New Mechanics Overview of Hearthstone's Newest Expansion, Voyage to the Sunken City

Rating 5.00/5 (9 Votes)

Voyage to the Sunken City, Hearthstone's next expansion, has recently been announced and arrives on April 12. Even though we still don't have the full picture, we're currently in the middle of the reveal season, and Team 5 has so far spoiled us with quite a few interesting tools. In this article, we'll express our ideas about said mechanics, discussing the new known cards and the implications for the future of the game.

To be thorough, here are all the game mechanics (as seen up to this point) we're going to see in Voyage to the Sunken City:

  • New Keyword: Colossal - Minions with the Colossal keyword come with extra appendages that synergize with their main body in powerful ways. These appendages are summoned with the main body, even if the Colossal wasn’t played from hand.
  • New Keyword: Dredge - A new keyword that lets you look at the bottom three cards of your deck and pick one to bubble up to the top. 
  • New Tribe: Naga - A Spell-focused minion type that often gives you bonuses for playing one or more spells while the Naga are in your hand.
  • New Theme: Sunken Minions - Uncollectible units with powerful effects that are put at the bottom of your deck.
  • New Theme: Piranhas - 1/1 tokens with Rush that get generated by other cards and get stronger with each summon.

Naga - New Minion Tribe

Without considering Quilboar (added to the game just to match Battlegrounds), it's been almost 5 years since the last time Team 5 introduced a brand new minion tribe: it was Journey to Un'Goro's Elementals, and now we're going to receive Nagas!

As you'll see in a bit, Naga is a Spell-focused minion type, that often times synergizes in different ways with spells you cast while holding a unit from that tribe. The spell-minion bond can branch out in several ways, and we are sure Blizzard will go as deep as possible with their design.

Worth noting is that all the Naga units that require you to play a spell while they're in your hand have great synergy with The Coin, which will singlehandedly fullfil their Battlecries' condition while allowing you to play them one turn earlier. For example, coin into Spellcoiler on turn 1 looks like a very solid play, as well as coin into Crushclaw Enforcer on turn 2.

Spellcoiler - Basically a cheaper Ethereal Conjurer with the "If you've cast a spell while holding this" condition that seems to represent what "If you're holding a Dragon" is for Dragons. A cheap value generator unit that grants early board presence (something Mage hasn't had in quite a while) and a possible followup move like Build a Snowman.

Crushclaw Enforcer - How about some card draw? Whether you're looking for some specific units or you just want cycle, Crushclaw Enforcer is what you may be looking for. Simple, yet synergistic card draw for the new Naga tribe, that every class can use. Just like Spellcoiler and many other Nagas, it's going to be a terrible topdeck when your hand is empty, but you can always build your deck so that such a scenario will be less likely to happen.

Spellcoiler Card Image Crushclaw Enforcer Card Image Blackscale Brute Card Image Hedra the Heretic Card Image

View All Sunken City's Naga Minions

Blackscale Brute - As of now, this is the only Voyage to the Sunken City Naga that doesn't actively synergize with spells. Blackscale Brute kind of looks to us as a crossover between Forged in the Barrens' Man-at-Arms and Mor'shan Elite. Warrior is losing most of its weapons with the upcoming rotation (with just Whetstone Hatchet, Blacksmithing Hammer and Outrider's Axe guaranteed to remain in Standard next Year), so it's a bit difficult for us to predict how easy it will be to have Brute's Battlecry active on curve, but it has to be said that 10/12 of stats for 7 mana is quite a lot, especially if they have useful keywords like Taunt and Rush.

Hedra the Heretic - Most of Druid's 'Miracle' package is rotating to Wild in a few weeks, but the class still has decent tools to juice up Hedra the Heretic's Battlecry significantly. Lines up perfectly after a turn 5 Wildheart Guff.

Moreover, Voyage to the Sunken City also has Naga-related spells. Opposite to Nagas, these spells gain a bonus effect if you played a Naga while they are in your hand - the tables turn!

Gifts of Azshara - A 2 mana Arcane Intellect if you manage to fulfill the requirement. Being cheap, it pairs up very well with Spellcoiler, meaning that Mage is up for some really interesting shenanigans.

Serpent Wig - A cheap and reusable buff spell that gives us the impression that Priest will be one of the classes (together with Mage and, who knows, Shaman?) which will focus on the Naga tribe. It's no Libram of Wisdom, but with the right support it can be quite amusing.

Gifts of Azshara Card Image Serpent Wig Card Image

On a final note, let's talk about some already existing cards possibly receiving the Naga tribal tag, as well as some "flavor" controversies. As of now, we suspect that Zola the Gorgon will be a Naga and will also be part of the next Core Set, but who else could receive a text update?

Easy calls are Wrathscale Naga, Naga Sand Witch and Naga Sea Witch, but we bet that Lady Vashj and Coilfang Warlord are other solid guesses.

Wrathscale Naga Card Image Zola the Gorgon Card Image Coilfang Warlord Card Image

Finally, people pointed out that Mean Street of Gadgetzan's Naga Corsair is, as the name states, both a Naga and a Pirate, while wondering what may happen to this unit's Tribe tag. Although there's no official position about what we're going to say, we feel like the one which follows may as well be Team 5's philosophy when it comes to addressing situations like this.

Out of all the Tribe tags Constructed Hearthstone has ever had, Pirate is the only one that does not define a species of creatures, but rather their "occupation": you come to life as Beast, Elemental, Demon or Murloc, but Pirate can be defined as a character's lifestyle choice. Therefore, in edge situations where a creature belonging to a certain Tribe decides to embrace the sealife, Team 5 has always given priority to the latter. Patches the Pirate is another clear example that further corroborates our explanation: being a watcher, Patches is born as a Demon, but at the same time it's a Pirate, hence its affiliation to the latter Tribe. 

Naga Corsair Card Image Patches the Pirate Card Image

Some more examples can be found with other tribes that haven't made it yet to Hearthstone: Captain Hooktusk is a troll, Captain Greenskin is a goblin and Bootstrap Sunkeneer is an undead, yet they're all tagged as Pirates.


Colossal - New Card Keyword

The first of the two brand new keywords introduced with this expansion. Colossal minions come with extra appendages that synergize with their main body in powerful ways. Said appendages are summoned with the main body, even if the Colossal wasn’t played from hand, and their number varies based on the indication on the card effect: for example, Xhilag of the Abyss has 4 appendages, while Colaque only has one - be sure to have enough space on the board!

We love the fact that Colossal minions and their appendages' belong to the same piece of art - they are so big that they truly don't fit into just a card!

Xhilag of the Abyss's full art: as you can see, the minion and its appendages are part of the same piece of art. A wonderful piece of art.

Before taking a look at some of the already revealed Colossal units, here are some curiosities and gameplay implications about this new keyword:

  • Each appendage will share the same minion type of their main body - Demon for Demon, Mech for Mech, Beast for Beast and so on.
  • Every class will receive a Colossal minion.
  • A Colossal minion's appendages coming to play count as summoning.
    • Effects like Khadgar will interact with them.
  • If you manage to summon a Colossal minion through RNG effects like Evolve, you'll summon its appendages too.
    • Although it has not been confirmed, it makes sense that the same thing will happen if you Recruit a Colossal minion.
  • Appendages are different minions than their main body - you can summon them through Resurrection effects separately.
  • A Colossal minion doesn't synergize with just its appendages, but even with the ones of other copies of itself.
    • If you manage to play two Colaques at the same time, you'll have to destroy both Shells if you want the Immune keyword to go away from each of the main bodies.

Quote From Leo Robles

Every single Colossal minion's appendages will share the same minion type as the main body.

Quote From Gallon

Every class gets one [Colossal minion]?

Yes

Does Colossal +X count as summoning so you can double it up with Khadgar?

Yes

Could you clarify transform and Colossal interaction? Does transforming into a Colossal minion also summon its parts?

Yes.

Hey Cora, are the Colossal pieces regular minions? Like if my opponent is playing a Colossal minion and then casts Mass Resurrection or something, could they get back the shells or stalks without the base minion?

Yep! It’s also pretty interesting if you summon 2 Colaques, for instance. You’ll have to get through both shells to remove either Colaque's Immune.

Let's start with the fiercest of the Colossal units currently known to us. Xhilag of the Abyss represents an addition to Big Demon Hunter, giving players another spicy target for Sigil of Reckoning and Caria Felsoul. Although its Stalks are fragile, they'll become quite troublesome if left unchecked, since they can also target heroes. We are not sure whether this will remain as the strongest Colossal unit down the road, but it does look really spicy to us!

Xhilag's Stalk Card Image Xhilag's Stalk Card Image Xhilag of the Abyss Card Image Xhilag's Stalk Card Image Xhilag's Stalk Card Image

View All Sunken City's Colossal Minions

Looking for ways to counter Xhilag? Gaia, the Techtonic and its drills will make those pesky stalks appear like no more than oversized noodles! Not only does Gaia bring lots of stats on the board, but also a high degree of proactivity: 4/6 worth of Rush split across two bodies, each of which grants you a little board clear every time it lands a blow. What's even more interesting is that Gaia, the Techtonic's buff does not apply to its drills alone, but also to itself and even to other Mechs that may already be in play from previous turns! Imagine if Replicating Menace and SN1P-SN4P were still in Standard...

Gaia's Drill Card Image Gaia, the Techtonic Card Image Gaia's Drill Card Image

After countless years, MurLock is finally back! Gigafin represents yet another removal option for Warlock, with the further upsides of bringing a ton of stats on the board (11/11 for 8 mana, 4/7 of which with Taunt: quite difficult to remove if your opponent's side of the board is empty!) and being a Murloc - Bloodscent Vilefin has blatant synergy with this Colossal, with the potential for Gigafin to come in play as soon as turn 5. Moreover, Warlock can easily get rid of a friendly minion for little to no mana, so Gigafin's Butthole won't very likely stay on the board for too long.

Gigafin Card Image Gigafin's Maw Card Image

On a final note, Hearthstone Associate Game Designer Gallon cleared some confusion around this Colossal's effect. Gigafin's "devour" will trigger enemy minions' Deathrattles.

Quote From Gallon

Does 'devour' triggers Deathrattle? I am curious.

Yes


Dredge - New Card Keyword

Dredge is Voyage to the Sunken City's second keyword: this fact alone has happened only once in Hearthstone's entire history, with The Witchwood's Rush and Echo; add the fact that it basically represents Magic: The Gathering's keyword Scry (which allows you to look at the top of your deck and influence it in different ways) and you have a rather interesting option, with lots of potential and synergies to discover. 

Gallon took some time to answer a couple of community questions regarding how exactly Dredge works.

  • Dredge does not shuffle the deck.
  • This keyword looks at the very three bottom cards of your deck - they don't necessarily have to be different.
    • There will be cases in which you may find a duplicate!

Quote From Gallon

Does Dredge shuffle the deck?

It does not.

Does it show duplicates?

It shows the bottom 3 cards of your deck, so it could show duplicates.

Here are some early examples on how Dredge is being implemented:

Tuskarrrr Trawler - A simple, yet effective way of showing how Dredge works: basically a Neutral Sightless Watcher with Pirate synergy. If you are playing a Pirate deck, you want your draws to be as good as possible, so that you'll have a strong curve and your chances of winning will raise. Pirate Warrior, a fan favorite, will gladly consider running this minion.  

Seafloor Savior - Both Dredge and Handbuff support, as well as being a Mech (even though the latter isn't very relevant as of now): Seafloor Savior rewards you for running minion-heavy decks, with a chance of positioning a crucial card on the top of your deck in case you want to close the game soon.

Seafloor Savior Card Image Tuskarrrr Trawler Card Image Bloodscent Vilefin Card Image

View All Sunken City's Dredge Cards

Bloodscent Vilefin - If Murloc Warlock will be a thing, you can bet your shoes that Bloodscent Vilefin will be one - if not the main reason - for the archetype's success. We know mana cheat is very strong, and Warlock does not lack ways to turn self-damage into an upside. A very good card, as well as a strict improvement over Mean Streets of Gadgetzan's Seadevil Stinger.


Sunken Minions - New Card Theme

"Sunken" minions are a card theme exclusive to Voyage to the Sunken City: they are uncollectible units with above average effects that are placed at the bottom of your deck, meaning that they synergize really well with the new Dredge mechanic.

Up until recently, we only knew one Sunken minion - Sunken Sweeper - which was revealed alongside the expansion announcement a few days ago. Fortunately for us, we've received the second one just a few hours ago - Azsharan Defector and its Card ID Not Found.

Azsharan Defector - Deathrattle synergy for Death Speaker Blackthorn and Demon Hunter. While the main body is not bad, but not great either, Card ID Not Found is a Reckless Rocketeer for 2 less mana and with a Dragonbane-like effect on top of it (although it cannot hit face). Illidan has plenty of card draw, but is yet to receive any class Dredge support: we'll probably need to see a couple more cards to evaluate this unit, but it has to be said that Charge is a very scary keyword, especially on a non-Legendary unit!

Azsharan Defector Card Image Azsharan Sweeper Card Image

Azsharan Sweeper - At this point it's clear that Mech Mage will be a thing once the new expansion goes live, and Azsharan Sweeper provides some good additional resources. Seems kind of a slow value generator, so we'll have to see if we'll receive other reasons to build our deck with this card in mind, but for now it contributes towards forming a solid basis for the archetype's success.


Piranhas - New Card Theme

Recently, Piranha Poacher was one of the cards showcased in the "Arena card reveal" held by Redbeard, Dreads, and Judge. However, the fact that there are 5 different colors of Piranhas (although with the same name, stats and effect) kind of made some players question themselves, as they could not understand such a variety for an uncollectible token generated by another unit.

Piranha Swarmer Card Image Piranha Swarmer Card Image Piranha Swarmer Card Image Piranha Swarmer Card Image Piranha Swarmer Card Image
So that's what is at the end of the rainbow.

Fortunately for us, Hearthstone Game designer Cora "Songbird" Georgiou cleared all the doubts and stated that these little and totally harmless fish are generated by more than the sole Piranha Poacher: despite the different colors, they have the same functionality and they add a little more color and fun to the usual gameplay.

Quote From Cora

They generate off of a few cards in the different colors at random. They're all functionally the same, so it's just a little fun touch. :)

As for the unit itself, we know that little fish are usually stronger when in school formation (Pokemon fans out there, raise your hand), so we really like how they implemented this concept into a card mechanic.

We are sure that some players out there will go for crazy OTKs with insane Piranha Swarmer burst (Tundra Rhino?), but we definitely need to wait a little while longer before drawing final conclusions, to learn what else Team 5 has in store for us.


What are your early impressions of the new Voyage to the Sunken City mechanics? What cards do you like the most so far? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments

  • GoddammitDontShootMe's Avatar
    Devoted Oceanographer 1750 947 Posts Joined 06/03/2019
    Posted 3 months ago

    I'm noticing the IDs in the card URLs for Xhilag and its Stalks, and I'm guessing for some reason they didn't all get imported into the database together.

    0
  • Wailor's Avatar
    Design Champion 530 529 Posts Joined 05/28/2019
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    What are your predictions for the remaining Colossal minions? My guess is:

    • A seahorse or a Titan for Paladin.
    • A water elemental or a sea serpent for Shaman. It could also be a piranha with Piranha Swarmer synergy.
    • A shark or a kraken for Hunter.

    We could also get a hydra with many heads for Neutral, since it looks like it's gonna be the Year of the Hydra.

    1
    • NegativeNemsy's Avatar
      370 178 Posts Joined 07/10/2019
      Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

      I'm going to go out on a 'limb'  and say for neutral,  N'Zoth will be the only Colassal legendary and comes with Colossal +6.   

      I like your idea for paladin.  I am envisioning multiple seahorses as the appendages pulling around a huge mech.  Or maybe an Elemental since that tribe hasn't been seen yet.  Colossal +4 

      Shaman will probably get the hydra/medussa one with piranhas for appendages that unfortunately have the freeze mechanic.  It would be funny if the head was actually a totem.  Colossal +5

      I have no idea what hunter will get, but I wouldn't rule out a flying creature with multiple beaks or an extra wing.  Something like a menacing Seahawk that could be associated with the water theme.  Colossal +3 

      1
      • Avalon's Avatar
        Content Admin Salty Dog 1470 1813 Posts Joined 06/12/2019
        Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

        Mech Hunter 2.0!

        0
  • Anathemos's Avatar
    535 124 Posts Joined 05/29/2019
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    Re. pirate nagas, for Mercenaries, they made it a rule that if a merc is tagged as "pirate" that overrides all other affiliations. So, "bonus to humans" buffs don't apply to Edwin or Vanessa Van Cleef, etc. (And since they tagged Cookie as "Murloc", he doesn't get pirate buffs.)

    Doesn't guarantee they'll use the same rule for the main Hearthstone game, but anyway, there's precedent.

    3
  • Me0203's Avatar
    690 423 Posts Joined 06/13/2019
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    Gigafin's Butthole. I love it. I'll be saying that for the next year.

    1
  • Khoodos's Avatar
    195 18 Posts Joined 04/11/2020
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    "Therefore, in edge situations where a creature belonging to a certain Tribe decides to embrace the sealife, Team 5 has always given priority to the latter."

    Cookie the Cook says hello.

    1
    • Avalon's Avatar
      Content Admin Salty Dog 1470 1813 Posts Joined 06/12/2019
      Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

      Ngl, I thought about Cookie when writing that line.

      I feel like it's considered as a Murloc because of gameplay implications (Murloc Shaman is way more fitting to the class than Pirate Shaman) rather than tribal consistency.

      2
  • Skorpionex's Avatar
    Headless Horseman 1380 334 Posts Joined 06/12/2019
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    Gigafin's "devour" will trigger enemy minions' Deathrattles.

    Meh, my 5-star rating dropped to 3-star. No poof.

    I'm curious how bugged will be interaction with Sylvanas.

    1
    • Nirast's Avatar
      Content Admin Snow-Covered 810 739 Posts Joined 04/01/2019
      Posted 3 months, 1 week ago
      Quote From Skorpionex

      I'm curious how bugged will be interaction with Sylvanas.

      Looking at the trailer, the ampendeges are summoned before the rest of the Battlecry happens. So the Maw can be taken. If I'm not wrong, a minion doesn't count as summoned until it's Battlecry finishes, so Sylvanas can ONLY take the Maw if you have nothing else on board. 

      Next, it all comes down to what counts as being on the board first, the main Colossal or its ampendeges. If the latter, and you take the Maw and trade it when your turn comes, your minions go puff, since the Maw triggers first. If the former, you get your minions back.

      If you can get Gigafin, and it counts as being summoned first, your opponent has your board. 

      2
      • AngryShuckie's Avatar
        1625 1606 Posts Joined 06/03/2019
        Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

        It's been a long time, but I'm pretty sure killing Sylvanas with a battlecry is liable to get your battlecry minion stolen. It was definitely a bad idea to play Deathwing with her on board, for example.

        0
  • YourPrivateNightmare's Avatar
    Skeleton 1915 4025 Posts Joined 03/25/2019
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    I hope there's an achievement that requires you to ahve all the different colors of Piranha on the board.

    0
    • Avalon's Avatar
      Content Admin Salty Dog 1470 1813 Posts Joined 06/12/2019
      Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

      Aight, bet.

      1
  • Trimutius's Avatar
    1560 2390 Posts Joined 03/16/2019
    Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

    Taste the rainbow, or the rainbow will taste you!!!

    4

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