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    posted a message on The Exhaustive Forged in the Barrens Preview
    Quote from Neko_Tamo >>

    @HoraceStapleton from your review I got the feeling you think Frenzy warrior will be a tier 3 or at best tier 2 deck.

     Oh yeah, looking back over it I guess that's understandable. I did rate Overlord Saurfang a bit lower than I remembered, but that's partially because I think cards like Warsong Commander and Whirling Combatant are really good and you might choose them over Saurfang in a Frenzy deck.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Forged in the Barrens Preview
    Quote from ShadowAldrius >>

     Not gonna neg on all the effort this obviously took but I strongly disagree with a lot of takes here.

    Primordial protector for example is a cycle card that cycles into a high impact spell and summons a ton of stats onto the board. And the only deckbuilding requirement is that your deck have expensive spells. It always pulls the most expensive one.

    Oh shit I totally missed that lmao, good catch. Yeah that could dramatically change the card's viability, but it's still expensive and unreliable so...maybe I'm still "right" for the wrong reasons.

    Quote from Neko_Tamo >>

    I am disappointed you think Frenzy archetype is so shit in its own expansion.

     I think Frenzy Warrior is good though...

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Forged in the Barrens Preview
    Quote from Darksun200 >>

     Kolkar Pack Runner 1 star? really? standalone it's a good card but combo with a cheap 1 or 2 cost spell and it gets better, MUCH better if it sticks.

     I dunno, I could be totally wrong about that one but Hunter traditionally hasn't used large strings of cheap spells, and neither has it really been able to leverage tokens effectively. The class is getting some good spells in the upcoming set so I admit it's not crazy to think this card is strong.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 1

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Forged in the Barrens Preview
    Quote from user-31021151 >>

    All wrong, as always.

    Animated Broomstick: 1 Star – Cute, but giving minions Rush just isn’t a very strong effect.

    Pen Flinger: 1 Star – Outclassed by Guardian Augmerchant.

    Tour Guide: 1 Star – I always thought Water Boy would have seen play if it had been usable in Odd Paladin, and I guess Wild will show us if I was right. Too bad this review doesn’t take Wild into account.

    These are his Scholomance previews btw. Just a taste of what you're dealing with here.

    IIRC a lot of people slept on Pen Flinger and Animated Broomstick; I know I wasn't the only one who thought those cards were memes. If we're cherry picking here, I was literally the only person who was right about Ogremancer being good and people are finally starting to realize it.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 21

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Forged in the Barrens Preview

    Below I have written a guide detailing my predictions for the upcoming cards in the Forged in the Barrens set. Similarly to Trump, I will be grading each card from 1 to 5 stars, meaning:

    5 Stars: Staple in a Tier 1 deck or a staple in multiple Tier 2 decks.
    4 Stars: Occasionally used in a Tier 1 deck, a staple in a Tier 2 deck, or a staple in multiple Tier 3 decks.
    3 Stars: Occasionally used in a Tier 2 deck, a staple in a Tier 3 deck, or a staple in multiple Tier 4 decks
    2 Stars: Sees at least 1% of play in a Tier 4 deck or has seen some amount of tournament success.
    1 Star: Fails to maintain a 1% playrate in Diamond or above.

    I have tried to avoid watching other people's card reviews beforehand, so you can be confident that the opinions below are my own and not tainted by anyone else's perception. Enjoy.

    Demon Hunter

    Fury (Rank 1) – 5 Stars: Seriously? They hyped up the removal of Twin Slice just to include a card which is frequently better than it? I’m not a huge demon hunter hater myself, but man, this thing is going to be really annoying for the next two years…

    Razorboar – 4 Stars: This is the first in a long line of 4s I’m going to give to Demon Hunter’s deathrattle cards. Simply put, Razorboar is absolutely busted and is comparable to Nerubian Egg in the value it provides. Demon Hunter doesn’t have much in the way of Deathrattle synergy, but this is more than good enough to make the class interested.

    Vile Call – 1 Star: If we look at the cards that have been successful with Il’gynoth, all of them do not require much setup beforehand: Felscream Blast deals its damage immediately, and you can play Aldrachi Warblades early and keep it out until you need it. This card, like Insatiable Felhound, can only combo with Il’gynoth if the minions it generates stick, and that’s just not reliable enough.

    Razorfen Beastmaster – 4 Stars: Another great card that allows for more mana cheating. This card is dependent on good 4-mana deathrattles to function well, but fortunately the neutral section has one I’m quite intrigued by.

    Sigil of Silence – 1 Star: While this spell is cheap, silence effects typically only work well when they are immediate. You don’t want to be waiting around for the effect, so there’s not much you can really do with this.

    Tuskpiercer – 5 Stars: A 1/2 weapon which draws a card? For one mana? This card’s power level is comparable to Ancharrr and it will see play not just in Deathrattle Demon Hunter, but also in any deck which runs even a small number of deathrattle cards. Obscene.

    Sigil of Flame – 3 Stars: Reminds me of Imprisoned Observer, but the effect is faster, stronger, and cheaper (with no body, sadly). This could easily fit into any slower Demon Hunter deck; the only question is how playable those decks will be. I predict there will be at least one which will pick this up.

    Vengeful Spirit – 4 Stars: Extremely good when the Outcast effect pops off, but the curve of a potential Deathrattle deck makes it a little awkward to get out of your hand. Still a good card but not quite as game-breaking as it looks at first glance.

    Death Speaker Blackthorn – 4 Stars: It’s Captain Hooktusk, but cheaper, and Hooktusk wasn’t around when Taelan Fordring was around to tutor her. I was initially skeptical of Deathrattle synergies working out, but this card is more than good enough to justify building around, and the class is getting some other great cards which work well with it.

    Kurtrus Ashfallen – 3 Stars: A significantly improved version of Illidari Felblade which could fit in if Outcast synergies are strong enough in Demon Hunter. With Kor’vas, Illidari Studies, and Gan’arg Glaivesmith, this could be a legitimate direction for the class.

    Demon Hunter Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 5th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 3rd

    Overall Ranking: 4th

    Demon Hunter has had a great first year, but this hasn’t come without a cost: most of its premier, meta-defining archetypes have suffered multiple nerfs since then. However, there’s room for further optimism. Aggro Demon Hunter is losing almost nothing from rotation and the cards that it got in Barrens should be respectable replacements. Those bored of this archetype can give Deathrattle Demon Hunter a shot, since this deck also shows promise and potentially could be even stronger (but my money is on Aggro as the better deck). Either way, Demon Hunter should be in a healthy spot: a strong, competent class, but far from being the meta-breaker it used to be



    Pride's Fury – 1 Star: Reminds me of Adapting Spores which never saw play. It’s too reliant on having a board set up, and its effect is far from game-winning when it pops off. All in all, a very sad replacement for Savage Roar.

    Thickhide Kodo – 3 Stars: Pretty bland and uninspiring. It’s really not that much better than TAZDINGO, which doesn’t see any serious play at all. So why does it get three stars? Well, there’s an upcoming card which we really, really want to run, and it’s looking for serviceable taunt cards. This might fit the bill.

    Thorngrowth Sentries – 1 Star: It’s not a terrible card, but it just doesn’t do enough. The Taunt Druid synergies that the class is getting overall aren’t particularly amazing, and this is never a card that you’d want to run without some clear synergies. It does work well in Gibberling Druid, but I suspect the loss of Savage Roar will be a deathblow to that deck.

    Living Seed (Rank 1) – 1 Star: The base form is bad, the 5-mana form is barely passable, and the final, 10-mana form, is…slightly above average? This doesn’t even come close to making a Beast Druid deck viable, and it might not even make the cut if such a deck existed. In all fairness, considering that Druid is the ramp class, it makes sense that its Rank card is one of the worst of the bunch.

    Mark of the Spikeshell – 2 Stars: This would be a lot better if Druid had a good 1-mana Taunt minion to target this with (think Enchanted Raven to the original Mark of Y’Shaarj). As it is, I don’t think it makes the cut in any Druid deck. I could be totally wrong here, but I think it’s too awkward.

    Razormane Battleguard – 5 Stars: Comparable to Foxy Fraud, but with the added upside of being able to repeat the effect if it sticks. The taunt minions you play will help the card stick, and even if it doesn’t, it’s such a good deal that I can’t imagine Druid failing to make this work.

    Celestial Alignment – 2 Stars: It’s so cool that I wish I could give it a higher rating, but unfortunately it looks like a meme. Paying 7 mana to do nothing is quite punishing, and the payoff isn’t amazing enough to justify it. On the bright side, it really messes up Lorekeeper Polkelt!

    Druid of the Plains – 1 Star: Good stats for the cost but doesn’t have the synergy it needs to be viable. Beasts in Druid haven’t been good outside of Guardian Animals, and this can’t be pulled with that card.

    Guff Runetotem – 4 Stars: I could see this really popping off. There’s a lot of cheap Nature spells that will work well with this (Innervate, and I assume Nature Studies, are the two best examples). This could work in a token deck, but I think it could also work in ramp-focused decks as well.

    Plaguemaw the Rotting – 1 Star: Oh dear. Cards which rely on having a board to function have traditionally not been good unless their effect is game-winning. This card requires BOTH sides to have a board (and your board specifically needs Taunt minions), but the effect is laughable for the required setup. This is one of the worst legendaries in the set and it will be shocking if it sees any play.

    Druid Class Summary:

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 8th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 8th

    Overall Ranking: 10th

    Druid’s prospects look grim. It’s currently kept alive by Token decks, but without a powerful win condition in Savage Roar, those decks will die out after rotation. What does it get to replace them? We have Razormane Battleguard, an incredibly strong card for a weak archetype, and what else? Ever since the Guardian Animals nerf, ramp strategies have done poorly in any meta which is even slightly aggressive, so what can the class do?



    Pack Kodo – 1 Star: Contrary to what I suspect the general opinion will be, I believe a Beast Hunter deck will be playable after the rotation. However, the deck really doesn’t want to run beasts which don’t directly synergize with handbuffs, so this will not make it in.

    Piercing Shot – 2 Stars: This is coming into Standard at the completely wrong time. Face Hunter is losing a lot of the cards which previously made it viable, and this isn’t good enough to stop the bleeding. It’s too bad, because it would be a pretty solid addition if the archetype was still good.

    Wound Prey – 4 Stars: I like it quite a bit; when compared to Springpaw, it looks pretty good. Hell, some would argue it’s better since it deals the same damage for less mana. The only problem is the lack of obvious synergies in the set to demand this card’s inclusion (except maybe Barak Kodobane),

    Prospector's Caravan – 2 Stars: Hunter has quite a few cards which could make this work. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t strong enough to make the final cut. Its effect is slow, and there are quite a few cards in the meta which can instantly kill it when played on curve.

    Sunscale Raptor – 5 Stars: This is the third expansion in a row Hunter has gotten an insane 1-drop, and this is likely better than the other two. The card has great synergy with the plethora of handbuffs available to the class, and at worst, it’s a 1 mana 1/3 with an upside. Should be a no-brainer inclusion.

    Tame Beast (Rank 1) – 4 Stars: Really clever design choice here: Druid, the class which ramps the easiest, gets the weakest Rank card, while Hunter, a class which rarely makes it to Turn 10, gets the strongest one. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to wait until Turn 10 to summon a 4/4 beast with Rush, which is pretty good on its own and gets even better when you take a look at one of Hunter’s legendaries…

    Kolkar Pack Runner – 1 Star: Man, this card is so weird. They do realize that Unseal the Vault is rotating, right? I mean, Blood Herald will be happy to see Hunter players trying to summon lots of tokens, but I can’t imagine a functional archetype which is interested in this. Am I missing something?

    Warsong Wrangler – 4 Stars: Unlike beast buff cards of the past, this one can choose which beast gets buffed. That dramatically improves the consistency of buffing the right target, and it also means we have a little bit more leeway to run beasts which don’t directly synergize with buffs (such as, say, Helboar).

    Barak Kodobane – 3 Stars: This card obviously offers excellent value. However, it’s still unlikely to see play in the upcoming meta because if we look at Beast Hunter, it doesn’t have many 1 or 3 cost spells that it wants to run, and if we look at other Hunter archetypes…well, how much chance do those have of really seeing play? A great card to look at for the future, but I think attempts to add suboptimal cards to Beast Hunter to justify Barak will be unsuccessful.

    Tavish Stormpike – 5 Stars: This was a card I was initially unsure of due to its awkwardness, but upon further reflection, I think the class has enough good beasts to make this a good win condition. It’s a great way of getting the buffed cards in your deck out on the field, and if it sticks for a turn, your opponent will be in a world of pain.

    Hunter Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 4th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 10th

    Overall Ranking: 7th

    Hunter is coming into the new year with the worst Year of the Phoenix cards, so it’s understandable that some will dismiss the class. Now, at the risk of overestimating Hunter’s beast synergies for the third time, I can actually see a real deck emerging, and some of the cards in the core set heavily support the archetype as well (Dire Frenzy, anyone?) Hunter’s not going to be one of the strongest classes, but if it’s playable, then I’m exited for it.



    Oasis Ally – 4 Stars: I’m going to make a bold prediction: Secret Mage is going to be the best Mage deck after rotation. Furthermore, this is a great secret for it to run, as it synergizes well with Game Master, an upcoming neutral minion, and the Freeze package.

    Refreshing Spring Water – 2 Stars: This is a great buff for Spell Mage, a deck currently stuck in Tier 4. Will it be enough to make the deck a competitive threat? Not really; Spell Mage is losing a lot to the rotation and it will need more than this to keep up. In other decks, the effect is far to inconsistent to ever be worth considering.

    Runed Orb – 4 Stars: A solid replacement for Frostbolt. If Spell-Damage decks continue to exist, they will pick this up in a heartbeat, but even if they don’t, the card is good enough as a standalone to potentially warrant inclusion.

    Flurry (Rank 1) – 3 Stars: Not a bad value for the cost, although this will only really see play with the help of cards like Glacier Racer. It compares favorably to Cone of Cold and has synergy with the legendary, so it’s not unthinkable that a Freeze package will make it into a deck at some point.

    Reckless Apprentice – 1 Star: I wanted to believe in this archetype so bad, which is what makes this rating so painful to give. This card is mediocre on its own, which means it’s reliant on having a Fallen Hero in play or having played a Wildfire or two beforehand. The tragic thing is that this is one of the better cards that the archetype received.

    Rimetongue – 1 Star: This card is rather awkward to set up, and the payoff for each Frost spell played is lackluster. Mage just doesn’t have enough cheap Frost spells to justify putting this in your deck.

    Arcane Luminary – 2 Stars: Remember Cyclone Mage? That deck could have really used a card like this, but now it’s long gone, and many of its most important pieces (such as its namesake) are rotating. Mage just doesn’t have the card generation that it used to have.

    Wildfire – 1 Star: You’re spending 2 mana to do nothing. Remember how bad Dinomancy was? This is even worse because the “upgraded” hero power is dramatically weaker. If a Hero Power focused deck is forced to run cards like this, that’s already a massive warning sign.

    Mordresh Fire Eye – 1 Star: Theoretically, this could be a decent win condition for Hero Power Mage. The thing is, it’s slow, difficult to set up, and it doesn’t win you the game even after being played. It’s not really good enough on its own, either.

    Varden Dawngrasp – 4 Stars: A versatile card which puts the original Frost Nova to shame. It’s perfectly fine as both a standalone and a piece of the Freeze Mage puzzle. We all know how oppressive AoE freeze effects are. There’s no reason to think this card won’t be just as oppressive.


    Mage Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 9th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 5th

    Overall Ranking: 9th

    Unfortunately, the rotation will be crueler to Mage than most other classes. All of its key archetypes will be losing cards which are crucial to how they perform. Its new set doesn’t inspire much confidence (get it? Inspire?) and while the Freeze cards look decent as a package, they can’t singlehandedly carry a deck to success. Maybe its secret archetype can survive losing its Uldum cards and coast by into playability? I don’t know, it’s kind of a long shot.



    Galloping Savior – 4 Stars: The effect is rather hard to trigger, which ironically makes it function excellently in decks with Cannonmaster Smythe and Northwatch Commander. However, the payoff isn’t super impressive: compare it to Rat Trap and it appears underwhelming. Paladin wants secrets, but this might suffer the same fate as Open the Cages last expansion; I can’t guarantee that it’s good enough to make it in.

    Invigorating Sermon – 4 Stars: Expensive board-wide buffs like this can be hard to set up, but Silver Hand decks are good at flooding the board, which should help a lot. The hand and deck buffs are rather slow but will be very oppressive over time.

    Knight of Anointment – 3 Stars: Pretty good value in any deck which runs a decent number of Holy spells. Because Paladin currently has so many great options available to it, it is unlikely a deck focusing on Holy synergies will materialize, but this could still see play as a standalone.

    Northwatch Commander – 5 Stars: A 3/4 which draws a card is great value, and the relative ease of getting secrets in play will help this along quite well. It's a bit weaker when played on Turn 4 or later, and your opponent might proc your secrets ahead of time, so it would be nice if there was some way of cheating a secret out on the turn we play this...

    Soldier's Caravan – 4 Stars: Most of the caravans are pretty bad, but this one feels like the benefit is worth the risk of it suffering removal: Two silver hands on the board can be leveraged to great effect. Add that to the fact that Paladin has recently received a ton of support for the Silver Hand archetype while losing very little (IIRC Air Raid is the only significant loss), and the deck should be pretty clean.

    Sword of the Fallen – 5 Stars: Secrets in Paladin weren’t looking so hot until this card showed up. The ability to cheat out THREE secrets from your deck is busted beyond belief. This card will be instrumental in bringing the long-ignored secrets to the forefront of the class.

    Conviction (Rank 1) – 5 Stars: This card is monstrously good for Silver Hand decks. One of the major issues with the archetype in Darkmoon Faire was the lack of a good way to leverage the Silver Hands into something truly threatening, since there weren’t many good ways to buff them. At 5 mana, this card offers +6 attack on the board if you have two minions, which is easy to achieve. Conviction gives the Silver Hands some sorely needed aggression.

    Veteran Warmedic – 1 Star: This card is fairly clunky and, while many Holy spells are cheap, it requires significant setup to be worth the effort. It’s not horrible; it’s simply outclassed by the many better options available to Paladin.

    Cannonmaster Smythe – 5 Stars: What an interesting effect! Losing the secrets temporarily isn’t a huge downside, and the benefit from playing this is very large. This card will easily make it into any deck which runs a lot of secrets, and there’s plenty of incentive to do so.

    Cariel Roame – 4 Stars: I can see the potential here. Even if Roame doesn’t stick for a second swing, an Emperor Thaurissan effect is clearly very enticing. Libram Paladin will greatly appreciate additional mana discounts, and I don't think this is redundant with the Aldor cards. Looks very nice.

    Paladin Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 3rd

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 1st

    Overall Ranking: 1st

    Paladin is an embarrassment of riches. Ashes of Outland and Scholomance Academy gave it two of the strongest sets it has ever received, and while the Silver Hand cards from the Darkmoon Faire haven’t made an impact yet, the additional support from the Core Set might push it into playability; and not only that, Soldier’s Caravan is easily the best “caravan” card and should help the deck quite a bit. If Librams and Silver Hands both fail (they shouldn’t), the class also has great Secret synergy available, with Sword of the Fallen and its triple-Mad Scientist effect screaming to be played. In exchange for all these great new cards, Paladin is only losing its infamously bad Year of the Dragon sets (still, RIP Ramp Paladin). The class looks so, so good and it should be extremely oppressive for the next four months.




    Desperate Prayer – 4 Stars: This card is a huge buff for virtually all Priest archetypes. Control decks don’t care about healing the enemy’s face and they’ll gladly take the healing, whereas any deck running Xyrella will be thrilled at the prospect of dealing up to 10 damage to all enemy minions. An absolutely phenomenal addition to Priest’s arsenal.

    Devouring Plague – 1 Star: 3 mana for 4 damage is a very bad trade and tacking on Lifesteal doesn’t do much to help that. Think of how bad Soul Cleave is; this isn’t much better, and even the life-gain synergies Priest has won’t cause this to see play.

    Power Word: Fortitude – 3 Stars: This is a pretty good card in a fairly weak archetype. While the synergies with Sethekk Veilweaver are obvious, spell-heavy Priest decks have failed to make an impact in the Darkmoon Faire meta, and when you see the other cards the deck is getting, it will become apparent that this isn’t changing soon.

    Lightshower Elemental – 5 Stars: Dang, this card is overtuned. 8 health to all friendly characters? And it’s not even understatted? And it has taunt? This is a card so good it will easily be a buildaround for the new Heal Priest archetype, and it will probably see play even if that archetype doesn’t pan out (but it probably will).

    Soothsayer's Caravan – 1 Star: This is a minion in a deck which really wants to be running spells instead, and not a particularly good one at that. This card is so weak if removed on the turn it’s played, and it’s especially horrible when you’ve fallen behind. The payoff if it sticks to the board? A single randomly generated spell. This isn’t even close to worth the effort.

    Void Flayer – 2 Stars: Another minion designed for a spell-centric deck. This is a little bit better than Soothsayer’s Caravan, but it’s still not amazing even when you have 5+ spells in hand.

    Condemn (Rank 1) – 4 Stars: An excellent board clear for Priest. Control decks are comfortable playing the long game, so the 5 and 10 mana forms will frequently become relevant. We all know how good Breath of the Infinite is, and this card is usually going to be just as good, or even better.

    Priest of An'she – 4 Stars: This is a pretty good payoff card, although it would be significantly worse if Desperate Prayer didn’t exist. Unlike the other Heal Priest cards, this probably won’t see play outside the archetype because standard Control-focused Priest decks don’t care about big piles of stats, but the Heal Priest deck should be strong enough to warrant a 4-star rating regardless.

    Serena Bloodfeather – 3 Stars: This is the card that Natalie Seline whishes she could be. If you play it against any large minion (let’s say an 8/8), then you’ve just summoned a 5/5 which debuffed an enemy minion for 4/4, and this is all for 2 mana. Now, this card is fairly weak against aggressive decks with small minions like Aggro Rogue, which means it’s a meta-dependent choice which isn’t always going to be amazing. However, when it pops off, it’s a great tech card.

    Xyrella – 5 Stars: So, uh, Flamestrike is a card which is priced at 7 mana, and it doesn’t come with a body. With a simple Flash Heal, this can do Flamestrike’s job at a 3 mana discount, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because if you need more damage, you can stack other healing cards before playing Xyrella. And then, of course, there’s always Desparate Prayer, which can singlehandedly deal up to 10 damage to the entire enemy board for four mana. This is easily one of if not the best legendary cards in the expansion and there’s no scenario in which Priest sees play but doesn’t find a way to make this work.

    Priest Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 2nd

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 7th

    Overall Ranking: 5th

    Priest is getting a really cool set with both some obviously broken cards along with a few that I think are being slept on hard. Priest isn’t known for big minions, but I think cards like Darkspear Berserker, Hecklefang Hyena (yes, really), and Priest of An’she promote a tempo-based Heal Priest deck which can control the board while turning the damage dealt to your hero into a positive. If that doesn’t work out, Priest still has possibly the best new legendary in Xyrella, and it can always go back to the tried and true Control playstyle.



    Efficient Octo-bot – 4 Stars: Four health can be tricky to deal with on Turn 2, and the mana cheating offered by Octo-bot will make your Field Contact combos so much easier to set up. You can also play mindgames with your opponent with this card: If dropped on an uncontested board, it might make your opponent reluctant to play 3-attack-or-less minions in order to avoid triggering the effect.

    Silverleaf Poison – 2 Stars: This card could end up a lot better, but it has to compete with the draw engines of Greyheart Sage and Swindle, and as a result it might not see play. It is also heavily reliant on the success of Swinetusk Shank, another card of dubious quality.

    Wicked Stab (Rank 1) – 5 Stars: Rogue games are frequently not going to make it to 10 mana, so we have to ask ourselves: Is the 5 mana variant good enough? The answer is an unambiguous “yes”; Eviscerate has been in so many Rogue decks over the years and this is a version without the Combo requirement.

    Field Contact – 4 Stars: The card draw is superior to the card generation Whirlkick Master offered, which helps make up for the higher cost. Anyone who was afraid Combo Rogue was going to die after rotation will be glad (or upset) to see this card.

    Oil Rig Ambusher – 4 Stars: 4 mana for 4 damage and a body is a great deal, but the condition is quite steep and it will suck to draw this early. Fortunately, the class has Secret Passage, which should help this card out the way Plot Twist helped Keli’dan the Breaker see play.

    Paralytic Poison – 1 Star: Weapon Rogue is an extremely selective archetype with a lot of great cards to choose from. Most of these cards severely outclass Paralytic Poison, since you don’t want to be attacking minions with your weapon; you want to go face instead.

    Swinetusk Shank – 2 Stars: It seems like a no-brainer inclusion, but Weapon Rogue already has Self-Sharpening Sword, which is so much better and also not reliant on bad/mediocre poisons to churn out the damage. Weapons are not something you want to have too much of, which means there’s a good chance this doesn’t pass the test of viability.

    Yoink! – 1 Star: It’s very cute, but it doesn’t do nearly enough to justify running. Most of the available hero powers are mediocre and not in-line with your game plan (the only ones you really want are the Hunter and maaaaaybe the Warlock one), and Rogue has so many good cards available to it that it will never consider fooling around with this.

    Apothecary Helbrim – 2 Stars: Poison-based decks don’t appear to be particularly strong, especially if they’re forced to run mediocre cards like this. The poison pool isn’t terrible, but it still has some cards which you don’t want to put in your deck, so I suspect it will be best to forgo this entirely.

    Scabbs Cutterbutter – 5 Stars: That’s a crapton of mana-cheating. Scabbs is Foxy Fraud on steroids and he will be able to trigger some insane tempo plays. A double pre-nerf Preparation effect is absolutely nothing to scoff at, so if I had to pick one nerf candidate out of the entire set, it would probably be this card.

    Rogue Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 6th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 2nd

    Overall Ranking: 3rd

    Rogue doesn’t need much from this set to continue to dominate, and fortunately it did end up scoring a few great cards in the mix of mediocrities. The biggest questions going forward for Rogue’s two best archetypes are: will Aggro Rogue be able to shake off the nerf to Nitroboost Poison, and will Combo Rogue be able to survive the loss of some great cards? In both cases, the answer will probably be “yes”, and Valeera should still remain a top contender in the Barrens meta.



    Arid Stormer – 1 Star: This is highly dependent on activating the elemental ability to succeed, since a 2/5 on its own is very weak. Elementals as a tribe have a pretty terrible track record of seeing play due to the awkwardness of the way they work, and this isn’t impactful enough to change that.

    South Coast Chieftain – 4 Stars: The payoff isn’t anything spectacular: a 3/2 which deals 2 damage is just OK, not amazing. But unlike, say, Arid Stormer, it’s also relatively easy to activate, and the next card will make it dramatically easier to do it on Turn 2…

    Spawnpool Forager – 5 Stars: What an excellent one-drop! You can almost think of it as a 1 mana 2/3, and it gets even better when you realize how nicely it curves into South Coast Chieftan. It can even be used in non-Murloc decks to decent effect.

    Earth Revenant – 3 Stars: Unlike the other Elemental cards, this could work just fine on its own in a control deck. Of course, this means if Control Shaman fails to make an impact, this will likely spend the next four months sitting on the bench. The success of that archetype is highly questionable, especially with so many of its best cards rotating out.

    Nofin Can Stop Us – 4 Stars: Savage Roar for Murloc decks, but even better due to the stat buffs being permanent. Remember that Blessing of the Ancients saw play at 3 mana, so even without the Murloc buffs, the baseline isn’t horrible. This is going to be a great finishing blow for the deck to deliver.

    Tinyfin's Caravan – 2 Stars: This is probably not good enough for Murloc Shaman. It’s not aggressive at all, and the benefit from having it stick a turn is fairly minor. Card draw is good, but it’s not this good.

    Chain Lightning (Rank 1) – 3 Stars: Solid control tool, but this is even more dependent on Control’s success than Earth Revenant. It has quite a lot of synergy with Shaman’s Spell Damage set, but those cards are designed more for aggro, not control.

    Lilypad Lurker – 1 Star: This has got a really cool design and artwork, which is why I’m not thrilled to rate it so low. As a removal card, it is highly dependent on the opponent’s board and frequently cannot be played even when the condition is fulfilled. It is weak as a standalone, and Shaman does not have a good reason to run many Elementals. All in all, a massive disappointment.

    Bru'kan  3 Stars: There's quite a few good Nature spells that Shaman has in its arsenal which could make this viable. The problem we run into is that Spell Damage synergies in Shaman have been a failure up until this point. Could this see play as a standalone? Possibly. However, it will probably not be meta-warping enough to define a new archetype, and that's a shame.

    Firemancer Flurgl – 4 Stars: So now we’re giving Shaman its own Altruis. Cool. Granted, this is less flexible since it only works with murlocs, but the cheaper cost makes it easier to combo, and anyone who remembers Aggro Demon Hunter knows how good the effect can be when it gets a combo going. With additions like this, Shaman won’t be too upset to lose a lot of its good murloc cards; the replacements are fantastic and will really help the archetype make an impact.

    Shaman Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 7th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 9th

    Overall Ranking: 8th

    Shaman’s got some good things going for it, but none of the cards are particularly mindblowing and it’s relatively weak Year of the Phoenix sets mean it has quite the hole it needs to climb out of. Murloc Shaman seems decent, but there’s not really a whole lot else that the class has to work with, so it’ll be shit out of luck if the fishmen can’t pull through. Control Shaman also feels like a long shot and is not an archetype I realistically expect to succeed. All in all, a rather disappointing predicament for Thrall.



    Grimoire of Sacrifice – 2 Stars: “Destroy a friendly minion” effects, similar to “discard” effects, have typically only worked out in aggressive decks; think Grim Rally and the new Ritual of Doom. The only deck I could imagine running this is Galakrond Warlock, which is rotating out before this can make an impact.

    Imp Swarm (Rank 1) – 1 Star:  On curve, this card is very bad, and the 5 mana form isn’t really worth the wait. This is only truly good enough for constructed Zoo decks at 10 mana, and those decks usually try to end the game before then. If Deathmatch Pavillion was too slow, I don't see how this ends up working out.

    Kabal Outfitter – 4 Stars: Seems like a decent card for Zoo Warlock, albeit not a game-breaking one. Deathrattle buff effects are typically pretty weak, but Battlecry buffs are quite good, and the combination of the two should push this card into viability.

    Apothecary's Caravan – 3 Stars: I’m not too keen on the Caravans, so it’s ironic that this turns out to be one of the stronger cards in the Warlock set. The effect is strong enough where I could legitimately see it being worth the risk of it failing to stick, and Warlock has some great one drops that it would love to cheat out.

    Blood Shard Bristleback – 1 Star: Warlock loves powerful healing, and this will usually get us more than the baseline of 6. The problem is that it comes with a condition, and that condition requires turning our deck into garbage. Intentionally fatiguing ourselves is not going to be a viable strategy.

    Soul Rend – 2 Stars: Five damage to all minions is a lot, and it’s not unthinkable that this sees play in a more generic control deck instead of Fatigue Warlock. The problem is the drawback: what happens when you burn your Tickatus or whatever other win condition you’re running? Even in Fatigue Warlock this is a problem, since there’s no guarantee Neeru Fireblade won’t be burned as well. Ultimately, this is likely too risky to see play.

    Altar of Fire – 1 Star: So, when building a successful archetype, there are cards which are strong enough for us to want to build around, and then there are cards which we reluctantly play for the synergy. Altar of Fire is about as far into the second category as you can get: Warlock isn’t going to be winning any fatigue races, so the “upside” is usually never relevant, and the card has basically no other redeeming qualities. Even if the archetype it is designed for sees play (it won’t), this card is so bad it will stay firmly in your collection and likely never leave.

    Barrens Scavenger – 1 Star: This card, on the other hand, is a great example of the first category. Its power level is on par with Bladed Lady, and the condition is even easier to set up within the archetype it was designed for. Unfortunately, that archetype is shit, and outside of it, the card is dead until the very end of the game.

    Neeru Fireblade – 1 Star: Chef Nomi was playable because he typically won you the game instantly when played. Neeru’s effect is designed to grind the opponent out, but this doesn’t work at all when you’re fighting against the fatigue clock. An infinite portal of imps sounds excellent in theory, but the reality is you’re only going to be living for a few more turns after this is played, and the bottom line is it’s not fast enough to function as the oppressive win condition it’s supposed to be.

    Tamsin Roame – 3 Stars: This would probably get a higher rating if it could combo with Twisting Nether, but alas. Fortunately, there are still a few decent spells we can work with. Drain Soul is a great standalone spell and we’re happy to have another free copy, while Siphon Soul is mediocre on its own but very powerful with this card. Throw in Mortal Coil and Grimoire of Sacrifice, and this could be a decent addition to Control Warlock.

    Warlock Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 10th

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 6th

    Overall Ranking: 6th

    Warlock hasn’t received a single set this bad since Rise of Shadows; hell, this one might even be the worst set it’s ever gotten. So is the class going to die? Not necessarily; Zoo Warlock is staying mostly intact throughout rotation, and Warlock also has Soul Fragments and Tickatus to work with. Control strategies are admittedly a little questionable, so Warlock’s present situation is similar to Shaman’s in that it has one good aggressive deck as its best shot of meta-relevance.



    Bulk Up – 4 Stars: I think, for the first time in quite a while, a Taunt package actually has a realistic change of seeing play in Warrior. What’s nice about Bulk Up is that it also provides card generation along with the buff: you can kind of think of it as similar to Scavenger’s Ingenuity (and it’s even better if the Taunt minion has already been buffed). A very respectable addition.

    Stonemaul Anchorman – 1 Star: I was ready to give this a high rating until I realized Frenzy could only trigger once. That change prevents this card from becoming an efficient draw engine and instead renders it a mediocrity. Warrior didn’t run Big Ol’ Whelp, so why would it run this?

    Whirling Combatant – 5 Stars: Absolutely crucial addition to Enrage Warrior. It’s reminiscent of Risky Skipper in that its effect can have an enormous benefit if you know what you’re doing, but at it’s baseline, it’s a respectable removal tool.

    Conditioning (Rank 1) – 3 Stars: I’m a little skeptical here, but the existence of Mor’shan Elite prevents me from rating it any lower. Without the prospect of buffing your Elites, the card seems quite weak, since the 2 mana form is awful, and at 5 mana it’s just OK.

    Outrider’s Axe – 5 Stars: Finally, just what Warrior has desperately needed: a good Weapon. Outrider’s axe is obviously very good when it draws three cards, and we know from Ancharr just how oppressive a weapon attached to a draw-three effect can be. The only issue with this card is that it competes with Warrior’s strong arsenal of weapons, many of which already cost 4 mana, but I have faith that this will come out on top. I mean, do you really want to use Reaper’s Scythe over this?

    Warsong Envoy – 4 Stars: A 1/3 for 1 mana is serviceable enough, but the Frenzy effect means it can be intimidating even later in the game. With 3 or more damaged characters, the effect provides a huge buff which means this humble one-drop can end up dealing an impressive amount of damage. The only issue with this card is the anti-synergy with the legendary: that alone could cause this card to be cut from the deck.

    Mor’shan Elite – 5 Stars: So, let’s imagine a hypothetical worst-case scenario when not a single one of the handbuff effects is playable in Warrior. This is still a 5 mana 8/8 with Taunt, with the only condition being your hero needs to have swung his weapon this turn. Weapons have been a crucial part of the class’s identity for a long time, and the class has several great 4 mana cards to get the job done: Reaper’s Scythe, Sword Eater, and now the new Outrider’s Axe.

    Rancor – 3 Stars: Definitely one of the weaker AoE effects in a class rife with AoE, but its synergy with Frenzy prevents it from being ruled out. If this kills an average of 3 minions, you can think of it as “deal 2 damage to all minions, and gain 6 armor”, which seems just barely good enough.

    Overlord Saurfang – 3 Stars: There are some good Frenzy minions that we can resurrect with Saurfang, but it does encourage us to forgo the smaller ones like Warsong Envoy. The deckbuilding restriction isn’t too severe, but in order to get enough good resurrections, we will likely have to run suboptimal cards such as Taurajo Brave or Stonemaul Anchorman, and that’s not inspiring much confidence.

    Rokara – 1 Star: The best way to evaluate this card is to think of it as a 3 mana Power of the Wild with a 2/3 Rush attached. That seems passable at first, but the problem is that this card is in Warrior, which isn’t a token class and doesn’t really want to flood the board. Now, it doesn’t strictly NEED a board to work, and it can buff Rush minions that enter play along with it and survive. Unfortunately, most Rush cards don’t have a lot of health, and the ones that due are typically expensive and difficult to combo with. Easily one of the most overrated cards in the entire set.

    Warrior Class Summary

    Forged in the Barrens Ranking: 1st

    Year of the Phoenix Ranking: 4th

    Overall Ranking: 2nd

    How fitting that a Barrens-focused expansion would be giving Warrior such an excellent set. The Frenzy mechanic seems designed specifically for this class since the tools available to Warrior are the best for abusing the mechanic. Furthermore, Warrior is drawing from excellent cards in its previous sets which have synergy with a Frenzy-focused build; we all know how good Bloodboil Brute and Grommash Hellscream are already. Top it off with one of the best weapons in the meta combined with the busted Mor’shan Elite, and Warrior appears as if it will continue the excellent performance we’ve seen from it over the past year.



    Barrens Trapper – 3 Stars: This could make the cut in Deathrattle Demon Hunter. What’s interesting about this one is that the cost manipulation can allow Razorboar and Razorfen Beastmaster to cheat out higher-cost minions than they normally could.

    Crossroads Gossiper – 5 Stars: Any deck which runs secrets will strongly consider picking this up. Fortunately, we’ve got four classes, all with respectable secret synergy, so this card has a great chance of seeing play.

    Darkspear Berserker – 4 Stars: I can see two good applications for this card. The first is in Deathrattle Demon Hunter as something big you can cheat out, and the second is in a Heal Priest deck which plays self-damage cards with upsides so that it can heal easily.

    Death’s Head Cultist – 5 Stars: It’s like a cheap Khartut Defender. A very good defensive option to counter aggro, and the Deathrattle synergy doesn’t hurt either. A variety of decks will be interested in this.

    Far Watch Post – 2 Stars: I have to say I’m quite skeptical of Watch Post decks. The watch posts are weak individually, and this card in particular is so bad that it might not see play even in the archetype it was designed for. 4 health can be tricky to remove on Turn 2, though, so this could make it in as a good Turn 2 play.

    Gold Road Grunt – 1 Star: Possibly the worst Frenzy minion in the set. It’s easy for your opponent to play around, and we typically don’t want to self-damage it for the effect.

    Gruntled Patron – 2 Stars: This feels like too large of a downgrade from Grim Patron for it to be worthwhile, a card which might not even see play if it were around today. It will likely be experimented with and found to be lacking.

    Hog Rancher – 1 Star: A vanilla effect which doesn’t offer enough to be Constructed-worthy. We have better options as far as beasts are concerned.

    Injured Marauder – 2 Stars: This might make it into a Heal Priest deck, but Priest doesn’t have an enormous amount of cards which heal minions, so it could just sit on the shelf.

    Kindling Elemental – 1 Star: A huge buff for elemental decks. Is it enough to make them viable? Not even close.

    Lushwater Murcenary – 4 Stars: Great payoff for having a Murloc on the board, which will be easy for Shaman to do on Turn 2. Also perfectly fine later in the game, though less impressive at that point.

    Lushwater Scout – 4 Stars: The attack buff is great for Murloc Shaman. Rush is also fairly decent, although it is more of a defensive ability so it’s not as good as it could be.

    Oasis Surger – 3 Stars: Looks like a passable card for Hunter, but not one it would be thrilled about running. Handbuffs improve it quite a bit, and the damage to the hero is exactly what Hunter wants to be doing.

    Peon – 1 Star: The value is alright, but I think it is outclassed by Wandmaker. The slightly higher health typically isn’t going to compensate for the unreliability.

    Ratchet Privateer – 1 Star: This card would be much better if Ancharr was still playable. As it is, the various other weapon buffs that Warrior and Rogue have at their disposal outshine this.

    Razormane Raider – 3 Stars: Looks pretty bad until you realize that, when played on an empty board with a followup like, say, Cruel Taskmaster, this becomes a good replacement for Kor’kron Elite. However, your opponent’s board must be empty, or this becomes unreliable, and that could kill the card.

    Sunwell Initiate – 1 Star: One of the weaker Frenzy minions. 4 health on Turn 3 isn’t too difficult to remove, and it’s not a card you want to self-damage for the effect.  

    Talented Arcanist – 2 Star: Spell Damage decks don’t look particularly great, but this card is very nice in them. Unlike most other SD cards, you can just drop it on two and you don’t need to worry about it “sticking” or anything like that, which is great because SD deck often struggle to come up with earlygame plays.

    Toad of the Wilds – 3 Stars: Druid and Shaman have a lot of Nature spells, so this could work out fine. The problem is that the decks which would be interested in an early Taunt are probably not going to be top-tier contenders, but it’s a good card regardless.

    Venomous Scorpid – 5 Stars: Emperor Cobra is off crying in a corner somewhere. Vulpera Scoundrel also had a similar effect, but without poisonous, and that card saw some play. This should be able to worm its way into some decks just fine.

    Burning Blade Acolyte – 3 Stars: Very enticing pull for Death Speaker Blackthorn. When combined with Barrens Trapper, Razorfen Beastmaster can drag it into the field too.

    Hecklefang Hyena – 3 Stars: Some might be quick to dismiss this as pack filler, but I don’t think so. It’s like Vulgar Homunculus without the Taunt, and

    Horde Operative – 2 Stars: Interesting tech card, but it depends on Secret decks being a huge part of the next meta, and while there will probably be one or two good ones, that isn’t enough to put a 3 mana 3/4 into a Constructed deck.

    Mor’shan Watch Post – 3 Stars: Easily the strongest of the watch posts. When placed on an unchallenged board, your opponent will be strongly encouraged to use a spell to deal with it. If not, they’ll have a lot of trouble removing it since the minions the watch post summons can remove the opponent’s minions played.

    Taurajo Brave – 3 Stars: Six mana is quite a large investment for a single target removal, especially one which requires another card to combo with it. The only class which can make use of this is Warrior, which would love to resurrect this with Saurfang.

    Barrens Blacksmith – 4 Stars: That is an extremely powerful Frenzy Effect. Any deck which cares about buffing the board will try to make this work, although the fact that you need to damage it is quite the challenge for any class that isn’t Warrior.

    Crossroads Watch Post – 2 Stars: Pretty good in conjunction with with Mor’shan Watch Post, although it does require a board to already be setup to function. That alone could prevent the card from making a dent in the meta.

    Primordial Protector – 1 Star: Is the return of Spiteful Summoner decks upon us? I doubt it, the high cost of this card means you’ll have to wait a while for the payoff, and that’s going to give you trouble compensating for the extreme deckbuilding condition. Remember how bad Spiteful was at 7 mana? This is even more expensive.

    Southsea Scoundrel – 1 Star: The main issue with this card is that your opponent will have access to the card you discover before you do, which explains why the stats are higher than average. I don’t really see a deck that would be interested in this: maybe if Rogue had some thief/pirate synergy, it could work, but right now it doesn’t.

    Spirit Healer – 1 Star: I’m not confident that playing this and stringing together a chain of Holy spells is going to be a playable strategy in any class. Its viability depends both on having a good board and Holy spells ready to go in hand, and that level of setup strikes me as excessive.

    Blademaster Samuro 4 Stars: This is fairly reliant on Handbuffs to succeed, and Warrior and Hunter can provide them. Because of its high health, the Frenzy effect can easily trigger after attacking a minion, which is excellent for preventing your opponent from building a board.

    Kargal Battlescar – 3 Stars: And, topping off the watch posts, we have this excellent win condition. Watch post decks are going to be highly reliant on drawing this, but fortunately its high cost means we can tutor it with Taelan Fordring.

    Kazakus, Golem Shaper – 5 Stars: Forgoing the other 4-cost cards in order to build a golem is frequently a winning trade for a lot of decks, and the golems you can create are often enough to decide games. The “summon a copy” ability in particular feels very overtuned and is frequently going to be the best pick.

    Mankrik – 3 Stars: Could work in decks with lots of card draw. I’m a little skeptical because the payoff isn’t amazing, and the card can be very slow if you don’t draw the 3/10 in a timely fashion. Because its power level is highly dependent on the timing, this could end up preventing the card from seeing widespread play.

    Shadow Hunter Vol’jin – 4 Stars: This is already seeing some play, and there’s no reason to think it will stop anytime soon. A single target “removal” attached to a minion with the potential to break combos is excellent, and we have the proof just by looking at the last meta.




    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Preview

    Before the expansion releases, I'd like to jot down a few reactions I had to learning of the general opinions of other reviewers, some of which surprised me quite a bit:

    It's true that Trampling Rhino may not have been as good as I initially predicted. I have to admit that the body itself isn't all that impressive, and it doesn't benefit from the buffs as much as other cards might. This is one card which I might have been absolutely off the mark with.

    I wasn't expecting Malevolent Strike to be...less than popular. Some people are saying that Rogue has already has good removal like Sap and Flik Skyshiv, but I'm pretty confident that a 1, potentially 0 mana Assassinate is a good enough reason to cut those other removal cards from your deck. The general consensus seems to be that C'Thun Rogue won't work, and I think that with the Galakrond package, Rogue has more than enough card draw to pull it off. So I can safely say that I disagree strongly with the other reviewers on this one.

    I was mainly envisioning the Silver Hand cards to spawn their own deck, but others seem to think that they should be used in Pure Paladin. While this isn't crazy, I don't think this is better than what Pure Paladin can already do, so I struggle to see how the cards can justify inclusion in the deck. But who knows, they might surprise me.


    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Preview

    Below I have written a guide detailing my predictions for the upcoming cards in the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire set. Similarly to Trump, I will be grading each card from 1 to 5 stars, meaning:

    5 Stars: Staple in a Tier 1 deck or a staple in multiple Tier 2 decks.
    4 Stars: Occasionally used in a Tier 1 deck, a staple in a Tier 2 deck, or a staple in multiple Tier 3 decks.
    3 Stars: Occasionally used in a Tier 2 deck, a staple in a Tier 3 deck, or a staple in multiple Tier 4 decks
    2 Stars: Sees at least 1% of play in a Tier 4 deck or has seen some amount of tournament success.
    1 Star: Fails to maintain a 1% playrate in Diamond or above.

    I have tried to avoid watching other people's card reviews beforehand, so you can be confident that the opinions below are my own and not tainted by anyone else's perception. Enjoy.

    Demon Hunter

    Acrobatics: 4 Stars – An extremely strong card in a currently weak archetype, albeit one with room for improvement with the new set. Having effective forms of refill is important for Voracious Reader decks, so this should make the cut as long as Aggro Demon Hunter is viable (which it might not be, but I’m optimistic here).

    Dreadlord's Bite: 3 Stars – This weapon is fair for the cost, but it directly competes with better options such as Marrowslicer, Umberwing, and Felsteel Executioner, and thus would normally end up outclassed. However, a certain new archetype may be able to make use of it…

    Felscream Blast: 2 Stars – Normally, a card like this would need spell damage synergy to work, and Demon Hunter doesn’t have that. However, the new legendary wants lifesteal cards to work with, and this is one of the better ones available. For that reason, I’m not ruling it out entirely.

    Insatiable Felhound: 2 StarsAshtongue Battlelord sees no play whatsoever. This card is arguably better, but Demon Hunter doesn’t have much use for a card like this. Similarly to Felscream Blast, the only reason this doesn’t get a “1” is because it’s possible that Il’gynoth could make use of it.

    Line Hopper: 3 Stars – Demon Hunter has a good chunk of cheap Outcast cards that you can string together with this, and many of them draw cards. The question is whether Outcast strings will be reliable and consistent enough to fit into a constructed deck. My guess is that an Outcast Demon Hunter archetype will emerge, but not end up as a particularly strong choice (perhaps somewhere in Tier 3).

    Redeemed Pariah: 3 Stars – Good card even if you can only play one outcast card; think Totem Golem without the overload. If you have it on the board when starting a Line Hopper chain, then it becomes even more ridiculous. But is a good card like this enough to spawn a new archetype? Only time will tell.

    Relentless Pursuit: 1 Star – This spell is very underwhelming. Shadow Bolt is a weak card, and this isn’t much better. Even though this card helps activate Bladed Lady, Demon Hunter has better options to get to six attack than this.

    Renowned Performer: 1 Star – This is pack filler in the same vein as Vilefiend Trainer. It’s fair for the cost, but Demon Hunter has no synergy with Rush, Taunt or Deathrattle strong enough to justify putting it in your deck.

    Bladed Lady: 5 Stars – Oh my god this is absolutely insane. Think about how easy it is for Soul Demon Hunter to hit 6 attack, and then just imagine this coming down along with it. A great card for an archetype which is already the best in the game.

    Throw Glaive: 2 Stars – This card would be ridiculous in any class which has a viable control deck. Sadly, Demon Hunter is poorly suited to take advantage of this. We want to be attacking face, not minions, and we don’t want to cut any of the really good removal cards that see play in Soul Demon Hunter, such as Shardshatter Mystic and Blade Dance, for this.

    Expendable Performers: 1 Star – Someday they’re going to give Token Demon Hunter real support instead of one or two throwaway cards per expansion. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself…

    Felsteel Executioner: 3 Stars – As a potential 3 mana 4/3 weapon, it’s very tempting to put this in an Aggro deck, but the problem is the lack of activators for the weapon: you don’t want to be running a lot of 4 mana cards in decks with Acrobatics and Voracious Reader. Soul Demon Hunter might want to try this, but it already has Marrowslicer and Aldrachi Warblades, two weapons which are central to the deck and should not be replaced. Is six weapons too many? I think it probably is. The most likely scenario where this sees play is in a totally new archetype, but it’s hard to envision what that looks like or if it will exist at all.

    Stiltstepper: 4 Stars – Only good in a deck with very few cards that cost more than 3 mana. Fortunately, Voracious Reader and Acrobatics highly encourage us to play a deck like that in the first place. It’ll be hard for aggressive decks to say no to this.

    Il'gynoth: 5 Stars – Il’gynoth could potentially lead to the discovery of a new lifesteal-centric archetype, but what is more likely is that it will be used in conjunction with cards like Aldrachi Warblades and Soulshard Lapidary for a powerful swing. The prospect of dealing 12-16 damage to the face in just one blow is so overwhelming that Il’gynoth will almost certainly end up as a staple in Soul Demon Hunter. Just a fantastically toxic card which will likely lead to players teching in Acidic Swamp Ooze like crazy.

    Zai, the Incredible: 3 Stars –  A 5 mana 5/3 with a pseudo-draw 2 effect certainly isn’t bad, but the question is whether any deck want to include this over better options. Perhaps the synergy with Skull of Gul’dan will make it worthwhile? Perhaps the Outcast chains will be easier if this can generate more copies of cheap outcast cards? Perhaps a second Soulciologist Malicia makes the inclusion worth it? It’s not unthinkable that Zai makes the cut, but there’s no obvious archetype where she fits in well.  


    Faire Arborist: 1 Star – I like the card, but I don’t like the archetype it’s supposed to function in. Treant Druid has taken a pretty big hit since rotation, and I don’t see this bringing it back.

    Lunar Eclipse: 5 Stars – So, it’s like backstab but with 3 damage and no “undamaged” requirement? Hell yeah that’s good, sign me up. The only downside compared to Backstab is that you have to play a spell to get the cost reduction benefit, but that doesn’t seem very difficult for Druid to do.

    Solar Eclipse: 3 Stars – Very scary but needs a specific spell to double in order to work. You could combo this with Kael’thas and Survival of the Fittest, but that could end up being too clunky. It’s hard to say, which is why I’m giving this a tentative 3.

    Fizzy Elemental: 1 Star – This card is so strange and so out-of-place that I feel like I’m missing something. Maybe N’Zoth wants it for its Elemental tag? I have no idea what this is doing in Druid, and I can’t envision a deck which wants a slightly better Burly Shovelfist. Who knows, maybe this will shock me somehow.

    Moontouched Amulet: 4 Stars – This card makes sense in Y’Shaarj Druid, unlike Faire Arborist. It’s less awkward to play off-curve, and more impactful when generated by Y’Shaarj. I’d say it has a high chance of seeing play so long as Y’Shaarj is good in Druid, which it probably will be.

    Umbral Owl: 3 Stars – A good card to compliment a spell-heavy Yogg deck with Fungal Fortunes and Glowfly Swarm. I doubt such a deck will be top-tier, but it’ll probably be good enough to see some competitive play.

    Cenarion Ward: 1 Star – For an 8-mana card like this to see play, you either need it to have extremely strong synergy or it needs to be strong enough as a standalone that decks are willing to slot it in. This card is neither, and while it does get substantially better with Solar Eclipse, that’s not enough to convince me that this can work.

    Guess the Weight: 1 Star – I really dislike the high probability of this ending up as a two-mana draw one. You need consistency, and this card does not provide that, which means it will be outclassed by the other forms of card draw Druid has available to the class. It’s not even particularly spectacular if you guess correctly.

    Greybough: 1 Star – There are two major problems with this card. The first is that it is completely reliant on having other minions on the board when it dies in order to respawn. Many board clears will wipe the slate clean in one go, thus negating the deathrattle. The second is that there is not really an archetype that currently exists where this can fit in well. Is this supposed to be used in Treant Druid? I have no idea. Overall, a very underwhelming legendary.

    Kiri, Chosen of Elune: 2 Stars – Initially this card looked very impressive until I realized that you could just put the Solar and Lunar Eclipses into your deck without Kiri. As a result, this card seems a tad unnecessary. Maybe it can help improve the consistency of some combo deck with Solar Eclipse, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most players just left it on the shelf.


    Dancing Cobra: 3 Stars – Could be potent enough to find its way into Highlander Hunter. Unlikely to see play in other decks because it doesn’t take advantage of any good synergies in this set, but it’s likely strong enough as a standalone.

    Mystery Winner: 5 Stars – Busted; it’s like Secret Plan except better, 100% chance of seeing play. I will say I’m not particularly fond of the whole “reprint old cards which saw play, except better” thing Hunter has going on (like Wolpertinger last expansion).

    Open the Cages: 2 Stars – Not really a fan of how hard the condition is to pull off, and the reward is a slightly cheaper Animal Companion. However, Hunter has a higher demand for secrets than usual this expansion, so this could make the cut.

    Darkmoon Tonk: 4 Stars – This one surprised me. After looking at the synergy between it and Maxima, I initially decided that this was probably going to be a one-star card. However, when theorycrafting a Highlander Hunter deck with N’Zoth as a win condition, it doesn’t look so bad. The synergy with Nine Lives and Oblivitron is probably enough to keep it in the realm of playability. I could be 100% wrong about this one, but it’s fun to go out on a limb every so often.

    Petting Zoo: 5 Stars – Absolutely insane. Even with one secret, it’s good, and with multiples it becomes obscene. Encourages an aggressive board-flooding strategy which Hunter can make good use of.

    Trampling Rhino: 4 Stars – Yay, Overkill’s back. Face Hunter can make good use of this, especially since it has some synergy with Scavenger’s Ingenuity. It's a good lategame card for a deck which could use a more potent lategame.

    Don't Feed the Animals: 1 Star – It’s not the worst card I’ve ever seen in my life, but it’s very lackluster as a handbuff card even when corrupted. I mean, just compare it to Into the Fray. You aren’t going to be running enough beasts to justify this card.

    Jewel of N'Zoth: 3 Stars – Very tempting, but Hunter only has a few strong deathrattle minions available to it, and running this card in a Deathrattle deck encourages us to cut weaker deathrattles (such as Ursatron and Zixor) just so we ensure that we only resurrect strong ones. This is definitely a card to consider, but it’s probably too clunky to make the final cut.

    Maxima Blastenheimer: 1 Star – If you thought Jewel of N'Zoth had a bad deckbuilding restriction, just wait ‘til you see this. We have to forego earlygame minions entirely and rely on Hunter’s limited control tools just to play this, and while you might get a good highroll like Darkmoon Tonk or Scrapyard Colossus, what happens after your opponent answers those threats? What happens if you never draw this? Building a deck around Maxima is a fool’s errand, and I’d be shocked if this turned out to be any good.

    Rinling's Rifle: 5 Stars – This card gives you a lot of value for the cost (think of it as a corrupted Ring Toss with a 2/2 weapon attached, albeit with weaker secrets). It’s a good way to set up a strong Petting Zoo turn, since you’re paying for the second secret up front (Turn 4 you play this, turn 5 you swing, play a secret, and then get 9/9 in stats). A natural fit for Secret Hunter, which should be very good in this meta.


    Confection Cyclone: 5 Stars – An even better Fire Fly which not only activates Gyreworm for the next turn, but also gives you cheap elementals which can be played later in the game to activate your Elemental Allies or Animated Avalance.

    Firework Elemental: 2 Stars – Elemental decks will be tempted to use it due to the tag and strong effect. However, the condition for the effect is brutal; you have to play a 6 mana card first before you can use it as intended. Problem is, Elemental decks will be incentivized to run a lot of cheap spells to justify cards like Mana Cyclone and Elemental Allies. I don’t think it makes the cut.

    Game Master: 3 Stars – A little bit of an awkward card. You won’t be able to cheat out a secret any earlier than you normally would with it, and it’s generally not a card you want to play on Turn 2. This makes it a weird fit for Secret decks, which usually try to be aggressive. It’s not bad, but not quite “busted” enough to skyrocket Secret Mage to Tier 1 or anything.

    Grand Finale: 5 Stars – Excellent win condition for Mage. The class has a good number of cheap elementals which means setting this up on Turn 7 shouldn’t be too hard, and the payoff is enormous. Absolute must-use card for the archetype.

    Mask of C'Thun: 1 Star – I might be more enthusiastic about this if Dragoncaster still cost 6 mana, but Mage has long since abandoned big spells as an archetype, and it’s unlikely they’ll come back soon. Even if Highlander mage comes back, this just might not be impactful enough to make it in; it’s so glaringly inferior to Reno the Relicologist.

    Ring Toss: 1 Star – The Corrupt keyword really kills this card. Looking at a Secret deck, there generally aren’t very many cards you want to be playing that cost more than 4 mana (Cloud Prince and Sayge ae basically the only ones), and the payoff isn’t good enough to justify how inconsistent the extra effect will be.

    Occult Conjurer: 3 Stars – This, along with the card below, is the real reason why I think Secret Mage has some potential. On turn 4, this is a strong earlygame play, and its condition is easy to activate when you have a secret which can reliably stay untriggered such as…

    Rigged Faire Game: 3 Stars – Remember Sanctuary? That card had a good effect for its mana cost, but it never saw play because, as it turns out, it’s quite easy for your opponent to damage your face. Fortunately, when you have cards like Occult Conjurer, Cloud Prince, and Ethereal Arcanist which rely on secrets going untriggered, it’s fine for Rigged Faire Game to sit there for a few turns. If triggered, it gives the deck card draw, something the archetype lacks. Secret Mage is a very weak archetype at the moment, but these two epics help a lot to make it more competitive.

    Deck of Lunacy: 2 Stars – Fun meme card, but far too inconsistent to use in a constructed deck. Will likely see play in Spell Mage (a weak archetype that has consistently had a strangely high playrate for some reason), but it’s not doing much to boost the winrate, many of the spells you get from this are quite weak even when discounted. It might even be a liability.

    Sayge, Seer of Darkmoon: 3 Stars – One of the reasons why Secret Mage was such a bust in Saviors of Uldum was the deck’s tendency to run out of steam to quickly. Sayge is a direct response to this, and when played on curve, it shouldn’t be too uncommon to get 3-4 cards from him. The issue with this archetype is that it still lacks appropriate aggression (no good Turn 1-2 plays, not much in the way of mana cheating, etc.), which is why I don’t think it will see that much success, but it could possibly work out in the end.


    Carousel Gryphon: 3 Stars – Unlike most Corrupt cards, the initial card is fair for its cost (like Dalaran Crusader with one more health). The card is a little difficult to upgrade, and the corrupted version doesn’t blow me away, but the most promising thing about this card is surprisingly the Mech tag. With a big body like that, this could fit well into a N’Zoth Paladin deck.

    Day at the Faire: 1 Star – In an aggressive Silver Hand deck, you are going to be playing with a low curve. You cannot afford to be waiting around to draw the small number of 4/5 cost cards just so you can play this and get a decent benefit. This problem could be overlooked if the other Silver Hand cards were decent, but we’ll get to those in a minute.

    Redscale Dragontamer: 4 Stars – I can see multiple applications for this card. The first is N’Zoth Paladin, which will gladly take a minion with a Murloc Tag and can use it to draw Circus Amalgam or Amber Watcher. The second is in Murloc Paladin, where it can guarantee drawing those powerful Scalelords. At the end of the day, it’s a 2/3 that draws a card, and that’s pretty sweet.

    Balloon Merchant: 1 Star – This is a poor man’s Quartermaster. The lower attack is quite a disappointment considering how important it is for aggro decks to be able to burst down their opponents, and while the Divine Shield is supposed to compensate for the lack of health, the archetype needs ways to leverage the silver hand recruits into something threatening, and this card just isn’t that threatening.

    Carnival Barker: 1 Star – I actually like this card better than the OG Steward of Darkshire and wouldn’t be surprised if this saw play in, say, Odd Paladin in Wild. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Wild review, so I can just say that this card, while good, is stuck in an archetype which is nowhere near ready for competitive viability. Tragic.

    Snack Run: 1 StarFlash of Light saw play due to the high demand for card draw in Holy Wrath Paladin. This card discovers a spell instead, which is not a terrible tradeoff, but it’s not really what Paladin is looking for when choosing cards to actively put in its decks. In addition, it cannot heal minions, and will sometimes heal very little if the spell you want is cheap. Too often this will just be a Renew which costs an extra mana.

    Hammer of the Naaru: 3 Stars – Another pack filler/arena card which is thrust into competitive viability because of a tag. This is the only option N’Zoth has for a good-sized Elemental, and it comes with a strong weapon to boot.

    Oh My Yogg!: 1 Star – This is actually a really obnoxious effect. It’s kind of like a cheaper Counterspell, and in many cases it can actually be better. The problem is that Paladin does not have much in the way of secret synergy, and a decent 1-mana spell is just too fair to make it into decks.

    High Exarch Yrel: 3 Stars – Great card which fits into Pure Paladin extremely well, which is currently one of the best decks in the game. So why does this only get three stars? Because in a changing meta with powerful emergent decks which are adding new cards, High Exarch Yrel is literally the only card from the new expansion that Pure Paladin is interested in. Will the archetype be able to retain its dominant position in the meta by playing almost exactly as it did for the last four months? It’s not impossible, but I’d bet against it.

    Lothraxion the Redeemed: 1 Star – This is the absolute worst new card for an archetype I already had no faith in. It’s a 5-mana-do-nothing in a deck that wants to be aggressive. It’s a terrible draw in the endgame. It’s completely redundant with Balloon Merchant (Double divine shield? Hello?). It utterly fails to give me a reason to play Silver Hand Paladin when there are so many better new decks available.


    Fairground Fool: 1 Star – Bundles of stats might be OK in other classes, but in Priest there just isn’t anything you can do with a 4/7 that comes down on Turn 5 at the earliest. Very slow and very underwhelming.

    Fortune Teller: 2 Stars Violet Spellsword is a rather weak card and this feels reminiscent of that. In order for Fortune Teller to be “worth it”, you need a minimum of 4, but preferably 5 or more spells, which isn’t too hard for Priest, but is it going to be consistent enough?

    Insight: 4 Stars – The card isn’t the strongest Corrupt card I’ve seen this set (although that title probably goes to another Priest card), but it’s quite good in Priest, which isn’t in a hurry to play this and appreciates the discount. This will be excellent with combo-based cards such as Sethekk Veilweaver, which can chain together lots of spells for a lot of value. Alternatively, you can play powerful win conditions like Murozond, the Infinite earlier. There are lots of great uses for this.

    Auspicious Spirits: 1 Star – This is a very long time to wait for what is likely just going to be a mediocre pile of stats. It is hard to think of a practical application for this, and I can’t see this as ever becoming more than pack filler.

    Nazmani Bloodweaver: 5 Stars – In the past we’ve seen that it isn’t hard for Sethekk Veilweaver to generate powerful chains of spells. This card does it even better, and because Priest already has access to a lot of strong cheap spells, this is a natural fit. But if only there was a way to make the chains even more consistent…

    Palm Reading: 5 Stars – Mana cheating is powerful, and Priest can afford to wait around to corrupt this. The class uses a lot of spells and will generally have enough in hand to make playing this worthwhile. As soon as you see this played, you better prepare for your opponent’s next turn to be extremely long and tilting as they play a ton of spells with their Veilweavers and Bloodweavers.

    Blood of G'huun: 3 Stars – The card itself is just OK. It’s slow, and while Resurrect Priest has minions which are good when summoned from Blood of G’huun, the fact that it happens at the end of your turn is a problem (something like, say, Catrina Muerte isn’t as scary when she’s summoned without resurrecting anything). This card alone isn’t going to bring back the Resurrect archetype, but unfortunately, it’s not alone.

    Idol of Y'Shaarj: 3 Stars – Boy, I hope I’m wrong about this one. As much as I want to call Idol of Y’Shaarj a one-star card, the fact of the matter is that Resurrect Priest has a shot of being viable in the new meta. Practically all of the cards in that deck are excellent with this, especially Blood of G'huun, so this could potentially be a meta-changer. Luckily, Resurrect Priest is something like a Tier 6 archetype at the moment, so we can all rest easy knowing the chances of it dominating the meta are slim.

    G'huun the Blood God: 4 Stars – Drawing two cards and being able to play them immediately is tempting, and Priest is the most equipped class to take the health blow. This could lead to some unfair Turn 8s, but it’s possible that the good value is offset by the drawback. Remember, Riftcleaver sees no play due to a similar drawback, so this might not be quite as insane as it looks.

    The Nameless One: 4 Stars – Silence, along with similar effects, have proven to be fantastic abilities in the current meta, as seen by the success of cards like Consume Magic and Devolving Missiles. If this were a Scholomance card, the correct rating would likely be 5 stars. The question is whether the high value of silence will continue on into the new meta. With the (likely) decline of Pure Paladin, the deck where silence performs the best, lI can’t say for certain that it will.


    Foxy Fraud: 5 Stars – Very strong card which highly incentivizes us to expand the “combo” packages in our deck. A free 3/2 is insane, especially when that free card can trigger the combo keyword. Rogue’s combo cards are already great, so it should be easy for us to find a place for this somewhere.

    Sweet Tooth: 4 Stars – Possibly one of the best Corrupt minions. It’s not too hard to discount since Aggro Rogue’s curve isn’t as low as other aggressive decks, and the payoff is quite insane: a two mana 5/2 with stealth is very difficult to say no to.

    Swindle: 4 Stars – 2-mana-draw-2 is quite a good deal, and the restriction is not very severe. In addition, Foxy Fraud can make fantastic use of this, allowing us to play it for free as early as turn 2. An excellent boost to Rogue already-great set of combo cards.

    Prize Plunderer: 3 Stars – It’s good with Foxy Fraud, but when it’s competing with combo cards that Rogue already has which are also good with Foxy Fraud, it might not be able to quite bring enough value. The payoff is especially sad when compared with cards like Edwin VanCleef.

    Shadow Clone: 4 Stars – Seems like a decent secret, possibly one of the best that Rogue has. Kind of like Mirror Entity but way better. Secret synergy is quite strong in Rogue, so the class will gladly take another one without complaining.

    Ticket Master: 4 Stars – Galakrond decks tend to have an obscene amount of card draw, which increases the reliability of drawing Plush Bears. If that’s not good enough, the class can also slot in Stowaway, which becomes a 5 mana 10/10 if this has been played beforehand. Any Rogue deck which isn’t some aggro-stealth deck should be able to make space for this.

    Cloak of Shadows: 2 StarsTime Out! was good, but it primarily saw play in combo decks which needed the stalling. Will Rogue have decks like that? Maybe, but probably not. The other problem with this card is that it doesn’t nullify untargeted damage, making it weak against decks like Face Hunter.

    Malevolent Strike: 5 Stars – It’s a one mana Assassinate in any deck which runs C’Thun with the potential to be discounted further via Ticket Master. This, more than any other card, is what pushes C’Thun into viability in Rogue. It’s almost like Secret Passage for Aggro Rogue in that it is the most instrumental for pushing the archetype.

    Grand Empress Shek'zara: 3 Stars – There’s a fair amount of luck needed to make this worth using. You’re not always going to discover a Plush Bear or a Shadow of Death, and Shek’zara is fairly mediocre if you whiff. I could see C’Thun Rogue cutting this entirely just based on the unreliability, but it’s possible that the highrolls are good enough regardless.

    Tenwu of the Red Smoke: 5 Stars – An autoinclude for any Galakrond Rogue deck. The synergy with Jandice, Togwaggle, Kronx, etc. is off the charts. You could even do something crazy like play a discounted Old God twice a turn with Tenwu. Possibly one of the best cards in the entire expansion.


    Cagematch Custodian: 4 Stars – Simple, yet important. Drawing weapons consistently will be crucial for any Aggro Shaman deck. Remember Rune Dagger in Aggro Shaman last expansion and how important it was to draw it or you were S.O.L? That deck was quite weak, but we might want to take another look at Rune Dagger with Cagematch Custodian around.

    Revolve: 5 Stars – Not only is this a more consistent Devolving Missiles, but it also has great synergy with any deck which runs Desert Hare. Will such a deck be viable? Even if it’s not, this is still a better version of a card which was great in the last expansion. A surefire success.

    Stormstrike: 4 Stars – Decent card which gets significantly better when taken into context with the rest of the Shaman set. Functions like Rockbiter Weapon with better tempo, which is great if you have Doomhammer equipped.

    Dunk Tank: 5 Stars – Phenomenal spell in what could be one of the top archetypes of Darkmoon Faire: Control Shaman. This deck has all the pieces for top-tier success except the most important one: it lacks a win condition. The Old Gods can provide the deck with the win condition it needs (my money’s on C’Thun, personally), and that means that this spell can shine in a great new upcoming archetype. Exciting!

    Pit Master: 1 Star – You may be noticing a recurring theme with Corrupt minions. A pile of stats is significantly less impressive when it cannot be played on curve, so the only ones which I expect to have any viability are ones with some extra effect as a selling point (such as the one in the next class).

    Whack-A-Gnoll Hammer: 2 Stars – This weapon is alright, but it’s not powerful enough to push the new archetype on its own and could even be cut from the deck. Handbuffing is a slow mechanic for an aggressive deck, even when it’s tied to a Fiery War Axe. Uninspiring, but may see play if there are no better options.

    Deathmatch Pavilion: 3 Stars – It’s not bad, but it would be better if Shaman had a 1-mana weapon, or a way to attack for free. It sucks that you’ll never be able to play this on curve, because if you could, it would be an excellent earlygame play that could be oppressive for your opponent. The card is still probably good enough to make the cut, but it’s not one of the better cards in Aggro Shaman for this reason.

    Magicfin: 1 Star – Murloc Shaman is a dead archetype, and it typically played very aggressively back in Rise of Shadows. With that in mind, would that deck have very much use for random legendaries, most of which are expensive and won’t be relevant until the game is already over? Absolutely not.

    Grand Totem Eys'or: 1 Star – Eys’or looks very strong, but this apparent strength may be misleading. Totem Shaman actually doesn’t run all that many “Totems” in their deck, instead running Totem generators like Tour Guide, Splitting Axe, etc. Thus, plopping it down on Turn 3 is a very weak play, and that means its only use may be as a board-wide buff for a field of totems. That’s alright, but that’s basically the only thing the archetype is getting, so will it be able to compete in the new meta with so little support? No, I don’t think so.

    Inara Stormcrash: 3 Stars – This card incentivizes us to run other weapons besides Doomhammer. That’s fine, but what are our options? We have Rune DaggerWhack-A-Gnoll Hammer hammer, and…Stormforged Axe? This can also combo with spells which generate attack, like Rockbiter Weapon, but these combos come fairly late for an Aggro Shaman deck (around Turn 7-8 at the earliest). Still, it’s hard to say “no” to a potential 10 damage to the face in one turn, so Inara shouldn’t be counted out entirely.


    Man'ari Mosher: 5 Stars – The biggest thing holding back Warlock currently is the lack of healing. This card is a fantastic answer to that problem: when used on any big demon, this card can heal for 8-11 in one blow, which can shut burn decks out of the game entirely. If only there was some way to get those demons on the board in a timely fashion…

    Midway Maniac: 2 Stars – This card should be extremely grateful that this set has such good Demon synergy. Otherwise, it would never be considered. It curves nicely into Man'ari Mosher in a pinch, and it helps increase the likelihood of getting the benefit from Free Admission. That’s about all it has going for it, but that just might be enough.

    Ring Matron: 3 Stars – Another Demon which seems like arena fodder but could make its way into a constructed deck due to the tag synergy. Dropping this on Turn 4 will be a lot of fun, and so will healing for 9 with Mosher.

    Fire Breather: 4 Stars – This is an extremely good card in Demon-centric decks. It’s almost like a Duskbreaker with better stats that only hits enemy minions, and Duskbreaker was a unbelievably broken card. I imagine this will make it into pretty much every single variant of Control Warlock.

    Free Admission: 5 Stars – Free Admission is bonkers. Card draw and mana manipulation are two of the best mechanics in the game, and the deckbuilding restriction for this isn’t even that strict (you can still slot in a few non-demon minions and still have about an 70-80% chance of activating the bonus). Even if you whiff, it’s still an Arcane Intellect, which is a viable constructed card. Yeah, I’m thinking Gul’dan’s back.

    Wicked Whispers: 1 Star Grim Rally with a better downside seems really good. Problem is, Grim Rally is designed for Zoo Warlock, so how good will that archetype be in this meta? After some theorycrafting, my estimation is “really  bad”. It also sucks that the card you want to pair this with, Boneweb Egg, conflicts heavily with Free Admission.

    Cascading Disaster: 4 Stars – A card with a decent baseline which becomes absurd when fully upgraded. Because it’s a board clear, you don’t mind this sitting in your hand until the time you need it, and your deck should have good expensive cards that can help it along.

    Revenant Rascal: 1 Star – An effective method of disruption for any aggressive Warlock deck. The problem is this: will there be any viable Warlock decks which want to go aggro? It’s unlikely, and control decks have better things to do than play a 3 mana 3/3.

    Deck of Chaos: 1 Star – So, I heard a rumor that Deck of Chaos was planned to be released several expansions ago, when Warlock was stronger, but they held off on it because it was apparently “too strong”. I got no idea if that’s true or not, but if it is, it explains why they did not print a single card which synergizes with this in this set. The only deck I could see interested in this is a combo deck with Malygos, but for that to work, you need to draw and play Deck of Chaos before drawing Malygos. Perhaps Quest Warlock will make a return? Doubtful.

    Tickatus: 5 Stars – Tickatus is an excellent win condition for Control Warlock. The deck has several good options for corrupting it, and when you do, you can copy it with Felosophy and mill ten cards from your opponent’s deck. If that’s not enough, you can play Y’Shaarj and do it again. Control Warlock appears to be one of the best archetypes in Scholomace Academy, and I expect that this card will be a key component in the deck. 


    Minefield: 4 Stars – Excellent earlygame removal if you have no minions on the board, which is common for Warrior. Control decks will be glad to pick this up. Alternatively, you can use it for its synergy with things like Bomb Wrangler and pop off that way.

    Stage Hand: 1 Star – A minor effect which doesn’t synergize with much that Warrior has. If you’re looking for a buff for something like Tomb Warden or Carnival Clown, you have better options than this.

    Sword Eater: 5 Stars – An absolute monster of a card; Sword Eater is simply not fairly statted for what you get. Excellent synergy with several different potential archetypes, such as Pirate Warrior or N’Zoth Warrior. However, even if those archetypes fall through, Sword Eater is such a great standalone that it will likely see play regardless.

    Bumper Car: 4 Stars – Not a bad card at all on its own, and it helps provide fodder for Playmaker and E.T.C., which is great. Parade Leader can also turn those small rushers into powerful removal tokens. Other than that, not much to say about it other than it’s a good piece to add to the upcoming deck.

    Feat of Strength: 3 Stars – Taunt Warrior received great synergies in Carnival Clown which could end up being a powerhouse in the class. This is great for the deck and turns the clowns into a win condition all on its own. If Taunt Warrior works, then this card will see play, but that’s not guaranteed so I’ll stick with a cowardly 3 as far as my rating goes.

    Stage Dive: 5 Stars – An excellent Corrupt card, especially when compared to may of the others. An attack handbuff is already quite impactful for Rush minions, but it becomes ridiculous when paired with cards like Playmaker and Scion of Ruin (and yes, I think the Galakrond package is worth running in a Rush Warrior deck). All you need to do is play a two mana card to reap the full benefits, so it’s hard to imagine passing up on this.

    Ringmaster's Baton: 3 Stars – N’Zoth Warrior doesn’t strike me as the greatest archetype in existence, but this card will help it along. It’s a good amount of handbuffs with a decent weapon to boot, and it can be tutored with Corsair Cache.

    Tent Trasher: 2 Stars – This card flat-out sucks. It’s hard to discount, it’s not particularly strong when you’ve taken the trouble to discount it (a 3 mana 5/5 with rush really isn’t anything gamebreaking), and it’s a mediocre minion to resurrect with N’Zoth. It may see some undeserved inclusion into N’Zoth Warrior just for the Dragon tag, but don’t be surprised if it gets cut.

    E.T.C., God of Metal: 5 Stars – An explosive finisher to Rush Warrior which is easy to combo due to its low cost and can potentially deal 8-12 face damage in a single turn. Darkmoon Faire has given E.T.C. plenty of small tokens to work with, so whenever you see this card come down, you can expect a lot of pain flying your way. Just a nutty ending to what could be a new top-tier archetype.

    Ringmaster Whatley: 4 Stars – 5-mana-draw-3 is good on its own, but adding a strong body along with it is just unfair. This card pushes the Menagerie archetype well, but it will need support in order to dominate, and if we look at the other cards that Warrior has received, none of them scream “busted” the same way this does. If the archetype works, Whatley will drag it across the finish line kicking and screaming, but if not, you can’t say he didn’t try his hardest to make it work.


    Banana Vendor: 2 Stars – It’s a phenomenal mill card, but will mill decks exist in the new meta? That’s unlikely, and if you’re just playing it for the bananas, I doubt it’s worth it since your opponent can make use of them too. Cyclone Mage ran Banana Buffoon back in the day, so perhaps this will be a fringe card in that deck.

    Circus Amalgam: 4 Stars – If any N’Zoth deck ends up working out well, this card will be in the deck. It’s a good body for the cost and its “amalgam” status means it can function as one of the tribes you don’t have in your deck (such as Totems: I doubt any N’Zoth decks are going to be running those). It also helps cards which rely on drawing specific tribes, such as Redscale Dragontamer and Ringmaster Whatley, find what they need.

    Circus Medic: 1 Star – The benefit from corrupting this is not worth the effort and I can think of a similar Darkmoon Faire neutral which takes this card’s role and does it better…

    Claw Machine: 3 Stars – N’Zoth decks will want to consider this. It is also the best target for Oblivitron aside from Darkmoon Tonk. These are basically the only two realistic avenues for this card to succeed.

    Costumed Entertainer: 1 Star – There’s just not enough good handbuff synergy to justify a 2 mana 1/2.

    Darkmoon Dirigible: 1 Star – Can’t imagine any deck making room for what looks like pack filler. No, I don’t think Playmaker cares about the synergy here.

    Darkmoon Statue: 3 Stars – You generally want to use this as a finisher, so we don’t mind waiting around for this to be corrupted. However, as far as finishers go, aggro decks might be able to do better than +1 attack to all minions.

    Fantastic Firebird: 1 Star – I’m not sure “fantastic” is the first word that came to mind when looking at this card.

    Fleethoof Pearltusk: 2 Stars – Looks mediocre but the Beast tag saves it from a 1. The corrupted form is excellent to resurrect with N’Zoth, and that could allow it to slide into some decks.

    Gyreworm: 4 Stars – This is a conditional Flanking Strike at 3 mana. That’s certainly something which any deck which runs elementals will want to look at, and I can easily see this working in a Mage deck.

    Inconspicuous Rider: 3 Stars – This card is at its most powerful in Mage, but Mage’s secret synergy is mediocre at best. I don’t think it provides enough value to make the cut in either Rogue or Hunter because of how weak the body is.

    Knife Vendor: 4 Stars – Face decks will want to consider this. That’s a good body and damage output for the cost, and the drawback isn’t very serious unless you’re in an aggro mirror. So, it’s meta dependent, but in a control heavy meta with lots of Old God decks, Knife Vendor should do well.

    Optimistic Ogre: 1 Star – Haha, very cute, but no, a pile of stats with a downside is not good enough for constructed.

    Parade Leader: 3 Stars – The success of Parade Leader is entirely contingent on whether Rush Warrior works out, because that is the only new archetype which can generate tons of small Rush minions (aside from something stupid like Token Demon Hunter). I think Rush Warrior will be strong, but only time will tell.

    Prize Vendor: 3 StarsColdlight Oracle was certainly a great card, and even though this is weaker, it still provides a similar effect. Could see play, especially if any mill decks emerge.

    Rock Rager: 1 Star – Do I need to elaborate?

    Showstopper: 1 Star – Offensively, silence effects generally aren’t something you want to wait around for. If Silence Priest was viable, this could honestly work great, but alas.

    Strongman: 4 Stars – Looks like pack filler at first glance but could be good: The cost reduction basically means it acts as a tempo boost for any expensive play: It’s reminiscent of Anubisath Defender in that regard. The synergy with Y’Shaarj is also excellent, and so this should work well in any deck with that card.

    Wriggling Horror: 5 Stars – A great addition to any deck which can consistently flood the board early. Wriggling Horror is a phenomenal boost to aggro decks and certainly will be a powerful contender in the new meta.

    Derailed Coaster: 3 Stars – Similar to Parade Leader in that it will need Rush Warrior to be good in order to even have a shot. Fortunately, I have faith in the archetype.

    K'thir Ritualist: 1 Star – Even without the drawback, it’s underwhelming. With the drawback, it’s completely unplayable. There’s really not much that can be done here.

    Safety Inspector: 2 Stars – Might actually be a sleeper hit, though I’d bet against it. The awkward thing about this card is that it’s not particularly great as a Turn 1 play, but later in the game when you typically don’t want one-drops, this can swap your low-cost junk into something more impactful. Is that worth a slot? I doubt it, but it’s definitely a card to keep an eye on.

    Carnival Clown: 5 Stars – This card is utterly absurd in Druid. Simply put, it’s an incredible follow-up to Survival of the Fittest which singlehandedly turns it into a win condition in the deck. Warrior may also be able to harness it with Taunt Buffs, especially Armagedillo.

    Darkmoon Rabbit: 2 Stars – Decent removal, but it’s so expensive and a lot of good control decks will have better options than spending 10 whole mana just to clear 3 minions. I should probably give this a 1, but the synergy with Idol of Y’Shaarj intrigues me and makes me think it could be a fringe viable card.

    Horrendous Growth: 3 Stars – A good card for control decks to consider. It can be quite ridiculous after some time, but it is very weak if drawn near the end of the game, so its viability is questionable.

    C'Thun, the Shattered: 4 Stars – Very, very slow card which will need at least one of three things in order to work. Any deck which wants this needs to either: 1) tutor their Old God pieces 2) be able to quickly draw their entire deck, or 3) stall for ages. Galakrond Rogue can accomplish 1 and 2, while Control Shaman is the best deck in the game for 3. So, that’s two potentially powerful decks which are suited to make this into a strong meta contender.

    N'Zoth, God of the Deep: 3 Stars – Honestly, this is probably the weakest Old God, but it is by no means a bad card. Paladin and Warrior are potentially the decks which are most likely to use this with success, but neither of those theorycrafts looks like a top-tier deck. Still, we could see Druid or Hunter making something out of this, so who knows how strong it will end up when all is said and done.

    Silas Darkmoon: 1 Star – Some people have been trying out combos with Silas, and right now those decks are all very weak. It may be possible that some new combo will emerge, but right now this is looking like a 7 mana Treachery, and that’s pretty abysmal.

    Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate: 5 Stars – I’m quite pleased with the classes that utilize Yogg as a win condition, such as Mage, Druid, and Priest, and it will certainly be surprising if Yogg doesn’t work out. I should add the caveat that due to the variability of Yogg’s outcomes, he’s not a card you can plop down at anytime and expect it to work out, so there is a situational aspect to his strength.

    Y'Shaarj, the Defiler: 4 Stars – Some may be tempted to dismiss this as the worst Old God, but I can see good applications for it in Warlock, Druid, and Warrior. There are a few corrupted cards like Carnival Clown and Strongman which singlehandedly push this into competitive viability, and in Warlock I love the prospect of getting back a free Tickatus. Just a great value generator which will be scary for control decks to handle.


    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 1

    posted a message on Epic Tier List & Crafting Guide

    All the new cards have now been placed. Soon I will update the placement of cards from older expansions.

    Posted in: Card Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on Epic Tier List & Crafting Guide

    The new epics have been added to the list. Most of them are currently awaiting placement, but a few standouts have already been tiered.

    Posted in: Card Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Scholomance Academy Card Preview
    Quote from Inzan1ty >>

    Meanwhile Instructor Fireheart and Lorekeeper Polkelt are easily two of the best

     How well did Instructor Fireheart turn out? Which of us was right about her?

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Scholomance Academy Card Preview
    Quote from SummerWalker >>
    Quote from SCWT_FTW >>

    Stopped reading when Blood Herald was ranked as 3-stars. 

     Yeah that's defintely a 1 star

     Most people seem to think so, but I disagree. It's comparable to Corridor Creeper in that you only need to buff it 6+ times in order for it to be "worth it", which is very very easy to do in Token DH when you have cards which can summon absurd numbers of minions per turn. 

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 2

    posted a message on Ben's Scholomanc Academy Set Review

    Thank you for taking the time to write this up. The main disagreements I would have is that I can't see Token DH as any worse than Tier 3. Ace Hunter Kreen is absolutely ridiculous with the Token set and he is so easy to combo with cards like Coordinated Strike, Trueaim Crescent, Command the Illidari, etc. that he really does wonders for the deck.

    Also, I will say that Spell Damage Mage seems incredibly schizophrenic. You have cards that fit well into control like Combustion and Brain Freeze, but then you have Mozaki who seems to encourage a lot of cheap burn spells? I don't know what this deck is trying to do exactly, although maybe you've theorycrafted an interesting idea that I haven't thought of.


    Posted in: Card Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Scholomance Academy Card Preview
    Quote from Inzan1ty >>
    Quote from HoraceStapleton >>
    Quote from Inzan1ty >>

    Terrible ratings, dude. Already stopped reading at Star Student Stelina, which in reality is one of the worst Legendarys of the Set.

    Meanwhile Instructor Fireheart and Lorekeeper Polkelt are easily two of the best 

    Stelina is ridiculous. 4 mana to remove what is usually the best card in your opponent's hand and look at two of the others? Sign me up any day.

     Her effect ONLY goes off when its on the right or left most side, even then Glide is vastly superior. 

    Card wont ever see play in Tempo DH, you can quote me again in a week.

     Sure, Stelina is worse than Glide. Want to know what other Scholomance cards are worse than Glide? Almost all of them. Outcast isn't much of a problem considering how low the curve is in Tempo DH, and the effect is great. She'll see play.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 0

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Scholomance Academy Card Preview
    Quote from Inzan1ty >>

    Terrible ratings, dude. Already stopped reading at Star Student Stelina, which in reality is one of the worst Legendarys of the Set.

    Meanwhile Instructor Fireheart and Lorekeeper Polkelt are easily two of the best 

    Stelina is ridiculous. 4 mana to remove what is usually the best card in your opponent's hand and look at two of the others? Sign me up any day.

    Posted in: General Discussion
  • 6

    posted a message on The Exhaustive Scholomance Academy Card Preview

    Below I have written a guide detailing my predictions for the upcoming cards in the Scholomance Academy set. Similarly to Trump, I will be grading each card from 1 to 5 stars, meaning:

    5 Stars: Staple in a Tier 1 deck or a staple in multiple Tier 2 decks.
    4 Stars:  Occasionally used in a Tier 1 deck, a staple in a Tier 2 deck, or a staple in multiple Tier 3 decks.
    3 Stars: Occasionally used in a Tier 2 deck, a staple in a Tier 3 deck, or a staple in multiple Tier 4 decks
    2 Stars: Sees at least 1% of play in a Tier 4 deck or has seen some amount of tournament success.
    1 Star: Fails to maintain a 1% playrate in Diamond or above.

    I have tried to avoid watching other people's card reviews beforehand, so you can be confident that the opinions below are my own and not tainted by anyone else's perception. Enjoy.

    Demon Hunter

    Double Jump: 5 Stars – This card is very similar to Tracking from Hunter in that it does nothing but cycle and yet still works because it can give you an extremely important card that you can play immediately. Using it well will take some skill since it requires you to know what Outcast cards are still in your deck and whether or not playing Double Jump is worth the risk. A powerful, yet well designed card.

    Fel Guardians: 3 Stars – A welcome boost for Token Demon Hunter, albeit not one which makes or breaks the archetype. Tokens will probably be able to scrape into Tier 3 this expansion, which isn’t great but is certainly much better than where they were before Scholomance.

    Marrowslicer: 5 Stars – A strong weapon which entices us to run a Soul Fragment deck. I think this package will fit in nicely with Aggro Demon Hunter, even if not all of the soul fragment cards are geared towards aggression.

    Soulshard Lapidary: 5 Stars – That’s a lot of attack. You can think of this card like a cheaper Blazecaller that also synergizes with all the Demon Hunter cards which improve based on your hero’s attack. It is dependent on drawing those Soul Fragment generation cards, but you’ll have six of them in your deck, so the bonus should be fairly consistent.

    Vilefiend Trainer: 2 Stars – A little bit too fair; even when outcasted, the benefit just isn’t very impressive. However, Token Demon Hunter may pick this up as a necessary evil, so all is not lost.

    Cycle of Hatred: 1 Star – This goes into the pile of “strong board clears that won’t see play due to Control Demon Hunter lacking a good win condition”. Unless Malicia can provide that win condition (and IMO she’s better in aggro), this won’t be the powerhouse that it looks like at first glance.

    Glide: 5 Stars – Functions extremely well in Aggro Demon Hunter, which is already a powerful deck which appreciates the ability to refill. Decks with more expensive cards might also want to try this, since the card is strong even without the ability to mess with your opponent’s hand. The word “auto-include” is wildly overused, but in this case it is completely warranted.

    Magehunter: 1 Star – Very interesting tech card, but this meta is likely not going to be one where Magehunter is in demand. Sure, you’ll see some deathrattles and buffs on occasion, but not frequently enough for this to be relevant.

    Shardshatter Mystic: 3 Stars – This is obviously a very strong card, but Aggro Demon Hunter isn’t looking for board clears. Rather, it tries to take control of the board early on and then build from there, which is the opposite of what Shardshatter Mystic does. Control Demon Hunter doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better, so this card will probably not make the cut (but it will see experimentation).

    Ancient Void Hound: 1 Star – Big Demon Hunter is very far from playable, and on its own, this card is far too slow. It’s a step in the right direction, but the archetype needs more than this.

    Star Student Stelina: 5 Stars – This card could be one of the most powerful in the set. It has the potential to immediately disrupt the opponent’s response to your turn, which means that if you are ahead when playing Stelina, you will likely stay ahead. That’s huge for aggressive decks like Aggro Demon Hunter which rely on solidifying the earlygame. Stelina’s going to be as annoying as she looks.


    Gibberling: 4 Stars – If there’s one class which is well equipped to take advantage of this, it’s Druid. The class has tons of cheap spells which manipulate mana, so an early highroll with this card isn’t that hard to achieve. Token Druid is not the greatest deck in Standard right now, but I suspect this card will be an important tool in reviving it.

    Nature Studies: 5 Stars – Even if every new Druid archetype turns out to be a bust, this card will still see play because the Exotic Mountseller decks will be interested in this. Beyond that, cards like Gibbering encourage Druid to run cheap spells in decks which otherwise might not be interested (such as Token Druid). The card only fails is if Druid is unplayable, and that looks pretty unlikely.

    Partner Assignment: 1 Star – 1 mana to generate 2 cards is not a bad deal, and Beast Druid will need every earlygame card it can get its hands on. Unfortunately, such a deck is likely to be mediocre, but if it succeeds, this card will be a staple in the archetype.

    Twilight Runner: 2 Stars – Absolutely insane when compared to Stranglethorn Tiger; this card is the definition of pushing an archetype. This gets a higher rating than most of the Beast Druid cards because there’s a good chance it will at least be tried out in other decks.

    Survival of the Fittest: 3 Stars – The main problem with this card is the absurd cost, which combined with the lack of an immediate board impact makes it tricky to work with. This means we will have to find some way to cheat it out for it to ever work. Fortunately, the next card down should help us achieve that goal without too much trouble.

    Forest Warden Omu: 5 Stars – The most obvious application of this card is pretty straightforward: pair it with a cheap spell to get a “free” 5/4 on the board. That’s pretty good on its own, but where I think this card starts to break the game is when paired with Germination. The ability to refresh your mana crystals twice will essentially give you up to 30 mana to work with in a single turn. Now, meme cards like Survival of the Fittest seem like viable options to put into your deck. It will be immensely heartbreaking if this card is ever nerfed to 7 mana, but to be honest, that might end up becoming necessary.


    Carrion Studies: 1 Star – A Deathrattle Hunter deck could work, but this card will not see play in it. There are too many undesirable deathrattles that can be discovered for this to be worth the card slot.

    Wolpertinger: 4 Stars Alleycat was easily the best card in the MSoG Hunter set, and this is a strictly better version of it. Hunter has strong handbuff synergies available to the class, but even if they don’t work out, this will probably at least end up as a filler card in Highlander Hunter.

    Bloated Python: 4 Stars – One of the reasons Beast/Deathrattle Hunter failed in AoO was because there simply weren’t enough strong deathrattles for Mok'Nathal Lion to abuse. This, however, is the strongest deathrattle that Hunter has available to it, and it also curves very nicely into the lion. Perhaps it’s time to take a second look at the AoO beasts which didn’t see play before.

    Overwhelm: 4 Stars – Strong removal card even if you only have one beast on the board. Will likely see play in most variants of Beast Hunter and might even make the cut in Highlander.

    Krolusk Barkstripper: 1 Star – When I theorycrafted a Beast Hunter deck, this is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. Deadly Shot has long since stopped seeing play, and I don’t think the extra cost along with the hassle of triggering Spellburst is made up for by the large body.

    Professor Slate: 2 Stars – This card is absolutely insane with Rapid Fire, but unfortunately Hunter is not really a removal class and the Slate/Rapid Fire package will likely be overshadowed by the other things Hunter can do. This gets a 2-star rating because I believe it will see some experimentation in Highlander Hunter before eventually being cut.


    Firebrand: 3 Stars – Nothing too exiting, but an all-around decent card which Highlander Mage can use. Due to its low cost (and the availability of cheap spells in Mage) the Spellburst should be relatively easy to activate.

    Lab Partner: 3 Stars – When looking at all the spell damage cards, it is unlikely that a pure “Spell Damage Mage” deck will be good enough to see serious competitive play. Despite that, this is still a strong one-drop that should be included in Highlander Mage.

    Cram Session: 1 Star – Whether or not a card succeeds in Highlander Mage is typically dependent on how well the card can stand on its own. Cram Session completely fails in this regard, and adding a large “spell-damage” package to the deck to justify running the card is sadly not going to be worth it.

    Wyrm Weaver: 2 Stars – At a higher cost, Spellburst is more difficult to wield effectively as opposed to Firebrand. Highlander Mage is also not a deck known for repeatedly casting a large number of spells in one turn. I don’t predict this card making it past the experimentation phase.

    Combustion: 4 Stars: – Strong card which can justify its inclusion into Highlander Mage with just a few spell-damage based cards. It won’t be in every variant of the deck, but it will see a fair amount of use.

    Mozaki, Master Duelist: 1 Star – Pretty unimpressive. It requires several spells in order to get decent value from the effect, and even then, your opponent can just kill it the next turn. Too slow, too clunky, and too weak to ever be a serious consideration.


    First Day of School: 4 Stars – Pure Paladin suffers from a lack of good one-drops, but this should help solve that problem. There’s a good chance that at least one of the cards you get will be playable on Turn 1.

    Judicious Junior: 1 Star – Good arena card, but outclassed by Amber Watcher which costs less and gives the health faster.

    Blessing of Authority: 1 Star – Even though the buff is enormous, giving your opponent a whole turn to react to it severely limits this card’s utility. When Paladin has so many strong buffs available to it, it’s hard to see this one making it in.

    Goody Two-Shields: 3 Stars – The main trouble with this card is that Spellburst cannot be activated the same turn this is played, which means frequently this is just a 4/2 with Divine Shield. However, for 3 mana, that’s not so bad. This should sometimes make it into Pure Paladin.

    Argent Braggart: 5 Stars – The highest in the battlefield will typically have very high stats, especially with cheap buffs like Libram of Wisdom available. This card could be priced at 3 mana and it would still be fair. At 2 mana, it’s obscene.

    Turalyon, the Tenured: 1 Star – One of the worst removal options Paladin has in its arsenal. This will usually only kill one minion, and in that case you’re better off using literally anything else. It’s unbelievable how bad this is.


    Draconic Studies: 1 Star – Priest’s Dragon synergy is mediocre; it’s only ever worked in Highlander Priest, which is a deck deep into Tier 4 currently. This expansion will do very little to make a Dragon Priest deck workable.

    Frazzled Freshman: 1 Star – When I first saw this card, I expected it to be extremely good. Upon closer inspection, Zoo Priest is not even close to viable and it is unlikely that Highlander Priest will make a comeback. This card is the definition of “stuck in the wrong class”.

    Initiation: 2 Stars – Galakrond Priest likes removal, so it will probably experiment with this card a bit. However, 4 damage for 6 mana is so atrociously weak that it is unlikely to survive to the final draft. You can think of this as a 6 mana 4/4 that deals 4 damage, which is so bad it makes Aeon Reaver look good.

    Power Word: Feast: 1 Star – So close, and yet so far. This curves very nicely into Frazzled Freshman and will make him difficult to deal with on Turn 2. The problem is that this card only works in Zoo Priest, a terrible archetype which has never seen any serious play.

    Cabal Acolyte: 4 Stars – Galakrond Priest is starved for turn 4 plays, and this isn’t a bad one. The Spellburst effect is very strong, and when paired with Gift of Luminance, this could be very hard for your opponent to deal with. 6 health also means that it is likely it will survive as a tempo play, which means it is safe to use on curve.

    Mindrender Illucia: 1 Star – The only reason Azalina saw play was because her effect was permanent. This card is only useful if your hand is close to empty, and if so, you’re probably losing the game and you’re going to need more than this to come back.


    Plagiarize: 1 Star – Rogue secrets have not recovered from the Hanar nerf and Plagiarize does very little to encourage us to bring them back. As a standalone, the card is far too weak, frequently giving us only one card that we don’t particularly want.

    Vulpera Toxinblade: 1 Star – After considering a “weapon rogue” deck, it looks vastly inferior to Galakrond, and will probably not even work as a package inside Galakrond decks. The benefit this card provides is marginal, and comboing it with something like Steeldancer is tricky because of how easy this card is to remove.

    Self-Sharpening Sword: 2 Stars – Could feasibly work as a decent standalone card despite its archetype being weak. The main problem, though, is that Rogue simply has better options available to it. It’s also horrendously weak to weapon removal (although it’s questionable how in-demand that will be).

    Shifty Sophomore: 4 Stars – Stealth Galakrond Rogue conspicuously lacks a four-drop, and this is exactly what the deck is looking for. The Spellburst ability is relatively weak, but that’s fine because Stealth ensures we will trigger it more consistently.

    Secret Passage: 4 Stars – An autoinclude in all forms of Galakrond Rogue, which I expect will be around Tier 2. Galakrond Rogue typically doesn’t run all of the possible invokes, so Secret Passage will be very helpful in finding the remaining ones before playing Galakrond. Future Rogue decks will also keep an eye on this card based on how useful it will be in aggro decks.

    Infiltrator Lilian: 4 Stars – Another good 4-drop that Stealth Galakrond Rogue can fit right in. The value is good for the cost, and Rogue wants all the good Stealth minions that it can get its hands on (hell, even Worgen Infiltrator saw play in some builds).


    Rune Dagger: 4 Stars – There are two directions to take a “spell damage Shaman” deck in. You can either fill it with burn spells and aggressive cards (like Arcane Watcher), or you can make a control deck. The burn variant will probably end up stronger than the control variant, and it will be very interested in this card to consistently proc Arcane Watcher on Turn 3.

    Tidal Wave: 1 Star – Control Shaman has powerful spells already, but it lacks a win condition, and this set hasn’t given Shaman an obvious one. This spell is good on its own (and even better with spell damage) but it does not fix the fundamental problem with Control Shaman, which is why it will fail.

    Diligent Notetaker: 3 Stars – Burn Shaman may want to consider this. Getting back another spell which can hit face could be very scary for your opponent. I’m not 100% sold on whether it’s worth it or not, but it’s definitely a possibility.

    Molten Blast: 4 Stars – This card fits into the Burn Shaman archetype well, and it can create a lot of small tokens for you to take advantage of via Storm's Wrath or Vessina. This is the main reason why a Spell Damage Shaman deck will be more interested in aggression than control.

    Totem Goliath: 5 Stars – Totem Shaman is already a decent deck, but it can struggle if it loses the earlygame. This is a very strong card for the midgame which curves nicely into Splitting Axe on the very next turn.

    Instructor Fireheart: 2 Stars – Not a terrible card, but it’s hard to imagine it fitting into any of the upcoming Shaman archetypes. The best I could imagine for Fireheart is for it to function as a refill option in the lategame, but that’s probably not worth a deck slot. This card could surprise me, though.


    Demonic Studies: 1 Star – Ultimately not worth a deck slot even if you are running a deck with some demon synergies. There are too many bad demons which can be discovered for this to be decent.

    School Spirits: 4 Stars – A Volcanic Potion with an upside is never a bad thing, and 2-health minions have been extremely prevalent in the meta recently (mainly thanks to Demon Hunter). Warlock’s Soul Fragment package seems to be geared more towards control, and the class already has many decent tools to do just that.

    Boneweb Egg: 3 Stars – The discard bonus doesn’t strike me as all that relevant, since most discard cards target the highest-cost card. However, this should still work out well in Zoolock, and I think that deck will be decent enough.

    Shadowlight Scholar: 4 Stars – Good value for the cost as it’s essentially a 3-mana Flanking Strike. Does the job of encouraging us to run the Soul Fragment package, although in my opinion it’s not as ridiculous as something like Soulshard Lapidary.

    Void Drinker: 4 Stars – A big body like this will be obnoxious for aggressive decks to punch through. Control Warlock decks may want to cut Abyssal Summoner for this (or run both).

    Archwitch Willow: 1 Star – Here’s an idea: how about we make the set’s legendary synergize with big demons, and then print not a single supporting card to back it up? The limited support given to this archetype in previous sets is not enough for Willow to work out in the upcoming meta. At least she’s good in Wild.


    Athletic Studies: 4 Stars – The ability to discount your next Rush minion is extremely useful, as we’ll see in a minute. Not an amazing card on its own, but another card in this set makes this worth running.

    In Formation!: 1 Star – The Taunt synergies that Warrior currently has are fairly weak and haven’t seen play since Uldum, and a mediocre “2 mana add 2 random cards” isn’t going to change that. There are too many weak Taunt minions in the game for this to be impactful enough.

    Reaper's Scythe: 5 Stars – Warrior is always looking for powerful weapons, and this is one of the strongest that the class will have. Spellburst works very nicely on a weapon because it becomes easier to activate, and having this up will discourage your opponent from playing their minions wide. Add in some of Warrior’s powerful synergies like Corsair Cache, Steeldancer, and Doctor Krastinov, and this card will be played in almost every serious Warrior deck.

    Troublemaker: 3 Star – Very scary card with the potential to snowball out of control if left alone. As soon as this is summoned, your opponent will need an immediate answer or they will be overwhelmed by all the minions this summons.

    Playmaker: 5 Stars – Ridiculously good with cards which have already proven to be very strong on their own, such as Restless Mummy. Reminiscent of pre-nerf Bloodsworn Mercenary in that decks will likely be built around abusing its powerful effect.

    Rattlegore: 1 Star – Fun meme card, but too slow by far to ever see play. It does nothing when played, it’s weak to silence, and it just isn’t strong enough to justify a deck slot.


    Demon Hunter/Hunter

    Blood Herald: 3 Stars – Despite its insane synergy with Swarm of Locusts, this will not bring Quest Hunter back from the dead. At least Token Demon Hunter can always use it.

    Demon Companion: 5 Stars – Will likely see play in Aggro Demon Hunter and as a 1-of in Highlander Hunter. Both those decks are currently Tier 1 and will probably remain so in the Scholomance meta.

    Trueaim Crescent: 3 Stars – Looks very strong, but Aggro Demon Hunter has weapons which are more in line with its game plan available to it. This will probably end up in Token Demon Hunter, a far weaker archetype. Hunter’s not really a token class, so I doubt it will see much play there either.

    Ace Hunter Kreen: 4 Stars – Token Demon Hunter is the most obvious place for this card, but this is getting a higher rating than the rest of the token-based cards because it is likely that Hunter decks will be able to make good use of it. At the very least, Highlander Hunter should consider adding Kreen to its arsenal.


    Lightning Bloom: 3 Stars – Pre-nerf Innervate with a significant downside. However, mana manipulation is so strong, and Druid in particular has so many cards which encourage this (such as Gibberling) that this card will probably make its way into some decks.

    Groundskeeper: 4 Stars – This card will probably see play in Druid purely based on its ability to provide survivability, which is something any deck looking to abuse Omu will want as much of as possible. Shaman, on the other hand, is too interested in aggression to seriously consider this.

    Runic Carvings: 5 Stars – A key component in both Token Druid and Totem Shaman, two decks which look to be among the strongest of their respective classes. Also very nice from a design perspective as an expensive “Choose One” spell which isn’t broken in Quest Druid. We will certainly see a lot of this in a few days.

    Speaker Gidra: 3 Stars – I can’t bring myself to rate such an economical removal card any lower, but it is a serious problem how clunky this card is. If you cast it with, say, a 4 cost spell, you’ve spent a two-card combo just to summon a cheaper Siamat. Druid will want some control tools so it will certainly consider this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the final verdict is that Gidra just isn’t consistent enough.


    Adorable Infestation: 2 Stars – Not very impressive. 1-cost handbuffs have a history of not working out well, and ultimately I don’t think this card does enough to even make the cut in Beast Hunter.

    Teacher's Pet: 3 Stars – Druid does not have the tools to make this work, but Hunter loves seeing beasts with strong deathrattles. Teron Gorefiend and Mok’nathal Lion will both be very interested in this one, although it might end up being too slow for the class.

    Guardian Animals: 1 Star – This card is bait. Don’t fall for it. The deckbuilding restriction is so extreme (no beasts which are bad when summoned) that it’s unthinkable that this card could ever realistically work in either class.

    Shan'do Wildclaw: 4 Stars – This card is one of the major reasons why I’m optimistic about Beast Hunter’s chances of success. Most of Hunter’s beasts benefit greatly from a deckbuff, and so do Hunter’s card generation options (like Ramkahen Wildtamer and Hunting Party). I don’t think the “transform into a friendly Beast” option is quite as good, but there are some scenarios where it may be preferable.


    Wand Thief: 4 Stars – Simple, yet elegant. This is both one of the strongest one-drops available to Rogue and also an easy choice for Highlander Mage. It is a shame you can’t play it on Turn 1, but that’s a small price to pay.

    Brain Freeze: 1 Star – Whenever you intentionally damage a minion, you generally are doing so because you want to remove it that turn. This is why freezing and dealing damage have typically not worked out very well together. Despite this, the card can be viewed as a slightly worse Holy Smite, and those have seen play in the past, but there’s only so much space in Highlander Mage and I don’t think this makes the cut.

    Potion of Illusion: 3 Stars – While there might be some crazy combo decks out there that want to use this, it is unlikely that any of them will get past the experimentation phase. Alternatively, this could be used in Highlander Mage to get extra copies of Reno, Zephrys or other desirable minions. Realistically, that’s probably the only application for this card that will work out.

    Jandice Barov: 3 Stars – It’s always good to have a strong standalone card like this, but Highlander Mage is likely to be the only deck which uses it. Galakrond Rogue runs many minions which are synergistic and therefore will struggle to make space for this, but Mage should be able to fit it in without too much trouble.


    Wave of Apathy: 1 Star – Feeling pretty apathetic about this card myself. We’ve seen from history that cards which lower an enemy’s attack rarely see play, especially not when the effect isn’t permanent. Priest and Paladin both have better removal cards that they can use instead.

    Gift of Luminance: 4 Stars – Fantastic with Cult Acolyte, but otherwise not worth the effort. Fortunately, the synergy with Cult Acolyte is so strong that this card should see play regardless.

    Devout Pupil: 4 Stars – Will likely work out just fine in both classes. Paladin of course will add this to any deck which runs the Libram package, and Priest has a few cards like Renew and Apotheosis to make this worth considering.

    High Abbess Alura: 5 Stars – Very interesting card in that it is complete garbage in Priest and simultaneously broken in Paladin. Most of Priest’s spells are removal based, and therefore are horrendous with Alura. Paladin, however, has a ton of great buffs which it would happily cast for free with Alura. Imagine cheating out a Libram of Hope with this; now that’s just insanity.


    Raise Dead: 4 Stars – Getting two cards for free is great value, and the “downside” can actually come in handy with all of Warlock’s self-damage cards. With this, now we can play Diseased Vulture and Darkglare on curve. This should end up as a staple in Zoolock as a great refill option.

    Brittlebone Destroyer: 3 Stars – Unlike the other three cards, Priest can actually use this. The class has a lot of good, cheap healing spells (like Renew), and the value is great. I’m not sure if Warlock will be able to capitalize on it as much, but it depends on how good Control Warlock ends up.

    Flesh Giant: 4 Stars – Another crucial component in Zoolock which encourages us to run the self-damage package. This is a powerful tempo play that can come down as early as Turn 5 which will be a massive headache for our opponent to remove.

    Disciplinarian Gandling: 4 Stars – Atrocious in Priest, but in Warlock this could function as a capable replacement for Tekhan which functions well with non-lackey cards. This is the finisher that Zoolock needs to be great.


    Cutting Class: 5 Stars – This card won’t see any play in Rogue, which has better card draw options, but in Warrior this is insane. Warrior has a lot of great weapons with 3 or more attack, like Wrenchcalibur or Reaper’s Scythe, and this can be easily discounted to 2 or less as a result.

    Coerce: 4 Stars – Looks pretty good. The combo effect isn’t too hard to achieve since you don’t frequently play removal cards on curve anyway, so 3 mana to destroy a minion ends up being a pretty good deal.

    Steeldancer: 4 Stars – This card is tricky to evaluate since you generally want to be summoning at least a 3-cost minon, which is tough to do on curve. However, I believe that Steeldancer still warrants inclusion even if you usually will have to wait until turn 5 or 6 to get a good effect. Still, it is a shame that Corsair Cache got nerfed; if it weren’t for that, this would get a 5-star rating.

    Doctor Krastinov: 5 StarsCaptain Greenskin saw quite a bit of play in Enrage Warrior, and this card is even better. Losing one attack for Rush is a winning trade, and Warrior has a lot of good cards which synergize with high weapon attack.


    Primordial Studies: 3 Stars – There are some fairly weak options that this card may saddle you with, but because Spell Damage is a mechanic which works well when combined with spells, the cost reduction is a strong point in the card’s favor. This will at the very least be tried out in Burn Shaman and may even end up as a staple.

    Trick Totem: 4 Stars – This set is adding a lot of spells to the “3-or-less” pool which are strong when randomly cast (such as the Studies cards), so the chances of getting a horrendous lowroll are not as high as one might expect. This will probably not see play in all variants of Totem Shaman, but will likely be used enough to warrant a 4.

    Devolving Missiles: 1 Star – A vastly inferior and less consistent version of Devolve, a tech card which probably would not see play in Standard today. You’re better off using actual removal spells to deal with your opponent’s minions.

    Ras Frostwhisper: 5 Stars – Remember how good Despicable Dreadlord was? Ras is an even better version of that. Burn Shaman will gladly run him because he can target face, and Highlander Mage will follow suit even if that deck doesn’t end up running many spell damage related cards.

    Warlock/Demon Hunter

    Spirit Jailer: 5 Stars – This is exactly the kind of card that Aggro Demon Hunter wants to run, and while it doesn’t quite follow the Control Warlock game plan, that deck will likely still run this. A must-have for all Soul Fragment decks.

    Soul Shear: 5 Stars – The inverse of Spirit Jailer: this card is good in Control but not so much in Aggro. Still gets the 5 star treatment since I believe both decks will run it.

    Felosophy: 2 Stars – The most likely scenario for this card is that Zoolock will test it out and subsequently be disappointed by it. There are so many better things both classes could be doing than giving a minor handbuff to their cards.

    Soulciologist Malicia: 5 Stars – The buildaround card for Soul Fragment decks which can easily fill the board and overwhelm your opponent. Alternatively, you can use it as a powerful removal card (which Warlock will be interested in). Soul Fragment decks will likely be very strong next expansion, and all of them will obviously run Malicia.


    Shield of Honor: 4 Stars – Comparable to Rampage, and in some instances even better. This should frequently be used in Enrage Warrior considering how easy it is to procure damaged minions to buff.

    Commencement: 1 Star – Cool flavor, but Recruit decks are not even close to viable. There’s unfortunately no way something with this big of a deckbuilding restriction will ever work.

    Ceremonial Maul: 4 Stars – Spellburst is a great effect to have on weapons, and if you cast a spell which costs 3 or more, you’re essentially getting a discounted Arathi Weaponsmith. That’s a pretty good deal, and it doesn’t even take into account the potential to summon very large minions with expensive spells.

    Lord Barov: 5 Stars – Even if the effect is not as fast as you might like, this is still a 3 mana Twisting Nether. You can even damage your own Barov with cards like Sword and Board to get the effect immediately. Any deck which is even a little bit interested in board control will run this.


    Animated Broomstick: 1 Star – Cute, but giving minions Rush just isn’t a very strong effect.

    Crimson Hothead: 1 Star – Not the worst card in the 1-star category, but the spellburst effect isn’t strong enough to justify running it.

    Desk Imp: 1 Star – Will join Snowflipper Penguin and Tinyfin Murloc in the “never saw play” menagerie.

    Divine Rager: 1 Star – Has there ever been a good card with “Rager” in its name?

    Fishy Flyer: 2 Stars – Playmaker might be interested in this, but otherwise not good enough.

    Intrepid Initiate: 3 Stars – Decent earlygame card, but reliant on casting cheap spells. Will see some niche play here and there.

    Lake Thresher: 1 Star – Did you get baited into building a deck around Guardian Animals? Well, here’s an even worse card which you might be interested in.

    Manafeeder Panthara: 2 Stars – This is a difficult card to rate. The effect is clearly powerful since the stats and effect are great for their cost. Unfortunately, it’s hard to picture a deck where this belongs. I don’t know, maybe someone out there will come up with somewhere interesting to put this

    Ogremancer: 4 Stars – Deceptively powerful card, especially in a meta where cheap spells are everywhere. Even if you only proc the effect once, the stats are still quite good for the cost.

    Onyx Magescribe: 1 Star – Spells are cool, but this card is very slow. Not a huge fan.

    Pen Flinger: 1 Star – Outclassed by Guardian Augmerchant.

    Plagued Protodrake: 1 Star – If Rattlegore is too slow, then this card certainly is.

    Smug Senior: 1 Star – Play a bad card to add another bad card to your hand. Sounds great.

    Sneaky Delinquent: 2 Stars – Not quite good enough for Galakrond Rogue, but close.

    Sorcerous Substitute: 4 Stars – A big bundle of stats is quite a nice cherry on top of Burn Shaman. I doubt Highlander Mage will pick it up since it's rather weak as a standalone. 

    Steward of Scrolls: 5 StarsAzure Drake which discovers a spell instead of drawing a card is pretty good. This should be a consideration in any deck which cares about Spell Damage (including Highlander Mage).

    Tour Guide: 1 Star – I always thought Water Boy would have seen play if it had been usable in Odd Paladin, and I guess Wild will show us if I was right. Too bad this review doesn’t take Wild into account.

    Wandmaker: 4 Stars – A cheaper Cobalt Spellkin with a slightly weaker effect. Cheap spells are in high demand, so this will likely make the cut.

    Wretched Tutor: 2 Stars – I could see some control decks picking this up since it is annoying for zoo/token decks to deal with. Still just a little bit too clunky in my opinion.

    Cult Neophyte: 1 Star – Very minor effect which at best is a slight annoyance for your opponent. It’s no Loatheb.

    Robes of Protection: 3 Stars – Now this could be extremely annoying. Zoo decks could make great use of protection for their minions, and while it doesn’t protect against AoE, most control decks run targeted spells and they will hate to see that they are useless against this.

    Voracious Reader: 5 Stars – So, Jeeves still sees some play in Wild, and this is a version of him which costs 2 mana and doesn’t refill your opponent’s hand? If your aggressive deck cares about card draw, this is a must-include for it.

    Educated Elekk: 1 Star – Shuffling cards into your deck is not a very strong effect, even if you get 2 or more good spells. In some cases, it can even be a negative if the spell does not synergize with your deck.

    Enchanted Cauldron: 1 Star – Not a bad card, but too random for any deck to actively seek this out.

    Transfer Student: 4 Stars – I’d rate this card 4 stars right now as it sees play in Highlander decks, but nothing else. I think it will be no better and no worse when the rest of the set arrives.

    Headmaster Kel'Thuzad: 5 Stars – I’ve seen some people say this card is too clunky to fit properly into control decks. Are you guys crazy? There are so many great spells which cost 5 or less that can kill multiple minions (Hagatha's Scheme, Ramming Speed, Dark Skies, Starfall, Rolling Fireball, etc.) and any deck which runs these will consider Kel’Thuzad. The combo between this and Hagatha's Scheme in particular is so strong that this might give Control Shaman the win condition it so desperately needs.  

    Keymaster Alabaster: 1 Star – This could have worked if we had things like Research Project or Naturalize in Standard, but sadly, we do not. Even though this gets one star, keep an eye on it, as all it needs is one cheap card that lets your opponent draw to be worth consideration.

    Lorekeeper Polkelt: 2 Stars – Cool effect, but I just don’t think it does quite enough to work out. Maybe some aggro decks could use this to stop themselves from drawing all their cheap cards in the endgame. I don’t really think so because aggro decks need cards which immediately fight for the board, and this card doesn’t do that.

    Sphere of Sapience: 4 Stars – Won’t work well in decks which require heavy synergies, but Highlander decks should appreciate the effect, especially considering how this could help their consistency problems.

    Vectus: 5 Stars – This should fit in very nicely in Beast Hunter, which uses a lot of deathrattles. Egg Warrior will also be very interested, considering how consistently the whelps will have the deathrattle of Serpent’s Egg.


    Posted in: General Discussion
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