HSP reviews TGT: Shado-Pan Cavalry & Master of Ceremonies

View list of cards released so far in this dedicated post. This is the series where our contributors – high ranked ladder and Arena players – and players from Team HSP review the new revealed The Grand Tournament cards. We rate every card both in Constructed and Arena, then give you our thoughts about them. This […]

View list of cards released so far in this dedicated post.

Introduction

This is the series where our contributors – high ranked ladder and Arena players – and players from Team HSP review the new revealed The Grand Tournament cards. We rate every card both in Constructed and Arena, then give you our thoughts about them. This post will be updated every time we’ll get a new review!

When it comes to the rating, we rate the cards from 1 to 5:

1 – Very Bad – The card will see no play in any kind of deck. It won’t be drafted in Arena unless you’re present with other terrible options. E.g. Magma Rager, Dalaran Mage.

2 – Bad – The card might see some occasional play in low tier or budget decks, but isn’t good enough to be played in top tier decks. It will rarely be drafted in Arena – either it needs to synergize with the deck or you need to be present with other bad options. E.g. Boulderfist Ogre, Frostwolf Warlord (Constructed), Ironforge Rifleman, Ancient Mage (Arena)

3 – Average – The card might fill some niche and see play in couple of decks. Not an especially strong card, but can be used to fill gaps in the deck after putting staple cards. In Arena, it’s the card you’re gonna draft pretty often – the card is good enough to not ruin the quality of your deck, but nothing impressive. E.g. Gnomish Inventor, Sen’jin Shieldmasta (Constructed), Bloodfen Raptor, Archmage (Arena)

4 – Good – You’re gonna see this card in a lot of decks. Either it fits into a certain archetype or is overall a good card. Your Constructed deck are mostly filled with cards of those quality. They’re strong and definitely serve their purpose. In Arena, those are the cards you actually want to see and draft – every great deck will have at least couple of those. E.g. Azure Drake, Defender of Argus, Haunted Creeper (Constructed), Harvest Golem, Mechanical Yeti, Stormwind Champion (Arena)

5 – Very Good – This is THE card that will be auto-include or at least a very strong contender. The card that is gonna be really strong and see a lot of play in many decks. Card that is often best in its role, the one that you can’t really pass. In Arena, this is the card you want to see most in the draft, the base of 12 wins Arena decks, one that you instantly pick when you see it. E.g. Dr. Boom, Mad Scientist, Piloted Shredder (Constructed), Flamestrike, Truesilver Champion, Fire Elemental (Arena)

Today we review two cards – the first one (Shado-Pan Cavalry) was revealed on the Chinese Hearthstone fansite. The second one (Master of Ceremonies) was picked in the official voting and revealed on Monday.

Shado-Pan Cavalry

Smashthings

Constructed: Bad (2)

Arena: Average/Good (3.5)

I think this card has a few problems:

1) If you look at the minions played in Constructed, they are rarely played for their stats, rather, we went their abilities (e.g Kel’thuzad, The Black Knight, Big Game Hunter, etc etc etc).

So where does “just a pile of stats” (not an especially generous pile of stats, I should add) fits into the meta game?

2) The card does not really fit into any currently known Rogue Archetype.

Thus, I can’t really imagine this card making the cut Getting a 6 mana Boulderfist Ogre into your deck isn’t particularly exciting (remember you need to play a card before it to get the attack, so it usually will be a 6 mana 6/7).

In Arena though, Boulderfist Ogre is a good pick and a 5 mana 3/7 isn’t completely terrible either (worse than Oasis Snapjaw, however). Overall it’s a decent Arena pick but is not anything to be excited about drafting.

The best thing about the card is playing it on 4 with the Coin. But even then, its not on the same power-level as say what a Druid can do (e.g. Emperor Thaurissan or Innervate)

In conclusion, I think this card needed to be pushed further to be remotely viable for constructed. It needed to be “Combo +5” at least.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5)

Arena: Average/Good (3.5)

I mean… I actually think it’s better than Bolvar Fordragon! But since the Bolvar sucks, this card isn’t really exciting. So, in the best case scenario, it’s a 6/7 minion for 5 mana that can be Silenced to become 3/7 (not really worth a Silence most of the time, but still a possibility). However, you need to combo that, so it won’t be reliable turn 5 play. In worst case scenario, it’s a plain 3/7 for 5 mana, which really sucks for Constructed. I’m not exactly sure why Rogue got this card – the class is spell and effect heavy – it has a lot of cool mechanics, not big minions without any effect.

The only scenario I can see this card being really good is turn 4 with Coin. If you play 6/7 on turn 4, it’s strong and can contest pretty much anything enemy plays. On the other hand, if you play this in a minion-heavy deck (because it doesn’t fit the current Oil Rogue) reliably you’re gonna be able to Combo this probably around turn 7. Is it good enough then? I don’t think so. If you could always start with Coin and Coin this out on turn 4, yeah, the card would be great. But that’s not a common scenario.

What goes the card’s way is that it dodges Big Game Hunter. But so does Boulderfist Ogre, which is played only in budget decks because it’s Basic. If you can reliably Combo the Shado-Pan Cavalry on 5, it’s good. But if the card is only “good” in one of the best scenarios, I don’t think it’s worth playing.

In Arena, Boulderfist Ogre is good. A 5 mana Boulderfist would be crazy. But since it requires Combo and cheap ways to Combo aren’t always present in Arena, I think it’s just around average. Once again, if you Coin this out on turn 4 it’s great or if you kill something with Backstab + play it on 5, it’s also great. But those are the only scenarios. The worst case scenario – 3/7 for 5 isn’t THAT bad, but I’m not convinced it’s gonna be a must-pick on the Arena. Obviously the value goes up the more cheap ways to Combo it you have in the deck, but I’d rather play Boulderfist most of the time.

Sixis

Constructed: Average (3)

Arena: Good (4)

Basically this is an ok card for new players and it has great stats for the cost, so that’s good. The problem is a pile of stats is not enough to dominate Constructed in such competitive spot like the 5 mana for Rogue. I find it very hard to believe this card will see some play in Constructed.

Master of Ceremonies

Sixis

Constructed: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)

Arena: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)

Well, this card is pretty underwhelming. Not only her effect is pretty conditional but the stat distribution is super bad. This card is pretty terrible and will never see play in Constructed. In Arena is pretty much a vanilla 4/2 for 3 which is also bad.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad (2)

Arena: Bad/Average (2.5)

The card is cool, but not really good. First thing – base stats. 4/2 for 3 is bad – we’ve seen it already with Big Game Hunter (when you have to play him as a 3-drop, not for his effect). 2 health means that it dies to ANY removal, the 1-drops can trade for it or even some lucky hits from Knife Juggler might kill it. And when it comes to the effect, right now it’s really unreliable – there are no decks running that many Spell Damage minions. We see Bloodmage Thalnos, we see Azure Drake, but that’s pretty much it. Oh, and Malygos, but he’s a finisher, not the thing to combo this with. It doesn’t fit any deck. Building a “Spell Damage” deck around it is also pretty bad concept right now – it’s really gimmicky and I don’t see it working. Maybe if Blizzard adds some more Spell Damage cards people will try it, but I doubt it’s gonna work out. MAYBE in future, definitely not right now.

And now let’s see what happens if the buff hits. It’s a 6/4 for 3. That’s actually good – but it will almost never be on turn 3. You’d need to play Thalnos (or Kobold Geomancer maybe?) on 2, your Thalnos/Geomancer would need to survive and you’d have to follow with this. Pretty unlikely scenario. And it still dies to a lot of things. You can combo it later in the game – for example on 5 you can play Thalnos/Geomancer + this, but later in the game the 4 health is pretty underwhelming. I mean, when the effect hits it’s good – I don’t mean that 6/4 for 3 is bad. But since it’s situational and unreliable, it’s overall pretty bad. Also, 6/4 is also just as good as 3/4 – when you trade with enemy Piloted Shredder or you get Flamecannon‘d, you don’t care whether your minion has 3 or 10 attack. Health is usually much more important than attack, so if the stats were reversed – 2/4 (4/6 with buff), the minion would actually be much, much better.

In Arena, 4/2 for 3 is pretty bad when it comes to the stats. Synergies are also much harder to achieve in Arena, but Spell Damage is not that uncommon. Actually I’d say even more common than in Constructed – you are forced to take cards like Kobold Geomancer or Ogre Magi a lot of times, because they aren’t terrible and Azure Drake is one of the better picks in Rare slot. If you have couple of Spell Damage minions in your draft, the card’s value can go up by 0.5 easily.

Camzeee

Constructed: Bad (2)

Arena: Bad (2), Average (3) in Shaman

This card is unique but sadly not good. On the one hand, its base stats are a paltry 4/2 for 3 mana which is pretty weak. However, if you can trigger its Battlecry, it becomes a menacing 6/4 for just 3 mana. Those are some pretty nice stats but sadly it’s not quite enough. If Piloted Shredder continues to be the dominant mid-game threat of choice (and nothing revealed so far seems to be able to change that), this card, even with the bonus stats, trades poorly with it.

Considering you’ll want to play this on turn 3 as often as possible to get the large body out sooner, that also means that you will somehow have to play and keep alive a spell power minion prior to turn 3. As of now, there are only two neutral cards with spell power that cost less than 3 mana – Kobold Geomancer and Bloodmage Thalnos. Both have poor stats and are very difficult to keep alive. Shaman gets bonus points for having a hero power that has a chance of rolling a Wrath of Air Totem.

All in all, the requirements for getting the bonus off the Master of Ceremonies is too steep to justify including her in the deck when she ends up being a slightly larger minion that still trades poorly with Piloted Shredder.

In Arena, she’s just as weak since a 4/2 body for 3 mana is below her competitors and getting the bonus is so much more difficult because the pool of spell power minions is relatively small. I wouldn’t draft her highly except perhaps in Shaman where you have a chance to get her out as a 6/4 more easily.

Smashthings

Constructed: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)

Arena: Very Bad (1)

Here’s the problem with cards like this: even when you get the buff, all your getting is a pile of stats. With the exception of Fireguard Destroyer (and maybe Fel Reaver), almost no card that simply offers you stats-for-cost is viable in Constructed.

In this particular case we get a 6/4, which just so happens to be one of the worst stat distributions you can put on a card (if it were an 9-1 or 7-3 you could at least argue it would be worth buffing with charge).

A reasonable comparison would be Goblin Sapper. That’s a 6/4 and is (arguably) easier to pull off and if you don’t get the ability its a 2/4. This card strikes me as better in almost every respect – does Sapper see much play? Nope.

To make matters even worse, the Spell Damage requirement means that if you want to play this on curve you need a 2 mana spell damage minion that survives a turn, which isn’t that likely when you look at the current list of candidates (e.g. Kobold Geomancer, Bloodmage Thalnos).

In short, a situational buff that’s hardly worth it even when you get it.

In Arena, its even worse than it is in Constructed due to how likely you are to get the buff.