The mill strategy has been a niche archetype in Hearthstone’s history, typically belonging to the Rogue class. Mill Rogue was the only strategy in the format that could aggressively overdraw your opponent’s deck, destroying the overdrawn cards in the process. While it wasn’t a consistently powerful strategy, Mill Rogue offered a unique way to win the game.
Now, it looks like Rogue may not be the only milling class. With the latest Knights of the Frozen Throne reveal, Warlock may be getting into the milling business.
Gnomish Vampire is a two mana 2/3 with a unique Battlecry trigger. When Gnomish Vampire enters the battlefield, it removes the top card of your opponent’s deck from the game. It’s assumed this animation will work similar to overdrawing where both players see the removed card, and the card shows up in the game log.
On its own, Gnomish Vampire doesn’t do much. The top of your opponent’s deck is entirely random. Sure, you may mill the lynchpin card to your opponent’s strategy, but more often than not, you will be milling your opponent closer to his more powerful cards.
Gnomish Vampire gets better in an environment with a hostile combo deck, like the early version of Quest Rogue in the Un’Goro meta. Quest Rogue encouraged the play of cards like Dirty Rat that could disrupt the combo early before the completed Quest overwhelmed the player. Gnomish Vampire could function in a similar role in a future meta against a deck that requires numerous particular cards to win the game.
Blizzard also revealed Necrotic Geist yesterday. This is a six mana 5/3 that wants to enter the battlefield with an already established board presence. As long as Necrotic Geist is on the field, this beast summons a 2/2 Ghoul minion for any friendly minion that has died. Necrotic Geist must generate at least one ghoul in order to justify its mana cost, which limits its constructed viability—you cannot guarantee a board state where Necrotic Geist can thrive. Necrotic Geist fares a little better in Arena, but even then, there are better minions to play for six mana. It can spur the advantage in an already healthy board state, but won’t help if played from behind.
Gnomish Vampire hints at a potential new strategy for Warlock—milling. Perhaps the eventual reveal of the Warlock Hero Card will give this new strategy some legs. Warlock will be looking for any strategy that restores its former glory in the new Knights of the Frozen Throne meta.