One of the most interesting additions to Hearthstone in the Knights of the Frozen Throne are the new hero cards. Whenever you play one, it replaces your hero and hero power - but with a corrupted version of one the nine heroes we know and love! Some of them have more powerful effects than others, but all are something very new.
Since every player is guaranteed at least one of these new death knight heroes by completing the prologue, we thought we'd take a look at the top death knight deck for each class in Ranked Standard. All of these decks were played at least 100 times since the release of KFT across all ranks. This is relatively sparse, so take the results with a grain of salt; but it is an interesting look at some of the decks with... crazier results.
At the time of writing this article, some of the decks do not have enough data for us to show the Mulligan Guide. Nonetheless you'll be able to click through; if you've played this deck as a premium subscriber you'll now be able to view your personal statistics and Mulligan Guide, just for this deck! Strick around to the end of the article to learn more about this new feature or click here for the full announcement.
|2||Druid Deck||Malfurion the Pestilent||66.66|
|6||Hunter Deck||Deathstalker Rexxar||59.55|
|7||Mage Deck||Frost Lich Jaina||57.81|
|3||Paladin Deck||Uther of the Ebon Blade||63.55|
|1||Priest Deck||Shadowreaper Anduin||70.09|
|9||Rogue Deck||Valeera the Hollow||51.96|
|4||Shaman Deck||Thrall, Deathseer||62.26|
|5||Warlock Deck||Bloodreaver Gul'dan||60.19|
|8||Warrior Deck||Scourgelord Garrosh||57.65|
Druid, Hunter and Mage
Let's start off by looking at the Druid deck: with around 67% percent winrate, this deck is among the better death knight decks - some of that can surely be attributed to one of the strongest cards in this new set: Ultimate Infestation. The rest of the deck is a solid Jade Druid, if not the strongest variant (they don't seem to be running the hero card) definitely one of the more fun ones. The Choose One minions can be a gamesaver in some situations, and the hero power with it's choice between +3 attack and +3 armor is definitely one of the more versatile ones. As is usual with Jade Decks this deck shines in the lategame, so the earlier you get Malfurion the Pestilent, the more you'll benefit from it. Scroll down a bit to grab the decklist, if you're curious to try it out.
Dissecting the Hunter deck, we're seeing a completely different story. Secrets everywhere, most of the cards extremely cheap: This is an aggressive deck, remnicent of the old Secret Paladin, with mana-efficient cards that can often be played on curve. Additionally, Professor Putricide is a 4 mana 5-4 which pulls out secrets from your decks while he's in play - not quite the controversial Dr. 6 of old times. While this deck currently hovers around 60% winrate, it might be benefitting of this fresh meta the same way all aggressive decks benefit: by punishing the unrefined, more experimental decks that mark the availability of new cards. Deathstalker Rexxar is definitely among the slowest cards in the deck, but it might just be worth using the heropower, Build-a-beast, once the game reaches later stages and the Hunter is running low on cards. Time will tell whether this version (or a variation thereof) remains competitive.
The Mage deck looks very familiar and is basically just a slightly tweaked version of one of Un'Goro's omnipresent Freeze Mages. The most interesting additions are the two Water Elementals to synergize with Frost Lich Jaina. One would expect more Elementals to synergize from the bonus lifesteal, but with the battlecry and hero power, this Mage shouldn't struggle with developing life-stealing Elementals rapidly. With a 57% winrate, experienced Freeze Mage players from the last meta are probably benefitting from very similar gameplay, with the added dimension of some health recovery and additional board control plus weapon denial by constantly freezing the enemies. This variation could definitely become more prevalent, even though the actual deck list might still see some adjustments .
Paladin, Priest and Rogue
Here's one of the top three: the Paladin! With a 64% winrate this Murloc deck fares not too bad, and does bring some new cards like Righteous Protector, Skelemancer, Bonemare, The Lich King and obviously the corrupted Uther. We are seeing a stronger variation slowly overtake this more experimental version at the time of writing, utilizing much less cards. It looks like Righteous Protector is here to stay as one of the strongest 1-drops though. With 9 mana, Uther of the Ebon Blade is one of the more expensive death knights, and while the hero power reads like a crazy idea, it actually doesn't work out often enought to really justify keeping him in the deck. The Lifestealing weapon is is nice bonus, but at 9 mana a single 5 damage swing is sometimes just too slow - even playing a The Curator instead could have quite a bit more impact.
Unsurprisingly, the new Priest deck is the strongest decks of all we're comparing here - thanks to quite a few new powerful cards. Even though this deck is quite the Highlander mix of various cards, we've been seeing it perform at over 70% winrate. Granted, the sample size isn't enormous, and it tries to do a lot of things at once, but the numbers stand nonetheless. The deck has a curious mix of cards over all the recent expansions and must definitely be among the more fun decks to play since you have no idea what to expect: There's N'Zoth for that huge late game board cementing win, Shadowreaper Anduin to clear an oppressive board full of minions at 5+ attack, but also Shadow Visions+Elise the Trailblazer for those Un'Goro packs, and even the The Black Knight to deal with all those Lich Kings. We'll most surely see this deck change in the coming weeks, based on the KFT meta (cough), but right now it stands at the top.
Directly in contrast, the "best" Rogue deck is the sad loser of this article. With the winrate hovering just below 52%, Valeera the Hollow does not seem to be working out for the players. Once again a very expensive death knight at 9 mana, the effect is very minimal: one turn of Stealth, protecting you possibly from lethal, and a hero power that you can effectively use to double one card a turn. Theres also just one other new card from KFT: a single copy of Bone Baron, probably as activator for Edwin VanCleef, Sherazin, Corpse Flower and other combo cards. All in all, at the time of writing Rogue is hovering well below 50% winrate, but after the long reign of Quest Rogue before the nerf, I'm sure not too many players mind this.
Shaman, Warlock and Warrior
The Shaman deck is not too revolutionary, it's basically what you expect from an Un'Goro Evolve Shaman remixed with Saronite Chain Gang for even more evolve targets and obviously Thrall, Deathseer. While the death knight basically casts a double evolve upon play, his hero power allows him to target single minions for a more precise evolve.
At 62% this winrate this deck is not performing too badly, but we are tracking a lot of different variations. Most swap in one copy of Aya Blackpaw, but there are also versions with Rattling Rascal - hit an Evolve and you get a lot of mana value with no downside. As Un'Goro has already shown, this type of deck is here to stay, and the availability of even more cards for this archetype show that Blizzard seems happy with where it is right now. It'll be interesting to see how this deck performs in the next Standard year without Evolve, and whether the death knight battlecry and hero power make this deck remain powerful enough.
Our Warlock deck is something much more exciting: a new spin on the old Handlock! This deck hasn't seen too much play recently, especially with Warlock's winrate hovering even below 45% in the recent weeks. It's recovering fast fast though, and this deck seems to be pretty solid with a 60% winrate so far. Bloodreaver Gul'dan even brings in some demon synergy, and the hero power really can help controlling the board in the late game whilst recovering some much-needed health. And that's not all - we're seeing a lot of new other cards in this deck, Defile being one of the very mechanical cards with a high skill cap, and even having with space for Tainted Zealot. Variations of this deck might lead to a strong future for Control Warlock, which we haven't really seen succeed since the Standard rotation earlier this year.
Finally, the Warrior deck. As seems to have been the Warrior flavour really since the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan bringing along Patches the Pirate, this is a Pirate deck. That makes most of the cards already pretty clear, but we do see one new card here with a Phantom Freebooter for the weapon synergy. We're seeing a lot of variations pop up next to this version with around 58% winrate, and very few actually run Scourgelord Garrosh. The weapon he equips can be used to really get rid of any pesky minions in the way of setting the opponent's health to zero, and his hero power can help make a Frothing Berserker about as scary as a card can get. In the end, the hero card is very pricey for this deck at 8 mana though, and by time he comes into play it may very well be too late with too few cards in hand and minions in play.
That's it for our look at the top death knight decks! Remember the actual statistics and rankings are very preliminary, since they're based on very little data right now. Nonetheless you can just copy the lists and take the decks out for a spin. Leave a comment with your results, and maybe we'll see one of these decks played a lot more in the near future!
As we mentioned earlier, we're launching new deck features for our premium subscribers today. We're adding My Decks for you to easily see all the decks you've been playing, and My Statistics for your own personal Mulligan Guide and statistics for each of your decks - so start tracking your progress with these decks now! Check out the full announcement here.