If there’s one vital lesson I’ve learned from playing high legend Hearthstone, other than to always squelch Priests, it’s that when it comes to the best decks, synergy is king. While many cards are independently good, the mark of an S tier deck usually resides in how all the pieces come together to make something greater.
With that in mind, today I want to examine some of the most powerful synergies and combos that will be coming when The Boomsday Project lands on August 6. I’ll be discussing the most potentially degenerate card from each class, and giving you some ways we might be able to exploit its power most effectively. So, where else to start but the most currently bonkers class...
When I first saw Juicy Psychmelon I thought the card was ridiculously powerful—drawing four cards for four Mana is exceptional—but I wondered whether it would see play in Standard. After all, there didn’t seem to be a great 7-cost minion worth including and Ultimate Infestation already provides plenty of draw. Then we got Dreampetal Florist and I’m now wondering whether Infestation gets cut for this. The thought of getting a Florist, Lich King, Malygos, and Tyrantus for four Mana is clearly very exciting (for Druids, if not their opponents).
The combo arises in that this finally opens up a way that Dollmaster Dorian might be abusable. If you stick a Dorian early on or play it on 9 mana with Melon, you will not only draw all these cards, but now you get 1/1 copies with Spell Damage +5, Lich King card generation, and a minion reduced by 7 in your hand immediately. Then you get to replay them later. If something like that gets pulled off with any kind of consistency you won’t need to play Infestation anymore because you’re opponent will either be dead or uninstalling.
It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for all things Valeera, and nothing reminds me of old-school Miracle Rogue more than the idea of hitting someone in the face with three Leeroy Jenkins in the same turn. Now, thanks to Necrium Blade, you can live that life again.
The setup is simple enough: play the Blade and attack it down to one charge. On a later turn, play Leeroy, hit the face for 6, Cube the Leeroy and attack for 3 with your Blade. This activates the Cube, pulling out 12 more Leeroy damage, for a total of 21 burst in a turn.
Crucially, this setup works just as well with any high attack minion. Blade on three, Fal’Dorei Strider on four, then attack with Strider, Cube it plus break Blade on turn five gives you two 4/4s, a 4/6, and the two 4/4s still in the Cube. Talk about tempo. When a combo can work in multiple scenarios it tends to see play, so I’m definitely excited to try this deck out.
Honorable mention goes to the other combo in the deck: Augmented Elekk (which doubles card shuffling effects) and Fal’Dorei Strider. This is a good combo on its own. Of course, if you Cube combo your Elekk, that seems like a lot of spooders...
Speaking of Carnivorous Cube, Priest can also abuse it now with Reckless Experimenter. Whenever a card says, “...cost (X) less,” make sure you pay close attention to it (see Druid). In this case, Experimenter makes for some insane tempo play potential by turning its ostensible downside into an upside.
Remember how Corridor Creeper used to be a 5/5? Well now with Reckless Experimenter, your Devilsaur Eggs are 0-cost 5/5s. Think four mana 7/7s are good? How about three mana 7/7s courtesy of Mechanical Whelp? If you really want free Assassinates, might I interest you in some 0-cost Voodoo Dolls that die immediately? With the addition of Dead Ringer, drawing any of these deathrattles becomes a lot more consistent as well.
The main complication here is that sometimes you don’t draw Reckless Experimenter, but otherwise the card looks to have strong potential. Figuring out the most consistent shell for this deck isn’t going to be easy, but it promises bountiful rewards to those who do.
(Another powerful-but-bad combo involves using double Radiant Elemental, Test Subject, Power Word: Shield, Vivid Nightmare, and Topsy Turvy to basically draw your deck. Only six cards needed!)
Admittedly this combo involves some wishful thinking (ie, you’ll need some patience), but if people are willing to try to make Mecha’thun kills work, this feels somewhat more reasonable. The setup goes something like this: you play Dr. Morrigan and Baleful Banker on turn 10, which shuffles a copy of Morrigan into your deck. Provided your deck doesn’t contain any other minions, Morrigan will pull a copy of herself out if she dies, so barring any kind of silence/transform effects, she should stick around until the next turn.
Next turn you play Knife Juggler, Spiritsinger Umbra, and then kill your Morrigan. Provided she is the only minion in your deck (you didn’t draw her, that is), this should set up an endless loop where Morrigan continues to pull copies of herself endless back and forth, generating a knife each time until your opponent and everything they hold dear is dead.
It’s unclear whether this interaction will be coded in a way to prevent the infinite loop from occurring (as happened with Defile and Grim Patron), but if not it should be a fun way to win. Just not the most reliable one.
When it comes to Shaman decks right now, Shudderwock is the order of the day. But maybe there’s a world where that deck becomes worse next expansion because of the recent rule change to Azalina (who will now copy an opponent’s hand with a 1-mana Shudderwock, which in turn steals their hand again when played). If Shudderwock decks become beatable by slow decks using Azalina as tech, it will be time for Shaman to look elsewhere for its burst kill options.
Look no further than Malygos and Eureka! When played on 10 mana, you can combo this with two Lightning Bolts and Frost Shocks for 28 damage from hand. However, because Eureka! summons a copy of the minion, rather than the card itself, you don’t need to ensure it lives or kills your opponent right away. This opens up the possibility for a six-damage, zero-cost Beakered Lightning to serve as a board clear in a pinch as well.
In general, Shudderwock will likely still be the superior deck, but if things change—or you simply have a taste for dragons—Eureka might be for you.
Paladin has a ton of strong survival and board control tools at its disposal. This ought to position the class well as a combo deck, but for one minor problem: they don’t have a game-winning combo. That’s why Odd Paladin is one of the only Uther archetypes seeing success on the ladder right now. With that in mind, let’s consider a simple—but powerful—combo that Odd Paladin will be gaining access to with The Boomsday Project.
In order to bypass large boards of Taunts, Paladin previously relied on Void Ripper. It combats Spreading Plague well, but was weaker against really large walls, like those in Taunt Druid. But now there’s a new tool to try: Shrink Ray. At 5 mana, this card can effectively deal tons of damage to taunts (e.g. 11 effective damage to a Sleepy Dragon, whereas Void Ripper ‘only’ inflicts 8), turning even your weakest minions into major threats. However, that would mean you lost your board, and losing board would make you sad. So, just pair that Shrink ray with a Boisterous Bard and all of a sudden your 1/2s kill their 1/1s and live.
Control Warrior has long been a bread-and-butter archetype in Hearthstone. The general game plan has remained consistent throughout, so I want to highlight a basic, but potentially powerful combo they can now access: Weapons Project and Harrison Jones.
I know it might not be as flashy as some of the other combos I’ve highlighted, but it looks really solid: for seven mana you get a 2/3 weapon, 6 armor, a 5/4 body, and you draw three cards. Sure, you give your opponent some armor too, but in the context of a slow, grindy Warrior game, that won’t usually have an appreciable effect.
What makes this combo even better is that the cards do not rely on each other to be good. Weapons project is respectable on its own, and Harrison has already seen play in plenty of metas. Both cards can break opposing weapons, which is good against cards like Twig of the World Tree, Skull of the Man’ari, or simply lower-value weapons, negating some downside of the Project.
For a more flashy dream, try using the Boomship—which puts three minions from your hand into play—with two Charged Devilsaurs and an Inner-Raged Grommash for 26 points of charging burst damage. All you need to do is draw them all, have no other minions in hand, and hope no Voidlords are in the way.
For those of you who like overcomplicated combos that don’t necessarily win the game but still feel amazing to pull off, boy do I have some mechs to sell. Say hello to Venomizer and Missile Launcher. Magentize these two together and you get a 6/6 minion that deals 1 damage to everything else at the end of the turn, with the Poisonous effect applied.
The good news about this combo is that if your minion-based opponent can’t find a way to answer it, this monstrosity will keep blowing up the board forever, eventually leaving it free to go face.
The bad news is that this combo is expensive, weak to removal and silence, perhaps in the wrong class, and requires you to play cards that might not really be that impressive independently. That’s not exactly a winning formula for competitiveness. But if you’re looking to grief people more than you beat them, this might be the day one craft for you.
The new combos mage is getting with this expansion are consistently inconsistent. Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is a completed Druid Quest in a single spell, and the text “reduce your minions to 1 cost” is very powerful. However, you can’t pair this spell with any particular minion-based combo, as there’s no guarantee you’d draw the minion you want reduced before you play Luna’s Pocket Galaxy.
So what’s the solution? Just play lots of minions and card draw. It doesn’t matter much what you’re drawing and playing for 1, just so long there’s plenty of it. Pair the Pocket Galaxy with Stargazer Luna herself, Research Project, and Aluneth and you’ll be seeing most of your deck within a turn or two. Whatever you’re jamming out—Lich Kings, Giants, or simply lots of beefy midrange dudes—just keep jamming until your opponent is overwhelmed.
Alternatively, you could just mess around with the +2 spell damage buff of Celestial Emissary in conjunction with Shooting Star and Unexpected Results. But is that as much fun as a 1-Mana Lich King? I say don’t let the memes stay dreams.
We’ll be updating our list of the 20 best legendaries to craft, as picked by the pros, once The Boomsday Project meta settles. You can watch Jesse stream at twitch.tv/j_alexander_hs and follow him on Twitter @J_Alexander_HS.