Welcome to Hearthstone’s League of Explorers Adventure Set Review. I will be looking over the cards as they are release and going over their place in constructed meta and in arena. Keep in mind that these are my thoughts and my initial impression on the card. The meta will reveal all in time. That being said, lets just all have fun discovering new decks with these amazing cards.
A breakdown of the cards to see:
Total: 45 (Most of any adventure)
Class: 27 (Two common, one rare for each class)
The cards would be discussed in the order of the wings that they are from.
Starting the Adventure
This adventure, you get two cards immediately if you pre-purchase the adventure. You also get them once you purchase the first win with gold. Every explorer is going to need there hat and torch.
A recurring spell is a very powerful mechanic because it guarantees that something you can do with your mana. It is sort of acting like giving a hero power to Hunter without taking away the original hero power. Maybe it could be find a place in Control Hunter, where you rather be using your mana to play this rather than pinging for 2 damage. A drawback with this card is that it is the effect is a deathrattle, meaning that it is slow to combo with Lock and Load. You can copy the hat with Feign Death and Echoing Ooze, and then get a ton of hats and play HandHunter and then profit? This card requires interesting deck building, but it would be safe to guess it is going to be a gimmick.
The Forgotten Torch offers a little less power on the front end for the hope of some additional power later. It can be a potential delayed 2 for 1. The deck that might want to use this card is Control/Freeze. In Freeze Mage, Fireball is usually never played until it is forced to or it can go for the win. Yet Forgotten Torch can kill something when used early on, and then later on the Roaring Torch can be drawn for burn or remove a bigger threat.
Temple of Osiris
Discover is ability to choose one of three cards, of which are cards are normally available to that class, and then add it to your hand. Jeweled Scarab function very similarly to Novice Engineer. In comparison, it is a worse Novice Engineer in constructed (Because any card in your deck should be better for your game plan than a random three cost cards) and a better Novice Engineer in arena (where it helps you curve out). Still Novice Engineer isn’t highly used in either format so this card is probably not going to as well, as it is not much better.
A minion that benefit if you are playing buffs. If you have another minion, you can have two copies of your Blessing of Kings or Seal of Light. Very good card for the buff-based decks since it mitigates the drawback of putting all your eggs in one basket and grants you a lot of value. Still getting the effect of Djinni off is like doing a 3 card combo. That sort of reliance is always going to be a drawback for buff-based decks. In arena, the stats are very good on a 5 drop and maybe you can get the effect off once or twice.
Amazing card for the Taunt warrior deck (Honestly makes me wonder if I rather play this card or Huffer). I wouldn’t even be that sad if it got pick off by Big Game Hunter, since hey at least the effect triggered once. For normal warriors, it wouldn’t make the cut, because Dr.Boom is much better and there isn’t room/reason to run another 7 drop for a threat. It is also a great pick up for Warrior in arena.
This card poised the question of how much stats can I remove off the base but given it in Deathrattle while still making the card good. In constructed, it isn’t very good, because there are too many tools for board control that makes it easier for opponents to play around the Deathrattle, manipulating the timing for it doesn’t trigger on a minion. However in arena, there is more leeway for a card like this to shine, especially for Paladin or Shaman
The Grand Summoner Competition Tavern Brawl on a card. Fun to play with friends, but the cost and useless body keeps it from competitive play.
For arena, a minion can replace itself is great, especially since it is a warlock minion. Warlocks don’t have that many minions with upside. Would this card make the zoo deck of constructed? Nah I am not worried about running out of cards in Warlock, due to the Hero Power. Rather I want Deathrattle that keep up the tempo, such as by summoning creatures on the field. It can fetch a spell which can be very good, but Warlock spells are also situational due to their drawbacks.
Flamewaker proved that this sort of effect (X input, random damage output) is very potent. Yet the issue lies in the cost of the card. Smaller costing cards combo better together. Four cost makes it a bit awkward but the high health helps it stick around. You really want some cheap battlecries to get multiple triggers but you also don’t want to lower the overall quality of your deck. Good cards to consider could be Earthern Ring Farseer, Tuskarr Totemic, Echoing Ooze, and later on Fire Elemental. I can’t wait to experiment with the new Brann Bronzebeard (which we will get to later).
Not a very easy trigger to activate. In fact, it does nothing against certain decks playing Control. Against aggressive decks, if it has gotten to the state where they can freely play their fourth minion on you, the game isn’t really in your favor anyway and this card doesn’t stabilize your board that well. Yet, one mana kill a creature is a lot of value if it did trigger. And considering how good Mysterious Challenger, I wouldn’t be surprised if some variants ran one copy of it. The fact it even exist means that people have to play around it now.
At whatever the cost, just give me power! Ancient Shade fits best in an aggro deck, where you really care about the attack power over the health. And in fact, you don’t care about the drawback because you have the chance to end the game before you draw it. It can be killed Big Game Hunter, but I rather my opponent on this than any other target. It might see play in aggro Druid in place of Savage Combatant. Imagine, thanks to the early ramp, you play turn 3 Ancient Shade, follow by turn 4 Fel Reaver. That is a lot of pain. Still it is 4 health and Piloted Shredder is a still the most common 4 drop. That might be enough to keep it from seeing any play. In Arena, I will definitely pick it if I need a 4 drop. The damage from the drawback might never come so it is a small risk to take. Also 7 attack is very good against all the 5 mana 4/6 that people draft often.
So decks that want the full is a control deck. The effect is likely to trigger because by the time you want to play Reno Jackson, you probably played the first copy of the few duplicates. However, you give up quite a bit by not having two of every important removal spell. Very interested to see if someone can figure out a control decklist with this card cause then you will be seeing cards that usually don’t get played (Crush in Warrior?). Instant addition in the all legendary decks. In arena, you are usually going to end up with a mismatch of cards so it pretty good.
Basically for every point of Overload that your card has, Tunnel Trogg gains +1 attack. Not bad for an aggressive one drop. Tunnel Trogg is good enough just gaining two or three attacks because that already exceeds expectations of a 1 mana card. It is just that I don’t believe an aggro shaman deck that uses Overload heavily is very good. Overload works against your ability to continue adding pressure.
6 attack allows Ethereal Conjurer to trade with many other minions, but 3 health means it also dies to many as well. The drawback of having 3 health is needed, when you have the card advantage of having a spell in your hand. Imagine you trade it against an opposing Sludge Belcher. Your opponent is left with a 1/2 minion with Taunt and you have a spell in your hand. And this spell is the one that you picked out best for the situation. Mage spells, in general, are pretty efficient. In arena, this minion is pure value.
Mounted Raptor is very comparable to harvest golem. At times you can trade with a 3/3 and the 1 drop you get from the Deathrattle has good chance of being better than a 2/1. (Harvest golem still be good in mech decks). I can see it fitting straight in aggro Druid as a sticky 3 drop minion.
4 mana 3/3 draw a beast is very valuable. Tribal decks want to have as many minions of that tribe/race as possible for their synergy and Tomb Spider is sort of like two beast for one. Definitely think it is good enough to be play in Beast Druid or Midrange Hunter.
The new incentive to play Deathrattle Rogue. Imagine copying Nerubian Egg with this effect, creating a very sticky minion on curve. You can copy other strong effects like Sylvanas Windrunner and Sneed’s Old Shredder. And the good thing is that Unearthed Raptor is like a 3 mana 3/4. So you don’t even need to combo it for it to be good.
Simple but very good card. It gives the Taunt synergy Warrior has something to solid to work with. In addition, it is probably a good enough 3 drop minion that deals with early aggression; that it can see in other Warrior decks. In arena, hey finally, #ArenaWarriorMatters
If I had 6 other minions of the field, I probably going to win anyway. So there isn’t a need for such a situational card
Let’s start with a bit of history. Before Tinkmaster Overspark was nerfed, you were allowed to pick the target of its battlecry. This version proved to be very good addition in Paladin or Druid decks, since those classes lacked hard removal. Keeper of Uldaman plays in a similar role to Tinkmaster, you can either buff a Silver Hand Recruit or you can downgrade an opponent’s threat. Very powerful effect, in a highly competitive spot.
Feels overcosted for this effect. Hellfire, a Warlock spell that also does 3 damage to all minions, cost 1 less. But it is unfair to compare cross-classes (also Hellfire does damage to the players). So let’s compare to Holy Nova. While it does one more damage than Holy Nova, the heal trigger makes Holy Nova a better card, when you consider the combos healing brings has with the class as a whole. In addition, why do I want to give my opponent a removal spell? There is a niche case, where you are playing against an aggro deck and when you give them Excavated Evil, they don’t really want to play it since they are most likely to get hurt by it, and by doing so, you denied them a draw. Still this is very niche, and doesn’t have much of an impact, because they might never even draw said card.
Brann has reasonable stats for 3 drop with an upside. There is definitely combo potential with this card. Imagine Brann + Coldlight Oracle for the Mill Rogue decks. And especially since there are more Discover cards with Battlecry being introduced (Turn 3 Bronzebeard into turn 4 Tomb Spider), this card can just generate good value. It is going to take some experimenting to bring out this card’s whole power. It is important to note that you can’t pick new target for the new Battlecry trigger. So Fire Elemental for example is going to deal 3 damage to the same creature twice.
The Ruined City
Well now there is a strictly better Bloodfen Raptor but that is fine because no one played Bloodfen Raptor anyway. The card is good in arena, but not good enough to see constructed play, where Deathrattles are easier to play around. It is compareable to Flame Juggler, but Flame Juggler is better in a meta where it can trade with shielded Minibot and not die to Mad Scientist.
Tribal decks depend on cards with the tribal tag. Gorillabot help that synergy by providing that tag and another additional minion with that tag as well. This is a wonderful support to mech decks of all classes. Sure, it does depend on you already having a mech in play, but that might be so hard with sticky minions with Shielded Minibot or Annoy-o-Tron.
Whenever your opponent activate their hero power, you either kill one of their minion (5 damage is quite a bit) or you deal 5 damage to their face, both which is good for an aggressive Face Hunter. With Inspire in the game, activating Hero powers is a very common. Common activation, good effect, great card.
If there is a chance where a 0 1/1 can be successful, it will be in the Murloc, the most aggressive race. This gives rise to quick burst play with Murloc Tidecaller. Not an value based card but it is there for the all in
Everyfin is cool when you’re part of a deck. Once you have 2 Murlocs, it cost 5 and is thus comparable to Bloodlust. When you count in it can be even cheaper, it easily replaces Bloodlust in Murloc decks. In arena where the synergy can’t be counted on, this effect is not worth 7 mana.
Making it cost so much but allow so many Murlocs to be summon really pushes you to play it in a Murloc deck. But sir, you can just play it in a regular paladin deck that uses Murloc Knight? And I would answer it is not consistent enough if you did. 10 cost spells drawback is they can be dead cards for a long period of time and especially a card like this that depend on a history of events to occur. I would say I am happy to play this card if it revived 5 Murlocs. The cute thing is that you can summon Murlocs that your opponent had.
Sadly 1 health without any protection from Hero power or any Battlecry isn’t going to cut it in competitive. Also Rogue has Patient Assassin, which has the same effect and with stealth and Patient Assassin still see no play.
A very flavorful effect that fits into the priest stealing theme. I doubt Entomb will see play when you the likes of the Shadow Words and Lightbomb being part of Priest’s removal package. Entomb does makes the Control Priest even better against other control decks. So perhaps a player will bust it out for the tournament format
Naga Sea Witch gets the award for most interesting card in the set. Used correctly, this card gives late game ramp to every classes. It benefits only the late game ramp plays but denies the early tempo advantage gains from early ramping (aka turn 2 wild growth). On turn 4 with coin, it guarantees a turn 5 play. Can you just imagine turn 4 coin Naga Sea Witch into turn 5 Varian Wrynn? This is a very fun card for deck building and I can’t wait to test it out and see what the community can do with it.
Spell damage +2 is very interesting in Druid, which can benefit greatly with Swipe or Moonfire. The only issue is that it is symmetrical and that is very deadly. Paladin’s Consecrate now does 4 damage, Hunter’s Kill Command now do 7 damage. There is just too much of a potential drawback and there might not be enough of a reward to build a deck supporting this card.
I actually am excited to play with card in Murloc Shaman decks. You can trade in your more passive Shaman hero power for a more aggressive hero power like Hunter or Paladin. The best would be getting the Warlock Hero Power so you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel. Honestly all Shaman decks, that aren’t Totem decks, might run it to get rid of its unreliable Hero Power. In a general case, getting the Paladin’s Hero Power against Control Warrior is very good. In arena, does everyone just try to become a Mage?
Hall of Explorers
Constructed: Underplayed (Build Around)
Arena: Below Average
Elise sends the player on an adventure by placing the map card into your deck and then once you manage to play the map, you get a chance to search for and play the Golden Monkey, which turns all your remaining cards into random
legendaries. Well there is the innate issue. By the time it takes you play the three pieces of the puzzle, you wouldn’t have much of deck left. Of course it might not take a lot of legendaries to win a game, as most have very powerful effects. Still overwriting all your remaining spells can be problematic. Some say they can see this being played in Control decks, but there are many disadvantages in relying on a card like this as a finisher.
A neutral late game minion for arena. Draft it as just an 8 8/8. The beast synergy isn’t that valuable.
A very flavorful minion as you can imagine the three runts that topple over to become three separate units. There might be some application in a token deck, but I would feel bad about playing a 2 attack card on turn 6. If your opponent plays Cabal Shadow Priest, there would be definitely be a facepalm moment. In arena, there is a value in having sticky minions, but each is pretty easy to clear.
Essentially it is 1 mana draw a card, but there is a big difference. Tracking, a similar Hunter card, is very good because you able to filter through three cards in your deck and pick the best choice. But Discover pulls a card out from the game instead, which increases the chance of getting a useless card. I would almost always choose to Discover spell cards to filter for only for the Druid good stuff, and pull that additional copy of Savage Roar or Force of Nature. In arena, it is pretty good at fixing curve and getting you more options.
I am never one to shy away from using health as a resource, but taking double damage from any source just for a 1 mana 2/3 weapon is just asking for too much. Yet this card plays nicely into the low health warrior theme (cards that gain bonus if you have 12 or less health). Perhaps there is a place just yet. In arena, maybe it is worth the tempo. Risky pick
For 2 mana you deal 2 damage to your opponent and then maybe you stall them out of 2 mana next turn. That is just too weak for a turn 2 play. In the late game, it gets even weaker, as the opponent could get rid of it without worrying too much about the mana spent. In fringe cases, you can kill Freeze Mage through Ice Block but Freeze Mage is hardly a popular deck so Curse of Rafaam is not worth the deck slot.
Essentially this is pre-nerf Novice Engineer, 2 mana 1 /2 draw a card. Sadly, Deathrattle Priest hasn’t been a deck after the Undertaker nerf. Could this card bring forth a comeback? It does provide a turn 2 body to go into turn 3 Velen’s Chosen. And the Deathrattle minions that you can be very high value, such as Sylvanas and Piloted Sky Golem. Priest also can get away with not playing a strong minion on turn 2 because they have the natural inclination to go to the late game. In arena, I would be happy for a card like this, because it doesn’t die to Hero Power and can fix my curve.
So when no minions are around to see it, you can punch your opponent in the face for 7. It takes too much work to make sure Eerie Statue is the only minion on the battlefield to be viable. For Handlock, it cost too much to replace Ancient watcher. Ancient watcher’s cheap mana cost makes it more versatile to combo with other cards in the same turn. There is the potential of Wailing Soul decks, so it has fun applications.
I love the continued design to make the Rogue has multiple ways of getting the Coin. The Coin fits very flavorfully and mechanically into the class. It enables Combo and helps ramps. 5/4 for 4 with some upside are on the edge of viability in constructed, but are held back due to Piloted Shredder. What Tomb Pillager really needs is a pricey combo card with a big effect that could benefit from getting the Coin later into the game. In arena, it is a fine 4 drop that can help you curve out later.
In the Face Hunter deck, the camel lets can cheat out the Leper Gnome for more damage. In the Midrange Hunter you can get out a Webspinner, making it easier to play Beastmaster on the next turn. This is a good card that already can be slotted right into existing deck. In arena, the hype drops a bit, because you shouldn’t be heavily favoring one drops, but if you did pick up one or two along the way, then you can benefit some it.
Gameplay wise, Animated Armor functionally has Taunt. But it is better because it also mitigate damage from spells. Right now, it doesn’t synergize well with either the Tempo or Mech deck. This makes the Freeze deck the best deck for it. But given that the deck doesn’t play Senjin Shieldmasta, I doubt this card will see play there. Unless the meta changes to be very spell damage oriented, this card wouldn’t see play.
The final card of the set, Arch-Thief Rafaam provides a strong body on turn 9 but then a finisher Artifact on turn 10. The Mirror of Doom fills your board with 3/3 minions, making it look like the go to choice when you are against a control deck. The Timepiece of Horror gives you a way to clear your opponent’s board. The Lantern of Power is a win condition as long as you have a minion on the field. The Discover mechanic is very useful in this case to allow you choose the Artifact that best fit the situation. In a way, he plays like Ysera except that he offers all the power upfront instead of one card at a time.