Now that Scholomace Academy’s reveal season is over, it’s time to talk about and rate the rest of cards! Scholomance Academy is 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 #5 – Ras Frostwhisper, Groundskeeper, Turalyon, Adorable Infestation, Secret Passage, Jandice Barov, Keymaster Alabaster 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 #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!
Ancient Void Hound
Weeeell, it is a piece that goes into “Big Demon” Demon Hunter with Fel Summoner and Pit Commander. Because if you cheat it out, it’s quite insane. It starts off as a 10/10 and damages every opposing minion by 1 – something like a huge Despicable Dreadlord. But instead of damaging, it “drains” their attack and health. That’s cool, because 1 health minions still die, and the minions that don’t die simply get weaker. While it’s not a Taunt, it could prevent lethal sometimes this way, and your opponent basically needs to kill it, because even if it steals just from 3 minions, that’s 13/13 that threatens 2 turns lethal.
Now, the problem is that it costs 9, so if you don’t cheat it out, it’s bad. While it’s not “9 mana do nothing”, 9 mana to deal 1 AoE damage still isn’t good enough. Against Aggro you probably can’t play it, assuming you even survive that long. And against Control… well, that’s another problem – against Control it just dies, because Big Demon Hunter doesn’t have enough threats. You can have probably 2-3 massive turns in a row and then you’re left with nothing.
I like the card and I honestly think that if Big Demon Hunter will be a thing, it has a serious chance to see play in that deck. But I don’t think that we have enough to make it viable right now.
Card Rating: 3/10
Oh boy, I kind of like that I waited with reviewing this card, because things are really different now. Before the final review stream, I would rate it like 3/10 simply because there are not enough good 4-5 mana Beasts you want to cheat in either of those classes and summoning 3 or less cost Beasts doesn’t look good. But suddenly it makes more sense. Well, in Druid at least.
But let’s start with Hunter. In Hunter, I still think that it’s a pretty bad card. The biggest issue is that when you’re building a Beast deck, you don’t just put 4+ mana Cost Beasts. Many of your Beast synergies work better with small minions. So if you curve out with 1-2-3 Cost Beasts, then this card is bad – you don’t want to pull those out. And if you just ignore 1-3 cost Beasts and put only the more expensive ones, then your other Beast-related cards like handbuffs, Scavenger's Ingenuity, Kill Command or even Fresh Scent really fall off. But MAYBE you could build a Big Beast deck, starting your Beast curve at 4 (well, maybe 3, because you would probably want to run Zixor, Apex Predator), then playing cards like Scarlet Webweaver or Beastmaster Leoroxx + this card. This might work out, but I’m not sure yet.
Now, it’s a different story in Druid. Druid doesn’t really synergize well with small Beasts, so it has no problem running only 4-5 mana ones just for the sake of this card. But before the final reveal, I didn’t think that you would have good Beasts to play. And I was so wrong. I’ll fully review Twilight Runner later down the road, but this card is just insane. Guardian Animals could summon 2x 5/4 with Rush (and Stealth, but that is less important when it has Rush) which draw 2 cards after they attack. So that would be often 7 mana to clear 2 minions, maybe have some leftover minions on your side if they survive the trade, and draw 4 cards. It’s really, really good. But, you can’t just run two – you need more. So you could also play 2x Teacher's Pet and 2x Lake Thresher, both revealed during the final stream too. Or alternatively the good old Stranglethorn Tiger. I’m thinking about Midrange / Ramp Druid with 5 mana Beasts to take advantage of this card and honestly it seems quite good. Now, the problem is that you can’t add Embiggen to the deck, because it will make those 6 mana and out of range of this card.
And because of that, I’m quite sure that this card will see play in Druid, mostly thanks to Twilight Runner. If not for that 5-Cost Beast, I would say that it will be pretty bad or mediocre at best. With it – looks really interesting.
Card Rating: 8/10
Very unique effect, pretty hard to rate, but at the same time I feel like it’s good in both Hunter & Demon Hunter. What this card lets you do is “double dip” on minion attacks. No more “do I trade” dillemas – you can swing everything at the opponent’s face and then hit a minion with this and still make a trade. It also technically gives minions you just played Rush – you can drop a minion or two, attack with this weapon and they will also swing immediately. Also, another use is simply a way to clear 1 health minions in the early game. Your opponent plays a 1 mana 2/1? You equip this and clear it. Effect is unnecessary – that’s how Candleshot has seen play.
All of those uses are very strong, but the card has its downsides. First of all – you can’t control the effect. Sometimes you just want to ping a minion to e.g. get rid of Divine Shield without your entire board rushing at it. Another downside is that it hurts to hit bigger minions. It’s not a big problem against Control decks, but Midrange might use and try to swing the tempo or even burn you down after you take a bunch of damage from this. Yet another problem is that you don’t pick which minions trade. Order of attacks will probably be left to right, but it doesn’t matter at the moment – the point is that if your opponent has a 5/5 minion and you have 2x 2/1 2/1, you would like to attack with those two. But if they’re on the opposite sides of your board and you have a 5/5 in the middle, well, too bad, you will trade with it on top of first trading with a 2/1 and you can’t do anything about it.
Well, at the very least you don’t have to swing at minions – you can always just poke your opponent’s face and deal 4 damage over 4 turns. I’m also not sure if you want to run two, because at 4 durability they can get a bit clunky, especially if you also run other weapons in your deck (and both of those classes most likely do). Come to think about it – do you even want one? Demon Hunter already has Umberwing and Warglaives of Azzinoth. This expansion it’s also getting this + Marrowslicer, all of which are solid weapons. You will really have to pick. Hunter isn’t getting another weapon, but if you’re running a Dragon-based deck then Stormhammer usually sticks around for a very long time, so drawing this after Stormhammer would be pretty bad. But I guess that in a non-Dragon deck, it makes more sense. I think that in particular in a deck like Deathrattle Hunter, it would be great. You could drop a Deathrattle minion and attack with it immediately to trigger it, speeding everything up.
Overall it’s a very interesting card and I don’t believe it’s AS strong as some people think, but it should see play in the right decks.
Card Rating: 7/10
Huh… on the one hand, the Spell Damage minion pool is very small compared to most of Discover pools, so you have a higher chance to pick the good card you want. On the other hand, we have quite a lot of bad minions with Spell Damage, mostly Neutral fillers. That said, just like with all Studies cards, it’s a good card if you play it in the right deck – deck that wants specific synergies. And in this case, I feel like both Mage & Shaman will at least try out Spell Damage builds.
I think that the card is weaker in Shaman than in Mage. That’s mostly because in Shaman, you have only class cards with Spell Damage – Lady Vashj and Squallhunter. Both are pretty good, but there are 9 Neutrals, so you will hit those much more often. Shaman also seems to have weaker Spell Damage synergies.
In Mage, on the other hand, it looks quite solid. Mage has 4 class Spell Damage minions, so the chances of getting them are much higher. One of them is Kirin Tor Tricaster, which seems bad in your regular deck, but might actually prove useful in Spell Damage Mage. Drop him with Ras on T9 (maybe even T8 with Studies discount) and you get 4 AoE damage. In the same vein, you can draw a lot of cards with Tricaster + Cram Session (4 for 7 mana, which is not the best, but you still have a Spell Damage +3 on the board and you can play another spell to benefit from it).
That’s why I’m not so sure about Shaman, but I think that it should be played in Spell Damage Mage. Not spectacular, because the pool of Spell Damage minions is pretty weak, but should come handy in that deck.
Card Rating: 6/10
Huuuh. Anyone who has even played (or played against) the oldschool Tempo Mage knows how scary Mana Wyrm can be. If left unattended, it can snowball the game. Getting two of those means that your opponent basically has to clear them or you win the game. Well, maybe even if not win right away, you deal so much damage that the game is basically over. That said, they’re much easier to remove on Turn 5 than on Turn 2. But you get two of them and they also come with a 3/6 body… Or well, they don’t come at all. That’s the thing – it’s not a Battlecry, it’s a Spellburst. So you need to play a spell to summon them first. Now the problem is that Mage has no 0 mana spells, which means that unless you’ve been holding a Coin, you can’t trigger the Spellburst on curve. That’s a big deal, because this card at 6 is much worse than it is at 5 (well, just like most of cards). Technically you can play it in a deck with Incanter's Flow and then you can trigger it on curve, but then again you don’t want to play too many minions in a deck with Incanter’s…
If you find the right deck, the card can be powerful. In a spell-heavy build, like Cyclone Mage (which is notably weaker now without Elemental Evocation), it can be a big threat. It’s a card that your opponent has to deal with or you take off the very next turn and maybe even win the game on the spot. But the issue is that I don’t really think that the deck wanting this would be very strong right now. Plus it seems a bit slow, because you have to wait until T6 to drop it and then wait another turn to take advantage of Wyrms. Might see play in the future, I don’t think it will now.
Card Rating: 5/10
Spell Damage synergies! Pretty cool – if you have Spell Damage, this is pretty strong on curve. 12/12 worth of stats, but even more importantly, it’s spread between two bodies, so your opponent can’t clear it with a single target removal.
This card seems better in Shaman than in Mage. Yeah, I know it’s not a class card, but those are two classes most likely running it because of Spell Damage synergies. That’s for two reasons – it’s easier to trigger on curve (because you don’t need a minion to stick – you can do it with Rune Dagger, which is much more likely to not get destroyed), and 2x 6/6 is really good on curve. And second reason – you can get it earlier with Lightning Bloom. You can even play weapon on T2, then Coin + Bloom + this on T3, basically winning the game. Yeah, it’s a high roll, but still.
Now, the problem is that you won’t always have a way to trigger it on curve, or even any time after Turn 6. You might not have any Spell Damage minions, and when you do you might have something else to do. That’s because the card is pretty slow. Yeah, it’s a lot of stats on the board, but “a lot of stats” that do nothing else rarely see play.
It seems like it will fit Spell Damage Shaman – probably not so much for Mage, but maybe it will be tried out too. But whether those decks will see play is another thing. I think that they might be Tier ~3, probably not higher until they get more support.
Card Rating: 5/10
Flamewaker v2.0. Well, okay, not really. There are situations in which this is better than Flamewaker – like you used it with a spell or two early, desperately trying to clear the board against Aggro. On the other hand, since this can’t hit face, you can’t do your usual Flamewaker shenanigans, dealing 8 or 10 damage to the opponent out of nowhere. Another upside of Firebrand is that it has one more attack – doesn’t seem like much, but it’s important on a 3-drop. It means that a 2/3 can’t hit it and survive at 1 health.
The fact that it deals only minion damage might make it look like a Control too, but I have to disagree. Or rather say “not only”. Because yes, Control wants board clears, and this is honestly not bad. Maybe some slow Mage deck will want to run it, I could see it in Highlander, but you would probably need to add more cheap spells there first. But Tempo decks also love efficient minion removals. Facing 2x 2 health minion, dropping this with a cheap spell like Magic Trick and clearing them while having a 3/4 minion on the board is amazing.
I’ll be honest – I don’t think that Tempo Mage will be a good deck this expansion. While it has some nice support, it’s still not enough to turn a non-existent deck into a competitive deck. It might be okay-ish build, but probably not a very strong one. But Firebrand is a nice start, if the deck gets more support it might actually see play.
Card Rating: 6/10 because I don’t think that Tempo Mage will be good, but it might be 8/10 in the future
It’s a mini-Animal Companion. It basically summons stuff that are half of the Animal Companions for 1/3 the cost. Seems great, right? Well, it kind of is, but also not always. Your options are 2/2 Taunt, 2/1 Charge or 1/2 that gives your other minions +1 Attack. And the problem is that when we’re talking Turn 1, only one of them is really good – 2/2 Taunt. 2/1 with Charge is good in slower matchups, but pretty bad against Aggro (because tempo > damage in those matchups), while 1/2 is just bad all-around, because it has weak stats and you have nothing to buff. Unlike Leokk, it also dies very easily – people rarely play 4/3 3-drops that would cleanly kill Leokk, while they often play 2/2 1-drops that get rid of 1/2.
I think that the card might see some play in both classes, but it’s not as good as I thought after seeing this. It’s a decent Aggro card, especially if you specifically want to play a spell instead of a minion. Like, for example, if you play a Hunter deck with Guardian Animals and you don’t want to put any small Beasts into your deck, you can play a spell that summons them instead. Also solid in Token decks because of the chance to roll mini-Leokk, but will Token DH be any good? Hard to say, I’m leaning towards “no”.
Solid 1-drop, but I’m going to say that it’s probably worse than many people think.
Card Rating: 7/10
Huh… In Standard, this could be a Demon Hunter card, because I don’t see this being used with 2 mana Hero Powers. For a total of 4 mana, getting 2/3 minion, drawing a card and Hero Power is similar to power level to Gnomish Inventor. A card that has seen exactly zero play over the last few years. In Demon Hunter, on the other hand, you’re getting 2/3 with +1 damage to your hero and card draw. It’s a bit similar to Vulpera Scoundrel, I feel like drawing a card is comparable to discovering a spell. Discovering is more flexible, but drawing a card always gives you something good, because you put it into your deck in the first place. And the +1 damage part is quite important, as it activates all sorts of synergies in Demon Hunter. You can get another 2/2 from Satyr Overseer, buff your Battlefiend and so on.
I think that it will be good enough to see play in Demon Hunter. It will also fit into the class fantasy of cycling through the deck very quickly, but also efficiently. It’s not a super exciting or game-winning card, but it’s going to be solid.
P.S. It might also see play in Wild in Even decks (Genn Greymane), for the same reason. 1 mana Hero Power is what makes it solid. Your Turn 3 is nearly always a 2-drop + Hero Power, so it would fit perfectly as a 2 mana 2/3 with card draw. But I’m rating cards in Standard, so that’s just something I wanted to mention.
Card Rating: 7/10
Spell Mage support. At the base level, it sucks – cycling a card for 2 mana is really bad. But just Spell Damage +1 makes it a better Arcane Intellect. Drawing 2 for 2 is great. And now if you mange to draw 3 or more, it’s just nuts (we’ve seen how powerful it can be – Book of Specters or Fungal Fortunes were insane when they didn’t discard anything).
It curves really well after Lab Partner – 1/3 on T1, drawing 2 cards on T2. Later in the game you can easily play a Spell Damage minion and drop it on the same turn. Most of the time, outside of topdeck situations where you have no board or no hand, making it “draw 2” shouldn’t be a problem, and that’s already good. In Spell Damage Mage, you would most likely want to run it instead of Arcane Intellect. It wouldn’t be game-winning, but a solid synergy with the deck.
All of that said, like I’ve already mentioned before – I don’t think that the deck has enough support yet to be viable, but it’s a great start.
Card Rating: 7/10
Tutoring something for 1 mana is not a bad effect, but only if you have something you really want to draw. Just drawing a card for 1 mana with no extra effect, no body etc. is not great most of the time (outside of some specific decks, like Combo builds that want to cycle as quickly as possible to find the right pieces).
In this case – you draw an Outcast card. Are there any Outcast cards you really, really want to draw? Right now, I would say that there is one – Skull of Gul'dan. Or possibly the new Glide, but it’s too early to tell. But the problem is that it increases their cost by 1. Skull is already much slower at 6 and no longer as overpowered as at 5. Yes, it means that you’ll have an easier time finding them, but at the same time having “four” copies of them in your deck means that it’s an useless card earlier in the game. Increasing your chance to draw a Skull is a double-edged sword, because you DON’T really want to draw a Skull in the early game, before you can play it.
What I like about it is that drawing an Outcast card means that its put on the right side, which means that its Outcast effect is already active. However, again, in case of Skull, that’s 7 mana play, and that’s pretty expensive, even for how strong Skull is. It seems more feasible with Glide, but in case of Glide you want to empty your hand anyway, so you won’t always be able to just draw it with Double Jump and play immediately.
Right now, the best use is as a Skull of Gul’dan tutor, but do you really need to do it? I’m seeing people rating this card 5 stars everywhere, but I just don’t see it as so overpowered. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but it looks quite average. It would do better in a deck where an Outcast card is some sort of combo piece that you really need to draw to win the game, for example. Looking at other opinions, I’m probably wrong, but I’m staying with my “it’s quite average now” rating.
Card Rating: 5/10
That’s Corridor Creeper, but worse. And I’m not even comparing it to pre-nerf version, that’s way out of its league. In general, cards that get cheaper and cheaper should not be underestimated, but… they either need to get cheaper while in your deck too OR only if your hand, but be really powerful. This is not particularly powerful, and it only gets cheaper in your hand. Oh, and unlike Creeper, only your minions will activate it.
Summoning 3x 1/2 with Taunt would be worth… well, it would need to cost 3 mana for players to even consider running it, it would be too expensive at 4. So to even make it playable, you need 4 minions to die while this is in your hand. And I say playable – it would be good, but not super powerful. Realistically, you need to play it at 1-2 mana to recuperate from the fact that you were holding a dead card for a while. Because if you need to set up a card like that, it can’t just be “decent”, it needs to be really good.
Current Demon Hunter lists definitely don’t want this. Yes, they have some minions dying, but not nearly enough to consistently discount it. You want to have a board all the time and sacrifice your minions all the time, so even when you draw it it might be usable on the same turn or maybe the turn after. That’s why the only deck that might consider running it is Token Demon Hunter. Which, as we all know, is not the best deck. If you run a lot of cards that flood the board, such as Command the Illidari, then this card makes more sense. If you would be able to drop it for 0 mana pretty often, and then further benefit from it, like shoot some damage at the opponents or draw some cards, then yeah, it might be decent. But I’m honestly not sure if Token Demon Hunter got enough support to become a deck in the expansion. And even in Token Demon Hunter this would be just okay, not great.
Card Rating: 2/10 (6/10 in Token Demon Hunter but I don’t think it will be viable)
Now this is a whole different story. Remember Jeeves? This is a complete power creep on him. Power creep on the card that was quite popular back when it was in standard and is still seeing some play in very fast Wild decks. And Jeeves drew cards for BOTH players. It didn’t matter vs Control, but your opponent could also benefit from it in Aggro matchups. And the best thing? It costs 2 mana. TWO MANA. Not four like Jeeves. While it comes with nearly the same stats. I just don’t know what to say.
I think the only bad thing about it is that fast decks don’t really run out of cards as fast as they did back in the day, because every deck now has a ton of cycle, draw, card generation and so on. Like, I’m not sure if Demon Hunter will want if with all the draw it has. Before, if you were playing Aggro, you were often topdecking around Turn 4-5. Right now it’s unthinkable, making this card worse. BUT with this card, instead of going for the card options, you can just go all-in on Aggro, put two copies of it and be happy with your deck building choices.
But I’m 100% sure that it will find play somewhere. Fast Aggro decks will want it. In fact, it might let some Aggro decks keep up with Demon Hunter, which was impossible before. And if not in Standard, then it will go into the Aggro Token Druid deck I just played a few decks ago in Wild instead of Jeeves. I think I only rated a single card 10/10 before, and this is definitely the second one.
Card Rating: 10/10
I really don’t like this card and the crazy amount of completely uncontrollable randomness it has. In Standard, there’s like 250 spells that cost 0-3 mana right now. And they have wildly different effects. It has a chance to kill itself, kill another minion, deal damage to your hero, play something completely useless… but it also has a chance to remove a minion from your opponent, draw some cards, play a good Secret and so on. Since a lot of card draw and Secrets are in the pool, ON AVERAGE this is going to do something good for the player. But since it’s a 0/3 minion, it will likely die shortly after, so the question is – is it worth it to run it?
My gut says no, but I have no clue. I would need to look through the list of all 250 or so spells, see how many have positive effect vs how many have negative effects. Like I’ve said, I’m sure that there are more positive than negative, but a 60/40 split wouldn’t be good enough. It would need to be at least like a 70/30 for this card to see play. Is it that big? Hard to say, I still have a 40 other cards to review, so I won’t go too deep into it.
But I hope, I really really hope that it won’t be played, because losing to it will just feel bad. Your opponent dropping it and then high-rolling a Serpentshrine Portal on your 2-drop, and then rolling Animal Companion or Arcane Intellect next turn. Or wait, Totemic Reflection on itself. That’s an instant concede. And it would feel absolutely terrible.
Card Rating: 4/10