A bit later than normal, but with a few extra cards to make up for it! Our penultimate reveal season review has some very interesting cards in it, both in power level and in design choices. As always, take our words as gospel and assume everything we say is completely correct, because it is.
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Our name generator was on the Fritz earlier.
Frizz Kindleroost is a strong card, and you have to look no further than the phrase "(R)educe the Cost". Mana-cheating has always been a controversial subject with Hearthstone, as it has led to some pretty degenerate things in the past (Aviana and Kun the Forgotten King, Naga Sea Witch and Giants, Reckless Experimenter and SN1P-SN4P, the dreaded Barnes). Being able to play cards long before you're "supposed" to is extremely powerful, and Dragons are no exception. They're generally expensive and beefy, so dropping them two turns sooner is a strong play.
That being said, Frizz is akin to Prince Keleseth or Luna's Pocket Galaxy in-that you need to drop it as early as possible to maximize its effectiveness. If you don't draw her until all of your Dragons are used up, then you're left with a 4/5/4 vanilla minion (which is still reasonable; another reason why Frizz is good). There will be games where you play her immediately on turn-4 and go to town on your opponent, and there will be games where you never see her at all; it is this variance that will keep the deck somewhat in check, and keep Frizz in check as well. I still think she's a strong card, but the calls to nerf her? They seem premature. Keleseth escaped the nerf bat, and Luna's….nevermind. Forget I said anything. At least Frizz only says "deck" and doesn't include one's hand.
As a final note, hopefully this card can help the slowest Dragons see play, the ones left by the wayside of history. I'm referring specifically to you, Emeriss.
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It'll take you a while to truly get the explosion.
This is a strange card. To get the most from it you will likely have to make some sacrifices, because it does not have a lot of health and so will need some protection. Although it may not seem like much, the additional 2 Health loss compared to Doomsayer is a pretty big deal. The mana cost difference isn't really that important when you consider when you'd normally want to use these cards.
Now, why would you want this over Doomsayer? Well, the fact that it deals damage instead of outright destroying could be a point in its favour, as it might allow you to keep some high health minions on the board afterwards wile ruining your opponent's aggro board.
You could also run it in conjunction with Doomsayer, to really lock the opponent out in early turns. Being able to play this out on turn 1 might seem strange, but if you truly have no other plans but to reach the lategame then stalling your opponent for as long as possible and making their turns awkward may be worth it.
It's a weird card that I don't see ever being better than Doomsayer outright, but is worth thinking about in addition to at least, and maybe has some merit as a weird tech option.
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What happens when you both draw an Old God? Ten Tie.
This is a card that I want to talk about less from a playability perspective and more from a design perspective (but of course, I will talk about that as well). To me, this is yet another card in the game that screams "we need scry". We had one of these in Saviors of Uldum, Mischief Maker. Interacting with the top card of either (or both) player's deck and actually recognizes that there's a deck order is something I want to see more of in the game, but because there’s no way to actually mess at or interact with the deck itself, there's no proper way to use this effect. It falls under what I like to nickname as "Holy Wrath syndrome", which is basically when an effect interacts with the top of your deck, but because of a lack of any type of scry mechanic, the fact that it interacts with the top of your deck ultimately doesn't matter. Named as such because Holy Wrath suffers this exact same problem, which rendered it unplayable until basically right now.
When I look at this card, Mischief Maker, Holy Wrath, or even Flame Leviathan, it really makes me wonder when Team 5 is finally going to add a scry effect to the game. It wouldn't be the first time they added a mechanic that players said would never make it into the game. Skulking Geist? Mojomaster Zihi? Exactly. Even in this set, we now have Valdris Felgorge that brought an extremely prominent fan-made effect into the game. At this point, it's possible. Never say never when it comes to Team 5.
But on to the playability of the card itself, a 6/5 for 5 is an okay statline, and it thins the deck for each player. If you're playing a deck full of very high-Cost cards, you could perhaps include this to draw something big and then play it for a significantly reduced Cost, and mess up your opponent's hand. But because of the "Holy Wrath syndrome", its effect does suffer a little bit due to its unpredictability. Effects like these very rarely see play, so I'm thinking this one will as well simply by association. But who knows? It has a valid application for very top-heavy decks, so it might be possible.
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What class will this lightning-conducting hammer appear in? The answer may shock you.
*Insert complaint about the flavor here*
Anyway, this card can most readily be compared to the Hunter's staple weapon, the good ol' Eaglehorn Bow. They both have ways to circumvent their 2-Durability, only now it's about controlling Dragons instead of proccing Secrets. Having a Dragon on the table is arguably more under your control than the Secrets, which rely on your opponent to act in a certain way. This should make Stormhammer more reliable than Eaglehorn Bow in Dragon decks, even those that end up running Secrets. However, unless we see more Dragons for the early- or mid-game, you might not benefit from the effect for a long while (given how expensive Dragons can be). The entire Hunter set is now visible, and there are only two Dragons in the list; that has me concerned. We'll have to see the rest of the Neutrals before "Dragon Hunter" can be truly assessed, because right now the package is lacking its most important feature: the aforementioned Dragons.
….but seriously, it makes no sense. Stormhammers are wielded by Gryphon Riders, and Gryphons are not Dragons.
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I want there to be an apostrophe in this name. I don't know where, I just feel like it needs one.
This card was very interesting to me; not because of the actual effect, because overall it seems pretty good, but not in a way which made me excited to talk about it.
No, what interests me is the wording of its Deathrattle - Summon a new copy of it.
It's a super interesting piece of design consideration that makes a lot of sense when you break it down, but is the kind of thing a new custom card creator might overlook. Stephen Chang (aka puffinplays on Twitter and reddit, one of the Game Designers) replied to someone on reddit discussing how much design consideration goes into adding this one word. You can check out his reply (and the original comment) here.
Essentially, it boils down to what a player can expect from an effect. When you add a copy of something to your hand or shuffle them into your deck, you expect these to be base copies of the card - maybe that isn't completely intuitive, but every card in the game that does this works this way, so overtime you build up the knowledge base to understand that that is how the effect works. Similarly, when you summon a copy of something or transform into a copy of something that's on the battlefield, you expect it to be an exact copy, with buffs or debuffs retained.
Now, this is where the confusion can arise. As the copying effect is on a Deathrattle effect, and not immediate, the minion can be summoned long after you chose it. This can lead to some confusion; do you expect it to summon a copy of the minion as it was when you chose it, since that follows from a lot of battlefield copying abilities? Would it perhaps be a copy of the minion as it exists on the board now, meaning if it had been killed you wouldn't get anything at all? Could it even be a base copy, as is the case with Carnivorous Cube, the only (as far as I can remember) similar example of a copying effect?
Adding in that single word eliminates any confusion in the design. You now understand how the effect works perfectly, no guesswork needed. Now, why was this not needed for Carnivorous Cube before it? I could argue that it's because Cube destroyed the minion with its Battlecry, which when paired with Resurrect mechanics would lead you to the intuitive conclusion that the newly summoned copies will be untouched by buffs, but the fact is, it kind of was needed for Cube. There were a lot of posts when it first came out and in the months after where people just did not understand that the copies you would get from the Cube would not retain buffs; I remember seeing people Cube their own Cubes and expecting down the line to get even more minions from Cubes which would have no Deathrattle.
This is such a weird, small case of smart design choices that I just had to talk about. I almost hope they revise Cube's wording to be in line with this, but I won't hold my breath. If there's one consistent thing in Hearthstone, it's inconsistency.
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Duskbreaker 2: The Same Joke From a Previous Review
I don't know what to think about this card. Obviously there is Duskbreaker, which can clear the board right away, but damages your side as well. This is a lot slower, but only damages opponent's side. Not to mention that Priest can get into some insane gimmicks with the Deathrattle too. This almost looks to me like what Sandstorm Elemental did for Shudderwock, allowing to add a board clear on top of everything else. Chronobraker could do this for N'Zoth, the Corruptor. I don't play Wild as much, so i don't know if this will make as big of an impact as i think it could, but having a card like this in an already strong Dragon class and with all the new "Discover a Dragon" cards getting in, this is looking like a very strong card.
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He's just really tanned from all the travel.
This cutie certainly brightens up the expansion!
As with all the Explorers, expect to see them running rampant in Arena because of the sheer value they generate at the loss of little to no stats. In constructed, if Paladin has a Dragon deck it will definitely be running two of these; not necessarily for the healing, because they already have that covered in Amber Watcher, but just because that extra on-theme card is great.
Is it good enough to make it into Paladin lists that aren't Dragon-focused? I don't think so. Its best shot there is probably in Highlander decks, where any additional cards are appreciated. Will Highlander Paladin actually take off into something this expansion? I'm gonna boldly (and completely without risk) say no, it won't.
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On the one hand, she gives you a spell. On the other hand, she also gives you a spell.
Cobalt Spellkin has an eye-catching design to me. It's a Neutral card where the effect and what it does actually varies quite heavily on your class. As such, there are 9 different possible angles to look at this from. In any "good" class, it can get you a Sidequest (except for Sanctuary), which may or may not be a good thing. You've got to consider the implications for every class here. This card most consistently does the same thing in Hunter, Mage, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, and maybe Paladin.
In Hunter, you’re likely to get some damage. In Mage, you get some tools for Mana Cyclone or Chenvaala and they can be discounted with Sorcerer's Apprentice. In Paladin, you'll likely get a Secret. In Rogue, you'll get some Combo activators (and perhaps a chance for a Legendary with Dragon's Hoard), and card draw with Gadgetzan Auctioneer. In Shaman, you'll get some small damage and Overload activators (except for Evolve which will rotate out before DoD releases, 5 out of 6 1-Cost Shaman spell deal damage, and 3 out of 6 them have Overload). In Warrior, you'll typically get some damage, although you might also get Into the Fray or Omega Assembly.
Druid, Priest, and Warlock are a lot more varied in terms of their 1-Cost spells. That doesn't necessarily mean it's worse in those classes, but rather the effect is a bit more unpredictable. Just be prepared for whatever you get, although it may still prove to be quite powerful. After all, you might get a sick Inner Fire as a Priest.
Decks that love cheap spells will love this card, and if you happen to be running Dragons there as well, then this card is even better. Overall, it seems exciting. Quite a few possibilities to be had and I quite like the design. Even if it doesn't see play, this is a type of card we don't see much of.
This is only considering Standard though. In Wild, the possibilities are multiplied, although the variance in the cards you’ll get is also multiplied. We also have over 50 cards left to go, and 3 of them are Sidequests, so quite a few new 1-Cost spells are likely to enter the pool.
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Back to work, Slackeys!
Ooh, a Lackey card! I was beginning to wonder where they were this expansion, as all we've seen is Rogue's Galakrond (and thus any Invoke card available to Rogue).
This is a lot of value attached to a single card, but I can't help but feel that it needed something else. Maybe Taunt, instead of the Armor gain? It just feels like this isn't enough to warrant inclusion in a deck by itself, but could've maybe made it into something like Taunt Warrior or similar build-around style decks. Oh, it'd be great in Dragon Warrior if it was a Dragon!
I dunno. It's just kind of underwhelming, because the more I look at it the more I can't figure out what deck it goes into. Warrior doesn't have any Lackey synergy like Rogue or Warlock; gaining Armor can be done with more impactful cards.
It'll at least be a solid Arena card. Nothing fancy, but something you'll pick up more often than not.
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At least someone knows how to break ties with china.
So we now have some sort of "anti-Armor" card in the game. I definitely didn't expect this on a Common. I figured it would be on an Epic or maybe even a Legendary.
This card has been a bit controversial within the community, and I understand why. Although it is kinda cool in some sense to have an anti-Armor card in the game, is this possibly too much by simply removing it all? That's what a lot of people are suspecting. If you're facing an opponent with 10 Armor or 2800 Armor, it just gets rid of it all. I suppose if you find yourself against a deck focused on gaining hundreds of Armor, you finally have a way to counter it. People are already saying in the thread that Warrior and Druid are dead. While these claims seem premature, there's no denying the potential power level of this card when fighting a Warrior or Druid. Of course, this card completely crushes High Priest Thekal.
Although putting this ability on a 5 mana 5/5 is quite strong, this is definitely a tech card. Against Warrior and Druid, this is extremely strong and can warp the games quite drastically, the only other class capable of some significant Armor gain is Mage (and High Priest Thekal). Otherwise, it's merely just a 5 mana 5/5. It's incredibly strong, but given the lack of a sideboard function in Hearthstone, tech cards tend to be extremely finicky in power level, so although it's insurmountably powerful when it works, it still has the same squishiness when it doesn't. So I'm being a bit cautious, but if Warriors make up a significant portion of the meta, it's no doubt a strong tech. 5/5/5 is still a better stat:cost ratio than some other tech cards. The only thing I don’t like though is that it basically invalidates the Warrior Hero Power against any given match-up with them, which sounds like a polarized design to me.
Yes. Yes. YES. YES. YESSSS - Upon seeing Platebreaker