The Witchwood Card Review Part 5 – Scaleworm, Vex Crow, Coffin Crasher, Darius Crowley, Emeriss, and More!

If you’re anything like me, then reveal season is your favorite time of the year (alongside the first days of a new expansion). With nothing figured out, new cards coming every day, wild theories and early deck builds (which most likely won’t work) popping up everywhere, and that surprise when you look at some card and think to yourself – “what were they thinking when they’ve designed it?”

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at some of the recently revealed cards, reviewing them and rating from 1 to 10. The scale itself should be quite obvious, but just to quickly explain my point of view: A card rated 5 is average – it might be playable in some decks, but it’s nothing special (think something like Plated Beetle from Kobolds & Catacombs). 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 this card as something with a lot of 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.

Previous Card Reviews

Remember that with only a part of the whole expansion revealed, it’s incredibly hard to review cards accurately, since we have no clue what else will be released, what synergies will be pushed or how rotation will shape the meta. 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 with 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!

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Hunting Mastiff

The Rush mechanic is really cool, but it’s not exactly exciting on a 2/1 minion. I mean, that’s the point, because it also comes with Echo, so it would be too strong if the stats were higher. But the problem is that you can’t play it, hit something and still have a minion on the board. Unless you’re using it to clear a board of Totems, Doomsayer and such, which sometimes is the case, but not that often.

What I like about this, and well, like about any other Echo card is flexibility. A 2/1 with Rush for 2 mana would not be good. But you can use it to fill your Turn 4, 6, 8 and even 10 by playing more. Too bad that it jumps by two, so you will have to round them up if you want to clear anything with odd health. E.g. a simple Tar Creeper would stop 3 (6 mana worth) of them.

The thing going for this card is obviously the Beast tag. At 1 mana, this would probably be broken thanks to e.g. Scavenging Hyena or Dire Wolf Alpha. But at 2 mana, those synergies are just “okay”. For example, on Turn 8 you can play Hyena, 3x this, clear something and pump Hyena up to 8/5. Definitely not bad play, but not super exciting either.

The biggest issue I have with this card is that it might not fit into any Hunter archetype. It’s just too slow. I don’t think that you’d want to play this in Midrange, because Echo cards are generally better in slower decks, who can take advantage of the flexibility. If you play on curve anyway and want to finish the game as soon as possible, then you won’t really appreciate Echo until your last turns.

One important thing to note is that the Zombeast pool (from Deathstalker Rexxar) is going to be updated for The Witchwood, meaning that it will be one of the potential picks. And adding +2/+1, Rush AND Echo to something for 2 mana seems quite good.

All in all, this card is pretty weak by itself, but makes up for it with its flexibility and synergies. So, all in all, it’s okay – not spectacular, but not bad. I just feel that it might be too slow for Midrange builds, and as we all know, Control Hunter is not really a thing.

Card rating: 6/10

Forest Guide

So, I like seeing them experiment with different stat-lines and different effects. This is something we have never seen before. I like the art especially, but I feel like I will never see it in an actual game after the pack opening.

First of all, stat-line. Believe it or not, but it’s important even on minions with cool effects. 1/6 for 4 is TERRIBLE. It’s a worse Mogu'shan Warden, and that comes with Taunt at least. This will be either ignored or traded nearly for free. There is no chance that dropping a 1/6 will make your board scary or anything.

Then, the effect. This is the interesting part. Since it’s an end of turn effect, it will happen at least once. But you’re still in the losing position, since your opponent will take advantage of his extra card first. This card is straight up unplayable against Aggro – not only is it super slow and doesn’t contest anything, but giving them extra cards is not good at all.

So this card is trash, right? Well, maybe not. Right now it looks like that, but there might be something going on for it. First of all – Hand Druid synergy. It seems like it’s a thing they’re going for this expansion (Wispering Woods), and we might get more cards benefiting from a high card count. Still, given that you force both you and your opponent to draw cards, this won’t likely survive more than a turn if such strategy is really a thing, wouldn’t it be better to let’s say play some other card draw? I don’t know, Acolyte of Pain costs 1 less and can draw more than one. Even Gnomish Inventor seems like a better pick in such a deck.

But, another strategy this might fit into is… Mill/Fatigue Druid! While not good in Standard, it’s actually a thing in the Wild. As for Fatigue, I don’t think that it will work, because the deck plays a bit differently. But the Mill variant could actually use it. Druid gets another way to force the opponent to draw cards. However, I have another counter-point – Druid already has a card like that, which feels better – Grove Tender. Yes, this is not an ongoing effect, but it costs 1 less and has a much better stat-line for its cost. Can you afford to play both in your deck?

Those are all valid points, but… Right now, there is not much going on for Hand Druid yet, and the Mill strategy is not something viable in Standard (especially now that Coldlight Oracle will be gone), so right now this card looks bad. But I wouldn’t immediately dismiss it, because believe me or not, it actually has SOME potential to be played, even if in an off-meta deck.

Card rating: 2/10


One thing for sure – if there is a class that can utilize Coins (or other 0 mana spells) best, it is Rogue. But still – 4 mana for 3 damage? Limited to minions? That’s got to be some sort of cruel joke.

The first point of comparison I have is Tomb Pillager. THAT is an example of a strong card, which gives you Coins. Simply because you pay for a vanilla 4-drop stats and get an extra effect. Tomb Pillager would be much worse, but possibly still playable as a 4/3 – you’d pay for 3 mana worth of vanilla stats + Coin. But this card is EVEN worse. “3 damage to a minion” is an effect worth 2 mana, or actually even less – other 2 mana 3 damage cards can either go face or have more flexibility (e.g. Wrath can also draw). Then you get a Coin. And it’s still not worth 4 mana no matter how you look at it. This is like making Tomb Pillager a 3/2 or something. It MIGHT still be played in the decks that desperately need Coins, but it just wouldn’t be good.

Oh, and the fact that it has to KILL a minion to give you a Coin is another big thing. You can’t use it during your Gadgetzan Auctioneer turn if your opponent has e.g. a 5 health minion on the board. I mean, you can, but you won’t get the Coin if you don’t damage it down first. Similarly, you won’t be able to just use it on a bigger minion one turn to set it up for a clear the following turn. I mean, you can, but you won’t get the Coin.

I won’t completely dismiss it, as it’s still Rogue and Coins, but… I just feel like this card should be priced at 3 mana. At 4 mana, it has to be compared to cards like Flanking Strike (3/3 on the board is much better than Coin in the hand, even Coin in Rogue), or even Hammer of Wrath, which gives you the card immediately (yay, you don’t have to wait for Auctioneer to cycle it!) and is… a pretty weak card.

Even though the card is pretty bad, it might still be playable. Why? Because Miracle Rogue desperately needs more ways to generate Coins. They’re the main Gadgetzan Auctioneer fuel, and even if this card is subpar, it might still be used just because of that. Other than that, it might be used in some Combo Rogue deck, which simply NEEDS the coins to perform the combo. I like this card flavor-wise, but I think it’s on the weak side. I’m giving it 3 out of 10 ONLY because of how well Rogue combos with Coins.

Card rating: 3/10


Strong card to put into a Dragon deck. Since “holding a Dragon” condition is nearly always met by Turn 4, this card can be seen like a 4 mana 5/4 with Rush, and that’s good. Yes, it’s not Duskbreaker level good, but it should be enough to see Constructed play. Most of the time, you will be able to charge into your opponent’s 2-drop or 3-drop and this will still survive. Great example is Tar Creeper – you can trade into it and still have a 5/1 body leftover. That’s great, because now your opponent has to spend extra resources to clear that – even if it’s a Mage pinging it with Hero Power, you still make his turn worse. Other classes might actually need to trade minion, spell, or maybe even not have a way to clear it, and it will deal 5 damage or give you another good trade.

Now, the problem is that lots of good Dragons and Dragon synergies are rotating out. Most importantly, Priest is losing Drakonid Operative, which was one of the most broken cards ever printed. But on top of that, Netherspite Historian and Book Wyrm are also rotating out, which is a big deal.

I think that this card would be a perfect fit into Spiteful Dragon Priest. It’s a Midrange deck, which can’t play removal spells, because they would ruin the Spiteful Summoner and Grand Archivist effects. But, just like Duskbreaker, this can be played – and probably will if the deck is still a thing after the rotation.

It would also fit into any other Midrange/Tempo-oriented Dragon deck, but other classes would need more synergies. Priest can still be carried on the back of Duskbreaker, but other classes just don’t have a reason to play Dragons.

Another thing that might be interesting is a multi-tribe deck. Remember what I’ve said about Nightmare Amalgam? The card would most likely shine in a deck taking advantage of multiple synergies. This is a bit similar – it’s a Beast, but it synergizes with Dragons, so if you put more than one tribe in your deck, you can take advantage of both synergies.

All in all, if Dragon decks will still be a thing (like we get more Dragon synergies), this card should see play. I’d say that the most likely deck you’d put it into is Spiteful Dragon Priest, but any Midrange/Tempo Dragon build would like that.

Card rating: 7/10

Vex Crow

This is a bit like a new version of Flamewaker. Both have synergy with cheap spells, and both can be combo’d with cheap spells for amazing effects. This effect is obviously stronger, that’s why it costs 1 more mana.

Now, that one extra mana is actually a significant problem. Compared to Flamewaker, you will often have to wait an extra turn to get some value out of it. With Coin, the problem isn’t that big. You can play this + Coin + 1 mana spell on Turn 4 and it will already be good. But without Coin, you’d often have to wait until Turn 6-7 before you can really start comboing this. You COULD theoretically drop it on Turn 4, but 3/3 minion is very easy to remove in the mid game, so you’d aim to get instant value from it. 2/4 on Turn 3 was much more likely to survive.

Another problem is randomness of the 2-drops. On the one hand, you can get a 4/4 (infamous Millhouse Manastorm), on the other you can get a 1/1 or even a Doomsayer. There will be lots of variance here, similarly to how Piloted Shredder worked.

Mage has access to some cool 1 mana spells. Starting with the classic Arcane Missiles, which will combine a slight AoE board control (or burn damage) with summoning 2-drops, then Mirror Image, which will summon 3 bodies in total, and finally Breath of Sindragosa, which might finally find its home (there was no reason to play it before, as Tempo Mage wasn’t playing lots of spell synergies). The card also synergizes very well with Primordial Glyph. If you can pick some cheap spell out of it (2 or less mana), then you get two 2-drops AND a 2 mana spell for just 2 mana, which is crazy tempo gain.

Overall, I think that this card has potential to be strong. Since tons of Secret synergies are going out, we might see a more classic approach to the Tempo Mage, with more spell synergies, including this card. Whether this card is playable might be heavily tied to whether we see another strong cheap spell for Mage, or maybe another Spell synergy. Right now I’m giving it 6 out of 10, but the rating might get higher if that happens.

Card rating: 6/10

Blackwald Pixie

Not overpriced – check.

Good stats for the cost – check.

Positive effect – check.

Broken enough to be played in Constructed – che… oh wait.

I like this card a lot! This is a very well designed “average card”. It’s clearly not broken, it doesn’t activate any crazy combos, the effect is a bit small, but the body is really solid. It’s a perfect example of an above average, but not “amazing” card. Better than your average pack filler, but might have a hard time finding its home in a Constructed deck.

But wait, I’ve heard some people saying that it might revive Exodia Paladin. But I really don’t think so – this guy allows you to play your Hero Power twice and that’s it, you don’t have enough mana to do more.

Where this card could fit is just a deck with a strong Hero Power. Two examples are: decks playing Death Knight cards and Baku the Mooneater decks. While some Death Knight Hero Powers would be great to play twice during a turn (e.g. Warlock’s or Mage’s), I don’t think that’s where the card belongs. The problem is that it will be pretty bad until you play your DK. You rarely want to play your Basic Hero Powers more than once, and you sometimes don’t draw your DK until the late game.

At the same time, this should be a solid fit into a Baku deck – if such a deck will exist. Remember that those decks will look for new cards to fill the even mana slots, and this seems like a solid one. In the late game, repeating an upgraded Hero Power can give you quite a lot of extra value.

One more thing is Quest Warrior. This card would be absolutely insane in the late game, allowing you to repeat the 8 damage Hero Power. That said, it doesn’t do much to help you GET there, not to mention that Quest Warrior is a pretty dead deck right now (everything might change after the rotation, obviously).

What’s working for this card are the stats. Remember that this card could be vanilla until Turn 7 – only then you can play your HP, this and then repeat your HP. So, from Turn 3 to Turn 6, this is just a minion with no effect. However, the 3/4 stats kind of make up for that.

This is not one of those amazing new cards with cool mechanics. It’s just okay. I feel like it might see some play, but it will never be great, and rarely be the reason you won a certain match.

Card rating: 5/10

Clockwork Automaton

I’ve seen some people making this mistake already and seeing this is a better version of Prophet Velen. No, it’s not, because it only affects HERO POWERS and not all cards.

Another key is “damage and healing”. If a Hero Power doesn’t do damage or healing, it’s not affected by this. So, it only works positively for Priest, Hunter, and Mage (and negatively for Warlock). Which means that those three are the most likely classes that would want to use it.

Yes, the card also works on Death Knights. Yes, it’s amazing with e.g. Bloodreaver Gul'dan. But so what if it’s completely useless until you turn into your DK? And if you turn into your DK you’re already in a good spot to win? You rarely need more healing once you can heal every turn with your Hero Power. In this case, it’s just a win more. You can theoretically go for this + Prince Taldaram + Hero Power for 12 damage and 24 healing, but again, that’s a two card combo that works only after you play your 10 mana card that you might not draw until really late into the game. I could see this as a one-of tech if the meta really demands it (in other words, if you need a huge healing burst in the late game), but I don’t think it will see play outside of that.

It might, just like the Blackwald Pixie, work okay in Baku decks. Two good examples are Baku Mage and Baku Hunter. The first one would be a 4 damage Hero Power that can target anything and the second one would be 6 damage Hero Power. But, in both cases, it would cost 7 mana to play this + HP, which might not make it as powerful as it seems. For example – in case of Hunter, on turn 7, this + Hero Power is the same as Nightblade (a card you probably don’t even remember) + Hero Power. Of course, this gains the extra value of being a high priority target you absolutely have to kill, but the initial burst isn’t anything good, and a 4 health minions shouldn’t be hard to kill so late into the game.

All in all, I don’t think that a regular deck would like to play it. Maybe, like I’ve mentioned, Cube/Control Warlock with DK under very specific circumstances. It might shine in some Odd decks that need to fill the curve, but still, unlike the previous one, this card sucks on Turn 5. You drop a 5 mana 4/4 that is very easy to get rid of. It’s not a 3 mana 3/4 that can actually contest the board. So, everything said, I don’t think that this one will see lots of play.

Card rating: 4/10

Coffin Crasher

Look! Priest got his own Voidcaller! And as we all know, the ability to summon cards from your hand without paying the cost can be very, very powerful.

Let’s start with the stat-line. It’s GREAT, and I mean it. When seeing such a powerful effect, you’d expect something like a 3/3 (just look at the Possessed Lackey – it’s a 5 mana 2/2 for a reason). Yes, summoning from your hand is a little worse than Recruiting, because you’re losing card advantage, but that can still be a massive tempo swing.

Just imagine getting this into Obsidian Statue. You’ve paid 6 mana to get a 6/5 that Deathrattles into a 4/8 Taunt with Lifesteal and a powerful Deathrattle. Great! But even the worse scenarios are also good. Cairne Bloodhoof, Bone Drake or even the new Rotten Applebaum seem like great cards to get from this guy.

I could totally see this in a kind of Midrange Deathrattle Priest deck, maybe with some Dragon synergies too (Bone Drake). It could also play Carnivorous Cube to make some of those Deathrattles even better. While pulling Cube from this one might not be that optimal, it’s still a 6/5 that Deathrattles into a 4/6, which would be good tempo if anything.

Maybe Quest Priest? But I’m not sure whether a deck like that would actually want to play Quest. I imagine something more proactive, and proactive decks would suffer quite heavily from having to start with 1 card less every game. Plus getting to 40 health is not as important if you’re the one dictating the pace of the game. Still, Quest might be a good choice if the meta demands it.

Yes, this card loses to Silence, but it’s actually not that bad. You still have a 6 mana 6/5, it’s much better than most of the cards that are good Silence targets. The Lackey I’ve mentioned before for example – you’re left with a 6/5 not a 2/2. You can trade into the Spellbreaker and still have a 6/1 alive, meaning that you haven’t really lost any tempo that way.

I understand why they’ve waited before N'Zoth, The Corruptor rotates out before introducing this card. It could be seriously broken in a N’Zoth deck.

I have to say that this card is very powerful, but it might be hard to find the right deck for it. If such a deck is found, however, this can be pretty broken in some situations.

Card rating: 8/10

Darius Crowley

Before proceeding, I have to say that I’m not entirely sure how this card works. For example, if you run it into another 4/4. Does it just die, or the effect procs first and you end up with a 6/2 minion? That’s a massive difference and in the first case, I think that the card is pretty bad, but in the second one, it might be much better. I will rate it assuming that it survives (like e.g. Finja, the Flying Star, who pulled out a pre-nerf Murloc Warleader).

Rush seems to be the Warrior’s go-to mechanic this expansion. It’s the third card with a Rush keyword and a third card that might actually fit into a sort of Tempo Warrior like we’ve seen back in Whispers of the Old Gods. Rush cards are great for making tempo plays – you drop it, run into something and still get out ahead, because you have a minion on the board and you’ve killed your opponent’s one.

This card follows a similar schematic, just with extra snowballing potential. Every time you kill something, it grows bigger. We’ve seen a similar mechanic in one of the worst Legendaries ever printed – The Boogeymonster. That one, however, costs 8 mana and doesn’t have Rush, which makes it significantly worse. Since this has Rush and is cheaper, you can attack first, meaning that you can proc its effect immediately.

Remember that the extra stats are gained only when you attack AND kill a target. It means that if your opponent trades into it, it gains no extra stats. It also means that if you run it into something and don’t kill it, it doesn’t gain extra stats. That’s why Rush is so important when it comes to this effect – you need to be able to pick the right target itself, and possibly damage it first a bit before running Crowley into it.

The best case scenario is running it into some kind of Totem or other 0 attack minion and having a 5 mana 6/6 that can grow further. It’s great, but the scenario won’t always be that good. In general, it looks like a great tool to trade into small drops and get 2 or 3 for 1 value. It’s best when you’re sort of ahead and can control the trades – that’s why it fits into a Tempo kind of Warrior more than into Control, which usually plays from behind.

This card is pretty solid. Most of the cards that can clear something and leave a body behind are at least worth considering, and this should be able to do it consistently. And it will of course heavily depend on the meta. If some mid game 5/5’s that you can’t kill with it are very popular (or even the Rotten Applebaum, a 4/5 Taunt), then this might not see play at all. Similarly, if some “Big” decks will pop out and run only big threats, this once again will not see play. But if this will often have a target on curve, and the right deck (Tempo/Midrange Warrior) will be good, then why not? Won’t be meta-breaking, but should be solid enough to see some play if a supporting deck sees play.

Of course, that’s all assuming that if it kills something that would kill it, it will survive, because the effect will proc first. Like I’ve said, that’s a big difference – if it does not, it means that you will have to run it into a 3 or lower health minion for it to survive, which suddenly makes it much worse. I’ll edit the review once we get some sort of clarification.

Card rating: 6/10 if it works the way I think, 3/10 if it does not.


This is like a cruel joke. I see an awesome new, high cost Legendary with an exciting effect. And it’s a Dragon on top of that! Then I notice that it’s Hunter, not Neutral. Welp.

Hunter is like the worst class for this kind of card. It’s painfully slow, costs 10 mana, has no immediate board impact, doesn’t really synergize with Hunter play style or cards…

Yes, doubling the stats of all of the minions in your hand is very powerful. But when playing Hunter, even if the game lasts that long, you won’t likely have too many minions in your hand anyway. Even the slower Hunter lists like Kathrena Winterwisp decks rarely have that sort of staying power.

A card like that also has insane combo potential. For example, you can double Leeroy’s Attack to 12, making it a perfect set-up for even a simple combo with Faceless Manipulator. And that’s honestly the only way I could see Hunter using it – in some sort of combo deck. “Control Hunter” is not a thing and I don’t even know if Control Hunter would really want to play it anyway.

This card is super flashy and the effect is very cool, but it’s like a classic Legendary trap. You look at it, you think “INSANE VALUE”, but then you play it in game, most of the games end before you get to Turn 10. In games which don’t end pre-Turn 10, you often can’t play it if you’re under any kind of pressure, because it’s a 10 mana 8/8 that does nothing immediately. Sometimes you can’t play it, because you don’t have anything meaningful to buff (or combo pieces when you talk about a combo deck). Sometimes you play it, but your combo still doesn’t work, because your opponent sees your Emeriss and knows what’s coming. And they play Voidlord (or even better, Bloodreaver Gul'dan) and you’re screwed. It looks like one of those cards that works in 1 out of 10 games or something.

I’m not completely dismissing the possibility of Combo Hunter built around this card, but so far it looks unlikely.

Card rating: 2/10 (unless some mysterious Combo Hunter deck will be built around it, but I just can’t see it)


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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One Comment

  1. Terzo
    March 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

    I don’t think Darius it works the way you expect, because the wording they use here is different, they use After in Darius, but in Finja they use Whenever (which means at the same time) so finja get his buff in the same moment that he should have died, also Boogeymonster has When too.
    If the After efect occours similar to Pyromancer, after a spell is casted he does 1 damage to all minions but if he dies with that spell he does nothing.