“Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit.”
I wish this article came with better intentions and that I could say I’m writing to impart my knowledge to little Timmy and the WoW TCG community as a whole. But that just isn’t the case: I’m writing for the money. You see, I’m in pretty deep, being on the wrong end of some semi-professional high-stakes cash Tichu games. If you aren’t familiar with the game, then I recommend trying it out. Just don’t let it consume you; it turns out you really can gamble on anything in Vegas.
One of the keys to perfecting WoW TCG play is to not repeat the same mistakes over and over. For my predicament listed above, I realize my mistake was partnering with one Philip Martin (Pip, Pippy, Pipster, Pipzilla, etc.). I thought Pippy was a hustler, a master of everything in the cardverse. Unfortunately for me, it turns out he’s just a compulsive gambler and will throw down with anyone on anything. Let’s just say he plays Tichu like he makes love; fast, loose, and without regard for his partner’s gender. Long story short, we all make mistakes and get into horrifyingly grotesque and insurmountable debt once, twice, or eleven times so it’s time to start paying it off.
Today, we’ll be focusing exclusively on two cards: [Eye of the Storm] and [Tuskarr Kite]. These are basically the only cards that matter in “the metagame” and therefore require most to all of the necessary discussion. If you don’t have four copies of each in your deck, this is simply an error, and today we’ll learn why that’s the case...
...Really? You’re still reading? You are a trooper. I suspect at least some have slammed the page close in a ragequit before getting this far. More likely, everyone is interested in just telling me how wrong the above opinion is, and to those people I admire your commitment.
On the contrary, we’ll be looking at newer and more exciting topics today instead of something that’s been discussed back and forth at length on the Cryptozoic forums. The primary feedback I would like to provide with this column is:
Addressing any questions people may have about the current metagame. These can be submitted to info at dailymetagame dot com, to me via private messages on the Cryptozoic forums (Narchon), or you can respond to one of my articles in the forums here at Daily Metagame.
I would like to discuss the metagame for both Core and Classic, and look at upcoming or past tournaments and what unique tidbits those tournaments have to offer.
As most of us know by now, Worldbreaker has presented us with several new deck avenues and has drastically changed the Core tournament format. I don’t have any tournament histories full of new and exciting decks to look at so we’ll have to improvise a little. Luckily, we do have the whole set, which has been released and mulled over by much of the player base. Players are gathering their favorite cards together and upgrading their Sunday night kitchen table showdown, preparing for a weekly Battleground, and/or hopefully getting their favorite Core deck ready for a bloodbath at the Darkmoon Faire’s next stop in Orlando Florida on February 4th.
I’m thrilled to begin the deck-building process as I think there are many viable options. I’m a big fan of set rotation (assuming Classic still gets some spotlight) and this day in history has waved goodbye to the March of the Legion block. In order to proceed with deck building, an important first step for me is to consider the previous threats that I no longer have to worry about. I think the following cards are among the MVPs leaving the tournament scene.
First, let’s start with a tearjerker:
That took me a solid 14 minutes to write, with all the coughing, sniveling, and sobbing I did mourning the fallen soldier. One of my favorite decks, Mage Control, for better or for worse, is no longer a top contender in the metagame for Core (for reference, the remaining discussion of this article will all be about Core). I feel this is relevant because it opens up some channels that were not previously available. Perhaps you’re interested in a slower deck with a few late game threats? I feel that this strategy was hard to implement in the past with [Spellweaver Jihan] or [Vor'na the Wretched] driving the lead car of the power race. Mage has lost a cheap and powerful permission ability and, if you’re a Mage, Worldbreaker has thrown a gruesome new keyword your way in the form of Aberration. This might be a nice break, however, as it will hopefully allow innovation to thrive.
Next, we wave au revoir to one of the most famous swords to grace the playing field:
The V-Brand - helping Warriors kill pesky abilities and equipment since 2008. This is a major blow to the various Warriors and Paladins that are complacent with the Aldor Reputation requirement. With a key removal effect leaving, it will clearly need to be replaced, but nothing really fills the gap. I’m confident a powerful ability like [Death Wish] won’t be permanently sidelined as a result of the set rotation, but I’m curious to see what direction deck builders take. [Vindicator's Brand] was especially good at sitting back on defense ready to serve an alternate purpose, which brings us to the next card in the lineup:
No more free interrupts for the previous heavy-hitting [Death Wish] deck. I have no doubts that [Death Wish] and [Greaves of Ancient Evil] will still be ending dreams and that [Jin'rohk the Great Apocalypse] will still be destroying everything directly and indirectly thrown in its path. But these cards will have to get the job done without cheating and interrupting opposing abilities for free. This card and the former are both staple control cards for Warrior (and to some extent Paladin) that will no longer be available. Like [Nether Fracture], this may be for the best, as it opens up some new strategies in the metagame, possibly letting more ability-based decks sunbathe in unfettered glory.
We have seen some serious control cards leave, but some all-star aggro cards are biting the dust as well:
March of the Legion block had some juicy turn one plays. As a control player, I am proud to say I showed up bright and early to Mr. Gora’s apartment and helped him pack his bags to Classicville. GTFO, am I right? While I do feel it’s necessary to be aware of this ally rotating, I also realize that their modern day, Core-legal replacements are just as good if not better. FML
Speaking of red allies that give me hives:
Yeah, I went there. This hero has been working overtime and has been putting up the numbers. Even as recently as DMF Belgium, [Ringleader Kuma] has shared in the top 8 spotlight. WELL NOT ANYMORE. Yeah, I said it, I’m glad to see this stupid cow go. I have no doubt that I’ll be wrecked by the new blitzkrieg red aggro deck in no time, but at least it won’t be Kuma. Win.
Clearly, this list can go on and on. I think we can make arguments for [Myriam Starcaller] (even though she has been MIA for a few tournaments now), [Flickers from the Past], and the location staple [The Darkmoon Faire]. These cards are valuable, along with many others that are now sidelined, but with their passing come a new bunch of cards that are stepping up to the plate.
I’d like to now move on to those cards and look at what gems Worldbreaker brings us. This is a little trickier as I don’t have a few years of tournament history to tell me what has been working. I think I’ll manage, however, and list some of the cards that look like they’ll be beneficial to emerging decks preparing for Orlando.
[King Genn Greymane]
Basically you need only play a Worgen hero and you’ve done enough to make this guy terrifying. If you happen to pack a slew of other Worgens who are willing and able to come out the turn after King Genn hits, then a massacre is sure to ensue. The key here will be how well the other Worgen allies test. I think Aberration is a solid keyword and will play a much more important role in Constructed as opposed to Limited.
Next we have an ability I’m thrilled to see:
[Avatar of the Wild]
Druids have long been able to make about 1,451 resources over the course of a game, and now they finally have something to do with them. Pretty much as good or better than any ally on curve with the turn you play this card, your ferocious tiger is always a beating. It can probably 2 for 1 early, and act as a finisher late-game. Thankfully, it’s not a pet tiger, so Hunters will be able to dabble too. One of the issues discussed in my previous article was the lack of powerful epic abilities from the last two sets in the Wrath of the Lich King block. This problem has delightfully vanished with two stellar abilities in the epic slot.
Notice a trend here? The epics from Worldbreaker are full of win, but it may not be fruitful to list and discuss them all in detail.
For some diversity, I’ll move to a different rarity and discuss the bane of my existence:
God. Dammit. I, uh, think this ally is terrible and should never be played. Not buying it? It certainly looks like [Bloodsoul] and [Offender Gora] mated, and as a going away present, Gora gave us her child in Onnerka. While Onnerka can’t [Fire Blast] herself into opposing allies like Gora, she doesn’t really need to since she will deal damage on defense. She also seems better against soloish decks, since they can’t pick her off easily with weapons as an 0/1 ally. I am not pleased. Next.
Providing Ferocity to both Horde and Alliance, I feel this Dragonkin has the potential for greatness. Ruby’s cost may end up being too high in the long run, but I can’t imagine seeing this sort of power any cheaper. In constructed play, we see the buffest of allies boasting stats around 5 ATK / 3 Health. That makes the meager frame of [Ruby Enforcer] something to consider. Any deck or combo strategy that can vomit out a lot of allies will benefit from having them attack right away. He may get cut down the road, but my first iterations of decks will probably try out the Enforcer.
Ever since his debut in Los Angeles, I have loved this hero. The flip power is cheap and powerful. I feel this DOT effect is such good and reliable damage that this hero has to see some action. For that matter, there are quite a few heroes from Worldbreaker that I think will see play. I chose one that I’m looking forward to playing with, even though the exact structure of the deck has yet to be determined.
Lastly, I’ll wrap up with a card that will require a little more finesse:
I suppose the premise is easy: just play a relatively aggressive deck with nature allies. I think the discussion really stems from the fact that Druid isn’t my first pick of class for an aggro deck. Other classes offer solid weapons, hero flips, and support abilities that stand out more to me. With that, those classes can’t fire an eight damage hadouken at their opponents face on turn four via [Nature's Fury] + [Sava'gin the Reckless]. This is a decent enough synergy that I’m willing to investigate further with some testing. It will certainly come down to how other nature allies play out in the deck. If only we still had [Sha'kar]…
That does it for now. Those are only a handful of the many Worldbreaker cards that jump off the page at me ready to enter decks. Opinions change drastically even after a couple games, and cards I like get binned while cards I initially dismissed get apologies and a free steak dinner to regain their loyalty.
Now, get to work and find “that deck.”
Brad Watson is one of the most consistent players in the WoW TCG's tournament circuit. He is a former player of the year and National champion, has won multiple DMF main events, and has seen Sunday play at multiple World Championship events. His latest finishes include top 16 at the 2010 North American Continental Championship and a top 4 finish at the 2010 World Championship.