Goblins vs Gnomes: More Cards, More Impressions Part 2

Camzee here! There have been some really interesting cards that have been released and I'm so eager to try them out. Here's what I think of the new cards!

Introduction

This is a continuation of my GvG card review post Blizzcon. You can read Part 1 here.

There have been some really interesting cards that have been released and I’m so eager to try them out.

Here’s what I think of the new cards.

Card Analysis

Antique Healbot

Class: Neutral

Grade: B+

This is a very interesting card that gives a bunch of classes without heal a neutral minion that fulfills that role.

This card should not be seen as a 5 mana 3/3. Instead, you should value it as a healing-touch with a 2 mana 3/3 body attached which is pretty good value. The fact it’s a Mech is another perk that makes it viable in Mech tribal decks.

It’s similar to bomb-lobber which is a 5 mana 3/3 with a flame-cannon‘s effect but heal is much more consistent, and will often be more crucial.

I see this being used in a number of slow control decks. Paladin, Handlock and even a Control/Ramp Shaman can all make good use of this. It can give you real staying power especially against the fast rush decks likely to pervade the meta like Hunter and Zoo.

In arena, it’s merely average. Heals are much less important in arena though still useful and its underweighted body means it’s a poor play on curve.

Coghammer

Class: Paladin

Grade: A

What is this? A good Paladin card?! But joking aside, this is truly excellent.

Paladin desperately needed a card which helps out its early game, and this card does a good job of that. Not only does it have the same stats as stormforged-axe with the Overload payed upfront but it has an additional Battlecry which gives it insane value.

The ideal situation is you play a 2 drop and your opponent plays his own to challenge. You play this card, and suddenly, your little two drop has Divine Shield and Taunt while your Axe swings in to take out his threat.

It combos phenomenally with ancient-watcher to make a DIY sunwalker and comboed later with the likes of spectral-knight is devastating.

There are countless ways the Battlecry can be used and smart players can manipulate it in the mid-late game to get favorable trades.

The one weakness I can see for this isn’t the ‘random’ in its card text, but rather the fact it clashes with a lot of Paladin’s weapons. sword-of-justice is the same mana and it has a bunch of charges which means your hand can get clogged.

Muster for Battle also produces a 1/4 weapon which must be replaced in order to use this, and of course, Paladin’s best weapon so far truesilver-champion costs just a mana more and can’t be played right after this one without losing charges.

If this weapon was a 3/2 it would be A+++ but as it is, it might not be as effective as some think since 3 health minions are a staple for many decks in the early turns like northshire-cleric, zombie-chow and voidwalker. It might suffer from Stormforged Axe’s problem of just being a bit too slow and ineffective.

In arena, this card is practically a must-pick. Not only does it give amazing value, the Battlecry is game-winning and can act as a free hand-of-protection.

I have strong feelings about this card as a Paladin enthusiast, but I’m worried that it might not be as good as some think because it only hits for 2 in an era of 3 health minions.

Iron Sensei

Class: Rogue

Grade: B

Blizzard wants to push Rogue away from the Miracle archetype and more into the minion battle. This card is an obvious attempt to make it change focus, and it’s pretty decent.

+2/+2 is a significant boost and in a Mech heavy deck, it can continue to stack if the Rogue maintains tempo. It has superb synergy with itself too. A coin Sensei > Sensei puts 2 4/4s on the board on turn 4 and if they’re not dealt with, 2 6/6s.

It’s great in combination with mechwarper – which I consider to be the single best GvG card announced so far considering all the potential Mech synergy – and is just all around decent in a Mech deck.

It doesn’t feel like a Rogue card at all, but has the power of a class card. The one thing holding it back, is its comparatively weak stats. A 3 mana 2/2 is raid-leader weak and as a result, it’s a pretty poor pick in Arena unless you have a really Mech heavy deck.

We’ll see if it is enough for Rogues to try a different style, but I’m not quite sold yet.

Snowchugger

Class: Mage

Grade: B+

It’s a mini water-elemental! This card is pretty decent and has a number of things going for it.

Like Water Elemental it freezes any character which means it can shut down a Warrior pretty well and in the late game potentially freeze a big threat for a turn. The freeze has a number of benefits – giving ice-lance extra viability as well as giving you tempo in the early game.

It’s not game changing by any means, but its additional mech typing gives it extra synergies and it’s a very respectable card in any mid-range board control type of Mage. This is extra good considering goblin-blastmage needs mechs for its Battlecry to take effect.

In arena, this card is a great pickup. 2/3 for 2 is solid and it has small upsides in its typing and its effect.

Whirling Zap-0-matic

Class: Shaman

Grade: A-

Wow this card is fantastic! Not only does it boast excellent vanilla stats for a 2 drop, but it also has Windfury which gives it incredible scaling power.

You can combo this with rockbiter-weapon and flametongue-totem amongst a bunch of other buffs to deal significant damage provided this card survives the turn.

It completely outclasses dust-devil and thrallmar-farseer which just highlights how good this card is.

In arena, it’s also excellent. Mech typing, decent stats 2 drop which will likely get an additional 3 damage in before it goes down is fantastic value. I can see this being a pretty significant addition to most Shaman decks with its only downside being like the Anodized Robo Cub – a lack of stickiness.

Gahz’rilla

Class: Hunter

Grade: A

This card is pretty incredible. A 7 mana 6/9 is fantastic value in stats alone. Comboed with its ability which doubles its attack each time it takes damage, and you have a veritable wrecking ball.

It demands hard removal – preferably the transform variety – and even silence doesn’t do much to hurt this since it has such monstrously large stats. Blizzard are really trying to move Hunter away from the aggressive variant and more into the late-game, and this card is a big push for that.

Unfortunately, I can’t see control Hunter really being that popular with the strength and cheapness of its rush style and that will mean that Gahz won’t get played in many decks as a card in its own right unless there is a big shift towards late game.

We will definitely see Gahz’rilla though because of webspinner which makes a turn 6 savannah-highmane > turn 7 Gahz’rilla a mouthwatering or soul crushing prospect depending on which side of the table you’re on.

In arena, this is in the top tier. It’s a gurubashi-berserker with much bigger impact and the potential to just shut down the game if it lives more than a turn. I’m happy to see a card like this for Hunter ultimately, and I look forward to people trying out a more late game style possibility in combination with Call Pet.

Burly Rockjaw Trogg

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

This card is a bit underwhelming. Blizzard are trying to put another anti-spell type card in to try and encourage more minion based fighting, but this card I can’t see being as prevalent or important as loatheb.

It is good to note though that the damage gained is stackable rather than limited to just +2 which can make this a growing threat. 5 health is also a pretty respectable amount and is tough for most classes to remove with a single spell.

The problem is, they can control when he receives the buff so they can run their minions in first before using removal spells or even use it to their advantage with a big-game-hunter.

In arena, this card is pretty decent. It will rival senjin-shieldmasta and chillwind-yeti for a place in the deck as a high health, decent attack 4 drop. I’d pick it. I’d be surprised though if this makes a significant splash in the constructed metagame.

Ogre Ninja

Class: Rogue

Grade: B

This is a tricky card to evaluate. On the one hand, it has fantastic stats for 5 mana. 6/6 allows it to kill spectral-knight and druid-of-the-claw for free and continue rampaging.

However, its drawback is a big issue and can result in some really big mishits which can decide games. I’m going to go into a bit of depth here on how I feel the ‘Ogre’ effect should be used.

Firstly, its effect allows it to hit minions that are stealthed and also bypass taunts. This has a number of cool applications including hitting a stealthed gadgetzan-auctioneer. This means that in a number of game situations, you can control the board so that your Ninja will hit a desirable target. Keep the board relatively clear, and this can really get good value.

Cards with large stats and a drawback like venture-co-mercenary are excellent in Rogue arenas because the class is so effective at keeping the board clear and maintaining tempo. This card can act the same way, and if the board is clear, the Ogre is 100% sure to hit face.

With the Rogue’s playstyle in mind, this card is actually not terrible, but in high-level constructed where consistency is favored, I can’t see this becoming a real mainstay.

Dunemaul Shaman

Class: Shaman

Grade: C+

This card is the second Ogre minion revealed, and it’s pretty weak in my opinion. The biggest issue it has is its comparatively weak 4 health.

Combined with an inconvenient Overload (1), the Dunemaul just doesn’t have the reliability that it needs to get a spot in Shaman decks which are usually packed with value mid-range minions.

If this were a 5/5, it might be more playable, but with just 4 health, an untimely mishit will likely just cause it to die by inadvertently trading down.

The Windfury is also unlikely to be a factor because of the aforementioned low health which means it’ll just die before the second hit can kick in at all.

In arena though, this card is alright and the raw stats it has allows it to swing hard and fast. It also has the same benefit as the Ogre Ninja being able to bypass taunt and stealth.

I suppose the reason I’m rating this much lower than the Rogue card is because it just doesn’t fit Shaman’s style of play. Giving this a rockbiter-weapon is a pretty poor play unless your opponent has no board in which case you’ve won anyway.

Sabotage

Class: Rogue

Grade: B

I’m not a huge fan of this card, but in Rogue, it’s actually got a fair bit of potential. In essence, this card is a deadly-shot and an acidic-swamp-ooze‘s Battlecry combined.

The Combo part of the spell is a bit situational and only applies to classes with weapons. However, it does look as though there are going to be a lot more weapons introduced in the expansion so this Combo effect may be more valuable than I give it credit for.

The random part is a bit infuriating, but Rogue is actually one of the best classes at using something like this because it has the most tempo based style which makes it the best class at keeping the board clear and controlling what minions live and die on the board to setup for the most effective use of Sabotage.

It also combos nicely with backstab and preparation if Miracle Rogue continues to be a force.

In arena, this card is pretty decent. I’d pick it over all the other Rogue epics in a vacuum. In constructed, it’s a different story. It’s tough to see a Rogue finding a place for this card in a mid-range tempo style deck and its cost is just a bit too high for current Miracle builds. I wish it were a more interactive and less random card but hey, take what we’re given.

Conclusion

These cards are pretty cool. Upon looking back, I’m a bit in awe of the power of Gahz’rilla.

The more I think about it, the more ridiculously strong it appears. How can a Druid presently deal with it? If it comes down on an empty board, it is going to hurt really bad and there’s not much you can do about it.

People are always far to quick to point to hard removal. Yes, it’s there and it works, but it only comprises a small percentage of decks and there are so many situations where you just don’t have the perfect answer.

It’s tough to look at new cards and not see situations where it is extremely good or extremely bad. The truth is, the real effectiveness of a card is somewhere in the middle ground and base stats really do make a big difference there.

Stay with me, and I’ll have more new cards reviewed as they are revealed!