A new Hearthstone expansion, TITANS, is launching in just a few weeks and Blizzard gave me an opportunity to reveal not one, not two, but three new Death Knight cards from the set. I will also share some of my thoughts about the cards and their potential. So let’s get right to it.
Eulogizer – Corpses Don’t Come Cheap
First, we have Death Knight’s only Forge minion this expansion. If you aren’t familiar with how the effect works – it’s quite simple. While a Forge card is in your hand, you can drag it into your deck and pay 2 mana to upgrade it into it’s “Forged” version.
In this case, you pay 2 mana for a net difference of 6 corpses. Instead of paying 3, you gain 3. And this is one of the effects that’s hard to judge because it heavily depends on the situation. It can range from completely useless (when you have multiple corpses and nothing to spend them on) to amazing (if you need more corpses for other synergies). For example, in a deck running Lord Marrowgar, those 6 corpses could be extra +12/+12 in stats.
However, one of the best things about Forge cards is their flexibility. You don’t need to upgrade it – you can just play the base version if you need to. 3 mana 3/3 that deals 3 damage can simply be used as a good Corpse spender in a deck that doesn’t have many ways to do it otherwise. I could imagine some deck running it while completely ignoring the Forge effect. Forge effects are also cool because they let you spend the mana you would float otherwise. If you have a particularly slow turn, you can just upgrade your hand and then drop some powerful, high-tempo plays next turn.
Or you can just Forge and play the card on the same turn. This way, Eulogizer would end up as a 5 mana 3/3 that deals 3 damage and gives you 3 Corpses. This is… not the worst, but not really great compared to something like Possessifier (which already doesn’t see Constructed play). But at least it doesn’t require any Runes AND that’s the best thing about Forge – you don’t NEED to play Eulogizer that way, while with Possessifier you don’t have any other options.
Another reason you might want to play this card is Ignis, the Eternal Flame Neutral Legendary. The card works like Kazakus (or Kazakus, Golem Shaper for that matter), but instead of crafting custom Spell (or Minion), you end up with a powerful Weapon. However, it requires you to Forge one card before it becomes active – and I feel like Eulogizer could be a good choice in Death Knight if you ever wanted to run Ignis. The fact that it has no Rune requirement means that you could use it in any Death Knight build. And while it’s hard to say how strong Ignis will be, it looks promising.
Northern Navigation – Brr, It’s Cold In Here
At first glance, this card might look pretty weak. Freezing only a single minion is meh, and paying 2 mana to not even get any card advantage? But need I remind you that many Priest builds happily run Thrive in the Shadows, and it doesn’t even Freeze?
So let’s start with the Freeze effect. While it requires you to Discover a Frost spell to happen, if you run it in a full Frost Death Knight build, the restriction could as well not be there (because you tend to run only Frost spells anyway). The restriction is likely to prevent it from freezing if you happen to run it in a mixed Rune deck or get it through some other means (e.g. School Teacher in Blood Death Knight). But in a full Frost deck, it should basically always Freeze.
Freezing one target is not as good as freezing the whole board, but it can still be a pretty powerful effect. Stalling is the name of the game for Frost Death Knight. The best-case scenario is your opponent spending their turn to play one, big minion and hoping to do something with it next turn just for it to get Frozen. But even a more likely situation where you just temporarily get rid of some random is not bad – this way you might have saved some life or a minion of yours. Anything you hit with it might not be able to attack for the rest of the game, given that you might follow it up with Might of Menethil into Frostwyrm's Fury (you just discovered from Northern Navigation), for example.
While the card is quite potent in the vacuum, I’m not sure if the current Frost Death Knight builds would want to run it. The thing is – they lean much more towards Aggro/Burn side of things and this card is pretty slow. Even if it Freezes something, I feel like Harbinger of Winter might simply be a better card in a direct comparison. You lose the ability to pick the spell you want (but it’s not a big deal since you don’t run many spells anyway and you draw most of them by the end of the game), but you get a 2/2 body. I feel like Nothern Navigation would fit a slower play style much more (something akin to Blood Death Knight, not necessarily Frost), or maybe a more Combo-oriented deck like the old builds with Lady Deathwhisper? Either way, I think that the card will see some play at one point. And even if it won’t – it will still get played given how many cards Death Knight Discovers.
Frozen Over – I Will Play It When Hell Freezes Over
Update: This post was written before Plagues got revealed – now that I think about it, the card has pretty okay synergy with those. I still don’t think that making your opponent draw cards is the way to go, though.
While drawing cards AND potentially disrupting your opponent are both nice concepts – I’m honestly not sure if any deck would want to play this card.
Yes, drawing 2 cards for 2 mana is always nice. But the thing is that Death Knight can already do it with Defrost – it even has exactly the same Rune requirement. And spending two Corpses seems like a way, way smaller requirement than giving your opponent more resources (even if they’re temporary frozen).
Giving your opponent two cards is bad. The fact that they can’t play them next turn doesn’t really matter. They still have the rest of their hand to play, and they still have their start of turn draw, so they end up with the same amount of resources they would have anyway on the turn. And then, the turn after, they have 2 more cards to work with. Remember that they end up in an even better position than you – they got 2 cards for free, they didn’t have to spend 2 mana and a card. So you end up down a card and 2 mana for a small advantage that lasts for a single turn.
There are realistically only two situations where I could see it being even remotely useful. The first one is when your opponent just Dregded something strong to the top – it’s likely a card they want to play, so freezing it might disrupt whatever plan they had. And the other, probably more obvious, is using it as a way to burn opponent’s cards. If your opponent ends their turn with 9 cards, playing this gives you all the advantages (drawing 2) without any of the disadvantages. But it’s not like you actually gain much from burning cards. Most of the decks don’t care if they burn some random cards, and you generally aren’t taking your opponents to Fatigue as a Frost Death Knight. If this was e.g. a Druid card, I could see it being playable in Mill decks in Wild, but Death Knights don’t really use such strategies.
For this card to be useful, I think that the disruption part should last longer or maybe spread to other cards in their hand. If your opponent couldn’t, for example, play the drawn cards for 3 turns, or if you would for example freeze EVERY card they draw next turn – then this card would have some potential. But in the current version, Frozen Over just doesn’t seem like a good card.
And that’s all! Thanks again to Blizzard for letting me reveal and review those cards. I can’t wait to play the new set, especially the Titans themselves. I always love those big “bombs” like Hero cards or Sunken City’s Colossus minions.
TITANS expansion (including the three cards revealed above) launches on August 1! If you want to learn more about it, check out our handy expansion guide with all the basic info, keywords & mechanics, card reveals and more!