We review the final batch of cards from The Grand Tournament
The release of the The Grand Tournament expansion is now just five days away. On Aug. 24, you'll finally be able to crack into some brand new packs and play with 132 fresh Hearthstone cards. That new pack smell is practically intoxicating.
With all the remaining cards revealed late last week, we present the final installment of our card reviews. Once again, and now with the full set in view, we have assessed their viability and potential impact on the game in both arena and constructed. For our previous reviews, check here, here, and here.
Arena: If you’re really strapped for cards or if you see a battlecry that can win you the game, this card will be solid. It’s super slow otherwise.
Constructed: I don’t know man, it’s probably good sometimes, but you should put cards in your deck that you want to play yourself! Why would you waste a turn copying stuff from the other side of the board?
Arena: Very slow, but it's pseudo card draw. In arena you can't really make much account of the value of this card.
Constructed: It's a targeted Thoughtsteal, so it might be good, but I think it's just too slow and too badly costed to replace Thoughtsteal.
Arena: The idea of stacking up on coins is mostly good to trigger the Rogue’s combo cards, so I fear Cutpurse will mostly be a subpar 2/2. However if you get it down, generate a couple coins to launch into a turn-four Boulderfist Ogre, that’s pretty strong.
Constructed: A 2/2 on two is mediocre and only played if the upside is huge (see: Mad Scientist.) You have to get this thing out and go face to get the benefit, and I just don’t see that benefit being overwhelmingly strong. Cutpurse would’ve had a shot if it was a 2/3 or 3/2, but as is, it’s just a little too fragile.
Arena: Not a high priority two drop. It's effect is very slow and only likely to result in one coin in most circumstances. Probably less useful in a run than any 2/3.
Constructed: Not going to make the cut for me, unfortunately. I like the effect—I liked it when Gallywix was released last time round—but it just hasn't shown itself to be hugely beneficial. If some kind of Miracle Rogue does return then this might be viable, but until then it is just another card for the scrapheap.
Arena: Pretty bad in arena, but not necessarily the worst! Dropping a 1/1 on turn four is not great for tempo, but there’s a good chance your opponent doesn’t have any silence in his deck, which means you get a free 1/1 ping whenever you want. So you can get some use out of Dreadsteed, but drawing it late or as a topdeck is so unimaginably bad that I wouldn’t risk it.
Contructed: If nothing else, I’m glad this card exists. It’s a radical new mechanic that probably saw a lot of balancing internally. I don’t think anyone will be able to say how good or bad it is until they get to play with it, but I’m going to say it’s probably more useful than we realize. Will it get consistent play? Probably not. But I, for one, am going to try and make an Anima Golem deck.
Arena: I've talked in previous card reviews about how any epic which doesn't require additional synergy to be in any way useful is pretty decent in arena. This just about makes that cut, making it better than a lot of other epics that will be in your draft.
Constructed: This is a deck which someone somewhere might try and make work, but I don't think it's going to be consistent in any meaningful way. There are similarities to Grim Patron, but only enough to note that all the things which make Patron strong aren't possible here. It can't be triggered multiple times (unless you somehow acquire Feign Death), and can't be given charge with Warsong.
Arena: Decent arena legendary. You can’t go face but arena is about value anyway. Having a 10/10 on the board is threatening enough.
Constructed: I could see Icehowl getting some sporadic play, especially in classes that lack hard removal. You play Icehowl, you kill a Ragnaros, and you have a 10/2 still on board. That isn’t awful. I guess the question is “how much better is it than Big Game Hunter,” which also puts a low-health minion on board and clears a big guy but for much less mana, and when framed like that maybe Icehowl sucks.
Arena: Again, legendaries in arena are something I've talked about extensively. They are rare, and it's therefore hard to objectively rate them. I don't think this card is very good simply because of its limited flexibility. You can't play it on an empty board and take control of the game. It doesn't demand an instant answer necessarily.
Constructed: If King Krush doesn't see play, neither will this. Maybe you can use it like a third BGH or hard removal, but it's stupidly expensive for that. There are many better options for both high cost minions and removal.
Arena: Healing spells aren’t great in arena unless they’re attached to a minion, so as good as the card will be in constructed, I’d take a pass here.
Constructed: Fourteen health off three mana is ridiculous. This card can beat aggro all by itself. Even if you miss the joust, a three-mana-heal-7 is nothing to sneeze at. I don’t think Healing Wave will be an auto-include just because the meta can be unpredictable, but if and when things get fast, Healing Wave will be a strong, strong counter.
Arena: For some more repetition, joust is not a reliable mechanic in arena. So what we're looking at here is a slightly inferior Healing Touch. Not a terrible pick, but not one you'll feel great about. An Earthen Ring Farseer is probably infinitely better in this format.
Constructed: This is an interesting one. By itself, in the right deck situation, this card is absolutely nuts. However if the meta slows down to where this card is viable in a deck, is the healing without a body really that great? This helps against aggro, but against control it's a weaker pick. If your control Shaman deck is strong enough that this is reliable, is the meta not also control-focused in the decks you will face?
Arena: Hey, it’s a three mana 4/3. That’s pretty average! It’s better than Ironfur Grizzly, but not as good as Spider Tank. That’s all I got.
Constructed: So Blizzard hasn’t actually released any new silence effects since Wailing Soul in Naxxramas, which I find interesting. Light’s Champion can only silence demons, which makes it useful against exactly one class. The thing is, Warlocks don’t even run that many silence-worthy demons. There’s Voidcaller, Mal’ganis, and maybe Imp Gang Boss? I can’t ever see myself putting a card in my deck that only counters three minions. The stats are fine, but no.
Arena: A mediocre stat line in arena with an almost unusable effect. Pass.
Constructed: The most explicit hard counter to a single deck in the game to date, really. Is it that useful? I don't think so. I mean, against Warlock it's a Spellbreaker for one less mana, and against any other class it's dead. Unless Illidan suddenly gets changed to a 6/5 and is in every deck, it's a no from me.
Arena: Rhonin gives you three Arcane Missiles which is good in any context, and in arena they might give you some easy board clears. A good legendary!
Constructed: People are sleeping on this card. You can get so much value off of three Arcane Missiles. If you clear your opponent’s board, it’s basically a Pyroblast for three mana. If you feed them to Archmage Antonidas you’re getting a cumulative 27 damage. If you play discount them with Thaurissan and blast off with Malygos, that’s 24 damage. Let me put it this way, there’s a reason Rhonin’s effect isn’t a Battlecry. That would’ve been even more insane.
Arena: I feel like Luke is somewhat overrating the effect of this, and doing what a lot of other people have done, by ignoring that it is a deathrattle. So post turn eight, what use are Arcane Missiles really?
Constructed: Control Mage isn't really a thing right now, in the sense of having a very top heavy deck like Control Warrior. With cards like Dr. Boom, Antonidas and Ragnaros already competing for what little top slots there are, I don't see this being impactful enough.
Arena: It’s a Boulderfist Ogre with a downside, so that makes it a pretty average pick.
Constructed: People have been down on this card, but I don’t know. It can be disastrous and destroy your army of one-health Grim Patrons, but it can also be a free combo piece that launches your Frothing Berserker into the stratosphere. I think Sea Reaver will end up being too inconsistent, but there’s a world where it’s very good.
Arena: Pretty unusable in arena because you can't really take advantage of the effect very well. A lot of better cards are probably going to be presented to you.
Constructed: Far too inconsistent for the current crop of decks that this effect seems to suit. There are other whirlwind effects you can use to trigger your Patrons and Berserkers.
Arena: It’s a huge minion that draws you cards and probably gives you board presence. Arena is all about board presence, so this card is great.
Constructed: Varian Wrynn will be in every Control Warrior deck from the jump, simply because there isn’t a downside. There’s a chance it doesn’t put any minions on the board, but who cares! You still drew three cards. There’s a chance it puts out combo pieces on the board like Alexstrasza, but who cares! You still got a free 8/8. There’s also the chance it puts out a Ragnaros, Ysera, and a Sludge Belcher and you immediately win the game. One of the best cards in the game and even at 10 mana it might be underpriced. It would not surprise me if in a couple months we see Varian Wrynn get nerfed.
Arena: Probably the best legendary in the set, so if this comes up you're picking it.
Constructed: This is quite possibly the best and most immediately impactful card in the set. This is going in Control Warrior from day one, and everyone who plays Control Warrior should be crossing everything that they can pull one from a pack.
Arena: One mana deal two damage is good in the same way Arcane Shot is good. The added spell power bonus means you might whip up a one mana Frostbolt, so Arcane Blast makes the cut.
Constructed: The issue with Arcane Blast is it can only target minions. The dream of stacking a Malygos on this thing and getting a humongous game-winning combo are dead in the water. It looks like this thing is supposed to be built around a value spell power deck, and unfortunately the pieces aren’t there yet. If you have three minions out with spell damage you can pluck off a Sludge Belcher for one mana, and I suppose that lets you save your Fireballs, but again, not going face really hurts this card. Maybe the Ancient Mage synergy is real?
Arena: One mana, two damage spells are pretty mediocre in whatever game mode you are in, but I guess this could be useful for early game removal.
Constructed: I hate that this can only target minions. It sucks that there is no potential for Malylock-like combos with it. Mage has so many flexible damage spells that one like this just isn't really going to make the cut.
Arena: I think this is one of the best Hunter traps in arena. It gives you free board presence and can cause some really subpar plays from your opponent.
Constructed: Easy fit into the slower Hunter decks. The cool thing about Bear Trap is that the it adds to the mind games. There will be moments in Hearthstone where you genuinely don’t know if your opponent has Freezing, Explosive, Snake, or Bear Trap up, and that will be super frustrating.
Arena: Yeah, this is generally a good card.
Constructed: Okay, so the reason this is good is not necessarily that it is good in a vacuum. It's okay, it's an Ironfur Grizzly for one less mana. The biggest advantage is that it's a buff to every other Hunter trap. Hunters haven't had a new trap since the classic set, so this changes the equation when playing against Hunter. Right now you can usually always disregard Snipe, but now there is a fourth possibility as to what trap your opponent has just played. That buffs all other secrets, because it increases the disruption to your opponent as they attempt to play around them. That's why new secrets have to be so well balanced!
Arena: It’s a big guy for six mana, but there are so many better legendaries. You’d never choose Bolf over Sylvanas, or Cairne, or anyone else with a more meaningful effect.
Constructed: Bolf might be an interesting choice in a world where a bunch of spell-combo OTK decks are popular, but last time I checked they aren’t really being played. In other aggro decks, people can go face and kill Bolf for free without any upside, and that sucks. Maybe if Bolf had taunt he could see play, but as is, nah.
Arena: Not impactful enough in arena. Three attack in the six mana slot is never a good feeling.
Constructed: I don't think this will see much play, but the effect is kind of cool and leads to unexpected interactions that you might not necessarily predict.
Arena: Not a terrible arena card. Play it on turn one, get a 2/2 weapon to deal with the opponent’s two drop. I like it.
Constructed: Will probably be fit into some Rogue pirate decks, which actually have been effective every once in a while. It’s hard to think how this card could’ve been any better and still be a one-drop, so I like it alright.
Arena: This is the only remotely decent one-drop to come out of the set, and it does give the Rogue hero power some extra kick early on.
Constructed: What I find kind of funny is that this is one of the better Inspire cards in the set, but it doesn't have the new keyword! I guess that is so it can have applications if you somehow get it in another class. Keeping this alive is the biggest issue. You have to play it and then equip the weapon, not the other way round like with Auto Barber.
Arena: A basic two-drop with upside, which lumps this into your Sorcerer’s Apprentice/Knife Juggler school. Not a bad pick!
Constructed: I don’t think Boneguard’s effect is good enough to make it into constructed decks, unless you’re running all-out inspire. However if 2/3s are popular and you get this down on turn two, it gives you a pretty favorable trade plus a hero power. That’s something worth marginal consideration.
Arena: Not a terrible two-drop, but not one of the best. It does give you a favourable trade against a 2/3 the next turn, but that's about it.
Constructed: I was waiting for the blow away Inspire card in the set to be revealed, but it never came. Sadly this means that Inspire decks just aren't going to be very... well, inspiring. This is just another sub-par card that you aren't going to play.
Arena: This is actually a top-tier arena pick because it’s going to be lumped in with other nobodies in the common slot. A 5/9 in arena can easily burn two or three of your opponent’s cards, and that’s pretty strong.
Constructed: It doesn’t have any text on it, which means it’s not constructed worthy. It’ll fill out some basic decks and it’s cool Blizzard is still offering support to the low-end, but, like, you’re never running this over Dr. Boom.
Arena: Another good value late game card in the common bracket, meaning more options for your draft. Thumbs up.
Constructed: Unless you're a budget player, you aren't going to play this though. Sorry guys, me and Dr Boom have got a special bond.
Arena: In arena Chillmaw will be an inefficient seven drop with little upside. Even if you do have the dragon to enable the deathrattle, it might be a net-zero effect. This is sub-Gruul to me.
Constructed: I think Chillmaw will be a great addition to the dragon decks that never quite got off the ground post-Blackrock Mountain. You’re getting a free Hellfire, which forces your opponents to trade into the taunt, and there’s the added element that you might be bluffing and not really holding a dragon. Alongside the other dragons being added in The Grand Tournament, I think the tribe might finally be viable.
Arena: So not only do I need to have somehow drafted this, I need to have drafted other dragons? That's just not going to happen.
Constructed: So as soon as everyone saw this, they screamed "Patron counter!!" Taking a hard look at it however, I think it's too difficult to control. Yes your opponent can't really afford to play Patrons until they've dealt with it, but Execute exists. If the stats were lower and this was a battlecry and not a deathrattle, we might have something.
Arena: Important to note that Competitive Spirit doesn’t trigger if you don’t have any minions out, which means at the very least you’ll be getting a +1/+1 on one of your guys. It’s pretty easy to have a decent board in arena, and this is priced competitively enough that I think it works.
Constructed: Paladin secrets don’t get much play outside the occasional Avenge or Noble Sacrifice, and with the class angling more towards aggro lately, I think this will see some run.
Arena: I'd take this in arena over most other Paladin secrets. It probably gives you the most control of any secret out there.
Constructed: I agree with Luke, this will more than likely be tried in aggressive Paladin decks which are quite strong right now.
Arena: It’s a four mana 3/5 with an ability that you can take advantage of more than, say, Dragonkin Sorcerer. Not a top-tier pick, but there are worse four drops.
Constructed: This seems like a combo piece to me, but it’s so slow that I don’t think it’ll ever work. You’re going to need to hero power twice for this to be any better than an Ogre Magi, and that’s so hard to do without some sort of Coldarra Drake shenanigans. Even when you pull that off you need a very specific hand to take advantage of the effect, which is why the Aspirant isn’t going to work in constructed.
Arena: It's not a great four drop, but it's a decent enough stat line with five health to stay alive. Not the worst, but not a must have.
Constructed: I don't see this being played very often. There are just too many other four drops I would rather have, with spell power just not that attractive a trait. Senjin, Water Elemental and of course Shredder just beat this hands down.
Arena: Fine in the way that Jungle Panther and Ironfur Grizzly are fine.
Constructed: Would I play a vanilla 3/3 with windfury in a constructed deck? No, because I also don’t play Thrallmar Farseer in constructed. So why would I play a 3/3 with windfury that can only be triggered for two mana? Pass.
Arena: Early game Inspire cards are going to suffer in arena I feel, and this is one such example. A perfectly mediocre card.
Constructed: Like with other Inspire cards this just isn't powerful enough on its own to demand a spot. Even if hero power decks take off, I don't think Inspire is going to be a big part of them.
Arena: If you’re really far behind this can be like Flamestrike, and the layover mana cost means you can get a board presence afterwards. This will be good.
Constructed: Lava Shock it’s your time to shine! Okay, maybe not, but this will certainly worm its way into some Shaman decks. I think Elemental Destruction may be the tool needed to get those Malygos/Ancestral Call combos off the ground, which is a lot of fun! Thanks for printing this card Blizzard.
Arena: This is a potentially really powerful board clear and something you're likely to take in arena. Flamestrike is a strong card in the format, so this is probably up there too.
Constructed: Midrange Shaman is due for a resurgence, and the cards in this certainly seem geared to give the deck that shot in the arm. Alongside the strong minions, this powerful board clear could well become a staple in the meta. Time will tell how crippling the overload is, and whether or not Lava Shock can finally have an impact.
Arena: As far as three mana 2/2s go, this one isn’t bad, especially if you have some other inspire cards in your deck.
Constructed: If inspire decks are a thing, Fencing Coach will be a lynchpin. Getting a free trigger is a huge deal and it solves the problem a lot of these cards have. You’ll get to play stuff like Wilfred Fizzlebang, Kodorider, Mukla’s Champion and others right on curve. I think this definitely sees play.
Arena: A decent turn three play, but quite a bad late game drop. So draft it with the drawbacks in mind.
Constructed: This is a persistent effect like Dragon Consort, so I think this is actually the best card by far for Inspire decks in the set. Playing this, the next time you play an Inspire card you can trigger it for free. I don't think it's enough, but if the decks do end up working this will be why.
Arena: Great two drop in arena, because you’d totally run a card that said “two mana 3/2, 50 percent chance to draw a card.”
Constructed: You could make room for this in the mid-range Hunter decks that run heavier stuff like Dr. Boom and Savannah Highmane. It also serve as another tool for that mythical “Control Hunter” that we’ve never seen. I like the card!
Arena: Not bad for a 3/2, probably something that would get picked. Card draw is pretty important in arena.
Constructed: I definitely think this will see play in Midrange Hunter. In place of what I'm not sure, but a lot of Hunter players are pretty excited about this new tool. It could well end up being one of the most commonly seen joust cards once the meta shakes out.
Knight of the Wild
Arena: Bleh. It’s going to be a seven mana 6/6 way too much for this to be a good pick.
Constructed: If Beast Druid gets off the ground, and I think it will, I still don’t know if Knight of the Wild will see play. You need to be running a lot of beasts to get a significant discount on this thing, because ideally you want to play this thing for something like four mana. It is cumulative, which is nice because you’re not squeezed into one turn like Volcanic Drake. So, maybe? I don’t know.
Arena: Unless you have a ton of beasts drafted, give this a pass.
Constructed: Blizzard are taking another run at making Beast Druid viable, and if the deck does end up being strong this card could see some play. However there is a good chance this will just end up as another Bolvar—nice in theory, but not consistent.
Arena: So you can play this on turn five for a 4/4, or you can play it on turn seven for a 6/6. Either way it’s not great, but if it sticks around it could be pretty annoying.
Constructed: This is just like Floating Watcher, except Floating Watcher is better because there’s multiple ways to activate it. Maybe the Raider could fit a spot in Priest with buffs and constant heals? But yeah, save for an Inspire Control archetype, this doesn’t excite me too much.
Arena: As Luke says, it's Floating Watcher in many ways. Not likely to be the best minion you can put in the spot.
Constructed: Another example of an Inspire card that is weaker than, say, Azure Drake or Sludge Belcher with a theoretical benefit that likely won't work in practice.
Arena: Three health isn’t as much of a disaster in arena than it is in constructed, so there’s a chance to get some value here. Still not the thing you want to be drafting.
Constructed: It just dies to way too much. I just don’t understand the philosophy behind cards like this. The Magnataur Alpha is a four-mana Warrior epic with three health that doesn’t do anything on the turn it gets played. There’s just no way, there’s no way, for this to work consistently. Foe Reaper has nine health, and it’s still too slow. Big pass from me.
Arena: Three health doesn't give you much potential value, though the effect does mean you could get two hits providing it lives beyond the turn it's played.
Constructed: Dying to a lot of two drops doesn't fill me with a huge amount of confidence, and I just don't see many situations where you can actually keep this alive until the turn after you play in order to actually get any value.
Arena: This isn’t so bad if you get some hero powers off. Voidcaller is a surprisingly good card in arena despite its subpar stats, so I think Murloc Knight can get enough value for it to to be okay.
Constructed: The question is whether Murloc Knight can be viable in non-Murloc Paladin decks. That would basically mean the average murloc you’re spawning off the Inspire moves the meter without other buffs. It’s a big question, because if the answer is no it’d mean that Murloc Knight would only get play in decks running stuff like Murloc Warleader. I’m going to give it a very tentative yes, but this is a total wait-and-see card.
Arena: The art on this is fantastic once again, but I think that's about the best we can say. At least it has four health so has a little bit of value.
Constructed: Murloc Paladin is certainly not something I imagined ever being a viable archetype, but who knows? People are definitely going to try it. It is possible this might find a home in some aggressive Paladin decks as a board flood tool, but I think that is pretty unlikely.
Arena: One of the best arena cards in the game. It’s a big five drop in the way that Yeti is a big four drop and Ogre is a big six drop. Five drops are terrible in arena, so Pit Fighter will become the gold standard.
Constructed: It doesn’t have any text, but a 5/6 for six is a big deal. Like, Yeti was getting played not too long ago before Shredder, and you still see the occasional Shieldmasta. Out of all the vanilla no-text minions coming with The Grand Tournament, this one has the best chance to make an impact.
Arena: A unique stat line is interesting, and it's definitely not a terrible pick in arena. There are obviously better five drops even though they don't have the stats, and cards with better stats that have acceptable drawbacks like Venture Co Merc.
Constructed: I think this is another budget deck tool for people who haven't been able to go through Naxxramas yet, but once you have Sludge Belcher and Spectral Knight are better options.
Arena: This is bad the same way Grim Patron is bad in arena. Just too situational.
Constructed: I think this is one of the most powerful cards released in the set. You can summon Gahz’rilla with this. You can summon King Krush with this. If you don’t hit those you can still get Stranglethorn Tiger or Jungle Panther or Lost Tallstrider or Savage Combatant. And even if you get a 3/2 it’s not bad. I think Ram Wrangler will serve as a massive tempo swing for a class that didn’t necessarily need the help.
Arena: Too situational to be a consistent pick in arena.
Constructed: There are a lot of powerful beasts, so this could be a really powerful card. For every Webspinner or Captain's Parrot, there will be another Stranglethorn Tiger or Savannah Highmane.
Arena: All these delayed value cards aren’t that good in arena. Like the Recruiter hits the board as a 5/4. Maybe you save it to turn seven so you can hero power and get a 2/2 in your hand. However, you still have to play that 2/2, which costs one mana, and that means you won’t get it out til the next turn. This thing is just so painfully slow it doesn’t make the cut.
Constructed: It’s still a pass in constructed. It’s crazy slow and the Inspire effect isn’t even that good. Major pass. This is a darkhorse for one of the worst cards in the expansion.
Arena: Poor stat line and a pretty mediocre effect on the other side of turn five. Pass.
Constructed: Don't see any benefit to playing this in constructed. Even if it summoned the 2/2 it would only be marginally better than Silver Hand Knight, which never sees play.
Arena: A mediocre four for ⅗ in arena. The healing will be negligible for the most part. Just kinda meh.
Constructed: Healbot costs one more mana, and heals you for eight. You get stuck with a 3/3 body, which kinda sucks. Refreshment Vendor gives you a sturdier 3/5, costs one less, and only heals for four. Yeah it hits your opponent too, but whatever, if you’re running this card you don’t care that much about your opponent’s health. I do think there’s a chance this card is better than Healbot, but it’s way too early to tell right now.
Arena: In arena this could help you stall out the game a little bit longer, but I'm not really enthused by it.
Constructed: I don't think this is better than Healbot really, just because doubling the healing is pretty huge in decks where Healbot is a crucial card right now. This might see some play because of the better body, but actually the body on Healbot is good enough.
Arena: A decent three-drop that freezes up your opponent’s options on their turn. It’s fine.
Constructed: I like how Blizzard is already preparing for a world where inspire decks take over the universe, but it may be overestimating a bit. It makes Saboteur a decent tech card that might get some run here or there. I should say that it’s not bad against Handlock in the early game.
Arena: A tech card you might never need. Maybe the worst of a mediocre line up.
Constructed: This is the Kezan Mystic for Inspire. If Inspire decks did take over and there was one card that in particular drove the deck, this card could be used to counter that. Until that exists (and I'm not convinced it will), this card is never going to see play.
Seal of Champions
Arena: Pretty good. It gives you some tempo and a good trade, and it can make a Silver Hand Recruit much more scary. I’d probably value this card higher than both Blessing of Might and Hand of Protection.
Constructed: Paladins have gotten more aggressive lately, so I think Seal of Champions is a good fit. It also synergizes well with those two Val’kyr legendaries that do stuff when they get buffed.
Arena: Yeah this is pretty good in arena, it creates a difficult to deal with minion that packs a punch.
Constructed: As well as the synergy Luke mentioned, this fits with the MO of Aggro Paladin recently. This is Blessing of Might and Argent Protector's effects in one card, sacrificing the 2/2 body for the extra card slot in your deck. This will be experimented with in those lists for sure.
Arena: The effect is going to be pretty negligible in arena. You might get to draw one card with Shadowfiend on the board if you're lucky, and that’s only a one mana discount. I’d much rather have a 3/4 on turn three.
Constructed: I think people have been drastically undervaluing this card in constructed. It’s not that hard to have burst card draw in Priest, and even if you play Shadowfiend and hit it with a Power Word: Shield you’re still pretty happy. Priest is clogged in the three-mana spot right now, but I think Shadowfiend definitely makes a couple appearances.
Arena: As Luke says, not very useful in arena, but it is an epic so the other options could be really bad.
Constructed: I think this could well see some play in Priest. It's hard to find a slot for it, but if you have this out when you pull off a Northshire and Circle of Healing combo the value is pretty great for the class.
Arena: A 4/3 is fine. That’s all I have to say.
Constructed: This just feels like another half-decent pirate card that won’t ever move the needle. A 5/4 on on three fits the theme of the tribe and it could do some damage, but I don’t know. Is Shady Dealer really the minion pirates needed to push themselves over the top? I doubt it.
Arena: Not an appalling stat line, so you might end up picking this and not feeling too terrible about it.
Constructed: I love pirates in Hearthstone, I really do. They've been given some fun new cards in this expansion and this could really help, but I think my beloved pirates will remain nothing but a gimmick deck.
Arena: This isn’t too bad in arena if you’re playing a class with a bad arena hero power. Like, I’d put a premium on this in Warrior or Hunter drafts for sure.
Constructed: This card is fun. It’s never going to get play in constructed, but it’s cute, and clever, and will lead to some interesting games. I’m glad that cards like Sideshow Spelleater exist much like I’m glad that cards like Blingtron exist.
Arena: Could help the weaker classes, but not really a hugely beneficial effect in arena.
Constructed: I'm not sure I understand this, unless you want to play a Mage hero power deck and steal the Hunter hero power for even more burst. I'm confused.
Arena: A 3/2 with upside for two mana. You can never go wrong with that. It’s not great upside, but it’s still upside okay?
Constructed: Warrior are getting more things to push taunt synergy, and I have to say, playing Sparring partner to taunt up another minion, and then hitting them both with that new Bolster card seems solid. You could also run it for Black Knight combos, which might be a real thing.
Arena: Taunt givers are okay in arena, but this is probably quite a weak one. You might take it if you didn't have better options.
Constructed: Blizzard really wants to make Taunt Warrior a thing, but I just don't see it. I guess this gives you the benefit of two taunt minions without having to have two on board already, but I'm pretty sure I'd almost always want Sunfury and Argus over this.
Spawn of Shadows
Arena: 5/4 for four is famously weak, and the inspire might be a downside a good amount of the time. So it’s a pass for me.
Constructed: We’ve never seen an Aggro Priest or Suicide Priest since the dawn of Hearthstone, but between Mind Blast, Shadowform, and Shadowbomber, they do have the tools. Spawn of Shadows might be too weak, but hitting your opponent with its five damage, plus the recurring four-damage inspire is pretty nuts. Like, you can’t underestimate how potent that is. I don’t know if it’ll work, but Spawn of Shadows is worth some experimentation.
Arena: Not great stats, and an Inspire effect that potentially locks down your hero power. No thanks.
Constructed: This is Shadowbomber on crack. Aggro rush Priest, is that going to be a thing? I don't think so.
Arena: Do you like playing three-drops that die to one-drops? No? Well good for you! You’re a competent arena player?
Constructed: I don’t think this is good enough. What are Stablemaster’s targets in an average Hunter deck? Haunted Creeper, an Animal Companion, maybe a Savannah Highmane? I suppose in a world where you drop the this to protect a Savannah Highmane while it trades with an Ancient of Lore you’re pretty happy, but I don’t know how often we’re going to live in that world.
Arena: A 4/2?? Get out of here.
Constructed: Definitely not good enough. Two health is stupidly weak, and with an effect weaker than Bestial Wrath—a card that is never played.
Arena: A top, top, top tier arena legendary. You’re outclassing your opponent’s entire deck with one minion. This is Onyxia-level good as far as I’m concerned.
Constructed: There is a chance this is too slow. I hope it’s not because it’s an amazing card. But there is a chance it’s too slow. I’m just being realistic okay? You might be dead before you get any of those freshly buffed minions on the board. I know it’s sad, which is why you should play arena.
Arena: If you can get this out reasonably early, on curve, then it has the potential to just give you unlimited tempo for the rest of the game.
Constructed: I think this is definitely going to see some play, but it might not win you games all the time. I don't think it will lose you games, but it might just do nothing more often than not. Merits a lot of further investigation.
Constructed: Nope! Why did they even print this? It’s not even funny!
Arena: One health minions are a big no no in arena almost 95 percent of the time.
Constructed: So this trades with a Flame Imp better than Goldshire Footman, but that's about it. Footman come back, all is forgiven.
Arena: This isn’t too bad if you have to drop it as a 2/6. I mean it’s not great, but it’s not much worse than Shieldmasta.
Constructed: Dragon decks have needed a mid-rangey answer to aggro for a while now, and dropping a 3/6 with taunt for four mana should do the trick. I think you’ll see this in practically every dragon deck under the sun.
Arena: Not great in arena, I'll have my Oasis Snapjaw any day.
Constructed: This could be the midrange dragon card a lot of people have been waiting for. Dragon decks could finally become viable after this expansion, and this card will be crucial to that.
Arena: You’re probably going to end up with a few beasts in an arena deck, which makes Wildwalker a shitty Dark Iron Dwarf.
Constructed: This is the card that could tie the Beast Druid together. If you buff your Druid of the Flame to a 2/8 (or a 5/5!) you are so happy. Three health is a big deal, and I think you’ll definitely see this on ladder.
Arena: Again, you can't guarantee beasts in arena so this is mediocre.
Constructed: This feels like Upgraded Repair Bot did last time. The stats look amazing, but it doesn't actually work in real play. It could end up being like that if Beast Druid isn't strong, but if the deck is viable this will be a staple.
Enter The Coliseum
Arena: Brawl is okay in arena, so this should be good most of the time.
Constructed: Enter The Coliseum is a strong board clear, but it’s not as strong as Equality Consecration or Equality Pyromancer. Of course those are both combos, and this spell gets 90 percent of the job done on its own. I think you’ll see it sometimes, but it won’t be a staple.
Arena: So it's a Brawl where the best and worst possible outcomes always happen? Handy if you're getting overrun I guess, but with expensive removal you don't really want to give your opponent the chance to keep their big minion alive.
Constructed: Paladin has quite a few options for board clears already in constructed, so I think think this is unlikely to see play.
Arena: A 2/6 for four is pretty good stats which puts it above riffraff like Ogre Magi or Ancient Mage.
Constructed: Mid-range spell damage creatures will never work without some other effect or a drastic new repertoire of spells. You’d just never put Snobold in your deck on purpose. The only reason Azure Drake gets play is because it draws a card. Spell damage is one of those things Blizzard needs to rethink from the jump if they ever want to see it get representation.
Arena: Too weak, and spellpower is one of the worst effects in arena.
Constructed: Spellpower is pretty weak in constructed too, and most of them never get played. This is just too slow in that coveted four drop spot.
Arena: I will say this much, I’d draft this over Core Hound.
Constructed: Man some of these cards are so bad. Blizzard does this with these new expansions. The first 80 percent are all interesting and unique and full of potential, but then they open the floodgates and show us all the stuff that doesn’t matter. Mogor’s Champion has zero chance in constructed, but you already knew that.
Arena: I would not draft this over Core Hound, he's far more obedient!
Constructed: The ogre cards are the opposite of Inspire: really awesome stats, but with an effect that makes them completely unplayable. This is not different from the others.
Arena: The only time you see Assassination is in arena, because that sort of crisp hard removal can be very valuable in a more random game. Because of that, I think Mulch will be good.
Constructed: Druid lacks hard removal. The only version of it they have is Naturalize and that card kinda sucks because feeding your opponent cards is a good way to lose. They tried Recycle last expansion which clunked because it cost too much, but Mulch might have a chance. Putting a random minion in your opponent’s hand could be disastrous, but when you have the best finisher in the game, I’m sure you can make it work.
Arena: Better than Naturalize because your opponent could get something completely useless, so I think this is a decent pick.
Constructed: This could definitely see some play in Druid decks, which as Luke says have lacked decent removal for a long time. If you can kill an opponent's taunt creature and push through your combo next turn, it doesn't really matter what they got from the random minion.
Arena: Ah, another Hunter card that’s really good in arena but will never see play elsewhere because they’re too busy going face. Powershot is a walking two-for-one and you should definitely draft it.
Constructed: This is a recurring theme in these Hunter reviews—if the class slows down and plays a more controlling game, this card will be great. But unfortunately, that might not happen, which will render Powershot cold and alone just like Explosive Shot.
Arena: Yep, decent value on an early game removal spell that will be pretty useful in the arena format. A good pick.
Constructed: I've seen some theory crafted Hunter lists that include this card, but I'm not totally sold on it in constructed. It may well see some play, or it could go the way of Explosive Shot.
Power Word: Glory
Arena: This is such a meaningless waste of mana in arena that it makes me want to cry.
Constructed: You have so many ways to heal yourself in Priest, especially with the new Flash Heal. This is the most roundabout way to restore health in the game. Maybe there’s some ridiculous Lightwarden combo I’m not considering, but just, no.
Arena: I actually don't think this is terrible, but not a great pick in arena.
Constructed: I could see this having some merit in constructed. Imagine casting this on a Huffer! It might be useful all the time, but this could be a really useful anti aggro tool in some decks.
Tiny Knight of Evil
Arena: Yep, you guessed it, a 3/2 with upside! It’s not bad!
Constructed: I think with enough new minions and spells Discard Warlock could become a thing, unfortunately right now there’s only this and Fist of Jaraxxus holding it up. So I’m not sold yet, but the Tiny Knight of Evil does have potential in the future.
Arena: If you've picked some discard cards, this is a good pick up. Otherwise it's an average two drop.
Constructed: Cards which give you benefits from discards are a theme of the Warlock cards in this set, so you may see Warlock decks get retooled to take advantage. If they do, this will be part of it.
Arena: This is too hard to control in arena and you might make yourself cry if you draft it.
Constructed: I think this has potential in constructed. Warlocks have enough disposable stuff like Imp-losion that you could make it work. Like, if your Void Crusher kills their Mountain Giant and your Spectral Spider you’re going to win the game. You can play a Void Crusher and pop off their Ysera with a hero power. Don’t sleep on this guy.
Arena: This feels like it could lose you more games than it wins.
Constructed: In constructed, maybe it ends up being another Fel Reaver? I doubt it though, I think this will just kill your big threats and ruin your day.
Arena: This is the first of two Hunter legendaries that are supposed to work together, so don’t be too frightened by the seven mana cost. Well, actually, you should be frightened by the seven mana cost in arena, because it makes Acidmaw bottom-fucking-tier.
Constructed: On its own this card is pretty bad. You can combo with Unleash The Hounds and get a board clear which, eh. Did it really have to be a 4/2? Did it really have to cost 7? I share your confusion.
Arena: This will die before you get a chance to blink.
Constructed: In constructed, it will die even faster. Somehow. Not playable.
Arena: Like the other Hunter legendary this is a pretty bad arena card. Unlike the other Hunter legendary it isn’t one of the worst legendaries in the game. Treat it like Wild Pyromancer, maybe you get some value.
Constructed: So the dream(?) is to play Dreadscale and Acidmaw on the same turn which kills everything else and leaves you with a 4/2 and a 4/1. As awesome as that is, it still costs you 10 mana and leaves you with a pretty garbage board state. Until Hunter starts playing epic-long fatigue games, these guys will stay on the shelf.
Arena: The stat line is still bad, but at least it gives you something to help deal with early game creatures. Probably not the best option in your draft though.
Constructed: I don't think the combo of the two legendaries will ever work, but this on its own might see some play as an early game control card. If Hunters ever want that, that is.
Beneath The Grounds
Arena: Arena games go long, and getting free board presence is pretty great. It’s slow, but I think this is a reasonable spell to draft.
Constructed: I like this card a lot. It might be too slow, but the idea of investing three mana into a potential 12/12 is awesome. Unfortunately, like Burrowing Mine, this doesn’t deny the draw (it would be insane if it did) but I think there’s potential for some grindy Fatigue Rogue decks that can make this work.
Arena: I like this in arena, it's a lot of value with those 4/4s popping out all over the place.
Constructed: I think this will see play. It's really good for value and tempo, and that's what a lot of Rogue cards in this expansion are pushing for.
Arena: If you play this on turn nine, you’re getting a random legendary with a free 5/4 which is good most of the time. You’ll sure be sad when you get a Lorewalker Cho though.
Constructed: Remember that Sparring Partner card which makes your next hero power free? Yeah, you play that and then drop Paletress on curve with a free legendary. Your opponent has to kill it, otherwise they lose the game. I believe in Paletress, and it makes Priest the frontrunners for competent Inspire decks.
Arena: If you can get this to stick with it's weak stats, the value is nuts.
Constructed: People are very excited about this card, but I think it's going to be really hard to make this stick around if you play it before turn nine. If you play it after turn nine, it might be far too weak. Why not just play a good legendary if the 5/4 body isn't actually going to be impactful? Not sold.
Arena: It’s strictly better than Booty Bay Bodyguard! But it’s still bad! Who cares!
Constructed: Hahahah yes. Going to be perfect for Taunt Warrior. I’d run 30 if I could. (Don’t actually run this.)
Arena: The power creep is real, pour one out for the Booty Bay Bodyguard.
Constructed: No thanks, I'm loyal to the Booty.
Arena: The effect is powerful. But man, discarding two cards in arena sure does suck. It’’s too high of a price in a value-oriented format.
Constructed: How often does my opponent have two high priority targets on the board? I’m not sure, but in those moments Dark Bargain will be very good. So, if you’re able to clear your hand and get these down to wipe out a couple big guys, you’re happy. So… maybe.
Arena: If you're getting totally overrun this could help you claw back—but if you were in a bad position before and discard two cards, you've probably already lost.
Constructed: Discard Warlock has some relevant removal here, but I don't know if this will actually see play. Warlock has better removal like Shadowflame with less of a tempo loss.
Arena: It’s a big guy. Big guys are good in arena. That’s all.
Constructed: The card itself doesn’t even matter. Fearsome Doomguard exists to buff Bane of Doom and potentially some heavier Voidcaller decks. In those situations it’s really good, but outside of that it’ll never see play.
Arena: Why is this a class card? These sorts of big bodies are usually neutral cards...
Constructed: Maybe they want to make some kind of big control Warlock deck for free to play players? I dunno. It's good for Bane of Doom I guess. This card will likely never be in an actual deck.
Arena: POWERCREEP HEARTHSTONE IS DEAD I REPEAT HEARTHSTONE IS DEAD.
(This actually isn’t a terrible card if you get it down on an empty board because it lets you trade with four-drops effectively.)
Constructed: This card is a funny joke, I commend Blizzard for listening to the Internet and literally producing cards that only exist as memes.
Arena: Not worth talking about.
Constructed: Still not worth talking about.
Arena: This is pretty good if you have any Paladin secrets. Otherwise it’s a six-mana 6/6 which is totally reasonable.
Constructed: Yeah, I mean, putting a bunch of secrets on the board is great. The only issue is you have to run Paladin secrets which aren’t fantastic. Secrets, however, weren’t getting much play before Mad Scientist, and the ability to put out a bunch in mass without a deathrattle is cool. This will see play.
Arena: If you've drafted Paladin secrets, pick it. if you haven't, don't.
Constructed: This could be pretty good in Paladin. The secrets are decent if you can get multiple ones out at a time. I think we might see people try this.
Arena: A 3/3 with limited upside. Nah.
Constructed: Imagine how broken this would be if it buffed durability instead of attack? As it stands you might be able to get a 4/2 Fiery War Axe, which… whatever. Is there a Gorehowl combo I’m not seeing? I doubt it.
Arena: More often than not just a 3/3, which is not really worth your time.
Constructed: Maybe this could work in an aggressive Warrior deck, but there are already two powerful archetypes and Blizzard is trying to make a third. Don't run before you can walk!
Arena: This is my favorite card in the set. Blizzard really saved their bangers for the end. In arena, though, this is a worse Polymorph and changing your minion to a boar for extra damage is limited.
Constructed: Polymorph: Boar is a pretty interesting spell. It costs less than Polymorph but you need two damage to clear, which might be possible with some hero power buffs or some sacrificial minions. You can also drop it on a Mirror Image or Spectral Spider and get yourself a Huffer (please let the card art be Huffer) and that’s a strong tempo play. Unfortunately, you’re never going to be running Mirror Image in any Aggro Mage. So, it doesn’t really fit in any archetypes right now, but I think the potential is too strong for it to fall by the wayside.
Arena: Strictly worse than most removal and damage spells that Mage has, so probably not going to get picked.
Constructed: It's a fun card, and it could be an extra bit of removal, but Polymorph is actually pretty rare as it is. If you're only playing one right now, just play a second Polymorph!
Arena: This card is terrible when you’re not holding a dragon, so, this card is terrible in arena.
Constructed: However if you are holding a dragon you get a 2/4 with taunt. A 2/4 taunt for two mana is really strong. I think it locks down Priest’s early game super well. Yeah, it gets punished hard by Grim Patron, but you should have to worry about that till turn eight. I think this absolutely sees some play.
Arena: Terrible in arena since it will never get buffed.
Constructed: Dragon Priest? Alright, I'm down. Let's do it.
Image via Hearthstone