This week, we look at the latest group of new cards revealed in preparation for the release of the Journey to Un’Goro expansion. The frequency of card reveals has increased, so there are a lot of cards to cover. Hunter and Priest have received some exciting new additions while the current top-tier decks may have finally met their ultimate counter.
Mirage Caller has obvious synergies with Deathrattle minions and its text specifically mentions that it “summons” a 1/1 copy of a friendly minion you want. This means that it can be used to help finish the legendary priest quest, Awaken the Makers. However, a 3 mana 2/3 that only sometimes gets the free 1/1 (making it worth the 3 mana investment) might not make it into every priest deck.
ⓐ Mirage Caller requires another friendly minion to already be on the board, which means the most important cards it combos with is 1 or 2 mana creatures with triggered abilities, Divine Shield, Taunt, and of course, Deathrattle.
ⓑ The ideal target of this Battleground is something like an on curve Loot Hoarder or Crystalline Oracle.
ⓒ There is combo potential for this card, as it can duplicate cards like Prophet Velen and Malygos for huge burst potential.
ⓓ This card will likely only see play in decks that are trying to do unfair things and win off max value. This is weak card if the Priest is going 2nd and can’t keep a minion on the board until turn 3.
Glacial Shard is a deceptively strong card. It’s stat line is acceptable for a one mana minion, however it’s Elemental typing and Battlecry are both above average. Zoolock style decks and aggressive tempo decks will be glad to include this card, as it’s Battlecry swings the damage race in Glacial Shard’s favor.
ⓐ Comparing this card to Abusive Sergeant seems fair, although 2+ attack is much more versatile than Freeze an enemy. Chances are if a deck already runs Abusive Sergeant, they might want to run this card as well.
ⓑ If an aggressive Elemental deck exists, it will be because of tempo cards like this.
ⓒ Glacial Shard is good when you are ahead but only average when you are behind. That being said, Top decking this one drop past turn 10 is much more useful than other one mana minions.
The reward for the Hunter legendary quest is powerful at any stage of the game, but getting there might be an issue. The cost of playing The Marsh Queen and activating such a powerful reward is the significant restrictions it enforces on deckbuilding. Sure, it’s easy to play 1-cost minions but it’s going to take more than including just seven of them in your deck for any sort of consistency.
ⓐ There will likely be two types of The Marsh Queen decks. The ones that play every 1-cost minion possible, and the others that opt for a controlling style of Hunter that tries to complete the quest without sacrificing deck quality.
ⓑ This quest has some anti-synergy built into it. 1-cost minions are at their strongest on turn one, but The Marsh Queen needs to be played on turn 1 for ease of completion.
ⓒ There is a real drawback to playing tons of 1-cost minions in your deck, so this quest must be completed to warrant their inclusion.
ⓓ Tundra Rhino is the first combo that comes to mind and likely the most powerful. Sorry Starving Buzzard, not even Carnassa’s Brood can help you become playable.
Tol’Vir Warden is a balanced card. It doesn’t break any rules or provide huge tempo swings, but what it does do is something Hunter decks have always needed: the ability to draw cards. The worst part about playing 1-cost minions is drawing them later in the game, and this card's Battlecry makes that less likely to happen by specifically thinning your deck of two 1-cost minions.
ⓐ Any deck trying to complete The Marsh Queen will likely include this deck. It solves multiple problems the deck will face and can ensure both completing the questing or starting a Carnassa’s Brood chain.
ⓑ Two 1-cost minions aren’t particularly useful on turn 5 or 6, and neither is a 3/5 minion without Taunt. As such, Tol’vir Warden might provide the extremely aggressive 1-cost minion Hunter deck a tool to re-fill and keep the pressure late in the game.
Lost in the Jungle is a unique way for Paladins to take control of the board early. Compare this card to Hunter’s Alley Cat or Druid’s Enchanted Raven. Paladin gets the same effect of 2/2 stats for 1 mana, only it comes in spell form. This is unfortunately suffers from lack of synergy with all of Paladins hand-buff cards, which is problematic for Lost in the Jungle as hand-buff Paladin currently has the most potential to work as an aggressive deck.
ⓐ Lost in the Jungle provides a unique way for Paladins to summon multiple minions. Combine this card with Small-time recruits to further specify the 1-cost minions you are looking to draw, while still maintaining a deck filled with 1-cost minions.
ⓑ Lost in the Jungle helps enable Sunkeeper Tarim and Dinosize, especially due to its cheap price.
ⓒ Like all 1-cost cards, this gets significantly worse when not in your opening hand. Paladins don’t benefit very much from casting spells like Mage might, so this card’s power is still dependent on further reveals.’
Crackling Razormaw is exactly the type of card that Hunter needs to warrant aggressive Beast strategies. Alley Cat is the ideal card to play before playing Crackling Razormaw on turn 2, as it makes it more likely that there is at least 1 beast around to Adapt. Giving a small beast Poisonous or a large beast Windfury are very powerful tempo plays that will routinely come up when playing this card.
ⓐ The best part about this card is it’s stats. Even if you fail to adapt a beast, it’s still a 2 mana 3/2, which is an acceptable play in any aggressive deck.
ⓑ This card is useful in the early stages and late stages of the game, however Hunter decks will need to prioritize beasts in their deck to justify this card’s inclusion.
ⓒ Cracking Razormaw helps makes the 1-cost Beasts you are forced to play to complete The Marsh Queen trade up in value.
The latest Warrior legendary provides a powerful affect that control players desperately needed. Blisteringly fast pirate warrior decks have been dominating the class for months, but King Mosh is powerful enough to upset the status-quo. This card is a huge tempo swing when combined with whirlwind effects and is especially good vs. Jade decks that look to overwhelm the board with huge minions.
However, 9 mana is not 8 mana, and there is a big difference between those two costs. A 9-cost minion has to do something incredible in order to see play. So what’s more incredible than destroying all damaged minions? In control Warrior, not many things.
ⓐ In the likely worst case scenario of King Mosh only killing 1 enemy minion, it’s still an ok card.
ⓑ As the popularity of this card increases, the more players will become aware of playing around it. The threat of King Mosh is a big part of its potential playability.
ⓒ Cards that Discover or draw a random beast are all a bit scarier thanks to this card.
Molten Blade is Shifter Zerus in weapon form. The inherent RNG of this card makes it not very playable for any serious deck, but it is fun and will certainly create some funny highlight reels and incredible lucky moments. It’s hard to justify this in a Warrior deck over cards like Fiery War Axe, but that is ok. This card is meant to be fun.
ⓐ If Blizzard really wanted to make one of these cards competitive, Molten Blade may be a step in the right direction. A controlling Warrior Deck may benefit from the increased number of options each turn, waiting patiently for Molten Blade to turn into the perfect weapon.
ⓑ Shifter Zerus suffered because there are more bad minions than good minions. However, since all weapon cards are class cards, Molten Blade on average nets you an above average card.
ⓒ It’s only a matter of time before we see Molten Blade transform to Doomhammer following by Upgrade x2 for maximum value.
Corrupting Mist has one thing going for it: Its low 2 mana cost. Corruption already sees play in variants of Reno Warlock and even Handlock decks, so it’s not totally unreasonable to expect some play from this card. While it may be tempting to compare this card to Doomsayer, on average it is much worse and not nearly as flexible.
ⓐ Corrupting Mist can only be played reactively, while Doomsayer can proactively prevent an opponent from flooding the board with minions for a turn. This alone makes Corrupting Mist a lot less flexible.
ⓑ Corrupting Mist won’t prevent much damage in the same way that Doomsayer does, but the tradeoff is it ensures the death of whatever Minion it affects.
ⓒ Players might think about playing this card late in the game for full value, but it is much more useful early on when trying to out-value face decks or midrange decks. It does stop the first wave of minions, but only after they have dealt face damage.
ⓓ Unlike Doomsayer, this card can be used ensure the death of all enemy minions while, on the same turn, you play a bunch of your own minions. This essentially forces the opponent to trade with your own minions or risk being way behind on the board.
A lot has already been said about Curious Glimmerroot and the consensus is pretty clear. This card is very powerful. Priest is quickly identifying itself as the class that can infinitely create cards by stealing them from opponents, and if Drakonid Operative is any indicator, minions that help do this become deck staples. Unlike Drakonid Operative, however, this card has no prerequisite to meet- you just play it and get an opponent's card. Well, maybe not that easily.
ⓐ That card will almost always be higher quality than a random card, which makes the guessing portion of this card pretty easy to solve.
ⓑ While there will be some amusing highlights of pro-players guessing the wrong card when they needed it the most, it won’t happen often.
ⓒ Mind Control Tech sees lots of play because its effect is strong and a 3 mana 3/3 is reasonable even when it doesn’t happen. This card’s effect always triggers and, as such, will be featured in every Priest deck.
If you had any worries that Pirate Warrior was still going to be a tier-1 deck, Gluttonous Ooze has you covered. In the same way that Mind Control Tech, Aldor Peacekeeper, or any other 3 mana 3/3 is still playable when its effect can’t be utilized perfectly, Gluttonous Ooze won’t destroy your curve if you can’t destroy a weapon with it.
ⓐ But when you do destroy a weapon? The tempo swing is enormous. Armor for free while also negating your opponent's mana investment is very hard for face decks that rely on weapons to recover from.
ⓑ This card likely won’t replace Acidic Swamp Ooze, as its two mana cost is much less restrictive against classes that don’t have weapons.
ⓒ The biggest weakness of these tech cards is when they won’t get value. No deck wants to play a 3 mana 3/3, but the risk is worth it if its effect comes into play often.
Mana Bind is often described as Mirror Entity for spells, but this is only halfway accurate. While it also benefits from an opponent who sinks more than three mana into it, it is much easier to play around. Counterspell looks to gain tempo, but Mana Bind is trying to gain value. However, playing around Counterspell, something everyone already does, also plays around Mana Bind as well, which is very problematic.
ⓐ Paying 3 mana for a Coin or some other low cost spell isn’t where you want to be in Mage. This card is cool, but it feels ultimately too easy to play around.
ⓑ Mana Bind will be useful in control matchups when it is played before the crucial turn that demands the enemy uses an expensive spell.
ⓒ Unlike Counterspell, Mana Bind doesn’t stop the opponent from doing what they want to do and chances are their deck makes better use of their spells than you will.
If you have ever played Assassinate at any point, Vilespine Slayer is the card for you. This type of effect is very powerful in Rogue, as usually it takes multiple resources to take down a large target. However, with Vilespine Slayer, Rogue can clear the enemies board while also putting minions on the board.
Just imagine this turn 5 play: Preparation into Vilespine Slayer into Fan of Knives or something similar. Mid-range and controlling Rogue decks will happily include this card in their decks for big tempo swings.
ⓐ Destroying a minion will always be an important thing to do. The weakness of Assassinate has always been its inability to simultaneously pressure the opponent. Vilespine Slayer provides a 3/4 body to help alleviate this issue.
ⓑ Shadow Step and multiple return-to-hand affects is awesome with Vilespine Slayer and can help a Rogue deck exhaust the opponent of their threats.
Volcanosaur will make a good Arena card, but likely nothing more than that. For 7 mana, constructed decks require more immediate impact on the board. If we can value Adapt at roughly 1/1 worth of extra stats, than Volcanosaur is on average a 7-cost 7/8 which is better than War Golem, but that is about it.
ⓐ Double Adapt allows you to reliably find what specific effect Volcanoaur might need at any given moment to be useful. This makes Volcanosaur more flexible than other 7 mana vanilla minions.
ⓑ For every positive RNG outcome that Adapt might create, there will also be negative ones. This begs the question as to why any constructed decks would want a 7 mana minion that sometimes is impactful and sometimes useless. The answer is, they won’t.
Living Mana is one of the most unique cards revealed so far and it’s difficult to assess. The raw stats this card provides peaks at 7 mana (as there are only 7 spots for minions). You lose all of your mana the next turn (if the Mana Treant dies you get an empty Mana Crystal, not a useable one) but you likely have full control of the board.
ⓐ This card might be useable as the top end of an aggressive Druid deck that is interested in the tempo swing and damage it provides in the short term.
ⓑ Savage Roar in combination with this card provides 28 damage on the board. We all remember how powerful Druid can be when it can create lethal situations from now where, so while Living Mana may go the way of Astral Communion, some players will be drawn to the combo dream.
For more card reviews, be sure to check out previous reveals and their analysis below:
Review of the first wave of cards.
Review of the third wave of cards.
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