League of Explorers Cards Review – Neutral Cards

Hello everyone! It didn’t really happen before, but the new Adventure was just announced and at the same time, it’s just around the corner. With first wing coming out on Thursday already, we’ll get to play the new cards really soon. Like every expansion, we’re trying to give you guys our opinions on the new […]

Introduction

Hello everyone! It didn’t really happen before, but the new Adventure was just announced and at the same time, it’s just around the corner. With first wing coming out on Thursday already, we’ll get to play the new cards really soon.

Like every expansion, we’re trying to give you guys our opinions on the new stuff. Whether it’s just a first look at the cards, more in-depth reviews or deckbuilding theorycrafting, we offer different points of view from different writers.

Just like for TGT, I’m doing the card reviews too. Since they’re pretty in-depth and we’re getting 45 cards in total I’m going to divide those into 3 parts: 2 articles for class cards and 1 article for neutral cards.

When it comes to the card evaluation – take those with a grain of salt and focus on the reasoning. Sometimes I rate the card higher, but tell you that it’s only going to work if certain type of deck is created. Sometimes I rate the card lower, but I see the potential synergies in the future. But, I’ll try to give every card one of the five different “grades”: Terrible, Bad, Average, Good, Great. I give one rating for the Constructed and one for the Arena.

In the third article I’m going to review every card that’s left – the Neutral cards!

Common

Murloc Tinyfin

Constructed: Average

Arena: Bad

A Wisp 2.0. Even thought the Wisp isn’t great, the Murloc tag gives this guy a big advantage. In the deck that runs so many Murloc synergies, having a 0 mana guy, even if it’s 1/1, is awesome. That’s because it’s rarely a 1/1. If you have a Murloc Warleader on the board, it’s suddenly a 3/2 for 0 mana. Even with the Grimscale Oracle it’s 2/1. Not to mention that it buffs the Murloc Tidecaller and Old Murk-Eye. I rate it average only because Murloc decks aren’t really strong. I think that this one would be a blast if Murloc decks were viable, actually.

In Arena, well, the Murloc tag doesn’t really matter since you won’t have a synergistic Murloc deck anyway. SOMETIMES you’re going to draft other Murloc and then maybe, maybe you’ll see some synergies, but that’s very uncommon. A 1/1 for 0 mana isn’t the worst thing ever, it’s pretty much just a Wisp. And Wisp doesn’t suck in Arena as much as you’d imagine. Still, you definitely prefer to pick something else.

Huge Toad

Constructed: Average

Arena: Good

Hm, it’s kinda a reverse Flame Juggler. It has reversed stats and effect procs on Deathrattle instead of the Battlecry. And honestly it’s not that bad… but then again, we have a Knife Juggler. What this guy can do once, Knife Juggler can do as long as it lives. It’s cool that the 1 ping is guaranteed even if it just dies the turn it’s played. Still, I think the ping on the Battlecry is generally stronger than the one on Deathrattle. It’s hard to argue whether the 3/2 or 2/3 stats are better, but I think that 2/3’s are superior in the current fast meta. They can trade into some popular 2-drops much better and they can take out 1-drop without dying. On the other hand, 3/2’s are more aggressive and they push for more damage + they get better trade against Piloted Shredder + they’re slightly better against Priest. Flame Juggler has seen SOME constructed play, even if it wasn’t much. I’m not sure if Huge Toad will be the same, but it’s not the worst card ever. Especially if you run some Beast synergies (Hunter/Druid), since it’s a strictly better Bloodfen Raptor.

In Arena, well. Raptor is an average card. Since this has a positive effect, it can’t be worse. It’s not the most exciting card ever, but it passes the vanilla test + has an upside (random ping can be really strong in Arena, Flame Juggler has proven that). So it’s good. Not much to say about it, really. Another solid 2-drop. I think it’s slightly worse than Flame Juggler, because turn 2 Flame Juggler was perfect counter to 1 health 1-drops. If enemy has only 1 minion on the board, the ping is going to the face a lot of time. In Constructed every face damage is good in Aggro decks, but in Arena, well, board control is much more important. Still, if you have to choose between 1 face damage and 0 face damage, you pick the first option.

Jeweled Scarab

Constructed: Bad

Arena: Average

Weeelll, I’m not a big fan of this card. It’s too slow. 1/1 stats are terrible for a 2-drop. In the mode where minions need to have good stats AND great effects to be played, I don’t see a 1/1 for 2 being used. The discovery also isn’t the strongest one. I mean, it’s cool on turn 2, because it lets you curve out 100% of time (unless you get really bad/situational choices). There are some good 3-drops or 3 mana spells, but I’m still not convinced. You don’t want to drop it on turn 2, because of the tempo loss, but you also don’t want to drop it later, because this Discovery works best on turn 2. So it’s a very weird minion. I think it’s just better to play a strong drop on the curve, ESPECIALLY if you already have turn 3 play in your hand. The Beast tag is a slight boost, but honestly, would Hunter really want to play it instead of Haunted Creeper/Mad Scientist/Knife Juggler/King’s Elekk? I don’t think so.

In Arena it’s not the worst thing ever. It’s a Novice Engineer that is better when dropped on t2 and worse if dropped in the late game. Curving out is very important in the Arena and it happens that you sometimes miss the 3-drop. Jeweled Scarab guarantees that you curve out into turn 3, but well, your turn 2 sucks. On the other hand, drawing this in the late game means that you get a 1/1 + random 3-drop. Novice Engineer is better, because you have a big chance to draw something better than a 3-drop (unless you run crazy fast deck). It’s definitely not something you’re going to auto-pick, but having it in your draft won’t lose you the games. Just another mid-tier card.

Gorillabot A-3

Constructed: Average

Arena: Bad

Hmm… I really like the concept. Most of the mech synergies are tempo ones. You get more stats, cheaper stuff, random damage etc. This one is a negative tempo card. You pay 4 mana for the 3-drop (3/4 stats), but on the other hand, if the synergy triggers (you have a Mech on the board), you get more value. You get to draw a Mech. The effect is very good IF you’re playing the value game. Gnomish Inventor is something playable. You get +1 Attack, Mech tag and you get to pick the card that fits the situation or your curve most. That’s awesome. But all current Mech decks aren’t the value decks – they’re Aggro/Tempo decks. They prefer to play the Piloted Shredder – not only it doesn’t require a Mech on the board, but it also gives you a random 2-drop – ON THE BOARD. Here, you have to pay for the additional Mech. Great in some matchups where you actually run out of cards, bad in the tempo-based matchups. I think it can make into some Mech decks as an one-of. And it will certainly be played in the future if something like a slower Mech deck will be created.

In Arena, it’s pretty bad. 3/4 for 4 sucks and you NEED the Mech synergy for it to work. Mech/Mech synergy cards are generally okay, because they are decent even if the effects aren’t activated. Like, Goblin Blastmage is a 5/4 for 4 – okay. Clockwork Knight is a 5/5 for 5 – okay. But here, the synergy NEEDS to be activated for it to be okay. On the other hand, if it gets activated, it’s awesome. Card advantage is important in the Arena, especially later in the game if you’re both running out of cards. It works best with the cheap mechs (1-drops to 3-drops), so if you have some of them – it might become a solid pick. But you still shouldn’t think about it as of a 4-drop to be honest.

Tomb Spider

Constructed: Average

Arena: Average (Good in Hunter)

It’s very similar to the previous card – Gorillabot A-3. It has one less health, but the effect isn’t behind a requirement. Since you’d play both in synergistic decks most of time, it’s not a big deal, but it makes one big difference – you can actually drop Tomb Spider on an empty board and still gain value. It’s important, especially if you both are trading blows and clearing the board. 3/3 for 4 is bad, it’s very bad. But it’s basically a better “draw a card” if you run a proper deck (probably Beast Hunter). Since you get to pick one of three beasts, you can match one to your needs. If you need a cheap activator for Houndmaster or Ram Wrangler – you pick something small. If you play in slower matchup and you need more value, you pick something big. And you can always pick something on the curve. It’s a much better RNG than Ram Wrangler (getting three choices mitigates the randomness a bit), but it might be just a little too slow for the Constructed.

In Arena, it’s much better than Gorillabot. It’s a good standalone card, as it doesn’t require synergies to work. Unlike in Constructed, that’s a really big deal in Arena. The stats are comparable to Gnomish Inventor and the effect is probably slightly better, because you can adjust the picked card to the situation. Plus it has a Beast tag AND it draws you a Beast, which can be big when you’re playing Hunter. That’s why it has bonus points in certain drafts.

Anubisath Sentinel

Constructed: Bad

Arena: Average

Weak body with a strong Deathrattle – we’ve seen this before. Getting a +3/+3 buff on something is pretty big. However, I don’t suspect it’s going to work in Constructed. First of all, you can’t just drop it on turn 5 into opponent’s minions or even on the empty board. It’s decent ONLY if you’re ahead. This way you can guarantee it to die when you have something to buff on the board. If the buff is wasted, it’s a 4/4 for 5 mana. In Constructed, that’s as bad as you can imagine. Even a 4/4 for 4 mana sucks, in 5 mana slot (which is really highly contested) you get Azure Drake. It’s also 4/4, but it guarantees the value – draws you a card. I think it’s a much more solid option overall. Also, what deck would exactly want to use it? It’s too slow for Aggro decks and Control decks don’t really care about the buffs. Maybe some Midrange decks? But I still doubt. You can compare it to the Dark Cultist. Both are the cards with strong Deathrattles that buff friendly minion. But the main difference is that Dark Cultist has vanilla stats, while this is a 5 mana 4/4. Yeah. 5 mana 4/4. Oh, and Silence is a thing in Constructed. It’s not the best, but sometimes negating a 5-drop’s effect is good enough.

In Arena, it’s slightly below average. I mean, 4/4 for 5 is terrible, but you can’t be too picky. It’s still a snowball card that sucks when you’re behind. But if you’re ahead, it can do a lot of work. Also, 4/4 or 5/4 4-drops are quite common, meaning that if you play it into one, it can get a trade. Silence is much less popular in Arena, so the buff is also going to stick. Not to mention that buffing a 4+ attack minion doesn’t make it very vulnerable to Big Game Hunter, because you don’t see the Epics every day. I really dislike this card, but I can see it being potentially okay.

Fossilized Devilsaur

Constructed: Terrible

Arena: Average

I mean… Okay. It’s a vanilla 8/8 for 8 mana, which sucks really, really hard. I mean, in 8 mana slot you get stuff like Ragnaros the Firelord, Tirion Fordring, Kel’Thuzad… and then you have this guy. I know, it’s just a filler card, but it hurts to even review it. Oh! But it becomes an Ironbark Protector if you meet the requirement! Now Beast Druid can run 4 Ironbarks! *hype* Nah, it just sucks.

In Arena, however, it’s not terrible. It’s slightly below average. I mean, it’s a War Golem with +1/+1 for 1 more mana. If you have some beasts in your draft, it’s actually okay – Ironbark is a good Arena card. But on the other hand, you expect your big drops to be stronger. In the same mana slot you have the Force-Tank MAX, which trades 1/1 of stats for a Divine Shield. It’s a very fair trade on such a big minion. If you face anything but Mage, the Divine Shield on this guy should get value. And for only 1 more mana you have the North Sea Kraken. Just compare those two and you’ll see how big of a joke Fossilized Devilsaur is.

P.S. The only good thing about this card is a cool golden animation.

Rare

Ancient Shade

Constructed: Good

Arena: Average

I think this card has the potential. Obviously, it’s going to be played in Aggro decks, no doubt about it. Why? The first reason is that games are much shorter, meaning that you’re less likely to draw into the “bomb”. Second reason is that in slower matchup (against anything but other Aggro deck), your health total isn’t really contested until the mid-late game. And then, 7 damage probably doesn’t matter. When slower deck stabilizes, it kills you in 2 turns or something anyway. And the third reason is that if you also run a Fel Reaver, there is a big chance that the “bomb” is going to be discarded – and when it’s discarded, you don’t take the damage. So, the downside of this card is pretty much unnoticeable. Meaning for an average Aggro deck, that’s a 7/4 minion for 4 mana. Even though it’s just a pile of stats, piles of stats are nice in Aggro decks when played on curve. I mean, 4 health isn’t a lot, but if it survives – my god, getting 7 damage as an Aggro is a lot. It dies to Big Game Hunter and that’s a bit disappointing, but same goes for the Fel Reaver. Also, it’s awesome against decks that rely on weapons to clear the board in the early/mid game – like Control Warrior or Midrange Paladin. Even if they kill it, you don’t mind, because they take so much damage. The problem is that 4-drop slot is already contested – I don’t think it’s going to be better than Piloted Shredder, and fast decks can’t afford to put too many 4-drops. But I’m pretty positive that this is going to see some play.

In Arena, it’s… okay. The 7 damage doesn’t really matter that much and it could as well be a 5/4. You’re getting a Salty Dog for 1 less mana, which would actually make the card pretty playable in Arena. The negative effect here, however, might hurt a bit. I mean, it really depends on your type of deck, but if you face some guy with incredible early game tempo, he often takes you down to below 10 health before you can stabilize. This proccing would often mean free kill for the opponent. It might backfire, but the stats are okay for the mana cost, so I think it’s fine.

Eerie Statue

Constructed: Bad

Arena: Terrible

A big cousin of Ancient Watcher. Eerie Statue’s stats are worse for the mana cost than the Ancient Watcher’s. Both gain +5 stats compared to the vanilla statline, but +5 stats on a 2-drop is much better than +5 stats on a 4-drop. It’s also in Big Game Hunter range, because of 7 attack. Yes, it can attack when it’s the ONLY minion on the battlefield, but that’s not going to happen a lot of time. So, the point is – which decks would it fit? Handlock uses Ancient Watchers, but they’re better. Easier to combo, good enough with Shadowflame most of time, better against Aggro. Handlock has a lot of turn 4 plays and he doesn’t need another one. Especially since Mountain Giant is an 8/8 and it can attack freely. There are no other decks that really use the Watchers. There was a Watcher Druid once, but it’s long gone. I think that any deck that would want to play this guy would prefer to play the Ancient Watcher instead. I may be wrong, but right now I don’t see it working in any deck.

In Arena it’s terrible – just like the Watcher. You can’t just put as many activators into your deck as you want. A lot of times you don’t even draft a single Silence or way to Taunt it up and it’s just a dead card. Eerie Statue is SLIGHTLY better, because SOMETIMES you might be able to attack opponent’s face for 7. Yeah, great, but it doesn’t really matter if you spend your turn 4 on doing nothing and you’re 1 card behind. It’s okay if you have stuff like Spellbreaker, Wailing Soul, Defender of Argus, Coghammer etc. in your deck. But for it to be really good you’d need a lot of those.

Wobbling Runts

Constructed: Terrible

Arena: Average

Oh my. If this card would ever be run in some decks, we’d see double Cabal Shadow Priest in every deck. That’s one of the best things you can steal in the whole game. It’s a poor man’s (or non-Hunter’s) Savannah Highmane. Even though the Deathrattle is slightly better – you get three 2/2’s instead of two – the base stats are HORRIBLE. Having a 2/6 minion for 6 mana sucks really hard. Don’t expect to kill anything on turn 6 with this guy. Not to mention that 5 attack is very common among 5-6 drops, but not 6 attack. It means that you have to attack TWICE into something to even sacrifice this guy and get the 2/2’s. 2 attack is good enough only against thing like Face Hunter or Aggro Paladin, but it’s way too slow against them. It’s only good if you can instantly Taunt it up – right, if it had a Taunt it wouldn’t be that bad. But as it turns out, opponent can just ignore you and capitalize on the tempo you’ve lost. Oh, and Silence is also a thing – we know how good Silencing the Highmane feels, and Highmane is at least 6/5 minion still. This is 2/6 for 6 mana if Silenced and 2/6 is a bad statline even for a 4-drop…

In Arena it’s slightly better. Once again, Silence isn’t that common and you might have more time to get the value. In the long run, it’s cool. It can take out couple of small drops by itself. But on the other hand, I’d much prefer to just have a big minion right away. Like, you can’t really play Wobbling Runts into the Boulderfist Ogre, because they don’t do anything. It’s not even a threat and you expect your big minions to be a threat most of time. This is more annoying than scary. It’s not bad in Arena, because the total value is okay (if we assume that 2/6 is worth 3.5 mana and 2/2 is worth 1.5 mana, that’s 8 mana value for 6 mana, which is alright) but I don’t like how anti-tempo it is.

Summoning Stone

Constructed: Bad

Arena: Terrible

Unless I don’t see something about this card, I don’t think we’re ever going to see it. I mean, we’ll DEFINITELY see some gimmicky decks built around it sticking to the board, but that’s it. It’s cool card concept, but it’s just way too slow. You pay 5 mana for something that does literally nothing initially. You can’t just drop it on turn 5 and hope for the best. I mean, you can, but basing your game plan around that is pretty stupid. And the thing is that even if it survives for a single turn, it’s still not a solid win condition. So, you’d need to build a deck around it, with A LOT of spells and then it’d need to stay on the board for a few turns. Yeah, that seems very unlikely. It’s like leaving Emperor Thaurissan up for a few turns – rarely happens. In late game, on turn 10, you can actually combo it. Let’s say play it + 5 mana spell on turn 10. Then it instantly gets “some” value. But realistically it needs to summon at least 2 or 3 minions to get enough value. Especially since those minions are completely random. Yeah, you might get a Sludge Belcher for 5 mana, but you might also get a Stormpike Commando or an Antique Healbot. I doubt this card will ever be competitive. It’s the same reason why Summoning Portal isn’t good. If it survives, you can get A LOT of value. But spending your turn 4 on dropping a 0/4 that might just die for free is too risky.

In Arena, it’s even worse. Arena is the mode where spells are pretty premium – a lot of drafts end up with 2 or 3 spells. And you’d need to have like 10 spells to really get value of this card. And then you’d need the board control to protect the Stone when you set everything up. Unplayable.

Epic

Djinni of Zephyrs

Constructed: Good

Arena: Good

When TGT was coming out, I’ve rated the Valkyrie Sisters (Eydis Darkbane and Fjola Lightbane) really high and it turned out that they aren’t really used in Constructed. I’ve overrated how easy it is to buff one of your minions. Djinni is in a similar spot. The card might be incredibly powerful in the right deck and with the right setup, but on the other hand – the effect is pretty situational. I still rate it as good, because it has potential. Once again, if it’s ever going to work, it’s probably going to work in Priest or Paladin. Maybe a buff based decks that also runs let’s say Echoing Ooze? I think the deck wouldn’t be top tier, but it would be okay. So, the Djinni has okay stats. 4/6 for 5 mana is just 1 attack under the best possible stats. With an effect that can potentially get out of control it’s in an okay spot. The only problem is that it might just be too slow. For example, if you drop it on turn 5 and it survives (which is quite likely due to 6 health), on next turn you can drop something small + play Velen’s Chosen or Blessing of Kings and make it really big. Seal of Champions is also cool – 7/6 with Divine Shield is massive. And the fact that you’re buffing two minions at the same time means that enemy can’t really counter your buff with a single Silence. Will it see some play? I’m not sure, possibly it won’t. But it’s a good card and I’m sure that we’ll see it SOMETIME in the future. It might just need some time.

In Arena, it’s also good. It has decent stats – 4/6 for 5 is above average. And even if you don’t have any buffs, it’s okay. Just like Spiteful Smith is okay even if you’re playing a non-weapon class. And I can see it being godlike pick in a Paladin. With Blessing of Kings and Seal of Champions being very good/popular Commons, this guy might get insane value. Since a lot of Epics are bad/situational, having a solid thing to pick even without any synergies is cool. Oh, and even if you can’t really interact with it, enemy might still worry that you can. It’s one of those minions that can’t stay on the board, because if enemy happens to have some strong buff, he just wins a lot of games straight away. So you can sometimes even read it as a 4/6 Taunt for 5 mana.

Naga Sea Witch

Constructed: Good

Arena: Good

We’ve only got 2 Epics in this adventure, which was really surprising. But both of those Epics are awesome. Just like Djinni, this is another card with almost-vanilla stats (-1 health compared to Pit Fighter) and a nice effect. This effect however is active no matter what, you don’t have to do anything more. And it has A LOT of potential. If your drop it on turn 5, enemy just has to kill it. You’re probably playing it in a slow deck – something like Control Warrior or Ramp Druid. If it sticks to the board, you just play Ysera or Grommash Hellscream or Cenarius or something like that on turn 6. That’s very hard to deal with. Even if you play a greedy Priest with Mind Control – playing this and having a MC follow-up is awesome.  This card can be phenomenal in some matchups.

However, it can backfire. It makes ALL your cards cost 5 mana, not only minions. So while it’s cool to drop an Ysera for 5 mana, a lot of spells become useless. For example, Shield Slam is awesome for 1 mana, but sucks really hard for 5. Also, until turn 5 it means that you limit yourself to ONE play per turn. You can’t drop something and do a tempo removal, you can either remove opponent’s stuff or drop your own. That’s the cost. Is it too high for the card to be played? It might be. This card is pretty bad in faster matchup. I mean, Hunter won’t mind if all your stuff cost 5 mana. He won’t mind you needing to spend 5 mana to remove their 2/1. He won’t mind you spending whole turn on Shield Blocking. I’ll definitely test this one, because it seems nice, but we’ll need to see.

In the Arena, it’s also good. In a proper decks, obviously. 5/5 for 5 is a good statline and the effect is also very nice. You want to curve out in Arena. Unless you play a fast, tempo deck, you play 1 card per turn most of time anyway. For example, if you play this on turn 5, you rarely want to play a 2-drop on turn 6. But if you have something like North Sea Kraken in your hand already, man, that’s awesome. Playing it on turn 6 can just swing the whole game. And if you don’t want the effect anymore, because you’re out of the big stuff, you can just trade it off for something. It’s very weak in Aggro/Tempo decks, where your mana curve tops around 2-3 mana, but if you run 5+ big threats in your decks it might be really, really awesome.

Legendary

The Arena summaries for Legendary cards are going to be really brief, because honestly, Legendaries are extremely rare in Arena and they don’t make a big impact on the Arena meta.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Constructed: Good

Arena: Average

I may be crazy on this one, but I actually think this card has some potential. And not only in the Murloc decks. But let’s start with those. Having a 1 mana 1/3 Murloc is good. There are really no low attack/high health Murlocs and those are actually great. Since Murloc decks have a lot of Attack buffs, this is rarely going to just have 1 Attack. Changing the Hero Power is pointless most of time, unless it’s into the Warlock’s Hero Power (it works best with the Murlocs). If you get the Warlock Hero Power in Paladin or Shaman, those could make a really op Murloc decks. It’s just a nice little addition, because it’s inconsistent – not only you need to draw it in the early game, but you also need to roll a Warlock Hero Power. But you still might pick something better. Even the Hunter’s Hero Power should work better in aggressive Murloc decks than something like Shaman’s.

But now, how about playing it in the decks that aren’t Murloc-based? Yeah, it’s really, really weird, but it might actually work. Picking a Hero Power according to the matchup is AWESOME. For example, you play against Face Hunter. You drop it on turn 1. Not only it might get a trade into something small, but you might pick the Warrior’s or Priest’s Hero Power. You play against Control Warrior? You might get a Paladin’s Hero Power. Even though 1/3 does nothing against Warrior, playing with Paladin’s Hero Power boosts your win rate by like 10-15%. Armor Up against the Freeze Mage, Life Tap in slow matchups, maybe Steady Shot against Warlock… You know what I mean. The only problem with this tactic is that you get 3 random Hero Powers. You might actually not get anything good in your given matchup. But I’ll actually test this guy in some of the decks, because I think it’s a very cool effect.

In Arena, it’s a similar situation. Stats here matter much more, but 1/3 for 1 isn’t terrible. And the fact that you might choose a Hero Power might make it great in certain classes. Like, I’d pick it in Warrior in Arena. I can change my Hero Power to something actually useful. Since it’s a Legend, it won’t make a real impact on the Arena, though.

Brann Bronzebeard

Constructed: Good

Arena: Average

One of the most hyped cards in the set. And I stand behind the hype. I think the card is very cool. But everyone screaming “fatigue decks, fatigue decks” isn’t right. Fatigue decks are pretty gimmicky and they still won’t work in the fast meta. It doesn’t matter that you burn some card from an Aggro deck, it’s going to kill you anyway (most of time). But Brann has a lot more potential than this. On the other hand, other people compare it to the Baron Rivendare. It was really hyped up, but turned out to be very gimmicky. Will this happen to Brann? I don’t think so. I kinda stand in the middle. When it comes to Rivendare comparison, Brann has better stats and is cheaper – those are important. 2/4 for 3 is okay-ish. 1/7 for 4 is terrible. It can’t be dropped on turn 4 and it’s strictly synergistic card. Brann can be dropped on 3 in fast matchup and still get some trades. The effect is also less situational. For Rivendare to work, you needed to have a Deathrattle minion on the board already, it had to survive a turn and THEN you could play Rivendare and do crazy things. With Brann, later in the game you can actually drop him + a Battlecry minion on the same turn. You’re left with 7 mana on turn 10, so that’s a lot of room.

Brann won’t win you the games. It won’t be “my god, he played Brann, I need to kill it or I just lose”. But I feel it’s a solid addition to some decks. It will work best with the solid Battlecry minions that already have strong effects. Doubling the effect makes it even better. Like, Abusive Sergeant. 2 attack is nice, but how about 4 attack? Darnassus Aspirant now gives you 2 Mana Crystals on the Battlecry, but removes only 1 on the Deathrattle. So it’s a free Wild growth even if it gets killed. Shrinkmeister reducing minion’s attack by 4. Earthen Ring Farseer healing for 6. Shattered Sun Cleric (which is almost playable in Constructed) giving +2/+2. Tuskarr Totemic summoning two totems. Enhance-o-Mechano… just imagine playing it with 2-3 other minions on the board. Twilight Drake can easily be a 4/15 or something. Azure Drake drawing two cards, Antique Healbot getting 16 points of healing etc… And there are some more minions that could also benefit from it. I’m not sure how it’s going to work with Discover. If you’re going to pick one of the random 3 cards twice it also has a nice synergy with that.

So I don’t think it’s going to break the meta, but it might be a nice supplement for some decks that are heavy on Battlecries.

In Arena, well, not so great. 2/4 for 3 is average and the effect is much worse, because you can’t really build a deck around it and put exactly the Battlecry minions you want to. If you have some of the good Battlecry minions in your draft already, Brann’s value goes up. But in the average draft, it’s also going to be average.

Elise Starseeker

Constructed: Bad

Arena: Good

It’s the first card with such a complicated mechanic ever. And it’s AWESOME. But sadly, I don’t think it’s good. So, when it comes to Constructed, you generally prefer to play cards that have immediate impact. That’s why cards like Beneath the Grounds or Iron Juggernaut aren’t great. The problem with those is that enemy might not even draw into those cards before the game ends. It’s the same problem with Elise. If someone doesn’t know how she works, I’ll explain it briefly. First, you need to draw her. Then you need to play her – it shuffles the Map into your deck. Then you need to draw the Map. Then you need to play the Map – it’s a 2 mana card that cycles itself (something like Wild Growth at 10 mana) and puts a Golden Monkey into your deck. Then you need to draw the Monkey. And only then you can actually play the Monkey – it’s a 4 mana 6/6 Taunt (great stats) that changes the rest of your hand and deck into random Legendaries. The effect is pretty cute in some matchups. Legendaries, on average, should have much higher value than your normal deck. So in slower matchups you might outvalue the enemy if you drop a Legendary every turn.

The problem is – how often it’s realistically going to work? Against Aggro – pretty much never. You’d need to be incredibly lucky to draw it. Not to mention that you DON’T WANT it against the Aggro. While a 4 mana 6/6 Taunt is cute, having full Legend hand/deck is too slow. It might get rid of your Taunts, of your heals, of your removals. Yeah, enemy doesn’t care if you drop high value Legends every turn, he just rushes you down.

So, it can only work in some slower matchups. REALLY slow matchups. Let’s give some pretty optimistic scenario and say that she’s the 10th card you’re going to draw (after the initial draft and getting 3 starting cards into your hand). It means that you still have 17 cards left in your deck. You play her, the Map gets shuffled into. You draw the map after 5 cards (once again, optimistic). Then, you still have 13 cards after you shuffle the map. Then let’s even say that you again draw the Monkey after 5 cards. Oh, you’re only left with 8 cards in your deck. So first of all, a lot of the matches would already and. And then, you’re not really getting TONS of value. It obviously depends on the Legends you get, but you know what I mean.

And that was a pretty optimistic scenario (not the best case one, obviously, but a realistic one). There is a big chance that Monkey is going to be one of the last cards in your deck. And then the value goes down and down. Not to mention that you first need to sacrifice the turn 4 play on just a 3/5 without any effect and then you need to sacrifice 2 mana of tempo to play the Map. I don’t think it’s a great deal. But we’ll probably see some of it, because it’s damn cool.

In Arena, it’s okay. Pretty good actually. You also don’t expect to draw the Monkey consistently, but if you do, it’s pretty much game over. Random Legends have so much higher value in the late game than the average Arena topdeck. And 3/5 for 4 is okay, 3/5’s without effects are dropped on turn 4 in Arena often and people live with it. It obviously works much better in slower matchups, when you both play a pretty Control-styled deck. Against Aggro/Tempo drafts that want to finish you before late game, it’s not going to work (besides being a 3/5 for 4, obviously).

Reno Jackson

Constructed: Terrible or Great (lol)

Arena: Average

It’s one of those cards that are very hard to properly evaluate. In a proper deck, it’s the BEST healing card in the game. Not only it has okay stats, much better than Antique Healbot, it also heals to full. So if Hunter takes you down to 5 Health by turn 6, no problem, you just drop it and you win the game. The problem is that for this card to work, you need to build a deck that doesn’t run 2 copies of anything. I mean, sometimes you can get away with having a few 2-ofs, but it’s going to be much, MUCH less consistent then. And from a card like this you really want the consistency. Obviously, it fits a slower decks. Faster decks don’t want to play something like that. So, is there a solid, slow deck that can get away with playing only 1 copy of each card? The question is to be answered pretty soon – Reno Jackson is the first Legendary we’re getting in this set as far as I remember. The incredibly powerful effect that requires a specific deck to be built, an interesting challenge for the deck builders. I won’t lie that I’m the best deck builder, but I’ll also try to make it work.

Oh, and another type of deck that it can actually fit into is a fatigue deck. Once you’re left with only couple cards in your deck, the chances that you don’t have 2 copies of something are big. Also, if you actually draw your whole deck, the effect should also trigger (at least from my understanding – after all you don’t have 2 copies of any card, right?). It means that if the game goes to the fatigue (which is the main win condition, right?) you have another way to regain the health, probably just sealing the game. Is it actually necessary? I’m not sure, but it can be played instead of Tree of Life in Mill Druid for example.

In Arena, the effect has a much bigger chance to proc. A lot of decks are exactly this – no more than 1 copy of each card. On the other hand, you get some crazy decks with 5 or 6 copies of a single card and then the effect gets much worse. 4/6 for 6 is also not the best thing ever. But in certain classes (especially Warlock) and certain drafts (with only few or without any 2-ofs) it can work just fine.

Arch-Thief Rafaam

Constructed: Average

Arena: Great

I’m repeating this all the time. 8+ mana Legendaries need to be INSTANT or EXTREMELY powerful or else they won’t see play. If the card is too slow and the effect isn’t good enough, it gives you negative tempo and doesn’t create enough value to be good in slower matchups. This one isn’t instant. I mean, the Discover effect is instant, but the cards you discover cost 10 mana, so you can’t play them until next turn. Is it extremely powerful? That’s up for debate. I think the direct comparison would be this vs the Nefarian. Very similar statline (1 attack won’t matter most of time) and similar effects. But instead of getting 2 spells from opponent’s class, you pick one of the three. Even though random class spells are much, much weaker – they have an advantage. First of all, you draw two of them. And second of all, they don’t cost freakin’ 10 mana. That’s A LOT. You need to spend 19 mana for this card to get the full potential. And what is that potential, exactly?

The spells you can get are: +10/+10 buff, 10 damage spread among random targets (slightly upgraded Avenging Wrath) or filling your board with 3/3 minions. I’ll be honest – I don’t think those cards are worth 10 mana. But they’re “free” after all. Okay, so, in Aggro matchups – they all suck. You won’t realistically be able to play a 9 mana Legendary and then a 10 mana spell. So we can check those in the slower matchups. I actually think that the +10/+10 might be the strongest one. It can push for the surprising lethal or get some value (e.g. buffing an Armorsmith/Acolyte of Pain and trading it into a big Legendary). Whole board of 3/3’s is vulnerable to AoEs and 10 random damage is… well… not the best. It might work against the board full of small stuff, but slower decks don’t run a lot of small stuff and Aggro decks would just win the game by now if they had full board on turn 10.

I think some people will test him, but I’m not convinced yet. The “powerful” artifacts just don’t seem powerful enough to really work.

In Arena, however, I really love it. All the effects are actually decent, but especially the +10/+10 and filling the board with 3/3s. Both get incredible value in the proper matchups, because Silence/BGH and big AoEs are very limited. You can also get away with playing a 7/8 for 9 a lot of time, ESPECIALLY if you’re both low on cards, because then the game slows down by quite a lot.

Closing

Aaand that was the last part of the League of Explorers Cards Review. All 45 cards are reviewed! Sorry that this part took so long, but I had a little slamming-my-hand-with-the-door accident and I had to take break from writing yesterday. If you have any questions or want to know more about any of the cards, feel free to ask in the comment section below!