HSP reviews TGT: Druid of the Saber & Crowd Favorite
View list of cards released so far in this dedicated post.
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)
The first card – Druid of the Saber (not an official translation yet), was revealed on the Brazilian website – www.techtudo.com.br. The second card – Crowd Favorite – has been shown by Blizzard in the official news.
Druid of the Saber
Constructed: Good (4)
Arena: Very Good (5)
I love this card, so much potential, it’s good in many different situations, it’s a removal disguised as a creature as some may say. you can either “suspend” a Darkbomb “for later”, or kill a 2-Health minion from decks that are actually strong against Druids, like Zoo! This card is amazing and the fact we get 2 so strong 2-drops means a new breed of Aggressive Druid decks can show up in the near future!
In Arena there is no reason to not pick this over any other 2-drop in the entire game, it’s Common and comparing to other early drops this is probably the best Common 2-drop available, so whenever you need or just want early game defenses, this should be the go-to card to be picked.
Constructed: Average (3)
Arena: Good (4)
This card is an interesting one, it definitely will challenge our deckbuilding prowess, fitting these new 2 drops in Druid is going to be hard. As every Druid card with this mechanic (“Choose One”), this card shines because of its versatility. This card could fit into Beast Druid but that needs more Mechwarper-like activators that make the deck good. We can only wait and hope they do something cool with the rest of the cards to make that a thing. In Arena the stats and the added versatility make it above average for sure.
Constructed: Bad/Average (2.5)
Arena: Average (3)
Here we have a fairly underwhelming card on its own. Similarly to Anodized Robo Cub, this card would be useless in the current Druid, Stealth is a pretty decent effect for 3/2 minion though, since prevents it from being easily removed by weapons and cheap spells. Other than that, you need to build a strategy (Beast synergy?) around this card to justify its low value, but we should expect more Druid cards which take advantage of running Beasts.
Constructed: Average (3)
Arena: Good (4)
This minion is quite interesting. It’s versatile as its two forms act very differently. This versatility makes it good in a vacuum. Not very strong, but definitely solid in either case.
In Arena, this card will most likely be played as a stealthed 3/2 and this alone is very good and it will usually trade well and stealth is VERY hard to deal with in arena due to the scarcity of removal spells. This ability to play this as a pseudo-Bluegill Warrior is just the cherry on top, allowing for removal/lethal in a pinch.
In Constructed, the card’s lesser power becomes a bit more problematic against highly optimized decks. Additionally, Aggro/Token Druid aren’t dominant and unless some drastically powerful additions are made to Druid’s card pool will most likely remain that way after the release of TGT.
Constructed: Average (3)
Arena: Good (4)
To make the long story short – it’s either Gilblin Stalker with reversed stats or Bluegill Warrior. Neither of them is commonly used in Constructed (Gilblin is sometimes seen in Priest, Bluegill in Murloc decks, but that’s not much) – does it mean that added versatility will make them good? In Druid, I don’t think so. The card is definitely not bad – it can be put in Stealth to either combo with Savage Roar next turn or to guarantee a trade into something. With 3 attack it can kill the first body of Piloted Shredder, which is pretty nice. The Charge mode can be used to kill enemy small drops or as an additional body on the board for Savage Roar if you don’t have Force of Nature. This + Druid of the Claw + Savage Roar would mean 12 damage, which could serve as another win condition.
The card isn’t bad, but that’s the second 2-drop Druid is getting this expansion. Does the Druid actually need 2-drops? Right now, the Druid’s plan was to skip the 2-drop by playing Wild Growth or Innervate. It seems like Blizzard wants to change that. I don’t think this minion is better than playing Wild Growth then following up with a 4-drop on turn 3. But I think it can see some play – at least it’s gonna be tested. I think all the new cards can lead to testing Beast Druid – but I doubt it’s gonna work without any additional synergies (right now the only incentive to run Beasts in Druid is Druid of the Fang, which is definitely not enough).
In Arena, it’s good. Both Gilblin and Bluegill are not bad and when you get the option to actually choose between one of them – the card becomes even better. Definitely a good 2-drop, not much to say about it.
Constructed: Very Bad (1)
Arena: Bad (2)
This card is just bad, not much more to say. Dies to Piloted Shredder, Mechanical Yeti and Twilight Drake. Not only the stats are poor, the reward is also laughable – only +1/+1. This card could synergize with the deck like Zoo, but that deck has much better options, which isn’t too surprising considering that Crowd Favorite is terrible.
Constructed: Bad (2)
Arena: Bad/Average (2.5)
Blizzard has definitely learned on the mistake they did with Undertaker. This is also a snowball card, but it has much higher cost so it can’t start growing as soon as turn 1.
Let’s start with basic stats. 4/4 for 4 is bad for Constructed standards. Even the vanilla 4/5 or 5/4 aren’t played right now. So, if you judge by the starting stats, it’s pretty bad.
The snowball effect itself is, hm, not the best one. Come to think about it, there aren’t actually that many minions with Battlecry that you want to drop “just like that”. Most of them have situational effects, effects that you want to hold on until you get the best value. For example – most of the decks don’t want to use Abusive Sergeant just to deal 2 damage to enemy Hero. If you run Antique Healbot you want to use him when you’re actually low on health – not right away on turn 5 if you don’t have to etc.
First, let’s try to identify what kind of deck would want to run this. Aggro? Definitely not, way too slow. Control? They wouldn’t bother, there is no need to have a mid game snowballing minion in Control deck. Combo? Nah, you can’t really do any crazy combos with this card. So Midrange is the only one that it could fit into. There are couple of staple Battlecry minions in Midrange decks, the ones that you can use pretty much any time – like Loatheb or maybe Azure Drakes, but I don’t think that’s enough to guarantee the growth. The growth itself isn’t big either – getting +1/+1 in the mid game is not that strong. I mean if you get it to 5/5 or 6/6 it can trade into all the popular 5-drops and 6-drops, but if you don’t – it dies for free.
The important question is – whether it’s worth to build a Battlecry deck around this minion? My answer is: it’s not. For this minion to be actually even considered, I think the deck would need to run at least ~10 Battlecry minions. That’s a lot. At least right now. Maybe in the future, who knows.
In Arena, a 4/4 for 4 is not TERRIBLE. It’s pretty bad, but you can live with couple of below average minions. The Battlecry minions, luckily, are pretty common in Arena, because a lot of Battlecry effects are meaningful and minion with Battlecry is guaranteed to do something even if it dies without trading into anything. Like, even if Stormpike Commando gets swept by Consecration with the rest of your board, it could kill enemy 2-drop before with the 2 damage Battlecry so it’s not that bad. But since the early turns in Arena are mostly about trading 1 for 1 blows, the 4/4 is not likely to survive and you don’t really want to play it into let’s say enemy Chillwind Yeti (especially if you can’t ping it afterwards). In some scenarios it might snowball a little, but I wouldn’t say much. Even if it survives, you can’t reliably follow it with Battlecry minions every turn to make it grow out of control. Some classes can get +0.5 to the rating because their overall Epic quality is much lower and having to pick something “below average” instead of something “terrible” might actually be a blessing. If you draft a lot of minions with Battlecry – it also gets +0.5.
Overall, if the stat distribution was 3/5 instead of 4/4, I think it would be actually much stronger and had a lot more potential.