Scholomance Academy Card Review #1 – Devolving Missiles, Lightning Bloom, Rattlegore, Shan’do Wildwalker, Troublemaker and more!

Scholomance Academy was just announced. It’s the second expansion of Year of the Phoenix. It brings back the multi-class cards idea from Gadgetzan, but builds upon it and makes the design much more interesting. The new dual class cards will come in 10 different combinations (40 cards in total) and share unique mechanics between each pairing. On top of that, we’re getting a new mechanic – Spellburst – which activates after you cast a spell, but only once (which means that any subsequent spell won’t trigger the effect again).

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 – but average does not mean bad. It might be playable in some decks, but in my mind it’s nothing special. Cards below 5 might see some play in off-meta decks, or as obscure techs, but the closer we get to 1, the lower chance it is that they will see play. When I rate card 1 or 2, I don’t believe that it will see any Constructed, non-meme play at all. On the other hand, going above 5 means that I see the card as something with more potential. While I can’t guarantee that it will work out in the end, I believe that the cards with 6-8 are likely to see at least some Constructed play, while cards rated 9 or 10 are, in my mind, nearly sure hits. 1 and 10 are reserved to the worst or best cards I can imagine, meaning that they won’t be used often.

Remember that without seeing all the cards, it’s incredibly hard to review them accurately, since we have no clue what synergies will be printed or which themes will be pushed. Even after knowing all of them, theory is very different from practice, and it’s hard to predict how the meta will look like. A card that’s great in theory might end up seeing no play whatsoever, because the most popular meta deck simply counters it. I advise you to pay more attention to the description than the rating itself – I will try to explore some of the potential synergies and reasons why a given card might or might not work. I also encourage you to share your own predictions and reviews in the comment section. Even if you aren’t sure, don’t worry, no one is! There is nothing wrong about being wrong, I have never seen anyone who nailed most of the card ratings before the release. But, without further ado, let’s proceed with the reviews!

Check out our other reviews:

Cult Neophyte

Cool little card, a mini version of Loatheb. Of course, it doesn’t disrupt the opponent nearly as much, but the fact that it’s a 2 mana 3/2 (so vanilla stats), even a small disruption is nice. When dropped on curve, it can stop an early game removal. Later down the road, it can be used to delay opponent’s AoE by one turn – the same thing you did with Loatheb. For example, if you face Warrior who might use Brawl, dropping it on Turn 5 means that he just won’t be able to, giving you an extra turn of minion swings. It doesn’t matter if you’re increasing the cost by 1 or 5 if opponent still can’t play it. Of course, it will only block the AoE “on curve”, but it’s what you often used Loatheb to do. Similarly, even though it won’t stop every late game combo, it should disrupt the spell-based ones – e.g. Malygos combos.

Overall, it’s a nice disruption card – not nearly as good as Loatheb, but solid. I can imagine it getting used in some Aggro / Midrange / Tempo decks to stop removal, and possibly as a tech card against some combo decks that can’t pull it off with their spells costing 1 more mana. But I don’t think that it will be played all over the ladder.

The only issue is that 3/2 cards are much worse than 2/3 cards, but I guess that we can’t have everything.

Card Rating: 5/10

Devolving Missiles

It’s Devolve combined with Arcane Missiles. Devolve used to be very powerful (and still is in Wild), it was a Shaman staple for a while. The ability to deal with buffed minions, get through Taunts, or just make a big threat less threatening is still there. And now it’s only 1 mana, so it’s much easier to squeeze it into your turn.

My biggest issue, just like with OG Arcane Missiles, is randomness. It’s super annoying when it doesn’t hit the right target. In this case, you might want e.g. to Devolve a Deathrattle minion before AoEing the board, but Missiles might just not hit it and you wasted a card. Of course, it can’t hit face, so that won’t be an issue. But assuming that it can hit the same target multiple times (I honestly don’t know) – you might face two minions, one of which you want to Devolve, and it might dodge three missiles in a row (1/8 chance, so would happen quite often). But at the same time, if it can devolve the same target multiple times, then against a single minion it’s -3 mana cost. You can turn a pretty big threat into some 2/3 minion for example, and that’s solid.

I think that it might see play in both Mage & Shaman, BUT it depends on the meta. For example, if big Taunts will be an issue – this will come handy to get through them. Deathrattle minions that you don’t want to trigger? This. Resurrect Priest? AMAZING card, because you disrupt their minion pool. Meta with a lot of buffs? It’s a great way to get rid of them and make the board weaker (Libram Paladin will be useless if this card becomes popular). However, if the meta won’t contain any of those then I’m not sure. What I liked about Devolve was consistency, this is a bit less consistent. But it still has a lot of potential, and in the worst case scenario it will often be picked from Discovers, because at times it’s insane.

P.S. I like the flavor of the card, but I’m not sure if I like that it will be in the game. It’s way, way too random, and will most likely lead to a lot of ragequits because of super high-rolls or low-rolls.

Card Rating: 6/10

Diligent Notetaker

After seeing this card, people have started talking about a bunch of combos… Like Coin this out on T1, play Lightning Bloom (x2 because you get the second copy for free), play some good 4-drop. Yeah, you skip Turn 2, but so what? You have a 2/3 and a 4-drop on the board, so you can easily afford to skip it. And yes, it’s strong and I think that people will try to build decks like that. But let me tell you this – Diligent Notetaker does not need any specific combos to be good.

At the very worst, it’s a 2 mana 2/3. That’s obviously not great, but Shaman’s Turn 2 is weak (EVIL Totem is too slow, Underbelly Angler is good, but only in Murloc build) – even a vanilla 2/3 that can have some upside is not terrible to drop against faster decks to not lose on tempo. If they trade into it, that’s okay. If they don’t – you can get value by using some spell on Turn 3 (like Serpentshrine Portal, so you have a second one for next turn).

But the effect is what makes it amazing and gives it awesome late game scaling. In the late game, it lets you play a spell without removing it from your hand (not exactly, but it usually works like that). It can be used against board flood decks to play an AoE and still have AoE left in your hand. In Totem builds it can be used to play 2x Totemic Surge, Totemic Might or Storm's Wrath. In Aggro you can play it, throw Lava Burst at your opponent’s face and then do it again next turn. In Control vs Aggro, you might play it with Witch's Brew, heal up a bunch and still have another copy for next turn. In Galakrond build, it combos very well with Dragon's Pack. As you can see, it works in so many different situations. You put spells into your deck for a reason, and getting more of those spells is good. And that’s on top of a 2/3 body that is not very impactful, but still might make a difference.

I really like the card and I think that it will have lots of uses – ASSUMING that Shaman gets out of the dumpster and starts seeing play. Because this is not a card that will make Shaman powerful – it’s a support / filler card. A great one, but if you put it in a bad deck it won’t make it good.

Card Rating: 8/10

First Day of School

I think that 0 mana spells are always scary to make, even if they’re made in classes that historically couldn’t abuse them. But getting any kind of effect for 0 mana + being able to take advantage of certain synergies is never something to ignore. And this applies to First Day of School too.

Let’s start with the intended way to use it – early game. Play it on Turn 1, get two 1-drops, pick the stronger one and play, then still have another one in your hand. A bit like Fire Fly, but more RNG – I think that, on average, the 1-drops will be better than vanilla 1/2’s, so it’s a slightly stronger Fire Fly. Which already makes this card very, very good. Fire Fly was one of the best 1-drops, because on top of being able to play something on curve, you still had another body that you could use to fill a later turn. Same thing here. And just like Fire Fly, it can double-up as a 2-drop – playing 2x 1-drop on Turn 2, even if random, is a solid play in any faster build. For that reason alone, I think the card is already good enough to see play. Probably not insane, not game breaking, but very strong.

However, it being a spell makes it even stronger than it being a minion. That’s mostly because of the new Spellburst mechanic. Fire Fly fell off in the late game, and so would this card. But you will be able to use it to activate Spellburst cards for 0 mana. Of course, at this point we don’t know the exact power of Spellburst cards yet, so it’s hard to say whether Paladin will want to run them. But if they are all on the same level as the ones we’ve seen so far, I have good feelings about this. Just for example – using it on Turn 4 with Wretched Tutor to clear a Demon Hunter board + have a 2/5 minion is sick.

For that reason, I think that it will 100% see play in Pure Paladin (the deck really needs 1-drops), definitely will be played in some other Aggro/Midrange Paladin decks (assuming they will exist) and possibly even in slower builds that will want to take advantage of Spellburst cards. It’s one of the best cards revealed in the initial batch in my opinion.

P.S. Oh, and of course it will go into any Paladin deck that doesn’t want to run small minions. For example, King Phaoris Paladin (when Prismatic Lens was still in Standard) or Duel! Paladin. But that’s just something extra, I don’t think that those decks will be any good.

Card Rating: 9/10

Frazzled Freshman

If the card was released as Neutral, it would 100% see play. If the card was released when Combo Priest was still a thing (so before Divine Spirit got Hall of Famed), it would 100% see play. Right now? I’m not so sure.

Don’t get me wrong, 1 mana 1/4 is sick. But we need some context. It’s sick mostly in Aggro/Tempo/maybe Midrange decks, which like to have some minions stick to the board, either to hit the opponent a few times or buff them etc. Those are great stats, but will Priest be able to utilize it? That’s the part that I doubt.

Slower Priest builds won’t want to run it, because why would they? They’d rather focus on removal and value, and a 1/4 without any effect is not going to do much for them anyway. The only reason to use it is to combo it with Apotheosis to steal some early game matches against Aggro (3/7 with Lifesteal that can be healed is often game over for a fast deck). But that’s very specific.

The mythical Tempo Priest would like it, but that’s the problem – the build is getting a bit of support every expansion, but never enough to really shine. We’ve seen some attempts to build it, even semi-successful ones, but it was never mainstream and never good enough. Will things change? Will it finally be viable? Well, it’s difficult to say seeing only a single card. IF Tempo Priest will finally be a thing, then this will 100% go into it. If not, then I don’t think that it will see any play.

Card Rating: The card itself is like 8/10, but I doubt that Priest will be able to utilize it to its fullest extent… So I guess 4/10?

Goody Two-Shields

Wait, this just seems like they created a 3-drop with a stat/effect budget of a 4-drop. Seriously. I think it could have been a 4 mana card and I wouldn’t be surprised. 3 mana is Scarlet Crusader – obviously it’s not a good card, but I’m just leaving it as a comparison for a “fair” statted 3-drop. This has +1/+1 stats and an extra effect on top of that. I remember the 4/2 with DS that buffed C'Thun. It wasn’t really bad thing to drop on Turn 4. Yeah, times were different, it would be any good now, but it costs 1 less and has an extra effect.

This is really good 3-drop. Because of Divine Shield, it’s sticky. It will take at least two hits to get rid of it. Yes, the Shield can be pinged with some Hero Powers, for example DH can do it for 1 mana, but it’s still 1 mana you force him to use and 4 damage you force him to take. The worst case scenario is it dying to a 1/1 and 2/1, but that’s not exactly the most common board you see from your opponent on Turn 3 (although if it happens, then it’s pretty bad). And if they don’t clear it in a single go, you can just give it the Divine Shield again. For example, it will come super handy against AoE board clears. You drop it on the turn you expect your opponent to use one, it survives and you can attack with it immediately, then you play a spell and give it Divine Shield back.

Because it’s sticky, it also works well with any buffs. Buffs are already great on Divine Shield minions, because they often get twice as much value out of them. With this you can get triple buff value, and e.g. trade into two big minions over two turns and then still have a big minion of your own to hit the opponent.

But yeah, I get it – Paladin really needs something to be viable. And this is a great step. It’s a very strong early game card. It’s especially strong against slow decks that might not be able to clear it in a single go, but should also be decent on curve against faster decks. IF they won’t be able to kill it, you can gain a massive tempo advantage. Even without Spellburst effect, I think that it would see some play. With Spellburst, I’m nearly sure that it will go into lots of Paladin builds.

Card Rating: 7/10

Lightning Bloom

What if you took the pre-nerf Innervate, added Overload: (2) and made it available to Shaman too? We’re going to see soon, because honestly it’s hard to say. The card won’t likely be THAT scary in regular Midrange builds, like Innervate was. Of course, those would love to cheat the mana, but at the same time, Overload can be crippling. They want to have a solid curve – playing a 5-drop on Turn 3 and then 2-drop on Turn 4 is indeed stronger than 3-drop on T3 and 4-drop on T4, but not to the point of being game-winning + it takes an extra card to do it. Probably the best way to use it in Midrange decks is in Shaman, with Diligent Notetaker, which I’ve already covered when rating him above – you can Coin out Notetaker on 1, play Bloom, get another Bloom and play it, then drop e.g. Squallhunter. It’s a 3 card play (and you need to be on Coin to do it on T1, otherwise you can do it on T2), so not very likely to happen, but when it does it’s often going to be game over. Yes, you skip Turn 2, but so what? You put 6 Overload into a turn in which you could normally use 2 mana anyway. You have enough power to easily control the board or push a lot of damage before your opponent can answer them. But like I’ve said, it’s more like the best case scenario and it’s not something that you will face every game on the ladder.

At the same time, I think that it will be a perfect fit into Spell Druid, a deck that’s already pretty strong (maybe that’s the reason they nerfed Fungal Fortunes preemptively). Even starting with the simple plays like Turn 2 this + Overgrowth. You will still have 3 mana available on Turn 3, just like you would normally have, but you will already have 2 extra Mana Crystals. Then, Exotic Mountseller combos. Innervate is already one of the best cards you can combo with Mountseller, since it summons a Beast by itself and then still gives you more mana to play with. Bloom will be even better. 7 mana Mountsellers will be much more scary. Yes, your next turn will be a bit weaker, but having 6 mana instead of 8 mana after doing a crazy Turn 7 is not really going to set you back that much. And heck, maybe even Kael'thas Sunstrider will make a comeback? It would not only make activating him easier, but you would be able to get him out on Turn 5. I can totally see some applications for that.

Another application is – obviously – game finisher combos, like Malygos. With Lightning Bloom, you have much more mana to work with. Innervate was one of the key cards in Malygos Druid decks, as it let you drop Malygos and still have enough mana to play the burn cards. This time it’s also available in Shaman, so Malygos Shaman might finally shine if it gets some other support too. And – of course – Spellburst. The new keyword works very well with this card. Depending on how strong the Spellburst cards will be, one of the reasons to run it will be activating Spellbursts for free, while still getting some extra mana to drop another spell / minion.

Oh, and yes, there will be even more crazy ways to use the card in Wild. I’ve already heard talks about Tunnel Trogg + 2x Bloom + Flamewreathed Faceless on Turn 1. The card will also be featured in different kinds of Combo Druid decks, no doubt about it.

The card is not as good as Innervate, because Overload: (2) hurts. It means that you can cheat mana, but you will have to suffer for it next turn. But that’s the thing – sometimes the play you do is so strong that you don’t mind having the next turn weaker for that. Similarly, when you play it in a combo deck, as a part of your finisher, you don’t care about Overload, because you’re winning the game. And come on, Innervate was one of the strongest cards in the history of the game. I don’t think that Lightning Bloom will be an auto-include like Innervate was, but I’m pretty convinced that both classes will find some ways to abuse it – even if not now, then in the upcoming expansions (remember – the card will be around all the way until 2022).

Card Rating: 7/10

Nature Studies

Another very good Spell Druid card. It’s not the most interesting, it’s straightforward, but it’s good. Remember Primordial Glyph for Mage? This is it for Druid, but often better. Better? Yeah, because Glyph only discounted the spell you picked. You can use Nature Studies to discount the next spell, no matter what it is. For example, if you play it on Turn 2, then you can use Overgrowth on turn 3. Play it with 5 mana – you can then do 6 mana Overflow next turn. This kind of flexibility makes it a great card. Another reason why it’s better is the mana cost – at 1 mana it’s easier to combo with different effects that benefit from casting spells, such as Exotic Mountseller or the new Spellburst cards.

It also reminds me of Raven Idol, which was used to discover a spell nearly every time. It had an option to get a minion ~10% of time or so, when you really needed to put something on the board, but at the same time it didn’t give you any discounts.

Druid’s pool of spells is honestly pretty good right now. Basic/Classic Druid spells are kind of meh, but the class has been getting a lot of good stuff over the last few sets. There’s a good balance of removal, healing, card draw, summoning minions… And there aren’t many low roll spells, it’s very unlikely to pick between 3 bad spells.

The card is simple, it’s not really exciting, but it’s just great. It will definitely be an auto-include in Spell Druid, and to be honest, I can imagine it seeing play in other Druid decks too.

Card Rating: 8/10


Oh my, imagine this card back in the Classic days, when Cairne Bloodhoof was the epitome of value. Rattlegore is 45/45 in total stats, for 9 mana. It’s also not a single body, so one removal won’t do anything.

But I honestly don’t think that it’s good. If it had Taunt or Rush, it would be broken, but without it it’s just too slow. Against Aggro or Midrange, you can’t just spend your entire turn dropping this onto the board until you’ve stabilized. And after you stabilized, you don’t need an “infinite” value card. It would be just too hard to fit it in, it would sit dead in your hand for too long, overall it would be pretty bad.

On the other hand, it would be really good vs Control decks, but the issue is that if this becomes popular, slower decks would just tech a way to deal with it. Silence already makes it a vanilla 9/9, which still has to be killed, but at least it won’t get back. Any transform effect straight up destroys it. While not a way to directly destroy it, Priests run Soul Mirror, which would give them a copy of it, and they could also play Plague of Death.

I thought that maybe a Midrange Warrior build would put it as a late game threat or something… Maybe Enrage Warrior? Bloodsworn Mercenary would make it even more juicy – get another copy of it and now make it twice as hard to remove. But honestly, it’s 9 mana, so it’s super slow. Lots of the games don’t even last to 9 mana and just end on Turn 8 with Grom. Drawing this early would suck, dropping this on Turn 9 when your opponent can let’s say Polymorph it and still have some mana to gain tempo would also suck.

Big Warrior? If there would be some ways to cheat it out earlier, then sure. If Woecleaver or Boomship were still a thing, why not? But right now there’s no good way to get it out and give it some immediate value.

Overall, I just don’t see it. Maybe as a tech card in some specific metas, like when the meta is slow, but people don’t run any transform effects to deal with it. Or if Warrior gets a way to cheat it out.

Card Rating: 3/10

Shan’do Wildclaw

It’s a neat little design. Druid/Hunter both share Beast synergies, so having a card like that makes a lot of sense. But to be honest, it seems much more like a Hunter card than a Druid card. Full Beast Druid deck is rarely working, and you really need it to utilize the first effect. Buffing all the Beasts in your deck is bad if you only run a few of them and they’re pretty big anyway (like they usually are in Druid). That’s why in Druid, it would probably be used mostly as a cheap way to copy Beasts. Which right now doesn’t make much sense, but I guess that it might be useful in the future, for some combos or just a Midrange deck that runs enough Beasts. For example, on T10 you could play Winged Guardian and get a copy of it with this.

On the other hand, it seems like a really strong Hunter card. The first effect is great in any Beast-oriented deck. It’s a bit like Prince Keleseth – of course a bit worse, because you probably run some non-Beasts too, but it has no deck building requirements. Because it’s a 3 mana 3/3, it can be dropped on curve without losing too much tempo, and then after you play 1 or 2 Beasts, you will gain that tempo back. I can imagine Midrange Beast Hunter to be a thing, since it was pushed last expansion too – Helboar, Scavenger's Ingenuity, Scrap Shot

And the second effect is also neat, mostly in a combination with King Krush. In Highlander build, you can play Dinotamer Brann + Wildclaw on T10, for 16 burst damage. Yeah, that’s A LOT for two cards – and it’s not just burst damage, because you’re left with 2x 8/8 and a 2/4 on the board. It can be a great finisher. A non-Highlander build could still run a Scarlet Webweaver combo, although that’s much more clunky. But you don’t necessarily need to copy a huge Beast for it to be worth it. For example, you draw Zixor, Apex Predator with Ingenuity, it will be a 4/6 with Rush (not to mention the Deathrattle – shuffling a second Prime is a big deal), so it will be a great copy target. It’s always good to have this sort of flexibility – Keleseth was amazing when drawn early, but later in the game it was pretty weak. This can be used as a deck buff early, but it has some nice late game scaling too.

Overall, I really like this card. Right now more in Hunter than in Druid, but I think that Druid might be able to use it somehow too, even if not now.

Card Rating: 8/10

Transfer Student

The one that’s already out! I have played it a bit (in Highlander Hunter) and so far I like the card, although I feel like most of the strong effects are limited to Wild (maybe that’s a good thing, because things like getting a Death Knight card would make it too strong – a 2 mana Arfus…). What I like about it is that every effect is pretty good, the card never feels useless or terrible, even though it’s random. What I dislike about it is randomness – the effects are not “consistent” in the deck they fit into. Some of them would be better in slower decks, some of them in faster decks. That’s why so far it mostly fits into kind of Midrange builds, the ones that can either go faster or slower depending on the situation.

It’s a really cool card to give away for free, though. It’s solid, but not broken. It has a really cool effect, and it doesn’t get “boring” since it does different things nearly every time. I’ve seen it on the ladder quite often, and I never felt like it’s unfun to play against. However, I can imagine how it would feel terrible to lose the game just because you played on X board and he came with “deal 2 damage” effect for lethal. Board RNG is something I never though I will have to worry about. The worst thing is that now I have to actually pay attention to the board I play on so I know that my own and my opponent’s Transfer Students will do. This is not something I’m a big fan of, and ultimately I probably won’t care and just roll with it. But competitive players will now have to remember all the boards and the card’s effects to maximize their win rate (even if it will only increase it by 0.1%, that 0.1% can be a difference between winning and losing a tournament).

When it comes to pure power level, it’s really hard to rate it, because it heavily depends on the effect you get. It’s basically always a solid early game card, but it often falls off in the late game, unless you get something like “Discover a Dragon” effect (but then it’s pretty weak on T2… so yeah). Overall, however, it looks quite strong. Not gamebreaking strong (again, because of consistency issues), but good enough to put into a bunch of decks without any regrets

Card Rating: 7/10


Huh… At first I thought that the 3/3’s can only attack minions, and then I realized that they can also hit face. So assuming that you play it on an empty board, it’s 6/8 + 2x 3/3 + 6 damage. It’s like a better Ragnaros the Firelord… In fact, it reminds me a bit of Priestess of Fury – although it does cost 1 more mana and can’t be cheated out earlier so easily.

I’m honestly not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, it costs 8, which is a lot. On the other hand, it has an immediate effect – either deals 2x 3 damage to some minions or face (while leaving 3/3’s on the board). Even if the main 6/8 body gets killed, the 3/3’s can still stick. It’s the reason why Dr. Boom used to be good in the past – the 7/7 was usually removed, but then you were still left with two Boom Bots. And unlike Boom, if the big minion doesn’t get removed, it will keep summoning more and more minions. Troublemaker sticking to the board is basically a game over for the opponent.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. Now the problem will be finding a deck to play it. Too slow in Aggro, Enrage Warrior probably doesn’t want it, because it has a different playstyle. Some other Midrange Warrior build might want it, but right now I can’t imagine a build that’s better than Enrage Warrior (that might change with new cards, of course). Control? Maybe? I guess that it would be a solid late game threat that’s not useless against Aggro because of some immediate effect (although the randomness of attacks makes it slightly questionable if you want to remove something specific). Big Warrior would love it, getting two copies from Dimensional Ripper would seal lots of games (12 immediate damage + 2 big threats) – but Big Warrior would need quite a lot of support to become viable.

So, in the end, Troublemaker might a real… troublemaker. If it finds the right deck, which is the thing I’m afraid most.

Card Rating: 7/10

Wand Thief

It’s simple, but a really cool way to combine Mage & Rogue in a way that both classes can take advantage of it. However, because it’s a Combo and not Battlecry, naturally it will fit Rogue more, because the class is built around having ways to activate Combo cards. In case of Mage, I could see it more in a sort of a Tempo build than Highlander, but I guess that Highlander wouldn’t mind Discovering a spell either.

Overall, the effect is pretty good. Mage spell is probably the best spell you can Discover. 1/2 are also okay stats for a 1 mana minion that does something extra. The biggest downside is that it’s not a 1-drop. You ideally want your 1 mana minion to be playable on Turn 1. And you absolutely don’t want to drop this as a vanilla 1/2.

The best deck for it for now seems to be Thief Rogue (it’s a Wand Thief, after all), because you love to get cards from other classes. The deck runs Pharaoh Cat, but it’s not consistent – this will guarantee a Quest progress + activator for cards like Vendetta. Maybe a bit more support and the deck will be viable.

Other than that – hard to say. Will be difficult to fit into Galakrond Rogue – both packages (Secret & Stealth) are basically full. Maybe a non-Secret, non-Stealth Galakrond Rogue with just “solid cards” to fill the gaps? Highlander Mage MIGHT use one slot for it, but the deck is also pretty tight and I imagine it will have even more options this expansion. Even then, it’s an okay card in the deck, but not that special. Highlander Mage won’t be able to activate Combo in the early game, and in the mid/late game the 1/2 body is not very relevant. And later in the game the issue is that you can’t open with it – you usually want to Discover your spell first to know whether you want to commit to something else. But here you need to play something else first before dropping it, and Highlander Mage doesn’t have an abundance of cheap activators. Like I’ve said, I can imagine some sort of Tempo Mage wanting it, but frankly Tempo Mage sucks now and it would need a lot more support first.

Solid card, but not spectacular. I think that people are overestimating it, I’ve seen lots of comparisons to Pharaoh Cat (calling it a better one), but I feel like many are missing the fact that it’s a Combo, and Combo cards are much worse than Battlecry cards. It MIGHT replace Pharaoh Cat in the deck, but it’s definitely not strictly better. And I’m not sure about “replacing” it – Rogue already has a lot of situational / Combo cards and adding another one leaves the deck with less and less things to activate them with (Pharaoh cat is often used as an activator).

Card Rating: 6/10

Wretched Tutor

A 4 mana 2/5 with 2 AoE damage would be an auto-include into any slower deck, to be honest. However, in this case you also need to play a spell in order to activate it, making it significantly weaker. That’s why I think that classes which already have a bunch of strong AoE clears – Priest, Mage, Warrior – won’t really bat an eye on it. Yes, the upside of having an extra minion is solid. But unless you play a 0 mana spell, you can’t activate it on curve and you also like to make sure that the spell you play has some usability, otherwise you’re putting 2 cards into this.

However, a great thing about it is that it gives AoE access to classes that might not necessarily be able to do it easily otherwise. Just for example – Hunter or Rogue can’t really deal AoE easily. And take Rogue – you can drop Tutor, Backstab a 3-4 health minion and then this takes care of it + everything smaller.

That said, if you build a deck around Spellburst and include a bunch of 0-1 mana cards, then I guess that it could see play even in decks that already have some AoEs. For example – Paladin. Yes, you can play Consecration for 4 mana, but then you can also play this + First Day of School and deal the same amount of AoE damage (granted, it damaged your own minions too, but I assume the situation in which you don’t have board and your opponent does, which is common for slower decks) but also have a 2/5 minion on the board.

It’s a pretty fair card, and I’m pretty sure that we’ll see better Spellburst stuff, but I can see it being played in some builds. Especially in a more board-oriented meta. For example, it would be great against current Tempo Demon Hunter (clears lots of their 1-3 mana minions) and Spell Druid (deals with Glowfly Swarm).

Card Rating: 6/10

Onyx Magescribe

That’s a pretty solid Neutral Common. Solid stats for the cost (while 5/8 would probably be a better distribution, 4/9 is also fine), Dragon tag, and a nice effect – getting two cards. Yes, you need to activate Spellburst, but if you don’t you still have a solid body with target on his back. If your opponent doesn’t kill it after you drop it on curve, then you will most likely get the effect off. The biggest issue is that Aggro deck can just ignore it and go face, and if you play against a slower deck there are simply better late game options.

Onyx Magescribe doesn’t seem any overpowered, but they’re really pushing the limit of “solid” Neutral cards. Right now even pack fillers aren’t straight up “bad, won’t see play”, but rather “hmm, it might actually be playable”.

So yeah, this is borderline playable. But not good enough I feel. Will definitely see some play from Discovers and such, MAYBE you can use it if you want to build a full Dragon deck, but I don’t suspect it seeing common meta play.

P.S. But it’s a solid buff to Power of Creation – it will be one of the better options in slower matchups (unless you need some Taunt).

Card Rating: 3/10

Animated Broomstick

It’s a neat effect, and I feel like it HAS to be powerful when looking at it, but honestly I can’t find that many applications. 1/1 with Rush is just not good – it’s a ping, it won’t do much by itself. Giving your other minions Rush is not something that will be useful in the early game, especially if you play minions on curve (1-2-3).

It’s a bit different than cards like Magic Carpet or Houndmaster Shaw, because the former also buffs the minion and works over multiple turns (and is frankly pretty awkward to kill at 6 health), while Shaw has a solid 3/6 body itself, so just dropping it on T4 didn’t feel bad. For this, you need to first play 2-3 minions on that turn and only then drop Broomstick to make it useful. That’s a niche situation – slower decks don’t play that way and faster decks, in general, want stuff that is more flexible / proactive, not necessarily a card that will come handy only if you play it alongside a few other cards.

It’s a bit like Rocket Augmerchant – which is okay, but not THAT strong. Upside of Rocket Augmerchant are better stats and the fact that it can be used to ping something for 1 damage. The downside is that it doesn’t have Rush itself and can only give Rush to a single minion (and it deals 1 damage to it, but it often doesn’t matter if you run that minion into something).

Again, after reading the card’s text I had a feeling that it’s really strong, but after analyzing it, thinking about decks that might want to run it and situations in which it would be useful, I can’t come up with much. I feel like this card is on Rocket Augmerchant’s power level. So okay, but nothing spectacular. Maybe playable in Zoo Warlock or something similar, especially with Scrap Imp’s handbuff.

Card Rating: 5/10

Natural Selection

Am I crazy or this card is a bait? After reading it, you can think to yourself “damn, that’s overpowered” – but is it really?

“Of course it is, you can play it for 0 mana with Kael'thas Sunstrider!” – yes, that’s true. You can. But in what deck? If you want to run Kael, you want to play a Spell-oriented deck with a bunch of 0 mana spells. Spell Druid. A deck with nearly no minions to buff in the hand or deck. Yes, you still have +4/+4 to all minions on the board, which in theory is better than Gift of the Wild. But there’s a reason why Gift of the Wild was cut from Druid builds – it just turned out to be too clunky. You could rarely play your Swarm or Mountseller with Gift on the same turn, and in case they survived a turn, Savage Roar was a better way to close out the game. Soul of the Forest pretty much replaced Gift – it makes your board more sticky against most of AoE removals, and then if your whole board of 2/2’s survive, you can usually just close out the game with aforementioned Roar. And you can play Glowfly + Soul (and even Mountseller + Soul sometimes) on the same turn, unlike Natural Selection.

So you put it into a Big deck with a bunch of minions. Yeah, but then you can’t take advantage of Kael to cheat it out. You need to play it “manually” – and it’s, again, super slow. Lots of the time it’s just better to play a minion – against Aggro you need the tempo, and against Control you play the aggressive role, and skipping a turn for this can give them a chance to do something, like set up a board of their own. I could see it in some greedy meta, where you play a Big Druid vs slow decks that are full of removals all the time. But let’s be honest, when was the last time we’ve seen a meta like that? Never? Embiggen already makes any Big Druid deck pretty solid against slow builds because of the buffed stats – do you really need to run a 10 mana clunky option that will also make you skip a turn?

THAT SAID, I think that it will be picked from Nature Studies from time to time. Especially since it will discount it by 1, meaning that you can open with Studies on T10 and still play it. If you play Spell Druid and you happen to have a few Glowflies on the board… yeah, it will be a good pick. If you play Big Druid or something similar and you play against a greedy deck – just get it and go for a long game, drop huge minions one by one and run your opponent out of removals. But as a card you actually put into your deck? I don’t think so.

Card Rating: 4/10


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

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  1. Templar Punk
    July 28, 2020 at 3:19 am

    With Natural Selection, there might be a quick draw OTK combo deck that involves Embiggen, Kael, Stonetusk, and maybe some extra buff cards. Maybe a new and better alternative to Maly Druid?

    Enjoying your card reviews. Keep it comin.

  2. Itch
    July 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    I don’t play wild that much, but there’s an “improved” DK OTK paladin that uses librams since it’s the only 0 cost spel in that class. Coin from licensed adventurer + 2 librams is the full OTK w/o discounts. First day of school might solve that issue.

    For example, if you play it on Turn 2, then you can use Overgrowth on turn 3.
    Correction(?): T1 Nature Studies into T2 Overgrowth.

  3. Sneakytodd
    July 19, 2020 at 7:59 am

    Goody two-shields fields like it’s going to have the power of shielded mini-bot crossed with piloted shredder, for the 3 slot. It will be incredibly powerful, particularly in Paladin can find a tempo build.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      July 19, 2020 at 10:46 am

      It seems really good, but the only thing I’m afraid of is that 4/2 with DS is not very good in a faster meta with lots of early minions. Like against the current DH, the card would be pretty weak – they would have a rather easy time clearing it off.

      But it still looks like a very solid card, of course 🙂

  4. Sonriks6
    July 19, 2020 at 4:22 am

    Thanks for this review as always! It’s a bit early to rate some cards as you said so I guess some of them will get support this expansion, will see in the end the power level of the overall set.

  5. SLima
    July 18, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Natural Selection might be too slow in standard but i like it in wild Spiteful Druid. I was running the deck with The Forest’s Aid (alongside Ultimate Infestation) but it didn’t feel good even with Goru the Mightree. This card can easily replace it and improve the consistency of the deck. Now, i have four 10 mana spells and always a solid chance of getting those big 10 drops from Spiteful.

  6. H0lysatan
    July 18, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Natural Selection is only profiting Mage at the moment for cheating it out with Puzzle Box. There’s more useful spells in arsenal that is benefiting the Mage class. Other than that, even Eye of The Storm or Nagrand Slam is better than this.

    Quite a dead card for me.

  7. H0lysatan
    July 18, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Goody Two Shields Spellburst is kinda not helping, since, when you drop it on the board on Tempo, you wouldn’t get to activate it immediately, and somehow ended up being unused, or, if you drop it in late round, you probably wasted it Spellburst when comboing with some spells. You could however play the spell first, then drop Goody, but still, the Spellburst is not really helping.
    Not very useful rather than the fact that it’s a 3 drop minion.

    Maybe will see play for it’s stats + DS alone

    • H0lysatan
      July 18, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Animated Broomstick can go well with Treant Deck. Comboing 5 or 3 Treants with rush could make a difference in board. I would suggest to put it with Glowfly too, but that cards usually goes in Spell Druid, and Broomstick doesn’t really fit there. But hey, everyone has their own opinion.

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        July 19, 2020 at 10:50 am

        I’ll reply to both comments at once.

        Goody Two-Shields Spellburst might be good in slow matchups. Against Tempo decks when you fight back and forth with minions, it will most likely die in a single hit. But against slower decks, they might not be able to pop DS AND clear it at the same time. But yeah, overall I think that it’s only a bonus, not the main point of the card. It’s like a 6/10 as a 3 mana 4/2 with DS, and I added +1 for the Spellburst.

        I thought about the interaction between Broom and Glowfly Swarm / similar token-summoning cards in Druid, but I don’t think so. Decks running those are spell-heavy and most likely want to run Fungal Fortunes.

  8. BigE
    July 18, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Insightful, thank you. My initial thoughts about frazzled freshman and goody two-shields was they’ll get nerfed. Maybe freshman doesn’t see enough play to get one, but goody seems too good. Goody.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      July 19, 2020 at 10:52 am

      Paladin is in a pretty bad state right now, so having a few strong cards won’t likely lead to the nerf. Unless the expansion is full of those, but we’ll have to wait & see 🙂

      Freshman – it would definitely get nerfed if it was Neutral, but I just can’t see it in Priest, other than some kind of Midrange/Tempo deck (and those were always pretty bad). And I mean, the class had Northshire Cleric for years, which was much stronger than Freshman. “Broken” 1-drops aren’t really that big of a problem in Priest.

  9. Hoobles
    July 18, 2020 at 9:56 am

    I have always loved your card reviews and ratings (for the obvious reasons!). Your articles are a great help for me in deck building and trying out new card combinations. I could wait a week after a new expansion and just copy a deck, but I enjoy tweaking my original decks to get them “just right” for the particular rank I’m at at any given time.