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Rating  24

Contributed by

Stonekeep

Guide Type

Last Updated

December 15, 2016

Table of Contents

Most Underrated & Overrated Gadgetzan Cards (So Far)

Introduction


It’s been two weeks since the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion’s release. During those two weeks, we could observe a few changes to the meta, new deck archetypes popping out and, maybe most importantly, fit of rage because every second game is against someone playing Patches the Pirate.

Just like every expansion, community did their own card evaluation before everything was out. You could hear voices like “This card is going to be broken”, “nah, it will suck hard”, “I have graduated from the top of my class in the Card Rating, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Blizzard HQ, and I have over 300 confirmed cards rated.” You know, standard stuff.
And I have to say that this time around, community ratings were pretty solid. Most of the good cards were rated high, most of the bad cards were rated low. It’s almost as if we were all getting better at evaluating cards with time, right? However, there are some stains on the overall good evaluation. There are cards that people have dubbed “terrible”, but turned out to be really good and vice versa. Today I want to talk about those cards, the cards that didn’t quite meet the community’s expectations – one way or another.

Note: “Pre-release ratings” are based on the community ratings on different Hearthstone-related sites as well as general card reception of the community. We’re not talking about the pro players here. Also, I know that not everyone was wrong on those cards, but there is no other way than listing the averages – if 100 people said that the card is going to be bad and 10 said that it’s going to be good, the general community reception is still “the card is bad”. When talking about card’s rating, I’ll go with the HearthPwn “five options” of rating – “Meta defining”, “Very good”, “Playable”, “Bad”, “Dust it!”.

Underrated Cards


Let’s start with underrated cards. I’d say that the average of expansion was pretty high this time around, so we don’t have AS MANY underrated cards, but we can definitely find some!

5. Auctionmaster Beardo

Pre-release rating: Bad
Post-release rating: Playable

Auctionmaster Beardo was rated as one of the worst cards of the expansion and probably THE WORST Legendary. Which I fail to see why. It never struck me as a great, meta-defining card, but one of the worst? A lot of people were telling that it’s basically free dust, but even if you just look at the stats – it’s a 3/4 for 3 with a positive effect. Even if the effect is small, the stats might be good enough to make it up. Of course, you don’t play Legendaries for the stats, but wouldn’t it be convenient if you could play your late game Legendary as a 3 mana 3/4 in fast matchups just to not fall behind on tempo?

Then, the card’s potential lies in the late game combos. Playing Hero Power a few times isn’t a powerful effect, but it’s something. You can heal a few times, ping a few minions, maybe even deal some extra face damage. However, if you combine it with some other cards – mainly Priest cards – it gets potentially really powerful. With Raza the Chained, your Hero Powers are free. With Justicar Trueheart or Shadowform, they’re upgraded. With Prophet Velen, they’re boosted even further. Which makes Beardo quite a solid card to play in Reno Priest.

It’s not a great card, but I think that it was unjustifiably called the worst Legendary of the expansion.

4. Kabal Courier

Pre-release rating: Playable
Post-release rating: Very Good

People didn’t think much of this card pre-release. Me to, actually. I mean, I’ve rated it as average. While I knew that Discover is a very strong mechanic, the 2/2 for 3 stats seemed to be too slow. And I was kinda right, with all the Pirate decks running around, 2/2 for 3 is too slow. However, I didn’t suspect how good the Discover part can be. Ever since I’ve been running this card in my Reno Mage, I don’t remember getting to pick between 3 bad discover options. There is always something useful you can pick. I also undervalued picking cards from the other class – for example, a chance to pick extra healing from Priest or extra burn from Mage is quite high. Each of those classes has a lot of AoE damage, so picking a board clear is also very common. Not to mention that Kazakus is counted as a class card… for each of those 3 classes. Which means that you have quite a high chance to discover extra Kazakus.

The card turned out to be really solid in the Reno decks, I’ve seen builds for each Kabal class that run it. It’s one of those cards that seem meh on the first sight, but turn out to be really strong once you play around with them.

3. Jade Spirit

Pre-release rating: Playable
Post-release rating: Very Good

Okay, you see, I’m not surprised by this one that much. Jade Spirit is probably the worst Jade Golem card. While in each other card, the Jade Golem summoning effect is priced at around 1-1.5 mana, it’s priced at 2 in Jade Spirit (2/3 are vanilla stats of a 2-drop). I honestly though that it wouldn’t even make into the Jade decks, because there will be more Jade cards released. But oh boy, I was really wrong about it. Druid and Shaman got only 3 Jade Golem cards, while Rogue got only 2. It means that if you want to build a viable Jade Golem deck (not an Aggro one like Aggro Jade Shaman), you NEED to play Jade Spirit.

But after all, the card turned out to be better than expected. While it’s usually a letdown to play 4 mana 2/3 + 1/1, you often play at least one other Jade Golem effect before. Sometimes even 2. The card is still slow in the mid game, but there is one huge advantage of this card over any other 4-drop. Scaling. Most of the 4-drops are okay-ish in the late game, but nothing to really think about. There are some others that might scale well (e.g. Twilight Drake), but nothing comes close to Jade Spirit. After you’ve summoned a few Jade Golems already, Jade Spirit can be let’s say a 4 mana 2/3 + 6/6. It’s also very easy to combo it with Brann Bronzebeard, and now your 4 mana card summons 6/6 AND 7/7.

As long as slower Jade decks will be in the meta, this card will also be in the meta. Which I don’t mind, because that little thing sounds adorable!

2. Dirty Rat

Pre-release rating: Playable
Post-release rating: Very Good/Meta Defining

Okay guys, we’re getting into a bigger league. I’ll give you my example first. I thought that the card is going to be great, BUT only as a tech, very specific tech – to counter combo decks. So if decks like Maly Druid or, I don’t know, some Leeroy combos became popular – it would be very strong. But I didn’t think it’s going to see play without a lot of combo decks being in the meta. But I was really wrong on that one.

I mean, I was right about the combo countering part – that’s probably the best use of this card. However, it has some more uses that I didn’t think of. First of all – against Reno decks. Reno Jackson and Kazakus are both big Battlecries you can deny thanks to the Dirty Rat. Then, I didn’t think about the combo with Brann Bronzebeard and Mind Control Tech. If you face 3 minions, and you perform this combo, it’s usually game-winning. Then, Leeroy Jenkins is a pretty popular card in this meta and you don’t want it to hit you in the face – but if you can get it out on the board on your terms, a 6/2 minion is really easy to deal with. There are some other things, like playing it into the Doomsayer to potentially get a more valuable card out of your opponent’s hand (all you’re sacrificing is a 2-drop and you might pull out something way better) or the Dirty Rat + Power Overwhelming + Shadowflame board clear combo in Warlock.

And at the end of the day, it’s also a 2/6 Taunt for 2 mana, so it’s good against Aggro decks – not only you will usually pull something small, but there is a high chance that after a few turns, Aggro deck won’t have any minions in the hand anymore, making it a 2/6 Taunt with no downside.

This is the first card that lets you interact with your opponent’s hand and even though it’s still pretty random, it has become one of my favorite cards of this expansion.

1. Patches the Pirate

Pre-release rating: Playable
Post-release rating: Meta Defining

When it comes to Patches the Pirate, I seriously have no clue what people were thinking. Of course, there were a lot of voices that it’s going to be meta defining and one of the strongest cards in the expansion. But the final scores, the averages, turned out to be just “okay”, because as many (or even more) people said that the card is bad, instant dust etc. If you remember my reviews, I’ve said that Patches is insane, it’s going to be one of the strongest cards of the expansion and it’s going to make people play Pirate decks all over the ladder. Which is exactly what happened.

I mean, 80-90% of the games with a Pirate deck, it’s a free 1/1 with Charge and Pirate tag you’re getting on the board. Absolutely no cost, it’s like you’ve started with one minion more. And if it doesn’t work and you actually draw it before playing any Pirate, it’s still not that bad. In the worst case scenario it’s a Stonetusk Boar with a Pirate tag instead of a Beast tag, which is even better, because more relevant for the Pirate synergies. You wouldn’t put that into your deck, but you don’t instantly lose a game because of that. So, most of the time the card is insanely good and sometimes, sometimes it’s just meh. Who wouldn’t play that card?

That’s a great question, because as you’re reading this, people are thinking of a new decks to put this card into. I’ve already seen this card – and Small-time Buccaneer (which was surprisingly rated much, MUCH higher than the Patches) – in Pirate Warrior, Aggro Shaman, Aggro Paladin and even Miracle Rogue. Mind you that only the first deck has played Pirates before Gadgetzan (okay, Miracle did play Swashburglar, but not because it’s a Pirate). The other 3 aren’t even Pirate decks now – they just play 2x Small-Time Buccaneer, few other early game Pirates and Patches – mostly to get it out for free on turn 1, because it’s so insane.

Of course, one can argue that 1/1 with Charge doesn’t give that big advantage. And that’s true – it doesn’t increase the deck’s win rate by 10% or something. But even if it increases the win rate by 3-4%, that’s way more than enough to call the card broken. After all, it’s Hearthstone – 4% difference in win rate (e.g. 56% vs 60%) can be a 100 games difference on the way to Legend. And I’m not exaggerating it.

Honorable Mentions

Red Mana Wyrm – Rated 46/100 on HearthPwn.
Wickerflame Burnbristle – Rated 54/100.
Jade Behemoth – Rated 58/100.
Second-Rate Bruiser – Rated 61/100.

Overrated Cards


This one will be much easier. Generally, ratings of this expansion were mostly high. Which I found quite strange, because before it seemed that people were calling most of the cards, even good ones, “trash”. This optimistic approach turned out to be WAY too optimistic, as a lot of the high rated cards turned out to not be good in the end.

5. Pint-Size Potion

Pre-release rating: Meta Defining
Post-release rating: Playable/Very Good

It might have been because of the hype – EVERY Priest card was rated really highly this expansion, but it turned out that some of them were very overrated. This includes Pint-Size Potion, which was one of the highest rated cards of the expansion and second highest-rated Potion after Dragonfire Potion. And at the same time, it was one of the most overrated cards of the expansion.

I know where it comes from. A lot of people still remember the Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest stealing Ysera and other similar interactions. But what people don’t remember that it was pretty rare and Shrinkmeister was cut from a lot of Priest lists, because of how situational it was. And it was a 3/2 body in the worst case scenario. This potion has no body. Sure, it’s AoE (which matters only with a certain card I’ll be talking about later) and it’s -3 instead of -2, but since it’s a spell with no body, it’s even more situational.
Priests are the masters of situational cards and putting another one might not be a great idea. That’s why most of the players have decided to play more consistent Priest cards, those that will be useful nearly every game and don’t require cheese combos to work. And Pint-Size potion isn’t one of them.

In theory, you can run it with Cabal Shadow Priest to steal anything up to 5 Attack, you can run it with Shadow Word: Horror for the big AoE clears, you can do those things. But in reality, if you play Control Priest right now, you most likely play Reno Control Priest – with Raza the Chained and Kazakus added, there is little to no reason to play the non-Reno version now. And it’s really, really hard to play a situational card that usually works only if you combo it with other cards, in a deck full of situational cards.

The card is playable, I’d even say that it’s a solid card and it got into a few Reno Priest lists (e.g. Savjz was playing it for a while), but it’s power is nowhere near close to the initial ratings.

4. Hobart Grapplehammer

Pre-release rating: Very Good/Meta Defining
Post-release rating: Bad/Playable

Hobart was one of the highest rated cards before the release. On HearthstoneTopdecks, he was rated higher than Raza the Chained or Kazakus. Crazy, right? I really wonder why.

I mean, the effect looks good at the first glance, after all it affects your WHOLE DECK, but to really understand effects like that, you need to do some math. Let’s maybe start with a quick fact – most of the Warrior decks pre-Gadgetzan were running 2 or 3 weapons in total. Let’s even be generous and say that Warrior was running 3 weapons. Now, 2 of those weapons were always Fiery War Axe – it’s an auto-include into any Warrior deck list. You mulligan for it heavily, meaning that you have a high chance of drawing and playing it before Hobart (after all, you have two copies). So let’s even, once again, generously assume that you have played only a single weapon before Hobart on average – that leaves you with 1x Fiery War Axe and 1 other weapon.
So even in a good case scenario, this card would usually buff only two weapons. And buff only Attack. I’d say that realistically, in an average Warrior deck pre-Gadgetzan, you would see this card buffing only a single weapon.

But, people have tried it in Pirate Warrior. Did it work? Of course not. Even though Pirate Warrior runs a higher density of weapons, in reality it only plays 4 “weapon” cards (Hobart doesn’t buff weapons generated through other effects like Battlecries). Since your average game lasts around 6-7 turns, let’s – once again – generously say that you draw 2 of those weapons on average. Now, once again, with 2x Fiery War Axe in the deck, it’s much more likely that you draw and play it BEFORE Hobart. So in reality, you usually ended up buffing a single weapon with his Battlecry. Giving it +2 Attack, which means that Hobart was, on average, 2 mana 2/2 “deal 2 damage to your opponent’s face”. And I have to say that it’s not really that strong. I mean, it’s WAY weaker than something like . Sure, we could talk about best case scenario of it giving you let’s say 6 more damage in total. But then we can also talk about worst case scenario of it being a vanilla 2/2 for 2 mana, because you didn’t draw a single weapon.

Then, there are things like drawing more weapons but not having enough time to play them (because the game has ended), giving weapon extra damage, but actually not needing it (e.g. you use your 4 damage Fiery War Axe to kill a 3 health minion). If we calculate all of those things, on average, Hobart gets little to no value. You would need to play A LOT of weapons in a slow deck to make it work, because being a slow deck means that the game will be longer and you will draw more cards, more weapons = get more value out of Hobart. The only card that I really like Hobart with right now is – since it has 4 Charges and it’s a “fast” weapon, it gets a lot of value from Hobart. It can make clearing boards much easier. But then again, Control Warriors STILL play only ~3 weapons on average and they STILL don’t have a slot to waste on a 2 mana 2/2.

3. Kabal Lackey & Kabal Crystal-Runner

Pre-release rating: Very Good/Meta Defining
Post-release rating: Playable

I will pair those two together, because they share a very similar theme and were meant to be played in the same deck. Which didn’t work out. I had high hopes for this duo, Secret Mage was one of the first decks I’ve tried to make. But the deck faces some problems that are too hard to solve and I don’t think it’s going to be playable in the current meta.
I like to compare those cards to the Menagerie Warden from the last adventure. Each of those cards is insanely good on the paper, but when it comes to the game, they just fall short and are much weaker than expected.

It might be because of the meta (I obviously got rushed by Pirate deck and I couldn’t really help that), it might be because of the Mage Secrets (it’s really hard to pick the correct Secrets to play in such a deck – only Mirror Entity is the one that really fits it), it might be because we don’t have more Secret synergy cards (I mean, we have some, but they’re considerably weaker than those two)… But the deck is just pretty bad right now.

Shame, because I really wanted to play it. But there is still hope – we have 3 more new card sets next year before Gadgetzan will rotate out, so maybe, maybe we’ll get some more Secret Mage love.

2. Mana Geode

Pre-release rating: Very Good/Meta Defining
Post-release rating: Playable

One of the most hyped cards pre-expansion. Priest is finally getting a strong 2-drop, we’ve heard. This card will be auto-include into every Priest deck, we’ve heard. But let me tell you what this card usually does: nothing. I mean, it does something, it’s usually a River Crocolisk without a Beast tag.

So, when you play it on turn 2… to get extra value of this card: Your opponent needs to not kill it right away, he needs to play a minion that you can trade into without this dying, then you need to use your turn 3 to cast a Hero Power on this, which you often won’t do, because you’d rather prefer to curve out into let’s say Kabal Talonpriest (which is a much higher tempo play – you get 1 extra health on Geode AND a 3/4 instead of 2/2). Realistically, even if you heal it on turn 3, it’s really not likely that your opponent is going to play another minion to die to it.
And in the late game? It gets one-shotted by every mid/late game minion, unless you buff it heavily, but you’d rather use your buffs on some stronger minions instead of a 2-drop. And once again, even if you get some value out of it, you might spawn an extra 2/2 or two, which isn’t even that strong later.

And that’s the dream 2-drop Priest was going to get. The card is just weak, most of the time you’re playing a vanilla 2/3, tempo is very important. In slow matchups no one is going to play a small minion into your Geode for you to get value, and in fast matchups you can rarely afford to heal your 2-drop – you need to tempo out with more minions or you need to heal yourself later.
I think that Priest hype train has hit some people in the head and they were overrating each Priest card without thinking too much about it. In the last week (so after the initial deck testing), I’ve seen this card in the game exactly ONCE and I’ve played over 200 games. And it was clearly some experimental deck, because the guy was playing some kind of buff/Inner Fire Priest, which of course didn’t really work out too well.

P.S. Of course, the card is playable and there are far worse cards you can put into your Priest deck. But most of the time, it’s not worth a slot, even in Reno decks.

1. Madam Goya

Pre-release rating: Playable
Post-release rating: Dust it!

Okay. I was really surprised by people telling that Patches is going to be bad. But I have to say that this one surprised me even more. I’ve read a lot of opinions that this card is going to be strong. On average, the ratings for this card were average. For a card that is surely the worst Legendary of this expansion and might even be one of the worst Legendaries in the whole game.
So, imagine that. You have a card. It’s a severely understatted Legendary (let’s say 4/3 for 6 mana) with an effect that requires you to build a very specific deck around it (let’s say not play too many small minions or minions that are relevant because of their Battlecries), is very situational (requires you to have a small minion on the board even though you don’t want to play those in your deck) AND random (let’s say has only 30-40% chance to get an outcome you want). Would you play it? Would anyone ever think that it’s playable?

The only use I can see for this card is to play it in a deck like Astral Druid, on a 1/1 from Living Roots and then pull out something big. But first of all you need to play Astral Druid, then you need to play LIVING ROOTS in your Astral Druid (who does that?) and then you need to have both cards in your hand. Sure, great odds.

Oh, and you know what’s even funnier? Is that it can double screw you. Let’s say you have a 1/1 on the board. You play Madam Goya, it pulls out something meh, let’s say some 3/3 minion. Now, one of the cards in your deck is a 1/1 minion. And you’re going to draw it eventually. Meaning that at one point you will have a completely dead draw because you’ve played this bad card.

If this card would ever be played in a competitive deck, that would be one of the biggest surprises in my whole Hearthstone career. Honestly.

Honorable Mentions

Rat Pack – Rated 79/100 on HearthPwn.
Doppelgangster – Rated 78/100.
Grimestreet Outfitter – Rated 74/100.
Inkmaster Solia – Rated 72/100.
Grimestreet Protector – Rated 70/100.
Greater Healing Potion – Rated 70/100.
Devolve – Rated 67/100.
Pilfered Power – Rated 67/100.
Weasel Tunneler – Rated 53/100.

Closing


That’s all folks. Picking the Overrated cards was really a hard choice and I would love to write about some of the Honorable mentions – I still can’t get my head around how highly people have rated Grimestreet Protector, Devolve or Pilfered Power. Some of the other cards, I can understand, but there were a lot of CLEARLY terrible cards that people were overrating for some reason.

But I have to say that I’m pretty proud of the community this time around, because if we look at the overall picture of the card ratings, it was quite solid. There were a few slips (*cough* Patches *cough*) but I’d say that the pre-release ratings of the majority of cards overlap with how the card turned out to be.

And one thing I have to mention is what I’ve already added to the title. So far. Ratings of some of those cards might chance drastically depending on how the meta develops or maybe when some new, strong deck gets discovered. 2 weeks is still not enough for the meta to settle down. After WoG, it took people over a month to figure out how strong the Dragon Warrior is. And 2 weeks into expansion a lot of people still thought that Control Paladin is going to be one of the strongest decks in the game. If things change drastically, I might write another list a month from now or so!

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. And if you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.

Good luck on the ladder and until next time!

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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4 Comments

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  1. SuperUai says:

    I have to disagree with you in your honorable mentions about Rat Pack. The card is solid and very good, the problem is that Hunter is in a really bad spot due to all the very agressive decks running today (oh, the irony!). If you play against slower decks, you can see the real power of Rat Pack, give him time.

    And who in sane mind would vote Madam Goya as playable?

    Dirty Rat shows us that we, as community, are still too naive about card games. Whoever has a Magic background could see on spot that Dirty Rat would be an absurd bomb. Forcing players to make an unwanted play is an absurd advantage. And the “poor unlucky me” line of thought also makes harder evaluating a card, just as it did with Yogg-Saron.

    Overall, really nice list!

    • Stonekeep says:

      I’ve mentioned it in the article, but I’m rating the cards right now – in the current meta. Rat Pack is a weak card right now, but once Hunter gets more strong cards, it might get much better. Or might not – if the meta won’t slow down and the Buff Hunter won’t take off, even a strong on paper card like Rat Pack might not see any play at all.

      Yes, I was wondering the same. Some people were actually thinking that the card is really strong. I guess the “think only about the best case scenario” mentality is showing. For the same reason, I read that some people called Noggenfogger a good, playable card and a “neutral Ice Block” (say what?).

      Most of people have though about the card’s value when played on curve – which honestly sucks (most of the time it’s not worth it to play it on turn 2, you can get punished so easily). But not many have thought about the card as about a “combo card” for the mid/late game, which what the card really is. I love the card, because it adds extra level of depth into the game – both when playing it and playing against it. When you play it, you have to read opponent’s hand and pick the best moment to use it. And when you play against it, you either try to reduce the chance that it hits the right target (by keeping more minions in your hand) or by using your valuable minions (like Kazakus) sooner and not being greedy with them (e.g. not waiting for the Brann combo).

      Thanks!

      • SuperUai says:

        Yeah, I had to say something about Rat Pack, because I really love the card and it kinda bugs me not seeing it as much as it should be played, but again, it is not because of the card, it is because of the deck as a whole. Playing Rat Pack or something else in the deck, won’t make any difference right now.

        Yes, I still can not understand why the hell would someone play Dirty Rat on curve! Even Deathlord should not be played on curve on some games. Even against aggro decks, I don’t think Dirty Rat on curve is a good call. The card is amazing, the problem is the people playing it.