Just to remind you: there is a poll asking which classes would you like me to build new decks for first. I don’t specify the decks, because we haven’t seen all the cards yet, but if you’d like to see a specific deck, you can say so in the comments!
Hello everyone. It’s this time of year again – new expansion is coming out pretty soon and it’s time to evaluate some cards. When it comes to Gadgetzan, it might be even harder than it usually is. A lot of the cards are quite synergistic and we can’t really tell how well will they work until we learn about the whole set. With almost half of the cards revealed, though, the general picture is starting to shape up, so I’ve decided to follow-up my initial card reviews. I’ve already briefly reviewed the ones showcased on the initial Blizzcon stream, so I won’t go back to them.
I’ll try to give you a bit of insight – a quick description of the card, potential synergies, whether it’s good or bad and why. I’ll also rate every card from 1 to 5. Here’s the quick summary of the ratings:
- 1 – The card won’t likely see any play
- 2 – Overall pretty bad, but it might be okay against a very specific meta or work in some non-competitive decks.
- 3 – Average card. It might be a tech card or it might be played in some tier 3-4 decks.
- 4 – Good card, should see some play in one of the higher tier decks or be a very common tech card.
- 5 – Potentially meta-defining card, very powerful, will surely see some play in top tier decks or even carry a lower tier deck.
P.S. Most of my reviews are about Constructed (Standard). If I’ll be talking about Arena or Wild, I’ll say that.
Slower Warlock card – it obviously doesn’t fit into any faster deck. I’d say RenoLock to be more specific, because that’s the only really viable Control Warlock deck. Maybe Dragon Warlock, but it would be harder to fit this card into non-Reno deck (because of less healing). It’s basically a bigger version of Hellfire. 2 mana more for 2 bigger AoE, including face damage.
The card is pretty strong, even though I’ve heard quite a lot of voices saying that 5 self damage is too much. True – 5 self damage is a lot in Warlock, especially if you decide to run both Hellfire and the new Abyssal Enforcer. But you know what’s more important than your health? Clearing the board to preserve even more health.
With 5 AoE damage, you can easily deal with quite huge boards. A lot of decks don’t run many minions that are over 5 health. For example, this card is simply amazing against Midrange Shaman. Hellfire often didn’t cut it against cards like Totem Golem, Thing from Below or Fire Elemental. While this doesn’t clear everything (I’m looking at you, Thunder Bluff Valiant), it has much higher chance to get you a full board clear. Same goes for Zoo – this card is great in Zoo matchup. By dealing 5 AoE damage, you often clear 10+ attack from the board. Which in return is great.
Obviously, you want to play this in Reno deck, because in the end dealing too much face damage is dangerous. Between Hellfires, this and Life Taps, Reno decks might need a little more healing then they do run now. Mistress of Mixtures is kinda a heal, but in perfect world we’ll get another healing card. Still, this card is pretty strong and it should fit into Control Warlock decks.
Card rating: 4/5
Kabal Crystal Runner
And now Mages got their own version of Thing from Below. Cards that get discounts even if they aren’t in your hand can be incredibly strong. Especially cards like that. I mean, this is playable just after a single discount. After a single Secret played. It’s going to be a 4 mana 5/5, which isn’t broken, but is decent. After 2 Secrets, 2 mana 5/5 – amazing. After 3 – 0 mana 5/5. Broken as hell. Of course, Thing from Below is probably even stronger for 2 reasons – you don’t need to put any cards you wouldn’t play otherwise into your deck (it gets discounted from Hero Power + you’d play cards like Totem Golem or Flametongue Totem anyway) and because it has a Taunt.
But anyway, thanks to this card the new Secret-focused Midrange/Tempo Mage will be a real deal. Between the new Kabal Lackey and Kirin Tor Mage, it will be SO easy to play a lot of Secrets early. I know that every deck has its own insane openers, but something like Lackey into a Secret -> 2-drop -> Kirin Tor into Secret -> 2x Kabal Crystal Runner is probably instant win.
What’s great about this card too is that it scales quite well. If you draw it in the mid/late game, it costs 0 mana right off the bat. It means that you can easily swing the tempo. E.g. Firelands Portal is already a nice swing, if you add a 0 mana 5/5 to that… yeah.
I think that the new Secret version of Mage might push the classic Tempo Mage out of the meta, because it will be stronger. And this card is one of the main reasons for that.
Card rating: 5/5
Toxic Sewer Ooze
A new anti-weapon tech joins the ranks of Bloodsail Corsair, Acidic Swamp Ooze and Harrison Jones. While more anti-weapon tech is definitely okay thing, this one – when it comes to the power level – is very similar to the Bloodsail Corsair. Which means it’s unplayable in Constructed. You pay 1 more mana than Acidic Swamp Ooze for a weaker effect. Destroying a full weapon is way better. E.g. Shaman pre-equips the Spirit Claws – you just destroy them. With this one, you don’t.
Bad in Constructed unless you situationally get it from some effects (e.g. Discover it) when opponent has 1 Durability on the weapon. There is just zero reason to play it over Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison. More of an Arena card.
Card rating: 1/5
Raza the Chained
The card, just like the other cards that work only when you have no duplicates in your deck, has very powerful effect. Basically, you can have free Hero Power EVERY TURN since turn 5 and that’s a lot. When playing Priest, you struggle with the tempo and often can’t afford to Hero Power, even though you really want to do so every turn (either get out of range by healing yourself or get more value by healing your minions).
This card is even more powerful when combined with Justicar Trueheart – you get free 4 points of healing on whatever you want every turn. This also makes some Inspire cards more powerful – for example Confessor Paletress or Nexus-Champion Saraad.
So, the card is perfect, right? Yes, if you play Reno Priest it is. But there is one concern I have. Will Reno Priest be better than regular Control Priest? Out of the 3 Kabal classes, Reno works worst in the Priest. Not only Priests have access to a lot of consistent healing, so Reno is not that necessary, but there is another thing. Control Priest is already inconsistent deck. If it draws perfectly, it can counter pretty much any deck. Because it has answers for a lot of things – small minions, big minions, board floods, face rush, burn etc. The problem is drawing the right answers in the right time. Reno deck, by definition, is even less consistent, because you can’t play duplicates of the cards. And so, a Control Priest deck, which is already heavy on reactive/tech cards, will be even less consistent.
In theory, if you put 1 of everything and draw whatever you need at the right time, Reno Priest will be much more powerful than standard Control Priest. But it’s not about the potential maximum power, it’s about the average, it’s about consistency. And I’m afraid that Control Priest might just be more consistent. Still, I’ll definitely play around with the Reno Priest, because this card seems so fun and powerful.
Card rating: 5/5 in Reno Priest, but Reno Priest might be worse than Control Priest
I’m not so sure about this card. So far, every card that relied on the opponent to cast spells to be useful didn’t work out too well. We already had things like Trade Prince Gallywix, Burly Rockjaw Trogg or Troggzor the Earthinator. Those cards were never played, because they are just vanilla or worse-than-vanilla cards in case opponent DOESN’T play spells. So in very specific scenarios, they’re strong. But you can’t play them into the minions, because the opponent will just trade them off and that’s it – no extra value for you.
Then, unlike something like Troggzor, in case of this card, spells aren’t as punishing. For example – Mage Fireballs it. You get a free Coin. Alright, that’s nice, but it’s nothing amazing.
The only class I could see utilizing this is Rogue, where Coin value is much more higher. Right now the Tomb Pillager is simply better, but after it rotates out, Rogues might look for a way to generate more Coins. And this seems like a decent way to do so. Outside of the Rogue, and probably AFTER Pillager rotates, I don’t think this is going to be played in any other class.
P.S. The card’s art is pretty ugly. I really don’t like it.
Card rating: 3/5
Ladies and gentlemen, Priest got his own 2-drop. One that doesn’t require you to play a Dragon deck (Wyrmest Agent). And you know, it’s quite a solid one. First of all – I’m not completely sold on it yet, and I think that all the hype in the community is premature. After all, it’s USUALLY a 2/3. Remember Darnassus Aspirant? Once people got used to it, they usually mulliganed etc. to find a way to kill it. With 3 health minions dominating the early meta, nearly every deck has ways to deal with them. So don’t get your hopes up high – it will usually be removed before you get any value.
Then, it’s not like you spawn stuff for free. For example, if you play it into opponent’s 1/1, then you can hit it and heal it. Sure, you spawn an extra 2/2, but you’ve spent your turn 3 on doing just that. It’s definitely better than passing, but it’s not an auto-win scenario like some seem to imagine. 2/3 is not that big. Not only it dies easily, but 2 attack isn’t a lot – if your opponent plays the game correctly, you probably won’t be able to get any free trades with it.
Of course, there is also a positive side. Having something to drop on turn 2 instead of passing is nice. Then, it synergizes quite well with the buffs – it would be much stronger if Velen’s Chosen was still in the Standard. Then, this into turn 3 Injured Blademaster + Circle of Healing got even stronger. Probably the strongest Priest opener will be that preceded by Northshire Cleric on turn 1. That will be turn 1/3, 2/3, 4/7, 2/2 and 1 card draw on turn 3. Of course, it’s pretty unlikely, but hey, one can dream. It will also be a nice removal magnet, I bet a lot of people will overestimate it and try to remove it at all cost.
It’s a good card, but I don’t think it’s going to have a huge impact like some other new Priest cards will.
Card rating: 4/5
So, first I will explain the Jade Lotus mechanic – Jade Golem. Basically, first Jade Golem you summon is a 1/1. Then every other Golem is stronger by +1/+1. So second one is 2/2, 5th one is 5/5 and 10th one is 10/10. It means that while the cards that summon Jade Golem won’t be too strong individually, if you play a lot of them, there is a huge snowball potential.
Whether Jade Blossom will be playable or not depends only on whether the Jade Druid will work. Right now it seems like the most likely candidate out of the 3 Jade Lotus classes, so I’m assuming that it will be somehow playable.
In Jade Druid, this would probably replace Mire Keeper. While it doesn’t curve so well after the Wild Growth, it’s better if you skip it – you can curve right into turn 5 (so Azure Drake/Nourish/whatever 5-drop you play). While the body will most likely be smaller than the Mire Keeper’s 3/3 (probably 1/1 or 2/2), it’s going to be much better later. I don’t think it’s going to draw you a card at 10 mana like Wild Growth does, but Mire Keeper is 3/3 + 2/2 at 10 mana. In the late game, in a dedicated Jade Golem deck, this should be at least 5/5 and growing. 3 mana 5/5 is definitely not bad and the later it gets, the bigger it will be. So this will never really be a dead card, even if you are past the ramp up point.
If you will play Jade Druid, this is a pretty strong card. If you don’t – I think you should stick to the current ramp options.
P.S. Power level of the cards that summon Jade Golem obviously depends on how good the Jade Golem decks will be. For the rating purposes, I’m assuming they will work. At this point it’s impossible to predict this, so I’m taking the optimistic approach. If those decks won’t work, all the Jade Golem focused cards will be terrible.
Card rating: 4/5
The Jade Lotus Legendary. And it’s an obvious auto-include into any Jade Golem deck you would want to make. Outside of those – it’s useless. If you don’t play any other Jade Golem cards, it’s a 6 mana 5/3 + 1/1 + 2/2 Deathrattle. Which is pretty bad.
But, in a dedicated Jade Golem deck it’s going to be amazing. I like her because of the two things. First, it should be a nice tempo play. Let’s assume you’ve only played 3 other Jade Golem cards before playing her. That will be a 6 mana 5/3 + 4/4. Which is already okay, not amazing, but playable. But then it also gets an extra value – Deathrattle. Spawning the second golem on Deathrattle might actually be amazing in slower matchups. It’s like an AoE protection. If enemy decides to swing the board with AoE, you get a 5/5 (or even better in the late game) back. I mean, compare it to Cairne Bloodhoof. 5/3 + 4/4 is better than 4/5 and 5/5 you get from Deathrattle is also better than 4/5 Baine.
Playing it also makes your next Jade Golem cards much stronger. It’s like a clear transition – if you curve out into turn 6 Aya, your Jade Golems until that point will probably be rather weak and after her they should be strong.
Card rating: 5/5
That’s a rather strong Jade Golem card, but I don’t think it will be played. Later about that.
So, this one reminds me of a mini-Firelands Portal or Fire Elemental. We all know that Firelands Portal/Fire Elemental are very strong, because they act as a tempo swing. Removing something AND putting a body on the board at the same time. Same goes for this card. For 4 mana, you deal 4 damage (which is something in between Firelands Portal and Fire Elemental) and you summon a minion. But in this case, the summoned minion’s strength will depend on how many Jade Golems you’ve summoned before. On turn 4, I think it might be as small as 2/2. Which isn’t amazing, but it’s pretty good. But then, it gets a great late game scaling. In the late game, this should easily summon let’s say a 6/6. So you get a stronger version of Fire Elemental (1 more damage, 1 more health) for 2 less mana.
But why I think that it won’t be played? Because to play a Jade Golem deck, you need to play a lot of Jade Golem cards. You can’t put more cards into the Midrange Shaman – you will have to drop some. Probably stuff like Thunder Bluff Valiant. And the question is – will the Jade Golem strategy really be stronger than the Midrange Shaman? Midrange Shaman isn’t getting nerfed, so it should still remain as one of the top decks (if not THE top deck). I think Blizzard would make everyone mad if they just released more insane Shaman cards and made Midrange Shaman even stronger.
Still, assuming that Jade Shaman will work, this will probably be a strong card.
Card rating: 4/5
Jade Lotus tri-class card. The most basic way to summon Jade Golems, available to all 3 classes. The card itself is not that strong, though. It’s a vanilla 2-drop body that summons a Jade Golem. For example – last card for the same amount of mana deals 4 damage. 4 damage to anything > vanilla 2/3. Druid’s ramp card also seems stronger. Gaining empty Mana Crystal is also probably stronger than playing a vanilla 2/3 (I mean, you play Wild Growth over 2-drops) and it costs one less mana.
Still, Jade Golem decks will most likely require you to play as much Jade Golem cards as possible. After all, it’s one of the most synergistic mechanics – the more you spawn, the stronger they get. So while on turn 4 it won’t be that strong, most likely a 2/3 + 2/2 or something similar, it will make your other Jade Golems stronger AND it will have great late game scaling.
Most of the 4-drops have poor late game scaling. I mean, you play something like Water Elemental on turn 4 and it’s great. But you play it on turn 10 and it’s usually easy to deal with. This, on the other hand, will get stronger and stronger as the game goes. So while it might be 2/3 + 2/2 on turn 4, on turn 6 it might be 2/3 + 4/4 (which is already playable 4-drop) and on turn 10 it might be 2/3 + 6/6.
Just because of “the more, the better” principle of Jade Golem cards, I think this might see play as a sort of “filler” card in those decks. Like let’s say you wouldn’t want to play Beckoner of Evil, but you do it, because you need to buff your C’Thun one way or another. But if there will be enough strong class cards to support a Jade Golem deck (+Aya Blackpaw), this will likely see no play whatsoever.
Card rating: 3/5
It’s an Ancestral Healing-like effect stuck to the 2/6 body of a 4-drop. I think that in most of the classes, the card is quite bad. You don’t really spawn damaged minions and it’s not that common that your minions stay at low health and don’t die, so you can get enough value from this. I mean, the dream scenario is to have an 8/8 or something similar, kill a 5-6 attack minion and heal it back to full. But how often will it happen? Not often.
But, I see two potential uses for this card. First one is the Priest. While I don’t think that it’s going to be good in classic Control Priest (there are just too many cards you want to play there, I don’t think it has enough space to play another situational card), it might be decent in Reno Priest. It synergizes nicely with Injured Blademaster (it’s on the curve if Blademaster survives or you can combo them on t7). It also synergizes really well with Auchenai Soulpriest – this combo can immediately kill most of the minions (most, because it doesn’t work on e.g. Divine Shields unless you first ping them).
Another potential deck I can see it being played in is heavy Taunt Ramp Druid (with Soggoth the Slitherer). Since the late game Taunt options are usually really high health, it’s not that uncommon that they actually survive a turn. They might be damaged by the opponent or you might make a trade yourself and then heal it back to full. But that’s only theory and it probably wouldn’t work in practice.
So while it’s not generally a strong card, it might turn out to be a decent tech in certain decks.
Card rating: 3/5
This is something similar to the pre-nerf Ancient of Lore. -1/-1 stats and no healing flexibility, but costs 1 less… However, it works only in specific scenarios. You need to have a 6+ health minion on the board already to proc the effect. And if the effect isn’t procced, the card is terrible. 6 mana for a vanilla 4/4 is unplayable.
So, the question is – would you be able to proc it consistently? 6+ mana minions aren’t that common and they certainly aren’t easy to stick to the board. Most of the 6+ health minions are stuff like 8/8 Giants and once you play them, your opponent usually immediately removes them. The best way to make it work would be to play a 6+ health minion and immediately follow it with this one to make sure that the effect will proc. But that’s not an easy task – there aren’t many 6+ health minions that cost 4 or less. There are some 4 health 4-drops like Priest of the Feast or Twilight Guardian – but that’s a 10 mana combo.
By itself, the card is not that good, because it’s very unlikely to proc. You often drop card draws on the empty board and this won’t work. It’s also much less likely to work in the topdeck war scenario. However, I can see it working in two cases. First of all – if you play the Arcane Giant deck. Cheap Arcane Giant + this is a great way to refill your hand. So I can see it playing in something like Malygos Druid (just like the good old Ancient of Lore). One question though – isn’t Gadgetzan Auctioneer better in this kind of deck?
The other case is Grimy Goons hand buffs. From the wording on this card, I assume that if you buff it to 6 health, it can proc off itself. I’m not 100% sure about that, BUT if that’s the case, this card will likely see some play in Grimy Goons decks. If you give it +2/+2, it’s going to draw you 2 cards even on the empty board.
I still don’t know how to feel about this card. If it works – it’s good. But it will depend on how easy it is to make it work. So for now I’ll give it an average score and say that it has potential.
P.S. The card’s art reminds me of Zarya from Overwatch somehow… Like the Orc version of her.
Card rating: 3/5
Rogue’s Jade Golem card. I think the card is okay, but the main problem is that the Jade Golem summon is behind the combo. 2 mana for 2 damage is already weak (such effects cost 1 mana), but making the Jade Golem summon even harder means this card is weaker than expected. I mean, it should be okay if you go second, thanks to the Coin. But going first, it will be very hard to use this card easily without Backstab or Preparation. And if you play a Jade Rogue, you REALLY want to proc the Combo here – that’s the main reason you even play it. I’ve said that it’s kinda bad when going first, but actually it might also be kinda awkward when going second. For example – your opponent plays a 2 health 2-drop. Now you can coin this out, sure, but you basically waste the mana from the Coin (you’re at 3 and this costs 2) so unless you can fill the curve with 1 mana card, it will feel pretty bad.
If we ignore that part, in the early game it’s like a worse SI:7 Agent, in the mid game it’s a 2 mana SI:7 Agent (so better) and in the late game it’s a huge-ass SI:7 Agent (so way better). But that’s only if the Jade Rogue works. Just like with every card like that, you need to play a dedicated deck – this won’t work alone in something like the current Malygos Rogue, because most of the time it’s going to be a 2 mana Backstab that summons a 1/1 or 2/2. But if you will play the Jade Rogue, you will probably play this one too.
Card rating: 3/5
That’s all folks. Thanks for staying with me, I’ll get out more card reviews soon. You should see another one in a few days, so stay tuned!
Overall, I’m really excited for the expansion. I don’t remember being so hyped about Hearthstone in a long while. I really can’t wait to get my hands on those cards and start testing them. I hope that the reality will meet expectations and I (just like many other players) won’t be completely disappointed.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!