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The best Standard Hearthstone decks to try for Scholomance Academy




Hearthstone’s Scholomance Academy officially launches tomorrow and every card has been revealed. The power level of this expansion has been compared to Descent of Dragons in terms of how many viable paths each class can follow.

From the aggressive Voracious Reader strategies to the hype of the new dual-class cards, here are 10 powerful Hearthstone decks, one for each class, using new Scholomance Academy cards.

Demonic Midrange

Class: Demon Hunter

  • 2x (1) Battlefiend
  • 2x (1) Demonic Companion
  • 2x (1) Guardian Augmerchant
  • 2x (1) Spirit Jailer
  • 2x (1) Twin Slice
  • 2x (2) Manafeeder Panthara
  • 2x (2) Soul Shear
  • 2x (2) Umberwing
  • 1x (3) Ace Hunter Kreen
  • 2x (3) Satyr Overseer
  • 1x (4) Kayn Sunfury
  • 2x (4) Marrowslicer
  • 1x (4) Star Student Stelina
  • 2x (4) Vilefiend Trainer
  • 2x (5) Soulshard Lapidary
  • 2x (6) Skull of Gul’dan
  • 1x (7) Soulciologist Malicia

Deck code: AAECAea5AwTj1APaxgOD0APP0gMN98gDgtAD3r4DzNID4LwD+84DzdIDi7oD+cgD0c0D6dID1NID2cYDAA==

With a strong debut in its freshman expansion, Demon Hunter players likely expect its sophomore experience to continue that trend in Scholomance Academy. While there are potential hyper-aggressive builds that focus on Voracious Reader and Glide as refuel potential, this midrange list aims to hit more consistent curves and threaten opponents with wide boards.

This deck uses the aggressive half of the Warlock/Demon Hunter Soul Fragment shell to provide ample threats at all stages of the game.

Classic Ramp Druid

Class: Druid

  • 2x (0) Innervate
  • 2x (0) Lightning Bloom
  • 2x (1) Nature Studies
  • 2x (2) Wrath
  • 2x (3) Wild Growth
  • 2x (4) Escaped Manasaber
  • 2x (4) Germination
  • 2x (4) Overgrowth
  • 2x (4) Swipe
  • 2x (5) Twilight Runner
  • 1x (6) Forest Warden Omu
  • 2x (6) Nourish
  • 2x (7) Guardian Animals
  • 1x (7) Kael’thas Sunstrider
  • 2x (7) Overflow
  • 2x (7) Winguard Guardian
  • 1x (9) Malygos

Deck code: AAECAZICBOQIo9EDrroDtAMN/gHw1AObzgPEBoS2A+a6A+i6A0De0QNfk9ED26UD/7UDAA==

Token Druid and Combo Druid are both being pushed in this expansion. But the most prominent and powerful decks will look to go back to Druid’s classic roots: Ramp Druid. With the power of an unnerfed Innervate in the form of Lightning Bloom and a Nature Studies to consistently find powerful tools, Druid is looking like a strong contender for this expansion.

The playstyle for Ramp Druid is easy to grasp. Spend the early game accruing as much mana as possible with Ramp, then plop down one threat after another. While the potential to create a large Germination combo with Omu and Malygos is there, this list’s main focus isn’t aiming to finish the opponent with a one-turn kill.

Dragonbeast Highlander 

Class: Hunter

  • 1x (1) Demonic Companion
  • 1x (1) Rapid Fire
  • 1x (1) Tour Guide
  • 1x (1) Tracking
  • 1x (1) Trueaim Crescent
  • 1x (2) Wolpertinger
  • 1x (2) Corrosive Breath
  • 1x (2) Explosive Trap
  • 1x (2) Freezing Trap
  • 1x (3) Pack Tactics
  • 1x (3) Phase Stalker
  • 1x (3) Scavenger’s Ingenuity
  • 1x (4) Snake Trap
  • 1x (4) Zephrys the Great
  • 1x (4) Ace Hunter Kreen
  • 1x (5) Desert Spear
  • 1x (5) Diving Gryphon
  • 1x (5) Primordial Explorer
  • 1x (5) Shan’do Wildclaw
  • 1x (5) Stormhammer
  • 1x (6) Unleash the Hounds
  • 1x (6) Zixor, Apex Predator
  • 1x (6) Dragonbane
  • 1x (7) Escaped Manasaber
  • 1x (7) Evasive Feywing
  • 1x (7) Krolusk Barkstripper
  • 1x (8) Rotnest Drake
  • 1x (7) Evasive Wyrm
  • 1x (7) Dinotamer Brann
  • 1x (9) Dragonqueen Alexstrasza

Deck code: AAECAR8egtAD7JYDm80DlwjhzgOizgOKrQPJBIcEpLkD+68D/7oDxwP8owPj1APkpAOOrQP+rwPB0AOLrQPbCYO5A4ewA4S2A/+wA+TMA6+3A4WxA6alA5GxAwAA

Hunter was a consistent threat on the ladder last expansion due to its powerhouse Highlander list. While Beast and Egg Deathrattle strategies are getting pushed in this expansion, Highlander Hunter still has potent tools it can adopt from Scholomance Academy to stay fresh.

While the Highlander Hunter for the last couple of expansions had a major emphasis on Dragons, this list splits its focus into adding more powerful Beast tools. Since this deck takes strong aspects from each minion type, the refuel potential will always be constant.

Tempo Mage

Class: Mage

  • 2x (1) Arcane Missiles
  • 1x (1) Brain Freeze
  • 2x (1) Lab Partner
  • 2x (1) Magic Trick
  • 2x (1) Ray of Frost
  • 2x (1) Wand Thief
  • 1x (2) Astromancer Solarian
  • 1x (2) Bloodmage Thalnos
  • 2x (2) Cram Session
  • 2x (2) Frostbolt
  • 2x (2) Loot Hoarder
  • 2x (2) Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • 2x (2) Starscryer
  • 2x (3) Firebrand
  • 1x (4) Potion of Illusion
  • 1x (5) Mozaki, Master Duelist
  • 1x (5) Ras Frostwhisper
  • 1x (5) Vectus
  • 1x (7) Archmage Antonidas

Deck code: AAECAf0ECMfOA427A+0F5dEDkssD0M4DitIDuAgLtASFzQP/nQOfmwOk0QP30QOWBfsB5gT3uAP4zAMA

With Potion of Illusion’s inclusion, players were excited to see potential Combo Mage decks return to Standard. But Combo Mage may be difficult to pilot properly due to all of the aggressive decks and combo disruptor cards running around. Instead of trying to assemble combo pieces, this Tempo Mage list wants to get on the board fast and use massive Spell Damage amplification cards to finish off the opponent. Once a sizable board has been accrued, you can use Potion of Illusion to refuel for future turns to close out the game.

This deck features a neutral Deathrattle draw engine using the new Vectus to have an alternate way to draw cards outside of Cram Session turns.

Lightforged Scholomance

Class: Paladin

  • 2x (0) First Day of School
  • 2x (1) Aldor Attendant
  • 2x (2) Argent Braggart
  • 2x (2) Hand of A’dal
  • 2x (2) Libram of Wisdom
  • 1x (2) Murgur Murgurgle
  • 2x (2) Shotbot
  • 2x (3) Gift of Luminance
  • 2x (3) Goody Two-Shields
  • 1x (3) Lord Barov
  • 2x (3) Underlight Angling Rod
  • 2x (4) Consecration
  • 1x (4) High Abbess Alura
  • 1x (4) Lightforged Zealot
  • 2x (5) Aldor Truthseeker
  • 1x (7) Lightforged Crusader
  • 2x (9) Libram of Hope

Deck code: AAECAZ8FBPy4A5PQA8PRA5uuAw2ezQP9uAPg0QPKwQPruQONtgOnywPK0QP7uAPcA5yuA+y5A+q5AwA=

Pure Paladin is an archetype that’s been growing steadily more popular while all the classes around it have been getting nerfed in Ashes of Outland. With one of its weaknesses—a lack of early one drops—getting shored up, Pure Paladin is hoping to vie for a stronger spot on the tier list. High Abbess is a card that can have powerful high roll potential if you can hit your expensive spells, even gaining a free 8/8 Divine Shield with Taunt after you cast a cheap spell.

Tempo Priest

Class: Priest

  • 2x (0) Raise Dead
  • 2x (1) Beaming Sidekick
  • 2x (1) Frazzled Freshman
  • 1x (1) Reliquary of Souls
  • 2x (1) Grandmummy
  • 2x (2) Kul Tiran Chaplain
  • 2x (2) Power Word: Feast
  • 2x (2) Sethekk Veilweaver
  • 2x (2) Apotheosis
  • 2x (3) Dragonmaw Overseer
  • 2x (3) Gift of Luminance
  • 1x (3) Mindflayer Kaarhj
  • 2x (3) Wretched Reclaimer
  • 2x (4) Cabal Acolyte
  • 1x (4) Disciplinarian Gandling
  • 1x (7) Galakrond, the Unspeakable

Deck code: AAECAa0GBM6+A4WtA+fRA8jAAw3XzgP9pwParAO70QOtpQOk1QO00QObugOvugPpugOnywO2pQPj0QMA

Both Galakrond and Highlander Priest had strong showings during Ashes of Outland—and they’ll continue to be powerful going into this expansion. But this list shows a potential new contender: Tempo Priest. While Tempo Priest has been historically weak outside of Divine Spirit Inner Fire lists, this new era of Tempo Priest has a lot of early options to fight for the board quickly and keep healthy minions.

If the deck runs out of cards early, the single Galakrond at the top of the curve can grant Priest immense value for free, especially against slower controlling decks.

Tempo Rogue

Class: Rogue

  • 2x (0) Backstab
  • 2x (1) Deadly Poison
  • 1x (1) Pharoah Cat
  • 2x (1) Secret Passage
  • 2x (1) Spymistress
  • 2x (1) Wand Thief
  • 2x (2) Eviscerate
  • 2x (2) Skyvateer
  • 2x (2) Transfer Student
  • 2x (3) Edwin VanCleef
  • 2x (3) Greyheart Sage
  • 1x (3) Hooked Scimitar
  • 2x (3) Vulpera Toxinblade
  • 1x (4) Infiltrator Lilian
  • 2x (4) Waggle Pick
  • 2x (5) Cutting Class

Deck code: AAECAaIHArICq9IDDrQBywP1pwOqywO5uAOk0QOIB5u2A8PMA8+5A/+lA4jQA4mbA/fUAwA=

Galakrond Rogue was a deck that powered through Standard for two expansions in a row since its introduction in Descent of Dragons. The free value it gained from Invoked Lackeys and cheap draws from Galakrond himself was hard for other decks to keep up with. And now, with Secret Passage, Tempo Rogue has an alternate way to gain more opportunities to draw cards for a low mana cost. 

Spell Damage Shaman

Class: Shaman

  • 2x (0) Lightning Bloom
  • 2x (1) Ethereal Augmerchant
  • 2x (1) Lightning Bolt
  • 2x (1) Bloodmage Thalnos
  • 2x (2) Diligent Notetaker
  • 2x (2) Rune Dagger
  • 2x (2) Spellbook Binder
  • 2x (2) Arcane Watcher
  • 1x (3) Instructor Fireheart
  • 1x (3) Lady Vashj
  • 2x (3) Lava Burst
  • 2x (3) Marshspawn
  • 2x (3) Molten Blast
  • 2x (4) Serpentshrine Portal
  • 2x (4) Squallhunter
  • 1x (5) Ras Frostwhisper
  • 2x (5) Steward of Scrolls

Deck code: AAECAaoIBO0FnM4D5LgD0M4DDfDUA+C+A/kD4cwDpssDwZgDrpsD4AaYuQPOzgPbuAOsrQOTzQMA

Shaman is hurting from a weak showing during the Ashes of Outland expansion, even after receiving buffs. But with the powerful tools they obtained in Scholomance Academy, a Spell Damage focused Shaman build is looking to pull this class out of the low tiers and into contender status.

Zoo Lock

Class: Warlock

  • 2x (0) Raise Dead
  • 2x (1) Beaming Sidekick
  • 2x (1) Flame Imp
  • 2x (1) Sinister Deal
  • 2x (1) Soulfire
  • 2x (1) Spirit Jailer
  • 1x (1) Tour Guide
  • 1x (1) Voidwalker
  • 2x (2) EVIL Genius
  • 2x (2) Expired Merchant
  • 2x (2) Transfer Student
  • 2x (3) Magic Carpet
  • 2x (3) Neverset Thrasher
  • 1x (4) Disciplinarian Gandling
  • 2x (4) Diseased Vulture
  • 2x (8) Flesh Giant

Deck code: AAECAf0GApvNA+fRAw7XzgP9pwPCCPqkA84HzNIDMIidA/2kA8PMA7WfA/ukA4GlA8HRAwA=

Warlock had a couple of viable decks in the last expansion, such as Discard Zoo and Control Quest. This Zoo List tries to revive the self-damage strategy introduced with Savior of Uldum and combine it with the new cards from Scholomance Academy, like Flesh Giant and Raise Dead.

Big Ripper Commencement Warrior

Class: Warrior

  • 2x (1) Shield Slam
  • 2x (1) Sword and Board
  • 2x (2) Corsair Cache
  • 2x (2) Slam
  • 2x (3) Bladestorm
  • 2x (3) Coerce
  • 2x (3) Shield Block
  • 2x (4) Reaper’s Scythe
  • 2x (5) Brawl
  • 2x (5) Cutting Class
  • 2x (7) Commencement
  • 1x (7) Gorehowl
  • 1x (8) Deathwing, Mad Aspect
  • 2x (8) Troublemaker
  • 1x (9) Rattlegore
  • 1x (10) Colossus of the Moon

Deck code: AAECAQcEqgbfrQOr1APfqQMNogT2wgPAuQOyCLi5A4rQA/8H48wDS/fUA9LRA6fOA5aUAwA=

Midrange Tempo-focused Warrior was the best deck this class had in the last expansion. This deck looks to highlight the potential of a slower Warrior list that could pop up. Control Warrior has been a classic archetype since the dawn of Hearthstone. A similar strategy of solely using big minions existed during the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion to highlight the Recruit mechanic.

The strategy of this deck is simple. Remove all threats the opponent throws at you with spells and weapons, then grind out your opponent with high-value minions and spells like Dimensional Ripper or Commencement.

Look out for meta changes

While these lists are mainly speculative, there are many changes in the meta that can happen, including card balance updates and counters to the decks that appear to be the strongest.

Hearthstone’s Scholomance Academy expansion will be released on Aug. 6. Players can pre-purchase the expansion before it releases in one of two different bundles from Blizzard’s online store or in the Hearthstone client.



U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Sanctions Against TikTok, WeChat




The U.S. Department of Commerce Friday announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile apps WeChat and TikTok.  The order is an enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive orders issued in August.

Beginning Sept. 20, The following transactions will be prohibited:

  • Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.;
  • Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.

Additional prohibitions for WeChat (Sept, 20) and TikTok (Nov. 12), according to Commerce:

  •     Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.
  •     Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S..
  •     Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S..
  •     Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.

“While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar,” the order reads. “Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP.  This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”

The notices for these actions have been recorded in the Federal Register this morning.

This story is developing…


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U.S. Government Takes Aim at  Riot Games, Epic Games, and Others Tied to Tencent




The U.S. Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) has asked gaming companies including Riot Games and Epic Games to provide information on security protocols, according to a Bloomberg report. The CFIUS sent letters to Epic, Riot, “and other game companies” asking them to provide data on security protocols related to user data to the government because of their deep ties with Tencent Holdings

Valorant and League of Legends developer Riot Games is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent Holdings, while the company holds a 40% stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games. Tencent has ownership stakes of varying sizes in video game developers and publishers around the world.

U.S. politicians have taken aim at Tencent’s WeChat and QQ apps, so this latest move is not surprising. The CFIUS investigates acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign businesses for national security risks. 

The Esports Observer laid out how the Trump administration might use the CFIUS to take down TikTok in July, noting the following:

“What if the government began scrutinizing Tencent’s deep connections in the games industry? Tencent holds a fair percentage of Fortnite maker Epic Games; owns League of Legends and Valorant publisher Riot Games; and develops and/or publishes PUBG, PUBG MOBILE, Honor of Kings, and Call of Duty: Mobile. “

The focus of the CFIUS on Tencent-connected video game companies is the latest move against the Chinese conglomerate by U.S. politicians. On Aug. 7,  President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions with the popular WeChat app, to take effect 45 days from the date of the order. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FLA.) sent a letter to Trump urging him to add Tencent’s social media and messaging app QQ to the previous executive order aimed at WeChat. Rubio and other Republican senators are also asking the administration to scrutinize the ByteDance-Oracle deal for the U.S. operations of TikTok.


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Vaynerchuk Explains Why He Saw Esports as an Investment Vehicle Years Ago




Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t just a jack-of-all-trades, he’s the king. The serial entrepreneur and five-time New York Times best-selling author with companies spanning the globe has seen his uncanny intuition, guile, and wit lead him to business success in places others feared to go.

And now, he has his sights set on esports.

This week on Conquering Geek Culture, Vaynerchuk describes to podcast host and CEO of The Esports Observer, Chris Hana, his methodology of evaluating where he will strike next. Vaynerchuk gives an immersive and detailed description of some of his tried and proven strategies in regard to where business opportunities may lie and how he is able to jump on them as quickly as he has.

“I’m always listening,” Vaynerchuk says. “And I am very rarely speaking. It’s just I’m speaking so prolifically on the internet and strategically on the volumes of output it seems like I am always talking, yet the reality is that although I might be talking for 30 minutes a day on a podcast like this, but I’m operating 15 hours a day and in that operation does come a lot of listening and observing social networks for consumer insights.”

The self-described lion says that when he gets a taste of something he likes, it’s time to eat–and esports is on the plate. Vaynerchuk tells Hana that he had decided seven years ago that esports would be “one of the biggest genres of sport” for the rest of his life. And with that decision comes a lifelong commitment to exploring the esports business space and where he fits in.

“Five, six, seven years ago I decided that esports would be one of the biggest genres of sport for the rest of my life, based on pattern recognition, based on being good at history,” Vaynerchuk said. “And once I made that decision, five or six years ago, then it became a game of, I always think of myself as an animal, a hunter. Once I decided that I am a lion and I want to eat elk, I’m going to sit in the bushes until the elk makes a mistake.”

For Vaynerchuk, that analogy manifests itself in the form of opportunity in the esports space which he has pounced on and made one of his passions.

Join Hana and Vaynerchuk for this exploratory journey of what he sees in this world of esports and if the business mogul feels he can fuel an investment engine to take him to new heights.

To hear more about what Vanderchuk believes in terms of what’s next for esports and where it may be headed, listen to the complete podcast now on Conquering Geek Culture with Chris Hana.


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