Rest in Patches
On January 29th, Blizzard announced four major card changes that are destined to shake-up the Hearthstone Metagame. This article will discuss the changes, the theory behind them, potential decks to look out for in the future, and decks that can survive the changes.
The first change was the shift of Bonemare from 7 to 8 mana. The major reason for this is its prevalence and power in Arena games, where it tends to dominate and snowball any board of minions its played on. However, there are Standard decks that might be affected by this change. Currently, only a few decks (some Zoolock, Rogue, Paladin, or Dragon Priest) play the card, but it will be interesting to see if they are willing to pay one more mana for the stat bonus Bonemare provides.
Razakas Priest is also taking a major hit, with Raza The Chained's battlecry reducing your hero power to a cost of one instead of zero mana. This is a change that probably needed to happen to take away a lot of the "feel bads" that come with playing against Highlander Priest, but potentially leaves the deck as a viable control option. I'm not sure the deck can survive without the combo, but it might still have a role as a niche control strategy moving forward.
The two major changes, in my opinion, are the nerfs to both Corridor Creeper and Patches. These two cards are the cornerstone of almost every aggressive deck in the metagame, and produce swingy, non-interactive board states that almost no deck is capable of adequately addressing. The changes are as follows: Corridor Creeper's power is being reduced from 5 to 2, and Patches is losing Charge. Both of these cards are individually powerful, but also extremely synergistic together. Trading off patches and other cheap pirates enables the Creeper, which in turn puts too much pressure on players to control the board early. Of the aggro decks in the format, almost all of them play Patches, and essentially all of them play Corridor Creeper. Here's just a random smattering of decks I can think of playing Creeper in recent ladder games: Zoolock, Pirate Warrior, Token Shaman, Dragon Priest, Murloc Paladin, Secret Mage, Secret Hunter, Aggro Hunter, Aggro Druid. When any card is this ubiquitous in the metagame it is probably a sign that something is amiss in its design.
Moving forward, decks that are soft to early pressure from multiple creatures should see a bit of an increase in play. At the Hearthstone World Championships, for example, we saw both Big Spell Mage and Control Warlock decks do well. I imagine that these decks will continue doing well moving forward, but the lack of Patches and Creeper in the format might also make room for something like Exodia or Big Priest to make a comeback.