Gadgetzan Card Reviews – Up to Reveal Stream

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 […]

Introduction

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.

Reviews

Jade Swarmer

Most likely an auto-include if you’d play Jade Golem Rogue, bad otherwise. The stealth means that it will likely stick, so you’ll get a free ping a lot of times (and in combination with stuff like Backstab or Hero Power, that might be quite important. Also the fact that it’s Deathrattle means that maybe it will be possible to fit the Jade Golem pack into the N’Zoth, the Corruptor deck. We already have this + Aya Blackpaw, if another Deathrattle Jade Golem summoner would be released, it might make sense.

Card rating: 4/5

Jade Idol

The reason why Jade Golem Druid is most likely out of the 3. This card is amazing – the first option of this card is 1 mana Jade Golem summon, when the effect is priced at around 1.5-2 mana. That’s great. The second effect allows you to pretty much never run out of steam in the Control matchups when playing such a deck. In theory it also allows you to beat any mill/fatigue deck, but who plays those anyway? It has insane synergy with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and obviously Fandral Staghelm. On top of that, that’s another cheap spell to make Arcane Giant cheaper. I think that might be a contender for a Tier 1 deck after the expansion hits.

Card rating: 5/5

Devolve

Evolve was tested and it turned out to be a bad card, because it was too RNG. Even in the deck built specifically around it. Devolve is 1 mana more expensive, you can’t build your deck around it, because usefulness of this card depends only on what your opponent plays. This is definitely one of those cards that baits people with best case scenario (e.g. using it vs N’Zoth turn), but 90% of time it’s nearly useless. It might actually make opponent’s minions better than they are + if you want to use it as a board clear, you need to follow it with another AoE (which won’t have a guaranteed clear like let’s say Paladin with Equality). I’ve heard that it can be used as some sort of Silence, e.g. against Sylvanas Windrunner or C’Thun – but come on, you’re playing Shaman, you have 2x Hex. Bad card, but I give it 2 instead of 1, because I can’t deny that it’s situationally useful.

Card rating: 2/5

Call in the Finishers

Good in Murloc deck, but since Murloc Shaman isn’t viable, this card isn’t viable either. Outside of the Murloc Shaman, this is 4x vanilla 1/1 for 4 mana. It has some uses, like Flametongue Totem combo, but as long as cards like Maelstrom Portal or Ravaging Ghoul are in the meta, cards like this will likely suck. In Murloc deck it’s not that big of a problem, because you can buff them with e.g. Murloc Warleader or Everyfin is Awesome, which is an… awesome combo. But like I’ve said, since Murloc Shaman sucks, this also sucks. MAYBE it will be used in the Wild in the future once Murloc Shaman becomes the tier 1 powerhouse.

Card rating: 2/5

Jade Behemoth

In theory, the card is pretty solid. Since 3/6 Taunt = Fen Creeper, the Jade Golem summon is priced at 1 mana, which is fine. But the problem is that no one would ever play Fen Creeper in any serious deck. 3/6 Taunt needs to be priced at 4 mana to be playable in Constructed (e.g. Twilight Guardian) so I’d say that the body is closer to 4-4.5 mana worth when it comes to Constructed play.

This will probably still see play in Jade Druid, just because options for summoning Jade Golem are quite limited, but it’s not a very menacing card, because it’s a little too slow and poorly statted. Even one more attack or health would make it way better.

Card rating: 3/5

Jinyu Waterspeaker

It’s like a better Antique Healbot, but limited to Shaman. By better I mean it has better stats, can target minions and can come out a turn earlier, even if the total mana cost (with Overload) is the same. I think that trading 2 points of healing for 3 health on this minion + the ability to heal minions is worth it. And since it’s a BETTER Healbot, and Healbot was already good, the card is really great.

Some versions of Control Shaman (BogChamp and similar) are also known for playing big Taunts and this minion has nice synergy with those. Healing a Taunt is often way better than healing yourself. You know, crushing that Zoo’s hopes when your Earth Elemental is at 2 health, easy to kill, and you heal it back to full.

Is there a Shaman deck that would like to use the Healbot? If yes, it would probably use this guy. I think it might find some place in Control Shaman, because Healing Wave is only strong when you win the Joust (and it’s rotating out pretty soon anyway). But I would really, really like to see this minion as a Neutral (even without the minion targetting thing). Since Midrange Shaman should continue to be the best Shaman deck (and one of the best decks in the game), this shouldn’t see much play. But it’s pretty strong nonetheless – it might be played more after next Standard rotation in Spring, because that would be a huge hit to the Midrange Shaman.

I don’t think it will be played in Midrange Shaman. Not because it doesn’t fit Midrange play style (it’s quite alright there too), but because Midrange Shaman might not have enough space to play this. Maybe 1-of as a tech card if Aggro takes over, like we’ve seen a single Healing Wave in one or two lists at Blizzcon.

Card rating: 5/5

Jade Chieftain

So, it really depends on how many Jade Golem summons you’d be able to play on average in Shaman before turn 7. You expect that your late game Jade Golem cards would actually start getting your back the tempo you lost earlier. For this to be strong, the Jade Golem would need to be at least 5/5, probably even 6/6. 5/5 + 5/5 Taunt for 7 mana is a decent value, not AMAZING considering that Shamans have Thing from Below, but decent. However, the Jade Golem summon (and giving it Taunt) is priced at 2 mana, which is kinda a lot. So if you wouldn’t be able to consistently curve out with 4-5 Jade Golem summons before this, it might be too slow.

I still don’t think that Jade Golem Shaman will be a thing, but if it will, it might be played because of no other options, I guess.

Card rating: 3/5

Virmen Sensei

Really bad card. As a lot of people have mentioned already (even the guys that revealed it), it seems very similar to Menagerie Magician, which has seen zero play in Beast Druid whatsoever, even though most of the decks ran either Murloc (Sir Finley Mrrgglton in faster ones) or Dragons (Azure Drake in slower ones). And it’s just +1 health over the Menagerie Magician, but less potential. I mean, +1 health might make a bad card way better, but this is not one of those cases.

For this card to be considered playable, it would need to be Beast itself. By the way, why the hell it’s not a Beast? It’s a virmen, which is basically a deadly rabbit, which is basically a Beast.

Card rating: 2/5

Gadgetzan Ferryman

I mean… it’s basically a Youthful Brewmaster or am I missing something? Sure, combo effect is more “controllable” – you’re forced to pick a Battlecry target, which sometimes is bad. With this one you have more control over whether you return something or not. So the only upside over the Brewmaster is that you can sometimes drop it as a River Crocolisk. Which would be useful REALLY rarely if you play a deck that wants to bounce things back – after all, that’s the point of your deck, so you should probably keep your bouncers until they’re useful.

2/3 stats are pretty much the same as 3/2, it’s completely meta thing, it mostly depends on the most common statline of the 1-drops. If there are more 1/3’s, 3/2 is better. If there are more 2/1’s, 3/2 is better. Right now there are more 1/3’s, so I’d say that 3/2 might be even better.

In theory, you can play it ALONGSIDE the Brewmaster and Shadowstep to have 6 bounce effects, but who the hell would even need that many. Most of the decks that want to bounce something (e.g. Reno, N’Zoth) just play a single Shadowstep + Shadowcaster and it’s enough.

I think the card’s power is at 2/5 (just like the Brewmaster), but I give it 1/5 because it’s so redundant.

Card rating: 1/5

Daring Reporter

It’s supposed to be a tech against decks that draw a lot. It starts as a 3/3, but you can count it as a 4/4, because it gets +1/+1 when your opponent draws his card at the start of his turn. It might prevent opponent’s from drawing, e.g. it might postpone the Gadgetzan Auctioneer turn from Miracle Rogue or stop Druid from playing Nourish… and it grows by itself, slowly, but still. However, I don’t think this card is good – it’s way too situational. You rarely can predict when opponent is going for the card draw and a lot of times stopping it for one turn doesn’t make a huge difference. Not to mention that if he has minions on the board or more mana to work with, he should be able to kill it before drawing.

You can say that it’s a vanilla 4/4 for 4 with a slight upside. But the upside would need to be really big to consider playing such a poorly statted minion. Most of the time it just dies before it gets any value.

Card rating: 2/5

Jade Claws

The best cards that summon Jade Golem are probably the ones you can get some tempo with. And this is one of them. Even though Stormforged Axe is not an example of the best weapon, it was close to being playable (it was even played in some lists) before Spirit Claws. This has 1 less Charge, but summons a Jade Golem instead. Definitely a strong card in Jade Shaman, I’d say that it’s an auto-include, but I have one concern – do you want to drop the Spirit Claws from the Jade Shaman list? Because those two are probably pretty exclusive, you can’t afford to run so many early game weapons, or you’d end up with a dead cards in your hand too often.

Playing both will be difficult and dropping Spirit Claws isn’t a great idea, because the card is busted. That’s another reason why I think that Jade Shaman won’t take off. I would give it 4/5, but 3/5 because of the awkwardness with Spirit Claws.

Card rating: 3/5

Shadow Sensei

I like this card, but I hate Blizzard for what they’re doing with Rogue. Instead of giving it one, solid identity, they give Rogues a little bit of everything. 4/4 for 4 that gives +2/+2 is pretty strong. I mean, it’s like Virmen Sensei for the Beast Druid, but 1 mana cheaper. But instead of Beast, it buffs minions in Stealth, which might be even better. Why? Because minions in stealth are easy to keep around on the board.

The main problem? You don’t play Stealth minions in Rogue. EVEN if you would decide to play both new Stealth minions Rogue is getting this expansion, it’s still not enough. You’d need to play a dedicated Stealth deck for this card to be strong. But such a deck doesn’t exist, there aren’t enough strong Stealth minions OR reasons to play them (e.g. more Stealth synergy).

Right now the card is probably 1/5 or maybe 2/5, but I’m giving it 4/5 “potential” score – averaging at 3. But I doubt that Blizzard will commit to pushing the Stealth Rogue, because Stealth is one of the most noninteractive mechanics and they don’t seem to like those (I get it, it can be annoying when your opponent is playing his own game and you can’t do anything about that).

Card rating: 3/5

White Eyes

Well, well. I really like this card, because it doesn’t add to the power level of already ridiculous Midrange Shaman, while it makes the Control (N’Zoth to be precise) version better. 5/5 Taunt for 5 mana is fair, that’s probably how it would be statted. So it’s not good enough tempo for the Midrange deck to play it. But the Control decks can sometimes afford to play lower tempo cards to get profit down the game – e.g. Elise Starseeker.

I mean, N’Zoth Shaman has often played Chillmaw and it’s not a Dragon deck – it played it mostly because it’s a big Taunt and a Deathrattle. Those synergize well with N’Zoth, because you make the N’Zoth turn more swingy – enemy can’t just try to rush you down when you spend your whole turn N’Zothing when you have big Taunt in the way.

Then, The Storm Guardian is really powerful – 10/10 Taunt for 5 mana is insane value and tempo. If you manage to draw it in faster matchups, it’s an amazing wall. And it’s even better in slow matchups – with N’Zoth, you can play it twice so in theory you can shuffle 2 more insane cards into your deck – not only you increase your overall value of the deck (on top of all the threats you already play, it might be hard for your opponent to find 2 more removals), it gives you an edge in fatigue games.

Good card in Control Shaman, but likely not enough to push the archetype. Midrange Shaman will still be the stronger one now. But maybe in the next Standard rotation, Control will be the way to play Shaman.

Card rating: 4/5

Sergeant Sally

I’ve seen quite a lot of hype around this card, but I’m not that sure about it. If the effect was Battlecry, it would be insane. But as a Deathrattle, it might be too easy to play around. First of all – it’s just unplayable without any buffs. As a 3 mana 1/1 with Deathrattle that deals 1 to all the enemies, it’s a (nearly) strictly worse Twilight Flamecaller or Ravaging Ghoul. For it to work, you need to buff it. Not even that much – if you give it +2/+2, the 3/3 for 3 with 3 damage AoE is nice. But the main problem is that your opponent can still play around it. That’s why let’s say Explosive Trap is not broken and Chillmaw isn’t played that much. You give your opponent an opportunity to play around it – make the right trades, maybe heal/buff the minions. This card has the same problem.

I have to mention that it has nice synergy with Power Overwhelming, you get 4 mana and 2 cards for a 5 damage AoE. Really strong combo – something like a better Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing. So it might be useful in RenoLock, but there is one problem – you have only 1 copy of each of those cards, and this card (Sally) sucks without PO, because RenoLock doesn’t really have a lot of other ways to buff it (maybe Argus, but that’s still only 2 damage).

If anything, it might see some play in slower buff decks, but that’s probably it.

P.S. Also, the Inner Rage/Cruel Taskmaster combo seems decent (e.g. this + Inner Rage is 3 mana, 3 damage AoE), but I don’t really think it’s going to fit into the decks running those cards.

Card rating: 3/5

Hobart Grapplehammer

This card has really powerful effect, but you need to play it in the right deck. And by right deck I mean weapon-heavy deck. Not only “weapon heavy”, but heavy on weapons that you actually play from your hand. So not counting stuff like N’Zoth’s First Mate. Right now, it doesn’t really fit into any deck. Probably the closest one is Aggro Pirate Warrior – it runs 4 standalone weapons, but you realistically draw about 2 of them per game, so it’s basically +4 damage in total. But not only you need to play a vanilla 2/2 for 2 first, which is useless, you need to get it before playing any weapons to get his effect down. So probably not.

The second deck I thought about is a Control Warrior with Fool’s Bane. Since it has 4 charges, this card’s effect works pretty nicely with it. Playing it on Gorehowl also allows you to swing one more time and potentially start off by killing an 8 health minion. But those decks still usually play 3 weapons in total (2x FWA + FB/GH). Not to mention that vanilla 2/2 in CW is kinda a waste of space.

Maybe the new Brass Knuckles? The problem is that the card sucks without giving it extra attack…

This card would be way better if Warrior had more high durability weapons. +1 Attack works best if you can swing with the weapon many times. Right now it seems like the effect is strong, but the card might not be playable, because there is no right deck to fit it into right now. So I’d give it 4/5 for the potential, but 2/5 for the current viability, averaging at 3/5.

Card rating: 3/5

Naga Corsair

The effect is kinda similar to the Captain Greenskin. They have the same stats, Greenskin costs 1 more, but it also adds +1 durability, which is a big deal. This card seems like a fit into more aggressive decks, but giving a weapon just +1 Attack isn’t that strong. For example, This on Arcanite Reaper is just +2 attack in total. But Greenskin is +8, because of the extra durability. And since Greenskin isn’t really played, I don’t think this one will be.

I think that the card is unplayable in Constructed – weak stat distribution (might pass in the aggressive deck, but still), it’s situational and even if the effect procs, it’s not that amazing.

Card rating: 2/5

Wrathion

Really interesting mechanic. It reminds me of The Curator a bit. I’d say that it has the potential to be much better, but is less consistent. So, this card at base is a 6 mana 4/5 Taunt that draws you a card. That already is nearly passable. Midrange card draws are really strong, because that’s usually the point in the game when you might start running out of steam or wanting more options. But you wouldn’t play this guy if it always drew you 1 card. It would be slightly too weak. It’d be something between the nerfed Ancient of Lore and Azure Drake – an okay card, but nothing to get excited about.

But then, I’d say that dedicated Dragon decks usually run around 8-10 Dragons. So while the chances that you draw one of them right away isn’t that insane, it still might be enough. King’s Elekk is a good example – the card is often a vanilla 3/2 for 2, but then it sometimes gives an extra draw and just for that sometimes it’s quite commonly seen in Midrange Hunter.

And that upside might make it playable in Dragon decks. And the more Dragons you run – the better it will be. That’s why it might fit into let’s say Dragon Priest more than into the aggressive versions of Dragon Warrior (which try to cut as many Dragons as possible). Not to mention that the statline + Taunt also makes it fit the slower Midrange/Control decks more.

I think that if you run Beasts in your deck, The Curator will still be better, because it has much higher chance to draw 2. But if you don’t, like in Dragon Priest, this might actually be a thing. Especially in Reno version, where you have more space for techs.

Card rating: 4/5

Public Defender

Well, definitely better than Mogu’shan Warden, but it doesn’t say much. If you don’t buff it, it’s usually a worse Doomsayer. It’s definitely NOT a fit into the any currently popular Warrior archetype.

The archetype that it might fit into is the Taunt Warrior they’re trying to push again and again. If you play the new Stolen Goods and Bolster and stuff like that, this card might be playable. Since it has incredibly high health for a 2 mana minion, giving it any stats is pretty strong. Even +3/+3 already means it’s a 3/10 Taunt, which can be really strong in the early game.

Without buffs, however, this card is pretty weak. You pretty much heal for 7 (maybe 8-9 if your opponent can’t find the right trades) and that’s it. That’s why Doomsayer is better, because it also threatens the board clear if enemy doesn’t clear it (or can’t clear it). If Taunt Warrior doesn’t take off, this card won’t likely see any play.

Card rating: 2/5

Ancient of Blossoms

Decent Arena card, 3/8 for 6 is like a Fen Creeper +2 health for 1 more mana. It’s not great, because 3 attack on a 6 drop might be too slow – he might get traded quite easily by other mid game minions. In Constructed? Completely unplayable.

Card rating: 1/5

Freezing Potion

Making 0 mana spells for Mages is quite dangerous, because of the spell synergies like Mana Wyrm, Flamewaker or Antonidas. However, this isn’t a particularly strong 0 mana spell. Why? Because we already had a similar, even stronger one at 1 mana – Ice Lance and it has seen no play outside of the combo decks. I mean, if you just count the Freeze effect, the difference between 0 and 1 mana is quite high. It’s a great tempo card, but I see one problem – the cards can’t be only tempo, they also need to have some value. Wisp is also an insane tempo card, but you don’t see any deck playing it, because at the end of the day it’s just a 1/1 and it costs a card.

It’s similar with this one – if you play cards like that, you can run out of steam incredibly quickly. However, I like that the card exists – Kabal Chemist will have a much more diverse draws and getting this one might be a nice tempo boost, because – after all – it’s a generated card, so you didn’t really lose much value.

Card rating: 2/5

Smuggler’s Crate

1 mana for +2/+2 for a Beast in your hand. The Best part is usually a limitation, but in this case I think it might be an upside. If you want to play the Buff Hunter, cards that you want to buff most are Beasts – Rat Pack, Dispatch Kodo, Knuckles. And it works really nicely in combination with them. If you hit one of those, you can make quite heavy tempo moves in the early/mid game. However, the card has few problems. If you hit something that doesn’t get immediate value from the buffs, let’s say Savannah Highmane, the buff might be wasted. 6/5 Highmane dies to a single target removals (e.g. Execute, Entomb), so does the 8/7 Highmane. Sometimes you might get 2 for 1’d thanks for this card.

It also gives your opponent some piece of information, especially if you have only a few cards in your hand. Now he knows that one of the cards in your hand is some Beast, which can sometimes give him a tell what Beast it is too.

Overall, an okay card, might see play in buff Hunter, but you will need to be careful to put it on the right targets.

Card rating: 3/5

Hidden Cache

It’s a Secret. It’s easy to proc – everyone plays minions, after all. But unlike most of the other Secrets, it doesn’t give you anny immediate value. E.g. Snipe might kill opponent’s minion right away. Freezing also buys you some tempo. This? It buffs a minion in your hand, so it will probably take an extra turn before you get value out of it. So it’s a pretty slow Secret.

For 2 mana, it’s definitely not worth to play it. It MIGHT be better with the Cloaked Huntress, obviously, because then it’s a delayed +2/+2 for 0 mana. But I still wouldn’t be so sure, what would you want to play it over? The Secret is also terrible when you don’t have minions left in your hand, and Secret Hunter decks are really low on minions (it’s usually more spells than minions!)

So all in all, I don’t think this Secret is good.

Card rating: 2/5

Genzo, The Shark

Interesting concept. Fits pretty well into the Aggro decks, as a refill mechanic. Especially in the slower matchups, it’s very likely that when you run out of cards, your opponent will still have more than 3. It’s something like a delayed Jeeves. Jeeves had obviously way worse stats, but the effect was immediate. I think Jeeves was better, honestly, but this also isn’t that bad. The fact that it’s a 5/4 besides the effect makes it a nice aggressive minion. It’s a high priority for removal, but you preferably want to play it when you’re running out of steam already. So it might mean that your opponent has gone through some of his removal already.

Even if it works 50% of time, I’d probably still play it in some Aggro decks. However, it also depends on how common the other Aggro decks will be. Because remember that in Aggro mirror, you’re not the only one that runs out of cards quickly.

So I’d say that it has potential, but it probably won’t be amazing.

Card rating: 3/5

Defias Cleaner

It has quite a strong stats for a Silence minion. But the problem is that Silence is limited. Of course, it’s way better than something like Light’s Champion, because Deatharttles are probably the most common Silence targets. However, they’re not the only ones. Sometimes you want to Silence your own minions (e.g. Ragnaros for guaranteed 8 damage on something). You might want to Silence buffed minions (e.g. Twilight Drake). Sometimes you want to Silence Taunts. Other times you want to Silence off the strong ongoing effects if you can’t kill a minion (e.g. Ysera or Emperor Thaurissan). Deathrattles are most common, but not the only Silence target. It’s also very inflexible, costing 6 mana and all. So I’d say that the good old Spellbreaker might still be better if you really need Silence in a certain meta. Maybe if the meta was dominated by Deathrattle minions, then this one would be good. Otherwise, not really.

Card rating: 2/5

Cryomancer

5 mana 7/7! But no, unlike the Shaman’s meme minion, it’s much harder to proc it here. Obviously, you can run the new Freezing Potion and this will be a good use for it, but unless you can combo this two together, how often one of the enemies is actually Frozen? You can combo it with Frostbolt, but remember that Frostbolt often kills the target you hit. Water Elemental? Same, unless you attack face. I mean, Water Ele turn 4 into face attack into this can be a really strong combo. But I don’t think it’s consistent enough overall. Most of the time this is going to be a 5 mana vanilla 5/5 and that’s not playable in Constructed. It’s playable with the upside, but I don’t think it will be good enough.

Card rating: 3/5

Greater Arcane Missiles

A bad card. The only good use is the face nuke – on the empty board, that’s 9 damage for 7 mana. So it’s almost like a cheaper Pyroblast. But against minions, it’s bad. If you want to clear multiple minions, you play Flamestrike. This has too high chance to miss stuff. As a single target removal? In theory, it can remove the 8 health stuff like Ragnaros and Giants, but it’s unlikely. If they’re on the empty board, it has only 1/9 chance to do so. It has a 50/50 chance to remove a single 4-6 health minion, but wouldn’t you just prefer to Fireball it? Mage has access to stronger single target removals, stronger AoE removals etc.

This card would be good if you could choose the targets for each missile. In the current form, it’s bad.

Card rating: 2/5

Blastcrystal Potion

Anything that makes you lose a Mana Crystal would need to have INSANELY POWERFUL effect to be viable. This one? It’s a joke. It’s a 4 mana removal. That doesn’t even negates Deathrattles. I mean, compare it to Hex or Polymorph. Or even Assassinate – I’d play Assassinate over it any day.

It’s only good in the late game, when you’re at 9-10 mana crystals anyway and losing one is not a big deal, because you will just refill it next turn. But the thing is, you don’t control when you need to play the removal. You often need to use removal on a 4-drop or a 6-drop. And putting yourself behind on mana is a great way to lose a game. Very, very bad card. I guess they won’t print good single target removal for Warlock.

Card rating: 1/5

Kabal Trafficker

I like it. At base, it’s a 6 mana 6/6 which draws you a random Demon. That’s already okay. Good stats, extra value. But it also has a potential to get extra value – if it stays on the board for another turn (and it’s not that unreasonable at 6 health) you draw another Demon.

The main problem is that there are quite a lot of bad Demons. Succubus, Wrathguard, Blood Imp, Flame Imp just to name a few you really wouldn’t like to draw in a Control deck (and this is obviously not a fast card). You might get something unplayable, and then it’s basically a 6 mana vanilla 6/6. Not that great.

Might be playable in RenoLock, especially in the potential new Demon version.

Card rating: 3/5

Gadgetzan Socialite

I’m really happy to see more healing cards, but this one isn’t particularly exciting. You can compare it to two cards. First one is Voodoo Doctor – for 1 more mana, you get.. 1 more health. And that’s it. Honestly, since both bodies are bad and the effect is the same, I’d rather play the 1-drop. The second one is Earthen Ring Farseer, which sees some play, e.g. in RenoLock, but it’s still pretty rare. The 3/3 for 3 stats are slightly better than 2/2 for 2 + it heals for 1 more. So I’d say that it’s better. I don’t think it will see any serious Constructed play.

Card rating: 2/5

Krul the Unshackled

And here I was, excited for the Warlock Legendary. But I was really disappointed. I mean, the card isn’t terrible – it’s just.. meh. For a card that requires you to play the Reno synergy AND that costs 9 mana, the effect is pretty weak. This could be as well a non-Reno card.

How strong is summoning all demons from your hand? Summoning a random Demon in the mid game was strong – Voidcaller was a very powerful card. But at 9 mana, it’s worse. You need to play it in the Demon RenoLock. Let’s first count how many Constructed playable Demons we have. We have 5-6 good ones (including the Abyssal Enforcer from the new expansion) and maybe few more playable ones. And most of them you actually want to play on the curve – e.g. Imp Gang Boss is good on the turn 3, but not necessarily strong in the late game. With only one copy of each demon, how many you can actually count on this summoning? I’d say that 1-2 on average.

Another thing is that it might be unplayable in Control matchups when you already have Lord Jaraxxus in your hand. You really don’t want to summon it, you want to play it from your hand to get Battlecry. Not to mention that it plays right into the AoE clears – Warrior will thank you for putting a few threats on the board at the same time and just play Brawl.

On the other hand, it gets a slight upside on cards like Doomguard or Pit Lord (if you’d even want to play this one), because it stops the negative Battlecries.

I mean, I think it would still be playable in Demon RenoLock. But I think that the non-Demon version of the deck will be simply stronger, since this is the only reason to play the Demon synergy now. However, it will be way stronger in Wild. In the future, if you would be able to build a full Demon RenoLock with only the strong Demons (you know, Mal’ganis for example), it might be really good.

Card rating: 2/5

Alleycat

Another contender for the “cutest art” contest. The card is good. There isn’t a lot to talk about – it’s like the turn 1 Living Roots. It loses the flexibility of 2 damage, but (I’m assuming) both 1/1’s are Beasts, which gets extra value in Hunter. Strong early drops are also stronger in Hunter then they are in currently played Druid decks. I think it might be played in more aggressive Hunters, it seems slightly stronger than Argent Squire that a lot of them run. Pretty weak in slower decks, though, because in the end it’s still 2x 1/1.

Card rating: 4/5

Sleep with the Fishes

It’s a decent card. First I thought that it might be a Brawl sub in more tempo oriented Warrior decks. But then I’ve noticed the word “all” – it also damages your own minions. Because you obviously want to combo it with Whirlwind effect, it’s only good when you’re behind, so this fits a Control Warrior much more.

While Brawl is still one of the best AoEs in the game, Warriors are pretty low on other AoE (besides 1 damage ones). That’s why Revenge is really common in CW even though it’s very situational. I think this might actually be played instead of Revenge, because you don’t need to be at 12 or less to play it. It’s a great turn 5 combo – Ravaging Ghoul + this is a 4 damage AoE. And since you’re CW, it’s very unlikely that you’re the one with minions on the board. With Whirlwind, that’s a 3 mana Flamestrike. Sure, it’s a 2 cards combo, but it’s still strong.

It depends on the meta, but it might be really powerful in CW. It’s bad against other Control, but in case the Aggro/Midrange decks will be on the top, I think that even 2 of those might be played alongside 2x Ravaging Ghoul and Whirlwind.

Card rating: 4/5

Celestial Dreamer

3 mana 3/3 that’s potentially a 3 mana 5/5 in the mid/late game. You just need to have 5 attack minion on the board. 3 mana 3/3 without any effect is clearly terrible. So you would need to be able to consistently proc the effect to make it good. But how how common are 5+ attack minions in Druid? That’s actually a good question and the answer is – not that common. I’ll take two most popular Druid archetypes. In Maly Druid, you pretty much have to wait until you can play a cheap Arcane Giant. I mean, you can also combo it with Emperor Thaurissan or Ancient of War, but it’s still very expensive. Then, the Beast Druid. This one is slightly more likely thanks to the Stranglethorn Tiger. The dream would be t5 Tiger into t6 2x this, but there is one thing. You usually want to follow Tiger with Menagerie Warden if you have one. And those are pretty much all 5 attack minions you commonly run.

Maybe in the Jade Golem Druid? Hell no, Jade Druid would already need to sacrifice the early game in order to get insane late game. It doesn’t need more cards that are weak in the early game and strong in the late game.

So all in all, you won’t be able to consistently proc this effect until late game. And how good is a 3 mana 5/5 in the late game? Okay, but not gamebreaking, honestly. With 0 mana 5/5 Taunts and 0 mana 8/8 Giants going around, 3 mana 5/5 is a slight tempo boost, but that’s all. Not really worth to have a 3 mana 3/3 for the most of the game.

Card rating: 2/5

Unlicensed Apothecary

Alright. I know that Warlocks sacrifice health in order to get the tempo or other advantages. But this is a huge exaggeration. 5 health for EACH MINION YOU PLAY? No way. Having few more stat points isn’t worth it.

In Zoo, you would kill yourself before you would kill your opponent. Since your deck is 90% minion-based, this could easily deal 15-20 damage to you, which is unacceptable.

And in RenoLock? I’ve heard that some people are exciting. But I have to debunk this – it SUCKS in RenoLock. If you want to play the new AoEs, which also cost you health, you can’t afford to play more self-damage effects. If you play this on turn 3, you have to pass or play spells until you die. And since RenoLock is quite low on non-AoE spells, you might be forced to pass a turn or two.

Your health is really precious and even losing 5 (just summoning one extra minion) is something you can’t afford in a lot of matchups. This is a dead card against Hunter, dead card against Pirate Warrior, dead card against Tempo Mage etc. They would just ignore it and go face, while you wouldn’t be able to play anything else. So even if you would remove one small minion per turn, they would just overwhelm and outtempo you.

People don’t get that RenoLock is a heavy minion deck. For example, the version I run right now plays only 8 spells, and 4 of them are AoE.  You WANT to curve out with RenoLock and you want to play minion each turn. You DON’T want to play this and then pass a turn or two.

The only way to make it playable is to Silence it on turn 4. In a lot of late game scenarios, where you can’t afford to lose health, it will just be a Shadowflame activator. In both cases, wouldn’t it just be better to play Ancient Watcher? 1 less mana and much less risky.

Card rating: 1/5

Crystalweaver

I mean, it’s definitely good in a dedicated Demon deck. Outside of that? I’m not sure. The deck that it MIGHT fit into is Zoo Warlock. But it might need some alterations, you might want to make it slightly more Demon-heavy. Current Discard Zoo runs 8 Demons and 16 non-Demons in the 1-3 Range. So while it’s kinda likely to hit a buff on a single minion, I think it would be viable in Zoo as long as you could consistently buff 2 minions with it.

I think it will require some playtesting, although it undoubtedly has potential. If you hit 2 minions, it’s similar to Defender of Argus. Minus Taunt, but plus WAY better body. 2/3 is weak, but 5/4 is really threatening.

I will try it more Demon oriented Zoo along that +3/+3 potion (on Demon), but we’ll see.

Card rating: 3/5

Lotus Illusionist

Cards that are below the curve, but get better when you attack with them aren’t generally that strong. Especially if the attack is only limited to the opponent’s Hero. For example – Cutpurse. Adding the Coin was a nice effect for a 2-drop, but weak stats and the fact that you had to swing into the face made it quite weak. And so this one might be similar.

If you don’t meet those criteria, it’s a vanilla 3/5 for 4 – weak. If you swing – you still get an RNG check, but the average stats of 6-drop are definitely better than 3/5. You might roll high and get a Savannah Highmane, for example. But still – I don’t think it will be good enough. In fast matchups, you HAVE to remove minions. You can’t afford to play a 4-drop that doesn’t have any immediate effect, ignore minions and swing face. You just can’t. You will get rushed down. Then, in the slower matchups, how likely is it that it survives? I mean, it’s definitely better there – but it’s a pretty high priority removal target.

I think the card is too random and inconsistent to be played in any Shaman deck. But if you feel lucky, you can always add it and get those high rolls.

Card rating: 2/5

Finders Keepers

There will be 18 Overload cards in the game after the expansion. And I’d say that most of them are quite playable – sure, there are things like Dust Devil or Jade Claws in a non-Jade Golem deck, but overall the outcome might be quite decent.

However, I really hate this card, because it has overload itself. It looks like overload was meant to be positive or at least neutral here – but it isn’t. Sure, you get extra 1 attack on Tunnel Trogg, but you still usually DON’T want to needlessly overload. So in the end, this card costs 1 mana more than every other card like that – Raven Idol, Journey Below and the new I Know A Guy, while it’s not necessarily stronger (I’d even say that it’s weaker than the first two because of lack of spell synergy in Shaman).

Maybe if you played both Trogg AND Unbound Elemental, this might be decent. Otherwise, I don’t think so.

Card rating: 2/5

Shadow Rager

Rogue class cards this expansion are kinda like a joke. A little bit of everything and now they even get their own Rager. This card is obviously bad – even though 5 attack stealth minion for 3 mana might seem good, at 1 health there are just too many ways to deal with it (Whirlwind effects from Warrior, Maelstrom Portal from Shaman, Fan of Knives from Rogue, Arcane Missiles/Flamewaker from Mage etc.). I think it would be balanced at 5/2, as a better version of Jungle Panther. At 5/1 it’s just terrible. Even if it doesn’t get killed and you get one attack, you pretty much NEED to trade into minion, because anything can get rid of that 1 health. So you have kinda a delayed 5 damage removal. Hm, I guess Rogues have hard time dealing 5 damage for 3 mana, right?

Bad card, even in the Stealth synergy deck, because A LOT of times it will die before you can even do anything with it. Jungle Panther is already better.

Card rating: 1/5

Luckydo Buccaneer

It kinda reminds me of Drakonid Crusher – meh 6-drop without the Battlecry, but if it activates, it’s really strong. Both are 9/9, but this is 5/5 at the base. Let’s get it straight – you never want to play a vanilla 5/5 for 6 mana, so you REALLY want to proc this effect. However, it’s not that easy. With Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil gone from Standard, the only reliable ways to get your weapon to 3 attack are: Deadly Poison and Assassin’s Blade. That’s it. I mean, you have few other ways: Southsea Squidface, Deadly Fork, 2x Buccaneer, stealing some 3+ attack weapon from other class, but they’re either not guaranteed (enemy can interact with the minions) or hard to get.

So all in all, if we add those effects up, this card seems like a fit into the Pirate Rogue if anything. And it’s a Pirate itself. So on top of Jade Golem, Deathrattle, Burgle, Miracle AND Stealth, we’ve also got Pirate Rogue support. I mean… Blizzard, please, just give Rogue 1-2 solid mechanics and stick with them, because this isn’t even funny.

This card is probably solid in Pirate Rogue, especially if you play a slightly slower (as in not Aggro) version with Squidfaces. If you can pretty consistently get it out as a 9/9, it’s quite strong. But since the ways to buff your weapon are limited and your opponent can somehow interrupt them a lot of times, it’s not the best card ever.

Card rating: 3/5

Kabal Songstealer

And this is great. Priest is really getting all the goodies this expansion. Silence was mostly out of the meta, because Owl was nerfed to 3 mana (2/1 body sucked at 2 mana, but you’ve mostly played it for the effect) and Spellbreaker is kinda too expensive for its stats. 5/5 for 5 is WAY better than 4/3 for 4. And since the effect is the same, Silence without any limitations, this is much better.

This is an obvious fit into the Silence Priest archetype – thank you Blizzard for giving us the Purify. Solid stats and you will always find a good target to Silence. For example, turn 4 Eerie Statue into turn 5 this might be one of the best mid game plays in the game. I mean, it’s like playing on-curve Flamewreathed Faceless and following with a 5/5 minion.

But besides Silence Priest, it might also fit into the classic Control Priest as an one-of. Sometimes that Silence really comes handy. Let’s say you want to keep Entomb against C’Thun, but your opponent drops Sylvanas. It should be useful and since it’s on a good body, it won’t result in any big tempo losses.

Card rating: 4/5

Greater Healing Potion

Before you get too excited, read the card’s text carefully. It says “friendly character”, so no possible 24 damage burst with Embrace Darkness. But it’s still quite strong tech card nonetheless.

This is obviously best in the matchups where you care about your health most. It’s great card against Aggro (Face Hunter, Pirate Warrior), decks that play a lot of burn (Tempo Mage) or some combo decks that need to soften you up before dealing the final blow (Freeze Mage). So while I doubt the card will be an auto-include into Priest, it’s – like I’ve mentioned – a solid tech card. A meta call. If you will face a lot of Control decks, you just take it out, because it’s quite useless. But if you face a lot of the decks I’ve mentioned, you put it in and watch your enemies cry.

Oh, and it’s also a Potion. I will LOVE to get that from Kabal Chemist in my RenoLock.

Card rating: 4/5

Mayor Noggenfogger

Ultimate mindfuck card. Come on. It’s a 9 mana 5/4 that can do nothing or can completely screw the whole game for either of the players (even both). While we don’t know exactly how it works yet, this is what I assume: Every target is chosen randomly means that if you attack with a minion, you attack a RANDOM character instead. So I assume that you can also attack your own minions or your own face. The same goes with spells – you play a spell and now the magic happens, it can hit anything.

Obviously, since the card has the same chance to screw you as it has to screw your opponent and ultimately it’s a 9 mana 5/4, it sucks really hard if you play the game seriously. But if you want to have fun, this is going to produce even funnier moments than Yogg ever did. Let’s say you play it against Jade Druid with a bunch of strong Jade Golems on the board. Now imagine every Golem, instead of hitting this minion or your face, hits the Druid’s face. It can happen. The chances are incredibly slim, but it can happen.

So as long as you don’t care about your W-L ratio OR you think that you’re the most lucky person on the Earth, this card will be great for you.

Card rating: 5/5 if you play for the memes and Trolden videos, 1/5 if you play competitively

Streetwise Investigator

Strictly a tech card. So far only Hunter had way to reveal Stealth – Flare, but it seems like they’re trying to push the Stealth Rogue slightly. If they continue to do so in the next expansions, we need a card like that.

Right now Stealth isn’t really popular. Cat Trick, Druid of the Saber, Stranglethorn Tiger and Conceal (most likely on Gadgetzan Auctioneer) are the only Stealth cards that are played. And none of them, besides stealthed Auctioneer, is really oppressive. But let’s just say that Rogue is not the strongest or most common class right now, so the card sucks in the current meta.

It doesn’t seem like the Stealth should take over in the next meta either. So right now the card will probably gather dust. But it might be okay in case Stealth Meta ever pops out. I think it’s good that we have cards like that “just in case”, even if in the end they will be useless.

Card rating: 3/5

Small-time Buccaneer

Well well. It’s a Pirate version of the Cogmaster. While Cogmaster was probably slightly stronger, because Mechs are easier to get than Weapons, it’s still quite strong. If you play Pirate deck, you do play weapons – it’s obvious. This card should be staple in the Pirate Warrior – double this on turn 1 into Fiery War Axe or N’Zoth’s First Mate + another 1-drop will be insane early game tempo. Pirate Warriors play quite a lot of weapons, so it will be really easy to keep it as a 3/2 for 1. Not to mention that you’ll also get a free 1/1 with Charge – Patches the Pirate once you play it on turn 1. I think that Pirate Warrior might become the new so-called “cancer deck” in this meta.

Card rating: 4/5

Weasel Tunneler

Interesting mechanic, but the card is really bad. The idea is to make your opponent’s draws worse. At some point, he is going to topdeck this instead of something meaningful, something from his deck. It might really screw him especially if he’s low on cards already.

On the other hand, you have to play a vanilla 1 mana 1/1 first. That’s not really great and you DON’T want to play that. On the other hand, the game might end before your opponent even draws it. So it has 100% chance to screw you when you play it (because you play heavily understatted minion), but it has only some chance (depending on the matchup) to screw your opponent.

Then, in what deck exactly would you like to play it? Control decks would never want to put this in their decks. And Aggro decks probably prefer early game tempo over POTENTIAL one card delay (since they want to finish game fast, it won’t likely happen).

So I like the card, I think we should have more cards like that in the future, because it adds depth to the gameplay, but I don’t think this one is good.

P.S. It would be better if you could make some Deathrattle shenanigans happen, like proc it multiple time quite easily. I mean, it’s possible in the wild thanks to the Baron Rivendare (+maybe Ancestral Spirit, Reincarnate, stuff like that), but it’s definitely not easy. It’s also possible in N’Zoth deck, but that’s only twice. If there was a way to proc it like 5+ times, it would be much better, because more consistent. But there is no way to do that, so it’s only theorycrafting.

Card rating: 1/5

Blubber Baron

Bad, bad card. So, in theory you’d want to put it in a Battlecry deck. How many Battlecry minions does a deck run? Most of them run only a few, but there are some – like Dragon decks – that can run about 15 quite easily (that’s the reason Dragon decks also like Brann Bronzebeard). But how many you need to play before it becomes good?

This card obviously suck at the start. To even make it remotely playable, you need to play 2 Battlecries before playing it – and that’s only 3/3. 4/4 is okay, but you don’t want to wait on your 3-drop for so long just to make it 4/4 – you could as well play the Nerubian Prophet and it would be much easier. To make it really worth, you’d need to play at least 4 or 5 Battlecries before that, so probably like 1/3 of the Battlecry minions in your deck… What the hell? It’s really unlikely.

Then, you also need to have this in your HAND for the effect to work. If you draw it early, you have a potential to snowball it. But then you have a dead card in your hand for the half of the game. On the other hand, if you topdeck it – it’s just a 1/1 for 3, so completely unplayable.

I think this might be a solid card if it worked not only in your hand, but also in your deck. You’d probably need to make it into a Legendary and do some extra tweaking (like make it 4 mana), but that would be actually quite interesting addition to Battlecry decks. Right now, it’s pretty bad. It has some potential, but very slim.

Card rating: 2/5

Red Mana Wyrm

Bigger brother of the Mana Wyrm. But definitely not that strong. It’s literally twice as big – it has double the stats (2/6 instead of 1/3) and double the effect (+2 instead of +1), but the mana cost… it costs 5 mana compared to Mana Wyrm’s 1 mana. That’s a HUGE difference. Obviously, Mana Wyrm is really strong and it’s a class card and everything, but this card doesn’t seem to exciting.

Mana Wyrm is strong because of the Snowball potential. 3 health might be sometimes hard to remove early. On the other hand, unless you’re already ahead, 6 health shouldn’t be that big of a challenge on turn 5-6. You obviously want to play it in a spell-heavy deck to even make it work. For it to be okay you need to play at least 2 spells – then you make it a 6/6. Then it can grow even further. So in theory, it CAN snowball, if it survives and you play 5-6 spells, that’s really something. But it’s similar to playing a Mana Addict and hoping that it will survive. In reality, it usually won’t.

It MIGHT be worth to try some Rogue shenanigans with Conceal, but they already have Questing Adventurer for that. Maybe Druid? I don’t think that they will be able to fit it in and protect it. Mage? It’s most likely too slow, the small Wyrm is better. So in the end, while the card is okay-ish, I don’t think that it is going to really fit anywhere.

Oh, and try not to drop it on turn 5 without any spells. Priests will thank you a lot for giving them a high value minion for free (Cabal Shadow Priest).

Card rating: 3/5

Street Trickster

Hm. Why? It’s on the Dalaran Mage level of playability. I don’t say that often, but in this case the 1 attack is pretty equal to the 3 health. 0 attack minion needs to have really powerful effect or synergy to be played – e.g. Doomsayer. This? It just gives you +1 Spell Damage. If you drop it against any heavy tempo deck on turn 3, it just gets killed for free. It’s very unlikely that it will survive a turn and it doesn’t even hit back. I mean, if you buff it… But still, if you play a buff deck, why would you need Spell Damage? Spell Damage is good in Malygos Druid or Tempo Mage, but not exactly great in buff decks.

And if you want a cheap Spell Damage source to combo with the spells in the mid/late game, try Bloodmage Thalnos it’s 1 mana cheaper, also dies for free (usually), but then it cycles. I don’t really get the idea behind this card.

Card rating: 1/5

Closing

Wow, that was a long, LONG post. Sorry, I just wanted to cover every card and we’ve got quite a lot of them. So that’s it for the reveals. Gadgetzan will be released way sooner than expected, it’s actually going to be out on 1st of December (tomorrow).

So I guess that we’ll find out how strong the cards are in the game soon. I can’t wait to start opening packs and then brewing the hell out of new expansion 🙂 I’ll be sharing my brews & guides & everything related to the new expansion with you, so stay tuned!

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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!