Retrospective: Predictions for Whispers of the Old Gods Standard

As I had done previously, its always fun to go back and look at predictions made and realize how little I actually knew at the time.  This time, it deals with certain cards in Whispers of the Old Gods standard for Hearthstone.

For today, I’ve block quoted my previous prediction and then taken a look at how that has panned out.  I will say, I certainly improved from my TGT predictions, but maybe I need to get a little more bold in my predictions next time.

3 New Cards That Will Have An Impact on Standard

Cabalist’s Tome

Cabalist's Tome

Tome is not likely to completely rock the meta and forge a new deck, but I see it being a common piece in certain mage builds.  Tempo Mage looks like an obvious choice, despite its higher end of the curve, as its potential gives it a bump.

I also see this card helping out in control Mage builds, perhaps even a Reno Mage deck.  You often do not want to draw two of these, and its best on curve where Belchers and Loethebs will no longer fall.

Pulling from the Mage pool is strong, especially for direct damage, but the RNG factor of the card will hurt its value.  Competing with Ethereal Conjurer doesn’t help its inclusion either.  Despite these negatives, I still see this card integrating itself into certain archetypes.

First up, and at least it appears I hit a couple of the notes correctly.  Cabalist’s Tome wasn’t a major player early in the Whispers meta, but recently has made a surge as a key piece of Tempo Mage decks.

Sure, it might have been an easier call, but at least I can make an easy one right? However, I haven’t seen Etheral Conjurer really “competing” for the same slot or role, so that point is a bit off the mark.

Flamewreathed Faceless


Is Midrange Shaman going to finally be a thing?  This card certainly helps that case, especially in tandem with the new overload unlock 2-drop.

Blizzard has tried and tried again to bolster midrange cards for Shaman, given its relativity weak constructed playability.  Totem synergy didn’t really manifest after TGT, instead we got Aggro Shaman plaguing the ladder.

Sadly, I think this card fits much better into the aggro variant than midrange ideas.  While a four drop is higher on the curve in an aggressive deck, it synergies with Trogg, and can be followed up with unlock cards, or even an easy follow up of Lava Burst.  With Doomhammer surviving the nerfhammer, Aggro Shaman will only add tools such as this.

This prediction was pretty correct, although again it was one of the easier to make.  This 4 mana 7/7 has found a place right at home in Aggro Shaman, and has also been in the Totem Shaman variants.  Shaman is now popular in ladder as well as constructed, and this card is a big part of that.

Xaril, Poisoned Mind

Xaril, the Poisoned Mind

Rogue is another class that has fallen by the wayside.  With Blade Flurry’s demise to a nerf, people are left scratching their heads at exactly what Rogue will do.  Well, Miracle or Combo Rogue can certainly be a thing, and this card really helps there.

While slightly overcosted at 4 mana for a legendary, the potential toxins, at play and at death, give this card a lot of value and synergy.  You can get the following:

  • 2 damage
  • Draw a card
  • Shadowstep
  • +3 Attack

All of these are nice little boosts, on average much better than spare parts from the likes of Toshley.  Playing and immediately Shadowstepping Xaril will be a nice play to keep building toxins.

Getting 1 mana effective cards are perfect for Auctioneer, Eviscerates, and SI’s.  Deadly Poison is no longer so crucial to hit combo pieces.  Xaril will provide value outside trading on board.  It’s biggest downside is whether or not Rogue will actually be viable.

Rogue has found some life in the meta, with Yogg and Miracle builds making a resurgence.  Xaril has found a place in these decks, although it may not be an auto-include.  It has proved a bit over-costed for what Rogue is trying to do.

Potential Underrated Card of the Set

Ancient Harbinger


When I first read the card, I thought its effect was a Battlecry, which would be really good.  Nonetheless, I still think this has potential as a redundancy in C’Thun or even Deathwing decks that need to pull their one-of 10 mana cards.

The counterargument is that if most people don’t see Emperor living more than a turn, how will this survive?  The extra health here is not irrelevant, and given its likely place in a control deck, I think it has a shot.

If this triggers, it can be game ending.  Sure, it will require a couple turns to get the mana (outside Druid, which also lacks card digging options), but the opponent will know they are on a short clock.  Will it overrun the ladder? No.  Will it help mold new top heavy decks viability? I think so.

Yup, well this card’s discussion ends at potential because it has not panned out at all.  C’Thun has found a place in the meta, but it is not being enabled by Harbringer.  This prediction was a whiff, but points for trying right?

Most Important Nerf on Standard

Force of Nature


We all knew it was coming, despite not knowing exactly how.  Combo Druid has been ruining many win streaks on ladder for awhile now, and this nerf negates that entire strategy.

No longer will decks need to worry when sitting at 22 against a Druid.  The loss of charge is exactly what was required to kill the unpleasant burst potential of the combo.  Thats not to say this card is completely dead, but it takes on a whole new role.

Along with the nerf to Ancient of Lore, Druid will need to find a new identity in standard.

The Force nerf has been significant – Druid has altered its default archetype into several other builds.  Force’s burst potential has left Druid without its an instant finisher, instead relying on big creatures or beast synergy.  All the nerf’s had some big ripple effects, and this was definitely one of them.

Most Important Non-Nerf on Standard

Divine Favor

Divine Favor

An incredibly frustrating card, Divine Favor survived the nerfhammer somehow.  The card has drawn ridicule due to its ability to single handily allow aggressive decks to completely negate all card advantage of a control player, rewarding hand dump play.

While aggro Paladin has not been real popular of late, this card still is too swingy to keep around.  Late game, it often allows a player to draw 5 or 6 cards for 3 mana and completely reclaim the board, if not finish an opponent off.

Perhaps Blizzard does not see it wrecking havoc in any viable deck, and left it alone.  I guess we’ll see.

This prediction was also offbase.  Divine Favor is still an annoyance, but the Aggro and Secret Paladins of the ladder are still relegated to Wild.  Thus, hand dump is not part of the Paladin-style nowadays.  With Paladin falling more on the side of control, Divine Favor is not popular, and perhaps that is exactly why Blizzard left it alone.

Old Card That Will Be Revived in Standard

Cairne Bloodhoof


Piloted Shredder was the gold standard for solid, all around neutral auto include.  With its versatility, and competition at the 6 mana slot, Cairne suffered.

With the rotation, Cairne’s ability becomes unique once again, leading to strong value trades.  Two successive 4/5’s can now trade better on board, and the 6-slot can allow that it many decks.

Welcome back Cairne old buddy.  At least you don’t drop Doomsayers.

Cairne found viability for the beginning of the meta, and for the exact reasons I had listed.  The 4/5 body was once again decent, and his token drop was now a rare efficiency in standard.  However, in the more developed meta he has mostly been used in N’zoth decks due to his deathrattle.

Most Annoying New Deck On Ladder



This card has the Reno effect, where everyone will be fitting it into each class for a dedicated archetype.  However, its deckbuilding restrictions are much less, and its likely to win most games its played.

Sure, it will be exciting experimenting with this initially, but I can forsee Reddit threads complaining over the swarms of C’Thun decks overrunning ladder.  Given many of the support cards, this deck could be very strong.

C’Thun has been quite a presence on ladder, although its more balanced nature seems to have prevented it from reaching truly annoying status.  Its a legendary one-of, so its not always certain to swing the game, and it does have viability in multiple classes, further adding to its diversification.

Most Fun New Deck On Ladder

Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End

Yogg-Saron, Hope's End

Want to maximize your RNG potential?  Yogg decks will certainly become a fan favorite due to the randomness this card provides.  Casino Mage is jealous.

Obviously, given its absurd level of randomness, this will not be a tournament level archetype, but it will certainly lead to a host of YouTube scenarios where a player gets Pyroblast’ed three times to face to lose the game.  Good times.

Well, this was another one you might have seen from a mile away.  With its insane RNG, of course it was going to be popular, especially with streamers.  What I did not forsee was its seemingly rampant popularity, and even inclusion in some tournament lists.  Thanks for the good times, Yogg.


8 thoughts on “Retrospective: Predictions for Whispers of the Old Gods Standard

      • Most of the overload cards aren’t worth the drawback, but that one has gone to the other extreme. Doesn’t help the Big Game Hunter got nerfed. The old version of BGH would have been a good counter to that 7/7.


  1. In a way, the introduction of Standard format and C’thun makes it enticing for some newer players and some returning players back into HS. 13 free packs of course helps. 🙂

    I still don’t quite like Flamewreath since it’s a bit harder to deal with initially, (it really should have been 6/6) but what the heck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good call on the Cairne. I remember being completely uninterested when I opened Yogg in my pre-purchase. The whole disdain for RNG by competitive players seems to have underrated the card at first.

    Liked by 1 person

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