Well, yeah, saving would be great, except that there are still cards from K&C that I want (like Val'anyr.) Better to get them now through packs than try to forge them later when you want to be buying new set packs? Lesson #521 in why the dust economy sucks ass.
No quests available, so I figured I might try out Miracle Priest:
Circle of Healing x 2
Holy Smite x 2
Mind Vision x 2
Pint-Size Potion x 2
Power Word: Shield x 2
Psionic Probe x 2
Embrace the Shadow x 2
Mind Blast x 2
Radiant Elemental x 2
Shadow Visions x 2
Shadow Word: Pain
Shadow Word: Death
Unidentified Elixir x 2
Lyra the Sunshard
Gadgetzan Auctioneer x 2
Another version I saw a couple months ago had no Shadow Words and had two Potions of Madness and two Twilight's Call. I think it had another Gargoyle, too. The Calls were solely for the Gargs so you could get more Coins. I get it, but it sucks ass and leaves you wholly dependent on those Gargs to a) be played at a time when they're not throwing away three mana and b) leaves you defenseless against anything that needs to die quickly, since you have no Shadow Words. I think it also had Shadow Ascendant in there, presumably to be used to buff your vanilla dragons, but I figured they were too slow. So I pulled a Garg for something, dropped the two Madness for 1 each of the Shadow Words (I shudder to think what will happen to Priest when Shadow Visions rotates out), dropped the Ascendants for Elixirs, and dropped the Calls for Mind Visions, since the latter will be easier to cast with Dragon Soul and won't be a useless expenditure of 3 mana (since the 1/1 Gargs don't produce Coins when they appear, but have to wait around a turn to die. Seriously, I have no idea how that combo would be effective, even in this slow meta.) The Elixirs aren't the greatest, either, since I only have Radiants, Auctioneers, Lyra, and Velen in the deck, but I will hopefully be producing Vanilla Dragons that can also be targeted with them. (Notice what's missing here? That's right! Any card draw other than PWS (which also needs a minion target, but I can use my opponent's for that) and no way to ensure that Dragon Soul is, y'know, in your hand at the right time.) And, yes, I know they're called "Dragon Spirit" but, look, they're even colored vanilla yellow! They're Vanilla.
First game is against Big Priest. My opening hand is awesome: free PWS on turn 2 Radiant and then turn 3 Soul and start casting away. Of course, he topdecks the SWP. OK. Fine. Turn 3 Soul, anyway. I'm imagining that everyone I'm playing against will give the same response to Dragon Soul being played: "Wait... wut?" But they don't know! They don't know the (un)holy terror of the Vanilla Dragons!!! That's right! 5/5s that DON'T die to Dragonfire Potion. The OPness! At this point, I still have no idea what kind of Priest I'm facing, but turn 4 tells me when MV pull a Servitude. Thanks! I'll use that to resurrect some Vanilla Awesomeness! Second MV makes me happier than I've ever been to pull the Coin. I can see my turn 5 shaping up, so I use Visions to pull a Probe. Big Priest often doesn't have anything to do in the early turns without Barnes, but my opponent has spent 4 turns to play an SWP. Not great, Bob.
And there's the typically worst result on Elixir producing a Vanilla 1/1 which will be easily killed only to be revived by my new Servitude... Make that two Servitudes. So there's a 7/7, 1/1, and a 5/5 on turn 5 and I still have 5 cards in hand. It's like playing Druid or something! He's still not getting what he wants, so he drops Mass Dispel on turn 5 to take 2 attack off my 7/7... and add 4 attack to my 1/1. Vanilla Powah! I bet he didn't think that through. Or maybe he just desperately wanted to draw into Dragonfire Po-... Oh, wait. Turn 6 finds me in the same situation as my opponent. I do 15 damage (Cubelock!) but have nothing to cast and waste 6 mana (and tempo!) and pass. Then my opponent Essences out N'Zoth and I'm not really sure what kind of Big Priest I was facing, since he's definitely not among the 5 minions I would play in one. He can't stop the tide of Vanilla and concedes.
Then I'm up against Frost Mage which, y'know, seems bad, since this is a mostly (vanilla) minion-based deck and Frost Nova ruins my day (Proper vanilla ice cream is served at a temperature above ice so that the intricacies of the vanilla can be experienced.) However, I do have Velen and Mind Blast in the deck, so we'll see where it goes. Opening hand is again great (I wonder if I should just hard mulligan for Soul in every game?) except for Lyra, who gets replaced by an equally lame (at the moment) Gadg. You want to sit on the Visions and Probes in this deck to a point. You obviously want them for Soul activation, but they still serve their original purpose of both intelligence and possible resources. If my opponent starts faster, I can see using them before the weapon comes out but I didn't have to in these games. One card I'd really like to find space for is SWH, precisely for sequences like these early turns. Not sure what to cut for it, though, especially since it's a 4-cost spell. The Soul comes out on turn 3 ("Wait... wut?") and I start the Vanilla Train rolling on 4 with the Coin used for the SWP I just Visioned that removes the Artificer who, again, is far more dangerous than most other Mage creatures, since it lessens my Vanilla Impact.
He's like "Yeah. You're a 5/5. Whatever." and keeps the weenie beatdown coming... after he helps my cause with Coldlight Oracle. Sweet! Thanks! (The latter two word phrase must also be uttered as the Dracula player in Fury of Dracula whenever the Investigators hand you a Dracula card. It's in the rules.) More Vanilla OPness comes out on the next turn as I begin to clean up his board. He's clearly feeling threatened now. (The crowd that cheers for hits on players can clearly be heard beginning to chant "Va! Nill! A! Va! Nill! A!") Then he does Simulacrum and it's my turn to do a "Wait... wut?" Was he Quest Mage who accidentally mulliganned the quest? (I, uh, may have done that before with Shaman...) I Vision an AI, which I don't need, and then Glyph a Free from Amber which is cool as long as it gives me a Faceless Behemoth (10/10 vanilla, yo.) The other Glyph offers a FfA, too, but i figure I'll take SWH in case he's some kind of Freeze Swarm deck and just Simulacrumed a Juggler or something like that. (I'm kidding. Kinda.) With that in mind, I clear his board when I probably should have been going face. This ain't no aggro deck, so I guess I'm playing control (kicks rock.)
He Blizzard-Artificers and now has twice my life total. Yay, him? I use the FfA and pick Ultrasaur. It's one less attack than the Giant, but it takes a helluva lot more to kill (other than Meteor.) He Glyphs his way into Flamestrike but without the mana to cast it, so the Nova comes out. I gladly Smite the second Artificer... and realize I was going to throw away the SWH, anyway, so I should have Smited face. I'm one mana short of a fifth member of the Vanilla Awesomeness brigade, but I heal my guys past the impending Flamestrike. FLJaina arrives and I'm all: "Legendary, huh? OK. Here's Lyra." More Vanillaness and a lot of damage. I didn't get an SWP, but I did get a Silence, which is good enough. I know he's got the Block up, so now's the time to apply pressure. He Glyphs into Frostbolt and even a silenced Elemental heals him, which is fine, since I have total board control. I draw Elixir which, I'll have you note, puts a Va! Nill! A! at 7, meaning I get him down to one health and can pop the Block at that point. Symmetry? Destiny? You be the judge. I fumbled around a bit in my last couple turns, trying to figure out the best way to handle my excess of riches. He plays coy and puts another Secret up, trying to convince me that it's a third Block. I cover my bases first and then take him out. Clearly, this is the deck that will take me to Legend.
And, thus, die the stupid experiments. Played 9 more games and won one of them. That lone win came against another Priest control deck. Meanwhile, I lost against three Hunters, two Druids, a Priest, a Shaman, and a Warlock. One of the Druids was particularly illuminating, as I lost to a deck playing Chillwind Yeti, Boulderfist Ogre, and Novice Engineer. In other words, someone just starting out (and with the Heroes card back, meaning they're probably just trying the game.) In 7 of those 9 games, I failed to see the Dragon Soul, but in the two I did draw it, I still lost. I won the one game on the back of a 6/6 Dshielded Gadg.
So, yeah, Dragon Soul decks are still DOA. It's interesting that, with the exception of Val'anyr and Skull of the Man'ari, none of the other legendary weapons have really made a splash. For all that people complained about acquiring two class legendaries, it's clear that they made most of them so niche that they're either pointless to attempt (Dragon Soul, Rhok'delar), are severely overpriced for what they do (Runespear, Woecleaver), have severe drawbacks that will bite you about 50% of the time (Aluneth), or are simply less efficient at what they do than other cards (Kingsbane, Twig) or deck designs. Oddly enough, you can say the same about most of the other class legendaries except for Kathrena (kinda) and Rin. Where before epics were the province of niche (read: useless) design, now it seems to have passed on to legendaries. Is this how they're approaching the problem of needing them to play certain decks? By making the converse of the Un'Goro problem (i.e. yes, you need them to play those decks, but why would you want to?)?
Had another tilt at the Dungeon Run over the weekend. Built a nuts Shaman deck: had +1/+1 to all minions and the Justicar's Ring, which is an incredibly powerful combination. Was offered - and took - an Elemental package every time, so the synergy was through the roof. Got the weapon that gives you a random mage spell every turn.
Burned through the first seven bosses like shredding tissue paper. Go the Beholder-type boss which was new to me. Stole its entire hand with a spell. So it pulls a Doomguard on me. So I put up a divine shield with a taunt, which it promptly steals. So I blitz the board with minions, and it kills them all with a "damage all minions, kill all damaged minions" combo. Doomguard proceeds to pummel me to death.
Part of the issue with the Dungeon Run is the huge step up from level 7 to the final boss. Most of them seem almost unbeatable - my one victory was an almost total fluke against the card-discard one: the last card it left me was a Wish. It's a tremendous disincentive to put in all that play time when you know that 9 times out of 10, you're going to fall flat trying to beat the final encounter, whatever you do to prepare.
It shouldn't 9 out of 10 on the last boss (barring Xol! See above). You're deck should be pretty stacked. And yet, while they do some broken stuff, and you will definitely lose, I think it should be about 60:40 in your favor (or better) once you've seen them a couple of times. The Darkness, of course, is going to kill you with his free 5/5s. The trick here is getting the most mileage and asymettry fro your AoE spells. He will "overcommit to the board" in the parlance, and you can get a lot of value from your stuff while trying to cook up a win. Azari is a just a race. I'm sorry, it sucks, but you should see how fast you can convince your deck to mash face against this guy. You've only got ten turns to get cool stuff before you start hurting. Effects like Aleatoric Cube are huge here, obviously. King Togwoggle is pretty slow in my experience. He does the craziest stuff, but I think his AI is also the worst. He will make some dubious choices about which minions should be prioritized for removal. Obviously, he snowballs and you're dead. The Dragon one (Vustrasz?), I think, is like the second most difficult. The synergies in this deck are super obnoxious and the turn-over-tun AoE wrecks the weenie strategy that works well for the most part. It's tough to come up with a build that can routinely handle this one, I think.
Funny. I find the hoarding Dragon the easiest. I think I am 4-0 against it. Don’t kill the treasures. Of course eventually he forces you to kill a couple. But by then you should have beefier dudes in play.
This one is for you JackWraith. First 15 minutes are Zalae demoing a combo Raza Anduin deck that runs the legendary weapon. It looks like a blast. I think I have everything and haven’t messed with Dragonsoul yet. I will come back in couple of days and let you know how it goes. Right now I am just stuck between 11-14. Just win streak into losing streak. It gets so frustrating when that next plateau is within grasp and you grab for air.
Thanks, MD. It looks interesting, but if you're going to run Anduin-Raza, you might as well go for the more reliable build which is Razakus, right? I mean, sure, all points for variety. But Raza is dead weight until you manage to wipe out the duplicates in your deck, which means you're essentially trying to fulfill two different win conditions simultaneously, which often means you won't fulfill either. In the end, the Dragon Soul in that demo was basically superfluous. It's not about tossing a bunch of 5/5s on the board. It's about setting up the same kill condition you use with Razakus. I'll try it, but I don't play Razakus because I find the deck concept to be kind of boring (and Anduin horribly OP.)
I played ten games in casual. The Dragonsoul only provides some mid game threats to keep your opponents focus off your face. I don’t think I ever made more than 4 dragons in a game. It basically is Raza Anduin combo win condition. Their life should be in the teens when you get the combo online. Having Raza as a dead card in hand isn’t too much of a handicap because the deck has so much draw. If all goes well you find both pieces and draw through your deck much faster than the original highlander version.
I look at the Dungeon Run as basically just longer versions of Naxx's and Blackrock Mountain's heroic modes. Sometimes you'll draw the nuts for bosses 7-8, but most of the time you'll be undone by RNG along the way. Also, I've yet to get very far with Priest. Even with what I think is a good deck I can easily get dumpstered as soon as boss 5.
It looks like Team 5 learned their lesson from the Freeze Shaman debacle because spell Hunter works really well, in multiple decks. Even without all of the cards - well, he does have DS Rexxar - my son's deck performs well and is a blast to play. It's so easy to bait removal with Alleycat into Razormaw/Hyena before transitioning into secrets and then the fully-upgraded spellstone. It's great to have your opponent play a Bittertide Hydra on an empty board only to counter it with four 3/3's. I've also got some time in with Barnes Hunter and I can say with certainty that I never thought I'd see that deck.
In the same vein, I really like what they've done with Warlock in KnC. I'm not even talking about Cubelock - which is powerful but looks like a kind of boring race-to-the-combo deck - but more about the self-damage synergy that they've decided to explore rather than doubling (tripling?) down on yet more discard nonsense. My son pulled a Jaraxxus recently and I had to search a bit for a current zoo deck that runs Jaraxxus but not Bloodreaver Gul'dan. What's interesting is that it has 2x Fungal Enchanters (Battlecry: Restore 2 Health to all friendly characters) and 2x Happy Ghouls (costs 0 if your Hero was healed this turn). Turn One Kobold Librarian into Turn Two Coin + Fungal Enchanter + Happy Ghoul is pretty good. And even if you don't manage that draw it's not hard to pull off that two-3/3's-for-3 combo at some point in the game. The deck's biggest weakness is it doesn't have any big AOE's so if you lose the board you're pretty much done
The deck also runs a Pit Lord (WHAT) which my son gleefully reminded me he'd just dusted but I subbed in a Hooked Reaver and that seems to work fine. This deck isn't too bad against Dragon Priest as long as you can play around their removal (Kobold Librarian + Vulgar Humunculus is nice for baiting SWP and/or Duskbreaker) before playing the Enchanter + Ghoul. I had a lot of fun coaching him last night - it's his first "good" Warlock deck - and I liked seeing the lightbulb go on when he started to see how to combo things and how to set up his opponent's board to be cleared by Despicable Dreadlord, etc.
Cubelock is actually a bit more versatile than the usual combo deck. The combo is hugely powerful, but there are more than a few intricacies in terms of when to play the Cubes and what to play them on and so forth. It looks like a really fun deck, but you really kind of need Skull for the chance at Voidlords before 9 and Doomguards without the discard. You're totally right that they shifted approach on Warlock. No one likes discard. It's a lark when someone gets the quest to work, but the whole design is just a pure example of the coin flip that at least some of Team 5 seems to interpret as "good card game design." Since the expansions are finished about two in advance, it's interesting to note that they went hard discard in Un'Goro, followed up on it in Knights (Howlfiend, Lana'thel)... and then completely abandoned it in K&C. Was that a conscious decision to veer away because they thought discard would actually work in the prior metas and they wanted to give Warlock another option? Did they recognize that no one wanted to play it (again. for only the 50th fucking time.) and alter some cards in the way they did Golakka Crawler before release?
This is why I keep saying on the subReddit that some kind of insight to their approach would not only salve the more irrational aspects of the community (maybe...), but would also lead to a better understanding of why they do things. Why push the Frozen mechanic for Shaman for one set and then ignore it in the next one? Why push the Frozen mechanic with such an underwhelming selection of cards? Why nerf Hex when Shaman has no other deck option but Evolve? Like discard, they've been pushing the Overload aspect with the last couple sets, too, and no one wants to play that without Tunnel Trogg, either. I think their biggest failing is an apparent unwillingness to communicate in the way that the other teams do. Teams 1-4 plus Heroes and OW are constantly elaborating upon why they make decisions as they do, both in general approach and in tuning. What we usually hear from Team 5, barring an epic disaster like Purify, is how any kind of change is confusing for casual players...
I am playing Cubelock Lite when Warlock quests need doing, and I suffer at the lack of DK Gul'dan. I can see how utterly transformative the deck is if you get that going and can pay 10 mana for 20+ damage. Even without it, there is all kinds of fun to be had. But it is expensive. Holy shit, this is a dust-intense meta right now. I saw an article with some "Streamer All-Stars" decks for some recent Standard tourney and one of the cheapest decks was an 8,000 dust Control Warrior build. Wallet Warrior is the cheap deck now! That can't be good.
That's the kind of issue I want Team 5 working on. They have such a bug up their ass about keeping things fun, but it's not fun when every good card is Rare or better. Arena can only keep you going so long. I remember playing MtG, and years and years after 1994, Giant Growth was still pretty good and worth including in multiples. It's nothing amazing, it's just pretty good. How many Basic cards still see that kind of use? Checking card usage at HSReplay....
Shadow Word: Death
Power Word: Shield
Shadow Word: Pain
...are still in the top ~60 of Standard cards for HSReplay users. That's better than I thought, actually.
Looking at Basic Class cards for each class, which I can interpret as how well the core design of the class is contributing to its use, considering the Top 10 cards used by that class in Standard...
Priest: Northshire Cleric, Power Word: Shield, Shadow Word: Pain
Warrior: Shield Block, Execute, Fiery War Axe
Mage: Fireball, Frostbolt, Arcane Intellect
Warlock: Mortal Coil, Hellfire
Hunter: Animal Companion, Kill Command
Druid: Wild Growth, Swipe
Shaman: Flametongue Totem
Paladin: None. (BoK was 12th)
Looks like they nailed it with Warrior. Too well, given two of those cards got nerfed and are still key to the Hero. Those last couple tiers though, that means they missed something in the basic design of the class. Only ONE or NONE of the cards you get for showing up are worth playing once you get settled in this game?
A new priest deck has popped up that runs Twilights Call. Weasel Priest. You play the quest and play loot hoarders played beetles and weasels for Twilights Call. And then everything you have that copies minions or makes 1/1 versions. And Anduin. You become hard to kill and their deck morphs into garbage. www.hearthpwn.com/decks/1020359-savjz-weasel-quest-priest
There is another deck called killer priest that tries same strategy with leper gnome.
I am trying out the Weasel thing. It's pretty fun, but does not match up strongly with Frost Lich Jaina! That was a laugher. As built on HearthPwn, it's kind of rough. You can definitely cram a LOT of Weasels in their deck though, yikes.* I swapped out Psychic Scream part 2 for a Corridor Creeper (stuff is dying constantly). I am also running a Shadow Word Horror to speed up the deposition process. I want to get rid of the Runic Egg too. It can clog things up as I don't have good ways to get rid of it. I'll swap in something there, maybe that Leper Gnome.
*Weasels die and go in their deck.
Cube sends a Weasel and makes more Weasels.
Twilight's Call could make two Weasels!
Mirage Caller makes a Weasel, or better, a Cube that makes TWO Weasels.
Brewmaster that Mirage Caller--time to make more Weasels.
Once they play a Weasel, Potion of Madness makes them get another Weasel.
N'zoth for Weasels.
If they load up on Weasels, and you can't steal them? Psychic Scream the Weasels into their deck (along with more Weasels)