All the cards from Whispers of the Old Gods are out in the open now before next week’s release. I watched the entire livestream, and spent the time afterwards feverishly checking the Facebook album releases. From that point on, I tried to process all the new cards in my mind, how they work in the arena and constructed. Pro players are in the process of putting out their opinions on the cards. Heck, even two guys sitting next to me on the bus were busy looking at the cards and pointing out which cards sucked. Now that I have had a whole day to process the cards, here is my pre-release list of the Top 10 cards of Whispers of the Old Gods.
Honorable mentions: Twilight Summoner, Embrace the Shadow, Call of the Wild
10. Thing From Below – This card was revealed fairly early on, and it’s power was recognized by many. Just by playing 1 totem in the game, the Thing will be worth it’s cost as a 5/5 taunt. With further reductions in cost, it will be an insane tempo play along with other stuff, or with removal spells.
9. Infested Wolf – This is clearly the spiritual successor to Haunted Creeper, with the deathrattle spider summons. It has a little synergy with Forlorn Stalker and Princess Huhuran. But the best part of it is that the Spiders summoned are beasts, and will have synergy with Houndmaster and Kill Command.
8. Forbidden Ritual – Zoolock will be hit very hard with the phasing out of Imp-losion and Haunted Creeper, and weakened to an extent with nerfs to Leper Gnome, Ironbeak Owl and Knife Juggler. While it’s possible the deck will never come back from this, this card provides Warlock a reliable token generator. These weak bodies are perfect for boosting with Power Overwhelming and Abusive Sergeant, as well as synergy with Sea Giant and Gormok.
7. Evolve – A while back, I took a look at Master of Evolution, and found that a minion will typically gain something short of +1/+1, when moving up a mana crystal. I have yet to rerun these numbers, but there is a net positive. Also, minions get an artificial heal, after being transformed. Evolve will transform an entire board to make better minions for just 1 mana. Shamans have no trouble flooding the board with minions and totems, so this card will be well worth it’s value. Of course, hesitations of this card are like that of Bloodlust, in that the board has to be there for this card to be worth something. But I think Shamans are getting enough tools, and have enough removal to protect their board.
6. Journey Below – A tried to figure out if there’s a word that means “metaphor of itself” but I couldn’t find this word. This is exactly what Rogues are going through once Standard Play hits. A journey below, in order to find a viable deck that can compete in the meta. As seen with Priests, Museum Curator became a big hit in decks, and regularly fishes out legendary cards. Though deathrattles take a hit from Standard Play, this card should still usually yield something powerful. Throw in the fact that it is a cheap spell, it helps even more. The problem with it is that Rogues are completely aimless at the moment.
5. Master of Evolution – I talked about this card at length before, but this card just has nothing but upside. If there is nothing to transform, it doesn’t hurt you with the Yeti-stated body.
4. Blood to Ichor – This card was not on this list, but then I realized how good it is. It doesn’t look too useful to deal 1 damage, but it fits into what the Warrior needs. First of all, it can used to weaken a 4-health minion to put it in range to getting killed by a Fiery War Axe or King’s Defender. Second, it can be used to hurt your own minions, which has synergy with virtually any card in the Patron Warrior deck, along with the new Blood Warrior card. Third, the 2/2 Slime itself is worth the 1 mana, so it’s a free 1 damage. So much flexibility with this card.
3. Cabalist’s Tome – I was doubtful of this card at first, until I saw it in use during the playstream. Mage spells are likely the best spells of all the Hearthstone classes, so you’re getting pretty good cards. This card also allows reloading without using the deck, preventing fatigue against control decks. Further, this has a good chance of providing reach, when needed for lethal. The question remains whether Freeze Mage decks can afford to fit anything else, given it was mostly unaffected by the nerfs.
2. Bloodhoof Brave – Let’s address the scrollophant in the room. It gets wrecked (or stolen) by Priests. With that class aside, I feel this card will be effective against every other class. First of all, it cannot be removed on Turn 4 by anything except for Mage Fireballs. The extra health over Sludge Belcher and Sen’jin Shieldmasta is big in allowing in to stick around. While it doesn’t hit the first minion hard for 2 attack, the enrage mechanic will force it to trade up with the next minion on the board. With 5 attack, it will usually be strong enough to clean up something around 4 mana. With Warriors, there is upside of becoming a 7/5 taunt with Inner Rage and Cruel Taskmaster, letting it trade with something even bigger. As a hefty taunt, it can protect a board of Patrons or Berserkers. Further, there is potential with taunt Warrior becoming a thing and the card Bolster. The possibilities are endless with Bloodhoof Brave, with it possibly fitting into any type of Warrior deck and really good in the arena as well.
- Hallazeal the Ascended – Whuspers of the Old Gods doesn’t seem to have outrageously OP legendaries at the moment, but this guy rises to the occasion. As a 4/6, it is just a shade under-stated. The thing you have to consider is that healing costs mana, and damage costs mana. When you get a card that does both like Holy Nova, it only damages/heals for 2 for 5 mana. Consider this: Shamans have a ton of damage spells. Single-target spells like Lightning Bolt (3), Lava Burst (5), and even the new Stormcrack (4). Shamans have decent AoE with Lightning Storm (2-3) and Elemental Destruction (4-5). Further, spellpower Totems are likely to be around to give a magic boost. Shaman overload has been mitigated with Lava Shock, and a new card Eternal Sentinal. With this card, a Shaman can control a board, deal damage, and heal himself completely, in the process. The value is just off-the-charts. The question is where this card will be, given the seemingly myriad of Shaman deckbuilding options.
Bonus: Bold Prediction
Fandral Staghelm will be the Troggzor of this set.