By the Light! New Priest Removal Spell
I wanted to make a change of pace and review a spell from the new expansion. I'll be analyzing the new Priest card Shadow Word: Horror and how it stacks amongst the plethora of Priest removal. Let's check it out:
An immediate observation is this card will be great against aggro decks. This will be especially effective against Aggro Paladin since it ignores divine shield much like Shadow Word: Pain and Shadow Word: Death. Shadow Word: Horror also counters Imp Gang Boss, Feral Spirit, Mad Scientist, and a bunch of other early game minions. Plus the 4 mana cost means Priest can play an earlier removal and save Holy Nova and Excavated Evil for later. Opposed to the Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing combo Shadow Word: Horror only takes one card to get the job done.
However, I have a few problems about this card. While Auchenai + Circle combo takes more resources to activate it is much more powerful than Shadow Word: Horror. Minions on the board must have two or less attack in order to fulfill the condition of the removal. Cards that get attack buffs like Mana Wyrm, Tunnel Trogg, Frothing Berserker, and Shade of Naxxramas can avoid this condition and give the Priest trouble. Also Priests early game minions still have the potential to survive an Auchenai + Circle Combo, but not always SW: Horror. Northshire Cleric, Twilight Welp, Wyrmrest Agent and Deathlord will get instantly annihilated and leave the Priest with an empty board. Priest can deal with Northshire dying, but a Deathlord dying early on could be cumbersome.
My final verdict for Shadow Word: Horror is that it will see play, but I think this card will be more meta dependent. I can see Control Priest carrying at least one copy of this in Standard. Players should add the other copy if they're running into a lot of aggresive decks that flood the board early on with weak minions. This card could also be a possible addition to Reno Priest. Honestly, when I first saw this card I was pretty disappointed. Not because of what it does, but because Priest got more removal. This was one of the first reveals for Priest and I was hoping to see something a bit more exciting. Players have already seen Priest removal similar to this and I was hoping to see something more dynamic for the class. I still think the card is fine, but I'm looking forward to see more Priest cards that the design team has in store for Whispers of the Old Gods.
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.