Card Name: Leyline Manipulator
Class : Mage
Rarity : Rare
Type : Minion(Elemental)
Cost : 4
Effect: Battlecry: If you're holding any cards that didn't start in your deck, reduce their Cost by (2).
Flavor text: The shortest distance between two points is a leyline. Elementals are very picky about getting their cards locally sourced, organic, fair-traded, and randomly generated.
Background information: In World of Warcraft, Leylines are channels of immense power that are artificially intersected by a series of anchors to form a complex arrangement in which the whole planet is draped. They exist all over Azeroth, and are sources of deep and natural magic. These lines are often harnessed for magical purposes.
A new card has been released for the new upcoming Hearthstone expansion: Kobolds and Catacombs. InvenGlobal is proud to present our exclusive card preview.
We hereby present… Leyline Manipulator.
Leyline Manipulator is a rare Mage class card. Costing 4 mana with a 4/5 statline, the Leyline Manipulator has defense-orientated stats. Even without a battlecry, it is a standalone and well-stated minion. Having the same stats as the Chillwind Yeti but a bit superior, the Leyline Manipulator reduces the cost of cards that did not start in your deck by (2).
This minion has a similar ability to that of the Rogue’s Ethereal Peddler, which reduces the cost of other class cards. There is a certain similarity when it comes to these cards reducing the cost of cards that have been discovered; however, the Leyline Manipulator has a downside. Because the effect is a battlecry, you need to have prepared cards generated outside of your deck prior to playing this card. It’s a special effect of some sort. If you do already have a lot of cards ready, you gain a 4/5 minion with an added effect of being able to play additional minions or spells alongside it.
Now, the most important question remains: what will be the best way to use this card? The first thought that comes to mind is putting this card in the Elemental Frost Lich Jaina deck. The Elemental Frost Lich Jaina deck aims to play an elemental every turn in order to trigger certain elemental synergy effects. However, it is extremely difficult to maintain a board with minions whilst clearing the opponent’s minions. With Leyline Manipulator, just like using when Blizzard or Flamestrike, a player can now use spells generated from Primordial Glyph and Shimmering Tempest with a bit more ease.
Also, cards generated from Flame Geyser or Firefly also have their costs reduced. This makes it easier to constantly trigger the elemental synergy without a mana cost. Because the stats of the Leyline Manipulator are so good, it also makes it difficult for the opponent to remove the minion. Leyline Manipulator also works well with Pyros. When Pyros dies and comes back to your hand, you can play Leyline Manipulator on 10 mana crystals and play the 6/6 Pyros along with it.
The second way you can implement this card is with Secret Mage. Secret mage can utilize Leyline Manipulator by reducing the cost of cards created by Frozen Clone, Babbling Book, or Cabalist’s Tome. By reducing the costs of spells/minions generated by these cards, you can easily chain cast/summon these cards in the late game much more easily.
Let’s say for instance that you get Pyroblast from Primordial Glyph. By using Leyline Manipulator, you can reduce the cost of Pyroblast even further. It is possible to cast Pyroblast and Fireball on the same turn for a total of 16 damage. Although unlikely, it is theoretically possible to grab 2 Pyroblasts from Primordial Glyphs. Reducing the cost of the Pyroblasts even further with two uses of Leyline Manipulator, you can theoretically deal 20 total damage in one turn. Of course, it is highly unlikely that someone would get a hand so perfect like the scenario mentioned above.
Lastly, you might consider putting Leyline Manipulator in Quest Mage (Open the Waygate). There are a lot of instances where you might have a lot of random spells in hand but not enough mana to use them all efficiently in one turn. You cannot even use Sorcerer’s Apprentice to lower the cost of the spells either. However, if you use Leyline Manipulator in the deck, you can cast the random spells you gained for a cheaper price and accelerating the turn count it takes to complete your quest. Whilst using the cost-reduced generated spells, you can also more freely cast Arcane Intellect or play Novice Engineer to draw deeper and faster.
Of course, it is still hard to assert whether or not this card is truly good or not. Mage usually has a playstyle that likes to have minions that can draw/refill their hands such as Loot Hoarder (draw cards) or Arcanologist (conditioned draw) rather than vanilla-stated cards. If you look at the current decklists for Mage, you can see that decks have Water Elemental in the 4 mana slot because these minions can have an immediate impact on the game. Mage tends to prefer minions with ‘okay’ attack and relatively high health. Replacing one of these 4 drops with Leyline Manipulator, it is unfortunate to think of that one possible time when you won’t have any randomly generated cards in your hand. On top of all this, removing certain cards from an already defined deck may cause fluency problems as well.
Even in Elemental mage (which the card is most useful in), the Leyline Manipulator has to compete against the Water Elemental, which has better stats anda more reliable effect. The Leyline Manipulator also has to compete with Steam Surger. Steam Surger allows further triggers on elemental effects whilst also providing an additional offensive spell and a Flame Elemental.
Despite all this, it can also be said that there is still some potential of use for the Leyline Manipulator. This is because as of now, there are newly-revealed cards (new Elementals and spells) that synergize well with Leyline Manipulator.
Every time you play 2 Elementals, you can upgrade the Lesser Ruby Spellstone to a better version. This will help with the creation of spells throughout the late game. The newly revealed card ,Arcane Tyrant, can be summoned for free if you cast a spell that costs (5) or more. This can further help synergize with the utility from the Leyline Manipulator. One of the biggest weaknesses for Elemental Mage was the lack of board control prior to turning to Frost Lich Janna. Thanks to the combo of low cost summonable minions (4-4 minion) alongside the created spells from Lesser Ruby Spellstone, Elemental Mage can now control the board with ease. If more cards are revealed to have components of either created spells or synergistic aspects with the Leyline Manipulator, the importance of adding the Leyline Manipulator into Elemental Mage will increase.
Although it is clear that Leyline Manipulator’s effect is lesser than that of Emperor Thaurissan’s (Reduces the cost of each card in your hand by 1 or more!), cards that reduce the mana cost of other cards are always high in utility. As much as we see new cards being revealed that can synergize with Leyline Manipulator, we can only anticipate as equally on how Mages will abuse this card in the future.