The 5 Best Early Decks from Hearthstone's Journey to Un'Goro Expansion
With Journey to Un'Goro having been released for not even two weeks so far, we're still in the deck-brewing phase of this expansion and that's my favorite. It's always awesome to see the meta make its slow shift and watch players gradually find new deck archetypes and make improvement to old ones.
Some of my most anticipated Un'Goro cards are collecting dust right now as unexpected ones like The Caverns Below and Ravenous Pterrodax exceed everyone's expectations. Where we thought Hybrid Hunters and Combo Mages would be ripping us to pieces, it looks more like a meta controlled by Warriors and Rogues. That being said, here are five of the best early netdecks coming out of Hearthstone's Journey to Un'Goro expansion:
To the displeasure of, well... probably everyone, the strongest deck pre-Un'Goro has barely changed and is still viewed as the strongest deck post-Un'Goro.
Before this last expansion, many Pirate Warrior decks were running two copies of Bash for the direct 3 damage to the face. Bash has since rotated into the Wild set, and that's really the only change.
Pirate Warriors in Un'Goro are replacing Bash with any number of Naga Corsairs or Golakka Crawlers. Naga Corsair makes your mid game a little stronger while Golakka Crawler will give you a stronger matchup against other Pirate Warriors and Rogues.
The day that the Journey to Un'Goro expansion released, I played this deck for hours and went from Rank 17 to Rank 5 with around an 80% win rate. Now that people are more comfortable with their decks, that win percentage shouldn't be expected but this is still the safest and most consistent deck out there. Hit them in the face and get those wins.
Check out the Pirate Warrior decklist.
This is a deck that came out of nowhere, and while everyone -- myself included -- assumed that Hunter and Mage's new Quest cards would be the big hitters, Rogue really took center stage.
This deck revolves around completing the Rogue quest as fast as possible and then flooding the board with cheap, Charge minions that end up being 5/5 bodies. This deck makes use of cards we've rarely seen before in competitive, like Stonetusk Boar. That 1-Cost, 1/1 with Charge is immediately a 1-Cost, 5/5 with Charge after you've played your Crystal Core quest reward. That's value.
Bouncing cards back to your hand using Shadowstep and Gadgetzan Ferryman, along with the Igneous Elemental and Fire Fly combo, means you can finish your quest as early as you turn 2 in some cases. Preparation reduces the cost of your Crystal Core from 5 to 2, meaning you can play it and another minion on turn 3.
This is an insane tempo deck that really picks up speed and rolls over the competition as soon as you've finished your quest.
Following the death of the traditional Control Warrior, Taunt Warrior has taken its place in all of the abusive glory of this new Quest mechanic.
The old version of Control Warrior worked by stacking Armor, removing every minion played on the board, and eventually reaching an effective health total that was insurmountable. You then would choke your opponent out in fatigue or you'd use Elise Starseeker to pump your deck full of Legendaries and win the late game. However, Elise Starseeker (along with many other Control Warrior cards) has left us in Standard and is now a Wild card.
The reason that Taunt Warrior works is because this deck allows you to spend the early and mid game functioning similarly to old Control Warrior, protecting yourself now with Taunts instead of Armor, and instead of overwhelming them in the late game with Legendary minions from Elise Starseeker, you complete your quest (by playing 7 Taunt minions) and then you're given the classic Ragnaros hero power. Being able to throw 8 damage, for 2 Mana, every turn is just too much for most decks to overcome.
If you love playing defensive, choke-'em-out decks, Taunt Warrior is that with an interesting twist.
With Hunter being practically non-existent before this expansion released, I'm pleased to see people experimenting with a lot of the new cards to see how they can make my favorite class work again.
Journey to Un'Goro is filled with new Beasts that create synergies that work harmoniously with old Hunter cards and bring this mid-range deck back to life. Jeweled Macaw is an improved version of the old Webspinner, which was a card that was being used in every Hunter deck of the past. Crackling Razormaw comes in and allows you to empower your turn 1 Beast, as well as being a Beast itself to play into cards like Kill Command or Houndmaster.
However, there's one card that really rounds out this list and makes it special: Bittertide Hydra. If you remember Mech Mage, that deck worked because of Fel Reaver: a 5-Cost 8/8 Mech with the drawback of destroying 3 cards from your deck whenever your opponent plays a card. Bittertide Hydra is a 5-Cost 8/8 Beast that deals 3 damage to your face each time it takes damage.
Just like Fel Reaver, the upside of this card grossly outweighs the downside. Sure, you can fret over the nightmare scenario of eight 1/1 minions slapping into it and dealing 24 damage to your face while killing it, but... that's not very realistic and barely even possible. This card cheats the standard minion stat curve to come out early and completely take over the game.
Check out the Mid-Range Hunter decklist.
To put it bluntly, this deck is just flat-out annoying to play against.
Zoolock has been a deck since the earliest stages of Hearthstone. It revolves around abusing the Warlock hero power to constantly have a supply of cheap minions available or in play to zerg down your opponent with. Cards that buff minions and generate tokens have been a staple of this style of deck.
When the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion released, this deck shifted and focused on the discard mechanic. Warlock class minions consist of many that can benefit from discarding cards, and there are several more cards from Journey to Un'Goro that follow this trend. However, stand-out cards of this type, like Clutchmother Zavas, actually aren't the centerpiece of this deck. In fact, in many iterations, it isn't even being included.
Devilsaur Egg, a 3-Cost 0/3 minion that summons a 5/5 Devilsaur by Deathrattle, picks up where the old Nerubian Egg left off. It's complimented and enabled by Ravenous Pterrodax, a 4-Cost 4/4 minion that can Adapt twice after killing one of your other minions. The combination of a turn 3 Devilsaur Egg and turn 4 Ravenous Pterrodax is too much to recover from. That leaves you with a 5/5 minion and something ridiculous like a 4/7 with Stealth, or a 4/4 with Windfury and Stealth, by turn 5. Ravenous Pterrodax is truly a nightmare to go up against.
Check out the Zoolock decklist.
Other decks worth giving a look are Token Druid, Miracle Rogue, and Freeze Mage, but I think the five above are some of the strongest and most enjoyable. Remember, don't be afraid to make card substitutions and experiment. These decks aren't perfect yet and all of them can be optimized.
Looking for more Hearthstone content? Go check out how our Top 20 Hearthstone Cards from Journey to Un'Goro stacked up!