Blizzard have trickled out new cards every week since the announcement of Hearthstone’s first expansion pack, Goblins vs. Gnomes, slowly giving us a better picture of the themes, synergies, and pushes the game will see once the 120-card payload drops next year. In accordance with the hype, we here at the Daily Dot are previewing all the freshly unveiled cards every Friday until release day. Here are the first two weeks' worth of cards.
Arena: You’re never going to be drafting this in arena. For one, it’s got a heavy four-mana cost which isn’t ever viable when you’re not guaranteed the litany of high-cost minions to take advantage of the effect. And for another, any spell that gives your opponent board presence is a big taboo in a more value-driven game.
Constructed: There’s probably some archtype out there where you load up your hand with high-cost legendaries and then let the Ancestor’s Call fly. But that’s very inconsistent. The other tech-y play would be to force a card out of your opponent’s hand to make sure it doesn’t get full value, like a Faceless Manipulator or a Gadgetzan Auctioneer. Either way, we’re talking about a very specific effect that seems like an awkward fit at best. But you never know!
Anodized Robo Cub
Arena: You get a two-mana 3/2 or 2/3 with taunt. That’s fine, if totally unremarkable.
Constructed: This is a Druid card, and Druids generally aren’t worrying about early-game too much in the current meta. The Robo Cub is a mech, which could naturally alter things, but as it stands this card basically gives you the choice to either play a Bloodfen Raptor or a River Crockolist. Both good cards! But nothing particularly game-changing.
Arena: Arena is more about stats than it is utility, so five-mana for a 3/3 is pretty bad. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the worst five-mana cards you could possibly draft!
Constructed: Regenerating eight health in Constructed means a lot more than it does in arena, but the stats are still a bummer. How often will Antique Healbot win games, rather than simply delay the inevitable? I’m not sure, but I could see it getting a run in some of the heavier control decks, particularly Control Warrior, Healadin, and Control Priest.
Arena: Paying two mana to draw a card isn’t great, and unless you get a beast-heavy draft, Call Pet is gonna be some mediocre filler.
Constructed: Here is where things get interesting. Turn one, Coin, Draw Pet, you draw a Savannah Highmane that now only costs two mana! Turn two play the Savannah Highmane, and your opponent immediately concedes.
Okay, that’s not a very likely scenario, but the downside of Call Pet is simply to draw a card, which isn’t bad. In a deck with a lot of heavier beasts, like Savannah, Stranglethorn Tiger, and yeah, The Beast, I could see this being pretty effective.
Arena: You already know what I’m going to say. You’re not guaranteed to have mech synergy in arena, so Cobalt Guardian might end up as a paperweight 6/3 for five most of the time.
Constructed: This card seems to be founded on the principle that Mech Paladin will be a thing, which means the Cobalt Guardian will constantly be refreshing its divine shield. A 6/3 with a constantly refreshing shield is far more exciting than the stats imply. We’ll have to wait and see, but I think the Guardian could get some play in a more aggressive Paladin subset.
Arena: This card will be pretty solid in arena, because chances are neither you nor your opponent has a particularly heavy mech deck, so Fel Cannon could so work as a mid-level Ragnaros.
Constructed: It could be a really solid tempo card, and I think it fits pretty nicely into your average Zoolock deck. The only downside is if your opponent is running a ton of mechs, but that’s not a huge deal, because a four-mana 3/5 is still fine. You’ll see the Fel Cannon on ladder.
Foe Reaper 4000
Arena: One of the best arena legendaries, it has the potential to completely swing around board control which is really tough when you don’t get to preprogram removal into your deck. You’d still take, aY Ragnaros over this, but not by much.
Constructed: It’s an eight mana cost minion that doesn’t do anything the turn it gets played. That’s pretty tough to justify. Ragnaros costs eight mana, and it’s at least guaranteed to do damage to something at the end of your turn. The only place I see Foe Reaper fitting in is in a Ramp Druid deck. Innervate, Innervate into the Foe Reaper could be devestating.
Arena: Significantly better in constructed, but not terrible for arena either. Arena matches often boil down into top deck wars, and Jeeves can swing card advantage in your favor very quickly.
Constructed: Here’s the play. You’re a Zoolock, you dump everything in your hand and then play Jeeves, which immediately draws you three cards. That means even if you get Brawl’d or Flamestrike’d, you still have a chance to put on pressure. Jeeves doesn’t look scary with those 1/4 stats, but he absolutely has the power to win games.
Arena: Six mana for a 7/6 is really good, and something I don’t think exists elsewhere in Hearthstone. A top-tier pick, and the ability might even come in handy.
Constructed: A really big minion that’s easy to ramp into, with an ability that can swing games in a whole bunch of ways. I think you’ll see Mech-Bear-Cat in every Druid deck. It’s just too good to ignore.
Muster For Battle
Arena: You’re paying three mana for a trio of 1/1s, and a 1/4 weapon. That’s value! Simple as that.
Constructed: You could certainly see this fitting into an Aggro Paladin deck. The dream would be having a Sword of Justice before you play this card, turning your 1/1s into 2/2s. I think it’s a card you might see more often in Arena, because I’m not sure what you’d necessarily want to give up in your average Paladin’s current decklist, but a fine card nonetheless.
Arena: 2/5 for five mana is pretty mediocre and you won’t be able to take advantage of the ability, pass.
Constructed: It all comes down to if mechs make their way into Warrior decks. If they do, Screwjunk Clunker will be totally ubiquitous. If not, well, then not.
Arena: Health and armor doesn’t mean as much in arena, so Shieldmaiden is just a six-mana 5/5 which isn’t great, but certainly isn’t the worst either.
Constructed: It’s interesting, Shieldmaiden is basically a heavier Shield Block, and the mana cost reflects that. Shield Block gives you five armor and a card draw, while Shieldmaiden gives you five armor and the 5/5. Most people are pretty down on this card, but I think they may be underestimating the power of putting a total of 20 armor gain (between two Shieldmaidens and two Shield Blocks) into a Warrior deck. Does that change things? Maybe, maybe not.
Arena: You really can’t go wrong with a six-mana 5/7 that gives you Spare Parts cards. It’s not the flashiest pick but it’ll certainly get the job done.
Constructed: Basically the same story, it just comes down to how much you value Spare Parts cards. Those are those one-mana spells that do basic things like “give a minion +1 attack” or “freeze a minion.” They can certainly come in handy, but is it enough to earn an entire card slot? I’m not sure.
Burly Rockjaw Trogg
Arena: Limited usage in arena, but paying four mana for a 3/5 isn’t bad. It reminds me of Wailing Soul, with perhaps slightly more utility.
Constructed: The idea is playing this against a spell-based deck, something like Miracle Rogue or Freeze Mage. If Miracle goes off, the Trogg could grow to something like a 8/5. The only problem is that those decks can probably kill this thing with Backstabs, Evicerates, Fireballs, whatever - all spells, but all targeting the minion. But maybe that’s worth it! Trump likened the effect to something like a “spell taunt.” and forcing a mage to burn a fireball on this instead of your face, or your Ragnaros, might be a good thing! If nothing else, I think people are going to give this one a run.
Arena: Weapons, by and large, are pretty great in arena. This one also helps you get board control!
Constructed: It basically gives Shaman a Stormforged Axe, with the only downside being its inflated mana cost of three, instead of two, which means you won’t be able to smash down your opponent’s 3/2s on turn two. But the effect of giving a random minion both divine shield and taunt is really, really strong. It would be wasted on a Silver Hand Recruit, but if you could land it on something bigger, like a Cairne, it’ll be a huge tempo sink the unlucky soul facing it down. I think this card will make its way into pretty much all Paladin control decks.
Arena: 3-6 damage to anything you want, including your opponent’s face! That means you can spend three mana to take down a Venture Co. Merc. You should draft this card.
Constructed: Shaman decks, outside of the rarely seen Reincarnation archtypes, are pretty straight-forward. Dump in a bunch of value cards and let them do work, simple as that. Doing three damage for three mana is mediocre. But dealing four, five, or six damage is really, really good. I think you’ll see this get tons of play.
Arena: In some ways, this thing is a 10/4 for four mana and an overload. I don’t think the 50 percent thing is a big deal in arena. I’d draft this pretty much every time it showed up.
Constructed: The thing with that “50 percent chance to attack the wrong enemy” thing is it can totally work in your advantage. Let’s say you have this on the table when your opponent stealths a Gadgetzan. Well, if you swing at your opponent's face (twice, because you have windfury,) each time the Dunemaul can “miss” and hit the Gadgetzan instead. Doesn’t matter if a target is stealthed, behind a taunt, whatever, the Dunemaul can get there. For that reason I think this card is pushed over the top.
Arena: Not very good, that’s a two mana cost that will be completely dead most of the time.
Constructed: Drop a leper gnome and use this and immediately do two damage to your opponent’s face. Use it with a Savannah Highmane and earn two 2/2s for free. Put it down with a Baron Rivendare and use it on a Loot Hoarder and draw two cards. On a Cairne? Two Baines.The important thing to remember with this card is that it doesn’t kill your minions, it just causes them to trigger their deathrattle. That’s bananas. You will run it, and you will absolutely hate it when someone runs it against you.
Arena: It’s a five mana, five damage removal most cases. It’s not great, but it’’s not bad either.
Constructed: The card you’d compare this to is Blessing of Kings, which gives +4/+4 to any minion for four mana. Felheart is that, except with +5/+5, but restricted to playing it on demons, and the option to use it for damage instead. The problem here is the five mana cost, which is pretty hefty, and seems destined to be used in conjunction with Voidcaller. You Voidcall out a Pit Lord for free, and on your turn drop Felheart on it. Will midrange Demon Warlock become a thing? I’m not sure yet, but Felheart is a step in that direction.
Arena: The first of the new class of legendaries works perfectly fine in arena, providing significant upside and a reasonable big body to win games.
Constructed: Blizzard really wants to make Control Hunter a thing, and a giant seven mana hydra that doubles its attack every time it gets hurt is certainly leaning that way. Will it work? Hunters don’t have any natural way to activate it. Will they start running Elven Archers? It certainly could be viable, anything with that much potential for power is certainly scary, but I’m not convinced—yet.
Arena: Three mana for 2/2. Nope.
Constructed: Three mana for 2/2 with the added benefit of giving one of your friendly mechs a bonus +2/+2. Will Mech Rogue get played? If so, expect a lot of Iron Senseis.
Arena: Three mana for a 2/3. Nope.
Constructed: If Deathrattle Hunter becomes so ridiculously prevalent that it becomes worth eating the lack of viability in other matchups, this thing could be pretty strong. Your opponent dumps a Webspinner, Leper Gnome, and Haunted Creeper on the board. You play Lil Exorcist and it turns into a 5/6 with taunt. Will a 5/6 with taunt stop the tempo? I don’t know, it could just eat a Kill Command and your face is exposed all over again, or it could win you the game. We shall see.
Arena: Five mana for 6/6 is some of the best stats-for-mana-cost in the game. It’s even better than Venture Co. Merc in my opinion. You will draft it.
Constructed: It’s great stats, and the 50 percet thing (like all ogre cards) can help as much as it might hurt. It’s got stealth which lets you dictate trading. But it’s a rogue card, and we really haven’t seen too many non-Miracle Rogue decks on the high-end of the ladder. Obviously all this can change, and Ogre Ninja could serve as an excellent backbreaker at the tail end of an aggro push.
Arena: Assassinate is good. Deadly Shot is great. So Sabotage is fine, and the benefit of taking down your opponent’s weapon is also quite solid.
Constructed: Chances are you’ll be dictating the trading as a rogue, with Sap, Eviscerate, Deadly Poison etc. So the random aspect of this card shouldn’t be a big deal. But then again, Assassinate only costs one more mana, and that’s never run in Miracle, so what’s the incentive of including this one? Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I’m underestimating how awesome the combo could be, but I’m pretty cool on this one.
Arena: 4/3 for four is Spellbreaker-esque, and this thing comes with an effect that you’ll rarely get to use. Pass.
Constructed: You play this when a hunter has a full board of low-health deathrattle minions, and you might be able to completely wipe it clean. That’s great! If this card was available right now, with the amount of hunters on ladder, I’d totally be running this card.
Arena: 2/3 for two with the ability to freeze anything it attacks. That’s a mini Water Elemental. I like it! Maybe more in constructed, but it’s pretty good in arena too.
Constructed: The dream would be playing this on turn two, and keeping a rogue or a warrior frozen throughout the early game, preventing any Fiery War Axe value. That could be huge. We’ll find out soon.
Arena: You put this on the board, and the Hunter’s hero power becomes the best thing in the game. Sniping down your opponent’s minions with a constant stream of two-damage blasts is pretty sick.
Constructed: I said earlier that Blizzard are really leaning into this Control Hunter archetype. This is probably the key piece of the puzzle to making that a real, concrete option. It even activates Gahz’rilla!