So, on Dec. 8 or 9 (depending on your timezone) new packs will appear in the game that give you access to more than 120 news cards. The new set includes powerful Mechs, unpredictable Ogres, even a new Murloc or two—and some of them will likely change the way the game is played forever. Here are the ones that we think will truly shake things up.
This list includes three Hunter cards, and for good reason. Between the expansion and three nerfs to the class cards in the past eight six months, Blizzard is making a concerted effort to diversify the archetypes. With Call Pet, more control heavy decks become much more viable and cards like King Krush might even see some play. Even the more mid-range beasts like Stranglethorn Tiger and Stampeding Kodo could possibly be included in more decks, as this card would allow them to be played for one mana.
Of the initial card trenche released at Blizzcon, this card attracted a significant amount of the attention. Dealing two damage to all minions on death makes it a potent anti-aggro deck card targeted at the Hunter and Zoolock decks that players complain about so much. It’s relatively low cost make it a viable option that could well take the place of cards like Unstable Ghoul, though it does not have the advantage of taunt and enemies can ignore it. Perhaps this is most viable in Mage, where it can be activated easily on your turn.
This card is the other side of the Hunter coin. The recent nerf to Flare and the attempt to diversify the class have taken aim at the secret aspect of the current aggro Hunter. But the Undertaker-based deathrattle mechanics get a significant boost through this card. By triggering the deathrattles without killing the minions, cards like Leper Gnome, Harvest Golem and Nerubian Egg get a significant power boost.
This is another attempt at diversifying class archetypes—someone in Blizzard clearly wants to make Demon-lock viable. This card is the most interesting of several new demon cards, as it can very quickly snowball into a very scary body. Increasing by +2/+2 every time you use the Warlock hero power, this could also be included instead of Loatheb or Dark Iron Dwarf at the top of the current Zoolock model.
The overwhelming majority of Hunter decks have a mana curve that ends at six with a pair of Savannah Highmanes. That could be all about to change with Gahz’rilla, an incredibly tough minion that is another attempt to push Hunters towards a control archetype. Some players will likely try to create synergy between this and Steamwheedle Sniper, which allows the Hunter hero power to be targeted at minions. In the event of having the Sniper already on board, Gahz’rilla could be a 12/7 if played on turn nine.
This card probably elicited the most involuntary cheers from Hearthstone players. Secrets are the bane of many players’ lives and this card allows you to not only destroy a secret, it allows you to turn it back on your opponent. Given the power of its battlecry, it’s also very good value stats wise. Expect this to see a lot of play in more control-oriented decks if Hunter decks with secrets continue to be popular.
This card is is a versatile neutral card, added specifically to counter the proliferation of deathrattle-focused Hunter and Warlock decks. With the combination of taunt and the stat buff, this is a very useful addition indeed. If your opponent has been able to curve into two or even three deathrattle minions, this becomes a taunt with four or five health with a decent level of attack as well.
The Druid class cards are, in the main, targeted at the higher end of the mana curve in this expansion. Cards like Malorne and Druid of the Fang also provide new high stat minions for the class, but Mech-Bear-Cat is probably the most likely to improve the viability of the current fast Druid deck. Along with great stats, it also will provide likely at least a couple of Spare Part cards—a series of non-collectable one mana cards that allow you to buff minions and affect the board state with effects like freezing.
Muster for Battle
On a basic level, this card is incredibly well costed—six mana of hero power plus a one mana weapon, on one card for three mana. Obviously the value is not as simple as that, but this is a sensible addition to Paladin. Many of the early game class minions in Paladin suffer from being too situational, like Aldor Peacekeeper, but this could easily be played to establish board presence in the early game. The synergy with Sword of Justice could also see token or aggro Paladin decks emerge by some bold players.
A number of new windfury cards cards have been added in the expansion, and this is probably the most versatile and viable of them. We saw an attempt to make a windfury burst Shaman deck viable at last weekend’s DreamHack Winter, but a more general windfury deck could certainly become an option with some of these cards. The Zap-o-matic has good stats and at two mana instead of three, it blows Thrallmar Farseer out of the water.