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 #7 – Ancient Void Hound, Trueaim Crescent, Wyrm Weaver, Demon Companion, Double Jump, Voracious Reader and more!
- Scholomance Academy Card Review #9 – Robes of Protection, Mindrender Illucia, Twilight Runner, Commencement, Blessing of Authority, Cutting Class and more!
Steward of Scrolls
Steward of Scrolls is similar to Azure Drake, which used to be a staple in multiple decks before it rotates out to Hall of Fame and it still sees SOME play in Wild (although quite rare). However, it’s a really unfair comparison for a few reasons. First of all – Drake was played at the time when the overall power level in Standard was significantly lower. Second – drawing a card is a more generic and universally solid effect than Discovering a spell. And third – Dragon tag holds more value than Elemental tag in general. Azure Drake was commonly played with all of the Dragon synergies from Blackrock Mountain etc. That’s why Steward of Scrolls seems like a slightly worse Azure Drake in a meta that is much higher power level than what we had when Azure Drake was in Standard.
The only decks I could possibly see it in are Spell Damage decks from Mage & Shaman. But with pretty weak stats and a useless Elemental tag (unless you suddenly decide to play Animated Avalanche), it’s a tough sell. Will definitely see some play from Discovers, but I’m not sure if you will want to put it into your deck. Possibly if you build a Highlander Spell Damage deck and you need another Spell Damage source (because it’s still better than cards like Archmage or Ogre Magi. Or maybe if we get more Elemental synergies in the future expansions, because that would be another selling point.
Card Rating: 3/10
I have absolutely no clue how this could ever be a good card, and I’m serious. It starts as a 5 mana 1/1 and it grows in stats whenever a friendly minion dies. But wait, it needs to be in your hand. But wait, you DON’T want this to be in your hand since Turn 1, because it’s a dead card and you’d rather have something playable. But wait, if it’s not, then you topdeck it and have to wait a few turns until it grow before you can play it. It needs to be AT THE VERY LEAST a 6/6 to even consider dropping it, and that’s 5 minions dying. Might not seem much in a Token deck and yeah, it’s not a lot for a token deck later in the game – but assuming that you’re holding it from the first turn, it will be very hard to bump it to playable stats on curve.
However, that’s not even the main problem. The main problem is that it does nothing, it’s just a pile of stats. Yes, 5 mana 20/20 would be see a lot of play, because if you don’t answer it immediately than you just die. But it would need to sit in your hand for the entire game to grow to that size. And it only takes a single removal to get rid of it. Which honestly shouldn’t be a problem – if you’re running a Token decks, your opponent is mostly using his AoE removals and his single target removals are still there. So he will most likely have something ready. Heck, you don’t even need to REMOVE it, just Silencing it is good enough, because you’re left with a 1/1 minion.
The card would need at least Rush or Taunt in order to be playable, and even then I’m not sure if the decks would want it, especially since it’s such a terrible topdeck and the game needs to go perfectly for it to be worth it.
Card Rating: 2/10
Vilefiend Trainer seems like a pretty average card. It’s not bad – triggering its outcast means that it’s 5/4 + 2x 1/1. Even when 5/4 gets removed, and it probably will, because 4 health is not much on a 4-drop, then you’re still left with 2x 1/1. It definitely doesn’t compare in power level to many Demon Hunter cards, but here’s one thing – DH has no good 4-drops. Kayn Sunfury is the only one played right now, and that’s often not enough. Yeah, there’s also Altruis the Outcast, but it’s not really a 4-drop, just a 4-cost card. Tempo Demon Huner used to run Raging Felscreamer, but that was back when Priestess of Fury was still played.
Of course, summoning 1/1’s being an Outcast effect and not a Battlecry effect is kind of a big deal. You can’t always guarantee to activate it on curve, and a vanilla 5/4 ain’t good. And in general, this is an Outcast card that you do want to play on curve, unlike e.g. card draw which can sit in your hand for a while longer.
It’s quite mediocre, it’s nothing special, but it might end up seeing SOME play simply because DH doesn’t have many good 4-drop options.
Card Rating: 4/10
Another “Egg” card even though it’s not exactly an Egg. The closest comparison would be Devilsaur Egg, which was a Deathrattle Hunter staple for a long time. Python has some advantages and disadvantages – the most obvious disadvantage is that Egg summoned a 5/5 and Python summons a 4/4. That’s a quite big difference, to be honest. On the other hand, what’s going for Python is that it has 1/2 stats, so it can actually attack, which means that you can trigger the Deathrattle without any buffs or other cards. Another advantage is that 1/2 is a Beast – on the other hand the spawned token is not a Beast, unlike Devilsaur. Overall the cards are similar in power level – I think that Devilsaur Egg was slightly stronger, BUT Bloated Python is definitely good enough to see play in Deathrattle-based archetype.
And honestly, it looks like Deathrattle Hunter might make a comeback. E.g. it combos well with Pack Tactics – dropping it on 2 and this on 3 is great. Your opponent will just ignore it, you might say – yeah, but if he does, then you drop Mok'Nathal Lion next turn. You can also play Augmented Porcupine instead of Bloated Python for similar results.
Even if not this expansion, then just a little more support might make a deck like that viable. I think that Python will be a strong, important piece. Alternatively, you might try to put Python into a more generic Beast Hunter deck, but I’m not sure if that would work. Overall, it’s a good card and can be a key in Deathrattle archetype (we know that Deathrattle Hunter can really work if they push it) and even if not now, then it should be played soon.
Card Rating: 8/10
By itself, the card is slightly above average. Not bad, not great. You’re overpaying for the 4/5 Taunt – 5 mana is way too much for it. Even a 4 mana 4/5 Taunt with no other effect wouldn’t likely see play. On the other hand, you get an extra Deathrattle – summoning a random 3-Cost Beast. And the variance is quite big here, which was already shown by Exotic Mountseller. You can get a 2/1 or 2/2, or you can get a 5/5 or let’s say the new Bloated Python. Zixor, Apex Predator is also an amazing roll. Assuming that you roll something like a 3/3 on average, then it’s a decent card to play on the curve. It might see some play already, but probably won’t be a star card of any deck without any other synergies.
But, if we look at some synergies, things are getting a bit better. In Hunter, you can try running it in Deathrattle deck. Against, the deck is not full-fledged yet, and it could use some extra synergies, but it’s solid + summoning a Beast can also synergize with some Hunter cards. What I like more, however, is the Guardian Animals synergy. The card seems better in Druid than Hunter for reasons I’ve already explained when reviewing it, but Hunter could theoretically play it too with Teacher’s Pet and maybe a few more 4-5 cost Beasts. But in Druid, Teacher’s Pet can be used as a “filler” for Guardian Animals, when the main Beast you’d like to summon is Twilight Runner. Because of Rush, you could run them Teacher’s Pet into something immediately and possibly get a Deathrattle right away, making it a removal + small body left behind.
The card isn’t super exciting, but it’s solid – I would expect it to see at least some play.
Card Rating: 7/10
A worse Rotnest Drake. Because Hunter doesn’t have 0 mana spells, it takes a 1 mana spell to activate it, increasing the cost to 5 anyway, so you can’t really drop it earlier. 3/5 stats are also much less threatening.
But here’s the thing – not all Hunter decks want to play Dragons and, frankly, Rotnest drake is busted, the card is way too strong, so being worse doesn’t necessarily equal to being bad. And it’s not bad. First of all, it’s a Beast and you don’t need to be holding a Dragon, so you can easily play it in another Hunter build, like some generic Midrange.
Triggering it would be quite difficult before – Hunter doesn’t have any 0 mana spells, and Midrange builds didn’t really run too many 1 mana spells (Tracking – yeah, but Rapid Fire or Arcane Shot weren’t popular). Now you can play cards like Adorable Infestation, Carrion Studies, Demon Companion or Overwhelm depending on the build. Adorable Infestation and Overwhelm in particular should work quite well in Beast decks. And since this is basically a 4 mana 3/5 with “Add a Deadly Shot to your first spell’s effect”, it will be worth it to use those 1 mana spells alongside.
It’s a solid card, not as good as Rotnest Drake, but I feel like it should see some play. Unless Dragons will still be the best way to play Hunter, then we might have to wait until they rotate out (e.g. Rotnest will be out of Standard in 2021).
Card Rating: 6/10
Very powerful card for any Beast-heavy Hunter build. The baseline is quite weak, 2 damage to a minion for 1 mana is just a worse Arcane Shot, but even that is playable at the times. But the card has some amazing scaling later in the game. With just two Beasts on the board, which is not that hard at all when most of the minions in your deck are Beasts (and some cards summon more than a single Beast), that’s 4 damage for 1 mana, which is already an amazing card. Later in the game you can do even better – e.g. play Unleash the Hounds for 4 minions and deal 6 damage with it. Or just drop 2x Wolpertinger and do the same. Adorable Infestation will also add +1 damage, because it summons a Beast (and you can easily drop the 1/1 from your hand for extra damage).
The only downside is that Hunter can’t really play too many “low cost, low impact” cards because the class lacks card draw. If you put too many of those into your deck, you will end up topdecking them in the late game without a good way to draw more stuff, and that’s pretty bad. That said, Overwhelm is still more impactful in the mid/late game than many other cheap cards, because it has some nice scaling.
It’s a great synergy card and a solid way for Beast Hunter to gain some tempo. And I wonder if Highlander Hunter doesn’t run enough Beasts to make it work already, despite being a mostly-Dragon build. Anyway, this will be an auto-include in any Beast-oriented Hunter deck. Great card.
Card Rating: 8/10
Amazing card, it reminds me a lot of Death's Bite. 4/2 for 4 is a solid stats for the cost, especially in a class like Warrior, which can buff the weapon too. And the Spellburst effect is so, so good.
What I like about it is the same thing I liked about Supercollider – putting your opponent in an awkward situation. Because you see, you don’t need to activate Spellburst on the first swing. You can equip it and kill something or hit face for 4. And then your opponent can’t really develop multiple minions, because you play a spell and kill them all. Unless he removes the weapon, his next turns will be pretty weak or he will just ignore it and give you a good cleave. Either way, it’s a win for you.
It’s a solid “control” weapon in slightly slower decks, but a great aggressive weapon too. Pirate Warrior will love it, for example. It’s less awkward than Arcanite Reaper since it costs 1 less and e.g. curves into Captain Greenskin. The only bad thing would be drawing your 3 mana weapon with Corsair Cache, then you can’t really play it on curve. But anyway, my point is that you play it to go face, but in tempo-heavy matchups, you can also use one swing to clear their board too.
Very good card, I suspect that it will be played in multiple Warrior builds.
Card Rating: 8/10
Shield of Honor
A dual class Paladin / Warrior card, but honestly for me it looks more like an attempt to give Warrior access to Divine Shield. I just don’t see it in Paladin. The class is good at buffing, but has no easy way to damage own minions, or no other self-damage synergies. On the other hand, you don’t need synergies to appreciate Divine Shield, that’s why it seems more like a Warrior card than Paladin card – at least now.
And what a Warrior card it is. It’s very similar to Rampage. In general, 3 health is probably A BIT better than Divine Shield in that deck, particularly because Rampage works better with e.g. AoE damage from Risky Skipper (there will be situations in which you might clear your own DS with Skipper), but it really depends on the exact situation, board state and so on. However, Rampage costs 2 – this costs 1, that’s a big difference. At 1 mana it’s much more flexible, you can more easily fit it e.g. into a Bloodsworn Mercenary turn, your Kor'kron Elite burst combos are also cheaper, so easier to pull off.
Enrage Warrior was one of the best decks throughout Ashes of Outland, and it can slot right into it. It’s not going to make it broken, probably just replace Rampage as a slightly worse, but cheaper option (so overall better). Which is good enough. And maybe in the future, with some more synergies, it will see play in Paladin (although it doesn’t seem to be the class style).
Card Rating: 7/10
It’s a more expensive Execute + a cheaper Assassinate on Combo. Because yeah – 3 mana Execute sucks. On the other hand, 3 mana spell that kills any minion of your choice (unlike e.g. Deadly Shot which is random) is really solid. Two things, though. First of all – Rogue didn’t have access to Execute, and the card would be pretty good in the class as long as you don’t mind taking some damage (because you can always stab the minion with Hero Power before Executing it). On the other hand, I feel like Sap would be a better option most of the time given that you need an extra setup. Warrior obviously wouldn’t want 3 mana Execute, since they have 2 mana version. But luckily, that’s not the only use for this card.
You can also spend 3 mana to kill a minion… that’s a different story. It’s a really solid removal. Activating combo to remove a minion also shouldn’t be that big of a deal. given that (at least Rogue) easily activated Vilespine Slayer. It might a bit more difficult in Warrior, since the class is not optimized to activate Combos, but even slower Warrior decks have a fair share of cheap-ish cards.
The only thing I want to mention is that both Warrior and Rogue deal pretty well with single, bigger threats. So it’s not like the card is going to change everything, it’s not like suddenly it gives classes with no removal some super powerful one. But given that Rogue in particular should easily activate combos, the card should most likely see play. In Warrior, I’m not so sure, it probably depends on the exact list. If they will have a bunch of cheap cards, or play a deck with Lackeys (Enrage warrior?). Overall the card is very likely to be played, since it’s really solid.
Card Rating: 8/10
Wolpertinger is, at the very least, an Alleycat, a card that was a staple in Hunter for as long as it was in Standard. Simply because summoning two bodies on T1, both of them being Beasts for the sake of synergies, is quite good. Maybe it wouldn’t be an auto include like it used to because the overall power level has increased, but it would still be a really decent 1-drop. It’s very unlikely that both 1/1’s will die going into Turn 2, so it means that you can always deal SOME damage to the opponent, or maybe buff it (e.g. with Fresh Scent).
But Wolpertinger is even better, because it summons an exact copy of itself. In case of Alleycat, if the first body was buffed, then the second one was still 1/1. This time, if you e.g. draw Wolpertinger with Scavenger's Ingenuity, both bodies will get buffed. In case of Ingenuity – you can drop 2x 3/3 for 1 mana (+2 from Ingenuity, so realistically 3 mana, but that’s still good).
The thing is that even if “Handbuff Hunter” won’t be good, any accidental handbuff that lands on Wolpertinger won’t be totally wasted. Which means that you can run it in a deck without handbuffs and it will work well too. But of course, running some handbuff synergies won’t hurt – for example, I think that if you build a Beast Hunter you will want to include Shan'do Wildclaw, and the first option already makes it 2x 2/2 for 1 mana.
The fact that it summons two bodies also combos nicely with Overwhelm – this + Overwhelm is already 4 damage without any extra Beasts on the board.
It will 100% go into any Beast-based Hunter, possibly into something like Highlander too even if it will still run the current Dragon build.
Card Rating: 9/10
Hunter Studies card synergizes with Deathrattle, so Deathrattle Hunter is realistically the only deck you want to play it in. To be completely honest, the pool of Deathrattle minions is huge and there’s a lot of low rolls there, without THAT many high-rolls. Without class bonus to discover rate, you won’t see cards like Bloated Python or Zixor, Apex Predator quite as often as you would in the past.
The only thing I really like about it is discounting a Deathrattle minion, which means that if you play it on T1, then you can play T2 Zixor / Bloated Python / Augmented Porcupine. Because to be honest, Deathrattle Hunter doesn’t seem to have a great T2 play, while it has an abundance of T3 plays, so it could activate some of those T3 plays earlier, making your curve better. Something like T2 Python into T3 Teron Gorefiend would be quite insane (even better if you then slam Mok'Nathal Lion on T4).
I think that Deathrattle Hunter might want to run this mostly because of the discount, which could fix it curve quite often. The Discover part is also nice if you hit something good, but like I’ve said, the pool of Deathrattles is so big that it’s very unlikely to get the card you want and the chance of having 3 bad/mediocre options is quite high. But overall I’m not a big fan of this Studies card.
Card Rating: 5/10
Power Word: Feast
Huh, that’s an interesting buff / healing card. +2/+2 for 2 mana is mediocre, it can be useful at times, but it’s not that amazing. However, the fact that you can buff this, trade into something and then still heal up the minion to full is very interesting in board-focused matchups. Healing at the end of turn can also be a downside when the minion is already damaged and trading would kill it, but I’m pretty sure that most of the time it’s a good thing for it to happen at the end of your turn.
E.g. playing Frazzled Freshman on T1, then buffing it and trading into whatever your opponent has dropped, then healing it back to full and having a 3/6 minion ready. Or heck, even ignoring the healing part, a 3/6 minion on T2 that you can already swing with is just good, and it’s very unlikely that your opponent has an answer for your T1 Frazzled Freshman.
PW:F is a really good card in so-called Tempo Priest, which has got a ton of support this expansion. At the start of reveal season I was very cautious about calling this deck good, but after seeing all the card, I really think that it might finally happen. And Feast will definitely be a solid part of why.
Card Rating: 8/10
They’re really trying to make those “free Hero Power” cards playable. We went from Fencing Coach to Waterboy to this. Neither of the two previous versions have seen much play, but Tour Guide is better. It costs only 1, so you’re actually playing the HP at a discount. Plus unlike Waterboy (and like Fencing Coach), the discount carries to next turn too, so you don’t need to use it right away if you don’t want.
The previous versions weren’t that good. Basic Hero Powers are fillers anyway, they’re not something you WANT to play. And you still had to spend full mana cost for them, you just got a “free” 2/1 or a “1 mana” 2/2 in return. In case of Tour Guide, you’re getting
And I think that it might finally make sense in some cases, if we look at direct comparisons. This is not something you want to play e.g. in Priest (1/1 that heals for 2 – Voodoo Doctor is better) or Mage (1 mana 1/1 that deals 1 is Elven Archer). On the other hand, it MIGHT be something you want to play in Warlock (a slightly weaker Kobold Librarian) or in Paladin (Lost in the Jungle, but only one 1/1 is a Silver Hand Recruit – something that doesn’t really matter right now). Maybe even Face Hunter, seems like a better Leper Gnome in the early game, and most notably it triggers Toxic Reinforcements Quest too. Totem Shaman? You can fit 1/1 + random Totem into your Totem buff turns, it’s also easier to combo it with e.g. Totemic Reflection. Maybe Rogue? But Rogue doesn’t necessarily have great T2 to follow up anyway, and just refreshing HP is not something you necessarily want. But we’ll see.
The biggest downside is that you can’t play “free” Hero Power from this card AND your regular 2 mana Hero Power on the same turn. So in the late game scenario, where you can just add Hero Power to your turn because you don’t have anything better to do anyway, this is just a 1 mana 1/1. The upside is that you can “prepare” your Hero Power and not play it immediately. I don’t think that there’s a lot of synergy for that now, but maybe in the future.
P.S. Might also be good in some Odd decks in Wild. E.g. Odd Paladin = 3x 1/1 on Turn 1. Odd Rogue = 1/1 + 2/2 weapon on T1. Odd Hunter (although I don’t think it really sees play) = 1/1 + 3 damage on T1.
Card Rating: 7/10
Raise Dead is simply an amazing card, in both Priest and Warlock. Any 0 mana effect is something to be cautious about, because it can break the game. And this is definitely one of them. Adding 2 cards to your hand for 0 mana is simply insane. Of course, there’s a downside – you need to take 3 damage… but the thing is that this “downside” can be an upside at times! Here are few examples.
In both Warlock and Priest it’s an activator for Brittlebone Destroyer. Thanks to Raise Dead, you can play it on curve (T4). It also decreases the cost of Flesh Giant by 1. In Priest, it’s a good card in Quest build too, since you WANT to damage yourself so you can heal. Opponents often won’t attack you to delay your Quest, and you can do it yourself with Raise Dead. In Warlock, it fits perfectly into “self-damage” build. It’s a great activator for Darkglare or Diseased Vulture. The only awkward thing about this card is that you can’t use it very effectively until at least two of your minions have died.
Well, one more “bad” thing about it is that taking damage can be risky in certain metas. If we end up with a hyper-Aggro meta, then 3 damage to your Hero is a lot and even if you activate some extra synergies that way, your opponent might be happy about it. So it should be way better in a slower meta (not necessarily a SLOW meta, just a meta in which most of your opponents don’t want to kill you on Turn 5-6). But I still think that the card has a lot of potential in both classes.
Card Rating: 9/10