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Why Aggro Isn't Going Anywhere

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With great insight Team Metaminds delivers you unique, knowledgeable and amazing guides, decklists, discussion posts and more that you'll certainly determine to be helpful for your Hearthstone experience.

 

Why Aggro Isn't Going Anywhere

Darius Matuschak

by Darius

As new expansions are released, people consistently insist on the fact that the Meta is going to "slow down". That 10 Drops will be found in all sorts of decks, that Aggro will not stand a chance anymore. It's what people said after the reveal of TGT cards like Flash Heal, Power Word: Heal or even Bolf Rammshield. But time and time again, Aggro doesn't care. Aggro decks won't die off. They still consistently manage to hit the face. 

Admittedly, on paper Aggro might have a problem. Leper Gnome, Arcane Golem, Knife Juggler and Ironbeak Owl were all very important tools for all sorts of Aggro decks, and all of these cards got thrown under the Nerfhammer. Additionally, cards like Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Shielded Minibot, Glaivezooka, Implosion and Nerubian Egg are leaving Standard rotation amongst others.  

So after hearing the compelling argument of many Aggro cards being nerfed or simply rotated out, you might even consider that Aggro was actually hit the hardest by the recent Nerf/rotation changes. That however isn't the case. In fact, the decks that got hit the most by the rotation changes were Heavy Control decks, such as Control Priest, Control Warrior or even Freeze Mage.  

Control Priest is one of my favourite decks to play right now, and I highly recommend playing this list by Kolento. But if you look at it closely you'll notice that a whopping eight (!) cards are leaving the deck, and it doesn't even run the popular Shrinkmeister duo. But not only is the sheer number concerning, but the importance of these cards themselves: Zombie Chow, Deathlord and Velen's Chosen are vital in order to stop anything Aggro-related bashing in your face. In fact against Aggro, these cards together with Wild Pyromancer are probably the most important tools Control Priest has in order to deal with Aggro at all. Yes, Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing is an amazing Turn 4 Board clear, but not only do you need to draw it until then, but if you can do nothing but Hero Power against an Aggro deck until Turn 4, you'll probably still end up losing even with a complete board wipe. Talking about board wipes, Lightbomb also leaves the rotation, which makes the Demon Zoo and Patron Warrior matchup so painfully unfair it's not even funny. And since you have no Velen's Chosen in order for your Holy Nova to do 3 damage, you really aren't in the best position. 

Now other Control and Midrange decks don't look in the best of shapes either: Rogue loses its old Blade Flurry, and even though the new one still works as a board clear, it's a lot harder to fence off early aggression due to the 4 Mana cost. Warrior loses Death's Bite, a vital card to keep charging minions at bay in particular due to its Deathrattle, Shieldmaiden and Unstable Ghoul will be gone as well. Druid's Keeper of the Grove was so heavily nerfed that I can't see it being played anymore, and Freeze Mage now needs to play Secrets from Hand, additionally to being unable to fish for specific Secrets by playing say an Ice Block and then kill off Mad Scientist in order to get that guaranteed Ice Barrier. With Sludge Belcher, Loatheb and Antique Healbot we lose essential Neutral cards that can buy important time against all sorts of Aggro decks.  

The biggest issue with all these changes, for Control players in particular, is that there are practically no replacements. Yes, Shaman gets a Legendary that can heal absurd amounts of health, and C'Thun Warriors will have a an upgraded Shieldmaiden by Turn 7, but there simply are no proper replacements for Zombie Chows, Sludge Belchers, Healbots and Deathlords.  

 

Aggro Decks however got new toys to play with: Face Hunter's get a 2/1 Beast with a Deathrattle that deals 1 random damage, which is fantastic value in addition to its ability to trigger Kill Command, a 3/1 Stealth Worgen for 2 Mana, which basically is a 2 Mana charge, in Aggro Paladin it might even do more due to potential buffs, and Aggro Shamans are having a field day with Flamewreathed Faceless not only being a 4 Mana 7/7 (!!) but potentially buffing their Tunnel Troggs too. 

Additionally, many of the "nerfed" Aggro cards were not heavily nerfed but rather tweaked: Leper Gnome turned from the best Neutral 1 Drop in the game into a reasonable Aggro card, and Knife Juggler will still be an absolute nuisance, that your opponent will abuse, but you'll get neverlucky with. Yes, Arcane Golem is basically on Warsong Commanders level of unplayability now, but you can just replace it with more Argent Horseriders/Wolfriders, Twisted Worgens or good old Leeroy.  

Lastly, we technically already have the number one killer of Aggro: Reno Jackson. You'd think in a format where he's decently popular people would completely stop running Aggro, since once he's healed you back to full health, there is practically no way for most Aggro decks to burst down another 30 damage, right? But nonetheless, people still run Face Hunter, still run Aggro Shaman, Aggro Druid, Aggro Paladin, you name it. Because as long as there are non-hard Control decks around that have a tough time against Aggro, Aggro will prevail. 

So don't rejoice too quickly when claiming that Aggro is dead, this time for sure. Because people like me have already been brewing Aggro decks that will be the next "cancer" infesting the ladder and giving you a hard time. To save us all some time, not playing matches that go for 20+ minutes, and, very simply, to win. In fact, have two suggestions for WoToG Aggro decks already: