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Rating  6

Contributed by

Stonekeep

Guide Type

Last Updated

August 10, 2015

Table of Contents

HSP reviews TGT: Gamescom part 2 and more

View list of cards released so far in this dedicated post.

Introduction


This is the series where our contributors – high ranked ladder and Arena players – and players from Team HSP review the new revealed The Grand Tournament cards. We rate every card both in Constructed and Arena, then give you our thoughts about them. This post will be updated every time we’ll get a new review!

When it comes to the rating, we rate the cards from 1 to 5:

1 – Very Bad – The card will see no play in any kind of deck. It won’t be drafted in Arena unless you’re present with other terrible options. E.g. Magma Rager, Dalaran Mage.
2 – Bad – The card might see some occasional play in low tier or budget decks, but isn’t good enough to be played in top tier decks. It will rarely be drafted in Arena – either it needs to synergize with the deck or you need to be present with other bad options. E.g. Boulderfist Ogre, Frostwolf Warlord (Constructed), Ironforge Rifleman, Ancient Mage (Arena)
3 – Average – The card might fill some niche and see play in couple of decks. Not an especially strong card, but can be used to fill gaps in the deck after putting staple cards. In Arena, it’s the card you’re gonna draft pretty often – the card is good enough to not ruin the quality of your deck, but nothing impressive. E.g. Gnomish Inventor, Sen'jin Shieldmasta (Constructed), Bloodfen Raptor, Archmage (Arena)
4 – Good – You’re gonna see this card in a lot of decks. Either it fits into a certain archetype or is overall a good card. Your Constructed deck are mostly filled with cards of those quality. They’re strong and definitely serve their purpose. In Arena, those are the cards you actually want to see and draft – every great deck will have at least couple of those. E.g. Azure Drake, Defender of Argus, Haunted Creeper (Constructed), Harvest Golem, Mechanical Yeti, Stormwind Champion (Arena)
5 – Very Good – This is THE card that will be auto-include or at least a very strong contender. The card that is gonna be really strong and see a lot of play in many decks. Card that is often best in its role, the one that you can’t really pass. In Arena, this is the card you want to see most in the draft, the base of 12 wins Arena decks, one that you instantly pick when you see it. E.g. Dr. Boom, Mad Scientist, Piloted Shredder (Constructed), Flamestrike, Truesilver Champion, Fire Elemental (Arena)

Flash Heal



Smashthings

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Very Bad (1)

It’s tempting to get excited about this card; 5 heal for one mana is a good deal and moreover it is a targeted heal, which means you have Auchenai Soulpriest and Injured Blademaster synergy.

This is cool, but ultimately I think is better; for 2 less heal you can get a minion that is very powerful in priest (Wild Pyromancer + Circle of Healing can do devastating damage with a Lightwarden), and for that reason, I think Naaru is just better.

In Arena this card does nothing to establish board presence and so therefore I would consider this a bad pick in most cases.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Average (3)
Arena: Average (3)

I see a lot of people either overrating or underrating this card. While it’s definitely not bad, it’s not that good either. The funny thing is that it’s so much stronger when compared to Paladin’s Holy Light. Only 1 more healing for 1 more mana (and the difference between 1 and 2 is really huge). The bad news is that Holy Light is pretty underwhelming. This one is better, but still not good enough in my opinion.

The card has couple of nice synergies. It can be used with Wild Pyromancer for a cheap AoE. It can heal the Injured Blademaster (weaker than Circle of Healing, but can work). It can be used with Auchenai Soulpriest to deal 5 damage. It can be used to survive early aggression against decks like Face Hunter or Zoo Warlock.

The problem is – it’s really hard to fit it. I think it’s either this card or Light of the Naaru. Unless you play a specific deck based around healing (or converting healing to damage with Auchenai), you can’t put four 1 mana healing spells into your deck. And I’d argue that Light of the Naaru is better – Lightwarden has a lot of potential, it’s a high priority target and even Aggro decks usually kill it. You can also combo it with Circle of Healing, Holy Nova etc.

I can see decks using 1 Light of the Naaru and one Flash Heal. The card is definitely not bad, but I don’t see it being an auto-include.

In Arena, it’s actually not that bad. The thing about slow Priest decks is that those decks don’t generally lose the games by running out of cards – they lose games by being out-tempo’d. The class has great value potential, but is slow in terms of tempo – it often gets rushed down and loses the game just before it can stabilize. Getting 5 heal for 1 mana can actually give you just enough to survive. Being killed by enemy when he has 0 cards in the hand and you have 6 is really bad. In slower Arena matches, it can be used to heal your minions instead of yourself. Slow Priest decks tend to use a lot of high health minions (e.g. Boulderfist Ogre) and health buffs (Dark Cultist, Temple Enforcer) – healing one of your minions for 5 can get you a lot of value. Obviously it’s really bad in fast Priest deck, but those decks are really rare in Arena.

Living Roots



Smashthings

Constructed: Average/Good (3.5)
Arena: Average/Good (3.5)

The ‘choose one’ cards are almost always powerful. And the reason for that is simple: One of the options is always fairly costed. Ergo, that means you always have a reasonable card plus the flexibility of the other option (which is usually slightly over-costed).

In this case, we have a 1 mana Arcane Shot / Holy Smite in Druid which is perfectly fine in terms of value. The Sapling option is a little on the weak side, but that’s okay since the other option is good.

In all, I like the card and will probably work well in some variant of Token Druid. I expect this to see some play in Constructed.

In Arena, I think this card is even better; both options are probably going to be useful at some point. With that said, I think I would probably prefer to pick up a Wrath in most cases. And that’s because this card can’t deal with 3 health minions.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Good (4)
Arena: Good (4)

I love the card! I think it’s really nice. The power creep is real – it’s strictly better than cards like Arcane Shot and Holy Smite. The 2 damage for 1 mana is really standard – it can be used to take out enemy small drops, when combined with Hero Power it can deal up to 3 damage, it can be used to help with the trades or just to push for 2 damage into enemy face.

But summoning two 1/1’s is much more exciting. Token Druid! A long time ago, it was one of my favorite decks. The synergy between Violet Teacher and Power of the Wild is really good. Adding Living Roots into the mix makes it even better. Just imagine the turn 4 play (with Coin): Violet Teacher + Coin + Living Roots + Innervate + Power of the Wild. It’s 4/6 Violet teacher + 6x 2/2 Token. Against some decks (the ones without mid game AoE) it’s auto-win. Obviously you don’t have to take it to the extreme – even without Violet Teacher, it can fit any Power of the Wild combo – summoning 2x 2/2 for 1 mana is really strong. I’m really excited to try the Token Druid with this card. The versatility also makes it great – even if you don’t have Violet Teacher or Power of the Wild to combo it with, you can just use it as a 2 damage for 1 mana.

In Arena, the 2 damage for 1 mana is actually above average. Giving it an option to be two 1/1 tokens makes it useful in a lot more situations without making the cards worse. I really like it in Arena – unlike Holy Smite and Arcane Shot, it can actually be a really good turn 1 play – 2x 1/1 is a nice tempo play instead of passing t1. I don’t think it’s gonna be auto-pick, but probably around the strength of Wrath, which is really good in Arena.

Lance Bearer



Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5)
Arena: Bad (2)

The effect reminds me of the old Dark Iron Dwarf. It used to give +2 attack permanently and it was really, really strong. But the Dark Iron Dwarf had a pretty good body for 4 mana. 4/4 was strong at the time where Sen'jin Shieldmasta and Chillwind Yeti were the best 4-drops in the game.

Here, the base stats – 1/2 for 2 – are really crippling. The Battlecry is really good, but even if the card was 2/2 it wouldn’t be over the top. Right now, it’s much weaker version of Abusive Sergeant. Even though Abusive doesn’t increase the attack permanently, it has arguably better stats for 1 less mana (I’d play 2/1 over 1/2 most of the time).

If you use the buff to trade with enemy minions – you don’t care if it’s permanent or not. If you use it as an activator for Nerubian Egg – you also don’t care if it’s permanent. Only if you play Aggro decks that want to use the buff to go for the face and will reliably attack at least 2 times with the minion. Then it’s a 1/2 for 2 with Battlecry “deal 4 damage” – not bad, but is it good enough? Yes, it’s good, but it’s not Knife Juggler or Mad Scientist good. That’s why I don’t think there will be a spot for it.

So, the Zoo doesn’t need it because it’s all about board control and Abusive is better for that. Most of the Aggro decks don’t want it because they already have good 2-drops. The only deck I can see using it is actually Aggro Paladin. The permanent attack buffs have great synergy with Divine Shields. Argent Squire on turn 1 followed by this one is really strong. If you buff the Leper Gnome, he’s still easy to remove, but if you buff a Squire or Shielded Minibot, it’s much harder. So I can see it being tried in that deck.

In Arena, the problem is that it’s not a 2-drop. Unless you have a draft that’s heavy on 1 mana minions, you can’t reliably play it on turn 2. Something like Shattered Sun Cleric is fine even without a minion to buff, because the 3/2 base stats contest 2-drops and a lot of 3-drops. The 1/2 doesn’t contest anything and Battlecry is most important. I can see it being fine in a really aggressive deck or the one with a lot of Divine Shields, because once again, you don’t want to use the attack buff for trading (unless your minion has Divine Shield).

Keyo

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Average (3)

Its like the old Dark Iron Dwarf in a sense, but the stats on this card are awful. At least with Dark Iron Dwarf and Abusive Sergeant they have strong stat lines for their mana costs. Its ability is super strong but the stats make this card unplayable. In Arena this is a viable pick, but not super strong.

Sixis

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Bad (2)

This card is for the most part worse Abusive Sergeant, even though the stats are permanent. His statline is just so poor for a 2 drop – it doesn’t even trade with Mad Scientist. The only way this card can be used in Constructed is in a Hobgoblin deck. In Arena, this card lacks stats and the utility – it’s not that good, I would pick a Bloodfen Raptor over it every time.

Warhorse Trainer


Smashthings

Constructed: Average/Good (3.5)
Arena: Average (3)

This is the sort of card you need for Inspire decks to be a thing. +1 attack is a significant buff to the hero power and a 2/4 body is decent. Works great with Muster for Battle as well.

This card is simple and solid. It’s not ‘crazy good’ but in terms of power is probably close to something like Flametongue Totem. Overall, I think this is good enough to see constructed play.

In arena, however, you are not probably going to have card synergy (e.g. Muster for Battle) most of the time and therefore this is probably only buffing your hero power. Merely an average pick, I think.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Good (4)
Arena: Average/Good (3.5)

I actually really like this card. 2/4 for 3 is not that good, but decent. It can be used as a much more offensive Quartermaster. It buffs attack only so it obviously fits an Aggro deck much more, but still can find a place in Midrange. Coin + Muster for Battle into this on turn 3 would feel really great. When you play Pally, you often have a lot of dudes on the board. Giving them all more attack is nice. The 2/4 body is also a great target for Blessing of Kings on the curve – making it a 6/8, really strong stats, but just below the Big Game Hunter range.

In Arena, the 2/4 for 3 is pretty average – it’s not that great as a 3-drop. But it also has a great scaling into later game – you often end up having 2 or 3 Silver Hand Recruits on the board, buffing them allows better trades or pushing for more damage. In the deck where you have cards like Muster for Battle or Silver Hand Regent the value obviously goes up.

Also, it can have a nice synergy with the deck that you want to use your Hero Power a lot. If the Inspire Paladin becomes a thing, this card can be pretty nice in it.

Alexstrasza’s Champion



Smashthings

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Average (3)

A 2 mana 3/3 charge is decent (but many will probably over-rate this effect, it think) and even if you don’t get the trigger you still have a 2 mana 2/3.

I’m sure some will look at Wolfrider or and suggest that a 3/3 charge is super strong. But here’s the thing: what are you going to do with it? If you charge into a Knife Juggler then this card was simply a worse Fiery War Axe. For this card to shine, you need the enemy to have a 2/3 out.

So you have a situational trigger (you are not always going to have a Dragon in hand) that is made even more situational by the fact you need the right board state for it to be able to do something better than War Axe.

I suspect this card will be one of those “beginner’s traps”. Understanding why this card is bad does takes considerable insight.

I scored it 3 in arena, but this is merely because a vanilla 2/3 minion in this mode is an acceptable pick. Add 0.5 to this score if you have 5 (or more) dragons drafted.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Average (3), maybe Very Good (5) in future
Arena: Average/Good (3.5)

The card COULD be completely overpowered. The 3/3 2-drop with Charge is crazy in Aggro deck. But as it turns out, it’s not that strong. Reason? Dragon synergy. Dragon decks are very slow. There are almost no fast, offensive Dragons in the game. There is a Faerie Dragon and maybe Azure Drake for card draw. Well, theoretically the Hungry Dragon, but it turned out to be pretty bad. Right now it’s impossible to build an Aggro Dragon Warrior. And if you run only 3-4 Dragons in your whole deck, the synergy is not reliable enough. You want to drop it on turn 2 but often it’s just gonna be a 2/3 minion, which is pretty bad in Constructed.

If the Dragon synergy works out, it’s a better Wolfrider for 1 less mana. But since Dragon Warrior is really slow – the 3/3 with Charge is not THAT strong. I still think some people underrate this card – even in a slower deck, 3/3 with Charge is a thing to consider. It can be used to make some early trade without taking any damage. It can be used as a turn 2 play instead of just Armoring Up if you have no War Axe. Even a vanilla 3/3 for 2 would be pretty decent – if you give it a Charge, it’s actually nice even in slower decks.

Maybe if Blizzard introduces some faster Dragons in future, more cards like Faerie Dragon that you can fit into an aggressive deck – this one is gonna be crazy. I predict hidden OP that’s gonna come out in the future and be introduced in some top tier Warrior deck.

In Arena, 2/3 for 2 is just average. It means that 2/3 for 2 that can be potentially much better is slightly above average. To be honest, Dragon synergies are not that uncommon in Arena. Most of the Dragon cards are at least average – there are almost no bad Dragons. And many of them are actually very good (most of Legendary Dragons, Azure Drake, Drakonid Crusher). It means that you’re often gonna end up picking some Dragons in your Arena draft. Obviously you don’t plan on synergies in Arena, but if the card is at worst a vanilla 2/3 for 2, it’s not that bad.

Cutpurse



Sixis

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Bad (2)

The concept of this card is interesting and could synergize pretty well with what Rogue wants to do. The biggest problem is the stats are way too weak and also you have to hit face for it to work. I predict this will not see any play in current Rogue decks.

Keyo

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Bad/Average (2.5)

Interesting concept, but the stat line is really bad, it dies to basically anything. In constructed this won’t see any play aside from MAYBE Aggro Rogue if that ever comes around again. In Arena this will be a little better, but the stat line is still very concerning. If it was a 2/3 I’d give the card more consideration, but a 2 mana 2/2 is garbage.

Smashthings

Constructed: Average/Good (3.5)
Arena: Average (3)

Another really interesting card. A 2 mana 2/2 is obviously on the weak side, but if you can get to attack just once with it you get a coin.

And let’s think about the coin for a moment, the coin is a 0 mana card that essentially allows you to either ramp something out like Druid (its half an Innervate), and/or it allows you to very easily trigger the combo mechanic.

In some cases, this could add incredible speed, power, and flexibility to your Rogue deck (e.g. Tinker's Sharpsword Oil is often a turn 5-6 play because you need to combo it. With this card you can combo it out on turn 3!).

I remember reading somewhere (not sure if its still true) but Rogue was one of the few classes that had a better win-rate going second and the reason why is highlighted above; coin = very fast combo mechanic triggers.

So, when you add all this stuff up it seems that if you can attack this will do amazing stuff for you.

2/2 stats are weak of course, but in conjunction with Hero Power you should be able to get this guy to trade with most 2-drops. Ergo I think Rogue can do a reasonable job compensating for the lack of stats. Moreover, removal is not really a concern; if the opponent has Wrath or Darkbomb then a 3/2 Knife Juggler dies just as easily as this guy.

The real problem this card has I think occurs when you play it a board full of enemy stuff, since on those occasions they will obviously kill it before you get to attack with it. And it is in these cases the lack of stats kinda hurt.

In conclusion then, I think this will be a strong card versus slower control decks. But the card is probably weaker than other options against aggro due to the reduced probability that you will get to attack with it.

In Arena, its a nice two-drop to put onto an empty board, but sucks rather badly if you play it into an enemy 2/3 (against an enemy 3/2 at least you get a minion trade).

All things considered, its a nice card that is potentially powerful (constructed). In Arena however its probably only slightly better than Average.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5)
Arena: Bad/Average (2.5)

Giving you the Coin is really good, but why it has to be “enemy hero”? If it did give you a Coin when it deals damage (to anything), it would be much better. Right now, I don’t really see it working too well. If you want to play a 2/2 for 2, it should have a crazy effect (like Mad Scientist has). This one isn’t really crazy. If you don’t get to attack enemy hero with it – it’s useless, a 2/2 for 2 which is really bad for Constructed.

It might work in faster Aggro/Tempo Rogue decks that want to hit enemy face anyway. It would allow you to gain even more tempo, combo your Tinker's Sharpsword Oil etc. The problem is that once again – if you don’t get to hit enemy face with it, it’s pretty bad.

I’m really not sure right now. Coins are really strong in Rogue, but the problem is – will you reliably be able to get at least one with this card? Like I’ve said before, if the Coin was gained on dealing damage or maybe even as a Battlecry, the card would be so much better.

In Arena, if you get to play your 2-drop first, you’ll quite likely be able to hit the face and gain the Coin. But on the other hand, if enemy opens with a 2/3, this is a pretty dead card.

Fist of Jaraxxus



Smashthings

Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5)
Arena: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)

If you cast this as a 4 mana card it’s an overcosted / Flamecannon, which is clearly terrible. Thus obviously the idea is that you discard it. Clearly this is going to work well with Doomguard (but unfortunately not Deathwing, sigh) and could potentially serve as an anti-mill tech (should mill become a thing).

With the cards seen so far I rate this as bad since I don’t think you can make this card work consistently enough.

In Arena, it’s probably just going to be a bad removal card most of the time, and as a rare it has some stiff competition (with that said even bad removal is still often decent in arena). Maybe better than something like Young Priestess but most of the time there will be better options.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)

That’s what I’m talking about. Even though the card isn’t really good, the new mechanic is pretty interesting. We had no way to interact with discarded cards before in any way. They just disappeared and that’s it. This one actually makes the discard mechanic much more interesting. Right now it’s just one card so I don’t think it’s gonna get used. We’d need a heavy discard deck (cards like Soulfire, Succubus, Doomguard) plus some of those cards and it could actually be really strong.

4 damage to random enemy for 4 mana sucks. Really sucks. Pretty comparable with Flamecannon, which is 2 mana. Fist of Jaraxxus can also hit enemy face, which can be both a good and bad thing depending on each situation, so I guess they’re really comparable. But if you get the effect for 0 mana, it’s really, really strong.

I thought this card is gonna trigger of Fel Reaver, which would be really nice touch, but apparently it won’t. Only from the cards discarded from your hand.

Right now, I don’t think this one card is enough to make a Discard Warlock a thing. That’s why I rate it so low. But in case more cards like that get released, Discard Warlock could actually become strong.

In Arena, it’s pretty bad because the synergies don’t work that well there. You’d need a lot of discard cards to make it work and on the other hand you don’t want to pick a lot of cards that aren’t necessarily good in your deck just to get a better Fist of Jaraxxus. And to be honest – the card if not discarded is 1/5.

Astral Communion



Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5), but probably no way to evaluate based only on theory
Arena: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)

This card is either the instant win or the instant loss. So, the first thing is that to make it work – you need to build a deck around it. That’s why it’s completely pointless in Arena – without a proper deck it’s really, really bad.

Once you have a “good” deck you need to count on drawing it before turn 4. The later you get it, the worse is becomes. Once you’re at 7 or 8 mana crystals, there is really no reason to sacrifice your whole hand just to get 2-3 mana. So you have a really short window of opportunity to get it work.

Then, you need to draw properly. That’s why you need a good deck. Your deck needs to consist of big minions or card draw – nothing else. You don’t want to draw 3-drops or 4-drops, because the card’s effect is wasted if you don’t use your mana. Card draw are also pretty nice – things like Azure Drake might cycle further into your deck and give you something on the board.

So, in the best case scenario, this card is really, really good. If you Innervate it on turn 2 (even turn 1 with Coin) and then draw 2x Azure Drake into some big Legendaries – you probably won the game. On the other hand, if you Innervate it out and draw poorly, don’t draw proper things etc. – you fall behind so much that you aren’t likely gonna climb back.

The next thing is that the deck based around this card will suck without this card. If you have only card draw and big drops, you have no way to stop early aggression from your enemy. If you don’t ramp up with this one, you’re gonna get rushed down. Standard Druid decks are weaker without Wild Growth, but can still win the game. This one would have really, really hard time winning without getting Astral Communion.

That’s why I don’t see it working out all the time. Obviously we’re gonna have highlights of crazy plays that include this card. It’s a strategy that’s gonna work once in a while but is not consistent enough to build a deck around it. Fun card, but that’s it.

In Arena, like I’ve mentioned in beginning, it’s really useless. You won’t reliably draft a deck that synergizes with this card and topdecking from turn 4 is really bad in Arena. Obviously in some cases you’re gonna topdeck Ironbark and other big guys 3 turns in a row and you’re gonna win, but that’s not something you can always count on.

Also, it was just confirmed that you get Excess Mana when you use it with 10 mana crystals – which is good if you draw into the second copy later into the game.

Sixis

Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Very Bad (1)

This card has probably the biggest risk and the highest reward in the game. The effect can be game winning if your topdecks are amazing. However, the fact that you have to play it on 4 and still is very inconsistent will push this out of Constructed at least for now. In Arena this card is almost unplayable.

Keyo

Constructed: Average (3)
Arena: Very Bad (1)

This is probably one of the hardest cards to evaluate in the set so far. In magical Christmas land you play this on turn 3 or 4 and topdeck Ancient of Lore or other card draw, in reality you play whatever you draw each turn and are significantly behind on cards, which in control matchups is almost sure death. In Arena this is terrible for the same reason, card advantage is key. Super cool card though.

Smashthings

Constructed: Not going to guess, far too hard to say
Arena: Very Bad (1)

An crazy card that is exceptionally hard to evaluate. Overall all though, I suspect it will be terrible in Arena (due to how hard it will be to draft the necessary synergy) as for constructed I’m not even going to risk guessing.

When I evaluated Grim Patron on the day it was announced I basically said the card was terrible unless Patron Warrior become a thing. (link: http://hearthstoneplayers.com/five-cards-blackrock-mountain-quick-analysis/)

I think this card is in the same boat: its a terrible card unless someone can build the combo deck for it. Recall for a moment GvG’s ; it hasn’t seen that much play, but it did generate an entirely new way to play Shaman (e.g a Malygos combo deck). This card might be like that too.

Anyway, I think the problem this card suffers from is fourfold:

1) You need to have very high mana cost stuff in order to top-deck your way to victory (after you have played the card).
2) Since the card costs 4, you still need some early game in your deck in order be fast enough for the format (even the greediest of Control Warriors run 4-6 two mana or less cards)
3) You need a way to mitigate the inherent card disadvantage of the card.
4) You have to draw the card early enough for it to be useful.

All of these things are not easy problems to solve; you could of course try adding things like Loot Hoarder to the deck. Play him on 3 play and then trade him in after playing Astral on t4, netting you an instantly playable card.

The other way to build the deck? Add nothing but card draw and big minions. By building in this way you basically guarantee that whatever you top-deck is going to be useful.

This approach could be very inconsistent (because it relies on you being ably to play Astral early… if you don’t draw it early the deck would just lose), but could be very fun when it works.

I thought I would to something different today, I thought I would attach a deck list that tries to use this card:

Decklist

So this deck is likely to be inconsistent, but notice that if you do play Astral Communion on turn 4* just about everything you can draw into is awesome:

If you top-deck Deathwing; then you get a 12/12 + board destruction without any downside.

If you top-deck Gnomish Inventor / Wrath / Wild Growth / Starfire then you can cycle through your deck and and play something decent on the turn or next turn.

If you top-deck / Nefarian / Ancient of Lore / Ysera then you very quickly start to fill your hand back up, mitigating the major weakness of Astral Communion.

The idea behind Elite Tauren Chieftain / Grand Crusader / Justicar Trueheart / Nexus-Champion Saraad is that they are low cost cast that potentially allow you to spend a lot of your mana. For example, You can spend 9 mana on ETC (if you play the power chord, that is). Justicar is in the deck more on the assumption that you may end up using Hero Power a fair bit.

And then there is value component: Dr. Boom, Sylvanas Windrunner, Cenarius are just good value cards. And given our insane curve we are likely to win lots of Jousts, so why not throw in Master Jouster for good measure?

This list is just an example of the sorts of things you can try. With few heals, no silence, few taunts, no removal etc this deck ‘as is’ would probably have a low win-rate. But hey! You can always try adding those things in yourself :)

Btw, I added things like Gnomish Inventor instead of Azure Drake due to the high number of 6-drops.

As a more random thought, this card would love something like the Mage’s new Dragon: t10: Dragon + Communion and then hero power x5 all in one turn.

Charged Hammer



Smashthings

Constructed: Average (3), but I could easily be wrong on this one
Arena: Good (4)

Probably one of the hardest (and most interesting) cards to assess I have seen so far.

A 2/4 weapon for 4 mana doesn’t seem great since the charges are not really killing anything cleanly at this point in the game (e.g. who is playing 2 health 4-drops?). Moreover, since Shaman lacks heal you probably can’t hit minions all the time with it either.

But let’s suppose you get reasonable value out of the card and then the Deathrattle triggers. What now?

This change in Hero Power suddenly in rather dramatic fashion changes the very core of the Shaman class. Is this change good? Well, the new Hero Power is undoubtedly strong but now you are less able to flood the board with small minions (which is usually the primary win condition of Shaman).

All in All, this card is complex and hard to assess because the Deathrattle completely changes the nature or ‘feel’ of the class.

If the weapon were a 4/2 I would label it as incredibly strong (5+, easy), but as a 2/4 I am sceptical that the weapon is going to do enough by itself. A powerful and new Hero Power 4 turns away is probably simply too slow.

In Arena, there is probably more ‘junk’ for you to swing into and kill. In addition to this the game mode is typically slower than constructed and the 2 damage is probably a lot more relevant (not only is it great for board control, my experience with Hunter suggests to me that 2 face damage is really good as well). In other words, you are probably going to get more value out of your shiny new hero power in this game mode.

Stonekeep

Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5)
Arena: Good (4)

Very complex card. Complex card are obviously hard to rate, so my evaluation might be really off.

The card has a lot of potential value. One thing I should start with is that I think it’s much better than the Shadowform. While it costs 1 more mana, you get a 2/4 weapon which can gain some tempo during those 4 turns (after all you pay 4 mana for 8 damage split between 4 targets, which is not that bad). You might say that when you play this card – you can deal 2 damage per turn for the rest of the game. Like with Ragnaros’ weapon from Tavern Brawl – you want to use the charges as soon as you can, so you might even attack enemy face if he has no good targets to hit.

In Shaman, the 2 damage Hero Power might be really big. And the important thing is that it’s not random! Shaman can combine it with a lot of things to get rid of mid game minions. He can kill something like 5/5 with Hero Power + Rockbiter Weapon or Fire Elemental. He can get rid of small drops. And he can even push for some damage each turn if he won’t do anything else.

What’s nice about this card is that it’s weapon-destruction proof. Enemy doesn’t really want to Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones it because he gives you the Deathrattle instantly. Also a thing that’s worth noting is that switching weapons would proc the Deathrattle. You might let’s say follow it with Doomhammer on turn 5 to change your Hero Power right away. Is it a good strategy? Rarely. But it’s a possibility.

The card is really slow, though, and that’s the reason it might not work. In normal scenario – you need 4 weapon hits for the Deathrattle to proc, so not sooner than turn 7. I can see it working in slower matchups, but I don’t think it’s good against Aggro. The game is usually pretty much over (either enemy is killing you or you’ve stabilized) before you can even get access to your new Hero Power. So it can work nicely in Control vs Control game.

The thing we also need to remember that Shaman totems aren’t actually useless. The Taunt totem might stop a lot of damage, the healing totem can put your damaged minions out of removal range, the wrath of air one obviously makes it easier to kill enemy minions with spells and 1/1 is… well… something on the board. It also removes the synergy with cards like Flametongue Totem. Not sure whether the slow weapon + the new Hero Power can outweight that.

In Arena it’s really good, though! The games are much slower. 2/4 for 4 weapon isn’t that terrible by itself – it can get some value. And the 2 damage Hero Power would be awesome. It would be so much easier to control the board – and if you do keep the board control as Shaman. The 2 damage for 2 mana isn’t even a bad tempo play and Shaman often suffers from really weak tempo. I think the new Hero Power is easily better than random totem, even if you have Flametongue in your deck.

Dreadsteed


Smashthings

Constructed: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)
Arena: Bad (2)

In most decks Silence is a valuable commodity, and so therefore silencing a 1/1 is not likely to happen that often.

Thus, this means that this card is a 4 mana 1/1 Demon that just never leaves the board once it played. If the game goes 20+ turns this its possible for this little guy to do a lot more damage than your average 4-drop.

For what its worth I like the design of the card, but what sort of deck does this fit in? Control Warlock has much more potent 4 drops (e.g. Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake). What about Zoo? Well, in Zoo I don’t think this guy hits hard enough; the Zoo player does not want to play a slow game (which is what this card needs). And moreover, since the nerf of Undertaker summoning a new Deathrattle every turn probably isn’t too valuable either.

If it were a 2/1 or 3 mana I would claim that this card was playable. At four mana I think this maybe too much.

But, to offer a cautionary tale I once dismissed Tinker's Sharpsword Oil as being a terrible card that was over-priced by one mana. I thought 4 was simply too expensive for the effect, but it turns out that and I was dead wrong on that score, Tinker’s Oil is (as we know now) most certainly playable.

So I don’t know, maybe – just maybe – this card is deceptively strong.

Anyway, In constructed I don’t think this will be playable (but I would love to be proved wrong).

In Arena it is much harder to judge… 4 mana, have a 1/1 for the rest of the game could be really useful, but my concern is that if an opponent curves out with their own 4-drop and 5-drop and you play this you may end up falling behind on the tempo race and struggle to catch up (due to Hero Power, Warlock doesn’t really need high value cards that generate card advantage, it needs tempo and this cards offer plenty of the former but little of the latter).

Stonekeep

Constructed: Very Bad/Bad (1.5)
Arena: Bad/Average (2.5)

I really like the concept, but it seems way too slow. The problem with this card is that the effect like that is really hard to balance. Make it 2/1 and it might be too strong. Let it cost one less mana and it might be too strong. But as it turns out, 4 mana for a 1/1 is really bad deal. Even if it sticks onto the board for the rest of the game, it’s gonna be more of a nuisance than a real threat. It can get back its value after like, what, 5+ turns? So only after that it starts actually getting any value – I’d say that it needs to stick into the board for like 6 or 7 turns to be actually good. That’s way too long. Tempo is really important part of the game and this guys kills your turn 4 tempo completely.

I can see certain potential combos, though. You can combo it with Anima Golem, so the chances you have a minion on the board at the end of each turn are pretty high. It’s a good Power Overwhelming target, because you don’t lose minion by playing it. Maybe if some new card will synergize with having a Demon on the board, it’s gonna be better.

Also, Silence just completely gets rid of your 4-drop. Yes, you can say the same about Twilight Drake, which is playable. But Twilight Drake is usually around 4/8 stats for 4 mana, which is crazy. And even after Silence it’s still 4/1, which means it can trade into something a lot of time. This becomes just a 1/1 minion for 4 mana. Bad.

In Arena this card might actually work out in some scenarios. The Silence is much more rare and games are generally longer. Over the course of a lot turns it might get some value. It’s definitely not a turn 4 play, though, unless you have complete board control. It’s too slow to just drop it on turn 4 – you’re gonna get out-tempo’d hard. And you don’t really want this when playing Warlock.

I like the design, but I think the card is too weak right now. I am however happy that this card is not strong. Playing against card like that with no Silence to answer it would be really, really annoying if the card was viable.

Enjoyed this article?



Playing Hearthstone since September 2013. Infinite Arena player. Hitting Legend rank on EU each season, with multiple high Legend climbs during the season and top 200-300 finishes.

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5 Comments

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  1. nircc552 says:

    i was sure alextrasazasasas champion is going to be very strong
    but after reading it seems pretty useless if you are not getting it early game like turn 1-3 with a dragon in your hand

    so far my deck runs 3 dragons and sometimes its not enough and my blackwings cannot be activated.

    but ! we still need to wait for other cards to reveal

    legendary warrior card next :) cant wait!

    • Stonekeep HSP says:

      When I’ve first looked at it I was also very hyped. But after some thinking I think that the card will be just average right now.

      But seriously, if they release some aggressive Dragons, Aggro Dragon Warrior will become next OP deck.

      And yeah, I can’t wait to see the pair of new Legendaries. Personally I’m more hyped for the Rhonin because I don’t like Varian as a character.

  2. Anonymous says:

    we still have yet to see a Unicorn

  3. Smash says:

    Btw way guys, I misread Cutpurse, I thought you got the coin by attacking anything, not just my hero. Ergo, my evaluation was too high, I think.