It's been awfully cold lately. Almost as if the weather itself is anticipating the Lich King's return to Hearthstone. Regardless, we are here to keep you warm, or at the very least get your brain heated with some ideas on Duels theorycrafts! All starting decks aim to make the best out of the new cards they were given for this expansion. That didn't work out for every class across the whole board, but we still found 7 lists that we picked out.
In case you are wondering where the fancy new Death Knights are at, they got their very own spotlight showcase with 4 of the most interesting decks in one of our prior theorycraft articles. The following decklists are all based on the basic Heroes, but feel free to improvise with Vanndar Stormpike and Drek'Thar being able to take over a preferred Class' identity.
Foreword - Targeted Deckbuilding
To fully comprehend the decisions made for these decklists, we'd like to first bring up the recent changes to the bucket system in Duels. The cards you have to choose from are still based on your starting list, but they are now grouped by expansions. Meaning that when your deck has cards from only 3 expansions, those 3 expansion will be where the cards for your buckets come from. In case you run less than 3 the game will fill the rest with random card sets.
The lists featured aren't the 15 best ones you can find in a vacuum, but rather they aim to allow your deck to coherently expand as more fitting cards are offered over the course of the run. Duels has always had the reputation of high variance, but especially now that the consequences of the bucket overhaul are yet to be fully understood, it's best advised to take these new decks for a spin on Casual mode to familiarize yourself with the many changes.
No Dual Class Representation
You might realize that there's a distinct lack of theorycrafts for the League of Explorers Heroes. Besides some of the classes that we just so happened to leave out, the Dual Classes in particular were negatively affected by the new bucket changes. Since the latest update, every given bucket is defined by the expansion the cards come from. But no longer are they restricted to one class.
Playing as Reno for example, buckets have the chance to be a mix of Rogue and Mage cards. Meaning that out of the 3 cards within a bucket, 2 could belong to Mage and 1 to Rogue. That doesn't make these Heroes unplayable per se, but we would still like to point out to the higher likelihood of ending up with an unsynergystic pile of cards, which can cause frustrations.
Undead Nature Druid
Reliable Druid. Over the course of Duels' history, Token Druid never seemed to completely fall out of favor. The tried and true combination of Harvest Time! and Warden's Insight work wonders alongside Spreading Saplings or Iron Roots. Another aspect we could be repeating for each and every Undead deck, is the importance of Mummy Magic. Druid has the freedom to choose from multiple Tier 2 Passives, but others will have to default to the Reborn enhancement.
Arcane Quest Hunter
There weren't many Arcane spells to access from Hunter's past, but the currently presented package might just be good enough. Our hands are pretty much tied on expansion choices, as Defend the Dwarven District hails from United in Stormwind. The secondary aspect of Weapon attacks is nicely complimented by Traktamer Aelessa, as we reach into the Core set of cards for the necessary Candleshot and Arcane Shot. Shot. Shot, shot shot!
Arcane Spell Damage Mage
Another bundle of Arcane cards that just so happens to hark back older expansions. The Scholomance cards are a perfect fit for Mage's new wave of Arcane synergies. We even got a significant amount of Discover effects to take advantage of the corresponding Passives. Spell Damage, Embercaster, and Magister's Apprentice are a recipe fore Arcane Bolt-based disaster.
Undead Thief Priest
Surprisingly enough, every single card from March of the Lich King more or less fits in this one list. Taking that as a starting point, the deck still has potential to go into different directions. We chose a rather simple default of the next-most recent expansion, Murder at Castle Nathria. While the Undead may help you fight for the board, The Harvester of Envy can secure games against slower opponents.
SI:7 Concoction Rogue
Another Quest deck that benefits from the recent bucket changes. That doesn't mean that SI:7s are suddenly overthrowing the meta, but it's a nice change of pace nonetheless. The actual innovation lies with the Concoction lineup of cards. They very much profit from an abundant amount of them all grouping up, so the right card offers will be a win-win.
Shaman is fighting an uphill battle, as Deathrattles aren't a mechanic they have much experience in. At least in Duels, we have to resort to lots of Neutral cards to cover the holes. The star of the show is of course Scourge Troll. Realistically, the deck is too much of a one-trick pony to fully unravel. It doesn't help that Shaman doesn't have any fitting Treasures, which is why we ended up with a basically textless Zukara the Wild stat-stick.
Demon Discard Warlock
Discard Warlock celebrates a comeback. To be honest, ever since Tome Tampering was printed, the archetype gained in relevance. It just so happens that Malchezaar's Imp compensates the spell's entire downside. Another positive for the deck is the relatively tiny pool of One Night in Karazhan cards. Both Malchezaar's Imp and Silverware Golem make that expansion a great bucket filler.
Did inspiration strike you? Share your ideas for what to play on day 1 of the new Duels meta in the comments below!