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.
Soggoth the Slitherer
I think we really need a card like that. Sludge Belcher is gone and having a big Taunt is important against Aggro. But on the other hand, I think that it’s kinda overpriced.
This is definitely NOT a card meant to shine in Control matchups. I mean, come on, you’d rather have a lot of other big drops on the board than this guy. Taunt isn’t that big of a deal and a lot of board clears don’t even require targeting at all (Brawl, Equality + Consecration, Frost Nova + Doomsayer, Twisting Nether) so the fact that you have a big Taunt that can’t be killed by a spell is not that big of a deal. You don’t want to pay 9 mana for a 5/9, definitely not.
Okay, let’s compare it to another big Taunt Druid already has – Ancient of War. I think since this is a Legend, it could be a nice baseline. It costs 2 more mana, has 1 less health and the effect that it can’t be targeted by the spells. Even ignoring the 1 less health (because class card vs neutral legendary) – is the effect REALLY worth 2 mana? So far, other minions with this effect: Faerie Dragon has vanilla stats, Arcane Nullifier X-21 has -1 Attack compared to Sen’jin Shieldmasta, so th effect costs 1 Attack. Spectral Knight also has -1 Attack compared to the Pit Fighter, so again, the effect costs 1 Attack. Here, the effect costs about 2 mana. 2 mana is way more than 1 Attack. Why? Price it at 8 and it would still be fair. 7 would be too low I think, but 8 would be awesome.
The thing is – this card’s main use is against fast decks. You know, stuff like Aggro or high tempo Midrange decks that want to rush you down. You play it in the slower deck to protect against fast decks. But what’s the protection on turn 9? Turn 9 is usually the moment when you’ve either ALREADY stabilized or you lost the game by now. Turn 9 is way too late against Aggro.
Also, the fact that both effects can be negated by a single Ironbeak Owl is pretty bad. I mean, okay, it’s true that Aggro decks might have already used Silence on something else you’ve already played. That’s fair. It might win you games against Aggro, it might be great in certain cases. But overall, I think the card just comes too late to do its job. Sludge Belcher was so strong, because it was turn 5 play. Turn 5 is usually when you’ve started turning tides against Aggro. Putting 7 health Taunt (5 + 2 from Slime) against Aggro meant that it stops so much damage. How often can you realistically wait until turn 9 to block the fast deck? You need to have tools that stop their aggression earlier. And if you have those, you won’t likely need this guy after.
Then again, the matchup it might work in – Zoo Warlock. Zoo Warlock is not your typical Aggro deck and getting to turn 9 is very common. But then again, Zoo is about buffs, not about direct removal. He has a 3/2, plays Power Overwhelming, Abusive Sergeant and your 9 mana Taunt dies. It should still be good, but good enough to play it? I’m not sure.
I’d say that the card is strongest against pretty aggressive Midrange decks. The decks that don’t necessarily want to rush you down by turn 6-7, but they also can put a lot of pressure throughout the whole game. If you’re ahead or even, dropping this one usually seals the game, as most stuff they run into it dies and 9 health guarantees that he needs to run some minions into it.
In Arena I think it’s going to be above average. It’s a very strong comeback card. In Arena, comebacks are very hard – if enemy takes board control, no matter what you play he should find a way to kill it with the mix of minions and spells and Hero Power and whatever. This one needs to be hit by minions. Like before, 5 Attack means that most of stuff that hits it dies or is severely damaged. And 9 health means that it takes a while to get through it. Removals are insanely strong if someone is ahead. Let’s say he has 8 damage on the board and you play one big minion. Polymorph or something like that can completely screw you, because you are in the same position next turn and you’re 8 health lower. This one can’t be killed like that. The only bad thing about this card is that it trades poorly with North Sea Kraken. Not only Kraken can instantly kill something else with Battlecry (or finish this, because the effect doesn’t protect against Battlecries), but in direct combat Kraken wins with 2 health left.
This card is a joke. Not only it’s a Control card in a Tempo class, but even in a Control class it would be pretty bad. Why the hell are they trying to make Rogue Control? Just leave it as a tempo class, give it a few good tempo cards and that’s it. Not every class has to be played in every style. Like, they don’t push the Aggro Priest cards all the time because they want people to play Aggro Priest. But okay, let’s try to analyze the card.
Why exactly is it bad? First of all – the mana cost. It draws you 3 cards, which is priced at 5 mana (Nourish). This costs 6 for some reason. You can say that adding cards is more expensive mechanic than drawing cards, but I disagree – we have Thoughtsteal which gives you exactly the same card advantage as the Arcane Intellect and then the Cabalist’s Tome that will be released this expansion also adds cards. And it costs 5 mana for add 3. For just one more mana you get Sprint, which draws you 1 more card. So that’s the first reason.
The second reason is that you can get 2 more copies of the card you don’t want. You can’t predict what your next card is going to be (unless that’s a last card in your deck, but it doesn’t really count). You don’t know whether it’s going to be good or not. It’s all random. Would you ever play a 6 mana card that said “Draw a card. Add 2 Backstabs to your hand.”? I doubt that. There are just so many bad cards you can get. It’s completely unplayable in any fast matchup unless you get two more copies of a Heal or Taunt, but how many of those you have in your deck, realistically? 4? Chances of drawing that one are low. Then again, in slow matchups getting the Backstabs is bad, because they don’t do enough. Getting Blade Flurry is bad, because you won’t have enough buffs to utilize it. Fan of Knives is bad, because that’s 3 mana cycle – it’s too slow on top of already slow card you’ve played. Sprint is bad if you don’t want to suicide with fatigue. You get it, there are just many bad draws.
The third reason is that it doesn’t give you more options. That’s the main reason you draw cards, because you want to have more options. Having 3 copies of the same card isn’t more options. Let’s say you dig for the Sap after enemy has played Sylvanas Windrunner. Using this gives you only 1 chance to get that. Using normal “draw 3 cards” gives you 3 chances to draw it. Using Sprint gives you 4 chances to draw it, that’s why you should use Sprint instead.
Fourth reason is that you don’t cycle through your deck. A lot of people don’t get it, they think that drawing cards from outside the deck is a good thing. But most of time it isn’t. It matters ONLY if you get into the fatigue and run out of cards. Up until then, drawing from your deck is stronger. Why? Because your deck should be balanced. It should have enough of threats, enough of removals etc. Sometimes the stuff you want, like big threats, are stuck on the bottom of your deck. It means that you want to get to them as fast as you can. If you play any “popular” Rogue deck, Raptor Rogue, Oil Rogue, Miracle Rogue, Malygos Rogue – they all want to cycle through their decks. They don’t care about fatigue. The only matchups that is really impacted by fatigue is Control Warrior. One matchup. In the rest of them, they want to draw a lot and they don’t care about fatigue.
The card is CLEARLY not a fit into any currently playable Rogue archetype. I don’t count Control Rogue as playable, but that’s the only deck the card might fit into. If you want to test your luck, that is. But honestly, even in Control Rogue I’d still run Sprint over this card. The only reason to run this is if you somehow play against slow decks all the time and at least 50% of your matches get to the fatigue. Which is not going to happen, trust me.
In Arena it’s also terrible. Rogue is a tempo class – that’s what it is. Spending 6 mana to not gain ANY instant value and possibly get two more copies of a 1-drop or 2-drop in your hand is ridiculous. In Arena, you never care about Fatigue. My last game that got into the fatigue was like, 100 games ago? I don’t remember EVER getting to fatigue when playing Rogue and I’m playing Arena for 2.5 years now. Sprint is already very slow and it actually gives you meaningful options for next turn. And for 1 more mana it draws 1 more. Thistle Tea? Terrible card.
Oh, the WoG version of Nerubian Egg. Weaker version. This card is average, can’t say that it’s terrible, because there are some merits to run it. But it’s definitely not going to replace the Eggs.
A 1/1 for 4 is a terrible tempo play. The first turn you drop it, it does nothing. You overpay 4 mana. Then, the next turn you run it into something. If you let’s say pump the attack of this minion and kill whatever you’ve ran into, it’s fine. It starts getting the value. And then, dropping a 5/5 is the tempo comeback. It swings back in your favor. So, you sacrifice some initial tempo for the possible tempo gain later. Sounds familiar? Yeah, Nerubian Egg.
But, let’s look closer at the cards, shall we? Twilight Summoner doesn’t require an activation, unlike the Egg. That’s good. That’s actually the ONLY merit to run it. Egg was sometimes a dead card if you had no ways to activate it in your hand. This is never completely useless. Even if you have no attack buffs, you can still run it into something to get a 5/5. Then, the Deathrattle. 4/4 vs 5/5 – Twilight Summoner wins again, although that’s not a big difference to be honest. Then, the mana. Biggest deal. 2 mana vs 4 mana – Nerubian Egg wins hands down. 4/4 on turn 3 is much bigger deal than 5/5 on turn 5. Also, earlier in the game it’s much easier to kill something with the first body. If you abusive the Egg, you get 2 attack – enough to kill a lot of 1-drops or 2-drops. If you Abusive the Summoner, you get 3 Attack, which is enough to kill some 3-drops, but not really enough to kill any 4-drops. So it’s harder to get value with the initial body. Also, the Silence factor. Getting the Egg Silenced is obviously bad, but enemy rendering your 2-drop useless hurts much less than enemy doing the same thing, with the same resources to your 4-drop.
Both cards share the same use. Besides being a good tempo swingers, they are AoE protection. You drop something like that on the board and you just don’t pop it if you think enemy has board clear. He will either need to invest more resources into popping it himself before clearing the board OR he’ll be forced to leave you with a 5/5 on the board after the clear.
And that’s why the card MIGHT see Constructed play. Because with all the Naxx/GvG Deathrattles going away, boards will be MUCH, MUCH less AoE-resistant. So while it’s clearly worse than Nerubian Egg, it might find its way into some not necessarily Aggro, but let’s say Zoo-like decks just to give some AoE protection against removals.
That said, I’m still not sure, because 4 mana feels quite a lot for this kind of effect. You know, for example Dreadsteed is also an insane card in slow matchups (it can give you like 10-15 pings through the game), but it’s just never used, because it’s an initial tempo loss, which sucks hard against Aggro. Aggro decks will thank you for playing a 4 mana 1/1, they will jstu ignore it and go face, and by the time you can attack with your 5/5 you’ll be already dead. So if Aggro decks will run rampant on the ladder, it’s not going to be used. If meta will be more Control oriented, it will be a common pick, because it gives the AoE protection.
In Arena, it’s pretty bad. On the one hand, 6/6 total stats is cool. But not only the initial 1/1 doesn’t really matter, as you won’t likely kill ANYTHING with that on turn 4/5, but losing so much tempo in Arena is often like asking yourself to get rushed down. It would be much better if 5/5 had Taunt and enemy couldn’t ignore it, but in the current state – if enemy already had a slight tempo lead and he knows how to play the game, he’ll just abuse your lack of turn 4 heavily and most likely kill you before you can come back. On the other hand, it’s pretty nice if you’re in the lead, especially if it’s late game and you worry about Flamestrike and such. That card is insane against Flamestrike – even if enemy pings the 1/1 before Flamestriking, you’re still left with a 5/1. So it’s really Flamestrike-proof. And the same goes for other AoEs too. But overall I’d say that it’s below average.
Embrace the Shadow
So, I had to think about this one for a bit. At first I thought this card is terrible. Because let’s face it – you get the same effect for 2 more mana ON A 3/5 BODY. And it’s not “this turn only”, it’s as long as Auchenai is in play. So that’s clearly much better. You pay 2 more mana to get a 3/5 (great deal already) and you can shoot things every turn. It’s insane to keep your Auchenai alive once you got your Hero Power upgraded, it won me a lot of games. So it’s clearly NOT an Auchenai replacement. Yes, there are some merits to having a 2 mana Embrace the Shadow + Circle of Healing combo, but realistically – how many times you’ve needed to play that on turn 2? Insanely high tempo decks with 10+ 1-drops would need to be played for you to need this on turn 2-3. Turn 4 is most of time good enough.
So, what’s the deal with this card? The problem with Auchenai’s mana cost is that it’s not a great fit into a turn when playing a combo deck. Yes, that’s right. This card is a combo card, not a card you’d play in your normal Priest list. Priest already runs enough situational cards and Auchenai is just much better for every day use. But, if you play a combo deck and you want to kill enemy on that given turn, you don’t give a damn about 3/5 body. And the 2 mana cost is a big, big deal.
I’ve played my share of the Combo Priest decks. With Prophet Velen, with Malygos, with different ways to burn. And I need to say that this will be a BIG upgrade in such a deck. It was really hard to make an OTK turn. Sure, you had Prophet Velen + 2x Mind Blast for 20 damage. Maybe add a Holy Smite for 4 more. But that’s still not OTK. You still had to deal some damage before. It was possible to play around it if enemy knew that he plays against combo deck. I mean, there WERE some OTK possibilities, but much harder.
But now it’s different. Now we have 30 damage combo that’s pretty easy to pull off. Prophet Velen + Embrace the Shadow + 2x Flash Heal + Mind Blast. And that’s only 13 mana, so it requires an Emperor hit on just 3 out of 5 combo pieces.
Obviously, I’m not saying that the combo is reliable. Combo Priest will most likely still be pretty wonky and non competitive deck. Especially with Lightbomb gone, it will be a lot harder to stall the game long enough. But this card gives a possibility for an quite reliable OTK combo. It would be even better if they released another cheap heal and you’d be able to cut the Mind Blasts, which are useless outside the combo. Heals are still good against Aggro decks, because you rarely go for the combo route against them. You just need to survive and you win, so healing is important. Heals can also be used as a removal with Auchenai effect. So you know, maybe, just maybe if another cheap heal gets released, we’ll have a working combo deck.
Honestly, I hope we won’t, because I dislike combo decks. But it’s still fun to theorycraft about them.
In Arena, the card sucks hard. Auchenai is good, because it’s a body you can play on the curve. In a lot of decks you don’t even draft stuff like Circle of Healing or Flash Heal. They’re pretty weak standalone cards, only good if you have some combos for them. The only heal that’s pretty good standalone card is Light of the Naaru, just because besides healing it also gives you something on the board. With other cards that heal, Embrace the Shadow is… 4 mana deal 2 damage. Yeah, 4 mana Holy Smite. Even with just a 1 or 2 heal effects it’s not worth to pick it. It’s going to be one of the most useless Arena cards – I’d pick it ONLY if I had like 4-5 healing in my deck already, but at this point my deck would probably suck. But luckily, it’s an Epic so we won’t see it too often.
Might be most hyped card in the set so far? And it definitely look cool. Great art, 10 mana cost, 12/12 stats. Let’s be honest, it’s very easy on the eyes. And you just want to play it. I find it weird that even the pros are getting hyped, didn’t they learn from the previous sets?
The card is incredibly strong in the vacuum. But we DON’T play in the vacuum. We play against other decks. And a lot of other decks are decks winning through the tempo. You play against decks that want to outvalue you in like, I don’t know, 20% of your matchups? That’s not much. You can’t play card that’s nearly useless in 80% of your matchups.
This card is just too slow. When was the last time you remember a 8+ mana minion with NO INSTANT EFFECT being played competitively? All the slow cards were constantly cut out of the Control decks, lowering the curve. Because people have realized that increasing your win rate against high tempo decks is more important than keeping the high win rate in slow matchups. Some decks have decided to go fatigue route against slow decks, some have decided to add Elise Starseeker to have a late game against them, whatever – I just wanted to point out that people were cutting tons of late game. Even Ysera which is one of the highest value cards in the game is rarely seen now, because it’s just too slow. There isn’t a single minion like that being played in the current Control lists. This is a big clue to whether this one will be useful or not.
Then, the next clue. In what deck would you want to play it? I’ve seen people getting hyped about this spawning a normal Deathwing, Ysera and a few big Dragons on the board. Yeah, right. Like I’ve said before, you’d never play a deck like that in a meta that’s not control-heavy. “But Stone, the meta will slow down!” You think? First of all, we don’t know that. It’s impossible to predict the meta, before knowing every single card and changes to classic – it’s just guessing. It might slow down but it might be faster. And then, even if it slows down, it might slow a bit. But there is no way we’ll have a big jump to a Control meta. Right now the ladder meta isn’t even Aggro – it’s about high tempo Midrange decks – Midrange Druid, Secret Paladin, Zoo Warlock, Patron Warrior. I’d even say that Control are more popular than stricte Aggro. Even if the meta slows down, it still should center around Midrange decks, I don’t see that thing changing.
So well, since you can’t play it in the very slow deck, because that will obviously not work, what do you expect to get from the Deathrattle? Most of the Dragon decks are Midrange. So you’ll get what, Twilight Guardian? Twilight Whelp in Priest? Azure Drake? You can’t realistically expect to play this AND a few big dragons AND have them all in your hand AND getting them out on the board.
This is a huge value card. But on the turn it hits the board, it does nothing. Until it dies – it does nothing. It’s just a big body with no effect. And you know what, enemy doesn’t necessarily want to kill it. A lot of times he can just ignore it. “But Stone, how can you ignore a 12/12?” You can, easily. If you play a slow deck with big Dragons, you were probably losing the tempo game the whole time and you’ve tried to catch up. Enemy should be near full health, so it will take at least 2-3 hits with this one into the face to kill him. Even not counting the Taunts. But how many times do you think you’ll be able to hit face? Let’s say enemy has 10 attack on the board and you’re at 15 health. Do you really think you can go face with that 12 damage? No, you can’t. You have to trade.
The only situation where you’d really get the value are slow matchups. But you know what? Slow matchups have their own way of dealing with this kind of stuff. Mage has Polymorph, Shaman (if it will be played) has Hex, Priest has Entomb – they all make Deathrattle not proc. I don’t know, RenoLock will keep Silence and BGH for this guy, just like he keeps Silence for Tirion (and keeping it against Warrior is way easier than against Paladin) if it will become popular. The only slow matchup that realistically can’t deal with it with the current toolkit is… Control Warrior. And Control Warrior is the deck you’d most likely play this in. So yeah, congrats, you play a card that helps you in the mirror matchup and that’s it.
I’m sorry to spoil the fun, but this card is completely overhyped. I honestly doubt we will see it in any competitive deck. It’s way too slow for your standard Dragon decks, and the Control decks with a lot of high cost Dragons some of you’d like to see just won’t work. Just look how the current Control decks are built. How many big late game threats they have. And now think whether this card would fit into any of those. This card is a noob bait – sorry to put it that way, but I just don’t know the better phrase. It lures players with a cool art, with big stats, huge effect, with ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OF GREAT VALUE. But in reality, it’s a nearly unplayable card, but it shines so hard that it gets a lot of attention. Whereas the real great cards of the set are rarely all shiny and bright, they are plain, they are normal, just a solid, lower cost cards without any crazy effects.
In Arena, however, it’s very good. I’d say not as good as the normal Deathwing, because his effect is much more impactful, but this is pretty much a vanilla 12/12 for 10. A perfect card to finish your curve. It’s bigger than it should be vanilla-wise, because in Arena stuff like 7/7 for 7 or 8/8 for 8 is popular. 12/12 for 10 breaks the schematic a bit and that’s fine – it’s a Legendary anyway, so you won’t probably see that. Then again, Deathrattle is nearly useless – in Arena Dragon synergies are few and far between. And by the time you drop this, even if you have any other smaller Dragons in your hand, you’re probably going to play them. But still – 12/12 body is rather juicy.
Ooooh, and now you can compare bad card (Deathwing, Dragonlord) to the great card (Faceless Summonner). This one is insane.
6-drops are a problematic slot for most of the decks. Besides Legendaries like Sylvanas Windrunner or Emperor Thaurissan, there isn’t really much to play there. It’s a gap in the curve a lot of time. And here, it is something to fill that gap for the Mage.
5/5 is about 4.5 mana worth of stats. So for 6 mana, we’re paying 1.5 more mana to get a random 3-drop. So we pay 1.5 mana to get a 3 mana minion. And that’s really cool – especially since they come in two bodies. Minions that have more than 1 body were often strong, because enemy needs to kill both to fully remove card. Those cards are often going to get “2 for 1”, just because it’s rarely possible to kill both bodies with 1 removal. This card might be ALMOST on the level of Piloted Shredder. Almost.
So, let’s look at the different scenarios. Cards can’t be judged only by the best case scenarios – if the card sucks very hard in the bad/average scenario and it’s only good in the best one, it’s not playable. This card is definitely playable. Because even the WORST CASE SCENARIO is 5/5 + 2/2 for 6 mana. And I’ll be honest – that’s not a good card. It’s slightly better Silver Hand Knight, but for 1 more mana. Definitely wouldn’t be played in Constructed. But 2/2’s for 3 are very uncommon. Not only they are uncommon, but a lot of them have positive effects. Questing Adventurer can snowball if you can play more cards on the same turn or it survives. Raid Leader instantly buffs the rest of your board, so it might give you a better trade thanks to +1 Attack.
There also a few 1/4’s, which are also pretty bad, because they are very likely to die for free in minion combat. They all, however, have some effects, so that’s why they might be situationally okay. Like Dalaran Mage with Spell Damage or Silverback Patriarch with Taunt. And there is an Alarm-o-Bot – which can vary from terrible (dies for free to a 2-drop) to amazing (survives and pulls out something big from your hand for crazy tempo gain). But mostly terrible.
But, from what I’ve counted, the bad/meh outcomes are only about 1/3 of them. Then, about 1/3 are average – getting some 3/3, a 2/4 etc. And about 1/3 are amazing. The obviously best ones are stuff that have really high stats with negative effect – Injured Blademaster everyone’s mentioning and King Mukla. The first one is 5/5 + 4/7 for 6 mana – that’s 9/12 stats for 6 mana. Second one is slightly worse – 10/10 for 6, but still insane. But those aren’t the only great outcomes. Imp Gang Boss – one of the strongest 3-drops in the game. Felguard – 3/5 Taunt or even Fierce Monkey – 3/4 Taunt. Frothing Berserker – if you have any board that you can trade, it can get to like 6/4 Easily. Arcane Golem – 4/2 with Charge. Acolyte of Pain – card cycle, possibly even 2 cards if you have mana to ping it or enemy has small minions on the board. Brann Bronzebeard – if it survives you can get tons of value next turn. Hobgoblin if you have Mana Wyrm in your hand to follow it with. More chargers, more Taunts, more high value cards…
I’d actually say that there are even more “great” outcomes than “bad” outcomes. And when the bad outcomes aren’t that terrible, they are actually okay-ish, well, the card has to be good. I really think the card might see Constructed play, because it’s a high value move, it might be a pretty high tempo move depending on what you get too, it’s often hard to remove both bodies, it fills the 6-drop slot that was often a gap in Mage decks… I think there will be a few free slots in Mage with some of the Naxx/GvG cards gone and this might fill one of them.
And the Arena. Oh boy. Remember what I’ve said about them seemingly caring about Arena balance when I was reviewing Warrior commons and Hunter’s “Unleash the Animal Companions”? I take that back. Mage is consistently one of the strongest Arena classes since the Beta. I don’t remember it EVER being ranked outside of the top 3. And it’s very often the best class. Why would they give a class that’s already so strong another crazy good common? Because this card is insane. I’d pick it over Boulderfist Ogre in a heartbeat and I’d say that Boulderfist is the strongest Common 6-drop in Mage. Yes, there are already some class cards that outshine it – like Fire Elemental or Temple Enforcer, but they’re both in classes that are weak in Arena. It’s like the Keeper of Uldaman all over again. They gave a class that was already strong in Arena an insanely good common card. And guess what, it became even stronger, punishing the weaker classes even harder. What do you think will happen to Mage if you give the class card like that? Yeah, the same thing. Common cards have highest offer rate in Arena + class cards have increased offer rate + cards from the latest expansion have increased offer rate. It means that a very strong CLASS COMMON will be seen like every second run. And that’s very often. High win rate Mage decks will probably have 2-3 of those guys. And as you’ve probably guessed from my rant, it’s insanely good in Arena. Silver Hand Knight is a very strong card, one of the best common 5-drops. And this card is comparable to Silver Hand Knight IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. Given that average scenario puts it in like 80-90 score range on the Arena tier, it joins the ranks of the god tier cards – and you might remember that Mage got another one of those in the last expansion – Ethereal Conjurer. I really think that for the sake of Arena balance, it should be Rare card.
Servant of Yogg-Saron
This, on the other hand, sucks hard. I don’t see it being played outside of the fun decks that are completely RNG.
You know the reason Madder Bomber isn’t played in Constructed? Because it’s too random. You can’t control the outcome. It can screw you hard. It’s nearly unplayable when you’re the one with the board control. And those cards have quite a lot in common.
So, first, the stats. 5/4 for 5 is bad. Those are 4-drop stats, not 5-drop. Then, the effect. It’s just too freaking random. I know, a lot of people did math, even Trump did (he revealed the card), there are more positive than negative cards. Yeah. But let’s even say that this card will have positive effect 50% of time, neutral effect 25% of time and bad effect 25% of time.
Okay, positive effects are obviously good. But remember that they might not be as good as you’d want them to be. Let’s say Arcane Missiles. 5 mana 5/4 that deals 3 random damage? It’s okay, but nothing crazy good. Or you know, casting Quick Shot into opponent’s face. 3 damage! Nice! It’s a slightly better Nightblade… Yes, some outcomes are amazing. Like killing opponent’s minion or buffing this with Blessing of Kings or something.
But not be hyped yet. The neutral effects already make this card bad. Let’s assume neutral effects means nothing happens or the effect might be good or bad. Like you know, Powershot when enemy has no minions, using Innervate if you have nothing else to play, casting Savagery on anything, healing a minion that’s already full health etc. etc. But in that case, the card is bad. It’s a 5/4 for 5 that doesn’t do anything more, doesn’t give you any advantage.
And then, the bad effects. And mind you, a lot of bad effects means losing on the spot. This guy killing itself means you’ve spent 5 mana and a card doing nothing. Casting Astral Communion. Playing Naturalize either on one of your minions or let’s say opponent’s 1/1. Buffing opponent’s stuff. Healing enemy when you were near lethal or vice versa – dealing damage to yourself and giving enemy lethal this way. Casting Equality if you have the board control. Those are all possibly game-losing stuff.
Would you ever play a card with a strong effect that said “25% of time it doesn’t work and 25% of time you get a negative effect instead”? I don’t think so. I definitely wouldn’t. And once again, it’s really hard to judge this card without seeing it in play and experiencing on different board states, how often will it screw you etc. but I’m calling it – it’s way too random. Just like Madder Bomber can win you the game, because when all 6 bombs go on the opponent’s side it’s crazy good. But it can also lose you a game on the spot if it kills your own stuff or hits your face a few times.
In Arena I wouldn’t pick it for the same reason. Body is weak for the mana cost, you don’t want to play 5/4 for 5. And then if effects can be both positive and negative, it’s like taking a gamble. If you want to hit higher win rate, you need solid cards that always work. Not wonky, random cards that might lose you the game on the spot.
I feel like majority of people will be really surprised about how this expansion is going to turn out. I commonly see the phrases that the game will become slow, that all the high value cards will be good, that some very situational and slow cards are going to work, I mean – what? I don’t think we’re playing the same game. I agree that meta might get SLOWER, but by slower I mean slightly slower, because with all the Deathrattle/sticky stuff gone, people will have to actually worry about board clears and not just flood the board on the curve and don’t care. Yes, it will slow down the play, but not “slow down” as in “everyone will play control”. It’s just people will be forced to play more carefully, to play slower cards that are AoE resistant etc. – not that Control will be the most dominating archetype.
On the other hand, I feel like some of the underrated cards will turn out to be really strong. Nonetheless, I can’t wait for the expansion, really. First few weeks after a big expansion like that are really fun, because meta isn’t defined yet and everyone’s experimenting. While I’m not that big of a deck builder, I’ll definitely try some of my own stuff.
Only ~10 days left! Also, if someone doesn’t know yet – on April 21 at 10AM PDT (that should be 6 PM CET) there is going to be an official Blizzard stream with some card reveals and show matches. I think that might also be the time they’re (finally) going to reveal card changes to the Classic set. Because let’s be honest, it might be even more important at shaking up the meta than the whole expansion.
Just like always, if I’ve missed something or you guys want to discuss, feel free to leave the comments in section below!