I know the Naxx and GvG cards are leaving the meta, and since when is anyone and everyone’s guess, so I am finding it hard to put them in any decks I am considering for next month’s climb up the ladder. The more I started looking, the more I realized I am really only going to miss a few cards. Hard to believe it, but I could only think of a dozen, give or take, that I considered for most decks. I took a look at the neutral cards that have made a huge impact on the meta and tried to replace them with cards available now. The meta is still very different from where it was before these cards made their way on to the scene, but are the other adventures and expansion able step up to take the spots vacated by these powerhouses or will it fall to the classic cards to step back in and resume their old roles? While we watch the ill fated Naxx and GvG cards ride off into the sunset, well more like shamble off into the wild (see what I did there), let’s take a look at the hopeful few looking to reclaim former glory or a shot at the top spot for the first time.
Loatheb – Hands down the card I will miss most. As I said on last night’s show (Episode 17 of Hero Power) I have won and lost countless games because of a well-timed play. I will miss you terribly you glowing shroom pusher!
Sludge Belcher – Best taunt in the game and so annoying to get off the board. Almost always requires at least two resources to handle, and heaven forbid you are playing a mage with Duplicate. For one more mana Sunwalker will be the closest thing if you want something sticky, but that is a crowded spot in the curve. The troll Sen'jin Shieldmasta comes in at a close second, but the Belcher just brings sooooo much value.
Dr. Boom – The doctor is out and with him, so is the protection for all you creatures with 7 attack or greater. The good doctor’s exit actually increases the value of Big Game Hunter, in my opinion, and frees up a slot in your opponent’s deck for something else. There really isn’t anything else in the 7 slot that begs to be played, unless you are running dragons of course, so I would say the slot will probably be filled by the Banshee Queen herself Sylvanas Windrunner.
Piloted Shredder – Also known as “Value Town”, the Shredder has owned the 4 slot for the better part of 2 years now and needs a stinking break. Seriously, I think I see him in almost every deck. He may as well have a taunt shield on him because he is targeted like he does, that being said, I would expect the slot to be split heavily between Chillwind Yeti, Defender of Argus, Gnomish Inventor, Elise Starseeker, or Sen'jin Shieldmasta. Just from the list above you can see the void left. Of all the slots vacated, I expect this slot to be filled by a card from the next expansion more than any of the others.
Haunted Creeper, Annoy-o-Tron, Nerubian Egg, and Mad Scientist – I am putting all of these together because they are both widely used in a variety of decks for the 2 slot. It really only leaves a return of the cantrip scoundral himself Loot Hoarder for card draw, Ironbeak Owl for silencing those nasty taunts, or perhaps Sunfury Protector if you need some early taunts for aggro protection. In reality, I think this will make the second turn a Hero Power turn for most decks now, as both Sunfury Protector and Ironbeak Owl are rarely played on turn 2.
Deathlord – Kind of the flavor of the month at the moment, much like Zombie Chow. His value diminishes as the game progresses and he becomes burn bait, or worse, gets nabbed by a Cabal Shadow Priest. With the exit of Shade of Naxxramas as well, this pretty much leaves the 3 slot open to one of three cards. I think the most likely replacement is Harvest Golem for his stickiness, but a player could also put in Earthen Ring Farseer since Antique Healbot is leaving as well, or the trusty card drawing machine Acolyte of Pain. Personally, I think this spot will be overtaken by a card from the upcoming expansion as well.
Antique Healbot – So many players are used to being brought “Back from the junk heap”, that I think life without the old rustbucket will be an adjustment. Having to combine Brann Bronzebeard with Earthen Ring Farseer for one more mana and 2 less healing just feels bad. It does also leave room at the 5 slot that is as vacant as the 2 slot. I think this will lead to many players teching in Harrison Jones and the much awaited (though not really) return of Leeroy Jenkins.
Zombie Chow – Last but not least, the walking archery target has found his way into so many decks it’s just unreal. Coming in just behind Dr. Boom and Piloted Shredder, the walker just seemed to keep on chewing through early game minions and frustrating players that drew him on turn 7. Honestly, with the pending nerf to Leper Gnome incoming, there isn’t a current card to really put in this slot that isn’t class specific, unless you like exploring. That’s right, the time is right for Sir British Fancypants, er, I mean Sir Finley Mrrgglton to take center stage. Some players like to save the monocle modeling murloc for later in the game, while some will play him as soon as the get him, but one thing is for sure, he will bring class to any deck.
Did I miss anyone? If there is a GvG or Naxx card you feel like needs to be on this list let me know. I know I left out alternatives in the class cards, but I want to take the time to dicuss the state of each class and identify their needs one at a time. I haven’t decided on an order to tackle them yet, so tell me which class you want me to put under the microscope first and I might just do it!