After each new Hearthstone expansion lands, there’s a golden period where mediocre players like me get to play with all the big, fun, silly new cards. It never lasts forever: before long, the good decks become known, and we must all netdeck away under the ghastly lash of The Meta, or fade away into the Elysian fields of PvE. But for a short while at least, we can soar like mayflies through the new deck archetypes. And for my money, the most fun to emerge from Saviors of Uldum are the new Quests, whose activation criteria and rewards feel better balanced across the board than their OG Un’Goro counterparts.
No doubt, most will already have been deemed unworthy of anything except scoffing and “wow” emotes for those foolish enough to pilot them. Indeed, even I can see that some of them are, objectively, not good. But let’s face it: for those of us who are guff at Hearthstone, it doesn’t matter what’s good. Even top-flight decks, in our hands, will be lucky to take us into single-digit ladder ranks. And if we go to the ladder armed with complete dog shit, we’ll only be battered down the rungs until we encounter players worse than ourselves and start to win again. So, in complete defiance of whatever consensus is emerging, and with little concern for what’s actually a good deck, here’s my ranking of the nine new quests, based entirely on my subjective opinion of what’s fun:
(Note: In partial deference to credibility, I’ve linked to the quest deck lists currently in use by our mates at metabomb, although in many cases I’m using my own garbage variants on the decks.)
What’s the quest? Attack with your hero five times.
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to summon a 4/3 golem - but you’ll need to attack with your hero again to refresh it.
What’s the strategy? For once, given the monotonous, maddening presence of control warrior (lIgHt tHe FusEs! SomEbOdY oRdEr a BomB?), it’s a proper aggro deck for warrior again. Rush minions and weapons are the orders of the day, with all the long-game staples like Dr Boom chucked in the bin - if you can’t get pressure piled on early with this deck, it’s not going to happen.
What legendaries are essential? There’s no good reason not to throw in Zilliax, and my wolfy namesake Darius Crowley is useful too. The real must-crafts are weapons, however - Sul’thraze, Livewire Lance and Wrenchcalibre - all of which are epic.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? You’ve just consumed three pints of paint, and now you’re in a fist fight with a chimp that’s just woken up. For every moment the fight goes on, the chimp will become stronger, and you will become more disoriented by the soldier dose of Dulux in your system. Wallop the ape.
How fun is it? I’ve only had a brief go with this one as the only thing I despise more than playing against warrior is playing as warrior. Still, even if this deck doesn’t allow for the catharsis of using all the most annoying warrior cards, and you won’t win much with it, it’s at least brutally quick to play, so you can get through your losses in rapid succession. 3/10
What’s the quest? Play five Reborn minions.
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to create a 2-2 copy of a minion.
What’s the strategy? Pray to get enough Reborn minions out early to complete the quest while maintaining a board presence, then use your reward power to build up said presence, beefing it up with deathrattle mechs where you can.
What legendaries are essential? If you’re leaning on the reptile-birthing powers of Mechano-egg and Mechanical Whelp, Da Undatakah and Kangor’s Endless Army are great value cards, while Zilliax plays its usual role of making the midgame more survivable, but there’s no must-have legendaries in this deck.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? Trying to persuade a bunch of increasingly restless drunks to stay at a dying house party until your mate can return from the night with a big bag of cans. In this metaphor, the cans allow the drunks to replicate.
How fun is it? If you don’t draw enough Reborn cards early, this deck’s a disaster. Even if you do get them out, your reward power is only worth its salt if you can maintain a board presence. Not even the most fun you can have with weird paladin decks, frankly. 4/10
What’s the quest? Add four cards from other classes to your hand
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to equip a 3/2 weapon that makes you immune while attacking
What’s the strategy? I’ll be honest, this is the one Quest deck I’ve not yet played. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t be arsed. For me, the thief rogue archetype peaked with Academic Espionage and the snowballing madness of Spectral Cutlass. Sure, this deck includes the fun of Tess Greymane, and it looks like it might actually be pretty good, but it’s not piqued my interest yet.
What legendaries are essential? Well, Tess, as mentioned, is silly not to include in a thief rogue deck, while Heistbaron Togwaggle has the potential to up the bullshit factor pleasingly with treasure acquisitions.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? This is tricky, cos I’ve not had a go with the deck. I dunno: you’re a load of talking dogs breaking into an abandoned theme park. How about that.
How fun is it? I can’t say for sure, but I’ve got enough love for the basic thief rogue template to say I won’t hate this deck - let’s compromise and say 5/10.
What’s the quest? Play six battlecry cards.
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to make battlecries activate twice that turn.
What’s the strategy? Quest Shaman relies on walloping out battlecry-happy lackeys in the early turns, before combining the reward power with any number of the game’s already-strong battlecry options for either removal, card generation or board presence as required.
What legendaries are essential? You’re not doing the deck justice unless you pack good ol’ Shudderwock, and while Barista Lynchen is a lovely pick (just don’t be afraid to squander her), Swampqueen Hagatha is way easier to make the most of.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? Trying to coordinate loads of children to steal everything in a pound shop; as the heist goes on, you start sending in more and more ambitious stacks of children under trench coats, pretending to be adults.
How fun is it? I made an astonishing number of misplays while getting used to this deck - forgetting that you need a lackey to activate weaponised wasp, miscalculating the effect of doubling the Blog Slurper battlecry, and plenty more. It was a pretty powerful deck when I had a handle on it, but always had me umm-ing and ah-ing like CCG Hamlet, trying to work out whether to play combos or hold out for better value. 6/10
What’s the quest? Draw 20 cards
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to draw a card and make it cost zero
What’s the strategy? Frantically chuck out taunts, alongside every removal spell available to warlock, to buy time to complete the quest (even so, if you don’t draw plot twist, you’re probably buggered). But if you do finish the quest, and survive long enough to drop Rafaam, you’ll be able to enjoy a zero-cost legendary every turn, alongside the assortment of total ledges in your likely-to-be-quite-fat hand.
What legendaries are essential? Alas, Arch-Villain Rafaam is your win condition. Besides him, Zilliax and Lord Godfrey are desperately needed survival tools, while Fel Lord Betrug combined with Plot Twist can be a hail mary swing turn.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? Hobbling backwards down an alley away from a furious wrestler, throwing cardboard boxes to slow him down while rummaging for a tiny gun in a carrier bag full of junk.
How fun is it? New Quest Warlock is, if anything, even worse than Old Quest Warlock. Nevertheless, when you line up back-to-back plot twists and finish up with Rafaam in your hand, it’s a sheer delight to make the magic happen. Even the endless defeats have an air of desperate, back-against the wall excitement to them. 7/10
What’s the quest? Summon 20 minions
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to give all your minions +2 attack (It’s dinomancer, but it’s not shit!)
What’s the strategy? Just piss animals everywhere, basically. Flood the place with gits and don’t stop.
What legendaries are essential? Halazzi the Lynx is a good shout, but they’re really just another decent monster hose in a deck full of the things.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? I once lived next door to a house occupied by about 20 coked-up Australian electricians, who used to have wild parties almost every night. One night, they all went outside and started running from one side of their garden to the other, bellowing and smashing into the fence every time. Eventually the fence separating our gardens was obliterated, and my yard was full of stunned, shirtless brutes wondering what had happened. That’s this deck.
How fun is it? This is one to play if you’re tired, as there’s not too much to think through. If you’ve not completed the quest you want to spam cheap beasts, and if you’ve completed the quest… you want to spam cheap beasts. Sometimes you’ll run out of steam, but your ideal scenario is to scare your opponent into wasting all their board clear early, then smorcing them into next week once you can buff all your gits. 8/10
What’s the quest? End four turns with unspent mana
What power do you get as a reward? passive effect - your ‘choose one’ cards have both effects combined.
What’s the strategy? Quest Druid’s strategy, like the deck list itself, is pretty rigid: try to play Questing Explorer and Crystal Merchant to cancel lost value on your early quest-getting turns, then enter value Valhalla, smashing every Choose One card you can get your gristly hands on into your opponent's heart.
What legendaries are essential? Keeper Stalladris adds even more value to the party once you’ve gotten it started, while Wardruid Loti is a real treat after quest activation. Cenarius is the beefiest of your token creation/buff cards, and Zilliax is (as ever an auto-include), but no legendaries are essential here.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? Groggily waking up in a house full of sleeping cockneys, to the realisation that a group of opposing, fully awake cockneys is smashing the door down. As you wake more and more cockneys, they get angrier and angrier, until eventually they monster the cockneys outside.
How fun is it? I tried this one last because it was seeing a fair amount of ladder play, and was therefore probably joyless and boring. I was wrong. Quest Druid does have a predictable early game, but once the quest reward is active, virtually any draw is useful, and every play feels satisfying. 9/10
What’s the quest? Cast 10 spells
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to gain a random mage spell with cost discounted by two
What’s the strategy? To start with, you’re playing a mixture of control and summoning mage - only some of the pressure is taken off your decision-making by the knowledge of the resource generation you’ll get once you’ve smashed out your ten spells. Nevertheless, once you’ve got your reward there’s still a danger of dying a lot to aggro decks, and you’ll want to make careful use of the good old giant/conjurer’s calling combo.
What legendaries are essential? Khadgar’s a must-include to take advantage of Maximum Giant Value, but I’m lukewarm on the inclusion of Stargazer Luna or her wretched Pocket Galaxy - they’re nice-to-haves, IMHO.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? You’re dressed in a cheap Gandalf costume, wolfing down tin after tin of dog food. After a while, a smirking man in a suit gives you your reward: more dog food. For some reason, you’re happy with this.
How fun is it? I’m not sure why I’m in love with Quest Mage, but I am. Maybe it’s just the classic Hearthstone antics that come with the distribution of random mage spells, or the satisfaction of being able to be a spendthrift with my resources, or the certain knowledge that enough nonsense will happen to ensure at least one cool interaction per game. Whatever it is, it keeps me coming back for more of that glowing, light blue dog food. 9/10
What’s the quest? Restore 15 health
What power do you get as a reward? Press the button to restore 3 health - and add +3/+3 if you’re healing a minion
What’s the strategy? I play this deck a bit differently from most lists, and tend to just slam down loads of big meaty taunts to keep me snug and safe until the astonishingly strong reward power is ready. It’s exhausting to the opponent’s removal resources, and often gives me a chance to pull off an unexpected Divine Spirit / Inner Fire beasting along the way.
What legendaries are essential? While the Metabomb list suggests a fair crowd of legendaries, my personal nudges would be towards Zilliax (yawn), Octosari, and High Priest Amet. While the latter becomes actively harmful when he’s injured, he certainly has his moments, and Octosari is a brilliant late game hand-filler. Plus it’s a massive octopus, come on.
What’s a good metaphor for how this deck feels to play? Filling a pub lounge with a press of dead-eyed, unflinching rugby players, while making outrageous threats over their heads to a known murderer. Can you tape together the parts of a high-powered rifle before he manages to push his way through the crowd?
How fun is it? Even though I play what’s undoubtedly a worse version than the mainstream, I bloody love Quest Priest. It’s got a lot of dependable answers to some of the more maddening archetypes out there, and can make games run both long and weird, which I enjoy a lot. 10/10