With One Night of Karazhan coming out this week, it is fun to look back and truly assets the cards from Whispers of the Old Gods. Being the first set after the new Standard rotation, Whispers of the Old Gods had a lot of potential in shaking and shaping the meta. Here are the top ten cards that I believe changed and shaped the meta we have today.
10. Xaril, Poisoned Mind
Coming into the new rotation, many people placed Rogue as the weakest class due to the nerf to Blade Flurry and losing Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil. However, Miracle Rogue had a powerful resurgence in the start of the new meta and has settled into a mid-tier deck now. And alot of the power of Miracle Rogue has to be attributed to this card. Xaril might be under the normal stat curve but it makes it up by providing two extra one mana spells. Most of the spells had the power level of real actually one cost spells that you might put in deck and additional spells synthesizing with Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
9. Thing From Below
In the beginning many people weren’t sure how easy it was to discount the cost of this card. As it turns out, it was frightening easy, because Thing From Below didn’t have to be in your hand for you to get the discount. So suddenly drawing into a 0 mana 5/5 with Taunt was a real and powerful bonus. This was one of the cards that pushed Shaman into greatness.
8. Forbidden Ritual
Zoo has proven to be have staying force after losing Haunted Creeper and Nerubian Egg and that is in part of Blizzard releasing Forbidden Ritual, Darkshire Councilman and Possessed Villager. Forbidden Ritual is the card that makes the list because it enables insane Darkshire Councilman’s attack boosts and huge Knife Juggler’s throws. It also could be played with any amount of mana. Something that is very important for an aggressive deck is always making sure it is converting mana into threats every turn, and Forbidden Ritual always ensured your board is a board that has to be dealt with.
7. Fandral Staghelm
During the review session, many pros and streamers were skeptic of Fandral Staghelm’s viability and questioned whether it was too slow. Yet Fandral provided to shore up one of Druid’s weakness of card advantage. After the nerf of Ancient of Lore, Druid needed another way to replenish their hand later in the game. Innervate and Wild Growth are two cards with powerful effects but you have to realize that they make you lose “card advantage”. Now thanks to Fandral Staghelm, Raven Idol “draws” you two card. Wrath deals 4 damage and draws a card. Any new Choose One cards is going to make Fandral even more powerful.
6. Call of the Wild
Truly, this is the Dr.8 for Hunters. It is a value packed card and what enables Hunters to be relevant in current meta. One of the reasons why it is listed so highly on this list was that it help pushed Hunter away from just playing face decks. Call of the Wild provides a heavy incentive to play Hunter in a more midrange or control decks that want to get to turn 8 and later. It is such a powerful card that people are thinking of using the new Medivh to extract even more value for it (something that really might just be overkill).
5. Ravaging Ghoul
Warriors really love doing 1 damage to everything, thanks to all the cards that synergies damaged minions. With the lost of Deathbite, Warrior were going to have to go back and play Whirlwind, until they saw Ravaging Ghoul. Now every Warrior deck, from Control to Dragons run this card. It deals very well with tokens from Zoo and Hunter. And already we can see it deny the new Legendary Moroes to be rated positively. It will surely serve as a bulwark against token strategies in the future.
4. N’Zoth, the Corrupter
The first of the Gods on this list proved to be a powerful control card. N’Zoth was clearly to be strong right on reveal. Many people had worried that losing Curse of Naxxramas will mean that Deathrattle strategies were died. But clearly it was nice that Blizzard remembers that certain strategies needs to remain in different sets. N’Zoth is crucial for Paladin, one of less prominent classes, to say relevant in the current meta. N’Zoth and C’Thun served as the two primary reason why not many Control vs Control game don’t reach fatigue as often. These two gods were both very powerful game closer.
The first of the Gods that we seen revealed was a force to be reckon with. When I heard that C’Thun was given out for free, I doubt the power level of this card could be that high. However it turns out building your deck around just one card was very competitive. (It helped of course the Twin Emperor and Discipline of C’Thun existed). It was a genius move to give the card out of all players as it practically came with deckbuilding instructions. The suspense and feeling of dread as you watched your opponent’s C’Thun get bigger and bigger fit perfectly into the theme of the set.
2. Flamewreathed Faceless
So if you want a class to be relevant, better give them a super undercosted minion. Given Aggro Shaman’s ruthless domination in the ladder, it is hard to remember that Shaman was once of the worst classes in the last meta. In fact, Overload was the most hated mechanic in the game. Perhaps this was Blizzard’s pushing the boundaries of what the game can handle as a undercosted overload card. The issue with card was compounded with the nerf to Big Game Hunter as well. It was a overwhelming card, reshaping the class ratings and meme creation.
1. Yogg Saron, the Hope’s End
Yogg Saron deserves the number one spot, not because of pure power level but the sheer amount of excitement and content it created. I am sure Trolden has a job for life now since he can just release Yogg compilations forever. On reveal, every player was excited by how fun this card could be but competitive players just through that the randomness couldn’t be beneficially and it will end up more of a hindrance than a boon. As it turns out, Yogg’s randomness on average did exactly what Control decks wanted: clear the board and draw cards. It helped that all of Hearthstone’s draw spells doesn’t allow you to target a player (something that Magic the Gathering often does). One of the funniest things about games is the memories it creates and Yogg certainly delivers with some of the greatest wacky moments and stories in gaming.
Overall, the Whispers of the Old God was the first look at what a new standard was like. Two many aggro decks, Zoo and Shaman stood out as top decks that every deck had to be able to deal. Other classes , Warrior, Druid, Hunter and Mage turned to Midrange and Tempo decks using efficient costed minions and spells to deal with early aggression and curve into their powerful minions. Rogue hanged on with a Miracle deck and had settled for middle of the pack. The control fell to Warrior, Paladin and Priest. Paladin, no longer top dog with the dominance of Mysterious Challenger, only had N’Zoth to lean as the aggro Divine Shield deck proved to not be aggressive enough.Priest is unanimous the worst of the class, being outshone in many places by Warrior and other classes. While Shaman had the biggest leap in terms of class ranking from the old meta to this one, Warrior might be the most powerful class because the current card pool support many different types of Warrior decks from Control Warrior (normal and C’Thun) to an aggressive Dragon deck to a resurgence of Worgen OTK and other tempo and Patron variants.
The meta in generally was speed up, despite losing Leper Gnome. An unanswered 7/7 closed out games in a hurry. Zoo didn’t have to slowly set up Neurbian Egg or Haunted Creeper but rather smash face with buffed Darkshire Councilman. Control vs Control decks didn’t end in fatigue but rather with a gigantic effect from C’Thun, N’Zoth and Elise. Reno Jackson is still good but the lost of Ancient Healbot hasn’t filled the void that many decks had rely on to survive into the late game. Overall every archetype got a bit faster.
We have seen all the card released by One Night of Karazhan so far and despite any initial predictions, only time and testing will tell how the new adventure will truly influence the meta. However, one thing is for sure… Priest is still in need of a rez.