Important cards we are losing in Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven standard rotation

In Hearthstone’s upcoming standard rotation we are losing all the cards from Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazahn, and The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan to the wild format. You might be surprised to find that many of these cards were the cornerstone of several significant deck archetypes. Few viable decks will survive in the Year of the Raven, leaving us to lean heavily on the new expansion when it comes out.

Which cards are we losing and how will it affect the meta as a whole? Let’s take a look.

So Long C’Thun

C’Thun decks were only meta relevant shortly after Whispers of the Old Gods released, but it will still be sad to see them go. The days of Armor Warrior, Beatstick Druid and even Spell’thun Mage are long gone, but for a brief moment this tentacle monster had his time in the spotlight.

Singleton Decks are Dead

With Raza nerfed and Kazakus rotating out, there’s basically no reason to play singleton decks anymore. Reno is already in wild and the other two singleton cards, Krull and Solia, didn’t really see play. Unless another major singleton card is printed in the next expansion, the era of singleton decks is over.

Jade Everything

Ding Dong, Jade is dead! Jade everything! That means Jade Shaman’s Jade Claws. That means Jade Druid’s infinite golems. That means Jade Rogue, which never really became a thing but, hey, it’s dead for good measure. No more infinite value. No more one mana 20/20 golems.

Just Reiterating, Jade Druid is Dead

I’m not sure players are aware of how many major Druid cards belonged to the Jade suite. Jade Idol, Jade Spirit, Aya Blackpaw, Jade Blossom and Jade Behemoth are all rotating out. That’s a good third of some Druid decks.

Aggro Druid Loses It’s Marks

Jade Druid isn’t the only deck to take a hit. Aggro Druid is also hurting. It already was nerfed into unviability with the Patches nerf. However, now it is losing Mark of the Lotus and Mark of Y’Shaarj, two must-run cards in every aggro build. For good measure, it is also losing Enchanted Raven, its preferred turn 1 opening.

Druid Loses Its Combo Pieces

Perhaps the most profound lost to druid is Fandral Staghelm. This changed the way Druids played their “choose” cards and its loss will cause us to re-evaluate the utility of those cards going forward. Druid also lost Kun, the Forgotten King which basically gets rid of the Malygos Druid archetype.

Druid Loses Several Powerful Tools

There were several Druid decks that never saw mainstream play and now they will never get a chance to. The loss of Menagerie Warden means Beast Druid is dead. Feral Rage and Moonglade Portal are rotating out, along with Dark Arakkoa, making Control Druid a thing of the past. Druid also loses a powerful ramping tool in Mire Keeper. Honestly, it’s completely unclear what Druid will do in the upcoming meta. We will have to wait and see what new cards they get.

Hunter Loses It’s Opening

The most successful Hunter decks tended to be either Aggro or Mid-Range, and both require strong turn one drops. Unfortunately, both these decks require strong turn one openings, and Hunter is losing two of its best in Alleycat and Fiery Bat. It also loses its best turn two play in Kindly Grandmother, reducing the power of a class that already wasn’t showing up in top tier play.

...And Also Some Mid-Range Filler

Outside of it’s opening, Hunter will be losing Cloaked Huntress, Infested Wolf, Cat Trick, Call of the Wild, Rat Pack and Dispatch Kodo. Hunter is going to need some serious help in the3-6 mana range in order to continue playing a Mid-Range strategy. It’s also sad that Secret Hunter and Spiteful Summoner Hunter will never get fleshed out into viable decks.

Secret Mage Is Gutted

Ice Block, Kabal Lackey, Medivh’s Valet and Kabal Crystal Runner are all getting phased into Wild, basically destroying the Secret Mage archetype. It’s a shame because this was one of the only viable Tier 1 builds that could compete with Cubelock in the current meta.

Several Other Solid Mage Tools Go As Well

Mage’s power has been decreased in general through the loss of Babbling Book, Volcanic Potion, Cabalist’s Tome and most notably Firelands Portal. Mage will also be losing Medivh, which will make it more difficult to get value out of Control, Big Spell and Grinder Mage archetypes. It looks like Mage might return to its standard Tempo build in the next rotation.

Paladin Loses Murloc Paladin

With the loss of Grimscale Chum and Vilefin Inquisitor, Murloc Paladin loses the majority of its early game murlocs. It also loses the ability to generate infinite murlocs as well as the ability to sneak murlocs out with Finja, who is also being phased out. It is unlikely that this archetype will survive, which is a shame because it was the only viable Murloc deck in the meta. It’s also worth noting that Hydrologist will no longer be able to discover Getaway Kodo, which was one of Paladin’s most powerful secrets.

Control Paladin

The loss of Wickerflame Burnbristle, Ragnaros Lightlord, Forbidden Healing and Ivory Knight has given Control Paladin fewer win-conditions, and fewer mid-game healing tools. It was already a low-tier deck, and these losses will likely push it into completely unviable status.

And Dude Paladin

Dude Paladin, a deck archetype centered around Silver Hand synergy, is a relatively new archetype that is doing well in the Cubelock meta. Unfortunately, the standard rotation will see it lose key pieces in Steward of Darkshire, Rallying Blade and Stand Against Darkness, making it likely that the archetype will be short-lived.

Also Buff Paladin (But That Wasn’t Good In The First Place)

Unfortunately, Buff Paladin never managed to get to high tier status, but it’s worth noting that we will be losing Grimestreet Outfitter, Smuggler’s Run and Grimestreet Enforcer anyway. Paladin is another one of those classes that won’t have a lot left going into the Year of the Raven, and will need some powerful new cards to support brand-new archetypes.

Big Priest Loses Tools and Win Conditions

One of the most annoying archetypes in the meta will be seriously defanged. Outside of losing Barnes and Y’Shaarj, a win condition and an enabler for the entire strategy, it also loses the Pint-Size Potion and Shadow Word: Horror combo, which was one of its major tools for controlling the board. It also loses Potion of Madness, which was a major tool against Aggro decks. Despite all these losses, the archetype might still survive. If Priest gets any other heavy mana win-conditions printed.

Dragon Priest Loses…. Everything

Dragon Priest is unfortunately losing everything that made it worth playing. Drakonid Operative, Dragonfire Poition, Netherspite Historian, Bookwyrm, all are phasing into wild. Dragon Priest even loses Kabal Talonpriest, which was just a very solid three-drop that allowed it to play on curve. Even with the amazing power of Duskbreaker, it’s unlikely this archetype will survive into the Year of the Raven.

Raza Priest Was Already Dead

With Raza nerfed the Singleton Priest archetype was already kicked out of the meta. The rotation will also see it losing all the aforementioned control tools as well as Priest of the Feast and Embrace the Shadow. It’s a moot point considering Raza and Kazakus are out of the meta as well, basically making the archetype impossible to run, but the loss of these other tools will make general Control Priest hard to run as well.

Deathrattle Priest Also Takes a Hit

Deathrattle Priest started to see a rise in play once Raza Priest was kicked out of the meta. However, post rotation it will be losing Shifting Shade, Mistress of Mixtures and N’Zoth, making it much weaker and costing it a win condition.

For the Heck of It, Let’s Gut Silence Priest Too

Kabal Songstealer and that meme turned combo piece, Purify, are also rotating out, bringing the Inner Fire priest archetype back to the jank pile.

Tempo Rogue Is Gone

Swashburglar, Patches and Shaku are all leaving the meta, making Tempo Rogue weaker than it already is. Unfortunately this gives Tempo Rogue few turn one plays, and with turn two dedicated to Keleseth, it likely won’t see a revival.

Kingsbane Rogue Too

Kingsbane Rogue loses a major enabler in Coldlight Oracle, as well as several weapon buffs in Southsea Squidface and Naga Corsair. While the archetype is technically still playable, it will be far less consistent and will lose its secondary win condition of milling the opponent to death.

Miracle Rogue is Weaker, but Will Persist

Miracle Rogue loses Counterfeit Coin, Xaril, Poisoned Mind and Shadow Strike, but Miracle Rogue has always been able to be played with just cards from the Basic and Classic sets, so it will likely stick around and will probably be the go-to Rogue archetype shortly after the rotation.

Goodbye Evolve

One of Shaman’s few viable archetypes, Evolve Shaman, is leaving the meta because its core card, Evolve, is leaving the meta. Unstable Evolution still exists, but it’s much less efficient. Both Doppelgangster and Thing from Below, the best Evolve targets in the game, are also phasing into Wild.

Goodbye 4 Mana 7/7

While Overload Shaman hasn’t been a viable archetype in a while, Flamewreathed Faceless was one of its core cards that was so powerful, it became a meme sensation all its own. Unfortunately this meme-lord will be banished to wild in the next rotation. Looks like we will have to come up with some other Hearthstone meme for the Year of the Raven.

Goodbye Dreams of Control Shaman

Shaman is losing so many good control tools, from Malestrom Portal, to Hallazeal, White Eyes to Jinyu Waterspeaker. Even Devolve is phasing out of the meta, and Hex isn’t run as much since it’s cost was nerfed to four mana. Control Shaman never really made a splash in the meta, but honestly, the Year of the Raven is looking horrible for any Shaman. It’s going to need a lot of powerful new cards to be viable.

Aggro and Discard Warlock Take Major Hits

Zoo and Discard Warlock builds are losing major pieces in Malchezaar’s Imp, Possessed Villager, Bloodfury Potion, Darkshire Councilman, Crystalweaver, Darkshire Librarian, and Silverware Golem. It’s unlikely that the discard build will see any play, though Zoo is likely to survive with its powerful Basic and Classic cards. Soulfire likely won’t be run as much, though. It’s discard drawback might be a price too high to pay without discard synergy.

Long Live Cubelock!

In theory Warlock is losing a lot of control tools. DOOM!, Blastcrystal Potion and Abyssal Enforcer are all phasing into wild. Too bad that Cubelock and Rinlock, the two highest tier Warlock builds, don’t run any of them. The only major card these builds are losing is Mistress of Mixtures, and it can find an easy replacement in Plated Beetle. Warlock is definitely going to be the class to beat in the new meta.

A Weakened Warrior Just Gets Weaker…

Warrior is one of the lowest tier classes in the game right now, and unfortunately it’s only going to get kicked while its down. The Pirate build will lost Bloodsail Cultists and N’Zoth’s First Mate. Along with Patches leaving the meta nerfed, Pirate Warrior won’t be very viable anymore.

…and Weaker…

You’d think this would make people turn to Taunt Warrior, what with Warrior’s powerful Taunt quest still in the meta. However, Taunt Warrior is losing Bloodhoof Brave, Alley Armorsmith, Dirty Rat, Infested Tauren, and the Curator are also leaving the meta, giving it fewer taunts to play in order to complete the quest.

…and Weaker…

So maybe players can rely on good old Control Warrior, but it too is losing tools. Ravaging Ghoul and Sleep with the Fishes are both leaving the meta, giving Warrior fewer control tools to play around with, and with the C’Thun package leaving the meta, Warrior loses one of its only ways to gain lots of mana all at once. Warrior is another class that will be in rough shape after the rotation and will require many new cards to be printed in order to be viable.

That’s all the cards we could think of. What cards will you miss in the Year of the Raven? Let us know in the comments.