The full Fractured in Alterac Valley set has been revealed and it's time to look at all the new cards and look at how Warrior will be doing this expansion. We'll be breaking each of the Warrior cards down.
- You can see all the new cards in our Fractured in Alterac Valley guide.
- Our deckbuilder will let you theorycraft your own decks using the new cards before the expansion arrives.
- You can simulate pack openings in our Fractured in Alterac Valley Pack Opening Simulator.
- Don't forget to take part in our Tavern Crawl to earn on-site cosmetics!
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.
Warrior Deck Themes in Fractured in Alterac Valley
Warrior is a very interesting class to look at this expansion, mainly because the previous expansion - the mini-set especially - so completely homogenized it that you'd be forgiven for thinking that Pirate Warrior has been back in action for longer than it has. This expansion contains no direct support for Pirate Warrior, which is in many ways a relief, but does leave the class in an odd position whereby new decks are difficult to pinpoint.
There are two main areas of focus in the cards Warrior is getting this set - Armor based cards that are clearly leaning towards a Control playstyle, and a minor Taunt theme that could help support Control decks as well. Overall, the direction is very much the opposite of the last set, which ended up very aggressive.
They also have a few bits and pieces that support things Warrior generally likes to do - self-damage, Weapons, Rush - but they're one-offs for fans of those playstyles as opposed to actually supported archetypes.
He never did figure out what that meant.
As I mentioned in my overview of the themes, much of my view of Warrior is colored by the ubiquity of the Quest at the moment, which meant that seeing cards like this really brought me up short at first. I had to look back through the options Warrior has in Standard to remind myself that yes, there are actually a decent number of Taunt synergy cards kicking about.
This has admittedly good stats for a card like this; given that it's got potentially multiple draws in it assuming you've built your deck correctly, being able to also dish out some damage from behind the Taunts it synergizes with is an unexpected but welcome bonus.
I'm trying to be as optimistic as possible about these new directions Warrior is trying - if all else fails, we can always come back to them after Pirate Warrior eats a nerf or two and the class has a bit more room to breathe.
He's always talking about his dwarven rival, but nobody's ever seen them.
This one is very interesting to me, because I'm immediately reminded of Phantom Militia, a card that admittedly wasn't great but did see a little bit of play in dedicated Taunt Warrior lists, at least to my memory. Now, those decks had a Quest that they were working towards completing and were very pleased to see a card that was multiple Taunts in one; Scrapsmith is in many ways better, because you get the same maximum number of Taunts (without any sort of discounts) but can play them across multiple turns as needed.
I'm not totally convinced that this isn't just a subtle attempt at injecting some cards straight into Wild, where Taunt Warrior is at least a recognized deck if not a particularly present one at the minute.
The one thing that has me interested is the new card, To the Front!, which would allow you to get all three Taunts out for just (5) mana instead of (9). That gives you space to play around with some explosive turns, perhaps comboing with Glory Chaser to get a bunch of draw out to refill. It's a fair few cards to invest and you'll still need some sort of plan for closing out the game, but I can see a vision here.
You either die by her axe, or live long enough to see the Outrider's.
This is a pretty good minion right here. The stats are decent enough for a Rush minion, with enough Attack to take out something from turn 2 or 3 and enough Health to survive for a second swing. Honorable Kill is a little hard to judge at the minute, but given that the optimal play is usually to deal exactly enough damage to kill something anyway I think we can expect to get a weapon draw fairly often.
Warrior has a few decent weapon options available to it right now, and I wouldn't be shocked to see this pop up in non-Pirate lists. Especially interesting is the ability to trade away your Blacksmithing Hammer and immediately draw it again, essentially turning the card text into 'Honorable Kill: Draw a card'.
Don't worry, there's no nationwide tunnels underneath this one.
A slightly more expensive Whirlwind that repeats itself twice? That sounds pretty good in theory, but in practice the delay on the effect robs a lot of the utility that Whirlwind had. Sure, it still works decently well to slow down aggressive decks by helping to clear up boards, but it's much harder to pull off combos since the effects will be pushed back a turn, and it can't be used to effectively remove Divine Shields or low-Health Taunts in order to then make better trades.
I like the idea of this card though, as it means for those few turns you've got a guaranteed extra help in keeping the board under control. It could also result in opponents making sub-optimal plays as they shy away from potentially losing minions more easily.
Control lists will like this, and we can only hope that a few of those pop up for it.
To The Front!
Take it back now y'all!
Ah, my poor brain. I look at this, the combo alarms start ringing and my poor grey matter starts burning as I sluggishly try and piece together something broken I can accomplish with it. It's just too juicy a concept not to pigeonhole myself into it!
Taking a step back from it (hah!), I do think there's some merit in it outside of strict combo scenarios. As I mentioned previously, playing it with Glory Chaser and Scrapsmith gives you a decent board filler that also replenishes your hand, with mana left over to potentially throw down something else. If you can get a decent number of minions in hand - or can draw more as you play them out - then this has real utility.
Still. Tell me the jank combo I'm going to be forcing day one, please.
In Alterac Valley, Shield Shatters You!
Ah, a perfect piece for any Control list. You already want to be building up as much Armor as possible in the early stages of the game, so being able to reliably clear those aggressive boards that would try to stop you from doing so sounds wonderful.
But what if they chip away at your Armor before you have a chance to build it up enough, leaving you with a board clear that hovers at too high a cost for you to play it in time? Fear not, imaginary player who for some reason hasn't looked ahead at all while reading this review, because we have...
I prefer when my shields don't buckle, personally.
...the perfect little set-up tool! That's exactly what this card is, after all - a method of quickly generating a large amount of Armor for any synergies you might be interested in, which will then degrade to a more reasonable level for the mana cost after you've already made use of it.
It also works decently as a quick stop-gap against damage, since you won't lose that extra 5 Armor until your next turn by which point you might not even have any Armor to lose! That scenario wouldn't be ideal, since really you should've cleared away their board with Shield Shatter, but sometimes you just don't draw both pieces when you need them.
"Alright, who left the fridge open all night?"
So many Control pieces! For just a tad more than Execute, you can also buy yourself some time against wider boards by stopping them in their tracks. Seeing Freeze appear in Warrior is quite jarring, actually, even though mechanically it feels quite apt for what Warrior would like to be doing.
There's absolutely no synergy to be found that's exclusive to Warrior for Freeze, but this card isn't really about that. It really is just a stalling tactic while you wait for a Brawl or other effective board clear to come out, and one that also takes out a minion in the process if that's all you need.
Hey, another upside - you can hit your own Sylvanas with this one!
Now why did we have to wear so much Armor but he can run in topless?
This condition is ridiculously easy to achieve - if Mr. Smite wasn't a card I could honestly see Pirate Warriors thinking about running this guy just because Cargo Guard helps accelerate you towards completing this so easily that throwing in an additional Frozen Buckler or two to guarantee it wouldn't even be that much of a detriment.
As it stands, this is your Control deck finisher. He's a Grom that requires no combo card in hand, because you've already activated his bonus just by playing your deck as it's intended to be played. At 6 mana you've even got some leeway to clear away a Taunt or pile on some extra damage with a Weapon if you need it.
I'm... honestly not totally in love with him, because at the end of the day he plays out in much the same way that King Krush does, just in a class that can actually take advantage of a Big Charge Minion. I don't think he's too good or anything, just a little dull.
Rokara, the Valorous
*Terms and Conditions apply. Unstoppable Force actually completely stoppable in cold weather. No refunds.
This is a fun card. I'm always down for some cool new card text, and "smash it into the enemy hero" has got to be up there as one of the best. I don't even particularly care if the card ends up being good, I know I'm going to be crafting it Day 1 and having a blast.
The ability to take out an enemy minion and deal some damage to the enemy hero is a pretty strong effect - Hunters have been particularly partial to Trampling Rhino for a while now - and the Hero Power is nothing to stick your nose up at either. Dealing 2 damage to anything is already a good upgrade, but being able to also get 4 whole Armor from it by mathing out your kills a little essentially turns it into two upgraded Hero Powers in one.
On paper, this looks like a really solid Hero Card. The kind that will get played quite a bit, but nobody ever really complains about it because what it does isn't particularly oppressive or flashy, it's just... good. Strong. Solid.
Theorycrafting Warrior in Fractured in Alterac Valley
I'm gonna be honest, a part of me was tempted to just slap a Pirate Warrior here with zero new cards and talk about it like I'd just invented something brand new. While amusing, that wouldn't be particularly fair to the new cards, so have this instead!
The name of the game here is delay, delay, delay. The early turns are entirely about managing any aggressive strategies so that you can start dropping your big threats, eventually overwhelming the opponent with too much value.
Vanndar Stormpike is a fun card that seems right at home in a deck like this. While there are certainly some interesting ideas you miss out on by not including lower-cost minions, I'm all about having fun; dropping big minions several turns early, sometimes two at a time, is fun.
The minions have been carefully selected, and fall into roughly three categories:
- Minions which have Taunt
- Minions which deal with Armor
- Minions which have a minion type
As you can imagine, many of them are chosen because they hit multiple points at once - look at Mo'arg Forgefiend hitting all three! - and each category was selected to maximise using new cards.
Taunt minions were chosen to help stave off damage later in the game, and because I really like Bulk Up as a card and want an excuse to use it more often. Armor-based minions were chosen to help guarantee that Captain Galvangar doesn't whiff, something that I'd honestly be impressed if you managed to pull off. After those two categories were populated, it became very clear that good ol' N'Zoth, God of the Deep was destined to make an appearance, so a few tweaks were made to make sure there weren't too many overlapping minion types.
With the move away from just being a Big Warrior deck towards Menagerie, some cards like Commencement were cut to prevent unfortunate loss of Battlecries. This did free up some more space for defensive tools, so I can't be too sad about it.
Closing Thoughts on Warrior in Fractured in Alterac Valley
Listen, I really like a lot of what Warrior has going on in this expansion. I'm eternally grateful that they didn't print anything that explicitly helps Pirate Warrior, because pushing that deck even further sounds like a really unfun time. Having said that, I don't know how well the new cards can actually stack up against the existing Quest deck, which might leave the expansion feeling a bit sour if nerfs don't come quickly enough (or don't target the right cards).
I'm gonna be playing around with Warrior a lot - I wasn't expecting to before writing these reviews, but the cards genuinely excite me because of the play direction they lean towards. I just hope that they can at least compete, if not necessarily be the best deck out there.
What do you think about Warrior in Fractured in Alterac Valley? Let us know in the comments below!
More From Fractured in Alterac Valley
We've got more class reviews that you won't want to miss! Don't forget that you can see all the cards coming in the expansion in our Alterac Valley Expansion Guide and if you want to test your luck, you can head on over to our pack opener to crack some packs.