The full set of cards dropping into the game with United in Stormwind has been revealed! As we always do here, it is time to review these new cards, this article focusing on how Paladin is likely to perform in the new meta.

Keep in mind that this is an early look at the class before we've been able to play with the new cards, so while we try to be as accurate as possible in our predictions of what is to come, no one can perfectly predict the Hearthstone meta.

Paladin Deck Themes in United in Stormwind

Paladin gets a couple of distinct deck ideas brewing with this expansion, both twists on things they've had before.

The first is of course their Questline, Rise to the Occasion. I suppose you'll have to look at Lightborn Cariel to get the idea, but it's more Silver Hand Recruit synergy, this time packaged up with an aggressive strategy. I suppose you could also try and use Secrets and cards like Blessed Goods to complete the Questline faster, but I think you're more likely to find success just playing out decent 1-drops and using First Day of School instead.

The other archetype they're looking at is a Divine Shield and handbuff wombo combo. While some of their cards focus on one over the other - Noble Mount and Alliance Bannerman for example - they also have several that look to tie everything into one neat package, including their other Legendary Highlord Fordragon and their 0-Attack weapon, Prismatic Jewel Kit.

There's also a slight subtheme of Lifesteal from City Tax, Lightbringer's Hammer and Catacomb Guard. There's not exactly any synergy between them all, but it's worth noting that they're continuing to play in this space and to watch out for more in the future.

Blessed Goods

Blessed Goods Card Image

Our merchant; that art in Stormwind; hallowed be thy sales.

I'm always a fan of these 3-in-1 Discover cards - Pack Kodo comes to mind - but they're not actually that good in practice, I've found. Let's break down each of Blessed Goods' options to see if this makes the cut anywhere.

  • Secrets: Paladin Secrets are generally bad, so only seeing one of them probably means it'll be a bad one. The only reason they get run is when they can be cheated out using cards like Sword of the Fallen to offset how bad they are.
  • Weapons: Now this option is much better, but does suffer a bit from how varied it can be. While great options like Hammer of the Naaru and Truesilver Champion exist, you could also get stuck taking Sword of the Fallen or Prismatic Jewel Kit in a deck not built to make use of them. Still, most of the time a weapon is at least some damage output.
  • Divine Shield: This is the slot to watch - there are fifteen Divine Shield minions in Standard, and a solid third of them are Legendaries. Unfortunately, there's still some pretty big whiffs mixed in, like Argent Squire or Annoy-o-Tron.

I would make the argument that it is generally much better to just include the Divine Shield minion or weapon you're hoping to Discover in your deck. Sure, a second Tirion Fordring or Highlord Fordragon is good, but if you miss then you can really miss.

City Tax

City Tax Card Image

Isn't that just all taxes?

Is this... is this allowed? Arcane Explosion, honey, I'm so sorry.

This seems like a really solid tech card should the need arise. Nothing about it is amazing, but being able to recover back some life and take out a few minions against a particularly aggressive deck is incredible, and it being Tradeable means that you can just send it back in the other match-ups in the meta.

This might see play if there's enough aggressive decks going around. I wouldn't just slap it in for any old meta - even being Tradeable doesn't help that much - but make sure you remember this one just in case you find yourself struggling.

Alliance Bannerman

Alliance Bannerman Card Image

Sometimes he wishes getting the short end of the stick was literal.

Strong, solid card for any aggressive Paladin deck running a decent amount of minions. You don't even have to be going for handbuff strats in particular - though obviously this is amazing there - because a 3 mana 2/2 that seeks a minion and gives it +1/+1 is already okay. Getting more minions buffed makes it somewhat good!

I do specify aggressive, of course, because it has very little impact by itself. You need to be already present on the board and looking for ways to keep extending that to want this in your deck, not hoping your opponent lets you carefully build up your hand over multiple turns. Unless you go all-in on the handbuff angle, which might be a possibility this expansion. It's one I'll be trying, anyway.

Prismatic Jewel Kit

Prismatic Jewel Kit Card Image

Hey, even Highlords need a hobby!

I think this is a really interesting way of tackling handbuff synergy. It already makes sense to run a lot of Divine Shield minions in a handbuff deck, because then you get to take advantage of the buffs twice, so rewarding you for playing them with more buffs sounds awesome.

I don't know how good this will be in practice, but I am a sucker for handbuff strategies, and we got a hell of a lot of them this time. I worry that you'd rather just be swinging with one of Paladin's better weapons than using the slot for this, but I do want to see how much you can do with it before writing it off.

Noble Mount

Noble Mount Card Image Cariel's Warhorse Card Image

"How come Tamsin's horse gets infinite extra lives and mine just gets one?"

I think this is a really powerful little buff. The synergies it has with the various Divine Shield popping cards not withstanding, giving a minion a minor boost, free attack and then leaving behind another body to buff when it dies is a lot of power packed into one 2 mana spell.

This seems like it's just a really solid card with good potential synergies going for it. Nothing broken, but something that will definitely be played in whatever Paladin deck emerges this expansion. 

Catacomb Guard

Catacomb Guard Card Image

"Y'know, a torch works just as well, Greg..."

More handbuff synergy! And something that helps offset the life loss you'll inevitably endure while setting up your minions. A 1/4 that pings for 1 honestly isn't even that bad - while not something I'd run if I wasn't looking to buff it somehow, it's at least not awful if you have to slam it down before you've managed to pull anything off.

Once you give it a couple bonuses though this starts to look really strong. 2 damage, 3 damage, 4 damage... I don't know how realistic it is to start getting up that high with it, but you don't actually need to go crazy for it to be a really solid piece. If handbuff Paladin makes a splash, this guy will definitely be in the pool.

Lightbringer's Hammer

Lightbringer's Hammer Card Image

Sometimes new followers need a bit of... manual persuasion.

This is... alright. I mean, obviously a 3/2 Lifesteal weapon is decent enough, and it'll help you clear the board without taking too much damage in return, but never being able to push through some extra damage with it really puts a damper on my enthusiasm for it.

I think generally I'd prefer to run some of the other weapons the class has access to - running too many can be a bit of a detriment, and I don't think this is good enough to make it in over something like Truesilver Champion. Less healing potential, sure, but it can swing for lethal if needed.

First Blade of Wrynn

First Blade of Wrynn Card Image

"Wait, what do you mean 'First' Blade? How many other Blades do you have?!"

I like that this only needs one buff to turn itself on. I think that's usually been the case for any cards like this, but any more than that would completely kill the card so I'm glad they're sticking to tradition.

Giving this Divine Shield actually means it's not awful if you can't get it buffed, and could be used with Prismatic Jewel Kit to itself buff your hand. They're really pushing this synergy pretty hard, and while I am a fan of what they're going for I do worry about how many cards will essentially be useless if the deck doesn't pan out. That's the gamble when you try and force an archetype like this, I guess.

Rise to the Occasion

Rise to the Occasion Card Image Pave the Way Card Image Avenge the Fallen Card Image

Rise: Daughter of Roame

So the first reward is pretty terrible, but the second one is where this really starts to shine. I can't imagine how obnoxious this would've been with an unnerfed First Day of School - even now, the fact that it costs 1 mana means it actually counts towards the Questline, which is funny. Secret buff?

Swarming the board aggressively has been a tried and true Paladin strategy for a while, and I think this Questline could slot into a low-cost aggressive deck easily enough without hampering your deckbuilding all that much.

Lightborn Cariel Card Image

The final reward makes it seem like you want to go all-in on Silver Hand Recruit synergies, but I honestly think that's unnecessary. If at that point in the game two 3/3s every turn isn't enough to help you close it out, then you weren't going to be winning the match-up anyway - lowering your odds of completing the Questline quickly by including higher cost cards like Balloon Merchant or Lothraxion the Redeemed doesn't seem like it offers that much.

Highlord Fordragon

Highlord Fordragon Card Image

When does this expansion take place? Fuck you, that's when!

The big splashy Legendary to round out our Divine Shield handbuff archetype. A 6 mana 5/5 Divine Shield isn't even awful by itself - not good, certainly, but like... fine. Giving a minion in your hand +5/+5 when his Shield pops is pretty good, and the possibility of getting more buffs from other minions? Exciting.

Having said that, if the handbuff deck doesn't come together then you definitely won't see this guy kicking about. At that point he'd just be a slightly better Don Han'Cho, and we all know how that turned out.

(If you don't, it was 'poorly').

Theorycrafting Paladin in United in Stormwind

Once again, I have taken to simply searching up all the handbuff cards and dumping almost all of them into a deck. Rinse and repeat for Divine Shield and you're practically finished!

Obviously we include all of the new synergy pieces from United in Stormwind. Prismatic Jewel Kit is our only weapon, because why would you ever need any others? Highlord Fordragon will provide massive buffs given that almost every minion in our deck has Divine Shield, and we even have multiple ways of reapplying Shields once they get removed. Alliance Bannerman will help us draw more minions to buff, and Catacomb Guard and First Blade of Wrynn both get to reap the rewards.

As I was picking out the better Divine Shield minions and remaining handbuff Legendary Overlord Runthak, I realised that we were accumulating quite a few Rush and Taunt cards in addition to our plethora of Divine Shield offerings. Enter Varian, King of Stormwind, who will regularly add three minions to the hand to receive buffs while being a powerhouse in his own right.

My final addition was a pair of Impatient Shopkeeps. They help ensure that Varian will get Rush, an important part of making the card as good as possible, and in addition they aren't too shabby at all once they've received a couple of buffs themselves.

Closing Thoughts on Paladin in United in Stormwind

Paladin has a very synergy-focused set of cards in this expansion, more than the other classes I reviewed. I don't necessarily dislike the cards they've been given, but it is a bit worrying that they might fall a bit flat if the most pushed archetype doesn't pan out. This is especially noticeable because a few of the other cards they received aren't exactly the most powerful, in my opinion.

Their Questline does thankfully seem to be another option the class has available to it, and with such an open-ended condition there's a lot of room for experimentation in how you want to build it. There's even variation in how much you build your deck to take advantage of the reward, which is good.

Overall, I'm excited to try and make handbuff work once again. This'll be the time it breaks into Standard, I'm sure!

Did we get it right? Did we get it wrong? Share your thoughts on Paladin in the comments!

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