Earlier this week not a single person would have disagreed with the opinion that Arcane Giant would be a very strong card in certain decks. What they couldn't possibly have predicted is that it would somehow manage to overshadow Barnes himself, one of the most highly anticipated cards in all of One Night In Karazhan.
Giants in Hearthstone are expensive minions that are impossible to play unless you use their effects to reduce their mana cost. This differs based on the giant but they're all pretty simple. Mountain Giant costs one mana less for each card in your hand. Sea Giant costs one less for each minion on the field. Blizzard has now released a total of three additional giants since Hearthstone first released and Arcane Giant is the first of those that will realistically see play.
Pro players were initially fond of the new card due to the prevalence of Yogg-Saron, Hope's End decks that run a ton of spells already, due to the synergy with the Old God. And while they have indeed easily found themselves inserted into those decks, they've also taken some other archetypes by surprise and even helped resurrect some older relatives that haven't seen play for some time.
There's still some debate as to whether running two copies is too greedy as you can potentially find yourself with two dead cards in hand early on, but it will see play regardless. Token Druid loves to cast spells and the opportunity to summon an 8/8 for cheap and bait out hard removal is fantastic. We spent a few hours last night playing this list ourselves and it's so much easier to keep your board alive now that it has additional threats.
Thijs meanwhile has been experimenting with a Miracle Rogue that uses a few Arcane Giants. Similarly to Token Druid, the added threats help ensure that Edwin VanCleef and your Gadgetzan Auctioneers survive.
But it's OTK Warrior that's getting the most traction by far. Prior to actually getting their hands on it, many were wondering why you would even consider running the giants over Raging Worgen. At first glance the Worgen looked much more consistent, but what Senfglas stumbled upon was the removal of the necessary cards for the Worgen combo made room for Grim Patron and Whirlwind. This gives you an opportunity to have some sort of mid-game and eliminate a lot of the dead cards the archetype typically has in hand. Additionally you're able to outright win through value from either the patrons or giants or save the combo as a finisher.
"From what I've tried so far the deck works okay with the sprinkling of Patrons in it; I can't wait to see how much people experiment with it," comments Noxious.
Reynad spent a significant amount of time streaming the deck last night and made a number of changes based on his experiences. It's still to early to tell whether there are right or wrong as his sample size is small, relatively speaking. He instead plays a very focused version that uses Blood Warriors to copy Arcane Giants and fill the board with pressure. He also seems to have settled on Mukla, Tyrant of the Vale as a good way of continually activating his Wild Pyromancers and drawing cards through Acolyte of Pain.
Senfglas is against the Blood Warriors inclusion saying, "I think that card is just bad compared to the 30 cards that are in the deck so far."
Noxious treads a line down the middle, opting to run a single copy of the Raging Worgen combo alongside the new additions. "52 damage maximum with the full Worgen combo," he says, "38 if Giants get all the buffs, etc. Blood Warriors with Giants gives you a way to handle the walls that Druid can sometimes put up."
Not all pro players have made the jump just yet however. Orange doesn't have any experience playing the deck, but he still has concerns, "My problem with those Patron decks is just that they were too slow a month ago. And Arcane Giant doesnt fix that at all, but I didnt play the [relatively new] Pyro-package [either]."
Considering how strong Warriors have been in the Whispers of the Old Gods meta, it's easy to see why some aren't entirely excited by the possibility of yet another new archetype. Arcane Giants could find a home in plenty of other decklists though and that's a great thing for the One Night In Karazhan adventure. Many have been focused entirely on the third wing and completely overlooked the potential impact that we're seeing right now.
Team Dignitas' Kranich probably says it best, "[To be honest] I never realized that new set will change the metagame this much. There are too many decks to test and play so its another tryhard time."
For more One Night In Karazhan info, make sure to head on over to our adventure guide.