If you’re anything like me, then reveal season is your favorite time of the year (alongside the first days of a new expansion). With nothing figured out, new cards coming every day, wild theories and early deck builds (which most likely won’t work) popping up everywhere, and that surprise when you look at some card and think to yourself – “what were they thinking when they’ve designed it?”
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the new 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 this card as something with a lot of 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 not only most of the reviews were created without knowing all of the cards from the expansion, but it’s also very hard to predict the meta that will happen after new expansion launches. 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!
High Priest Thekal
When reviewing Paladin cards that were healing-related (such as Lesser Pearl Spellstone or Zandalari Templar), I’ve always mentioned one thing – the biggest issue with those cards is not that Paladin can’t heal, but that Paladin can’t heal himself when he’s at full life. That was always the problem. Less so when playing against Aggro, but slower deck could not deal any damage to you until the mid or even late game, meaning that your healing-related cards could sit dead in your hand – alongside the healing cards themselves.
It seems that Blizzard has finally recognized that issue and printed this card. Thekal is a solid 3-drop even if we just look at its stats – 3/4 for 3 is the best you can get. If we slap a strong, positive effect on a card like that, it should see some play or at least experimentation. And I believe that this effect is indeed very powerful. Turning all of your Health into Armor is huge, despite no immediate gain in terms of life or anything. Armor is superior to Health in almost any way, even if we ignore Warrior synergies. For example, when you’re at 30 health, your opponent can Alexstrasza you down to 15. If you’re at 1 health + 29 Armor, all he can do it heal you up to 15 (it also works well for your own Alex). 1 health + 29 Armor also means that you can now still heal up to 30, and end up at a maximum of 30 + 29 = nearly 60 life total, making it really hard for some of the combo decks to burst you. And of course, the card will make it easier to activate the healing-related stuff – you can play in a slower matchup and still utilize those cards.
The biggest gripe I have with this card is that it’s Legendary. I mean, it’s fair for it to be of that rarity, but it reduced the consistency at which you will draw it heavily, and you will really need to make some of the other cards work. And another issue is that Control Paladin still doesn’t have a good enough late game win condition thanks to the KFT Death Knights. The card is good, but probably still not good enough to bring the deck back. I think that we’ll honestly have to wait until the next rotation before Control Paladin will make some sense.
P.S. And yes, in Wild you can drop it + 2x Molten Giant on Turn 2 with Coin. But the combo is such inconsistent that I really doubt that anyone would build a deck around it. It will be a nice clip to show on a highlight reel, though.
Card rating: 8/10, but I feel like Control Paladin will still be too weak because the class lacks a way to close out the games in the late game.
Masked Contender seems like a more balanced version of Mad Scientist, but given that Mad Scientist was one of the best cards in Hearthstone ever (and I’m not exaggerating), a weaker version of it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. Actually, it looks pretty decent. If the condition is met, he’s insanely powerful – 3 mana 2/4 that draws and immediately plays a card from your deck is something ot watch out for. You know how powerful Kirin Tor Mage can be – yes, it has better stats, but the point is that getting a nice tempo boost can go a long way in the early game. And this effect is obviously even better, because you pull that card from your deck, not from your hand, so you don’t lose a card advantage for the sake of tempo.
The card would probably work best in the Hunter because of curve. You play a Secret on T2, then Masked Contender on T3, pulling another Secret from your deck. Depending on the matchup, scenario and then Secret you’ve played on T2, there’s a significant chance that it will stick. If it’s something like Rat Trap, it probably will (but even if it won’t, you don’t mind). Secret that trigger when opposing minion attacks are also inactive unless your opponent has something to attack with etc. In the end, you should be able to pull it out quite consistently on the curve.
It’s also quite easy in Paladin, because you can play a Secret + this on T4, but then again, it doesn’t get as much value in Paladin.
And finally, the card is obviously strongest in the Mage, but it’s also the hardest to trigger it there. If you play a Secret on T3 and this on T4, you play off-curve (it’s still worth it most of the time, but it’s not the most optimal). To combo it with a Secret on the same turn, you need 6 mana, which is quite a lot. But then again, the pay-off is even bigger than in case of Hunter – a 3 mana 2/4 that draws a 3 mana card and plays it immediately is nuts.
The condition is not that hard to meet in a Secret deck, but your opponent will also be able to play around it by triggering your Secret (not to mention the situations in which you don’t draw any Secret early, for example) – so you can’t take that effect for granted. And a 3 mana 2/4 is not great if you won’t get this effect off. But still, I think like this Battlecry is good enough to justify putting it into Secret decks even if it won’t work sometimes. Secret Hunter is definitely a deck that will at least try it out. Secret Mage too, maybe, but the build is quite weak right now.
Card rating: 8/10
Walk the Plank
1 mana cheaper Assassinate, but only under a condition that the minion is undamaged. It’s a similar story to how Backstab is basically a 1 mana cheaper version of some 1 mana 2 damage removals, but also a minion has to be undamaged. However, the tempo gain of having 1 extra mana in the early game is much higher than a tempo gain of having 1 extra mana in the mid game, so Backstab is clearly better when it comes to that.
Given that you most likely want to remove big minions the moments they’re played, the downside on this card is not that severe. Just remember how solid Shadow Strike was, and this is a bit like a new version of the card. Instead of dealing 5, you destroy anything – that’s good, because you can also kill e.g. 7, 8 or 12 health minions. Unlike with Shadow Strike, you can’t hit face, but that wasn’t an important part of the card anyway.
It’s not a great card, especially that Rogue has access to Vilespine Slayer right now, which for just 1 more mana gets an extra 3/4 body – amazing tempo. But it’s definitely not the worst removal Rogue ever got, so with the lack of better cards, Rogue might want to play it competitively eventually.
Funnily enough, you can even use it for the Mecha'thun combo. “All” you need to do is to discount Mecha’thun once (Galvanizer) or get a Coin from somewhere, then play Mecha’thun on 10 mana, (Coin) + Prep + Walk the Plank. Doesn’t seem that difficult, comparable to other Mecha’thun combos, but then again, Rogue doesn’t have access to tools to keep him alive for as long as let’s say Priest, Warlock or Warrior.
P.S. Oh, and if Even Rogue becomes a thing, it can become removal of choice in the deck… since there’s not much choice outside of it (can’t play Vilespine Slayer).
Card rating: 6/10
Another anti-Aggro card, but also a pretty weak one to be honest. In theory, you can drop it as a 0 mana 2/7, which is insanely strong – but realistically, how often you face a FULL board of minions on the opposing side? I’d say that not very often, Odd Paladin is just about the only deck that can achieve that consistently, and even it can’t if you’re trying to clear it ever now and then.
Even assuming the average scenario of 3 minions on the opposing side (I think that’s fair) against a board flood deck, this is a 4 mana 2/7. We already have a 4 mana 2/6 that doesn’t need any shenanigans and it’s called Stegodon. Oh, and it doesn’t see any play, because it’s pretty bad. This card would need at least 4 minions on the board to be great (and yes, a 3 mana 2/7 Taunt would be great). It’s a situation that happens regularly against board flood, every now and then against other Aggro, rarely against Midrange and almost never against Control. And at this point, I think that I’d rather have Mind Control Tech than a 2/7 Taunt – without high-roll MCT is a tiny bit weaker, but it can also high-roll into nearly immediate game win sometimes.
The meta would need to be absolutely dominated by board flood decks for this to be relevant, and even then, 2 Attack is a bit of a problem. 2 attack can be relevant on T1, maybe even T2, but the meta is pretty much dominated by 3 Health minions and not 2 Health minions. A lot of the minions could trade into it and still survive.
In theory, you could try to throw it into a Star Aligner deck and hope that your opponent plays a bunch of minions. You would however need a board with at least 6 minions so you could play both of those + Star Aligner, so that’s not very easy to achieve, especially since your opponent would play around it the moment he realizes that you’re running.
Right now, the only deck I could see this being played in is Shaman with Unstable Evolution. It would be played as Corridor Creeper 2.0 – of course the discount wouldn’t be permanent, but it would be a good card to drop when your opponent has a few minions and start evolving it.
Overall, it might see niche play as a tech card vs board flood decks, or maybe for some Evolve / Inner Fire shenanigans, but outside of that, I don’t think it’s good enough.
Card rating: 3/10
It’s an interesting effect, but I don’t think that it will make cut. Most importantly, healing for 3 in this case means healing for 3 at once. If you heal for 2 and then for 2 on the same turn, it won’t trigger. If you play Healing Rain, it won’t draw 4 cards, since Rain heals for 1 at the time.
There are two issues with this card. First, the stat line. It’s okay for a 1/4 that draws a card, but the thing is that it doesn’t draw a card immediately. If you drop it on T2, it needs to survive until at least another turn to do it, so it’s not really a 2-drop – it’s more of a mid/late game card to combo with healing immediately. Another thing is that 3+ healing cards are not THAT common, a lot of the effects actually heal for 2, which is obviously not going to cut it. And finally, in order for this card to really start getting value, you need to trigger its effect twice (otherwise just playing Loot Hoarder won’t be much worse, since those stats are kind of meaningless in the mid/late game anyway), and that’s again not easy due to the lack of 3+ healing effects as well as the weak stats of this minion.
I honestly think that there are more reliable ways to draw cards, not to mention that those heal-oriented decks might not necessarily need to draw that much in the first place anyway.
It seems okay-ish in something like Heal Paladin, but I don’t think I would actually put it in there. No guaranteed pay-off and pretty situational card draw.
Card rating: 3/10
Important note, if someone doesn’t realize it yet, Overkill on AoE triggers for every minion Overkilled, not just once. So if you use this on a board full of 1/1’s, you get A LOT of cards.
However, if we look at the card by itself, with no extra synergies, it’s really weak. Paying 5 mana for 2 AoE damage is a lot – the same costed 3 mana (Volcanic Potion) and it wasn’t even that widespread. The card is meant to make up with the Overkill effect, but triggering it is not that easy. At the base level, it will trigger ONLY on 1 health minions, and people rarely have a full board of 1 health minions. Then, if they only have 1-2 of them, you don’t really need an AoE most of the time, just pinging them is fine. Right now the only decks this would work well against are Even & Odd Paladin, especially the latter.
The card becomes more interesting if you add some Spell Damage to it, Celestial Emissary in particular. Those two deal 4 AoE damage for 7 mana, guaranteeing at least 1 random spell (from killing the Emissary himself) and then giving extra ones for every 3 or less health minion (while killing everything up to 4 health). That actually sounds good – it wouldn’t be hard to get A LOT of value from this combo. The main problem is that it’s a 2 cards combo, and 2 card combos are always harder to justify than just a single removal spell.
I think that right now slow Mage decks have access to enough AoE and they don’t need a lot of value generation, because Frost Lich Jaina is enough (and they still have stuff like The Lich King or Sindragosa). However, this could be interesting after the rotation – Dragon's Fury will be gone, a lot of value tools will be gone, so it might come handy.
Right now I could see Quest Mage trying it out – it’s AoE + you generate extra spells for the sake of Quest. Is Quest Mage good enough, though? I think it might see some niche, off-meta play.
Card rating: 4/10 right now (because Mage has abundance of AoE and late game value), but should get much better after the rotation
Oh, a balanced version of Zombie Chow. To be completely honest, it’s not that much different in Aggro, but then again, Zombie Chow was never really exploited by Aggro (sometimes by Midrange, yes, but not really by Aggro). However, it is significantly worse than Chow was if you want to put it in a slower deck. The thing is, if you’ve played against a faster deck, healing them for 5 was completely irrelevant in the early game. It’s like you’ve played a 1 mana 2/3 with no downside at all. This downside, on the other hand, is much more noticeable, since you’re putting an extra body on your opponent’s side – even more, an extra body that will help them block your attacks from early minions and keep their own minions alive for longer.
So I honestly don’t see this being played in Control as an Aggro counter – 2/3 body is nice, but giving them 0/3 Taunt might put you behind if you have no easy way to get through it. In case of faster decks, however, a 0/3 Taunt will cost them 3 damage most of the time, sometimes 4 if they can’t deal exactly 3 damage. Yes, they would love to see that 3 damage go to the face. But on the other hand, having a stronger body on T1 will often make up for it – not only it deals more damage to the opponent, but also can make some early trades a 1/3 could not.
That said, it might be a little problematic in the Aggro mirrors too. It’s great if you’re ahead – killing a 0/3 Taunt won’t be an issue then. But if you’re behind, then you can’t really drop it, as it will often be traded for free and your opponent will get a 0/3 Taunt for their trouble. That 0/3 Taunt can then serve as a buff target for Fungalmancer, for example, and actually be used to kill you back. So the card works best if you’re playing Aggro and you’re in the lead, so usually vs slower decks. Can also work quite well for Midrange decks that want to curve out as best as they can.
All in all, I think that this card might find some play, but it’s definitely not as good as Zombie Chow was.
Card rating: 6/10
4 mana to draw a single card? Well, I do get that it tutors AND doubles the health of that card, but still, it seems like too much. The only real use I can see for it is a guaranteed tutor for Hadronox in Taunt Druid – you lose a lot of games in which you get it too late vs slower decks. Doubling the health part would be irrelevant, though, sometimes even negative (if you want to kill it but don’t have Naturalize), so I don’t know if it would fit in there, especially since it would be a dead card in case you do draw Hadronox (you play no other Beasts after all).
Another option would obviously be Big Beast Druid. Here doubling the health would be relevant, but it doesn’t change the fact that this card is terribly slow. You pay 4 mana to cycle a card, that’s A LOT. That said, hitting e.g. Witchwood Grizzly might be amazing in some matchups – you could consistently pull off 3/18 Taunts for example. Doubling the health of Oondasta is also a nice deal, since you would have more opportunities to trigger the Overkill effect.
In the end, I think that this card would be too slow. Might be used in some Combo decks to pull a specific Beast (like Hadronox case), but not much more than that.
Card rating: 2/10
The card is definitely similar to, but weaker than Primordial Glyph everyone is comparing it to. Upside of this card is that you can Discover something and still use the 3 mana “discount” on another spell if the one you’ve discovered turns out to be too cheap or not right in the current situation. The huge downside is that the discount lasts for a single turn, so if you don’t use it, it’s gone. Having a 5 mana Flamestrike from Glyph that you can drop on T5 (for example) is one of the reasons why the card is so good – thanks to the 2 mana discount you can play cards ahead of the curve.
I always like Discover cards that let you make your deck more flexible. If you don’t know whether you want to run an extra single target removal, AoE removal, value tool etc. because you face so many different matchups, than running a card like that might be a good choice. It will be weaker than a card which is good vs specific matchup, but it will be better on average across the board.
The card also synergizes quite nicely with Electra Stormsurge in case you need more value (if I understand the card correctly, the discount would stuck up to 6, so you could e.g. cast a free Rain of Toads) – the second card would be random though. Or you could discover more cards to play with Zentimo.
Overall it’s a solid spell, I don’t think that it will be as omnipresent as Primordial Glyph in some Mage builds, but it seems like a great card to play in a very diverse meta, one that you don’t really know what you will need every game,
Card rating: 7/10
In theory, an effect like that can be a massive tempo swing. Even just 2 bigger minions or 3-4 smaller ones means that you basically flood the board and you force your opponent to play a board sweeper (if he has one) or he loses the game. But I don’t think that the card will be particularly good, because it forces Priest to run some… suboptimal cards. And even then, it’s not that consistent.
You see, while Priests have some ways to get minions that didn’t start in their deck (e.g. Cloning Device, Thoughtsteal, Curious Glimmerroot), most of those cards are generally pretty bad (Cloning Device) or won’t consistently give you what you need (Glimmerroot). If you want to go for a really long game plan, you can also play Archbishop Benedictus, and then hoard a lot of minions and play Talanji… but that’s not the best play either, because you play right into your opponent’s AoE.
So, to make the long story short – the effect is rather difficult to utilize without putting sub-optimal cards in your deck, it’s just bad against Aggro (because it’s slow and you won’t likely steal anything meaningful from them anyway) and against Control you’d often rather play those minions one by one to not play into their AoE sweepers they’re just waiting to use and would be dead in their hand otherwise (or forced on 1-2 minions).
In theory, I could see this card in a deck devoted to effects that “steal” cards, discover them or give you random cards, e.g. Glimmerroot, Stonehill Defender, Bone Drake. But this entire deck would be rather clunky if it would rely on a single big board swing to win the game. Technically, pulling let’s say 20 mana worth of stats from your hand for 8 mana is great, but I don’t think that it would be consistent enough.
Card rating: 3/10
I feel like Murloc Tastyfin is a good card, but it’s a bad Murloc card. You see – 4 mana 3/2 that draws you two is solid. Just look at the Elven Minstrel. Sure, Combo is less risky than Deathrattle on average and happens immediately, but this has a tribal tag and it’s Neutral. Some decks would want to play it, but… not necessarily Murloc decks. Murloc strategies are about fast, high tempo, on-curve plays. On T4, it wants to drop something like Gentle Megasaur or a 1-drop + Murloc Warleader and not a 4 mana 3/2. The period in which Murloc decks can close out the game is rather short – if you don’t win by Turn 5-6, you lose most of your matches. Sacrificing one high tempo turn to play for value is not exactly what you want to do. It’s even slower than Primalfin Lookout (costs one more mana for the same stats, draw doesn’t happen immediately), which is almost too slow for Murloc decks already.
If anything, this card can be used to tutor some specific Murlocs you need in an otherwise non-Murloc deck. For example, you COULD try running one copy in Mill Rogue in Wild to get Coldlight Oracles. Or maybe it can be used in future to tutor some other Murlocs
Card rating: 2/10 (but has some niche play potential, especially in Wild)
We already had a card that damaged everything you’ve played – Animated Berserker – and it didn’t run out to be very good. It had pretty weak stats and damaging your minions turned out to be good less often than players have expected. But this seems like a better version of that card for a few reasons. First of all – 1/3 for 1 are your average stats for a while now, it’s nothing impressive. But a 3 mana 2/4 weapon is pretty good – while 2 is not the most exciting amount of damage (as many early drops have 3 health right now), the amount of durability makes up for it.
Since it’s a weapon, it’s also harder to destroy than a 1/3 minion. 1/3 minion dies to anything – weapons, small removals, other minions. Weapons can only be destroyed by a specific tech cards that your opponent might not even run. In that case, you can guarantee that you will have this effect up for a longer time.
However, another problem is that even in a deck with minions that you want to damage, you also play a bunch of minions you don’t want to damage. Let’s say that you run Kor'kron Elite – you’d rather not turn it into a 4/2 for no reason. And the fact that it damages EVERYTHING, no matter what, makes it a bit awkward.
That said, there are some nice synergies with this card. Acolyte of Pain, for one – you get one draw immediately, nearly guaranteeing two draws in total. Grommash Hellscream is a 10/8 minion with Charge since his effect is automatically triggered. Redband Wasp is a 2 mana 4/2 with Rush, also quite good. Rotface summons a random Legendary minion immediately. Yes, there are definitely some cards that benefit from this weapon, but it’s still a bit weird to use.
One more thing worth noting is that it’s an Odd weapon – Odd Warrior might want to play it depending on the meta (if there will be a lot of 1-2 health minions running around), 2/4 stats can be much better than a 3/2 (Fiery War Axe) in that kind of meta, and War Axe was already played by Odd build.
I think the card has some potential, but it doesn’t look amazing so far. In order to make it 100% consistent, we’d need an ENTIRE deck with self-damage synergies, and that’s not something easy to achieve (given that we know nearly every card from the set, it’s pretty much impossible for now).
Card rating: 4/10
Spirit of the Raptor
Killing minions with Hero seems to be “the thing” for Druid this expansion, but this theme just doesn’t feel strong at all. Druid has no weapons (besides Twig of the World Tree, which has 1 point of Attack and is usually used for different strategies), any kind of attack the class gets is temporary. At the base level, he can only gain 1 Attack with Hero Power, but that’s often not enough to finish anything off, and really slow. He CAN gain more attack, but usually through sub-optimal cards such as Claw, Gnash or Bite that he doesn’t want to put into the deck. The only realistic way to trigger those effects consistently is Malfurion the Pestilent, but basing a strategy like that on a single card that you might not even draw doesn’t seem great.
But let’s even assume that you can finish a minion off with your Hero Power one turn. Playing this + doing it is basically cycling for 3 mana, and then assuming it doesn’t die, and you have more targets, you need to use some more mana on your consecutive turns to draw. You rarely finish minions off with your Hero turn after turn, but just using it to draw one is very bad. I mean, this card is like a conditional and significantly worse Mana Tide Totem. You’re limited to 1 per turn anyway, since you can’t attack with your Hero more than once (I’m talking about realistic scenarios, not the one where you somehow get Doomhammer).
The whole theme seems pretty bad to me, and this card in particular is very weak. You will rarely draw more than 1 or maybe 2 cards, and it will cost you quite a lot. If you’re going for the Hero Power strategy, then yeah, it’s a good option, but I don’t see this kind of strategy working, to be honest. Druid has better ways to draw cards.
The only deck I could see this played in is Odd Druid, which has limited access to card draw (no Branching Paths, no Ultimate Infestation) and a better Hero Power. Would it be good enough? Hard to say, but has some potential.
Card rating: 6/10 in Odd Druid, 2/10 in other decks
This is surely an interesting, but also pretty frustrating effect. This card is basically a Chillwind Yeti with a mirrored effect. Mirrored effects work when you can take a bigger advantage of it than your opponent, but is it like this with Griftah?
The text might be a bit complicated when you first read it, but the card is not very complicated. You play it, you get one Discover UI – you pick a card. Then you get another Discover UI – you pick a second card. You get one of those cards and your opponent gets another (at random – you might get the first or the second one). While most of you should be familiar with Discover mechanic, I’ll remind that you can only pick from Neutral + Class cards, but Class cards are weighed at 400% (so a specific class card has 4x the chance of appearing as a specific Neutral cards). However, since there are more Neutral cards in general, they should appear at a roughly similar rate (you should see as many Class cards as Neutrals).
So, you’re basically playing a Yeti that gives you and your opponent a random card? Well, not exactly. The Discover part is very, very important. Since you pick both of those options, it’s actually a massive test of skill. You need to identify what kind of strategy your opponent is playing, what is his win condition, how he wants to get there etc. You also need to understand the same thing for your own deck. Then you try to pick two cards that are going to help you more than your opponent. For example, let’s say that you play this in a slower deck and you play vs Aggro. One of the option you pick is some sort of life gain, and another one is a big late game minion. Neither of those options is good for Aggro – life gain is meaningless, and by the time he gets to play that minion you will most likely stabilize already and it won’t be that big of a threat. On the other side, you would be happy to get that life gain, and while the big minion will probably not be very good, you might still have enough time to play it and it might do something. So, no matter which card your opponent gets, he won’t be happy with it – if you get one of them you will be happy and you don’t mind the other one too.
This card also lets you go for a 50/50 in a situation in which you’re losing the game already. For example, you’re behind on the board and you need some big AoE to win it. You can pick it, and then pick the worst card of the three. You have a 50/50 to get the AoE and possibly come back next turn. Technically, you COULD also use it in an Aggro or a faster Midrange deck to get more steam – in general, you don’t care that much about giving your opponent new cards. Also, another advantage of this card is that you know what both of you have, but your opponent does not know what you have. So you can use that knowledge to play around what you’ve given to him, while he can’t play around the card you got.
So, as you can see, the card makes some sense, and I know it sounds weird when talking about RNG card, but it’s one of the most skill-testing card in the game. But all in all, it’s still pretty bad. If you pick two weak cards, it’s not meaningful enough – Yeti stats aren’t cutting it anymore if you don’t slap a powerful effect on them. In other scenarios, it has a very high chance of backfiring – picking one strong and one weak card means that you might get the wrong one; it’s too slow in Aggro (and there’s no telling that he will give you something you want anyway). I just don’t see a deck that would really want to play it. I think that the card would be much better if you first picked a card for yourself and then for your opponent – this way you would keep it as a kind of mirrored effect, but would lower the RNG and increase the skill cap significantly.
Card rating: 3/10
A balanced version of Duskbreaker. Because realistically that’s how much it should have costed in the first place (the current version is absolutely nuts if you have any doubts). And while I have to say that a 6 mana version of Duskbreaker would still be pretty playable, I have my doubts about this card.
The thing is, Dragon synergies work much better for this kind of effect than Elemental synergies. When you play Duskbreaker, you don’t need any set-up – you just need to have a Dragon in your hand right now. Your opponent floods the board, you drop it, you clear it. But in this case, you can’t do just that. There are turns during which you have not played an Elemental last turn – and if that turns happens when your opponent has flooded the board, this card is useless. You need to play something else, wait one more turn and then drop this, at which point it might be too late. And if that “something else” you’ve played is still on the board (which can be the case), you damage it too.
I mean, if you play a dedicated Elemental Mage deck, then it’s not a problem most of the time – you play Elemental nearly every time. But you can’t just put an “Elemental package” like you can with Duskbreaker & Dragons and still make it work. For example, it could be decent in Big Spell Mage, especially since it would heal for all the damage dealt after Frost Lich Jaina, but the deck doesn’t play the necessary density of Elementals to make that work.
So in the end, I think that this card might see play in all-in Elemental decks, where you drop one nearly every turn. Especially the builds which run Book of Specters and don’t really have access to AoEs – that’s a nice boost for those builds. One downside is that those builds are pretty proactive, so they will usually blow a part of their board too, but that’s the price you have to pay for surviving sometimes. In other decks? I don’t think it will make a cut. Not only because it’s much slower than Duskbreaker is, but also because Elemental synergies don’t work with that kind of effect unless you’re triggering them nearly every turn anyway.
Card rating: 7/10 in Elemental Mage, useless in other decks
Another approach at a handbuff mechanic. However, I don’t really see this working. Remember Glowstone Technician? It was a guaranteed +2/+2 handbuff for all minions and it has seen no play. It’s just that the cards like that are too slow – the tempo gain from buffs is often not enough to offset the initial tempo loss from playing a weaker card.
And let’s be honest, 5 mana 3/3 weapon is very weak. Realistically, you wouldn’t even play it at 4 mana with no other effect. And in order to trigger the handbuff, you need to OVERKILL stuff, which is also not easy with a 3 attack weapon at this stage, because it will only trigger if you kill 1-2 health minions.
See, getting +2/+2 buff three times would be great, but that’s not going to happen very often. Your opponent won’t just play minions you can Overkill into this weapon. If he has a 3/3 on the board, you will still most likely want to kill it, but it won’t give you a handbuff etc. You should expect to get a single handbuff from it, maybe two if you get lucky.
I think that right now Val'anyr is just a better option. While the handbuffs are not happening every turn (let’s be honest, they’re probably not happening every turn with this card either), you can get an infinite weapon, or at least a lot of value until your opponent finds his Silence. The only thing is that Val’anyr can’t be played by Odd Paladin, but this card probably wouldn’t see play in Odd Paladin anyway – it’s not a deck that benefits from handbuffs in particular, especially since it has a low hand size most of the time and it might not even have minions to buff quite often.
All in all, it seems like an okay card, but nothing exciting.
Card rating: 5/10
Totemic Smash is just a solid card. Deal 2 damage to anything for 1 mana is good enough to see play, something that has been proven time and time again by cards like Holy Smite or Arcane Shot. And those don’t have any upside.
While Overkill on this card isn’t particularly powerful, it doesn’t have to be. The card is already good and it’s a sort of bonus. It usually feels bad to “waste” a 2 damage card on a 1 health minion, but sometimes that’s just what you have to do. This will let you do it without feeling bad, as you will get a random Basic Totem for your troubles. Also, if you roll +1 Spell Damage Totem before playing this, you can also clear 2 health minions while summoning a new Totem. On the other hand, this bonus is not big enough for you to regret missing it. If your opponent has a 2 health minion and you have this in your hand, you just throw it and remove it for 1 mana – that’s good!
One thing worth mentioning in particular is that any cheap burn spell can be crucial in Malygos strategy. You can already summon it with Eureka!, but you could only damage your opponent for cheap with Lightning Bolts and Frost Shocks before, the latter was pretty weak in matchups in which you didn’t need the combo, like vs Aggro.
As an extra note, the summoned totem is completely random and you CAN get a second copy of a totem you already have on the board, which can come handy sometimes.
Overall it’s a good card and it will probably see some play – either as an early game tempo removal or as a combo piece.
Card rating: 7/10
It’s a Mark of the Lotus with a huge downside – you need to kill one of your own minions (which would get buffed otherwise) in order to activate it. Yes, different classes and such, but I’d argue that Token Druid was even better at flooding the board than Zoo Warlock. But Mark of the Lotus was pretty broken, so I guess that they didn’t want to repeat it.
As for the downside, I’d say that it’s pretty punishing. The smallest minions you run in Zoo are 2/1’s, so if you sacrifice that, you get -2/-1 on the board. So if you buff even 4 other minions (which would be an above average scenario), that’s only +2/+3 on the board if you count the destroyed minion’s stats. Yes, there are some upsides to this situation, like having better trades, playing around Defile or making your board more resilient to AoE in general. But having a 5 minions board is not your average scenario, though. If you have let’s say 3 minions, then sacrificing one of them to give +1/+1 to the other two doesn’t seem like a great deal.
The card makes more sense in the Wild format I’d say, where we have cards like Forbidden Ritual, Imp Gang Boss or Imp-losion – stuff that lets you summon a bunch of 1/1’s. Also, the card combos nicely with Nerubian Egg, activating it while buffing the rest of your board.
Maybe Zoo will decide to run Devilsaur Egg and this will be one of the ways to trigger it? That’s a possibility, because this would be a good play. But in something like the current Heal Zoo, I just can’t see this card working that well. It’s okay with 4 minions on board in total, good with 5 minions and great with 6 or more – but given that you often have only 2-3 minions on the board, this can be a dead card quite often.
I could see this being played in a really, and I mean really board-floody version of Zoo, but can the deck get much more board floody with the current cards than it is right now? It can try out stuff like Fiendish Circle, but we would need something akin to Forbidden Ritual to really make it work.
P.S. Not sure why people are talking about Cube Warlock, how does it belong to Cube? You’d rather gain 4 life than give +1/+1 to the other minions on your board (remember that the minions coming out of Cube won’t be buffed), because often there will be no other minions to buff at all.
Card rating: 4/10
Spirit of the Frog
If anything, the card is a real deck building challenge. When you play it, you want to run spells with increasing mana cost, e.g. have a 2, 3, 4 and 5 mana spells. You definitely do not want to skip any mana cost, e.g. having 2, 4 and 5 would mean that you can only draw with the 4 mana one, and that’s not good.
While in theory it could be a nice way to chain burn cards as Aggro, I don’t think that’s the best way to use this card (I mean, it costs 3 by itself and doesn’t do anything immediately, so it’s not a great fit in Aggro). But a slower, Control deck can really use this effect to the fullest extent. For example, Crushing Hand or Elementary Reaction in 2 mana slot, Lightning Storm or Haunting Visions in 3 mana slot, Hex in 4 mana slot, Volcano in 5 mana slot and Rain of Toads in 6 mana slot (not necessarily). Which means that basically no matter what you play with this card, you draw something else.
It’s also pretty interesting with Unstable Evolution if you run a bunch of 2 mana spells. This + a single Evolution can draw you all of them quite easily.
Another good thing about it is that the draw isn’t random. If you run only a single spell in a certain mana slot, you can be 100% sure that you will draw it. So if your 4 mana slot is Hex and you’re looking for it in the late game, you can play this, a 3 mana spell to draw Hex, and then even Hex something to draw Volcano.
Sadly, the card’s power gets lower and lower as the game goes by. You will eventually start seeing holes in your mana curve, because you never draw cards evenly. But it’s really good for the mid and late game (not very late game) shenanigans in a slower deck. Maybe even in Aggro, because chaining Lightning Bolt -> Rockbiter Weapon -> Lava Burst is no joke (but I still think that it’s too slow for Aggro).
Card rating: 7/10
Another Dragon-related card, Dragon decks are already starting to shape up into something viable (but we’ll have to play around with the cards to know it for sure). I really like this one, it should be a staple in any Midrange or Control Dragon deck. This card is a nearly guaranteed 2 for 1 – you destroy something (and not something small – 7 damage is a lot, only the biggest minion dodge it) and then your opponent has to deal with the 7/4 body. 7/4 stat-line isn’t particularly hard to clear so late in the game, but if your opponent can’t do that,
Overall, I think that it’s comparable to Blackwing Corruptor the damage was used as a board clear most of the time anyway, and despite a higher mana cost, 7 kills WAY more minions that 3 did. Should also be comparable to Firelands Portal – 7 damage is more than 5, but it can’t go face, so I’d say that it’s about even (maybe slightly weaker), but on the other hand, 7/4 is better than average stats of a random 5-drop, so that’s a win for this card.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it has a Dragon tag itself, which is very important on late game Dragon synergy cards. Drawing this earlier won’t make it completely useless, because you will still be able to use it as a Dragon activator.
I would say that it’s absolutely amazing at 8 damage, at 7 it’s just very good. That’s a massive difference – 8 damage could kill The Lich King, Giants, Ragnaros the Firelord (we might see a bunch of them from Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk, while 7 damage can’t. But I agree with that decision – I feel like it would be too strong at 8 damage.
Card rating: 8/10
Akali, the Rhino
For some reason, I’m getting the Don Han'Cho vibes… which isn’t good for this card. Luckily, not only it has an extra draw, but also it draw a RUSH minion, meaning that the extra stats are much easier to utilize immediately.
Of course, the best minion to hit with the buff is Zilliax, but you would never play just those two in the deck, so it’s not very consistent. But having a 3 mana 8/8 Rush (Rabid Worgen) is also solid. Basically, any Rush minion with a +5/+5 slapped on it will be great.
5 Attack is not that difficult to Overkill with – killing anything at 4 or less health will trigger the effect. Of course, you can trigger it twice, which would be quite insane, but… let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen very often.
I’d say that if you’re playing a Rush-based Tempo deck, then yeah, this should be a solid card (not anything game-breaking, though). Small-midrange removal with a draw and massive buff strapped to it. But the question is – again – will a deck like that exist? Spirit of the Rhino will definitely be a huge help, but I still have my doubts. Those cards don’t fix the main problem of Rush Warrior – the deck is just not good enough at putting pressure against Control decks.
I think that it will be solid in Rush decks, but probably not good enough outside of them.
Card rating: 6/10 in Rush Warrior, useless outside of it
At first I thought that it’s pretty underwhelming, but then I’ve realized that it might not be the case after all. Of course, you want to play this in a deck which runs only the biggest Beast cards you can imagine, like 7+ mana, with Witchwood Grizzly probably being the only exception (because summoning it is not that bad, since it keeps full stats).
My initial problem with this card was that it’s 2 for 1 – you use two cards to get one body on the board. But then I’ve realized that you can basically use it like a kind of Innervate, even better one in some cases. The best case scenario is pulling a Tyrantus – it’s like gaining 4 extra mana that way. Assuming you’ve played Wild Growth, you can get a 12/12 with Rush on T5, something that’s absolutely insane in pretty much every matchup. Even pulling Oondasta which would pull another minion can be a huge board swing in your favor.
Even the Ironhide Direhorn from Rumble seemed pretty underwhelming at first, but if you could pull it for 6 mana AND give it Rush, then you’re nearly guaranteed to create an extra 5/5 after trading into something.
And the best thing is that the card disadvantage can be quite easily negated in Druid thanks to Ultimate Infestation, that’s why I believe that at least until UI rotates out, this card would see play in such an archetype (assuming it will work).
The deck’s concept still seems pretty janky, but I honestly think that it has some potential.
Technically, it could also be used as a Hadronox activator in Taunt Druid, although your opponent would need a 7+ Attack minion you could run into immediately.
Card rating: 8/10
This is another “deck building” card like Reno Jackson, Baku the Mooneater or the Hunter’s own Rhok'delar. You see, discovering a single minion from your deck for 3 mana is absolutely terrible. You can already do that with a 2/2 body stapled into it and it doesn’t even see much play (Stitched Tracker). You basically NEED to get 3 Beasts for it to be worth, because drawing 3 for 3 is great.
Since it’s a Discover effect, running even a single non-Beast card could mess with it A LOT. If you run 10 different minions, 1 of which is not a Beast, you already have 30% chance to see it in Discover, ruining the “draw 3” effect (and Hunter decks are generally pretty spell-heavy, so they would realistically run even less minions). Running 2-3 non-Beasts would make it unplayable. So you need a dedicated Beast deck, but does such a thing even exist? Right now, no, it does not. But even if it did, you’d still want to run something like Houndmaster – it’s one of the main reasons to run a Beast deck in the first place. Cutting Houndmaster Shaw is also a difficult decision. Could you risk running it and making this card fail quite often? Hard to say, I would guess not.
If you’re building a full Beast deck, then yes, it’s an auto-include. But honestly? In a faster Beast deck, I’d rather have Houndmaster, and in a slower Beast deck, I’d rather have Houndmaster Shaw and Kathrena Winterwisp instead of this for the most part. Not to mention any non-Beast techs you might want to put in.
Card rating; 10/10 in a full Beast deck… but I’d say that 3/10 in general, because you don’t really want to limit your minions only to Beasts
It’s the first card with FOUR different forms, which means that is beats just about anything else in terms of flexibility.
You’re playing against Aggro and you need a Taunt? 1/6 Taunt for 3 isn’t best, but it does its job, especially against Odd Paladin.
You’re playing against a slower decks and you’re just before Turn 8, when they will probably drop The Lich King? Play Stealth + Poisonous and wait for it. You can stop him from playing a big minion, or force him to AoE it down.
Your opponent has just dropped a 3-4 health minion that you absolutely want to clear? You got 4/2 with Rush to run into it.
You’re holding Swipe but your opponent has a lot of 2 health targets (or a single 5 health target)? Go for +1 Spell Damage.
While yes, the individual forms aren’t most amazing, the flexibility is what makes this card quite powerful. Powerful enough to see play? Honestly, right now maybe not. Druid has so many overpowered cards that something like this feels underwhelming in comparison. It also wouldn’t be played in any Oaken Summons or Witching Hour deck for obvious reasons. But it would be a great fit into a sort of Spiteful deck (Spell Damage would be useless there, but other 3 forms not), or just a general Midrange Druid build. I could even see it in Malygos Druid and such after rotation happens.
P.S. Wardruid Loti is absolutely broken in the Wild with Fandral Staghelm – it’s a 3 mana 4/6 minion with Taunt, Rush, Poisonous, Stealth and Spell Damage. Crazy.
Card rating: 7/10, but Druid has so many broken cards right now that it will be hard to fit until the rotation
Big Bad Voodoo
I’m not quite sure why would you want to play that. It’s a single Evolve that’s delayed, because it’s strapped onto a Deathrattle. For 2 mana. If you have a minion you want to Evolve, you can just play Unstable Evolution once and it will be the same, but immediately. Minions you want to Evolve aren’t generally very useful on the board anyway, so you usually want it to happen right away, not to mention the fact that Deathrattle can get Silenced.
On the other hand, if you have a big minion you want to keep on the board, just play Ancestral Spirit. Minions you want to revive like that are generally better than random minions that cost 1 more. E.g. you won’t likely upgrade an Earth Elemental by turning it into a random 6-drop.
So, if you want to Evolve stuff, you just play Unstable Evolution, and if you want to keep big minions on the board, you just play Ancestral Spirit. This doesn’t make much sense to me.
Card rating: 2/10
Remember Shieldmaiden? This is Shieldmaiden, for 1 mana less, with a Dragon tag on it. If you’re playing a Control Dragon deck, it will be an absolute auto-include in a 5-drop slot (Midrange Dragon might still prefer Cobalt Scalebane, but it might play both). Gaining Armor in Warrior is quite important, especially if you aren’t playing an Odd version, then 5 Armor is quite a lot (2.5 turns of Hero Powering). You can combo it with Shield Slam to clear something immediately, or hoard that Armor to get a big AoE with Reckless Flurry. Just gaining Armor is also good enough against Aggro. Dragon tag really helps with the fact that you will have A LOT of Dragon-related cards this expansion, so the more of them have Dragon tags themselves, the easier it will be to activate all of the effects.
It’s not a card you would want to build your entire deck around (like Drakonid Operative was), but it will definitely be a Dragon Warrior staple if such a deck will exist. Not much more to say about it – if Dragon Warrior will be played (and I’m 100% sure that it will at least be extensively tested), it will be a part of the deck. Coincidentally, a lot of those Dragon cards also fit into the Odd build, so that might be the way to go actually.
Card rating: 8/10
3 mana 2/4 that discovers a spell is pretty good. While you’d rather draw a card from your deck (Hunter’s pool of spells is large and not very consistent), you wouldn’t complain about that. The condition is… quite easy to meet if you’re running both Candleshot and Eaglehorn Bow, although you would sometimes need to drop it as a vanilla 2/4 or wait a few turns, because there is a quite high chance that you will draw this without a weapon or vice versa (and use your weapon before you draw this), your weapon can also get destroyed.
But the main issue I have with this card is mana cost. 3 mana slot in Hunter is soooo full. Animal Companion, Kill Command, Unleash the Hounds, Deadly Shot, Eaglehorn Bow, Bearshark, Stitched Tracker, Devilsaur Egg, Terrorscale Stalker, Spider Bomb… those are all 3 mana cards played in Hunter decks – of course not at once, but there are just so many of them that every Hunter archetype already finds this mana slot quite problematic and usually tries to cut from it, not put more cards in there.
It’s a good card, especially if Hunter gets another weapon it wants to play (because some decks don’t run Eaglehorn Bow, only Candleshot), but it might be very hard to slot into something.
Card rating: 7/10
Innervate for Elementals? Why not.
I like the card and I think that it might be quite powerful. If you’ve ever played the Elemental Mage build with Mountain Giants, you’d know that the deck doesn’t struggle when it comes to value or card advantage. On the contrary, it’s often looking for ways to get some extra tempo on the board. This card will definitely help with that, Tempo swing potential is quite high. E.g. something as simple as Elemental Evocation + Water Elemental on T1/T2 can be like an old Innervate + Yeti, but this time it also freezes the face, so it can counter Odd Rogue. Evocation + Blazecaller can be an amazing T5 play – you can easily clear their 4-drop or 5-drop while developing a 6/6. You can even get out the new Arcanosaur earlier if you need it against Aggro.
The only issue I have with this card is that the Elemental deck I’ve talked about runs 2x Book of Specters, so it doesn’t want to run many spells. The current build (at least the one I’ve played) doesn’t run any other spell than those, so adding two Invocations might not be that big of a deal in terms of consistency, but still – it’s something to consider. Maybe even a more aggressive / tempo-oriented Elemental Mage build would pop out? Because T1 Nightmare Amalgam or T2 Water Elemental might even carry some games.
Card rating: 8/10 in Elemental Mage, obviously useless outside
In general, Overkill works better on cards with Rush, since you can wait until you have the right target and trigger them immediately. But having the right target might be quite difficult in this case – you need a 1 or 2 health minion, and Turn 5+ is often too late for that. Yes, your opponent might drop one eventually, but even triggering it once is not very good. I mean, a 3/4 minion with Rush that summons 2x 1/1 AS A BATTLECRY would be okay, but maybe not even constructed playable (we have a 4 mana 2/4 with 2x 1/1 that’s not Constructed playable, you pay 1 mana for +1 Attack and Rush on the main body, I think that would be fair).
That’s the thing about this card – not only Overkill effect is moderately difficult to trigger (because you can’t get it on 3 health minions, which are very popular), but it’s honestly not even that strong. You would need to trigger it twice in order for it to actually be a good card, and that’s way too much. If you don’t trigger it at all, playing 5 mana 3/4 with Rush is terrible – I wouldn’t play a 3/4 Rush even at 4 mana.
Pretty bad card in general.
Card rating: 2/10
Pirate Rogue really shaped up over the course of this reveal season, and this looks like a solid finisher, something to top your curve.
The 6/3 body is worth roughly 4 mana, although the stat distribution is pretty bad. Then the effect is just insane. I’ve seen people comparing it to Call to Arms, but it’s way, way better than that. Not only it can pull out minion that cost 3 or more (Southsea Captain, Captain Greenskin, Cursed Castaway), but it also gives everything Rush, so you can impact the board immediately. Let’s say that your opponent has dropped The Lich King and you have some board already – you can drop this and use the Rush minions to punch through it (while leaving a 6/3 body behind), while hit your opponent with the rest of your board. The Rush would even make cards like Ticket Scalper much more powerful (although I’m not sure if you would want to run it in the first place anyway).
And if your board sticks, you can follow it up with Cannon Barrage next turn to absolutely decimate your opponent.
But here’s the thing – this would fit more into a Midrange deck than into an Aggro deck, and Pirates are pretty aggressive. So far, every iteration of Pirate Rogue we had in the game was Aggro or at least a fast Tempo deck – Hooktusk would be too slow for the most part. So while in theory this card is quite powerful if you curve a bit higher with your Pirates, a Midrange Pirate deck might just not work enough in the first place, and relying on this card to win every game is not the best strategy.
Also, I feel like the current pool of Pirates is a bit lackluster. We MIGHT still see a Pirate or two in the upcoming reveals, and I hope that we’ll get something Midrange-y to fit into a deck I’ve envisioned.
Card rating: 8/10 in the right deck, but might be too slow unless some Midrange Pirates get printed
Remember the good, old Convert? That’s what it should have been in the first place.
In general, it’s compared to a better Zola the Gorgon, and I have to agree with that – the 2/2 body wasn’t that meaningful, and 1 less mana + the ability to target opponent’s minions is probably better than the body anyway. BUT, keep in mind that Zola is generally not played in Priest. Well, sure, it’s played in some Quest Priest builds, but it’s basically an off-meta deck right now. So I guess that Seance would replace it in that deck.
So where could Seance see play? Certainly in any Princess Talanji deck – that’s a solid way to get a minion from outside of your deck, if you really want to go for that swing with Battlecry. You could theoretically get two copies of Prophet Velen with this, then drop Talanji and play a 20 damage Mind Blast, but to be honest, there are better ways to combo as a Priest.
It makes more sense to run it in Resurrect Priest than Zola – after all, getting an extra copy of some minions (like an extra The Lich King or Obsidian Statue, or Prophet Velen) can be a nice effect, but you didn’t want to play Zola, because the 2/2 body diluted revive pool. You can also copy a big threat from your opponent, remove it, and play it by yourself on the next turn. But as someone who tried out Convert when it came out back in the day, despite a pretty slow meta at the time, the card was just terrible, it never really came handy or felt good to use, so I guess that being able to target opponent’s minions is a nice, but not very relevant addition.
But I’m not as hyped about this card as some people seem to be. It’s very slow, you still pay 2 mana to just replace it with something else, copying your opponent’s minion won’t come up very often (and if you wanted to do it, Faceless Manipulator is way better). If anything, I think that it might see play as a part of some combos, but I don’t think it will be nearly as widespread as some people think.
Card rating: 5/10