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 fourth 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. If you want to read the reviews for cards revealed between July 27th and July 30th, check out the Part 2. If you want to read the reviews for cards revealed between July 31st and August 3rd, check out the Part 3.
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.
A 3/3 body for 3 mana with a Lifesteal. Priest doesn’t really run Attack buffs to take advantage of the fact that Lifesteal heals for more the harder you hit, so if the expected value is to attack once, it’s a 3/3 with a delayed heal for 3, which can only target your Hero. In that case, it’s a worse version of Earthen Ring Farseer, which already doesn’t see any competitive play in Priest.
I mean, theoretically, you can buff it (health-wise) and keep it alive for longer. You can also buff its health and then Inner Fire it for a massive life gain. However, those are very fringe cases, Priest has a lot of good minions he’d prefer to buff instead of this. And the fact that the turn you play it it’s just a 3 mana 3/3… yeah. Doesn’t look too good.
Priest has access to much better healing options. The only way I could see this being played in Constructed is in a more tempo-oriented deck with multiple small health buffs that would keep it alive, possibly with cards like Shadow Ascendant I was reviewing last time. But right now I don’t think it will see any Constructed play.
Card rating: 2/5
It’s a buff to Evolve and nerf to Devolve. Besides that, 3 mana for a 2/8 Taunt is great, to be honest. It’s like a Deathlord but without a Deathrattle that can screw you. But it can screw you in its own way – with Overload. Playing it on curve is absolutely terrible – sure, you have an okay Turn 3, but then you almost completely skip Turn 4 – you’re left with only one mana.
Shaman already has access to Feral Spirit, which is roughly similar. While it has less health in total and is more vulnerable to AoE, on the other hand, it's less vulnerable to single target removals and two bodies synergize with Flametongue Totem better. And – obviously – being Overloaded for 2 instead of 3 on Turn 4 means that you have 2 mana to work with. You can Flametongue, you can play any other 2-drop or even Hero Power – it’s better than nothing. But even though Feral Spirit is generally a better card, it has seen no Constructed play since Tunnel Trogg has rotated out.
The card is great against 1-drops and pretty good against 2-drops, but if your opponent plays a 3+ health minion, it suddenly feels very weak. So no, this card is not “anti-Aggro” option. It also won’t be played IN Aggro deck. It won’t be played at all.
Sometimes you’ll be happy to pick it from Stonehill Defender in the late game, particularly if you need a high health Taunt or you want to squeeze a 3 mana Taunt into your turn to tempo out.
P.S. The card got a bit better with the reveal of the Shaman’s Snowfury Giant, but I still don’t think it’s good enough. There are simply better Overload cards to put into your deck.
Card rating: 2/5
It’s an interesting minion, but I think it’s a bit overrated. Generally, giving “Immune” for a single turn to trade your minion into something is not much different than giving a minion Divine Shield. I’d even say that Divine Shield is generally better because if you happen to attack face, it stays past your turn. So it’s like a 3 mana version of Argent Protector. Admittedly, Agent Protector’s 2 mana cost is weird in terms of curve – the card shines in the late game because the 2 mana 2/2 is very awkward in the early game. This is better because you can play a 2-drop, then shield it before trading into something. It can put you ahead in certain scenarios.
The card might see some Constructed play, in Tempo, Zoo-like decks, because those decks rely a lot on the early game trading. Let’s say that you can keep your Flame Imp alive instead of having to sacrifice it. Now this card is like playing a 3 mana 2/4 + 3/2, which is amazing. Later in the game, you can protect your Doomguard or any bigger minion when doing a trade, which is also cool. However, such decks would first need to make a comeback, as they weren’t really popular in this year’s Standard rotation.
Yes, there are some weird interactions, there is some OTK potential (like this one), but those are all just fringe cases that won’t likely make a viable deck, especially in Standard, where you’re limited by the mana and the available cards much more.
At the same time, this is an insane Arena card. If you play it on curve when having an initiative, you can pretty much seal the whole game – you get SO FAR ahead. Similarly, in the late game scenario where you both have big minions on the board, giving yours immune before trading is a huge deal. And it’s a common, so we’re going to see it a lot.
Card rating: 3/5
A 2 mana version of Shattered Sun Cleric – you get -1/-1 stats and the same effect for one less mana. Shattered Sun Cleric has seen zero Constructed play after the nerf (it used to be a 3/3, which was great back in the Beta), so I honestly doubt this one will be played. I think it’s generally comparable to the Cleric in terms of power – on the one hand, the same effect on a 2-drop is better than on a 3-drop. On the other hand, you need a 1-drop to make it work, and the 1 health is generally pretty bad, as it gets traded much more easily – pings are pretty easy to come by.
Playable in Arena, but not really in Constructed. It’s not a terrible card, but it’s not good enough to be put in a deck. However, some budget versions of Aggro/Zoo decks might want to run it if they play enough 1-drops to make this Battlecry consistently trigger on the curve.
Card rating: 2/5
Interesting. Another try to make the “Trigger a Deathrattle” effect work in Hunter. Feign Death has seen no play, Princess Huhuran has seen no play and the recent Terrorscale Stalker has seen no play. However, this might be the strongest one of the bunch, because it's most flexible at 1 mana.
Sure, Feign Death does the same thing on ALL Deathrattle minions for just 1 more mana. But the point is that you rarely have 2-3 Deathrattle minions on the board at the same time, you were often forced to Feign Death just a single minion. This fits the curve much better – e.g. if you happen to have an extra 1 mana floating on Turn 4, or Turn 5, or whatever, you can just play it on Kindly Grandmother to get a 1 mana 2/2, or maybe on Rat Pack to get two 1/1’s (possibly more if buffed).
However, ultimately this effect doesn’t really fit a normal Midrange Hunter decks. Even though those indeed run a lot of Deathrattles, they generally want to play on the curve AND they have hard time drawing cards. You often find yourself topdecking past Turn 6-7, and this is an absolutely terrible top deck if you have no Deathrattles on the board.
If anything, it might fit a slower Deathrattle Hunter, if you run even more Deathrattle cards and have a slower curve, so you don’t go into top deck mode so quickly.
So Terrorscale Stalker is probably a better card in a Midrange Hunter decks we know right now (because it’s not completely useless even if you don’t have a good target), and yet it sees no play at all. In the current Constructed, it would see zero play. After Frozen Throne, it might be considered if a slower Deathrattle Hunter takes off, but I still don’t think it will be powerful enough.
Card rating: 2.5/5
This card seems to only fit into the Raza the Chained deck, but it’s really, really great in such a deck! Maybe let’s start with the Battlecry. Destroying all 5+ Attack minions can actually be a good comeback mechanic sometimes. It’s like an AoE Shadow Word: Death. Hitting two minions with it will actually be great, but to be fair, even clearing one big opponent’s minion if that’s all he has on the board will be good. Playing a Hero Card will always be a low tempo, and this can actually get quite a lot of tempo in the right scenario.
But the main thing about this Hero is its Hero Power. In a normal deck, Voidform isn’t much different than Shadowform, which would make this Hero pretty terrible. You’d rather just play Shadowform in your deck and that’s all. The upside of Voidform is that it refreshes every time you play a card – so a bit like Auctionmaster Beardo, but works on all cards, not only spells. This effect is pretty bad in a normal deck because it’s still a 2 mana for 2 damage, you get a bit of free value, but Hero Powering is still a low tempo play. You’d rarely play it more than 2 times per turn anyway.
But if you play a Raza deck and make your Hero Power free, well, then it’s a whole different story. You basically get a free 2 damage per turn and then EXTRA two damage per each card you play. Since your Hero Power is free, you have no reason to not use it. Imagine attaching a “Battlecry: Deal 2 damage” to every card in your deck, on top of whatever it already does.
The card really shines during the Lyra the Sunshard turn. Lyra + one/two Radiant Elementals can generate tons of cheap spells. Even an average Lyra + Radiant Elemental turn can often last for 5-6 spells. Let’s say 7 cards in total = extra 14 damage from the Hero Power. Not bad at all!
In theory, it’s also possible to OTK with it – if you have 2x Radiant Elemental, one Shadow Visions in your hand and another one in your deck, you can play Shadow Visions into Shadow Visions for free while getting 2 damage each time. However, that combo is incredibly hard to pull off and isn’t consistent enough to see any play.
So while this card won’t likely see play in a normal Control Priest, it will probably be an auto-include into a Raza Deck. Maybe a Highlander Quest N’Zoth deck? That would be really cool!
Card rating: 5/5
A balanced 4 mana 7/7! Well, yeah. You can play it on Turn 4 and it’s a 2/2 + 5/5. But then again, when your 2/2 dies, it summons a 5/5 for your opponent. So sadly, a lot of the time, it’s comparable to a 4 mana 2/2, because the 5/5 can negate each other out. Of course, it’s not always the case – your 2/2 might stay alive, you might have a way to easily deal with their 5/5 while keeping your 5/5 alive etc. But in general, this is a high initial tempo, but low value over time minion.
There are some combos like this + Evolve, or this + Treachery (you give the 2/2 to your opponent to get an extra 5/5), but they’re all… average at best. You expect two card combos to be amazing because they aren’t always consistent.
Oh, you can also play it in a Silence Priest – it’s definitely better than Ticking Abomination. If you Silence the 2/2 right away, you keep both minions and don’t give anything for your opponent. But Silence Priest prefers to have a single, big minion to synergize with Faceless Shambler and Divine Spirit / Inner Fire combos.
Overall, I can’t really find a good way to utilize this card. It’s very bad by itself and the combos are mediocre. I don’t think it will see any Constructed play.
Card rating: 1.5/5
Cool concept, but I don’t really see it being played. It’s like a combination of Duplicate and Mirror Entity, but the problem is that it takes the worst parts of both. Duplicate is a high-value card, but it’s very low tempo – it does nothing immediately and only after your opponent clears a minion, you actually get something (and you still have to spend mana for the minions you copy). On the other hand, Mirror Entity is often easy to play around (just drop a small minion), but it’s high tempo (especially if you play it for 0 mana with Kirin Tor Mage and such) – even if you copy something small, you get some board presence and you don’t have to spend extra mana on it. This card is low tempo AND it can get countered by playing a small minion.
Duplicate is played mostly because you can pick the target you want to copy relatively well (drop a minion they HAVE to remove with Duplicate already in play) and you can copy some combo pieces. Mirror Entity is played because it’s a high tempo play if you get it out for 0 mana. This card is neither. You have no control over what you copy and you get no tempo. What’s the point of this card over let’s say Arcane Intellect?
There might be some cases in which you want to play this card, maybe in a Reno Control deck, to get “another copy of Arcane Intellect”, but those are mostly played in Wild. So I don’t know why would you want to play this over Duplicate.
Card rating: 2/5
Ouch… I honestly don’t know which deck would want to discard THAT much. I’d say that given the high health of this minion, you’re going to discard like 2 cards on average (would probably be closer to 3, if not for the fact that you can run out of cards). And.. for what, exactly?
The main problem with this card is that while it has a significant downside (even in Discard deck, Discarding cards is often considered a downside unless you have a very specific hand), the upside is not that big. You’re getting +2 health over vanilla stats and that’s all. 3/6 minion for 3 is great, but it’s not crazy good. Dragon decks have been playing a 3 mana 3/5 all the time and it wasn’t that hard to deal with.
It’s also a discard you aren’t controlling. On your opponent’s turn, he can force you to discard multiple cards even though you might not want to do that.
Obviously, one of the best synergies this card has is with Clutchmother Zavas. If it’s the only card left in your hand, discarding it multiple times is great for the Warlock. But that’s not a common scenario.
The card might be really good IF they would print more cards you want to discard. Warlock already has tons of cards that discard, making another one not exactly thrilling.
Or well, if you play a Zoo Warlock deck with a really low curve. Having a 3 mana 3/6 when you have nothing else to discard because you’ve played your whole hand already is great. However, in the current Zoo decks, sometimes cards like Defender of Argus or Doomguard are stuck in your hand already, and you don’t really want to discard them with this guy.
Oh, but one thing I didn’t think about. This card can be played with Treachery (and potentially Spreading Madness) vs a Control/Combo deck to force multiple discards. Control deck can lose their win conditions (like N’Zoth) and Combo deck can lose important combo pieces. This is likely too fancy to see play, but hey, it’s an option.
Overall I think that the card is pretty interesting, more interesting than most of the Discard cards, but I still don’t think it’s good enough to see play.
Card rating: 2.5/5
It’s a bit like Barnes… but it might be worse. So, the first thing is that you’re paying 6 mana for a 5/5 minion. Only 5/5 minions for 6 mana that have seen play all had incredible effects (Emperor Thaurissan, Sylvanas Windrunner). Vanilla 5/5 or something with a very small effect is bad.
So, in order to make this card work, you’d need to pack your deck with powerful effects. Which already kinda happens in Priest – the class rarely runs vanilla minions, most of the stuff has interesting effects. BUT, the problem with this card is that it’s random. Having another Lyra the Sunshard would be great, but then again, you KNOW when you play Lyra. You play her only if you have cards to combo to get cheap spells. Since this is random, if you play it on curve and get Lyra, it’s often not better than a vanilla 5/5 if the opponent kills it right away. Similarly, effects like Northshire Cleric or Auchenai Soulpriest can be good in the right scenario, but they just suck if you can’t utilize them.
One of the main reasons to run this card is Obsidian Statue. The 6 mana version of this card would be insane – it’s a 5/5 Taunt with Lifesteal and a powerful Deathrattle effect. Pretty broken. But you run only 2 copies (at best) of Obsidian Statue, so you won’t consistently get it. Other good cards to get from it include Sylvanas Windrunner, Emperor Thaurissan and Ragnaros the Firelord, but… they’re all Wild.
One of the saving graces for the card might be the fact that it’s a spell. If you play a Medivh, the Guardian deck, having a 6 mana spell you can reliably cast any time is great. Similarly, if your Radiant Elemental sticks, now it costs 5 mana, making the card very powerful – 5 mana 5/5 is okayish even if it’s vanilla and hitting a strong effect will make it even better.
All in all, I think it might see some Standard play, but I don’t think it will be powerful enough to include into every deck. You’ll need a deck with the right amount of powerful effects to even consider using it.
Card rating: 3/5
It’s like a Flamecannon, but for 1 mana and it Freezes. I think that the card is pretty good. In the early game, you can use it as a single target removal – dealing with a 2 health minions for 1 mana is not that bad. Later in the game, you can use it as a powerful tempo tool to freeze a single big target for one turn and damage it a bit (similarly to how sometimes Ice Lance was used). It fits a tempo-based list most, especially since 1 mana spells have insane synergy with Sorcerer's Apprentice (being able to cast anything for 0 mana is great).
The card also combos well with another card revealed – Coldwraith. In the mid/late game, you can easily play both on the same turn and draw a card. Since you play two and draw one, it will be like a 4 mana 3/4 that freezes a minion and deals 2 damage – quite insane if you ask me.
The main problem with this card is that 2/3 is a much more common stat line of the 2-drops than 3/2. While it is going to kill some stuff, especially in the Arena, in Constructed it will often be 1 damage short of killing the 2-drops.
But even then, I think that the card is good enough to see at least some Constructed play.
Card rating: 4/5
This one is really crazy. One thing I have to start with is that while a “random Legendary” used to have very high stats on average, a lot of the “weaker” Legendaries have been printed lately, which dilute the pool. While previously around 90% of the Legends were “high rolls”, now it doesn’t work like that. Patches the Pirate, Hobart Grapplehammer, Clutchmother Zavas, Prince Keleseth, Moroes, Wickerflame Burnbristle, Sergeant Sally, Prince Taldaram, Auctionmaster Beardo, The Voraxx, Kazakus, Barnes, Prince Valanar and probably a few more I’ve missed have all been printed over the last 3 expansions. Which is great for the game – having early/mid game Legendaries is fun. But it does negatively impact effects like that. You have a SIGNIFICANT chance to hit something small from this roll.
For that reason, I don’t think that the card will fit into any existing deck. Right now, you could probably proc it once, maybe twice and that’s it. That won’t be impactful enough. However, I think that the card might become a staple in a Tempo/Enrage kind of Warrior that seems to be getting quite a lot of support this expansion.
You ideally want to run this card in a deck with a lot of self-damage effects, which means that you also want to play other minions that benefit from self-damage. So you basically need to build a deck around such effects. Will it work? It’s hard to tell, but I’ll definitely try it out.
The card combos with two kinds of effects in particular.
Self-damage effects: Any kind of card that lets you damage your own minions. Especially the cheap ones, so you can combo them with Rotface on the same turn. Inner Rage is probably the best one, as it’s a 0 mana “summon a random Legendary”. Besides that, Whirlwind, Cruel Taskmaster, Slam, Blood To Ichor are great. Ravaging Ghoul is also good, but one mana too expensive – can’t fit them both on the same turn. Two more self-damage cards are getting released in the new expansion – Animated Berserker and Blood Razor.
Buff Cards: The more health it has and the harder it is to kill, the more Legendaries it’s likely to spawn. The problem here is that Warrior doesn’t have access to many buff cards. Grimy Gadgeteer and Don Han'Cho can hit it while it’s still in the hand, but it’s often random. Then, it can also get buffed with Rampage after it’s damaged.
Like you see, the second kind of effects is not really the Warrior’s domain, so it will most likely be combo'd with cheap damage spells and Whirlwind effects.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that you don’t have to damage it yourself all the time. Your opponent has to remove it in a single swing for it to not proc. Which means that if you play it into a board with few small minions, it might still get some value even if you don’t have ways to activate it.
I think that the card has a lot of potential in a more Midrange deck with multiple self-damage, Whirlwind effects and other cards that benefit from that. Battle Rage is one of the best card draws in the game and it was again waiting for a deck to be used in. Such a deck might also want to run Blood Warriors as another source of value/card draw. Since no deck like that exists currently, it’s hard to say how strong it will be. But historically Warrior had multiple powerful Midrange/Tempo decks, so it might also work.
Card rating: 3.5/5
It seems that Dragon decks are also getting some support this expansion. Even though this minion isn’t a lot, it’s pretty solid. 6 mana 6/5 is pretty bad, but you need to remember that it’s not a tempo card – it’s a value card. 6 mana 6/5 with “draw a card” wouldn’t be that bad, and it’s similar to the Dragon decks. It can be a bit better than drawing a card, since drawing specifically a Dragon means that all your Dragon synergies remain active. On the other hand, there are some bad Dragons you don’t really want to draw.
It’s a good late game option for Control Dragon decks like Dragon Priest. Right now it’s probably the only deck that would consider running it. Maybe if Dragon Mage becomes a thing thanks to Sindragosa, but I don’t think it will.
It’s an okay Constructed card for a very specific deck – slow Dragon archetype. And it’s a very solid Arena card. I like it, nothing insane, but probably playable.
Card rating: 3/5
I’ve heard that this card used to cost 4 mana, but it was too powerful and was nerfed to 5 to keep it in check. And I can really see that happening. At 4 mana, it would be an auto-include into multiple Druid decks. The problem with Druid class is the lack of hard removals, and this card would give you sort of one. It’s also very often a 2 for 1 – even if you won’t kill anything big, each of the 1/2’s is going to kill a minion or bait a weapon charge/small removal spell.
However, a 5 mana the effect seems a bit too expensive. It’s just a bit too slow. If it gets taken down by some 1-drops, you’re still behind in terms of mana, even if it gets 2 for 1. AoE gets much better against it since it costs 1 more mana. Before, Consecration vs this was a neutral tempo play (if Druid had no other things on the board), right now it’s a slight tempo gain.
Ideally, you want to play this in the mid/late game into a big minion or empty board. It makes things really awkward for your opponent, and that’s the main advantage of this card.
The card would be almost playable if not for the Druid’s Hero – Malfurion the Pestilent. I mean, you pay 2 more mana and you get the same effect AND 5 Armor AND an Upgraded Hero Power, and alternatively you can pick two 1/5 Taunts instead of those Poisonous Spiders if you need. The Hero card is just so much better than this.
Card rating: 2/5
It’s a bit like a minion version of Feral Spirit. Neutral. 3 mana + 2 Overload is comparable to 4 mana. On the one hand, the total cost of Feral Spirit is higher, but two 2/3 Taunts are much impactful on Turn 3 than they are on Turn 4. By itself, I don’t think that this card is going to see any play, since Shaman is the class that utilizes multiple bodies best (alongside Druid), and it already cut Feral Spirit from all the lists.
However, one important thing about this card is that it synergizes with Handbuffs very well. Handbuffs basically double on this card. Giving it +2/+2 makes it 2x 4/5 Taunt. And giving your hand +2/+2 before Turn 4 is not that hard to do with Handbuff Paladin, so you might be able to play it on curve.
Similarly, the card combos very well with Stolen Goods in Warrior – 2x 5/6 is insane in the mid game.
It’s a nice addition to Handbuff decks. I think that Handbuff Paladin might see some play this expansion, and this card might be one of the reasons. However, outside of such decks, it’s probably unplayable in Constructed and okay-ish in Arena.
Card rating: 4/5 in the right deck, but most likely won’t see much play.
5 mana 4/5 that deals 1 damage to all enemy minions would already be okay. This effect is a bit worse because it happens at the end of your turn not immediately, but it’s still good. And if this minion survives, it can deal the 1 AoE damage each turn.
Yes, it’s a good card. But it’s just not exactly what Warlock needs in Standard. Warlock doesn’t need more AoE options, he has plenty of those already. What the class needs is some ways to survive – Taunts, Healing etc.
This seems like a better pick in a Wild Demonlock, possibly the Reno version with Krul the Unshackled. In Standard, it will also be a solid card to play in a Control Warlock, but will this deck actually work in the first place?
This card got significantly better when Warlock's Hero was revealed - Bloodreaver Gul'dan. Reviving two of those in the late game means two 4/5 bodies and immediate 2 AoE damage. If the Hero will be played in Standard, those will certainly be played in the same deck.
Card rating: 4/5
Wow, the card is really solid. It’s a good tempo option in decks that tend to heal the Hero quite often. The most likely candidate to play this is Priest. Healing your Hero is often a play on Turn 2. Against Aggro decks, if you happen to be damaged, you’ll also be able to drop a 0 mana 3/3 now!
Even if you heal your Hero specifically to play this card, it’s a 2 mana 3/3 that heals your Hero for 2. That’s already quite alright.
The card also combos with any Lifesteal card, including the Priest’s Spirit Lash. Spirit Lash is already solid, and this might be played right after it as a 0 mana 3/3.
Another candidate might be Paladin if you build a deck with multiple Lifesteal effects. Truesilver Champion is another way to make it work – on Turn 4 you can swing with Truesilver and drop this for 0 mana.
One way to play around it is to not damage the enemy Hero. But that’s not always possible. Sure, if you play a Control vs Control matchup, not making that ping might be a good play. But as an Aggro, you can’t simply not damage enemy to play around it. And if someone does – then this card did even more than it’s supposed to, it prevented the enemy from hitting you (while you might not even have it in your hand!).
I’m actually curious if it will finally push the more tempo-oriented Priest deck into the spotlight. Having no good early game was always the problem, and it might not be the case anymore.
Anyway, I really like this card, I really think that it will see Constructed play in Priest, maybe in Paladin and possibly in some other classes too.
Card rating: 4.5/5
So far pretty much every Death Knight Hero looks playable. This is probably the most straightforward, and thus boring, of the bunch. It’s just a solid card to play in a slower Druid deck.
When it comes to the immediate impact, depending on the situation, you can put two Poisonous minions (which counters big minions / are good on the empty board to potentially prevent the opponent from tempoing out with two mid-sized minions) or 1/5 Taunts if you need to survive. Between the 10 health from Taunts and 5 Armor, it might let you gain 15 health, which should be enough. The main problem with playing such slower cards was always the fact that the opponent could just rush you down right after. This won’t happen if you gain so much life in the process.
And the Hero Power is also very solid. You get triple the strength of your current one, but you have to pick between Armor and Attack. It’s still great because the situations in which you need both aren’t that common. If you have a lot of health, you can use the 3 damage to trade or to push for a lot of damage every turn. It becomes a better version of the Hunter’s Hero Power clock. And the +3 Armor per turn is really solid against any Aggro deck and insane vs any Combo deck. For example, Freeze Mage will hate this card – I remember that the on-curve Justicar Trueheart as a Warrior used to be pretty much a free win vs Freeze Mage, this is similar.
I think that the card will see play in slower Druid decks. It’s too slow to see play in the fast builds, but it’s still good.
And by the way – the Fandral will be remade to work with this Hero Power. So when it’s on the board, it will be +3 Attack AND +3 Armor.
Card rating: 4/5
This card is nuts. It’s an auto-include into the current Token Druid lists. In the early game, it’s a 1/5 Taunt for 2 mana, which is a great statline to buff. All the AoE buffs will work wonders, while Mark of Y'Shaarj will also draw a card (since both forms are Beast). It will protect the rest of the board, it’s like a better Tar Creeper – while it doesn’t gain Attack on the opponent’s turn, it’s a whole mana cheaper (and that’s a lot in the early game). Later in the game, you might want to drop it as a 1/2 with Poisonous, especially before the opponent’s “big minion turn”, forcing him to answer your 2-drop first, possibly running his curve.
It might also fit a slower Druid list. On Turn 2, 1/5 Taunt might be good vs Aggro. While not as good as Tar Creeper, it costs one less mana and can fill your curve if you don’t draw Wild Growth. And it has some late game flexibility, as you can drop it as a Poisonous minion to kill some big bodies.
It might be one of the best cards in the set, I would be really surprised if it won’t be played.
Card rating: 5/5
Another Hero card and another playable one. This one is a fit into a Control Paladin deck. It’s a late game finisher card, which might not be as powerful as Lord Jaraxxus in terms of value, but it’s much, much safer. The immediate impact of this card is 5 Armor + 5/3 Lifesteal weapon. It means that you can immediately gain 10 health + 10 more health over the next two turns. The weapon means that you can also use it for the board control right away.
The Hero Power is basically an improved version of Silver Hand Recruit. Yes, you lose all the synergies (which weren’t played in Standard anyway), but they’re 2/2 instead of 1/1, which is a nice upgrade – they can’t get pinged or removed by 1 damage AoE (Whirlwind effects, Maelstrom Portal etc.). And the upside is that if you happen to have 4 of them on the board at the same time, you just win the game. Yes, just like that – opponent blows up and you win. Crazy, right?
Of course, it won’t happen often in a normal scenario, unless you build a deck around it. However, this fact alone makes them so much better. Normally a 2/2 doesn’t always require an immediate answer. In the case of those, it probably will. The opponent will have to remove them right away, or else the game might end shortly.
As for the combo, it will be very easy to pull off in the Wild, but also possibly as a finisher in Standard. Basically, you want to play Auctionmaster Beardo to play your Hero Power multiple times on a single turn. You either need a bunch of cheap spells and Emperor Thaurissan procs in Wild, or Burgly Bully generating a few coins in Standard. In either case, the goal is to Hero Power, play a cheap spell/Coin, Hero Power again and repeat until you have 4 on the board and just win the game. It’s a new Exodia combo!
I don’t think that the combo will make its way into the Standard. In Wild – possibly, because it will be easier to pull off. But it doesn’t mean that the card is bad – huge weapon, life steal and the threat of immediate death all make this card a great late game option in Control Paladin.
The only issue is the curve – if you play Tirion Fordring on Turn 8 and it dies, you really don’t want to replace the Ashbringer with a new weapon.
Card rating: 4.5/5
Wow, that’s an interesting design. So, when your Hero gets healed, it deals the same amount of damage to a random enemy minion. That’s a great removal. It would obviously be busted if it could also target the opponent’s Hero (imagine the combo with Forbidden Healing), but it’s still pretty solid. Obviously, the best combo is the one with Lifesteal. If you attack with a Lifesteal minion, you heal yourself and then deal that damage to a minion.
6 mana for a 3/9 is a weird stat-line, but it fits such an effect. This minion isn’t a threat by itself, but the effect makes it a high priority target. However, at 9 health, it might be very hard to kill right away without using hard removal. Especially in the Aggro/Midrange matchups, you should expect this minion to live for a while.
Paladin is known for running a lot of healing. Some cards that combo really well with it are Wickerflame Burnbristle (or Corpsetaker), or basically any card with Lifesteal, including the 5/3 weapon from the new Uther of the Ebon Blade; Ragnaros, Lightlord, which would often deal 8 damage to a random minion if this minion is on the board; Ivory Knight, which could discover even more “damage” etc.
But the card isn’t perfect, there are some problems. First of all, it does nothing by itself immediately. 3/9 stat-line is also easy to ignore. If you have no cards that heal, it’s pretty bad. Another thing is that in order to heal your Hero, you need to be damaged. This won’t be a problem in Aggro/Midrange matchups, but it might be dead vs some Control decks. It happens really often that you have full health in the late game because those matchups are often about the value, not tempo. So it has its flaws, the biggest one is being very clunky at times.
I’d say that it’s still a solid card and it will probably see some play in slower Paladin lists, those running a lot of healing. Adding an extra value to healing cards is great, not to mention the extra tempo this minion generates.
Card rating: 4/5
Another 2 mana to draw 2 cards, the last one was Ice Fishing for Shaman and I thought that it’s pretty broken. This card, however, is worse. I mean, drawing 2 for 2 is still great, however, weapons tend to be much more clunky than minions. Drawing 2 cheap Murlocs means that you can play them right away. Drawing 2 weapons, even with 2 charges each, means that you need a total of 4 turns to utilize them. So the value is spread over time.
Most of the decks run 3-4 weapons, so it will probably never be used as 2-of because the second copy would most likely be useless (drawing nothing). But I can see this being played as 1-of. The main question is – will Pirate Warrior want to run it? Pirate Warrior doesn’t want to spend mana doing nothing. The list is already tight and while yes, not drawing weapons is pretty bad, having to spend 4 mana to get that Fiery War Axe is also bad, it’s too low tempo. The card gets great later in the game, especially to draw Arcanite Reaper, which is the weapon’s main finisher. You often find yourself running out of steam and getting two weapons gives you a lot of damage over the next few turns. So I can see playing one copy in one of the flex slots, but I’m not 100% sure about that.
However, slower lists might run one copy of this if they play enough weapons. Midrange/Control Warrior can use this because the decks will DEFINITELY run two copies of Fiery War Axe, probably two copies of Blood Razor and slower Warrior might even run one copy of Gorehowl, making this a pretty solid card overall.
Alternatively, you can go for a Hobart Grapplehammer route and play a full weapon synergy deck, but I don’t think that will work… yet.
A solid one-off card in some decks, right now probably won’t be played as two-of, but maybe in future.
Card rating: 3.5/5
The first class Giant. This time synergizing with Overload cards, which is obviously a Shaman mechanic. First of all, this card is insane in Wild. It’s a mode where you can play a lot of good Overload cards and you have more ways to synergize with it (Tunnel Trogg) or remove it (Lava Shock). This card will be great in a lot of Wild Shaman decks. But we’re talking about Standard now.
In Standard, Overload is a much more uncommon mechanic. While yes, a lot of Shaman cards have Overload, most of the decks don’t play nearly enough to justify running this. Some of the better Overload cards that COULD be played include Flamewreathed Faceless, Lightning Bolt, Stormcrack, Feral Spirit, Jade Claws, Jinyu Waterspeaker, Lightning Storm, Lava Burst, Volcano, Doomhammer and Earth Elemental. Obviously, you could also play Finders Keepers to Discover another Overload card.
I’d say that the card has higher chance to be played in Control deck than in Aggro. While Aggro decks do play some Overload cards, they’re mostly Overload for 1-2 and given that the Aggro games last shorter, the deck wouldn’t probably play enough Overload to get this down low. However, a Control deck running 2x Lightning Bolt, 2x Stormcrack, 2x Jinyu Waterspeaker, 2x Lightning Bolt, 2x Volcano… That’s already 14 Overload. It’s possible to get this down to 0 in the longer game, just like Mages or Druids can get Arcane Giant.
It’s really hard to rate this card, it’s one of those that would need some playtesting. The main question is – is a cheap/free 8/8 enough to justify including some Overload cards that you wouldn’t want to play without it? And wouldn’t getting it down to low mana take too long for it to make an impact? Those are important questions. I believe that yes, this card has some potential. In Wild, it will surely see play. In Standard, it will most likely see play.
Card rating: 3.5/5
4 mana 3/4 is very weak. Even let’s say that it takes one point of damage, then it’s a 4 mana 5/3, which is still terrible. It’s probably comparable to Gurubashi Berserker – one mana less and one more starting Attack, but three less health, so harder to get multiple procs off.
It would seem to fit a deck that wants to self-damage minions. Right now, only some Warrior decks want to do that. However, even in such a deck, it’s not good. You damage it twice and it’s a 7/2 minion. You have to go out of your way and try to combo it with multiple cards and in the end, it would still be below average.
It’s a filler card and it won’t see any Constructed play.
Card rating: 1/5
Well, 3 mana 4/4 is solid. 3 mana 4/4 would probably be played in some decks if it didn’t have any downside. But that’s impossible. This card has a downside and the downside is pretty big. Here’s the thing – you’d want to play a card like that in an aggressive deck. Control deck has no reason to play a vanilla 4/4 minion. On the other hand, the aggressive deck doesn’t want to play a minion that Freezes his whole board on Battlecry.
Sure, it’s great to drop on Turn 3 with no other minions on the board. Or after a board clear. But if you have a board, it’s a dead card, because every minion you freeze basically skips a turn.
I don’t think this card will see any play, just like the last one. It has a bit more potential, but the downside is too big to make it work.
Card rating: 1.5/5
Another positioning card. I have to admit that I love those. I like the fact that positioning becomes a more important thing lately. But, about the card. It’s one of the only Shaman removals without Overload, so that’s that.
It’s a Freeze card merged with a pseudo-AoE. If you add all the effects, it’s really strong – dealing 6 damage and freezing is great. But it doesn’t really work like that. It’s only good if the opponent has three minions. Unlike Meteor, which is a solid single target removal, this can’t be used on one minion. I mean, it can, but it only Freezes it for 4 mana – definitely not worth it.
If an opponent plays around it, the 3 damage can also be “wasted” on something like 1 health minion or, quite opposite, on a big minion, like 8/8, which won’t die from it.
If it dealt damage to the first target (the one it freezes), it would be great. But since it doesn’t, it’s very situational, quite easy to play around and not that great in general. It’s an interesting card and it might have some applications in the future, but I can’t see it being played right now.
Card rating: 2/5
Oooh, a Death Knight puppy! It’s so cool! But I’m afraid it’s bad. At first, I was confused by the wording, I thought that it’s going to add a random HERO card to your hand, but that’s not the case. There are 8 uncollectible Death Knight cards (you can find them here) which have interesting and generally powerful effects. But they aren’t “I win the game” kind of cards, they’re definitely stronger than normal cards, albeit some of them are a bit more situational.
So, knowing that, it’s a 4 mana 2/2 with Deathrattle: “add a pretty strong card to your hand”. It doesn’t seem too good, to be honest. While Death Knight cards are powerful, this card is so low tempo. You pay 4 mana for a 2/2 minion with no other immediate impact on the board. It’s terrible against any fast opener. While yes, some of the Death Knight cards can help you with a comeback (like dealing 3 damage to all opponents), other are pretty useless in the Aggro matchups (buffing your minion, stealing a minion from your opponent’s deck), so it’s a huge risk.
Oh, and this is straight-up unplayable against Priest – Potion of Madness will just wreck it and he will thank you for giving him a Death Knight card for free.
So I really don’t think it will see play in any Constructed decks. However, it’s a Beast, so the effect might work great with Deathstalker Rexxar and Build-a-Beast Hero Power if you need some late game value generator.
Card rating: 2/5
So, I was wondering what to do with all those spare weapons drawn from Forge of Souls. You can just discard them and turn them into the stats! Okay, that’s not really efficient in the long run and it puts all the eggs into one basket, but it’s a crazy effect. Let’s say that you have a Fiery War Axe, Blood Razor and Gorehowl in your hand. This adds a total of 3 + 2 + 7 = 12 Attack and 2 + 2 + 1 = 5 health, making this a 18/11 minion for 6 mana. Obviously, any hard removal just wrecks it, something like Hex or Shadow Word: Death is 4 for 1 in that case.
I think that this card won’t see common Constructed play, howe, er it might catch some people off-guard. In any deck running a lot of weapons, especially Warriors with Forge of Souls, this card can grow to insane stat-lines. Even on Turn 6, it can be a HUGE bomb. Of course, it’s an all-in strategy, if it gets killed, you probably lose the game, because you’ve wasted so many weapons.
That’s why it’s probably better to just equip those weapons and attack face if you want to push for damage. Sure, getting a 15+ attack minion is great, but you can just deal the same amount of damage with weapons over a few turns and it will be MUCH harder to counter.
Card rating: 2/5
It’s a bit like a new Ysera. High cost, huge body, generating from a pool of random cards at the end of each turn. It means that it gets the value of one extra card immediately and then more and more as long as it stays on the board. However, I think that it might be better than Ysera. First of all, it costs 1 less, and 8 vs 9 mana is quite a difference. At 8 you can still squeeze a Hero Power or a 2-drop in the late game, at 9 you can’t do almost anything in a slower deck.
The fact that it has a Taunt is on the one hand bad (because you want it to survive as long as possible), but on the other hand, it doesn’t make it a dead card against Aggro. Also, the 8/8 stat line is much higher tempo than 4/12, as it can contest bigger minions and is a bigger threat by itself.
When it comes to the pool of the cards, it’s more diverse – we have 8 cards compared to the 5 Dream cards. Their average power is probably the same – we have weaker cards and stronger cards, but each one of them can potentially gain a lot of value in the right scenario.
The card is pretty strong, it’s a big, value generator that might fit some of the Control decks. Especially in the Control vs Control matchups, it might be a big win condition if it sticks to the board.
Another important thing to consider is that it’s a Taunt minion. It means few things. First of all – it can be discovered from Stonehill Defender. It’s Neutral, so the chance to discover it will be rather low, but still – it can make a huge difference in Control matchups. Another thing is that it adds +1 to the Warrior’s Quest, making it a solid consideration in the Taunt Warrior deck. Then, it combos with all sort of Taunt synergies, but those aren’t really played right now.
It can be strong in the right deck, and since it will sometimes come from the Stonehill Defender, we’ll probably see it quite often. I think it’s better than Ysera, but not THAT much better. We’ll most likely see a lot of it in the first few days just because of how cool and iconic the character is, but I think that we’ll see it less and less later, it will probably be just an okay late game card in a while, not something you put into half of your decks.
Card rating: 3.5/5
+1/+1 for each damaged minion. That’s a pretty solid effect, but the base stats are pretty meh. 5 mana for 3/3 is not something you can play. Even at 1 or 2 damaged minions, it’s pretty bad. It only STARTS getting good from 3 damaged minions and up. Yes, Warrior has a lot of ways to damage minions, but realistically, how often are there 3 or more damaged minions on the board?
The main problem with this card is that it’s a) pretty bad against Control decks, because those tend to be low on minions AND they remove your minions and b) it’s a terrible top deck or a card to play after the board clear. 5 mana 3/3 is completely unplayable.
It seems like it would fit into the “self-damage” Warrior archetype that shapes up, but even then it doesn’t look great. If there are multiple damaged minions on the board, it probably also means that there are multiple MINIONS on the board (damaged and undamaged). Which makes Sea Giant a better card, most likely. 5 damaged minions puts this at 8/8, Sea Giant is an 8/8 at 5 UNDAMAGED minions. With even more minions, this grows bigger, but Sea Giant becomes cheaper, which might be a much better tempo effect.
So all in all, I don’t think that this card will see any serious play. It’s too often below the vanilla, and even in the best case scenario, it’s outclassed by other cards (and in the end, it’s just a bunch of stats).
I can’t believe that I’m saying it, but at this point, I think that every Death Knight Hero might see play at some point, either in Standard or in the Wild. The least likely one seems to be Shaman, but he’s still okay. They aren’t all broken, but they all are on the powerful side. Including this one.
Starting with a weapon – I’ve said that the Paladin’s one is strong, this might be even better. The fact that it deals damage to adjacent minions makes it incredible. It’s unlikely that when you play a Midrange/Tempo deck, your opponent has more than 3 minions at the same time on Turn 8. So when you play it, you can probably deal damage to all three – like a mini-Flamestrike. And then you can repeat the same thing for two more turns! Normal problem with weapons is that you often have to hit big minions. With this one – not always. If your opponent has a 1/1 and 5/4 on the board, you just hit 1/1 and the 5/4 also dies. Of course, it will be possible to play around it to some extent, but that will most likely mean tiptoeing around the board and maybe not playing some minions at all. Like, Shaman or Paladin won’t want to play the Hero Power, because it will just add a great target for the weapon. So yeah, the weapon is great.
And the Hero Power? It’s not something insane, but it’s good enough. Whirlwind costs 1 mana, this costs 2, so it’s a pretty low tempo play. But having access to it every turn, reliably, is insane in such a deck. Remember that it’s a deck most likely playing Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Battle Rage, Frothing Berserker, Bloodhoof Brave, Grommash Hellscream maybe the new Val'kyr Soulclaimer or Rotface too. Gaining Armor, drawing cards, activating Enrages, maybe spawning extra bodies – Whirlwind won’t be just a Whirlwind, it will be one of the main win conditions of the deck.
The only problem is losing the Armor Hero Power. How is that a problem? Well, this deck will probably be using a lot of weapons, including the one from Hero. Losing life might be a problem in the late game. While playing Hero gives 2.5 turns worth of Hero Powering, which is great, after that you can no longer gain any Armor like that. So it will probably have to rely on big Armorsmith turns in order to get out of the range of burn and stuff like that. Yes, the Whirlwind Hero Power is generally better, but the Armor one was useful quite often in the late game.
I was already pretty convinced that such a deck will exist. Right now I’m almost certain. This Death Knight Hero is good and it fits into such a deck really well.
Card rating: 4/5
Cute card, another 1 mana Murloc, but it’s mostly a pack filler. Murloc decks rely on their powerful early game to dominate the board, Lifesteal is pretty useless in the early game, and besides Lifesteal this is just a 1/1. Why would you play this over Murloc Tidecaller that has 1 more health and grows in Attack? The only application I see is Murloc Warlock, where health matters more, but still, if you’re playing the deck and you’re at the point in game where you’ve tapped so much that you need healing, well, I have bad news for you, you’re not going to win that with a few extra points of healing.
The only appeal is that it’s the only Neutral Lifesteal option this expansion. Which means that it might maybe be useful in some deck that desperately wants access to Lifesteal (e.g. for the sake of Corpsetaker), but doesn’t have its own class ways to get it. But that’s still a stretch because that would require putting a 1 mana 1/1 that is there only for Lifesteal into the deck.
So, mostly a pack filler.
Card rating: 1.5/5
It’s like Drain Life, but one mana cheaper and it only targets minions. Oh, and the fact that it has Lifesteal means that healing also scales with damage – so if you have Spell Damage on the board, you can heal for 3 or 4 with it.
Since Dran Life was already mostly used for the board control, outside of some rare scenarios, I think that this card is significantly better. Having a very similar effect for 1 mana less is a big step into viability. However, Drain Life was so bad that it has seen zero competitive play.
This card is generally inferior to Darkbomb. The fact that it deals 2 and not 3 damage is huge – a lot of the early game minions have 3 health and you won’t be able to deal with them. E.g. Mage plays Mana Wyrm on Turn 1 and you’re in a bad spot because you can’t kill it (unless you also have a Mortal Coil around).
But Darkbomb is not in Standard anymore, which means that this has a serious chance of being played. Unlike a lot of the other classes, Warlock has no 2 mana removal right now and having one would be nice in Control decks. Healing is also always nice in Warlock, although you’d only reliably be able to heal for 2, maybe 3 if you play something like Bloodmage Thalnos. That’s not much, but it’s an extra Life Tap you can do.
So while this card isn’t particularly exciting, it might see play just because Warlock has no better options. It was always the recurring theme of Warlock – e.g. Siphon Soul, which is one of the staple Warlock cards, is a bad card by itself, but it sees play only because Warlock has no better single target removal options. While it’s comparable to Demonfire which has seen no play in Control decks, the extra healing is a reason why you might want to play this and not the Demonfire.
And it’s still a meta call – if the meta remains to be full of 3 health minions in the early game (and it doesn’t seem to change), it will be hard to utilize this.
Card rating: 2.5/5
By itself, this card is pretty bad. Not only your average deck doesn’t play too many end of turn effects, but you can’t really play this card by itself – I mean, it’s a 3 mana 1/5, which is a terrible stat line.
However, it seems to be made exactly for the combo decks. Especially to combo it with Emperor Thaurissan. You simply wait until you have 9 mana, you play both on the same turn and you get two procs instead of one. That’s HUGE in a lot of the combo decks running Thaurissan. Immediate 2 mana discount means that many fancy combos just became available, and you don’t have to go out of your way to clone Thaurissan. But that’s Wild, so that’s that.
There are much more “big” cards that can combo with it. The Lich King, Ysera, Ragnaros the Firelord (and Ragnaros, Lightlord), Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound… but you can’t combo them together in a single turn. Which makes it worse, because either this or the big minion needs to survive, either way, it’s very unlikely to work.
And that’s exactly the reason why it won’t see play in Standard, at least not right now. If you can’t reliably combo it with one of the important “End of turn effects”, it won’t work. Yes, you can theoretically get an extra card from Mana Tide Totem, or an extra proc from Grimestreet Enforcer, which is nice, but it’s not crazy enough to include a 3 mana 1/5 which is dead until you can combo it with something like that.
However, I imagine it will be a big part of some Wild combos. So in Standard, it seems very weak, however, in Wild, it might be game-changing if the right deck pops out.
Card rating: 2/5 (but 5/5 in the Wild)
Interesting concept to make a more balanced Piloted Shredder. Similar stat-line, Deathrattle spawning an extra minion (which is also always a 2/2, which makes it easier to play around and more balanced in general). This card would be pretty solid if it always dropped a 2/2, it probably wouldn’t even be broken. But the way it works right now is that it only works when it dies on your opponent’s turn. So you can’t trade it into something and still get that 2/2. Which fits an Aggro deck more.
While sure, if you play against a slower deck, your opponent will want to kill it anyway, so you’ll probably get your minion. However, playing against other fast decks, initiating the trades is important. If your opponent drops a minion you can trade into well, you want to take that trade. With this minion, it’s pretty hard – you can do that, but you’re losing the effect and you’re just playing a 4 mana 5/2, which is very bad. Not to mention that token strategies with multiple small minions will likely be able to trade into it quite well – just kill the first body with something like 2/1 and then trade efficiently into a 2/2.
So while I would play this card in a faster Paladin, vs a slower meta, if the meta isn’t exactly slow and you still meet a lot of faster decks, this card will be pretty bad. I’m not too optimistic – one of the good things about Piloted Shredder is that you could often trade up with the 4/3 body and still have something back, with this one you can’t really initiate the trades yourself if you want the Deathrattle, so it won’t work in that way.
Card rating: 2/5
It’s the Keeper of Uldaman or Sunkeeper Tarim effect, but on a spell. Setting a minion’s Attack and Health to 3 is a pretty powerful effect. However, generally having the same effect on a body is better. If it’s costed at 2 mana, it means that Keeper of Uldaman also gives us a 2 mana 3/4, while Sunkeeper Tarim can get insane value by affecting multiple minions.
I think that this card would be really good at 1 mana. However, at 2 mana, I don’t really see it being played.
It’s a bit like Aldor Peacekeeper and Humility. Aldor Peacekeeper is a staple in Midrange/Control Paladin, Humility has seen some fringe play just because it costed 1 mana and was pretty flexible. However, Keeper of Uldaman wasn’t even a 2-of staple in every Midrange/Control Paladin back when it was available in Standard. In Wild, it’s rarely played in Paladin. Unlike Aldor, which is still a staple.
What it tells me is that the effect, while powerful, might not be worth 2 mana and a card. The only reason to play it might be to combo it with Eggs, especially in Quest Paladin deck – however, the best Eggs to buff are gone from Standard and the Quest itself is pretty… bad.
The biggest problem with this card is that it’s rarely 1 for 1 removal. If you make a 3/3 of a big minion, you still need to use another small minion of yours to kill it, or maybe a weapon charge, or something. Keeper of Uldaman used to give you a 3/4 body on top of that, which either could trade into the 3/3 without dying, or at least replace the body you were trading with. As a self-buff, it’s only decent when using on something like a 1/1 minion, or 0/2, then it gives you +4 stats for 2 mana, which is “okayish”, but still not good.
Card rating: 1.5/5
5 mana 4/4… It would need to have a powerful effect in order to see play. Oh, the effect is Lifesteal? Nope, it won’t see any play.
Okay, I won’t dismiss it right away. It’s a Beast, so it has some Hunter synergies. But Hunter decks generally want to play for the tempo, they rarely care about self-healing and especially if they have to drop a 4/4 on Turn 5.
Even in Control Hunter, if such thing would exist, this card is just too slow. The healing isn’t immediate, it can be removed with a spell, which would result in no healing at all, and even if it heals for 4 while your opponent trades up, it’s still pretty bad. In the best case scenario, you stick it and then you buff it, but It’s just so unlikely.
It seems like a pack filler/pretty average Arena card to me.
Card rating: 1.5/5
Oooh, this is good. This is so good. Sadly, there is a chance that it will be unplayable in Standard, but in Wild, it’s crazy powerful.
It’s like a N'Zoth, the Corruptor, but for Demons. Hell, it’s better than N’Zoth, because it also upgrades your Hero Power into something amazing, probably the best Hero Power of them all. Even bringing back 3-4 bigger Demons is a huge immediate impact AND then you get a very good Hero Power after.
The main problem with this card in Standard is the number of Demons. In Wild, you have Imp Gang Boss, Voidcaller, Mal'Ganis, which are all great Demons to put into your deck. You can also more reliably play a Krul the Unshackled deck because Reno Jackson is available.
However, in Standard, the number of big Demons is limited. You obviously have Abyssal Enforcer, the new Despicable Dreadlord is also a great addition. But then… I don’t know what more can you play. Voidwalker maybe, for an immediate Taunt and some early game? Doomguard would be great, but you don’t want to play it in a non-Discard list. Similarly, Lakkari Felhound, it’s solid, but not in a deck that doesn’t want to Discard.
But the Hero Power might still be worth it. Warlock struggles with healing, the class has a lot of self-damage, but almost no healing. The Hero Power deals 3 damage AND heals you for 3. You get 3 damage and 3 healing every turn. That’s great against pretty much any deck.
I will definitely try to make it work, it might be the way to bring Control Warlock back into the Standard. Maybe even a slower Midrange Warlock with this as a finisher. I don’t suspect it will be a Tier 1 deck, but it might finally work. And in the Wild, it might put DemonLock into the spotlight. I play Reno deck with N’Zoth, and it will completely replace N’Zoth and the Deathrattle package will get replaced by Krul and more Demons. It should be wonderful.
Card rating: 3/5 (5/5 in the Wild)
Druid is getting a lot of new, cheap Taunts this expansion, so this card might actually work. Giving +2/+2 to a single minion would already make it okayish, giving it to two is already crazy.
It would be really bad before this expansion. However, Druid is getting a lot of ways to spawn Taunts now. Starting with the 1/5 Druid of the Swarm, then 1/6 Crypt Lord and on top of that, Spreading Plague, which can potentially make for an INSANE late game combo. For 9 mana, you can summon a 3/7 Taunt for every minion opponent has. That seals the game against any faster deck.
This card has a lot of potential, but it seems a little too conditional. If you have no Taunts, you can’t really drop it – it’s like Defender of Argus, which is TERRIBLE with no minions on the board. Even though Druid gets more ways to spawn Taunts now, Taunts are still the minions that die first – especially if they have 1 health, like most of the new ones have.
So after all, I think that this card is pretty average. While the combo potential is there, it’s too expensive – 9 mana is a very, very hard combo to pull off, especially since a single Mark of the Lotus can have a similar effect for 3 less mana (both would probably seal the game against faster deck).
In theory, it can also be played in the Hadronox deck. In such a deck, you’d want to play quite a lot of Taunts, which would make this card great to play after Hadronox dies.
But right now I’m not sold on this card. I think it’s pretty average, maybe a bit below average. People will definitely try it at first, but I imagine it won’t see a lot of play later down the road.
Card rating: 2.5/5
Cool concept, Kobold Geomancer is a really poor card mostly because of the 2/2 stat-line (if not for that, it might be okay in some Budget decks). This has a 2/3 stat-line, which is competitive for a 2-drop, but at the same time, it requires another minion on the board to give that Spell Damage to. So it’s pretty bad in the early game – you need another minion (most likely a 1-drop to play this on the curve) and then it needs to survive too… But at the same time, in the late game, you can give a bigger minion Spell Damage, and it might survive for a turn or two.
You can also give Spell Damage to a minion with Stealth and enjoy the whole game with better spells. But early game Stealth minions have low health, so they can still get taken down by AoE + you can’t attack with that minion if you want to keep it Stealthed.
I think it’s a cool card, not really Constructed viable, there are better ways to gain Spell Damage (most notably Bloodmage Thalnos). Spell Damage is best when you’re behind, to combo it with AoE, and when you’re behind you have no other minion to give Spell Damage to.
But it might be really nice in Arena, especially in the spell-heavy classes like Rogue or Mage.
Card rating: 1.5/5
Just FYI – the Skeletons are 1/1 and cost 1 mana each. It makes it a bigger Igneous Elemental – below the average stat-line (although 5/5 for 5 is better than 2/3 for 3) and then two tokens to activate combo (although 1/2’s are better AND they have the Elemental tag).
Since Igneous Elemental has seen no play outside of the Quest deck, I don’t think this will. First of all – minions aren’t preferable as combo activators because they can’t combo with Gadgetzan Auctioneer for cheap card draw. If the Skeletons were 0 mana, it would be much better, but you still have to play that 1 mana 1/1 to activate combos, which isn’t optimal.
Rogue doesn’t really have on-curve 5-drops since Azure Drake rotated out, so that might be a reason to consider this. The fact that it’s Deathrattle makes it a solid choice in N'Zoth, the Corruptor deck, you can revive it later to get an instant 5/5 AND some more combo pieces.
In the current Standard Rogue decks, I don’t think it will be played. It’s just average. But I think it’s a great Arena card – good on curve and then adds some more value/combo activators to your hand.
Card rating: 2/5
Oooh, that’s one of the coolest concepts AND most powerful cards from the expansion. I already thought that Shadowblade is going to see play, now I’m 100% certain.
Imagine this – on Turn 3 you play Shadowblade and kill something. Then on Turn 4 you use Doomerang to throw it at something for 3 damage, then re-equip it and hit something again. You can kill three minions for two cards, take NO DAMAGE and still have a 3/1 weapon equipped. That’s crazy.
The fact that it refreshes weapons might also make some other Rogue weapons usable. The obvious choice, besides Shadowblade, is Obsidian Shard. The weapon is not that fast by itself, but if you manage to play even 2 cards from the opponent’s class, it’s already a 2 mana 3/3 weapon. You can attack with it twice, then Doomerang it and replay it for 2 mana again, which is crazy tempo and value. Deadly Poison can also see some play. While you don’t get the buffed weapon back, the fact that you can get two 5 damage attacks with Obsidian Shard and then throw it for 5 more damage might be worth it.
The fact that it’s a 1 mana spell also means that it fits the Rogue class really well – it’s a combo activator, it can combo with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and stuff like that.
Even if you just have your Hero Power equipped, it’s still 1 damage for 1 mana ping and it gives you your weapon back into your hand, which can be used later to activate combo. Not great, but it’s the worst case scenario and it still might be okayish in some scenarios.
I think that it’s one of the best cards from the expansion. It’s a great mix of value and tempo, which is exactly what Rogue wants to do.
Card rating: 5/5
I thought that Eggnapper is unplayable, yet it has seen play in some Aggro decks. This is a bit similar. However, the main reason why Eggnapper has seen play in the first place was that it spawned two tokens and they could be AoE buffed in Token Druid. Eggnapper has seen no play in any other deck, so I imagine that it was the only reason why. Not to mention that the card was quickly cut from the lists because it’s not even that good.
But, the thing is, this only spawns the 2/2 if it’s your opponent’s turn. So you can’t even trade with it on your turn and spawn the second body. Even without it, it was at best comparable to Eggnapper. With this mechanic, it’s strictly worse. It won’t see any play.
Card rating: 1/5
It’s really hard to rate this. On the one hand, it’s sort of a Consecration on a 2/1 body, which would be good. But on the other hand, since it’s a Deathrattle and the minion has no Charge, it means that your opponent is well aware of it and can play around it. The main strength of the AoE cards is that your opponent often has to play into them because he doesn’t know they’re going to happen. In this case, he does.
So it’s a bit like playing an Explosive Trap + a 2/1, although Explosive Trap can at least be a bit surprising sometimes.
The only synergy I can see is with Play Dead, which becomes 2 AoE damage for 1 mana. That’s great, but you’ll need to run this card in the first place, then drop it on Turn 5 and combo with Play Dead, and if you already dealt AoE damage and cleared the opponent’s board, the Deathrattle from this is pretty useless – opponent will just ping it and the second proc won’t likely matter.
I’m not really sure if it will see any play. To be honest, maybe a slower, Control Hunter would want to play this, but I’m still not sure. Telegraphing AoE from miles ahead is not a great thing. Explosive Trap just seems better if you need 2 AoE damage.
Card rating: 2/5
6 mana 4/4 with +2 Spell damage… and that’s all. This card is not good. At 6 mana, it’s hard to combo it with other spells immediately, and that’s what you expect from Spell Damage. If you want +2 Spell damage, you just play Evolved Kobold – this gains +2/+2 for 2 mana, which is already pretty average, but the biggest deal is that you want your Spell Damage minions to be as cheap as possible. You don’t need big bodies on your Spell Damage minions, they’re often irrelevant. It’s not like a 6 mana 4/4 with +2 Spell Damage is going to survive a turn anyway.
So, a pack filler.
Card rating: 1/5
It’s between a Claw and a Bite. Neither of those cards has ever seen play, so I don’t know why would this one be used. It competes in the same slot with Feral Rage, which is just better – 4 damage makes it better at trading into some mid game minions, while +8 Armor is much better in the matchups you need Armor.
I mean, you can play Claw AND Hero Power on the same turn and you will get Gnash. While you can still use it just as a 1 mana play. If Claw sees no play, I can’t imagine this card will.
It’s a decent Arena card, but that’s all. At least for now. Maybe they will print some synergy for Claw-like cards in the future.
Card rating: 1.5/5
It’s a cool design, but it’s a bit too weak at the same time. There are two ways you can use this card. First – as a direct removal. Then it’s 2 damage for 2 mana, which is a bit underpowered. Second – on your own 3+ health minion to give it Poisonous and trade into something big.
That’s the problem here. Normally you’d like to give Poisonous to a 1/1 Hound, or maybe a 1-drop. You can’t do it with this card. The card you give Poisonous to needs to have 3 or more health, which is actually a bit problematic in Hunter, as most of the early game cards have 1 or 2 health. Misha or Leokk rolls from Animal Companion can work, Infested Wolf can work, but those are pretty expensive cards, especially since you’re looking to pay two MORE mana and go down 2 for 1.
If anything, this might be played in Control Hunter if you run cards like Stonehill Defender – it’s a card that has relatively high health and low attack, which you would gladly give Poisonous to and trade up. Oh, and Divine Shield synergy, maybe Control Hunter would want to play some Divine Shield and then it’s a 2 mana to give it Poisonous.
The main problem is that the first part of the removal deals 2 damage, which is not enough to clear a lot of the early game minions that are present in the meta right now. A similar point was discussed under the Warlock’s Drain Soul if you want to read more.
I think that Hunter's Mark is just better in most of the scenarios. Of course, it’s worse in the early game when you need the direct 2 damage removal, BUT like I’ve said, with 3 health minions being prevalent in the early game, you rarely need 2 damage. And then throughout the rest of the game, Hunter’s Mark is just better – 1 mana cheaper, you can trade a 1/1 token instead of a 3+ health minion.
I don’t think the card will see play. Maybe in Control Hunter, but I still doubt that.
Card rating: 2/5
It’s a bit like SI:7 Agent, but the damage scales with how many cards you’ve played on the same turn… which makes the card bad. First of all, stats. 6 mana for a 5/5 is bad, period. It needs to have an insane effect to make up for the stats.
And the effect is, well… It’s true that Rogue can often play multiple cards on a single turn. But not really multiple cards AND a 6-drop. I mean, sure, you can play some Coins, Preparation, a free spell etc. and then deal 5 damage with it. But wouldn’t you rather play Gadgetzan Auctioneer and draw 5 cards?
This will rarely deal more than 1 or 2 damage, given that you’re most likely going to keep most of the 0 mana cards for a better situation. If you try really hard, you can make it a 3 or 4 damage, which makes it similar to Fire Elemental, which is a great card… but requires no set-up, you just play it and that’s it. Which means that it’s usually a way, way worse SI:7 Agent. If you like paying 3 mana for extra +2/+2 stats and being much less flexible, then you can play it. If not, ignore it and move on.
And if you need a removal, you could just play Vilespine Slayer – requires only one card as a set-up, instakills anything you want. Sure, this can also hit face, but it’s SO MUCH HARDER to make it work.
Oh, but yes, there is a possibility to play it in a combo deck, with Brann Bronzebeard, Shadowcaster, Shadowstep etc. However, it just seems like a much worse Malygos Rogue deck, because it requires more combo pieces and more set-up.
Card rating: 1.5/5
It’s the best of those “spawns a body on death, but only on the opponent’s turn” kind of cards. 5 mana for a 2/2 that spawns an 8/8 would be pretty good, to be honest. However, the problem here is that it’s an incredibly low tempo card and the opponent can just ignore it. There are some ways to make it work, though.
First of all, buffs. If you Spikeridged Steed it into a 4/8, the opponent can’t ignore it now, but it has Taunt, so he will have to kill it. Then, other buffs can also work – even giving it Blessing of Kings is enough to make it a threat your opponent has to kill. The main problem with buffs is that Silence becomes insane. If you combo it with Steed and it gets Silenced, you’ve spent 11 mana and 2 cards for… a 2/2 minion. That’s devastating.
It’s kind of an insurance against AoE – you drop it on a board that your opponent would want to AoE. When he does that, you get an 8/8 back, so you start with a huge board presence right away.
However, the thing is, that’s still not enough probably. It’s a bit similar to the Eggs, but unlike Eggs, you can’t activate them yourself – it’s all in the hands of your opponent. It’s very slow to start with, if your opponent has a tempo advantage already and you drop it, even getting an 8/8 might not save you.
So the concept is really cool, but I don’t think this card will be particularly powerful. It might see some play as a tech card, e.g. if Doomsayer becomes much more popular, but it might be hard to utilize it in the average game.
Card rating: 2.5/5
It might make some sense at 3 mana. It would be great at 2 mana. But at 4 mana? No way. Only when 4 minions die, it starts to be worth it, because it becomes a 4 mana 5/5. But honestly, a vanilla 5/5 for 4 probably wouldn’t be played anyway. So only when 5 minions die, it’s a 6/6, which is great for 4 mana.
5 minions die. So only after a big AoE turn in the late game, or maybe after a big trading turn, also in the late game. Minions are dying left and right in Hearthstone, but it’s rarely more than 2 or 3 per turn. For the majority of the game, it’s a bad 4-drop with weak stats and nothing else.
We had a similar minion – Volcanic Drake. Not only it was better, but it has seen pretty much no Constructed play. Let’s say that 4 minions die on a given turn, this is a 4 mana 5/5 and Volcanic Drake is a 2 mana 6/4. Even at 6 minions, this is a 4 mana 7/7 (good), but Volcanic Drake is an insane tempo play – 0 mana 6/4.
It’s not a viable Constructed card and it’s absolutely terrible Arena card.
Card rating: 1/5
Since it’s a 1 mana 1/1, it probably won’t even attack a single time. If it does, it’s comparable to Leper Gnome, which has seen no play after its nerf to a 1/1 (and it’s still much better in the late game, where this is likely to get no attacks at all). This minion attacking two or more times is nigh impossible.
There is some slight synergy with hand buffs, if you make it to 2/2 or even 3/3, it might survive a bit longer. But the effect is still mediocre at best, hand buff decks aren’t really Aggro.
And then, Aggro deck doesn’t always want face damage in the early game. What’s important is having minions to get the board control with. 1/1 is not such a minion, you won’t get any board control with a 1/1 body for 1.
Bad card, pack filler, won’t see play.
Card rating: 1/5
By itself, the card is not good. Even though it has 4/6 stats in total, that’s not how you should count those. Since the main body is only 2/4 and the Skeletons are only 1/1, they’re very easy to kill off individually without even killing anything.
But, this card might make some sense in the decks that synergize with multiple bodies. Spawning 3 bodies can be really powerful in some decks. The first one that comes to mind is Zoo Warlock. The Darkshire Councilman into this minion curve is pretty powerful, it immediately turns Councilman into a 4/5. The card has synergy with Knife Juggler and Dire Wolf Alpha + with a Sea Giant, which was used by some Zoo variants.
her decks that could utilize it are Token decks – Token Druid and Token Shaman in particular. Token Druid runs multiple AoE buffs, which would have a great effect on this card. A single Mark of the Lotus gives +3/+3 to this one minion, turning it into 3/5 + 2/2 + 2/2, which is crazy good. Multiple bodies also mean Savage Roar synergy. Then, in Shaman, the obvious synergies are Evolve, Flametongue Totem and Bloodlust.
However, the card’s main problem is that it’s pretty bad without the synergies. You don’t really want to drop it if you have no cards to combo it with.
It will DEFINITELY see play in Budget versions of some of the decks I’ve mentioned before since it’s a Common. But when it comes to full, refined lists, it’s a harder question. I think the card might be good enough to see some play, actually, but it will heavily depend on the exact meta we’ll be seeing.
Card rating: 4/5
Well, it’s quite easy to make it a 4 mana 5/5 in some decks, with a potential to grow stronger. Especially in Rogue, which can equip the Shadowblade on Turn 3, attack with it once, then play this on Turn 4 and attack a second time.
Rogue is in a dire need of a good 4-drop, so it might fill the slot. Given how often Rogue destroys the weapons (even replacing the 1/1 dagger with a fresh Hero Power is destroying the weapon), it might fit into that deck.
Other decks – I’m not so sure. Not only they don’t have consistent access to weapons, but they don’t always want to destroy them quickly. Rogue is the only class that can spawn a weapon out of nowhere and destroys it pretty much every turn in the late game.
Oh, and it’s an Elemental, for the sake of synergies. I don’t know how big it is, Rogue generally doesn’t run Elemental synergies, but it might start in some kind of Midrange/Tempo deck?
I think this card is pretty solid, I think it’s better than most people are saying. It won’t be game-breaking, but the fact that it’s a pretty consistent 5/5 on 4 for Rogue and it’s even better in the late game makes it a solid pick in the class.
Card rating: 3.5/5
2/5 for 5 is terrible, but the Poisonous tag makes up for it a bit. Basically, when trading with Poisonous minion, you always have enough attack to make the trade. So if you trade into a 5/6, it’s like a 6/5 minion.
So, the good thing about this card is that unlike some of the 5-drops, it can trade up much more easily. You can trade it into a 8 health minion, or even 12 health minion and it will kill it.
However, the downside is that it sucks at going face. It’s not a big threat, 2 damage per turn can be ignored for a while, but something like a 5/5 can’t be.
It’s a bit similar to Maexxna, which didn’t see play exactly because of that. While it’s nice to play it sometimes and trade up, it doesn’t put enough pressure on the board. And unlike a lot of people think, even Control decks want to put pressure with their minions most of the time.
I’d rather play a Stranglethorn Tiger over this most of the time – harder to kill because of Stealth, 5 attack is enough to trade into most of the mid game things and it puts much more pressure on the opponent’s health. And Stranglethorn Tiger is not really a viable Constructed card outside of the budget decks (and maybe Hunter, because of the Beast synergy).
Card rating: 1.5/5
Probably one of the strongest cards from the final card dump. It’s comparable to the pre-nerf Abusive Sergeant, which used to be 2/1 that gave +2 attack for one turn only. This gives +1 Attack, but permanently. Abusive was probably a bit better, because you generally played it before trading a minion, but this one is also solid. Since Abusive was played in multiple aggressive decks, I imagine this one might be played too.
The first deck it might fit into is Zoo Warlock. I’ve seen some people play the post-nerf Abusive Sergeant in that deck, and this would be better because of the 2/1 stats over the 1/1 of the Abusive.
The card has better synergy with Divine Shield minions, since giving permanent attack even to a 1/1 Divine Shield minion is pretty strong. That’s why it might also see some play in aggressive Paladin, alongside the new 1/1 Divine Shield + Taunt 1-drop.
Not much more to say about it, it’s just a solid 1-drop and solid 1-drops are exactly what Aggro decks want, this fits the board-centric ones in particular. I think that it will probably see some play.
Card rating: 4/5
So, this is another source of cheap Spell Damage. It’s definitely better than Kobold Geomancer, because it’s more flexible, but comparing it to an unplayable card is not really good idea. So, let’s compare it to Bloodmage Thalnos.
On the one hand, it’s better, because it’s more likely to stick. Since it has Divine Shield, it means that opponent might have no way to remove it right away and it might survive for a turn. It also means that it can be played with AoEs that affect both sides and still survive (e.g. with Hellfire), making something like this + Hellfire + Mortal Coil for 2 a late game possibility. It also combos quite nicely with Defile. If there is a minion that will die to the first 2 damage, it procs the 2 damage again, which will guarantee to kill this, which will proc another Defile, for AT LEAST 5 damage board clear, maybe even more if another minion will die.
But the obvious downside is that it doesn’t cycle itself like Thalnos does. I think that Thalnos is still a bit better, but it might be a serious contender if some deck needs a cheap Spell Damage card. It will also be a much better budget replacement for Thalnos than Kobold Geomancer is! Also remember that Kobold Geomancer has seen some play in Shaman when Spirit Claws still costed 1 mana, and since this is better, it’s not impossible that some deck will want to play it on top of Thalnos.
Card rating: 3.5/5
It’s like a reverse Fel Reaver – it removes cards from your deck when YOU play cards and not the opponent. Which is probably better, because you have more control over it.
On the other hand, 8/8 for 5 was a huge minion, it was significantly over the curve (vanilla stats for 5-drop is 5/6, which makes it +3/+2 over the curve). This is not. Chillwind Yeti, which is obviously the most basic 4-drop and sees no competitive play at all, is a 4/5. This is 5/5, making it only +1/+0 over Yeti.
While yes, the Downside is not significant until you hit the fatigue, would an Aggro deck actually want to play a VANILLA 5/5 in the first place? Not to mention that one game in 10 or 20 when the downside actually matters, because it will stick and you can’t play multiple cheap cards or you will fatigue yourself.
If it would be a 6/6, or even a 5/6, it would probably be good enough to see play. At 5/5, it’s just not enough of an upside, even in a deck that doesn’t care about self-discards.
Card rating: 2/5
Pretty interesting. It’s only a 4 mana 5/5 in total, with the 2/2 being delayed, which makes it very slow. However, extra stats on a minion with Lifesteal is much more important than on your average minion. Not only it heals for more, but it might survive longer, so might get another swing.
The card combos best with Wickerflame Burnbristle. Having a 4/4 version of it is really powerful. Similarly, Chillblade Champion becomes a 5/4 with Charge and Lifesteal, which is another great target – 5 immediate healing and probably 5 more when opponent trades.
At the same time, it sucks when you have no Lifesteal minion in your hand (4 mana vanilla 3/3 is unplayable). It’s also very slow because you’re playing a 4 mana 3/3. Similarly, Don Han'Cho has seen no play, because it was very slow – even though the buff was nice, 7 mana 5/6 was a very low tempo play.
I think that it’s one of the better hand-buffs because you can quite reliably isolate the Lifesteal card you want to hit and hit it. But then, I don’t think it’s impactful enough to see play.
Card rating: 2.5/5
That's all folks. It's the final card review for the Knights of the Frozen Throne. I reviewed all the cards and I had a lot of fun doing that. I really like theorycrafting and I can't wait to play around with the cards. Realizing that you were wrong/right about some of the cards is really amazing!
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.