Aug 12 2015 - 6:12 pm

Even more new Hearthstone cards reviewed, from Aviana to Tuskarr Jouster

With well over half of Hearthstone's newest expansion, The Grand Tournament, now revealed, the set is beginning to take shape
Morning Editor

With well over half of Hearthstone's newest expansion, The Grand Tournament, now revealed, the set is beginning to take shape. Not only is the "inspire" keyword and mechanic being added to the game, but in this new tranche we can see a second new mechanic—joust. 

These powerful new cards that seem to favor control-heavy decks now in the mix. How are they likely to shake out? 

If you're not interested in that, there's always a walrus riding a turtle.


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Blizzard


Injured Kvaldir

Luke

Arena: The battlecry means this thing will be a one mana 2/1 most of the time, which obviously isn’t very good. The Kvaldir will work in priest, but that’s about it.

Constructed: You could drop this on turn one, play a Circle of Healing, and have an instant 2/4, which I think is a lot stronger than people realize. That is, of course, a very specific combo that needs to be in your starting hand for the board control, and the slower option of turn one Kvaldir and turn two hero power to make a 2/3 is comparably worse when minions like Northshire Cleric and Zombie Chow exist. So the real question is: How big the upside of a turn one 2/4 is. How much better is it than coining out a 2/3? I just don’t know.

Callum

Arena: It's basically a Murloc Raider, and we all know how good that is outside of the tutorial. Pass.

Constructed: Only the second card after Injured Blademaster to have this mechanic, so maybe this will see some play in Priest especially with Flash Heal. Some kind of early game Priest... that won't be as good as current archetypes.

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Blizzard

Gadgetzan Jouster

Luke

Arena: This is the first of the new “joust” cards that have been released. You drop this thing, and a random minion card is revealed from each deck. If your random minion has a higher cost than your opponent’s, then you get some sort of cool benefit. So in the Gadgetzan’s case, you earn +1/+1. Not bad! In constructed you can tune your deck to have a high or low curve, but that doesn’t really happen in arena. So basically that means that Gadgetzan Jouster is more like a 1/2 battlecry: 50 percent chance of gaining +1/+1, which is already pretty good. As far as one-drops go you could do much, much worse.

Constructed: I think this is a very reasonable early game play. If you’re in a Control vs. Aggro matchup the Jouster will have like a 75 percent chance of getting buffed. The odds will be more even in Control vs. Control, but in that case early-game stability is far less important anyway. I think this will definitely see some play.

Callum

Arena: Joust cards are a complete crapshoot in arena, so all but a couple (that we will discuss later) are going to be bad picks in arena because without the buff their stats are weak. This one is likely to be a bottom tier pick.

Constructed: Some of the joust cards are definitely useful control tools, but I'm not convinced by this one. I think there are just so many scenarios where this is inferior to Zombie Chow, not least because the 2/3 stats are guaranteed on a Chow.

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Brave Hunter

Luke

Arena: If your hand is empty you’re losing the game, and a 2/1 that deals extra face damage is the last thing you want to draw to stabilize. This is basically Leper Gnome, and Leper Gnome sucks in arena.

Constructed: Here’s the thing. On its own this card is pretty bad, but I’m not ready to completely toss it out yet. I think there’s potential for some crazy combos. You drop two of these with the also-unreleased Garrison Commander that lets you hero power twice on one turn, and you can do eight damage off your hero powers alone. Is that… good? Ok, maybe not. But there are a ton of unreleased Hunter cards left and I feel like there’s more hero power synergy coming. So, probably bad, but I’m not writing its combo potential off just yet.

Callum

Arena: 2/1s are generally just bad in arena, and this one has no immediate impact on the game or the board state like Leper Gnome or Abusive. Hard pass.

Constructed: This is just really bad. Hunters will not play this under any circumstances, because it's just so much worse than any number of one drops. All the one drops in this expansion so far have been completely disappointing, perhaps that's down to the limited design space.

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Wrathguard

Luke

Arena: 4/3 for two is obviously good, and the drawback isn’t that bad. This is worth a draft.

Constructed: What’s Demonzoo running on turn two these days? Haunted Creepers, Nerubian Eggs, Dire Wolf Alphas, and maybe a couple Knife Jugglers? This is the same as Succubus but nobody runs Succubus because discarding a card for a 4/3 is terrible, but this could probably work. I could see someone cutting a pair of Dire Wolves or Haunted Creepers for Wrathguards. It also gives more targets for that often-theorized, never-actualized Demonfire/Felheart deck.

By the way, I can’t wait for the Trolden videos when Voidcaller spits this out and it gets smashed by a Deathwing or something.

Callum

Arena: Arena is a value game. In the simplest possible terms the better the stat line, the better the pick. 4/3 for two mana is pretty great value, and the drawback is likely to be less exploitable.

Constructed: This will probably see play in some constructed Warlock decks, but I'm not sure about zoo. I think the two-drops in that deck are two optimized, to the point where Dire Wolf is somewhat uncommon. Definitely has applications, but will need to work its way into the meta.

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Druid of the Sabre

Luke

Arena: A 3/2 with stealth is something that doesn’t exist in Hearthstone right now, and it’s probably pretty good because Gilblin Stalker is solid. The option to switch to a 2/1 with charge is nice, but mostly unnecessary in arena. I’d still prefer Anodized Robo Cub, but this ain’t bad.

Constructed: These things turn into beasts when they transform which means that Druid of the Fang could see its patient ascendence. Turn two Druid of the Sabre turn three Druid of the Flame ain’t bad. It won’t be meta-breaking, but this will get a run.

Callum

Arena: This card is actually pretty nice in arena on account of its flexibility. It can be used as two damage spot removal or that last damage push, or as a sticky stealthed minion. I like this quite a lot, and it will definitely get picked over other two drops. Maybe even over some 2/3s.

Constructed: Druid is getting something of a shot in the arm in the expansion so far, and a couple of good two drops are very much part of that. This will see some play, whether it will stick around or go the way of Druid of the Flame is another question.

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Darnassus Aspirant

Luke

Arena: Ramp is impossible in arena because it requires drafting things like Wild Growth or Innervate. However with this vanilla, rock-solid 2/3, a momentary boost in mana is actually doable! This sorta reminds me of Sorcerer's Apprentice—a strong body with text you can take advantage of every once in a while.

Constructed: It’s easy to look at that deathrattle and get scared because any text that reads “destroy a mana crystal” should send shivers down your spine. However when you consider the Aspirant will only destroy the mana crystal you get from the battlecry, it’s not too bad. I do wonder how sticky the Aspirant will be to move the needle, but even if you’re only able to get to four mana on turn three, that’s still enough to drop a Shredder.

Callum

Arena: By default, 2/3 two-mana cards are good in arena, and this one has an upside. What's not to like? The mana manipulation is pretty cool and not overpowered, and could be helpful in taking tempo.

Constructed: I definitely think this will see play in Druid, maybe even in some new aggressive Druid deck. Personally I will try this in my current double combo build as a one of straight away, the same way most people did with Druid of the Flame. Whether it sticks around remains to be seen, but this definitely has potential.

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Argent Watchman

Luke

Arena: As bad as this card is, it’s better in arena than in constructed. You won’t be happy to draft this, but it is better than, say, Doomsayer.

Constructed: I don’t understand this card. You’re suffering a huge drawback—not being able to attack without hero powering—for the benefit of one extra health. That’s it! One health! A 2/4 instead of a 2/3! I simply don’t get it. Was a 3/4 too powerful? was a 2/5 too powerful? You realize you can play an Ancient Watcher on turn two and get two extra attack and three extra health. Sure you have to taunt it up or silence it, but that’s still much, much better. This is a cool idea, but it’s severely underpowered.

Callum

Arena: A really bad pick in arena. If you have no better choice, you're going to feel pretty bad about it.

Constructed: Play Ancient Watcher or Zombie Chow. Both do pretty much everything a control deck wants from Argent Watchman far more efficiently and reliably.

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Demonfuse

Luke

Arena: Total garbage. You can count on having more demons in a Warlock draft but not by that much. This thing will be a dead card most of the time.

Constructed: +3/+3 is not nearly as valuable as having a mana crystal, so giving one over for free just so you can turn your Voidcaller into a 6/7 ain’t worth it. A 6/5 Flame Imp on turn two is good, but it’s still not that hard to remove. Demonfire has more versatility and that isn’t getting run, so I don’t think there’s any niche for Demonfuse.

Callum

Arena: Really bad. Can't guarantee the synergy and hands mana advantage over to your opponent. Awful.

Constructed: An example of truly terrible card design. It doesn't have the damage aspect of Demonfire and Demonheart, only because it can't because then it would just be a strictly worse Darkbomb. Should have been killed at the concept stage.

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Confuse

Luke

Arena: You’re generally looking for quick, solid value in arena, and Confuse reads like a very situational combo card that’s not going to do much on its own. I’m not a huge fan, but at two mana there will be some moments when it’s good.

Constructed: I just feel like this card is too hard to grasp control of. Like what does the board state need to be in order for a good Confuse play? It’s certainly a cool effect, but it might be too hard to mine value.

Callum

Arena: This card is an epic so the other choices will likely be just as bad, but I don't see this having applications in arena. Unless you've drafted an Oasis Snapjaw this isn't worth it, and even then... just, don't.

Constructed: Someone will try and make something happen with this, but I'm not just sure where in the current meta this would be a good thing. Two mana is an interesting cost point too, as it puts it level with Crazed Alchemist. I'd probably rather take the targeted one time hit with the 2/2 body than the AoE version.

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Bolster

Luke

Arena: You can’t count on having a lot of taunts, and most of the time you’re only going to have one on the board. No go in arena for me.

Constructed: What’s the dream scenario with Bolster? Two minions taunted up with Sunfury Protector, then hit with the +2/+2? That’s reasonable, but nothing I’m dying to run. I’m also not keen on paying two mana to make my Sludge Belcher a 5/7.

Callum

Arena: If you've picked a bunch of taunts and this comes up near the end of your draft, then this might well be an option. Without that, there are quite a few other underplayed Warrior buff cards that would be picked over this.

Constructed: Warrior builds aren't prone to having a huge number of taunts, let alone any large number of taunts on the field at any one time. Between this and the pretty garbage weapon, Taunt Warrior might be a thing, but I doubt it will ever be competitive.

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Ancestral Knowledge

Luke

Arena: Card draw can be decent in arena. Ancestral Knowledge is really slow, but there are worse Shaman spells. It passes the highly regarded Better Than Totemic Might test.

Constructed: If you compare this to Arcane Intellect, the Mage spell that draws two cards for three mana, Ancestral Knowledge looks really bad. You’re forced to pay a total of four mana across two turns, which is murder in the early game because it means you’ll only have one mana on turn three. In the late game when a healthy curve is less important, however, I could see this working alright. It gives Lava Shock more targets!

Callum

Arena: Card draw is good in arena, but double overload is pretty crippling. Not that good, as it gives up a lot of tempo and potential board control.

Constructed: So this is once again an example of how overload really hampers card design for the Shaman class. Being able to get what should be a three-mana effect (if we judge by Arcane Intellect) on turn one or two should be powerful, but if that effect is very passive then you are just giving up far too much tempo. Instead, this is more of a late game card potentially for more aggressive Shaman decks. Might work in something like Mech Shaman or new archetypes.

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Argent Lance

Luke

Arena: A 2/2 weapon on its own isn’t bad in arena, and the chance to make a 2/3 is some nice icing. Probably the second best Paladin arena weapon behind Truesilver.

Constructed: Would you run this ahead of Coghammer? Coghammer is a 2/3 for three mana that gives a minion taunt and divine shield. The Lance can give you a 2/3 ahead of time, which seems like it would make more sense in Aggro Paladin. The problem with aggro Paladin is that your low-cost minions will mean that you have a decent chance to lose the joust in control matchups and be stuck with a 2/2. Then again, Face Hunters play Glaivezooka on curve even if they don’t have a minion out. So… I don’t know! I’m going to say probably not good enough, but I could be totally wrong, because I think Aggro Paladin could use another weapon.

Callum

Arena: I said this earlier, but Joust is too weak in arena because you can't build your deck around the mechanic.

Constructed: I slightly disagree with Luke here, I think that Truesilver and Coghammer are far superior to this. Your average Paladin deck runs at a minimum two Truesilvers and two copies of Muster for Battle, with many now running Coghammer as a one-off. Do you really want an extra 2/2 or 2/3 weapon on top? Probably not, whatever your archetype.

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Spellslinger

Luke

Arena: Drawing a card is good, even if it’s a symmetrical effect and not a card in your deck. A 3/4 on turn three makes this a fine selection.

Constructed: In Tempo Mage there’s a chance you’ll be running out of cards and winning. You play Spellslinger, get the body and a free card that’s probably going to be more useful to you than your opponent. I think it fits into that archetype pretty well, but the effect is random enough that it will need some significant experimenting before it definitively makes the cut.

Callum

Arena: A very solid pick. The three mana 3/4 body is good enough, and sometimes the spell you get will be game changing.

Constructed: This will definitely go into decks pretty much straight away. Dark Cultist has never left Priest decklists since it was released, and this will be much the same. The battlecry will sometimes win you games and is likely to have much more synergy in your deck than your opponent's.

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Master of Ceremonies

Luke

Arena: This is going to be a three mana 4/2 a ton of the time, so this is obviously bad.

Constructed: Even if you get this to fire you’re looking at a three-mana 6/4, which is good, but I feel like it’s reserved for aggro since it dies to Shredder so easily. Aggro decks don’t run much spell damage, so that’s out of the question. Maybe you pair it with Mini-Mage, get double 6/4s, and… something happens? I don’t know. Spell Damage is in a weird place in Hearthstone, and I feel like it’s more undervalued than anyone realizes. Master of Ceremonies isn’t going to fix that.

Callum

Arena: Nope.

Constructed: This is very unlikely to see play. The only spell damage cards that see play are Thalnos and Azure Drake, with the odd Malygos finisher deck, meaning that the options to make this card are pretty limited. I don't see this making any kind of impact.

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Argent Horserider

Luke

Arena: You can kill a two-health minion and be left with a 2/1 body to do some stuff. I actually like this card a lot. As many people have said, it’s essentially a Harvest Golem with charge.

Constructed: I think you can sub out some three drops in face decks with this thing. A 2/1 with divine shield and charge is surprisingly annoying. Not game-breaking, not overpowered, but definitely annoying.

Callum

Arena: This is a fine pick up, charge minions are good removal in arena, and even without charging it into a minion straight away it's a sticky minion that helps with board control.

Constructed: I'm not sure where this will fit in constructed. It's probably more of a flavor pick in aggressive decks, like the current choice between Wolfriders and Arcane Golems, depending on how highly you rate the relevant card text.

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Burgle

Luke

Arena: I think this will be better than Thoughtsteal in arena because instead of copying from whatever sorry deck your opponent cobbled together, you’re taking from the class itself. That means you get to avoid the terrible neutral commons and instead get, like, Highmanes. Or maybe you get Sacrificial Pacts. Or maybe you get Archmage Antonidas! There’s variance, but Nefarian showed us this effect is better than expected.

Constructed: Would you run this in Oil Rogue? Probably not because you’d rather draw from your own deck. What about that fabled Control Rogue? Yeah, maybe. Two cards for three mana will always have a place somewhere.

Callum

Arena: Not terrible in arena, only slightly worse than Arcane Intellect. Some class cards are bad obviously, but if you don't have much other card draw it's likely to be a decent pick up.

Constructed: I'm not so sure about this in constructed. It's not really drawing two cards because they aren't from your deck. Think about it this way—with Arcane Intellect, you're drawing from a pool of cards that you've deemed to be important to winning a game from your deck. With this card, for the same mana, you are getting two cards that you have no idea how useful they are. It's more likely to be one useable card in most situations.

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Bash

Luke

Arena: Warrior has Fiery War Axe, which is the preferred way to deal three damage for two mana. However if you’re unlucky enough to draft War Axes, this three-mana-deal-three will work fine. I’m not thrilled about it, but, yeah.

Constructed: We all made the mistake of underrating Shieldmaiden back when Goblins vs. Gnomes was coming out. It’s always good to gain armor, and the more ways you have to do that the better. I think you could cut Slams for Bashes and be pretty happy in Control Warrior.

Callum

Arena: Totally absolutely positively fine. Not exciting, not sexy, but effective and useful.

Constructed: Warrior already has a lot of removal (Execute, Shield Slam, Slam, Whirlwind, Revenge, Bouncing Blades) so I'm not sure if this will see play, but it's probably one to play around with.

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Gormok The Impaler

Luke

Arena: Having four guys on your board is pretty rare in arena, so Gormok isn’t going to be great.

Constructed: In constructed however, I really think you can make this card work. Take Zoo, in my Zoolock I can spawn additional minions from my Haunted Creeper, my Imp-losion and my Imp Gang Boss. Maybe I tech in an Echoing Ooze and a Dragon’s Egg to get more tokens. I feel like I can dependably get four guys on my board. A battlecry that deals four damage is awesome, I don’t think people realize that. I think you’ll be seeing a lot of Gormok.

Callum

Arena: Not terrible, but unlikely be too useful in arena. If you have four minions on board, you are pretty far ahead as it is.

Constructed: Yeah, this could definitely see some play in constructed. It's somewhat along the lines of Goblin Blastmage and that card is pretty strong. This is likely to be slightly weaker than that but definitely one to watch out for.

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Crowd Favorite

Luke

Arena: You’ll have a decent shot at turning this into a 5/5, but it’s still a marginal pick.

Constructed: It just doesn’t do enough. If Crowd Favorite gained +2/+2 per battlecry it would be infinitely more interesting, and probably super overpowered. So it’s a good design, it’s well-balanced, but it’s not going to make a dent in constructed.

Callum

Arena: More often than not, just an Ogre Magi. Not going to be too workable.

Constructed: Thankfully, not the second coming of Undertaker. Probably too weak to make work in any meaningful way in constructed, with a lot of other four drops just superior in the vast majority of cases.

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Armored Warhorse

Luke

Arena: Three health isn’t great but a five attack charge can be quite devastating. Like with the other joust cards the effect is variable, but I think it’ll be reasonable in arena.

Constructed: This is obviously a tempo/aggro card which has a lot of people moaning about the anti-synergy with the joust. If you’re supposed to be running this in a fast deck, you’re never going to get the effect because all your minions are low cost! There’s some truth to that, but people forget two things. One, you’re only going to be at a severe disadvantage when you’re matched against control, and two why not slot this into Hybrid or Midrange Hunter? Those decks have a heavier curve, which I think makes the Warhorse a much better choice than Arcane Golem.

Callum

Arena: I'm a broken record on this, but the joust mechanic is going to be too weak in arena to really consider this card viable.

Constructed: I think Luke is right to point out some aggressive decks where this could work, but decks like Midrange Hunter and Demon Zoo wouldn't run Leeroy Jenkins—so why run this? With a four drop in the game as strong as Piloted Shredder it's hard for any new card to make a dent in that slot, but this isn't it.

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Tuskarr Jouster

Luke

Arena: A five mana 5/5 with the chance to restore some health. Excellent! No problems here.

Constructed: I think you might see Tuskarr Jouster replace some Antique Healbots in Paladin decks. The 5/5 body is just so much more sturdy than the Healbot’s 3/3. Maybe one Healbot and one Tuskarr? Either way it’ll get some run.

Callum

Arena: Okay, this is the exception I was talking about before. A five mana 5/5 with no text would be very strong in arena, and with the odd chance of a great heal. Pick this every time.

Constructed: This card looks really strong, as well as also looking completely adorable. The heal is great, and could lead to a resurgence of control Paladin or Healadin decks. Did I mention it's adorable??

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Shado-Pan Calvary

Luke

Arena: An excellent, excellent arena card. Getting a Boulderfist Ogre out a turn early can be game winning, and a five mana 3/7 isn’t even that bad on its own.

Constructed: There’s been a number of Rogue cards released in this set, and previous sets, that seem to be pushing the class to a more value/grinder/minion driven archetype. That’s unique because the Rogue is most famous for the once-dominant Miracle archetype which was probably the most spell-focused deck in the history of Hearthstone. A 6/7 on turn five is super strong, but it’s also kinda generic. Will Shado-Pan tilt the scale? I don’t know, but it’s obviously very good.

Callum

Arena: Probably pick this in arena, it's a strong minion that is hard to kill. Seven health is really a sweet spot particularly if you can get this out on turn four.

Constructed: Lots of rogue cards in this set that don't seem to fit with any current version of the class in the meta right now. Maybe this will push Rogue towards a midrange or tempo-driven deck, but it's hard to see how those will be better than oil.

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Mukla’s Champion

Luke

Arena: Stormwind Champion is excellent in arena, and Mukla’s Champion is a more fragile version with a permanent effect. Things tend to stick around longer on arena boards, so I could see this being okay, maybe slightly below average.

Constructed: People have been hating on this card a ton, but I think it’s better than it looks. If you have play this on a board with the unreleased Garrison Commander you’ll be able to hero power twice on your turn, which means you’ll be giving everything else on your side +2/+2. That isn’t terrible! It’s probably not good enough to make a dent in constructed, but the complete burial seems over the top to me.

Callum

Arena: A seven mana Stormwind Champion with 4/3 stats? No thanks. Dies way too easily to stick around.

Constructed: Even worse in constructed, inspire is just going to be too slow to keep this alive.

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Flame Lance

Luke

Arena: It’s going to be an Assassinate most of the time, and that’s good. Just hope your opponent doesn’t have any minions with divine shield, deathrattle, or health values above eight, which is more likely than we all realize. On second thought, don’t draft this.

Constructed: This card does actually have a place, and that’s in super slow Fatigue/Grinder Mage which needs a ton of removal. If you’re running one of those decks, swapping in two Flame Lances with two Polymorphs might make some sense. But yeah, outside of that niche this is pretty bad.

Callum

Arena: I mean, it's not awful in arena since it's one mana cheaper than Polymorph and hero power. Usable, but quite low down in the pecking order.

Constructed: I don't think this will see much play in a class already full of premium removal and damage spells.

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Skeleton Knight

Luke

Arena: It’ll be an expensive Salty Dog a ton of the time, so no thank you.

Constructed: I like the design of Skeleton Knight a lot, but I don’t think it’ll be good enough. Yes the idea of bouncing something back into your hand over and over again is strong, but the four health makes it pretty easy to remove. It’s also very weak to silence which is sad. If this was something like “reveal a minion from each deck, if yours costs more, resummon Skeleton Knight” I’d be much more intrigued. Unfortunately, the tempo hit of six mana each turn to get this guy out feels like too much of an investment.

Callum

Arena: Doesn't offer enough in terms of board control to stay alive. Dies to a lot of cheaper creatures, and even if you get to replay it it's not great value.

Constructed: Same as above, and even more devastating to have to re-play. Would totally mess up your curve and waste a slot in your deck. Not playable.

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Master Jouster

Luke

Arena: A 5/6 with the chance of getting taunt and divine shield. Not bad! You should draft this.

Constructed: Trump made a very interesting point while addressing this card. It’s the same cost as Sunwalker except with one more health and one more attack. With Sunwalker you’re guaranteed the taunt and divine shield, so how often do you need Master Jouster to hit for it to outclass Sunwalker? 70 percent? 80 percent? I’m not sure, but if it is good enough, you’ll definitely be seeing it in Control Warrior, Control Paladin, and Druid.

Callum

Arena: This is another exception to my feelings on joust in arena, since the stat line is not awful and it has a remote chance of being a better Sunwalker.

Constructed: This is one that merits some investigation. I'm still not 100 percent sure how viable joust is going to be on a consistent basis, since decks like Control Warrior can already beat decks like Face Hunter with existing tools. If joust is consistently viable then this is a better Sunwalker—if not, it's a worse Boulderfist.

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Grand Crusader

Luke

Arena: A six mana 5/5 draw a random card is consistent enough in arena. Not spectacular but not bad.

Constructed: What a weird card. Is there a class out there that specifically wants to draw Paladin cards outside of, like, Paladin? Will this become a must-run in Paladin? It’s so odd that I don’t think I can accurately evaluate it. What say you Callum?

Callum

Arena: This is a thematic card more than anything else. Paladins really fit the theme of the Tournament, so they are trying to give a little bit of that flavor to neutral cards. I actually think this is not a terrible addition to the arena pool since it's an epic that is not utterly terrible on its own.

Constructed: I'm less sure about this in constructed, but it's a viable six drop. If it were a common or a rare I'd say it was a good budget replacement for cards like Sylvanas, but it has a lot of competition in that slot.

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Eadric the Pure

Luke

Arena: This could save your ass a few times but a three attack minion on turn seven (or above) is a nasty tempo hit. I’d take the other two Paladin legendaries over this.

Constructed: I think you’ll see this wander in and out much like Black Knight or Harrison Jones. If Handlock or Ramp Druid becomes popular, you’ll swap in Eadric to emasculate all those big scary minions in one battlecry.

Callum

Arena: You're likely to have better options in your draft when this pops up, the stat line is just too weak to justify picking in arena.

Constructed: Maybe this could see play in the distant future when the meta is about 10 times slower than it is now, but I doubt it. It's hardly going to replace cards like Dr Boom as the legendaries of choice.

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Aviana

Luke

Arena: Less good than it is in constructed, but if you play this and a Boulderfist Ogre all at once you’ll be happy. It’s basically a free 5/5 next to a big creature.

Constructed: Again, think of Aviana as a tempo play. You drop this with Ysera and it’s basically like you played a Ysera and a 5/5. Mind you a 5/5 that needs to be killed. There’s some other crazy combo potential, like *ahem* Aviana Innervate Malygos Faceless Manipulator Faceless Manipulator Moonfire Moonfire, which is seven cards to deal 32 damage. That's not even that outlandish. The possibilities are endless with this effect.

Callum

Arena: Not great in arena on account of the weak stats, but could be valuable in the latter stages of the game.

Constructed: I think this will definitely see play. The effect is absolutely mindblowing, and there are so many potential OTK combos and insane turns that I can't even think of right now. There are some Druid decks still currently running Cenarius, and I can see this being a straight swap.

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Anub’arak

Luke

Arena: Pretty solid in arena because it’s an easy way to sustain pressure without giving up board control. Also there are less silences running around.

Constructed: This could be great. An endless cycle of dealing with the 8/4, then dealing with the 4/4, then dealing with the new 8/4 sounds like a huge headache. But man, you are so very, very sad if this gets silenced. For that reason alone I don’t think Anub’arak will make the cut.

Callum

Arena: Not terrible in arena, but legendaries are always so hard to judge. Bad stat line, but the effect could be worth it.

Constructed: Another rogue card which doesn't fit with where the class is right now. Why Anub'arak is a rogue minion I've no idea, but I don't actually think he will see play in the class.

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Blizzard


Astral Communion

Luke

Arena: Man, what a ridiculous card. It probably doesn’t work too well in arena because it’s important to keep up tempo and board control, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s better than Wild Growth in arena?

Constructed: This doesn’t fit into any Druid deck right now, which is fitting considering how bonkers the effect is. Gaining 10 mana crystals is insanely powerful, but discarding your hand sucks. How crazy could a turn one Coin-Innervate-Astral Communion be? Maybe it’s totally bad because nobody wants to top-deck for an entire game.

But I don’t know, I think if you run this with some card draw and some big creatures you could run into some dominating victories every once in a while. I don’t think it’ll be consistent enough to warp the meta, but it is certainly a cool design.

Callum

Arena: Wouldn't pick this in arena. Giving up your whole hand is just too much of a drawback, and this card requires a deck to be built around it in order to make it in any way viable.

Constructed: So someone will come up with a crazy deck that makes this work and the Internet will love it, but I just don't see this card being consistent enough to actually win you more games than it loses you. If you draw this outside of the first couple of turns it's just not playable.

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Blizzard

Charged Hammer

Luke

Arena: Weapons are good in arena and you don’t have to worry about the relative slowness of Charged Hammer outside of construted. The deathrattle’d hero power will certainly be stronger than the totems, at least in my opinion. Notch it somewhere below Doomhammer and somewhere above Powermace.

Constructed: It’s very slow.. Four mana to play, four swings to break, and then the new hero power. You can accelerate that of course by swapping in weapons to break into the deathrattle faster, but I don’t know. I think Charged Hammer will see some experimentation, but it won’t quite make the cut.

Callum

Arena: Really not sure what to think of this. Probably too slow, but not an awful pick in arena. Gets you a little bit of damage and has lots of durability.

Constructed: Probably not playable. Shamans only really run Powermace and Doomhammer, and this would only get in the way of the curve of most Shaman decks.

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Blizzard

Fist of Jaraxxus

Luke

Arena: This is one of my favorite cards released thus far, but it’s going to be pretty bad in arena. There’s just not enough “discard a card” mechanics in your average Warlock draft.

Constructed: I think this has potential. If you pull this off, with Doomguard or Soulfire, you’re essentially getting four free damage. That’s super valuable! It might not fit into the current Zoo decks as they stand, but maybe some sort of Tempo Warlock. Who knows? It might even make Succubus good. Overall I don’t think Fist of Jaraxxus will be quite consistent enough, but I truly hope to be proven wrong.

Callum

Arena: This is really bad in arena. Not enough uses for it, and far better damage spells likely to be available.

Constructed: I can see why this exists, but it would be so hard to manufacture a situation where it would work. Most of the time it just takes up a prime slot in your deck that could be used for something that is far more useful.

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Blizzard

Warhorse Trainer

Luke

Arena: You’ll definitely wind up with some Silver Hand Recruits in a Paladin arena, so Warhorse Trainer will get value. I might actually prefer this to Quartermaster just because it’s a tad faster.

Constructed: Easy fit into the Midrange Paladin decks. Yeah there’s a little overlap with Quartermaster, but what’s the worst case scenario? That your 3/3 Recruits are now 4/3s? Even if you only get to trade up with one Recruit, it’s pretty solid.

Callum

Arena: Decent stat line and a pretty useful benefit, I like this card quite a bit. A 2/4 will likely stick on the board pretty well, and allow your recruits to trade up a bit better.

Constructed: I think this will definitely see play at least as a one-of, for most of the same reasons as in arena. Helps make Quartermaster stronger, and helps to control the early game.

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Blizzard

Alexstrasza's Champion

Luke

Arena: A 2/3 most of the time, which is acceptable. If you do end up with some dragons this thing is insane.

Constructed: I’ve seen people complaining that Alexstrasza's Champion is an awkward card because it’s Warrior and aggressive, and most Dragon decks are control. Frankly, that doesn’t make any sense to me. Yes a 3/3 with charge can be played for tempo, but it can also smote your opponent’s early game and leave a 3/1 or 3/2 behind for board control. 

Just because a card says “charge” doesn’t mean it has to be played for face damage! Look at other charge minions—Wolfrider, Arcane Golem, Leeroy Jenkins, etc—those don’t get played in control decks because they take significant stat hits. Alexstrasza's Champion gets a stat buff that would be incredible even if it didn’t have charge. This is one of the most overpowered  cards in the game and I’m tired of people not recognizing that.

Callum

Arena: If you've managed to draft some dragons then this could be really good. Other than that it's just a River Crocolisk, which is perfectly acceptable as a pick in arena.

Constructed: So unlike the taunt-based Warrior cards I think this might actually lead to some new archetypes. Dragon Warrior has been experimented with in the past, and a more midrange version could well be viable if we see some more dragons in this expansion that fit the bill. If Warrior had access to Dragon Consort, I'd bank on this deck seeing play. Sadly that isn't the case.

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Blizzard

Lance Bearer

Luke

Arena: One-drops are pretty rare in arena which makes Lance Bearer an awkward turn two play since you’ll be buffing nothing. But in the mid to late-game it could be pretty good.

Constructed: Lance Bearer makes sense in Zoo or Face decks that run a lot of cheap creatures. You play this to turn a Voidwalker into a 3/3, and that’s pretty scary. It’s sorta like an Abusive Sergeant, and guess what? I’d run four Abusive Sergeants in my Face Hunter if I could.

Callum

Arena: Really bad two-drop, combined with an arena meta where almost all one drops are pretty poor. Avoid.

Constructed: This might see some play in aggressive decks, but it's likely to be worse than Abusive Sergeant in pretty much every case. The permanent buff is nice, but in decks like Zoo the buff is usually used to trade anyway.

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Blizzard

Flash Heal

Luke

Arena: Pretty awful in arena, there’s just not enough targets.

Constructed: People have talked about using Flash Heal in some sort of ridiculous Auchenai combo deck that does 20 plus damage to face in one turn. And you know what? Between Velen’s Chosen, Thaurissan, and Mind Blast, that doesn’t seem out of the question. I think you’ll see some experiments with Flash Heal, just because of how aggressive its mana cost is. Will you be seeing it to actually heal things? I doubt it.

Callum

Arena: Probably not going to see much play, but maybe worth picking if the other options are bad.

Constructed: I think this is likely still just worse than Light of the Naaru on account of the Light Warden body. The extra two healing is not likely to be that relevant unless we are talking about some specific Auchenai situations.

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Blizzard

Living Roots

Luke

Arena: You can make a 2/2 on turn one or use it for some minor removal, so this works for arena.

Constructed: Two 1/1s on turn one is strong, but is it strong enough? Is it better than Zombie Chow? Is the Arcane Shot usage strong enough? I don’t think so. Living Roots doesn’t quite move the needle for me.

Callum

Arena: 1/1 is a very weak stat line. If Wisp isn't playable then neither is this.

Constructed: Not useful as an early game tool, but this could form part of a combo or some kind of serious buff or flood deck from Druid. One for the deckbuilders!

Image via Blizzard

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