along with other Pirate synergy cards for the most part. Aggressive decks are running roughhouse in hearthstone and there’s no stopping them. We have seen Murlocs and Beasts be relevant in the meta but Pirates have been one of those tribes that just didn’t make it. Small Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate pushed the whole tribe over the edge it seems with the same extremely powerful early game being included in Shaman, Rogue and Warrior.

While it is great to see new decks, a lot of people have been unhappy with how the tribe has been pushed over the top and Blizzard mentioned yesterday that they have been monitoring the Pirate decks closely. While the pickrates on ladder of these decks have dropped considerably in the past few weeks, their winrates might be a cause for concern and if needed they plan on nerfing cards from the new set to bring down the power level.

Disappointing Goons

Paladin is not in the worst of spots with Anyfin Paladin barely keeping a hold of the ladder presence. Finja, the Flying Star

made its way into Anyfin decks quite quickly and it has been performing quite well. Despite so much hype for Aggro Paladin and Buff Paladin, the decks did not live up to the expectations and the class is not in the best of places at the moment. Blizzard did address the issue and said they will be focusing more on the buff mechanics and powerful healing – which will form the identity of the class in future sets. Paladin has been missing in the meta for the most part since the last rotation after Secret Paladin and Mid Range Paladin lost some of its core cards to Wild.

Hunter is also part of the Grimy Goons family like Paladin and they have not been faring too well in the current meta as well. Hand buff mechanics just don’t seem to fit into the class and the class legendary and tri-class legendary have been missing in action for the most part. While we did get access to some potentially good cards, Hunter is just pretty bad against overly aggressive decks and they have not been able to keep up in the current meta. Hunter is known for being able to punish greed and they do have the tools to have amazing mid range decks that just never seem to run out of fuel, but unless the meta slows down heavily we will not be seeing any Hunter action anytime soon.

As discussed earlier, Warrior seems to be the only class from the Grimy Goons that is in a good spot this expansion and we hope the other two classes pick up the pace soon, else it’ll just be a cycle of a couple of underwhelming classes exchanging spots all year long. While there will always be bad classes, we do need at least one ladder viable deck from each class else it becomes a boring affair and people who ‘main’ specific classes feel left out.

Highlander Decks Will Live On!

Reno Jackson

was the only card that initiated people into building their decks differently but with the release of the Kabal cards, it seems like the trend will keep on going long after Reno is gone. We do need powerful healing tools and effective removals in the meta at all times if we are going to miss out on the burst heal that Reno can offer to us. Or if the meta is slow enough (which hardly happens) to not require burst healing in the mid game, we can do just fine without him.

Jade Golems – New Frontiers

Jade Golems have their own ‘mechanic’ and Druid has the most powerful Jade Golem card in form of Jade Idol

. Shaman and Rogue are in good spots but neither of them are using the Jade Golem mechanics too widely. There have been some Aggro Shaman lists that take advantage of their class Jade cards but they have gone in and out of favor to make room for more refined lists that run the classic Aggro Shaman core instead with Pirates instead.

Overall, the meta is quite refreshing but it is also polarizing at the same time. On one end we have the extremely aggressive decks, while on the other hand we have decks that just try to draw on the game for a long time and win with lategame win conditions. For the first time in a long time, we are seeing a lack of mid range decks. Kazakus

and Pirates are running hearthstone and honestly, the meta does feel a little bland with the same cards popping up nearly every game. I hope things shake up and the classes that are not doing too well come up top and give the currently powerful decks a run for their money.