The Wild meta is like a glacier. Slow moving and unchanging. The newest expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble did not appear like global warming and unearth something new in the competitive meta (at least not yet). The recent nerfs have not either, but the changes to Leeching Poison and Level Up! affect the Wild ladder most by thinning Wild players’ choices in decks for climbing the ladder.
Leeching Poison was seen as a degenerate way to win. That card was able to take the fully buffed and often active Kingsbane and give it healing equal to the amount of damage on the weapon. Being able to smash face for double-digit damage and heal by the same amount in one turn made Kingsbane Rogue nearly impossible to outpace and kill. This nerf extinguishes Kingsbane as a Tier 1 deck, as it now can be beaten by aggro decks much more easily without the near constant heal from the weapon to extend the game. It’s still a very viable deck with two current variants: the aggressive pirate version and the original mill version.
Level Up! made Odd Paladin the only competitive Paladin deck worth playing as opposing players spent the entire game keeping Silver Hand Recruits off the board to prevent this highly powerful card from turning the game on its head. Having a board full of 3/3s with taunt on turn five can be game ending if you don’t have an Excavated Evil, Devolve or maybe Coin/Vanish. Sometimes playing both copies of Level Up! after turn ten gave the player a board full of 5/5s with taunt, which is even more daunting-especially when they get the buff the turn they can attack. The nerf moves it to six mana which makes it impossible to combine with Baku’s odd hero power of playing two Silver Hand Recruits for two mana. There are still cards to buff the recruits in Odd Paladin, but it’s now a more balanced deck.
Below is a post nerf tier list (based on opinion not win rates):
Even Shaman – Uses one cost hero power to flood the board with totems and cheats out large minions like Sea Giant and Thing From Below. Can sometimes be out played by hyper-aggressive decks that out tempo the totems.
Big Priest – Seen by many as the last degenerate deck in Wild. Playing Barnes into Y’Shaarj, Rage Unbound on turn four or turn three (with coin) can be game breaking. Creating a 10/10 that pulls large minions from the deck before the turn timer hits double-digits has been the cause of many an angry Reddit post for some time now. Big Priest or its sister OTK variant with Prophet Velen, Malygos and Mind Blast can still be beat with cards that pollute the resurrect pool like Hex or Polymorph.
Odd Rogue – The aggressive deck many players choose for fast legend runs. In the vein of Face Hunter and Pirate Warrior, this deck uses smaller charge minions to punch the opponent into submission before they can even set up their game state. As with many face decks, this build may run into problems of going all-in or burning out of cards in hand.
Kingsbane Rogue – As mentioned before, this is still a strong deck and the new pirate version seems to have viability. The mill version can still decimate control decks if it is able to cycle Coldlight Oracles and Elven Minstrels to give infinite draw.
Secret Hunter – One Rastakhan card that has made a change on decks is Zul’jin. In secret hunter this card gives a one turn explosion-possibly turning the game around for the player by playing all previous secrets, spells and creating any minions that may come with said spells. Zul’jin should ideally be played before Deathstalker Rexxar. Rexxar will be the stronger hero power by creating minions based on the game state in the late turns. A full Lesser Emerald Spellstone of four 3/3 wolves is still a pain to deal with without the right removal. Secret Hunter falls short against decks that are able to out tempo it. Playing secrets doesn’t guarantee a board state for the player and much of the game is left to RNG.
Jade Druid – An even stronger deck than it was in its heyday a year to two ago, Jade Druid now has the ability to out armor opponents to a degree that would make the Warrior class blush. A deck that can make progressively larger minions while also building a thick steel casing is difficult for any deck to deal with. It can still be countered with Skulking Geist or cheating out large minions early.
Renolock – Perhaps the most high-skill intensive meta deck this side of APM Priest. Renolock uses a collection of tech cards and demons to carefully dance around the opponent’s win condition. Bloodreaver Gul’dan allows Renolock to tap its hero power more than it did in the past, but still must be cautious of overdrawing. This deck is very draw dependent and can sometimes have a clogged hand with many mid to late game cards.
Evenlock – This is the deck for those that like to live on the edge. The Wild version of Evenlock is the descendant of old Handlock. Over-tapping and allowing your life total to push to sweaty palms levels of low are an advantage to this deck. Once it stops sitting back and taking damage, it is able to play large minion after large minion. It uses Molten and Mountain giants as well as Hooked Reaver that buffs itself once your life total is under 15. Similar to playing against a Big Priest, at some point the opponent runs out of ways to stop all the large creatures that continue to be played. Its weakness is of course that dangerously low life total.
Odd Paladin – Previously highlighted, this deck still frustrates opponents with its ability to have a constant board state of 1/1 Silver Hand Recruits that are waiting to be buffed with cards like Quartermaster and Fungalmancer. This deck is very weak to AOE and has trouble with tempo against larger minions.
Reno Priest – Similar to Renolock, this deck requires a good amount of skill to pilot. There are several different builds as well: N’Zoth deathrattle, Shadowreaper Anduin/Mind Blast and Dragon to name a few. A true control deck, Reno Priest is the master of board control and removal. Reno Priest utilizes removal cards like, Psychic Scream, Shadow Word Death, Lightbomb and Entomb to handcuff the opponent. It is able to be flexible with what removal it needs to what meta it is facing, provided there is only one of each card.
Pirate Warrior – Still good for a quick climb up the ladder, Pirate Warrior has added Sharkfin Fan to its arsenal from Rastakhan’s Rumble. This new card spawns a 1/1 pirate each time that your hero attacks. With cards like Cursed Blade, Death’s Bite and Arcanite Reaper at the player’s disposal, you should be able to get 3/3 value out of this two-cost card fairly easily. Much like Odd Rogue, Pirate Warriors burn out against heavy taunt and Reno decks.
Cubelock – This deck has been the source of many posted photos online of crazy boards filled with several Mal’Ganis minions created by copying and re-spawning Mal’Ganis, Doomguard or Voidlord for that matter with Carnivorous Cube and Bloodreaver Gul’dan. Cubelock can shut down aggro decks quickly, but also can get run over by them if it draws poorly and gets off to a slow start.
The great thing about Wild is the variety of decks that you can pilot as far as the deck, time and your skill level will take you. There are several other semi-viable decks that deserve a mention like, Big Rogue, Exodia Mage, Reno Mage and Reno Hunter. Team 5 seems to be pulling in the reins on power creep a bit with this expansion again, much like they did with Boomsday. With Wild, we need big hitter cards like Emperor Thaurissan, The Lich King or Dr. Boom to make an impact on the meta. Until that type of card comes along the meta will remain mostly unchanged. There nerfs are at least a good step toward balancing things out.