Hello my peeps! Time seems to pass us by in a blur, I’m pretty sure I just sat down to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family seemingly no less than 3 weeks ago but alas another year has come and gone. I realize Thanksgiving is a holiday recognized and celebrated in Canada and the U.S. primarily, so to my European friends if you’re not entirely sure what I’m referencing here, I apologize. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection; a day reserved to look upon the blessings of life and the harvest of the preceding year. It’s day reserved to appreciate what you’ve given, and surround yourself with family and friends who have made monumental impressions upon your life through the years,
As many of you already know, Blizzard recently released a new adventure expansion in Hearthstone just in time to correlate with this Holiday. I’ve been thoroughly looking through the deck list they’ve released, showing the shiniest, newest toys to add to your collections. Below, you’ll see my assessment of the cards I feel have the most potential to be the most the dangerous in the right deck. As with all my posts, I happily look forward to reading your comments at the bottom of the page, let me know if you agree with me or maybe you feel that there are cards I didn’t include that maybe I should’ve.
Without further ado, here are the LoE cards I am most thankful for:
Before we dive into it, there are a few caveats to this topic I’d like to briefly touch on. I’m always honored you’ve spent a portion of your lunch break with me, or maybe you’ve given me a place in your nightly routine. Perhaps, I assist you pass the time during your visit to the porcelain throne, as you send a chief out to sea. No matter, where you take me, I promise you this little speed bump, en route to our end state will be well worth your time and ultimately be a great read.
Honorable Mentions (In no particular Order):
unearthed-raptor-This was a tuffy and even as I write this, I’m not entirely sure I should be giving this card any credence at all, much less discuss it here. However, in a Hearthstone vacuum this card is maybe among the strongest cards in the game–except that it happened to end up in Rogue’s shady side of the neighborhood. Had this card been added to Warlock’s crafty arsenal for example, or even as a neutral minion, I think it would’ve been totally broken. The problem here is, that because it’s a Rogue specific card, currently there are no decks builds (at least none that I can think of) which would make good use of its effect. I saw a video recently, of Firebat who indicated that he believes one of two things will happen with this card: Either it’ll find its way into a deck and transform it into a crazy good one, or it’ll end up sitting in everyone’s collection manager never seeing the light of day. I guess time will tell.
arch-thief-rafaam-This is another one, that I wrestled with in deciding to list it here among the honorable mentioned. Part of me thinks this is not only a bad card, but it’s also a very slow one. Then again, I think there exists a possibility it may end up replacing cards like nefarian and ysera, getting utilized for card value through its unique card draw mechanic, and in many instances as a late-game finisher. Sure maybe I’m crazy, but if you recall when GvG was announced the vast majority of people saw no value in dr-boom, the spotlight shining brightly on troggzor-the-earthinator, and we all know how that turned out.
reno-jackson-Well guys, I’m not really sure what more to say about this guy that hasn’t already been said. My boys, Asmodeus and Stonekeep wrote an exceptionally great article that really hit the nail on the head regarding this Legendary Minion which you can read up on, or bookmark for future reference HERE and HERE. Additionally, Reno has found significant coverage all over Reddit as well as on numerous Twitch streams. I’m listing him as an honorable mention, because to truly garner value from his effect, would require a very specific deck build that caters solely to his purpose. All in all, I feel he’s just too situational for my liking but, in the right deck as I’ve already seen firsthand on the ladder, he can be a game changer.
desert-camel-This card just barely missed my top 5 by a hair, I think there are other cards that are more powerful and consequently, my spitting friend just didn’t make the cut. However, I could see a world that exists where this card really takes off, it has a lot of potential to shape the meta game adding an assist to those deck builds that struggle to make progress against more aggressive archetypes, by adding 1-drops where in the past they didn’t exist. His stats are pretty decent for a 3-drop minion, so he’ll provide a great presence in the early game AND give put an additional 1-drop in your hand to counter that aggressive shenanigans.
Garbage Time (Also, in no particular order):
If you’re a sports fan, particularly a fan of the NBA you’ll understand what value bench warmers bring to the team. In basketball these are the guys, who see play time during a blow out (for better or worse), in which the outcome of the game is all but sealed. They exist off the court to be utilized as sparing partners for the stars of the team, or to close out games that are either a lost cause to begin with, or victory is all but certain. Here I’ve listed a few cards that I think are going to be utterly useless, adding little to no value in any deck build. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time with providing a reason, for my analysis except to say, you need to trust me,these cards are essentially the “filler” of this expansion. You guys aren’t idiots, I’m pretty sure you see for yourselves the problem with these cards have, which is either that the cost does not justify the stats or does not justify the effect (in many cases the effect is all but useless anyway), or in some cases both. They are as follows:
Killswitch’s Top 5 LoE Cards
Okay, finally we’ve reached the main event; the aspect of this article you’ve all been waiting for. Obviously, this list is a careful analysis of my own humble opinion (which is the equivalent to that one solitary gold tooth in a random rapper’s mouth, glimmering brighter than the rest, because it’s the only one that matters). As mentioned previously, feel free to disagree or maybe offer an alternate card that got passed me and I didn’t mention. We’re all family here, and we can all benefit from one another’s recommendations and opinions. As always, feel free to drop that one liner, question, comment, concern, or on the other hand, contact customer service with your complaints.
Number #5: Brann Bronzebeard
This bearded dwarf (like the majority of these LoE cards) is difficult to provide a really solid evaluation without having battle tested him in-game play first (at least at the time I’m penning this article). However, in Drake-like fashion, I giggle every time that hot line blink at the prospect of triggering battlecry effects twice! Especially, when you consider the significant importance, such cards like fire-elemental, antique-healbot, twilight-drake, and quartermaster bring to the table with that amplified value. This card is similar to baron-rivendare except stronger; it potentially carries with it every ounce of the good Baron’s effect and virtually none of his weakness, AND does it for one less mana. The cheaper cost compared to it’s “deathrattle” counterpart, makes this little explorer easier to utilize when setting up your opponent for various combos. Not to mention, his 2/4 body makes him a scrappy little minion, who can roll up an enemy warrior or two from the opposite side of the board without issue.
Additionally, you have the luxury of choosing which of your battle cry minons from your hand, you feel will benefit most from his amplified effect. This differs from Baron Rivendare, who allows the opponent to be in the driver’s seat regarding his ability; picking and chosing the time in which your deathrattles are triggered.
Now, it’s important that you realize it’s extremely difficult to build an entire deck around a Legendary minion in Hearthstone, simply because you’re only able to include 1 (of that particular minion) in your deck. That said, I don’t see this card becoming anyone win’s condition, his functionality will be more on the “tech” side of the Hearthstone mechanic. You won’t be able to rely on him to win you games, but when he does pop up, he’ll certainly be dangerous.
Number #4: Kepper of Uldaman
If I could sum up in a single word, how best to describe this card I’d say my label would be: Flexibility. Especially, with past expansion releases, Paladin has really gone from a mediocre hero class, to an extremely dominant one in the current meta; and the rich get richer. I included this card in the list because it can easily slip into various Paladin archetypes and strengthen most of that classes deck’s win conditions. You can use it to buff up your silver-hand-recruits, or various death rattle minions, that are utilized in more aggressive builds or completely castrate your enemy’s more wicked threats in more control oriented decks. Regardless of deck archetype, this minion offers a decent size body for the mana cost, the worst case scenario fielding him on an empty board on T6 and garnering value from a roid infused 3/3 recruit, along side a 3/4 beefy body; that’s 6/7 worth of stats distributed over 2 minions all for 6 mana–that puts this card on par with piloted-sky-golem, except with more versatility.
Of note, (at least in this example) is that many Hearthstone minions offer a really sweet effect for a seemingly cost-effective cost but that mana requirement is a mirage. Take for example Quarter Master, an extremely solid card that on the surface requires a 5-mana resource to play. However, people do not run this barracks manager on the basis of his stats, he’s ran for the value gained off his effect. That said to fully garner the value he brings to the table, in reality his cost is anywhere between 7-8 mana, dependent on whether or not he’s buffing a solitary Recruit or if you’re plan is to steroid inject the boots (Silver Hand Recruits) coming off of muster-for-battle. There are a lot of Hearthstone minions who exist within this conundrum, muklas-champion, murloc-knight, and thunder-bluff-valiant to name a few. That said, should you use the Keeper as a buffer on a lower stat minion on your side of the board, understand it’s resource requirement isn’t truly a 4-mana cost.
An additional problem I see with this card, is that despite it’s versatility and it’s flexibility it still may sputter from the sky and end up as nice dust collector within the Paladin’s collection manager. Some people (myself included) may opt for cards who are a bit more solid and safer to play at the 4 drop slot. Piloted Shredder, blessing-of-kings, or truesilver-champion are safer and battle proven alternatives. This is particularly true, if you take into consideration the point made above with regards to the mirage mana cost this Keeper could potentially entail. You know that for 4-mana in 80%-90% of scenarios, you’re always getting a 2 for 1 minion with Piloted Shredder, or 2 swings from Truesliver. On the other hand, that 4-mana Keeper, may actually be costing you more resources to play in the long run, and slow down you’re tempo and deck’s synergy in the process.
Number #3: Naga Sea Witch
Prediction: This card could be an better overall version of aviana, and if that’s the case that’s kind of sad to provide better value to an Epic card than to a Legendary. Now, that said if you wait all the way until turn 10, both cards will accomplish the exact same thing: drop one and then drop another massive, scary threat in succession. Contrary to NAGA SEA WITCH, Aviana has better potential to do some wild things on consequent turns but as we’ve all found out its extremely hard to have a 5-health minion stay on the board beyond the turn they’re fielded (especially one with such a powerful effect as Aviana).
The upside to Naga Sea Witch, is that you’ll be able to drop her as early as T5 (where her 5/5 stats are decent, and on par with loatheb) which means the probability of this card being able to stick around a turn or two once it’s played, is significantly better than having to wait until T10, as is the case with Aviana allowing you to get some early access to ragnaros-the-firelord or ysera. If you get really lucky, you might have the opportunity to play emperor-thaurissan on that subsequent T6, and enjoy the power play that will usher in some great tempo.
For me, the big question about his card is trying to figure out where exactly it belongs. I’m thinking some great value can been had from CONTROL type decks like CONTROL WARRIOR or maybe even a throw back to RAMP DRUID. This card would flourish best within a build that carries with it beefy, late game minions as its win condition and also because sludge-belcher is expendable in most control builds anyway. Upon first surveying this card, the above analysis is pretty straight forward and obvious to most players. However, the problem that comes into play especially as it pertains to Control Warrior, stems from left over mana, which can prove to be problematic over the long run. Utilizing every last crystal is particularly critical for Control Warriors, who with need those last mana crystals to drop a big minion, then use an execute or shield-slam, or tank up.
Number #2: Mounted Raptor
In most circles I’ve been around, this card has been dubbed the new “mini-shredder” and with good reason. However, in the long-term I think shade-of-naxxramas will remain a more viable, stronger alternative in the majority of decks where mounted-raptor would see game play. Over the course of the last couple of expansions (TGT particularly), I’ve noticed a push by Blizzard to get the Druid hero class more involved with Beast synergized decks. That said, because this is a beast card, I think that could be the leg up this darling of Jurassic’s Park will have over other three drops with regards to that particular build. The problem is, Druid just doesn’t quite have it’s act together just yet, at least enough to pull off a competitive beast build despite that fact it probably would fare pretty well along side cards like jungle-moonkin. Be prepared though, because with every new expansion release the Druid seems to be gaining momentum in the department of Beastly builds.
I’m sure you’re probably wondering why this card is so far up on my list if I really have nothing good to say about it. Here’s my answer in two words: AGGRO DRUID. Especially with the TGT release, the meta has seen a recent surge in viable aggressive Druid decks that are extremely competitive and with the arrival of this Dinosaur, will now have a piece its been lacking: A strong 3-drop. I’m curious to see which one of the two most dangerous decks will end up as Malfurion’s “go to” deck, as the meta begins to shift to accommodate this new toys in the coming weeks.
Number #1: Tunnel Trogg
If you get an opportunity, check out or book mark a recent article I wrote regarding problems (as I see them) existing with the Shaman hero class, which you can find HERE. The release of this card validates to me that Blizzard not only recognizes the looming problems facing Shaman players, but has taken a step forward to start addressing some of them–and this is good news! It seems to me the way Blizzard is going to start tackling the problems with this hero class is through the release of stronger more value enriched cards, that either play off of the Overload Mechanic or are just overly powerful by design.This card allows Shaman players to take advantage of an otherwise very crippling effect–and for 1-mana. It’s a bit similar to unbound-elemental, except its functionality won’t affect its defensive stats but with a bubble butt of 3 (especially for a 1-drop) it’ll certainly survive the early game. Contrary to the Elemental, its exponential growth is correlated to the number of overloaded crystals, rather than to the number of times you play an card with Overload which in my opinion makes this card a more viable threat your opponent will need to deal with sooner rather than later.
Will this card be Shaman’s savior? The reality is, that it probably won’t but as I said, its a step in the right direction and that counts for something. However, this little Trogg, followed up with totem-golem in the opening hand would be one of the most strongest possible openings in the game, making your side of the board extremely dangerous very early on.
As I write this article, we’re all a few days away from gaining access to the new LoE wing and testing these cards out. By the time of this article’s publication, it will be open but I will not have had the time availability to give these cards the actual in play analysis they deserve. I say all of that more as a disclaimer, to let you know there are a few caveats to these cards that on a personal level remain to be unseen. One such caveat is understanding exactly how this card is going to function. My belief, is that it’s possible to for our little Trogg to “double-dip”, meaning that you play him and then cast a lightning-bolt he’ll amplify his attack +1, but when you play a second Bolt the following turn, he’ll get +2 attack due to your mana pool lock up, and thus making him a wicked little 4/3 minion overall. If this ends up being how his effect is played, Shaman will finally start gaining some ground in constructed play.
However, the underbelly of this coin would mean that the tunnel-trogg cannot “double-dip” and will only garner attack bonuses with regards to the Overload crystals of the card you cast. If “double-dipping” isn’t allowed that will certainly hurt this minion as well as the potential decks he could end up in, right out of the gate. I hope Blizzard has enough foresight to allow this card into the deck managers, with the intent of allowing it to be as dangerous as possible. Here again, time will tell.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you again, for spending your valuable time with me discussing our unilateral love: All things Hearthstone. I apologize in advance for not getting this article out sooner, my fear being many of my points and analysis may be obsolete by the time you set eyeballs to it. The dream was to get this out at least a week ago, directly in conjunction with Blizzard’s release of the LoE expansion. Unfortunately, I was wrapped up with other projects and lagged behind on giving these new cards the serious once over, that an article of this magnitude deserves–that you deserve. I hope I’ve offered some key points that you can take with you as you begin to incorporate these cards into your own deck builds.
As I mentioned in my introduction, I wanted this article to have a holiday theme to it as we begin to usher in the end of the year. During this Thanksgiving holiday, I’d like to say I am thoroughly grateful for the opportunity to write guides and offer up little nuggets of insight you might find helpful and useful in your own gameplay. Furthermore, I’d like to add that my heart and prayers are with my European friends particularly in France, as they try to piece themselves together after the atrocities suffered there very recently. Many things are much bigger than Hearthstone, particularly lives who were ended entirely too soon.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it. Until next time!