With all of Karazhan’s cards revealed a lot of top players have been releasing their review videos and highlighting the cards that they feel will change the current metagame. I have my own opinions about certain cards that could be better (purify) or more balanced (menagerie-warden) but there was one theme that really stuck out to me especially as someone who plays a Pirate Warrior deck, new weapons.
As a Dragon Pirate Warrior I’ve had my fair share of games where I am able to drop an arcanite-reaper and upgrade it, making it a whopping 6/3 weapon. With a couple of ways to handle Taunt this means I can effectively do 60% of my opponent’s life with a two card combo over the course of three turns. In the current meta, weapons have become one of the biggest threats in decks we come across around the higher ranks. Two examples in particular, Shaman’s doomhammer+rockbiter-weapon win condition and the ever favorite fiery-war-axe have forced decks to start picking up harrison-jones as a staple card in most top-tier decks. Some decks have even started to substitute acidic-swamp-ooze in favor of other early game minions because it is one of the few options you have against a weapon being played against you. In my experience these are the only two cards I’ve seen getting played to combat Doomhammer and Fiery War Axe, which until now felt like it was a fair ratio of dangerous weapons vs anti-weapons.
Then, Karazhan came along. Out of the 45 new cards being put into the current meta four of them are weapons and none of the other cards have the ability to counter weapons. Let’s take a quick look at some of them and analyze their potential.
Deadly Fork: This is probably the least dangerous of the four to be introduced. However, I wouldn’t count it out just yet. Things like Unearthed Raptor and nzoth-the-corruptor could potentially make this card dangerous by triggering its Deathrattle effect multiple times but it would require a lot of work. If only the weapon had a little bit more durability it would be viable to use it with things like deadly-poison or southsea-squidface but since it only has two durability like the rogue’s hero power, you don’t get a bigger effect out of the weapon damage increase. For now, I’d give it a 5/10.
Fools-Bane: Right now I am back and forth on this card. On one hand, I want to see it cast with Upgrade or Heroic Strike for some huge board control but even then, it seems balanced with its inability to attack players and the health you would have to sacrifice in order to kill those minions. On the other hand, I feel like it gives warrior, who already has great board presence, the opportunity to have an even stronger control of the board. Add the fact that most control warrior decks have huge amounts of armor which offsets the damage you would be receiving. Another idea is comboing the card with Violet Illusionist. 6/10 with potential to be up near an 8 or 9 if some players figure out a way to break it with things like Violet Illusionist.
Spirit Claws: This is the biggest threat I see coming up when Karazhan releases. Aggro shaman has been a problem for a while now and this takes me back to Chakki’s aggro shaman which is kind of what sparked the shaman movement right before Whispers of the Old Gods was released. His version was a little more spell-heavy with things like Crackle before it cycled out and was replaced with things like Flamewreathed Faceless which made the deck more about midrange creatures. I understand that it requires spell damage to activate but I believe that players will either gamble on the spell damage totem to activate it and make it a much better Fiery War Axe or the meta for aggro shaman will shift and add a few spell damage cards and become spell-heavy again. Bloodmage Thalnos could activate it on Turn 2 while still netting you a card once he is removed by your opponent. I would rank this as a 9/10 since I am basically viewing it as a 1 mana 3/3 weapon which is infinitely better than Fiery War Axe and currently Fiery War Axe is tearing up the meta.
Medivh, the Guardian/Atiesh: Lastly we have the legendary, Medivh himself. First off let’s note that this is a neutral card meaning that ANY class can now have a weapon if they choose to play him. This means if you’re playing Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones and you come across a priest or a druid deck, you would normally cast them as a body and either trade or swing at their face, but now you have to wonder if they are running Medivh or not. Atiesh gives you the summoning stone ability while being a weapon which means that there are only 3 cards in the current Hearthstone standard format that can effectively deal with it. This means that decks with big heavy spells like Wisps of the Old Gods Druid or Mages that run board wipe removal such as flamestrike or blizzard will be receiving free huge creatures and there isn’t much you can do about it unless you’re prepared for it.
So what does this all mean? This means saying goodbye to the days where you only had to worry about getting your Harrison Jones against warriors, paladins, rogues, shamans and hunters. Everyone is a weapon threat now and that means almost every deck will have to prepare a way to deal with those weapons. Problem is, there are literally only three cards that do that: Acidic Swamp Ooze, Harrison Jones, and Bloodsail Corsair (Which doesn’t quite handle most of the weapons except maybe denying your opponent a single effect off of Atiesh). For some, this may mean forcing Acidic Swamp Ooze into your deck even though it’s a mediocre body but makes up for it when he breaks one of those annoying weapons you keep going against. For most, this means crafting Harrison Jones. I was one of the last to craft him when Whispers of the Old Gods came out because I was a gambler. When I come into a match and see that my opponent is a warrior, I hope that he’s control and doesn’t have an early fiery war axe. When I see that they are a shaman, I pray they don’t draw their doomhammer or don’t have the rockbiter-weapons in hand when they do. But that is no longer the case. More and more weapons are coming and we aren’t receiving any new ways to deal with them so it’s time to arm ourselves with what we do have and Harrison Jones is the best option. My advice: get it out of the way and craft him because you will need him when Karazhan comes to town!
Talk to me!
Do you agree or disagree with my weapon ratings and advice about Harrison Jones? Let me know below with a comment! Don’t like the way I think and make predictions? Toss that down there too! I am always interested to hear other player’s thoughts.