In Scholomance Academy, a college full of powerful teachers and students hungry for mystical knowledge, the Spellburst mechanic showcases the power of magic in Azeroth. The effect that activates after the first spell has been played in a turn opens up countless new design options for minions of Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion.
As far as gameplay goes, Spellburst looks to become a staple tool for building up tempo – something that not only classic tempo archetypes desperately need. In this Scholomance Academy theorycraft article, we put several Spellburst minions under the microscope and feature a total of three archetypes that will work wonders thanks to Spellburst: Tempo Mage, Highlander Shaman, and Malygos Druid.
Spellburst Tempo Mage
With the release of Scholomance Academy, the Mage class has definitely received the most life-saving support to regain traction in the aggro and tempo department.
This particular list takes a rather aggressive approach, similar to “casino” style Mage iterations. With one half of the deck being 1-mana cards, our game plan is crystal-clear: Snowball the board as early as possible, control it through the early game, deal substantial damage, reload in the mid game, and try to finish things up before we run out of fuel.
In terms of early game disruption, both Lab Partner and Wand Thief represent what can safely be called Mage’s most powerful cheap minion solutions since pre-nerf Mana Wyrm. The king of early game nuisances will without a doubt be Trick Totem though. You don’t have to be a statistician to realize how incredibly powerful even the average outcome of Trick Totem’s active effect will be – especially against other aggro and tempo decks that rely on early board pressure.
In the past, the aforementioned “fuel” – or value acquisition – has been a problem with the majority of Hearthstone’s aggro archetypes. The list’s main card that tries to solve this particular problem is everybody’s favorite elemental: Mana Cyclone. A total of nine 1-mana spells combined with goold old Sorcerer's Apprentice should increase the average outcome of Mana Cyclone’s Battlecry effect by a quite substantial amount – and not only that: The Mage spell pool got so, so much better with Scholomance Academy, which of course applies to spell creation through Evocation.
This list looks so strong already that talking about its Spellburst synergies just feels like the cherry on top – but in the end, Scholomance Academy’s new spell-focussed mechanic adds the threats needed to finish off our opponents.
First there is Firebrand – or as we should call it: Flamewaker’s younger and bit more balanced brother. Together with Wretched Tutor and card_link name=”Devolving Missiles”], this Mage list should be able to react to early game threats as well as mid game swing turns, while Wyrm Weaver is a sturdy mid game menaces which, if not removed right away, can represent lethal damage with the right amount of spells in the upcoming turn.
Last but not least, Mana Giant will cause serious trouble on very early turns depending on our “out of deck card” generation – which shouldn’t be too much of a problem on average for this list!
Spellburst Highlander Shaman
- 1Devolving Missiles1
- 1Sphere of Sapience1
- 2Zephrys the Great1
- 3Educated Elekk1
- 3Speaker Gidra1
- 3Vulpera Scoundrel1
- 4Escaped Manasaber1
- 4Twilight Drake1
- 4Wretched Tutor1
- 5Cobalt Spellkin1
- 5Headmaster Kel’Thuzad1
- 5Lorekeeper Polkelt1
- 6Onyx Magescribe1
- 7Keymaster Alabaster1
- 9Dragonqueen Alexstrasza1
Ever since the inception of singleton decks in Hearthstone, Shaman has always been the class that felt suited best for creating a good Highlander deck, because it has so many valuable cards that could be included.
But maybe it is Scholomance Academy and the Spellburst mechanic that will transform Highlander Shaman from being a niche control deck into a top contender in a possible tempo-oriented early meta game.
The most anticipated Shaman without a doubt is Diligent Notetaker. Highlander Shaman heavily depends on expensive high-value spells such as Earthquake and Hagatha's Scheme for board-clearing or Witch's Brew for that extra bit of survivability – and Diligent Notetaker basically annuls the one-of restriction of Highlander decks all by itself.
On the note of spell value, Instructor Fireheart’s Battlecry effect can create an insane swing turn full of high-value Shaman spells especially in later stages of the game. Final burn damage, much-needed healing, last-second board clear, you name it – the flexibility of this 3-drop perfectly fits the theme of Highlander Shaman.
Just like Fireheart, Speaker Gidra belongs to Scholomance’s faculty and will teach us one thing or another about the correct usage of the numerous Shaman spells in our deck. As a board-centric 3-drop minion, we as the control deck are looking for a solution that can create 2-for-1 situations, and similar to the much more expensive Siamat, Gidra should be able to do exactly that, especially in combination with everybody’s favorite board control tool, Devolving Missiles.
The third new 3-mana minion Educated Elekk synergizes well with the general spell-centric playstyle of Highlander Shaman. Similar to Diligent Notetaker, it is able to copy important 1-of-cards that this deck would love to run multiple copies of.
In the control department, this new iteration of Highlander Shaman uses several new toys to take over the game. Sphere of Sapience introduces Magic’s Scry mechanic to Hearthstone, making it possible to manipulate your top decks. Lorekeeper Polkelt goes even further and sorts our deck from high to low mana cost, creating an incredibly unique effect and making Dragonqueen Alexstrasza draws much more frequent.
The other two late game highlights are Keymaster Alabaster and Headmaster Kel'Thuzad. One directly counters Polkelt shenanigans and may be one of the best cards to top-deck in Highlander Shaman; the other combines headache-inducing board-clear scenarios with massive swing turn potential.
Spellburst Malygos Druid
A Spellburst deck with only one Spellburst card? That’s right, we’re that ruthless!
The deck called Spellburst Malygos Druid unites two very popular and powerful archetypes: Spell Druid and Malygos Druid. In fact, the singular card that weds the two could revolutionize the Druid class as a whole: Forest Warden Omu.
Refreshing mana crystals? Is that you, Kun the Forgotten King?
Well, not exactly – but thanks to a niche Ashes of Outland spell called Germination, we can cheat our way into refreshing all mana crystals on turn 10 not only once but twice! The play order should go as follows:
- We play Forest Warden Omu.
- We play Germination on Omu. Now the first Spellburst activates.
- We now have 10 mana, one Omu without and one Omu with Spellburst active on the board.
- We play Malygos and then Moonfire.
- The second Omu’s Spellburst activates, which leaves us with another 10 mana.
- We play the second Moonfire and two Swipes for a total of 6 + 6 + 9 + 9 = 30 damage.
Other than that new combo, we play Spell Druid just like in Ashes of Outland. Ramp, remove, survive, increase hand size. Two new toys called Lightning Bloom and Nature Studies should increase general consistency as well as lethal damage potential – not to speak of Ysera, Unleashed on turn 5.
Looking at past Malygos Druid lists, we may need more cards for the lethal combo then before, but this combo is guaranteed – and together with two insanely versatile spells, this combo could be enough to make Spellburst Malygos Druid a serious contender in the first weeks of a chaotic meta.