The Witchwood Card Review Part 6 – Blackhowl Gunspire, Lady in White, Cursed Castaway, 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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I just can’t see a deck that would want to play it. If you play Control, you definitely don’t need a 2/1 3-drop that gives you two 1-drops. If you play Aggro or Midrange, you’d rather play something powerful on curve, because this card is super low tempo. Those are 1-drop stats, which is far from optimal.

Then, the fact that it gives RANDOM 1-drops means that you can’t even put it into a specific deck. If it gave you two Beasts, you might consider using it in a Hunter. If it gave you two Murlocs, maybe in a Murloc deck. But random 1-drops aren’t exactly most thrilling. There are lots of bad / useless ones.

Outside of this being a Battlecry, I just don’t see it being better than Igneous Elemental. 2/3 is already slow, but it is so much better than 2/1. Getting two 1/2 Elementals is also more consistent – you know what the outcome will be and you can put it into the right deck. For example, I’ve heard some people saying that this might combo well with Hagatha the Witch. And yes, you’re right, but why would you run it over Igneous Elemental, which also combos with Hagatha, is better, and has Elemental synergies too?

Quest Hunter maybe? But not only is that deck bad, but playing a 3 mana 2/1 might mean that you fall behind on the board even more in the early game, which is bad. One of the reasons Quest Hunter doesn’t work is that while 1-drops are great on Turn 1 and Turn 2, when you’re forced to play only them on Turn 4 or Turn 5, you start falling behind.

Possibly it might make sense in the upcoming “HandDruid” they seem to be pushing, but I’m not sold on the whole concept yet. We’ll see. For one, it at least looks better than Witchwood Apple.

All in all, this card looks bad. It doesn’t make sense in “generic” Aggro/Midrange/Control decks, maybe some specific build would want to play it, but then the random aspect of the card means that it will be slightly unpredictable. Those specific builds might try to experiment with it, but I can’t really see it sticking in the meta anyway.

Card rating: 2/10

Sound the Bells!

I expected something like this for Paladin. This is basically a 2 mana Divine Strength with Echo. However, 2 mana for a +1/+2 buff is quite pricey, and it doesn’t seem good at any point. For example, on 4 it competes with Blessing of Kings, on 6 with Spikeridged Steed – and it doesn’t compare favorably.

Buffs are good if they’re either high tempo or high value. This is, to be fair, neither. Divine Strength hasn’t seen any play at 1 mana (outside of the Quest Paladin, later about that), and this is much more clunky. Too slow for Aggro, and Midrange would simply prefer to play other buffs like the ones I’ve listed above.

I mean, yes, flexibility comes at a cost, and that’s the point of Echo cards. I just don’t see this as something you’d want to put in your deck over the other buffs. Buff cards need to be really powerful to ensure seeing play (remember that Silence is a thing). The only thing I really like about this card is that you can spread it over multiple targets – you don’t have to keep buffing a single one. There could be some boards in which giving +1/+2 to three different minions might keep them alive after trades and basically save your board.

Still, the only deck I see this really fitting into is Quest Paladin. Since every separate cast would count for the Quest, you can, for example, quite easily get 3 procs of Quest on Turn 6, most likely finishing it. Even 2 procs of the Quest with a single card is good enough. That said, we all know how bad Quest Paladin is. While this is a nice addition, the deck is losing Divine Strength, which was, believe it or not, one of the better cards in the deck, thanks to the pretty high tempo it provided (especially when casted on a Divine Shield 1-drop).

Oh, and I’m waiting for a highlight of an opponent dropping Millhouse Manastorm against Paladin with this in hand… Play this as many times as you can before the rope burns.

Card rating: 3/10

Cheap Shot

This card is cool. On the one hand, it seems like a worse Hunting Mastiff, which I rated at 6, but context is important. Not only is this a spell, this is a pretty cheap spell you can cast multiple times in Rogue, a class that benefits from such spells the most.

This is not a gamebreaking card, but the flexibility is what might make it good enough. It’s a bit like Forbidden Flame – you can deal 1 damage to a minion per mana point. Or rather, 2 per 2 mana points – that’s one of the disadvantages compared to FF. For example, when you’re at 3 mana, you can’t deal 3 damage, it jumps from 2 to 4 to 6 etc. On the other hand, the damage can be spread between multiple minions (that’s a big plus in Rogue, a class that might struggle against multiple minions), and each cast counts as a separate spell.

This looks like a solid Miracle Rogue card, because of the synergies. In the late game, you can play it 3 times and then drop 8/8 Edwin VanCleef, for example – deal 6 damage and play an 8/8 is quite good. It combos with Auctioneer if you’re missing other spells. This + Prep alone means 4 draws from Auctioneer on Turn 10. It doesn’t seem like much, but remember that it will be harder to get big Auctioneer turns now without Counterfeit Coin.

It also combos nicely with Spell Damage – if you play Bloodmage Thalnos and then cast it 4 times in the late game, that’s 4x 3 damage + Thalnos on the board.

While 2 damage to a minion is not very impressive, the flexibility and multiple synergies should make it a solid card in Miracle Rogue. That said, Miracle Rogue isn’t doing too well right now, so it’s hard to say how well it will work after the rotation.

Card rating: 7/10

Blackhowl Gunspire

Even though I don’t think this card is particularly powerful, I like it. The flavor is really nice – you have a huge tower that can’t attack itself, but fires back every time it gets damaged.

Even though the 3/8 stat-line is not huge, you COULD say that it has 6 attack, just the 3 of it has a random target. 6/8 for 7 is still not that good, but the strong part about this minion is that it heavily benefits from every Whirlwind effect you play. It basically turns every Whirlwind into a sort of Swipe on a random enemy, which is cool.

Random enemy means that you could potentially use it as a combo piece, e.g. with Bouncing Blade in Wild, but it might be harder to pull off in Standard.

However, the card has lots of flaws. First of all, the stats aren’t that exciting. Even if we think of it as of a 6/8, it’s still not great. Then, the mana cost means that it’s hard to combo immediately – just think about how hard it is to get multiple Legendaries from the Rotface. And finally – yeah, Rotface. While it’s 1 mana more expensive, its effect is much more powerful. Summoning a random Legendary is way, way better than dealing 3 damage to a random target (unless you specifically build a combo around dealing damage). And, to be honest, I don’t see Rotface being overpowered, it doesn’t even get much play.

Plus, it’s difficult to just “drop it” like that without immediately comboing it, because if it gets destroyed by Siphon Soul, Polymorph, even Shadow Word: Pain, you get no value at all. Even if it gets cleared by a single hit or spell (e.g. Meteor), then it’s meh, but at least you dealt 3 damage.

This card would be significantly better with one simple change – Taunt. Right now, playing it against a faster deck can be pretty risky, because you don’t get any immediate value and you open yourself to just… dying to the board.

This card is pretty cool and I like the design, but I don’t think it will see much play. When it comes to power level, it’s probably below average. I’m not completely dismissing it, because Warrior might get more synergies, and building a deck oriented around Whirlwind effects might be a thing (Scourgelord Garrosh approves). Right now it’s only like a 3/10 though.

P.S. They should have called it “Blackhowl Moving Turret”! (reference if someone doesn’t get it)

Card rating: 3/10

Lady in White

While this card will definitely require some clever deck building to take full advantage of it, the effect is insane. Priest, a class that doesn’t have to play for tempo, can easily afford to run a slower card like this. Some compare it to Shaman’s The Mistcaller, but I have to disagree. Mistcaller has worse stats (4/4 and 5/5 is a significant difference), and to be fair, a worse effect too. It always gave you flat +1/+1 on all minions. This one is better in a way that thanks to deck building, you can make the effect much better. For example, you put a Stonehill Defender into your deck. Would you rather have a 2/5 Taunt (Mistcaller) or a 4/4 Taunt (Lady in White)? Yep, the second one is much better. Or let’s take an even more drastic example – Ysera. 5/13 vs 12/12 – the second one is a clear winner.

The comparison is also about the context of those two classes. Slow Priest decks have low tempo and Control Priest already has tons of great cards. Control Shaman wasn’t great, didn’t play enough minions that would benefit from the effect heavily, and faster Shaman decks didn’t want to play Mistcaller, because it was too slow.

Priest is well known for playing high health minions, because they already synergize with the class play style and Hero Power. However, this won’t be a case of “just slap it into any deck and it will work” Legendary – it’s hard to deny that a 6 mana 5/5 with no immediate effect needs to have a solid payback to be worth including. Just buffing a few minions in your deck is not enough, especially since it does not affect your hand, so you still have to draw them. It also doesn’t work on minions summoned through cards like Free From Amber.

But, just to give you a few examples of solid minions that have a higher health than attack and can fit into a slower Priest list: Northshire Cleric, Radiant Elemental, Stonehill Defender, Tar Creeper, Tortollan Shellraiser, Primordial Drake, Obsidian Statue, Ysera. Heck, even Doomsayer would be interesting. You would be able to play it against your opponent with a board that can kill it – instead of just soaking 7 damage it would also kill some minions as well. I could have missed something, but that’s already lots of minions that would get buffed, most of them significantly. I didn’t count the ones that are rotating out like Priest of the Feast or Book Wyrm, but that obviously would be something to consider for the Wild.

I’ve heard some people saying that you can even play Oasis Snapjaw or Mogu'shan Warden – yep, they would become 7/7 (4 mana 7/7 LUL), which is great. But a card like that is unplayable BEFORE you play Lady in White, which means that it wouldn’t fit into such a deck.

Also, we need to remember that it would reduce the attack of minions with higher attack than health. Priest isn’t really known for running such minions, but it happens sometimes – e.g. Wild Pyromancer or possibly Bone Drake in a Dragon deck. In those cases, it’s just 1 attack, but it might be quite a big deal in the future if e.g. a 6/3 minion Priest wants to play would be printed. Edit: I just realized that it would make Twilight Drake useless – it would get reduced to 1 attack. See, that’s the thing, this effect is not always positive and you will need to think hard to come up with a perfect list. NOT a list built 100% around it, because it would probably be terrible if you don’t draw it. Just a list that would benefit most from this card while keeping a solid win rate if you don’t draw it. Something like Prince Keleseth in a way – it improves the deck, but you can still easily win without it.

All said, I feel like this card is very powerful. Maybe not “10/10 busted, auto include” powerful, but for now it looks very strong.

Card rating: 8/10

Cursed Castaway

Cursed Castaway. I like combining Rush with Deathrattle, because those keywords synergize with each other quite nicely. A rush card will usually be used to attack a minion right away, often even dying on the spot. That’s a plus, because you play a card and get a card – you don’t lose card advantage. At the same time, Rogue doesn’t care THAT much about card advantage, and this card isn’t very high tempo. 6 mana to deal 5 to a minion is pretty meh in terms of how much you can do. I would understand if it was Charge, but I feel like this should cost one mana less, or at least have 6 attack instead.

A lot of people compare it to Starfire that can’t go face, and Starfire doesn’t see play. While it makes some sense, I don’t think that it’s necessarily a fair comparison. I think that this is better than Starfire. First of all, it’s a minion – it can survive if you run it into something with 0-2 attack, or you can even play it on an empty board if you have nothing else to do. It’s not great, but 5/3 on the board is often better than 5 face damage.

Then, drawing specific cards is usually better than just drawing, because you can build your deck around the effect. In case of Rogue, though, Combo cards are already some of the best cards in your deck. Eviscerate, SI:7 Agent, Elven Minstrel, Vilespine Slayer – those are all great cards.

Well, it’s a Deathrattle, so it could take advantage of Deathrattle synergies. Like, a 5/3 Rush would be an amazing Deathrattle to revive from N'Zoth, The Corruptor. However, not only N’Zoth rotates out, but Deathrattle Rogue decks were never good.

It’s not the worst card revealed so far, but I feel like it’s not good enough. Seems one mana too expensive – it would be amazing at 5 mana. Might be used if some really powerful combo card gets released, something that you really want to draw every game. Or maybe if that combo card is a part of some, well, combo, and you want to tutor. If neither of those will be the case, this card is below average and likely won’t see play.

Card rating: 4/10 (unless we see some really powerful combo card you want to draw every game)


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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Leave a Reply


    March 30, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Hi bro in lady in white you write 5/12 vs 12/12 ysera
    It shouldnt be 4/12 vs 12/12?

    • bearr
      March 31, 2018 at 9:19 am

      He uses 5/13 (Mistcaller’s effect) vs. 12/12 as a comparison between Mistcaller and Lady in White. Mistcaller was a very hyped legendary that ended up being pretty mediocre.

        March 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm

        man you got my answer wrong i meant if he was talking about ysera so she is 4/12 not 5/12

  2. mario
    March 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I feel so unfair the power and synergies of the legend cards depend of the hero,

    seems like blizzards just realease cards for a stable meta from a year ago, i mean, they dont get cards to help the under rated classes, they keep going whit strong cards for the classes now strongs.

    i dont know how much time this cards are being testeds and aproved for then release thems but it feels like they try to help an already strong mechanical.

    Sorry for my bad english 🙂