Goblins vs Gnomes: More Cards, More Impressions Part 6

Welcome to Part 6 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 6, the final installment, of my GvG card review series! If you’re not caught up, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4 and Part 5.

This time, we’re reviewing the final cards revealed for Priest, Warrior and Shaman as well as some neutrals.

Here we go starting with Priest.

Card Analysis

Vol’jin

Class: Priest

Grade: A

Say hello to my favorite card in Goblins vs Gnomes – Vol’jin! This card is incredible.

It looks very specific at first glance, but in practice, its effect is easy to trigger and extremely powerful. Priest is a class that thrives on combos, and this card’s flexibility and combo potential is off the charts.

You can swap health with friendly minions as well as enemy ones too, so if you’re about to trade in something huge, you can steal its health first. Of course, this is most commonly used offensively to swap health with an opposing high health minion.

Vol’jin also has really large attack for a 5 mana minion, disproportionately so in my honest opinion, and that allows him to trade favorably with all the other 5 drops in the game. druid-of-the-claw in particular usually poses problems for Priest as a 4/6 but playing Voljin makes it pretty easy to deal with.

holy-smite is also likely to see a surge in play because of this card since for just 1 mana more, you can smite off any minion in the game after hitting it with Vol’jin’s Battlecry.

The only tiny drawback for Vol’jin, is that it’s a largely reactive card, and if you need something to play on an empty board, this is a terrible choice for that role. However, this is such a minor drawback considering the pure power of Priests’ combos and Vol’jin will rarely be played without some sort of follow-up.

Vol’jin also excels in arena where there are increased minion interactions and this allows it to target a big minion consistently.

Overall, an incredible card. It also makes you feel a little giddy inside when you make a sweet board swinging play from this, and man, that’s what Hearthstone is all about for me.

Lightbomb

Class: Priest

Grade: B+

This is a tough card to evaluate but I’m fairly certain that it’s excellent. Priest generally is dependent on combos for board clears, but this card acts independently which makes it incredibly strong.

It also benefits from Spell Power which makes velens-chosen a very interesting prospect in a Priest deck.

It costs a lot of mana up front, but no other spell in the game can take out a board of 3 taunting 8/8s on its own without throwing your board away as well.

It is likely to be a meta-dependent card, but I can definitely see a place for it.

In arena, this card is about average compared to other epics. It depends on having the right board state, but it’s quite often to see a board of damaged minions which will all be taken out in one go with this card.

Shadowbomber

Class: Priest

Grade: C+

This is one of the strangest class additions in the game in my opinion. This card does not look at all like anything Priest might want to play in any deck archetype up til now.

Yes, Priests have gotten faster since Naxxramas with the advent of Deathrattle Priest, but the class is, and probably always will be, strongest as a control class.

This card is the polar opposite of that, sacrificing your own life and card advantage for tempo and an occasionally game winning Battlecry.

It’s a leper-gnome with the Deathrattle damage paid upfront in exchange for 3 health.

The 2/1 body is really weak though and unless you play a deck that is solely aimed straight at your opponents’ face, this card isn’t going to see play.

In arena, this card is even worse. 2/1s are generally weak in arena because of their weakness to 1 dmg hero powers and without a reliable way to burst especially in Priest, this card should be one of the last ones you’ll want to pick up.

As it stands, it’s really weak, but a couple of sets down the road with some more aggressive class cards, this could see play.

Shadowboxer

Class: Priest

Grade: B

Priests’ version of the knife-juggler. This card is pretty good in Mech based decks, and I can see it being used in more offensive Priest decks.

It has a standard 2/3 body for 2 mana and a nifty ability which triggers when you heal characters not just minions.

With a big holy-nova play and wild-pyromancer shenanigans, this can decimate a board of low health minions and swing board momentum.

However, it’s not a particularly exciting card, and most of the time, it’ll operate as just a 2/3 for 2 mana which is acceptable but not great.

In arena, this card is good. I’d pick it above average and assign it extra value depending on the number of heals in the deck particularly holy-nova.

Light of the Naaru

Class: Priest

Grade: A-

This card looks weak at first glance, but it’s actually incredibly versatile and has a ton of upside. It took me playing with this card to really understand how good it is.

Firstly, it summons a lightwarden if your character or minion is not healed to full health. This includes your hero.

So if you’re in desperate need of healing, this can act as a Lightwarden with Battlecry heal 3 health. For 1 mana in priest, this is a pretty great deal.

But the more intriguing uses of this card are offensively in conjunction with auchenai-soulpriest.

The Soulpriest has never been more important for Priest to help control the board. When it’s combined with Light of the Naaru, it gives the effect of a darkbomb that then summons a Lightwarden. The value here is incredible especially since Lightwarden has the potential to snowball beyond its 1/2 stats.

Another benefit, is that Light of the Naaru is a cheap spell in Priest which allows more synergy with wild-pyromancer, violet-teacher and gazlowe even.

This card will definitely see play in constructed imo, and it’s also good value in arena. One of the biggest sleeper cards in the set in my eyes, and we’ll see soon enough just how good this is.

Iron Juggernaut

Class: Warrior

Grade: B+

The hype for this card has been building ever since it was announced, and it does have a pretty powerful effect. However, it’s not quite as good as some people make it out to be.

Firstly, the mine that gets shuffled into the deck can’t be controlled. This means that it could get stuck at the bottom of your opponents’ deck with no way to fish it out.

If this thing doesn’t go off, the Juggernaut is effectively played as a 6 mana 6/5 which is certainly below average. It does however have the additional benefit of being a Mech which matters in decks that utilize that synergy.

The thing with the Juggernaut, is that it’s best played in a deck that goes to the late game yet its body and durability aren’t built for that. At 6 mana, I’d prefer, for the stickiness, the piloted-sky-golem instead in most instances.

I could well be wrong about this, but I think it’s overrated when compared to other 6 drops (an incredibly stacked and competitive mana cost) in the game.

In arena, this is excellent though. It’s a relatively big body with an inevitable pyroblast attached. Since games tend to go on longer in arena matches on average, the chances of this being drawn are higher and 10 damage goes a long way to securing victory.

Crush

Class: Warrior

Grade: A-

This is a really great Warrior card. It has a strong effect that can be easily discounted with the right deck construction.

deaths-bite is the easiest trigger here for this effect and having a 3 mana assassinate is absurdly good value.

Even without it, 7 mana for unconditional hard removal is still perfectly acceptable, and gives Warrior even more ways to deal with single targets.

I can see this being played in both aggressive and control variants, and its lack of RNG makes it a very reliable way to remove big minions.

In arena, this card is also pretty good. Unconditional hard removal is valuable, and this card has the potential to get amazing value. It’s too bad it’s an epic though so will be much rarer to see.

Siege Engine

Class: Warrior

Grade: B

This card is pretty solid for what it does, but it’s competing against a bunch of other cards that offer a lot for 5 mana as well.

The big advantage of the Siege Engine, is that it’s attack will just continue to grow if it stays on the board. For 5 mana, it has pretty beefy vanilla stats, and if it can stay on the field long enough, it can start being buffed up to large attack numbers that challenge much higher cost minions.

The key part here is “if it stays on the field.” Since the Siege Engine doesn’t have any form of Deathrattle or Battlecry value, it’s just a large body most of the time and can be removed cleanly in most circumstances.

This really lowers its value since if it gets removed by a simple damage spell, it’s not getting enough value to justify its 5 mana cost and a slot in the deck.

There are arguably better 5 drops out there to play in constructed, but as a stop-gap, this card isn’t bad.

In arena, this is significantly better. It’s got a big body and can continue to grow. As a pure 5/5 for 5 mana it’s playable but add on any additional attack from armor, and this starts getting insane value. A pretty high pick in the rare section for Warriors.

Warbot

Class: Warrior

Grade: C+

This card is one of the weakest class cards announced, but it isn’t the worst because of potential synergies.

As a standalone, a 1/3 with Enrage +1 atk is abysmal. But the War Bot fits into Warrior decks decently because of numerous whirlwind effects and its Mech typing which allows it to be buffed by the screwjank-clunker.

As a one attack minion, it also works with hobgoblin which is great because Warrior traditionally runs a number of 1 atk minions so this is another deck archetype it could potentially fit in.

Outside of Constructed, this card is terrible. It’s like a tougher to trigger mana-wyrm and thus will be a pretty low pick in arena.

Neptulon

Class: Shaman

Grade: B+

The Shaman legendary is also a race enabler which is rather interesting. I like the direction of the card, and it certainly is powerful, it’s just a card that is hard to fit into any archetype and that makes it a bit tough to evaluate.

The best part about the card, is the fact that it gives Murloc decks a huge rush of new life. The Overload is painful, but if played on turn 7, still leaves 5 mana for the next turn to send most likely at least two of the new Murlocs straight into battle.

I’m interested to see what decks choose to use Neptulon, because I can see it being used in heavy control Shamans as well since those Murlocs don’t come from the hand.

A Murloc deck is the most obvious choice, but on the other hand, it is a bit slow, so might not be an optimal fit there either.

In arena, this card is strong. It gives a huge amount of value from just one card, and that’s really powerful in Shaman where card advantage sometimes is hard to acquire.

Siltfin Spiritwalker

Class: Shaman

Grade: B

Along with Neptulon, this card was also introduced to try and breathe new life into Murloc decks.

It can be most closely compared with cult-master since it has the same effect just limited to Murlocs. To compensate for this, the Spiritwalker is a lot beefier and is much better at sticking to the board than the Cult Master.

Whether this card can breathe new life into Murloc decks is questionable, but its effect certainly makes Murloc decks more likely to at least be tried out and that’s a good thing.

I wouldn’t bet too hard on this being a life saver for Murlocs, but if Murlocs are played, this card certainly will become a staple since it’s above average compared to other ones.

Unfortunately, this card will never see constructed play outside of a Murloc deck because of its weak stats. It’s also below average in arena because of this.

It’s good though that Blizzard hasn’t entirely given up on Murlocs though, and if nothing else, this card is a step in the right direction.

Power Mace

Class: Shaman

Grade: A

This card is one of the best weapons introduced in the expansion. It does good damage and has a really good Deathrattle that you can control.

It’s designed to be used in Mech decks, and having tested it out a little bit in arena, I can confirm that the tempo you can gain from this card is incredible.

As an example, you take out the enemy’s two drop with this card on turn 3. Next turn, you play piloted-shredder and whack another one of your opponents’ minions. What’s left, is a 6/5 Shredder which can trade into any 4 drop in the game and come out ahead.

That’s amazing tempo, and Mech decks which are already shaping up to be the future of Hearthstone will love this card. +2/+2 is a sizable boost, and the best part is, even if it gets destroyed by harrison-jones or acidic-swamp-ooze this still is likely to get you value provided you have a Mech out.

I really like this card in a Mech constructed deck, and it’s also an amazing pick in arena too. Overall, an outstanding addition to Shaman’s pool of class cards.

Vitality Totem

Class: Shaman

Grade: B+

Shaman needed a heal, and now it’s got it. This card is very simple, and does its job diligently.

It can be best compared with lightwell except its guaranteed to heal your hero. Even though it can’t heal your minions, I consider it far superior to the Lightwell because of its consistency and the fact that it activates at the end of the turn instead of the start, giving you an instant 4 health heal the turn it’s played.

Its body is a little weaker but if hidden behind taunts in the late game, this card will save you against aggro decks like Hunter.

I can see it used as a niche card in an aggressive meta to stave off lethal, and as a pseudo taunt as well since your opponent will have to kill this unless he’s got lethal or else risk you healing out of range.

It wont’ be the best in every deck, but heals are valuable, and since Shaman doesn’t have anything comparable, this card is a very welcome addition to its card pool.

In arena, this card is a lot weaker since it doesn’t offer any meaningful board presence, and because it can’t defend itself.

Troggzor the Earthinator

Class: Neutral

Grade: A-

This card is in my opinion the best neutral legendary in the set. Since the introduction of loatheb, players have embraced the power of spell interruption, and Troggzor embodies this concept.

Troggzor is practically immune to hard removal like hex or polymorph since he spawns a decent sized 3/5 burly-rockjaw-trogg if a spell is used.

As a result, he’s devastating when played on an empty or even board since your opponents have to use their minions to clear instead of taking it out with spells.

Its weakness, is that it’s a poor card to play when you’re behind. If your opponent has a board, he can take out its comparatively fragile body with minions on board and continue along his merry way.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a win-more card, because he’s excellent to play on an empty board, but he’s certainly better when you’re doing well than when you’re not.

In arena, he’s excellent for locking down a board. He’s almost certainly going to be a priority kill, and that gives you options for what you can do on your turn.

I really like Troggzor, and I don’t imagine it will be too hard to find a deck where he fits in.

Mini-Mage

Class: Neutral

Grade: C

A 4/1 for 4 mana is terrible no matter how you swing it. Even with Stealth, it has a body weaker than jungle-panther.

The only reason you’d ever use this, is to setup some obscene spell power clear the next turn, but at 4 mana, this is way too big of an investment, and it dies to any sort of board clear.

I don’t see this card being played in constructed, and even in arena, it’s weak and undesirable.

It’s too bad though, because the Hector Salamanca resemblance from Breaking Bad is uncanny!

Ogre Brute

Class: Neutral

Grade: B+

This card is surprisingly strong, and can hit for consistently decent damage. The other 3 mana 4/4 we’ve seen is dancing-swords, and this far outclasses that in everything but a hardcore mill deck.

The Ogre effect is controllable to a degree and can even be beneficial since it can hit beyond Taunts and Stealth.

It’s a bit of a strange card in general, but in arena or pure value decks, it trades favorably with almost all 2 and 3 drops which is a big advantage.

I know for a fact this is good in arena, but constructed is a different type of game, and I’m not sure if this is going to find a place.

Nevertheless, it’s the most easily accessible Ogre minion and so far from my experience in arena, it’s performed very well.

Now, if only there was a way you could level up 10 more levels to get this thing to obey your commands…

Gilblin Stalker

Class: Neutral

Grade: B

This card is pretty run of the mill. It has classic 2 drop stats of 2/3 but with the added benefit of Stealth.

I’m a fan of this card in arena, since it guarantees at least some form of board presence for 2 mana.

In constructed, this card is really unlikely to see play. It just doesn’t offer anything special, and unless you’re building a fun one turn kill deck that needs a body to carry damage, I can’t see this being played.

Even then, shade-of-naxxramas is a far better choice for its potential to build up over a number of turns.

It has its place, but that place is strictly in the arena.

Target Dummy

Class: Neutral

Grade: C

A sleeper card, but still likely to be overrated for being underrated if that makes sense.

Yes, it’s a Mech and that’s its biggest selling point, but apart from that, it really doesn’t offer any real protection.

Mech synergy can grant it a few points of attack and health, but there are better cheap Mechs to pick up that can enjoy these buffs more. Almost every class got a solid 2 drop Mech minion so those are much better choices if you’re going theMech route.

I think this card will likely go the way of the wisp in both constructed and arena – namely, it won’t be seen.

Mechanical Yeti

Class: Neutral

Grade: A

I’m sure not many of us thought the chillwind-yeti would be reincarnated in Mech form, but nonetheless, here it is, and it’s a fearsome card.

Mech decks needed a lynchpin, something big and reliable. This card fits that mould really well and it has synergies all over the place.

First, it’s a Mech which means it enables a bunch of effects and is available for Mech specific buffs. Second, it’s also a Deathrattle minion, which means undertaker decks also get a  big reliable minion to smooth out their curve.

Meanwhile, the Yeti is still the same big minion we’ve come to know and love. It has ridiculously efficient stats, trades really well with early game minions and holds its own in the late game.

In constructed, with the right deck construction, this is likely to help you more, since you can plan on generating a ton of parts which can then be combo’ed with draw from gadgetzan-auctioneer or gazlowe to gain a big advantage.

As with the original incarnation, it’s an arena all-star, and one of the best picks at all stages of the draft. The spare parts it generates however can make this a little better or a little worse than regular yeti depending on the opponent.

I’m intrigued that Blizzard decided to make basically a Yeti with upside. It isn’t particularly inspired design, but there are enough unique cards in this expansion to warrant its inclusion.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading! It’s been a blast reviewing all these new cards, and I’m really grateful that Blizzard decided to release the new cards in the arena early.

It gives us all a chance to get acquainted with the new cards and also to start thinking about Constructed decks and how they will all synergize together.

The heavy emphasis on the Mech theme is the most exciting and scary part about the new expansion for me. It’s going to be great experimenting to find a good balance, but on the other hand, I expect the ladder to be mostly filled with Mechs which might make the experience grow stale faster than hoped for.

Nevertheless, I can’t wait for today’s full release and I hope to see all of you in Hearthstone soon!

Feel free to add me to theorycraft or for spectating purposes. I’m online practically every night and love watching games as well as playing.

Battle Tag is Camzeee#1272

Bring on GvG!

ps. Maybe you can help me craft my meta-game breaking Paladin deck…