Hearthstone Forged in the Barrens Spoilers
The Hearthstone spoilers season is just about to kick off with Forged in the Barrens! It’s the first expansion of Hearthstone’s Year of the Gryphon, and it drops this month. On March 30, this huge 135 card expansion drops, with new keywords, new mechanics, permanent changes to spells, Mercenaries, and more! It’s also going to have a mini set dropped later, much as the previous expansion did. I imagine that turned out to be popular enough to warrant it, so we’ll probably see about 20 more cards in a couple of months. It’s also important to note that if you log-in before the expansion drops, you get a free copy of a Legendary, Shadow Hunter Vol’jin!
He’s a Neutral Legendary for 5 and has 3/6 stats. His Battlecry has you choose a minion and swap it with a random one in its owner’s hand. If you have a minion you want to trigger its effect again, you can use this to do just that. It can also have you put something powerful (that the other player will have a hard-time re-casting) back in your opponent’s hand. We’ll have to see the practical applications, but I like this card very much in theory.
But we have some new mechanics to look forward to in Hearthstone. The new keyword is Frenzy. Minions with Frenzy will trigger powerful new effects after surviving damage for the first time. These creatures (for the most part) have more Health than Attack Power, but that’s not always the case. An example of this is the Razormane Raider. It’s a ⅚ for 5, and after it survives the damage, it attacks a random enemy. So you swing on something you know you can survive, then you get another free 5 damage on a target. It may not survive two attacks in one turn, but you can clear the board a bit faster using it.
Spells are also changing in the spoilers in Hearthstone’s Forged in the Barrens. This is a change in the future, too. Spells will now be classed into 7 schools and will offer extra synergy. Instead of spells just being “Spells,” there are Arcane, Fel, Fire, Frost, Holy, Nature, and Shadow. It makes sense, and I’m surprised this didn’t come about earlier in the game’s life cycle. This is due mainly to how spells are constructed in World of Warcraft itself (with Holy spells, etc.).
That’s not the only change to spells! Ranked Spells are coming! This will only affect certain spells, and it will be very clear. They will be listed as Chained Lightning (Rank 1), for example. These Ranked Spells will grow in strength as you hit 5 and 10 mana. The cost looks to stay the same too, so it will serve you well to hold them until the time is right.
Finally, there’s going to be a set of 10 Legendaries, known as Mercenaries. Each of these will represent a different class, and their stories will unfold across the Year of the Gryphon. I imagine these classed Legendaries may not stick to their class (so a Hunter Legendary working for a Warrior deck). As of this writing, there’s only one Mercenary revealed (Bru’kan – Shaman Class), but as they get revealed, we will make sure to drop them on you, so stay tuned.
Razorboar (2-Cost Minion – Beast): Surprise! Deathrattle synergy! This is a Deathrattle 2/2 Beast, that summons a Deathrattle minion that costs 3 or less from your hand when it dies. The downside here is if you don’t have a Deathrattle minion in hand when this comes around, it’s going to waste. Not a bad card for sure, and getting a card in play without mana? Love it.
Fury (Rank 1) (1-Cost Spell – Fel): Demon Hunter also gets a way to potentially throw a bomb and win the game in the Demon Hunter aggro deck. Yet another buff! Fury costs 1 mana, and grants your Hero +2 Attack for the turn. Rank 2 (5 Mana) grants 3 Mana, and Rank 3 (10 Mana) grants best of all, 4 mana. Sure, you’d love to have the game over well before Turn 10, but if you haven’t, it’s a great way to devastate your foe for just one mana. Slap this on top of your weapon and cackle as Real Damage goes through.
Sigil of Flame (2-Cost Spell – Fel): Are you tired of dealing with aggro decks, and need a tool to stop them really early in the game? This spell triggers at the start of your next turn. It will deal 3 damage to all minions, so your own creatures will take damage too. But if you’re running some flavor of Demon Hunter aggro, or your minions have served their purpose, you can blast the board clean. The benefit here is that you cast the spell on the previous turn, so you have the capacity to play minions after this is triggered. It could potentially put you in a brilliant position to take the game over.
Vengeful Spirit (4-Cost Minion): This is another card that could potentially pop up from Death Speaker Blackthorn. A 4/4 for 4, it has Outcast: Draw 2 Deathrattle minions. I don’t know that I’d want it to though because we likely wouldn’t get the Outcast trigger. Playing this will get us a pair of Deathrattle minions though, but unlike Death Speaker Blackthorn, it has no conditions placed on it. We could get any of our Deathrattle minions. It sounds to me like we have a brand-new archetype in Demon Hunter, and I’m here.
Kurtrus Ashfallen (4-Cost Minion): I like the Demon Hunter concept of “Board Positioning is key.” If you cast this as an Outcast, it’s going to be really frustrating. You probably don’t want to cast it otherwise though. This ¾ for 4 attacks the Left/Right-most enemy minions, due to Battlecry. However, if it also has Outcast (cast as the left/right-most card in your hand), it’s also Immune for the turn! So it can hit two enemies for 3 damage, with no damage coming back on him. That’s a beautiful thing to see. I can see him being viewed as “not worth it” thanks to the Outcast requirement, but with careful planning, I don’t think that will be an issue at all. I love this card, and I hope to see it used as a way to establish a serious presence on the board for Demon Hunters.
Death Speaker Blackthorn (7-Cost Minion): At first, I looked at the cost of this minion, and balked. However, its power is such that it cannot be denied. It feels like Demon Hunter is trying to be pushed away from only being a Go-to-Face Aggro deck. This card could help us steer in a new direction. A 3/6 for 7, its Battlecry summons 3 Deathrattle minions that cost (5) or less mana from your deck. You could, for example, summon Disguised Wanderer, Teron Gorefiend, and Fishy Flyer in one turn. It’s suddenly a terrifying board state that your opponent isn’t going to want to deal with. In N’Zoth decks, it could provide a lot of value. N’Zoth resurrects a friendly minion of each type when it comes into play, so we could easily just refill the board with powerful, devastating minions. No matter if this gets used or not, I love Death Speaker Blackthorn.
Razorfen Beastmaster (3-Cost Minion): I’m sort of torn on this one. It’s going to depend heavily on what other low-cost Deathrattle cards come with this expansion. A 3/3 for 3, when it dies, you summon a Deathrattle minion that costs 4 or less from your hand. So you have to have something set up and ready to go with this to make it valuable. I don’t hate the idea, but I’m not so sure it’s going to be amazing. In Wild Meta, it could be really great though, but I’m more concerned about the Standard.
Tuskpiercer (1-Cost Equipment – Weapon): Ready for another tool for DH Deathrattle? Tuskpiercer is only a ½ weapon, but its Deathrattle draws a Deathrattle minion! So it’s absolutely worth using, and I can see why. Certainly a useful weapon, and goes neatly with the new Demon Hunter strategy.
Sigil of Silence (0-Cost Spell – Shadow): If your opponent has a strategy set up that needs a turn to trigger, or they have abilities you’re going to lose to, you can use Sigil of Silence. At the start of your next turn, Silence all enemy minions! This is for 0 mana mind, so it’s even better.
Pride’s Fury (4-Cost Spell): This fits well in all aggressive/minion heavy decks for Druid, but giving all of your minions +1/+3 for 4 mana is great. Especially with all those obnoxious Taunt creatures we have, like the Thickhide Kodo, which is a ⅗ Taunt that grants you 5 Armor when it passes on. You also have Thorngrowth Sentries, which summons two ½ Turtles with Taunt, so it also will aid them. Solid spell and 4 mana doesn’t sound unreasonable.
Druid of the Plains (7-Cost Minion – Beast): This creature goes from a hyper-aggressive creature into a hyper-defensive one in just one easy swing. It’s excellent removal for Druid, even if it’s expensive. At least Druids can mana ramp. On top of that, it features the new Frenzy trigger. After this creature with Rush takes damage, it transforms into a 7/6 Kodo with Taunt. So you drop it, swing, and remove a threat, and now it’s at full health and has Taunt (and a 6/7 to boot). I love this card. Now, I don’t know if it will be in Constructed very much, but this could be an incredible Arena bomb, like Coilfang Warlord before it. I still think this is a really fun card.
Celestial Alignment (7-Cost Spell – Arcane): Here’s a card that has serious meme potential. In a Highlander deck, it could be a lot of fun. It’s a 7-cost spell, and it sets each player to 0 Mana Crystals. It also adjusts the cost of cards in all decks and hands to (1). There has to be a way to abuse this card, but right now, I just can’t think of any. It also helps your opponent. I think this is more powerful if you have a bunch of cards in and your opponent is just drawing into cards. On hand advantage, I think it could be an amazing way to win the game.
Plaguemaw the Rotting (4-Cost Minion): Remember how I asked if “Taunt Druid is coming back”? This card answers that succinctly. It’s a resounding “YES”. A 4-cost Legendary, Plaguemaw does the following: After a friendly minion with Taunt dies, summon a new copy of it without Taunt. Druid of the Plains creates a 7/6 with Taunt due to Frenzy. When that next 7/6 with Taunt dies, now we get another 7/6! Sure, it doesn’t have Taunt, but it allows us a whole new level of aggression in a Druid deck. We can use those Taunt creatures to force people to break through our wall, then swing as hard as we can when the creatures come back. I absolutely love Plaguemaw the Rotting, and hope it’s in so many Druid decks going forward.
Guff Runetotem (3-Cost Minion): This card will make those Taunt decks even stronger. Guff Runetotem is a 2/4, and when you cast a Nature Spell, give another friendly minion +2/+2. It doesn’t read as “random”, so you can pick the creature you want to make stronger. You can make that Plaguemaw the Rotting harder to kill, or the other new, Taunt-themed creature (Razormane Battleguard) stick around, so he can keep providing synergy. If we can keep creatures growing in strength, we can just hammer someone down into the ground. It’s a good day for Druid cards.
Living Seed (Rank 1) (2-Cost Spell – Nature): This is a card I expected to see in a Hunter deck, but Living Seed (Rank 1) is going to make some really fun times for Druids potentially. With the possibility of Taunt Druid coming back, we’re going to need a way to draw into some useful Beast cards. What better than a 2-cost Nature Spell? Rank 1 of Living Seed Draws a Beast, and reduces its cost by 1 Mana. At Rank 5, it becomes Living Seed (Rank 2), and Draws a Beast, lowering its cost by 2 Mana. Predictably, the third rank Draws a Beast and lowers its cost by 3 mana. It will be useful at all phases of the game, but this one still feels pretty powerful at Rank 1.
Mark of the Spikeshell (2-Cost Spell – Nature): This is why I think we might be steering towards Taunt Druid again. Mark of the Spikeshell is a 2-cost spell, and it gives a minion +2/+2. However, it gets better. If that minion had Taunt, you create a copy of it in your hand. Anubisath Defender says Hello! I’ve also heard people talk about Greybough, which is a Legendary with Deathrattle. It summons a copy of itself when it dies. Since they both have Taunt, they would copy themselves into your hand. I really love this spell. Especially for Taunt minions with other, exciting abilities. It’s looking very good for Druid so far.
Razormane Battleguard (2-Cost Minion): This is a card we want to buff and keep alive at all costs. Why? The first Taunt minion you play each turn costs (2) less! That’s why! It’s a very useful card to build strong Druid Taunt decks in the future.
Piercing Shot (4-Cost Spell): Nice, simple, to the point. Piercing Shot blasts a minion for 6 damage. All of the excess damage hits the enemy hero. If your opponent has no creatures, you can easily target one of your own weak ones. Pop it for 1, and the enemy Hero still takes the remaining 5. Just some food for thought. Even in moments where they have no targets, you can still make that damage click for you.
Pack Kodo (3-Cost minion – Beast): Ehhhh.. Too much variance for me in this, but it could be fun. A 3/3 for 3, this Kodo has you Discover a Beast, Secret, or a Weapon. There’s no telling what you could get from this card! I mean, free cards are always a good thing, but wow! That’s a lot of possibilities. I’m not that much into chaos though, but it’s got possibilities either way.
Kolkar Pack Runner (2-Cost Minion): At first, I was really confused by Hunter this expansion. The focus on spells is a little strange, to be honest. If only our Hero Power counted as a spell. This synergizes great with the new legendary, Barak Kodobane. It offers you a 1, 2, and 3 cost spell. This also means it can pull one of the new cards, Tame Beast (Rank 1). However, Kolkar Pack Runner rewards you for casting spells. After you cast a spell, summon a 1/1 Hyena with Rush. The more low-cost spells you can drop, the more aggressive you can be with these annoying Hyenas. Are we going to see the emergence of Spell Hunter? I kind of hope so. I’m a sucker for different concepts – as long as they work, that is.
Warsong Wrangler (4-Cost Minion): Here’s a novel, new concept for Hunter: Discover a Beast in your deck! However, it’s got a fun new twist (well fun for you). It also grants all copies of this minion everywhere +2/+1. If you get this with your Sunscale Raptors in full effect, you could really get some obnoxious ramp going. Since it creates more copies of the Raptor in your deck, you could use Warsong Wrangler to potentially buff them all, bring them out, and make even bigger ones in your deck. I can’t wait to see that combo pop off.
Barak Kodobane (5-Cost Minion): I like the idea of this card, but I wonder if it’s too slow. A 5-cost ⅗, its Battlecry has you draw a 1, 2, and 3-Cost spell. I think it will balance out more than some people think. There’s a lot of potential to draw some power in your deck, especially if you set it up to only draw the cards you’re after. If you only have one type of 1-cost spell, you should only pull that, for example. I don’t dislike this card, but I really want to see possible combos jump out for it before I leap to defend it as “Not bad”. I do think there’s hope for Barak Kodobane though. Could be fun to use though!
Tavish Stormpike (3-Cost Minion): This is going to be a card that frustrates people on the ladder because it will get used. After a friendly Beast attacks, summon a Beast from your deck that costs (1) less? Oh yes, that’s going to see use at all facets of the game. You could play it early and get some aggression on the board, or you can play it in the late game, when you’re casting bigger threats, to ramp more and more onto the board. This is especially good if you have Beasts with Rush/Charge. Sadly, this won’t turn into some infinite combo with Kolkar, and that’s probably by design. Kolkar gives you a 1/1 Hyena (costs 1) with Rush whenever you cast a spell. You’d have to summon a Beast that costs 0 mana. As far as I’ve seen, there aren’t any. So you have to plan for this appropriately. That said, I really like Tavish Stormpike, and think he can do a lot of good in Zoo decks.
Sunscale Raptor (1-Cost Minion -Beast): Dropping this on turn-1 is going to potentially be terrifying. A ⅓ with Frenzy, when it survives damage, it shuffles a Sunscale Raptor into your deck and it has a permanent +2/+1. It’s a bit awkwardly written, but the way I understand it, every time you cast the one you shuffled in, you shuffle a bigger one into the deck. You don’t shuffle this one, you get another one. Since it’s the same name, I imagine it has the same Frenzy trigger too. So, hypothetically, this could wind up really frustrating people, if you can keep drawing into them that is.+
Tame Beast (Rank 1) (2-Cost Spell): A new spell that doesn’t seem to have a typing, which is interesting. I have a feeling if anything, it would be Nature. Maybe it’s an oversight. I’m divided on Tame Beast, that’s for sure. At Rank 1, it summons a 2/2 Beast with Rush for 2 mana. At 5 mana, it becomes Rank 2, and summons a 4/4 Beast with Rush. Finally, when you have 10 mana, it becomes Rank 3. You get a 6/6 Beast with Rush. There are people calling it Trash, and that it’s not worth holding the card until you have 10 mana. I agree that Ranks 1 and 2 are viable. Maybe not game-changing, but viable. It also synergizes with the rest of the cards we’ve seen so far. I think there are value and potential in Hunter this season. One of the problems with card games is when an archetype never changes. When it’s always the exact same deck for the same faction/type every single year, that’s boring. I like this idea.
Arcane Luminary (3-Cost Minion – Elemental): Now this is a card I think is pretty interesting. It makes me think Deck of Lunacy was built with this card in mind. Arcane Luminary is a 4/3 for 3, and cards that didn’t start in your deck cost (2) less, but not less than (1). We can use Deck of Lunacy to make all the cards in our deck new ones that cost (3) more, and then tone that down with one or two Arcane Luminaries. We’d have to keep them alive to make the most of it. It’s an interesting card, but as of right now? Not an overpowered one (and that’s fine).
Wildfire (2-Cost Spell – Fire): I feel like this could easily be a must-include in any Mage decks. Especially now that we have cards like Reckless Apprentice, which fires your Hero Power at all enemies. Wildfire is a Fire Spell for 2 mana, and it increases the damage of your Hero Power by 1. You can cast it again to buff it further as well. You can use this to combine with Reckless Apprentice to potentially board wipe. Not too bad, and I can see it being viable in Constructed meta.
Mordresh Fire Eye (10-Cost Minion): Hearthstone is seriously pushing Mage’s Hero Power as a gameplay mechanic on cards this expansion. This is one of my favorite cards in the spoilers for Hearthstone’s Forged in the Barrens. This is a 10/10 for 10, and if you’ve dealt 10 damage with your Hero Power this game, his Battlecry triggers and deals 10 damage to all enemies. Should be a fantastic finisher for Mage decks, whether it’s control or otherwise. I could definitely see this going in OTK Mage decks too. 10 damage with your Hero Power isn’t exactly hard to do either. You just use it every turn you can and when turn 10 rolls around, summon Mordresh! It’s a Pyroblast for everyone! I am a big big fan of Mordresh Fire Eye, that’s for sure.
Varden Dawngrasp (4-Cost Minion): A 3/3 for 4, I’m torn. There’s a great deal of potential in Varden Dawngrasp. Her Battlecry Freezes all enemy minions. If any of those minions are already frozen, you deal 4 damage to them instead. In the late game, you can drop Flurry to freeze 3 minions at random for 0 mana, and then play Varden. That guarantees at least 3 enemies are going to take 4 damage and hopefully perish. We can use this to also make sure we can easily break down the enemies’ frontline of minions. If a minion is Frozen, they aren’t a threat. Therefore, we can use Varden as a way to securely win the game with Elementals perhaps. I like the idea of it a lot. We’ll have to see how she gets used, but I’m down with the concept at the very least.
Reckless Apprentice (4-Cost Minion): This ⅗ with Battlecry can and should be included in virtually every Mage deck going forward this year. When it hits the table, it fires your Hero Power at all enemies. Sure it’s only “1 damage”, but it hits everything, and makes Mordresh Fire Eye much faster to trigger. This card is a serious bargain, and I think it’s got possibility in every single Mage deck. It’s a great way to pick off weak/low-Health creatures, to help power up Mordresh’s Battlecry trigger, and way more.
Flurry (Rank 1) (0-Cost Spell – Frost): What an obnoxious spell! It, like a fine wine, only gets better with age. For 0 (ZERO) Mana, you freeze a random enemy minion. At Rank 2 (5 Mana), you freeze 2 Random Minions. Finally, when you get to the end game (10 Mana), you freeze 3 Random Minions. All this for 0 mana! It synergizes with virtually every Mage concept because we always want spells on hand, the possibility to control the board so we win. It’s a beautiful card, but it’s going to get annoying to see on the other side of the board, as it has no mana cost.
Rimetongue (3-Cost Minion): Oh boy! Freeze time! After you cast a Frost spell, this minion summons a 1/1 Elemental that Freezes. You use this, drop a few elementals, and make the best Freeze setups possible. The only downside is that the Elementals don’t have Rush it sounds like. They’re very easy targets, as they sit around and do nothing. If nothing else, they can be a ruse to distract your opponent and force them to react to the elementals. That’s a thought, at the very least.
Peon (2-Cost Minion): Another Frenzy card, its ability adds a Random Spell from your class to your hand after Frenzy triggers. As a ⅔ for 2, that’s already pretty solid. I could see this going into a variety of decks. This feels like another card that, despite me liking it, probably won’t see a lot of Constructed play. Peon sounds like it will be a hoot in Arena, though.
Spirit Healer (4-Cost Minion): Yup, this is being slotted right into my Priest decks, maybe other decks if we can get Holy spells elsewhere. Like Paladin, perhaps? This 3/6 for 4 mana grants a random friendly minion +2 Health after you cast every Holy spell. Now there’s a reason to cast that 0-cost Desperate Prayer, I suppose. I want to see this in Murloc Paladin, too, to just buff more and more Murlocs. Make them harder to fight, yes!
Primordial Protector (8-Cost Minion – Elemental): This is going to be a late-game bomb for a few decks I think. It’s a 6/6 for 8 mana, and when you summon this, you draw your highest-Cost spell. You then summon a random minion with that same Cost. You don’t need to have a ton of high-cost spells in the deck, just the few you would normally run. Just slot this in to guarantee drawing that specific card, and also getting a free minion out of it. It’s a late-game card, but I can see it being used in decks like Mage, maybe Druid, or even Shaman. It’s going to be a fun one to see blossom.
Crossroads Watch Post (4-Cost Minion): If we can get both of the current Watch Posts in play, it could be really annoying to deal with. Does this count as a Minion though? Does this get the buff too? This minion can’t attack, but whenever your opponent casts a spell, your minions get +1/+1. I have to know if this counts towards that. I like the card though, and would certainly consider using it in Druid Taunt, to make them bigger and bigger still.
Mankrik (3-Cost Minion): MANKRIK. And he’s looking for his wife?! I love this. I don’t know what his wife will do yet, but he is a ¾ that reads “Battlecry: Help Mankrik find his wife! She was last seen somewhere in your deck”. I can’t wait to see what she can do, but I feel this will be a very powerful, fun, memey card. I’m very excited about it, that’s for sure.
Blademaster Samuro (4-Cost Minion): Ahh yes, the Blademaster himself. This card takes me back to the Warcraft 3 days. Blademaster Samuro is a Rush card that also has Frenzy. As a ⅙, when it survives damage for the first time, it deals damage equal to this minion’s attack to all enemy minions. Give this card a buff when you cast it, and then decimate the AOE attacks.
Kazakus, Golem Shaper (4-Cost Minion): Personally, I think it’s time to move away from the “Golem” stereotypes in fantasy gaming. That’s another talk for another time though. Kazakus, Golem Shaper is a 3/3 for 4 mana, and when you cast it, if you have no 4-cost cards in your deck, you create a Custom Golem. It’s very specific, but it’s not the first time I’ve seen a card like it. So, here’s how it works. First, you choose the mana cost of your Golem: 1, 5, or 10 mana (making a 1/1, 5/5, or 10/10 respectively). Second, you pick the first effect for the card. You’ll be given three options, like in Hearthstone’s Discovery ability. You then choose a second effect, with three more random options. He’s going to be similar to the original, Kazakus from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. We don’t really know the effect she can have just yet, so we’ll have to just wait and see. But I like the idea behind it. You could really make some obnoxious cards from this. Just don’t run any other 4-Cost cards.
Kargal Battlescar (7-Cost Minion): For what it’s worth, I like this card. On its face, it feels slow, but to me, it feels like a late-game, tempo bomb payoff. A 5/5 for 7 Mana, you summon a 5/5 Lookout for each Watch Post you’ve summoned this game. Now, as of this writing, there are only two Watch Posts in the game. Crossroads Watch Post and Mor’shan Watch Post. They’re going to be threats to be dealt with, and in theory, you could get enough 5/5 creatures to just win the game off of this card. I feel like there’s going to be another Watch Post card though, to possibly make Watch Post decks. It could also be used with Barrens Blacksmith, which gives your other minions +2/+2. Very curious to see how this gets played.
Horde Operative (3-Cost Minion): This card is designed to help you deal with Secrets. If you know that’s what you’re going to be playing into, having Horde Operative will be a godsend. It Copies your opponent’s Secrets and puts them into play for you. Your foe will still have those Secrets, mind. But now you know exactly what triggers them and can play safer, preventing the opponent from getting to use them at a critical time. I really like this card, but I don’t know if it’s safe to slot into a bunch of decks. I’d hate to waste the slot on something and my opponent isn’t using secrets. Maybe it couldn’t hurt to just throw one copy into a few decks, just in case.
Mor’shan Watch Post (3-Cost Minion): These Watch Posts remind me a lot of Walls in MTG Arena. Can’t attack, but generally speaking useful. This is a ⅗ Watch Post, and it also cannot attack. After your opponent plays a minion, you also summon a 2/2 Grunt. You’re never out of creatures as long as your opponent is aggressive with their creature play. We can practically throw these 2/2s at whatever we want.
Invigorating Sermon (4-Cost Spell – Holy): This is exactly what Murloc Paladin needs, especially if you can cast it more than one. Invigorating Sermon, for 4 mana, grants +1/+1 to all minions in your hand, deck, and battlefield. It also triggers our Veteran Warmedic and becomes cheaper thanks to Cariel Roame. I love this card, and I really want to see it slotted into aggressive/mid-range Paladin decks going forward. At first, I thought this card was too expensive, but then I remembered about Cariel, who can drop it to 3 or 2 if it’s in your hand.
Veteran Warmedic (4-Cost Minion): Another card that feels very focused on Holy Spells, we have the Veteran Warmedic. A ⅗ for 4, it rewards you for casting Holy Spells. When you do, you summon a 2/2 Medic with Lifesteal. While I don’t think we’ll be seeing Paladin decks with a ton of Holy Spells in them, it’s sure possible. I do feel like this might have been better in Priest, but it may have been too powerful in that deck. I like the card, but I want to see how it all comes together with more of the spoilers for Forged in the Barrens for Hearthstone.
Conviction (Rank 1) (1-Mana Spell – Holy): I think this could be an amazing card for your Taunt decks in the Paladin class. For 1 mana, it buffs a random friendly minion, granting it +3 Attack. It’s permanent, not until the end of the turn. At Rank 2, Conviction grants 2 random friendlies +3 Attack. Finally, at Rank 3 (10 Mana), three of your random friendly allies gain +3 Attack. It’s too slow for Dudeadin, in my opinion, but in Taunt decks/control decks? Oh yes. Make your opponent work to get through to you.
Cannonmaster Smythe (5-Cost Minion): I’m divided on Cannonmaster Smythe. I love Paladins, but I don’t know how powerful Secret Paladin is going to be. It has potential, and this would feed into an aggressive Paladin playstyle. This 4/4 for 5 transforms all of your Secrets into 3/3 Soldiers. When those soldiers die, they return to being Secrets. Depending on how many you cast before you play him, you could do a lot of damage to someone’s face. Then they perish and return to being spells like Avenge. This could be the bomb Paladin needs.
Cariel Roame (4-Cost Minion): Wow. Just…wow. A 4/3 with Rush/Divine Shield, whenever this card attacks, reduce the Cost of Holy Spells in your hand by 1 Mana. Now, provided many/most of the Holy spells in Paladin are Holy classified, this is going to be filthy. Especially given some of the other spells we saw today (Invigorating Sermon). As long as this can get more than one attack, it’s going to be wildly powerful. This isn’t the only card we’ve seen that buffs Paladin for casting Holy Spells. That means… Holy Paladin confirmed?
Northwatch Commander (3-Cost Minion): This really confused me, until I looked at more of the cards. A ¾ for 3 Mana, if you control a Secret when this card comes into play, you draw a minion. While okay, I had to wonder why this focus. It’s because Galloping Savior is a new Secret for 1 Mana. The common triggers after your opponent play three cards in a turn. If they do, you summon a ¾ Steed with Taunt. Positive side, Secret Paladin could draw a minion. I don’t know how I feel about it, but so far, it’s not positive.
Sword of the Fallen (2-Cost Equipment – Weapon): Speaking of Secrets, here’s another card for them! After your Hero attacks, cast a Secret from your deck! The more Secrets you have, the more potential this has, but I don’t know how viable it is right now. I don’t know how the card’s going to shake up. I don’t hate it though.
Soldier’s Caravan (2-Cost Minion): This card, on the other hand, I really like. At the start of your turn, you summon two 1/1 Silver Hand Recruits, courtesy of the ⅓ minion. This card belongs in Dudeadin. It will swarm people under with a nice, steady flow of Silver Hand fellows. If you can find a way to buff the Soldier’s Caravan card, you can get way more value out of it. Or just keep giving it Divine Shield.
Desperate Prayer (0-Cost Spell – Holy): Ehhhh. It’s a 0-Cost Spell, sure. With Quests probably rotating out very soon, I’m not sure how I feel. It’s a 0-cost Holy Spell that Restores 5 Health to each hero. Your opponent gains health too. Unless there’s a way to deny your enemy healing, this is a pretty serious double-edged sword. I want to circle back to this when I see more of the Priest cards that come out. I don’t hate it, but I’m not so sure how I feel about it yet.
Condemn (Rank 1) (2-Cost Spell – Holy): For 2 mana, this Holy Spell deals 1 damage to all enemy minions. Like the other Ranked Spells, it grows in power once you have 5 and 10 mana. Condemn (Rank 2) instead deals 2 damage to all enemy minions. Even on turn 5, that’s a powerful bomb. Once you have 10 Mana, Condemn (Rank 3) comes to life, and deals 3 damage to all enemy minions for 2 mana! Just what Priest needs, another way to deal with threats. I see this being used, even if people probably think Ranked Spells are a waste. I like the concept, that’s for sure, and I’m glad the Mana cost doesn’t increase.
Priest of An’she (5-Cost Minion): Now I understand the power of Desperate Prayer. This is a 5/5 for 5, with Taunt. However, if you restored Health this turn, it gains +3/+3. Suddenly, it’s an 8/8 Taunt. As Desperate Prayer is a 0-cost, you can drop them both in the same turn. As long as Priest has cheap, easy ways to Heal (it does), this card is going to be an absolute corker. Even if we have to wait until turn 6 to cast it, it will still be insane value, with a low-cost heal, and then casting this afterward. We could also just use Lifesteal minions, as well.
Xyrella (4-Cost Minion): It sounds to me like Forged in the Barrens is really going to shake up the meta for Hearthstone. Healing Control Priest has some powerful tools in its bag. We could even make Desperate Prayer have value, even if we heal the other player in the process. Xyrella is a 4/4 for 4 and when she comes into play, if you’ve restored Health this turn, deal that much damage to all enemy minions! It’s a potentially very powerful board wipe for Priest, at a bargain. It doesn’t hurt your minions, and can throw everything your opponent does right into the grave. It doesn’t seem to specify “one” instance of healing either. So if you say, heal 10 life and then play Xyrella, all enemy minions take 10 damage. Oh yeah, it’s all coming together. . .
Serena Bloodfeather (2-Cost Minion): Look, it’s a better version of the Argent Braggart! In typical Harpy fashion, Serena Bloodfeather makes life harder for your opponent. A 1/1 for 2, when it comes into play, you choose an enemy minion. You Steal Health and Attack from it until Serena has more. The Argent Braggart moves to match the strongest creature on the board. Serena drains the Health/Attack from that minion, so the biggest force on the enemy field can’t safely trade. It’s not the best Priest Legendary, but it’s a lot of fun anyway.
Lightshower Elemental (6-Cost Minion – Elemental): A 6/6 Elemental with Taunt? That on its own is worth 6 mana, that’s for sure. But it also Heals all friendly characters for 8 mana when it dies, via its Deathrattle trigger. It’s a frustrating card because anytime your opponent swings at it, they take 6 damage, and we can keep healing/buffing it if we want. Or we can let it die, and heal our weak allies. It’s a great card to buff the strength of Control Priest, alongside Condemn (Rank 1).
Void Flayer (4-Cost Minion): Void Flayer rewards you for having lots of cards in your hand. When you cast this, for each spell in your hand, deal 1 damage to a random enemy minion. A full hand means you can devastate the enemy board. Sadly, it specifies minion, so you can’t board wipe and then hit the enemy directly in the face with this. This will pair nicely with cards like Soothsayer’s Caravan and Power Word: Fortitude.
Soothsayer’s Caravan (2-Cost Minion): Speaking of which, Soothsayer’s Minion has you copy a spell from your opponent’s deck and put it in your hand at the start of each of your turns. We just have to keep it alive for a while to get some value out of it. That leads me to the next card, Power Word: Fortitude. It’s an 8-cost that gives +3/+5 to a min ion. It costs 1 less for each spell in your hand though. So you need a full hand to drop this as low as possible. If we can make this a 4/8, it’s going to stick around longer unless your foe aggressively pushes towards it. Who knows what we’ll get? That’s what I love about it! In this case, it’s always a benefit, because it’s not a card we had to build for.
Yoink! (1-Cost Spell): Now this is a card that has flavor, but I don’t think it’s going to be used widely. For 1 mana, you Discover a Hero Power, and it now costs 0 mana. You get two uses, before shifting back to your normal one. If you could always pull the Warlock power? It would be phenomenal. I also want to know if it can pick upgraded Hero Powers from other cards. Again, if so? It could be very powerful. I am not sold on this one yet, sadly. But I want to like it, that’s for sure.
Swinetusk Shank (3-Cost Equipment – Weapon): I have a feeling that this could be very very OP. This weapon is a 2/2 at its base, but it gains +1 Durability every time you play a Poison. With the right amount of Poisons, you could just keep nicking at your opponent for 2 every single turn. You just have to build for it. I have a feeling this might get nerfed, perhaps down to 1 Durability. We will just have to see. I love the card though, that’s for sure.
Scabbs Cutterbutter (4-Cost Minion): Hmm. The potential to combo into victory with Scabbs Cutterbutter is certainly possible. It has Combo: The next two cards you play this turn cost (3) less. You could use it to play the new Swinetusk Shank, make Nitroboost more powerful, all kinds of stuff. It only specifies “cards”, so any two cards in your hand are able to make use of this. You just have to be careful and use it at the right time. It’s probably going to be used to make sure Rogues have the right weapon to win the game with. I don’t hate it, that’s for sure.
Apothecary Helbrim (4-Cost Minion): I really really like this, but I don’t know if it’s going to be used super often. He has both Battlecry and Deathrattle that do the same thing: Add a random Poison to your hand. You could get anything, but you get two chances at them. It can help Swinetusk Shank. There is, after all, a new common Poison in Silverleaf Poison. It gives your weapon “After your hero attacks, draw a card”. Rogue’s got a lot of card draw, speaking of this. Field Contact, for example, has you draw a card with any Battlecry and Combo card, fitting into this card’s build nicely. I think Helbrim’s certainly interesting, and I want to see him used.
Oil Rig Ambusher (4-Cost Minion): This card is going to be a monster in Arena, but as far as Constructed, we’ll have to see. But I love it anyway. Oil Rig Ambusher deals 2 damage to a target when it comes into play via Battlecry. However, if this entered your hand this turn, it deals 4 damage instead! Yeah, I really like the possibilities of this card. You could easily use it as a game-winning bomb if you’ve whittled someone into range, and draw into it.
Paralytic Poison (1-Cost Spell – Nature): An interesting spell, Paralytic Poison is. I don’t know if the buff is enough, but 1-cost isn’t so bad. This spell gives your weapon +1 Attack and “Your hero is Immune while attacking.” This is especially great if your opponent is running a major weapon, something like Warrior. But being able to attack minions and heroes without taking damage? Oh I love that. It allows the Rogue decks the ability to actually worry about removing threats with your Hero without compromising your health and safety. It’s not as good as Nitroboost Poison, but I like what it does. If people start trying more control-oriented, tempo Rogue decks, this could really shine. But other than that, I can’t see it replacing Nitroboost even a little bit.
Chain Lightning (Rank 1) (2-Cost Spell – Nature): Here’s a card, for example, that could be amazing with Bru’kan. At first, Rank 1 deals 2 damage to a minion and a random adjacent one. However, if you hold this until you have 5 mana, it becomes Chain Lightning (Rank 2). Now for 2 mana, you deal 3 damage to a minion and a random adjacent one. Finally, if you hold this until you have 10 mana, you get Chain Lightning (Rank 3) for that exact 2 mana cost. Now you do 4 damage to a minion and a random adjacent one. That’s 4 damage, 7 if you have Bru’kan. That’s pretty ferocious damage. Sure, you have to wait, but it’s worth it.
Lilypad Lurker (5-Cost Minion – Elemental): It’s a shame this doesn’t trigger every turn. But I do like it for Elemental/Control decks. A ⅘ Elemental for 5, if you played an Elemental last turn, this transforms an enemy minion into a 0/1 Frog with Taunt. Sure, it has Tuant, but now we’re 100% going to target and destroy it safely. This triggers with cards like Arid Stormer, it gains Rush/Windfury if you played an Elemental last turn. Are we going to see a powerful Elemental deck this year? That would be nice.
Bru’kan (4-Cost Minion): I feel 4 mana might be a little high for this 5/4 Legendary, but I do like what it offers. Nature Spell Damage +3 is what Bru’kan offers your Shaman decks. Is Spell Shaman incoming? I wonder if previous Spells are going to get the “Nature” spell tag too. It’s kind of nice to see a Legendary that is somewhere between “Meh” and “Good Lord, Run This If You Want to Win.” I can see this being an excellent card. Some people are too concerned with its cost, and while I think it’s something to think about, it’s not the end-all. I want to see more Shaman cards.
Firemancer Flurgl (2-Cost Minion – Murloc): Oh. My. God. Murlocs are going to be so powerful with Firemancer Flurgl. We hit the enemy in the face, hit all their minions, anytime we play a Murloc. Not “summon”, but play. So our Murlocs that summon other Murlocs for free? More damage! I’m calling it now, Murlocs are going to be frightening in 2021. At least, I sure hope so. I love those weird, angry little jerks. This has a lot of potential when paired with Nofin Can Stop Us, which will give our Murlocs in play +2/+2. Suddenly, he’s a ⅘, and much harder to kill.
Nofin Can Stop Us (3-Cost Spell): MURLOCS. ARE. BACK. Probably! Here’s another buff spell, this time, in Shaman! A 3-cost spell, it gives your minions +1/+1. However, your Murlocs get an extra +1/+1! I’m particularly excited for this because Murloc Shaman was the deck I was most successful with in Hearthstone just in general. So seeing this card gives me hope for the future for Shaman in Hearthstone.
Tinyfin’s Caravan (2-Cost Minion): Not a Murloc, the Tinyfin’s Caravan grants you Murlocks either way. A ⅓ for 2, at the start of your turn, you draw a Murloc. Maybe we’ll draw a card like South Coast Chieftain, which deals 2 damage if you control another Murloc (as a 3/2 for 2). You can bet that Murlocs are not only going to be back, but they’re going to thrive this year.
Imp Swarm (Rank 1) (2-Cost Spell – Fel): Back at it with the Ranked Spells! Imp Swarm usually drops a 3/2 Imp for 2 mana, which is wonderful. Patience brings greater rewards. Imp Swarm (Rank 2) gives two 3/2 Imps, and Imp Swarm (Rank 3) summons 3 3/2 Imps, and all that for 2 mana? Oh yes, I love this card. Some people think it’s just a garbage card at turn 10, but I’m not 100% on that. It can drop some serious threats onto the board. Not strong, but with more demons, this might play into other cards coming up. As far as the Hearthstone spoilers for Forged in the Barrens, I’m curious to see how these Ranked Spells are received.
Grimoire of Sacrifice (1-Cost Spell – Shadow): A perfect card for your Deathrattle decks. Grimoire of Sacrifice has you destroy a friendly minion to deal 2 damage to all enemy minions. While Soul Rend is mediocre at best, the Grimoire of Sacrifice is incredible. I think it’s going to be incredibly useful, especially as a Common. It really doesn’t have much of a drawback. There are plenty of cards in Warlock we don’t mind perishing, especially if it means we damage our opponent’s front line. An excellent card for ‘Locks.
Barrens Scavenger (6-Cost Minion): The “Deckless Warlock” concept continues on with Barrens Scavenger. Normally, this is a 6/6 Taunt for 6, but if you have 10 or fewer cards in your deck, it only costs (1)! How about that? Altar of Fire will help, and so will Apothecary’s Caravan.
Altar of Fire (1-Cost Spell – Fire): Nice, easy, to the point. This Fire Spell destroys the top 3 cards of each deck. As you can see, Deckless Lock continues to grow more powerful. This one at least, also punishes your foe, so that’s another positive. Very niche, but I think people will try it out.
Tamsin Roame (3-Cost Minion): Hypothetically, this is the best card for Warlocks right now. The reason I say “Hypothetically”, is that hinges on there being a lot of Shadow Spells we can cast. A ⅓ for 3, Tamsin Roame reads “Whenever you cast a Shadow spell that costs (1) or more, add a copy of it to your hand. It costs (0).” With enough Shadow Spells, we can just spam the board with frustrating cards that our opponent can’t stop. At least they become (0) mana, so you can’t infinitely spam. There are so far, two Shadow Spells in Warlock (as of this writing, on 3/18/2021). Hopefully there will be more.
Neeru Fireblade (5-Cost Minion): Blizzard is pushing this “Empty Deck ‘Lock” really hard. That becomes clear with Neeru Fireblade. For 5 mana, you get a 5/5 with Battlecry. You wouldn’t want to cast him unless you have an empty deck. If your deck is empty, you open a portal that fills your board with 3/2 Imps every turn. Now it becomes a race against time to beat the other player. This could work well with Tickatus, without the Corruption (as long as you already have Neeru in hand). Tickatus was a Demon that has you remove the top 5 cards from your deck (as an 8/8). But if Corrupted, your opponent does this instead. Now you don’t need to worry about that and use it solely to make your deck empty faster. It’s got possibility, for sure.
Soul Rend (4-Cost Spell – Shadow): This one does not work well with Tamsin at all. In fact, it’s pretty self-harming, as many Warlock spells are. In Wild, it could be an engine for Mechathun, but that’s not something we can do in Standard. I honestly don’t think this is a great card as it stands. Maybe other cards will show up to prove me wrong. Soul Rend is a 4-cost spell that deals 5 damage to all minions. Then you destroy a card in your deck for each minion killed this way. You could lose a bunch of cards. So unless there’s another “You win if you have no cards in deck” card, I don’t see this being useful. Only against huge creatures, where we can follow up with a different kill.
Blood Shard Bristleback (3-Cost Minion): A Lifesteal minion that’s a 3/3 in Warlock is pretty grand. I was asking just yesterday “How are they going to make use of Warlocks that have fewer cards in their deck?!” but now I have the answer it seems. Perhaps, anyway. Blood Shard Bristleback’s Battlecry makes you deal 6 damage to a minion if your deck has fewer than 10 cards in it. I feel like, after seeing this card, we’re going to see a lot more “fewer cards” cards in Hearthstone for Warlock. That’s an interesting concept, reminds me of the Deep decks in Legends of Runeterra.
Apothecary’s Caravan (2-Cost Minion): The Warlock Caravan works towards Deckless Warlock, as well as other concepts. It’s a ⅓ for 2 like the others, and at the start of your turn, it summons a 1-Cost minion from your deck! You just have to have enough of them in the deck to make it worthwhile. It’s an interesting card at least. Not my favorite of the Caravans, but it’s suitable.
Mor’shan Elite (5-Cost Minion): Yeah, this will see play. A 4/4 Taunt/Battlecry for 5, if your Hero attacked this turn and you cast Mor’shan Elite, summon another copy of this card. That’s why it will see play. You attack with your Warrior Hero, get some damage on the board, and get two 4/4 Taunt creatures for just 5 mana! You can bet your bottom dollar Warrior decks are going to find a use for this.
Rancor (4-Cost Spell): Here comes the Armor Building! Rancor costs 4 mana and deals 2 damage to all minions. You want to time this one so that it will kill as many as possible. For each minion that dies, you gain +2 Armor total. There’s a lot of value here if you don’t value the lives of other minions.
Overlord Saurfang (7-Cost Minion): Here’s some synergy for Frenzy decks! Overlord Saurfang’s stats don’t match his cost (5/4, 7 Mana), but he resurrects 2 friendly Frenzy minions and deals 1 damage to all other minions. You get instant value casting him. This isn’t what I expected from High Overlord Saurfang, but I still very much like the card. He’s not my favorite legendary from this expansion for Warrior though. That would be. . .
Rokara (3-Cost Minion): A ⅔ with Rush, I like Rokara more. Sure, her power isn’t the best, but in the right situations, your minions aren’t going to go anywhere. Whenever a friendly minion attacks and survives, you give it +1/+1. So you use this to batter enemies with low power to make sure your minions stay and not only that, become more powerful. I think she’s got the potential to be pretty powerful, that’s for sure. Not a game-breaker, but I like the concept of it a great deal.
Warsong Envoy (1-Cost Minion): Warsong Envoy is Warbot only better! Remember all those infuriating “damaged creature” decks in Warrior? Guess what’s not going anywhere? Warsong Envoy is a 1-drop ⅓ with Frenzy. The first time this minion survives damage, he gains +1 Attack for each damaged character. This is going to probably get out of hand. Since “character” can mean minions and heroes, you can gain +2 Attack if both heroes have taken damage and plenty of Attack from both sides of the board’s minions. This could be your mid-game way to just snuff an opponent out.
Outrider’s Axe (4-Cost Equipment – Weapon): I wasn’t sold on this until I gave it a second look. There’s solid Weapon tech right now, and the ability to use your hero to attack and kill minions to draw a card? Fantastic. A 3/3 weapon, we get hopefully three quality attacks and cards out of it. Not too shabby, quite frankly.