Descent of Dragons is the upcoming Hearthstone expansion! Reveal season is in full force now, so it’s time to continue card reviews!
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the newly revealed cards, reviewing them and rating from 1 to 10. The scale itself should be quite obvious, but just to quickly explain how do I see it: A card rated 5 is average – it might be playable in some decks, but it’s nothing special. Cards below 5 might see some play in off-meta decks, or as obscure techs, but the closer we get to 1, the lower chance it is that they will see play. When I rate card 1 or 2, I don’t believe that it will see any Constructed, non-meme play at all. On the other hand, going above 5 means that I see the card as something with more potential. While I can’t guarantee that it will work out in the end, I believe that the cards with 6-8 are likely to see at least some Constructed play, while cards rated 9 or 10 are, in my mind, nearly sure hits. 1 and 10 are reserved to the worst or best cards I can imagine, meaning that they won’t be used often.
Remember that with only a handful of cards seen, it’s incredibly hard to review them accurately, since we have no clue what synergies will be printed or which themes will be pushed. I advise you to pay more attention to the description than the rating itself – I will try to explore some of the potential synergies and reasons why a given card might or might not work. I also encourage you to share your own predictions and reviews in the comment section. Even if you aren’t sure, don’t worry, no one is! There is nothing wrong about being wrong, I have never seen anyone who nailed most of the card ratings before the release. But, without further ado, let’s proceed with the reviews!
Check out our other card reviews:
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #1 – Galakrond Hero Cards, Invoke Cards, Malygos, Nozdormu, Ysera, Deathwing, Waxadred and more!
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #2 – Breath Cards, Dragon Explorers, Dragonbane, Phase Stalker, Learn Draconic, Toxic Reinforcements and more!
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #3 – Talritha, Shu’ma, Galakrond, the Unbreakable, Nether Breath, Amber Watcher, Kronx Dragonhoof, Veranus, and more!
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #4 – Sanctuary, Flik Skyshiv, Valdris Felgorge, Chromatic Egg, Chenvaala, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza and more!
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #6 – Stormhammer, Kaahrj, Chronobreaker, Platebreaker, Embiggen, Goru, Dragonmaw Poacher, Murozond and more!
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #7 – Wing Commander, Storm’s Wrath, Sky Claw, Galakrond the Tempest, Rolling Fireball, Mana Giant and more!
- Descent of Dragons Card Review #8 (Final) – Violet Spellwing, Elemental Allies, Skybarge, Aeroponics, Skyfin, Squallhunter, Tasty Flyfish and more!
There’s not really much to consider here… It’s a 3 mana 4 damage minion removal with a card draw attached. Who in the world wouldn’t like that? I mean, sure, it has some downsides compared to spell removal (such as Shadow Bolt) – it can’t pass through Taunts in particular, and it also triggers some Secrets that spells wouldn’t (and vice versa, but minions are more vulnerable to Secrets than spells in general)… but on the other hand, it has an actual body. It’s not like you HAVE to hit something – you can just drop it as a 4/1 if necessary. You can use it to hit a 0 attack minion too and it will survive. It also has a Beast tag for a good measure. It has some downsides, but it’s good.
It also has obvious synergy with the new Sidequest – Clear the Way. Not only it completes 1/3, but it also draws another Rush minion so you can finish the rest. If you happen to draw Springpaw, then you have enough to complete it just like that. Gryphon has also a cool synergy with Dire Frenzy – you can buff it up to 7/4 (which is great with Rush) and then potentially chain-draw itself for a lot of value/tempo at the same time.
The only real “downside” of putting this card into your deck that you need to run some other Rush minions in order to take advantage of the effect, because a 4/1 with Rush alone is not reaaally worth 3 mana. And not just a single Rush card, because then you will likely draw it before Gryphon. But as long as you run Springpaw, Zilliax and maybe something more, then it should have enough targets to hit.
Card rating: 7/10
Oh wow, we actually have one card I don’t really like in the set. That’s new. Yeah, Transmogrifier can be a fun card to play, but it’s definitely not a good one. The thing is – you put cards in your deck for a reason. You DO NOT want to replace them with random cards. So what that they’re Legendaries? It’s not like Legendaries are all good. Some are outright terrible, some synergize with specific decks and will be bad in yours and so on. If adding random Legendaries to your deck would be good, then Prince Malchezaar would be an auto-include into every deck in the past.
While there are situations in which you’d prefer to draw random Legends than cards from your deck, even then this card doesn’t really deliver. Let’s say that you’re an Aggro deck and you didn’t manage to kill your opponent. Maybe you would prefer to have some random Legends instead of your 1-drops and 2-drops now to still stand a chance. You know, Arch-Villain Rafaam style (which, by the way, I don’t really like either). So you drop Transmogrifier and then… do what? You don’t really commonly run card draw in Aggro decks. Sure, maybe you will cycle one card or something, but it’s not like 1 random Legendary is going to change anything. And if you don’t draw immediately, then it’s just a 2/3 that will die. And the thing is that you don’t want to play it early, because early you’d rather draw cards from your deck, because you want to pursue your main game plan.
You COULD do some crazy plays like this + Plot Twist to draw a hand full of Legendaries… but then again, why not just play Rafaam?
The only real world use I see is, ASSUMING IT WORKS, “disarming” Bombs (or Hakkar’s Corrupted Blood for that matter). But I’m not exactly sure about the order of triggering here – would Bomb trigger first or would this transform it into a Legendary first? Anyway, that’s still a super fringe/tech use if anything, so I don’t see this card being playable whatsoever. In fact, River Crocolisk will be a better one to put into your deck most of the time, because you can drop it on T2 without disrupting your own draws.
Card rating: 2/10
I didn’t expect that for two reasons. First – it’s a Legendary weapon, and we haven’t seen those in a while. Since Kobolds & Catacombs 2 years ago, to be precise. But that’s cool – I really like seeing some of the old card types / mechanics making comebacks, because why not? It adds more diversity. Anyway, the second reason why I haven’t expected it is because Warrior hasn’t really got any Pirate synergies in ages. Ever since Pirate Warrior was a dominating force in Standard and Fiery War Axe was nerfed, Warrior didn’t get a SINGLE class Pirate or Pirate synergy. I guess that Blizzard was really careful to not bring back one of the most hated decks in the history of Hearthstone. And they succeeded – while Pirate Warrior still had something to say in the Wild format (right now it’s an okay, but not spectacular deck), it never came back in Standard.
And let me get this straight – unless we get some really good class or Neutral Pirates, then I don’t think that it will make a comeback. So that’s it, right? Pirate Warrior won’t be played, so this weapon is bad… not so fast, cowboy. You don’t need to run a dedicated Pirate deck in order to take advantage of this weapon. Because let’s be honest – it’s nuts. It’s essentially a 3 mana 2/3 weapon (okay-ish) that draws you 3 cards (absolutely amazing). But in order to utilize it you need to run a Pirate package. Of course, it would still be better if Warrior got some great class Pirates now, but even without them, you can always settle for a Neutral package. I would imagine that faster Warrior builds wouldn’t mind cards like Southsea Deckhand, Dread Corsair or Captain Greenskin. You might even try out Nightmare Amalgam, since it’s a Pirate too (and it can double up as any other tribe if you need – but that might also be a downside in case we get some Dragon hate cards, which can happen).
However, the issue here is that you are in no way guaranteed to draw Ancharrr. Without it, your Pirate package might not be optimal. Power level of this set is so crazy that you will be hard-pressed for free slots in nearly any supported archetype, since they all got so many strong cards. So the question is whether a Pirate package would lower your win rate, or an even better question is whether this potential win rate decrease would be off-set by Ancharrr. I feel like it will require some serious testing, since the answer is not that simple. I’m leaning towards “no”, but another result wouldn’t surprise me.
And then, they might print this card thinking about the future already. Maybe they have some Pirate synergies cooking for Warrior, maybe they will print them next year, and they’re already slowly preparing ground for those. It wouldn’t be the first time when we get a great card with no deck to put it into first and then more synergies over the next few sets.
And of course, if you run Pirate Warrior in Wild… this will be an auto-include, no doubt about it. With cards like Upgrade!, Bloodsail Cultist or Captain Greenskin you can get even more swings = even more Pirates. More Pirates = even more weapon buffs, 0 mana 3/3 Taunts, Charge minions etc.
Card rating: 9/10 in Warrior build running Pirates, but I don’t think that it’s going to be that good in Standard yet (so I give it a realistic 5/10 for the next set, unless we see some great Pirates)
Breath of the Infinite
Remember Volcanic Potion? This is it now. Feeling old yet?
This obvious comparison shows that you won’t have to wonder how I rate it – it’s good. When the BASELINE is a solid early game AoE board clear, then you basically can’t go wrong with it. Right now, Priest has a solid mid game and late game AoE options (Mass Hysteria and Plague of Death), but they have nothing for the early game. This is really bad, because in case of a faster meta, Turn 5 is often too late. Of course, you won’t likely die by that time, but you might have taken so much unnecessary damage that the game is basically lost. Breath of the Infinite will make a nice tech card vs fast or board flood/token decks even in Priest builds that don’t run any Dragons – slow decks that don’t mind it hitting their own minions, because they often don’t have anything it could hit anyway.
And of course, if you’re playing a Dragon Priest build, this is a no-brainer. In Dragon deck you would in fact mind it hitting your own minions, since Dragon decks are in general more proactive. So this is perfect – 2 AoE damage for 3 mana is very good. Of course, it’s still not a Duskbreaker power level, but let’s face it, not many AoEs compare favorably to Duskbreaker.
The only problem is that 2 damage is no longer as good as it used to be in the past. It’s still amazing vs some decks, but we have many more 3 health early game minions than we did a long time ago. 2/2’s, 3/2’s etc. are less common. So 2 damage AoE might not cut it. You still run it in Dragon decks, no doubt about it, but in non-Dragon Control decks, it will mostly be a meta call.
Card rating: 8/10 in Dragon Priest, 6/10 outside of Dragon Priest
I like seeing new approaches to some of the most important and oldest mechanics – in this case, weapon removal. We can all agree that having weapon removal tech in game is important, and Standard has three options – Bloodsail Corsair, Acidic Swamp Ooze and Harrison Jones. More were introduced over the years, but most of them were simple and just explored the same exact mechanic with a slight twist – e.g. Gluttonous Ooze. Kobold Stickyfinger is the first one that actually attempts something different – and something really powerful and swingy in the right scenario.
If I had to describe it, it would be like Harrison Jones, but for tempo instead of card draw. Hitting a 2+ durability weapon with Harrison is amazing, but it doesn’t really provide any immediate advantages if you can’t use the extra cards. Kobold Stickyfinger instead of aiming for value, gives you tempo by equipping the stolen weapon right away, making it a better option in some matchups. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a tempo weapon removal, I feel like good old Acidic Swamp Ooze will still be a better options. What’s so good about it is that it’s cheap card with decent stats, so it works well even if you don’t play in weapon matchups. 2 mana 3/2 is not good, but passable – 5 mana 4/4 with no effect is just straight up terrible, even more so than Harrison (who could at least trade into 5 health minions). Which is why Kobold Stickyfinger might be a tech in very specific cases – like against weapons that you actually WANT to steal (not some 3/1 weapon, but let’s say Rogue’s Spectral Cutlass), or maybe in a meta so weapon heavy that running both Ooze and Stickyfinger would be justifiable.
So the main question is – are we in the meta in which it will be useful? Right now I don’t think so. Back when Kingsbane was in Standard, this would be a perfect tech card – you would prevent it from going back into opponent’s deck, and thus he couldn’t go infinite. Even right now if Thief Rogue build with Spectral Cutlass would be dominating, it would be a perfect one to steal… but that’s not likely going to happen.
So all in all, while I appreciate having a tech that can deal with those sneaky weapons or can potentially let you steal a big one from the opponent instead of just destroying it, I don’t feel like it’s going to be that useful right now. Against generic weapons, Harrison is still a better value option and Ooze is still a better tempo option. We would need a meta full of weapons OR some specific, super-powerful weapons that you would want to get yourself in order for this to see play. And right now I’m not seeing it – it would be a 5 mana 4/4 way too often.
Card rating: 2/10 right now, but a solid tech in certain metas
In a regular deck, it would be a 3/4 for 3 most of the time. Which is not a terrible thing, vanilla stats, Beast tag on top of that… but it’s definitely not good enough. With only two of those in your deck, the amount of times it would be a 6/4 (and only until one of them dies, mind you) is not very high. And building your deck around copying multiple times, wasting 5 cards on it just to get cleared by a single AoE… yeah, no thanks. So the card doesn’t make too much sense in any regular decks, but…
The only thing that comes to mind is combo potential. Hunter has access to Tundra Rhino. If you can charge a few of those, that’s insane. Getting only 3 of them up at the same time + Rhino is 29 damage in total. 4 of them is suddenly 50 damage in total. Yep, it adds up really quickly. However, the problem is actually getting there. You can get extra copies of Dread Ravens thanks to cards like Dire Frenzy, Ramkahen Wildtamer or Hunting Party. You also need some mana discounts – preferably on your Rhino – that could be handled by Scarlet Webweaver. If you add all of those pieces together, you can easily go for an OTK combo.
However, it’s far from the first OTK combo Hunter had access to. Different Emeriss combos, different King Krush combos and so on. And no, they never work, for a very simple reason – Hunter is not a class fit to build a combo deck. A combo deck needs enough defensive tools and stalls to keep itself in a game long enough, buy enough time, and then enough card draw to get the actual combo in a timely manner. Hunter is bad on both of those fronts – the class is not great at playing reactively and doesn’t have the best card draw engine for the job (Master's Call would restrict you to Beasts-only, Tracking can really mess your combo by showing you more than one combo piece etc.).
That’s why I expect to see a clip or two, but the combo itself doesn’t look to be viable to be honest. I’ve learned over the years that Hunter doesn’t want to play those intricate combos – it’s the most straightforward class that simply wants to curve out and smash the opponent. And I don’t really see Dread Raven potential in any other class right now.
Card rating: 2/10, but can be a fun meme combo
Yep, the card is crazy. The first deck that everyone is bringing up is Quest Shaman, but I think that a bit wrongly. Yes, you can get a 7 mana Pyroblast with a 5/5 attached. Yes, that’s crazy. But no, the issue is that Quest Shaman doesn’t run enough Overload cards to activate it consistently enough. In fact, the only Overload cards it runs are Sludge Slurper and Sandstorm Elemental, both of which are often dropped in the early-mid game. You will often encounter a situation in which you have Cumulo-Maximus, but it’s just a vanilla 5/5. You would need at the very least 2, maybe even 3-4 more Overload cards to be able to trigger it consistently. But what would you play? Even then, it might be a bit awkward at times – if you’re already overloaded, then you can’t drop it on curve, and if you overload on the same turn you also have to add extra mana to your calculations.
That’s why I don’t think it’s a card that will fit Quest Shaman in particular, unless the deck adapts and decides to run more Overload cards. You see, Vessina is a card that would fit amazingly well into Quest Shaman, a deck that very often has a full board flooded with small minions. But it doesn’t see play, because you can’t Overload yourself consistently enough.
On the other hand, we already have a perfect build for it – Aggro Shaman, Token Shaman, Overload Shaman, however you want to call it. The one that runs cards such as Likkim, Thunderhead or the aforementioned Vessina. It doesn’t have issues Overloading or staying Overloaded. So in that deck, it will very commonly be a 5 mana 5/5 that deals 5… Oh yeah, I haven’t talked about that part yet. It’s insane. Every single deck in the game would run a card like that. It compares super favorably to cards like Fire Elemental or even Blazecaller (I’d say that condition is similar, but you pay 2 more mana for 1/1 in stats and 1 damage).
Even though the thing is crazy, I think that it’s too early to tell whether it will see play. Why? Because we don’t know that many Shaman cards yet, including Shaman’s Galakrond. And this set has such a crazy high power level that Overload Shaman would probably need something more than just this in order to thrive. And then, after rotation, the build is losing key cards like Thunderhead or Likkim, which will leave it severely weakened. In a regular set, it would be a sure hit. But I’m just reminding you that this entire set is insane. So while all depends on the other cards Shaman get, it’s still so good that I just can’t give it a low rating.
Card rating: 9/10
Zzeraku the Warped
Yep, we have another strong card, who knew. When I first seen it I assumed that it only works on self-damage (during your turn), just like Diseased Vulture. That would probably be the case if it was any other expansion, but… since Descent of Dragons is crazy, so is this card.
Let’s start with the obvious – 4/12 for 8 mana is not bad, but not amazing. 4 attack is a little slow, but given that you want it to survive as long as possible, it’s a good stat spread. 12 health might be pretty hard to remove if you drop it on curve. And the effect is… good. Against slow decks, you can just wait until T10 to tap immediately and summon an extra 6/6. 4/12 + 6/6 is a solid board from a single card, and even if your opponent removes the main body you still have something going for you. And against Aggro… it really depends. If you’re still at a reasonable health, this is absolutely INSANE. If your opponent can’t just kill you in one turn, he’ll be basically forced to deal with it. That’s because every time he goes face, you get a 6/6, which most likely means that you would be able to just kill him in the back swing. The best case scenario is when your opponent can neither kill your, nor deal with Zzeraku – then he’s basically locked out of the game.
The issue here is that the effect is still pretty slow. It has no immediate impact on the board, no Rush, it doesn’t clear anything, doesn’t heal you and so on. Sure, if you’re in exactly the spot I’ve described above and opponent has no removal/Silence/etc., it’s amazing. But the thing is that on Turn 8 you often aren’t. Playing Warlock vs Aggro this late into the game, you’re struggling for your life, you’re often low enough that you can’t just drop it – you need to clear the board. And playing against Control, this is not bad, but it’s not particularly great either. Let’s face it, the 4/12 gets removed and while an extra 6/6 is a solid addition, it’s not going to win you the game. Warlock need some late game win condition and this ain’t it.
I guess that it’s better than most of those high cost, slow cards – but it’s still a high cost, slow card at the end of day. Compared to other Legendaries from the set, it’s okay, but not amazing. I guess that it might fit into Dragon Warlock, thanks to the Dragon tag, but I don’t think that other decks will want to run it.
Card rating: 4/10
Bad Luck Albatross
The most obvious use for this card is a tech against Highlander cards. It dying means that your opponent can’t play their Highlander cards until they draw one of the 1/1’s. Two of them dying can block them even better. By the time they draw three 1/1’s, the game will most likely be over.
Against average deck, however, the effect is quite mediocre. Sure, you’d prefer your opponent to draw a 1/1 instead of an actual card, but at what cost? In order to do that, you need to play a 3 mana 4/3 minion that’s not really great otherwise. You need to put a bad card into your deck that will POTENTIALLY make your opponent’s draws worse… but potentially is the key word here. For example, the effect is nearly useless vs Aggro, because often they won’t even draw the 1/1, and if they do, it’s not much worse than them just drawing a 1-drop from their deck – they can make it work.
That’s why I could see the card being played only if Highlander decks would absolutely dominate. Then it might be a tech card for faster decks (because slower decks wouldn’t play it anyway most likely – they’d rather play Hakkar instead and actually use it as a win condition). Or maybe in some combo-heavy meta, you could use it to disrupt your opponent’s draws a bit – them getting their combo piece a turn or two later can be a big deal sometimes. However, I don’t really think that Highlander decks will dominate the meta hard enough for Albatross to be very impactful. It might still see some play in decks that could naturally slot a 3 mana 4/3. Or maybe in the future – remember that our current Highlander synergies will be in the meta for one more Standard year.
A more fun, but probably pretty bad use is to copy it as many times as you can and just flood your opponent’s deck with 1/1’s. This reminds me of the oldschool Weasel Tunneler Priest – a meme deck, but you could make some cool plays with it. Again, Priest seems to be the most obvious candidate, between things like revives (especially Psychopomp) Embalming Ritual, Shadowy Figure, Wretched Reclaimer and so on. It will probably be a bad deck, but once it actually gets there, most of your opponent’s draws are 1 mana 1/1’s, basically shutting them down. It’s a really fun way to win (and pretty infuriating for your opponent, which some players might see as an upside).
Card rating: 6/10
Yeah, Highlander Dragon Mage is going to love it. Or, let me rephrase it, any Dragon Mage deck running some more expensive (like 4+ mana) spells is going to love it. It reminds me of two things – first one is obviously Inkmaster Solia. Which is pretty funny, because it’s both cheaper AND the condition is less strict. Of course, Solia was never a very impactful card – it did see some play in Highlander Mage, but it was one of the weakest (if not THE weakest) Highlander synergy we had. But another card it actually reminds me of is Arcane Tyrant. In a Dragon deck, this is a mostly better Arcane Tyrant. Tyrant used to be a 0 mana 4/4 as long as you played a 5+ mana cost spell. You see, this card’s floor is slightly weaker – it’s a 1 mana 4/4 when you play a 5 mana cost spell… but when you play something more expensive, you’re actually gaining some “free mana”, unlike with Tyrant. Pyroblast + Tyrant used to cost 10 mana, with this you will get exactly the same outcome, but save 4 mana. Since most of your “expensive” spells are 6-8 mana, the mana save is not going to be super impressive, but it’s still better than Tyrant (even dropping that Flamestrike a turn earlier can make a difference).
Of course, whether it sees play 100% depends on whether Dragons see play in Mage. But because Malygos, Aspect of Magic is Dragon AND a Dragon synergy card (then both Dragonqueen Alexstrasza and Kalecgos are Dragons), I can’t imagine why Mages would want to skip it. So I’d say that Dragons in Mage will be popular, and thus this card is good. But not insanely good – it’s just a slightly better Tyrant, which was indeed a good card, because who doesn’t like free tempo, but never a vital part of the deck that you couldn’t play without. So if Dragon Mage sees play, it will slot into it. If it doesn’t – the card will be useless. End of story.
Card rating: 8/10 in Dragon Mage, useless outside
Simple card, so the analysis will also be short and straightforward.
Let’s start at the base – 2 damage for 1 mana is something we’ve seen time and time again. Mage had one too, with Arcane Blast. Of course – every one of those cards has some sort of upside, such as the fact that you can hit face with it (Holy Smite) or that it gets better when a certain condition is met. However, the fact that it’s an okay 1 mana spell alone might make you want to play it in something like Cyclone Mage. Good for early board control, adds another spell to the mix. And if anything, it will very often be picked from Magic Trick. It’s not great, but definitely a consideration in this kind of deck.
The card will obviously be an auto-include in Dragon Mage, basically no downside to it. You get a cheap removal + discover something to replace it. There’s basically no downside – it’s good in the early game to kill something and get a spell back that might be useful, it’s good in the mid/late game to weaken something, maybe let you trade up, maybe set up an AoE etc. and then get a spell that fits your situation best. It will be super rare that you get 3 bad spells. Hunter’s Marked Shot (an okay card) costs 3 mana more and only adds +2 damage, despite Mage’s spells being more powerful on average. Yep, it’s strong, one of the most flexible Breath cards.
Card rating: 9/10 in Dragon Mage, 4/10 in other decks
Hmm, whether this card will be good or not really depends on the meta. I’d say that against Aggro, it’s pretty terrible. They will nearly always have some board to work with, and since Eggs are 0/3 then can easily be destroyed with damage, and then nothing hatches. In fact, in order to play this, you already need to be ahead on the board. When you’re behind, it will mostly be a 6 mana 5/5… which is obviously terrible. It’s also pretty weak against Rush cards, since they can kill the Egg immediately without getting any damage themselves. Even if only one Egg hatches, that’s 5/5 + delayed 4/4 with Rush (so it can’t attack face on the 2nd turn still) for 6 mana, which is good, but not amazing. You really need both Eggs to trigger in order for this card to be great, and I don’t think that it will be an expected outcome.
You definitely don’t want to play this in Control – you’re behind on board most of the time. On the other hand, it seems too slow for Aggro. Some kind of Midrange deck is your only option… right now the only potential deck I’m seeing is something like Dragon Quest Shaman. Most of Dragon synergies are Battlecries, and this is also a Battlecry. 4 Eggs will be much harder to kill at once and at the very least will be a great AoE bait. You can also copy it with Dragon Breeder in the late game for 2 extra copies and then have 2 more powerful turns (“AoE or bust” kind of turns). Before calling it a deck, we will have to wait and see how other Shaman cards look like, or maybe how some other Neutral Dragon synergies look like. But in theory, some powerful pay-off cards with double Battlecry can be even stronger.
While there’s still a lot of Shaman card to see, I’m not a big fan of this card – seems really bad in any case when you’re behind on the board, and Shaman already has ways to capitalize being ahead on the board… so dropping this on an empty board is really where it does something no other Shaman card can (create a solid board with just one card). But it gets some extra points for being a Battlecry card AND a Dragon, so it might fit into that very specific archetype.
Card rating: 5/10
This might be the first time when players will be wishing to get Hir'eek, the Bat from a random effect. Because that’s a super high roll – 5 mana for a full board of 5/5’s. But yeah, this is only one of the dozens of Legendaries, so it won’t happen very often.
Still, before writing this I looked through a full list of Legendaries available in Standard right now, and I have to say that while there aren’t many “super high rolls” like Hir’eek, and there are quite a lot of low-rolls, the average outcome is not that bad. You should, on average, get something solid on the first try. And the thing is that you don’t have to play it immediately. You can wait until get something even better.
See, random Legendaries are – in general – pretty bad. They might have synergies that don’t fit into your deck. Or they might be simply too expensive to reasonably play. However, this card is – at the very base – a 5 mana 5/5, which THEN can get one of the Legendaries’ effects. When you see Gruul, you aren’t happy, because it’s bad 8-drop. But when you get the same effect on a 5-drop, it’s suddenly much better. You’re getting a 5 mana 6/6 that will grow every turn if not killed immediately. Malygos? Would be terrible in a deck not built around it, because you wouldn’t have enough mana to take advantage of it. But in this case, it costs 5, so if you happen to have a Lightning Storm in your hand, you can drop those for 8 mana and clear the entire board. Onyxia, The Boom Reaver, Colossus of the Moon and a bunch of other cards that you normally wouldn’t want to get are way better if their effect is printed on a 5 mana 5/5.
The downside is that despite all of that, there are still lots of bad cards that will essentially make it a vanilla 5 mana 5/5 – definitely not something you want to put into your deck. Sometimes you might have to wait a few turns to get something playable, and having a dead card in your hand is never a good thing. Another thing I dislike about those “shifting” cards is that you can’t plan ahead, you can’t lock them on something. Let’s say that you get something great, but can’t play it on that turn, because you need to AoE first. Or you get something amazing, but you don’t have enough mana, because you overloaded. Or you see that Malygos, but you don’t want to play any spells this turn – you can’t just save it, it will be gone next turn. Lots of the Legendaries are very situational, which makes the entire thing even more RNG. Oh, and of course – the turn you draw it, it’s just a 5 mana 5/5 – it doesn’t transform immediately, so you have to at the very least wait one turn.
All in all, there are like 40% of Legendaries that are good from this (ones that you don’t actually mind playing), and maybe like 10% that are high-rolls. But it’s hard to count because of all the situation Legendaries – like (sorry for bringing it up again, but it’s the simplest example) Malygos is a high-roll in certain cases, but it’s useless in others. The card is a bit better than I initially thought, but I still don’t think that it’s consistent enough to be played competitively.
Card rating: 4/10
5 mana 4/4 that draws 2 cards is obviously very strong. While it was a long while ago, Azure Drake was a staple, even in the decks that didn’t benefit from Spell Damage too much. Times have changed, a 5 mana 4/4 that draws a card might not be good anymore, but this is a big step up from Azure Drake. Not only it draws two, but the fact that it’s tutor makes it so much better. Less flexible, yes, because you can’t just put it into ANY deck, but it will be stronger in the decks you actually want to put it in. And what are those decks, exactly? Well, anything that shuffles stuff into your deck. Here’s the thing – you usually shuffle things for a good reason, because they are an important part of your game plan and you want to have more copies of them (like Pogo-Hopper) or because drawing them gives you some extra tempo / value.
What Rogue class is good at is shuffling extra cards that have “casts when drawn” effects, and that’s where I believe Stowaway will shine. The best example would be Fal'dorei Strider. It’s not in Standard anymore, but it’s a good example. After you played Strider, Stowaway would be 5 mana for 3x 4/4 that draws 2 extra cards (because “casts when drawn” cards cycle themselves immediately). Currently, Rogue has access to another similar card, although it’s much slower – Shadow of Death. It has insane tempo potential, but comes with no immediate body… however, dropping Stowaway right after using Shadow of Death on something means that you get 2 of the bodies immediately AND draw 2 cards.
And finally, the most important card and a combo that’s coming all together. Waxadred is a bit like new Fal’dorei Strider, but it’s slower, because instead of shuffling 3 you only shuffle one after it dies. However, there are all kinds of ways to copy it, including the aforementioned Shadow of Death. It felt like too slow of a deck to realistically build, but… Stowaway might change some things. In a deck like that, it would be a 5 mana 4/4 that draws 2 cards AND summons two Waxadreds. Absolutely brutal and insanely powerful. It might let you overcome the immediate tempo loss from playing Shadow of Death on Waxadred.
Not to mention that this kind of deck would be brutal in the late game – with multiple Candles shuffled in, the less cards you have in total, the more consistently you get those. By the end of the game, you would summon a few 7/5’s every turn, and your opponent would need a bunch of Silences or transform effects in order to deal with them.
Still, even if you don’t go for a full Waxadred strategy, Stowaway is still a good card. If you play a Rogue deck that shuffles anything in, like with Lab Recruiter or through any other effects, Stowaway will most likely be something you want to play.
Card rating: 8/10
Oh. Hahahahah. Okay.
Wait, really? They actually did it?
This is one of the strongest cards in the history of Hearthstone. It will be an auto-include into any Dragon deck right now and most likely any Dragon deck going forwards in the Wild format. It’s like Prince Keleseth, but you don’t need to make ANY sacrifices in order to run it. Heck, it’s even better than Keleseth, because 2 mana discount is way better than +1/+1 (although Keleseth coming down on T2 was a big upside). You don’t even have to sacrifice stats on the actual minion – you play a 4 mana 5/4. To be 100% fair, it’s not the best stat-line, but it’s not a big tempo sacrifice, especially if you consider the fact that now every turn you have will be much better. Drawing any expensive Dragon after playing it will make it way stronger. You will be able to play 8-drop on T6, 9-drop on T7 and so on. Even if you won’t necessarily just play a big drop 2 turns earlier, it will help you curve out really well. Let’s say that it’s Turn 8 and you have two 6 cost Dragons in your hand – they would be very awkward to play at full cost, but with a discount you can fit them perfectly. While 2 mana discount won’t matter in some scenarios, in others it will let you have a much higher tempo turn.
I really don’t see a reason to NOT play it if you run a Dragon deck. If being a 4 mana 5/4 is the worst thing about this card and the best thing is potentially winning the game by playing huge minions 2 turns earlier than you should… the answer is simple. While I still don’t recommend crafting anything on Day 1, if you re going to do it, this is a great candidate.
Card rating: 10/10