Hail, champions! This week marks the third week since the initial release of Call of the Mountain. Have you discovered your new favorite deck yet? If not, might we recommend browsing through our recent series of champion spotlights? How have you found the new cards? Where there any that have surprised you? If so, you might not be alone -- here's a rundown of the 6 most underestimated cards of the expansion. To make this list, we're looking at Impetuous Panda's pre-release prediction survey as well as our own internal ratings and comparing it with what we're actually seeing at tournaments and on the ladder.
1.) The Infinite Mindsplitter
Let's start with the card that went from "meh" to "probably needs a nerf" in record time. A modern control staple, The Infinite Mindsplitter is an 8 mana 8/8 just seemed Too-Little-Too-Late by pre-CotM standards. In practice, though, perma-stunning 2 enemy units is just back-breaking. I've seen many games where an opponent refuses to even attack or block with the 8/8 body just because the perma-stun is so valuable they don't want to put any more damage into The Infinite Mindsplitter than necessary.
On paper, Icequake seemed terrible. Not only is it expensive, but it casts at slow speed and damages your own units. In a meta where so many control decks just want to stall, though, it has found a practical home in many decklists. Not only does that extra point of damage kill many things that Avalanche couldn't, but it's damage reduction also cripples any survivors. Paired with healing tools like Starshaping and Revitalizing Roar, it is a big reason why so many greedy control decks are able to succeed right now.
Early impressions of Doombeast weren't overly negative, but the general consensus was that this would be a middling nightfall unit inferior to Stygian Onlooker. In practice, though, its ability to drain any extra 2 damage has earned this creepy feline a home in several popular existing archetypes including They Who Endure and Spider Aggro.
4.) Cygnus the Moonstalker
Our decision to call Cygnus the Moonstalker a strong card will be met with some controversy, but we'll just point to NicMakesPlays's hitting #1 rank in NA while running 1x of this card as our evidence. Sure, paying 6 mana for a 4/2 conditional elusive sounds really bad. In practice, though, a lot of the time you'll be comboing this with Nocturne or L2 Diana to sneak in 9 extra points of elusive damage. Cygnus may be just a vanilla 4/2 the next turn, but that won't really matter if your opponent is already dead.
5.) For the Fallen
Who's still playing Elites in 2020? No one -- until Mogwai produced a video showing just how powerful the tribe is with the addition of For The Fallen. While this hasn't been enough to penetrate most peoples' meta listings (yet), we have to respect any card which elevates an entire archetype from meme to viable overnight.
6.) Faces of the Old Ones
Our final entry will be divisive -- many players will contest that ramp decks are actually better without Faces of the Old Ones. We're seeing it in enough decklists to consider it at least worth reconsideration, though. While it can be less consistent than its 3-mana cousin Wyrding Stones, when you are able to make use of it on curve it will often win you the game.
All 3 of these cards haven't yet made their way into the most popular decklists but have shown some promising experimentation.
- Shards of the Mountain has some fantastic potential with spell-loving units like Ezreal and Lee Sin as well as general hand tricks like Rummage and Spinning Axe.
- A few pro players have been experimenting with Singular Will in their Ionia control decks; they just haven't found a tournament-winning formula yet
- An unanswered Broadbacked Protector can directly heal +9 nexus HP for only 4 mana; it probably would have seen more play except players quickly found Starshaping and Guiding Touch usually provides all the healing necessary with fewer complications.
Where there any cards on our list which surprised you? Any cards which you thought were underestimated and should be included? Tell us below!