As the Year of the Gryphon approaches its end, the set rotation comes closer and closer: all the cards from Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy and Madness at the Darkmoon Faire (plus the Darkmoon Races Mini-Set) will leave Standard, but will still be playable in Wild (and most of them in Duels too!).

As you might remember, last year we received a huge balance patch, with which Team 5 reverted a large amount of nerfs that happened in the past, a portion of which were Standard cards from the Year of the Dragon that were about to rotate to Wild - remember Dragonqueen Alexstrasza or Necrium Apothecary? We're talking about them!

Although we have no confirmation that such decision will be taken this year as well, we should hear about that on March 15, we went ahead and thought about what impactful nerf reverts we may receive in a few weeks. For reference, these are all the nerfed cards from the Year of the Phoenix sets that will leave Standard during the next rotation.

As you can see, most of the nerfed cards belong to Ashes of Outland, which gave birth to problematic cards like Incanter's Flow and Darkglare. While some potential reverts are not likely to make an impact on Wild, there are some that could shake up the meta, and that's what we're going for.

Here below you can find our personal top 5 cards we think should be reverted once the rotation takes place to kick off the next Hearthstone year. Moreover, this article was written with the aid of our Wild expert Swizard, who will help to individuate the targets that are more likely to come back to their original prowess.

1) Demon Hunter

Dreadlord's Bite Card Image Kayn Sunfury Card Image Shardshatter Mystic Card Image Metamorphosis Card Image

Imprisoned Antaen Card Image Il'gynoth Card Image Skull of Gul'dan Card Image Priestess of Fury Card Image

If you take a look at the last Vicious Syndicate Wild Meta Report, the numbers will unequivocally tell you that "there is no 10th class in Wild." While Odd DH was a thing in the first few months after Illidan's release, the class rapidly fell out of popularity under the weight of the frequent balance changes aimed at toning down what was an absolute powerhouse in Standard. If right now the class is barely playable in Standard, it's no surprise that it is struggling so much in Wild.

Going to a mass unnerf of many key components may be the right way to give Illidan all the help it can get, as Swizard is going to explain in a bit.

Quote From Swizard

Demon Hunter is the weakest class in Wild by far, and it is a rare occurrence to encounter it on ladder at all. Therefore, we think a potential nerf revert patch could boost Illidan's power level in the format. The class has an inherent disadvantage in Wild from being relatively new and therefore having a much smaller card pool than the original 9 classes. In addition, most of the nerfed cards were hit because of Standard issues. Odd Demon Hunter used to be strong, but is currently very weak and barely sees play.

We think reverting the nerf to most of the rotating class cards not only will help Demon Hunter to come back as a class, but also foster more experimentation with a more midrange version of Odd DH, with less 1 drops and a more long-term, sustainable gameplan. This version of Odd Demon Hunter existed briefly in the past, before the massive wave of nerfs early in Outland.

Worth noting is that, with Shardshatter Mystic's nerf revert, all of Demon Hunter's Soul Fragment cards (with the exception of Marrowslicer) will be odd-costed, meaning that Odd Soul DH could be worth theorycrafting about.

Furthermore, unnerfing these cards and the even Kayn Sunfury may help other Demon Hunter archetypes including Tax Aggro Demon Hunter, which has recently been on the verge of meta viable with the new Kurtrus, Demon-Render. Finally, Il'gynoth was never a problem in Wild and having that unnerfed may lead to another possible deck for Demon Hunter of the combo variety.

Skull of Gul'dan deserves a separate discussion. Our initial approach was that Skull was better to remain at 6 mana, as we did not want to ask for changes that will make the Wild meta even faster. On the other hand, there's the argument that Demon Hunter is truly nonexistent in the format, so "what could go wrong?", literally. In the end, almost every other class has broken tools that can abuse, and leaving Illidan out of the party is kind of rude, isn't it? We are faithful that Team 5 will make the right decision, but we can at least think about the possible outcomes.

2) Lorekeeper Polkelt

Lorekeeper Polkelt Card Image

Original form cost 4 mana.

Back in the day, Lorekeeper Polkelt was nerfed not only with Wild in mind, but also because he allowed extremely strong turns in fast-paced builds like Face Hunter, Highlander Hunter and Soul Demon Hunter: being able to draw your Skull of Gul'dan, Dinotamer Brann and Kill Command on demand was quite the effect, and Team 5 was forced to slow Polkelt down, maintaining his functionality but forcing the players to invest more mana into it.

On the other hand, 4 mana is a lot in Wild, and Swizard explains us why a potential unnerf is going to be beneficial for the game mode.

Quote From Swizard

Back when Lorekeeper Polkelt was nerfed, Reno Priest was at the top of the meta and used him to put their main combo pieces on top of their deck. This nerf was useful in slowing down the archetype and allowing other strategies to flourish. In the current situation, Reno Priest has fallen in misery and barely sees any play at all, as Questline Hunter does what it did faster and more consistently with the combo enabler - Defend the Dwarven District - always starting in hand. Therefore, unnerfing Lorekeeper Polkelt would only help the meta variety. In addition, we're talking about a card that leads to interesting deckbuilding decisions regarding the top end of your deck, and could see play in many decks:

  • At its former cost of 4, it would also be available to even decks, and a current meta list like Even Reno Warlock might want to use him to put its finishers on top;
  • He could be useful in decks with powerful top ends like Hero Power Mage, which will have access to Mordresh Fire Eye and such faster;
  • Shirvallah, the Tiger OTK Paladin could be executed with one less mana, therefore increasing the archetype's overall success!

Overall, we think unnerfing Lorekeeper Polkelt would lead to greater experimentation with higher cost cards and variety in the meta while not leading to any deck becoming oppressive.

3) Guardian Animals

Guardian Animals Card Image

Original form cost 7 mana.

Back when Guardian Animals was released in August 2020, the card was so good that players were able to find a place for it in Wild too, supported by other evergreen tools like Oaken Summons, Branching Paths, Ultimate Infestation, Spreading Plague and Jade Idol. While Guardian Animal's nerf to 8 mana didn't hurt the spell's playability in Standard (which has seen play throughout both its years in the format), the same cannot be said about Wild, where it completely disappeared. In the meantime, the class has slowly lost the grasp on the meta, being outclassed by faster decks.

7 mana is a lot, even with all the Ramp tools that Malfurion has access to, so reverting Guardian Animals' nerf won't make the Wild format more aggressive than it already is, but it will probably help players to slow things down. Guardian Animals back to 7 mana could also mean that Hunter may be interested in playing some Big Beast shenanigans, pretty much like players are already doing in Standard.

Unfortunately, we do not have a Sphere of Sapience at disposal, so we have to way to know if our prediction is going to be correct, but we think that it's still worth the shot.

4) Secret Rogue

Blackjack Stunner Card Image Shadowjeweler Hanar Card Image

Blackjack Stunner - Original form increased the bounced minion's cost by 2 mana.
Shadowjeweler Hanar - Original form had 5 Health.

Let's be honest: Secret Rogue was barely a thing in Standard and has never been in Wild - only Dane and a few other chosen were able to succeed with it. Therefore, reverting Blackjack Stunner and Shadowjeweler Hanar back to their former glory may not be the most impactful change we're going to ask for in this article, but a flavorful one for sure.

What we're trying to say is that Hanar represents such a unique and creative design that it would be a shame if it couldn't see any form of play in Wild: increasing its Health total to 5 will definitely make it more resilient, forcing your opponent to sink more damage into it and granting you more chances for it to survive an additional turn.

Secret Rogue is not a historical archetype like Secret Mage or Secret Hunter are, but that's exactly the reason why we can ask for some love without being worried about it going ham and wreaking havoc.

5) Crabrider

Crabrider Card Image

Original form naturally had Windfury.

Due to its strong synergy with some 2-mana buff spells like pre-nerf Hand of A'dal and Libram of Wisdom, Crabrider represented a very strong early game tool that was able to seize the initiative for the player and potentially snowball out of control. This unit represented such a strong opened that, with the right follow-up, it was able to win games by itself, with little to do for the opponents. Looking back to this nerf, we think that it was a good call from Team 5, given that from that time we received many cheap buff spells in Doggie Biscuit, Bless and so on.

However, things may be different in Wild, as Swizard is going to show us.

Quote From Swizard

Crabrider was a major component of several Wild midrange and buff decks, including Murloc Shaman, Tax Paladin, Handbuff Paladin and Handbuff Rush Warrior. The current Wild meta is filled with aggressive and combo decks, and we think unnerfing Crabrider will give midrange decks a boost. While Tax and Handbuff Paladin were very strong when Crabrider was in its original form, this unnerf shouldn’t turn them into an issue for the current meta, where the power level is a lot higher due to the prevalence of Questline Pirate Warrior and Questline Hunter. Murloc decks are close to extinct in Wild as well, so giving them back prime Crabrider can only help with meta diversity. Overall, we think this nerf revert would help raise the power level of decks that are almost never seen currently and bring a positive meta shakeup with Handbuff Paladin, Murloc Shaman, and more becoming more viable.

Honourable Mentions

  • Boggspine Knuckles - One more Attack point won't be enough for Evolve Shaman to become oppressive, and that's why we think the archetype could use some love.
  • Astromancer Solarian - Casino Mage might not be in a good spot in today's meta, but it has many followers, and a 7 mana Solarian Prime won't break the current Wild.
  • High Abbess Alura - One could argue that a 4 mana Tip the Scales is not a healthy interaction, but we tend to Mrglgrglgl!

Which cards do you think deserve to be unnerfed when they get relegated to Wild? Let us know in the comments below!