Any time a new Hearthstone expansion is announced and card reveals begin to trickle out, whispers about what the new meta is going to look like start circulating. And with a set like Mean Streets of Gadgetzan offering more than 100 cards, the meta is going to be changing significantly.
With our first taste of the new set’s offerings out now (which you can see in our Mean Streets of Gadgetzan gallery), we decided to sit down and figure out how the new cards will affect the future of Hearthstone. Look out for these meta shifts once the new expansion drops later this year.
Gadgetzan focuses on the common riff raff in Azeroth’s most mechanical city, so it only makes sense that most of its minions aren’t going to be the big, powerful heroes of past expansions. Instead, they’re small and nimble.
So far, we’ve seen a bunch of cheap legendaries like Kazakus, Wickerflame Burnbristle, and Auctionmaster Beardo to fill out boards early with powerful abilities. The focus on cheaper, faster legendary minions seems to hint that Blizzard wants to speed up the game considerably, especially after the control-focused meta that has been so prevalent since Whispers of the Old Gods and One Night in Karazhan.
The more common minions in the set definitely continue on that theme. Whether it’s the Discovery tri-class cards like Grimestreet Informant, high-value Priest cards like Kabal Talonpriest, or powerful minion buffers like Grimestreet Outfitter, we’re going to see a bunch of additions to the aggro lineup.
It seems that Paladins are going to be getting the biggest buffs here. Outside of the aforementioned Wickerflame Burnbristle, Grimestreet Outfitter, and Grimestreet Informant, they’re getting Meanstreet Marshal, Small-Time Recruits, and Grimestreet Smuggler to fill out their roster. Paladin has been off the map for a while in terms of the highest tiers of the meta; it will be interesting if the class indeed becomes the premier aggro archetype come the new set’s release.
There are a ton of Discover cards in this set. The ability to choose from a handful of randomly selected cards has become the best example of “good RNG” in Hearthstone, so it’s no wonder they’re doubling down on the ability for Gadgetzan.
Grimestreet Informant is the smallest minion in a cycle of tri-class Discover cards, the other two being Kabal Courier and Lotus Agents. There’s also I Know a Guy and Drakonid Operative revealed so far, not to mention the ridiculously fun Kazakus.
The prevalence of Discover cards in Gadgetzan means that Blizzard wants players to become adaptable. They’ll need to smartly pick the best option from a small pool of cards based on the game’s state at that exact moment. Hell, sometimes they’ll have to pull from classes that aren’t their own or create a custom spell to match their needs. Blizzard is looking to take a game heavily entrenched in RNG and build a thoughtful experience out of it.
As the card reveals stand, there isn’t much in the way of game-changing RNG mechanics, either. There’s no N’Zoth-style monster yet, or even something like C’Thun. For many high-level players, this will be a welcome change and a great direction to take Hearthstone.
Priest might actually be good
While Paladins are getting help from the smaller minions of the world, the much-maligned Priest class may finally find its way into the meta thanks to Gadgetzan.
So far, seven cards have been revealed for Priest: Kabal Talonpriest, Drakonid Operative, Kabal Courier, Kazakus, Potion of Madness, Pint-Sized Potion, and Dragonfire Potion. Each and every one of those cards is strong either on its own or in a deck that is viable in the current meta.
Some of the neutral cards seem perfectly suited for Priest, too. Auctionmaster Beardo has his place in Priest, Fel Orc Soulfiend is a fine replacement for Injured Blademaster, and even Kooky Chemist could find his way into some lists (though probably not). Dragon Priest is receiving some tools, Control Priest is getting some help, and even their Midrange is getting bolstered. Experimental deckbuilders will have a field day with the traditionally weak class in the weeks following Gadgetzan’s release.
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Taylor Cocke’s beloved aggro Paladin deck is making a comeback. Follow him and his quest for Legend on Twitter @taylorcocke.