As some of you might remember, I’ve dropped card reviews in Rise of Shadows due to the lack of time. After becoming an admin, I had much less time to write about stuff, and card reviews were really time-absorbing. I have to say that I’ve missed it – reveal season is my favorite time of the HS expansion cycle (I like it even more than the early days of an expansion, believe it or not) and writing about new cards only added to that experience. After getting an overwhelmingly positive response from you guys about wanting card reviews to be back, I’ve decided to give it one more shot. For now, when the reveal season is not in full force yet, I’ll try to review every card that’s out. Later, depending on how fast the cards will come, I might focus only on the more interesting ones.
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 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 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!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #2 – Highlander Explorers, Making Mummies, Hidden Oasis, Expired Merchant, Wild Bloodstinger And More!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #3 – Riftcleaver, Hunter’s Pack, Tip the Scales, Anka, Arcane Flakmage, Hooked Scimitar, Tortollan Pilgrim, Mogu Cultist And More!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #4 – Diseased Vulture, Into the Fray, Pressure Plate, Frightened Flunky, High Priest Amet, Generous Mummy, Grandmummy And More!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #5 – Plague of Wrath, Colossus of the Moon, Hack the System, Overflow, Plague of Flames, Dark Pharaoh Tekahn And More!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #6 – Embalming Ritual, Shadow of Death, Siamat, King Phaoris, Wretched Reclaimer, Activate the Obelisk, Bazaar Burglary and More!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #7 – Ancient Mysteries, Crystal Merchant, Dune Sculptor, Garden Gnome, Hyena Alpha, Injured Tol’vir, Mischief Maker And More!
- Saviors of Uldum Card Reviews #8 (Final) – Naga Sand Witch, Oasis Surger, Octosari, Quicksand Elemental, Unseal the Vault, Vessina, Zephrys the Great
In Rise of Shadows, Rogue was the only viable “Lackey” class, but it seems that Saviors of Uldum is pushing the Lackey Shaman even harder. But if the strategy takes off, EVIL Totem might not even be a vital part of the build. When it comes to Lackey generators, this card can probably be compared to EVIL Cable Rat. If the Totem generates only a single Lackey, then Rat is better. Not only 1/1 stats are better than 0/2, but in the late game you can play the Lackey immediately. However, if Totem sticks to generate a second Lackey, it’s already superior by a huge margin. Despite being 1 cost cards, Lackeys pack much more value, especially if your deck has extra ways to get advantage of them.
The question is, however, how often will it realistically generate more than 1? When dropped on Turn 2 vs empty board – sure. But against any kind of early tempo, or later in the game when your opponent has access to different weapons, removals, or possibly even minions on the board to just kill it, it probably won’t be that often. And let’s be honest – 2 mana to generate a single Lackey is bad, since at 0 attack even if opponent trades into it, it never trades back, unlike Rat which could kill some 1-drops. 2 health is just too easy to get rid of.
So whether it will see play or not probably depends on two things. First – how much Lackey generation will Lackey Shaman need. That depends on whether we get another generator or more cards that require Lackeys on board. And second thing – on the meta, obviously. If this could be dropped on Turn 2 consistently without your opponent being able to answer it efficiently, then it’s great. If the meta is aggressive, then it’s just too slow. But no matter what, I think EVIL Totem’s power level is similar to Rat – a bit weaker if the meta is faster, a bit stronger if the meta is slower. Which makes it an okay card, but nothing impressive.
P.S. Forgot about it – the fact that it’s Totem might make it better at one point, if we get more Totem synergies. But right now it’s pretty much irrelevant.
Card rating: 5/10
It ain’t a Fire Fly, that’s for sure. Between 1/1 stats (and not 1/2) and generating stuff on Deathrattle (instead of Battlecry), it’s not really amazing. Random 1-drops aren’t exactly great. If we want a sticky 1-drop for tempo, Argent Squire or Mecharoo are better. Then, generating a 1-drop is not that amazing. 1-drops are best on Turn 1 – let’s say that it dies on Turn 3 or 4, or you get it in the late game, then a random 1-drop might be basically irrelevant. They can still be turn fillers (you’d rather drop a 1 mana minion than float 1 mana), or maybe used in Rogue to activate combos, but their impact is just not that high.
The only redeeming quality I can see is that 1-drops have nice synergy with Magic Carpet in Zoo. After Carpet, you can drop this as a 2/1 with Rush, then you get another random 1-drop and also can drop it immediately for even more tempo.
Overall, it’s not a bad card, but it’s not very good either. I think that there are better 1-drops right now (I know that it’s a class card, but let’s say compare it to Druid’s Acornbearer), but it could see some play eventually.
Card rating: 4/10
Plague of Death
On the one hand, I’m happy that Priest has got another board clear. But on the other, heck, it’s EXPENSIVE. 9 mana board clear is crazy. A lot of the games don’t even go to Turn 9. Against Aggro, if you don’t clear the board (usually multiple times) earlier, you’ll be just dead. I remember how often I struggled to get to Turn 7 against Odd Paladin to cast Psychic Scream. I would nearly never survive two more turns to get to this card.
Yes, Plague of Death is very powerful. Against some decks, it’s even better than Psychic Scream. A huge downside of Scream was that despite clearing the board FOR NOW, it shuffled the resources back into your opponent’s deck. It made it pretty bad in Control mirrors – you didn’t want your opponent to play those minions against eventually, nor did you want to keep them further from fatigue. Of course, that downside was an upside in many matchups, and that’s what made Scream so amazing. Against Aggro, you didn’t care that they shuffle their small stuff into their decks – heck, if they run some tokens (like Odd Paladin or Token Druid), it was even an upside. So, lots of the time, this is just a Scream that costs 2 more mana. And 2 more mana is A HUGE deal.
Because of the mana cost, Plague of Death can be played as an additional board clear, probably one-of, not the main one. You need to have an already fully operational Control Priest to even consider using this card – it does not push one into the viable territory. Because what’s the point of having an expensive board clear if you a) won’t survive that long vs Aggro and b) still don’t have a win condition vs Control. Maybe two of if we see some slower decks with Deathrattles or let’s say Mechs – like this is absolutely amazing vs Mech Paladin (can answer Kangor's Endless Army, for example) or the slower Mech Hunter build (not Bomb Hunter). The “Silence” part makes it much better than let’s say Twisting Nether or other “board wipes” in that scenario.
In other words, the card itself is pretty good. However, it alone won’t make Control Priest viable. The deck needs more early/mid game survivability vs Aggro, and an actual, proper win condition vs Control. Maybe Priest’s Quest (which we don’t know yet) will fix that – who knows? For now I can only rate the card based on its own merit, and I can say with all confidence that Priest needs more.
Card rating: 7/10
Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron
Honestly, this is a hell of a card to rate. I have absolutely no idea whether it will be good or not. I would need to analyze the current list of spells available in Standard and weigh how many of them can have a positive, neutral or negative effect, how many of them are board clears, how many of them summon stuff etc. before I could rate it with any dose of confidence. And we’ll still be getting more Spells revealed this expansion, which might change the card significantly. For example, right now we don’t have a card like Cataclysm or Astral Communion in Standard, so it has a lower chance of really messing with you, but we might still get one – who knows?
10 spells is not enough to repeat the crazy Yogg turns we had in the past (note that it can’t re-cast itself, so no potentially infinite loops), but it’s good enough to make a solid impact on the board. I’m not a big fan of this card, just like I was not a big fan of Yogg, because neither of them is consistent and they are needlessly random. It’s just not fun to outplay your opponent entire match just for him to cast this, get the perfect spells he needs and win the game just like that. Of course, it makes for a nice clip to show on reddit, but it’s just not very fair. Unlike Yogg, I hope this won’t see competitive play, because imagine the final game of World Championship being decided by this. No, I don’t even want to imagine it.
The scary thing is that unlike Yogg, you don’t need to build your deck around it (for Yogg, you needed LOTS of spells – this can be the only spell in your deck and it will work as well), and you don’t even need to put it into your deck. With the amount of spell generation Mage has access to in general, we’ll see this card quite often whether we like it or not. It might be from Kalecgos (which will be a bit like a new Yogg combo), it might be from Mana Cyclone etc. And trust me that it will ruin a lot of games for either side.
Card Rating: I really have no clue, analysing the current pool of spells would take way too long. But I’m very unhappy about the existence of this card.
Restless Mummy is a really nice way to showcase the new Reborn mechanic. Reborn + Rush combo works very well, because you can take advantage of both parts of the card immediately. I really like this card, and I think that it might replace Militia Commander as a go-to Rush card in most of Warrior builds. I mean, it depends on what kind of minions will be played – for example, if some strong 2/5 minion gets printed, or 3 mana 3/4’s will be common, then Commander will be much better (this will leave no body, while Commander will leave a 2/3 or 2/2 behind – big difference). But on average, I think that Mummy is stronger.
What is so good about it is flexibility. You can just drop it on Turn 4 on empty board. 3/2 body is not impressive, but it’s sticky, so your opponent often needs to use two cards (or a card + Hero Power) to get rid of it. You can use it to kill a small minion and leave a body behind – akin to Hunter’s Flanking Strike (of course, 3/1 is weaker than 3/3, but that’s the price of flexibility). You can also run two parts into a single minion to deal 6 damage for 4 mana – that’s not bad at all. And finally, you can run it into two different minions to have a Multi-Shot that you can control.
A new, strong Rush card is also a buff to Town Crier (it will be hard to not run two in every Warrior build), and Rush Warrior in general. Rush Warrior is a deck that was almost viable for a few expansion now, but it was always a little bit too weak compared to the meta decks. Maybe it will finally be its time to shine?
Card rating: 8/10
This one is pretty simple – if you run a Quest, you (most likely) want to run this card too. 2 mana 2/3 that draws you a card is very powerful without any doubt. For example – Arcanologist was staple in nearly every Mage deck because of that. There are some exceptions – if you plan to finish the quest very fast (like The Caverns Below Rogue, for example – after you complete Quest it will no longer draw you a card, and every minion is 4/4 anyway, so it’s not better than any other 2-drop with an effect) or you already have enough 2 mana cards that synergize with your Quest (like Awaken the Makers Priest – Loot Hoarder, Dead Ringer and Bloodmage Thalnos are probably enough, since they also progress your Quest).
If you don’t run Quest – you just obviously avoid it, since it’s a River Crocolisk without a Beast tag. It’s also obviously just a River Croc after you finish your Quest. If its effect lasted after, I would give it 10/10, but because it gets weaker later in the game.
The card is not strong enough to make you run Quests, but if you already play a Quest deck, then there’s a high chance that you will want to add it. From the Quests we’ve got so far, it works especially well in Warlock (Supreme Archeology) and Shaman (Corrupt the Waters), since in both cases it progresses towards the Quests on top of being a good card itself. I’m absolutely sure that if Quest decks see play, so will Questing Explorer.
Card rating: 8/10
(Quest Reward: Tome of Origination)
At face value, the card is incredibly weak. Drawing 20 cards is VERY hard task to accomplish. By the time you’re done, you’re nearly out of cards. So why would you even want an upgraded Hero Power that… draws you cards? It would be absolutely unplayable and would make zero sense if that was it.
However, luckily for Warlock players, that’s not all. Shuffle mechanics come to the rescue. The most obvious and strongest synergy card is Plot Twist. Let’s say that you have 8 cards in your hand and play Plot Twist – you draw 7 cards, finishing ~1/3 of the Quest. Now add more cards that shuffle stuff into your deck, stuff that cycles itself – Portal Keeper and Portal Overfiend. That’s up to 12 “extra” cards that cast immediately and draw you another card. Even more if you run Augmented Elekks. Now finishing this Quest in time seems much more plausible.
But that still doesn’t make this deck any good. While this Hero Power is a nice upgrade, it doesn’t win you the game. It’s a nice addition, not something that you want to spend all of your resources wanting to get. It should be more of an addition into an already okay archetype than something that makes it viable. That’s why I assume that we will get a few more cards to synergize with it. Maybe some other stuff that shuffles cards into your deck (that cycle themselves), maybe more cards to synergize with Plot Twist. Honestly I don’t have much clue what those could be, but the deck needs A LOT more support before it even starts to be playable.
Card rating: 2/10 with the current pool of cards, has some potential if we get more support
(Quest Reward: Ossirian Tear)
I like this card a lot. We all know how powerful Fandral Staghelm was when it could stick to the board – this reward is a permanent Fandral effect. Even though we don’t have as many powerful “Choose One” cards as we did in the past, even the good old Wrath or Nourish are great with this effect.
In theory, you can complete the Quest as early as Turn 5 – but you need to float at least one mana per turn, which makes your early game incredibly weak. This strategy might be viable vs Control decks, where you can take your sweet time, but it will fall short against any aggressive opening from your opponent. However, the thing is – you don’t NEED to float the mana every turn. You will finish the Quest eventually – maybe on Turn 7, maybe 9. Or maybe if you face an Aggro deck, you can just throw it away, ignore it and play your normal anti-Aggro strategy (=survive).
For that reason, I think that the Quest is very strong. However, right now I see two big issues. First and most importantly – it fits into a slower Druid, and slow builds were gutted by the nerfs and rotation. Right now the only viable Druid strategy is Token, and this card does not fit into it. Another issue is – like I’ve mentioned above – lack of great Choose One cards. We don’t have Raven Idol, Living Roots, Feral Rage, Mire Keeper or let’s say Malfurion the Pestilent that previously heavily benefited from that effect. However, this Quest might make previously “meh” Choose One cards playable. For example, Druid of the Claw isn’t the worst thing ever even without both effects – and a 5 mana 4/6 Taunt with Charge is very powerful after you finish the Quest. It’s even more apparent for Wardruid Loti – an okay card by itself, absolutely insane with all of the transformations at once (4/6 with Taunt, Rush, Poisonous, Stealth and +1 Spell Damage – for 3 mana!).
So the Quest itself is strong, but it really needs a deck you want to put it into + more Choose One synergies. Especially higher cost Choose One cards, which would give this kind of a deck some late game win condition. But I’m hopeful that they will do something to make slow Druid viable again.
Card rating: 3/10 with the current pool of cards, MUCH higher if we get more support – maybe even 9/10
Corrupt the Waters
(Quest Reward: Heart of Vir'naal)
Usually, playing 6 Battlecry cards is not that easy. Even if you play one each turn on curve (which is kind of unlikely), then you would finish the Quest on Turn 7. And probably even later, realistically. However, that’s where Lackeys come handy. Not only cards that generate them have Battlecries (Sludge Slurper, EVIL Cable Rat), but Lackeys have them too. Once you finish the Quest, Hero Power can be amazing. Doubling your Battlecries means that you have Brann Bronzebeard effect on-demand, and we all know how powerful that could be. If you have seen how powerful can Lackey Rogue turns be with Spirit of the Shark out then you will get what I mean. They are cheap and have quite meaningful Battlecries, so doubling them is always good. That’s why I think that the Quest might see play in Lackey Shaman – it will be both easy to finish and have solid enough impact. Now, it mostly depends on how fast Lackey Shaman will want to go. Because if it will be an Aggro or faster Tempo deck, then giving up Turn 1 AND a card in starting hand to get value out of it only in mid-late game might not be worth it. A Midrange or Control build, however, would definitely want to run it.
But of course, Lackeys are not all minions that will benefit from double Battlecries. Shaman’s own Storm Chaser, Fire Elemental, Krag'wa, the Frog, Swampqueen Hagatha or the upcoming Weaponized Wasp all have nice Battlecries you can double. And then, there are obviously many good Neutral Battlecry minions – you would probably want to add some to reap the benefits of upgraded Hero Power too.
Another upside is that basic Shaman Hero Power is rather… meh. Unless you run some deck that synergizes with wide board or Totems specifically, it’s often useless. Totems just tank 2 damage every now and then, and while they might give you the clutch Spell Damage when you need, the fact that you only have 1/4 chance to get it makes it pretty weak. That’s why some sort of Midrange Shaman would probably not feel the loss of regular Hero Power, while this might be great.
Now, the main issue I see with this quest is that it directly competes with Hagatha the Witch. The main reason you play Hagatha is to get an upgraded Hero Power, but the upgraded Hero Power is no longer that good when you already have a better than starting one. It’s hard to say which one is superior, there are definitely merits for either of them. But I just don’t think that it would be worth to run Hagatha (which is a premium Shaman card right now) in this Quest deck.
Still, the Quest looks really good in the right deck. It’s easy to finish and quite impactful once you do it. However, whether it will see play or not really depends on whether Lackey Shaman (or a similar deck) takes off . And, like I’ve mentioned, how fast it will be.
Card rating: 7/10
This is a very powerful board clear card, no doubt about it. While the effect is mirrored, dealing 7 AoE damage for 7 mana is great. Just compare it to the baseline of Flamestrike (which is not even a bad card) and you’ll see why. What’s even better is that damage is spread over two hits, which means that it’s great for dealing with small Deathrattle tokens. For example, it single-handedly wrecks any Token Druid board – even if it’s buffed with Soul of the Forest (same goes for Murloc Shaman and Soul of the Murloc). Notably, it can also get rid of the new Reborn cards – since they revive at 1 health, if the first part kills it (and 5 AoE damage should kill a lot of them), then the 2nd part will die to 2 damage. While being mirrored hurts a bit, it’s not THAT big of an issue in Control Shaman, a deck that it certainly belongs to.
The only big downside of the card is that it doesn’t deal 8 in total. There’s a big difference between 7 and 8. Many late game threats have 8 health, and – most importantly – boards that Mage can create with Giants + Conjurer's Calling also have 8 health. So to get rid of those, you might need another AoE or Spell Damage.
If necessary, you can also combine it with the new Plague of Murlocs for a guaranteed full board clear, but Lightning Storm should be often good enough to clear the Murloc boards. Might come handy sometimes, though.
Control Shaman is already in a decent spot, and Earthquake will definitely be a great fit into that deck. Possibly Big Shaman too, but looks best in Control build. I would seriously give it 10/10 if it dealt 8 damage and not 7, which makes it significantly weaker in some matchups.
Card rating: 8/10
Classic Warlock removal – you get something slightly above the average power level (regular “destroy a minion” is costed at 5 mana), but with a downside. The card particularly reminds me of Blastcrystal Potion, which had probably an even bigger downside. Shuffling three 1 mana 1/1’s into your deck is definitely less harmful immediately than losing a mana crystal (and if you were forced to play Blastcrystal Potion in the mid game, you usually were in a pretty bad spot already). Of course, in the long run, getting a few bad draws is also very harmful, but Warlock is drawing more cards than an average class anyway, so it can often afford a few bad cards. So given that Warlock doesn’t have access to any other rather cheap removal, it’s not bad. I like the fact that it can answer Turn 4 Mountain Giant against Mage, before they start Conjuring it.
But one thing that we should talk about is that shuffling random stuff into your deck is not always a downside. First of all – if you play in a fatigue matchup, then adding 3 more cards to your deck can be good, even if they’re useless. You can even turn them into random Legends with Arch-Villain Rafaam – although that’s more of a dream scenario that will be relevant only in the slowest matchups. Plus, we don’t know what other cards Warlock will get – maybe there will be another way to either get rid of this downside or even turn it into an upside. This can also be useful if you run some sort of Void Contract deck – you can bring your opponent much closer to fatigue and then shuffle more cards in yourself.
The problem is that I don’t see a deck it would fit into right now. Zoo Warlock probably doesn’t want to play it (if it wanted direct removal, it would already run Demonbolt). It’s more of a Control card, but Control Warlock just doesn’t work right now. The class lost all of its powerful Year of the Mammoth tools and it’s pretty terrible right now. Control Warlock needs a good early/mid game AoE, it needs more healing, and it needs a better win condition before it becomes viable.
Right now, the card looks meh. Comparable to Blastcrystal Potion, which was also below average, but Reno Warlock played it because a) they could only play one-ofs and b) Flamewreathed Faceless was common back then and you REALLY needed to answer it. A regular deck wouldn’t play it. And I don’t think a regular Warlock deck will play this – we probably need some ways to turn negate the downside or make it an upside before it sees play.
Card rating: 3/10
Possibly my favorite card from the new set so far. Not only it has amazing flavor, but it’s also very powerful. Honestly, it’s exactly what Druid needs right now, given that the class is in a pretty weak spot currently. The baseline is okay, but nothing to write stories about – 3 mana for 4 damage to a minion is really standard. However, the amount of possible synergies and plays you can make with this card is simply insane.
Just to list a few. Combo it with Cult Master for a mini-Ultimate Infestation. For 7 mana, you get to deal 4 damage to a minion, summon 4/2 (that can draw you more cards) and draw 4 cards (but spend two, so you end up with +2 card advantage). Very powerful. If you’re going for a pure card draw, you can combo it with Ticket Scalper to draw lots of cards. Play it with anything that buffs attack of your minions (like Raid Leader) to deal 8 damage instead of 4. If you desperately want to heal yourself, play it on your own Zilliax. If you manage to stick Linecracker, you hit it with Bees and get 80 damage (of course, Linecracker is bad by itself, so it probably won’t see play, but it’s still cool). Also a great way to trigger your own Eggs – drop Scarab Egg on Turn 2, play this on Turn 3. Enjoy 7x 1/1 on board (if you play Token Druid that’s often game if your opponent doesn’t clear them). Also synergizes with Knife Juggler.
What I’m not sure about is whether they continue to attack minion that is already dead. For example, if you play them on a 2/1 minion, will all of them hit it and die, or only the first one and you will have 3 left. Even if it’s the first, it’s still a very strong card, but if it’s the second, it’s even more insane than I’ve suspected.
And I’m absolutely sure that people will find even more ways to make it useful. It’s a cool design, great flavor and a very strong card overall. It will fit into all kinds of Druid – Token, Midrange, Control – because different Druid builds can synergize it with different cards. I really love it!
Card rating: 9/10
Another support card for Lackey Shaman. 3 mana 3/3 that deals 3 damage on Battlecry would be played in nearly every single deck in the game – it’s that strong. A card that was sometimes playable in Standard – Fire Plume Phoenix – costed 1 more and had a weaker effect. Fire Elemental costs 6 mana and has the same effect on a comparable stats for the mana cost. Yes, it is strong.
But in order to play it, you need to run a lot of Lackey generation. If not, don’t bother, because most of the time it will be a vanilla 3/3 for 3. If let’s say all you play is 2x Sludge Slurper, than that’s not enough. While the effect is powerful, it’s far from game-winning so you can’t afford it to be a dead card in your hand most of the time. You want to play it on curve as often as you can – T3 if you already have Lackey on board (which is possible if you play a deck built around them) or T4 alongside a Lackey if you don’t. Either way, it’s really strong. So the only question is whether Lackey Shaman will be good enough to take off. And if not – will another Shaman deck play enough Lackey generation to support this card. If yes – it will be a staple. If not – it won’t see any play. Simple.
Card rating: 9/10 if some Shaman deck will want to play enough Lackey generation, useless if it won’t (but I’m leaning towards the former)
Raid the Sky Temple
(Quest Reward: Ascendant Scroll)
Thanks to the cheap Twinspell cards and extra spells you’re getting from Magic Trick, Banana Buffoon and Mana Cyclone, I expect that in Cyclone Mage you should be done with this Quest by the mid game. However, not only starting with one less card in opening hand is hard, but the Hero Power is a bit too slow. Cyclone Mage is more of a tempo/combo deck. Of course – it’s still a nice upgrade, but given that you start with a card disadvantage, it might not be as good as some people think. On the other hand, the reward is amazing in Control Mage, which would love an infinite value generator… but it’s not as easy to complete in Control Mage. That’s why I have sort of mixed feelings about this card.
Right now, I can see two uses. First is as an addition to Cyclone Mage in Specialist format. You can build one of your decks as Quest deck if you need extra value in the longer, more dragged-out matchups. And second is as an extra late game value generator in some kind of slower Mage deck. But slower Mage deck usually plays less, but more expensive spells. It doesn’t run multiple cheap spells or ways to generate more of them, so playing 10 Spells will take way longer than you want it to.
So, long story short, I’m not very hyped about this Quest. It’s fun, but doesn’t seem particularly powerful… right now, at least. If there was a way to make it work in a slower Mage deck, then I would rate it higher.
Card rating: 3/10
Plague of Madness
I feel like this is one of those cards that can be sometimes good when discovered at the right time, but not one that you want to put into your deck. You could somewhat compare it to Weapons Project, but Weapons Project is mostly played because it has extra synergies. You can use it as an early game removal, way to gain a burst of Armor (it takes your opponent 3 turns to negate that with the weapon), weapon removal and you can also combo it with Harrison Jones. This is much less synergistic. If you replace your other weapon (Hero Power, Waggle Pick), you lose some tempo/value. You’re usually the one with some minions on the board, so if you play it, your opponent can remove them with their 2/2 (even if they won’t make much use of Poisonous). The upside is that it can act as a weapon removal + you can also combo it with Harrison, but your average Rogue deck does not run Harrison.
I guess that this could be good against some big minions, especially Taunts that are in your way. You can play it and remove them – you don’t really care about taking a big hit if you’re an aggressor. But then again, it seems absolutely useless in Aggro/Tempo mirrors. The weapon you give them will be as good as the one you get – so you lose a card advantage while not gaining any real tempo advantage. And against those big minions, you have other great cards such as Sap or even Walk the Plank that doesn’t give your opponent anything. Although this being one mana is an upside, I don’t think it’s good enough to see play. I thought about a Rogue deck that doesn’t play lots of minions itself, but could use a card that removes opponent’s stuff. Some Combo build like Malygos Rogue… But then I’ve remembered that you absolutely can’t use your face to kill big minions AND give your opponent 4 extra damage. Rogue is a glass cannon class, it can’t afford to take that much damage (unless it plays an Aggro role vs slower deck that can’t burn it).
According to devs, the card was changed last minute, since the original Rogue’s Plague card didn’t go well with the class identity. Most likely it had a board-wide effect and they don’t want to give Rogues AoE. So they changed it to this one. I wonder what the original was, because this one doesn’t look too powerful, nor it does fit the flavor they set for “Plague” cards.
Card rating: 2/10
I’ve seen lots of people worrying about giving Big Priest another way to revive minions… but they shouldn’t. It absolutely does not go into Wild Priest. Not only it ruins your Barnes, but is also very weak minion to have in revive pool or Shadow Essence pool. Big Priest doesn’t need minion revives – it already has enough spells to revive stuff.
In Standard, on the other hand, the card looks really, really juicy. Can be nuts if you build a deck around it, but even if you don’t, it’s just good. Let’s say that you revive some 3/3 minion – anything. For 4 mana, you get 3/1 + 3/3 – already okay, but then that 3/3 revives as 3/1 on top of that. Reviving any random minion with this is pretty good.
But obviously, it gets even better if you hit Deathrattle card. Now from a bad, random scenario let’s get to the best case scenario. You revive Cairne Bloodhoof. For 4 mana, you get 3/1 + 4/5. When that 4/5 dies, it creates another 4/5 and a 4/1 copy of Cairne, which then creates another 4/5 on Deathrattle. So in grand total, for 4 mana, you’ve got 3x 4/5 + 4/1 + 3/1. It’s absolutely crazy. Maybe in the late game you revive Catrina Muerte, which then revives another minion? Your opponent will surely want to kill her, but now a single removal won’t do it thanks to Reborn. Heck, even if you play the good, old Injured Blademaster, reviving it as 4/7 which Deathrattles into 4/1 is great.
Remember how back in the day Onyx Bishop has seen some play in Priest, and not only in decks built around reviving stuff (which weren’t even a thing back then)? This card is better. It costs 1 less, and while it has weaker stats, giving minion Reborn makes up for it easily.
The card is busted if you build a deck around it (Deathrattles / big minions to revive), but frankly, I think that it might go into a bunch of Priest decks, since even reviving something small is not that bad (and then if you high roll something big, it’s insane). I would imagine it fitting into some sort of Tempo Priest (not REALLy a thing right now, but some people have tried it out). Get back your 2-drop or 3-drop and give it Reborn, on top of a 3/1 body – seems like a great tempo play. The only downside in a deck built around reviving stuff is that it’s a pretty bad revive itself. You don’t really want your Catrina or Mass Resurrection to get a 3/1 back. But I think that’s the downside you’re willing to handle for how good the card is.
Card rating: 8/10
I’m really happy that Baku the Mooneater is now Wild-only, because this card would be absolutely bonkers in Odd Paladin. By the time you can attack with it (Turn 2), it would already be 4/1. If it still survives, you can pump it to 8/1 on Turn 3 with Lost in the Jungle (okay, that card also rotated out, but you get my point). It might be a consideration in Wild build, but the Wild list is already packed tightly and it might be difficult to fit it somewhere.
But still, even if Odd Paladin is not playable, I think that this card still has potential in a good old Aggro Paladin. 1 mana 2/1’s aren’t the best statline, but they are pretty solid. One of the biggest downsides is that 2/1’s can’t trade into 3 health minions, which are very popular. But that downside is negated by the fact that after you play another minion, it will already be 3/1 – so trades will be possible. The bad thing is that it dies to so many things, including three Hero Powers. But the good thing about Aggro Paladin is that the deck tends to flood the board early with many low health targets, and opponent might have a hard time clearing all of them. If he pings it, he leaves 2 other minions up for example. Overall, it’s not amazing card, but it’s probably better than an average 1-drop.
Aggro Paladin was hurt HARD by the loss of Divine Favor, but the deck might not be dead just yet. And I believe that Brazen Zealot (as well as the other two cards revealed alongside it) have a chance to help it come back.
Card rating: 6/10 in Aggro Paladin (if the deck takes off)
Very powerful card, probably even better than Brazen Zealot. While a 2 mana 3/1 is a rather awkward statline (and it becomes MUCH weaker if cards like Mecharoo, Springpaw, Argent Squire etc. are popular in the meta), it’s a great refill. It reminds me of Acornbearer, which was one of the best things that happened to Druid in a long while. While it costs more, not only it gives you the extra card immediately (that’s a big deal later in the game), but the tokens are 2/1 and not 1/1. So I’d say that they’re on a similar power level, and Acornbearer is very good.
Another good thing is that it can act as a 2-drop, 3-drop or 4-drop depending on your hand and what you need. For example, 3/1 + 2/1 for 3 mana (and only one card + having an extra 2/1 in hand) is not bad at all if you have no other on-curve plays. In case you want to build a Magic Carpet Paladin deck, it’s also great. Even though the main body is not buffed, the two 2/1’s are. And you can even draw Carpet with Crystology.
I really like this card. It’s flexible, synergistic and pretty strong. But again, the question is – will it find home? Aggro Paladin needs A LOT to work after losing it’s main refill card. But it looks promising so far.
Card rating: 8/10 in Aggro Paladin (if the deck takes off)
And last, but not least, the last of the three Paladin simultaneous reveals. All three synergize with each other quite nicely, and Salhet’s Pride might be (at least partially) an answer to the lost Divine Favor. 3 mana card draw with a body is good – 3 mana that draws TWO cards with a body is even better. If you play it in Aggro Paladin, you can fetch another copy or some of the cards above. While it’s a little on the slower side, it’s a nice refill that can give you more steam. Can be great in slower matchups – 3/1 might not be very threatening, but damage will stack. And your opponent doesn’t really want to kill it to not give you more resources. It’s a bit like Murloc Tastyfin in Murloc Shaman – similar idea, but costs 1 more mana for 1 more health (okay, and Murloc tribe, which is also quite important, but still).
Even though all three synergize with each other, the synergy that’s based on having 1 health is not the best one to have… A potential problem besides cards I’ve already mentioned previously (such as Mecharoo) are – obviously – Lackeys. Their 1/1 bodies are perfect for trading against those, and since their main power lies in the Battlecry, they already did they job when entering the board, so the fact that often meaningless 1/1 body can do even more is major. Lackey generators like EVIL Cable Rat and EVIL Miscreant also trade into those very favorably. But it might be too early to say – maybe the fact that they are all 1 health and this draws 1 health minions means that Paladin will get some 1 health pay-off card? Or maybe Paladin’s Quest will be related to playing 1 health minions? Those are important factors that we just can’t account for yet.
But unlike the other two minions, which realistically fit only into more aggressive builds, Salhet’s Pride can also be played in other kind of Paladin – Combo Paladin. Holy Wrath Paladin wants to cycle through the deck as quickly as possible, and Salhet’s Pride can help with that. Not only it draws 2 cards for 3 mana (on top of a body you can potentially trade with), it can draw you more card draw – Loot Hoarder, Bloodmage Thalnos, Novice Engineer. I think that it’s way better than let’s say Acolyte of Pain that’s commonly seen in Holy Wrath Paladin builds now. Of course, you could run both, but there’s a limit to how much card draw you want to play (if you play too much draw and not enough survivability, you will just lose against Aggro). Still, I think that Salhet’s Pride might find its place in a deck like that even if Aggro Paladin won’t take off.
Card rating: 8/10 (in general, because if not in Aggro Paladin, it will find home elsewhere)
Plague of Murlocs
I really, really like this card. It’s a 3 mana mass transformation, which leaves somewhat meaningful bodies. It reminds me of Devolve a bit – you can get rid of buffs, powerful Deathrattles and such. But in the current meta, it’s even better than Devolve. Mage plays Mountain Giant + Conjurer's Calling? You turn two big bodies into two Murlocs. The only real downside compared to Devolve is the fact that you can’t use it to bypass Taunts and kill your opponent in a more aggressive strategy, since you also turn your own board into Murlocs. That’s why, in general, I think that this card should see more play in slower decks than faster decks. Or maybe, just maybe, Murloc Shaman might actually run this too? You can always turn your Totems and 1/1’s into random Murlocs, which are – on average – much better. And if you face a few big minions while you have a few smaller ones, you can even out the field (and you will have more synergy with your board too). But the main use I see is as a Control tool – playing it in faster deck will require some testing first.
Given that Murlocs are usually in the range of Lightning Storm, this + Storm should be a more or less full board clear lots of times. This + a bigger clear like Hagatha's Scheme (~4 damage) or Earthquake is a guaranteed full board clear. Heck, lots of time you don’t even have to combo it with AoE – if you turned 2-3 minions into Murlocs, you can just combo it with Hungry Crab to get rid of their biggest Murloc for 1 mana and put a 3/4 on the board that will contest the rest of them.
The card counters Deathrattles and Buffs (so works great against Mech decks), big minions (like Giants), it messes up with resurrect pool vs Priest, it can single-handedly beat Lucentbark Druid by removing their main win condition. While this might not see play in every single meta – for example, it’s really bad vs board flood Aggro decks (like Zoo Warlock or aggressive Paladin builds – you aren’t really making their board much worse by casting this, especially if they roll a Murloc Warleader). But it is absolutely nuts against so many strategies that I would be amazed if it didn’t see play at one point.
Card rating: 9/10
It’s a cool card, but I can’t stop wondering why they decided to print it now. Will Warrior Quest have something to do with Taunts again? Because if not, they are at at least a year late. This would slot so well into the old Quest Warrior – regular (not Odd) version of the deck was popular many times throughout the last two Standard years. Not only it would count for the Quest, but it would make all of your other Taunts so much stronger. 3/5 Stonehill Defenders? 4/9 Alley Armorsmiths? 4/5 (x2) Saronite Chain Gang? Yes, that would be something. But right now I just fail to see any use for the card. Warrior has literally ZERO Taunt cards in Standard. Lots of powerful Neutral Taunts that were all over the place (e.g. Tar Creeper, Primordial Drake, on top of the ones I’ve mentioned before) have also rotated out. So you can buff Zilliax – great, that’s cool. 5/4 Zilliax is really strong. But it’s just one card.
In general, Handbuff cards are weak. This can probably be compared to pre-buff Glowstone Technician. Glowstone had much weaker stats, but it could buff every single minion in hand and not only Taunts. Only after it was buffed to 5 mana it has started seeing play – and it wouldn’t see play even at 4 mana if it could only buff Taunts. Plus since it’s a Legendary, it’s hard to build a deck around it. You want to pack a lot of Taunts that work well after being buffed? Too bad that the single copy of this card is close to the bottom of your deck.
See, the card is not even bad in a full Taunt Warrior deck. On the contrary, I’d say that it’s great in such a deck. If you have another reason to play Taunts, like the Quest, then it would make a nice addition. But now not only you don’t really have a great reason to play Taunts (Warrior doesn’t need them to survive and has no synergies whatsoever), but there aren’t that many great Taunts in Standard. So I absolutely can’t imagine it seeing play UNLESS they a) print a bunch of strong Taunt cards you want to play in Control Warrior or b) they add some kind of Taunt synergy so Warrior can build a deck around them, like the new Quest.
P.S. I know that the card can buff your Taunts multiple times, but you don’t realistically expect cards like that to trigger multiple times. It happens once in 10 games or so – remember Emperor Thaurissan, for example? While this has more health, you can’t hide it behind Taunts, since it has Taunt itself. So for the sake of review, I assume that it will go off once. IF it goes off twice or more, it’s obviously much better and playable even with the current pool of cards. But I just can’t review a card around triggering multiple times.
Card rating: 3/10 with the current pool of cards – can get better with more good Taunts OR some Taunt synergies