Looking to up your arena game after the launch of Hearthstone's Whispers of the Old Gods expansion? Here's what you need to know for arena dominance.
Whispers of the Old Gods is finally here, with all of its eldritch abominations and corrupted creatures and nasty tentacles, and while its impact on the meta on the whole is still a little up in the air, the impact it's had on arena is pretty clear. For the most part, the classes are more or less the same in terms of balance, but there are some interesting shakeups worth looking at. Here's what we know.
If you were hoping that this expansion would shake loose Mages, Paladins, and Rogues from the top of the arena charts, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Some of the other classes have gotten cards that will help them be competitive, but the things that made these three classes so strong (mostly their hero powers and some select common cards) have not changed.
Mages received a very powerful card in the form of Faceless Summoner, which gives a ton of stats for relatively cheap. Twilight Flamecaller is another powerful card that does nothing but give you board control and add to the Mage's ability to lay down a ton of damage for cheap. Combine that with Flamestrike, Fireball, and Polymorph, and you've got a class that's still dominant in arena.
Paladins still have all of the cards that made them great, and even though the terrifyingly powerful Murloc Knight now has a slightly less impressive pool of murlocs to pull from, it's still a potential game changer. New cards like Rallying Blade and Divine Strength allow Paladins to do what they already do, but better -- buff their creatures and let them trade favorably.
Rogues are also still powerful with their cheap damage and good removal, and Whispers of the Old Gods has been good to them. Shadow Strike is a amped-up backstab, and cards like Undercity Huckster and Bladed Cultist give card advantage and board control to rogues that can make use of them. Of course, Dark Iron Skulker and SI:7 Agent are still around and still as powerful as ever, so Rogues have plenty of options for staying dominant.
It may be hard to believe, but after all this time, Warriors are finally competitive in arena. They're not as strong as the trinity above, but they've been given some very good tools that make them strong where they were weak before. N'Zoth's First Mate is an incredibly good turn one play that synergizes extremely well with Bloodsail Cultist, giving Warriors the strong opening play that they've been hurting for. New cards like Ravaging Ghoul, Blood to Ichor, and Bloodhoof Brave are great in arena, and since the arena algorithm favors cards from the new expansion, you're likely to be able to pull some of these awesome new combos. Enjoy your Warrior dominance while it lasts!
All of the remaining classes have been given some useful tools that make them competitive in arena, but not enough to shake up the meta. Shamans have gotten some powerful tools in the form of Flamewreathed Faceless, Thing From Below, and Master of Evolution. Hunters are able to curve a little better with Infested Wolf, Carrion Grub, and Fiery Bat. Druids didn't get much aside from decent picks like Mark of Y'Shaarj and Mire Keeper, but they're baseline strong. Priests and Warlocks still struggle because of their reliance on combos and synergies, but cards like Darkshire Alchemist and Forbidden Ritual help a bit.
All classes should be on the lookout for powerful new cards like Bog Creeper, Nerubian Prophet, and Abberant Berserker. It's never been easier to put stats out on the board, so don't pass these big arena baddies up.
Have some thoughts of your own? Disagree with our analysis? Let us know in the comments, and good luck!