Pokémon Sun and Moon Starters and Legendaries Revealed

Pokémon

A new trailer for the upcoming 3DS games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon was released this morning, revealing the new starter Pokémon, the legendaries that will be featured on the cover, and the new region that the games will be set within.

As usual, the three starters revolve around the dynamic of one grass, one fire, and one water type.  The new grass starter, Rowlet, begins with a rare combination of grass and flying types.  While the other two are pure fire and pure water types respectively, it’s possible that they’ll each develop a second typing as they evolve.  Getting back to Rowlet, its profile on the official Pokémon website further reveals that it will have the Overgrow ability, a staple of grass-type starters since the third generation, that strengthens grass-type attacks when the Pokémon’s health is down to one third or less.  It will also start out with a brand new move called Leafage, although this will likely end up being a fairly low-tier grass-type move on par with Ember and Water Gun, which the other two starters begin with respectively.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn25hijDL7c” width=”500″ height=”300″]

The cat-like fire starter, Litten, has fur cloaked in flammable oils that it uses to generate its scorching attacks.  It has the Blaze ability, which is the fire-type equivalent to Overgrow.  While this hasn’t been officially confirmed, it seems likely that Litten will develop into a fire-dark type as it evolves.  Alternatively, it could become a fire-poison type given its relation to machine oil and several existing poison types relate to industrial waste.

Popplio, the water starter, is based on trained sea lions that were commonly seen performing in circuses and it can generate large, durable bubbles to perform tricks with.  It has the Torrent ability, which operates along the same line as Overgrow and Blaze.  What secondary typing it could develop as it grows is difficult to predict, but I would presume either psychic or fairy as the clown-like Mr. Mime has those types and Popplio is following a similar harlequin aesthetic.  We also catch a glimpse at the new professor that will be mentoring players and setting them off on their journeys, although there is no mention of his name.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s going to be Professor Palm or something along the same tree convention that all previous professors have followed.

We also get an extensive look at the new Alola region that the games will be set in.  As many predicted based on details in the original reveal trailer, this new region will be heavily inspired by the tropical islands of Hawaii, its name even being derived from the Hawaiian phrase ‘aloha’ meaning peace and compassion and is used to say hello and goodbye.  This is entirely new territory for the franchise and the tropic atmosphere is sure to make for some of the most unique games in the series.

The new legendary Pokémon that will be featured on the cover art for the games were also shown in full.  A white lion will be the star of Pokémon Sun while a bat with a moon-shaped wingspan will represent Pokémon Moon.  No details on them were revealed outside of the appearances, but an earlier leak claimed that their names will be Solgaleo and Lunaala.  Even if that leak may be accurate, these may only be the Japanese names for these legendaries and their names for other regions may still be in the works.

Interestingly, I think that these new legendaries may actually be taking advantage of the Hawaiian setting by paying homage to a Hawaiian demigod named Maui.  Maui is a popular figure in Polynesian legend and his feats include battling the sun itself and taming it like a wild animal and slaying a giant bat.  Perhaps the new Pokémon games will have a central theme of recreating some of Maui’s adventures.  Then again, the series has never been exceedingly faithful to the real-life locations they’re based on, such as Black and White being based on New York City and having legendaries based on The Three Musketeers and Japanese deities.

One last thing to note is that the Japanese trailer is very different and has a few additional details not seen in the international trailer.  Namely, we have confirmation that character customization will return in some capacity as there are four different skin tones to choose from for your character.  While its a extremely weak amount of customization compared to many other RPG’s, it is a step up from X and Y where there were only three tones.  Whether or not costume customization will return remains to be seen.  The Japanese trailer also may have given us a glimpse at the new rival character at 2:07.

What are your thoughts on all the new information we’ve received with this new trailer?  Which starter has caught your eye as your personal favorite?  Do you have any theories on the significance of these new legendaries?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods Preview #2

Whispers of the Old Gods

Whispers of the Old Gods is right around the corner and I have a lot of cards to catch up on.  Obviously, I’m not going to cover all of the new cards, but I will highlight some of the most interesting that we’ll be getting in the new expansion to Hearthstone.  Before we actually get into the cards of Whispers of the Old Gods, there are a couple of corrections I need to make.  For one, C’Thun and the cultist cards that interact with it will not be available for Arena drafts.  While most of the cultists have premium stat lines, there are a few that have a heavy reliance on C’Thun and Blizzard has opted not to include any of them in Arena to avoid saturation (although there are already cards like Junkbot and Rend Blackhand in Arena that are far worse than any of the cultists, so…).  Secondly, my claim in the previous preview that each class would receive a Forbidden spell was actually a matter of miscommunication.  Only Druid and Warlock have received Forbidden cards in addition to Mage, Paladin, and Priest, and Druid’s Forbidden card is actually a minion.  I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.  With all that out of the way, let’s delve into the cards that will be entering the Whispers of the Old Gods game soon.

Renounce_Darkness

This may be the single weirdest Hearthstone card I’ve ever seen.  For just 2 mana, your Warlock can give up on being a Warlock and become anything else.  There is use for that as the Warlock’s hero power, while incredibly powerful in the early to mid-game, is the worst for any match that goes into fatigue.  Jaraxxus has already proven that changing your hero out late in the game is extremely good, but that raises the question of whether or not it’s worth playing this over Jaraxxus.  Generally, the answer is no, but it could have some applications.  It could work in a deck with a lot of high-risk, high-reward cards and needs an emergency switch, but it wouldn’t work well alongside Jaraxxus because playing this first would replace the eredar lord and playing it second would likely leave you with a worse hero power.  The mana discount has a lot of potential, but the fact that you not only get random cards, but a random class on top of that, makes it highly unreliable.  It’s an experimental card and it probably won’t work, but I’d love to see it take me by surprise.

Herald_Volazj

On the surface, this card might look terrible.  “Why would I want to copy my minions if they’re just going to be tiny 1/1 version?” I hear you ask.  Well, there are plenty of minions that have their value tied to the their effects rather than their stat lines.  Ragneros, Sylvanas, Thaurissan, Ysera, Brann, and Malygos are just a few examples of cards that work remarkably well with Volazj.  It’s not limited to big legendaries either as any deathrattle minion will also benefit from duplication.  The only thing that’s tricky about Volazj is that you really need to set the board carefully to get a good effect out of him.  You don’t want to copy just one minion with him or you’re left with a worse Faceless Manipulator.  He’s a gimmicky card and probably won’t see much high-level play as a result, but those willing to take a risk on him won’t be disappointed with what he can do.

Let’s continue with Whispers of the Old Gods game cards…

Hallazeal_the_Ascended

Hallazeal is an interesting card,if nothing else.  It’s definitely something for control Shaman decks, which this expansion has been giving a serious push for.  I’ll certainly take it over the infuriating Aggro Shaman that has been infesting the ladder recently.  Hallazeal has a decent enough stat line to see play and can combo best with AoE spells like Lightning Storm to really pull you out of a tough spot.  He’s not going to act as a hard carry for any deck, but he can be a handy safety net to keep you alive.  The one big problem is that he’ll be most valuable against aggressive decks, and those will probably kill you faster than you can get him on the board and use his ability.

Y'Shaarj

It is said that Y’Shaarj was the strongest of all the Old Gods and remained one of the most dangerous and powerful beings in Azeroth even as a corpse.  Its card aptly captures the overwhelming power of Y’Shaarj with not only a massive stat line, but also the ability to bring more minions into battle.  You’re guaranteed at least one minion before your opponent will have a chance to shut it down with hard removal (which is less likely now that BGH is being nerfed), but the minion you get is going to be random and you’ll have to build a specific type of deck to get good mileage out of Y’Shaarj.  This is a Whispers of the Old Gods card made for control decks with lots of big minions available to have the best odds on getting a good pull.  Keep in mind that Battlecry effects won’t trigger and you’ll mostly want to avoid putting those in the same deck as Y’Shaarj.

Yogg-Saron

I take it back; THIS is the single weirdest card I’ve ever seen.  Yogg-Saron is a being of such cunning that it was able to take complete control over the prison built specifically to contain it with its sinister whispers alone.  It is the creator of the Emerald Nightmare and can twist mortal minds into madness with barely a motion.  The Yogg-Saron card is appropriately insane for such a beast with an effect that is beyond predictability.  While its stat line is terrible, it likely won’t matter as there’s a fair chance that every minion, including Yogg-Saron itself, and both heroes will all perish the moment it appears on the board.  The spells Yogg-Saron casts are not limited by mana nor class; any legal spells from across Hearthstone can be cast.

Yogg-Saron can throw a Pyroblast at your face, heal you back with Healing Wave, buff an enemy minion with Blessing of Kings, steal the buffed minion with Mind Control, destroy it with Assassinate, turn itself into a frog with Hex, clear the enemy board with Flamestrike, let zero dogs out with Unleash the Hounds right after, and then lose you the game outright with three more Pyroblasts to your face.  At least it won’t cast spells for your opponent, but it will randomly chose a target based on what is normally allowed for that spell (ex. casting Flamecannon would only ever hit an enemy minion and never a friendly one or either hero).  Also, while Yogg-Saron is using the effects of spells, they’re all considered his battlecry effect and don’t interact with minion effects like spell damage, but it can be doubled by Brann Bronzebeard.  There is no chance of Yogg-Saron seeing competitive-level play, but it is the ultimate card for closing out any joke deck.  It’s a card you can play 1000 times and still only see a fraction of what it’s capable of.

Forbidden_Ritual

Zoolock definitely looks to be making a comeback given the new board-swarming cards that are being released.  Warlock’s Forbidden spell, for example, lets you fill the board with as many minions as you need at any point in the game.  This is one of the best cards Zoolock could ever hope for as it can refill the board and help you bounce back after a mid to late-game board clear, Zoolock’s biggest weakness, but it’s also extremely flexible and can be dealt out whenever you need some more bodies.  Yeah, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any less of Knife Juggler in the new meta.

Vilefin_Inquisitor

Along with Zoolock, Murloc Paladin is also looking to come back in vogue with some new murloc cards.  This one is chief among them, changing Paladin from being a really good class for murlocs to being the best class ever for murlocs.  Murloc decks depend on you having murlocs, to generating them at will with your hero power is best you could ever ask for.  If any card is going to end up being overpowered in WotOG, my money is on this one.

Journey_Below

Good news; the Discover mechanic is still alive and well post-League of Explorers.  Journey Below is a really good card for two reasons: For one, it gets you a Deathrattle card of your choice, which Priest’s Museum Curator has already proven to be a very useful ability.  Secondly, it’s a cheap card that you can just play whenever you want to, which makes it great fodder for setting up cards with Combo effects.  Definitely expect to see this pop up in quite a few Rogue decks.

Evolve

Shaman has been struggling as a class for the longest time with nothing but the recent aggro build to push it into the meta, but WotOG looks to change that with plenty of powerful new cards for the class.  Easily the most potent of the bunch is Evolve, a cheap spell that can have huge results.  Along with working well in control decks, it’s also the one new card that can work in aggro decks.  Honestly, it doesn’t make much of a difference what deck you put this in because simply casting it on at least two totems from your hero power can be enough to get you a good result.  There is a risk of getting Battlecry minions with terrible stat lines, but you’ll be making a net gain with Evolve over all.

Fandral_Staghelm

The Druid’s Choose One effects already make for some of the best cards in the game with just one of their possible choices, so Fandral Staghelm looks like a pretty potent card.  With a 4 mana 3/5 body, he’s definitely playable in just about any deck.  There are just a couple of important caveats to keep in mind with him.  First off, your opponent is never going to leave him be if they can help it.  Any minions they have on the board or spell damage in their hand is going straight for him.  While he can be played on curve in a pinch, it may be better to save for the late game so that you can guarantee a combo with a good Choose One card.  That could end up being too slow a strategy to work and he could really end up falling flat.  Secondly, two of the best Choose One cards are getting nerfed at the same time Fandral is coming out, so you should hold off on crafting him until he’s had a chance to prove himself in the meta.

Deathwing,_Dragonlord

If this new Deathwing card doesn’t get people playing dragon decks other than Priest, I don’t think any one card can.  It’s a big, stompy minion that your opponent will actually be afraid to use their hard-removal on because even more big, stompy minions will probably storm the board as a result.  This new Deathwing even makes the old Deathwing look appealing because nothing crushes souls like a 12/12 going down only for another 12/12 to immediately take its place with a couple 8/8’s tagging along for good measure.  It really answers the big set-back of high mana costs that previously held dragon decks back significantly.  However, Silence effects and transformation cards like Polymorph and Hex can shut him down entirely, so be sure to have those in mind as you make your plays.

Psych-o-Tron

HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I may change my tune once the expansion drops and I start to see some of these Whispers of the Old Gods cards in action, but I am very happy with WotOG right now.  While there are a few underwhelming cards included, the good ones are really good and open up a lot of new possibilities for the game going forward.  The best part is that there isn’t a single card that strikes me as being egregious in any way.  There’s nothing that looks inherently broken like Dr. Boom and there’s nothing that actively outmodes old cards like Evil Heckler.  Maybe Vilefin will end up on the overpowered side when put into practice or maybe one of the Old Gods will prove be even crazy than it looks on the surface, but this is looking to be the best Hearthstone expansion to date at the moment.  If you’ve fallen off the game or haven’t started yet, now is looking like the best time to jump in.

Whispers of the Old Gods releases on April 26th.  What are your thoughts on the new expansion?  What are your favorite and least favorite new cards?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about Whispers of the Old Gods game.

Top 10 Most Wonderfully Worthless Hearthstone Cards

Hearthstone has plenty of crazy card effects, and none are crazier than the legendaries.  They’re the hardest cards to get ahold of and you can only use one of each in a deck.  They seem like the best cards in the game, but style does not equal substance and there are plenty of flashy cards that aren’t worth the price of admittance.  To be clear, this isn’t about the worst legendary cards, per say, but the ones that look the most tempting and deliver the most disappointment.  Millhouse Manastorm is bad, but you can see just how much of a risk he is at a glance.  These are the cards that threaten to waste your hard-earned arcane dust and leave you sobbing with regret.  They’re the cards that fall so flat that you can’t help but laugh at their expense.  These are the most wonderfully worthless cards in Hearthstone.

Bolf_Ramshield

10. Bolf Ramshield

The idea behind Bolf is to counteract aggressive decks, which have been a notorious problem in Hearthstone.  However, flexibility is vital and he gets crushed by any other deck in the game.  Simply by going for the face, your opponent can easily kill your 6-drop without having to sacrifice any minions of their own.  Bolf isn’t even that good against aggro decks anyway because most of them will kill you before you even get to 6 mana.  Just stick to Antique Healbot or Cult Apothecary when that comes out.

Elite_Tauren_Chieftain

9. Elite Tauren Chieftain

Here’s a card so rare that it was exclusively awarded to attendees of Blizzcon 2013.  You can still craft it in normal quality the hard way, but golden copies of the card only belong to those select die-hard fans.  Something that prestigious has to be good, right?  Well, it’s actually the opposite.  To try and keep the game fair and balanced, any cards that are awarded for specific events are intentionally designed to be elaborate jokes that can never work at high levels of play.  A 5/5 for 5 is a decent minion, but the Power Chord cards are where things become really unpredictable.

There are three different Power Chord spells that you can get off of ETC, and they’re even more randomness stacked upon randomness.  There’s “I Am Murloc” that summons a random amount of 1/1 murlocs to your command, “Power of the Horde” can summon anything from a Frostwolf Grunt to Cairne Bloodhoof, and “Rogues Do It” as the most reliable one dealing 4 damage and drawing a card.  While that’s not a terrible deal, your opponent also gets one of these spells and may end up with a better deal than you.  Nothing sets you back on tempo worse than spending 4 mana on a measly 2/2 while your opponent gets one of the best spell damage cards in the game.

Gruul

8. Gruul

Gruul is the biggest and toughest guy you can find on the desolate planet of Draenor.  The towering ogres are puny servants to him, and his favorite hobby is taking members of Deathwing’s black dragonflight and impaling them through mountain peaks.  Admittedly, Gruul’s card heavily evokes his boss fight in World of Warcraft where he starts huge and only grows larger and stronger the longer the battle goes on.  Where things go wrong is when you remember that most decks run hard-removal cards like Big Game Hunter and Polymorph that will instantly shut someone like Gruul down, and those that don’t run removal are aggressive enough not to need it.  One minion alone can never be strong enough to control a game of Hearthstone, no matter how big it is.  Gruul may be bulky, but all that makes him is a bigger target.

Gelbin_Mekkatorque

7. Gelbin Mekkatorque

Here’s the other event exclusive card that you’re really not missing out on.  Gelbin was awarded to anyone who made a cash purchase during the game’s beta period, and he summons one of his unique inventions when played.  His Repair Bot heals a damaged character, the Emboldener 3000 buffs a minion, Poultryizer turns minions into 1/1 chickens, and Homing Chicken draws you three cards if it survives to the start of your next turn (where it automatically dies anyway).  That all sounds great except for the fact that the inventions don’t differentiate between your minions and your opponent’s.  As a result, they can easily end up helping your opponent much more than you.  It is possible to set the board up so the invention works for you, but Emboldener and Poultryizer are polar opposites in terms of tactics and getting things to swing your way is reliant entirely on blind luck.  Also, the inventions don’t have a single attack point between the lot of them, so your opponent can easily take it out even if it is working to your advantage.  When the one that intentionally blows itself up is the most reliable of the bunch, it might be time to look elsewhere for your six-drops.

Illidan_Stormrage

6. Illidan Stormrage

Illidan the Betrayer is one of the most recognizable characters in Warcraft lore, if not the most recognizable.  He’s been the central figure of not one, but two entire expansions for World of Warcraft, with the main selling point of the upcoming Legion expansion being the ability to play as Illidan’s Demon Hunter class.  Sadly, Hearthstone hasn’t been able to capture the night elf’s awesome powers as he is one of the weakest legendaries in the game.

There was a time where Illidan was useful as the original version of the card had a battlecry that discarded three cards from both players’ hands and drew them each three new ones.  However, it turned out that removing cards from the enemy hand was too powerful an ability and Illidan had to be completely reworked.  While summoning 2/1 minions with relative ease isn’t a decent enough ability, the big problem Illidan is that his health was reduced to a meager 5 that can easily be knocked through before he summons anything.  The fact that Illidan also dies to our old friend Big Game Hunter also doesn’t do him any favors.  Now his only use is as a guinea pig in Hearthstone Science’s experiments.

Icehowl

5. Icehowl

A 10/10 with charge?  Amazing!  A 10/10 with charge that can’t go face?  Useless!  The idea with Icehowl is to control the board, but area-of-effect and hard-removal spells already do his job substantially better.  You can silence him in order to attack your opponent’s face, but that also removes the charge effect.  You can save the silence for the next turn, but Icehowl will most likely be dead to BGH at that point (noticing a theme, here?).  Icehowl is all bark and no frostbite (I’m sorry I’m not sorry).

Nozdormu

4. Nozdormu

If you’re going to pay any more than 7 mana for a single card, it needs to have a stellar effect attached to it to be worth the investment.  Nozdormu can have an incredible impact, but only if you cheat.  There’s an infamous glitch with him that can steal time off of your opponent’s turn with lengthy animations.  Blizzard has tried fixing the bug several times, but it still exists in some form even to this day.  It might be best to just retire the leader of the bronze dragon flight, because he’s practically useless when he is working properly.  9 mana for an 8/8 minion is not a good deal on its own, so you have to catch your opponent offguard and force them into making bad plays for him to be worth it.  Of course, that’s assuming he doesn’t get hit by hard removal immediately and your opponent doesn’t have to worry about the time limit at all.

Deathwing

3. Deathwing

Deathwing is one of the most destructive beings in all of Warcraft lore.  The ruler of the black dragon flight has strength to outmatch even the mighty Gruul and single-handedly heralded in the cataclysm known as The Shattering.  He has the strongest base-line stats in the game and everything dies just from him entering the battlefield.  How can this possibly be a bad card?

I now present you with a short list of cards that directly counter Deathwing:  Assassinate, Polymorph, Hex, Siphon Soul, Humility, Shadow Word: Death, Entomb, Freezing Trap, Bouncing Blade, Tirion Fordring, Sabotage, Mind Control, Sylvanas Windrunner, Hunter’s Mark, Vol’jin, Rend Blackhand, Execute, Shield Slam, Crush, Naturalize, Mulch, Recycle, Sap, Repentance, Deadly Shot, Mirror Entity, Vaporize, Equality, Aldor Peacekeeper, Keeper of Uldaman, Emperor Cobra, Pit Snake, Patient Assassin, Doomsayer, Vanish, Corruption, Twisting Nether, Obsidian Destroyer, Hogger, Acidmaw, Eadric the Pure, Lightbomb, Kidnapper, Dark Bargain, Tinkmaster Overspark, another Deathwing, DOOM!, and, of course, Big Game Hunter.

Mimiron's_Head

2. Mimiron’s Head

When Goblins Vs. Gnomes was announced, this was the card that everyone had their eyes on.  Everyone, myself included, expected Mimiron’s Head to be Hearthstone‘s equivalent to Exodia the Forbidden One.  It was the card that, under the right conditions, would outright win the game for you.  The mega-windfury effect of V-07-TR-ON represents 16 damage on its own, and applying any buff (which is easy to do as your mana is completely free after summoning the mighty mech) is almost guaranteed lethal even if your opponent is at full health.  The only stipulation is that you have to be running a mech deck, those are bound to be playable with all the attention GvG gave to them, right?

Well, mech decks certainly dominated the meta after GvG and have even remained a strong option several expansions later, but Mimiron’s Head never fit into the picture.  Mech decks ended up being at their best when they were played aggressively, and a 5 4/5 was just too slow to compare with the other cards you could run.  Even if you did form V-07-TR-ON, you’d probably have more damage on the board with your ordinary minions.  Turns out a simple Mech Warper is more reliable than one of the most fearsome machines in Azeroth.

Majordomo_Executus

1. Majordomo Executus

And here we have what may be the single worst card in all of Hearthstone.  Other cards may put you at a disadvantage, but this is the only one that outright loses the game for you every time you play it.  Going down to a measly 8 health is a death sentence in almost every scenario.  Taking a huge risk like that might be worth it if becoming Ragnaros packed a good punch, but dealing 8 damage to a random enemy is a surprisingly weak hero power.  Often times, you’ll prefer having a 1-damage hero power that you can direct than a bigger blast that goes wherever it wants.  Well, at least you can use cards like Ice Block and Steamwheedle Sniper to work with it… Oh, wait, he can’t even do that.  Turning into Ragnaros drops the immunity you gain from Ice Block, and Steamwheedle doesn’t interact with Ragnaros at all.  Majordomo is the epitome of pay-to-lose.

That wraps up this list of the best of the worst that Hearthstone has to offer.  What other cards stand out in your mind?  I can certainly think of a few that just missed the cut, and one of their names rhymes with “Kek my beer, I’m a slug”.

The Grand Tournament Cards Preview #3: New Legendaries; Ranked Rewards

The Grand Tournament is coming to Hearthstone soon, and all of the cards have been revealed.  To finish out our preview of the expansion, we’ll be looking at all of the new class legendaries and one neutral legendary that demonstrates one of the new mechanics coming to the game.

We also have news of new rewards being added to the game for playing in ranked mode.  Starting this month, every player to rank higher than 20 will receive a chest of prizes.  These chests will contain the monthly card back as awarded for reaching rank 20 in previous seasons as well as golden cards and dust.  The higher you climb the ladder, the better your chest will be.  Your chest will also be based on the highest rank you reached within the month rather than your current rank when the month ends, so you have no reason to stop playing on ladder and trying to climb as high as you can.  The best chest is earned by reaching rank 5, but you’ll still have a shot at hitting rank legend and earning points towards a spot at the Hearthstone World Championship.

This is great change to the game as Hearthstone has had a serious issue with players using powerful decks at rank 20 and casual mode in order to grind gold against inexperienced players.  Before, the only incentive to climb the ladder was the exclusive card back, which was easy to obtain, or points for the Championship at rank legend that only so many have the time to reach for.  Anything inbetween ranks 20 and legend was just a matter of grinding gold, and bullying unsuspecting players produced gold much faster.  With incentive to climb latter, Hearthstone should become more welcoming to new players and experimentation with more quirky decks.  With that out of the way, let’s get into some of the newest legendary cards.

SkeletonKnight

Let’s start things off with a look at the new jousting mechanic.  Jousting effects pull a random minion from each deck and compare there mana costs.  If yours has the higher cost, you’ll win the joust and trigger a special effect.  With The Skeleton Knight, you’ll joust when he dies and get a chance to bring him back to your hand to play again.  Jousting is mainly being added to discourage aggressive decks with low-cost minions by rewarding decks that have more late-game minions.  The major issue with jousting is that you have to consider how good the card is even if you lose the joust.  While there are plenty of good joust cards, Skeleton Knight is one of the worst as top-heavy minions are very easy to trade up on.  Even if you are able to play the Skeleton Knight a few times before he goes down for good, he’ll rarely give your opponent much trouble in knocking him back.

Fizzlebang

Wilfred Fizzlebang, the gnome warlock famous for unintentionally summoning the fearsome Jaraxxus, looks like a potent card, but there’s also a lot holding him back.  On the one hand, making any card cost zero mana is extremely useful and can lead to incredible plays.  However, there is no chance of Wilfred being left alive for more than one turn.  By turn 6, your opponent is not going to have much trouble clearing a 4/4 no matter what class s/he is playing as.  As such, it’s best to think of him as an 8 mana minion that draws you a card and reduces its cost.  That can still be incredibly strong, but also keep in mind that you won’t know what you’re discounting until after you’ve discounted it.  You’ll cheer for a free Jaraxxus or Malganis, but something will probably get broken if you just knock one mana off of Mortal Coil.

Aviana

Again, we have an issue of an incredibly strong effect being attached to a weak body.  If most decks can deal with a 4/4 by turn 6, you can bet that a 5/5 at turn 9 won’t last.  However, Aviana does have the advantage of being a Druid card and the Druid class is infamous for manipulating the mana curve.  Combined with an Innervate or two, Aviana can give you an unfathomably scary board in the blink of an eye.  Even without Innervate, you can still play her on turn 10 with any minion that can help protect her, like Kel’Thuzad or Ancient of War.  Keep her alive for even one turn and your board presence is going to be indomitable.  If there’s one thing Aviana is likely to excel at, it’s making Ramp Druid even more fearsome than it already is.

Anubarak

Like I said with Skeleton Knight, top-heavy minions are generally bad because they’re easy to shut down.  Anub’arak, however, looks to be the exception to that rule.  Along with a guarantee of returning to your hand, he also leaves a Nerubian behind to maintain board-presence.  His only weakness is silence, which shuts down his cycle of aggression entirely.  Anub’arak will work best in decks filled with cards that can bait out silence effects early and leave the path open for him to clinch the game.  It’s an interesting idea, but how viable he actually is will have to be seen.

Eadric

Depending on where the game is at when you play him, Eadric the Pure is either one of the best cards or one of the worst.  Reducing the attack of all enemy minions to 1 can take the teeth out of even the fiercest opposition.  However, if you’re already far enough behind, that may still be enough damage to finish you off.  If the aggressive meta game that Hearthstone is currently experiencing continues, than Eadric’s presence will be moot.  However, in a slower, more control focused meta, he can easily become an auto-include for any Paladin deck.  His worth simply comes down to what your opponent is playing rather than building your own deck around him.

Rhonin

Having a handful of Arcane Missiles doesn’t sound great, but that’s only because Arcane Missiles is a weak card when played once.  Stack three of them together, and you suddenly have a better version of Avenging Wrath for half the cost.  Plus, having it across three cards means that you can keep one or two in reserve for later.  Also, teaming up Rhonin and Antonidas is pretty good when it comes to straight-up winning the game.  Really, the only downside to Rhonin is that your opponent will have a good shot at silencing him and denying his effect entirely.

Paletress

Once again, stat lines are very important.  Compared to Fizzlebang and Aviana, Paletress is the least reliable of them all because of the great amount of randomness involved in her.  While summoning a free legendary sounds incredible, keep in mind that there are plenty of weak legendaries to go with the great ones.  Yeah, it would be great to suddenly have Ysera or Tirion or Deathwing on the board, but you could also end up with Nat Pagle or Stalagg or either of the new Hunter legendaries (we’ll get to them).  Plus, you’re only going to get one good shot at bringing a good one to the board as your opponent isn’t going to let you roll the dice for long.

Varian

Warrior may have struck gold with the best new class legendary.  High King Varian Wrynn does take a lot of commitment with a cost of 10 mana, but he can easily seal the game in your favor.  Even in the worst case scenario, you get a 7/7 and draw three spells and/or weapons for your next turn.  Best case scenario puts three more massive minions onto the board and win you the game.  Imagine summoning Deathwing, Kel’thuzad, and Grommash all after putting Varian on the board.  Even getting your smallest minions is still an incredible effect.  The only downsides is that Varian does poorly in high-speed games and summoning minions with valuable battlecries can be suboptimal, but he is a monster in long games with a focus on controlling the board.  I was hoping to see more good Arena cards for Warrior, and I can’t think of a more beastly way to win an Arena match than with the warrior king of the Alliance.

Mistcaller

This guy has a lot of excitement behind him, but let’s really think about how viable he is.  In the long game, Mistcaller is incredible as he applies a permanent buff to all of your minions… That is, all of your minions that aren’t on the board already.  With a 4/4 stat line at 6 mana, he does little to effect the current state of the board.  While he is a big investment for the future of the game, he also gives your opponent an opening to seize the board now and make those buffs a moot point.  Having all those buffs sitting in your deck might sound like overkill, but it could all easily end up as unused resources.  He’ll likely be a strong card, but he’s not going to seal games in your favor as many are predicting.

AcidmawDreadscale

That’s right, Hunter is actually getting two separate legendaries with The Grand Tournament instead of just one.  This would be incredibly exciting news for Hunter players if the legendaries weren’t so underwhelming.  Acidmaw has the single worst stat line in Hearthstone history and a Magma Rager has a better chance of surviving a turn then he does.  The fact that his effect can also be used against you does not make him any more appealing.  Yes, he provides a board-clear when combined with Unleash the Hounds or his buddy Dreadscale, but you more or less have a worst Twisting Nether and when’s the last time you saw a Warlock run that.  Dreadscale, meanwhile, is basically half a Baron Geddon, and that can actually be pretty useful in Control Hunter decks that need to shut down early aggression.  Still, these are easily the least exciting class legendaries for this expansion.

If you want to see all of the new cards coming to Hearthstone, you can see them here.  There’s plenty of other incredible new cards to see that may make bold new decks possible.  Dragons with taunt, discard synergy for Warlock, good Arena cards for Warrior, and much more are coming when The Grand Tournament releases on August 24th.  Let us know what cards you’re most excited to play with in the comments below.