The Wailing Caverns mini-set has just released and we've got some thoughts to share on the new Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, & Neutral cards.
Our reviews were written prior to the launch of the mini-set, so it'll be interesting to see how they hold up over the next week. With that out of the way, let's jump right into it!
Basically, a 1 mana The Lurker Below. If you'll kill more than one minion you'll be Overloaded for a bunch, but it is significantly better than being dead, which is what makes you lose games.
The fact that Perpetual Flame only costs 1 mana is really impressive, since it will come in play as early as you want and even counters possible turn 1 Gibberling shenanigans. Definitely a spell worth to be called spicy.
P.S. Mo'arg Artificer is still legal.
Tunnel Trogg, Surging Tempest and now Wailing Vapor: Team 5 has a thing for snowbally Shaman 1-drops, even though we have to admit that they definitely adjusted the aim throughout the years.
Turn 1 play and 1/3 statline: this is the recipe for an archetype to see play. Now Shaman only needs a Fire Fly or a Confection Cyclone in order to raise the Elemental chain's consistency, but the deck is already shaping up and we wouldn't be surprised to see it on ladder after the very first week of Wailing Caverns.
We were expecting card draw and Elemental support for Shaman: this card brings both to the table. Primal Dungeoneer is basically an Arcane Intellect on a stick if you include in your deck only Nature spells.
If you were to look at Shaman's current spell pool, you'll notice that the only big excluded are Devolving Missiles, Guidance and Primordial Studies, while pretty much all the other currently relevant spells belong to the Nature School. Since you really want to hit the double draw out of this effect, sacrifices will have to be made, but in the end Primal Dungeoneer represents the card draw Shaman was desperately looking for, so you may as well increase your odds to the fullest. One of the most interesting aspects is that the secondary effect is a tutor draw: while Primal Dungeoneer will works wonders in an Elemental heavy list, you could always use it in a hypothetical Control build just to tutor out your key cards like Cagematch Custodian, Lilypad Lurker and possibly a third one like Menacing Nimbus (gives the Elemental chain more consistency: basically a more expensive Fire Fly) or Marshspawn (value generation in a deck with some deckbuilding restrictions when it comes to spells).
We think this card could single-handedly make Shaman reappear in the meta radars.
Blood To Ichor anyone? We see Final Gasp as further support for Cute Zoo Warlock, as deck that wasn't quite there after the recent Fiendish Circle buff and that now has another chance.
Final Gasp's payoff is definitely not bad (Adventurers are rather good units), but it may not be enough for you to kill your own minions and getting this effect from an opponent's units means that most of the times you'll have to trade, which is not great.
We don't call this card off, but it may not be the card ZooLock is looking for right now.
Piercing Shot, except you shoot on your own foot. Arguably a better Spirit Bomb, which finds synergy in both Darkglare Warlock and Tamsin Roame decks.
Sure, you have to pay attention to not accidentally kill yourself, but Unstable Shadow Blast is a card to keep both eyes on.
Wretched Tiller Warlock was in full swing just 4 months ago, and now Wild players are already theorycrafting ways to break the meta again. While they can play with Violet Illusionist and Plot Twist, the Standard pool is much less vary.
We still have some draw effects to pair with Stealer of Souls, but as things stand now, we appear to lack that much healing we'd need to sustain such a game plan. Mana cheat is good and we'll come to hate this unit in the future, but for now Soul Fragments and Drain Souls don't look enough, especially if you want to do things in big.
Good turn 1 weapon with synergy for both Man-at-Arms (which is clearly meant to go along with) and possibly Mor'shan Elite. While the Attack buff part is not the most relevant part of the card, it is still nice, especially if you can land it on some good units.
However, as many pointed out, Imprisoned Gan'arg is a pretty tough competitor: sure, it doesn't immediately grant a Fiery War Axe, but a 3/2 is better than a 1/4 most of the times.
2 mana 3/4 is not bad at all, even more given that we already have a turn 1 weapon like Whetstone Hatchet; there's also Ringmaster's Baton if you plan to play an aggressive Menagerie deck, in which you'd also play Sword Eater.
To be fair, Man-at-Arms seems more of a support card rather than one that can carry an archetype on its shoulders. Even if it doesn't see play, there are chances the future will smile to this unit.
Wow, what a card! Just like everyone predicted, here's support for both Control and Frenzy Overlord Saurfang Warrior, which now look much, much, much more solid and appealing.
This card is just amazing and you can definitely feel that I am going to play the crap out of it as soon as I can. Every aspect screams playability:
- Its Frenzy effect is huge as well as almost guaranteed, given Kresh's high Health: you'd have to be really unlucky to not trigger it.
- Frenzy is also relevant for Overlord Saurfang: you'll bring back a 3/8 and you'll also gain 8 armor right of the bat!
- The Deathrattle is impactful as well: a weapon to swing for 5 turns, and don't forget Nitroboost Poison is also a Warrior card.
- It's a Beast, so it will be brought back by N'Zoth, God of the Deep in a hypothetical Menagerie Control Warrior build.
Definitely a 5 star card that will see play for sure.
Kind of reminds us of EVIL Totem in the way it provides a valuable unit to play immediately later: while it doesn't have the Totem synergy (which was relevant most of the times thanks to effect like Totemic Might, Surge and Reflection), it costs 1 less mana and it's accessible to all classes. Adventurers cost 2 mana, so you're guaranteed a decent turn 2 play.
Definitely an interesting card, and the most likely of the Adventurer package to see play alongside Devouring Ectoplasm.
Naralex is basically an OG Ysera you can play on turn 3 and that guarantees you 2 Dream cards, which is quite good considering the average quality of that pool was increased with March's rotation.
- Dream is a 1 mana Sap.
- Emerald Drake is a very solid followup play.
- Nightmare is a 0-mana Blessing of Kings.
- Laughing Sister is definitely the worst outcome, but still not terrible.
- Ysera Awakens is a 3 mana Felfire Potion.
Definitely a card that will see plenty of play: even though you won't go infinite like Ysera and you won't get all the value provided by Ysera the Dreamer, the fact that Naralex comes in play so early and therefore can be so impactful definitely makes up for it.
On a side note, we are so glad to see Dream cards getting used outside Ysera and Ysera the Dreamer, just like it happened back in the day with The Lich King and Arfus. And yes, Maiev Shadowsong on Naralex should give you another couple cards.
3 mana 3/2 that summons a 2/2 with some kind of upside. While it's slightly stronger than Harvest Golem, it has to be said that Hog Rancher is basically the same card and immediately gives you a token with Rush, but the fact that it doesn't see any play (outside of achievement hunting purposes) really tells something.
The only use we can see for this card is taking advantage of its Deathrattle effect, and to be precise Devouring Ectoplasm could see play together with Razorboar and Razorfen Beastmaster in Deathrattle Demon Hunter in order to create yet another layer of stickiness.
The second Hearthstone minion after Gral, the Shark to use the "eat" mechanic - in case you're wondering how the effect will actually work out, we received a developer insight by Celestalon.
It's not returned afterward, it's just gone once eaten. Doesn't count as dead or discarded or anything.
We've seen many people comparing Mutanus to Dirty Rat, but we'd say that the comparison is totally off: first, Rat is so good because it's very cheap and allows you to answer what you summoned with the remaining mana. While Mutanus doesn't require you to, let's say, Shadow Word: Death your "sniped" target, it still cost 7 mana, so it's a rather large mana investment that is likely to take up your entire turn. We're not saying that the card is bad, but that the comparison is not appropriate. If sniping minion from the opponent's hand were that vital, then Shadow Hunter Vol'jin would've seen much more play.
For what regards the card itself, its potential may vary depending on the meta: if archetypes like Face Hunter and Zoo Warlock are popular, then it won't probably see play. However, if the game revolves around greedy control or combo decks, then you'll be able to play Mutanus the Devourer and possibly snipe a useful card, gaining quite the tempo advantage if not directly winning the game.
Weapon heavy decks have never been a thing, doesn't matter how much support that gets printed for them: since you can equip one Weapon at time, including multiple ones in your deck will make it feel a lot clunky; if you play too few, most of the time you'll be left just a vanilla 7 mana 6/6, which is terrible. We can see a world where Team 5 prints a recurring Weapon like Kingsbane or Tentacles for Arms (but good and it shuffles itself into your deck once broken or when you meet certain conditions). If we look at how things stand now, it looks like mini set pack filler.
That does it for the first round of our Wailing Caverns reviews. What do you think about the new cards? Have your opinions changed since the set released? Let us know in the comments below!