By Jason Parker
December 21, 2019
The latest expansion for Hearthstone has arrived, with Descent of Dragons! A new mechanic or two, five new free Legendaries that change your Hero entirely, and more came with it. The downside to Hearthstone is that you must spend a great deal of money or grind relentlessly to build decks. Until Blizzard starts sending me mountains of dust, I must pick and choose what I focus on. So, let’s talk about some Hearthstone Descent of Dragons decks!
Now, some of the Hearthstone Descent of Dragons decks will be ones I’ve spent time with and practiced with, and others are ones I’ve researched and am considering building in the future. Only five classes have access to the new Galakrond Heroes: Rogue, Warrior, Warlock, Shaman, Priest. So only the League of E.V.I.L. classes get them.
This doesn’t mean Hunter, Mage, and Shaman are weak or worthless, far from it. Hunter, I think, is still pretty strong in this meta. Now, Druid, I’m not sold on right now. So, I’m going to highlight a few Hearthstone Descent of Dragons decks here, for Season 69 (nice). Mage will always be neat too.
I was already playing Shaman last season when I was getting back into Hearthstone at a more active level, but this deck is quite different. I tried to play my Murloc rush at the start of Season 69, but it only won a couple of times. Instead, this deck is built around Invoke!
But this deck is built around Galakrond, and I love the Shaman Galakrond. When you Invoke Galakrond, the Tempest, you also receive 2/1 Tempests with Rush! They can’t hit the player, but if your opponent is doing annoying things with minions, you can put it to a halt.
This Hearthstone Descent of Dragons deck is an incredible amount of fun, and I was able to dominate the board against even other Shaman decks easily. Even if they board wiped, my creatures came back with a few Invokes. I was also able to get Galakrond himself onto the field. You don’t have to get him in play, but it’s sure nice. Out of all of the Hearthstone Descent of Dragons decks, this is my favorite.
There is so much you can do with this deck. One of my favorite early game moves is Novice Engineer (draw a card) into Mutate. This makes a random 3-drop creature, which can give you 5/5s like King Mukka.
Most of this deck is built around Battlecry. Every creature in this deck runs a Battlecry ability but Mogu Fleshshaper. That one’s got enough with Rush, and it’s special. It costs (1) less for each Minion on the battlefield. That doesn’t sound okay until you realize how easy it is to Invoke some creatures on the board. Corrupt Elementalist, as a point of fact, Invokes Galakrond twice!
This makes your Galakrond stronger and stronger and can make bigger, beastlier Rush Minions. You also have Dragon’s Pack, which can summon a pair of ⅔ Spirit Wolves with Taunt. If you’ve Invoked twice (easily done), they receive +3/+3. Whew.
Basically, you want to flood the field with large, annoying creatures. Plus, you have Faceless Corruptor as a 5/4 with Rush and Battlecry. Faceless Corruptor turns one of your minions into a copy of it. So, you have that Novice Engineer or Sludge Slurper no longer doing anything useful? Change them! There’s a sneaky little jerk in this deck too. With Mana Tide totem giving you card draw, you have a legendary that can break someone’s spirit in the mid to late game:
Shudderwock. Shudderwock is expensive. A 6/6 for 9, with Battlecry. But it’s not any ordinary Battlecry. “Repeat all other Battlecries from cards you played this game.” The targets are random, though.
You also have Far Sight to reduce the cost the card it makes you draw by 3. So, you can pull into Galakrond or Shudderwock, and play them for 3 less. Oh goodness, I love this deck. It has it all: card draw, aoe, taunt creatures, beefy boys, and a sneaky little Kronx Dragonhoof.
It’s my opinion that Kronx needs to be in every Galakrond deck. He lets you draw Galakrond, and is a 6/6 for (6). If you already have Galakrond in play, you can unleash a Devastation. That’s a series of incredibly powerful abilities that you can release for free.
This is an intense mid-range Hearthstone Descent of Dragons deck. Once you hit that mid-game with about 6 mana or so, you’re devastating the board with complete impunity.
Corrupt Elementalist (Rare, 5-cost): This may be only a 3/3, but it lets you Invoke Galakrond twice. That means you get a lot of value with Rush creatures. It may be a 5-cost, but it means you get lots of fun creatures to hit the board. Remember that Invoke activates Galakrond’s Battlecry, even if he’s not on the board or in your hand. This means, at a minimum, you get 4 2/1s with Rush. If your Galakrond has evolved, it’s even more terrifying. I love this card.
Dragon’s Pack (Epic, 5-cost): This spell gives you 2 ⅔ Spirit Wolves with Taunt. Assuming you’ve Invoked twice, they become 5/6s instead. Want to make someone upset? Electra Stormsurge into Dragon’s Pack. Now you have a literal wall of Spirit Wolves. If you also have your Rush creatures out, you can relax and let them do the work.
Mana Tide Totem (Rare, 3-drop): I wish this game had Scry. If I could scry, Far Sight, and guarantee a Mana Tide, that would be a hoot. Mana Tide Totem is a 3-drop totem that you cast from your hand. At the end of your turn, you draw a card. It’s a 0/3, so you should have some Taunt creatures in play before you do this. If you use Far Sight (draw a card; it costs 3 less), you can get it on the board that turn. There are better uses for Far Sight, but it can’t hurt. The purpose of this card is incredibly simple: card draw is king.
Electra Stormsurge (Legendary, 3-cost): This Hearthstone Descent of Dragons deck runs 4 Legendaries, but at least one of them (Galakrond) was given to us. Electra Stormsurge is my favorite of the legendaries in the deck. It’s not because of the ability, but the cost. The Battlecry IS good, though. This 3/3 Elemental lets you cast your next spell cast this turn twice. So, you play her, Far Sight, get two cards that will cost three less. Or Dragon’s Pack. Or Mutate, or Invocation of Frost. The point is you have options!
2x (0) Mutate
2x (1) Invocation of Frost
2x (1) Sludge Slurper
2x (2) Novice Engineer
1x (3) Electra Stormsurge
2x (3) Far Sight
2x (3) Lightning Storm
2x (3) Mana Tide Totem
2x (4) Devoted Maniac
2x (5) Corrupt Elementalist
2x (5) Dragon’s Pack
2x (5) Faceless Corruptor
2x (5) Shield of Galakrond
1x (6) Kronx Dragonhoof
1x (7) Galakrond, the Tempest
2x (7) Mogu Fleshshaper
1x (9) Shudderwock
This deck was not cheap to build, but I already enjoy the Shaman deck and gameplay. Sure, you lose the ability to create totems if you transform into Galakrond. That’s a small price to pay quite frankly. By then, the game is pretty much over, one way or another. It’s not without weakness though. Most of the good cards are expensive, and if your opponent late-game board wipes you, it may be hard to recover from.
Other tempo decks that go faster might overwhelm you too. But there’s a reason Shaman’s one of the most important/popular Hearthstone Descent of Dragons decks right now. I wouldn’t be too shocked if there were some nerfs coming its way in the future.
Whew, this is one expensive deck! If you were already in the process of collecting cards for a Handlock deck, you’re in luck. It’s going to be a lot of fun in this meta I think. It doesn’t run as many dragons as I’d like, but the regular minions are key.
This handlock deck also runs quite a few board wipe options. Some of it’s a last-ditch effort to save yourself (Doomsayer), and some is built around sacrificing a creature. Things looking bad, and you have a copy of Alexstraza in hand, thanks to Dragon Breeder? Cast Shadowflame on her to deal 8 damage to all enemy minions. Suddenly, things aren’t so bad.
Handlock feels like it requires a lot of thought to me. You’ve got to consider each move carefully. It’s not always the best move to obliterate the board with Twisting Nether. Sometimes you should use Dark Skies to ping creatures for 1 instead.
Valdris Felgorge is what makes this deck go, in my estimation. The whole deck feels like it controls and destroys the board until you can get him in play.
Even if he dies, you still get to have a 12-card hand. That doesn’t go away. With that, cards like Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake, and Abyssal Summoner become serious threats to your opponent. Plus, Zzeraku the Warped can sit on the board and make your opponent second guess any attack they make. If you take damage, you receive a 6/6 Nether Drake.
But bear in mind, it’s any damage you take. Use your Hero power with impunity, and we’re not running Galakrond for that very reason. I want the ability to deal damage to myself for a card draw. The lower you get, the more interesting the game gets too.
Therefore I snuck a cheeky Alexstraza into the deck. That way, when we’re nice and low on HP, play her to set your HP back to 15. This pairs with Dragon Breeder too. Make a copy of her to go into your hand and bam! A second chance at winning!
Another benefit to Valdris is Dragonmaw Poacher. Between the 4 cards drawn, several dragons could show up in your hand. It’s not all dragons, but it’s enough to be a threat. Most of the non-dragons are built around making your Dragons better and your life more comfortable. You want to destroy tons of minions with your spells until you can play the dragons and minions you need.
Valdris Felgorge (Legendary, 7-cost): I kind of wish Valdris were a lower cost, but he does increase your hand size to 12. He alone makes a lot of those ridiculous cards in this deck way better. Want to play the 8/8 Mountain Giant for 1-3 mana instead of 12? He makes that a reality. If you have him in play with a heavy hand, Dark Skies is way more potent. It deals 1 damage to a random minion for each card in hand. This is a fun move if you’ve dropped a board wipe and your foe responded with a bunch of Lackeys. This deck’s whole goal is to have lots of cards and ultimately, answers for your opponent.
Frizz Kindleroost (Legendary, 4-cost): I know, I know. Two legendaries? But this one’s pretty darn great too. This 5/4 has a Battlecry that reduces the cost of all Dragons in your deck by (2). Again, it’s not the mightiest change, but it makes things a bit easier to cast. In the late game, this means you can play a Dragon, and also have a control option ready to go, or simply ping yourself for another card in hand. With Zzeraku the Warped, I can hear the screams of frustration.
Twilight Drake (Rare, 4-cost): A 4/1 Drake? Big deal, right? But it gains +1 Health for each card in your hand when it’s cast. Take the time to build up your hand and drop this Dragon. You can follow it up with Wing Commander, for another hand-dependant Dragon. This and Abyssal Summoner are all equally important to me. They’re all based around power/health dependant on the cards in hand. It was hard to pick one of these, so I figured I would mention them all here.
1x (1) Mortal Coil
1x (2) Doomsayer
1x (2) Dragon Breeder
2x (2) Nether Breath
2x (3) Dark Skies
2x (3) Scalerider
1x (4) Dragonmaw Poacher
1x (4) Frizz Kindleroost
1x (4) Shadowflame
1x (4) Twilight Drake
1x (4) Wing Commander
2x (5) Big Ol’ Whelp
2x (5) Crazed Netherwing
2x (6) Abyssal Summoner
2x (6) Khuartut Defender
1x (7) Crowd Roaster
1x (7) Valdris Felgorge
1x (8) Twisting Nether
1x (8) Zzeraku the Warped
1x (9) Alexstraza
2x (12) Mountain Giant
I’m torn on how I feel about this deck. I can be impulsive, despite being a control player in MTG Arena. This deck has lots of answers to a variety of problems, but it can also spell the doom of your creatures. You must balance what you need to do, versus what you want to do.
I feel like Handlock is difficult to make work, and as a general rule, I play Warlock Zoo instead. Not that I don’t like Handlock, but it makes me stress out each turn until things start going my way. It’s rewarding to make it work, but oh goodness, does it make my nerves frazzle. If you want to gamble and try to punish people for simply having creatures, this is a great way to do it.
There are all kinds of fun cards. Need a taunt creature? No problem. Big creatures? Got those too. Does your opponent have a flood of Lackeys? Time for Doomsayer! Take your time, think each turn through, and you can make them rue the day they queued.
I tell you, this deck battered me to absolute pieces yesterday. I was on a roll in Ranked. I had gone 8-0 with Invoke Shaman, and I was feeling unstoppable. Then came the Ancharr. Then the Skybarge. The next thing I knew, I was back on the main menu, and I had been bested. I beat this deck the first time I saw it, but this version? Not a chance.
They got off the ground way faster than I did. This is the best Warrior deck in the game right now that I’ve seen. It’s an old favorite of Warrior Aggro fans, and it’s back in a very real way. The seas are choppy, and Warriors are commanding them with cannonballs, anchors, and plenty of frustrating, fast creatures. Behold, Warrior Aggro!
You know what I like about this deck? It doesn’t run a ton of expensive cards. It runs three Legendaries: Ancharr, Captain Greenskin, and Leeroy Jenkins. There are only two rares: Town Crier, and Livewire Lance. The rest is easy stuff to get, thank goodness. The idea behind this deck is to flood the board with more pirates than your opponent knows what to do with.
There are so many options, too. You want to rush the board with pirates and get Ancharr. The best thing about this weapon is its ability. It’s a ⅔, but after you attack, you draw a Pirate from your deck. Oh man, they can get so many cards in play without any real effort. Pair this with Skybarge, and you can bombard your opponent’s creatures.
When your Ancharr is gone, it’s gone! It’s a Legendary after all. Or is it? get your Hoard Pillager into play to equip a destroyed weapon (preferably that one). Livewire Lance is good too because it adds a Lackey to your hand after you attack. A card I’d like to put into this deck is Southshore Captain, to give these guys all +1/+1.
Another fun combo in this Hearthstone Descent of Dragons deck is Arcanite Reaper (5/2 weapon) plus Bloodsail Raider. That ⅔ for 2 gains Attack equal to the Attack of your weapon. Sure, I’d like to run a Galakrond version of this deck, but that’s still very much in the experimentation phase. The deck’s simple, though. Play pirates and equipment, smash your opponent to bits with them. The sooner you get the Skybarge out, the better. Every time you play a pirate, it deals 2 damage to a random enemy. Any minion you don’t have to fight directly is a bonus.
Sky Raider: Sky Raider’s a 1-cost that is a ½ with Battlecry. He may not be tough, but he adds a Random Pirate to your hand! That means I imagine it can add Pirates you don’t have in the deck, like Sharkfin Fan (which summons 1/1 Pirates after you attack). A Turn 1 that adds another Pirate to your hand is nothing but a positive. This is an aggro deck, and he may be the perfect turn 1 move.
Town Crier: This card isn’t a pirate, but it has a great use. You’re only running a pair of Rush cards in this deck: Faceless Corruptor, or Restless Mummy. Neither are pirates, which may sound bad. But Faceless Corruptor is easily one of the best creatures in this entire expansion. When you play it, you turn a minion into a copy of it (5/4 Rush). Play it on one of your cheap ½ or 1/1 minions and then cackle. It’s required.
Upgrade!: Do not play Upgrade! when you have no weapon. That’s not what we want at all. If you create that generic ⅓ weapon, it will be in the pool of pickups for Hoard Pillager. The only options you want for that are Ancharr, Livewire Lance, and Arcanite Reaper. But it gives that weapon +1/+1, so you can keep using it! That one’s a no brainer.
Captain Greenskin: This one’s nice and simple. Captain Greenskin is a 5/4 for 5, that gives your weapon +1/+1. Ideally, you want to keep your Ancharrr in play if possible, and this is the pirate to do it. He’s a great mid-game option to start punching someone for even more damage.
2x (1) Southsea Deckhand
2x (1) Sky Raider
2x (1) Town Crier
2x (1) Upgrade!
2x (2) Bloodsail Raider
2x (2) Parachute Brigand
1x (3) Ancharrr
2x (3) Livewire Lance
2x (3) Skybarge
2x (4) Kor’kron Elite
2x (4) Dread Corsair
2x (4) Hoard Pillager
2x (4) Restless Mummy
2x (5) Arcanite Reaper
1x (5) Captain Greenskin
1x (5) Faceless Corruptor
1x (6) Leeroy Jenkins
There are so many fun cards to mention in this deck. Parachute Brigand, for example, can be played for free when you play a pirate! So, you get that cheap Sky Raider onto the board, and if you had two Parachute Brigands, you receive a pair of 2/2 pirates to go along with them. They don’t have Rush or Charge, but it’s still a serious threat.
If you can keep the Warrior’s board clean of Minions, it’s no big deal. That’s easier said than done when they can fill the board with a couple of pirates virtually every turn. Most of the deck is very low cost, so you can play several cards a turn if the conditions are right. This one’s fun. It’s no Shaman, but it’s pretty darn great, nonetheless.
The theme for this Hearthstone Descent of Dragons deck is “If you’re holding a Dragon.” The downside for you is that it becomes obvious if this deck has a Dragon in hand. This is another deck that I had a terrible time against. I was told by a few people that Paladin Dragon isn’t going to be very good, but I’m not convinced.
When Big Ol’ Whelp hits the board as a minimum 8/8, and gives the Paladin a card draw, you’re going to be in for a bad time. Then you can have Evasive Wyrm that has Divine Shield and can’t be affected by Hero Powers. This deck is built around making your Drakes and Dragons flex and swell up. Plus, you can get Dragons that aren’t even in your deck!
Oh, this deck. I didn’t respect it at all until I got smashed by it. I thought, “Oh, it’s all high-cost nonsense. Why am I even scared?” Then turn 3 Frizz Kindleroost. They lower the cost of all dragons in your deck by (2). If only you could give them Reborn somehow. So, now the Paladins’ dragons are a bit cheaper.
That’s still okay, right? Then Barista Lynchen drops. All of your opponent’s Battlecry creatures have a clone in their hands. It’s not focused on Dragons, which is important. Dragon Speaker gives all Dragons in your hand +3/+3, Scalerider does 2 damage when it comes into play if you hold a Dragon. Scaleworm gains +1 Attack and Rush if you’re holding a Dragon.
Then perhaps the biggest, most annoying dragon in the deck: Evasive Drakonid. It’s a 7/7 taunt, that can’t be affected by spells or Hero Powers. That’s before you buff it to high heaven! Because believe me, it’s going to happen. It’s going to be misery-inducing.
You also want not to be afraid to let creatures die because you have a pair of Deathrattle options. Dragonrider Talritha gives a Dragon in your hand +3/+3 and this Deathrattle when it dies. So, you play them and smack something in the mouth.
Bronze Herald gives you 2 4/4 Dragons in hand when it dies. Almost everything else is about Battlecry, so Barista Lynchen is a rockstar in this deck. You even have a melee weapon in Truesilver Champion. That’s to get some HP back. Life is great, after all. You always want to keep a few dragons in hand if possible and inflate them constantly.
Since Hearthstone has no real counterspell play, you don’t have to fear your opponent doing anything about them. Play the Dragons at your leisure to punish your enemy. Then you swing away with gigantic, world-breaking dragons. It’s only a matter of time at that point.
Bronze Explorer: This adorable 3-drop dragon has Lifesteal and Battlecry. The lifesteal is neat, but “Discover a Dragon” could mean Alexstraza or Malygos is on the way to your deck. I like the Discover mechanic. It’s chaotic and could do anything. But any new Dragon means you don’t have to wait for one to come to your hand. You can leave it in your hand until the perfect time to activate it. Having two of these, and it being a 3 drop, is remarkable. The deck has more than enough dragons, but two more can’t hurt, right? Plus with Barista Lynchen, you can do it even more.
Barista Lynchen: For 5 Mana, you add a copy of each other Battlecry minions you own to your hand. This is ridiculous. Almost every creature you have has a Battlecry power, so this can be devastating in the late game. This is even better once you’ve already popped Frizz Kindleroost, as I said earlier. Even if your opponent board wipes you, those annoying jerks are all coming back. It might take a few turns, but you’ll get back in the game.
Dragonrider Talritha: A 3/3 for 3 that gives a Dragon in your hand +3/+3 and this Deathrattle? It’s a non-stop chain of violence! With that Deathrattle, your opponent has to worry about whether you have a Dragon in hand (You will). It becomes a game of Russian Roulette, only with Dragons. That makes it ten times worse if you ask me.
Dragon Speaker: Sure, this card is a 5-cost, and is only a ⅗. But you know what? It’s a Battlecry that gives all Dragons in your hand +3/+3. Did you use Barista Lynchen, and are ready to win the game? Drop this in the late game, and chortle when those 8/8 or 10/10 dragons come for your opponent’s life points. It’s too late, the Dragonflight has come for them.
X2 (2) Cathedral Gargoyle
X2 (2) Firetree Witchdoctor
X2 (3) Bronze Explorer
X2 (3) Scalerider
X2 (3) Bronze Herald
X1 (3) Dragonrider Talritha
X2 (4) Evasive Feywing
X1 (4) Frizz Kindleroost
X2 (4) Truesilver Champion
X2 (4) Scaleworm
X2 (5) Amber Watcher
X1 (5) Barista Lynchen
X2 (5) Big Ol’ Whelp
X2 (5) Dragon Speaker
X2 (6) Evasive Wyrm
X1 (7) Crowd Roaster
X2 (7) Evasive Drakonid
This deck hinges on good luck, in my opinion. It’s slow with all those 4+ costs. But, if you have the right starting cards, it can be moved at a terrifying, blinding speed. It has plenty of answers and more dragons than you can shake a stick at. Even if you get assassinated/board wiped, chances are you will have more cards in hand to solve the situation.
The only real drawback to me other than RNG, is a lack of serious card draw. You have Big Ol’ Whelp and can do it a few times with the right combos, but it’s not enough. Fortunately, you have plenty of numbers to throw at whatever deck you deal with. I honestly didn’t expect this Hearthstone Descent of Dragons deck to be so fun, but it is. It’s got plenty of combos and ways to play it.