Naxxramas Card Analysis: The Plague Quarter
Hi everyone. I'm back again with my opinions on the new cards released this week in the plague quarter. The purpose of this post is to give you ideas on how to use these new cards to their best effect and hopefully inspire you to include some of them in your own decks. There are some pretty awesome cards this week so let's get started.
First you will want to play through the quarter to unlock the new cards. While I personally think it is more fun to do this without any help, we have some pretty helpful guides on the site if you are struggling. Jimmy has put together a great page on the Plague Quarter which covers just about everything. Link Here.
The Stoneskin Gargoyle is obtained by defeating Noth the Plaguebringer, the first boss of the Plague Quarter. I personally see this card as a very situational pick and I don't think it will see too much play in the near future. The reason for this is that the Naxxramas expansion has introduced a whole load of cards that are attractive silence targets, which will make people value silence more when building their decks. If people are running silences, then buffs like Blessing of Kingsthat I see being incredible on this card are suddenly much weaker.
If the meta shifts to add in more silences than just Keeper of the Groveand Earth Shock, I would not use this card, but that does not seem to be the case just yet. On to the cool interactions:
As I mentioned previously, this guy is a perfect buff target. I see him working wonders in a Druid deck with Mark of the Wild/Cenarius, a Paladin deck that runs Blessing of Kings/Sword of Justice/Avenge, a Wombo Combo Divine Spirit+ Inner FirePriest and possibly even a Warrior running Rampage. If you can stack a buff or two on the Stoneskin Gargoyle, the full heal each turn could give you very overwhelming board control, but the weakness to silences and Hexmake me think that we will never see too much competitive use of this card. Still it could be great fun on the ladder, just be wary of Shamans.
Unstable Ghoul is obtained by defeating Heigan the Unclean. This guy is just what we were looking for to deal with the overwhelming Zoo rampage that started when Nerubian Eggwas released. Not only does it have taunt, but when it dies it has a built in Whirlwind. I view this card as a less situational Wild Pyromancerwhen dealing with aggro, which is absolutely superb.
After thinking about the Unstable Ghoul for a little while, I realised it had a second use that isn't as obvious as the big middle finger to the Zoo players. This card is really good at setting off Acolyte of Painand Armorsmithin the Control Warrior deck. I imagine this will be an auto-include in every control warrior for a long time for that reason. In that deck it is also a slightly situational way to enrage your Grommash Hellscream, making it all the better candidate for the deck.
I don't see the Unstable Ghoul being run in any of the current deck archetypes except for Control Warrior, but he looks like a welcome and powerful addition to an already powerful deck.
Sludge Belcher is obtained by defeating Loatheb. This card in my opinion is absolutely superb. If you just look at raw stats, it's a 4/7 with Taunt for 5 mana. That's even better than the Druid of the Clawand certainly better than Fen Creeper. While the stats alone don't always make a card good, I'm actually a pretty big fan of the fact you have to hit Sludge Belcher twice to get past his taunts. In my opinion, this feel like a Sunwalker, but you have to kill the minion before you kill the divine shield. It's an interesting take on the taunt mechanic and I'm really happy that the Hearthstone Devs came up with a card like no other.
In terms of actual use in decks, I see the Sludge Belcher as a card that doesn't really interact with many other cards very well, but rather is better by itself. Similarly to Harvest Golemor Cairne Bloodhoof, this is a minion that you can just play whenever you want as you know it will get its value one way or another. I see this being very popular in control decks as a way to slow down aggro, especially in a Ramp/Taunt Druid deck or perhaps even a Control Warrior.
Loatheb is obtained by clearing the 3 Plague Quarter normal bosses. It's not often I will say this, but I think Loatheb is overpowered. I think this Legendary will be auto-included in every single deck. I expect this card to get nerfed soon, but for the meantime I think everyone should use it as the battlecry will completely mess up your opponent's turn. Even if it doesn't you still get a 5/5 for 5 mana, much like the old Sylvanas Windrunner.
There isn't really a lot I want to say about Loatheb. I'm a bit disappointed that a card this strong would get released as it is just leagues ahead of the other common 5 drops, like Azure Drakeor Stampeding Kodo. I would prefer, for the sake of the game as a whole that Loatheb was a 4/5 or a 4/4 to make it more in line with the rest of the minions that cost the same.
There are some pretty neat interactions with his battlecry that I think Rogues are best suited to take advantage of. Shadowstep, Youthful Brewmasterand Anub'ar Ambusherare all pretty reasonable cards that could bounce this back to your hand to use the battlecry again and again. I don't think it's worth building an entire deck around the battlecry though, as you can chuck Loatheb in any deck in the game and it will probably be fine.
If you beat the Mage class challenge this week, you will unlock Duplicate. I think this card is absolutely fantastic because it opens up a lot of new styles of play. I believe that the card itself is not really that strong, but it has the ability to be a lot better (or worse) than Arcane Intellect, depending on the situation. I feel that this secret is best suited for the long drawn out control v control matches where the game will go to fatigue. This is because Duplicate, like Thoughtsteal, actually generates 2 cards rather than drawing you 2 more and getting you closer to fatigue.
I think you should just have a bit of a play around with Duplicate for the time being, but I don't see it as a competitive card until Mad Scientistis released. Obviously there are the good interactions between Duplicate and Secretkeeper, Kirin Tor Mageand Ethereal Arcanist, but Mages also have access to Water Elemental, which is a fantastic Duplicate target.
By beating the incredible Hunter class challenge this week, you gain access to Webspinner. I would just like to take this time and say that the Hunter class challenge is by far my favorite PvE experience in Hearthstone to date and I thank the Devs for making it. A lot of people were really disappointed when they saw the Webspinner announced and they called it weak compared to the other class cards. While I agree this card isn't very strong innately, I have had so much fun with it. So much fun in fact that it is my new 1-drop of choice in my competitive hunter deck.
Like Thoughtsteal, this card allows you to play in a way you haven't prepared for and some pretty hilarious interactions come of it. I'll be releasing a deck guide soon on my Hunter that makes good use of the Webspinner, so if you're interested in this card I have good things in the works.
In terms of card interactions, this works particularly well in beast synergy decks, as cards like Houndmasterand Timber Wolf can definitely buff the minion you create from Webspinner.
I hope that I have inspired you in some way or another to try out these new cards. Some are fun and exciting, while others are just downright OP this week. I look forward to next week as there's some really cool new cards coming soon.
If you have some more questions, please do let me know. If you want to reach me in-game, I’m TrainerDusk#2126 and I play on the EU server. Other than that, you can message me on twitter @TrainerDusk and I do sometimes stream at twitch.tv/trainerdusk. If none of that takes your fancy, I will reply to questions in the comment section below.
Good luck out there and have fun!