Every expansion brings cards that are, before release, not rated too highly. Cards that everyone thinks will be ‘meh’ at most. Cards that exceed everyone’s expectations and show that they are no joke. Our beloved Dr. Boom was originally said to be mediocre and have said to have no merit over Troggzor the Earthinator. Darkbomb was proclaimed to be a strictly worse Frostbolt or Wrath. Cards like Shieldmaiden, Antique Healbot, and so many other cards that we told they were not good enough, but then shone through. Today, we’re talking about some of these cards that everyone thought were mediocre at best, but have managed to find their place in the meta.
1. Yogg Saron
When this card was revealed, there was, without a doubt, massive hype regarding this card. Everyone thought that this was the funnest card to ever have been created and will be absolutely insane to play with. What people didn’t realise was that this old god would actually be viable. Yogg is a card that decks like Tempo Mage and Flood Druid play as a last resort. This card is extremely useful when your opponent is ahead on board and you have almost a 0% chance to win. When your opponent is smirking and just waiting for you to concede… BAM! Yogg Saron swoops in, clears the boards, draws you a bunch of cards, gives you a couple of secrets to play with, summons a few minions for you and essentially wins you the game. Or it instantly Pyroblasts you. Either way, this card, that was viewed solely as a gimmick seems to be working quite well and is surprisingly not the worst Old God in the game. PRAISE YOGG!
2. Cabalist’s Tome
This card initially appeared to be simply too slow. Coming from a meta where Midrange Druid and Secret Paladin dominated the ladder, nobody thought that a pure value card could ever be viable. Even Reynad in his reveal video himself said that the card appears to be too niche. But what do you know, to everyone’s surprise, Cabalist’s Tome has found itself being played. The card fits right into Reno Mage, a recently emerged archetype, and gives it sometimes really essential spells. Mage is also perhaps the best class for this spell as most Mage spells are amazing. What is even more surprising is that this card is being played in many builds of Tempo Mage! A deck that relies on Tempo to win games runs this card as a mid to late game card to replenish its quickly exhausted resources.
5. Carrion Grub
This card, at face value, seems extremely lackluster. A vanilla 3 mana 2/5? That is by far one of the most mundane cards that was revealed in Whispers of the Old Gods. However, to the surprise of many, this card has seen a remarkable amount of play for such a simplistic card. The reason for this is solely the value that it brings forth when used in conjunction with Houndmaster. It turns the seemingly mild curve of hunter into a powerhouse. A 2/5 is extremely difficult to remove on turn 3 for most classes, making it a card that is resistant to removal and almost always guarantees value coming from the Houndmaster. Furthermore, the card becomes a 4/7, which is nuisance for priests to deal with and also trades extremely well with a lot of cards that are popular in the meta right now such as Totem Golem, Tomb Pillager, and Imp Gang Boss. Furthermore, the card by itself is also not terrible at all. It manages to be a really positive influence on the board state against decks like Zoolock or Midrange Shaman, where having a high attack isn’t really necessary.
4. Forbidden Shaping/Forbidden Ritual
The Forbidden Cards, i.e. Forbidden Shaping, Forbidden Ritual, and Forbidden Flame, didn’t entice anyone on release. Most players came to the general consensus that the value that these cards lost to account for their versatility was simply too high and hence they wouldn’t see competitive play. Everyone was of the mindset that you could simply play cards for each of the Mana Cost that these cards filled with a better card that would provide more value. Seems like everyone was wrong.
Forbidden Shaping was quickly tested out in various Priest decks by experts such as Zetalot, who found that it was surprisingly effective. Turns where the Priest has initiative but only reactive cards in hand are usually turns that spell out a Priest’s demise. Such turns can be converted into high tempo turns with Forbidden Ritual. It can also be used in the late game by playing this card on turn 8 or turn 10 with a Hero Power to acquire maximum value and get really strong 8-drops such as Ragnaros, the Firelord or Tirion Fordring(or if you’re me, Fossilized Devilsaur). Some players even brought this card to the spring preliminaries, primarily running it in either Dragon Priest or C’Thun Priest.
Forbidden Ritual was a card that took complete control of the meta in the initial days of WotOG. This absolute monster of a card fit almost too well in Zoolock. A card that could be used to curve out perfectly in case the Zoolock drew poorly or that could be used as an Anti-AoE, played right after your opponent clears to board to fill it right back up? Sign me up! The amount of synergies that this card possesses with Zoolock is absolutely insane. Cards like Knife Juggler, Sea Giant, and Dire Wolf Alpha work so well with this card that it seems absolutely silly that people could even consider this card to not be extremely strong. The card has now become a staple in all Zoolock decks and will remain so for the coming 2 years.
3. Primal Fusion
Primal Fusion seems to be one of those odd cards that just doesn’t seem that good until you play with it yourself and realize how broken it really is. I myself thought that this card was horrible, since you rarely seem to have 2 or more totems on the board, and even when it procs with 2 totems on board it seems to be underwhelming. There are only 30 cards that you can play in your deck and this card just doesn’t seem to be worth running over something far more consistent and better. It’s only after playing Midrange Shaman did I realise how busted this card was. One can almost always expect this card to be a 1 mana +3/+3 AT LEAST. This card usually ends up being a 1 mana Blessing of Kings. With he new variant of Midrange Shaman that runs double Flametongue Totem, Mana Tide Totem, Totem Golem and Tuskarr Totemic just almost always guarantees insane value from this card. This card usually works best when done on the Healing Totem. I’ve been so impressed with this card that I have succumbed to running two of these in my Midrange Shaman. It would be an understatement to say that this card has exceeded everybody’s expectations.
2. Darkshire Councilman
At first, this card didn’t seem to impress anybody. Trump notoriously outright stated that this card was terrible and would not see any form of constructed play. It seems like a reasonable analysis too. Playing a 1/5 on turn 3 as a deck that want to take over board control by playing cheap strong minions and buffs? Doesn’t seem like the brightest idea. However, once we take a deeper look rather than just the immediate value that this card stands for, its true power comes to light. Darkshire Councilman is an immediate threat that must be dealt with on the turn that it’s played, otherwise it will, without any shred of doubt, snowball to insane value. This card is similar to Knife Juggler in its behaviour, getting value as more minions are summoned, something that Zoolock knows how to do extremely well and efficiently. Combined with the power of Forbidden Ritual, this card has become an extremely important card and one of the biggest threats, in Zoo’s arsenal.
1. Wisps of the Old Gods
You’re staring at your screen, thinking to yourself,”What? Has this guy gone absolutely crazy? This card was anticipated to be terrible, is terrible, and will remain terrible no matter what.” Well I held the same opinion. Up until a few days ago. I was feeling adventurous and decided to try out J4CKIECHAN’s Flood Druid list, a deck that runs 2 of these cards. I was immediately blown away. I started out with an astonishing 14-1 start with this deck and climbed the ladder faster than I ever had. I thought to myself,”Well okay. Maybe I’m just getting solid draws and crazy matchups.” So I decided to take it to the tournament setting. It was the exact same story there. I sailed right to the finals, carried solely by this monster of a deck. The absolutely immense value that this card generates is bonkers. The synergies that it has with Fandral Staghelm, Power of the Wild, Savage Roar, and Soul of the Forest is just crazy. This card can outright win you games if not answered immediately. I put this card at number 1 simply because of the ratio that it has between how good it was thought to be and how good it actually has turned out to be. If you haven’t tried this out yet, do give it a try. I can assure you, your mind will be blown by how crazy this card actually is!
Thanks for reading guys! If you have any questions, you can ask in the comments below! Let me know any cards that you think deserve to be on the list and that I may have missed out! Cheers.