The heavily anticipated first wing of Naxxramas finally hit last week and with it came 6 new cards to shake up the meta game of Hearthstone. Many people have been complaining that the meta had been stale for some time so Naxx is here just in time. While there are 30 cards coming in the Naxx expansion eventually we only got 6 this week and the cards will be introduced over the next 5 weeks in smaller groups which means the meta will evolve each week by a smaller amount.

Let’s go over each of the cards that were introduced this week and what decks have started to utilize them. We’ll also grade the cards based on what we’ve seen so far. Keep in mind that even though these cards are out now their value will change each week as new cards come out and the meta shifts again. For now we are only worried about how these cards have affected the existing meta game.

The Cards

Haunted Creeper - if we apply the vanilla test to this card we can see that we’ll get 3/4 worth of stats for 2 mana which on its face looks like fantastic value. However, the Deathrattle has to pop to get full value and the Spectral Spiders do not come out with Charge so the value is staggered over a few turns. This makes the card slightly above average in arena but great in certain decks that run a lot of buff cards like Zoo.

The Haunted Creeper is also a beast so it has synergy in Hunter decks, however, it is important to note that the Spectral Spiders that are spawned from the Creepers Deathrattle are not beasts so you do not get extra draws with a Starving Buzzard like you do with the Savannah Highmane’s Deathrattle.

Constructed: B

This card is useful in aggro, Hunter and Zoo so it has a place in the meta and should be viable for a while.

Arena: B-

Slightly worse in arena as you cannot guarantee that you will have buff cards but the expected value of 3/4 worth of stats will still hit more often than not so this card is definitely a worthy pick.

Nerub'ar Weblord - the vanilla test here is 5 stats for 2 which is average but the 1 attack means that this card won’t kill many minions without getting buffed. The effect of increasing the mana cost of minions with Battlecry is effective in decks that do not utilize many Battlecry effects but at this point there aren’t very many of these decks around. Once the rest of the Naxx cards are released there will likely be some Deathrattle decks and this card will be great in those.

Currently I have seen some people play this card in decks like Miracle Rogue but increasing the mana cost of your Leeroy Jenkins can be really bad so I don’t necessarily recommend that. It’s one of those cards that require the deck to be built around its inclusion and so the decks that will really benefit this card haven’t been created yet. That said, this card is very intriguing and should get better as more wings become available.

Constructed: C-

There just aren’t enough decks that can utilize this card yet so we won’t see it’s full power until the rest of Naxx is released.

Arena: D

The stats aren’t great since you can’t trade effectively and there are too many good Battlecry cards that you will want to pick yourself to make this a solid arena draft pick. I’d stay away from this one for now.

Nerubian Egg - this card is one that has been highly anticipated and now that it is out, I must say, it has not disappointed. The vanilla test on this card is 4/6 for 2 mana, again, staggered over a few turns via a Deathrattle. The upside on this card far outweighs the potential downsides. The worst case scenario is that it is stolen by a Cabal Shadow Priest but more commonly it will be Silence effects. If silenced you basically spent 2 mana on a totem with no abilities. However, no deck should run this card without buff cards to activate it so you can still squeeze some value out of the 0/2 body that is left behind.

Warlock has the best tools to get the maximum value from the Nerubian Egg. Void Terror is making a comeback since it can give you a potential 3/5 and 4/4 on board after turn 3 which is a really tough board to deal with for any deck. Warlock also has Power Overwhelming which allows them to attack for 4 and then leave the 4/4 body behind after the turn.

Shaman also has a lot of ways to get value so you will see this card played in Shaman as well. Outside of these classes, however, we aren’t seeing the Nerubian Egg in every deck as some people had predicted. That said, this is still the best card to come out of the first wing of Naxx.

Constructed: A

Enough decks that are popular are using this card to give it an A. It has caused the meta to shift into a heavy Zoo/Anti-Zoo phase. Any card that affects the meta this much by itself is a card that has value.

Arena: B-

It is not guaranteed that you will draft cards that can activate the Nerubian Egg but if you do get some of this cards early on then this pick can be very good later on but be aware of the picks you have already made before grabbing this card.

Maexxna - this is an interesting Legendary but has been largely thought of as a bad card by a lot of top level players so far. It can have insane value if the opponent has no answer but the answers are fairly common so it doesn’t appear that this card will be very playable in the current meta. Stampeding Kodo kills it outright. Cabal Shadow Priest and Shadow Word: Pain deal with it easily. A weapon swing plus a creature will often kill it off and at that point you have spent 6 mana so it can be a huge negative tempo swing.

In a Priest deck this card could be amazing as you can kill any creature and heal it up to continue to gain value. Out side of Priest it is going to be tough to find a deck that has a spot for Maexxna so be wary.

Constructed: C-

It’s just a bit too slow for most decks but there are some control decks that may make use of this card. In the 6 slot cards like Sylvanas and Cairne will likely always be a bit better.

Arena: C

This would be a fine pick if it goes against cards like The Beast and Tinkmaster Overspark but in most situations there will be a better selection.

Anub'ar Ambusher - this card looks overpowered at first glance but in most cases the Deathrattle will be detrimental unless the deck is built to take advantage of it. In the new aggressive Backspace Rogue this card has some interesting uses but so far it has mostly found it’s way into some Tempo style Rogue decks and that is still not the common way to play the class at this time. Once the next wing hits and Loatheb either completely removes or greatly decreases the amount of Miracle Rogues this card may see more use but until then I’d say that this card is average.

Constructed: C+

Even though I believe it is fairly average it is still a 5/5 for 4 so it can create some tough boards to deal with. However, a card like King Mukla take the slot that this card fits into and do it even better.

Arena: B

In arena this card can be fantastic if you can avoid the Deathrattle as a negative and since it can be such a great card to top deck toward the end of the game I feel that it has more value than it does in constructed.

Poison Seeds - combined with Starfall this can be a board wipe but for 9 mana there are much better ways to deal with an opponents board. In heavy Deathrattle decks that may be popular once all of the wings of Naxx are out this card could have some cool utility but for now it has not made any waves in the current meta. In fact, after a full week of play I have not seen it played one time against me nor have I played it myself. Maybe I am missing something but this card just has not ended up on any lists that I have seen yet.

Constructed: D

It doesn’t do enough in combination with the existing cards in a Druid deck but that may change as the next wings of Naxx hit.

Arena: D

Arena doesn’t change the fact that the amount of stats that would be removed by this card just aren’t worth the 4 mana cost and the card slot in almost all situations. Avoid this card unless it is up against absolute garbage.

Final Thoughts

So far the meta has not been drastically altered by the first wing of Naxx but the changes that have occurred are visible. The Nerubian Egg has increased the number of Warlocks, and especially Zoo locks, to even higher levels than before. In turn this means more anti-Zoo decks have begun to pop up so right now that deck is defining the meta game.

Next week the Plague Quarter will hit and we will see Stoneskin Gargoyle, Unstable Ghoul, Sludge Belcher and Loatheb so this is likely going to cause a shift away from Zoo and from Miracle Rogue but only time will tell. We will discuss these cards next week after having a chance to play with and against them all. I do not see the class cards, Duplicate and Webspinner, having a huge affect on the meta but I could be wrong.

As each wing comes out the meta will further evolve and so the next month of play will be quite volatile but at the same time quite fun. I look forward to seeing the effects of each wing and I want to hear from you guys as well. Comment below and let me know how the cards have affected the meta game in your experience.

Job’s done!