Everyone knew there would be a good amount of room made in all of the classic archetypes when Goblins vs. Gnomes and Naxxramas cycled out. But there was some amount of hesitancy to name any specifics given the 134 cards that were also being added by Whispers of the Old Gods. And while that certainly came with it's own surprises like Darkshire Councilman, there's also been a resurgence of Classic/Expert cards that were previously sub-par. Here are five in particular that we've noticed a lot of, whether on the ladder or appearances in decklists, professional or otherwise.
5. Stampeding KodoStrangely enough it's Paladin decks that have been teching in Stampeding Kodo. Though the rise of Zoolock and more aggressive versions of Shaman have lent it some substance, the polarization of the meta has really given it some extra legitimacy. With such a large number of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron, Hope's End decks looking to make it all the way to Turn 10, there's added value for Paladins in particular. Aldor Peacekeeper gives you a chance at not only weakening a threat, but combining it with Kodo also allows you to take it off the board and gives you the shot at swinging tempo your way in a meta where some players are struggling to do so.
4. Loot HoarderThe demise of both Priests and Rogues ended up being greatly exaggerated now that we're a week into the new Old Gods meta. C'Thun has found its home in Priest, to the point where Druid is equaled if not surpassed despite having great C'Thun related class cards. Rogues too have found and ran with their classic Miracle archetype, but also continued to bolster its Deathrattle variant that frequently runs N'Zoth, the Corruptor. Both utilize Loot Hoarder pretty frequently as one of their main sources of card draw, something we weren't exactly expecting.
3. Harvest GolemSpeaking of Deathrattle Rogue, Harvest Golem has found itself firmly in contention for a spot among the archetype's staples. Both Kibler and Amaz have independently developed their own lists and both chose to include two copies of our old friend, the likes of which used to riddle the ladder. And considering Rogue is easily among one of the most popular classes on the ladder right now, we've been seeing a lot more of our mechanized friend than we've grown used to.
2. NourishFandral Staghelm alone was probably enough to get folks to consider running something that's historically been lacking like Nourish. But combine that with a slower meta that ironically no longer has to deal with combo decks and there's actually a chance you'll get away with running a single copy of this in your deck. C'Thun and Ramp Druid will clearly have issues playing this against the stronger Aggro Shaman and Pirate Warrior archetypes, but it's always good to see Hearthstone in a place where slower cards can afford play.
1. Shadow BoltBoth Trump and Thijs have been toying around with two Warlock archetypes that are still very much in fluctuation: Renolock and Renounce Darkness Warlock. Trump admittedly calls his decklist "highly experimental" and it makes sense that he would include two potentially sub-par removal spells simply because they're class cards. But it's interesting to note that Thijs has had great success on the ladder, going 30-7 with an 81% winrate from Rank 13 to 4, with his inclusion. It's a Reno Jackson centric deck so obviously there's only one copy of Shadow Bolt, but check the list and you'll notice he's chosen Shadow Bolt over Soulfire which has historically been far more likely to be run.
We suspect this is largely in part due to the increased number of four health minions like Gadgetzan Auctioneer, Frothing Berserker, Unearthed Raptor and the likes as Deathrattle Rogue and Patron Warrior continue to be prominent on the ladder.
Of course we're only one week into the new Whispers of the Old Gods meta so things can still shift rapidly, away from what we're already becoming accustomed to, but it's refreshing to see some old faces return after what feels like an eternity of GvG reigning.