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Best Rise of Shadows Decks - Hearthstone

Our evolving guide to the very best Hearthstone decks to play in the new expansion.

The Rise of Shadows update has just gone live in Hearthstone, and with it comes another massive collection of cards to weave into new - and revived - decks.

Some old archetypes are off to Wild, of course, now that their key cards have been rotated out of Standard, and there's a lot of new stuff to parse in the new meta.

This can leave us all facing a bit of a quandry about where to start with such a dramatically overhauled meta, and it's true that it will take a while for things to settle down.

To help you navigate the early stages of the new meta, we've put together a guide outlining the best theorycrafted decks for Rise of Shadows. Expect not only the archetypes contained in this round-up to change over time, but the exact deck lists will also change considerably.

For that reason, the usual advice about new expansions goes double with a new rotation:

  • Be extremely conservative when it comes to crafting expensive new cards, particularly those that empower an archetype that's yet to prove itself in the competitive meta.
  • Use these deck lists as starting points in the early weeks, and let the much-improved in-game deck builder fill in any blanks from your collection.
  • Wherever possible, experiment with budget decks until the first couple of weeks have passed (UPDATE: Our Budget Rise of Shadows Decks page is now live and contains cheap lists for every hero).

With that out of the way, here's our round-up of the best Rise of Shadows decks. Again, all of these will be dramatically tweaked and refined throughout the launch window, so check back regularly on any favourites:

Druid Decks

Has Druid had enough time on the naughty step for Blizzard to allow them access to a dominating meta deck once more? We'll see, but there are some new and revived archetypes that should see some level of competitive play.

Heal Druid is perhaps the most interesting option of all, with plenty of restoration synergies featuring in the new card set. Otherwise Token - perhaps in pure Treant form - is likely to feature in the early days of the meta as well. We're also seeing early experiments with Malygos Druid, but let's see if Jepetto's enough to make that stick.

Hunter Decks

It looks as though Deathrattle - or Mech - Hunter is going absolutely nowhere for the foreseeable future. Spell Hunter will also likely make a return to the competitive meta, having had a period away from it since the start of the year.

We suspect there are more Hunter decks to be “solved” in the week or so ahead of us. As soon as that happens, we'll drop in guides for getting started with each one. We've highlighted Malygos Hunter here, but don't craft this one until the new meta starts settling.



Mage Decks

Mage is in a bit of a strange spot at the moment. Spell Damage Mage has been tipped for greatness by a few well-known decksmiths this week, but a Summoner / Dragon / Hand Mage seems likely too. Once the community's settled on a name and formulation for this, we'll single out one article.

We hope to see Elemental Mage make a appearance in the meta too, but we've hoped for that before and been left a little bit disappointed once the launch fanfare ends. Let's see how things go in the next couple of weeks. You might also want to have a mess around with a revived version of Freeze Mage.



Paladin Decks

Secret Paladin and Aggro Paladin are kind of sharing the same purpose at the moment, although we suspect they'll diverge a little once the meta gets under way. We're keeping the articles separate for now, but will make a call in the coming week or so.

Thanks to a generous collection of Dragon-empowering cards, Dragon Paladin is widely tipped to be a big part of the meta, and is on our watchlist for an equally big update right after launch. Will Mech Paladin return to glory too? Too tough to call at this time, but we're looking forward to seeing if it can be refined.



Priest Decks

We're seeing quite a few decks from Hearthstone expansions gone by come back with the new set. Silence Priest is the most obvious deck in this context, and it's got some very fun new tools to play with.

If you thought Resurrect Priest's days were over, you're in for a pleasant - or not-so-pleasant - surprise depending on your feelings for the archetype. A chunky Deathrattle Priest is also being tipped for the big time too.



Rogue Decks

Lots of juicy options for the Rogue at the start of Rise of Shadows. By far the deck being pushed the hardest is Thief Rogue, and it's thanks to some incredibly powerful new cards in the set. Don't bet too much money on Pogo-Hopper Rogue having its moment - still - but we include it nevertheless.

Finally, there are some interesting Tempo and Miracle Rogue decks being concocted, with a fair bit of cross-over between the two. We'll have to wait and see where the meta settles before making a call on this one.

Togwaggle Rogue is another interesting experiment, and we're about to update Pirate Rogue a little later on today as well.



Shaman Decks

Murloc Shaman is likely to be a very big part of the class's identity going forwards into Rise of Shadows. Many theorycrafters have already thrown their weight behind this archetype, although some versions are more aggressive than others.

Otherwise it's a case of looking to an Overload-heavy version of Control Shaman if you like to take things a little bit more slowly. Muckmorpher Shaman looks like fun too, but we suspect it's in need of a fair bit of refinement before it's the finished article.

Expect more Shaman decks to emerge in the coming days - we'll drop 'em in below as they do.



Warlock Decks

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Zoo has attracted a lot of attention in the run up to launch. There are some interesting experiments here, however, with some going all in on a very Demon-heavy interpretation of the deck.

As for new archetypes, Plot Twist - or Shuffle - Warlock is looking like a big contender for the meta right now, with its potential to endlessly shuffle imp-summoning portals back and forth into your deck.

Mecha'thun Warlock is also tipped by Toast to do better in the new expansion, but we'll have to wait and see if this one can truly rise above its current Tier 3 status in the new meta.



Warrior Decks

Although Bomb Warrior emerged very early on as a likely archetype for Rise of Shadows, there's been a lot of disagreement about whether it will stand alone as its own deck, or simply be a feature of established decks such as Rush Warrior.

Dragon Warrior is another deck that takes explosive inspiration, but only Kibler - a big Dragon fan - has so far put his weight behind the archetype. Finally, there's some hope that Big Warrior will make a return to the competitive meta as well.



That wraps up the first edition of our guide to the best Rise of Shadows decks for launch week.

We'll be continually adding in new decks and guides to this article over the coming weeks, and will make sure the articles contain the very best new deck lists for you.

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