This week’s Tavern Brawl is Top Two. You choose two cards, and your entire deck will filled with fifteen of each of the cards you chose. It’s the most fun brawl in a long time, with everyone trying out their own combinations and spamming their favourite streamers with which wonky deck to play next. With such fast games, a meta has appeared and shifted incredibly quickly, morphing over the course of a single day. Here are my experiences playing several dozen games over the first day, and many more since:
First I thought about how I could do the most amount of damage with a few cards, and I thought of Priest’s Mind Blast. I figured creating a semblance of a board would be good too, so I used a Shadowbomber + Mind Blast combination. It worked alright, until I met another Priest using Light of the Naaru, who demolished me. I amended my deck to be Shadowbomber + Light of the Naaru, making use of the damage I was dealing to my own face in order to create a massive board. It worked quite well until I faced someone using Mana Wyrms, and the Wyrms had three health, so they beat my Shadowbombers efficiently, making me unable to win.
At this point I decided to go in another direction entirely, and I thought about making use of Innervates. At that point I thought Dr. Boom was the most overpowered minion I could Innervate out, so I tried that and got some great turn one concedes. Until I faced someone who answered my turn one Dr. Boom with his own turn two Innervated out Y’Shaarj. I immediately shamelessly copied it and had a blast making Y’Shaarj and then having him copy himself, filling my entire board with 10/10s. Unfortunately, I had to leave for a few hours. While I was gone I read the forums and everyone was talking about Naturalize + Coldlight Oracle as a quick Mill Druid. I came back and queued up and faced one, who immediately destroyed my Y’Shaarj and forced me to draw my entire deck.
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I once again used no scruples and copied the deck, seeing what it could and couldn’t beat. Turn five or six seemed to be fairly average for when I put my opponent into fatigue, and the deck worked splendidly. Until I faced a warrior running Training Dummy + Bolster. Turns out when you give them a ton of cards that cost zero, they can play them all! Who knew! That was a fun way to lose. The fatigue deck kept working well after that… until I faced Mechwarper. This is probably the strongest deck in the brawl, and also, in my opinion, the least fun. When they have three mana, they play Mechwarper into Mechwarper into two more for free, and then play whatever other mech they are running alongside it. The most common variant I saw was Mechwarper + Metaltooth Leaper, enabling a lethal attack on turn three or four, depending on whether you have the coin or not.
As someone who didn’t find the Mech decks interesting after the first few times seeing them, I kept playing a lot of fun random decks. I tried out Ice Block + Fireball, which worked a few times but not many, Prep + Burgle, which was fun but awful, and one of my favourites, Innervate + Coldlight Oracle. This deck is a ton of fun, because you basically play two thirds of your deck on turn one, as you just keep playing Innervates and Coldlights as you draw them. Obviously it gives your opponent a full hand as well, but they have to deal with seven 2/2s in play on turn two, so it works fairly well, and is hilarious to play.
Unfortunately, over the next two days, the Mech decks grew exponentially in popularity. Not only did they defeat all slower decks, they also beat the Mill decks because all of their cards cost zero to play, so having a full hand only helps them. At that point, I was facing around 75% Mech decks. So now an entirely new challenge begins. What beats the Mech decks reliably?
My first successful experiment was Mana Wyrm + Frost Nova. You play a few Mana Wyrms, and then you simply freeze their board with Nova every turn, killing them after only three or four turns of freezes. It takes very bad draws in order for this to fail. But with such an awesome brawl, I didn’t want to stick with just one deck, so I tried something new. Elemental Destruction + Eternal Sentinel. I actually got paired against a Training Dummy + Bolster Warrior, and he didn’t even know what hit him as I cleared out four Dummies with a single Elemental Destruction, simply overpowering him afterwards.
And this is where I’ve found myself, toying around with different decks in order to see what beats the current meta! I wanted to tell this story not only for the awesome experiences, but to discuss how the more innovative Tavern Brawls develop a meta in a matter of hours, and perfect it over the course of the week. Hearthstone players are masters of coming up with new unique ways to kill each other, and Blizzard is doing an excellent job of giving us new opportunities to do so. I plan to keep playing this brawl at length this week, and when it disappears I shall wave it off fondly. Thank you Blizzard, for one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve ever had!