We made it! The grand unveiling has come. We now know every single card that’s going to be in Blackrock Mountain, and now we can finally accurately predict their value with all the potential synergy revealed. Join Callum and I as we appraise this final stretch of cards before Blackrock Mountain’s release on April 2. For the other parts of this series, check here and here.
Arena: Getting a 5/5 for six mana isn’t great, but a one-mana discount on every card in your hand can go a long, long way. You play this on turn six and then play, I don’t know, an Ironbark Protector next turn. Maybe not the best legendary in arena, but certainly no slouch.
Constructed: So we’ve seen a number of new cards, (Volcanic Drake, Dragon’s Breath, etc) that offer situational discounts in certain situations. Thaurissan seems perfect to synergize with those decks. But even if that doesn’t end up taking off, Thaurissan still feels like the Loatheb of this expansion. A mid-range utility minion that offers a ton of value in practically any situation. Thaurissan could reinvigorate Miracle Rogue. He could allow for insane Mage combos. He allows for Force of Nature, Savage Roar, Savage Roar without Innervate. Yeah, this guy is going to be good. Expect to see him in a ton of decks.
Arena: The stats aren’t amazing for arena but it has potential. A good value pick up, certainly more likely to get guaranteed value than something like Harrison Jones. There are quite a few legendaries I would pick it ahead of, but not something that will drastically improve your draft.
Constructed: I think this is a potentially huge card. Druid in particular will get a big benefit from earlier combos and extra ramp, Rogue and Mage spells could get great value, but in something like Control Warrior this is also a really interesting addition. It will probably go in my Warrior deck on day one and we’ll go from there.
Arena: Drawing cards is good, and Chromaggus lets you essentially draw an extra card whenever you reach for your deck. That’s not bad, and it’s even better if you have an Acolyte of Pain or Gnomish Inventor on hand.
Constructed: I think Chromaggus might go down as a perfectly solid, above-average minion that doesn’t ever find a real home. Like I said, we all like drawing cards, and playing this thing and trading a Loot Hoarder to get double Sludge Belchers or whatever is good value. Does it make enough sense to include into your deck? Well, maybe. If I were to guess, Chromaggus could become a staple for Control Warrior and Control Paladin, who don’t have the draw to keep up with something like Druid or Warlock.
Arena: In Arena I really like this. Again legendaries are rare so you will likely never see this, but when you do it could really help you close out a close late game. If you’ve picked a good value draft it really could make all the difference having extra cards to play. Card advantage can be really important.
Constructed: I don’t think Chromaggus will find much of a home in constructed, though the fact they have made it Big Game Hunter resistant like Kelthu’zad was is super interesting to me. This is a perfect example of how having less attack makes it stronger—which is an indictment of Big Game Hunter, but that’s an argument for another day.
Arena: Pretty awful, because you can’t count on having a lot of demons in your draft. It could be fine if you don’t have any minions out, but if that’s the case two damage isn’t going to save you. I guess you could compare it to Consecration, if you could only play Consecration when you were losing the game.
Constructed: Most of the Demonlocks you see on ladder don’t actually run a ton of demons. Mal’Ganis and Jaraxxus obviously, Voidcallers sure, and maybe a couple Mistresses of Pain or a Voidwalker if you’re really edgy. Basically there’s going to be plenty of times where your board won’t be ideal for Demonwrath. Not to say that it’ll never be perfect, but it feels like a 50/50 card to me. Maybe if the Imp Gang Boss takes off things will be different.
Arena: The word situational returns! It could act as a decent early board clear, but you’re already pretty far behind. Not a great pick in arena at all. Far too likely to have non-demon minions. This is about as good a pick as Sense Demons really.
Constructed: I don’t think the demon tribal type is really well suited to this card at all. Fel Cannon works because there are lots of low cost mechs, and you can easily play a board consisting of nothing but mechs. With demons, most demon-based decks don’t run that many small minions outside of maybe Voidcallers and Voidwalkers.
Arena: This will be a 5/5 for 5 most of the time. That isn’t actually as bad as it looks, like I might pick it over a Fen Creeper. If you have some dragons in your deck, obviously this becomes much better.
Constructed: You play this on turn six, and then on turn seven you get to play a Malygos or a Ysera, or a Nefarian. That’s pretty strong! Sometimes a card comes along that’s a little bit broken specifically to make a certain archetype work. Dragon Consort guarantees an era of Dragon Paladins.
Arena: Not great in arena unless you’ve managed to pick up a few dragons along the way. Stats aren’t awful but there are a large number of better rares than this. But also many that are way worse.
Constructed: So Paladin has emerged as the early favourite for the dominant dragon class, and this card is a big part of that. Combined with things like Volcanic Drake and Hungry Dragon this could be a really great tempo card to ramp into late game dragons. A big get for Paladin, no doubt about it.
Druid of the Flame
Arena: How good is a three mana 2/5? Probably better than the three mana 2/4s and 4/2s you often find yourself picking. Better than a 3/4? I don’t know, maybe. It seems like a mid-tier pickup to me.
Constructed: The Druid of the Flame will never ever be played as a 5/2, which is fine, because Ancient of War is never ever played as a 10/5. Again, it comes down to how good you think a three mana 2/5 is, which is not something we have a precedent for. I think there’s value you there, but not enough to break into the meta.
Arena: I don’t really feel anything about this. Don’t like it, don’t hate it. I meh it. A 2/5 is okay, but the attack power is a bit small. It’s marginal, something like a Spider Tank is probably better but four health can be weaker sometimes.
Constructed: One of the interesting things is that both forms of the Druid of the Flame will be a beast, but the beast Druid archetype remains fairly unviable. The power levels aren’t good enough for arena, in attack mode this is barely better than a Magma Rager. And Magma Rager is the worst.
Arena: This is overpowered. At the very worst it’s a 4 mana 4/6 which doesn’t exist in the game. It could also be a 4 mana 5/6, 6/6, or 7/6. That’s nuts, and it only overloads for one. Next to Fire Elemental there might not be a better card in a Shaman arena. Six health for four mana!
Constructed: Do you like winning games? Good. Put the Fireguard Destroyer into all of your decks.
Arena: Yeah, this card is okay. Even a 4/6 for four is better than a Chillwind Yeti—but I don’t agree with Luke that it is overpowered and awesome. Really, taking into account overload, it actually costs five mana. It is a 5/6 on average, and that isn’t actually that much better.
Constructed: In constructed the six health is pretty big on turn four, so that does negate the extra mana cost slightly, but it’s still not as great as Luke thinks it is. Sorry, Luke.
Arena: At the very least, it’ll put more good cards in your deck. You won’t be able to rig it like you could in Constructed, but Gang Up should be a decent pick.
Constructed: If you built a straight, arena-ish Value Rogue deck, Gang Up could be pretty awesome. Being able to play, like, five Sludge Belchers or SI:7 Agents in one game could tempo out your opponent pretty quickly. Could this be the start of some sort of crazy Molten Giant Rogue archetype? There’s a ton of combos we haven’t even thought of yet, which is why Hearthstone is exciting.
Arena: This could be good in Arena, giving you more depth in your deck and more good value minions—if you can hit the right target with it. Not a bad pick certainly but fairly average.
Constructed: I think this card definitely has potential in and of itself, but with the meta how it is, it’s probably too slow. There’s a reason Malorne isn’t popular, and that’s because shuffling cards into your deck means you might not draw them for ten, fifteen, or twenty turns. On the other hand Duplicate is reasonably popular in some decks, because it puts the cards directly in your hand.
Arena: Dude that’s awesome. You play a 9/7 and when that dies you become Ragnaros! Your hero power becomes the Rag ability where you deal 8 damage to a random enemy. Awesome!
Oh, except that when you become Ragnaros you start with 8 health. Which means you’re susceptible to… anything, really. Yeah, as cool as this card is, it’s going to be pretty bad in arena.
Constructed: So how do you get around that whole 8 health thing? Well, someone at Blizzard used Ice Block. A Ragnaros with Ice Block becomes pretty scary. A Ragnaros without Ice Block becomes an easy Eviscerate/Kill Command/Force of Nature/Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil target. Majordomo will become really great in Freeze Mage decks. Maybe there’s something we’re not thinking of, and a 9/7 is enough of a threat and take enough of your opponent’s resources that the ensuing 8 health isn’t immediately smoted, but I’m not convinced.
Arena: I actually think this is better in arena than it is in constructed. Your opponent is less likely to have silence or immediate removal, as well as being less likely to have the burst to bring you down from eight health when you become one with the fiery goodness.
Constructed: This card is a problem for me. Without a doubt it’s my favourite just for being cool, but I’m not sure it’s viable. Nine attack plus silence potential is a problem, and there are just so many decks where you can be burst down from eight health pretty easily. You would never play this against Druid, Mage, Rogue, or even Shaman probably. Warrior is sketchy too. I wish this were as good as it was cool.
Arena: It’s Frostbolt. Frostbolt is good, so you should draft this.
Constructed: I think Quick Shot is a must-run for all Face Hunters. It’s more damage, which is nice, and has the added upside of drawing a card. What’s not to love? Oh, that Face Hunters are getting more cards.
Arena: Great value spell with added card draw potential, what’s not to love? It’s not great having no cards in arena, but it’s still good even just at three damage for two mana.
Constructed: This is the card that most clearly fits into an established archetype from the set. It will be a must include in face Hunter with at least one copy in midrange Hunter. The ability to refuel as well as deal three damage for two mana is so valuable. This is a really strong card.
Arena: Pretty good right? Remember that Dark Cultist that died? Well now you just played another one for two mana. Resurrect was put on this earth to make Priest better.
Constructed: More of the same really. Resurrect is an auto-include. Even if you get back a Harvest Golem or something, this still great value. It’s like the Unstable Portal of Priests.
Arena: Not bad in arena certainly, if you can get good value from it. It’s easy to say this is huge, but if it only gets a three drop or lower it’s only a one mana benefit. Potentially a decent tempo card.
Constructed: I’m not as big a fan of this as Luke. I don’t think it’s auto include, certainly. It has value and it’s likely objectively better than Mindgames, but it’s one of those cards that we won’t know how good it is until we can take a good look at it.
Arena: You won’t have synergy. Nope, nope, not good. Bad. Stay away. Don’t be silly you’re not going to get it to work.
Constructed: The idea here is that once you’re below 12 health, this will do three damage to all enemies. Two mana for a board-wide three damage is pretty efficient, but the 12 health thing makes it very situational. There’s probably some synergy here that I’m not seeing, but out of all the new spells, this seems like a weaker choice.
Arena: Yeah, not really. Like a bottom tier pick.
Constructed: I could like this in constructed, though. Control Warrior is a deck which can get super low against aggro decks like mech Mage and face Hunter and manage to stabilize, so a three-damage board clear could be really useful for that.
Arena: Not terrible, since you can generally count on this spell costing three or less, especially in Paladin. The upside of drawing two cards for one mana is pretty fantastic.
Constructed: Great synergy with the hero power, Muster For Battle, and new cards like Volcanic Drake. I like Solemn Vigil a lot. Yeah sometimes you won’t get a huge discount on it, but there are also turns as a Control Paladin where you’re totally fine spending five mana to draw some cards. This will be a must-run.
Arena: Not terrible sure, but not great either. I guess you can probably make it work like Arcane Intellect without too much trouble, but anything more is likely not advantageous.
Constructed: I disagree with Luke here. I think that there will be some situations where you’ve done a big board clear and want to draw cards, but in that position you really need to be playing minions to get a tempo advantage. When you’ve just cleared your opponents board you need to push your advantage rather than sit back.
Arena: 2/1s suck in arena, and this will be a 2/1 more often than not. Pass.
Constructed: Why run this instead of Zombie Chow? Yeah Zombie Chow heals your opponent but it also opens the door for Auchenai combos. The Twilight Whelp could shore up Priest’s early game presence, so it’s not strictly awful, but I’m not excited about it either.
Arena: Hard to see how this can be better than a Murloc Raider in the vast majority of cases.
Constructed: Like Luke said, Zombie Chow is better than this in pretty much every way, especially in Priest. Can we take a moment to appreciate that it’s goddamn cute though??
Arena: I really like Ironbark Protector in arena, so a 7/8 with taunt for nine mana with the promise of a discount works for me. Slapping this thing down on turn five or turn six isn’t that outlandish, so I’m a fan.
Constructed: What would you cut? The Druid archetype that runs guys like this already stocks Ancient of War, Ancient of Lore, Sunwalkers, Shieldmastas… is there room for another big guy? It’s not an awful pick by any means, but it’s also not something that does enough to merit inclusion.
Arena: I think it’s unlikely that this would ever be able to significantly better than Ironbark Protector, and it’s so easy for it to hit with Big Game Hunter or Black Knight.
Constructed: This definitely will struggle to find a home in Druid. Generally nine drops struggle outside of things like Jaraxxus and Cenarius as tech cards. In Druid, it’s definitely objectively worse than Cenarius.
Arena: Pretty decent. At the very least it’s an 8/8 that draws you two cards. Yes there’s a chance those cards will be useless (like a Shield Slam in Priest or something) but you could also get Force/Savage or Equality/Consecrate. It’ll average somewhere in the middle, but more often than not Nefarian will be useful.
Constructed: Nefarian exists outside of the meta because it’s so unpredictable. You can’t count on any specific spell or any specific class with this level of randomization. Generally I think it’ll be a pretty good card, because Shamans run Neptulon without an overarching Murloc deck. I’m excited to see it in action.
Arena: This is pretty good in arena, extra cards are always good and it could be a decent top end of your curve. Hard to judge legendaries though since they are so rare.
Constructed: It’s okay I guess, it’s not great. I don’t think it will see more play than other eight drops like Ragnaros. It has inherent weaknesses against classes like Rogue and Shaman because of useless spells as well.
Arena: It’s a 6/6 or a 9/9. That’s pretty good.
Constructed: It’s a 6/6 or a 9/9 in a deck built specifically to kill your opponents quickly and leave no room for hope. That’s pretty great. Drakonoid, meet Face Hunter. I think you’ll get along.
Arena: When you’re opponent has 15 or less health in arena you probably have other options, but this could be a good “win more” card.
Constructed: I like Luke’s theory of this, but the problem is it has no immediate impact when it hits the board. It doesn’t even have taunt. Your opponent can probably ignore it at that point and just race you down.
Arena: This thing is pretty much guaranteed to be a four mana 6/4 most of the time. I probably don’t need to explain to you why that’s pretty good value.
Constructed: The same as above, but with more chances to pull off some truly incredible combos. Equality into Consecration into double Volcanic Drakes anyone? You’ll be seeing this thing around ladder.
Arena: Not a fan in arena, hard to pull off the value. It’s a mechanic we’ve talked about numerous times now but this is one of the more viable cards to have it. Can we talk about how this mechanic should have got a keyword though? Blizzard seem really reluctant to add new keywords.
Constructed: I really like this in constructed, particularly in Paladin. With Dragon Consort giving you a two-mana reduction anyway, even just one trade gives you a two mana 6/4. This will really help make the Paladin dragon tribal viable. Bring it on!