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After the invasion of Dalaran, the League of E.V.I.L have set their eyes on Uldum. The League of Explorers has risen to the occasion to defend Uldum. With the launch of the expansion, a good number of cards have entered the metagame – making the first few weeks of the Uldum metagame. Different cards have influenced the meta in a different way, with some cards making a bigger influence than others.

If you’re playing Hearthstone for quite some time, you’d definitely know that legendaries often define the meta more than other cards. Saviors of Uldum is host to some powerful legendaries. It features the return of the Quest cards – powerful cards which give you a result on successfully completing it. Last featured in Journey to Un’Goro, quests changed the metagame completely, being the new toys for control decks.

Quest cards make a comeback in Saviors of Uldum.

The game also sees a return of the “only one card” or “highlander” archetype – a preferred way for the Explorers to deal with E.V.I.L’s invasion. All Explorers are legendary cards having the highlander archetype – with the set having access to one more highlander card.

Reno is back…..as a highlander card.

This is the card which has created quite a commotion in the Hearthstone community. Zephyrs, the genie of the lamp, is the source of wonder and joy alike for all players running a highlander deck with him in it.

The card’s ability is rather peculiar – “Choose the perfect card”. The wording’s a bit obnoxious, so a bit of playtesting helped a lot. The card allows the player to choose one card out of three cards – three “randomly” chosen cards. Are they really “randomly” chosen? Well, nope. The card somehow analyzes your board conditions and gives you three cards which help you bail yourself out of any tough situation. How cool is that? The card studies the board conditions and gives you an appropriate answer for it. When you’re outvalued by enemy minions, you get board clears. When you are on a dominating board, you get the extra tempo.

Streamers have had quite a gala time deckbuilding with Zephyrs. In every highlander deck, be it in Standard or in Wild, Zephyrs’s potential to react to the board makes him a must-add. Opponent pushing for lethal with a swarming board presence? Zephyrs gives you a Flamestrike, Blizzard, Swipe or Starfall. Looking at a single overwhelmingly strong target? Zephyrs knows that you can bounce it back to hand using Sap, Execute it (if damaged), or use a Deadly Shot to remove it. Have an overwhelming board, and need to push for lethal damage? Zephyrs knows you can do it using Power of the Wild, Blessings of the Ancient, or simply push using Leeroy Jenkins. You can escape most common situations using Zephyrs. While the card isn’t exactly perfect, meaning that slightly complicated situations might be a bit difficult for it to handle (or rather, the choices given aren’t good enough), it pretty much carves out a way to deal with the board more often than not.

Zephyrs proving its mettle during the reveal stream.

What’s even more impressive seems to be what actually went into making the card. Of course, Zephyrs could just be a bunch of hardcoded values and a long “if-else” chains deciding the board conditions for a particular card to show up. What people would like to believe though, is that Zephyrs is a complex machine-learning algorithm which gives options by maximizing the “rewards” gained by the player on playing the card they picked off Zephyrs. The algorithm might even be harvesting data from matches played, improving Zephyr’s effectiveness.


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