Lair of The Tark
At the time of this writing we have seen a small number of previews before the big chin of Deathwing drops and we see a cataclysmic change in the game.  Not only will many rules concerning totems, weapons, professions and forms.  Some good, some bad but undoubtedly changing.  The next cycle of core will of course see the most earth shattering change.

Many would argue, and there is wisdom in this philosophy, that it’s too early to speculate on just what kind of impact this cycling will have without viewing the entire set.  I find that these people are probably going to fall dangerously behind when the new set cycles in because the old sets will cycle out, and the meta will change so drastically they’ll be playing catch up where everyone else has already been play testing and speculating on what will remain effective.  This short series of articles will detail the decks that will go and stay while speculating on rising stars and crashing meteors.

Those who go:

Rip N’ Flip:  Marlowe is a hero that will be sorely missed by warlock players.  One of the few heroes whose flip can instantly win a game Marlowe’s printing along with the cards Azaloth and Ripped through the Portal seemed like providence. In classic the deck never performed extremely well particularly with the prevalence of mages capable of interrupting key cards like Abyss Walkers Boots.  On top of this sideboards and second games often allowed players to punish a Marlowe player’s for bad hands or wrong plays.  The core format allowed Rip N Flip players to get more match wins by going off on players not expecting the sudden hit.  Other variants played a more midrange game utilizing Ritual of Summoning as opposed to ripped through the portal and game removing effects.

Rip N’ Flip will go away purely because nearly its entire combo cycles out with world breaker.  This is actually a boon to decks like death wish that rely on armor or protectors to keep themselves from being killed.  Marlowe of course bypassed even damage prevention by going straight for the negative life.  However the midrange variant utilizing ritual of summoning is unlikely to go anywhere.  Pidge has already proven a worthy replacement to Marlowe and while she cannot instantly win a game like Marlowe and azaloth typically ritualing in a King Varian is enough for many players to pick up their cards.

Kuma Aggro:  Kuma rose with the coming of scourge war thanks to cards like Broderick Langforth, Spectral Kitten and Feral Spirits giving an amazing boost to aggressive decks.  Combined with already amazing agro allies like Offender Gora and Bloodsoul, Kuma proved to be an amazing contender and made top 8 in numerous major tournaments around the globe.  His explosive flip and amazingly aggressive curve ended the game within four short turns. Kuma did not merely exist in the meta he defined the meta.  When the meta seemed to conspire against him he pulled another trick out of his hat and continued to dominate and even midrange variants of the deck garnered some minor interest here and there.  If the deck had a weakness it was its lackluster draw.  A death wish or mage player playing defensively and intelligently could easily stall out his opponent and eliminate his allies before moving in for the kill.  Regardless of this weakness it’s consistency and sheer explosive power is not likely to be seen again for a while.

Sadly with the cycling out of the illidan block kuma has gone with it and even more sadly it seems the current replacement heroes aren’t up to par with kuma.  With offender gora, crackling purge, and others leaving the scene it’s unlikely for an aggressive shaman deck like this to continue existing.  That being said many elements that made kuma work are still very much around and while world breaker might not revive the agro enhance shaman it might give another class new tricks to make picking up kuma’s favorite cards a viable option indeed.

Traitor Anything: During realm champs and several other tournaments the defining finisher was Illidan.  Illidan might as well have text that says “Target Player Concedes the Game” which is what many players opted to do instead of weathering the merciless blows the master hero can lay on people.  On top of this traitor heroes often had very good flips and very good talent abilities making the decks very playable.

Almost all traitor heroes have seen tournament play at one point from the aforementioned Marlowe, to Seadog Nally, to Lionar the Bloodcursed.  However one of these heroes have helped define the meta; Vor’na the Wretched.  Using the ability suite of classic mage control alongside silvermoon city and her excellent traitor capabilities she could easily stall into illidan or heal with conjured cinnamon buns as time is called to get a time win.  Only Kuma’s relentless assault and deathwish’s armor and aggression could really give this deck many fits.

With the removal of the traitor cards many deck archetypes are going to disappear. Illidan is going to be replaced by the slightly less devastating Lich King, Kel’thuzad, and Tirion Fordring triad.  Illidan was an unparalleled finisher that helped define the format and give mage decks a dominating presence through much of the early history of core.

Warrior Orcs: Orcs never really proved to be a truly dominant deck in core.  It simply lacked the tools to effectively deal with death wish, mage and kuma.  That being said it was a very solid deck that could still take a major tournament by surprise.  The beauty is in its simplicity.  Every ally in its deck is an orc and every orc can be given ferocity by orgrimmar.  Combined with removal like sudden death to supplement that provided by the orcs (namely cromarius and munkin blackfist) the deck played more like a steady and stable burn deck that became more difficult to deal with turn after turn.

With the cycling out of cards like offender gora, the traitor suite and puncture the orc deck as we know it is going away.  That being said it’s not difficult to imagine another class taking its place.  Warlock, Death Knight and Hunter all have proven themselves already capable of taking the warriors place as king of the orcs and with the printing of a newer much more dangerous thrall it’s not difficult to imagine orcs coming back with new colors.

Combo Deathwish:  Combo decks do well in core because they often catch an opponent by surprise often times they play a hero known for a completely different strategy before coming out with a combination of cards that the opponent has not prepared for and cannot stop.  In the case of combo death wish it meant laying down a number of cards that were expected from a typical control variant of death wish before dropping Alard Schmeid and an often girdle’d Plasma Rats Hyper scythe tos tart an infinite attack cycle.  The ingeniousness behind the combo is the fact that up until plasma rats hits the board you are essentially playing classic deathwish until you drop the polearm.  This added not one but two potential win conditions to the deck.  Not only could you win by dropping the master hero or jin’rohk or even just plain beating an opponent senseless but you could also beat them to death with Alard Schmeid or combo out and win the game.

With the loss of plasma rat’s hyperscythe and pommel to help protect it the win condition goes away and with it the win condition.  Alard Schmeid might never see play again in core.  Though tanks for everything might not be leaving yet if a certain gnome hero has anything to say about it.

Renewal of Life: Renewal of life is yet another one of those fringe decks that always seemed on the verge of greatness. Using a number of self discarding, milling, and filtering effects the deck would quickly fill the graveyard with massive allies before using You, Robot to instantly drop a Renewal of Life at the end of an opponent’s turn and bring a number of very big and very dangerous allies into play all at once.

All of these decks had the same strategy and all of them used mostly the same cards.  The difference often lay in the cards they would drag back from the graveyard and those they used to protect their ring.  Most people would bring back the beefiest most efficient allies available in the format.  Others would use allies that worked well together such as Red Gladiators or Unique allies based on the argent crusade. 

So if renewal of life is still core why is it not going to even be notable?  The answer lies simply in how the meta has adapted to other decks.  Deathwish, Blue Shaman control, scourge decks, suicide rogue, and other minor instances of decks all have some sort of graveyard recursion that forces your average core deck to at least consider some kind of graveyard control to prevent them from being ripped apart by some kind of graveyard shenanigans.  To add to this with you, robot leaving the meta there’s no feasible and efficient way to sneak your ring into play.  Now, you must rely on your opponent to not have any equipment removal (a tricky proposition any time) before you can risk the ring.  Because of this a renewal of life deck will be forced to consider other win conditions and adapt their ally base accordingly.  While renewal of life is still a good card it might be possible that we’ll see it as merely a supplement to a strategy rather than the main theme.

“Black Ice”:  Hi Ho the gnome is dead!   With water elemental, myriam, marksman glous, giralo, and of course all the cards that never were a part of core to begin with gone the classic version of black ice is gone forever.  If you don’t know what black ice was than it might be time to read up a bit on the history of the game.

That being said other mid range blue mage decks are still looking good and with world breaker giving the alliance ferocity don’t expect blue mid range agro to go away anytime soon.   For now though we can celebrate that the little obnoxious gnome and his draeni friends are gone for good.

Who Will Stay

Triton Midrange: So far each new set has strengthened the power behind death knight.  Three sets, three great talents.  Right from the start peoples saw corpse explosion as one of the best cards out there.  For the cost of three you could remove an obnoxious ally from an opponent’s graveyard (like say Broderick) and blow up his board while hitting him for four damage.  Barring that you also had army of the dead which killed all allies and converted them to ghouls for you to smash faces with.  Almost immediately people tried to build decks around these cards and the equally amazing death charger.  The deck that eventually floated to the top was Triton Midrange.

Making up for the class’s weaknesses with cards like Cromarius, Munkin, and Tuskarr kite the deck was easily the bane of ally based decks.  On top of this they utilized the best allies that horde had to offer from Dethvir to Nathanos, to Vanessa Fairgraves.  With every new set more allies and more holes in the deck are filled up while the deck gets stronger. With control mage taking major hits with the cycling of the illidan block, Triton may go from a solid choice to a top contender.

Aggro Deathwish:  When the deck was first forming I among others considered that in an aggressive deck the card could perform very well.  Sadly it seemed not all the elements were in place to make that concept come true.  With wrathgate and now icecrown the deck has reached a point where it’s competitive.  Using an aggressive mix of allies, abilities and weapons the deck hits hard and is difficult to stop.

It might seem that with the loss of bloody mary, vindicator’s brand and puncture the deck would suffer.  However two heroes and perhaps soon three will be waiting in the wings to take over.  The foremost of these will be boarguts the impaler.  With the aggressive orc mount, and kazamon steelskin it’s likely that death wish decks are going to take on a shade of green.  On top of this even if the new set does not give warrior an effective answer to equipment ruination and payment of blood look to be slower but effective replacements to puncture.  Vuz’din was already a decent answer to ongoing abilities.  If the new set gives warrior a good way to handle abilities than death wish in its aggressive form is likely to remain competitive for quite some time.

Subtlety Rogue:  With the changes to finishing moves coming this deck actually looks to get much stronger.  It’s an odd hybrid of control and aggro that many decks find difficult to deal with.  With even more tools to rip into death wish with the coming addition of steal steel and likely more such abilities to come it’s likely the deck is sticking around for quite a while.

And who is to say what new subtlety hero will come with the new set?  For now we have troll, dwarf, gnome and orc.  Will it be a goblin?  Worgen?  Perhaps even undead?  And what of the new master heroes? 

Without question these are the decks that look to stick around at least for the foreseeable future.  In the next part we’ll talk about the decks that will rise or fall depending entirely on the full scope of the worldbreaker release.


Save the positive energy and use it. A good fight, fight for what I want. I will win eventually, yes, I know, you know, and both of us know.


will be restored soon


Nice post dude


is shortly


THX for info


Appreciate your information


nice post


Fine article dude


Great info, thx


But wanna say that this is invaluable , Thanks for taking your time to write this.


A really informationrmative post and lots of actually honest and forthright comments made! This surely got me thinking a lot about this issue so cheers a great deal for dropping!


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