Our Hearthstone Arena Highlights for Rastakhan's Rumble
The release of Rastakhan's Rumble brings plenty of hype and a full set of new cards to sling around the arena. Since the first reveal stream, the HearthPwn Arena Mod Team has been reviewing and scoring every card using a simple, five point scale. You can review all the scores, notes, and discussion in the Arena Impact thread, and jump in any time to share your thoughts. Now that all cards have been revealed, we're ready to Rumble in the arena and hope to see you there!
Here are the thoughts as we head into the expansion which launches later today.
To start things off, here's Kel who is going to give us an overview of the best cards to lookout for.
The Mighty Rumblers - AbusingKel
There are a whopping 8 cards that received unanimous top ratings. The first group consists of 2 legendary minions and 1 epic minion so these very powerful cards should be less frequent in drafts. The second group is full of common rarity cards, so prepare to see them in droves as you fight for every win.
Halazzi, the Lynx: The team agrees this solves 2 big problems Hunter faces in arena - card draw and predictable removal. Enter the Lynx, filling your hand with 1/1 rush minions that provide initiative, pings, and beast synergy. Keep in mind you could burn a card if you're not careful.
Wardruid Loti: Versatility is the driving force behind the top score here. The options are very good without feeling broken and give you the flexibility to handle whatever situation you're facing. You should probably stay away from the spell damage choice, though. ;)
Linecracker: This epic will truly be epic! The high health will make it extremely difficult to kill via trading and the 5 attack should make triggering the overkill quite easy. Without an immediate answer your opponent will watch the Linecracker snowball out of control with doubling attack values.
Baited Arrow: An excellent, consistent removal piece for Hunter. This overkill is completely under you control so the 5/5 Devilsaur makes this a high value card you'll want to draft. It even carries the added bonus of being able to target the hero directly. Meat arrow to the face, anyone?
Blood Troll Sapper: This Warlock card is expected to be highly disruptive when it hits the board. Slam it down, trade your minions and watch the face pings fly. Then when you hit that end turn button you get the pleasure of watching your opponent struggle through their own trades, especially if you can hide it behind some taunt. That lofty 8 health stat makes it tough to remove.
Dragonmaw Scorcher: Comparing this to Dread Infernal is a common theme. Neutral AoE with a high health that makes it hard to remove and it hits the board a full turn earlier. Expect this to be around often, making 1 health minions tremendously vulnerable.
Dragon Roar: A very powerful draw mechanism for Warrior. The results will generally be good with a reasonable chance for a massive swing turn based on RNG, ensuring your opponent feelsbadman. As a common there's a very good chance there's more than one in every Warrior deck and that's pretty scary. But please, no Temporus!
Former Champ: We've seen a very similar card have success in the arena before. The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan gave us Big-Time Racketeer and we were always happy to say hello to his little friend. We'll be happy to have a Champ in our corner when we get set to Rumble.
I am curious to see what the pace of the new meta will be. The new set brings quite a few strong 3 and 4 mana minions, with 3/4, 3/5, and even a 4/5 stat line. With a very weak group of 1 and 2 cost minions, we could see the meta slow down a bit. These strong 3 and 4 drops should have no trouble gobbling up any minions played in the first 2 turns. The flip side of that coin, however, is that a strong curve starting on turn 1 could be devastating if your opponent has a slow start. Snowballing an on-curve 1 and 2 drop that you then back up with the high stat 3 and 4 cost minions would actually speed up the meta. I'm excited to find out which way it will go!
I'll now pass the mic to Sinti who has concerns with Arena buckets.
I'd Like A Shovel With All These Buckets - Sinti
Rastakhan's Rumble is all about brawling in the Arena, so i hope we get to experience that in full. I think we gave quite a few cards pretty decent ranking this time around as they just seem to be really good in a vacuum for the arena environment. Of course, everything will depend on the (proper) bucket placement.
One card i am worried a lot about being mis-bucketed is Dragon Roar. Warrior is the top dog right now and most of the cards that he got in Rastakhan's Rumble are very good or at least playable. So on top of everything, having a cheap card that can give you powerful late game dragons like Ysera and Deathwing (or just a Primordial Drake really) with reasonable consistency feels very scary. Looking at the numbers, around 4 out the 24 possible dragons are not very good, but still end up being somewhat playable - okay not you Temporus, lol.
The second card I'm a little afraid of, but also quite looking forward to playing myself, is Blast Wave. This card has such a high potential to yield an insane value. Many people have been comparing it to Cabalist's Tome in that regard and ultimately they would be correct, but the way to get the value ends up being very different. Will it be enough for Mage to get back to top?
I can't say for certain as that will require proper bucket selection from Blizzard. What I do know though is the tools Mage has received this expansion are very promising - value generation, card draw, pings, removals, an annoying secret, and aoe. A pretty good deal if you ask me.
Hey Neonangel, didn't you want to talk about some of those neutral cards?
The Good, The Bad, The Cute - Neonangel
We've already looked at the top tier cards for this set and I'd like to highlight a few more Neutral cards that will be sought after too. I always like to focus on the Neutral selections since every class has access to them and you can find amazing cards like Tar Creeper, Fungalmancer, and Saronite Chain Gang or something as simple, yet impactful, as Fire Fly or Stubborn Gastropod.
Untamed Beastmaster: It's got a great statline with a really nice upside. This is the type of minion that everyone wants to draw in the early game because it's large enough to deal with most two-drops easily and still survive. If you've got a lot of Beasts in your deck, then this card only gets better!
Amani War Bear: How many times have you steamrolled your opponent only to have them drop down a huge Taunt at the last possible moment? That's where this guy comes in. He's large - has Taunt - and even has Rush too!
Half-Time Scavenger and Regeneratin' Thug: We've had several minions introduced in this set that share 3/5 stats for only 4 mana. These two cards really have a chance to disrupt your opponent with their special abilities. Whether it's the pseudo-heal from the Armor gain of Overkill or forcing your opponent to spend multiple resources to kill a regenerating minion as it continues to pick off all the small threats.
On the flip side of this discussion I have to recognize that there are some Neutral offerings that should be avoided at all costs. I'll mention a few of those that are on the "Do Not Pick!" list.
Hakkar, the Soulflayer: It's expensive, the stats aren't great, and most importantly, its special ability can kill you. Drawing Corrupted Blood will be like playing Russian Roulette and you never know how it's going to turn out. Generally, I find it best to avoid minions that can turn on their master.
Serpent Ward: At the very least you'll be able to get 2 damage in at the end of your turn, but unless you're able to hide this behind a Taunt, or otherwise have complete control of the board, this is a waste of space that won't last a turn.
Gurubashi Offering: This suffers the same problem that Serpent Ward does in that it has no defense to prevent your opponent from killing it for free. Is it honestly worth sacrificing a deck slot for something that may not even survive a turn and leave you with nothing to show for it?
Helpless Hatchling: I think this may win the award for cutest minion in the expansion, however those looks can only take it so far.
Hey Boozor, resident #1 Arena player, how about you give us your thoughts on Rastakhan's Rumble?
The Importance of Mana - Boozor
This is another set of limited premium removal cards. With a few exceptions (Mass Hysteria, Blast Wave, Walk the Plank and Demonbolt), the set once against pushes towards minion versus minion board fighting. This means that cards that give you initiative and can act as removal will have to make due for the lack of removal cards.
Strong neutral minions depict how influential a set is on the Arena meta and I believe there is a really nice crop of powerful early and mid ranged minions that will show up in Arena fairly often. Cards like Untamed Beastmaster and Drakkari Trickster add the strong existing stable of powerful turn 3 players. Following this are serviceable 4 drop minions with various abilities in this set like Ice Cream Peddler, Ticket Scalper, Half-Time Scavenger, and Regeneratin' Thug.
The stand out neutral mana slot for this set is the 5 mana and 7 mana slots. Mosh'Ogg Announcer offers raw stats and a built in protection mechanism that is going to infuriate opponents. It's an uncommon stat line that fights well against 4/6 plays as well. Snapjaw Shellfighter offers protection to powerful low health minions like Stoneskin Basilisk and Necrotic Geist, again potentially a very hard minion to play against. Finally, Dragonmaw Scorcher offers a mid size neutral body that can clean up the board which every class can appreciate.
As for the 7 mana slot, new cards like Amani War Bear, offer protection and initiative to help remove their board and to help stabilize yours. Linecracker is a heavy hitting stat stick that almost cannot be ignored. The 10 hp ensure it requires multiple trades, or you'll end up facing a 10/x minion the following turn in all likelihood. Rabble Bouncer, while not a true 7 mana card, is great value and tempo against token generating minions that try to swarm you.
Overall, these strong neutral should show up in many Arena decks depending on their respective buckets. They offer different tools for every deck and should perform well in the absence of removal spells.
Be sure to also check out Boozor's Meta Predictions for Rastakhan's Rumble.