Hearthstone: One Night in Karazhan Cards Preview #2

Hearthstone

Things weren’t off to the best start with some of the first cards we saw being added with One Night in Karazhan, but the full list is now available and we can make some definitive statements on what we can expect in Hearthstone‘s near future. Hearthstone Let’s see if this update saved its best for last and how it will shape the game.

The developers are really pushing for Discard Warlock to be an archetype and this one card could be what makes it a reality.  The biggest drawback to discarding has always been that, even with a hero power that draws cards, it quickly drains your resources and you simply can’t regain momentum.

MalchezaarsImp

Malchezaar’s Imp allows you to maintain momentum even while discarding several cards and has a strong stat line to keep it alive long enough for a considerable effect.  The one caveat is that the deck would have to be aggressive in nature if you’re discarding that many cards as you can’t risk losing anything too valuable.

VioletIllusionist

Given how powerful aggro decks have been for so long, I welcome something like Violet Illusionist into the game with open arms.  Granted, she won’t be enough to counter aggressive decks on the same level as Antique Healbot on her own, but she’ll offer more survivability across the board without being overpowered.

Zoobot

Hey, neutral beast-synergy that isn’t junk.  It also works with dragons and murlocs, but only one for each.  It’s a bit of a strange concept, but you really only need it to hit one of your minions for this to be good.  Even if you have to play it on it’s own, it still has a decent stat line on its own.  It’s less so now that 3/4 minions are becoming more and more common, but it still looks like a decent card.  It’s just strange to think of where it will find its place in constructed with how sporadic its effect is, but just remember that you don’t always have to get maximum value out of card for it to be good.

MedivhGuardian

The final prize at the adventure’s end, Medivh, is interesting for a couple reasons.  For one, it shows that characters who are already playable heroes can also be cards, which could have some interesting results in the future.  Second, he gives you a neutral weapon that spends its durability whenever you cast a spell to summon a random minion matching the spell’s cost.  We’ve already seen this effect with Summoning Stone, but the Atiesh weapon has greater potential as your opponent won’t have an easy way of removing it.  Cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze can counter it, but it’s not something that is going to drive cards like that up in the meta on its own.  The high cost and unpredictability will probably make Medivh too niche for most competitive decks, but he will definitely find his place in certain control decks.

Purify

♫The rich get richer♫

♫And the poor get poorer♫

♫And Ben Brode lauuughs at your pain♫

I certainly hope that the bosses in this next adventure are at least fun, because One Night in Karazhan is undoubtedly the weakest Hearthstone expansion in terms of a meta shift.  Between Firelands Portal making Mage stronger and Purify making Priest weaker, this expansion is not only maintaining the status quo, but actively cementing it.  There are a few new archetypes that can emerge from some of the new cards, but most of it merely supplements what is already dominant in the game.  All signs point to Medivh throwing a lame party and I already feel like I have a remorseful hangover.

What are your thoughts on One Night in Karazhan?  Do you have more optimism for what it can offer Hearthstone than I do?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Blackrock Mountain Cards Preview #5

Blackrock

This is the grand finale of cards that will be added in Hearthstone‘s Blackrock Mountain adventure.  This will cover all of the remaining class cards, including both Paladin cards.  Also, be sure to check on all of the previous articles on Blackrock to get completely caught up on all of the cards: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5.

DragonConsort

If you’re looking for a class to run dragons with, Dragon Consort just helped you make a decision.  This Paladin minion is good just as a 5/5 dragon for 5 mana, but the battlecry makes this card pretty crazy.  Note that the card doesn’t specify the turn it’s played, so that 2 mana discount will stick around until you spend it on a dragon with it.  If anything in this expansion is going to make dragon decks a thing, it’s this card.

SolemnVigil

Paladin has been needing some more card draw options and Solemn Vigil does a pretty good job.  On its own, it’s just a worse Arcane Intellect, but no class is better at expendable minions than Paladin and getting the cost of this card down won’t be hard.  Run this alongside Muster for Battle, Haunted Creeper, and other good token cards and you’ve got a pretty strong deck.

Demonwrath

Whether Demonwrath is a better or worse version of Hellfire is going to depend on the deck you run it in.  If you’re running a demon deck, it’s great as a cheap area-of-effect spell that can give you a big lead.  It also works with non-demon deathrattle minions like Nerubian Egg and Loothoarder.  It may not be a good pick for arena, but there are definitely plays to be made with it in constructed.

FireguardDestroyer

FINALLY!  A 4 mana 3/6 minion for someone other than Mage!  That stat line alone makes this one of the best cards in the expansion.  Water Elemental was the only card to have such a strong body to it from the start and it’s about time another class got to use a minion this tough.  Actually, this is a 4 mana 4/6 in the worst case scenario and a 7/6 at best.  There is that overload to consider, but that’s a small price to pay for such a powerful body.  With Lava Shock entering the game, that overload is even less concerning.  Fireguard Destroyer is definitely worth running.

Revenge

BLIZZARD, PLEASE, LEAVE WARRIOR ALONE!  I fell in love with Control Warrior recently, but Goblins vs Gnomes made the class significantly weaker.  In constructed, aggro decks became far to fast for Warriors to keep up with.  In arena, every new Warrior card save for Shieldmaiden was bad for the mode’s board control meta.  Between Axe Flinger and this worse version of Whirlwind, Warrior is only going to become even weaker with Blackrock.  Revenge is far too situational and Warrior already has enough AoE options that there’s no point to trying to fit it into your deck.  At this point, Warrior would be better off not getting new cards at all.

TwilightWhelp

LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE LITTLE GUY!  I don’t care if he’s arguably a worse version of Zombie Chow, he’s just so cute!  In all seriousness, this card probably isn’t going to see much play as Zombie Chow already gives Priest a 1 mana 2/3 that doesn’t demand a lot of dragons and can synergize with Auchenai Soulpriest in the late game.   While he may not have the downside of healing your opponent when you don’t have Auchenai, it’s still a worst topdeck than the zombie and just about any other card in the game.  On the plus side, I promise not to abuse caps lock for the rest of this article.

VolcanicLumberer

On the one hand, Volcanic Lumberer is a worse Ironbark Protector on its own.  However, cards like Force of Nature and archetypes like Token Druid can make it very easy to cheaply summon.  Even with that, it’s still a fairly situational card and may not be practical even in decks built around it.  It has potential, but we’ll need to see how it plays out in practice to see how viable it really is.

That does it for the Blackrock previews.  Keep an eye out for boss guides to hit once the adventure releases this week.

Blackrock Mountain Cards Preview #2

Cards

More cards have been revealed for the upcoming Hearthstone adventure, Blackrock Mountain, and they have their own share of shake-ups for the game.  All three new cards are class-exclusive for Warlock, Hunter, and Mage respectively.  If these particular cards fail to excite you, keep in mind that each class will receive two exclusive cards.

Warlock is fearsome at flooding the board and Imp Gang Boss is all about that.  However, it’s debatable whether this will be better or worse than the existing Imp Master card.  Boss has a better stat line and demon synergy, but it has to run itself against an enemy to spawn an imp and a tough taunt is all it takes to whittle him down.  Honestly, the Imp-losion spell will probably prove better than either minion, but Boss is still an interesting option.

CoreRager

Hunter-exclusive minion Core Rager is similar to the Druid’s Druid of the Fang card, but it’s either more or less situational depending on the deck it’s placed in.  As a 4/4 beast for 4 mana, its stat line is fair enough, but playing it simply as a 4 drop should only be done as a last resort.  The idea is that this will be strongest when you’re topdecking in the late game, but calling out a 7/7 without a hand is only going to be useful if you already have a strong hold on the board or if its enough to land a lethal hit on the enemy hero.  Otherwise, it’s not going to get much work done and your opponent can afford to ignore it.  Core Rager is definitely the least exciting of this crop.

Flamewaker

Flamewaker is easily the most competitive card in this set and it already has plenty of people outraged at it.  Mech Mage is currently one of the strongest decks in the game and, while Flamewaker isn’t a mech, it does have a great deal of synergy with the Spare Parts series of token spells.  Mage is also heavily based around good spells in general, so this is likely to become a mainstay in most Mage decks.  I don’t think it’s nearly as overpowered as a lot of people are assuming given the randomness of its effect, the fact that you have to spend a spell to trigger it, and the fact that its stat line is only okay, but it is certainly a force to be reckoned with.  Definitely keep an eye out for this one.

There are still 19 cards left to be seen with Blackrock Mountain, 4 of which will be legendary, and we likely won’t have to wait too long for them to be revealed.  It may not be that long before we even start to play with them as the adventure is set to begin sometime next month.

Hearthstone Guide: Best Warlock Cards

Hearthstone

While the Mage class is the first that Hearthstone players unlock and is one of the easiest to build a reliable deck with, she’s not the best bet that new players have for winning games when they’re just starting out.  That honor goes to the Warlock class, which can build the highly competitive zoo deck with mostly basic and common cards.  Beyond that, the Warlock can also build powerful decks centered around giants and demons with a wider collection of cards.  While the Warlock may look intimidating to new players with his costly hero power and the drawbacks on many of his cards, Hearthstone is ultimately a game of resources and knowing how to get the most value out of your plays is the key to victory.  Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices to pull ahead.

This list will go over ten of the Warlock’s best cards overall from the Classic and Goblins vs Gnomes sets.  I’ll discuss which decks they work best in and how to utilize them.  Honestly, I was hoping to avoid discussing Warlock strategies so that I don’t have worry about running into more of them myself, but I’m doing this series for new players and Warlock is one of the most valuable classes to learn early on.

10. Soulfire

Giving up a random card from your hand just to deal 4 damage may not seem like a good trade, but this card is insanely good in a clutch.  It actually would have placed much higher if this list had been written prior to the card’s nerf.  Previously, this spell didn’t cost any mana to play.  Even with it costing 1 mana now, it’s still an incredibly fast play that can save you from a bad situation or even outright win you the game.

9. Voidwalker

Let’s talk about zoo and why it’s so powerful despite being so cheap to build.  The idea of a zoo deck is to fill it mostly with cheap minions and overwhelm your opponent early on.  The big drawback is that this tactic quickly empties your hand and can leave you without plays if your opponent can wipe the board.  The Warlock is easily the best class for this tactic as his hero power can refresh the hand and he has minions that play greatly to this tactic.  One handy card for this strategy is the Voidwalker, a cheap but durable taunt minion that can protect your building swarm.  It’s not going to do much on its own, but it gives other minions room to take the board and set you on the path to victory.

8. Imp-losion

While this spell has an element of randomness behind it, the effect it has on a game is a little crazy.  As a removal option for enemy minions, it’s actually really bad as it will only do 4 damage in the best case scenario while Shadow Bolt can guarantee that much damage for less mana.  However, the swarm of imps that it summons for you easily make up for all  of the card’s disadvantages.  Even when it performs at its weakest, Imp-losion ultimately adds up in your favor.

7. Flame Imp

There is a saying among Hearthstone players: The only health point on your hero that matters is the one right before you die.  Spending 3 health just to get a small minion out one turn faster than you’d normally be able to might not sound like a wise investment, but you’d be shocked just how much of an advantage it can give you as the ultimate zoo card.  Flame Imp is a bad play if it puts you at risk of losing on the next turn, but having a 3/2 on the board is going to be more valuable some extra health any time before that. If you can’t control the board, you’re just going to lose your health anyway.  Better to spend health on your own resources than to leave an opening for your opponent to knock you around themselves.

6. Floating Watcher

At a glance, Floating Watcher’s ability to grow bigger and stronger whenever your hero takes damage on your own turn might sound incredibly situational, but it can actually prove very reliable.  Not only do you have your hero power to consistently build it up, you can also combo it with cards like Flame Imp or Mad Bomber to quickly create a massive beast before you even know it.  In arena mode, this card is one of the Warlock’s best ways to overwhelm the enemy.  In constructed, Watcher is going to be the most consistent in a demon-themed deck.  Building a strong Watcher is less relevant against certain strategies, so having a versatility of cards that it can work with will keep ensure it stays a threat.

5. Siphon Soul

With all of the drawbacks that Warlock cards have, there is naturally a tendency to burn yourself out.  While you should be willing to use your health as a resource, the fact remains that you lose when you run out of it and you should have cards that restore it.  Mistress of Pain and Antique Healbot are fairly good in certain decks, but Siphon Soul is a card that can serve you well is almost any Warlock deck.  Being a hard removal card that can take out any minion in one shot already makes it incredibly valuable, but the added healing makes for a must-have spell.  The only concern is that its high mana cost can be too slow for most zoo decks, but any other deck can run it without worry.

4. Voidcaller

As I’ve said with Harvest Golem and Piloted Shredder, the most reliable minions are the sticky ones.  The minions that can maintain a presence on the board even after they have died.  Voidcaller instantly summons a random demon from your hand to the battlefield and bringing a free minion to the board is a huge asset.  What makes Voidcaller especially good is that most demons have really strong stat lines and you can influence which demon is likely to be summoned by playing that smaller ones.  Voidcaller also takes away the drawbacks of demons as his deathrattle doesn’t trigger their costly battlecries.  Voidcaller is the card that made demon decks a thing to begin with, so you should definitely pick it up.

3. Doomguard

This is the biggest minion you’ll ever need for a zoo deck and it works in any other deck as well.  A 5/7 with charge for only 5 mana is insanely powerful and lets you rule over the midgame.  The cost of 2 cards from your hand can be drastic, but you can actually avoid this by emptying your hand onto the board early.  If there are no cards in your hand to be discarded, the Doomguard isn’t going to look for some other toll to take.  Even if you have to discard, it’s a chance worth taking to set up your victory.  Doomguard is definately a must-have.

2. Mal’Ganis

Warlock has some of the craziest legendaries out there and Mal’Ganis is a perfect example.  Having a 9/7 stat line for 9 mana is decently scary.  Having to ability to give your other demons 2 more attack and health so long as he remains on the field makes him even more scary.  His ability to make your hero immune to all damage so long as he lives makes him insanely strong.  If you’re ever facing down a Warlock, save a hard removal card just in case this monster shows his face.  He’s too slow to work in a zoo deck, but a demon deck is absurdly strong with him.

1. Lord Jaraxxus

TRIFLING GAMER!  NOW YOU FACE JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION AND THE BEST WARLOCK CARD IN ALL OF HEARTHSTONE!  JARAXXUS IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL CARDS IN GENERAL AS HE REPLACES YOUR PUNY HERO AND TAKES THE REIGNS OF BATTLE HIMSELF.  JARAXXUS ONLY HAS 15 MAX HEALTH OPPOSED TO THE USUAL 30, BUT THIS CAN ACT AS A HEAL IN THE LATE GAME.  JARAXXUS ALSO COMES WITH A FREE 3/8 WEAPON TO CRUSH THE ENEMY.  FINALLY, JARAXXUS HAS HIS OWN HERO POWER THAT SUMMONS A 6/6 DEMON FOR ONLY 2 MANA.  ONCE JAXXARUS ENTERS THE FRAY, YOUR PATHETIC ADVERSARY WILL BE LEFT SCRAMBLING TO TRY AND STRIKE HIM DOWN BEFORE HE SHOWS THEM THE TRUE MEANING OF OBLIVION!  JUST TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, JARAXXUS EVEN HAS HIS OWN EMOTES TO MOCK YOUR FOE WITH AND SCREAM YOUR DOMINANCE AT THE TOP OF YOUR MORTAL LUNGS!  IT’S JUST THE JARAXXUS WAY OF DOING THINGS!  HA HA HA HA HA!  JARAXXUS WINS HEARTHSTONE!  THANK YOU FOR READING!

(Man, that was fun.)