Let’s be fair. Rating cards before the expansion’s release is a hard job. Especially if the expansion overlaps with Standard rotation. I mean, it’s already hard to see every possible use and potential of each card in the CURRENT meta. It’s almost impossible to correctly predict what the next meta will look like, and thus which cards will be strong there.
In this article, I’ll confront the community expectations about cards with their actual power, over 2 weeks after a release. For that, I’ll use a very handy list with the pre-release community votes for every Un’Goro card. The scores ranged from 22 to 86, so I think that it’s safe to assume that the cards below 50 were supposed to suck and the cards above 50 were supposed to be at least playable. Let’s see how it turned out in the end.
Yes, I know that you might have predicted that X or Y will work, while Z won’t. But for the sake of this article, I’m looking at the averages. If 90 people said that the card is going to be good and 10 that it’s going to be bad, the general reception was still good. I’m also not looking at the pro reviews, however some cards were rated similarly by the top players too (including me, I’ve underrated a lot of the cards).
Most Underrated Cards
Community Score: 33
This one is pretty surprising, because I don’t think that anyone has expected it to work so well. And I mean, it’s not like you’d put it into every deck, but in the decks that runs buffs, especially AoE buffs, it works really well. So it found its place in Token Druid.
The little guy might not be the most powerful card ever, but it’s annoying to deal with. 3/1 minion that spawns 2x 1/1 – even if you have easy ways to deal 1 damage (let’s say you’re Rogue), you still often have to stab it 3 times with Hero Power to kill it completely. And the 2x 1/1 are great buff targets with cards like Mark of the Lotus and Power of the Wild.
It’s just funny to see a card that everyone thought is going to be a pack filler actually see some play!
Sherazin, Corpse Flower
Community Score: 38
And while the last mistake might be, well, very easy to make, its really surprising that Sherazin was scored so low. Everyone was saying that it’s bad, because it’s a 5/3 for 4. Playing 4 cards in a single turn? Only on the Auctioneer turns, it’s not enough to make it consistent. And oh, it wasn’t true at all. As it turns out, Miracle Rogue can play 4 cards in a single turn… even like 5 times in a single game. And that, when combined with the initial 5/3 body, might mean 6x 5/3 for the price of one.
The card was really hard to rate and people were right about one thing. It’s really bad in fast matchups – when opponent rushes you down, spending 4 mana to drop that 5/3 really hurts. But not every card has to win you a fast matchup. This is only a single card and it can single-handedly carry some slow games. Most of the Miracle Rogue decks are built around it right now, for a good reason.
The Caverns Below
Community Score: 40
One of the most hated cards in the entire game was also one of the lowest rated cards. Nearly no one expected that this quest will be so powerful. Okay, let me reword that. People have obviously knew that flooding the board with 5/5’s on turn 5-6 is insanely powerful. But no one has expected that the Quest will be so easy to accomplish AND so consistent at the same time. I’ve seen some turn 2-3 Quest finishes myself and it’s crazy if you think about it. Those games are just auto-win for Rogue and you can’t help that.
That’s probably the main reason why the deck is so hated. Because in terms of win rate, Quest Rogue is probably a Tier 3 deck, with sub-50% win rates. That doesn’t change the fact that playing against it is not the best experience ever. Either you crush it because a) you play a rush deck or b) they didn’t draw their ways to bounce OR he crushes you. There are rarely in-between games.
Quest Rogue is definitely an interesting deck, and probably one of the most unexpected decks of the current meta.
Community Score: 44
The biggest fear of the community was that this card could easily backfire. One Devolve basically means game over for Druid. No mana to work with means that he has to win the game with a board of 1-drops, if they weren’t immediately cleared by Maelstrom Portal or Lightning Storm of course. People have expected Shaman to stay strong, and since Devolve tech was pretty common pre-Un’Goro, why wouldn’t it be now?
And well, that’s of course true – Devolve wrecks Living Mana AND it’s still played in Shaman lists. But Shaman isn’t 30% of the ladder like it used to be, it’s, what, 5%? Maybe a little bit more at the higher ranks.
The card is used as a finisher in Aggro Druid. On turn 5, you’re most likely out of the things to do anyway. Sure, you don’t have any mana to work with next turn, but you don’t need it that much. You will probably topdeck a 1-drop. Would you prefer to have full mana and play that Argent Squire, or maybe have 5-6 2/2’s on the board? The second option definitely sounds better. And if your opponent turns out to have an AoE, well, you get your mana back right away. It’s an interesting card and it’s pretty strong in the right situation.
Lyra the Sunshard
Community Score: 44
Worst Legendary in the set! Priest got shafted again! Okay, Priest didn’t get the biggest slice of Un’Goro cake, but Lyra turned out to be a savior, not a card you would never want to put into your deck. And I was also the one that rated the card too quickly. It’s true that Priest has got A LOT of situational spells, and Lyra giving you 2-3 situational spells you might not want to use is not good.
But as it turns out, Priest has also tons of cheap spells. Thanks to the new Radiant Elemental, “cheap spells” can as well be “free spells”. Play Lyra + 2x Radiant Elemental and now everything you get for 2 or less mana costs 0. Let’s say that the 1 mana ones most likely can cycle too. It basically means that Priest has 21 out of 30 spells that will probably cycle themselves. If you initially cast 3-4 spells, like Power Word: Shield, Potion of Madness and ESPECIALLY Shadow Visions, you can get a looong chain of spells. And even if each individual spell doesn’t have a great effect, if you combine everything, the turn will be insane.
Of course, those “Miracle turns” of Lyra aren’t the only ways to use her. Even Lyra + 2-3 cheap spells is often good enough to get the value. It’s true that the card is sometimes dead, but let’s be honest, it works way more consistently than anyone has expected.
Community Score: 49
I have to say one thing first. If we count every class, then the “average” rating for this card is definitely right. It’s just meh in most of the classes. But it turned out to be viable for two reasons. First – Taunt/Quest Warrior turned out to be big, and as it happens a Taunt that discovers a Taunt is good way to complete the Quest. Warrior’s Taunts aren’t that exciting on average, but hey, it’s still solid.
But the class that it turned out to be most powerful with is Paladin. There aren’t as many Taunts in Standard and with 400% offering rate on class cards, it means that you get to pick at least one Paladin Taunt in most of the cases. And what are Paladin Taunts, you might ask? Wickerflame Burnbristle, Sunkeeper Tarim, Grimestreet Protector and Tirion Fordring. That’s right. 3 Legendaries and let’s be fair, Protector is also a pretty powerful Taunt for the late game scenario. So you’re nearly guaranteed to discover something good. Discover is no longer “well, I often get screwed with 3 bad choices”, it’s incredibly consistent in the Paladin’s case.
And so, the card that was supposed to be “meh” turned out to be very, very powerful.
Community Score: 54
And this score I honestly don’t understand at all. I mean, this card looks really powerful. Okay, there was a chance that it will see no play if Paladin turned out to be bad, but no one could predict that. Tarim is one of the most flexible Paladin cards. You can use it offensively, with a bunch of 1-drops on your side of the board. You can use it defensively to turn your opponent’s big guys into 3/3’s. And you can just use it on an even board state to pick the right trades, trade up.
It’s also a 3/7 Taunt by itself, which means that if you turn your opponent’s stuff into 3/3’s, it usually tanks 2 of them back, sometimes even 3.
The card is a mix between Quartermaster and Keeper of Uldaman, both of which were strong cards. And as it turns out, every Paladin deck on the ladder runs Tarim – Aggro, Midrange, Control, it doesn’t matter. The card’s flexibility is insane.
Most Overrated Cards
Community Score: 86
Okay, I’ll be fair – this card looks powerful. But not as powerful as that. Community has rated it as #1 card of the expansion. And… it sees no play. Outside of some day 1-2 experiments, I haven’t seen the card once.
It might have a bit less to do with card’s power and more with the fact that Hunter simply doesn’t need it. Hunter was always a class that wanted to put pressure. Midrange Hunter decks wanted to be as aggressive as possible. They just couldn’t be in the last meta, because from the one side they were countered by Pirate and from the other by the Reno Jackson. But in this meta, with new tools, Hunter can be aggressive again. The deck doesn’t need a card that is dead when drawn early and potentially dead if drawn too late. It’s powerful, but also very situational.
Maybe there will be a dead that will use it some day, because it has potential. But #1 card of the meta? As it happens, not so much.
Community Score: 86
It was very close, Spiritsinger Umbra was rated #2 by the community. And oh, it just shows how the average player likes to play their game and HOPES the game will turn out. Spiritsinger Umbra is a powerful, but also incredibly greedy card. It’s a card that you don’t want to drop on turn 4, because it’s just going to die. It’s a 3/4. Well, you can have some early combos like turn 6 with Loot Hoarder, but that’s still not enough value. It’s a card that you want to play on turn 8-10, where you have enough mana to combo it with something meaningful. Probably even a few Deathrattles. Until that point, it’s a dead card.
Even the heavy Deathrattle lists with N’Zoth, the Corruptor don’t run Umbra, because those decks rarely struggle with enough late game value. I mean, they’re reviving a full board of powerful Deathrattle minions at some point. What they need is a way to get to that point, to survive, not even more value.
Well, the card would be great in a very greedy meta, but we won’t likely see one any time soon.
Community Score: 84
The reasons are very similar to the Stampede. It’s a slow Hunter card. You spend 2 mana and a card… for nothing. For 4 mana you get +2/+2. For 6, +4/+4. It only starts to get value after, I don’t know, 4 or maybe 5 uses of the Hero Power? For that reason, you’d like to play it in a very slow Midrange list or maybe a Control list. But people, including me, were foolish to believe that Hunter will play a slower decks. Why would that happen? The class works best when it puts pressure, rushes the opponent down, not when it spends 5 turns Hero Powering to get the value from the card they’ve played early.
The card would probably fit the same slow build that you’d play Stampede in. And I don’t know, maybe such a build will exist some day. But it definitely doesn’t now.
The Marsh Queen
Community Score: 83
The first overrated Quest. It was the second highest rated Quest after Fire Plume’s Heart and one of the highest rated cards in general. I mean, Lifecoach was trying to scare us that the Quest will be broken and that it was a mistake to print it. But it couldn’t be more far from the truth. It turned out to be one of the worst Quests and the deck built around it is completely unplayable.
Let’s be realistic. You play a deck full of 1-drops. But you have to skip turn 1, the turn on which 1-drops are best, in order to play the Quest. With so many 1-drops in your deck, you can’t only pick the best ones – you have to put a bunch of weaker cards to your deck. Then, while 1-drops are strong on turn 1 or 2, their power diminishes heavily in the mid game. And since you play the Quest on turn 6 on average, you play only 1-drops (and a topdecked ones, that is) on turn 4 and 5. If your initial flood was answered, you fall behind in the tempo SO MUCH. And the reward? It’s not even that good. Besides the 8/8 body, which is obviously strong, but won’t likely win you the game by itself, you still have a 50% chance to miss the cycling Raptor and the big Raptor chains are incredibly unlikely. You need to have god draws and amazing luck to first finish it on turn 5 and then chain raptors all the time.
Yes. It’s just bad.
Community Score: 83
Playing huge minions for 0 mana sounds great. But well, it also turned out to be completely unplayable for a few reasons. First of all – Ramp Druid is a viable deck. It’s not even close to Tier 1, but you can play it and you will win consistently. But this Quest is not a part of this deck. Why? Because the most important thing in a Ramp Druid is, well, early Ramp. With the average minion cost of 6+, if you don’t get your Ramp cards, you won’t do anything for the first few turns. Even slower decks will just get onto the board and destroy you. So you want to do everything to get your ramp cards.
Is playing a Quest, which means that you start with one less card, a smart move when you REALLY want to have that ramp in your opening hand? Exactly.
The Quest is obviously strong one you finish it, but it’s also not that necessary. Of course, there might be some cool shenanigans, huge tempo plays, but it’s just meaningless in fast matchups and not worth it in general if the price is sacrificing the ramp consistently. So, as it turns out, the Quest isn’t seen on the ladder at all.
Community Score: 79
That might not be the problem with the card itself, but with the archetype. Okay, the card itself also isn’t that strong, but it’s mostly because no one plays Buff Paladin. The deck is just bad. Not only the Quest deck, but Buff Paladin in general. Do Paladin builds run buffs? Sure, Blessing of Kings and Spikeridged Steed are both quite popular. But it doesn’t change the fact that building a full deck around buffs and playing The Last Kaleidosaur is just not good enough.
The Primalfin Champion also suffers from another problem. It’s obviously good when you can buff it with 2-3 cards. But you can’t just drop it on turn 2, it’s a 1/2 minion. It’s too slow for a low mana card against Aggro. And if you topdeck it in the later game, you might not have enough buffs to put it on the card.
I’d say that the card still has some potential and if Buff Paladin ever becomes popular, it might see play in that deck. But one of the strongest cards of the expansion? Definitely not.
Community Score: 78
And that one is seriously surprising. This is just a bad card and it was in, what, top 15 of highest rated cards? It’s probably because people tend to imagine the best case scenario far too often. The average and most likely scenario is that you play this card and then don’t draw the second part at all. That’s the truth. Which makes it 1 mana 2/1… vanilla. Okay, with a Beast tag, but why not play the Fiery Bat instead?
The best case scenario is that you play it, it dies and you draw the 1 mana 4/3 right away. But that’s like… 4% chance? Well, that’s not exactly too likely. Let’s even say 10% chance that you will get it until turn 3-4. Because frankly, getting a 1 mana 4/3 in the mid/late game isn’t too exciting either. Wouldn’t you prefer to topdeck a Highmane instead of a 4/3? Of course you would.
Sure, there are some shenanigans like drawing it with Tol’vir Warden, but you still won’t play it before turn 6 then. Which, ultimately, makes it a really bad and pretty much unplayable card.
Community Score: 76
Warlock Quest just wasn’t good enough. While the reward is obviously strong, it gives that inevitable win condition, the Quest is just too hard to finish in a timely manner. The best way to build a Discard Warlock is to make it fast. If you make it fast and play the Quest, the Quest won’t be finished until turn, like, 6-7 at least. That’s already super late game for the fast Zoo. And now you need to play a 5 mana card that will really start getting value after 2-3 more turns. That’s way, way too slow. Remember that you’re sacrificing one card AND a turn 1 play, which is super important in such a deck, in order to achieve that. So no, not worth it.
I think that there are two main problems with the Quest. First is that discarding 6 cards is A LOT. Even assuming that you have that Silverware Golem, Malchezaar’s Imp and Clutchmother Zavas, that’s still some cards you will have to drop. So you need to tap a lot, which means that you’re losing lots of life and tempo. That’s the reason why it doesn’t work in a slower build either. You will die before finishing the Quest too often – Warlock isn’t exactly the most defensive class. Second thing is that Discard cards work best if your hand is empty and you actually have nothing to discard. And if you have nothing to discard, you don’t get +1 for the Quest. So you have to deliberately tap first and THEN play a discard card in order to finish the Quest, which is a terrible play.
Maybe in the future there will be a good deck around this card, because the Quest has some solid potential. But definitely not right now.
Community Score: 68
Again, it’s the greed that speaks through the people. But well, I was caught on this one too. In the perfect scenario, in a slow meta, the card would be insane in certain decks. Especially in the Paladin. But we aren’t in the perfect world when no one plays Aggro. Aggressive decks are still #1 force on the ladder and you playing a card that is useless vs Aggro is not something you can often afford to. Heck, not only Aggro, it’s often too greedy in the Midrange matchups too.
Doubling the buff value is great, but you need to play it and expensive buff on the same turn for it to really work. Because you can’t honestly expect a 4 mana 3/3 to survive when played just like that, on the curve.
The dream is something like The Voraxx + Spikeridged Steed. 5/9 + 3/7 Taunts, both Deathrattle into 2/6 Taunts. It’s like putting a Wall of China on the board, but that’s a 10 mana play. Against the decks where it might be most useful, so the ones that want to kill you, it’s already too late. And against slow decks, well, it’s a high value combo, but it’s not something that will win you the game by itself.
So yeah, the card might be played in a greedy meta.. but will that greedy meta ever happen?
That’s all folks. I’ll be fair with you – I’m also to blame. I’ve missed my ratings on most of those cards. Like I’ve said, rating cards is very hard. Even right now, knowing the current meta, I have no clue what cards might be played 2 weeks from now. But that’s the fun part of this expansion, it’s probably the most unpredictable one so far.
How did YOU rate those cards? Did you get them right or also overrated/underrated them? Maybe you’d like to put some other cards on this list (some were really close, e.g. Awaken the Makers or Cruel Dinomancer, but I’ve decided that their rating isn’t AS FAR from the actual power). If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. And if you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.
Good luck on the ladder and until next time!