Celebrating Winter Veil - Our Favourite Moments From Knights of the Frozen Throne
We're in the last stretch of the Year of the Raven which means next year, in April, we're going to see some expansions rotate out. Today we're talking about our favourite moments from Knights of the Frozen Throne.
- Frozen Throne added brand new playable heroes to the game in the form of Death Knights for each class. They totally weren't overpowered.
- Lifesteal was added to the game which allows cards to heal your hero based on the damage dealt.
- The Prince Arthas Hero was our reward for defeating The Lich King - Ice Crown Citadel Adventure FTW!
What were your favourite decks? What cards are you truly going to miss in the rotation? Were there any exciting next-level matches you had? Share your favourite moments from the expansion in the comments below. Here's some of our favourite moments and the two launch videos for Knights of the Frozen Throne.
Flux - Jaina My Bae
Knights of the Frozen Throne was an absolute favourite. I've been a fan of the Warcraft franchise for so many years at this point there's kids finishing high school who have been alive for less time. Everyone who has played through Warcraft III knows the amazing story of Arthas and when Wrath of the Lich King was announced as the next World of Warcraft expansion, I was super hyped. Finally, we'd get to stomp on up to that pompous ass Arthas and take him out, while exploring what Northrend has to offer. Oh right, we're talking about Hearthstone. Those same nerd chills were turned on when Knights of the Frozen Throne was announced and I could not wait to not only play with The Lich King but also see what the adventure would be like.
One of my favourite pieces of Warcraft art, by Peter Lee, one of my favourite artists.
The Lich King is awesome. Illidan is slightly more awesome on my scale of awesomeness, it is unfortunate he is unplayable. WHY TEAM FIVE?!
So after the expansion came out I went full Jaina. Some of you may know that I'm a mage fanboy and have to try out everything with the class when a new expansion drops. My bae Frost Lich Jaina with her Elemental army remains some of the most fun I've ever had in this game. Playing a control game is so satisfying because I know how angry my opponent is getting every single damn time I have a response for their plays. Then I get to bring out 2-cost Water Elementals? Hell yeah! Jaina wasn't my only love though.
The Lich King was a ton of fun to play with, even to this day. It was always fun bringing out Frostmourne and seeing people concede. Prince Keleseth brought back some life to Aggro for me which was wonderful for chaining wins to complete quests quickly and Bonemare was such a beautiful annoyance to put into play. Ultimately though, Snowflipper Penguin was flippin' awesome and remains my favourite moment of the entire Frozen Throne era. Why? Because it won our Cutest Cards of KFT competition and the artist, Matt Dixon, reached out to see if we were interested in some alternate art for the cutie.
I also should probably mention Mountainfire Armor. Why you ask? Because it is so damn fluffy! Okay so not this card specifically but when it was originally revealed, we translated the name to "Mountain Fire Armor" and boldly stated "the name is definitely not accurate". Oops. We did end up starting the tradition of using Fluffy for unknown names due to translations though a couple of days later with the card Animated Berserker. We had also called Cobalt Scalebane Fluffy Ice Dragon, a clearly superior name.
Unfortunately, Knights of the Frozen Throne set us up for kind of a crap year of Hearthstone with little innovation due to the power level of the set. It's been really cool, thematically, to see these Death Knights this past year and a half, but no set should have that kind of influence over the game. Not when they are an auto include in all types of decks.
Shadows - Knights of the Overgrown
While there were many new decks created almost exclusively by this powerful expansion - Dead Man's Hand Warrior, Big Priest with Eternal Servitude, Shadow Essence and Obsidian Statue and the meta-crushing Freeze Shaman to name a few - and even a whole host of powerful neutral tools, I think most people will agree that the stand-out memory from this expansion is the rise of Druid.
Malfurion the Pestilent is often cited as the most fair Death Knight introduced - he's not too strong or oppressive, but he doesn't feel weak either, and this led to his inclusion in most Druid lists for this expansion. He was even sometimes run by Token Druid, simply because he created more bodies, though that deck much preferred the new tools of Crypt Lord and Druid of the Swarm. Some lists even ran Strongshell Scavenger for that extra boost!
Then of course there were the two power-bomb cards of the set - the already-nerfed Spreading Plague and the Ultimate value machine itself, Ultimate Infestation. Before the nerf Spreading Plague found its way into every Druid deck: Ramping up? Have some bugs; Going wide? You'll want some bugs for that; Stalling for an OTK? Lemme get you some bugs. Even now most lists will still run it. Ultimate Infestation was the perfect card to ramp into - draw, board presence, damage and healing all in a single, 10 mana (or turn 5) package.
Finally, though not particularly powerful at first, Hadronox has proved to be a deck-defining card, creating the Taunt Druid archetype - ironically the only one that doesn't want Spreading Plague's Taunt wall. Taking on The Lich King from this expansion as well, this is another really fun deck archetype from this set that unfortunately suffered from the same problem as every other Druid deck in the last year - they were all too good for too long, and that got old.
Rest in Peace, Druid. I'm sure we'll be complaining about you again in a year or two.
Chimera - New Wave Of Highlander
The Frozen Throne era was a blast to play and also slightly broken. We all will remember the set for the introduction of the hero cards. Shadowreaper Anduin stood out immediately due to Raza the Chained from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan which made this a powerful source of damage, and is also still one of my favourite pieces of hearthstone art. I played a lot with this combo, and it was an oppressive win condition. Unfortunately Raza the Chained proved to be too broken with the addition of Shadowreaper Anduin, and the combination was abused thoroughly. For anyone who may be newer to the game, Raza originally made your hero power free, which allowed you to distribute damage generously in one turn if you had a lot of cards to chain. There was also a visual glitch for some time when using the hero power Voidform which was super irritating and flickery. This definitely wasn't the only OP addition in this set, as we have seen Saronite Chain Gang nerfed for example.
I posted one of my preferred variations of this archetype at the time; you can check it out here. If you do you may notice it's very expensive and not all those cards were necessary to make it work, but man was it a blast and totally viable at the time. I used several cards from this set that allowed for epic deathrattle value to support the win condition. Spirit Lash is an excellent card in priest that combines sustain with minor board clear. Eternal Servitude enabled powerful resurrection options, and was a huge factor that contributed to big priest as well. If priests weren't resurrecting minions they were copying them with tools like Shadow Essence and Barnes. I have a lot of fun using these mechanics with deathrattles, and it was a good excuse to play Awaken the Makers as well.
With deathrattle as my preferred flavour of highlander deck in this meta i was sure to throw in a copy each of Shallow Gravedigger and Skelemancer for good me assure. Skelemancer was a trickier card to get value out of but i really liked the concept of such a card. It made some situations really annoying for my opponent if they wanted to clear my board. We got three other cards like this in this set, namely Arrogant Crusader, Mountainfire Armor, and Vryghoul and it was cool that we were starting to see more cards that added more complex decision making to play around for both players.
I can't speak for anyone else but this was the expansion i was truly anticipating the most for Hearthstone. Frozen Throne was definitely the most memorable experience in WoW for me and i was eager to drop a big chilly Arthas on the board. I was pretty pleased with how The Lich King turned out as a card in the end, and watching the reveal stream was great. Watching the intro animation was a premium PogChamp moment because it was dropped by the opponent and not Kibler. If that weren't enough we also got Arfus as another way to get death knight cards, of course i would most often end up with Army of the Dead or Doom Pact. Feelsbadman.
SlydE - The Return of Midrange
After a long time when tempo and midrange decks were almost obsolite, the knights of the frozen throne introduced a set of very powerful neutral cards to support that playstyle. First of all Bonemare for 7 mana turned out to be an amazing card, rivaling Dr. Boom himself for the best 7-drop in the game, and bringing Cairne Bloodhoof back into the game as a sticky minion to set him up.
Cobalt Scalebane also offered a great way to push an advantage through the midgame. Prince Keleseth, Acherus Veteran and Saronite Chain Gang would care of the earlygame, and The Lich King taking over for Ragnaros the Firelord for the final push. Journey to un'goro had some very strong cards for the deck already, like Vicious Fledgling and Tar Creeper, but KFT gave it the final push into the top of the metagame.
As an expansion of an extremely high power level, this was actually necessary, as Jade druid and Raza priest were so strong in their own right, and had to be kept in check to not be completely dominant. On the flipside, the neutral tempo package was so strong, it could be used in almost every class, so the nerf to Bonemare was inevitable.
I also think it worth noting that hunter was a weak class at the time, despite the release of Deathstalker Rexxar. The supporting cast was simply not there, so playing the deathknight on turn 6 put you so far behind in tempo, build-a-beast could rarely bring you back into the game. His design was appreciated, however, as crafting the zombie beasts was a cool new experience with almost endless possibilities.