What an amazing kickoff by Pete Whalen and Sean “Day9” Plott. Some designs here just make you go, what?! Let’s dive right in and dissect the all-new cards from Journey to Un’Goro.
5.0: You are always used and crucial in a top tier decks of the Standard format.
4.0: You are very prevalent seen in tops decks or crucial to a certain deck.
3.0: You are sometimes seen in top decks and/or important in middle tier decks.
2.0: You might see play in some niche decks or lower tier decks.
1.0: You see little to no competitive play.
0.0: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA. No.
Tech: A special rating for cards that counters a certain meta and/or cards
Disclaimer: The ratings in this article is tentative as the whole set is not seen yet.
Arena: 0 (but if you wanna have fun)
This card will fill your deck with one mana spells that say “Discover a card”, aka build your deck as you play. We are definitely going to get a tavern brawl out of this. What makes this card bad is the additional mana cost you have to pay. You are paying a 2 mana tax towards Explore Un’Goro and then a 1 mana tax for each card you discover. One niche application is that it can be an Elise Starseeker replacement. Elise had a role in Control decks to replace its myriad of control spells for minions. But Explore Un’Goro is still kind of bad because it doesn’t replace your hand. In Arena, what kind of terrible deck did you draft that you need to replace your entire deck?
This is a nice combination of ability. Taunt allows you to defend the minion you want to pass the Deathrattle effect too. It is an additional minion for the Priest Amara quest deck. N’Zoth deck plays Infested Tauren since it was the only cheap Deathrattle with Taunt. This card is quite comparable It has potential as a midrange Twilight Guardian replacement.
Arena: 1 (but in the right deck…5)
Ohhhhh, discard quest! Once you run out of cards, you can get infinite value. Nether Portal is a 5 mana spell which creates a portal on the field with “At the of each of your turn, summon two 3/2 imps”. What madness! Control deck gets wrecked!
You wouldn’t have enough removal against endless imps. There is also no way to interact with the portal. A portal can’t be targeted and doesn’t take damage. This is a huge threat to the viability to control decks. Still, the question how easy it is to discard 6 cards? The issue with random discarding in Hearthstone is that you might discard other cards with discard effects. Then it makes it even harder to complete the question. Still, with powerful discard cards like Soulfire, Doomguard and Malchezaar’s Imp in the meta, this card has a real chance to revolutionize the meta.
Another taunt. Seem like Blizzard wants to make sure aggro kept in check. This makes sense as quests take some time to cash out on. Discard two cards is a heavy cost but also does a big deal in advancing Lakkari Sacrifice. This is a huge road block that is very hard for Pirate Warriors to break through. More taunts will mean Aggro Rogue might start running Sap again. But even if they do, the second time you might not discard anything because you have no cards left.
In a full Secret Mage, Arcanologist curves directly into Kiran Tor Mage and gives you a secret to boot. This card works very well in the gameplay of those decks, in that you can mulligan away your secrets in your opening hand, but still have access to them later. In Reno decks (or should we just call them Kazakus decks hmm…), you can just run one Arcanologist and one Counterspell and use that small package to counter or delay your opponent with the right time.
Elise the Trailblazer
The effect means to shuffle a 2 mana “Add 5 cards to your hand” into your deck Yes baby. Control decks once again fall in love with Elise. With this “pack” you are guaranteed epic and have a better chance to draw a legendary card. It also seems like you can get cards from any class. Also as a 5 drop, it fits right in the void that Azure Drake would be. Not sure if Control is going to be competitive in the meta with Jade Golem still being a strong deck, but Elise is sure to be a key player in those deck.
Now, this is a clear show that Blizzard knows that Pirates can be an issue. This card is very strong. It is low cost to come out early on the curve to deal with early aggression but also has the strong effect to deal with any size Pirate. I love how this card remains me of Hungry Crab. Against the Water decks that run both the Pirate and Murloc package, you can run full crab counters!
Swamp King Dred
This card has the rare ability to be able to interact during your opponent’s turn. Is this Hunter’s King. 7? 9/9 for 7 is nicely above the stat curve and is immensely intimidating right after Savanna Highmane. Swamp King Dred will slot in Midrange Hunter (especially when Ragnaros rotates out of Standard). However, there is a weakness to this card. The king has attack the minion your opponent plays. In a way, you just gave your opponent’s minions charge. A poisonous minion will instantly bring down King Dred. Powerful legendary, but Hunter needs more to bring it back into the meta.
Sherzain, Corpse Hunter
It is interesting that this is the first attempt at Blizzard to make a graveyard effect. Blizzard is taking in the consideration that since the majority of the cards in the graveyard is not relevant anymore, it is better to just have the card go dormant on the field. This way there is a reminder for the player that this minion can still be a threat. This is a card for Rogue gain some longevity against control decks. But the recursion effect is really hard to consistently do. The first and second time might be easy but you will run out of steam quickly. Perhaps there is a deck here with Shadowcaster or Thistle Tea.
At first chance, it seems like a well-designed card that is made to help the midrange and control decks against an aggro deck. It has the high health to protect you and certain the aggressive deck will lose their early minions on the trade. But what if the aggro deck ran this card themselves to protect there own minions? Zoolock, I think it is time to come back.
So with a Stonetusk Boar, you can get a 9 mana 10 damage burst. Is this going to be Pyroblast in Paladin? Burst is something Paladins has been missing. Having extra reach is a good way for a deck to win games from a behind position. This might be able enough to fit the bill for aggro or midrange Paladin decks. Paladins are going to need a lot more to see play this meta.
With just eleven cards, Blizzard is trying to paint the picture that they know that Aggro Pirate is an issue in the certain meta. That is why three possibly viable Taunts were revealed and one straight-up Pirate Warrior killer. I do think Pirate Warrior is going to be as competitive in the new meta. Golakka Crawler is just too strong at any point of the game. Now Blizzard just needs a card to deal with Jade Golems. Super excited to see what new cards awaits us in Un’Goro Crater, released early April!