Hearthstone’s latest expansion, The League of Explorers, is out now, and it’s shaking up the online card brawler in a good way.
A single-player adventure with an Indiana Jones-meets-World of Warcraft flair, The League of Explorers is in four different wings. It adds 45 cards to Hearthstone’s robust pool, along with the new “Discover” mechanic, which allows players to add one of three randomly generated cards to their hand. Now that people have defeated all of The League of Explorers’ challenges, new experimental decks are making their way up Hearthstone’s constructed ladder. And three new cards in particular — Reno Jackson, Brann Bronzebeard, and Sir Finley Mrrgglton — are firing up the creative synapses of some of the game’s top players.
With that in mind, GamesBeat found some of the best decks currently utilizing these intrepid adventurers.
Reno Jackson decks
At first glance, Reno Jackson seems like a card best suited for gimmicky fun decks. But the light-fingered explorer is finding a surprising amount of play in Hearthstone’s Constructed ladder, as players come up with inventive decks based around Reno’s unique drawback. Here is one example of how Reno can work in a Warrior deck courtesy of Hearthpwn user LOKShadow, who recently used it to reach Rank 4 Legend. A variation of Control Warrior, it uses some underutilized cards like Crush, Revenge, and Bouncing Blade to eliminate threats before finishing off an opponent with heavy hitters like Deathwing and Grommash Hellscream.
Professional Hearthstone player StanCifka recently reached Rank 1 Legend with this Reno Jackon-centric deck. Like the Warrior deck, it uses underused cards like Demonwrath, Feugen, Stalagg, and Twisting Nether to work around Reno’s 1-card-only requirement. A variation of the Handlock deck archetype, Renolock uses the hero power Life Tap to cycle cards and lay down big threats on the board. Reno is then used to recover all of the health lost through Life Tap.
Professional gamer Brian Kibler’s experiments with the new League of Explorers cards has created this Reno Mage deck. Like most Reno decks, it features one copy of each card (with the exception of Mad Scientist). According to Kibler, it performed very well on the ladder, peaking at around Legend Rank 40. The deck had a positive win rate against almost everything he encountered, he said.
Brann Bronzebeard decks
This Dragon Priest deck from player Legendonger combines the powerful synergies of a dragon deck with Brann Bronzebeard’s ability to trigger a Battlecry twice. Many dragon cards — like Azure Drake, Twilight Guardian, and Blackwing Corrupter — have useful Battlecry effects that only get stronger when played alongside Brann. According to Legendonger, this is good against some of the more aggressive decks currently dominating the ladder. A full guide is available on Hearthpwn.
Pro player Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root of team GamersOrigin recently took home $12,500 in the DreamHack Winter Nvidia Hearthstone Grand Prix thanks, in large part, to his variation of the Malygos Warlock deck. According to The Daily Dot, Purple went 17-1 on the first day of DreamHack with the deck, which uses Brann Bronzebeard to squeeze some extra value out of Battlecry minions like Kezan Mystic, Antique Healbot, and Dark Peddler. The idea is to control the early and midgame until you have enough discounted burn spells (thanks to Emperor Thaurissan, which reduces mana cost of cards in hand every turn it survives on the board) to defeat your opponent thanks to Malygos’ +5 spell damage bonus.
Shaman has struggled to be competitive on Hearthstone’s ladder of late, but The League of Explorers expansion will hopefully change that. This midrange deck, courtesy of Tempo Storm’s Reynad, takes advantage of the synergy between new LoE cards like Brann Bronzebeard, Rumbling Elemental, Tunnel Trogg, and Jeweled Scarab. Add in some older battlecry cards like Tuskarr Totemic, Fire Elemental, and Dr. Boom and you get effective deck capable of playing strong cards on curve and into the late game.
Sir Finley Mrrgglton decks
The League of Explorers is trying to make murlocs a thing again thanks to new cards Anyfin Can Happen, Everyfin is Awesome, and Sir Finley Mrrgglton. This “Murlocadin” deck, courtesy of competitive gamer Thijs Molendijk, recently had a 67 percent win rate on the Constructed ladder and reached as far as Rank 5 Legend. It takes advantage of the synergies between murloc cards like Grimscale Oracle, Murloc Warleader and Old Murk-Eye and fills the board with beefy, buffed minions, overwhelming the opponent with Charge from Bluegill Warrior and Old Murk-Eye.
Although Shaman already has one aggressive deck in the form of Mech Shaman, this aggro deck from Justin “Luffy” Dizazzo is faster than its counterpart. Cards like Leper Gnome, Argent Horserider, and Wolfrider provide early damage and tempo, while burn spells like Crackle and Lava Burst are used to finish the opponent off. New LoE card Sir Finley Mrrgglton is used to pick a more aggressive hero power than Shaman totems, such as Hunter’s Steady Shot. If played right, this deck can end a match on turn 5 or 6, before the opponent can bring out bigger threats to overwhelm the Shaman.
Aggressive decks are popular this season, which makes this Midrange Hunter deck from player TourettoHS an interesting outlier. It uses Sir Finley Mrrgglton to discover a new hero power because, as Touretto explains, Steady Shot isn’t as strong or necessary in a Midrange Hunter deck compared to Face Hunter, which focuses on dealing as much damage as it can per turn. Taking a hero power that can ping minions on the board, like Druid’s Shapeshift or Mage’s Fire Blast, can help establish board control early in the match vs. aggro decks, while a Hero Power like Warlock’s Life Tap can be invaluable in Control matchups. As of this writing, Touretto says he went on an 18 winstreak with this deck, reaching Rank 19 Legend in Europe.