The ash in the air around Hearthstone is signaling the oncoming eruption of Blackrock Mountain. We still don’t have a release date but we know it is coming soon. This week the preorder for the new adventure went up and brought a shiny new card back with it. Team 5 also previewed a fitting five new cards. I for one could not be more excited for a meta shake-up.

Dragon Egg

I mentioned on The Angry Chicken podcast that I would be very disappointed if there wasn't an egg card that spawned Whelps. Apparently there is no call for said disappointment, unless you’re name is Leeroy Jenkins. Nerubian Egg is where my mind goes immediately as a starting point of comparison for this card. Our Nerubian counterpart costs one more mana, but yields a far more imposing (4/4) minion after hatching.

With no buffs to health the Dragon Egg can at best bring two 2/1’s into play. For a card that is asking the player to deal damage to their own minion, spawning a minion with only 1-Health seems awkward. Incidental self-damage (say from a Death's Bite Deathrattle) is preferred, but is a bit scary when trying to get multiple whelps out of the egg. A ping from a Mage’s Fireblast or a Cruel Taskmaster are the better options here, whereas multiple Whirlwind effects would outright kill any Whelps already in play. I’m unsure of Dragon Egg’s place in the game at the moment. Assuming the Whelps have the “Dragon” moniker, I want to wait and see what other types of Dragon synergy are coming to the table before I decide to include Dragon Egg in a deck.


Dragonkin Sorcerer
At face value I really like this Dragon. 3/5 stats for 4 Mana does seem a little lackluster in a world where both . But I can live with one less attack if the Sorcerer’s ability works out in play. Immediately I start to run away with all the potential for assembling a giant minion with Priest buffs and Spare Parts. Spare Parts are rarely exciting. They provide incredibly minute buffs. But Armor Plating would yield a 4/7 Sorcerer, Whirling Blades a 5/6, and Reversing Switch would make it a 6/4!

Now that the excitement is out of the way, it’s time for the more rational side of my brain to come in and and ruin the party. Minion-buffing spells (like Blessing of Kings or Inner Fire) are generally a bad bet. Sinking one or more cards into a single minion is very risky. There is no shortage of removal in Hearthstone and having a Sorcerer with two or so cards invested into it could set a player up for some serious card disadvantage should it be killed. Having said that, there are exceptions. Power Word: Shield is a great buff card as it immediately replaces itself by drawing another card. So without knowing what other Dragon synergies are coming down the line Priest and Spare Parts give me the most hope for Dragonkin Sorcerer.

Flamewaker

Flamewaker scares me. I am having mad flashbacks to my first few run-ins against a Goblin Blastmage after Goblins vs Gnomes released. The trigger for Blastmage is different, but I can see the impact of Flamewaker being just as strong for a Mage’s earlier game. Granted there aren't really any 1-Mana spells that are seeing a whole lot of play right now from Mages. But the dream scenario of a Turn-3 Flamewaker, The Coin, then Arcane Missiles for a total of 7 random damage is enough to make me want to try it.

Perfect combinations aside, I think Flamewaker is still going to be a powerhouse. A 2/4 for 3 Mana is perfectly acceptable. Unbuffed 2-drop minions can’t trade up against it (unless your opponent is running Millhouse Manastorm or One-eyed Cheat in which case I applaud their gumption). Played on Turn 3 it’s 4 Health gives it a good chance at surviving a lot of early-game weapons and minions. Drawn later, it can be played the same turn as another high-impact spell (like Frostbolt or Fireball) to push board control heavily in a Mage’s favor or deal those last 2 points of lethal damage against an empty board. The 2 random damage effect happens after the spell is cast. This means board clears like Flamestrike (and the frequently forgotten Arcane Explosion) deal board-wide damage first, then Flamewaker assigns 2 random damage. No wasted damage on minions that would have died to the board clear anyway.

Core Rager

Where my Zoo Hunters at?! It’s a serious question. Where are they? Will Hunters that want to empty their hands as quickly as possible become a trend post-Blackrock Mountain? Because if the answer is “no” then I don’t know where Core Rager finds a home. A 4/4 for 4 Mana isn’t the worst card in the world but it does get picked on by the Yetis. Even in the event that the +3/+3 effect triggers Core Rager just finally gives Big Game Hunter a target in Hunter decks (well a second target against Midrange Hunters with Dr. Boom).

Outside of constructed play Core Rager is an ok addition to a Hunter’s Arena pool. The Rager is a Beast and thus brings all of the tried and true Beast synergy along with it. Timber Wolf, Scavenging Hyena, Kill Command, and Houndmaster will all aid or be aided by Core Rager. Houndmaster buffing the Rager will be a little odd however seeing as it either needs to be Turn 8 or Core Rager needs to survive a turn. And we all have been in those situations in Arena where we are just out of cards. Top-decking a Core Rager in that scenario would be pretty spectacular.

Imp Gang Boss

Another 2/4 for 3 Mana. I loved Flamewaker for Mage and I’m pretty sure I’m going to love the Imps’ new boss come BRM’s release. Demon-themed Warlock decks are probably my favorite “fun” decks to craft in Hearthstone. Demonfire, Sense Demons, Voidcaller, and Demonheart are a blast to play with. Though any decks running every card that says “Demon” somewhere on it aren't going to be hitting Legend any time soon. I wouldn't be surprised to see Demonheart cast on a Gang Boss occasionally since a 7/9 is terrifying and it has seen some play in the recent past (see Darkwonyx). Plus I am more than happy to take a pump spell in Arena.

In ladder-ready Demonlock decks it will still be best to play low-cost Demons from your hand normally and let Voidcallers bring Doomguards or Mal’Ganis into play, and Imp Gang Boss will likely be no different. Defender of Argus is still a very popular inclusion in current Demonlock decks (thanks to SilentStorm) and I can’t wait to give the Gang Boss Taunt and force my opponents to attack in and give me more 1/1 Imps. Also I have a new goal for getting Mal'Ganis to pump up as many Imps as I can manage, and it will be a sight to behold.