Ancient Harbinger Bears Great Tidings... And 10 Cost Minions
Welcome to my analysis of the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion for Hearthstone. I continue my parade through the cards with the neutral minion Ancient Harbinger. My critique will focus on the competitive viability of the card by looking at its raw stats and effect. I will also be looking at potential cards and decks that Ancient Harbinger would fit with. Let's take a look:
Combat wise this card has as much survivability as Reno Jackson for the same cost. Players can sometimes see Reno Jackson live for another turn, or he can also be dealt with swiftly. I'm specifically noting the survivability because Ancient Harbinger must survive the following turn to get maximum value. The 4 attack is pretty negligible and not incredibly strong. Ancient Harbinger could be more or less annoying depending on the opponent's hand and board.
Let's move on to her effect. No impact on the board at all, but more of an insurance policy for that sweet 10 mana cost minion. This can be great for when players are in the late game and need a powerful minion to hit their board. There are some overtly obvious downsides for this effect. Ancient Harbinger's effect only activates at the start of a player's turn, which gives the opponent an opportunity to stop the effect from triggering. If players already draw or play that 10 mana minion, then this card loses its value and becomes a vanilla 4 attack 6 health minion for 6 mana. There are a lot of situations that make this card useless and generate a net loss in tempo. Ancient Harbinger isn't necessarily risky, but there will be moments where players will think "Gee x card could be more useful here".
Some cards that obviously go well with this new card are the legendary Old God cards. Ancient Harbinger can guarantee that players get C'Thun or Yogg-Saron. Druids could cheat the minion out early and avoid instant removal. A deck that recently garnered traction on ranked ladder is Tempo Warrior. This deck uses Varian Wrynn to hopefully pull out strong minions from the Warrior's deck immediately onto the board. A copy of Ancient Harbinger can make a decent option for Tempo Warrior to use Varian Wrynn more frequently.
Overall I'll give Ancient Harbinger a skeptical and slight pass in viability. I can only recommend using one copy of the card because historically players only put one 10 mana cost minion in their decks (all the good ones are legendary anyway). There's a lot players still don't know about the new expansion and Blizzard might just release more useful cards. I also don't think we'll see this card in every deck that has a 10 cost minion because certain card archtypes (like Dragon) need more of the archtype to succeed. Ancient Harbinger will only be useful in decks that can afford to play this card. I'm looking forward to testing this card out when Whispers of the Old Gods is released next week.
About the Author- I am a writer that follows competitive esports such as Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Follow me @Kenny_Humiston on Twitter for content updates.