Note: If you wish to see all the revealed cards so far, be sure to check out the beautiful graphic post by Disguised Toast over at Mana Crystals. It’s updated whenever new cards come out so be sure to bookmark it!
I just copy-paste this introduction into every part of the review, so it might be slightly off sometimes. But I’ve figured that introduction is not the important part, so I want to focus on the reviews themselves 🙂
Yeah, it’s this time of the year again. Blizzard is torturing us by slowly announcing new cards for the expansion that is supposed to come out in ~a month from now. But hey, at least we’re getting some info.
First thing I want to say is that I really love the cards. Not talking about the stats, the effects, but the whole theme. Old Gods is one of my favorite lore parts in Warcraft. Although I wasn’t there to raid C’thun yet (I’ve started playing in The Burning Crusade, which was the first expansion – C’thun was the raid boss in vanilla game). Yogg-Saron, on the other hand, I’ve raided a lot. It was one of the coolest fights in WoW. Even though it had some really annoying mechanics that made us question our life choices of wiping the raid 10 times on the Friday afternoon when we could do something else, boss was INSANE. The visions, the whispers, player needing to refresh their “sanity” meter and stuff like created an incredible mood surrounding the fight.
But, back to Hearthstone. Card reviews. One thing I want to say before I start. It’s very likely that over half of my predictions will turn out to be completely untrue after the expansion. This one is especially hard to gauge, because besides the expansion itself, we’re getting new formats AND nerfs to Classic cards. We have really no idea which Classic cards will be nerfed or how Standard will really impact the meta. Then, the expansion is supposed to have 134 playable cards and we know, what, 40 so far? It makes judging the card’s strength even harder. Let’s give you a quick example – Eater of Secrets. This card would be insane in meta dominated by Secret Paladin. But with Standard coming, like half of the cards used in the deck are rotating out. Right now the Secret Paladin is dead. But! What if they release a new, strong Secret and other early game minions to compensate? Well, then it can come back even stronger. So it’s impossible to say whether the card will be strong or not. Keep that in mind when reading my thoughts, because that’s only what they are – thoughts.
My reviews will be mostly about the Standard format & Arena. It’s very clear that the Standard format will be a more competitive (Blizzcon points, official tournaments will be hosted in Standard etc.) one and writing two separate reviews for Standard/Wild seems excessive.
I’ll review only a few cards in each article. I try to go pretty in-depth on each one and I don’t want these to be too long.
Okay, so here is the thing. This minion is really, really cool, but would require a deck to be created around it. A Murloc Paladin, but a one that’s neither an Aggro deck nor the Anyfin Can Happen deck. Something like a Midrange Murloc Paladin. But what’s the deal, exactly?
Aggro Murloc decks aren’t good, so they won’t likely be played. I mean, those decks are really hit or miss – if you get perfect set of cards, yeah, they can win. But if you’re playing Aggro Murloc deck, both Warlock (because of the Hero Power) and Shaman (because of the Everyfin is Awesome) are better choices. On the other hand, Anyfin Paladin won’t want to play this card, because what’s the point, anyway? It just screws up your Anyfin combo by summoning 1/1’s without Charge or any kind of buffs.
But then, if you would play a MIDRANGE Murloc deck, that might be it. If you could spawn 1/1 Murlocs with your Hero Power, suddenly Murloc Warleader would be insane card. A 3/3 for 3 that gives +2/+1 to all your tokens? Sure, that’s really cool. Unlike Quartermaster, it would be easier to pull off because of the lower mana cost and also could be played on the curve just for the stats.
Besides Warleader, there is also a Murloc Knight that can possibly spawn more Murloc synergies. It can get you a Warleader, Grimscale Oracle and Murloc Tidecaller, which all will work well with a Murloc Hero Power. Sadly, both Old Murk-Eye and Siltfin Spiritwalker are not going to be playable in Standard, so that’s 2 great synergies gone. Maybe some new Murlocs gets released, though? We’ll see.
The minion itself is also okay. I mean, it’s a 1/3 1-drop. Not amazing, but you can’t expect more. And it’s a Murloc itself, so it would also benefit from the Warleader. Let’s say this on turn 1 into Coin + Warleader on t2 might be a great play, especially against 2/3 2-drops.
Then again, I would be really hyped if this just changed all your Silver Hand Recruits into Murlocs. Right now it only changes the ones you get from the Hero Power, no other sources. It also doesn’t work with Justicar Trueheart, since Justicar only affects your BASIC Hero Power (and it won’t be Basic any more). Since you’ll only be able to put one type of synergy into your deck (either Murlocs or Silver Hand Recruits), I’m not really sure which one will be stronger. I just think that this card has some degree of potential to see play.
In Arena, meeeh. Pretty much just a vanilla 1/3 for 1, which isn’t that good. In case you draft some Murloc synergies it gets better, but then again, the only Murloc synergy worth drafting (besides Murloc Knight) is Warleader, and it’s Epic. This card is also Epic, so getting those two exact epics is pretty uncommon. On the other hand, I think that there is Quartermaster which is also Epic, but the only one you need. And there is Warhorse Trainer… So while it depends on the draft, the new Hero Power has usually no impact whatsoever, with it being downside more often than an upside. Overall a pretty weak card.
Thing from Below
Midrange/Control Shaman hype? Any other Shaman than Aggro Shaman hype? Well… moderate hype. All you Shaman fans out there still need to hold your horses. This card is very good, but whether slower Shaman playstyle comes back is still up in the air.
After TGT, everyone has thought that Totem Shaman will be a thing. A Shaman comeback, great deck etc. And as it turned out, it was mediocre at best. So I don’t want to call it yet. But, this + next minion I’ll be reviewing + that Shaman healing Legendary… it looks promising.
But, back to the review. This minion is awesome. It has no Overload. The effect scales no matter where it is – it might still be in your deck, unlike the Knight of the Wild or Bolvar Fordragon. Those two weren’t playable for that exact reason – the effect required them to be in your hand, which sucks, because if you topdeck them they are really bad.
5/5 with Taunt is a 5 mana worth minion. This is a 6 mana minion at base. So it requires that you summon just ONE Totem for it to be okay. At 4 mana, it’s already insane. Sen’jin Shieldmasta will most likely be playable in Standard and this one has 2 more Attack with no downside. 3 or less? Insane tempo play.
And the key word to this card is “summon”. It means that totems that you get into the battlefield by any means count. So you know, your Hero Power counts. Tuskarr Totemic counts. Any new card that summons totems will count. If you also play stuff like Flametongue Totem or Totem Golem in your deck, that’s already enough for this card to work really well. In 90% of games you will be able to play the 5/5 on the curve (and by on the curve I mean on 5 mana), I think that in quite a lot of them you’ll be able to play it on turn 4 even.
Then, the topdecks. If it’s already late into the game, it’s an insane card to draw. You’ll most likely play a 0-2 mana 5/5 with Taunt.
I really like this minion and I’m sure of one thing – if Midrange Shaman will be played, this will DEFINITELY be a part of the deck.
Also, it’s a great Arena card. Even though you aren’t as likely to draw that many Totems or Totem creators, your Hero Power alone is enough to make this card playable. Even if you have perfect, smooth curve (which rarely happens) you don’t have to play it right away on turn 5. Just one totem later in the game and it’s already okay. Heck, it’s OKAY even at 6 mana for Arena purposes, comparable to Lord of the Arena. Which is obviously not good, but playable.
Master of Evolution
And that’s the third good Shaman card so far. This expansion is really going to be Shaman-friendly. And I really like that one. I see no reason to don’t run at least one. Two might be a bit too much and I’ll explain that later, but one is really good.
First of all, the stats. 4/5 for 4 is as good as you’ll get. You just can’t have more without any downside – after all you can’t make a better statted Chillwind Yeti. And this one has an upside! I was playing some Faeria lately and it really reminded me of a really cool card that is in that game – Unbound Evolution. When it comes to the HS, probably the closest comparison would be Recombobulator. Which was already an okay card. But, this one is even better for a few reasons. First of all – stats. 3/2 for 2 is vanilla, yes, but every playable 3/2 for 2 has an effect. Vanilla 3/2 for isn’t playable. However, 4/5 for 4 is vanilla without the effect. Minions with effects are usually like 5/4 or 3/5 (both are worse statlines). And then, the effect itself. Getting a random minion of the same cost usually meant that you got something weaker. The reason is that you don’t put bad cards into your deck. If you recomb a 5-drop, and only 20% of 5-drops are on the same level that the one you’re playing – you have a 80% chance to get something worse. Here, it doesn’t work like that. You still get a random minion, BUT it costs 1 more mana. So it heavily increases the chances that it’s going to be as good or even better than the one you play it on.
Besides being a thing you can just play on the curve, it’s awesome after you trade a minion and it survives. Let’s say you throw 5/5 into 4/5 and it survives at 1 health. That’s already good, but enemy is very likely to have a way to deal with a 1 health minion. But if you transfrom it with this one, even if you get something comparable, you basically “heal it” up to full.
One thing worth mentioning is that Master of Evolution has a nice synergy with Thing from Below. Even though you might play it for let’s say 2 mana, it’s still a 6-drop on the board. So if you evolve it, it becomes a random 7-drop (and there are some really good 7-drops – even a 7/7 War Golem is okay upgrade).
Oh, and I nearly forgot. The totems! Shaman’s Hero Power makes totems. As we all know, they are often pretty useless. Especially if you need some real board presence. Totems, however, are 1 mana minions. So this one turns a totem into a random 2-drop. Pretty neat, outside of the possible Doomsayer failure…
It’s crazy good in Arena. 4/5 for 5 is already very good and a 4/5 that has an upside? Minion combat is much more important in Arena, so you should often find yourself in a scenario where one of your minions is damaged and you’d like that effect. And just dropping it on an empty board or on some smaller drop should also be okay. If you have some pretty weak 3-drop on the board (I don’t know, some 2/4) on average, upgrading it into a 4-drop will be really cool.
P.S. Remember that if you try to use it on a minion when there is no minion in the game that costs 1 more mana, the effect just won’t trigger at all. So it won’t be usable on e.g. any 10+ mana minion that’s in the game right now
A 3 mana 3/3 minion with a 1 mana spell (Whirlwind) attached to it. Aldor Peacekeeper anyone? I don’t think Ravaging Ghoul is as strong as Aldor, because this effect is much more situational, but hey, it’s still pretty nice value.
3/3 for 3 is pretty standard right now. I don’t really expect more from the cards with pretty strong effects. Unstable Ghoul moves out and this takes it’s place. Which one is better? That’s a really hard question. Overall, I think Ravaging Ghoul is stronger. The effect happening immediately means enemy has no way to interfere – Silence it, destroy your other minions that benefit from it etc. Also, 3 attack is much more threatening by itself than 1 Attack. So, if you have a board that you want to play Whirlwind on – this one is great. But one bad thing is that you can’t “pre-play” it. It matters a lot when you play Patron Warrior. To combo Patron with Ravaging Ghoul you need 8 mana, that’s a lot. With Unstable, you could play it on turn 4 onto the empty board and you had quite a big chance that it’s going to survive. Then you could play Patron on turn 5 and sacrifice the Ghoul. You can’t do the same thing with Ravaging Ghoul.
I still think it’s going to find the way into some Warrior decks. Most likely Patron Warrior. The deck really benefits from Whirlwind effects – they activate Execute, they gain Armor through the Armorsmith, draw cards through the Acolyte of Pain and Battle Rage, increase Frothing Berserker‘s Attack, spawn more Grim Patrons… They are good. And with Ghoul gone, it will need to be replaced. Another contender for this spot is N’Zoth’s Tentacle, which is more similar to the Unstable Ghoul in a way that you can pre-play it.
Since I’m not a Patron Warrior expert, I won’t even try to predict which one will be better. My guess is that both will be playtested. But overall, it’s a really solid minion and I can see at least one copy being played in Patron or similar lists.
Oh, and it’s also AMAZING Arena card. 3/3 for 3 is a decent body to play on the curve and then the effect… Great against Paladins, great way to “ping off” the 1 health minions, if you actually have another Whirlwind effect you can combo them for 2 mana AoE (and people don’t really expect that from the Warrior). It might be impactful as early as turn 3 – let’s say you have a 3/2 on the board and enemy plays a 3/4. You play Ghoul and trade your guy. And that’s actually a pretty common scenario. Scenario which sucks for Warrior, because enemy is left with 3/1 that might contest his 3-drop. One thing worth mentioning, though, is that this is one of those minions which you can have TOO MANY of. I would probably draft only 2 or 3, not more. If you get more, at some point you’ll be killing your own minions with those. If you’re the one with board Control, the effect is pretty bad or situational. If you end up with 3 of those in the hand and nothing else to play, well, good luck not killing your own stuff.
Warrior might actually be really strong in Arena after the new expansion. And I mean it. LoE brought two strong Commons for Warrior and the class winrate already skyrocketed. The fact that Warrior is getting two new strong Commons already this expansion… Yeah. We probably have 1 more Common left – if that one will also be a good Arena card, then I really predict Warrior to be a force to reckon with in Arena. Common cards are biggest part of your deck + Class cards show at bigger rate + cards from the latest expansion show at bigger rate. So having 2 or possibly even 3 strong Commons should really
I’ve seen quite a lot of people being hyped about this. But I have to disagree. I don’t like this card that much. I actually think it’s mediocre in Constructed. I don’t think it’s going to see a lot of play, at least not with how currently Druid plays.
First of all – the ramp. 3/3 for 4 with Wild Growth is great value. Not only you pay only 2 mana for the 3/3 minion, but you also merge 2 spells into one. Yeah. But one thing people seem to forget is that the later you play your Wild Growth, the worse it is. Wild Growth is best when played on turn 2. Maybe turn 3 if you have 5-drops to ramp into. Turn 4? Not so much.
The reason is that Druid runs little to no 6-drops. Because there just aren’t a lot of non-situational, fast enough 6-drops that Druid would like to play. We have Emperor Thaurissan, sometimes Sylvanas Windrunner and that’s it. Druid wants to ramp into either 4 (Shredder/Keeper) or 5 mana (Drake/Bear) most of time. Then, 6 mana is usually a gap and then Druid again has a strong turn 7. So, a strong 6-drop that fits the Druid’s playstyle would need to be released for this to be really good.
I think this card is really good only if you can get it out earlier. If you have Innervate or even Coin, you can play it on turn 2/3 and then it’s really good. Turn 2 or 3 3/3 usually can contest whatever enemy drops AND you ramp up to 4/5 mana at the same time.
Then, the other use. You can get 3/3 + 2/2 for 4 mana. That’s a 5/5 total stats, but you can’t really count it like that. First of all – it really depends on how fast the meta will be. Two bodies are good if you play against a fast deck. Since opponent’s minions are low health anyway, but they are many – you prefer to have 2 smaller minions than 1 big. But then again, 5/5 for 4 would be so much better in any slower matchups. You can throw 5/5 into a 3/5 or 4/5 and kill it for “free”. You can’t do that with 3/3 + 2/2. Against opponent’s 5 health minions, you have to trade both in. So it’s most of the time 1 for 1 against opponent’s 4-drops. You can’t even run the 3/3 in and Hero Power unless enemy plays a 4 health 4-drops (which won’t likely be that common). So overall it’s just okay. Nothing special.
That’s why I don’t really see it being played. Ramping into 6 mana means that you sacrifice the tempo (3/3 for 4 is pretty bad after all) and it doesn’t (usually) put you ahead next turn, only 2 turns after. And playing 3/3 + 2/2 for 4 is pretty average. The only thing that’s cool is flexibility. If you need to ramp, you ramp. If you don’t have anything to ramp into at 6 mana, you can always pick the second option and it will still be okay. Does it make it good? Yes. Great? Not really. We’ll have to see the quality of other 4-drops first before completely judging it, though.
But, ladies and gentlemen, it’s an amazing Arena card. I think the Ramp part isn’t as strong here, though. But the fact that you can choose it when you need it is okay. Let’s say you’re on the Coin, it’s your only 4-drop but you also have a 5-drop. You can Coin it out and ramp and then play 5-drop next turn. Or if you don’t have turn 5 play but you have turn 6 play you can ramp to play on the curve. Then again, it’s much better in the second mode. In the world where Silver Hand Knight is one of the best 5-drops in the game, this one will also be great. For you get a 3/3 instead of 4/4, but you pay 1 less mana. It’s a good deal. This card has potential to do 2 for 1’s in Arena and that’s really cool + it’s also a nice play against decks that want to outtempo you, because it’s harder to deal with 2 separate bodies most of the time. Very good.
Hammer of Twilight
A new Shaman weapon. And probably the only Shaman card that I’m not excited for so far. And I don’t even mean it’s bad – it’s just very average. And very average means that it’s probably not playable in Constructed. Midrange/Control Shaman doesn’t really struggle with removal and Aggro Shaman has Doomhammer, which is way better if you plan to go face.
This is more likely a more Control-style weapon. Doomhammer’s problem with board control is that while it can deal 4 damage per turn, it’s in 2 hits. So if you want to clear opponent’s 5/4, you don’t take 5 damage. You take 10 damage. And that’s quite a lot . With this one, you can instantly clear it and take only 5.
Overall, the 4/2 weapon for 5 mana is too high. 4 mana weapons lie Truesilver Champion or Death’s Bite are good, because they cost 4. On 5 mana they suddenly would be way, way weaker. 4 mana means that you can play it into opponent’s 3-drop and pretty much guarantee to kill it. It also contests some of the 4-drops, even more if you have something small on the board (which you often do with those classes).
If you count the total value of the weapon, they are pretty much the same. Weapon part is identical. 4 healing and Whirlwind effect are worth about 1 mana. Then, the 4/2 vanilla minion – I’d say it’s worth 2 mana (I might say 2.5, but it’s WAY CLOSER to 2 than to 3). So yeah, since the effect is worth 1 more mana, the weapon too. But heck, I don’t think it will be worth waiting. And honestly, the 4/2 minion hasn’t even got a lot of synergy with the Shaman class.
Okay, the weapon is quite high value. You can kill up to 2 minions AND you get a 4/2 yourself. But I honestly don’t think that slower Shaman decks need that. But then again, Shaman is my least played class so I might be completely wrong here.
In Arena, it’s good. Weapons are very valuable, because at the expense of health you gain both value and tempo. Weapon that spawns a 4/2 after a second hit? Even better. I really think it’s amazing. I’ve been having quite good results with a Powermace even without any Mechs, so having a “1 mana more expensive” weapon is still okay. And if that 1 mana more expensive weapon gives you a 2 mana of value a turn after it’s played, sure, great.
Blood of The Ancient One
I rarely just straight away dismiss a card by saying that it’s bad/terrible/unplayable etc. But this one really is, I can’t really defend it. You’re basically playing a vanilla 9/9 for 9. Would that ever see a Constructed play? No. The effect – when you build a deck around it – might proc like what, 1 in 10 games? Even let’s say one in 5 games. But remember that proccing the effect doesn’t mean winning the game.
Oh, but if someone doesn’t know. ‘The Ancient One’ is a 30/30 minion. Cool, right? Yeah, but it has no effect, Stealth, not even Taunt. What would you need a 30/30 minion for? Like I’ve recently said in one of my reviews, anything above 8/8 in HS doesn’t matter that much. It’s a big minion enemy needs to kill. If it doesn’t die – enemy die. Yes, having 30/30 means that enemy dies after one hit (unless Taunt/Armor/Ice Block). But so what?
Okay, so you drop this and enemy doesn’t have an answer. Cool. Enemy couldn’t kill your 9/9. You hit face and drop a second one. Enemy still doesn’t have an answer. Cool. Now they merge. You get a 30/30. Instead of two 9/9s that could hit enemy for 18 (and remember that one already possibly did 9 damage last turn = 27 in total) you get 30/30. So what? You actually give enemy an easier time to find the answer. He only needs ONE answer instead of two (like, 30/30 gets killed by Shadow Word: Death – only one 9/9 would). Not to mention that in case enemy Taunts up, one 9/9 could clear and the second one could go face. So two vanilla 9/9’s might even be better. If enemy can’t answer those – you win the game anyway. That’s how it works.
I can’t even stress out how bad this card is. I mean, it’s cool, having a 30/30 on the board is an awesome finisher. Stylish. BUT IT IS SO BAAAAAD.
Oh. And it’s okay in Arena. It’s basically a 9 mana 9/9. You won’t ever get two of the same Epic in the draft and if you do, you won’t likely get them on the board at the same time. I mean, it can happen to someone sometime and it will be a big reddit highlight. But that’s it, 1 in million chance. So you can really look at it as a vanilla 9/9 for 9. Since 7/7 for 7 and 8/8 for 8 are both playable (average, but playable) this one will also be. It’s nowhere near the level of North Sea Kraken, but compared to some other Epic choices… you’d be glad to have this one.
A Warrior’s version of Echo of Medivh. So it might be insanely high value card, but it’s also insanely situational. Not only you need to have a few meaningful minions on the board, enough space in your hand, but here you’ll also need to damage them first.
Let me first say one thing – this will definitely NOT be played in Patron Warrior, even thought the “damaged” theme fits there most. The deck already runs insane card draw engine – Battle Rage. Which is just better. Patron rarely cares about the fatigue, so drawing from the deck is not a problem. Battle Rage costs 1 less mana AND has the potential to draw 1 more, because it counts characters instead of minions and your Hero is also a character. Also, one of the most common damaged minions is Acolyte Of Pain, which you don’t really want to copy unless you want to mill yourself…
The only situation I can see it being good in Patron Warrior is a late game Patron turn + this. What Patron Warrior often struggles with is that if enemy has a way to kill both Patron batches, it’s sometimes hard to win. With let’s say 4 more Patrons in the hand, you get a lot more shots at winning. But then again, you’ll probably run out of the Whirlwind effect after the 3rd big Patron turn, so having as many won’t be insane. But I still don’t think it’s good enough to be played in Patron.
But, the card might have its uses. What if you want to have high value cards but you DON’T want to draw from your deck? That’s right, if you play a slow Control Warrior or even Fatigue Warrior, drawing from your own deck might not be good. This card allows to do a Thoughtsteal like move – getting more value while not getting closer to the fatigue at the same time. Since Whirlwind effects are pretty useless in those slow matchups, it’s easy to, once you have like 2 minions on the board, play let’s say a 5-drop, Revenge and then copy all 3.
But… yeah. Overall, the card would be good only in the very slow matchups. So unless we’ll see a fatigue meta (and I hope we won’t – as much as I like to play slow decks, having EVERY MATCH end up in fatigue would be to exhausting) I don’t think it will be played. Then, even in fatigue meta we have a problem of “full hand”. Let’s say Warrior vs Warrior – playing weapons and hitting face or Bashing enemy face or playing Revenge on nothing is common in those incredibly slow matchups. You just don’t want to play your cards and you have full hand. In that case, this card won’t work, because you won’t have enough space to copy those AND you’ll miss next draw. Not to mention that having a few minions on the board you can copy is hard, because not only enemy tries to remove everything you play BUT you’re also playing into AoE removals. Like you’re giving enemy a good Brawl which would otherwise be useless in the matchup.
So, overall that’s a card that is good only in very slow matchups AND even in those matchups it might be very hard to utilize it. It most likely means that we won’t see this card being played. And I’m kinda glad for that, because once this card will be considered good – the meta will be so slow that I’d fall asleep after three games.
Also, there is a cool synergy with Molten Giants. Just like Echo Giant Mage, Warrior could also try that playstyle. But then again, having Ice Block is a big deal in such a deck, so on second thought… it probably won’t work.
In Arena… Not really good. It’s clearly weaker than Echo of Medivh, because it’s even more situational. And Echo is already below average, because of how hard it is to make it work. You need to have crushing board lead for it to be good and at this point you’re most likely already winning the game. Echo of Medivh is not terrible, but this one might be. How often does it happen that you have the big board lead AND every of your minions is damaged or you have a Whirlwind effect in your hand? The fact that you can’t really use it on the empty board and it’s not worth using without having at least 2-3 damaged minions… Yeah. But it’s Epic, so you won’t have to worry about it that much.
So, that’s it. Thanks for reading my articles, I really appreciate that. I have mixed feelings about this batch of cards. While some of them are clearly strong and will most likely see play, there are a lot of situational, overcosted or just straight up weak stuff. At least most of those cards are playable in Arena.
If you have any info I forgot to write about, or I am wrong somewhere (Blizzard is releasing a lot of additional info on those cards and I might have missed something), please share it in the comment section. If you agree or disagree with my reviews – also share, I’m really open for discussion!