Predicting what will happen to the meta after Standard/Wild Format and Whispers of the Old Gods hits today is like preseason rankings in sports, or like trying to predict the weather in East Tennessee. Some things are so obvious that anyone can see it, other things you believe are a sure bet ultimately ended up fizzling out. We have already seen some of the changes to the Classic Set that Blizzard has instituted leading up to the release, but I think there will be more coming, and that will ultimately change the landscape before the release of the first Adventure that I expect to see sometime in Late July/August. Let’s focus on what we see now though, so I will put on my soothsayer hat and take a stab at predicting the new meta.
1 – Control will start strong and end strong – What do I mean by that? I believe that most of the control decks currently running around lose very little by GvG and Naxx leaving, so I believe people comfortable playing them will start with them for fast climbs while the new meta settles. Then I think Midrange and Tempo decks will take the meta by storm, but ultimately control decks take back over before the Adventure hits.
2 – Big creature DO exist – We have been in an aggro centric meta for so long that players have virtually forgotten when and where to play their big creature, or forgotten how to play against multiple big threats. This is be much more prevalent in the lower ranks, but with games actually going past round 7 more often than not now will almost bring an entirely new phase of the game some players have rarely seen or had to navigate. It will be painful and first, then things will settle and removal will become king.
3 – Shaman and Rogue dominate early – But will ultimately fall to the back of the pack. While both classes received much needed boosts to their class kits, it takes more than just a cool legendary to make a class work. With Tempo Mage, Freeze Mage, Control Warrior, and Control Priest losing very little, I believe these familiar classes and deck archetypes will appeal to a good number of players. I also believe that, with different but strong additions to their class kits as well, that we will see new and heavily played versions of Hunter and Druid. I also believe that, now with GvG and Naxx gone, midrange Paladin will be big as well.
4 – The Grand Tournament is better than we thought – I believe this wholeheartedly, and the players that take advantage of the inspire mechanic in combination with the new set will have an early advantage, especially in Druid. By the beginning of the new adventure, we will see a steady flow of inspire cards become a staple in many of the more successful decks.
5 – Aggro is not dead – We haven’t seen the end of aggro. It will probably take a little bit of time for the meta to settle enough to where we see it consistently, but it will still be there. I believe that the changes made, along with Old Gods, will ultimately balance the meta and aggro will have a solid presence.
I wish everyone “Good Luck” in opening their packs today. I hope the RNG gods are kind to you. Have fun with the next few crazy days, and don’t be scared to try something new. Who knows? You could figure out the next big thing in Hearthstone.