The Plague Quarter hit last week with a bit of a whimper as many players could not participate for about 72 hours due to some issues with the purchase process when using gold. Luckily for me I was able to play it the first day as I purchased all of the wings with real money as a package. The boss fights were quite fun in this wing and the Heroic versions did offer a bit of a challenge. Here are links to the decks I used for each Heroic boss if anyone is still having issues:

Heroic Noth
Heroic Heigan
Heroic Loatheb

We’ll discuss each of the cards that were introduced this week and some decks that have been changed to include them. I’ll assign a letter grade to each one as well based on my current evaluations. The value will change as new cards come out and offer new synergy and combo potential. Let’s get started.

The Cards

Stoneskin Gargoyle

This is an interesting card that I’m sure will find it’s way into some decks at some point. At this time, however, it has not found its way into any of my decks and I haven’t seen it on the ladder yet. The dream would be to buff it with a Mark of the Wild or a Blessing of Kings and hope the opponent doesn’t have an answer. The problem, of course, is that most decks will have an answer and so while this card has a huge amount of potential it often won’t realize that potential.

Constructed: C

It’s not terrible but this card is average at best and won’t find much play until someone finds a deck that can utilize it in a creative way.

Arena: C+

Slightly better in arena since it could be up against a couple of really bad cards and could find some value as a tough to kill 3 drop. It’s still not very good though but hey, better than a Silverback Patriarch

Unstable Ghoul

This card can be very good in control Warrior and has been included in my version. It procs Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain and Frothing Berserker as well as giving a lot of board clearing potential with cards like Execute. However, not a lot of other decks can utilize this card nearly as well so you won’t see it very often outside of that one specific archetype. That said, it is very good in that one deck already so that gives the card enough value for a good grade.

Constructed: B

This card, as well as Sludge Belcher have actually buffed control warrior quite a bit so if a card can make an already good deck even better it deserves a decent grade.

Arena: B-

I think it’s a fine arena pick but there is no guarantee that you will have the built in synergy so it’s slightly worse in arena.

Sludge Belcher

Pay one extra mana and you get to throw a Goldshire Footman inside your Sen'jin Shieldmasta. This card is just plain good. 4/7 worth of stats for 5 mana is a fantastic deal and forcing an opponent to get through two taunts can prevent lethal in today’s combo heavy meta game on key turns. Fen Creeper was almost playable in constructed and this is a better card for the same price so look forward to seeing it in almost every control deck. It also has a lot of potential in token decks so it’s versatility increases it’s value even more.

Constructed: A-

So far this card is everywhere already and I don’t see that changing as new wings are released. It’s already being included in Control Warrior, Handlock, all Druid archetypes, Paladins, Priests and…well, you get the idea.

Arena: A

This will become an auto-pick in almost every case since the rare slot is actually rather weak at times. Only cards like Azure Drake challenge it for value and that’s saying something as Azure Drake is amazing.

Loatheb

Is there any deck that this card is not in? Loatheb is supposed to be the anti-Miracle Rogue card and it is. It’s also now in the Miracle rogue deck and for very good reasons. Loatheb prevents it’s own removal on an empty board. He disrupts combo turns that would otherwise kill you. Oh, and he’s also a 5/5 for 5 and eats yeti’s for breakfast. It’s just a damn good card and also benefits from the fact that the 5 slot is not very strong in a lot of classes. Expect this card to be in every deck you play against except Zoo.

Constructed: A+

My first A+ for any card. Loatheb card text should basically read, “Force your opponent to miss an entire turn”. Effectively, that is what this card does and it wins games.

Arena: A+

I’m not sure there is a legendary that I would pick over this. Maybe Ragnaros? No, not even Ragnaros.

Webspinner

This is probably the most fun card in the Naxx set and has made it’s way into a lot of beast themed Hunter decks. I’m not convinced it is a good card but if you like having fun when you play Hearthstone, and I like having fun doing anything, then how can you not put this card in your deck? Sure, sometimes you get an Angry Chicken or a Captain's Parrot but sometimes you get Savannah Highmane or King Krush. I think the drawback is worth it for the fun factor but I understand that the card may not be a keeper for competitive play. Time will tell.

Constructed: B-

I know! I get it! It’s not that good. I don’t care. I like it anyway.

Arena: C

It’s definitely worse in arena because you cannot guarantee that you will get cards that work with beasts like Starving Buzzard or Houndmaster but if you do have those cards already then I’d pick this if it was up against other average cards.

Duplicate

This is one of this cards that looks amazing at first glance but after imaging all of the scenarios it just isn’t as powerful as it seems. Yes, there are situations that could be game changing but since you cannot pop secrets on your own turn you are relying on your opponent to misplay and at a high level that is not how good decks are built.

One way to get value out of this card is to fill your deck with cards that you would want to get duplicated. However, that will end up gimping your deck overall as you will be making non-optimal deck choices to ensure value out of 1/15th of the deck. Again, not good deck building practices. Use this card at your own risk.

Constructed: C

It’s not terrible but it is a card that only really fits into certain decks and since the change to secrets, cards like this are unreliable.

Arena: C+

It does give you slightly more value in arena since you can use it almost like card draw which is a little more valuable since you cannot build it in purposely. Also, secrets do make your opponent change their play as they test out the possibilities.

Final Thoughts

As predicted Zoo and Miracle Rogue have died down quite a bit but are still prevalent. I think the best deck is currently the Control Warrior which is a place it has not been for some time. This was a very big week for the meta and the game feels very fresh with the addition of these 6 cards. This is the time that the better players can really shine as the people who can make the correct innovations get a window of time before the net decking begins and the field catches back up.

I recommend playing control decks right now as they got the biggest buff with Sludge Belchers and Loatheb. Aggro and Zoo are still fine for climbing the early stages of the ladder after reset though so the game has plenty of diversity right now. In fact, I think we are seeing some of the best balance we have in a long time. Priest can even be viable and they have been in the doghouse for an extended period of time.

Best advice I can really give though is to make sure the deck you are playing is one that you enjoy. I hear from people who say they are sick of playing Miracle and Zoo and I understand that sentiment. What I don’t understand is why you would still do something you don’t enjoy. This is a game people! Let’s all have some fun playing it.

See you next week for some new cards from the Military Wing.

Until then, job’s done!