More discussion about the recently revealed Frozen Throne cards.

Knights of the Frozen Throne spoiler season started last week and we're making good progress on the set. As of this morning, a full half of the 135 cards have been revealed. This is the second part of our review, so it continues exactly where I stopped last time. If you want to read the reviews for cards revealed up until July 26th, check out the Part 1.

Just like every expansion, I’m going to take a look at the cards and review them. I’ll rate each of them between 1 and 5, where 1 is “unplayable”, 3 is “average” (might see SOME play, but no fireworks) and 5 is “probably broken”. Of course, rating cards this early is always a tricky task – not only have we not seen the whole expansion yet, but predicting the meta correctly is a nearly impossible task. That’s why the final rating will be icing on the cake. Instead, I’ll try to focus on the cards themselves – in what decks they might be played, what synergies they have (and possibly will have), their potential, etc.

Fatespinner

It's one of my favorite cards from this expansion so far. Even though it might not be THAT powerful, the mechanic will definitely increase a skill cap in the matches in which this card will be involved. If you don't know how it works, it's pretty simple. The Druid player plays this and gets a classic "Choose One" window. He picks one of the Deathrattles - either +2/+2 to all minions or 3 damage to all minions. But the trick here is that the opponent doesn't know which one the Druid has picked, it only reveals when Fatespinner dies which might lead to some cool mind games from either side.

Obviously, sometimes the Deathrattle choice won't be a big secret. E.g. if you have a board full of small minions and Druid plays this card, it's most likely the damage option. Yes, it might be buff, and Druid might be holding something like Swipe + Living Mana to capitalize, but that's just not likely.

However, even if you don't count the potential mind games, the card is not that bad. First of all - AoE. Druid as a class struggles hard with AoE. Swipe is great, but it's only one AoE damage. Starfall is one mana too expensive. Primordial Drake made it a bit better, but slow Druid decks still have a hard time dealing with a lot of 2-3 health minions. This might help a bit, especially since if really desperate, Druid can proc it with Wrath on Turn 7. The buff part is good but too slow for the current Token Druid version - the deck doesn't really want to play a 5/3 5-drop. However, I imagine that a slower Token Druid deck (similar to the ones we had before, with Violet Teacheretc.) might be able to utilize the buff effect.

Overall, the card seems okayish, it won't likely be game breaking, but I would love to see it sometime.

Card rating: 3 /5

Bonemare

We rarely have powerful late game Neutral Common cards released. This is a bad thing in my opinion because it means that new players have to spend a lot of Dust to play some slower decks. This card is great for that matter - it's an amazing improvement over a lot of the late game stuff most of the decks play (it's better than Stormwind Champion in non-Token decks and better than War Golem in basically every deck). It's also amazing in Arena, I'd even say that it's quite broken there in fact. I am rating the cards for competitive Constructed play, but I have to say that it doesn't look that bad in that case.

Yes, it's 9/9 in total and yes, the 4/4 part has "Charge," so that's solid. If you look at it like that and count the Battlecry part as 4 mana (Blessing of Kings), you end up with a 3 mana 5/5 body. However, it has some limitations. The fact that it's a buff is not always a good thing. It means that you need to have a minion on the board to use it, so it limits the card's use only to those decks that consistently have a board presence going into Turn 7. That already rules out most of the Aggro decks (which often start losing the board control around that time) and Control decks (which rarely have enough sticky minions to carry into Turn 7). But I think that it, surprisingly, might see some play in the Midrange decks.

Buffs generally aren't very strong. But what I've learned from Houndmaster is that a buff attached to an okay body is pretty powerful. The fact that you can buff something and immediately attack with it lets you trade up quite easily, and that's always great. It's also extra reach whenever you have a minion on the board.

The fact that it gives a Taunt (similarly to Houndmaster) is usually a good thing because you can protect the rest of your minions and it gives you a big wall to pass for the Aggro decks.

The card isn't overpowered in Constructed, but I think that it has some chance to see play in Midrange decks, especially those that tend to have board control around Turn 6, and it's definitely a welcome sight for new players.

Card rating: 3/5

Corpsetaker

This is a serious contender for the "best card in the set" award. While it will be limited only to a few decks, it can really work wonders in those. Just give it three out of the four mechanics and it will already be worth it. 4 mana 3/3 Taunt, Divine Shield and Lifesteal is a bigger version of Wickerflame Burnbristle. And honestly, it's even better than the original. And you can turn it into Wickerflame by just running it in your deck.

Obviously, the thing most people don't think about is that it counts only your CURRENT deck, not the starting one. So if you draw that Wickerflame and you don't have any other Lifesteal minions, well, now it's much worse. However, Paladin already has easy access to both Divine Shield AND Taunt minions, so it only needs to add one or two more Lifesteal minions to make this card amazing. But honestly, even without Lifesteal, it's not that bad (a cheaper Psych-o-Tron).

Another potential candidate is Shaman and Al'Akir the Windlord. It's not a card you want to mulligan for early, so the chances of drawing it are slim, and it also gives 3 out of the 4 possible mechanics. Taunts aren't a problem, and Shaman can also benefit from using Divine Shield minions (e.g. Argent Squire) because they synergize with Flametongue Totem. But still, the Paladin seems more convincing.

I think that this card will see play in very few decks, but it will be really powerful in each one of them.

Card rating: 4.5/5

Light's Sorrow

This is pretty interesting. It starts really slowly, as a 1/4 weapon for 4 mana.  However, each time a friendly minion loses Divine Shield, it gets +1 Attack. It means that just after two minions lose Divine Shield when this is equipped, it's a 3/4 weapon (a 4 mana Assassin's Blade). One more and it's a 4 mana 4/4 weapon, which is pretty broken.

However, the thing is that Divine Shields aren't really played right now. We have only a few playable minions with the effect and it would be hard to build a deck around them. But looking at the other cards being released in this set, it might change.

The weapon has a lot of potential. If you happen to play a deck full of Divine Shield, one will be broken pretty much every turn. If you can buff your weapon just by playing your deck, it can't really go wrong.

At the same time, weapons are meant to be a high tempo play. This one isn't - even if you play this on the same turn you pop your own Divine Shield, it will still have only 2 Attack, which isn't enough. But the potential of having a huge 4 mana weapon might make up for it.

This card's rating clearly depends on whether the Divine Shield deck will work or fail, which makes it hard to rate. If the deck becomes powerful, it might be one of the best cards in the set. But if it doesn't, well... it's useless.

Card rating: 4.5/5 OR 1/5.

Bolvar, Fireblood

This is very similar to the last card. I assume that it will get +2 Attack when its own Divine Shield is popped, but that's far from enough. 3/7 minion for 5 mana is still underwhelming. However, in a dedicated Divine Shield deck, it might snowball really quickly. Play it on the turn you pop your own Divine Shield, then it's a 3/7 with DS. Next turn pop it and it's a 5/7 already, which is quite good considering that it already killed something (or got pinged). And it can still grow!

So once again, the card can be really good IF the Divine Shield deck will be played. If won't, it probably won't see any play. It's a bit better in the Midrange Paladin than Light's Sorrow, but still very bad.

Card rating: 4.5/5 OR 1.5/5

Animated Berserker

"Damaging your own minions" was always one of the Warrior's themes. It worked best during the reign of Patron Warrior, but things like Whirlwind effects, some Enrage minions and Battle Rage were utilized in many more decks. This is a 1-drop that's meant to activate them. However, I don't think that it will be too good.

First of all, it's a 1/3 for 1 that doesn't grow. 1/3 for 1 is not a good stat-line at all, as it dies to any 3/2 minion without killing it. For 1/3 to see play it has to grow (e.g. Mana Wyrm), have a powerful effect (e.g. Northshire Cleric) or be played in a deck that can consistently buff it to trade up (e.g. Voidwalker). This card doesn't seem to meet those criteria.

First of all, damaging your own minions is NOT always a good thing. This effect can't be controlled - it just damages everything for 1. Sure, damaging own Acolyte of Pain is great, but damaging let's say a Ravaging Ghoul is not good. Then, you can't expect it to stay on the board for multiple turns, it will likely die pretty fast. So you usually want to combo them with some card on the same turn. But in that case, it won't be that much better (or maybe even worse, depending on the opponent's board) than using Whirlwind.

Not to mention that you want to run a deck with A LOT of Enrage/"on damage" effects anyway, which might not even be good.  Sure, it has some synergies, but I don't really see it working.

Card rating: 2/5

Sanguine Reveler

It's clearly a Zoo Warlock card. The main selling point of the card is the ability to "activate" your own minions like Devilsaur Egg for just one mana while gaining a nice buff. It's a bit like Void Terror, but most of the time better, because 1 mana is much more flexible.

Alternatively, just destroying a 1/1 minion, which Zoo tends to have quite a lot of, net's a +1/+1, making it similar to a 1 mana 2/2, which would be quite solid in Zoo

However, the problem is that it doesn't fit the current Zoo's play style. With cards like Imp Gang Boss and Imp-losion out of Standard, tokens are less common. Nerubian Egg is also out of Standard. Similarly, it would be able to eat a minion buffed by Power Overwhelming (since it would die anyway) to be a 1 mana 3/3 minion. Quite solid, but those are all Wild synergies. Heck, even a potential combo with Sylvanas Windrunner for a 7 mana Mind Control + an extra 3/3 is not possible since Sylvanas has rotated out.

The card seems very weak in the Standard because there aren't enough synergies to support it. But it might be solid in Wild if you build a deck around Eggs and stuff like that. Since I'm rating cards in Standard, I can't give it a high score, unless some new, cool cards that work well with it will be released.

Card rating: 2/5

Howling Commander

3 mana 2/2 draw a card. Well, that's not really good, the card needs to be a bit more to see Constructed play. Drawing specific type of card is much better - now it's less random and you will roughly know what you draw. In this case, there are two ways to approach this card.

The first is playing it in a deck with only a few, specific Divine Shield minions, Tirion Fordring is the best one of them and this card can help Paladin with drawing it consistently. This is pretty good because Paladin doesn't have too many ways to cycle through the deck. However, if you play too little Divine Shield minions, there is a serious chance to draw all of them before drawing this - then it's only a 3 mana 2/2, which is terrible.

Another approach is to play it in a deck full of Divine Shields and Divine Shield synergies, just to guarantee drawing another DS card for the sake of synergies. This approach has a lower chance to backfire, but at the same time, you won't guarantee to draw one of the powerful cards - you can as well draw an Argent Squire in the late game, which is not impactful.

Either way, the card doesn't seem that strong. It's just... average. It MIGHT see play in Midrange/Control Paladin as a way to tutor Tirion, but Paladin's 3-drop slot in those decks is pretty full already. It also might be played in Divine Shield-focused deck if such will exist, however, if you play a lot of Shields anyway, it's not that much better than a simple card draw (e.g. you could just run Loot Hoarder or Acolyte of Pain).

Card rating: 2.5/5

Venomstrike Trap

Another one of those "spawn a 3-drop when the opponent does something" for Hunter. We had Bear TrapCat Trick and well, Snake Trap to some extent.

I don't really like this card. If anything, it would be played in Secret Hunter. And Secret Hunters are mostly about the early/mid game tempo to rush the opponent down. You play a bunch of traps with Cloaked Huntress and well, it doesn't seem like the one I would like to play. You have space for maybe 6-8 Secrets, you can't play more. This will most likely compete with Snake Trap for a spot, because they have similar activations. Snake Trap is definitely better around Turn 3-4, because three 1/1's are much more annoying than a single 2/3. Poisonous isn't relevant so early anyway. This would be better in the mid/late game (assuming opponent doesn't have a small single target removal for it), but Hunter generally prefers to tempo out.

I think that this card might be considered in some lists, but there are just better Secret choices for the Hunter.

Card rating: 2/5

Snowflipper Penguin

Another 0 mana 1/1 minion after Wisp and Murloc Tinyfin. But it's probably the best one of the bunch. Beast tag makes it a potentially playable card in Hunter. With this, you can play cards like Crackling Razormaw or Houndmaster on the curve without having any Beast on the board. If you happen to run Stampede or Starving Buzzard (which no one does, but still), it cycles for 0 mana while giving a 1/1 on the board.  It might also be used in a deck running Dinomancy - it's a 2 mana 3/3 Beast if you buff it right away, it's easy to get it on the board and buff it even if opponent kills all your Beasts.

So yeah, there are SOME merits of running it. 0 mana 1/1 is obviously good, but it's also a card in your hand. Hunters already struggle when it comes to running out of steam and this won't help at all, it will only make things worse. So all in all, I don't think it will see play UNLESS you play a Stampede deck.

Card rating: 1/5, maybe 2.5/5 in Hunter

Shadowblade

Pretty solid card. 3 mana 3/2 weapon is in line with most of the similar things like Eaglehorn Bow or Rallying Blade - Fiery War Axes for 1 more mana with an extra effect. But as it turns out, FWA is pretty broken and even at one more mana it might be okay-ish. If you add an extra effect, it's even better.

Rogue doesn't have a good Turn 3 play. SI:7 Agent is great if you can activate it and have a target, but that doesn't always happen. Mimic Pod is okay, but it doesn't develop anything, it's 100% card advantage move, which is often bad in Rogue so early. Shaku, the Collector is pretty much the only proactive Turn 3 play. This card adds a pretty solid Turn 3 play to Rogue and most of the time it "heals" the Rogue. Since you're immune, you can take something without taking damage . So let's say attacking a 3 Attack minion "heals" Rogue for 3. It makes stabbing bigger minions in the mid/late game much better, because sometimes you just need extra few points to kill that big minion and you can't, because you're too low. You're not only immune when attacking, but immune in general, which means that things like Leper Gnome or Explosive Trap also don't damage you, however that's pretty insignificant right now.

It's a solid card, I think it should see play in Miracle Rogue since the deck's early/mid game is mostly about removing stuff while trying to survive and it's great at that. Faster Rogue decks might run it as a "burn", similarly to Hunters and their Bow. So overall, I like the card.

Card rating: 4/5

Defile

It's an insane card and I mean it. It might be one of the best AoE removals in the game. For just two mana, it has potential to clear pretty huge boards. You should be able to quite consistently make it a 2-3 damage AoE for just 2 mana, while in some situations, especially after setting things up, it might even reach 4 or 5. For 2 mana.

Since the effect is mirrored, it obviously doesn't fit Zoo-like decks. It's going to be auto-include in any slower Warlock deck, though. Losing Demonwrath was quite a solid hit against Aggro and it should be better.

It absolutely wrecks Token decks, which tend to have a lot of small minions. It's not as good against slower decks, but it can be set up to deal 2 or 3 sometimes, which is okay. Hell, even 2 mana Whirlwind is sometimes useful against slower decks.

Not to mention that you can set it up with your own minions too. E.g. if your opponent has 1 Health minion and then two 3 Health minions, you can play something like a 2/2 of your own and then use this. Sure, you sacrifice a minion, but deal 2 extra AoE.

Now the only problem is that the Control Warlock is dead. The deck just sucks in Standard. In Wild, this will be played in a Reno deck, but Reno Jackson is not in Standard.  This is definitely a step in the right direction, but it will probably need more support to work. So even though this card is great, it might see no play in Standard, because the deck it fits into just sucks.

Card rating: 5/5 (but, funnily enough, might not see play)

Cryostasis

Really cool design. +3/+3 for 2 mana would be really broken, but at the same time, it comes with a big downside. Freezing a minion means that you won't be able to attack with it next turn, which is a huge tempo loss. Not only you

It also means that you can't utilize the surprise factor of the buffs. Buffs are best when you can use it on a minion and trade into something right away. Because of the freeze, you can't do that.

When it comes to buffing your own minions, there are two good ways to utilize it. First - play it on a 1-drop. E.g. play a Fire Fly on Turn 1, Cryostasis it on Turn 2. Now you have a 4/5 minion on the board. Even if it's Frozen, it basically means that you will have a great tempo swing on Turn 4 when you can finally attack with it. Other option is to play it on a Taunt minion. E.g. play Stonehill Defender and buff it to make it a 4/7 Taunt. Because of the Taunt, even if it's Frozen, enemy still has to kill it to get through. But in both cases, it's "okay" play at the best, because you give your opponent two turns to answer them.

However, it can also be used as a tempo tool if you really need to Freeze an opponent's minion. But the problem is that you're still giving it +3/+3, which makes it an option only when you're very desperate (or you need to Freeze it for the sake of Freeze synergies).

Overall, the card has a very cool design, but it doesn't seem to be too powerful. It's a bad tempo play on your own minions and bad value play on the opponent's minions.

Card rating: 2/5

Moorabi

Once again, interesting design. Shaman this expansion seems to be all about Freezing. This card seems like a value generator for such a deck. Every time you freeze something while this is on the board, get a copy of that minion. But the problem is that it's a 6 mana 4/4, which means that it dies very easily. You NEED to get value out of it right away. And that's not too easy. You need to have some ways to freeze on the board already, e.g. the Voodoo Hexxer.

In theory, you can also combo it with a cheap Freeze like Glacial Shard, but you need to understand that this card only gives you value. It doesn't clear the opponent's minion, it only adds it to your hand. You most likely want to copy a big/important minion, but that also means that you need to remove it at the same time. That's where Ice Breaker comes handy... but yeah, that's a stretch.

Not to mention that Shaman doesn't really need more value. Control decks already have tools to get value like Stonehill Defender and Spirit Echo.

So it's a slow minion that gets value only under the specific conditions. The body is underwhelming and it might be hard to get a lot of value out of it. It's a really low tempo play and while Freezing buys some immediate tempo, once the minions unfreeze, well, it's not great.

Card rating: 2/5

Eternal Servitude

I like this card a lot. It's another card that resurrects after Resurrect and Onyx Bishop, but it's probably better than both of them. Why? Because Discover makes it much, much more consistent. The previous two had one huge problem - randomness. On the one hand, you want to run some small minions as a Priest. You can't completely drop your early game like Northshire ClericWild Pyromancer or more recently the Radiant Elemental. But at the same time, you don't want to resurrect them.  You want to resurrect your mid-late game cards, especially big minions like Bog CreeperYsera etc. While this card will most likely be dead on Turn 4, it gets a great late game scaling. At least one of the choices is bound to be a big minion if you build your deck around it. Right now, Control Priest might run Free From Amber, but I think that this one will be a better late game option, because it costs 4 mana less.

It's a great mix of value and tempo, but the problem - like I've mentioned - is this card being very weak on the curve. There is, however, one exception - Injured Blademaster. It's a 4/3 if you play it from your hand, but resurrecting it makes it a 4/7. If you play it on Turn 3 and your opponent kills it, you can now play a 4 mana 4/7 next turn, which is quite alright.

Another cool combo is the one with Barnes. Let's say you play Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound in your deck. You play Barnes, you summon it, opponent kills it. You play Eternal Servitude and get a 4 mana Y'Shaarj on Turn 5. Obviously, that's the best case scenario, but a lot of things summoned by Barnes will be the good Ressurection targets.

Overall I think that the card is really solid. It makes the resurrect strategy more consistent. It's also a great way to start a resurrect chain. If you've ever played against resurrect deck, first resurrect often determined the whole game. Why? Because it added another small OR big minion to the pool. Let's say that Priest had 1/3 chance to get something big, if he got something big that chance grew, while getting something small reduced that chance. If you start your resurrect chain with this, you can pretty much guarantee that the first minion you get will be big, thus making your subsequent resurrects better.

Card rating: 4/5

Dead Man's Hand

This is one of those cards that are incredibly hard to rate, because it brings a new, unique effect to the table, something we never had before. Let's start with one thing - this card gives you NOTHING the turn you play it. It's literally "two mana, do nothing, lose this card". Shuffling cards into your deck without any body is a very weak play.

The first thing the card scream is "fatigue matchups". Yes, it would be crazy good in a Control Warrior vs "insert another grinder control deck" game. E.g. CW vs Control Mage, vs Control Shaman (no Jade) etc. getting few more cards in the deck is huge, keeping some of the win conditions in your hand and THEN shuffling them into the deck is even better, it wins those matchups.

But those are not popular matchups and even at the slowest point in the history of Hearthstone, only a small part of matches have gone to the fatigue. So that use is very, very niche and won't likely be relevant.

Another use I found is playing some sort of a cycle/combo deck. For example, Arcane Giant/Blood Warriors. The deck cycles through all the cards very consistently. It also keeps all the combo pieces until it gets a lot of them. It's pretty all in, it plays a bunch of 8/8's and hopes that opponent won't be able to answer. How about having even more Arcane Giants, even more ways to copy them etc.? Yep, it might work. But right now that's still only an idea, it will probably not be that strong in the reality.

So yeah, it's a very cool card, but I'd say that it will most likely see no play whatsoever. The thing is that its uses are very, very niche and it works well only vs Control decks. If we see a full Control meta or something, sure, but I doubt that will ever happen.

Card rating: 2/5

Spreading Plague

Wow, this card looks pretty sick. It's like an ultimate anti-Aggro, or anti-Token to be specific, tool. For 5 mana, you summon a 1/5 Taunt until you have as many minions as your opponent. You most likely play it on the empty board, so you often end up summoning a 1/5 Taunt for every minion your opponent has. The card starts getting into "solid" territory at three 1/5 Taunts - 1/5 Taunt would be worth around 2 mana, so summoning 6 mana worth of minions is pretty good. At 4 or 5 minions, it gets really great. Imagine this as roughly five points of healing for every Taunt you summon + a bunch of damage on the opponent's minions. If your opponent has four minions, that's 20 healing + probably around 5-6 random points of damage if he wants to trade them. It's very, very good.

The main problem I see with this card is the attack of the Taunts. It's only 1, meaning that even the Aggro/Token decks will very likely have a way to trade them quite easily. Yes, it stops A LOT of damage, but ultimately they aren't a big threat to most of the boards. But what if you would play them in something like a slow Token Druid, a deck that would also play Mark of the Lotus or Power of the Wild? Even a simple +1/+1 would make them much more threatening (2/6) and giving them two buffs is like an auto-win vs Aggro.

Sure, the card has its downsides. It does nothing when you're ahead. It's weak against the decks that have little to no minions. However, it will make an insane tech card against decks like Token Druid or Token Shaman. Imagine answering a Living Mana on Turn 5 with this. Guess who's in a better shape - a guy with five 2/2 minions and a single point of mana, or a guy with five 1/5 Taunts and six mana to work with. It will probably be a staple in something like a Ramp Druid and if slower Token Druid is played, it also might be used there.

Card rating: 4.5/5

Doomed Apprentice

Bad card. The reason why Sorcerer's Apprentice is great is that it actually buys you tempo. You pay a normal 2 mana for a 3/2 minion AND you get cheaper spells. In this case yes, the opponent gets more expensive spells, but first, you have to play a 3 mana 3/2. You had to pay one more for the body - opponent has to pay one more for the removal he's going to kill it with and that's all, equal trade, but you've ended up with pretty much a vanilla minion in the end.

The card would only work in very specific situations. E.g. it's turn 7 against the Mage and you want to stop Flamestrike from happening. Yes, playing this card will do that. That's the good side. The bad side is that against other minions and weapons, if your opponent doesn't have to use spells to deal with it, it's going to be a 3/2 for 3 with no effect. Which, frankly, sucks.

Card rating: 1.5/5

Prince Valanar

I... don't understand this card. So Blizzard is basically saying that you need to cripple your deck, in some cases A LOT, just to get a.. 4 mana 4/4 Taunt with Lifeteal? That could be an actual Legendary minion, with no extra requirement, and it would see almost no play.

There are pretty much no decks that can run no 4 mana cards. The only one I can think of is Rogue, but that's only assuming that this card is better than Sherazin, Corpse Flower. Yes, it's better vs Aggro and fast Midrange, but it's worse against Control and slow Midrange, so it really depends on the meta you're facing.

This card is a joke. The other two Princes at least have somehow good effects, something impactful like adding +1/+1 to all minions or having the flexibility of a 3 mana Faceless Manipulator. And this is a weaker Sen'jin Shieldmasta (3/5 are better stats for a Taunt than 4/4) with Lifesteal added. It's a minion worth maybe slightly more than its actual mana cost. Paladin will be able to run a 3/3 with Taunt, Divine Shield and Lifesteal AND it won't even be a Legendary (Corpsetaker). It's really... I have no words.

Card rating: 1/5

Frost Lich Jaina (Icy Touch)

The card turned out to be real in the end. It was one of the first cards revealed from the set and most people thought that it was fake. Okay, it's real and we now know it's Hero Power. It's Icy Touch - basically, if you finish off a minion with your ping, you summon a Water Elemental. That's a high-value Hero Power, although not as high as Lord Jaraxxus (which is a 6/6 every turn). However, I think that a lot of people are undervaluing this card. Control Mage is potentially one of the strongest decks in the game. The problem with the deck was that if he put enough tools to deal with the Aggro, it struggled against Control, because of limited late game value. This card kind of solves that problem. Similarly to Jaraxxus, you can put this card and maybe 2-3 more high-cost minions into your deck and your problem is solved.

The difference between this and Jaraxxus, though, is survivability. Jaraxxus puts you at 15 max health and adds nothing in terms of life gain. This card not only doesn't set your health up to 15 but also adds 5 immediate Armor AND gives your Elementals life steal. Between this, Ice Block, Blizzard etc. it will make Mage a VERY hard target to kill. The deck will be able to out heal most of the things in the late game, so ultimately the Control games will end up as a resource war. And well, what do you know, having a lot of free Water Elementals is a solid way to win that war.

This card also makes Sindragosa a more juicy choice. The easiest way to activate the 0/1 Champions is pinging them. Normally pinging your own minion is a negative tempo play. However, if you happen to summon a Water Elemental, not the play becomes a positive tempo one (you're getting a 2 mana Water Ele AND a random Legendary). Just add Pyros and N'Zoth, the Corruptor and that's all you need against Control deck, you can focus the rest of your build against Aggro/Midrange! N'Zoth will, ultimately, add two random Legendaries, two 6/6's and two 10/10's your opponent has to clear over the next X turns.

While it's hard to tell yet, I think that a Control Mage with a bunch of Elemental synergies might be a solid choice to play in the next meta.

Card rating: 4.5/5

Ice Walker

This card would be good if it was 1 mana. At 2 mana, it's really... weak. You simply can't drop it on curve, because it dies for free. 3/2 2-drops just eat it. You can play it on turn 4 with a ping to freeze something. But would you play a 4 mana 1/3 "Deal 1 damage to a minion and Freeze it?" No way. Glacial Shard is similar, outside of the 1 damage, but it costs 1 mana and not 4.

This gets an upside of being able to freeze anything every turn after the first one. But let's be realistic, it's a 1/3 minion, it's not going to survive. Any removal kills it. Any minion on the board that's not frozen kills it.

I've heard people saying that it's going to be good in Freeze Mage. Hell no, Freeze Mage can't waste time freezing single minions most of the time. Frost Nova and Blizzard are good because they AoE freeze, that's what the deck needs later in the game.

Maybe some sort of a Control deck? I mean, sure, but it's still a 4 mana 1/3 with Freeze... Another thing I've read is that you will want to play it in a Control deck with Frost Lich Jaina. That's really funny. As Frost Lich Jaina, your goal will be to FINISH minions with the ping, not to just ping stuff to freeze it.

Another thing I've heard is "Shatter synergy". Glacial Shard had even better synergy (3 mana instead of 6) and it has never seen play together with Shatter.

I think that the card is very weak and unless Mage gets some serious freeze synergy, it will not see any play. And even if Mage gets Freeze synergy, I'd put Glacial Shard into my deck before this card.

Card rating: 1.5/5

Meat Wagon

That's also where I disagree with most of the people. I've heard opinions that it's sort of a meme card, while in reality, it might be a serious, powerful card.

First things first, most of the people thought about buff synergy when seeing this. So did I. And that's why I first thought that the card is bad. The fact that you need to buff it to 4-5 to get something decent AND you can still low roll into e.g. Stonehill Defender (which you would rather play from your hand) make it a meme card at best. But then I thought - how about NOT buffing it?

Now, if you don't buff it, it's a 4 mana 1/4 minion, BUT when it dies it draws a card and plays it immediately. It can, however, only play 0 mana cards. So what's the point? Well, there are two options. First one - Doomsayers. There are two of them right now - Doomsayer and Validated Doomsayer. While the first one doesn't seem appealing, the second one... Sure, Validated Doomsayer isn't the best card ever, but it's still a 5 cost minion. This one can pull it out of your deck for 4 mana with a 1/4 body.  The second option is to actually play it in a buff deck, but in a buff deck also running Devilsaur Egg. It would mean that even if you don't manage to buff it and opponent kills it, you still get something on the board - another good target for your buffs.

Shaman might also have some good contenders, like Mana Tide Totem, plus it can play Flametongue Totem to buff this card's attack and summon something a bit better.

So in the end, I think that this card has much more potential than most people think. Maybe it won't be incredible, but I think that it might see at least some play.

Card rating: 4/5

Necrotic Geist

This card is a bit like Cult Master but instead of value (card advantage), you're getting tempo (small minions on the board). I think that since both cards fit most into the token-based decks, the tempo effect is significantly more powerful. However, the problem here is that this is a 6 mana card with only 5/3 stats. That's a TERRIBLE stat-line, and you need to spawn at least 2 or 3 2/2's to make up for it. I mean, it might not seem that hard in a Token deck, but trust me, sometimes you just don't have the stuff to kill off.

For example, Token Druid doesn't play Soul of the Forest. This card works very similarly - it costs 2 more mana, but has a body (there are some minor differences, but you see the point). Why is that? Because the card works only if you have a big board advantage. And if you have a big board advantage, it's more than likely that you don't need a card like that to capitalize on it.

One thing I like about this card is that if it somehow survives, you can use all the 2/2's to trade and spawn even more 2/2's. It's like infinite value + tempo if you can keep it up. However, with 5/3 stats so late into the game, it will probably die right away.

The card has some potential, but I think that it's one mana too expensive to really see Constructed play. At 5 mana it would be really, really solid.

Card rating: 2.5/5

Cobalt Scalebane

It's a Master Swordsmith on the steroids. But unlike Master Swordsmith, it's a rather solid card. First of all, 5/5 stats for 5 are alright for a minion with an effect. Second, +3 Attack to a random minion every turn is a solid effect and it makes this minion a very high priority removal target. A lot of the time, it will be an 8/5 for 5, with 3 damage on another minion (which is even better, because if the opponent removes this, you'll still have something). And it's not always a case that the opponent can kill your 5/5 5-drop. If it survives another turn, you get another +3 Attack, which is great.

And it has a Dragon card. It might not mean much right now, but a few more Dragons, maybe a Dragon synergy or two and the Dragon decks might rise again. This would probably fit something like an old Dragon Warrior (the tempo-based one), it would be a pretty solid card in there.

It's a solid card, but it just might not fit any deck right now. Just being solid is often not enough - it means that if this card will see Constructed play, it's probably because of the Dragon tag.

Card rating: 3/5

Gnomish Vampire

This card got a really fierce reception. On the one hand, thousands of people called it "broken" right away and said that it's the best card revealed so far. On the other hand, many people answered that milling does nothing, that it's just a River Crocolisk etc.

I'm leaning towards the latter opinion. I think that the card has slight potential in some metas, but it will most likely be unplayable.

Oh, and I'm working on an assumption that neither player sees the Discarded card.

Ok, so here is the thing. The card does NOTHING against faster decks. And I mean it, nothing, it's just a vanilla 2/3. They don't care if you discard the top card from your deck. Sure, you might get lucky and Discard that Pirate Warrior's Arcanite Reaper, but you might also discard a 1-drop that they didn't want to draw. It's just like discarding a random card from their deck, or a bottom card, it simply doesn't matter.

The only matchups where this matters are Control and Combo. Control, because fatigue actually matters in that case and you have a chance to hit one of their big threats - now you will have one less to answer in the long run. And combo, obviously, because hitting a combo piece can just win you the game. However, the card is a double-edged sword. Combo decks usually run tons of cycle cards. If they could have a way to cycle one card for free (e.g. play a 0 mana draw a card), they would more than gladly do it. And that's exactly what you might be doing for them. If you don't hit a combo piece, but rather a cycle card, you're making their deck better, you're bringing them closer to the things that are going to kill you. Most of the combo decks have only 2 or 3 cards that are absolutely necessary, which means that hitting one of them isn't excitingly high.

So all in all, I think that the card is on a weak side. Of course, it might be a free win against Combo decks, but that's the only real thing going on with this card. Warlock can't play a Mill Deck, it would make more sense in Mill Rogue, which can actually benefit from the opponent's deck getting thinned down. But Warlock? I really don't know. Most of the time you play it as a vanilla 2/3 for 2. Would you play a vanilla 2/3 that wins you the game, just like that, let's say 1% of time (because not only you need to play in the right matchup, but also hit the right card)? I really don't think so, because the fact that you play a vanilla 2/3 would reduce your chance to win the game even more.

And by the way, I think that this card shouldn't be in the game, even though it's weak. It's a bad design because 99% of the time it's useless, but 1% of the time it wins you the game and it's really RNG-based. On the upside, I love the card's name and artwork!

Card rating: 1.5/5

Val'kyr Soulclaimer

Grim Patron flashbacks. Those cards share some similarities, but Patron was still significantly stronger. Mostly because of the fact that the Patron copied itself - the copies could also be damaged to spawn even more. This one puts 2/2's into the play, which makes it a bit more similar to the Imp Gang Boss. Outside of the fact that it doesn't spawn anything when it takes lethal damage. So... It's not bad, but it's not good either. On average, you're probably going to spawn a single 2/2. Would a 3 mana 1/4 + 2/2 see play? In most of the decks, I don't think so. In order to spawn more than one, you will need to work hard. It has only 4 health, and only 3 health it can use before it can't spawn anymore. But playing a bunch of Whirlwind effects is also not a good option because the 2/2's will start taking damage and dying.

The card has a solid combo with Inner Rage (0 mana +2 attack, -1 health, spawn a 2/2) and Cruel Taskmaster (same thing, but 2 mana and an extra 2/2). It can also benefit from Rampage - buffing it might be a good idea to keep it longer and spawn more stuff. And obviously, Battle Rage will work well with it, since you'll want to damage it.

I don't think that it's going to see play in any current Warrior archetype. But if a deck built around Enrages/damaging own minions would work, it might see some play in it.

Card rating: 3/5

Closing

That's all, folks. I will write more card reviews once more cards are revealed. You should expect next one by the end of the week!

If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments. Since the cards are new, they were untested etc. I might have made a mistake somewhere, I could misunderstand how the card works or maybe look at the synergies that aren't there. 

And if you disagree with my rating, let me know. It's really hard to rate cards so early when we didn't even see the majority of the set yet, but I'd like to hear your opinion.


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. He's achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs. You can follow him on Twitter @StonekeepHS.