Card Name: Duskfallen Aviana
Effect: On each player’s turn, the first card played costs (0).
• She is an Ancient, the mother of Harpies, and mistress of the Mother Tree, G’Hanir.
• Killed in the War of the Ancients but resurrected during Ragnaros’ siege on Mount Hyjal.
• Referred to as Mistress of the Skies.
One of the new cards for Hearthstone’s new expansion, “The Witchwood”, is a legendary minion for Druids: Duskfallen Aviana.
Like the Hunter’s legendary minion from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Knuckles, it costs 5 mana with 3/7 stats, making it harder to kill than most other 5 mana minions. If this minion is in the field, players can use the first card of their turn at no cost.
It is similar to “Pint-Sized Summoner” which also reduces the mana cost of the first card played, but while that card is restricted to only minions, Duskfallen Aviana even reduces the cost of spell cards and hero cards to zero.
If this card is able to survive until the player’s turn, high-cost cards like “Ultimate Infestation”, “Malfurion the Pestilent” or “Tyrantus” can be played for free, plus cards worth that turn’s worth of mana. If the opponent is playing an aggro deck that plays many low-cost minions on the field, both offense and defense is possible by playing a strong minion with “Spreading Plague”.
Notably, Druids have cards like “Wild Growth” that give them more mana, so it goes well with the big decks because playing Duskfallen Aviana at the 3-4th turn is possible. The opponent may try to use a spell or minion to stop that from happening, but it’s stats (3/7) make for quite an impressive exchange.
However, Duskfallen Aviana has a critical weakness. The effect is applied to ‘each player’, and like “Pint-Sized Summoner”, the player who plays the card can’t benefit from the effect on the turn played. The opponent will gain the benefit of the free-card effect first.
It may not be a problem if the opponent is playing a low-cost aggro deck, but if they’re playing a big deck, it can become a major problem. For instance, the opponent could play a big card and kill Duskfallen Aviana with “Shadow Word: Pain”. Even if Duskfallen Aviana isn’t killed, one of the opponent’s high-cost cards being played for free is a big threat to the player - maybe more than playing nothing in the 5-mana turn, like the video below.
▲ If the opponent is playing a big deck, terrifying things can happen.
Then will this new card be used? Unfortunately, it’s not likely. There have been cards that aim for high return from high risks, but the cards that had higher risk haven’t been used much. It is quite clear if you think of why cards like “Millhouse Manastorm” or “Temporus” aren’t used and why “Kun the Forgotten King” is very useful in big decks.
Unlike the cards that can bring big benefits from surviving just one turn, even if the player plays a big card on their own turn, Duskfallen Aviana grants the opponent another free card, so the player would most likely need to kill their own card.
However, if cards that summon 5-cost minions appear again like “Firelands Portal”, Duskfallen Aviana may lead to some unexpected turnarounds. Although the ‘portal series’ will go wild in the “Year of the Raven”, if any cards with similar effects are added, we’ll likely see the Mistress of the Skies out on the field.
Anyways, the possibility of Duskfallen Aviana being used doesn’t seem very high. With the main cards needed to play archetypes like jade or aggro going wild, Druids need to be picky with their card selection. Still, there are plenty of cards left to be revealed, and we’ll have to wait and see if this card will be able to be a mainstay of big Druid decks.