It's another one of these, you know the drill.
Taintheart Tormenter: Yet another brick for a deck completely lacking any sort of mortar. While a permanent asymmetrical Loatheb effect is certainly powerful and can completely shut down a variety of spell-based decks (and also make Spell Mage play without Incanter's Flow), Getting the guy out on the field an keeping him there is quite the challenge. It should be noted that this is the only big Demon whose value isn't being reduced by being pulled from Pit Commander. The Problem is that he truly is the only one, which means if you pull any other big boy you're in a bad spot (not even mentioning that Big Demon Hunter just doesn't have a proper early game build that actually carries it until the lategame). At this point we just need more mana cheating or way better control tools to make any of this work.
Sigil of Summoning: Speaking of Control Support, this ain't it. Not a terrible card by any means, but after experimenting with the previous Sigils in various builds I realized that telegraphing to your opponent how to play around your cards is just not a viable strategy. This one is better due to the fact that it isn't reactive in nature and functions more like a dormant minion. UNfortunately paying 2-mana for a delayed 4/4 split in two just isn't worth it in my opinion. Unless we get some big payoff for playing Sigils (other than completing an achievement) there's just no place for this.
Felrattler: One of the best cards of the mini set (make of that what you will). Efficient Deathrattle support that helps with setting up trade and can be played from hand without feeling like you wasted mana. Also comes back from N'zoth (sometimes). Might almost be too good considering how Deathrattle DH is already rising. At the very least it will add some flavour to the deck given how few actual Demon Hunter deathrattles there are.
Lady Anacondra: The reason why Druid isn't allowed to have nice things. On the surface this is a borderline useless card because the only "legitimate" payoff thus far is Deviate Dreadfang and everyone knows that you cannot build a Hearthstone deck around lategame threats that need a turn to stick on the board to be useful. However, in their infinite wisdom, they also printed Celestial Alignment which completely breaks Anacondra if you manage to survive playing it. BAsically she allows you to completely skip the slow start of having to re-ramp after playing Alignment to then steamroll your opponent, by reactivating all your Innervates and Lightning Blooms (as well as any leftover ramp). This means you can use Nourish to draw and find your Dreadfangs and whatever else you use to curbstomp your opponent with. If your opponent isn't Warlock or Priest they won't have an answer to whatever bloated abomination you just shat out onto the board and therefore lose. There is no gameplay. This is your life now.
Deviate Dreadfang: Actually an interesting card beyond the aforementioned Anacondra abuse. Living Seed (Rank 1) and the new Fangbound Druid which could allow you to quickly discount the Snake and then pair it as soon as turn 5 with a couple Nature spells to swing the board in your favour. Ironbark is notably a Nature spell that naturally costs 0 once you're at 7-mana. Previously mentioned mana cheats also apply. The biggest downside is the anti-synergy between the Beast discounters and Guardian Animals, which I fear is still going to be the better option when it comes to swing turns. That being said, at least this opens up Beast Druid for the future, if only once the Guardian Animals package has rotated.
Fangbound Druid: Aside from Dreadserpent, I could see this being ran as a proactive early game minion in Clown/Guardian Druid. Usually you don't want to actually have your Beasts in hand, and this could help you make those dead draws a lot less clunky to play. Overall one of the better cards that could fit in a multitude of future decks. Still doesn't make Taunt Druid playable...
Venomstrike Bow: Not a bad card, but even for a Midrange Hunter deck it's rather slow. It does add a very decent option for Pack Kodo, turning the weapon slot from a 1/3 chance for Rinling's Rifle into a 2/4 chance for two decent followup pickups instead. Also pretty neat with Ace Hunter Kreen who would be a staple in Hunter if they were allowed to do anything other than going face.
Sin'dorei Scentfinder: But why? Hunter isn't good at activating Frenzy and summoning Rush minions is counter intuitive if your opponents activates it. It doesn't make Scavenging Hyena any less bad. Parade Leader is not a good card in Hunter regardless and Starving Buzzard is unfortunately stuck in Wild. Until Midrange Hunter gets more draw or some legitimate lategame plays this is just pointless and extremely weak.
Serpentbloom: Might just be good enough if Midrange Hunter ever does happen. It's basically 0-mana Asassinate as long as you have a minion on board or a Rush minion in hand. The obvious issue is the fact that Hunter's lack of draw means spending two cards to kill one is never turning out in your favour unless you generate a big swing at the same time. And no, [Hearthstone Card (Augmented Procupine) Not Found] doesn't make this playable as long as we don't have a good Deathrattle activator.
Shattering Blast: Unplayable waste of a card slot. Freeze Mage won't work and it shouldn't anyways because a deck based around not letting your opponent play the game shouldn't exist in the first place. The only way you will see this is when Spell Mage pulls it out of their ass to wipe your board for the fifth time with stuff that's not even in their deck. NOt to mention that there are only TWO cards in Standard right now that allow you to freeze more than two minions at the same time. And no, fucking Rimetongue isn't going to do the trick.
Frostweave Dungeoneer: Really?
Floecaster: So here they print a legitimately decent Freeze payoff that still doesn't make Freeze Mage a thing (because it's literally the only playable card of the archetype) but insists on giving you brain cancer whenever your opponent randomly gets it alongside Varden Dawngrasp off Font of Power.
We could have gotten Hero Power support but instead...this.
Party Up!: What I can only assume was preemptively nerfed because Paladin doesn't need any more good cards. Completely pointless, unpredictable and overcosted. Paladin doesn't care about swarming if it isn't with Silver Hand Recruits. Paladin also doesn't run Spell discovery so there is almost no chance of this showing up randomly either. You'll probably see it in Mage more often than in Paladin.
Seedcloud Buckler: 2/3 weapons are historically terrible unless they have a bonus effect per attack. You pay 3-mana to deal 2-damage (which kills very few things these days) and then have to attack two more times until you get the actual payoff at which point your opponent will do their best to have you get as little value as possible out of it. Most of the high value Paladin minions already have Divine Shield anyways, and if you're really desperate for it, just play Argent Protector. Sick in Arena though.
Judgment of Justice: Quick reminder that Hunter still has to operate on 5 Secrets total. NOw Paladin gets yet another abortion of a secret that makes you waste your turn in order to not get completely fucked over. Now that Hand of A'dal will get nerfed Paladins will probably no longer care about minimizinf the pool of Holy Spells for Knight of Anointment so we go back to just tossing in a bunch of Secrets to punish the other classes for existing. We're not even talking about guessing Secrets anymore. This just negates any trade you want to do against a class that already makes it downright impossible to keep up on the board with. At least Priest doesn't need to care.
Against All Odds: Instant staple for Control Priest just because of the fact that it represents the only guaranteed boardwipe currently available. Combined with Wave of Apathy it's a 6-mana asymmetrical Twisting Nether and while Priest usually doesn't like having to combo two specific cards for removal, the amount of draw for spells specifically makes this far from unrealistic to have online in time (there are currently 3 different cards that draw spells from your deck, two of which are Discover, meaning you have even better chances of getting the pieces together). Additionally, Cabal Acolyte might make it back into decks on account of running Apathy. We are back to the point where you no longer can build your board in a way where Priest can't clear it. Now they have at least one guaranteed clear and that's usually what kills minion based decks.
Devout Dungeoneer: you can't build your deck to guarantee the discount, but you also don't need to. Priest likes to have card draw and this is just good enough. The secondary effect is just a bonus.
Cleric of An'she: We can now go full Cleric safely. Slow draw , but thanks to Renew this should work as a decent curve filler and emergency spell tutor. Now all we need is a decent win condition to draw into or else winning by fatigue is preferable.
Shroud of Concealment: Pointless for now. Rogue has more than enough draw and i can't think of a minion that you really want to stealth for a turn. Maybe useful as a minion tutor in specific decks, but I feel like Swindle does the job better
Savory Deviate Delight: Apparently Wandmaker was just too good in Rogue. Pointless filler, but at least you get a funny reference. No currently viable Rogue deck would ever sacrifice one of their own minions to mildly inconvenience the opponent. Rogue also doesn't lose to Warlock. MAybe we'll need a hardcounter against Anacondra.
Water Moccasin: I mean...it's nice if it works out, but Rogue really doesn't need extremely conditional removal like this. At best it's a 5-health Stealth minion that can stick around for attack buffs, but I don't think Moccasin OTK will be the next big thing. Patient Assassin is a better option than this.
Primal Dungeoneer: The best Shaman card in a while (not a high bar, I know). Basically the cornerstone of every deck for the forseeable future...and it might still not be enough. Basically all Shaman decks will have to go full Nature spells (not that difficult) and also run a decent Elemental package (also not difficult) as well as weapons for Cagematch CustodianPe (this might be a bit more limiting). Elemental tempo Shaman should be somewhat of a thing with this, Aggro Shaman could also use it, even if not being able to play Devolving Missiles is a bummer. Control Shaman can possibly run it if they also put Runic Dagger in their deck and limit elementals to Custodian and Al'akir for consistency.
Perpetual Flame: Speaking of Nature spells, this isn't one so you can't run it in your deck. Sucks to be you, but I don't make the rules. It does significantly improve Wandmaker in Control Shaman though.
Wailing Vapor: Another important piece for Tempo Elementals. It's slow as hell, but it makes for an explosive start with Kindling Elementalinto Menacing Nimbus and Arid Stormer
Stealer of Souls: If you've held onto Violet Illusionist in Wild you might get some dust refunds. Other than that this is way too inconsistent. It permanently applies a health cost meaning that occasionally it can render some of your cards unplayble. At best you get it out as fast as possible and hope to draw into something ridiculous like Jaraxxus or maybe an early Nether to corrupt your Strongman. The only reason why Warlock is even remotely playable (and I use that term losely) right now is because they're skirting the line of having just enough healing to hero power efficiently. This will usually dumpster your life total to the point where even Priest can sm0rc you to death. Your opponent can literally just decide to not kill it and watch you suicide because you can't get rid of the fucker.
Unstable Shadow Blast: Elegant. Efficient. Redundant. Warlock has enough removal right now and there is no payoff for self-damage outside of Flesh Giant (which isn't needed because Warlock only wins through Tickatus and Jaraxxus and a tempo 8/8 somewhere down the line won't help all your awful matchups)
Final Gasp: Great for Zoo and therefore unplayable as of now. Wait for next expansion.
Kresh, Lord of Turtling: Very underwhelming. a 6-mana 3/9 without taunt isn't that great. The frenzy effect and Deathrattle just encourage silence and transform effects, rendering it a waste. At best it's a minor roadblock against Aggro, of which there aren't that many decks anyways. Even worse is the Deathrattle, which gives you a vanilla 2/5 weapon. We've already discussed why 2-attack weapons are terrible on average, but this is especially bad because Control Warrior, the deck this is supposed to go into, run Bulwark of Azzinoth as one of it's most valuable cards, meaning that you cannot play Kresh as long as you have Bulwark up, which can be very awkward. It also means you can't play N'zoth (which presumably you would put in that kind of deck) whille Bulwark is out. Similarly, since the weapon has 5 charges, you're very likely to just replace it with Bulwark or Outrider's Axe at some point, since those weapons actually do something. As it stands, this is a ball of stats that doesn't win you the game or fill any holes in your gameplan.
Whetstone Hatchet: NOt bad, but if you have to compete with Imprisoned Gan'arg, you're most likely going to lose. There's just no need for a slow handbuffing weapon. Ringmaster's Baton already proved that.
Man-at-Arms: Only relevant with the above weapon and as we just established, that one isn't that good, so there's just no point. Could have just put it into Rogue honestly.
Mutanus the Devourer: If you unironically want to spend 7-mana to MAYBE chomp your opponent's win condition your deck has major issues. All of the existing combo decks (which are basically just Warlock and OTK DH) run a multitude of minions alongside their singular win condition minion. There's also not a whole lot of big lategame minions in most other decks and even then you usually lose if you play a 7-mana do-nothing while they keep building their board.
Archdruid Naralex: Very slow, but potentially insane for Control classes. I could definitely see Priest running this just for the chance of getting even more ressources to grind out the opponent or just the occasional game winning removal. Warrior might also be able to justify it. While the random nature makes it inconsistent it also means that you'll never be pressured to actually play it on curve and instead can use it as curve filler.
Selfless Sidekick: I've always wanted to pay 7-mana for my Doomhammer, how did you know?
Devouring Ectoplasm: Good for Deathrattle DH and nothing else. Presumably better than Death's Head Cultist
Meeting Stone: But why?
Honestly looks like a rather weak set. Demon Hunter and Priest are winning big with Shaman and Druid potentially spawning some new decks. Everyone else just sort of...exists. Mage, Rogue and Paladin will stay exxactly the same outside of some randomly generated shenanigans. Warrior and Hunter just don't have decks that can run their new cards. Warlock is still shit.
I tried having fun once.
It was awful.
Remember when they said this miniset would be more spell-school focused?
I thought they meant things like... a set that encourages building around spell schools, not 4 minions, only two of which are probably worth playing.
And then there are adventureres, which is a really cool flavourful idea given that Wailing Caverns is a pretty low level dungeon for raiding. But like spell schools, there are a whopping 4 support cards, 3 of which are unplayably bad and the ooze is pretty good in Deathrattle DH, but you'd probably run Felrattler instead.
It felt like Blizzard had too many ideas to fit into one miniset and decided to go half-and-half with the adventurers and spell schools, but then there were too many ideas that didn't have anything to do with either theme that they didn't want to take out. The only thematic consistency I've noticed is Hunter getting repeatedly shafter by these cards that don't go face or push any other archetype (I think Sin'dorei Scentfinder is probably the worst card design to come out of Blizzard in a while).
You'd think that minisets would allow Blizzard to be a lot more extravagant and creative with card designs, especially considering how they didn't let mechanics unique to an expansion limit them in Darkmoon Races and Galakrond's Awakening. But I'm willing to be optimistic, maybe we're all hilariously wrong and these cards actually significantly impact the meta, or perhaps Blizzard's got some spicy things planned for us in a future patch. Maybe spell school synergy will be a recurring mechanic in future expansions (I don't know if it was confirmed whether or not this is the case already). We know that the expansions this year are part of another 3-set story like Year of the Dragon, so maybe adventurer synergy will come later. This could all also not happen.
The next Sets will definetely include some Spell-school synergy similar to minion tribe synergy. There is no way they would update every past, current and future cards and then never use them again.
Its really just too early to call it, but from my own experience day 1 here's what I think;
- Taintheart Tormenter is not really as bad as I first thought, though its very matchup specific because the very much better Illidari Inquisitor is always creeping up the corners whenever this card is mentioned. Played against control decks and druid, this card can pretty much just win you the game. But in most other matches Illidari inquisitor is simply just the better choice.
- I think decks with Deviate Dreadfang is just not very good right now. There's really no reload like how Exotic Mountseller used to have in Overflow. It might be that its simply not optimized, but when you play this card its really all in or bust at that point.
- Ive played a little with Frostweave Dungeoneer in a minion heavy deck, and its honestly not really that bad. There are some frost spells you would play in a tempo mage deck like Brain Freeze, Flurry (Rank 1), Oasis Ally, and even (in my deck anyway) Snap Freeze. Its not overperforming by any stretch, but definitely not weak. With more frost spells, this can only get better.
- Against All Odds is really funny. On paper its simply magnificent but in practice, there's just so many variables that make this card only partially deal with boards as opposed to actually wiping it. Yes, there's Wave of Apathy, but it really does affect the consistency of this card. From my few encounters against priest, not one of them actually managed to play this (I can tell they're trying because they're all playing Cabal Acolyte and wave) despite needing a board wipe. Its also funny how many priest cards have odd attack values as well.
- Primal Dungeoneer is basically the best card of this set. It enables so many shaman builds its not even funny. Played with it myself, and yes, its broken levels of good in a class with no card draw.
- Archdruid Naralex is underrated. I played it and I like it. But I havent actually faced anyone else playing it so I have to assume the community was not impressed. We'll see.
- I can see why you don't like Kresh, Lord of Turtling, but I really think this card has the qualities to be a staple in warrior decks. I havent actually played any warrior yet, but no doubt I shall within the next few days.
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