Scholomance Academy was announced recently and we’re in the middle of the reveal season now. 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:
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #1 – Devolving Missiles, Lightning Bloom, Rattlegore, Shan’do Wildwalker, Troublemaker and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #2 – Headmaster Kel’Thuzad, Combustion, Infiltrator Lilian, Brittlebone Destroyer, Disciplinarian Gandling and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #3 – Flesh Giant, Ace Hunter Kreen, Mozaki, Master Duelist, Totem Goliath, Glide, Felosophy and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #4 – Archwitch Willow, Doctor Krastinov, Star Student Stelina, Lorekeeper Polkelt, Sphere of Sapience, Vectus and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #6 – Soul Fragment Cards, Instructor Fireheart, Professor Slate, Speaker Gidra, Forest Warden Amu and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #7 – Ancient Void Hound, Trueaim Crescent, Wyrm Weaver, Demon Companion, Double Jump, Voracious Reader and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #8 – Bloated Python, Teacher’s Pet, Overwhelm, Reaper’s Scythe, Coerce, Wolpertinger, Tour Guide, Raise Dead and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #9 – Robes of Protection, Mindrender Illucia, Twilight Runner, Commencement, Blessing of Authority, Cutting Class and more!
Interesting. Minions that benefit from Spell Damage was a rather common concept among custom cards creators, and it has finally made its way to the game. And while it’s something I’ve expected only in Mage, it’s actually a Mage / Shaman card.
Okay, so let’s get this straight. This card is AT THE VERY LEAST a Despicable Dreadlord. 3/6 is probably even a better stat-line for a minion with an ongoing effect (since it’s harder to kill), and it also hits face, unlike Dreadlord. Yes, Dreadlord was a Demon, which was quite important in some Warlock builds (e.g. to cheat him out), BUT it has also seen play in Zoo Warlock with no Demon synergies + even in slower builds it was good when played from hand. 5 mana 3/6 with recurring 1 AoE damage is good enough to see play by itself, Spell Damage synergy is just an addition. A strong addition in the right deck, but not necessary.
In the perfect world, you want to play it in a Spell Damage-oriented deck, but unless more synergies get released, I don’t believe that will be a thing. Ras is a great pay-off, but it’s only a single card. However, let’s say Highlander Mage already runs Astromancer Solarian and sometimes Azure Explorer. Both can be played on the same turn as Ras, and both boost the AoE quite nicely. Notably, it combos very well with Mage’s new Legendary – Mozaki, Master Duelist, but you won’t really have enough mana to boost its spell damage if you drop both on the same turn. And, of course, there’s also Malygos, but it’s also a very unlikely combo (that said, random Malygos from Dragonqueen Alexstrasza would be great with this).
When it comes to Shaman, Lady Vashj will definitely be played in the same deck, so that’s +1 Spell Damage. Squallhunter could also be tried – that’s another nice combo. While you Overload for two, you can get 3 AoE damage and a pretty strong board on T9.
And I’m pretty sure that since it’s the theme of dual class Legend, the pairing will get some Spell Damage card. Will it be good? Well, impossible to say at this point, but I’m looking forward to it.
I’m already sure that Ras will see play. The threat of 1 AoE damage every turn is great against many decks. Shaman can finish off minions after e.g. a low-roll Lightning Storm. Mage can ping a 2 health minion to get rid of it too. So yeah, the card is good, but it might become great depending on what future reveals we see.
Edit: Lab Partner was revealed after I finished writing this, but it’s obviously a great combo and another reason to run Ras.
Card Rating: 8/10
So… it’s a better Chillwind Yeti, a better Sen'jin Shieldmasta and also has Steel Beetle-like effect. This is just good, no matter how you look at it. Since it’s a Class AND expansion card I’m not calling power creep over Classic Neutral cards, but damn, they’re really pushing it.
4 mana 4/5 are just about the best stats you can have for the cost AND it comes with a Taunt. That’s a big deal, because it means that it can even be dropped on curve without activating its effect and it will be alright against Aggro. But, to be honest, the effect isn’t particularly hard to activate. Steel Beetle I’ve already mentioned before was a common tech in Quest Druid, for example. Druid decks run a bunch of expensive cards, depending on the exact version you use. Glowfly Swarm (although you wouldn’t play Groundskeeper in Spell Druid),
Slower Shaman builds which would want to play this card run cards like Hagatha's Scheme or Earthquake, while Galakrond build plays Dragon's Pack. I honestly would feel a bit more comfortable with maybe another 5+ mana spell that’s commonly used, but that’s good enough. You don’t need to activate the effect on curve – it’s a healing card, so it will come handy later in the game too.
Will see play. In both classes. Slower Shaman decks will auto-include it, assuming they will see play that is. Control, Combo… Maybe slow Galakrond Shaman & Quest Shaman builds. In Druid it’s a bit more complicated, because Spell Druid won’t want it (because it’s a minion), while slower, “Big” Druid decks also won’t want it, because they’re mostly minion-based and don’t run many expensive spells. But I’m sure that some builds will want it – like Heal Druid (which… probably still won’t be good, but we’ll see). And will obviously get even stronger if the classes will get some good, 5+ mana spells.
Card Rating: 9/10
Turalyon, the Tenured
Not every Paladin Legendary can be Sunkeeper Tarim… And this one certainly ain’t it.
Most of the time it will be an 8 mana 3/9 that immediately kills something. The best comparison would probably be Natalie Seline. On the one hand, she’s better because of stats (8 attack is an actual threat) and the fact that it’s a Battlecry (so it can go through Taunts and kills Divine Shield minions, for example), on the other hand Turalyon can kill a few minions if it sticks to the board. But let’s be realistic – it probably won’t. Your opponent won’t just drop a big minion into it, they will either play smaller stuff or clear it first, which makes the value quite limited. Notably, it’s also a pretty bad card to trade into small, 1-2 Attack minions, because you’re actually making them stronger, not weaker. And the comparison to Natalie Seline is not putting it in good light. Even if we assume that the cards are on the same power level, Seline sees basically no play other than from random generation
Not a terrible card, but overal feels too “fair”. Might see play in Pure Paladin simply because the deck has overall a much lower power level, same thing for Highlander build. Maybe in some sort of Control Paladin if the meta will be slow enough (because the card is just bad vs faster decks), but honestly something like Subdue seems like a more flexible option. The only thing going for Turalyon is that Paladin doesn’t have great single target removal, so if the meta with big minions that need to be cleared arises, it might be used for that purpose.
Card Rating: 4/10
Gift of Luminance
Interesting card. Giving a minion Divine Shield is like ~1 mana (Hand of Protection), but the effect was never available in Priest, so it’s hard to rate it in that class. At the same time, summoning a 1/1 copy of a minion is actually quite powerful. Lots of minions get their value from their effect – something that triggers at the end of turn, or Deathrattle, or Reborn, and it copies all of those.
The card can also combo quite well with Spellburst. Since Spellburst triggers AFTER the spell, it means that it will copy a Spellburst minion first and then you will get two triggers. Can be really strong with some effects.
So, Priest will like it with good resurrect targets – e.g. Deathrattle minions like Convincing Infiltrator or Khartut Defender. Paladin, on the other hand, can use it quite well with Reborn. T2 Shotbot / Micro Mummy into T3 Gift of Luminance is quite solid, assuming that the opponent won’t kill the first part of the minion (which might be a bold assumption in some matchups). Another idea in Paladin is to use it with Libram of Wisdom. You put two of those on a minion and then copy it. Now you will have 4 to work with, and that can be really strong – every time you play a minion you can give it +4/+4 for free. And both classes might like it with Spellburst like I’ve mentioned already.
And – of course – combos. It can be used to copy any minion you build your combo around, like Prophet Velen in Priest (but mostly in Wild, because Velen combos are gone in Standard). It’s something to keep in mind, even though right now I don’t think that there are any combos the card would activate in Standard.
Overall, it’s an interesting card with lots of uses… but the truth is that it will be pretty clunky most of the time. Like yeah, if you can pull the stuff I’ve listed above, it will be good. But when you’re Priest with no minions on the board, or Paladin with a 1/1 from Hero Power, the card is just bad. And waiting until mid-late game so you can combo it with a minion you want to copy on the same turn is very slow. So while I believe that it might see some play, I don’t think that it will be meta-defining in any way.
Card Rating: 5/10
I like the flavor and reference to Ultimate Infestation. The card also has a lot of things packed into a 1 mana card – you get a minion on board, +1/+1 buff and another minion in hand. You could kind of see it as a 1 mana 1/1 that gives something +1/+1 and adds another 1/1 to your hand (but this time with no effect).
I see some Fire Fly comparisons, but I don’t think that it. The problem is that a) Fire Flies were 1/2, which is a big difference. 1/1’s die much easier than 1/2’s do, even though it doesn’t seem like a big difference. Another thing is that it’s not really a 1-drop. If you play it on 1, you get 2x 1/1 for 2 mana. You need to already have something else on the board to give it +1/+1, so more realistically this is a 2-drop (2x 1/1 + a buff to your 1-drop). One of the biggest strengths of Fire Fly was the fact that you could drop it on T1 and then use the second 1/2 to fill another turn where you would float mana otherwise.
I see this card being rated really highly, but honestly it seems quite average, probably slightly above average. Looks like an okay fit into Token Druid, but I would prefer to run Acornbearer instead if we’re talking about minion version. In Spell version, though, this would be better. In Hunter, the card doesn’t seem impactful enough, definitely not something you put into currently existing archetypes like Highlander Hunter. Maybe Beast Hunter, given that 1/1’s are Beasts? Maybe in Spell Druid as an alternative 1 mana spell for Exotic Mountseller shenanigans? I feel like it might see some play, but definitely won’t be auto-include.
Card Rating: 6/10
The card has been leaked earlier, but now it’s officially revealed, so we’re getting to the review. I had more time to think about it, but my opinion hasn’t changed – it’s sick. It’s super powerful. I think that it will be an auto-include in Rogue. It’s a bit like Evocation, but better. Because you’re getting cards from your deck, not random cards, you’re guaranteed to see some good stuff – after all, you put them into your deck for a reason.
Thanks to Secret Passage, you get one super powerful turn, possibly playing multiple good cards, for the cost of a single card. And then next turn you just get your old hand back, losing nothing. While you will rarely play all 5 cards, realistically it’s more like “draw 3 cards” for 1 mana (less earlier, more later in the game), but you still get to choose from 5, and that’s a big deal. On top of that, since you’ve already played it as the first card of your turn, all of your Combo cards will be active. Yes, you have one less mana to work with, but Rogue runs a lot of high tempo / cheap cards so you can make it work.
You can also use it to dig for specific cards. Let’s say that you play Aggro Rogue and you have your opponent down to just a few health points. You probably run a bunch of weapons, Eviscerate etc. that might kill him. “Drawing” 5 cards means that you’re nearly guaranteed to find something that gets the job done. In Galakrond Rogue, it will let you find Galakrond himself or Kronx Dragonhoof much more easily. Or just some generic cards that are simply good at the time. And it doesn’t “ruin” the deck like would. E.g. if you draw Galakrond but can’t or don’t want to play it, that’s fine, it will get shuffled back into your deck. No harm done, because you don’t discard it. That’s why you can easily play it in a deck which has some key cards you can’t lose.
Honestly I feel like it might be the strongest card revealed so far, and at the very least it’s in Top 3.
Card Rating: 10/10
1 mana 1/3 with an upside? And a solid one at that? Well, I don’t know what decks it will be played in, but it just has to see play, I don’t see it any other way. While Spell Damage is not a good effect on curve, because it won’t be very effective in the early game, it means that the card can both be used as a 1-drop and also has some late game scaling. 1 mana Spell Damage is good, because it can improve lots of spells for cheap. For example, if you face a board full of 3 health minions, dropping it before Blizzard can often save your skin.
Interestingly enough, it seems that Mage & Shaman are also getting some Spell Damage synergies. Ras Frostwhisper was already revealed, and those two work very well together. For 6 mana you can have Consecration + 3/6 + 1/3, and the damage will repeat next turn if they don’t die.
Highlander Mage will like it, Tempo Mage would also love it if it was a thing (maybe it will be time for the deck to make a comeback), same goes for Spell Damage Mage assuming it will get enough synergies. Very simple, but a strong card, will definitely see a lot of play over its time in Standard.
Card Rating: 9/10
6 mana to summon 4x 2/2, or 6 mana + Overload (2) to summon 4x 2/2 with Rush. The flexibility seems lower than lots of Choose One cards, because both options are similar, one is just adding something extra, but at an additional cost. I think that it’s a cool design, and overall I like it.
Let’s start with Druid. Token Druid is the most obvious candidate. It’s sort of a middle ground between Force of Nature (1 treant more for 1 mana more) and The Forest's Aid (1 treant less for 2 mana less, but no ). The Rush option might be okay if you really want to clear something – in the late game you could even Rush them and play Savage Roar for a solid board clear (16 damage from minion + 2 from your Hero). But I honestly don’t think that it’s a necessary card for that class? The thing is, Druid already has so many mid game board refill options, so I don’t feel like this one will make an impact. Honestly it might be a bit better than Force of Nature. But everyone plays Glowfly Swarm & Spell synergies instead now, so I’m not sure if that’s necessary. And I’m not saying that it’s bad – it’s just not exciting given that we already have many similar options.
At the same time, I feel like it’s a great option in Totem Shaman. Since 2/2’s are also Totems, you can combo it with a lot of cards quite easily. For example, play this on T6 with Totemic Might to make the board more sticky. Next turn you can follow up with Totemic Surge and Bloodlust for 28 damage, assuming the Totems survive. Even if not all of them survive, you can further buff the 2-3 ones that are alive and copy them with Splitting Axe. The extra effect might also come handy if you fall behind – just like Druid with Savage Roar, you can make it a great board clear with Totemic Surge. And it’s much cheaper too. Totem Shaman was already okay-ish this expansion, maybe those cards will push it into competitive territory?
Both Token/Treant Druid and Totem Shaman will most likely want to play this. Whether it will see play depends on whether those two decks see play, but the card itself is quite good.
Card Rating: 8/10
This is such an unique effect that I find it very hard to rate, but I honestly love the design. 2/1 that summon two random 5-drops is insanely strong, but one of those will die after taking any damage at all. Which means that you can summon a 5/5 and it will die from a ping. However, the question is – which of the minions is “fake”? It will lead to some very interesting mind games. Did your opponent pick the stronger minions to be real? That makes sense. But that’s exactly what you will think, so he might have picked the weaker one to be real and stronger to be fake, so you try to ping the weaker one and it doesn’t die. And what if two minions have similar stats? It would seem like trying to “mindgame” your opponent by putting it on a slightly weaker minion is a good idea, because you lose almost no value and can mess up with your opponent. But what if your opponent will also think that way? As you can see, the card’s interesting in that matter.
And at the very least, it will be a 5 mana 2/1 that summon two 5-drops and one of them has 1 health. Which seems… decent? That’s a lot of stats, and your opponent won’t always pick the right minion to ping, or he might not even have a way to ping it and he will have to waste a bigger removal anyway. And the thing is, your opponent often can’t afford to risk the ping (because if he guesses the wrong minion, he will lose mana basically for nothing), so he’ll just have to AoE the whole thing, and him “wasting” his AoE for your single card, 5 mana play is good.
What I dislike about the card, however, is randomness. It has some crazy high rolls, e.g. Waxadred or Convincing Infiltrator, which are super useful even if they’re “fake”, 1 health ones. But at the same time, it has so many low-rolls. Chromatic Egg comes to mind, but there’s a lot of low stats minions like 3/3’s. However, at least picking such a low roll as fake won’t make a big difference, so that’s always something. Then again, if you get two low rolls, then it sucks.
Honestly, I think that this card is quite strong, but like I’ve said at the beginning, it’s such an unique effect that we’ll really have to test how it works in practice. “Mind games” effects that can mess up with your opponent or give you extra knowledge have been slightly overrated, but this one is at least a solid pile of stats no matter whether the effect will be particularly strong.
Card Rating: 7/10
It’s a cool design, but the card is too slow to see play in most metas would be my first assessment. The baseline for this card is a 7 mana 6/8 that gives you a random card from your opponent’s deck and makes it cost 1. Because that’s guaranteed – they will draw something at the start of their turn and they can’t do anything about it. Stats are okay, but with no Taunt or Rush it doesn’t really matter.
It’s a good value card, but it sucks against faster decks. It does nothing on the turn you play it, so it’s not something you can ever afford to drop. And once you CAN afford to drop it, you pretty much won the game anyway or you’re desperate, and his effect won’t really help you. Against slower decks, it will just get removed immediately, there’s absolutely no way it sticks. Yes, you might high roll, snatch 8+ mana card and make it cost 1, that can even win you the game… Or your opponent might have no way to remove it and you will get a few cards from that (but at this point the 6/8 body is more important than the effect, because Control vs Control matchups are often won by pressure not not value)… But the more likely scenario is that you will get something average for 1 mana and you will be quite happy about it, but it won’t win you the game or anything like that.
If something like Coldlight Oracle or Research Project would still be in Standard, it would make more sense. If you could force your opponent to draw cards while you get 1 mana copies of them, that would be a thing to consider. Maybe they will show some effects like that later into the reveal season?
But as it is right now, it’s just too slow like I’ve mentioned earlier. Might see play if the meta slows down enough, but it would be one of the first cards to cut against any faster deck. So in a more Aggro / Tempo / Midrange meta, I just don’t see it. Those high value, Control “bombs” that are useless against Aggro seem to be overrated by the community, I feel like. Look at the current meta decks and see how many of them see play. I’ll help you with that – exactly zero. All of the late game cards have some sort of immediate board impact or a very powerful instant effect.
Card Rating: 3/10
6 mana 4/5 with Taunt and Divine Shield is basically Sunwalker with an upside. The upside in this case is quite strong, however, so I can totally see this being playable. Just one discount makes this card okay-ish. 5 mana 4/5 with Taunt + DS is not something you would want to put into your deck most likely, but it’s not the end of the world. At 2 discounts it’s already good, anything more than that is a bonus.
Cards that get cheaper and cheaper as the game goes by tend to be good, as long as not that hard to bring them into playable range. For example, Thing from Below was an amazing card (because it became playable after 2 discounts), but Frost Giant was not, because it started too high and you needed at least 4 discounts to make it good.
In case of Devout Pupil, things look differently depending on the class you put it in. Right now, Priest is not buff-based. In fact, Apotheosis is the only buff the deck runs. Some builds are running Grave Rune / Psyche Split combo, but to be perfectly honest, those usually start making impact in the late game, you usually don’t play those on curve, and ideally you want cheaper things so you can play Pupil earlier. So that part is not looking great. So maybe spells you cast on your Hero? Well, there’s Renew and… that’s it. Renew is of course a great card, but you also don’t always play it in the early game + that’s still not enough. Sometimes you randomly generate stuff from Sethekk Veilweaver, but even then, you would need to adjust your builds in some pretty major ways. Not saying that it’s not doable, but the question is – is it worth it?
However, Paladin is quite different. While the class doesn’t really cast spells on the hero (at least not now), there are variety of buffs. Libram of Wisdom in particular. This seems like a perfect fit into Libram Paladin – both pure and regular. The thing is that after you draw even a single Libram of Wisdom, you end up using it a lot, sometimes even a few times per turn. You would make Devout Pupil 0 mana in no time, and that’s a huge tempo gain. Earlier in the game you can also discount it with Hand of A'dal. You should quite often be able to drop it on T4 and then in the late game it will usually cost 0.
So, all in all, I feel like it will be an auto-include in any Libram-based Paladin deck + maybe some Priest builds focused on buffs and such. Right now that deck doesn’t exist, so it feels more like a Paladin card than a dual class card, BUT things might change in the future. Still, it’s a very good card in the right deck.
Card Rating: 8/10