The second wing of The League of Explorers has come out this past week, and with it the second legendary explorer: Brann Bronzebeard. Like Reno Jackson, Brann comes with his own never before seen ability. His card reads: Your Battlecries trigger twice. Just like last week, this opens up entirely new deck options, causing viable cards to become stronger and less viable cards to suddenly find a place in the meta game. After last week’s success of Reno Jackson, many people have been theory crafting decks for Brann to go in. Here are some of the existing decks that will be benefited, as well as some potentially new decks.
The most viable deck that Brann will fit inside that is currently in the meta game is Handlock. Brann is extremely strong as a turn 3 drop by itself, since it has a nice big body, and has pseudo-taunt since your opponent will want to clear it quickly. If it sticks around, it can lead into an amazing turn four Twilight Drake with fifteen or more health. It can also be used in conjunction with many of their late game cards, such as Antique Healbot – eight mana heal for sixteen anyone? Or other heals such as Refreshment Vendor or Earthen Ring Farseer, or even aggressive cards such as Dr. Boom. Brann basically helps Handlock to have infinite survivability, which is perfect for a deck that’s card advantage is directly related to its health.
The most interesting deck that currently exists but will benefit from Brann is Mill Rogue. This deck is based entirely around forcing your opponent to run out of cards and die to fatigue damage, and is based largely around Coldlight Oracles to force cards out of your opponent’s deck. As is, you are forced to use Coldlights several times over using Shadowstep and Gang Up, but with Brann you are able to mill your opponent for a full four cards per cast. If you were to play Brann Bronzebeard, Coldlight Oracle, Shadowstep, Coldlight Oracle, you would take EIGHT cards out of your opponent’s deck using only three cards and seven mana – an extremely reasonable situation. It can also be used with Antique Healbots again, for huge bursts of healing. I don’t know if this will make Mill Rogue a top tier deck, but it will certainly allow for a lot of amazing plays, and its new found viability should not be discounted.
Another deck that looks as if it will get much stronger with the addition of Brann is Dragon Priest. Cards like Twilight Whelp and Twilight Drake with amazing battlecries will become even stronger, and cards like Blackwing Corrupter become six damage bombs, while Azure Drakes draw two cards. There can even be incredible Shrinkmeister plays when it reduces an enemy minion’s attack by four. Brann can easily make a deck like this significantly better.
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So what new decks can spawn? Well lots of Battlecries do damage, so minion destroying decks built with Flame Jugglers, Keeper of the Groves, Bomb Lobbers, etc. could be effective. Cards with random effects such as Bomb Lobber are especially strong since it can target two different targets (typically if a Battlecry effect would target a minion, it would target the same minion twice with Brann in play, you cannot target two different minions). So having random Battlecry effects as an entire deck archetype could suddenly be viable. Imagine a Madder Bomber throwing twelve bombs when it comes into play!
There are also an entire set of minions which create other minions when they come into play. Cards like Murloc Tidehunter, Dragonling Mechanic, and Silver Hand Knight now have huge tempo swings, and pair those with a Frostwolf Warlord, and suddenly you have a 16/16 in play! And don’t even get me started with a Brann + Quartermaster play, imagine a board full of 5/5 Silver Hand Recruits! Hunters can make a lot of plays with Brann as well, as Ram Wrangler pulls out two beasts, and Houndmaster makes one beast into a veritable monster.
There are two extremely interesting mechanics that have to be discussed though. The first is the interaction introduced in TGT, Joust. Joust effects will now go off twice, giving two opportunities for the card’s effect to go off, resulting in potentially two activations. Imagine a Tuskarr Jouster healing for fourteen! The other new ability is the discover mechanic. If you combine Brann and discover, you will be given the opportunity to discover TWO cards! This is great with Jeweled Scarab or Dark Peddler, but it also has the potential to be game-finishing with Arch-Thief Rafaam, who discovers an incredibly powerful card. If it could discover two of these cards, you could potentially do 20 damage over the course of the next two turns using the discovered cards alone, often enough to close out a game.
After the success of Reno Jackson last week, the community has proven that it is definitely worth building a slightly worse deck for a potentially amazing ability. What will emerge this week is something no one can predict, the potential is endless! I’m sure we’ll be seeing many new archetypes emerging over the course of the next few weeks as these new explorers shape the meta, especially as they begin to interact with each other.