Goblins vs Gnomes – More Cards, More Impressions 11/20

Camzee here! Let's dive right in - here are my initial impressions of the post-Blizzcon Goblins vs Gnomes cards released so far!

Introduction

Since Blizzard’s explosive announcement of Goblins vs Gnomes at Blizzcon, they have continued to release new cards at a steady daily rate across multiple platforms.

Ra-V did a first look at the Blizzcon cards here. I’m going to be doing it in a similar format but for the new cards that have been revealed since then.

Here are my initial impressions of the post-Blizzcon Goblins vs Gnomes cards.

Card Analysis

Goblin Auto-Barber

Class: Rogue

Grade: A-

The Goblin Auto-Barber is an incredible Rogue class card. Giving your weapon +1 attack is half a deadly-poison and the 3/2 body is very respectable for a 2-drop. It’s also a Mech which promises a lot of nice synergy from the cards we’ve seen so far.

The +1 on the weapon is really useful for clearing early game minions and can even add a little kick to assassins-blade. There’s no complexity to this card, you just drop it down when you have a weapon and enjoy that sweet tempo.

I expect this card to be an auto-pick in arena, and if Tempo/Mech Rogue becomes a force again, this card could see play in Constructed too. Blizzard seems to want Rogue to diversify from its metagame locked Miracle variant, and it would be nice to see Tempo/Mech rogue make a splash.

Goblin Sapper

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

This is another addition to the anti-Hand type cards revealed so far like clockwork-giant.

It’s got decent stats for the cost, and when its effect is active, it has a pretty formidable board presence. I personally quite like the card but it’s difficult to place in any Constructed deck type right now because it’s a situational mid-range type card.

In arena, this is a pretty solid pick, a 2/4 for 3 mana is respectable if a little on the weak side in a top deck war but the additional upside is a nice perk.

Illuminator

Class: Neutral

Grade: C+

One look at this card and it looks like a Freeze Mage stalwart. A 4 health heal is actually quite decent, but the requirement of having an inactive secret makes it a bit weaker.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of the card.

A Freeze Mage who’s ahead has armor stacked up from ice-barrier to get extra health and this card has a pretty average body that doesn’t really make a dent in the board state.

Arena wise, it’s 99% going to be a 2/4 for 3 which is just not that great.

Shieldmaiden

Class: Warrior

Grade: B-

It looks weak at first glance, but it’s actually not a terrible card, just a bit underwhelming compared to the 6-drop legendaries which have dominated the constructed metagame.

I compare it most to guardian-of-kings which heals for 6. This card when compared to that is actually strictly better. It costs 1 mana less, gives you a guaranteed 5 armor (Kings’ battlecry is often wasted when you’re at full health) and synergizes with shield-slam.

No, it’s not going to revolutionize Warrior, but it’s a solid card that you can put in while you save up for sylvanas-windrunner and cairne-bloodhoof.

In arena, this card is average or just below considering it’s a rare. Not much to analyze here, pick it for a solid mid-late game body.

Jeeves

Class: Neutral

Grade: B-

This is arguably the most difficult card in the released set so far to grade. It introduces an entirely new playstyle for a bunch of classes and that makes it really interesting.

For the players who are confused about its card text, it draws you cards only IF you have fewer than 3 in your hand. Also, if a player is in fatigue, this card draws 3 mandatory cards for them but will NOT continue drawing until a horrible fatigued death.

The possibilities that this card opens up are huge. It allows decks to play more aggressive hand-emptying styles like Zoo and still have a hand replenisher.

The problem with Jeeves though, is that it has such a weak body. Playing a 1/4 for 4 is a big loss in tempo and the fact that it draws at the end of the turn means you can’t make use of its effect until the following turn by which time your opponent can build a bigger board or draw cards for himself by leaving Jeeves alive. That said, if any card has the potential to prove me wrong, this one is it, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.

In arena, this card is pretty awful. It’s only somewhat useful in a top deck war but it also gives your opponent the chance to draw. You can’t play it on curve since it’s so weak.

Foereaper 4000

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

It looks big and beefy and its effect is really good, but it suffers from the average late-game legendary syndrome of “no effect on the board the turn it’s played”.

I compare it with gruul who is a large threat but also doesn’t do anything the turn he comes down. As a late-game legendary, the gold standard is ragnaros-the-firelord who throws 8 damage at an opponent right away. That’s instantly board and game changing which isn’t something Foe Reaper can do.

That said, in the right mid-range ramp type deck (GvG is putting out a lot of ramp up type spells for each class) it can come down early and its large body and AOE effect can lock down a game.

In arena, it’s going to be a star. The AOE effect is devastating and it will win you the game if left unchecked.  Too bad it’s a legendary though and therefore won’t be offered as a choice quite as often.

Ancestor’s Call

Class: Shaman

Grade: C-

The second class “ramp” card revealed after unstable-portal. This one however is considerably worse.

It compares to Show and Tell – a powerful Magic the Gathering Card but the addition of the word “random” really hurts it. To utilize it most effectively, you need to include only huge curve topping cards that can be “ramped” out and in the current metagame, there just isn’t time for that to be possible.

Not only that, it also gifts your opponent a card and tempo which is too hard to comeback from especially with Shaman that needs board control in order to exert any pressure and also because it can’t compete with the longevity of other classes due to a lack of heal.

I know it’s early to write a card off, but I will be very surprised if a deck built around this card (and it has to be built around) will make any impact on the metagame. 4 mana cost is too steep and it’s effectively a mindgames with a tiny bit more flexibility.

It’s terrible in arena. Don’t pick it.

Anodized Robo Cub

Class: Druid

Grade: A-

This is a really solid, flexible card. The built in taunt is excellent for stopping some early aggression, and the choose one effect is superb for adapting to new situations. It’s also a Mech and will receive synergies that way as well.

The only thing holding it back for me, is a comparatively vanilla set of stats and nothing truly exciting. Mid-range Druid decks typically run more sticky minions like haunted-creeper and this card just doesn’t stick that well and can be removed fairly easily.

It also has little impact late game, but it’s not meant for that. As a 2 drop meant to play on turn 2, this card is excellent and does its limited but important role well.

In arena, this card is fantastic. Taunt always has some value, and the flexibility of the last stat means it can trade up or put up more health to deal with smaller minions. A very high pick.

Fel Cannon

Class: Warlock

Grade: B+

It looks spectacular until you realize that it can deal 2 damage to your own minions. This however can be largely negated by stacking your entire deck with Mechs. On turn 4 with an empty board, it’s a much better version of demolisher.

Mechs look as though they’re going to flood the metagame, and this unfortunately is hurt by that. Not being able to attack an enemy mech is quite a large drawback and might see this card used far less.

It also falls in an awkward mana spot for the two classic Warlock archetypes being too low impact for Handlock and too expensive for Zoo. That said, two damage the turn it’s played is fantastic and it definitely has the potential to make a splash in the metagame.

In arena, it’s a pretty decent pick. It’s strongest when played on an empty board, and if carefully manipulated, you can setup situations where it hits a target you need it to hit or at least make it a 50/50.

Screwjank Clunker

Class: Warrior

Grade: A-

The Warrior’s version of houndmaster. I really like this card. It’s solid and could be the starting point for a potent mid-range mech deck for Warrior.

The additional health is great for trading with early game minions and in the right deck with the right synergies, its battlecry is powerful and reliable.

I’m a bit wary of labeling this as game-changing because it doesn’t fit either of Warrior’s best archetypes right now but if the mid-range Mech deck is the next meta shift, this card is one of the best out there.

In arena, its value is highly dependent on the number of Mechs you get. A large percentage of cards in the expansion are Mechs, so it’s not inconceivable that you draft a Mech heavy deck in which case this card is premium value.

Cobalt Guardian

Class: Paladin

Grade: C-

Oh dear. This is not what Paladin wants or needs. Yes, it has high attack, but its stat distribution is abominable and its effect is situational. I could barely contain my disappointment after finding out about this card.

To be clear, it is the Guardian that gains the Divine Shield not the summoned Mech which means in order to get Divine Shield, it needs to be played in combination with another Mech.

It’s barely better than kidnapper, and arguably, Kidnapper’s effect is more powerful. I can’t see this card being usable in any Paladin archetype, and it’s unfortunately just as bad in arena because even a two-drop can trade with it.

If it had reversed health/attack stats this might actually be usable but as is, it’s almost unplayable.

Muster for Battle

Class: Paladin

Grade: B+

I like this card, but it seems I’m in the minority. I think people misjudge this card because they break down what each individual piece has to offer rather than the whole.

Yes, you can see it as 3 wisps and a Light’s Justice for more mana, but that’s not what this card does.

What it does is give Paladin an instant board presence. A lot of Paladin’s strength is in having bodies on the field to buff/use to clear with equality. Spreading wide and giving them board is hugely beneficial. The weapon is just an added bonus which is actually quite good at mopping up especially since there are a number of 1 health leftover phantom bodies like damaged-golem.

It’s also confirmed that the tokens receive buffs from sword-of-justice before the new weapon replaces it so there’s no fear that the weapon replacement will negate SoJ.

As a bonus, it also has extra synergies with knife-juggler, cult-master and blessing-of-kings among others.

What makes me excited about it as well is the fact it opens up a new Paladin archetype too – a mid-range one with early game board presence. Hopefully we’ll see a new weapon or spell for Paladin which will really help secure that early game.

In arena, it’s decent too, and can help make some simple synergies with equality or Paladin’s numerous buff spells/secrets.

Call Pet

Class: Hunter

Grade: B

Another “ramp” type class card. This one offers a huge discount but is limited to just beasts. It’s a good card if you can pull out a big beast with it, but the fact is, there just aren’t that many big and effective beasts to call.

It also requires that Hunters replace a lot of their most effective early game minions with larger, slower late game cards in order to get value from this card which runs contrary to the hitherto most effective Hunter archetypes .

I think this card is decent as Ramp cards go though since it offers such a large discount and getting a savannah-highmane out of it is amazing. However, chances are it’s just a 2 mana cycle and that’s a little bit too slow to justify a spot in a 30 card deck where Hunter has plenty of options.

In arena, it’s okay and worth a lot more with a big arsenal of decent beasts. Not a priority pick, but could be good.

Mech-Bear-Cat

Class: Druid

Grade: A-

This is an amazing card. Not only does it have huge stats and Mech typing, it will also likely net you at least a few Spare Parts to get card advantage and flexibility.

It has one glaring weakness – big-game-hunter, but considering that a large number of new cards introduced have 6 or less attack seemingly aiming to avoid Big Game Hunter, the prevalence of the card is likely to fall and this card’s large body and presence will be a big menace at 6 mana.

I can see this card being run in the 6 slot in a number of mid range Druid mech decks especially if there are additional synergies yet to be revealed.

In arena, this card is also a beast. The stats it offers for 6 mana is excellent and it has an even higher chance of being able to net more than 1 Spare Part. A very solid class card.

Toshley

Class: Neutral

Grade: B+

Simple and effective. The fact that it has a Battlecry and a Deathrattle is good. The Battlecry means it gets some instant value, and the Deathrattle gives it some lingering effects.

5/7 stats for 6 mana is more than respectable. It trades well into sludge-belcher and loatheb as well. Despite its well-roundedness I can’t say I’m super excited by it since it doesn’t really have a game-changing impact on the board like sylvanas-windrunner.

It doesn’t really bring anything special that makes it a must-run in any deck. It doesn’t have Mech synergy either which is a shame.

In Arena, it’s a good pick up for sure, above average but not going to reach up to the Cairne, Ragnaros or Kel-Thuzad tier.

Conclusion

I’m going to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of some of these cards post-Blizzcon. The high number of ramp type class spells is a weird addition to the card pool and doesn’t really add much except random excitement when you can ramp into something big on the cheap.

It lacks consistency and therefore will likely not be a feature of the competitive metagame. It’s why I’m not a fan of far-sight and we’ve now seen 3 cards that have similar card text.

I’m not sure why Blizzard thinks this is going to be a real twist to the formula since Far Sight was never a good card to begin with but hey, we’re still only 1/3 of the way in, so they may have some more interesting stuff up their sleeve.

I want more cards with unique card text. Toshley’s Battlerattle for example is cool and I’m a fan of new spells like Muster for Battle.

It’s heartening knowing we’ve only seen a third of all the cards so far but I’m a bit underwhelmed since the initial announcement. On the whole, the 40 or so cards we’ve seen so far are much less impactful than the Naxx set we received earlier but there is still potential there.

That’s all the cards that have been released so far whilst I write this (November 20th 2014) but stay tuned and I’ll have a follow-up with more at the end of the month!