Goblins vs Gnomes: More Cards, More Impressions Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of my GvG card review! There are a lot of new exciting cards in this part of the series. Are you ready for Goblins vs Gnomes?

Introduction

Welcome to Part 4 of my GvG card review series! If you’re not caught up, here’s Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

This part is for the remaining Warlock, Paladin and Mage cards from GvG as well as some neutrals.

Here we go starting with Warlock.

Card Analysis

Mal’Ganis

Class: Warlock

Grade: A-

Now this is a class legendary!

At the very worst, this card gives you 7 health because your opponent has to kill it before he can kill you. At best, he can just shut down a game entirely.

His stats are large which unfortunately leaves him vulnerable to big-game-hunter, but he does have an effect on the board the turn he’s played by giving your Demons +2/+2.

He obviously pushes players to try Demonlock again, and voidcaller suddenly has a new favorite target.

I can see him fitting in a good number of control Warlock decks as an end-game tool and for his cenarius like effect.

The one drawback I see is that he’s a 9 drop which means you’re entirely hamstrung that turn you play him. Ideally, you never play him though and instead summon him from Voidcaller.

In arena, he’s fantastic as well. Maybe not as good as some of the other 9 drops, but still a large presence that has super taunt and that’s valuable enough.

Anima Golem

Class: Warlock

Grade: B-

With stats like those, he looks incredibly tempting, but I’m telling you now, it’s rarely going to happen.

Ideally, he’d fit best in a Deathrattle Zoo deck with a ton of sticky minions, but the strength of that deck is in its aggression, and if you’re playing this card on turn 6 while you already have a good board you’ve won already so don’t need this.

He’s only really good in a very specific set of circumstances and that makes him a weak card. If you are even with your opponent, playing this card is likely a huge tempo loss since he can simply kill all your other minions, push End Turn and watch this thing die.

If you have no board, this is almost entirely worthless since playing it alone will just cause it to die instantly.

Yes, you can silence it, but since silence is at such a premium, you’d have to use it on this the turn it’s played and that’s at least 8 mana worth of investment for a card that can be instantly destroyed by big-game-hunter.

I’m not a fan, but I’m sure some brave soul will try to create the stickiest deck ever to try and have this be playable. Good luck to you if you want to try, but I’d be really, really surprised if you can make this work.

A strange card in arena. Boards are usually much more in flux, and basically if this lives even one turn it’s amazing, if it doesn’t, it sucks.

Floating Watcher

Class: Warlock

Grade: B

This is a serious snowball card with tremendous upside. Ideally, you’d summon him through voidcaller since you can tap right away and start building him up.

You’ll never want to play this on turn 5 and ideally you’d play it on turn 7 and tap right away to get him to 6/6 at least.

That’s kind of the problem with him though. He requires you to take damage and that’s usually accomplished through standard life tapping. It also only triggers on your turn so any damage you take has no effect.

He’s a common though and that’s a good thing in arena where he’s really not too bad especially with mad-bombers flying around.

Mistress of Pain

Class: Warlock

Grade: C

I’m not a fan of this card. A 2 mana 1/4 has to have a really strong effect like armorsmith to be valuable, and this card just doesn’t do that.

At best, it’ll restore you 1 health per turn and maybe more if you buff it. But Warlock isn’t traditionally a class with many buffs and Mistress of Pain requires those buffs in order for its effect to make a meaningful difference.

It’s weak in arena as well. I can’t see this card making a mark on the scene in either game mode.

Dark Bomb

Class: Warlock

Grade: B+

A freeze less frostbolt – that is essentially what this card is. However, dealing 3 damage in the early game is a sweet spot being able to kill off 90% of 2 drops and a large number of 3 drops as well.

It may be a strictly worse version of Frostbolt, but it’s still a good card, and is great in arena.

Since soulfire has been nerfed to 1 mana, this card actually becomes interesting as an alternative. I can’t say with certainty which card is better right now, but it’s close, and I’m eager to try it out.

As earlier stated, this card is great in arena. Solid removal spell which can be used for face burst as well.

Imp-losion

Class: Warlock

Grade: B

Additional RNG for Warlock – lovely. This card is like the new Paladin card Muster for Battle with more variance and a steeper mana cost.

If the damage was higher, this could work as solid removal. But as is, there’s too high of a chance you’ll miss the RNG on it which can really set you back especially for 4 mana.

The imps are a nice bonus since they’re Demons and have synergy, but as 1/1s they aren’t likely to have any meaningful impact since there’s so much Area of Effect.

In arena, this card is a little better. A board of 3+ 1/1s can actually be irritating to deal with, and there are some dead turns here and there where this can pick up value.

Quartermaster

Class: Paladin

Grade: B+

Very solid hero power synergizing card here. It also works great with Muster for Battle.

If this can hit one recruit, you’ve got good value – 4/7 of stats for 5 mana. If you can hit more than one, then you’re getting fantastic value for the mana cost.

It shouldn’t be too hard as a mid-range Paladin to have at least one recruit out, and if it’s turn 7 or later, you can hero power then play this for the guaranteed value.

It’s a good card, but really needs its Battlecry to get value otherwise its stats are terrible. Luckily, its effect is easier to trigger than most.

In arena, this card is okay as well. Because you can make recruits as needed, this will almost always get at least one buff on.

It is a bit of a win-more card though, and if you’re behind, this card won’t give you back the board anytime soon.

Seal of Light

Class: Paladin

Grade: B

Paladin early removal – yay! Except it’s going to be a 2 mana claw most of the time.

I really, really wish this gave 3 attack and not 2 because Paladin didn’t have a way to deal with a turn 2 buffed Undertaker and still doesn’t.

Even their new weapon – Coghammer – and their new 2 drop – Shielded Minibot – only have 2 atk and there are going to be plenty of infuriating moments when you just don’t have enough damage to take out even a voidwalker in one turn.

The heal is kind of tacked on and won’t be relevant very often since the most effective time to use this is to remove an opponents’ 3/2. At this point, chances are that you’re at full health, you won’t get any of the benefit from the heal.

In arena, this card is better. claw is good in arena and it helps their early game which can otherwise be dependent on throwing down minions and hoping opponents can’t remove it.

Flame Leviathan

Class: Mage

Grade: C+

This is a really strange card in general. It’s the only collectible card in the game that ‘announces’ its arrival and one of only two to have an effect immediately upon draw.

If this only affected enemy characters or minions, this would be pretty interesting, but as is, it’s not really that good for a number of reasons.

First off, you can’t control when it’s drawn. This is problematic for a number of reasons, because it can hurt you more than your opponent in any given situation.

Secondly, it announces itself so your opponent instantly knows that you have it and can prepare or save removal for its deployment if you don’t play it right away. Knowledge is power in Hearthstone, and putting this in your deck gives your opponent an edge.

Lastly, when it does hit the field, it’s a Mechanized war-golem and doesn’t offer anything special. It’s best played in a Mage spell deck with few minions for its draw effect, but if you think about it, what use would playing a 7/7 for 7 be in one of those decks?

It gets a + for its effect, but this is unquestionably one of the worst class Legendaries in the game.

It gets a passing grade in arena for its large body but little else. I’d put it in the lower tier for arena Legendaries too.

Wee Spellstopper

Class: Mage

Grade: B

This is like a Mage’s version of defender-of-argus but worse.

The ‘shroud’ effect of not being targetable by spells or hero powers is not worth much when given by a minion for a few reasons. First, if you have a minion(s) out that survived a turn, chances are that your opponent didn’t have a targetable spell for it in the first place.

Second, it doesn’t really help your minions the turn it’s played, so when this hits the board, it’s essentially being played as a 4 mana 2/5 which is  weak.

The only offensive targeting hero power in the game is Mage’s, and this effect is good against them but not so much the others once it’s your opponents’ turn. It can even be a hindrance if you want to activate an Enrage or get a buff from something like gurubashi-berserker.

If this had 3 atk or also gave Taunt it might be stronger, but as it is, its effect isn’t impactful enough and its weak base stats make it a liability in arena as well.

Because this has a special effect though I’m going to give it another half grade because in constructed niche uses can make a card playable and this definitely fits that mold.

Echo of Medivh

Class: Mage

Grade: B-

This card looks good at first glance, but it’s actually not.

It is by definition a win-more card, because it’s entirely useless if you play this without any sort of board presence and that lowers its value right away.

So what kind of deck is it best used in? It’s not good in an aggressive style Mage because it’s too slow, it’s also not particularly good in a spell- based Mage because you don’t tend to have many minions out either.

A mid-range Mage is likely to prefer solid minions over this in a slot, which leaves only one rare archetype where it can get real value – Giants Mage.

Echo’ing a molten-giant or two while you sit covered by an ice-block is ideal, but that dream will so rarely be realized that it’s not really worth playing.

I can see people trying to make this work, but I’m almost certain that it won’t amount to anything. This is a fun card though and can lead to some crazy deck creations like maybe a Charge deck with Echo of Medivh providing endless waves of attacks.

This card is bad in arena. If you have two minions out, it acts as a 4 mana arcane-intellect and that’s a good scenario. It’s almost never worth playing this if you have only 1 minion out and duplicate fills this card duplication/draw role much better in Mage.

Soot Spewer

Class: Mage

Grade: B+

This card is incredibly balanced and fits Mage very well.

It’s a generic 3/3 for 3 mana which is acceptable. Spell power is a nice bonus, and it works with a number of Mage spells.

It’s also a Mech which adds to the synergy. The problem is, there are lots of other good 3 drops in the Mech slot including harvest-golem and spider-tank which are both more durable and that could leave it out of a job.

We shall see though how important that Spell Power is because that’s the core selling point of the card. I personally can’t see it mattering enough, but it’ll fit in a Mech Mage quite well.

In arena, it’s a great pick. Spell power can be useful in a pinch for extra damage Flamestrikes, and its body passes the vanilla test.

Gazlowe

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

This card has a really high upside. If you can combo two or more spells out of it, it can do some serious work and give you card advantage while not bringing you closer to fatigue.

Considering the quality of the Mech cards, any random one is still rather valuable especially if you build your deck on Mech synergy.

The tough part though is being able to trigger its effect. Spare parts are conveniently costed at 1 mana and there are actually a good number of quality spells that cost 1 mana especially in Priest and Shaman (Paladin secrets as well if you’re feeling daring!)

If you can trigger Gazlowe’s effect more than once it’s incredible value. But it’s tough to see it happening since that will be on turn 7 or later.

Its stats are unfortunately not befitting a 6 drop and for that reason, he’s not going to be a particularly good pick in arena.

Hemet Nesingwary

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

Another Legendary tech card, but this one isn’t quite as good as harrison-jones or the-black-knight.

It will be a great card against Hunters, particularly Control Hunters if that becomes a thing, but outside of Hunter, only Druid runs more than one Beast card.

Without targets for its Battlecry, Hemet isn’t worth playing since his stats at 6/3 for 5 mana are well below par.

In this metagame and in my foreseen Mech heavy meta, Hemet unfortunately gets left behind. We might have to check back with this one after the next expansion if Beasts become prevalent for more classes.

Same analysis of this in arena. It’s about average maybe a little below that. There are neutral beasts here and there though, so sniping a stampeding-kodo or stranglethorn-tiger could be nice.

Force-Tank MAX

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

This card has the highest mana cost of any neutral common card in the game. For that alone, I think it get a few points.

In Constructed though, this is clearly outclassed by the slew of 8+ legendary cards like ragnaros-the-firelord and ysera just to name a few.

I don’t think it’ll see the light of day there especially since there are other viable late-game Mechs too.

This card though has value in arena. As a common card, it will be a great pickup in the late game.

It is extremely tough to deal with on a 1 to 1 basis bar hard removal.

Arcane Nullifier X-21

Class: Neutral

Grade: A-

senjin-shieldmasta -1 Atk + Shroud + Mech. It’s a pretty good card for stalling and defense and might even be enough to oust Taz’dingo from its post as the go-to 4-drop neutral taunt.

I think not being targetable by spells or hero powers is a largely underrated ability, and it can do work against a lot of classes.

spectral-knight for instance started off as everyone’s pick for best Naxx card, went down in everyone’s estimation in constructed then rose steadily into one of the best neutral cards in arena.

I think this card has the potential to do the same. The 1 attack though is a pretty big difference on Taz’dingo though, so I see this being used as a wall in aggressive Mech decks.

It’ll be very solid in arena. A high pick in the rare category.

Lost Tallstrider

Class: Neutral

Grade: B+

Step aside people, the chillwind-yeti has a challenger!

The Lost Tallstrider is a solid 4 drop minion that can directly challenge the Yeti. However, that’s what it does best and in most other circumstances, the additional one health of the Yeti is preferred.

It does however trade better against sludge-belcher which gives it some value. The other bonus it has is its race – beast. This makes it useful for Hunter’s beast synergy and Druid’s new card Druid of the Fang.

I don’t think it’s as good as Yeti though because it trades more easily with two and three drops thereby missing out on card advantage.

In arena, this is alright. The only other neutral 5/4 for 4 is ancient-brewmaster, and that card is played for its Battlecry more than its stats. I’d say it’s above average for sure.

Flying Machine

Class: Neutral

Grade: C

This card suffers from the same problem of all the other 3 mana 1/4s – it’s got terrible stats.

Windfury is a terrible ability as well for a 1 atk minion. The only thing keeping this from dropping into the maligned “D” grade is the introduction of the Hobgoblin.

Hobgoblin, which is going to be reviewed in my next article, gives minions with one attack +2/+2 which makes this actually a pretty good 3/6 Windfury provided it survives the turn.

However, without that boost, this card is terrible, and makes a terrible pick in arena to boot. It’ll take a very dedicated deck to make this work, and my guess is it just won’t.

Stonesplinter Trogg

Class: Neutral

Grade: B+

The Trogg effect of gaining additional attack for each spell your opponent casts is interesting, but really not that impactful of an ability.

This will not see play in Constructed where the focus, at least at first, will be on Mechs and super powerful legendaries.

But this is a very respectable arena card, and the more I think about it in those terms, the better it seems.

One instance that I can see coming up is you play this on turn 2 on an empty board, and your opponent wants to coin out his 3 mana 3/3 raging-worgen, but can’t because this will just gain attack once you play the coin and cause an even trade.

For this reason, I rate this card higher than its other pal Burly Rockjaw Trogg in arena, and definitely one of the higher rated two drops to pick up.

Ship’s Cannon

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

It’s good that this is directly compared to the Stonesplinter Trogg because they’re both 2/3 minions for 2 with upside.

This card is rated lower than the Trogg though because its upside is much more difficult to activate than the Trogg.

A competitive pirate deck has yet to make a significant mark on the constructed metagame, and this card is only really worth anything in a pirate deck. Its effect though is quite good within that archetype, and it has the potential to make people at least try out a pirate deck.

In arena, this card is pretty generic as a 2 drop. Its ability is unlikely to activate with any regularity, but when it does, it’ll get good value most of the time.

Conclusion

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of many of these cards except Mal’ganis, but that doesn’t mean I think they’re trash and toss them aside.

The class cards for the most part *cough*Flame Leviathan*cough* have interesting uses and some of these neutral ones are unique cards that bring something new.

Since I’m primarily an arena player, I’m eager to try out these new cards in the proverbial melting pot and hopefully that will help me decide how they are best used in the constructed metagame.

That’s all for Part 4. Next section will feature Druid, Hunter and Rogue along with more neutral cards. Stay tuned!

*Edit. Since I’ve played with it, I’ve found the Flame Leviathan performs above average in arena. The biggest advantage I overlooked is that it gives you the first initiative in reacting to the damaged board state.

This allows say an earthen-ring-farseer to trade with a chillwind-yeti.

It’s also tremendous against aggro decks and allowed me back in the game against a Hunter who opened with undertaker > x2 webspinner. I drew this, and both Spinners died leaving the Undertaker as a 3/2 which was easily taken care of by my loot-hoarder for card advantage.

Facing down a turn 2 board of a 3/4 Undertaker and x2 Webspinner would almost certainly have led me to defeat, but thanks to the Leviathan, the game swung around big time and I won comfortably in the end.