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.
Grook Fu Master
Pretty terrible in Constructed, I don’t think we’re going to see it in any deck. It’s in line with other overpriced Windfury minions – Windfury Harpy and Grotesque Dragonhawk. 3/5 stats for 5 mana are incredibly weak, the card would need to have a very strong effect to compensate. And Windfury is definitely not it.
Card rating: 1/5
Shaku, the Collector
I really don’t like this one. It’s another of the “Thief Rogue” cards like Swashburglar or Undercity Huckster. Both of them are just better, though. This has a potential to get more than 1 card, but it’s incredibly unlikely. 2/3 minion with such a powerful effect will just get killed right away. Later in the game, it might also get AoE’d down before it even gets a chance to attack.
If there would be a way to give it Windfury (without stealing one from Shaman), it might be stronger.
It still might be used in Thief Rogue, because it’s most likely better than Burgle anyway. But I’m not really sure how well will that deck work. It gets better and better, Ethereal Peddler was a big step forward, but unless they show more STRONG “thief” cards I don’t think it’s going to be strong.
Card rating: 2/5
Until the late game it’s a vanilla 3/4 for 3. And even in the late game, it doesn’t seem particularly strong. Hero Powers are generally rather weak. There is a card that allows Mages to play Hero Power as much as they want to, it has decent stats, Dragon tag and it still doesn’t see any play. That’s because Hero Power is a tempo loss and playing it multiple times a turn doesn’t really help it. For example – in Mage, if you want to play your Hero Power 3 times, that’s 6 mana for 3 damage. Sure, you don’t use any card, but matches rarely revolve around pure value.
The only use for this card I could see is to combo it with some Inspire cards. This, however, also doesn’t seem so great, because most of the Inspire cards are really underwhelming. In theory you could play it in Shaman with Thunder Bluff Valiant and proc the effect 2-3 times in the late game, that’s really cool, but very unlikely and expensive.
So overall, unless I’m missing something, this is going to be more of a “fun” card, not really competitively viable.
Card rating: 2/5
This card has some potential. It won’t fit into the current Control archetype – you don’t want to waste a card slot for this + buffing stuff like Doomsayer seems quite pointless. The deck I could actually see it working in is something like an Aggro/Secret/Egg Paladin.
You would want to play this in the deck that runs cards which are way better when buffed. Dragon Egg gains a lot of extra value, because you don’t need anything else to proc it. Argent Squire turns into a 1 mana Shielded Minibot. The new Meanstreet Marshal gets a guaranteed card draw. Actually, everything gets significantly better. It’s especially amazing in slower matchup – if you play this after a big Divine Favor turn or something like that, it gets so much value.
There are two problems, however. First of all – it might be a little too slow depending on the meta. Sure, it makes the rest of your hand better, but you play Aggro deck and you spend turn 2 playing a 1/1. And second – the less cards you have in your hand, the worse it is. It’s good on turn 2 or just after refilling your hand with some card draw (e.g. the new Small-Time Recruits), but it’s a terrible topdeck. So I’d say that it’s in “it has potential” category, but it might be completely useless as well.
Card rating: 3/5
I probably like this card more than I should. Pretty much every expansion since TGT, Blizzard has been pushing a Taunt theme to the Warrior. So far, every Taunt Warrior deck was terrible and the only good Taunt/Taunt-related cards Warrior has are Fierce Monkey and Bloodhoof Brave. And yeah, they are pushing Taunt Warrior again.
This card is in line with other Grimy Goons cards that add stats to the minions in your hand. This, however, has a limitation – it only targets Taunts. So first of all – in order to make it work, you need to play Taunts. But that’s not a problem – Monkey and Brave are already playable Taunts. After a setup with this card, it makes them 6/7 for 3 and 5/9 for 4 Taunts respectively. And that’s some serious pile of stats to drop so early in the game.
What I like even more is the new Warrior Taunt card coming – Alley Armorsmith. By itself it’s not that strong, but if you can buff it while it’s in your hand… 5/10 Taunt that gives you +5 Armor whenever it deals damage. Against something like Zoo, that would be a game over.
Still, the card is pretty gimmicky and PROBABLY won’t be that strong. You can’t always count on having a Taunt in your hand early and this might potentially be a dead card. Same when it comes to the topdecks – if you’re nearly out of cards in your hand, getting this one might make you wait another few turns until you get a taunt before you can even use it. Not to mention that it’s pretty weak against hard removals – you invest 2 cards into one, so something like Hex really destroys it. That said, I will still test it and I’m not completely counting it out yet.
Card rating: 3/5
And that’s the card I’ve mentioned before. By itself, it’s okay, but nothing amazing. Even though the 7 health is a lot, 2 attack is not too much for a 5-drop. In a lot of matchups, it’s going to die for free. And you gaining let’s say 4 Armor isn’t going to make it much better. I mean, 5 mana for 2/7 Taunt with “Gain 4 Armor” isn’t terrible. You really wouldn’t cry to get a 2/7 Taunt from the Ironforge Portal most of the time, and that’s kinda it. But the problem with this compared to the Portal is that you don’t gain the Armor immediately, so you can’t protect yourself from burn lethal or activate Shield Slam. Also, 2 health puts it into the range of certain cards. If this gained popularity, cards like Stampeding Kodo, Book Wyrm and most definitely Cabal Shadow Priest (which already might be played thanks to the Pint-Size Potion) will get so much more value.
I’d say that by itself it’s playable, but barely. But, it might possibly be useful in combination with the other cards. The cards that buff things in your hand. We already know a few, we might get even more of them. Giving this card even +1/+1 turns it from meh to amazing. Considering the number of early 3 health minions, 3 attack is really preferable. And 8 health is even harder to take down.
Fate of this card really depends on whether they print some strong “give minion in your hand +x/+x” for the Warrior. If they do – it should surely see play. If they don’t – it might be a little too weak.
Card rating: 4/5
I’m really not sure about this card. On the one hand, it’s not very strong. When it comes to the board, it’s a vanilla 3/2. It doesn’t even have a Beast tag. Not to mention the fact that you might sometimes not have any Beasts on turn 2 when you want to play it and then it’s REALLY a vanilla 3/2. But on the other hand, Hunter got some cards that REALLY benefit from buffing them in your hand. Namely, Dispatch Kodo and Rat Pack. I’ll be reviewing them later, but short story – they’re AMAZING if you manage to buff them, even give them +1/+1. And they’re both Beasts. So if they do see play, this card might also see play. Not because it’s strong by itself, but because it has really good synergy.
However, if Secret Hunter remains the most dominating Hunter archetype, I don’t really see this being played. Secret Hunter decks are pretty low on the Beasts, I’d say 4-6 on average, so it would be way harder to not hit a blank. So I guess it will really depend on the rest of the set.
Card rating: 3/5
This card is below average. It doesn’t really fit slower decks, because not only you don’t care about +1/+1 on something that much, but it might also hit some late game minion, which could possibly make the buff “dead” (because you won’t play the minion). On the other hand, in faster, more aggressive decks – that’s 2/4 for 3. It’s pretty low tempo. And even though it’s an investment in the future, the gain doesn’t seem big enough, unless it hits one of the cards you really want to hit (and since it’s random, you can’t control that).
I don’t know, I think that this card won’t really see any play. Some of the class specific “hand buff” cards just seem way better.
Card rating: 2/5
This one might be too slow. Unlike the Grimestreet Outfitter which you can drop on turn 2, when you just started playing stuff, this one comes down on turn 5. And well, a deck that really benefits from buffing every minion in the hand is probably almost out of cards by turn 5.
Theoretically, it’s an ongoing effect, something like a Emperor Thaurissan. But you know how long those last, don’t you? They’re killed right away, so counting on getting multiple ticks is pretty foolish.
The only situation where this might be good is after you’ve just refilled your hand (e.g. with Divine Favor. Otherwise, maybe in the Midrange Paladin, but I have no clue how the deck will look like in Gadgetzan and whether it will be viable at all.
Card rating: 2/5
Uhhh, I think that this might be solid in Aggro Warrior. I don’t think this one fits into a more Control approach, because the decks run 2 or 3 weapons in total, where Fiery War Axe is mulliganed for heavily and often equipped before you even get a chance to play this guy.
On the other hand, Aggro Warrior runs more weapons. I’d even say that it revolves around weapons. Just like the Bloodsail Cultist is an incredibly strong, but slightly conditional card, this is also very strong, but has a little different conditions. Unlike Bloodsail Cultist, it’s easier to get value out of this when on curve. But on the other hand, this one doesn’t affect the weapon from N’Zoth’s Mate, so you’ll need to have an actual weapon in your hand before playing it to get the full value. Oh, and 3/4 > 3/3. It’s way better, because it doesn’t die to the most common removal (Wrath, Lightning Bolt) or doesn’t get traded for free by 3/4’s.
That’s why Bloodsail Cultist is still probably a stronger card, but I think this one deserves some testing too. If this works, it works really well – equipping a 6/3 Arcanite Reaper on turn 5 means trouble.
Card rating: 3/5
Out of the cards that give stats to minions in the hand, I might like this one most. Not only it has decent stats (I’d say that 3/3 > 2/4 in a pretty aggressive deck), but it gives +2/+2 on the Deathrattle. +2/+2 is quite a lot. If it hits something you can play soon, or even right away, it’s going to be big. Imagine hitting a Dispatch Kodo – 4 mana 4/6 with “Deal 4 damage” Battlecry. Or you know, pretty much anything – even dropping a 5/5 Infested Wolf is amazing.
Because of the +2/+2, I think this guy might see play in many different decks. The main problem is, however, that it’s a Deathrattle not a Battlecry. This minion has to die before the +2/+2 works. Which sometimes isn’t right away – if it survives, you get no buff. So sometimes getting a perfect curve like mentioned above might be way, way harder.
I think that this card should see some play. I can’t say that it’s perfect, but it’s already okay by itself, so if you add some synergies… it will only get better.
Card rating: 4/5
Clearly a filler card. 3 mana 4/3 with a Taunt. That’s it. Sadly, 4/3 are worse stats than 3/4 in general, but most especially when it comes to the Taunt. So early in the game, 3 Attack is usually enough to kill whatever (there are a few exceptions, but you know what I mean). And on the other hand, the difference between 3 and 4 health might have been a difference between it getting 1 for 1 or 2 for 1. 3 health sucks against 3/2’s, it sucks against most of the early game removal etc.
That’s why Fierce Monkey is a solid card and this isn’t. This is an average Arena card, it won’t really see any play in Constructed.
Card rating: 1/5
Aaaand another filler card. Probably even worse than the last one. It was always known that 4/5 stats of a 4-drop are generally better than the 5/4 stats. And it still stays this way. So why would anyone want to play a 6/3 for 4.. with no effect at all? It’s not the Ethereal Conjurer, which for 1 more mana gives you an option to Discover a mage card. It’s just 6/3 for 4. It’s way too easy to kill and you rarely get to use so much attack in the early/mid game (unless you go face, but sometimes you just HAVE to trade). It’s on the same boat on which Salty Dog was – a below average Arena card, unplayable in Constructed.
Card rating: 1/5
That’s all folks. Thanks for staying with me, I’ll get out more card reviews soon. There are some more really interesting cards I’d love to talk about, but this one was getting too long already. 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!