PLEASE READ THE RATING SYSTEM FIRST. THIS IS ONLY MY HONEST OPINION AND I'M WELL AWARE I COULD BE WRONG.
I want to give a very special thanks to the Hearthpwn Devs as well as the community. It's your resources and input that make this fun for me. Writing is my favorite thing to do when I'm on the train and not working. Thank you all!
Rating System: Ratings will be based off of how often or how impactful the card will be in the next standard META. This means the next four months or so. It will be based off of that merit and that merit only. The first couple of weeks where everybody is testing everything doesn't count. Credit goes to Trump, the Mayor of Value Town, for the rating system.
One Star – Unplayed.
Two Stars – In a bottom-tier deck OR saw some competitive play at some point past the first OR a rare choice for a tech card OR a staple in a meme deck OR is an intermittent replacement OR is seen in a tournament and used to win.
Three Stars – In a Tier 3 deck OR defines a lower-tier deck OR occasional tech card OR replaces a card in a low-tier deck, but doesn’t change it much.
Four Stars – In a Tier 2 deck OR defines Tier 3 deck OR Multiple worse decks.
Five Stars – In a Tier 1 deck OR defines Tier 2 deck OR Multiple decks OR saves a deck from getting worse.
Bwonsamdi, the Dead – One Star – I’m so sad that one of my favorite characters in World of Warcraft probably won’t see any play due to it not having good enough support. Where else is it going to see play outside of combo decks? Combo Priest decks are viable, but only as tier-3 or tier-4 decks. This card will most likely be tested in a new Zoo Priest with Spirit of the Dead and Surrender to Madness, but that isn’t enough cards to support an archetype. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing effect on top of a good statline. It’s possible to just play it without any combo pieces because this can put your Northshire Cleric, Crystline Oracle, Test Subjects, cards copied from Spirit of the Dead, and Spirit of the Dead itself into your hand. That’s pretty good, I guess. However, that particular use for the card is going to be found as something way too clunky. You don’t want a 7-mana card draw engine. It’s also one of those cards that is completely useless if it ends up being drawn before others which is the same reason why Lady in White saw no play. Likewise, the value of this card isn’t great considering you’re playing this on turn 7 or above where you probably won’t have much use for one-drops unless they were specific cards copied by Spirit of the Dead which is probably the most consistent use Bwonsamdi can offer. Judging by how slow I think Spirit of the Dead is, I just don’t see a point in trying to make this sluggish process work. Finally, I don’t think Odd Priest is going to be a thing. The restriction of having only Odd-cost cards in your deck is not worth the upgraded Hero Power because it’s just not good. Priest hasn’t had ANY support to make that work and there’s no reason why Bwonsamdi, the Dead can change that by drawing 1-drops. I do however relish the idea of playing Mind Visions, getting Academic Espionage, and using Bwonsamdi to draw the cards you get from it. Will this card end up being a useful lone wolf or will this and the new Priest Spirit card become a dynamic duo? I don’t have much hope for either of those scenarios because each option seems to be too slow. Bwonsamdi isn’t a win condition alone and is too much of a hassle to make him one through combos.
Princess Talanji – One Star – I’m super disappointed with this card. What’s the point? It’s obviously meant to be played with shuffled copies you receive from Spirit of the Dead, but that makes no sense when they already cost 1-mana. Chances are those copied minions are going to be smaller, cheaper minions and not cards like Malygos due to the slow nature of the Priest Spirit. It just makes no sense to me. Am I really going to throw this in my deck because I have cards like Stonehill Defender, Archbishop Benedictus, Thoughtsteal, or Devour Mind in the same deck? That’s just way to slow and requires a lot of set up along with a few useless cards I wouldn’t want in my deck. Just plain stats on the board doesn’t help win you a game unless you can do something with them rather quickly. I suppose cards like Séance can make this process a little faster, but that’s just not enough of a win-condition. This card has poor stats and is not versatile in the slightest. It seems to slow, tedious, and weak against the aggressive and tempo-oriented decks that are out there.
Auchenai Phantasm – One Star – This is NOT a strictly better version of Embrace the Shadow. Embrace the Shadow has synergy with Radiant Elemental, Shadow Visions, and Lyra the Sunshard. This has a 3/2 body. I think that Priest’s ability to synergize with spells is much better than a minor statline. Similarly, you’re usually using anti-heal cards with Circle of Healing so your most likely going to destroy the body anyways. Just use Auchenai Soulpriest instead.
Surrender to Madness – One Star – This is the kind of deck that I will certainly try to build when this expansion drops. However, this is far from the realm of competiveness. Priest already has a fairly slow start to begin with and having to spend essentially 6 mana on an archetype that currently has no support is tempo suicide. Having no 2-drops with Prince Keleseth is a far less tragic downside than being 3 mana crystals behind your opponent, so if you want this kind of effect, just use him. It’s a cool card that could see some amount of play in a new archetype with the right amount of support. Unfortunately, that support is not there at the moment and therefore is too extreme to see any play. What about Bwansamdi, the Dead and Spirit of the Dead? Those are just two cards and I have very little faith in them as well. Just because two or three cards have synergy together, doesn’t mean they’ll work well win a deck together. First you have to summon the minion, then kill it, then shuffle it in your deck, then play Surrender to Madness, then draw the card, then summon it. Wow, that’s just not worth your time.
Grave Horror – One Star – It think it’s too slow for a class like Priest. The obvious comparison is Arcane Giant. It’s proven to be successful in Druid and Mage due to the amount of spells they are able to get off early in the game. Heck, I would argue Grave Horror is even better than Arcane Giant. I will take one less attack point for Taunt any day. But, where would you put this? There’s an already existing Priest deck that contains a lot of spells and ways to resurrect this minion from the dead. To resummon this minion would, indeed, be a horror from the grave. Is it better than what’s already in this existing deck? This is where I have to say no. The current Resurrect Priest we see on the very bottom of the ladder runs Obsidian Statue, Malygos, Prophet Velen, Zilliax, Bloodmage Thalnos, Lyra, the Sunshard, Gilded Gargoyle, and Radiant Elementals. Between Zerek’s Cloning Gallery and Eternal Servitude, I would rather summon any of the aforementioned cards than Grave Horror. Not to mention this requires you to fulfill a condition, albeit an easy one, but the other cards are already good on their own. I don’t think it’s feasible to get that many spells off in the early game. This card seemingly doesn’t fit anywhere else. It’s needed in a deck that plays a lot of spells quickly or in a deck that resurrects big minions. I think this cards fate comes from the fact that there are just better things to play.
Mass Hysteria – One Star – A surefire play when the rotation happens, but at the moment, there’s no reason to play this over Psychic Scream or Duskbreaker. If you’re running lot of small minions and your Warlock opponent has a bunch of Mountain Giants on the field, this becomes 5-mana “clear your board.” Fortunately, your opponent’s minions can also attack each other which can be great, but that doesn’t always mean they will be destroyed. Let’s say your opponent has really healthy minions on the field. Chances are, the RNG won’t be in your favor and they won’t die. There’s not a lot of RNG that this card entail, but it’s enough to make me skeptical about the next four months. Also, Priest isn’t going to pull itself from being the worst class in the game so this won’t see play because Priest won’t as a whole.
Spirit of the Dead – One Star – Arguably one of the coolest spirit cards revealed. A1-mana 0/3 with an effect like this is bound to generate some value. Just drop it down in the early game and wait for the board to fill, or play it late game when you have a decent board already and get some value when you need to trade. Will that work? Priest DOES have a lot of OTK combo pieces like Prophet Velen, Radiant Elemental, and Mind Blast. But, this seems like a convoluted way to set up an OTK. First you have to have Velen die with Spirit of the Dead on the board, then draw the copy Spirit of the Dead made, and then you have to have both Mind Blasts, Eternal Servitude, and possibly Holy Smites in your hand. Plus, with all of the Druids and Warriors gaining so much armor on the ladder, this kind of win-condition isn’t always reliable. Otherwise, the easier ways of setting up an OTK would be viable. Using Vivid Nightmare to duplicate revived copies of Prophet Velen or using Zerek’s Cloning Gallery are far better ways to set up an OTK. The latter seems a bit too hard, even with Bwonsamdi, the Dead. It’s certainly not out of the realm of playability, but certainly not fit to be on the ladder. So, when I say this needs more support, I mean there’s going to have to be some card to help top the already semi-efficient ways to OTK in Priest. Right now, they don’t exist. Now, this could be in a non-OTK deck as a value generator, but as of right now I’m not seeing a good enough motive to give it a deck slot just so you can have a few extra minions that cost 1 mana in your deck. Copying cards like Malygos with 12 health is just not realistic as Spirit of the Dead will most likely die before him. Plus, that’s an exceptionally slow late game. So, what are you going to do? Shuffle a few Loot Hoarders and Crystalline Oracles in your deck? That’s good, but certainly not worth the deck slot. Spirit of the Dead also doesn’t fit into to the already existing bottom-tier Priest decks. This is too slow for the current Combo Priest that runs Lyra, the Sunshard and Damaged Stegotron, unneeded in APM Priest, and there doesn’t seem to be enough support to make a new archetype out of quite yet. We only have Bwonsamdi and Surrender to Madness and they don’t seem promising in the upcoming META. Priest is at the bottom of the barrel and this won’t be the card to introduce a boost in Anduin’s viability. That being said, I look forward to playing this guy, Zerek’s Cloning Gallery, and then shuffling the entire board back in my deck!
Regenerate – One Star – This is too ineffective and not worth the deck slot. If a Lyra-based deck were to be successful, you would just run Circle of Healing, Silence, or even Divine Hymn. The only benefit this card has is the fact that it’s targetable anywhere. It could do some interesting things with “heal damage”, but I wouldn’t waste my time trying it. Even Priest has almost no support and even if it did, this would only really be run with a combo card like Lyra or Sand Drudge, both of which are odd-costed. This IS a great card to have in the Priest spell pool because this is a no-penalty card from Lyra, the Sunshard. Just play it, heal for three, and get another card. Not bad. Still, in constructed, this has no hope.
Sand Drudge – One Star – Where would you put this? It’s not the worst card ever, but it just seems like such an awkward card for its class. Priest can’t do anything proactive with a bunch of 1/1 Taunts on the board; Priest has no widespread buff or reasoning to flood the board. I suppose it’s strong against aggro, but so is Tar Creeper. Sure, it’s a great card to have on the board when you’re playing Lyra, the Sunshard, but I would much rather invest my time in getting two Radiant Elementals on the board instead of a Sand Drudge. I don’t see Priests going into a tempo-style deck anytime soon nor do I see them going anywhere on the ladder when this expansion drops. You can try running a deck with lots of spells and then throw in cards like Grave Horror, but that seems too slow and not enough of a win-condition. This is going to get branded as nothing more than a fair Arena card. The bottom line is that I wouldn’t want to waste my resources on 1/1 Taunts that I can’t do anything with.
Seance – One Star – Just play Zola, the Gorgon because she gives you a golden copy. This card just give you a regular, old, boring card… I’m also totally kidding. This card is by far my favorite card of the set and I can’t wait to use it. There is nothing bad about spending two mana to recycle your minions and playing them again for extra value. Hell, this is versatile enough to let you copy your opponent’s cards as well. You can match your opponents The Lich King with another The Lich King, a Tar Creeper with a Tar Creeper, or even a Hadronox with a Hadronox. That’s very versatile. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s going to be used for your opponent’s minions too often. I reckon you’d rather copy your Amara, the Warden or Lyra, the Sunshard. Despite my joke earlier, this is better than Zola in my honest opinion. You may not get the 2/2 body that Zola provides, but it’s 1 mana cheaper and you get to have two of them in your deck. In a class like Priest, that means a heck of a lot. You can copy your Radiant Elementals for seemingly limitless spell cycle with Lyra, make copies of this with Shadow Visions, and make some crazy combos with Princess Talanji. If you have a Radiant Elemental on the field with ten mana crystals, you can play The Lich King, Séance it twice and then play Princess Talanji. That’s a lot of value. It’s safe to say that you can do a lot of fun things with this card. So, why the one star? I really don’t think Priest is going anywhere this expansion. They seem to have gotten a few niche cards that don’t really fit in anywhere. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except these archetypes that they have been introduced aren’t enough to be viable by themselves and Priest has nothing good on the ladder to mix these play-styles with. All they have are tight-knit, cookie-cutter decks like Mecha’thun and APM Priest. This is a great card and there’s a place for it somewhere in the future, but the time is not now. Séance doesn’t fit anywhere in an existing deck and the Talanji deck that Rastakhan’s Rumble seems to suggest is missing a few pieces before it can be playable.
Hex Lord Malacrass – One Star –This is way too slow to see any kind of play. This is also one of the most undependable cards I’ve seen. For eight mana you’re getting a 5/5 and anywhere between 2-4 cards in your hand. This is just a waste of time for Quest Mage. The whole point of Time Warp is to set some kind of OTK up with Archmage Antonidis or Mountain Giants. You’re not going to benefit from a second Quest card which severely lowers the benefit this card gives you (considering the Quest will always be in your starting hand). If you can’t pull of the OTK the first time, I don’t think you’ll be able to do it again. It’s either ride or die with your first Quest. Mage has enough ways to add cards in their hand with Lesser Ruby Spellstone, Shimmering Tempest, Firefly, and Igneous Elemental. This is just unnecessary bulk. It wouldn’t make too much sense to have this clunky minion take up a deck slot to add a few extra Quest pieces in your hand that you most likely wouldn’t be able to play on the same turn. Quest Mage was never too strong and if it ever DID become worthy of the ladder, it’s not going to be because of this card. So, what about any other kind of Mage deck? Seems like a bit much to have an understated minion add a few cards to your hand.Tempo Mage is too fast for this and I think this is way too slow; even when played in control. This is a rhythm killer in my opinion. I see some ideas of running some kind of “Refill Mage” which could be interesting, but it would need more cards to make the deck viable. This alone is no where’s near enough. Overall, I think the minion is too overcosted and doesn’t fit anywhere even if it was a decent mana-cost. Mage has plenty of options to do the same thing Hex Lord Malacrass can do so you have to ask yourself this: is the tutor of those cards being the cards you started with worth the mana cost? No, it will not be worth it.
Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk – Five Stars - I tried so hard. I want these reviews to be edgy, tough, and controversial. But, alas, this card has me roped. I’m jumping on the hype-train. This card single-handedly creates a new archetype because its effect is so consistent and powerful, it warrants a deck to be built around it. This deck will most certainly be a Control Odd Mage because there’s already quite a bit of support. I stand firmly with the fact that this has to be in a deck with Baku, the Mooneater. The difference of mana-cost when summoning Ragnaros is 8 to 4 considering whether or not you run Baku. I think that without the upgraded Hero Power, there’s no point in running Jan’alai or any of her enablers. Otherwise, you’re going to be wasting your time and relying on cards like Spirit of the Dragonhawk to make quick progress on Jan’alai’s effect; and I think it’s important to understand that summoning Ragnaros the Firelord is NOT a win condition. What this card is, is an incredible value card that you can reap the benefits from in the late game because the process of activating its effect is simple if it’s built around properly. The goal is to control the board, stall the game, and wait until above turn 10 so you can play this card alongside other late game champions like the Mage DK and Baron Geddon. THAT’S your win condition: control the board and take advantage in the late game. This is exactly what players already do in Elemental Mage, except now you have an insane legendary class card that simultaneously benefits from all the controlling of the board. There is so much to consider like the typical Firefly, Bonfire Elemental, Tar Creeper, Flamestrike, and Voodoo Doll. These are all cards that have already existed in a functional Elemental Mage deck. The difference is, that it didn’t run Baku. Since I think this particular deck needs to run her, what can we do to make it mold around Jan’alai? There’s the new support card Daring Fire-Eater which can enable the Jan’alai reward with just two copies of it. It also offers removal to stall until late game. You can add Black Cat for sufficient card draw and confidence in your removal spells as well as Zola the Gorgon to create a second copy of Jan’alai. If you want to get really creative, you can summon Jan’alai with Drakkari Enchanter instead! This way, you’ll deal 14 random damage in just one turn. This card offers a nice twist on an already existing deck. I believe that Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk will help this Mage archetype rocket to the top.
Blast Wave – Five Stars – Volcanic Potion didn’t see play at 3 mana so what we need to do it decide whether or not the Overkill benefit is worth the extra 2 mana it costs. In certain situations, it IS worth that mana. If your opponent has a board full of 1-health minions, you’ll fill your hand with a bunch of Mage spells and clear the board. Don’t forget that Mage spells are usually amazing. The outcome of the amount of spells you get can be increased when you consider comboing it with Bloodmage Thalnos, Cosmic Anomaly, or Celestial Emissary. That’s a lot of value on a big board of token cards and there’s a lot of decks out there like that! Odd Paladin, Token Druid, and Zoolock are the big ones. That being said, I predict the META to become a bit more control-style. Not completely, but just a little. Not every deck runs small minions like Odd Paladin in the late game, so this spell can really be useless against quite a number of matchups, even with Spell Damage cards. An AoE is not something you want to rely on a two-card combo because that costs anywhere between 7-8 mana. However, the Odd Jan’alai Mage that I think will be dominant will most definitely run at least one copy of this card along with Flamestrike and Dragon’s Fury. I really believe this deck has to be Odd in order to be consistent so you’ll need all the help you can get. Besides, in THIS deck you’ll have an upgraded Hero Power. You can ping minions with three health and then cast this card to ensure you get at least one card off the effect. Likewise, you’ll be running Black Cat in this deck which offers Spell Damage +1 to make your reward even greater. I think people are seriously overlooking the possibilities of this card in this particular deck. It’s not that bad. Now, what about in other Mage decks? In this case, I have to agree with the community on this one. Mage has so many AoE spells. Blizzard, Meteor, Dragon’s Fury, and Flamestrike, along with many others are all so much better than this card and wouldn’t be even considered in any other Mage deck within the next four months. Even Quest Mage wouldn’t use it for Quest pieces. So, overall, there are so many spells that are better than this. Blast Wave has no chance of outshining these AoE tools within the Rastakhan’s Rumble META. However, since this one particular deck is going to exist, I truly can predict with confidence that this spell works fairly well with the cards and Hero Power that this deck provides. Five Stars because I really think that this isn’t just a pity throw into a deck. The spell sucks. But in this particular deck, it’s certainly needed and will work out a lot better than most people expect. Between your Hero Power, constant stall, and Spell Damage, I think it will work. I believe it will be a top-tier deck.
Splitting Image – One Star – I think this is actually not as bad as people are say it is, but it’s still not going to see play within the next four months. I think that this card has to be played in a deck where multiple Secrets are being run. My reasoning is how well this pairs up with Mage’s other Secrets. Consider playing this in a deck with Counterspell. Your opponent will have to make a choice. Do they choose to use heavy removal and risk the Secret countering their spell or do they attack the minion they want to be destroyed and risk having an extra copy of it being summoned. If you have both of them at the same time, then one of them is bound to activate. The issue is even that scenario is fairly counterable and not worth the deck slot. This card alone by itself is not enough. You could argue that you can play this with only one or two big minions on the field and then your opponent will have to make another choice. Do they try and capitalize on the fact that you won’t be summoning anymore minions or are your minions powerful enough for your opponent to try and get rid of with their own minions. Of course, they could also just use spell removal in that case and that’s not good at all. There are a few people who suggest running this in Odd Jan’alai Mage, but a big problem is once again pointing at how easy it is to counter. Your opponent will not be stupid enough to attack Ragnaros the Firelord and will more often than not just attack the 4/4 that summoned him in the first place. It may be an Odd cost card, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good fit in the deck. Did you find the pattern? This cards downfall is how easily counterable it is. It’s excellent value in certain circumstances, but those circumstances will only come once in a blue moon and it’s not wise to put something in your deck that will not output value every single time.
Pyromaniac – One Star - I think this is too slow for card draw in Standard Mage decks and I'm not sure why you would put this in Odd Mage either. I’m not even sure why this card was printed. Why not just play Black Cat? For one stat of health less, you get Spell Damage +1 AND the drawn card is added to your hand immediately when played. Black Cat can be played on turn three without risk because you will automatically get some value out of it. With the latter, you’re basically playing a vanilla 3/4 minion, hoping it doesn't die, and then spending an extra two mana to draw a card. This is provided your opponent has a minion with 1-2 health on the board (depending on if you're using Baku or not). So not only does this cost 5-mana to make work, but you also need to fulfill a requirement. You can also just use Stargazer Luna or Arcane Intellect for the same price! Stargazer Luna, albeit is a tempo card, has already proven herself to be a reliable way to draw cards over the past four months with a decent 2/4 body and Arcane Intellect will immediately draw you 2 cards and can be even cheaper with Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I’d rather run Coldwraith than this. All of these cards cost 3 mana and will draw you a card immediately under easier circumstances. Pyromaniac will give you nothing immediately, and will cost you an extra two mana just to draw a card assuming you can kill a minion while it’s on the board. You’ll be lucky if you draw more than one card with this.
Scorch – One Star –There are two reasons why I wouldn’t put this in an Elemental Mage deck within the next four months. My first reason is because I’ve made it pretty clear that the most popular Mage deck is going to be Odd Jan’alai Mage. This deck may run plenty of Elementals in it, but unfortunately it’s an even-cost card. That being said, I do predict that your everyday Control Mage will remain in tier-3 or 4 which is why I gave cards like Arcanosaur two stars. So, why don’t I think this will fit in that deck? That deck already runs Polymorph which is a much better removal card than this. There’s no preexisting condition that has to be met and it “silences” any effect or Deathrattle on it. The one mana discount isn’t going to matter too much when Polymorph is just so much better in my opinion. It will certainly be tried and experimented with, but if you take a look at the similar Wing Blast spell, that card didn’t see much play. This won’t either.
Spirit of the Dragonhawk – One Star – Mage’s Spirit clearly tries to support this Hero Power archetype that is pushed by Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk. While I do think that this archetype can find itself on the top of the ladder, I’m still giving this minion one star and for a good reasons too. My first reason is because of Baku. Without an upgraded Hero Power, the journey to summoning Ragnaros is going to take way too long; even with support from Daring Fire-Eater. I’d much prefer to bang out this requirement as fast as I can instead of wasting time trying to line up minions, Spell Damage, and this card. It’s much easier to have a consistent source of Hero Power damage than to wait for this card and play it on minions your opponent might not even have on the board. Unfortunately, I don’t think this fits in any other kind of archetype. If you want to deal damage in this manner, just use Shooting Star and Cosmic Anomaly which are two cards that have already once existed in the same deck.
Arcanosaur – Two Stars – It’s not as bad as people say it is. The natural fit for this card is Control Mage with Elementals. That’s already a tier-3 deck. Regrettably for Arcanosaur, there’s going to be a new kind of Control Mage that’ll rise to the top. It’s going to be Jan’alai Odd Mage. Granted, that has Elemental Synergy, but this is a six-cost card and won’t make it into the deck. So, I think this card has a place IF there’s still a small place for the original Control Mage without Jan’alai. Even then, it’s kind of rough because the 6-drop slot is already occupied with Blizzard and Meteor. That’s tough competition, but can still find a place for niche reasons. With Frost Lich Jaina on the field, you can manage to heal for quite a bit with his AoE effect. It’s not great, but will certainly see some experimentation. That’s enough to warrant two stars.
Daring Fire-Eater – Five Stars – A better way to decipher this card is to think of it as a 3-mana 1/1 that deals 3-4 damage depending on whether or not you’re playing Odd Mage. Is that good? That’s not too bad considering this does more than summon a 1/1 and offer removal. It’s support card for the new Mage legendary: Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk! Two Daring Fire-Eaters has the potential to complete this entire task in an Odd Mage which is obviously the best way to play this card. I have zero faith in a Control Mage running this and Jan’alai without the upgraded Hero Power. Otherwise, it would just be to slow. But, using this card alongside Baku gives you a great source of removal since you want to control the board and give yourself time to set up Jan’alai. Five stars for being a staple in what I think can be a tier-1 or 2 deck.
Elemental Evocation – Four Stars – Mana Wyrm was nerfed for this card. There’s actually a lot to be said about this very simple card. It’s a redesign of a card from a classic set that’s meant to be more balanced. Is “balanced” going to be good enough to warrant a deck slot? It certainly has its purpose. What this is meant to do is make Elemental decks a little bit faster. Getting a Water Elemetal out on turn two, Arcanosaur on turn four, or Baron Geddon on turn five are all really fast plays and are decent two card combos. For example, Elemental Evocation can help make Elementals that aren’t that great become more playable. It’s difficult to curve out some minions with Elemental synergy like Bonfire Elemental and Blazecaller. There aren’t a lot of good Elementals in the 4-drop or 6-drop slots respectively and therefore makes their Battlecries hard to trigger. With this, it makes it a little bit more feasible to summon them because this will close the gap between them. This could also work in a fast-paced Tempo or Burn Mage. Those decks tend to run a lot of card draw like Stargazer Luna and you’ll have no problem drawing cards like Cosmic Anomaly, Celestial Emissary, Frostbolts, and Fireballs in your hand. With that kind of Spell Damage and a little bit of discount, you can do some devastating face damage with ten mana crystals at your disposal. A cheaper Cosmic Anomaly with two Fireballs is 18 straight damage in one turn. Let’s access whether or not this is worth the deck slot. In a Control Mage, it’s really good. Cheating out big cards and closing out gaps is a really good way to get ahead of the game and I think it will prove to be very worthy of a non-Odd Elemental Mage. It’s already a tier-3 deck so I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to sacrifice two deck slots in order to get your late game out a little earlier. Cheating out a card like Arcanosaur or Baron Geddon is insanely strong against aggressive decks and allows you tighten up those openings for expensive minions like Blazecaller. I also think this can inspire a Burn Mage that can shine as another tier-3 deck. It’s this low on the ladder because I don’t expect high-armoring decks like Druid and Warrior to go anywhere so it still might be a bit too weak, but playable nonetheless. Both of these decks have no shortage of card draw so I don’t think that constantly burning cards from your hand isn’t going to be too big of a downside; especially since you have other cards like Lesser Ruby Spellstone and Archmage Arugal to generate cards from outside of your deck. It’s very versatile and I don’t think that discounting your cards can be a waste of a deck slot if you have a plan to use them immediately. I think Mage can do that effectively. One minor note I would like to mention is that this kind of muddies up Mages incredible pools of spells that it has. Random card adds and Discover abilities are always reliable because of the amount of amazing spells they have. This is one bad one in a sea of many, but this could spell be slightly bad news when the rotation comes around. A bulk of the Elemntals will be gone and then this will be a useless grab in a deck with no Elementals. Just a fun fact! Four stars for being able to fit into an existing tier-3 archetype as well as inspiring a Burn Mage again. It would be five stars if it could be in one more deck, but I don’t think Jan’alai Mage can be anything but odd-costed. This is a bit of a generous rating, but because the card is so good by itself, I see people getting creative with it an making make a deck that will prove this to be an honest rating.
Gonk, the Raptor – One Star – Okay, Blizzard. We get it. We’ll keep on playing the three tier-1 Druid decks and not even bother making a new archetype. I’m not really sure where they were going with this. The only other support this “hero attack” deck seems to have is Spirit of the Raptor and Savage Striker. Sure, there’s also Claw, Gnash, and Bite, but why? None of these cards curve well and even if they did you would get such a minor benefit. Attacking with your Hero twice is really good considering Druids gain tons of armor. However, this requires Gonk and at LEAST your Hero Power to make this work PROVIDED you kill the minions. Wow, that slight benefit is just not worth 9 mana. Three things need to happen for this to become remotely playable. First of all, it needs more support. It doesn’t have nearly enough cards that work together to make a decent play out of. Secondly, it needs to be coupled with something else. While it does need more support, no amount of support will ever makes this archetype the star of the show. It would have to be united with a token or mid-range type of play-style if we’re to ever see this in action. It could be an Odd archetype considering Claw, Gnash, Spirit of the Raptor, Savagery, and Gonk are Odd. Throw in Hadronox with Taunts and you have some potential to make something special, but… I can’t see it. The benefit of smacking people in the face with your Hero Power is not that great. Sorry, Gonk. You have potential to be the worst legendary in the set.
Wardruid Loti – Five Stars – Don’t say that Druid didn’t get anything good this expansion. This has got to be one of the most versatile cards you can possibly craft. It’s a very good 3-drop that you don’t have to work a deck around. Instead, this card works around what YOU want. Wardruid Loti has four transformations and I believe that all of them a usable. First you have the 1/2 with Poisonous and Stealth. This is very similar to Giant Wasp which sees a lot of play in Arena. This is a very good choice if you draw this card late in the game and want to prepare to remove something big like The Lich King. Secondly, you have the 1/4 minion with Spell Damage +1. This is one of the reasons why it’s a five star card. It fits pretty nicely into Malygos Druid. Not so much for the OTK, but more so for the Lesser Jasper Spellstone. It’s a nice added bonus to the deck alongside the many other forms this card has. Malygos Druid typically runs a copy or two of Mind Control Tech. I think it’s worthy enough to sacrifice a copy for this card. You could argue “why not just play Bloodmage Thalnos for the Spellstone? He costs one less and draws you a card.” True, but I’d rather have the versatility of this card for one extra mana. The third option is basically Huffer with Rush. Need a removal? That’s not a bad way to do it. The final version is a Crypt Lord without the effect. It’s a pretty decent option in the early game to stop aggro while you build your board behind it. This is also amazing because Blizzard is pushing a Beast deck for Druid and all of the four transformations are Beasts. So, not only does this interact with Beast synergy on the board, but it doesn’t interfere with cards like Stampeding Roar because Loti herself is not a Beast. The last thing you want to do is spend 6-mana to summon a 1/2 vanilla minion and waste this card’s effect. Lucky, that can’t happen. You might ask why you would put this in a deck when there are better cards that do the same thing. You have Giant Wasp, Crypt Lord, Druid of the Scythe, and Spellshifter to mimic all of these transformations. This legendary class card only takes up one slot in your deck and reserves the rest for things you know you’ll absolutely need. Versatility is the reason why you play this instead. You’ll always have the option to choose what you want when you need it the most. That’s why Branching Paths is so good. Sure Druid has plenty of ways to buff minions, draw cards, and gain armor, but Branching Paths bundles all of those options into one and allows you to choose what you need when it’s needed. Versatility can go a long way. It won’t go in Hadronox Druid because it gets in the way of Witching Hour and Standard Togwaggle Druid has no use for this. It’s possible to try it in Token Druid, but it’s not likely. Still, this gets five stars for not only being a part of an already tier-1 deck, but having the ability to be a part of the new Beast deck that’s being pushed. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets crowbared into other forms of Druid as an experiment.
Stampeding Roar – Four Stars – A pretty reasonable choice in the up and coming Beast Druid deck considering there’s going to be a lot of giant minions you’ll wanna squeeze in there like Oondasta, Ironhide Direhorn, and Tyrantus. I think this is a necessary tool needed in the deck, otherwise it would be too slow. You can cheat out big minions like Ultrasaur or Amani War Bear. This can be used on something like Ironhide Direhorn which is a lot more useful with Rush or maybe a Giant Anaconda which could immediately trade with a minion and then summon another minion like Tyrantus. With Druid’s ability to ramp, they’ll have an easier time getting these big boys out there and ready for action as opposed to being “do nothing” cards. A few people have been saying that there’s no point if you hit a card with Rush, but the main benefit here is summoning a 9-mana Oondasta and then having Oondasta summon an Amani War Bear all for just 6-mana. It’s the discount that matters. Even in the late game, it’s useful because of the Rush implementation. Four stars for being the tool to make sure than this deck isn’t exceedingly slow. Beast Synergy isn’t enough to make a deck good, but adding cards like this adds a mid-range aspect to it which makes it much better.
Treespeaker – One Star – Although Treant Druid isn’t terrible, it’s not that great and not high enough on the ladder. This card does not have a good enough effect to change that. It’s a good Battlecry, but it’s one of those cards that you’re probably going to keep in your hands until you get a solid amount of Treants on the field. Even then, it’s pretty slow as the 5/5’s you summon won’t get to attack right away. Rushing your 2/2 Treants face and then using Treespeaker is a decent play, but not enough to drive this archetype anywhere further. If I have a lot of Treants and tokens on the field, just use Savage Roar and burst your opponent down. What about Token Druid? That deck only runs Soul of the Forest and is not nearly enough Treants justify running a card that is solely dependent on Treant synergy.
Mark of the Loa – One Star – Although I think Beast Druid can be a tier-3 deck, it’s not running this; and neither will Token, Taunt, Malygos, Togwaggle, or any new archetype. It’s versatility is shut out by the fact that Mark of the Loa is overcosted. +2/+4 and Taunt for 4-mana is not worth it, especially since you have to have a minion on the board first. That’s too slow. As for summoning two 3/2 Beasts, just run Saronite Chain Gang instead. It’s pretty useless and very clunky.
Predatory Instincts – One Star – Long story short, Druid just has better card draw than this. They have Juicy Psychmelon, Nourish, and Branching Paths. I asked myself if the tutor and added benefit of doubled health would be wanted in any specific deck and the answer was no. You might think that this is perfect for Hadronox because it’s the only Beast in your deck. But, the doubled health really doesn’t mean anything since you’re most likely going to cast Naturalize on him anyways. You want that minion to die before it gets silenced. Sure, the tutor is nice but you can reliably do the same thing with Juicy Psychmelon. You might not get Hadronox, but in certain decks like Taunt Druid you can draw Master Oakheart in the same deck which will then get Hadronox on the field. The same thing goes for the new Beast Druid deck that looks like it can land itself within the 3rd tier of playability. Considering all of the large Beast minions you’ll have, Juicy Psychmelon seems to be like a solid choice instead. With all the Beasts you get in that deck, you might not always draw what you want. The doubled health is cool and is actually pretty powerful, but I think that the latter of any other draw engine is even better. Still, I like the meme of drawing a 7/28 Ultrasaur.
Spirit of the Raptor – One Star – Druid just plain doesn’t need more card draw. Understandably, Druid seems to have some kind of theme with their Hero Power being a key part of a new archetype. However, in order for this to work out early game, you have to play this on turn one and then on turn two hope that your opponent played a minion with 1 health. It has a chance to be activated more than once which is nice, but you know what’s better? Waiting two or three turns to play Branching Paths, Juicy Psychmelon, or Nourish. Spirit of the Raptor’s early game is fair, but unreliable, and its late game is almost non-existent. You don’t want draw this on turn 10 when your opponent has big minions on the field. It’s not even worth it to buff up your Hero’s attack to make it more reliable. It’s too much work just to draw something. Notably, it’s an odd-cost card which means that you get more of chance to draw a card when your Hero Power deals two damage instead of one. That could be a big deal, but doesn’t seem like enough when the late game is still unaffected by it. What a shame, that art is amazing!
Ironhide Direhorn – Three Stars – Whether or not this card works, I think it’s a neat way to showcase the new keyword this expansion boasts. It’s a 7/7 Beast that needs to be dealt with immediately and it can generate some serious value. That’s pretty good! Nevertheless, it’s one of those “do-nothing-when-played” cards and the benefits you earn are all susceptible to heavy board clear. Plain old stats don’t win you the game and the added value you get from this card needs to be worked for over the course of at least two turns. But, if the META slows down, this might have a small chance when you cheat it out with Stampeading Roar. Will it work? Not every time. If you’re running a Beast deck, though, you gotta have this in your deck. Three stars for being in a possible star in the upcoming tier-3 deck.
Pounce – One Star – Although this card looks bad, it’s not as unplayable as it seems when you look at some of the niche things you can pull off with it. First of all, this card works well with hero attack cards like Savage Striker, Spirit of the Raptor, and Gonk, the Raptor. Instead of comboing these cards with Claw or Gnash, you can spend zero mana for this and not have to worry about waiting until you have enough mana to make this happen. But, you have to ask yourself if using a deck slot for this is worth dealing two damage, drawing a card, or using a 7-mana minion so you can smack your Hero’s face on a few minions respectively. I would have to say no. Similar to this issue, I only see this archetype working if it’s coupled with Odd Druid and this is an even costed card. That’s not going to work out. This is also a fair option if you’re trying to create a new type of Token Druid with Violet Teachers or if you want to combo it with Gadgetzan Auctioneer. It’s an interesting thought and also legitimate. Zero cost spells offer huge value with cycle cards and it’s something that I think is justifiable enough for experimentation. Some people say Druids are going to want to still play something like this on the turn they cast Ultimate Infestation, but why? Druid already runs Arcane Tyrant. A 4/4 is much better than +2 attack. Overall, I still think it’s too weak and not impactful enough by itself. In combos, it’s just balanced.
Savage Striker – One Star - In the early game, it won't trigger its effect. It will just be a 2/3. In the late game, it won’t be impactful enough. I can see this being tested in some kind of Even Druid, but that would need a whole lot more support than just this card. Even as a new archetype, it seems overall pretty fringe, weak, and excessively inferior to the already powerful Druid Overlords that have rules the Year of the Raven and Mammoth. It IS an intriguing card because Druid typically doesn’t run 2-drop minions. More often than not, you’ll see a Druid deck run Wild Growth and Power of the Wild only. Could this lack of 2-drops be a reason to give this card a shot? I don’t think so. Druid has been just fine without them and this particular card needs much more assistance to become a viable archetype.
Halazzi, the Lynx – Three Stars – Halazzi is an understated card because the synergy you can pull off with the effect is ridiculous. As a card alone, it provides Hunter’s with cheap Beasts for your spells that require them to be on the field like Kill Command. It also gives you tons of Poisonous little bullets when you have Toxmonger on the field. People seem to be going crazy over the rise of Quest Hunter for one more Standard META before the rotation, but I only see those as fun decks; nothing more than that. I think there will be two versions of this deck where Halazzi plays a large role. The first version of this deck is where you play 1/1s and other supporting cards like Spirit of the Lynx and Untamed Beastmaster. Carnassa’s Brood will combo off of Spirit of the Lynx and Untamed Beastmaster which can be pretty devastating if you get the Quest off fast. The second version is where you add six Beasts into your deck and then uses all spells to fill in the blanks. You then have to use your spells and survive until you can use cards like Master’s Call to get Halazzi. Play your Quest, flood the board, and then top it off with Zul’Jin who will replay all of the spells AND the Quest you just played. I also potentially see this as sporadically played in the newest Beast Hunter deck which I think will be top tier. If it’s the late game and you’ve run out of steam, why not fill your hand with these Lynx’s? It’s not a bad play and it synergizes well with the deck. I think this is a great card and definitely not overhyped. It gets two stars for being in two Quest Hunter decks that will ultimately slide to the bottom of the ladder, but an extra star for seeing very sparse play in Beast Hunter.
Zul'jin – Five Stars – What a Hero Card! Flexible, fun, and reminiscent of one of my most favorite cards in the game: Yogg’Saron, Hope’s End. It makes for a great late game card to seal the deal when you’re ahead as well as an excellent tempo swing if you’re falling behind. Two decks come into mind when I see this card and that’s Subject 9 Hunter and Spell Hunter. Let’s talk about Subject 9 Hunter. I think that this deck is going to rise from a tier-2 deck to a strict and dominant tier-1 deck. It’s already a good deck because of its aggressive nature, strong curves, and reliable late game strategy. This card offers another late game strategy. Not only do you get a slightly better Hero Power and armor, but you get so much extra value from the spells you played prior to Zul'jin. More often than not, you’ll get a pretty nice Christmas tree of Secrets, a random Animal Companion, summon four 3/3 Beasts from Greater Emerald Spellstone, and possibly another 3/3 Wolf from Flanking Strike. With the exception of Flanking Strike, those are all non-targeted spells that put you in an exceedingly powerful position where your board is overwhelming and your opponent is going to have to hack through a lot of Secrets if he wants to try and gain momentum again. I believe that by the time your opponent can do that, it will already be too late. You will have already established dominance and have burst down your opponent. Subject 9 being a Beast actually means something now. Currently, it runs Houndmaster, Houndmaster Shaw, and Secretkeeper. I believe that due to all the Beast support Hunter got, those cards will be scrapped and replaced with Beasts so that a new Beast Hunter can be combined with Subject 9 and Master’s Call. The second deck this works well in is the obvious Spell Hunter. There’s not really much to say! The deck is chock full of spells and this offers a nice swing in Tempo in case things get out of hand. Spell Hunter won’t nearly be as dominant as I think the new Subject 9 Hunter is going to be, but I’m sure this is going to be a part of every single Spell Hunter than manages to slip through the cracks of the ladder every now and then. Zul'jin is the perfect fit for both of these decks. Five stars for not only being a part of a top-tier deck in the future, but also managing to slip into another archetype and boost its viability a significant amount. Hell, it even works in a spell-heavy Quest Hunter.
Master's Call – Five Stars – There’s no doubt about it; this needs to be in a deck with all Beasts or it’s not good. Master’s Call without drawing all Beasts is Tracking, but tutors to minions and doesn’t discard the remainder. However, that would also cost you three mana which is not worth it. When built around properly it becomes 3-mana “draw three Beasts”. That’s really good. So, it’s safe to say that if you can’t run a viable deck with all Beasts, this won’t see any play. Luckily for Master’s Call, I predict that an all Beast deck is VERY viable. Not only do I think it’s viable, but I think it’s going to be dominant. Drawing three cards for three mana that you know are going to be valuable to you at some point in the game is not something to just glance at. It’s an incredibly powerful turn that not only draws you minions to play, but it thins out your deck so you’re more likely to get some of the powerful non-minion cards that Hunter runs like Lesser Emerald Spellstone and Zul’jin. This has the power to rush out your Subject 9 as well, which is a massive play alone. Subject 9 can also thin your deck out which makes this a fast-paced, curve-oriented deck that can get insanely forceful. This is the epic spell that every Hunter player is going to spend 800 dust on. It’s fast, valuable, and always reliable if your build around it correctly. Five stars for being a staple in a dominant deck.
The Beast Within – One Star – A card obviously meant to synergize with the Beast package Hunter has been getting this expansion. It’s a nice way to get extra value out of your minions by forcing it to attack a second time. What makes it even better is that you can order these attacks however you’d like. It has been confirmed that you can attack with your minion and then use The Beast Within to force an attack and vice-versa. At the very least, this is a +1/+1 buff which is really not too great. At best, this is a removal that requires one of your minions getting damaged or destroyed. There’s plenty of ways to use this efficiently, but the stars aren’t always going to align for that. Let’s say you have a 4/4 Subject 9 on the field and you play The Beast Within on him. He can then randomly attack a Despicable Dreadlord and you can use the controlled attack to go face. So let’s recap, you spent one mana for a +1/+1 buff, a removal, and enough health on your Subject 9 to have a 5/1 attack directly. That’s not bad at all. But, what if there were two Fireflies on the field? Then you might run into the Firefly and there would still be 4/5 on the field you have to take care of. Again, that scenario isn’t horrific, but not ideal when you consider you used a card slot for that play. I think Beast Hunter is going to be very good, I just don’t think that they will use this card due to how fast-paced it needs to be. 1-mana cards are much better if you can use them, immediately at the start of the game. This is cards like Candleshot and Firefly. This could very well be a card I’m missing the mark on. It’s a one mana card that’s great in the late game because you can use it on cards like Charged Devilsaur and have it attack twice in one turn. It can also target Stealthed minions which is a big deal because of the new Spirit cards that came out. But, I think that it just doesn’t quite make the cut.
Bloodscalp Strategist – One Star – Hunters like to play wildly, fast-paced, and freely. This isn’t any of those things. I know that the early game curve of playing Headhunter’s Hatchet or Candleshot before this is really good, but unfortunately, I don’t see any other reason to play her. In this game, you don’t want to be playing and a weak weapon just so you can Discover a spell. The effect is good, but I think it’s overrated. You’re not going to play this over Master’s Call in the new Subject 9 Hunter and there isn’t a single Hunter deck that runs enough weapons to make this consistent. Running two copies of Candleshot is just not enough and there’s no point in saving your durability on the weapon just so you can wait to draw this.
Revenge of the Wild – One Star – Welcome to the review that will get me the most criticism. I always have my infamous controversial picks that usually get a lot of flak in the comment section, but PLEASE hear me out. I’ve made some stupid predictions in the past when it comes to Standard. I said Aluneth, Spiteful Summoner, and Warlock DK would see no play. Ha… nice. However, I also make some predictions that end up being pretty accurate when the consensus it usually against me like my predictions on Juicy Psychmelon and Fungalmancer. They’re not perfect, but I have my moments! So, let’s dive into why I think this meta-defining voted card gets one star in my book when I have already said a Beast deck will be top-tier in the next four months. This Beast deck is no ordinary Beast deck; it’s Subject 9 Hunter. This means you’re going to have a ton of Secrets in your deck that cost 2 mana. That’s a lot of 2-drops that can’t be removed from the deck. The deck cannot operate properly unless it has Secrets and plenty of Beasts. Subject 9 Hunter pre-Rastakhan is an aggressive archetype you do whatever you can to curve out your early game so you can play Greater Emerald Spellstone on turn 5 and then your late-game threats like Deathstalker Rexxar. Now, we have Zul’jin who greatly benefits from Secrets and incredible Beast synergy cards to mix with this already existing archetype like Master’s Call. You can’t fit them all in and I think that there’s no room in an aggressive deck for a card that needs to trade in order to be good. You’re probably going to want to go face with these big Beasts as opposed to trading and then resummoning them. I would much rather keep the deck tight-knit instead of throwing this into the deck just in case I decide I want to trade in an aggressive deck. Let’s say you want to play a Beast Hunter deck that doesn’t use Subject 9. Then, I think the deck just wouldn’t work. Just Beast synergy alone isn’t enough. This HAS to be in a deck where you share the combined forces of Beast synergy and something like the Subject 9 deck’s ability to curve and conquer.
Spirit of the Lynx – Two Stars – It’s a really good Spirit card with a powerful effect. In a deck full of Beasts, this is going to be your best friend in a deck that runs an aggressive deck filled with Beasts. It makes it easier to contest the board and hit face harder. The downside to this card is that the Spirit itself is not a Beast. I think that what makes this newfound Beast deck so great is how fast you can burn through your deck with Master’s Call. If you manage to get this card in your Discover pool, you’re basically playing 3-mana to draw one card and I don’t think that’s good at all. But considering there is so much hype to try out Quest Hunter this expansion, I’m going to rate it two stars. Quest Hunter seems to be getting one last hurrah before it rotates out and this card isn’t a bad way to send it off. Hunter gets to play with Halazzi, the Lynx which is their newest life raft to try and make it work. I think there will be two versions of this deck that will admittedly, still not be very good but enough to make it a two star card. The first version of this deck is where you play a few Beasts and a ton of 1/1’s. You can then use those Carnassa’s Brood to combo off of Spirit of the Lynx and Untamed Beastmaster to buff your draws. The second version is where you add an average of six Beasts into your deck and then uses all spells to fill in the blanks. You Mulligan for either Halaxxi, the Lynx of Master’s Call, then try to Rush out Halazzi for a quick Quest completion and rush your opponent down with Carnassa’s Brood. In short: it won’t use this card. Will these work? I think they’ll be functional enough, but certainly not on the ladder. I just can’t deny the excitement of Quest Hunter this expansion, so I gotta give credit where credit is due. This fits well in one of those decks and gets a two star pass.
Baited Arrow – One Star – In a world where Flanking Strike exists, I don’t think anybody really wants to put this in their deck. With Flanking Strike, you can be versatile in how you use it. With Baited Arrow, you can’t be. Let’s give ourselves a scenario! If you’re dealing with a minion with four health, you can use Flanking Strike and then ping it with Candleshot. No matter how you approach this, you have removal and a minion on the board. If you tried to do the same thing with Baited Arrow, you would spend one extra mana with NO minion on the board. It seems like too much to use this card on a minion with 1-2 health. It’s much more efficient to be conservative with your removal. The reward is decent, but not worth it when you use a 5-mana removal spell on a minion you could have just attacked with a weapon and a cheap minion. Deathrattle and Secret Hunter are top-tier, so there is just no room for this kind of bulk in those decks. Spell Hunter might have a shot at testing this in their deck, but I think they will find it quite unfavorable considering Lesser Emerald Spellstone and Explosive Shot are in those slots. Now, you COULD think of this as a 5-mana 5/5 Beast with “Battlecry: Deal 2 damage”. In that case, it’s amazing. But, how often can you get the 5/5? I predict it’s gonna be too difficult to find an opportunity to find where it’s ideal to play this over Flanking Strike. You’re not always going to be in a situation where you can finagle a minion’s health so the Overkill will trigger. It would be a bad idea to leave a minion on the field just so you can wait to summon the 5/5, so you might as well just play a card that’s reliable.This has some potential when Flaking Strike rotates out, but since we’re reviewing the next four months, not a chance.
Headhunter's Hatchet – One Star – I’m rating this Beast synergy a one star card in a future META where Beasts have a top-tier home for a reason. I think that this Beast Hunter is going to abuse the power of Subject 9 and therefore run a lot of Secrets. In a deck with six or seven Secrets, you’re bound to run Eaglehorn Bow over anything else. Throwing this in is just too much. I also think that a 2/3 weapon is just not that great. It’s basically Stormforged Axe which isn’t phenomenal. People seem to be hooked on the idea that you can play Springpaw on turn one, Headhunter’s Hatchet on turn two, and the Discover a spell with Bloodscalp Strategist the next turn. Yeah, that’s a solid early game if your starting hand lines up EXCATLY like that. But, those cards by themselves are not impactful enough unless you have combo with another card in the deck and even then, the turn-out is “meh”. This card is pretty much a 2/3 in the late game, so it’s a wasted deck slot if you find it at the bottom of your deck. I think that this card will be played once Candleshot rotates out. That card is too good to be replaced and I don’t think a 2/3 weapon is good enough to put into a deck just because it curves well with one 3-drop in your deck.
Springpaw – Two Stars – This looks really good at first glance since it resembles the good old fashioned Alley Cat that Hunters used to know in love. I really don’t think this is the same at all. First of all, this is strictly worse than Alley Cat on turn one. I’d much rather have two 1/1 Beasts at the same time rather than what is essentially a Stonetusk Boar than can’t go face. Second of all, This card’s value comes into full play when you spend two mana, not one like Alley Cat. So, where are the benefits that make it better than Alley Cat? Well, both minions have Rush which is definitely better than vanilla 1/1s. But, on turn one, it’s absolutely useless. Even if you utilize the Rush, chances are you’ll be running your Springpaw into your opponent’s Firefly. It’s not great value at all; it’s just a worse Alley Cat I understand that just because a card is worse than another doesn’t mean it isn’t playable. In this case, this is exactly what it means. It’s unplayable. There are some niche ways you can use this, however. For example, Springpaw coupled with Toxmonger will allow you to kill two minions of your choosing. That’s pretty good, but not consistent enough to see play in my opinion. That’s a two card combo for six mana. I would just stick to Candleshot, Firefly, and Jeweled Macaw if you want a solid early game minion. Quest Hunter is the only fringe option I can see this working in, so it gets two stars for having quite a bit of experimentation done with it. Overall, it’s one of those cards that you need to draw in the early game to make some use out of and even then, you can’t rely on getting the value you’re looking for. It’s a dead draw in the late game.
High Priestess Jeklik – One Star – Finally! The Hearthstone community was so sick of Discard Warlock being shoved down their throats but now everybody wants to try it because this actually looks reliable! As sufficient as it looks, it pains me to rate this and the other discard cards one star. These cards work so well together, but the fact of the matter is that these cards alone don’t make a win-condition, even with Lakkari Sacrifice. This card is made to be scapegoat for cards like Doomguard. This way, when you discard cards, you can instead add an extra card to your hand AND have Doomguard on the field. It lightens the blow of the negative drawback that discard inflicts. Unfortunately, this is only one card on top of the fact that you have to hope your discard effects hit this card. If you manage to discard it the snowball will greatly help you out, but it’s going to require a fair amount of work-around and luck to do so. Even if you start hyper-copying High Priestess Jeklik, there’s going to be a point in the game where you run out of ways to discard and will therefore have to summon all of your copies. You can’t rely on a few Taunts to win you the game. You have to ask yourself if this new Discard Warlock is going to have enough control to best Even Warlock and is aggressive enough to be better than Heal Zoo. I don’t think so. I see people are mentioning a deck slot in Zoolock because of The Soularium, but there’s no way that deck is going to change the formula to work this in. It would be way to slow for an aggressive deck like that to rely on one card to discard it. Now, let’s not be too harsh on the card because this is most certainly playable. This definitely makes the Quest easier to pull off because Warlock now has a way to make the drawback less harmful to their tempo. However, it’s just still way to dawdling and grossly reliant on RNG and good card draw. Not to mention that this is not going to be anywhere near as prevailing or as accepted as the budget-friendly Zoolock. I do have to applaud you Blizzard. This, along with the other discard cards this expansion, are very well designed. We’ll just only be seeing them in tier-5 decks.
Hir'eek, the Bat – One Star – Right now, this card is insanely slow. The only deck using buffs is Zoolock, and you don't want an 8-mana 1/1 in a zoo deck. Soul Infusion and Spirit of the Bat are just not enough to warrant an archetype. Even if this gets buffed to incredibly high stats, filling the board with just plain stats is not a win-condition, a tempo swing, or even a value play. It’s just an 8-mana do nothing unless there’s a new kind of support card that makes all the difference. At the moment, that does not exist. Even if it did, I’m much more comfortable playing Omega Agent that costs 5-mana than an 8-mana card with only 1/1 worth of stats on its own. Filling the entire board might be too much overkill. By itself, Omega Agent is a fair play as is. In conclusion, it would take you all game to try and buff this guy up to something worthwhile, but you can’t spend all game trying to complete something that isn’t a win condition. A bunch of stats is not good enough.
Soulwarden – One Star – Even though I’m still giving all of the Discard Warlock cards one star, I still believe that this is the card that makes the archetype semi-viable. The reason why discard is so bad is because you lose so much value from the cards you lose. If you don’t make use of the card that you played to discarded your cards, then you’re REALLY in trouble. If you don’t, it’s a massive loss of value. With this card, it doesn’t matter. You can just get it all back. You can get all of those low-cost cards you lost from Shriek and Reckless Diretroll, create a loop of gaining Soulwardens, and gain multiple copies of High Priestess Jeklik. It’s a phenomenal value saver. There’s actually nothing wrong with this card. My problem is the deck that it’s going into. Your win condition is to pop Lakkari Sacrifice and win the game by flooding the board in an overwhelming manner. I think that it’s still going to be way too tedious to obtain the Quest Reward. That’s still a lot of cards to throw away while hoping you hit the ones you want to hit. The only other support we have to pull this off is Reckless Diretroll and Shriek. That’s a step in the right direction, but not enough if you ask me. Before Rastakhan’s Rumble, people tried to use Cataclysm to make this archetype work. It made activating the Quest Card easy, but you were left with no resources afterwards and it just plain didn’t work. While this card can change that, you have to face the fact that you might end up with a hand that has both this and Cataclysm, thus discarding Soulwarden itself. Soulwarden can also end up at the bottom of your deck which would make it way too late to add that value to your deck. There’s a lot to rely on and I’m not seeing a deck that requires perfect scenarios to climb to legend, let alone rank 15.
Void Contract – Two Stars – I hate the fact that this card was printed. There are a number of decks that rely on setting up combos and synergizing. Not just Shudderwock, but Quest Decks and Aggro Decks that run out of steam quickly. This could potentially be very unhealthy for the game if everybody decides to craft this card. Combo Decks could run the META, but that’s a pretty big card to be running for just tech. 8-mana is basically your whole turn and it’s a turn spent to not only disrupt your opponent, but yourself as well. It’s very hard to build a deck that won’t lose consistency after having 50% of your deck tossed away. That being said, I give it two stars. In the lower ranks, you might want to get rid of Mecha’thun enablers, Shudderwock combo pieces, and even the new Burn Shaman OTK pieces. It could be a one of that we see every now and again.
Grim Rally – One Star – It’s a good card that might see play in the future, but not within the next four months. Therefore, as per my rating system, this gets one star. You get the most value out of this card by having a lot of minions on the board. This is obviously made for a token-oriented deck and nothing more. It would make no sense to add this to a control deck with larger minions. The issue with this card seeing play is the fact that Zoolock is already doing fine on its own and doesn’t really need the help of this card. You’ve already got cards like Soul Infusion for your Doubling Imp, Kobold Librarian, Soul Fire, and Flame Imp. I wouldn’t want to trade a solid minion for this spell nor do I think that this spell outshines any of the ones already in Zoolock. Grim Rally is a tad bit of a win-more card considering you already need to be ahead on the board in order to play it as well. You may think that you can turn the negative into a positive by targeting a Devilsaur Egg to destroy. In that case, sure, you can do that. But, why are we running a 0/3 in a Zoolock? It seems to me like we’ll need kind new of token deck to see this card in action which I don’t see happening. Let’s do some math. Let’s say you have a 2/1, another 2/1, a 3/2, and a 3/3 on the field. It’s a total of ten attack damage. This is very typical of your average Zoolock. If you destroy one of the 2/1’s, what do you get? A 3/2, 4/2, and a 4/4. A total of… eleven damage. The minions may be beefier, but that’s just not good enough. I so badly want to give this a two star rating, but if you have enough minions to make this work, you’re probably already winning.
Shriek – One Star – A good AoE is exactly what a weak and unsupported deck like Discard Warlock needs, but I truly believe that even this won’t make it competitive. The tutor this card can give you is good because, it will stop you from discarding important cards like Soulwarden and instead, have a shot at discarding cards like Clutchmother Zavas. But, this and the new Reckless Diretroll are just a total of four cards in a deck archetype that has been tried multiple times and yet has still failed miserably. What makes this spell worse than Reckless Diretroll is that this could, at times, sit in your hand until the moment’s right. Regrettably, you can’t always do that in a deck where you’re trying to discard cards and activate the Quest as rapidly as you can. Blizzard really put their best foot forward with giving Lakkari Sacrifice one more chance in Standard before it rotates out, but I think it will ultimately be futile. Can this be a common AoE used in non-discard decks? It’s a small possibility, but certainly not within the next four months with Defile and Hellfire being the Warlock kings of removal.
Spirit of the Bat – One Star – This simply doesn’t have enough support yet. This is too slow in a Token/Zoo Warlock and since Soul Infusion is the only other Warlock handbuff card there is, I wouldn’t even bother trying to create the first Handbuff Warlock with the Loa. Not to mention that this requires you to sacrifice your board for a small buff to a minion in your hand. I’d much rather just make use of the minions I have on the field instead of running them into other minions for a tiny profit. This reminds me of Floop’s Glorious Gloop which is a card that saw absolutely no play. They both require you to sacrifice enough minions on the board and try to make something out of the reward. It’s a card you don’t want to play on turn 2 because you would want a board of minions to sacrifice to trigger the effect. So, it’s very difficult to activate its effect early game and it’s a 0/3 in the late game. The main reason why this is bad is because I think the reward is too small. Without enough support, this will be way too much of a tempo kill.
Blood Troll Sapper – One Star – This card is iffy for me. I think it single-handedly offers a new twist on Zoolock, but just not a very good version of it. You can go face like a regular Zoolock and then deal a decent amount by trading with Blood Troll Sapper. It’s a neat way to deal damage if you have a minion trading with just one attack or if your opponent has a big Taunt in the way. Overall, this minion requires a board of minions and Zoo is the only archetype that supports it. Zoolock just doesn’t want to play a 7-mana minion with no immediate impact.
Demonbolt – One Star – During the reveal stream, it was mentioned that this originally costed seven mana because it was seen to be broken. In a way, I kind of understand that. Playing the Warlock DK, followed by Demonbolt is a pretty large tempo swing. Overall, I don’t see it as that powerful. I wouldn’t want to put this in Evenlock. That deck is more oriented around cheating out big minions like Mountain Giants and Hooked Reavers. It’s not a flooding kind of a deck like Zoolock is. Not to mention that this deck is chock full of removal like Shadowflame, Defile, Lesser Amethyst Spellstone, Hellfire, and sometime even Twisting Nether. This is both unfitting and overkill. In Zoolock, it’s a win-more card. If you’re at a certain point where this is discounted heavily, you’re probably winning. If you’re not winning, I wouldn’t want this to be my next draw as it’s way too slow. As for the other smaller Warlock decks like Cubelock, Mecha’thun Warlock, and Control Warlock, the same reasoning applies. It’s not fitting. This card is intended for Zoolock but it’s either gross overkill or too slow to be played.
Reckless Diretroll – One Star – Similar to the rest of the discard cards, I have to say this won’t see play. The reason why Lakkari Sacrifice doesn’t see any play is because it’s difficult to get the Quest early and keep a nice full hand. I don’t think that Soulwarden is going to be enough sustain and I don’t think that the tutor of Shriek or this card is going to make a difference in the way Discard Warlock is supposed to be played. Hear me out. The tutor this card offers is excellent because more often than not, it will prevent you from discarding important cards like Soulwarden and will force you to throw away lower-cost cards like Clutchmother Zavas or a Flame Imp. But, this card and Shriek offer a total of four out of the six discarded cards you need. You’ll still need to use cards like Doomguard which can’t always be relied on to discard what you want. While those four cards in your deck are reliable discards options, the rest of them are not. I don’t think that this extra addition to the pool of tools is going to push it any further. That being said, we can still evaluate the card by itself. Not only is the effect good for the archetype it’s made for, but it’s a good anti-aggro tool that will stop a few blows from going face while you desperately try to create a win-condition. I can see this being a viable deck but not a competitive deck.
Captain Hooktusk – One Star – A lot of people in the community are comparing this card to Call to Arms which is something that I didn’t even think of when I first saw this card. Comparing it to the nerfed Paladin spell makes this look really good. Especially since you consider that most Pirates have really good stats on top of the Rush they receive. However, this card has to come down on turn eight and in order for this card to be consistent; you need to have a deck full of really good pirates. There are a handful of good pirates that would be amazing if pulled out from this card like Ticket Scalper, Cursed Castaway, and Southsea Captain. Not to mention that Rogue doesn’t have to worry about drawing these targets before Captain Hooktusk. They have Lab Recruiter to recycle those cards and so you’ll always have a guaranteed pull from her. But this one play is still not enough. Ticket Scalper and Cursed Castaway are not good by themselves in the mid-game. Rogue is going to need a lot more support if they want to have some decent Pirate synergy. This card is good, but there’s not enough to build a deck around it considering most of the Pirate support Rogue is getting is garbage. This is a late game play with absolutely no early or mid-game to build a foundation for it.
Gral, the Shark – One Star – Love the card, love the flavor, but hate that it isn’t good. Gral, the Shark is a card who’s worth is based off of the deck that you built around it. The flaw in this competitive wise is the fact that this effect, although very good, is not worthy of melding the other 29 cards in your deck around it. Not building around a card like this entirely means that not every outcome is going to be good. If you ask me, I wouldn’t want a card I’m using to only be useful a certain percentage of time. For example, in Odd Rogue, you can eat a Vilespine Slayer or Captain Greenskin. That’s pretty good considering you not only get to draw the card back when it dies, but you’ll have 5/6 or 7/6 worth of stats for five mana respectively. However, in that same deck, you can eat an Argent Squire or a Southsea Deckhand. Not only will you be drawing cards you really didn’t need immediately, but you just summoned 3/3 or 3/4 for 5-mana respectively and then draw cards you’d rather have had earlier in the game than later. This card’s fate falls precariously under its insatiable need to have everything revolve around it. I highly doubt we’ll see a deck where every single outcome is consistent. That’s its major flaw. There’s also minor flaw that he has to boot: Gral’s susceptibility to silence. Yes, I’m well aware that A LOT of cards are bad when silenced, but this card is a SERIOUS loss in value when silenced. Not only will you have played a 5-mana 2/2, but you also lost whatever card you ate from your deck. The deck that I can see this fitting into is Deathrattle Rogue. It has much fewer bad outcomes than the rest and at least all of the cards you draw from it are cards you wouldn’t mind getting into your hand. Still, I think this is a stretch. I don’t think this is as good of fit as Zilliax or Myra Rotspring is. Even so Deathrattle Rogue is on the lower rungs of the ladder due to it being a Tempo Deck and underperforming against aggressive archetypes. This isn’t tempo-oriented. This is one of those cards I hope I’m wrong about because I really like it. For now, I don’t think that the experimentation it’s bound to see is even worth a second star. That being said, I can’t wait for the Trolden video of somebody using this and getting a 22/22 because one player managed to eat The Darkness.
Cannon Barrage – One Star – This isn’t a bad card despite how clunky it looks. Don’t forget that Preparation exists! Is the support there right now? Of course it isn’t. However, just having two or three Pirates on the field can make this very worthwhile. Vanish may be better in most cases, but if you have enough Pirates on the board, this can be an aggressive play. This won’t see play for two reasons. The obvious one is that there aren’t enough Pirates to make this work. Secondly, it’s more often than not a win-more card. To make this worth your while, you have to have a game-winning board. But, I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to run this… that is, if more Pirates are revealed after the rotation. Now is not the time to play Pirate Rogue.
Gurubashi Hypemon – One Star – We’re in a META that’s a little too fast-paced for a 7-mana 5/7 and I don’t see that changing in the next four months. As incredible as the Battlecry can be, this won’t be worth the deck slot. Let’s take a look at existing Rogue archetypes. This has no place in Deathrattle Rogue, this has no synergy in Kingbane Rogue, too expensive for the combo-oriented Miracle Rogue, and this is tempo suicide in the aggressive and top-tier Odd Rogue. So, unless a slower mid-range or control archetype makes a surprise entrance into the next META, we won’t be seeing much of this guy. Even then, is the 1/1 with a Battlecry worth it? I highly doubt that. You may be thinking “Gee, an 8-mana Battlecry for 1-mana? That’s value!” That’s true until you factor in the vanilla 5/7 you just played. Likewise, there’s a chance you get a pool of Discoveries with all poor Battlecries. On turn 7+, a lot of the Battlecry minions you get are either bad, not functional in certain Rogue decks, or just bad as a 1/1. Examples include Damaged Stegontron, Witchwood Grizzly, Injured Blademaster, Muck Hunter, Leeroy Jenkins, Loose Specimen, Ozruk, King Togwaggle, Star Alinger, Furnacefire Colossus, Hemet, Jungle Hunter, Hungry Ettin, Chief Inspector, E.M.P Operative, Furbolg Mossbinder, Nightblade, Silver Hand Knight, Ancient Mage, Subject 9, Coppertail Imposter, Deathaxe Punisher. Ebon Dragonsmith, Gentle Megasaur, Mad Hatter, Master of Disguise, Night Prowler, Saronite Chain Gang, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Twilight Drake, Wicked Skeleton, Arcane Golem, Blood Night, Boisterous Bard, Brainstormer, Coldlight Seer, Dragonslayer, Elecrtowright, Ironforge Rifleman, Hyldnir Frostrider, King Mukla, Lone Champion, Marsh Drake, Pterrodax Hatchling, Rummaging Kobold, Thunder Lizard, Fallen Sun Cleric, Golakka Crawler, Mad Bomber, Galvanizer, Millhouse Manastorm, Ravasaur Runt, Razorpetal Lasher, Rockpool Hunter, Scorp-o-matic, Spark Engine, Tuskarr Fisherman, Whirliglider, Acherus Veteran, Elven Archer, Emerald Reaver, Hungry Crab, Gravelsnout Knight, Servant of Kalimos, Masked Contender, and Firetree Witchdoctor. That’s not even all of them. Have I made my point?
Bloodsail Howler – One Star – These Rogue Pirates are just not enough to make a deck out of. Even if Pirate synergy was enough to formulate an archetype, I feel like these Pirate cards are overly weak. This card requires Pirates on the board to be good; it’s useless on its own. Not to mention that this is a terrible Recruit from Captain Hooktusk.
Raiding Party – One Star – This is a cheaper Nourish that tutors. I think that’s a fair statement that everybody is making. Ironically enough, it’s the tutor that makes this card a one star card. There are currently not enough reliable cards for this to target. If this is going to see play, Rogue is going to need some mid-range or control-style Pirates. There’s nothing existing that this card can already fit into at the moment and the future doesn’t look bright for something new. Some might argue that this is a natural fit for Kingsbane Rogue considering you can draw both Cutthroat Buccaneers and your Kingsbane. That seems to be pushing it a tad for me. If you draw even one of those before raiding party, you lose a significant amount of value for putting Raiding Party in your deck in the first place. Since we’re talking about existing things, I don’t think this would ever be better than Elven Minstrel. For just one more mana, you can draw two minions with him, get a 3/2, AND they don’t have to be Pirates. Likewise, Cavern Shinyfinder has always been a loyal drop for Rogues when they need a weapon in hand. Between Cavern Shinyfinder, Elven Mintrel, and Sprint, this spell is going to have a hard time fitting in or inspiring a new deck. Even then, this seems to have counterproductive support with the new Rogue legendary. If you draw Pirates with this card, then that’s less of a chance you’re going to get them from Captain Hooktusk which is how I would rather summon them. I suppose you could always reshuffle them back into your deck with Lab Recruiter, but if this is going to see the inside of a Rogue deck, it heavily relies on very, very specific support. So far, that doesn’t exists, nor do I think it’s good enough in Kingsbane Rogue.
Spirit of the Shark – One Star – I think that Rogue is just not the kind of class that is going to benefit from these new Spirit cards. Rogues are all about tempo and this will surely be a huge sacrifice in the rhythm of your game. So, what kinds of Battlecries and Combos would you want to get off in order for this to be worthwhile? In Odd Rogue you can double up on SI:7 Agent or Fungelmancer, but that’s quite clunky. That’s seven mana to deal four damage and nine mana to buff for +4/+4. That sounds good, but it seems a little “win-more” to me. In Miracle Rogue, you can shuffle six Ambushes in your deck instead of three. That’s actually pretty valuable, but you can do the same thing with Augmented Elekk. But, it’s even more valuable when you have both an Augmented Elekk on the field and the Spirit which gives you a total of twelve 4/4 spiders. That being said, I think that’s excessive and really greedy. I would much rather save my mana for my next few turns for cards like Vilespine Slayer and Eleven Minstrel as opposed to trying to set up these expensive 2-3 card combos. How about Deathrattle and Kingsbane Rogue? Using this with Shroom Brewer and Captain Greenskin is, once again, just not worth the two card combo. It’s too costly for such a minimal reward. I understand that you could reap the benefits of this card over a long period of time provided that this card stays on the field, but we’ll have to see if this can be squeezed into an already existing archetype or if a new kind of deck can be made. So far, I’m going to say no.
Serrated Tooth – Two Stars – It bothers me to rate this card one star, but this just doesn’t fit anywhere. First, let me explain why I think it’s good. It’s a 1-mana 1/3 weapon which alone is pretty decent. Its Deathrattle is really good if you have a bunch of small minions on the field or even just one big minion like Edwin VanCleef. It’s not slow because you can destroy your Serrated Tooth in a pinch with your Hero Power. The problem is I don’t see a reason for Pirate Rogue to be good which is why I can’t recommend this for future decks (even though this is amazing with Ticket Scalper). Since I can’t think of any future Rogue decks, it’s gotta fit into something that already exists. Odd Rogue isn’t good enough because it’s very aggressive and face-oriented. You’re going to want to use your Hero Power more often than another weapon because it’s much more aggressive and if you break this weapon in the early game, you won’t be getting much value out of it. In Kingsbane Rouge, you may have a lot of weapon synergy, but it muddies up the consistency of Cavern Shineyfinder. That’s a huge staple of the deck. In Deathrattle Rogue, you’re going to utilize your minions effects more so than worrying about your board state. Miracle Rouge is the only deck I think this would be remotely good enough for intermittent play. Playing this on turn one to get a nice weapon and then popping it to give your Fal’dorei Strider Rush is not the worst thing in the world and I think it warrants experimentation. That’s why it has two stars. Great card with some potential, but that potential is only going to happen after the rotation.
Stolen Steel – One Star – A really interesting card, but really bad to say the least. There are a lot of bad weapons out there that a Rogue can get. Skull of the Man’arai, Woeclever, Light’s Justice, Silversword, The Runespear, Farraki Battleaxe, Bladed Gauntlet, Likkim, Bloodclaw, Rhok’Delar, and Stormforged Axe are all horrific choices. Those are just the really bad ones. Everything else is just below average, mainly because you’re paying an extra two mana to get a random weapon. Gladiators Longbow, Dragon Soul, and Truesilver Champion are all great weapons for Rogue, but not at nine, five, and six mana respectively. The only insane thing you can do with this card is get Twig of the World Tree. If you play it on turn four, Rogues have the luxury of using their Hero Power on turn five and breaking the Twig and thus giving you a full tray of mana crystals while your opponent is still in the mid-game. Out of 43 weapons to Discover, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen often, especially since its effect only matters prior to turn ten. Paying an extra two mana is the deal breaker for this card. The benefit of getting to pick which weapon you want it just not worth getting taxed for a weapon I want to play.
Walk the Plank – Two Stars – It’s just inferior to Vilespine Slayer. The only stipulation Vilespine Slayer has is to combo it, which is a piece of cake for Rogues. Likewise, you don’t get a 3/4 minion out of the deal with this spell. There’s no need to use both Vilespine Slayer and Walk the Plank as that would be too clunky. Still, this IS a good removal spell. It can equate to Assassinate in certain ways and has the ability to be the go-to removal when Vilespine Slayer rotates out. But, can it make some use within the next four months? It’s possible! What about an Even Rogue? I see a reason to play this with Sharkfin Fan, Toxicologist, Elven Minstrel, and others. The support isn’t there, but very much a reason to experiment. It’s also an interesting enabler for a Mecha’thun Rogue. If you use Galvanizer once on you Mecha’thun, you can use Preperation your Walk the Plank and destroy Mecha’thun all in one turn. Before that, you can use Myra’s Unstable Element to empty your deck when the combo pieces are drawn. Right now, this spell was printed to fill the void of Vilespine Slayer when it rotates out. I don’t think anything I suggested will work, but it has a lot of test potential which is why I’m giving it two stars.
Krag'wa, the Frog – Five Stars – I had to think long and hard about this card, but I think this checks out. It’s really freaking good. I think Burn Shaman can be a lot of fun to play and this is going to be one of the reasons why. Set up your Eureka! with Malygos and all of your OTK elements like Totemic Smash and Lightening Bolt. That only does 32 damage and will most likely not be enough in this armor heavy META. However, this one card alone allows you to get that entire combo back again the very next turn. If your Malygos got destroyed, you might have to wait a turn as the full OTK is 10 mana (2 mana Overload from Lightening Bolts). But, that’s pretty insane if he survives. When you consider cards like Spirit of the Frog to easily draw you these combo pieces, you might have the ability to easily get these combo pieces. I see this as about a tier-2 and I hate to say that because OTK decks are not that great. The one issue is the fact that you can’t pull the combo off reliably because you don’t want to play Eureka! when you have this guy AND Malygos in your hand. That’s a 50/50 chance to spell disaster. Krag'wa, the Frog is just an overall good value generator. Mid-range Shaman fell out of the META but I can potentially see some playing of it again with this card. It’s kind of like drawing +2 or more cards when you really think about it and that extra value is going to really put Shaman on top. One final option for this guy is Even Shaman. Between Hex, Earthen Might, and the spells you get from Hagatha the Witch, I think it’s worth sacrificing a Fire Elemental in that deck. This card can be absolutely bonkers if you play smart and efficiently. He could be the most hated card of the set! This Loa gets 5-stars for being the star of a tier-2 deck as well as potentially seeing play in other mid-range decks.
Zentimo – Three Stars – Let’s discuss some crazy things you can do with Zentimo. First off all, there has been a lot of debate on how Overload works with this card. If you manage to target three minions, the Overload of that card WILL triple. Look at the card text, you’ll see that the spell gets “targeted” to adjacent minions, meaning two more copies are being cast. That means, Overload cards comboed with this seem to devastating for the user as opposed to the enemy. Crushing Hand may deal a total of eight damage across three minions which is great for five mana. However, it’s not worth skipping your entire next turn with nine Overloaded crystals. Same thing goes for cards like Lava Burst. Still, there’s a lot you can do with this card that can either be beneficial to your side of the board or distressing for your opponent’s board. Tidal Surge and Hex seems to be the best options. You could curve these combos, but it’s also a fair combo to play them on turn seven as well. Tidal Surge or Hex is basically a Flamestrike that heals you for 12 or transforming three enemy minions into 0/1s, respectively. That’s powerful. You can also get an insane amount of value from Earthen Might. For five mana, you can buff three minions for a total of +6/+6 and add an average of 2-3 cards to your hand depending on what you target. Unstable Evolution is just absolute madness if you manage to target three minions. Hell, this is good with just two minions. Everytime you cast Unstable Evolution with Zentimo on the board, you have the potential to gain three manas worth of value for just one mana with every cast. Avalanche is like a deadly Frost Nova. It will deal six damage to the minion you target, freeze it along with the two adjacent ones, and deal three damage two adjacent minions on each side of the minion you targeted. That affects five minions. That’s a lot of damage. This can even make bad spells like Windfury good. If you have three minions on the field, you can play Zentimo, Windfury, and then Bloodlust all in one turn. Of course there’s a lot of other things you can do like use Lightning Bolt or Earth Shock, which aren’t too bad either! We have to ask ourselves two things. Are these combos worth it and if they are, can it be done consistently? I think these combos ARE worth our time. As mentioned above, I think that any one of the aforementioned combos can be considered a tempo swing. They can really generate a lot of value for you and they’re worth the mana cost, even as two-card combos. But, is it realistic? On your side of the board, most likely not. In order to get this full value, you have to have the three minions on the field, Zentimo, and the spell you want to use. That is fairly hard to do, yet not impossible. You can do things like casting Primal Talismans on cheap minions so you’ll always have minions to target, but that’s not always ideal. Sometimes you’ll want to hit Elementals with Earthen Might or expensive minions with Unstable Evolution. I don’t think that using Rain of Toads for targets is practical on the count of how costly and Overloaded it is. However, on the other side of the board it’s as easy as casting a two card combo. What might be unrealistic is doing the same combo with Electra Stormsurge. Still, can you imagine Zentimo surviving a turn so you can double up on Tidal Surge? That’s basically destroying three minions and healing your Hero to nearly full. That’s what I call bonkers. Overall, the usage of this card is going to depend on if Control Shaman becomes a thing. Currently, there’s Shudderwock Shaman which has no need for this and Even Shaman which clearly can’t use Zentimo. The Boomsday Project offered some pretty decent Mid-Range/Control cards that didn’t see too much play with the exception of Menacing Nimbus and Earthen Might. But, Frog Shaman which is a burn/OTK kind of deck could greatly value his ability to make spells worthy of giant value swings. Since he’s not a staple, but solid choice in this tier-3 deck, he gets three stars. You COULD throw him in other decks as well which might be fun as well.
Big Bad Voodoo – One Star – This is Blizzard’s attempt at trying to keep the Evolve mechanic alive and well in Standard. Although I appreciate it, this is a terrible way to do it. Imagine if Evolve was a Deathrattle instead of a “Battlecry”. That’s not very good. Some people are comparing it to Ancestral Spirit, but I would argue Big Bad Voodoo is even worse. When you play Ancestral Spirit, the point of it is to either guarantee a specific Deathrattle to be reused again or a large Taunt minion to continue to block the way. Sure, this is supposed to give you a minion one mana value HIGHER than the one you targeted, but that could spell catastrophe. What if you transform your 7-drop into Hir’eek, the Bat? What if you get Lynessa Sunsorrow out of Gadgetzan Auctioneer? Even if you get good stats from the “1-up” minion, I would rather cast Ancestral Spirit on my Charged Devilsaur and guarantee a second Charged Devilsaur with Charge instead of getting an Alexstrasa. But, wait, aren’t Evolve and Unstable Evolution high-rolls too? Yes, but you usually play Evolve when you have a large board. Targeting a lot of minions greatly decreases the chance of getting terrible drops. As for Unstable Evolution, you can pick and choose what you like on the board and what you don’t like. When it comes to Big Bad Voodoo, you set it down and hope you get a good minion. This could be fun because Zentimo gives you the option to MAKE it conistant, but that’s a 5-mana two-card combo that requires set-up. It isn’t TERRIBLE, but I would still rather get a guaranteed good minion out of Ancestral Spirit. It’s too slow and unreliable. Sadly, Big Bad Voodoo is a big, bad card.
Haunting Visions – Three Stars – It’s no surprise that Shaman has quite a bit of bad spells, so having a card that Discovers them is already a bit of a turn off. The other effect of this spell allows you to have a 3 mana discount on a spell, provided you already paid the surcharge of 3 mana. So, it’s basically it’s Discover a Shaman spell for free if you make use of the card you discounted on the same turn. The Discovery is not worth it when you consider you can get a card like Totemic Might, Frost Shock, Forked Lightening, Windfury, Ice Fishing, Cryostasis, Spirit Echo, or Avalanche. Similarly, your discount won’t matter since the cost reduction only holds for one turn. If you want a Shaman spell in your deck, just put it in your deck. That being said, this combos very well with the new Frog Shaman because it offers a lot of great value with Krag’wa. This gives you more cards to get from the mighty Shaman Loa as well as lets you meld your tutors for Spirit of the Frog. Need a Totemic Smash? Take a Lava Burst for five mana, decrease the cost by 3, play it, and then Spirit of the Frog will proc to potentially draw it! Haunting Visions won’t always allow you to Discover what you need in a pinch and Far Sight is a decent replacement. However, Far Sight doesn’t get you two extra cards from the Shaman Loa. This has three stars for being usable in that deck, but not others. I think that you’re mostly using this card to work around Spirit of the Frog and Krag’wa. This card alone is not good enough.
Bog Slosher – One Star – It’s an Elemental with good stats and a great effect. Let’s get one thing out of the way. I think this is a great card and it deserves to be seen that way. I already see the reasoning why it’s going to be so good. When the Standard rotation takes place, Grumble, Worldshaker is going to be going to Wild which means there will be no more Shudderwock Shaman in Standard. That is, until this card showed up. Youthful Brewmaster or Ancient Brewmaster were most likely going to be tested to see if this archetype would still be viable. Now, after four months, it Shaman players won’t have to rely on those classic cards. For four whole expansions, they’ll have the pleasure of using Bog Slosher instead which has better stats and a better effect. So, if the rotation were to happen when Rastakhan’s Rumble drops, this would have a higher rating. Unfortunately for Bog Slosher I have to rate it based off of the upcoming META only. I think that the current Shudderwock Shaman is going to stick to the tried and true Grumble to ensure that Shudderwock will return back to the player’s hand. Grumble has a huge benefit of those added copies being discounted to one. Bog Slosher can’t do that, but at least he has some decent combos in the early game. He curves well with cards like Prince Keleseth and Menacing Nimbus. This way you’ll have some decent play on turn 4. This is even more insane with Saronite Chain Gang. Is that good enough? Sure it is! However, this doesn’t fit into any decks at the moment. The only other competitive Shaman deck that isn’t Shudderwock is Even Shaman and this is a three cost. Although strong, this cards isn’t good enough to build around and I don’t think any Elemental Control/Midrange Shaman decks are coming our way in the near future with the exception of Frog Shaman. This doesn’t make the cut. This is an excellent card that just needs to be patient.
Likkim – One Star – Controversial rating time! All in all, I think the risk of having a 2-mana 1 attack weapon and other drawbacks such as Overloading is not compensating for the advantage of a potential 3/3 attack weapon. There are so many bad Overload cards out there like Beakered Lightening and Zap! Even Shaman doesn’t run so many Overload cards that it wouldn’t made sense to add this to your deck. It’s just going to be a 1/3. There’s also no reason to cram a whole bunch of Overload cards in your deck just so you can make this work. A 2-mana 3/3 weapon is good, but not that good. After all, Spirit Claws hardly saw any play once it was nerfed to 2-mana, much like this card. Overloading may be easier to do than having Spell Damage, but Overloading is extremely harmful to your game play. One deck I could kind of see this in is Frog Shaman because of all the big removal spells like Volcano and Lightening Storm, butI think that want to focus more on playing the spells to draw cards with Spirit of the Frog, and not Overload yourself as much as you can so you can prepare for other stall tactics and your OTK combo. I’m not seeing it with this one.
Spirit of the Frog – Four Stars – I think that the Malygos OTK Shaman has the potential to be a tier-3 deck, and this is a reliable way of drawing cards for that deck and possible other decks as well! Use this to cycle through the spells in your deck, get your combo pieces, and win the game. I’m scared of this rating, because I feel like I’m getting on Trump’s hype-train. However, I looked at a lot of theory-crafting this card was used in and I see a lot of potential in getting a lot of value out of it. Two Zap! cards can draw your Totemic Smashes, into a Rockbiter Weapon, into Haunting Visions, and so on. If you’re going to run Krag’wa, you’re going to run this card. It’s the card you need to cycle through your deck in order to get the combo pieces you need on time. Can this work as just a card draw engine? I’m afraid not due to the fact that this is more for decks that are trying to desperately dig though their decks for the cards they want. When you play a 3-mana 0/3 in other decks, it’s going to be a tempo-killer. Still, it gets a very risky four stars in my book. I really want Frog Shaman to be a thing so I’m going to give it a shot and say it’s a staple in a tier-3 deck.
Rain of Toads – Two Stars – Shaman gets a fun, expensive spell. It’s a stall card, has Overload Synergy, and can be drawn by Storm Chaser. However, I’m not seeing it replacing anything Shaman is already using as a stall tactic nor do I see it being used in some kind of Overload archetype. In terms of a stall spell for Combo Shudderwock Shaman, it’s too much mana and is very unreliable. In that deck, you want to guarantee that your opponent will have no way of stopping you so you can get to the late game, set up your combo, and play Shudderwock to win the game. Playing a “max value Phantom Militia” is not going to always ensure that you have more time to pull this combo off. Your opponent can have enough minions to destroy the Toads, play an AoE spell, play Mossy Horror, and much more. You’re better off just playing Volcano for less mana with less Overload so you can destroy their minions and have more reliability in making sure your opponent has no minions on the board to stop you. The AoE that Shaman has is enough at the moment. What about an Overload archetype? Well, this would certainly fit in, but this kind of deck isn’t ladder friendly and doesn’t have much support. There is currently a fringe Eureka! Shaman that is floating around that works well. It’s not competitive, but it’s fun. The goal is to stall using Overload removal cards, build up your Lesser Sapphire Spellstone, and make copies of large minions like The Lich King or Charged Devilsaur. This could be a natural fit, but even then, I still would rather use Volcano, Lighting Storm, and Crushing Hand. Hell, if you wanted good Overload stalls, just use Earth Elemental. Overload Shaman has never been too good in Standard since Tunnel Trogg left and this isn’t the card that’s going to change that. Finally, I think Token Shaman is out of the question because of its massive Overload which makes it hard to do the Electra/Bloodlust combo. Plus, the 6-drop slot is already filled with great cards like Fire Elemental and Mossy Horror. Overall, it’s too big to see play and there are so many other options out there for Shaman that are just plain better. I wouldn’t want to much Overload in Burn Shaman, so I don’t think it will work out there, ether. I have a feeling that this can be squeezed into Even Shaman intermittently which is why this has two stars. Even Shaman is a competitive deck, I don’t think it’s going to get worse when the expansion drops, and I think Rain of Toads is going to be a nice way to keep the deck fresh.
Totemic Smash – Four Stars – Maybe I’m being ignorant, but I highly doubt this can be used as a versatile Shaman removal. This is either a Holy Smite or a Basic Totem with Battlecry: Deal 1 Damage. Why are so many people suggesting using this with Spell Damage? What’s the point of comboing it with Spell Damage for such a minor benefit? Unless that Spell Damage you use is from Malygos… I really don’t want to do this, but I’m going to. This card gets Five Stars for being the missing puzzle piece of an OTK Shaman. The goal is to draw six cards: Eureka!, Malygos, two Lighting Bolts, and two Totemic Smashes. I actually think this can be particularly powerful. This is a very viable archetype due to the fact that Shaman has plenty of board clear, stalling spells, and tutored card draw. The combo pieces can come to your hand quite nicely for a very reliable late game burst. It’s a four star cards for being the reason why this OTK is possible in a tier-3 deck. There are still decks out there like Odd Warrior, Malygos Druid, Token Druid, and Recruit Warrior that gain armor well over 32 Damage. However, you still have cards like Krag’wa to recycle those cards and play the combo again. That’s not very reliable since you could potentially Eureka! your Krag’wa instead of Malygos, but This could very well be an interesting deck to try out. It’s that inconsistency that makes it a four star cards instead of a five star.
Wartbringer – One Star – I’m not really understanding the design of this card. I stared at it for at least an hour and I can’t even think of a niche use for it. In the early game, you’ll never get the effect off unless you burn your entire hand with two Zap! cards and in the late game, it’s too little too late. You can’t even use Electra Stormsurge or Zentimo because the spells have to speed it up be played from your hand. What’s the purpose of this card?
High Priest Thekal – One Star – As incredible of a design as this card is, I’m not sure I’m buying the whole Healadin archetype. After all, this isn’t something that can support multiple archetypes. This is specifically for a deck that plans to heal consistently throughout the game. The plan is to play this card, and then use healing cards like Chillblade Champion to activate the effects of cards that benefit from healing. That includes Zandalari Templar, Blackguard, and Lesser Pearl Spellstone. However, you really want to be focusing on a win-condition on the ladder and healing your Hero consistently is not going to do that just because you have a few cards like the ones mentioned before that benefit from heals. You need to be doing something else to assure your victory; otherwise it’s not a good archetype. Even if it was a reliable deck-style, High Priest Thekal is only one enabler in a deck of 30. I don’t want to wait for one Legendary so I can enable what limited support this type of deck has to offer. My ratings only count for Standard, but wow is this going to be insane in a deck with Reno Jackson and/or Molten Giants. Overall, this legendary card only panders to one kind of archetype in Standard. That play-style doesn’t have nearly enough support. You could add an even/odd aspect, but then the cards are split. Even rules out High Priest Thekal, Bloodclaw, and Ornery Tortoise. Odd decks would rule out Flash of Light and Zandalari Templar. That’s not going to work.
Shirvallah, the Tiger – Five Stars – Paladin decks are aggressive at the moment and this doesn’t fit anywhere in an aggressive deck. This is especially because of all the cheap spells that are run in those decks. There’s a lot of comparison to Zilliax and that’s a fair assessment. Zilliax seems to be much more consistent than this guy due to it not having a condition to summon it. However, healing for 7 and possibly 14 or more is a HUGE difference for healing 3 possibly 6 with Zilliax. That leaves the question, is it worth to use all these big spells to let this Tiger out of its cage? I’m going to say yes, hence the four star rating. Paladin already tried the Quest in the past which already forces you to use clunky buffs on minions but it didn’t work. However, in this expansion you’ll have more than one win-condition. I believe that this deck can also find a home for The Last Kaleidosaur, Lynessa Sunsorrow, and this card. The controlling of the board that you’ll be doing with big buffs and Spirit of the Tiger will not only give you a great mid-game, but will also simultaneously work toward your late game. You’ll be building towards a very viable win-condition. Healing for 7 is a big deal and it’s pretty likely you’ll get another 7 when your opponent tries to destroy Shirvallah. However, I don’t think this is a fit for the forced Healadin that this expansion is trying to push with High Priest Thekal. This card requires a lot of big spells to be played and there aren’t too many good, expensive healing spells with the exception of Lay on Hands. A deck archetype can’t be focused on healing AND buffing. That’s way too slow because you won’t be focusing on your board. At least with this new found Tiger Paladin, you’ll be doing two things at the same time. Healing or buffing by itself is not enough to be a win condition. Also, there’s the obvious Bazooka Paladin where you use Holy Wraith to draw this guy and deal 25 damage to the face. Although that’s very unreliable, I can’t wait to try it out as it is very possible to pull off. Five stars for being a staple of what I think can be a tier-2 deck.
A New Challenger... – One Star – There are quite a number of good cards you can get from this. Damaged Stegodon, Frozen Crusher, Carine Bloodhoof, Bone Drake, and Mechanical Whelp are all decent cards to Discover from this spell. The question is, what exactly is its purpose and is the Taunt and Divine Shield worth the extra 1 mana? This has two purposes in my opinion. The first use is to be a stall card. A minion with Taunt and Divine Shield is the quintessence of anti-aggro and offers a way to hid behind a minion in order to set up your board and keep you alive longer. It seems to me that this card comes out a little bit late in the game to start protecting you. Plus, cards like Sunkeeper Tarim or the Equality/Consecration combo are much better options to shift control to your side of the field. So, the only other reason I can see this being viable is in a deck that makes Shirvallah, the Tiger cheaper. This could be a solid choice for a deck like that! It’s a spell that discounts Shirvallah by a decent chuck and puts a decent body on the board. The issue is, we have to ask ourselves the second question. Is it worth it? For some cards, yes. Much like the previous cards I mentioned, they get a significant boost in value because they’re losing a negative Battlecry like Hungry Ettin and Damaged Stegotron or they’re just gaining a boost of viability because you’re adding these two keywords to an already high-stated minion that they would otherwise not have like Blackguard. However, you can get some pretty bad Discovers like Arcane Dynamo, Sabertooth Stalker, Sunwalker, Black Knight, Spark Drill, Priestess of Elune, Glowstone Technician, Frost Elemental, Nerubian Raveler, Necrotic Geist, Skulking Geist, and Spellweaver. The bad options heavily outweigh the aforementioned valuable choices. Everything else is just “playable” like Furnacefire Colossus and Genn Greymane. So, if you ask me, those two keywords don’t make up for the fact that you pay one extra mana to roll a dice and hope you get a good Discover out of it. This is especially if you get a minion that has at least one of those keywords already. Then there’s less value to be had! The pool of minions it can choose from can change every expansion, but considering what it has to choose from for the next four months, it doesn’t look reliable. It doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere at the moment.
Immortal Prelate – Four Stars – This is the kind of card I like to see! If the META slows down, I can see this working as Paladin already has quite the number of tools to make this effort worth your while. First of all, Paladin’s can try to make their Quest work. Will it? I’m sure going to try that. Tiger Paladin is in need of a few buffs because I predict it will run the Quest and this is a card that likes buffs. But, there are so many interesting things you can enchant this card with that could actually make for a new kind of Paladin experience. Spikedridged Steed, Corpseraiser, Val’anyr, and Argent Commander are all cards that come to mind to make sure that Immortal Prelate comes out stronger each time. You can also use cards like Witchood Piper or Call to Arms to make sure that both Immortal Prelates don’t get lost at the bottom of your deck. Overall, I think it’s a nice choice for a deck that uses a lot of buffs. There’s a lot of comparison to Kingsbane Rogue and how well that works, but that surely isn’t the same. Kingsbane has “charge”, can’t be silenced, and has access to a spell that can give it Lifesteal which is the main sustain of the deck. Immortale Prelate doesn’t have any of these qualities which makes it severely different. Still, it gets a four star rating for being a significant part, but not a staple, in what could be a tier-2 deck.
Farraki Battleaxe – One Star – Has potential to be the worst weapons in Uther’s arsenal. Let’s compare this to Paladin’s Val’anyr. One is a 6-mana 4/2 and the other is a 5-mana 3/3. One is more aggressive and the other lasts a little bit longer. Overall, they’re about the same. What about the effect? Val’anyr guarantees a minion buff and recycles the same effect for no additional mana cost. Farraki Battleaxe gives a worse buff provided the minion you kill is Overkilled. It’s an overcosted effect that isn’t guaranteed in an archetype that has struggled for so long. The only other benefit this card has over Val’anyr is the fact that you can have two of these in your deck, but I wouldn’t even want one. It’s too slow in Odd Paladin, unfitting in Even Paladin (obviously), unneeded in Egg Paladin, and it seems like Handbuff still has no support to make a deck out of. In the future, I predict a Control Tiger Paladin and this does not satisfy any win condition in that deck.
Spirit of the Tiger – Five Stars – Probably the best Spirit card out there. Paladin needed a way to make their spells more tempo-oriented and I think this is a fair way to make it happen. The way I see it, this makes your spells minions with Battlecries. For example, if Spirit of the Tiger is on the field, you can summon a 4/4 Tiger with Battlecry: Deal 2 damage to all enemy characters. Similarly, you can summon 5 2/2 Tigers that all have a Battlecry that gives a minion +1/+2. That’s a total of 15/20 stats spread across the board. Normally, cards like Sound the Bells! would still be to slow. Spirit of the Tiger, amongst other cards, make a very viable Control Paladin. Let’s call it Tiger Paladin, because this card seems to be the star of the show. If we do the abovementioned combo, or do the same thing but with Spikedridged Steed, then stats aren’t the only thing you’re getting out of this deal unlike previous attempts of the quest. I believe that this deck can also find a home for The Last Kaleidosaur, the Paladin Loa, and Lynessa Sunsorrow. So, not only do you get a massive amount of stats, but you’re building towards a very viable win-condition. This card also makes for a fair mid-range game. This curves very well into Call to Arms where you can not only summon a 5/5 Tiger, but this can also cheat out buffed Immortal Prelates, Crystalsmith Kangor, and maybe even cheap cards like Glow-Tron. Throw in a Corpsetaker considering you’re running cards like Shirvallah, Righteous Protector, Crystalsmith Kangor, and maybe even Zilliax and Stonehill Defender. It seems to be that this card offers tangible lines of synergy to all of these cards mentioned. Now, the one problem with this deck is that the META has to slow down a little bit for it to work. Having a controlling mid-game and multiple late game options is a win-condition, but they’re a little slow and require a bit of set-up. However, they’re not too slow that this archetype is out of the realm of playability. In conclusion, this gets five stars. It’s powerful enough to offer multiple positive interactions with existing cards and overall seems like a blast to play.
Zandalari Templar – One Star – A 4/4 minion in the early game, but a potential cheap minion in the late game that has the body of The Lich King. The stipulation to make this card worth your while is to heal for 10 health. A lot of people are comparing this to Hooked Reaver which obtains a similar buff for having your Hero’s Health at 15 or less. Healing for 10 is a lot harder than having 15 or less health, especially when you consider the classes you’re doing it in. Paladin has Lesser Pearl Spellstone which is easily the worst spellstone there is. Not only because the reward was not worth it, but because it’s fairly hard to heal yourself while trying to create a separate win-condition. In this case, Blizzard is trying to push for an archetype where healing IS the main goal, but it’s not going to work. Sure, this card gives you an extremely powerful minion to play, but simple stats for a slow and tedious requirement is not worth your time. By the time you spend all that mana trying to heal your Hero using cards like Chillblade Champion, Truesilver Champion, and Holy Light, you’ll probably have already spend MORE than 8-mana to play the healing cards and Zandalari Templar herself. So, you might tell me that High Priest Thekal exists and will allow healing to be easier. That’s true because you won’t have to wait for your opponent to smack you in face so you can heal yourself. That’s just one card though and this kind of archetype seems too slow considering the support is very sparse. I have to say no to the Healadin idea.
Bloodclaw – Two Stars – This one card is two Bloodsail Raiders for one mana and without a condition. That’s really efficient until your realize the downside is pretty massive. However, this card was obviously made for the new Healadin. Not only does it damage you immediately, but you can also trade with minions to really settle in some damage while simultaneously controlling the board. However, I don’t think Healdin is going to work as it needs something more to support the archetype. Healing alone is not a win condition. That being said, I think this is going to see some intermittent play in Odd Paladin. It’s a powerful first play in a deck that doesn’t care to much about the damage you take because of how fast you plan on winning with this deck. It’s not susceptible to AoE and it can bang through Taunts so your minions don’t have to die. I gave Ornery Tortoise two stars as well for the same reason. I think both can see play on and off in Odd Paladin, but not both of them at the same time. Bloodclaw can be a force to be reckoned with in a deck that’s already good. I just don’t think it’s good enough to have more than two stars because I don’t see it outshining amazing cards like Argent Protector and Lost in the Jungle.
Flash of Light – Four Stars – This is a much better healing card than Holy Light and a much better drawing card than Potion of Heroism. That being said, it’s not very hard for a card to be better than those. So, is it worth it to put in a deck? I think so. Tiger Paladin can’t rely on just Divine Favor to be enough card draw and this is a really good way to do it. It keeps you healthy, helps control the board since you can target minions, allows you to cycle through your deck faster to get the cards you need, and can even provide a few niche combos. Primalfin Champion is not worthy of a heal, but if you have him on the field you can still draw a card and then get an extra copy of it when he dies. Similarly, Lynessa Sunsorrow may not benefit from the healing effect, but she will still draw you a card or two depending on how many times you played Flash of Light this game. Despite this card being good, I still don’t think that Healadin has enough support. Four stars for being a strong part of a tier-2 deck. It also gets bonus points for being a part of the meme Holy Wraith deck.
Time Out! – Two Stars –We’ve come to a point in Hearthstone where there are so many cards in the game, it becomes easy to compare most cards to other cards. In this case, I’ve seen at least six different comparisons. What we have here is an obvious stall tactic provided to Paladins if there is ever an archetype that involves a Paladin OTK or combos that offer value turns over the course of the game. This is similar, but not identical to Ice Block, Rebuke, and even Evasion. In order to evaluate this, we have to think about what a Paladin can do and if this can benefit those actions. First, I think it’s important to establish that this card isn’t QUITE like Ice Block. Yes, they are both 3-mana spells that make your Hero immune; that part is obvious. But, it’s important to note that one of the reasons why Ice Block was so good is because it didn’t involve any planning. Once you placed it down, it would give you value in the late game and its effect would trigger right when you needed it too. Mage also has a lot of ways to cheat the spell out like with Arcane Keysmith and Arcanologist. Paladin doesn’t have any tutor to ensure that this card gets in their hands when it’s needed the most. You also have to plan out your turn properly to ensure you get the most value out of it. You can be up against a really large board of minions and use this to avoid taking damage, use this to elude lethal to heal the next turn, or you can wait until you have a weapon and take a hit from a large minion with no consequences. These are all realistic and viable uses for this spell. The problem is, what are you going to do after? Do you have a reason for stalling all of this time? At the moment, I don’t think Paladin has much of a reason to stall time. You don’t win games by JUST surviving. You need to have a win condition. The only OTK combo I can think of it the Shirvallah, the Tiger deck and I think it’s just a meme due to its extreme set-up time, amount of luck needed, and pure inconsistency. Unless this new expansion will reveal some control options that have potential to outshine other decks, this card doesn’t stand a chance of seeing any play anywhere else within the next four months. This is strictly better than Rebuke, however. Although they are both cheap stalling spells, Rebuke requires guessing and foresight. Finally, I think this is a little too slow for Tiger Paladin. I’d prefer 3-drops like Stonehill Defender, Unidentified Maul, or maybe even Prince Taldaram to double up on late game minions. Two stars for an important component in a meme deck.
Akali, the Rhino – One Star – A lot of one star cards in my review are bad because there’s just no place to put them. This card is a one star card because it’s terrible. At 8-mana, you better hope you’re playing something reliable. Around that point in the game, you might not always have a minion with four or less health to Overkill. If that’s the case, then you either just played a 8-mana 5/5 or you’re keeping this unwieldy minion in your hand. This obviously supports Rush synergy more than anything, but there aren’t too many Rush minions you want to put in your deck before your deck becomes too polluted. Sure, Redband Wasp, Sightless Ranger, and Rabid Worgen are good cards to hit, but I’m not really seeing solid enough value to build a deck to make this happen. So, let’s say you don’t saturate your deck and only throw in Zilliax which is an amazing target to hit for +5/+5. That’s a 5-mana 8/7 with Magnetic, Rush, Taunt, and Divine Shield. But, what happens if you draw it? Then Akali becomes a weak Rush minion and nothing more. This can sometimes be guaranteed on turn 8 because of cards like Town Crier, but then you run the risk of drawing the Rush minions you would rather draw with Akali. There doesn’t seem to be deck where there’s a nice balance of Rush minions for you to fit this in. You could use this in Recruit Warrior, but the effect you get is still not always going to be guaranteed and a 5/5 Rush alone is just not enough in the late game. Likewise, the only deck that seems to have a nice happy medium of Rush minions is Odd Warrior but this is an 8-cost card. So, maybe this rhino will charge its way into a new archetype where a whole bunch of Rush minions are stuffed into one deck and the goal is to trade as much as possible into the late game. I don’t see that happening at all; nor do I see a new archetype that supports Akali. This is one star because the effect isn’t always guaranteed, it’s not enough in the late game, and it seems to be rather tedious to strike the perfect balance of Rush minions to add into a deck in order for this to be consistent.
War Master Voone – One Star – If Dragon Warrior becomes a thing, this becomes an auto-include in every single version of that deck. If Dragon Warrior doesn’t get the support it so desperately needs, this card will forever be forgotten until the next expansion. That being said, what a card! This is a value generator meant for a late-game control deck. If you can manage to fill your hand with Dragons, you can do some potentially insane things. As the reveal video suggests, you can play War Master Voone with Ysera or a Primordial Drake in your hand, copy them, and then play The Boomship for a massive board swing and/or clear. You can even double your value by copying Voone with Zola the Gorgon. That way you’ll have extra minions to play AFTER playing The Boomship. That’s a lot of value, but is it a win-condition? It seems a little weak to have to rely on just this combo. The biggest downfall is the fact that Dragon synergy alone is not enough to build a deck. You’ll need to find another archetype to marry it too and it can’t be odd or even because you’ll lose a ton of key cards in each.
Smolderthorn Lancer – One Star – Sadly, this faces the same fate as Cathedral Gargoyle does. It’s a good card with decent stats and an incredible effect for its mana-cost, but has absolutely no support to make it work. Warrior is going to need more dragons for this to be a common player in the META. It’s that simple. That being said, if Dragon Warrior gets more support later on in the next expansion, this is a surefire addition. Execute on a 3/2 is an insane bundle.
Sul'thraze – One Star – Ah, the very first Overkill card revealed. There’s only two benefits that Sul’thraze has over Fool’s Bane. It has one extra attack and can go face after you smash through a few minions. But, this is provided you Overkilled them. Is that extra slap in the face for four damage really worth it, especially since you spent 6-mana on a 4/4? I don’t think so. Now to be fair, if you look at my The Boomsday Project card review, I said, and I quote “[Supercollider] has potential to be one of the worst cards in the set.” So, if this is another Warrior weapon I’m passing up on, I’ll really look like a doofus. But, I have to stand my ground. Warrior already has a good weapon it can utilize and I find it very unlikely you’ll benefit so much from the Overkill that it’s worth playing a 6-mana 4/4 weapon. It’s also an even-cost weapon in an Odd Warrior META! It’s going to be pretty hard to kick Odd Warrior off its throne as well as outshining Supercollider.
Emberscale Drake – One Star – Finally! It looks like Warrior is going to get some decent options for an archetype they’ve never had before. Although this isn’t something that makes the deck, it’s certainly something that will inspire enough experimentation with. This also makes me a bit sad because this fits into Odd Warrior with Dragons, but it wouldn’t be able to support War Master Voone or Dragon Roar. I think that they would be important values card in that deck that can’t be substituted. Still, we can talk about the card by itself because it’s very nice addition to something that can be quite fun to play. This is a cheaper Shieldmaiden with a condition. Fortunately, that condition is something that’s slowly being catered by Blizzard. New Dragons are starting to emerge and Warrior already got a pretty sick legendary to make the deck interesting. Not only does this enable other Dragon effects with its tribal tag, but it enables armor effects in cards such as Shield Slam, Reckless Flurry, and maybe even Heavy Metal! as well. The 5-drop spot, although heavily utilized by Warrior, can still find a way to squeeze this card in. It’s just not going to be playable.
Heavy Metal! – One Star - This is Geoscultptor Yip, but worse. I won't ride it off as strictly worse, because there are benefits that do exist. For example, you can run two of these instead of one; not to mention they are easier to obtain due to the rarity. Likewise, you can get the same effect of Geoscultptor Yip two turns earlier, which makes a pretty big difference. The problem is, Geosculptor Yip was never good enough to see play and the benefits of the spell don't override the negatives. Geoscultptor Yip came with a 4/8 body AND a random minion with a cost corresponding to your armor. It's also likely Geoscultptor Yip would be able to survive longer than one turn which means you get an extra minion on the turn after you played him at no cost. Warrior has no effective way to reduce this cost or make it useful enough to combo it with, especially since Geoscultptor Yip is still in rotation. At least Yip can be Recruited, which he already is in the lower-tier Recruit Warrior. One could argue that minions like Spiteful Summoner saw play which summoned a minion based off of something. That’s a fair enough argument, but it has its flaws. Similar to pre-nerf Spiteful Summoner, they both cost 6-mana and summon a minion based off of a stipulation. Just like it was easy for Mage, Druid, and Priest to have expensive spells in their decks, it’s easy for a Warriors to gain 10 armor. That means you can get Ultrasaur, Emeriss, Mecha’thun, Mulch Muncher, Deathwing, Hakkar, the Soulflayer, or Tyrantus which are all insane to get on turn six. But, wait! It’s only easy to get that kind of armor if you have an upgraded Hero Power. This doesn’t fit into an Odd deck because… yeah. You aren’t going to waste time using Shield Block, Bring it On!, or Iron Hide, just so you could benefit from this. Even Warrior has almost no support and it’s going to be pretty hard to knock Odd Warrior off of its throne. If Warrior is granted more support in armor gain, this might be a staple card, but right now I’m just not seeing it.
Spirit of the Rhino – Three Stars – I’m glad that I didn’t have to rate everything that Warrior got a one star card. Warrior players get a nice control card that they’ll make some room for. Rush Warrior is doing pretty okay against aggressive decks, but it’s not popular for a reason. Rush alone isn’t an archetype. This is, nonetheless, a perfect fit for Odd Warrior. Not only does that deck already run Zilliax and Rabid Worgen, but there’s also The Boomship and Dr. Boom, Mad Genius. All you have to do is throw this minion out onto the field and start trading. You have nothing to lose for one measly mana! Sadly for Spirit of the Rhino, this is a three star card because it fits into one deck and one deck only. Even then, it’s not going to help it rocket further out of the tier it’s in.
Devastate – One Star – Rating Warrior is always hard for me. It’s my least played class and I don’t really enjoy playing it to begin with. So, when people get all hyped about a card, it’s hard for me to counter their arguments when I don’t have much experience in the class. But, in this case, I fail to see why you wouldn’t rather run Shield Slam instead. Especially in Odd Warrior, it would take one click of your Hero Power to match this card and the minion doesn’t have the preexisting condition of being damaged. Sure, it may be a little but harder to set up in non-Odd Warrior decks, but those archetypes like Recruit and Mecha’thun Warrior also run Shield Slam because it synergizes well with the cards they run like Shield Block and Dr. Boom, Mad Genius. The way I see it, Devastate is only better than Shield Slam if you’re trying to remove something in the early game that’s getting out of control like a Hench-Clan Thug. You COULD run both Devestate and Shield Slam, but I think that’s a lot since you want your 1-drop slot for cards like Town Crier and Eternium Rover. Not quite understanding the hype on this one.
Dragon Roar – One Star – This is an insane value card, especially when you consider the fact that the only two bad draws are Ebon Dragonsmith and Hoarding Dragon. The problem with this card is the same problem with the rest of the Dragon cards. Dragon synergy, although good, is not enough to be a deck. Warrior has some conflicting mana-costs which is why you can’t marry two archetypes into one. This deck would be decent if it were odd or even, but you’d be losing a bulk of the good cards if you pick either or. With an Even Dragon Warrior, you lose Emberscale Drake, Crowd Roaster, and Smolderhorn Lancer. Odd Warrior looses this card and War Master Voone. Those are both not ideal situations. Maybe next expansion, Dragon Warrior!
Overlord's Whip – One Star – This card took me the longest to review. I’ve been the most skeptical about this review, and yet, I have to eventually give it a review. One star is my final consensus. Although this clearly supports Enrage Warrior, it doesn’t have to be in a deck that orients itself around damaging minions (which I think it way too fringe). This could very well just be in a deck as a solid weapon that allows you four whole swings for two damage each. That’s really good for an aggressive deck. Top this off with Upgrade! and you’ll have a 3/5 weapon for three mana. That’s really good. But, that’s more for an aggressive archetype which doesn’t exist for Warrior at the moment. Not to mention that this weapon has a downside if you’re not using Enrage minions. You could put this in a control deck, but I’m not really sure the deck slot is worth it. While it could fit into Odd Warrior, they have some pretty crucial cards in that slot like Reckless Flurry and Rabid Worgen. They also run two copies of Supercollider which is a much more efficient means of removal. Two weapons in one deck is a bit much, especially since this one has a downside when playing a non-Enrage deck. Overall, it’s not going to match Supercollider for control decks, not going to be enough to support an aggro deck, and never will an Enrage Warrior ever be a thing because those cards are just not good, nor is it enough to create a win condition. It seems to me like Bloodrazor is better almost every time.
Da Undatakah – Five Stars – Another card I’m afraid of jumping on the hype-train with, but I fail to see how this won’t be tried out in multiple different decks. There are so many crazy things you can do with this guy, it’s unreal. It seems like the possibilities are endless. This is one of those cards that’s so fun and seemingly limitless, it will still see play from pure enjoyable experimentation. Let’s break this guy down because there’s a lot to discuss. The first thing to look at are the stats. An 8-mana 8/5 is moderately understated, but reasonable for an effect like this. It plays well on curve because it’s very likely you’ll have played at least three Deathrattle minions for this dude to copy. It’s also ideal for him to have five health. While you may not always take full advantage of his high attack power, you can be sure that his low health will be susceptible to a quicker death. Although not ideal, you’ll manage to get those effects off sooner than later if he dies the very next turn. If this guy has a ton of health, you’d be doing whatever you can to try and pop off the Deathrattles and then it just wouldn’t be worth it. There are two general ways you can play this dude: control-style or freely. Let me explain what I mean. When I say control, I mean building around it so that Da Undatakah gains three very specific Deathrattles. The best and most promising way to do this is to use two Astral Tigers and Hadronox. This way, if your Hadronox falls to a silence, you can still have a copy of the Da Undatakah to ensure that you’ll be able to play your Taunts again. This can become a constant cycle considering the Astral Tiger will reshuffle Da Undatakah over and over again. As long as there are no other Deathrattles in your deck, this is certainly achievable. Another way to control how this works is with Immortal Prelate. While there can be more than three Deathrattles in this deck, it would be wise to play only three (one of them being Immortal Prelate) and then allowing Da Undatakah to shuffle itself back into the deck. Once he’s cycled in your deck, you can start playing more Deathrattle minions. Since it already shuffled itself into your deck from the effect of Immortal Prelate, it will keep that enchantment and still gain three more Deathrattles. Hell, it could get Immortal Prelate’s effect again and two copies can get shuffled in when he dies! It’s certainly an interesting way to play it. One final interesting controlled way you can play this is with Pyros. Play Pyros and two other Deathrattle minions you want. When Da Undatakah dies, a 6-mana 6/6 copy of Da Undatakah will be added to you hand. When that dies, you’ll get another 6/6, a 10/10 or both! This seems more like a meme, but still fun to try. Now, what do I mean by freely? I mean using Da Undatakah in a way where you can just throw him in a deck and he’ll just generate value for you. These are decks like Quest Priest, Deathrattle Hunter, and Deathrattle Rogue. Even if you get cards with no synergy like a Crystalline Oracle, a Devilsaur Egg, and a Carine Bloodhoof, it’s still value! Not to mention that each class can capitalize on this guy. Priests can use Vivid Nightmare or Mirage Caller, Hunters can make this guy Play Dead, and Rogues can throw a Necrium Vial on him. Seems pretty good to me. I would give this four stars for being in a wide multitude of deck that won’t make it to the top, but the one thing giving me reason to bump it to five stars is Druid. I think that this guy in Hadronox Druid offers a fresh twist on an old deck that will keep it engaging and unyielding. This is a fantastic card that will surely shine one way or another.
Griftah – One Star – I’m not a competitive player. I play purely for fun, so I’m really hoping that this is in one of my packs upon release. However, it’s not going to see play in constructed at all. It’s the RNG portion of it that kills the card entirely. Not only do you not get to choose what card ends up in your hand, but “Discover a card” means that it could be absolutely any neutral card in the game. There are a lot of things you can try with Griftah and they all seem to not be worth your while. Let’s say you Discover two bad cards like Goldshire Footman and Wretched Tiller. In this case you just played a Chillwind Yeti that gave both you and your opponent a minor benefit. Conversely, you can Discover The Lich King and Elise, the Trailblazer. You get a great benefit, but unfortunately so does your opponent. Spending 4 mana to give both players a good card is not worth the extra 4/5 you get out of the deal. The worst scenario is Discovering one good card like Saronite Chain Gang and then a bad card like Fallen Sun Cleric. You run a pretty high risk of getting the bad card while your opponent bathes in the value of your own mana that you spend. That’s not good. Despite these short comings, it does have its minor benefits if you play it correctly and have luck on your side. The obvious upside is if you high-roll and get the good card for yourself. In that case, the value is pretty great. But, that’s not reliable for three reasons; one of them being obvious. It’s a 50/50 chance. I wouldn’t want to waste a deck slot on a value generator that works half the time. Not only does it hurt you, but it benefits the opponent. The second reason is the fact that you can’t predict what you will receive on your second Discover. Let’s say you wanted to high-roll and you picked a good card you hoped to get for yourself. What if the next three choices you get are all amazing cards? You have no choice but to pick one for your opponent to have. That’s not good at all. The third reason is the large card pool you’re choosing from. Your options are so polluted that you can’t possibly know for sure what you’re getting, whereas the Discover pool for Stonehill Defender is more reliable because there are a lot of good Taunt cards out there. So, what else can this do that’s mildly positive? This meme legendary can perform very niche counters to certain decks. For example, this is a decent counter to decks that fill their hands up like Druid and Mage. If they have 10 cards, you just played a Chillwind Yeti that Discovers you one of two cards of your choosing. If they have 9 cards, they will mill their next draw. This is also a Mecha’thun counter! You can Discover two high-cost minions or spells and put them in each hand. This way you have a fair beefy minion in your hand while your opponent has to play another clunky minion just to get their win condition off. Could you imagine Giving them a Snowfury Giant? That would seal the deal right there. Finally, I see this as an interesting option for Princess Talanji. Give your opponent a big, useless vanilla minion like War Golem while you play a 7/5 that summons a Bulldozer for no extra cost. Not a bad play! It’s not AS bad as people say. It has its benefits and I can’t wait to try him out. That being said, I’m not going to pretend like everybody is underrating the sleeper card of the set. He’s bad and I know he’s bad. He’s too risky to play, too beneficial to the opponent, and it’s only in rare conditions where he can superbly shine. Attributes like that are not worth a deck slot.
Hakkar, the Soulflayer – One Star – There’s always a meme legendary of each set and it looks like Rastakhan’s Rumble is getting two with this and Griftah. This is meant specifically for players who want to create fun and interesting decks that weren’t made for the ladder. In terms of fun, this seems like a blast trying to make it work. If you manage to pop this cards Deathrattle, the game becomes a game of Russian roulette. Who will succumb to the Corrupted Blood first? Whose deck will become infested worse? Who will be able to survive? Sounds like fun! If you want to win a game through this card, you have to do whatever you can meld your deck to make sure that your opponent will die to the blood before you do. One way is to play this in a Warrior or Druid deck because of the insane amount of armor you’re able to gain overtime. This way, the Corrupted Blood will be digging at your armor while your opponent will be under 30 health struggling to live to tell the tale. You can play as Priest or Rogue who have ways to saturate their deck with better cards. Archbishop Benedictus and Academic Espionage are all solid ways to outlive in the fatigue game and decrease your chances of drawing the blood card. Priest also has Awaken the Makers. Not only is this a Deathrattle card that synergizes with the Quest, but the reward also plays a big role in outliving your opponent by resetting your Health to 40. There’s also Priests healing capabilities that synergize well. Even a Paladin can consider playing this by popping the Deathrattle and then playing Prince Liam to not only gain value from the Corrupted Blood, but to purge your deck of the blood as well. Are these practical? No, they’re all way too slow and unreliable. I think that’s pretty obvious. It’s going to take a genius to make this work consistently on the ladder. Regardless, this is supposed to be played for fun. Although it’s bad, I look forward to using it.
Mojomaster Zihi – Two Stars – The ultimate combo-breaker. Say goodbye to any Mecha’Thunn or Shudderwock deck that tries to get in your way. Delaying them several turns is a really awesome way to make your opponents win-condition come out later than they want. I just think that it’s a bit overhyped. Most combo and control decks are going to feel the heat when this card is played, but most of the times it’s going to be a 6-mana 5/5. It’s not much of a combo-breaker if you’re behind and then set yourself up for failure along with your opponent. So, you have Shudderwock Shaman, Burn Shaman, Malygos Druid, and bottom-tier OTK decks to delay from this. But what this won’t stop is every other deck on the ladder considering this is slowing your game down as well. It’s a cool tech card and I rate it two stars for all of those players who hate Shudderwock so much; they’ll drop 1600 dust on this bad boy. I know I will.
Oondasta – Five Stars –We have to draw our focus to the two classes that have enough Beasts to warrant a discussion around this card. Let’s talk about the big boys: Hunter and Druid. This card already fits in any Hunter deck that runs King Krush, Katherina Winterwisp, and Witchwood Grizzly. You can cheat out these big Beasts with Oondasta or cheat out Oondasta itself with Katherina Winterwisp. It fits right into the already powerful Hunter standard. Likewise, there’s going to be a surefire Hunter deck that utilizes Master’s Call to to draw a bunch of big minions, including Oondasta. Having Rush can not only provide a form of removal, but it also gives you a large amount of value if you build your deck right and have cards lie Savannah Highmane or King Krush in your deck. Could this also be a nice fit into a new version of Beast Druid? For 9-mana, you can summon a 7/7 with rush, destroy a minion, and summon a 5/7 Beast with Rush and Taunt with Amani War Bear. That’s not a bad play, but that’s only one combo. With cards like Witchwood Grizzly and Amani War Bear, this can be a deck. What about using cards like Juicy Psychmelon? You can play the melon while Untamed Beastmaster is on the field and draw Ironhide Direhorn, Charged Devilsaur, Oondasta, and Tyrantus. This way you can use cards like Stampeading Roar to cheat one of them out to get massive value or use Oondasta to summon Tyrantus so you have enough mana on turn ten to refill your hand with UI. Five Stars for fitting into two decks, one of them being competitive.
Crowd Roaster – One Star –It looks like Warrior has got some decent Dragons to play with and the removal is going to be quite appreciated. A lot of people are saying that dealing 7 damage to a minion is excess damage and not worth the mana you’re paying for a 7/4. I disagree. It’s a Firelands Portal that summons a 7/4 if it’s in a Dragon-themed deck. Provided that the minion doesn’t have Divine Shield, this can be lethal to a minion more often than not. I think this is a very good card. My one star rating isn’t because of the card itself, but the classes it fits into. The first is Warrior which I’ve made very clear isn’t going to be viable. The pieces of the puzzle are there to put this whole Dragon Warrior picture together, but I don’t think it’s enough pieces to make it competitive. At best, it’s a tier-5 deck because Dragon synergy alone isn’t a win-condition by itself. This is why Spiteful Dragon Priest was so good. Not only were they able to utilize the power of Dragon effects like Duskbreaker, but they also took advantage of the big spells they were able to run and used Spiteful Summoner which was used to create massive tempo swings before its nerf. Can Warrior do this? I don’t think so because the only viable archetype Dragons can mix with is Odd Warrior, but then you’d be missing a lot of key Dragon cards like War Master Voone, Twilight Drake, and Firetree Witchdoctor. There will have to be something else Warriors can worth with, otherwise Dragons alone won’t cut it. Priests have had the same problem, otherwise Spiteful Priest would still be on the ladder. Priests are the worst class at the moment and nothing in Rastakhan’s Rumble seems to be helping them out at the moment. Not to mention that Priest already has some decent tools of removal like Duskbreaker, Shadow Word: Death, Power Word: Pain, and Psychic Scream. Would they run this too? It’s possible, but not without some extra help to support the Dragons. Currently, I don’t have too much faith in that happening.
Drakkari Trickster – One Star – Even if this has the famous 3/4 statline, the effect is just not good. You get a card from you opponents class, which might not synergize with your deck, and then they get a card from your deck. Factor out the even trade that this card provides and you’re left with a vanilla 3/4. One fringe way I can see this being used is with Burgle Rouge where you run cards like Spectral Cutlass and Tess Greymane. This way, it becomes more than just a card from your opponent’s deck and instead becomes a decent way to benefit off of what you get. Still, Blink Fox and Face Collector are much better in the 3-drop slot. I don’t think that adding this guy as well is overkill, but the overall effect is not worth it. You can end up with a card like Shield Slam, Master’s Call, or Stampeding Roar. Meanwhile, there are plenty of cards in Burgle Rogue that your opponent can benefit from.
Gurubashi Offering – One Star – One of my favorite cards in the set and I’m going to work tirelessly to make this viable. I know I will fail. For just one more mana, you can play Doomsayer which not only “heals for seven” if it’s destroyed, but it threatens the board and destroys all minions if it isn’t dealt with. Likewise, Doomsayer is not a dead draw in the late game. This could synergize with decks that benefit from armor like Druid and Warrior, but wow, do those classes not need help gaining armor.
Ice Cream Peddler – One Star – An interesting card to say the least and it has some great flavor too! Get it? This card has a very powerful effect and playable stats, but the obvious issue lies in the rate of how often your opponent is going to Freeze you at the same you’ll have this in your hand. With the exception of neutrals likes Glacial Shard, Mage is really the only class that has the ability to freeze you on a consistent basis and I see Mages playing the new Jan’alai deck instead of doing anything that deals with freezing. So what else can you do? This curves pretty well with Hyldnir Frostrider which freezes your own minions. You can follow up with Ice Cream Peddler and then armor up for eight with decent stats on the board, but then what? That’s a two card combo using poor cards for a pretty average benefit. I think the playability if this card relies on how “freezy” the META gets. If you find your minions getting Frozen often, then you’ll definitely want to run this as a tech card. I don’t see a “Freeze” META happening and just typing that out makes me feel ridiculous. It’s a cool card, but it’s wildly niche to use up a deck slot. Still, this works great in Freeze Shaman!... HAHAHAHA.
Linecracker – One Star – Don’t write this guy off as a pack-filler. There are actually a couple of fun things you can do with him. As a card alone he has decent, survivable stats alone for seven mana. Ten health is a lot and isn’t totally susceptible to dying the next turn. That means, you have a solid chance to get the Overkill effect to proc. If you can, that’s not a bad play. It’s just insanely sluggish and more often than not will not be worth your time. Sure, it’s a soft Taunt because it can get out of control, but that isn’t always guaranteed. There are still some fun things you can do with Linecracker. In Priest, you can resurrect this big beefy minion and then swing with him the next turn. In Warrior, you can strap on a pair of Rocket Boots and immediately give this bad boy ten attack if there’s a minion with four or less health on the field. A Shaman can give this guy Windfury which means his Overkill will double his attack to ten and the twenty with the following attack. Provided that Linecracker can stay alive, he would be able to hit for a total of 40 damage after that attack. That’s pretty insane. The thought of this snowballing behind a bunch of Taunts is a hilarious thought. Imagine his attack from 5 to 10 to 20 to 40 to 80 to 160 to 320 to 640 and so on. This is an extremely dangerous Arena card, but this will prove to be too slow in Standard. I wouldn’t be surprised if it saw little experimentation, though. It’s basically a Taunt that needs to be dealt with immediately. There’s just a lot of removal in the game and plenty of ways to handle it. Not to mention that Overkill is never guaranteed and I can think of so many different things I’d rather be playing on turns 7 and up.
Masked Contender – One Stars – There’s only four classes that can reasonably run this card: Rogue, Paladin, Mage, and Hunter. We’re going to evaluate each class one by one, but first, let’s take a look at the card itself. This is a 3-mana 2/4 that cheats out a Secret from your deck. So, it seems to me like you’re running this in a deck that is stuffed with at least six or seven Secrets. The point of this card is specifically for speed and not so much value. If you have a Secret already played, you’ll get another one rushed from your deck for 3-mana with the added bonus of a 2/4. To me, the rushing of the Secret doesn’t seem, worth it. First, you have to already have to have a Secret in play, then for a 3-drop, you’re getting an extra Secret that originally cost 1-3 mana depending on which class you’re playing. So, in Mage it’s like you’re getting free 2/4 with a Secret you play, provided a Secret is already down. For everybody else, you’re playing a 3-cost card to cheat out a 1-2 cost Secret with the added bonus of a 2/4. Let’s ask ourselves this: Is the cheating out of the Secret and the added stats really worth the deck slot? Let’s look at every class. The first is Rouge, which only has a total of three Secrets in its arsenal. Cheat Death. Sudden Betrayal, and Evasion are all really bad and haven’t seen any competitive play. Rogue has been doing just fine on the ladder without the use of Secrets and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to have any use for them in the future. I don’t have a lot of faith in any new Rogue archetypes considering they only got support for already existing decks and poor Pirate synergy. Everything new that they received is either too niche or is outshined by another card. Therefore, there will be no Secret based Rogues. Paladin has the same exact flaw. Their Secrets aren’t exactly the best in Standard and cheating out a second Secret from your deck wouldn’t be worth your time or deck slots. Not to mention that everything popular that Paladin is running is aggressive. In token/aggro decks, there’s no time to start placing Secrets and playing 3-mana 2/4’s on turn 3 or later. In the future, I expect Paladin decks to become much more control-like that includes their Loa and Spirit of the Tiger. That deck is going to require a lot of large spells to fill the board to discount Shirvallah and have big buffs to complete their Quest. Paladin Secrets cost 1-mana and would be a terrible fit in that deck. Mages have two problems towards why they wouldn’t run this card. For one, the curve is awkward. At three mana, it’s weird to play a Secret and then on turn four summon Masked Contender. That’s not a good Tempo play. Secondly, Mage already has decent Secret tech that makes this inferior. They have Arcanologist which, for one less mana, draws the Secret from your deck without a stipulation. Considering how gauche the curve is, the fact that Arcanologist has no requirement for its effect makes it a much better play. Mage also has Kirin Tor Mage which has better stats, doesn’t have a required condition, and in essence does the same thing provided the Secret is in your hand. Arcane Keysmith is ANOTHER card that Mage’s can use. This one’s good because it can get you a Secret from outside of your deck. Mage is covered on the Secret front and running one of these alongside Masked Contender would simply be too much. The final class that would use this is Hunter and they already have a viable Secret deck in Subject 9 Hunter. This could be a natural fit. Hunter Secrets cost 2-mana so it’s likely you play a Secret on turn two and then play this on turn three to get a second Secret on the field. Still, you would have to sacrifice a 3-drop for this card. Would you? I’m going to say no. Subject 9 Hunter currently runs Bearshark, Animal Companion, Eaglehorn Bow, and Kill Command. I’m not about running a conditional 2/4 over any of these cards. It seems to me like this guy’s condition ruins him and the benefit is too small.
Mosh'Ogg Announcer – One Star – Although I think this is the most viable “clumsy” card there is, it’s still not good enough. A 5-mana 6/5 is fair, but not powerful enough to be in a deck. At that point in the game, your opponent will certainly have the ability to trade a minion into it. Sure, it can be redirected, but that only has a 50% success rate. You know what doesn’t have a 50% success rate? Using spells to damage Mosh'Ogg Announcer. The one niche way I can see you wanting to use this is if you want to buff him up to incredible stats and then utilize his effect to avert enemy minions away from him. That’s a meme, way to slow, and is still halted by spells. In short, just play Cobalt Scalebane which has the same cost for similar stats and a better effect.
Snapjaw Shellfighter – One Star – At five mana, this doesn’t seem to me like to clunky of a play, especially since a few decent control archetypes are being introduced to us in this expansion. The way I see this card is a buff that gives +8 health spread out between two minions dependent on how they take the incoming damage. It’s kind of like a non-aggro Fungelmancer. There’s a lot of fun things you can do with this. First of all, as the reveal video suggests, it’s a nice counter to AoE spells or minion effects. A Fan of Knives would not kill your 1/1 minions beside it, but instead only deal two damage to the Snapjaw Shellfighter. This is also extremely powerful with Taunt minions. This has the potential to give a Stubborn Gastropod +8 extra health while simultaneously having its Poisonous effect go off. If you have stagnant effects on the board like Ixlid or Spell Damage minions, you can use this card to preserve them from getting destroyed by damage dealing removal spells like Fireball. This way you can set up combos and still garner value from them overtime. There are a few benefits to playing Snapjaw Shellfighter over buffs that give health. For one, this card gives the effect to two minions with just one card. Similarly, this “buff” is spaced out however the opponent deals the damage. Another benefit is that this is effect is in the form of a minion. You can heal it, buff it, and use it to make trades if necessary while the minions you want to live stay protected. That being said, I don’t think that the struggle of keeping this minion alive, setting it up, or using a deck slot is worth these minor benefits. It’s too weak and there are plenty of things that just about every class would rather have in the crucial 5-drop slot.
Untamed Beastmaster – Three Stars - This card is an example of why I love the Hearthpwn community so much. I looked at this card, searched up a couple of compatible Beasts, and then scoffed. Later, I read some of the suggestions on the card’s page and realized I was wrong to write this off as a pack-filler. First of all, 3-mana 3/4 stats are nothing to glance over. They’re excellent stats that are exactly what you want on a card that has a static effect like this. This way, it’s more likely to survive. Even though this cards stats are good, you don’t want to just place it down and hope it generates value, you want to MAKE it generate value. Fortunately, I think making that happen consistently is possible. The obvious idea that everybody is raving about is Quest Hunter. There are plenty of Beasts that Quest Hunter can run like Springpaw and Vicious Fledgeling. However, the real reason why you would use this is to play it with Queen Carnassa’s fifteen 3/2’s she shuffles into your deck. I’m usually skeptical of holding a card in your hand just so you can combo it with another. However, I believe this is worth your time. This is a pretty reliable way to fill your board with not just 3/2’s, but 5/4’s. That’s a pretty big difference. Plus, with the new Boomsday card Augmented Elekk, you can increase the probability of drawing Carnassa’s Brood. My quibble with this idea is that this only make the Hunter Quest Reward more viable. What this doesn’t do is make COMPLETING the Quest viable. Summoning 7 1-mana minions is still a tall order so we’ll have to see if this idea works or not. I think it will certainly be tried enough to warrant more than one star. This won’t fit in the new Subject 9 Hinter deck because that deck will use Master’s Call and this will muddy the consistency of that spell up. What about Druid? I see some scary potential. Beast Druid seems to be a solid mid-tier deck in the making and this card creates a pretty interesting curve that creates a solid late game for you. On turn three you can play Untamed Beastmaster and on turn four you use Juicy Psychmelon to draw Amani War Bear (or Ironhide Direhorn), Charged Devilsaur, Oondasta, and Tyrantus. Now, you have a few solid late game plays waiting in your hand if you can survive. You can play a 7-mana 7/9 Amani War Bear with Rush on turn seven, an 8-mana 9/9 with “Rush” on turn nine, and then use Oondasta on turn nine to summon Tyrantus straight from your hand. Now that you didn’t waste mana on Tyrantus, you can use turn ten to play Ultimate Infestation and refill your hand. Will it work? Sure, it will! Will it work every time? There are some flaws. If you play this on curve, you have to hope that you don’t draw any of the four Beasts as well as hoping Untamed Beastmaster doesn’t die before you play Juicy Pychemelon. If you play both at the same time, it’s significantly slower when not on curve and you’re waiting longer in the game which increases your chances of drawing the Beasts before they get the buff. What about other classes? Sure, other classes can have Beasts, but only Hunter and Druid have Beast synergy. It would make no sense to have this card in your deck and hope your draw a Charged Devilsaur in Even Shaman or Hi’reik the Bat in a Buff Warlock. That’s way too dependent on luck. So, I think this card’s experimentation potential is high enough that it deserves more than one star. While I still think the Hunter Quest is a mild fantasy, I think Beast Druid has the potential to get its foot on the ladder and maybe even higher than that with more support in the future. We’ll have to see. Three stars for enabling creative decks, helping decks get on the ladder, and being in more than one semi-playable deck.
Arena Patron – One Star – I would usually never write things off as a pack-filler, but this is certainly one of them. As a 5-mana 3/3, you better hope you have a plan to Overkill a minion. When it’s you opponents turn, they will have no problem removing a 3/3. Even if your Arena Patron survives, it’s really slow and difficult to Overkill something with just three attack. The reward isn’t worth it, buffing it is too tedious, and there will certainly be an answer for these Arena Patrons, even if you somehow manage to get a bunch on the field. It’s too slow of a process. Out of all the bad cards, there’s no way I can make any light out of this one.
Belligerent Gnome – Two Stars – I think this very simple card shows some potential considering its cheap cost and ability to stop aggressive decks early on. A 2-mana 2/4 with Taunt has proven to be very impactful as shown with Wyrmrest Agent and Vulgar Homunculus. However, this is a neutral card that has a stipulation that can’t really be built around, so we are left to wonder if the META is going to allow this card to see viability. Since that’s impossible to do, we have no choice but to make our best guess. Currently, there are quite a number of competitive decks that are fast enough to have 2 or more minions on the field. This includes Zoolock, Odd Rogue, Odd Paladin, and Token Druid just to name some. All of these decks would slow down quite a bit when facing against a Belligerent Gnome. You opponents Silver Hand Recruits, Flame Imps, and Treants will all fall to the hands of this card if you can manage you can get the extra attack off. Otherwise, the stats are the same as a Twilight Geomancer without the effect. Personally, I think this isn’t as versatile as other anti-aggro cards like Tar Creeper. That being said, it’s still good and very viable. I think that you’ll be able to get the effect off early and still be able to make use of this in the late game as a way of stopping an attack or two. It’s a decent option that can either be secondary to Tar Creeper due to its ability to drop a turn earlier and keeping its attack on your opponents turn. It can fit well in Even decks and META’s that are overly aggressive. I think aggressive decks will still be viable, but it seems like control decks are slowly going to increase over the course of the next four months. I give this two stars because I think it will see intermittent play in Even decks and as an anti-aggro tool.
Booty Bay Bookie – One Star – This is basically a 3-mana 3/3. The difference is, you pay two mana and your opponent receives the third. A two mana 3/3 is a fair deal, but you lose that tempo once your opponent uses The Coin that you gave. That being said, it’s an okay play during the late game because it has mill potential. Obviously, having this card in your deck and waiting to play it until your opponent has exactly nice cards is not a reason to waste a deck slot. I just like making as much light out of cards as I can. It’s still not a pack-filler because it shows new players an “overstated minion” and then teaches them why they shouldn’t be giving their opponent that kind of tempo. It’s bad card, but with good purpose and fringe applications.
Firetree Witchdoctor – One Star – I really hate writing this review. Due to my rating system that I follow so diligently, sometimes cards that are obviously good don’t get that great of a rating. This is the most brutal example of this flaw yet. This is one of those cards that doesn’t even need to be evaluated. You look at it and you know it’s good. Certainly, it won’t be in every single class, but with the classes that have Dragon synergy, it will be at one point in time. A 2/2 that has the ability to consistently “draw” you a card is pretty good. However, it seems to me like there are only two classes that can play this card: Priest and Warrior. There’s already a fair Spiteful Summoner Priest deck that runs cards like Wyrmguard, Scaleworm, and Duskbreaker. Priest’s 2-drops aren’t great at all so this seems like the perfect fit in the deck, despite the fact it’s only a tier-5 deck. Warrior on the other hand is getting a Dragon theme pushed on them. If this theme follows suit, there’s not a single reason why you wouldn’t to put this in your deck. Still, I don’t see either of those decks following the ladder.
Murloc Tastyfin – One Star – Horrendous stats for a niche kind of deck. Obviously, this goes in a Murloc deck where there’s tribe synergy. There’s two decks in Standard that would consider running this. The first is Quest Shaman. First of all, that Quest was never competitive and this clunky card draw isn’t going to make it better. Sure, it’s different than Ice Fishing because it satisfies the Quest and gives you a 3/2 for an extra two mana. When you put it like that, it seems pretty good. But, the effect is a Deathrattle and is not only slower, but susceptible to silence. If your opponent is smart enough and has the tech, they’ll know that nothing in Quest Shaman is worthy of a silence so you better believe this can quickly become a vanilla 4-mana 3/2. To be honest, I think this is going to be tried in Quest Shaman many times. It just won’t work. It’s better than Ice Fishing because it’s a bundle deal that works well in the deck archetype. I just don’t think it will be successful. There’s also Murloc Mage which is actually a competitive deck. This is a Tempo oriented deck that requires you to curve out a bunch of Murlocs and then play Gentle Megasaur for the kill. This is just way too clunky for the curve this deck is trying to pull off. Plus, Mage uses Book of Specters, Stargazer Luna, and Aluneth for card draw already. It’s too slow, too niche, and too expensive.
Serpent Ward – One Star – The first neutral Totem! I mean, unless you consider Nightmare Amalgam. Wow, why is this so bad? I wouldn’t play this at one or even zero mana. It’s such a slow card for such a lame effect. It’s only saving grace is being a Totem, but there are no existing or future decks that can take advantage of that. THIS is a pack-filler.
Shieldbreaker – Five Stars – This is a rough one because there are a lot of decks running Prince Keleseth that would never choose this over him. But, this one-mana discount on Ironbeak Owl makes all the difference. Nine times out of ten, you’re going to Silence a minion because of its Taunt and not because of its effect. I’m sure there are multiple decks that will run it like Even decks, aggro decks, and maybe even control decks. It’s just overall good enough to see play widespread which warrants five stars.
Soup Vendor – One Star – Way to slow, even for the archetype it supports. The stats are fair and the benefit is decent. However, the stipulation to reap the benefits is too dawdling. Sure, this has the support. You can use High Priest Thekal, Benevolent Djinn, or Earthen Ring Farseer in curve with Soup Vendor, but why would you do that? To draw a card, it either has to be an unreliable curve or a 5-mana 2-card combo. In the late game this is a dead draw. Paladin clearly has some kind of Healing theme going on, but this seems like too much set up for just drawing a card. So, who else can heal for 3 or more dependably? Odd Priest’s Hero Power can do that, but this costs two mana. That won’t work. There are plenty of Lifesteal minions like Zilliax and Chillblade Champion, but that’s still forcing a lot for some card draw, even in a heal archetype. One more class could possibly be Warlock due to the amount of Lifesteal they have. But, Warlock doesn’t need this convoluted way to draw cards. They have plenty of options to draw AND heal and has no need for Soup Vendor
Waterboy – One Star – Great art that makes me laugh, but this has a lot of wasted potential. First of all, the best value you could possibly get out of this is to use this with an upgraded Hero Power and there’s an obvious reason why Baku, the Mooneater and Waterboy don’t mix. Using this with a Hero Power enchanted by Genn Greymane is not valuable enough which would make adding this just a wasted deck slot. The Hero Power will already cost 1, so what’s the point if you’re going to spend an extra 2 mana on Waterboy anyways? So, unfortunately, we have to limit this card’s capabilities to basic Hero Powers. Consider this as a 2-mana 2/1 Battlecry: Activate your Hero Power. Starting with Priest, it’s a Voodoo Doctor that costs more mana and dust, so absolutely not. In Paladin, it’s 3/2 worth of Vanilla stats split up as a 1/1 and a 2/1. Clearly, that isn’t worth the deck slot, especially since everything Paladin runs is aggressive at the moment. For the future Control Paladin that I expect will be tier-2, this is too slow and worthless for that deck. For Shaman, you’re only getting a basic totem out of the deal. I’d rather play Menacing Nimbus on turn two, regardless of what deck I’m playing. If you’re playing a Bloodlust-type deck, I guess it would make sense to want to summon a 2/1 and a Totem, but that’s a stretch. For Warrior, you’re only gaining 2 armor. As long as your opponent has 1 minion on the field, you can do the same thing with Drywhisker Armorer. Even then, Odd Warrior is dominant and there isn’t a need to force a competitive archetype where Waterboy is used. In Druid, it’s too slow considering they like to use turn two for Wild Growth. There’s just no need to rush out a Hero Power with a 2-mana 2/1. Warlock already has Kobold Librarian whos Battlecry already “activates your Hero Power” and Hunter typically runs Prince Keleseth, Secrets, or Crackling Razormaw. Even Mage won’t use it. Sure, they can have 2/1 on the field and still gain progress on the requirements to summon Ragnaros, the Firelord from Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk, but I’d much rather try to make that deck work with Baku, the Mooneater instead of Waterboy. The only class I can see this with is Rogue, and even then, it’s a stretch. Rogue can play this on turn two, equip a weapon, and then play Hench-Clan Thug the next turn and have a weapon equipped PLUS a 2/1. That’s not a bad play considering Rogue doesn’t run any 2-drop minions. Still, that’s obviously not enough considering you wouldn’t want to have Waterboy be your 30th draw. It’s really bad later in the game. When it comes down to it, all you’re doing is “summoning” and extra 2/1 with your Hero Power, but that’s provided you draw it and are willing to waste deck slots for it. The benefit is so minor for this is to even be remotely considered.
Amani War Bear – Three Stars – There’s always one vanilla-ish Taunt minion in every expansion and this is it right here. The added benefit on this card is that it has both Rush and a Beast tag, so that’s pretty cool. Usually I write these off as pack-fillers, but I truly believe that this can work out in a lower tier Beast Druid. With cards like Untamed Beastmaster, Oondasta, Witching Hour, Charged Devilsaur, and Juicy Psychmelon, you can cheat out some pretty neat combos. Druid has some fair Beast synergies to make for a decent deck out of. It won’t get you to legend, but I certainly think it will be tired and find its way to a lower-tier rung on the ladder. Other than that, it’s kinda weak without its Beast tag. Taunt and Rush don’t make the best mix considering you’ll lose a fair amount of health from attacking a minion and therefore the value of its Taunt is lowered. If you don’t attack, you’re spending extra mana fore a keyword you refused to use. Still, I think it’s fairly powerful provided the card synergy is there. Imagine using Untamed Beastmaster with these cards! You can play a 7-mana 7/9 Amani War Bear with Rush on turn seven, a Charged Devilsaur could be a 8-mana 9/9 with “Rush” on turn nine, and then use Oondasta on turn nine to summon Tyrantus for free. I know it’s not ladder material, but it’s fun and functional. I truly believe this can be a part of a lower-tier deck.
Arena Fanatic – One Star – This is a neat card because now ALL classes can try out hand-buff. Unfortunately, the card is way too expensive for what it does. If you wait until turn four to play this, you’re going to give your opponent a fair lead and the buff that Arena Fanatic gives isn’t going to be enough to get that tempo back. If you play those minions beforehand, you’re defeating the purpose of adding this card to your deck in the first place. Rastakhan’s Rumble offers quite a bit off support in a Hand Buff Warlock, but it’s just not enough to be an archetype. I don’t think it will be much different this time around either judging by how Handbuff has worked in the past. You can do all the things other handbuff cards do like give +1/+1 to cards like Saronite Chain Gang and Doubling Imp, but eh. The effect alone is just not enough and the card is way too clunky. It needs to be in a buff specific deck and even then, it’s poorly stated.
Arena Treasure Chest – One Star – Ladies and gentleman, can I have your attention please? I’d like to introduce you to this expansions Magma Rager award winner! Wow, is this about the slowest card I’ve ever seen. Let’s evaluate for a second. When you look at this in black and white, this card DOES have a phenomenal effect. Drawing two cards is good. It’s the fact that you would never play this alone that make this card bad; otherwise the Deathrattle would never go off. So, let’s think of fun ways we can do this. The first idea is in Quest Priest. It has Deathrattle synergy, curves well with Carnivorous Cube, and is actually really powerful when brought back to life with Twilight’s Call. However, there are so many better Deathrattle minions to play, you’ll be stuck with two 0/4’s when the Cube dies, and curving this with Twlight’s call is awkward. I’d rather do the same thing, but with Loot Hoarders that actually have some kind of presence on the board. Another way to make it work is also through Priest by using Reckless Summoner. That way this basically becomes a 1-mana spell that draws you two cards. That’s another awkward curve and the card is still completely unreliable when it’s not comboed. Finally, you could try and summon it with Meat Wagon, but… why? As always, I love playing with these cards that are seemingly hopeless, but I highly doubt this will see the light of day.
Banana Buffoon – Four Stars – I might be a buffoon myself for giving this a four star rating, but I’m not afraid of being wrong! I’m going to call this the official sleeper card of the set. Let’s break it down. At its core, this card is a 3-mana 4/4. That’s good but not good enough. What could make it playable is the fact that there are quite a number of play-styles where cheap spells are used. Although this can competitively fit in one kind of deck, there are a few others that this card will most certainly see experimentation with. First of all, this card is excellent with cycle cards like Gadgetzan Auctioneer or Lyra, the Sunshard. This card offers you cheap spells to not only buff your minions, but you can efficiently fill your hand with it as well. It’s even better with Priest because they sometimes run Gilded Gargoyle. With only one Radiant Elemental on the field, these Bannanas can be 0-mana spells that buff your minions and add spells to your hand. Plus, these bananas are efficient because it helps keep these important cards alive. I think that’s better than The Coin. In this case, it won’t make or break anything in the META, but it’s enough to be seen in the bottom rungs of the ladder with weaker decks like Combo Priest. Another cycle card that this works with is Vex Crow. These are two cheap spells that can be discounted by Sourcer’s Apprentice and then have the ability to summon two 2-drops as you buff your Vex Crow by +2/+2. With Sourcer’s Apprentice, you can even drop a free Mirror Image to hide behind. Unfortunately, Tempo Mage doesn’t exist anymore, so it’s not like Banana Buffoon is going to resurrect this dead archetype from the grave, but I can see it as a functional deck on the side of the ladder. Mage also likes this card because it’s easy Quest completion! Two of these monkeys completes two-thirds of the Quest. However, just like everything I just mentioned, it’s not enough to make it ladder-worthy. What I believe can be slightly ladder worthy is the upcoming Quest Tiger Paladin. I think that The Last Kalidosaur got a lot of good support and can possible go out with a bang this expansion. This card can certainly be a part of this deck as it’s two extra buffs in a deck where buffs have some serious value. The Quest, Lynessa Sunsorrow, Immortal Prelate, Shirvallah, and even Spirit of the Tiger are all cards in that deck that work well with this card. What seals the deal for me with this card is the fact that a lot of 3-drop legendaries fit well in this deck like Zola the Gorgon and Prince Taldaram. If you can’t afford those cards, then I’m sure you can drop 80 dust on two Banana Buffoons for what looks like the most fun deck in the next four months to play. Four stars for being a pretty natural fit in a future tier-2 deck as well as being a component in other smaller decks.
Cheaty Anklebiter – One Star – A one star card, but not a pack-filler! This actually has some pretty decent applications, even outside of arena. The first thing that came to mind was Heal Paladin. It’s immediate Lifesteal with the potential to scale and a tiny removal effect. It’s something to consider, but nothing that is going make or break the deck. Not to mention it’s pretty poor in the late game. I would only take this seriously in a Heal Zoo deck, where you can ping yourself when at thirty health to summon a Happy Ghoul or just deal damage to the opponent and heal. But, why would you play this over Prince Keleseth? Although it’s viable, it’s not better than Keleseth; Voodoo Doctor, Fungal Enchanter, and Life Drinker all get the job done just fine. Overall, the addition of Lifesteal to a Blowgill Sniper is not going to make it playable.
Dozing Marksman – One Star – I never understood cards like this. The general appeal of this card is that you can play a 2-mana card for a potential 4/3. That sounds only above average until you realize you have to spend MORE mana to activate this dudes effect. Trying to Enrage him is a waste of time. I’m sure people would try to run this in some Masochism Warrior, but why not just run Red Band Wasp or Amani Beserker instead? At least they have some kind of impact that turn they’re played. They have board presence. I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will: this is a dead draw in the late game and it’s not worth trying to activate the effect early on.
Dragonmaw Scorcher – One Star – The Battlecry is good, but not enough to warrant a deck slot. The only thing that will matter is the fact that it’s a Dragon. Since Dragon Warrior or Priest won’t be a thing due to nothing to marry the Synergy with, it won’t see play.
Former Champ – One Star – Part of me wants to call this a lazy print and that’s because it’s exactly what it is, but worse. Why is it worse in Standard? Evolve and Brann Bronzebeard don’t exist anymore. So now, there’s really nothing you can do with this except play a 5-mana 6/6 which is mediocre at best. Yeah, I guess you can do the same things you did during the year of the Kraken with cards like Unstable Evolution and Spirit of the Shark, but those are just slower and weaker versions of combos that were already not that competitive.
Gurubashi Chicken – One Star – No. This is far worse than Angry Chicken and I don’t even think I need to say why, but hey… this is a card review. Angry Chicken doesn’t see play because its effect is not worth the difficult task of placing it down, buffing it, damaging it, and then hoping it survives so you can reap the minuscule benefit of a few extra stats. This is the same exact deal except Overkilling something is a lot more difficult than damaging the minion itself. The only benefit this card has over Angry Chicken is the fact that you can activate the effect multiple times and the advantage of +5 attack will never revert after Gurubashi Chicken is healed unlike Angry Chicken. But, there is no buff big enough or fast enough to ever get this effect off more than once and still get value off of it. One thing I will say is that it’s a pretty decent buff to Deathstalker Rexxar who I’m sure would love this kind of effect on a minion with decent stats. I WOULD congratulate this card on the Magma Rager award, but the Hearthpwn community ironically rated you as META-defining so… that won’t happen.
Half-Time Scavenger – One Star – This card is by no means a bad card. It just won’t see any play because it’s too balanced. A 4-mana 3/5 minion with Stealth is pretty decent. Throw in the effect of gain armor and you have a pretty fair play. You can play Half-Time Scavenger, almost guarantee she won’t die due to high health and Stealth, and either wait until the time to strike is right or attack next turn and Overkill a minion for armor gain. That’s really good, but that’s the problem. Ironically enough, he biggest down fall is the stats and effect is too balanced. It’s not strong enough in this or the next META and it’s very hard to find a deck that warrants it.
Helpless Hatchling – One Star – A cute little Beast that offers an interesting synergy in Beast decks. You can do some cool things like reduce the cost of your Oondasta a turn earlier or even just a cheaper minion and play a spell the same turn instead of waiting next turn because you were a mana short. That’s not too bad. It’s a Beast so it fits in the new Hunter Beast Deck, it’s cheap, and it offers a pretty nice discount upon death. My problem with this card is the fact that it’s kind of a dead draw in the late game. Imagine you’re on the ropes and you’re just begging for one card to save you. That card will most certainly not be Helpless Hatchling. Not only that, but it kind of muddies the water when you play Master’s Call. There are plenty of other Beasts I’d rather draw than a 1-mana 1/1. The new Beast Hunter is going to be a fast-paced and aggressive deck and won’t want to waste time on a 1/1 with a Deathrattle that’s not worth waiting for. So what about other decks? Deathrattle Hunter runs a few Beasts AND this card is a Deathrattle. Well, that’s great and all, but Deathrattle Hunter only runs five Beasts; they are King Krush, two Witchwood Grizzlies, and two Savannah Highmanes. That’s only five Beats to discount out of a deck of thirty. That would make the card useless in the early game if you’re not getting the Deathrattle off. At that point, you might as well play a Snowflipper Penguin. Even the Deathrattle is pointless in that deck. It doesn’t fit into Deathrattle Hunter because there’s no point in wasting your Terrorscale Stalkers and Play Deads, to make discount a few minions when your win condition is to be playing it on cards like Carnivorous Cube. I’d rather run Candleshot, Hunter’s Mark, and Tracking in the 1-drop slot. The final deck that you would consider running is the new Beast Druid which I think can be a tier-3 deck. Still, that deck is meant for massive ramp and then summoning big minions like Oondasta from Stampeding Roar. With the amount of ramp Druid has, they don’t have much of need for a measly 1-mana discount. Just run Lesser Jasper Spellstone and Earthen Scales for your big minions instead. The only other thing I can think of is if this card enables some sort of crazy combo in the same way Galvanizer is the reason why Mecha’thun Warlock is a thing. I have yet to think of anything worthwhile, nor have I seen any ideas from the community. This is not that bad of card, but I don’t see it outshining other Beasts, Deathrattle effects, or one-drops. Congrats on being the cutest card of the set, though!
Mosh'Ogg Enforcer – One Star – What beefy minion! Unfortunately, it’s just way too bulky and most likely susceptible to the up and coming Shieldbreaker. One cool thing you can do with this is cheat it out with Master Oakheart. The problem with that is that you can just run Dragonhatcher instead, which is a better minion to cheat out in the early game. This is just a big vanilla minion when you play it. Granted, it’s not a dead turn in the late game like Dragonhatcher is, but I still wouldn’t want this in my deck in this fast-paced META.
Ornery Tortoise – Two Stars – A personal favorite of mine! There’s actually a lot to consider. First up is the obvious Healadin that the expansion is trying to push. This is a pretty good card for that deck as it gives you less of a reason to pray you draw High Priest Thekal early. At least this offers some leeway in your healing and it curves pretty well with cards like Truesilver Champion. In most decks, this is a 3-mana 3/5 with a downside. In this deck, it’s quite the upside making it a natural fit in the deck. I just think that Heal Paladin is not going to work and therefore will not see play in this deck. You cannot use these heal synergy cards and JUST rely on those to win and it seems like Paladin won’t be able to find a separate win-condition any time soon. Then there’s all the possible Beast decks out there which are mainly going to be Druid and Hunter. If a minion like this were to be run, both decks would just pick up Nightmare Amalgam. For just one less health, you’re getting zero downside and these two classes can’t benefit from taking five damage like Healadin can. Pit Lord never saw play in Zoolock, so there’s no reason why anybody would try with Ornery Tortoise. But, you know the one deck where it’s not super risky? I think Odd Paladin would definitely give this enough experimentation to give this two stars. I think that the one heath more than Nightmare Amalgam is a pretty sufficient deal and it has Tar Creeper stats, but it maintains its aggression during your turn as well. I still think that the current 3-drops that Paladin runs in that deck are better than Ornery Tortoise, but it will certainly see some intermittent play over the next four months.
Rabble Bouncer – One Star – This was obviously built to stop aggro/board-flood decks like Odd Paladin. The problem is, not every deck in this META is super aggressive and flooding. When facing a control deck, this card is absolutely terrible. It will be too slow, not counter anything, and will more often than not just sit in your hand. Unless the META is about 90% aggressive, there’s no point in wasting a deck slot. If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s not even that great against those kinds of decks, either. If your opponent has three minions on the board, this is going to be a 4-mana 2/7 with Taunt while a Tar Creeper can be a 3-mana 3/5. That’s more than enough stats on the Tar Creeper, which doesn’t rely on an existing condition to be good. It’s a decent way to cease token decks and stop them in their tracks. That’s just not where I predict the META to be going in the next four months and therefore this has no purpose taking up two deck slots. Can this be seen in the future? Possibly, but most likely not. It’s too slow and too vanilla, especially since this is basically a Stegodon when there’s three minions on the field. Would you run a Stegodon as tech? I sure wouldn’t do that.
Regeneratin' Thug – One Star – If my reviews counted arena, this would be a five star card. It has good stats and it doesn’t need you to spend any mana for it stay on the board. Five health is a solid amount of life to take down all at once, so at the very least, it’s a minor soft Taunt. The problem with this card is the same issue that Half-Time Scavenger struggles from. It’s only balanced and that doesn’t win Hearthstone games. Not to mention that three attack isn’t scary enough to really worry about Regeneratin' Thug being on the bored. Still, there are some pretty unique things you can consider with her. Northshire Cleric in Priest can work well with Regeneratin' Thug because you get to keep a minion with a good statline on the board and not spend any extra mana to draw a card. Similarly, Healzoo runs cards like Lightwarden which are greatly buffed by cards like this. The problem with both of those is that they’re niche ways to create a combo that would rather be executed early in the game. Cool card, but too ineffective in such a complex and diverse META.
Rumbletusk Shaker – One Star – This one is obvious. Just play Saronite Chain Gang instead. The only thing this has over that card is Deathrattle synergy with cards like Spiritsinger Umbra, Awaken the Makers, and Play Dead. There are so many other Deathrattles I’d rather synergize with than Rumbletusk Shaker. If you absolutely need a 4-mana Deathrattle minion, just play Weaponized Piñata.
Saronite Taskmaster – Five Stars – I don’t think it’s overhyped! I think it’s a solid one drop that’s going to fill the void that Mistress of Mixtures left. It’s a solid control card that can be seen wide-spread in a few decks for its early stats and minimal downside. Why is this a minimal downside? At the beginning of the game, you’ll have a solid drop. It’s going to take some decent trading into Saronite Taskmaster in order for that downside to take effect. It’s pretty delayed. If you ask me, I think that the delay plus the traded minions your opponent wastes is well worth the 0/3 with Taunt they get. By that time, you’ll have more minions on the board and will effectively have ways to deal with the Free Agent. There’s not much else to say about the card in general. With the exception of Emerald Hive Queen, 1-mana 2/3 or 2/2 minions have a good reputation and I think this one will have a good reputation as well. It’s a good control card that allows you to get value off of it before the downside takes place. That being said, I highly doubt this will be put into an aggressive token deck. I don’t care if it’s a 1-mana 2/3. That 0/3 Taunt is going to stop a fair bit of damage you’re going to deal and it’s not worth the 2/3. If I’m playing Odd Paladin, I would much rather have Argent Squires, Glow-Trons, and Righteous Protectors. As a Zoolock, I would rather have Voidwalker, Kobold Librarian, Soulfire, and Flame Imp. It’s meant for control. General control synergy isn’t the only thing this card can do! It has very fringe tech counters and abilities. For one, it’s a very slight counter to Hadronox Druid and any Priest deck that resurrects minions. When you kill the Free Agent, it sullies their resurrect pool and replaces a potentially devastating minion with a 0/3. It might not always be game changing, but I would rather deal with one less 1/5 Scarab and instead fight a 0/3. Likewise, this is an interesting option to play with cards that benefit from your opponent having minions on the field. This includes Drywhisker Armorer, Sea Giant, and Belligerent Gnome. The one card I think that will actually benefit enough to see play from this card is Mind Control Tech. If your opponent has three minions on the board, you can add a 0/3 to the pool to have a 75% chance to grab one of their better minions. I like those odds. It’s not the BEST option, but it’s certainly viable. Finally, this has some potential synergies in both Hunter and Priest Quest. Five stars for being strong and flexible enough to see play through multiple different control decks.
Scarab Egg – Three Stars – This is actually not that bad. The Deathrattle is slightly better than Haunted Creeper, but it has the terrible downside of not being able to pop without extra mana being spent. At that point, why bother spending more than two mana to summon three 1/1’s? Well, you COULD do a lot as a matter of fact. Warlock just go a bunch of cards that benefit you when you flood the board and kill minions so this works very well with Grim Rally, Ravenous Pterodax, and Sanguine Reveler. That could be an interesting deck, but I think it also relies on cards like Spirit of the Bat and Blood Troll Sapper which I think are too slow. Deathrattle Hunter already has a better Egg to make Play Dead with Devilsaur Egg and running two 0 attack minions is pushing it. Not to mention that Deathrattle Hunter usually runs Prince Keleseth. The same reason goes for why you wouldn’t run it in a Zoo Deck: Prince Keleseth. So, why did I rate it three stars? I think it makes a natural fit in Even Shaman. Even Shaman is meant to flood the board, overwhelm the opponent and prepare to use late game cards like Bloodlust for the final kill. This card can do just that, especially with the amount of egg activators it has. You have Earthen Might, Flametounge Totem, and Direwolf Alpha for the early game to pop it off which are all viable options. But, what if it doesn’t pop in the late game? You’ll still have late game cards like Mossy Horror and Hagatha to simultaneously remove your opponents board and fill yours. It won’t make the deck better or worse, but it offers a fun and fresh way to change the deck around and I think that the current Even Shaman will remain where it is on the ladder. In conclusion, I think the Scarab Egg is good enough to replace Vicious Scalehide.
Sharkfin Fan – One Star– I want to discuss why this isn’t comparable to Hench-Clan Thug. Yes, I understand that both of them require the same task in order to trigger an effect. However, Hench-Clan Thug is much more powerful in Rouge than Sharkfin Fan. As a three drop that’s fairly stated, you can have much more assurance that you can use your Rouge Hero Power before, and then essentially play a 3-mana 4/4. Likewise, it buffs itself which makes it harder to kill. Sharkfin Fan will remain a 2/2 which is easy to kill as well as the tokens it summons. If you want Sharkfin Fan’s effect to trigger on turn two you’ll have to either be using Candleshot for Hunter, coin out your Rogue Hero Power or be playing an Even Rogue. Hunter is either using Prince Keleseth, Crackling Razormaw, or their copious amounts of secrets in their 2-drop slots. So, that leaves future archetypes that are fresh in the META. Could an Even Rogue or Druid get the support it needs? Could a control or token type deck benefit from this? Can this become a nuisance when comboed with Knife Juggler? Could a Pirate Deck haunt us for another four months? These are all possible sometime in the future, but right now this card looks very weak and given the support, none of these will happen.
Sightless Ranger – One Star – This is a truly practical pick for Arena, but since my reviews revolve around standard, I have to give this one star. There are going to be times where your opponent doesn’t have any minions with 2 or less health to kill. Do you really want this is just going to sit in your hand until the moment is right for two 1/1 bats? It seems to be too little of a benefit, even if you manage to trigger the effect more than once. You could do some other things like draw this with Akali, the Rhino. That would make this a 8/9 with Rush which is pretty insane. Provided your opponent doesn’t have removal, you could manage to get a decent number of Bat tokens out on the field. Even then, that’s a very slow process for 1/1 tokens. This could be seen in token decks like Token Druid, but I think that they would rather be running Arcane Tyrant and Nourish instead. Druid also has much more reliable ways to flood the board like with Whispering Woods. The problem with this card is that it’s a 5-mana effect that’s weak and even then, it’s not guaranteed. It’s only synergy appears to lie within token decks and rush mechanics. That’s not enough for it to see any play.
Spellzerker – One Star – You never want to play removal spells too late. If you’re in a bad situation, you need to destroy those minions as soon as you can. There’s no time to wait in these circumstances as they can escalate rather quickly. So it seems to me like you would just play Kobold Geomancer if you want to add Spell Damage to your removal in a pinch. Now, I understand that Spell Damage +2 is a big deal. But, are you really only playing 2-mana for it when you need to prep it? Pinging this with a Mage Hero Power and then using a card like Blizzard is a good play, but it doesn’t seem to be worth the deck slot. There are other cards with powerful removals like Warlock and Paladin. But they don’t have the ping potential that Mage does, so they’ll have to resort to other cards. A three card combo seems like an awful lot for just an AoE removal. I understand that you can do some cool things with cards like making Defile hit for three damage on the second tick and make Consecrate can become a better Flamestrike. Again, neither of those seem to be worth the extra card slot. You could argue that you can prepare for board flood by putting this down a turn earlier, then attacking with Spellzerker, then playing the spell. That’s going to have an extremely low success rate for two reasons. First, you have to hope that you can attack a minion that has two or less health. Secondly, your opponent is obvioiusly going to see that you’re setting up for a board clear and will ALWAYS get rid of your Spellzerker. They’ll always have minions to trade into it; why else would you want to use removal? It’s too slow and playing on curve is not going to work. There are some neat things you can do with it, but Tempo Mage is dead and other decks aren’t going to sacrifice two deck slots for a card that will either be to convoluted to set up or two unreliable and only work a fraction of the time.
Ticket Scalper – One Star – While this effect is fantastic, this unfortunately is futile due to its poor statline. A 4-mana 5/3 is not bad at all especially when you get two cards out of the deal. The problem lies within whether or not you can consistently get the benefit of drawing two (or maybe even more) cards. On turn four with five attack, you will almost certainly have the potential to Overkill something. At that point in the game, your opponent would have at least one minion on the board that averages about 3-4 health. That part isn’t an issue. The quibble lies in whether or not this card will survive a turn. It won’t. This isn’t going to be triggered as often as people would hope because of Ticket Scalper having three health on turn four. Chances are your opponent will have some way to deal with this, whether it be a minion with enough attack, a weapon, or a removal spell. Therefore, you’re not going to get the two card benefit. Similarly, this is kind of a dead draw if it manages to not be in your hand in the early game. You’ll almost never get the chance to Overkill something in the late game with this. So, since we established that it probably won’t be a good neutral source of card draw, can it be viable as a 4-drop in a Pirate deck? I don’t think that’s going to make a difference. There are lots pirates with better stats as well as more dependable neutral card draw like Loot Hoarder. The Rogue Pirates don’t look promising this time around and the dream of summoning this with Captain Hooktusk is only a dream. Chances are, the most viable Pirate deck will find a home with Rogues and they already have Eleven Minstrel and a “prepped” Sprint. This is unneeded. Floating ideas for this card include Quest Druid synergy, Oaken Summons, and Guild Recruiter.
This is a whole new level of too much time on your hands. Lengthy reviews are more than ok, but this is a terrible attempt. The majority of cards are rated one star...even when you say more good than bad. Pretty obvious what classes you don’t like or understand.
"Mass Hysteria – One Star – A surefire play when the rotation happens, but at the moment, there’s no reason to play this over Psychic Scream or Duskbreaker. If you’re running lot of small minions and your Warlock opponent has a bunch of Mountain Giants on the field, this becomes 5-mana “clear your board.” "
In that scenario, if you need to clear the Mountain Giants and you have small minions already on the board, you would run them into the MGs and then cast MH to clear them. Better than Brawl in that case for 1 less mana.
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Shudderwock means driving a clown car in circles around your opponent while he swings his sword at you. Half the time he chops you and your car to pieces. The other half you park on his legs and 40 clowns come out one by one, trampling him to death.