Which Gods Benefited from Winter Wanderlands?

Sifu’s Guide to Mastering the Meta - What NOT to play (Budget Friendly)

[8M] Sifu
Infinite Mana Professional Player, Seat of the Arena
February 15, 2023

It’s been a bit more than a month since we were introduced to the latest miniset, Winter Wanderlands (WW), and we have had some time to experiment and playtest.

We got 20 new cards and compared to the previous miniset - Light’s Verdict - things got tuned down a bit putting WW’s power level slightly above Mortal Judgement. That means that nothing crazy happened (like making aggro Nature viable lul) but the meta did change significantly. Let’s take a look at the biggest losers and winners post-Winter Wanderlands. One for the whales and one for the shrimps, the winners of WW.

### The Two Winners:

Aggro War

Deck Price Range: $20 - $135


I present to you, the newest menace on ladder, Woodcutter Imp. It’s ready to slam faces and compete for the best 2-drop in the game against Underbrush Boar and Armor Lurker. The bad/good news besides being incredibly strong? It's a rare and fairly affordable at this writing ($7.5). It likes to go face and when you play it, you get -5% intellect but increases your win rate by 10% so overall a trade most aggro players are happy to make.

Joking aside, this card is incredibly strong and aggro War was already viable pre-WW. Now it’s the most played deck by far at the top ranks. It’s cheap, fast, and capable of consistently getting a 50-65% win rate even at Mythic.

Another great thing about aggro War is that it’s pretty much impossible to hard counter. You cannot tech more relic removal because at best, you remove one durability of Blade of Styx.

As a Control deck facing aggro War, you need early-game removals and heal mid-game when you have stabilized the board. If you miss on either, you lose. Therefore, as War, you don’t queue into decks where you are less than 35-40% favored, something that almost no other deck can claim.

Control Nature

Deck Price Range: $2200 - $3300


The Cosmos likes balance. Or so it is said. With the Imp infestation doing damage to literally everybody, Control Nature got some personal survival training from Bear Grylls and minted Winter’s Bounty.


A shit ton of healing and a unique and cool effect of extending your health total to 40. This gives you hope of surviving until your 7-drops and makes you unkillable against certain combo decks like Arcane Burst. This card pretty much all by itself made control Nature very strong.

Besides survival training, Nature also got another useful removal tool, Fir Tree’s Fury. A mini The Hunt that comes one turn earlier and is generally a very strong card. The fact that it can spawn little Frosty Fruits and give you some kind of board present is something control Nature also loves. The bad thing is that you just have too many good 5-drops as Nature so it’s not as big of a deal as the Winter’s Bounty.

Overall a strong deck that can now compete alongside the other best control decks in the game. Recently proven by Mighty Uncle getting 1st spot with 17/18 wins in Weekend Ranked.


See my more detailed Control Nature guide here.

### Top 3 Losers

Card Draw Magic

The aggro player's hot fling from Light’s Verdict has been dumped. What used to terrorize ladder is now a rare sight. Burn Magic didn’t get anything useful but even worse, meta turned into a Magic lover's worst nightmare.


First off, Card Draw Magic likes to play against Control with minimum healing. Something that is already kept down by aggro War. Secondly, they don’t like to face race. So when 30+% of matches are against aggro War, they get sad. Throw in some cNature, HRD, and aggro Light and it went from an S-tier deck during Light’s Verdict to B-tier. Rough.


Aggro Nature

If you were around during Core Set Refresh you remember some highly questionable balance decisions by the GU team. Probably the most toxic meta I can remember was dominated by aggro Nature. Then the nerf hammer hit hard and everything was okay for a while. Then came Light’s Verdict and Nature got shit on. Like a really big diarrhea poop. And now with WW they got… Reinkeeper Selena (lol). Trying to play aggro nature at this time is basically being into BDSM. You’re going to get spanked.


There is a small chance that Fir Tree’s Fury will find a home in aggro nature since the 1/1’s have the Wild tag. However, they would still need a bunch more help to be viable again in Mythic.

Aggro Light

Another deck that was dominating during Light’s Verdict. The Whiteplanes helped a lot of decks but to a lesser extent aggro. Except for aggro Light (reasons here). But alas, guess who put a stop to that party? War. Let me explain.

Aggro Light likes to be the fastest deck. They need a wide board to use their strong AoE buff effects. Guess who is good at fighting back for board control? Yep, War. Woodcutter Imp alone almost always trades 2 for 1 against aggro Light and combined with other Blitz creatures and relics, Lights is in for a bad time. But wait! - they got a bunch of Ward creatures that are super sticky… Nah War doesn’t give a shit about Ward.

Furthermore, WW didn’t give any tools to aggro Light (arguably Merry Kadmos) to help it with the board control fight against War. Don’t get me wrong, the deck is still strong and viable and can probably get you around 50-60% in Mythic. But that now requires a full whale deck upwards of $900+.

### Unconfirmed Winners

And what about the future? Say a few months from now when we had some more time to playtest with cards like Unexpected Gift. Will there be any surprises?


Since the nerf to Over the Line, Rockdrake OTK has been a bad deck. However, with the new Spirit Storm, there might be hope again.


I have done some testing myself and it looks promising. It’s still too early to tell but the deck might be able to evolve into a more board-control-style instead of focusing on getting the OTK. Even if now is not the right time, I’m very sure that Spirit Storm will build a successful afterlife archetype at some point.

Sleep Deception


I’m less certain about this one, especially with all the aggro War which sleep Deception loathes. But there might be a Deception list to be discovered that finds a way to utilize Unexpected Gift and make it an A-tier deck again. Time will tell.

That’s it for now. I hope you liked the new mini-expansion and didn’t get your favorite deck smacked by the meta gods. It’s always a good reminder to have multiple decks ready for when the meta will inevitably change. Good luck in the coming Weekend Ranks, Sifu out.

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