Class Convergence in Kobolds & Catacombs + Cool Neutrals

Class Convergence in Kobolds & Catacombs + Cool Neutrals

Well, Kobolds & Catacombs was revealed in it’s entirety yesterday, getting every dedicated player and thinker of the game riled up to play with the new cards. No matter what your opinion is on K&C, I think everyone can agree that this is a huge expansion in shifting the game. While I have been unfamiliar with the Hearthstone Ranked Meta for some time, it is clear that having cards of an unseen power level are going to shake things up. As is a tradition in this blog, I will now take a look at class convergence in this new set, and also discuss interesting neutral cards that dip into new directions.

Class convergence

Every class is supposed to feel different with their hero power, class cards, and interactions with the neutral cards. Class convergence is the feel of classes starting to look like other classes, brought upon by the introduction of new class cards. Let’s look at all the classes and where they fall on class convergence thanks to new cards.

Druid

  • Copy effects – Druid, a class of flexibility, is getting copy effects for the first time. The cards Ixlid, Fungal Lord and Astral Tiger both have such abilities. Ixlid is more like a Priest card in Mirage Caller. Astral Tiger is more similar to an older Druid card, Malorne, though it acts as a copy, instead of the same card.
  • Armoring – Druid always had secondary armor cards in Feral Rage, Bite, Gnash, Claw, etc. The interesting thing is that armor was never a focus for Druid, just a damage mitigation tool. With the Druid Jasper Spellstones, armoring becomes a chief focus in leveling up the spell. As such, K&C puts an emphasis on Druid armor cards with Barkskin, Ironwood Golem, Oaken Summons, and Branching Paths.

Hunter

  • Positioning – K&C brings about the most positioning cards we have seen, and Hunter has always been a general position-against class, by playing your strongest monsters on the edges. Crushing Walls flips that script, making the reverse positioning tactic more effective. Really for Arena considerations, there is no way to position against the Hunter now, as you need to play around Explosive Shot and Crushing Walls.
  • Warrior positioning attack – First seen on Foe Reaper 4000, Warriors had a few cards like Magnataur Alpha and Scourgelord Garrosh that focus on damaging multiple minions at once. Cave Hydra, is the first Hunter card to attack multiple minions on each hit.
  • Cheap weapon – Glaivezooka was a very good Hunter card, not only for the battlecry, but for being a 2-cost weapon. We are seeing the first cheap Hunter weapon in a while, Candleshot. While just a 1-attack weapon, it is definitely amazing in the Arena and opens up Pirate synergy for Constructed.

Mage

  • Board flood – Dragoncaller Alanna allows the Mage to fill the entire board with 5/5 Dragons. This is notable as Mage is known for being an off-the-board class, not necessarily imposing will with minions. Alanna combines the aspect of using big spells to translate to a lot of minion power.
  • Armoring – Just a one-of, but Arcane Artificer allows the Mage to continually armor up with spells. Armor has always been in Mage with Ice Barrier, but this is the first card that can allow the class to continually heal up.

Paladin

  • None – Just by looking at the Paladin cards, they all do what Paladins already do. Lynessa Sunsorrow focuses on card buff abilities. Level Up!, Crystal Lion, and Drygulch Jailor have Silver Hand Recruit synergy. Cards buff, Taunt, and give Divine Shield. There’s healing. There’s a good weapon. All Paladin stuff.

Priest

  • Turn manipulation – The legendary Temporus has a battlecry that allows your turn to skip, and your opponent’s turn to skip. Previously, we only had the Mage Quest skip a turn, so this would the second turn manipulating card.
  • Coin – An old Rogue mechanic of stealing coins has now gone to Priest through Gilded Gargoyle. The bad stats on this card will probably render this card less useful, though Priest ramp is likely more powerful than Rogue.
  • Divine shield – Unindentified Elixer has 1 outcome providing Divine Shield. To a minion. I believe this is the first Priest-exclusive card that gives Divine Shield.

Rogue

  • Secrets – Fairly big deal in the class convergence department, as Rogues finally got Secrets. It is something that always made sense, and has finally come to be. Rogue secrets play and activate like previous secrets. Evasion will sequence like Eye for an Eye. Cheat Death will sequence like Getaway Kodo. Sudden Betrayal will sequence like Ice Barrier.
  • “Ice Block” – Evasion is a cheaper and worse version of Ice Block. It is a lot worse in that any killing blow will not trigger the Immune activation. So unlike Ice Block, where you try to wittle down as much life as possible, you would hit harder first against Evasion.
  • Drawing/tutoring – We see two cards Elven Minstrel and Cavern Shinyfinder, which draw minions and weapons respectively. Rogues had card draw in the past, but nothing that specifically targets specific card types in the deck.

Shaman

  • Copy effects – Shaman never had copy effects, but they are now. The Sapphire Spellstone cards will level up on copying friendly minions. Grumble, Worldshaker is a bit like a Rogue card, in that it bounces minions, and has the 1-cost mechanic.
  • “Tortollan Primalist ability” – The legendary weapon, The Runespear, can Discover a spell and casts it on random targets. The Discover makes it like Tortollan Primalist, so that’s new. Mage has Servant of Yogg-Saron, which eschews the Discover part.

Warlock

  • Conditional taunt – Hooked Reaver is a powerful card that provides conditional Taunt. We most recently saw this with Tol’vir Stoneshaper and Nesting Roc. Unlike those cards though, the Hooked Reaver goes from bad to amazing, based on the conditional ability. Life manipulation is no new thing though, with past Handlock decks.
  • Big heal – Dark Pact allows the Warlock to heal for 8. While the Warlock dabbles with healing to use Life Tap, this is almost a Priest heal in it’s big number.

Warrior

  • Golems – Warriors are getting Mithril Golems through their Mithril Spellstone. This sounds a lot like Jade Druid and Jade Golems.

Interesting neutral cards

  • Mister Oakheart – 9 mana, but you could basically summon 4 bodies to the board. While there are constructed implications in what you put in your deck, this card also fits very well with typically Arena mana cost is for minions.
  • Arcane Tyrant – Great tempo cheat after Turn 5.
  • Shimmering Courser – Neat ability, but 4-mana 3/3 is easily dealt with by minions.
  • Spiteful Summoner – A bit like previous Tavern Brawl rules we’ve seen.
  • Void Ripper – A big swing ability previously seen in the Priest spell Confuse.
  • Gravelsnout Knight, Hungry Ettin – Over-stated guys who bring back the Hungry Dragon mechanic. Esports!
  • Kobold Monk – We see hero untargetability in other games, but a first for Hearthstone. The stats are on-curve as well, making this a very interesting card.
  • Dire Mole – Vanilla minions are always interesting, as there are a few stat combinations that we have not seen. This is clearly the stickiest neutral 1-drop we have seen in some time, with no downside.
  • Dragonslayer – Reminds me of an old 3-mana 4/3 called Light’s Champion.
  • Shroom Brewer – Neutral heal is always cool, so a little worse than Earthen Ring Farseer, but decent.
  • Stoneskin Basilisk – Possibly better than Giant Wasp. Divine Shield and Poisonous is a great combination, but the ability to get pinged off and traded into might make it the same as Wasp.
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Dual Class Arena Synergy Guide

Dual Class Arena Synergy Guide

Starting on November 24th, we will have dual class Arenas in Hearthstone, for about a span of two weeks. Like in the Frost Festival, free Arena tickets will be provided for each week of the event.

It might be tricky to determine which classes to pick for the event. The safe thing to do is to pick a hero with good cards, and then a good hero power. To help understand this process, I decided to look at all of the class interactions, to look at what happens to certain synergies when you combine their card pools.

dualclassgraphic
The witch is back.

Methodology

  • In a completely qualitative manner, I looked at commons, rares, and epics of cards that showed up in the Arena.
  • I started with the Druid and compared Druid cards with that of the other 8 classes. The cards apply to specifically the hero power.
  • I gave a “Verdict” and a simple thumbs up/down/okay score.
  • Certain cards were left out of synergy discussions. Crackling Razormaw for example is beast synergy, but is fine on it’s own without it, unhurt by lowered synergy. The same goes for Kirin Tor Mage.

Top interactions to look for

Ethereal Peddler + Any class

Ethereal Peddler(42023).png

Use Rogue as one of the Dual Class choices, and you’ll have this card in your rare pool. You’re getting a 2 cost discount for your other class cards in your hand. While this is dependent on hand size, getting a 2-mana or 4-mana discount on 1 or 2 cards is already huge, as it can set up a huge turn. Also, this card is a 5-mana 5/6, which doesn’t exist as a neutral anymore.

Obsidian Shard + Any class

Obsidian Shard(55587).png

Same deal with Ethereal Peddler. Because part of your collection will belong to another class (not the selected portrait hero), this card will get discounted a bit. Definitely a good idea to cheat this out in the early game to shut down the opponent board faster.

Light’s Justice + Deadly Poison or Envenom Weapon

Light's Justice(250).pngDeadly Poison(87).pngEnvenom Weapon(55588).png

Absolutely nutty. Light’s Justice is close to auto-draft for Paladins already, and pairing Paladin with Rogue makes a lot of sense. Throw in these weapon enhancers, and the game is over once you get this combo off.

Blackguard + Priest Healing

Blackguard(62907).pngLesser Heal(126).pngGreater Healing Potion(49755).pngSpirit Lash(58722).pngDarkshire Alchemist(35199).pngPriest of the Feast(42056).png

A little harder to pull off given the Blackguard is competing with other epic cards, but this is just insane board clear potential. Best used when you are a Paladin playing with the Priest hero power, so you can guarantee constant healing.

I Know a Guy + Paladin Hero

I Know a Guy(49623).pngTirion Fordring(391).pngSunkeeper Tarim(55462).png

Wickerflame Burnbristle(49633).pngGrimestreet Protector(49678).pngStonehill Defender(55529).png

In this setup, you’ll need to play as a Paladin with the Warrior hero power. While choosing the Warrior hero power is not a winning play, the class chances of getting off I Know a Guy on a great Paladin taunt is very high. You don’t have to be a Warrior, as Stonehill Defender will do this so long as you have a Paladin portrait, but the chances are higher when you have the Warrior hero power.

Full dual class analysis

The following is very long, so proceed at your own caution. Thanks for reading!

Druid Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Druid Verdict
Hunter ↑↑ Beast Synergy (Bestial Wrath, Mark of Y’Shaarj, Menagerie Warden, Crackling Razormaw, Houndmaster, Kill Command, Virmen Sensei, Trogg Beastrager, Abominable Bowman)

↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Alleycat, Scavenging Hyena, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Rat Pack)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Deathrattle Synergy (Corpse Widow, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

A natural pairing of the beast classes, though the difference-maker is being able to ping as a Druid. Druid traditionally plays big, so having Hunter cards will favor a lighter draft. It is fine though, as there are plenty of Druid tools to help power swarm tactics.

👍👍

Mage ↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

With no synergy between the class cards, and very similar hero powers, this is not a great team. The Druid hero power has late game armor, though the damage cannot always be spent. Mage does have the most powerful spells, and Druid has good cards as well. Overall, the card quality is going to be good. Just know you will draft Mage spells to cover what is lacking for Druid in AoE and big direct damage.

👌

Paladin ↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Meanstreet Marshall)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

With Paladin cards in tow, the Druid-Paladin combination will have access to a lot of buffs. Besides skipping on network synergies like Jade and Murloc, the overall card quality is just going to be great. And these classes don’t clash much, both working similarly.

👍👍

Priest ↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

If there’s anything Druid and Priest have in common is that they have big minions and heal. Again like with Mage, you’ll probably just be looking for the really good Priest spells. The Druid hero power gives ping, and a straight upgrade. Forget the healing synergy cards. Drakonid Operative is fine to draft, but don’t expect a discover.

👌

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↑ Stealth (Shellshifter, Elder Longneck, Verdant Longneck, Shadow Sensei)

↓ Combo (1-drops, Razorpetal Lasher, Bone Baron, Vilespine Slayer, Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

Rogue is great for many reasons, and provides many benefits in the dual class format. The Druid hero power isn’t as good for the early game, but provides the late game heal. Rogue will offer 2 rares, which would provide cost reduction, making them bonkers in the format. Both classes can go fast, and play Jade cards. Ignore the Rogue weapon support, and this is a really good pairing.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Jade (Jade Lightning, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Overload Synergy (Unbound Elemental)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Shamans do have decent cards, but are hindered by a really bad hero power. Having Druid will definitely help, making the pairing solid overall. Shaman does have a mediocre Jade Chieftain, which becomes better. Also forget fringe Elemental, Totem, and Overload synergy. Evolve is slightly worse with Druid cards, as their minions are bigger on stats usually.

👍

Warlock ↑ Healing (Moonglade Portal, Chittering Tunneler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Having access to Druid heal helps mitigate damaging Warlock cards like Chittering Tunneler. Like with Mage and Priest, you would primarily look for the big board clears that Warlock has access to. Despicable Dreadlord and Defile aren’t bad picks either. Overall, a low synergy pairing buoyed by the Druid hero power.

👌

Warrior ↑ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger, Protect the King, I Know a Guy)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

With the Warrior cards, the first thing to think about is taunt synergy. Warrior doesn’t have Bolster, but Strongshell Scavenger works well with Protect the King. Both have plenty of taunts to throw around. Expect a lot fewer weapons to draft, so don’t go for the synergy.

👌

Hunter Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Hunter Verdict
Druid ↑↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Alleycat, Scavenging Hyena, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Rat Pack)

↑ Beast Synergy (Bestial Wrath, Mark of Y’Shaarj, Menagerie Warden, Crackling Razormaw, Houndmaster, Kill Command, Virmen Sensei, Trogg Beastrager, Abominable Bowman)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Deathrattle Synergy (Corpse Widow, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

Most of mentioned above with the Druid-Hunter pairing is still relevant. If you pick the Hunter hero power, definitely bank on the aggro swarm picks much more than beast synergy. The ability to flood and buff will be very fast.

👍👍

Mage ↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

↑ Freeze (Ice Walker, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Breath of Sindragosa)

↑ Burn (Pyroblast, Firelands Portal, Fireball)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

Here we have the two classes with the most secret synergy. While secrets typically aren’t good in Arena, Hunter has the best ones, and has the best synergy card in Cloaked Huntress. Aside from secrets, the burn ability from both classes is pretty substantial, making the gameplan more aggressive. Mage also provides much needed card advantage cards.

👍

Paladin ↑ Swarm Aggro (Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Meanstreet Marshall)

↑ Divine Shield (Steward of Darkshire)

↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Hydrologist, Paladin Secrets)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

With the Hunter hero power, you would shape your Paladin play faster, which is fairly natural. Paladin cards revolve around the board control game, so the Hunter won’t really help in that regard. Overall, the strategy would be aggressive and probably dependent on how many weapons get drafted between the two classes.

👍

Priest ↑ Silence (Kabal Songstealer, Silence)

↑ Deathrattle Synergy (Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker, Obsidian Statue, Tortollan Shellraiser, Shifting Shade, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

The odd couple here. Not only are the hero powers opposites, but many minions just flip their attack and health! The Hunter hero power does nothing for Priest heal synergy. The only hope is that the Priest cards provide health buffs, or provide a means of board control. There is possibility for decent deathrattle synergy, and abusing the strong Priest minion’s effects. Not a great pairing, but a chance for a fringe synergy.

👎

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Hard Removal (Sap, Vilespine Slayer, Assassinate, Plague Scientist)

↑ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below, Roll the Bones, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

With the Rogue tool set, you have access to many more hard removal cards, an upgrade over Deadly Shot. As such, you can use these cards to your advantage to take out strategic taunt minions, and go face. I like this pairing quite a bit just for that reason, and both play faster than most. You also have some fringe synergy with deathrattle.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↑ Burn (Jade Lightning, Lava Burst)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Similar to Mage, you’ll have access to a number of decent spells that can deal direct damage or provide AoE. The difference is that Shaman can provide overstated minions, good for the aggro game. Shaman overload is also palatable with Hunter, allowing them to just use the hero power. Evolve is better with Hunter, as the minions are cheaper, and aren’t known for having big stats.

👍

Warlock ↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Devilsaur Egg, Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

No synergy between these two classes, but Warlock class cards do fit an aggressive playstyle decently. While certainly a deadly pairing, this might just be too all-in a combination. With no card advantage Life Tap, this deck could just burn out thanks to discards.

👎

Warrior ↑ Taunts (Alley Armorsmith, Ornery Direhorn, Direhorn Hatchling, Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

With Warrior cards, you are looking for weapon help, or cards that can get big. Frothing Berserker comes to mind right away, and Warriors have a number of taunt minions. The problem is you need those cards to make it work. If you are just drafting Warrior cards that don’t fit the Hunter strategy, there won’t be much with this pairing.

👎

Mage Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Mage Verdict
Druid ↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

As mentioned above, there is no synergy between the classes, and the hero powers are almost the same. Ice Walker does come into play, as the Mage ping does freeze targets. Other than that, there is great card quality from both classes.

👌

Hunter ↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

↑ Burn (Pyroblast, Firelands Portal, Fireball)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

Having the Mage hero power is better than the Hunter one most of the time, as it fits a wider range of playstyles. Typically you would look for the Hunter minions that serve as an upgrade over the mediocre Mage cast. Hunter AoE spells are pretty high value though, so choosing between an Explosive Shot versus a Blizzard will bring interesting cases. Also, Ice Walker + Steady Shot should freeze the enemy hero, if they plan on using a weapon.

👍

Paladin ↓ Handbuffs (Smuggler’s Run, Grimestreet Outfitter, Grimestreet Enforcer)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

The Paladin playkit doesn’t really clash with much, but Mage being a spell-heavy class does with handbuff cards. Again, this is a pairing with two really good card pools, that isn’t really marred by the lack of synergy. If anything, the Mage hero power helps control the board better for the Paladin setup cards.

👍👍

Priest ↑ Cost Reduction (Radiant Elemental)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Lightspawn, Mana Geode, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

Both classes can play off the board, using various spells to remove enemy monsters. As such, you can build a better control deck than ever in the Arena. There is also interesting interplay with combining the different elementals together. Card advantage is something both these classes do that well too. Combine these classes if you want to play control in the Arena.

👍

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

Rogue cards are cheap and Mage cards are expensive, but that isn’t a big deal. Both sets will have a ton of hard removal to go around, so don’t pick too much. Rogue cards will serve as the way to go fast, while the Mage cards can do board clears and finishers. Really, just a good combination of two great Arena classes, that don’t synergize the way you would expect.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Freeze Synergy (Brrrloc, Ice Breaker, Voodoo Hexxer, Avalanche, Breath of Sindragosa, Ice Walker, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova)

↑ Cost Reduction (Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Stone Sentinel, Fire Elemental, Hot Spring Guardian)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

I’m not really sure what to call this partnership, but you’ve got the classes that wield elemental damage. Board clears and damage spells for days. A neutral spellpower minion might be worth a look in a drafting spot. Shaman does provide better minion quality. Shaman also has a good amount of weapons to help with establishing a board. Additionally, those new useless Shaman freeze synergy cards will definitely be more playable with Mage freeze help. It would be a push to say they would be good, but definitely not horrible.

👍

Warlock ↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire, Fireball, Pyroblast)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

When you have the Mage hero power, the Mage and Warlock cards have similar strengths. Lots of single target removal and board clears. The best way to play is to go the burn route, given the abundance of spells from both. Warlock provides beefier minions than Mage, but definitely watch out for the discards, which could hurt Mage more than others.

👌

Warrior ↑ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant, Execute, Battle Rage)

↑ Taunts

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

The Mage ping is really good with Warrior cards. While they have plenty of Whirlwind-like moves, the ability to choose targets helps greatly for removal and self-enraging. Having access to Warrior taunts is also a good thing for Mage, as it allows the hero protection. In most cases, the difficult draft decisions are picking premium weapon vs spell.

👍

Paladin Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Paladin Verdict
Druid ↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Meanstreet Marshall)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

With the Paladin hero power, you lose the ping you get from Druid, but gain the 1/1 dude board advantage. And that is fine. In fact, the amount of buffing that will go around, is fairly dangerous. The Paladin hero power is also better for a card like Crypt Lord. This pairing is exciting, and I would prefer the Paladin hero power here.

👍👍

Hunter ↑ Swarm Aggro (Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Meanstreet Marshall)

↑ Divine Shield (Steward of Darkshire)

↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Hydrologist, Paladin Secrets)

You’ve got two faster classes combining, but you don’t have to play as fast with the Paladin hero power. In fact, you would just play your Paladin board game, but you can get guys out even faster. Hunter has some cheaper spells that Paladin doesn’t have access to until turn 4, so that is good for establishing the early board. Cloaked Huntress is around, but you don’t get the Mage-specific synergy.

👍

Mage ↑ Freeze (Ice Walker, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Breath of Sindragosa)

↑ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist, Hydrologist, Paladin Secrets)

↑ Discover (Ivory Knight)

↓ Handbuffs (Smuggler’s Run, Grimestreet Outfitter, Grimestreet Enforcer)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Ice Walker, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

There is a similar strategy to Hunter, where Mage freeze is seemingly better for Paladin, as it helps the board develop and grow. The difference is that the Paladin will eventually have to deal with the board from growing out of control. The plethora of weapons and spells from both classes should allow that to work easily. Paladin secrets are also cheap, and slightly more useful, allowing secrets to work better for Mage synergy minions.

👍

Priest ↑ High Health (Tortollan Shellraiser, Temple Enforcer, Drakonid Operative)

↑ Blackguard (Binding Heal, Spirit Lash, Holy Nova, Acolyte of Agony, Holy Fire, Priest of the Feast, Darkshire Alchemist,

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

The main strength of this pairing is that Priest minions have high health, allowing them to stick around for taking the Paladin buffs. The Paladin hero power isn’t particularly useful for Priest, besides allowing a curve-filling 1/1. Priest does have access to dragons, so Nightbane Templar might be draftable for once. Blackguard is really strong in the hands of Priest, but having the hero power is preferable to having just the cards.

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Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Poison (Plague Scientist)

The Paladin-Rogue union is probably going to be the dual class to beat for the entire event, but I think having the Rogue hero power is a lot better. Still, this is a great duo, as weapon synergy is still present. Light’s Justice becomes a game-winner if combined with Deadly Poison or Envenom Weapon. Both classes still lack big AoE outside of Consecration/Equality/Wild Pyromancer, but the single-target removals of Rogue should help a lot.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Resurrection (Ancestral Spirit, Spirit Echo)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Not really any synergy between these classes, but the hero power guarantees a 1/1 every time. With Shaman cards, you’ll be looking for the damage, AoE, and removals. Resurrection effects are a bit better on certain Paladin cards with Divine Shield.

👌

Warlock ↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Devilsaur Egg, Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

Like with Hunter, there is some benefit to being able to have small things out, for sacrifice synergy. Double-side AoE isn’t compatible with Paladin, as divine shields and 1/1’s will get wiped out, and it undoes building your board. Access to multiple sources of reach and removal are useful, but I think it hurts Paladin more than it benefits.

👎👎

Warrior ↑ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

Both classes typically have weapons in the draft, so buffs or even Forge of Souls is solid. Like with Warlock, the self-damaging AoE isn’t good for Divine Shields or 1/1’s.

👎

Priest Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Priest Verdict
Druid ↑ High Health (Crypt Lord, Scarab, Ironbark Protector, Druid of the Claw, Ancient of War)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Honestly, I might like the Priest hero power for Druid minions, as it allows sticky minions like Crypt Lord or Scarabs stick around. High health and healing work well together. You can forget any network synergies with dragons, beasts, elementals, and jade though.

👍

Hunter ↑ Deathrattle Synergy (Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker, Obsidian Statue, Tortollan Shellraiser, Shifting Shade, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↓ Beast Synergy (Crackling Razormaw, Houndmaster, Kill Command, Trogg Beastrager, Abominable Bowman)

The Hunter-Priest odd couple is seemingly worse with the Priest hero power, which is useless for helping low health minions. Generally, the Hunter cards will just provide initiative, and things for the Priest to play. There is a little deathrattle synergy that still applies thanks to Hunter support cards. Forget any network synergies that applied to each individual class.

👎👎

Mage ↑ Discover (Shadow Visions)

↑ Cost Reduction (Radiant Elemental)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Lightspawn, Mana Geode, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

As mentioned before, the Mage-Priest pairing could be a very strong control component never seen before in Arena. An added benefit of playing as Mage with Priest hero power is discover with Shadow Visions. Imagine having 2 Flamestrikes, 3 Firelands, or 4 Fireballs in a deck? Look no further!

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Paladin ↑↑ Blackguard (Lesser Heal, all Priest heals, Divine Strength, Grimestreet Outfitter, Smuggler’s Run, Sword of Justice)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

Like with Hunter, Paladin cards will just give the Priest some initiative and something to put on the board. Blackguard becomes absolutely nuts in the hands of the Priest hero power and cards. His high health allows him to stick around forever, barring enemy hard removal. Buff him to 4 attack to make him immune to Priest removal.

👌

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon, Luckydo Buccaneer)

This partnership becomes much more useful with the Rogue hero power, but what can you do. The Priest hero power isn’t great for Rogue minions, as they typically have low health. With these pools of cards, you can play control well, as you will have single target removal for all situations. Rogue can provide some sneaky damage to the normally reactive Priest.

👌

Shaman ↑ High Health (Flamewreathed Faceless, Drakkari Defender, Earth Elemental)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Radiant Elemental)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Similar to Druid, Shaman has some big dudes who can benefit from healing after trades. Shaman damage spells are slightly worse without the 25% roll for Wrath of the Air Totem, but I think the value of Lesser Heal is better. Both classes also wield a fair number of class elementals, allowing extra value from neutral elementals.

👍

Warlock ↑ Healing (Priest heals, Chittering Tunneler, Felfire Potion, Pit Lord)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

These two styles clash, and their relationship is better when you have the Warlock hero power. You’re discarding high value cards and sacrificing high health minions. There isn’t much to like besides healing to patch up for Chittering Tunneler, Felfire Potion, and Pit Lord.

👎👎

Warrior ↑↑ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant, Execute, Battle Rage)

↑ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↑ High Health (Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave, Direhorn Hatchling, Alley Armorsmith)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

Don’t sleep on this pairing. The Priest hero power is solid for Enrage minions, as it allows them to power up without dying. This will definitely be skill-testing, as you need to find the line where you can maximize enrage and not die to opponent cards. Besides that, high health taunts provided by Warrior have a good chance to stick around thanks to the heals. Having Warrior weapons helps clear the board.

👍

Rogue Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Rogue Verdict
Druid ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↑ Taunts (Crypt Lord, Scarab, Shellshifter, Spreading Plague, Druid of the Claw)

↑ Healing (Moonglade Portal, Jinyu Waterspeaker, Ultimate Infestation)

↑ Stealth (Shellshifter, Elder Longneck, Verdant Longneck, Shadow Sensei, Savage Roar)

↓ Combo (1-drops, Razorpetal Lasher, Bone Baron, Vilespine Slayer, Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

There is a lot to like with this pairing, and it mostly revolves the Druid having access to taunts and healing. With it, the Rogue can use the weapon liberally, and maybe in the late game. Bad Jade cards like Jade Swarmer, Jade Spirit, and Jade Blossom get a bit better as well. There is also sneaky stealth value, if you drafted a Shadow Sensei.

👍👍

Hunter ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below, Roll the Bones, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

The Hunter toolkit primarily helps with the various position-based AoE has in Explosive Shot and Grievous Bite. Otherwise, it is probably best to go faster with the Hunter cards. Forget any beast synergy with under-stated cards, but things like Crackling Razormaw and Trogg Beastrager are still worth it.

👍

Mage ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

As shown with various Burgle effects, Rogue really makes good use of Mage cards. Not only can the combination of cards control the board really well, but there is extra burst potential of straight damage to the face. The Ethereal Peddler cost reduction synergy I keep pasting probably has maximum value on Mage spells.

👍👍

Paladin ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Taunts (Righteous Protector, Spikeridged Steed, Grimestreet Protector)

↑ Healing (Ivory Knight, Lay on Hands)

↑ Divine Shield (Plague Scientist, Cold Blood)

This is the combination to beat, playing as Paladin with the Rogue hero power. Journey Below is amazing, as the discover potential is fairly high on Tirion. Light’s Justice is great with Deadly Poison and Envenom Weapon. Divine Shield minions provide extra uses for Plague Scientist’s poison and Cold Blood buffs. General heals and taunts help, as Rogue is taking damage from hitting things. There is literally nothing to not like from this combination.

👍👍

Priest ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Healing (Binding Heal, Priest of the Feast)

↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below, Roll the Bones, Obsidian Statue)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

Healing with the Rogue hero power is a big highlight. Priest of the Feast is possibly better with the abundance of cheap spells with Rogue. Northshire Cleric and Crystalline Oracle are 1-drops also, which don’t hurt. There is some deathrattle synergy on Journey Below discover, in that you can fish for an Obsidian Statue or Shifting Shade.

👍

Shaman ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Spirit, Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Lightning)

↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↑ Taunts (Hot Spring Guardian, Earth Elemental, Drakkari Defender)

↑ Healing (Hot Spring Guardian, Jinyu Waterspeaker)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The Rogue-Shaman combination is very similar to the Rogue-Mage combination, in that the Rogue gets a lot AoE and burn spells. Really, once you take away the Shaman hero power, their cards are pretty good! Aside from spells, Shaman provides a little healing/taunts, and has extra Jade synergy value. This has potential to be a very good combination.

👍

Warlock ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Self-Damage (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Pit Lord, Chittering Tunneler)

I am officially calling this pairing Team YOLO. Both classes use their health as a resource, and when you are double dipping in that department, the game could be over fast. On the flip side, the burst potential is really high, and there is plenty of removal options between the two classes. So you could end the game fast with a win. Either way, this is a very high-risk pairing I would not recommend.

👎👎

Warrior ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Runeforge Haunter, Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Naga Corsair, Bloodsail Raider, Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Pirate Synergy (Bloodsail Cultist, Swashburglar, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Southsea Captain)

↑ Taunts

↑ Armor

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

The weapon buff synergy is the sexy thing that sticks out, and even bleeds into a couple of useful vanilla Pirates. Then there’s Pirate synergy, which isn’t really a thing, but let’s just say you draft a bunch. The Warrior has a lot of taunts and armor, so that helps protect. There is also solid burst potential in this pairing. An enraged Frothing Berserker could be game-ending with Cold Bloods or stealth.  

👍

Shaman Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Shaman Verdict
Druid ↑ Jade (Jade Lightning, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Overload Synergy (Unbound Elemental)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

The Shaman hero power isn’t really good given the RNG factor, but you can make some use of the Spellpower totem. That doesn’t particularly apply to Druid, as their spells aren’t bountiful in that regard. A boost on Swipe is sure nice, but there is RNG involved. Other than that, just some Jade synergy. Both classes heal? Hard to get excited.

👎

Hunter ↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

With the Hunter hero power, you can go for more damage, but dicier with the totems. The totems do provide additional bodies, which protect, and make Evolve a bit better. The taunt totem definitely isn’t bad if you’ve got a board going. Still, I think there are many better options, which don’t involve the Shaman hero power.

👎

Mage ↑ Freeze Synergy (Brrrloc, Ice Breaker, Voodoo Hexxer, Avalanche, Breath of Sindragosa, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Stone Sentinel, Fire Elemental, Hot Spring Guardian)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

This is a case where the 25% roll for the Spellpower totem isn’t the absolute worst. Besides that, you have a no ping dual class with some elemental synergy and possible draftable freeze Shaman cards. When you go from a very good hero power to one of the worst, things go off the rails. But the amount of spells available is still dangerous.

👌

Paladin ↑ Resurrection (Ancestral Spirit, Spirit Echo)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The Shaman hero power isn’t horrendous when combined with Paladin. The taunt totem is definitely useful for keeping stuff alive and can buy a minion living for a buff. Healing totem is solid as well. In some cases, the 75% of having a 2 health totem can be big over a 1 health dude. This might be one of the better combinations, if you choose the Shaman hero power for some reason.

👍

Priest ↑ Heal Synergy (Healing Totem, Northshire Cleric)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Radiant Elemental)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Forget the big minion compatibility, as you’ll need to rely on Priest spells for healing, over a hero power. If you do roll a healing totem, you could be in for mass draw with Northshire Cleric. You’ve got some elemental synergy going on, but unfortunately not much else.

👎

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Spirit, Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Lightning)

↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The spellpower totem could definitely be useful with cheap Rogue spells, but none of the other ones are really. Besides that, you can maybe rely on a little jade synergy. Can’t complain too much, when there is enough single target removal to go around, but not having the Rogue ping is something to think about. Shamans aren’t guaranteed a weapon, but Envenom Weapon could make a splash with Spirit Claws.

👌

Warlock ↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↑ Defile

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

There might be something with the roles reversed, but not much going on here besides a shared card pool. The Warlock sacrifice cards are helped by the totems just existing. The card Defile also gets helped by the spellpower totem, and have extra totem bodies to trigger more activations.

👍

Warrior ↑ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant, Execute, Battle Rage)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The enrage minions get a slight uptick given the chances to roll the healing or taunt totem. Besides that, there isn’t anything really interesting here. You’ve the bottom barrel classes joining forces, with no pings.

👎👎

Warlock Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Warlock Verdict
Druid ↑↑ Taunt (Druid of the Swarm, Crypt Lord, Shellshifter, Druid of the Claw, Spreading Plague, Ancient of War, Ironbark Protector)

↑ Healing (Moonglade Portal)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Taunts are best with Warlocks, as it allows them to preserve life to use with Life Tap. Druids have an endless supply of taunts, so very useful. With enough board clears and high health minions, this could be a sneaky good combo.

👍

Hunter ↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Devilsaur Egg, Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

We might have a very good aggro team here, combining the cheap Hunter cards with Warlock life tap. Without natural taunt minions, Hunter secrets might have use in distracting the opponent from going face. The double-sided AoE isn’t great either with flimsy minions, but Despicable Dreadlord still exists.

👌

Mage ↑ Discover (Chittering Tunneler)

↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire, Fireball, Pyroblast)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

With the Mage hero setup and Warlock hero power, the card Chittering Tunneler essentially becomes Primordial Glyph on a body. As mentioned before, there is a lot of burn potential and board clears, which gives this duo a lot of upside. I don’t think it would be ridiculous to consider drafting Ice Block or Ice Barrier, as it helps Warlock.

👍👍

Paladin ↑↑ Taunt (Righteous Protector, Spikeridged Steed, Grimestreet Protector, Legendaries)

↑ Healing (Lay on Hands, Ivory Knight)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

The Warlock-Paladin combo is one of the least compatible, but at least there are taunt and healing benefits when life tapping. The double-sided AoE isn’t really beneficial when you are trying to build your side of the board.

👎

Priest ↑↑ Healing (Priest of the Feast, Binding Heal, Greater Healing Potion, Obsidian Statue, Acolyte of Agony)

↑ Taunt (Tortollan Shellraiser, Obsidian Statue)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

Priests have a cache of healing abilities, so Warlock can keep using Life Tap. This combination is just great card advantage, and can draw infinite cards in the late game. I believe investment in subpar healing cards is fine, as Warlock class cards do enough in dealing damage and removals. Obsidian Statue is just ridiculous in the hands of a Warlock.

👍👍

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Self-Damage (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Pit Lord, Chittering Tunneler)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

This half of the Warlock-Rogue team is basically a Warlock that has Rogue cards. There shouldn’t be extra damage being taken, aside from drafting a few weapons. In the dual class Arena, you probably would like to combine Warlock Life Tap with a class that heals or taunts. Rogue does neither.

👎

Shaman ↑↑ Taunts (Hot Spring Guardian, Drakkari Defender, Feral Spirit, Thing from Below, Voodoo Hexxer, Earth Elemental, Legendaries)

↑ Healing (Hot Spring Guardian, Jinyu Waterspeaker, Tidal Surge)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Shaman has a lot of class card taunts, big and small, across all rarities. Healing options aren’t the best, but there is a little. This will definitely make the Shaman combination one of the better pairings for Warlock. Shadowflame also gets a boost, as Shaman minions can get higher attack for cheap.

👍

Warrior ↑↑ Taunts (I Know a Guy, Bloodhoof Brave, Tar Lord, Direhorn Hatchling, Ornery Direhorn, Alley Armorsmith)

↑ Dread Infernal

↓ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Felfire Potion, Hellfire)

This is the last time I will mention this, but Warriors have lots of taunts! The difference between Warrior and other taunt classes is that the rest of the card pool isn’t too impressive. Weapons are great, but not particularly for the Warlock to use. Armorsmith and Alley Armorsmith provide armor value, but I wouldn’t recommend something like Iron Hide. Additionally, big AoE that hits both sides isn’t useful for enrage minions, if it kills them. Dread Infernal is an exception to that.

👍

Warrior Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Warrior Verdict
Druid ↑ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger, Protect the King, I Know a Guy)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Putting on a new broken record that says the Warrior hero power is basically nothing. So, we’ve got the Druid-Warrior partnership where you need taunt synergy in Strongshell Scavenger and I Know a Guy.

👎

Hunter ↑ Taunts (Alley Armorsmith, Ornery Direhorn, Direhorn Hatchling, Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

Hunter has decent early game removal AoE and a ping card like On the Hunter. Taunts and Weapons help the Hunter minions do their things and go face. Still not much synergy with this pairing.

👎

Mage ↑ Taunts (Alley Armorsmith, Ornery Direhorn, Direhorn Hatchling, Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

Without the Mage hero power, you’re not only losing your ping, but also your enrage trigger. Having access to Mage cards is definitely a boon, but not having the hero power is a big loss.

👎

Paladin ↑↑ I Know a Guy, Stonehill Defender (Tirion Fordring, Sunkeeper Tarim, Wickerflame Burnbristle, Grimestreet Protector)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

Pairing a hero with the Warrior hero power isn’t going to be good most of the time. Except here. I Know a Guy and Stonehill Defender will give you the OP Paladin taunt minions. Besides that, there is some weapon synergy with both card sets.

👍

Priest ↑ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

With the Warrior hero power (nothing), you’re losing help for healing enrage minions and high health minions. Healing synergies on the Priest side definitely come up big here, and having weapons would be needed to gain on the board.

👎👎

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Runeforge Haunter, Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Naga Corsair, Bloodsail Raider, Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Pirate Synergy (Bloodsail Cultist, Swashburglar, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Southsea Captain)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

Rogue cards primarily provide lots of single target removal and weapon synergy. Without a guaranteed Rogue weapon hero power, this draft definitely needs weapons to even tread water.

👌

Shaman ↑ I Know a Guy, Stonehill Defender (Earth Elemental, Al’Akir the Windlord, White Eyes)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Shaman probably has the second-best stock of taunt minions, making I Know a Guy and Stonehill Defender relevant again. There are enough control strategies to go around with Shaman spells and removal combined with Warrior taunts.

👌

Warlock ↑ Dread Infernal

↓ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Felfire Potion, Hellfire)

The taunts are irrelevant because you are not Life Tapping. Dread Infernal is still amazing for enrage targets. Definitely some catchup potential with Warlock cards, but not that exciting overall.

👎

Hearthstone vs Eternal

Hearthstone vs Eternal

Last week, I tried out another digital card game, Eternal. In the vein of my last similar post, comparing Hearthstone with Shadowverse,  I will now try to do the same and compare Hearthstone with Eternal. The goal of this post is to expose players of Hearthstone and other digital card games to Eternal, if they are hesitant to starting the game. As mentioned, I just started playing Eternal, so I am likely covering very basic things, and nothing advanced in Eternal.

What is Eternal?

Eternal is a digital card game, released in November 2016 by Dire Wolf Digital, maker of other games like TES: Legends, and the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. Dire Wolf Digital states on Twitter that it is an “independent game studio,” so they actually are a small indie company.

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The real comparison

I’ll be honest, there are a lot of fundamental differences between Hearthstone and Eternal. It is a bit like when Gwent first hit the scene, and a lot of people want to pit the games together or were taking sides. They are very different games.

The same applies here, Eternal is a bit different because it employs the blocking mechanic. Coupled with resource generation through colored cards, the natural comparison to Eternal should be Magic the Gathering. A longer time ago, I compared Hearthstone with Magic Duels. Magic Duels has since become derelict content-wise. If I knew more about Magic, I could do something deeper. But Hearthstone is what I have played longer, and can make more points with.

Key differences between the games

Class identity

  • Hearthstone has 9 different classes, distinguished by class cards and the 2-mana cost Hero Power. A deck is made up of class cards and neutrals.
  • Eternal is more like Magic, as there are 5 colors/classes, with multicolor/class cards, and colorless cards. You can play a deck with just 1 color/class or all of them. The hero you use is just a chosen avatar of a card, and has no special abilities or bearing on gameplay.
    • Fire (Red) – Aggressive color with cheap cards, and damage dealing. Has themes of machines, Western outlaws, and fire.
    • Justice (Green) – The Paladin class, with big buffs and weapons. Has themes of knights, honor, and armor.
    • Tribal (Blue) – Elemental energy class, specifically focusing on lightning and ice. Has themes of Shamanism, flyers, and animals.
    • Shadow (Purple) – Your dark magic class, with life drain and resurrection effects. Has themes cultists, witches, and all-purpose bad guys.
    • Time (Yellow) – A somewhat unique class that manipulates time, bounces stuff and silences stuff. Has themes of the Middle East, elementals, and mystique.
    • Strangers (Multicolor) – Multicolor cards are typically called Strangers, as they don’t belong to a faction. They are typically better than your regular one-color card, but don’t fit in unless you’ve built your deck that way.

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Resource regeneration

  • In Hearthstone, you gain 1 mana crystal each turn.
  • In Eternal, you play Sigils, which are basically Lands in Magic. Your Sigils either are 1 of the 5 colors, or are multicolored. Your opening hand Sigil to card balance is big in determining how the game will go.

Blocking mechanic

  • In Hearthstone, your taunt minions are the closest thing to blocking, but it is always mandatory. Every attack has an option to hit into a minion or the opposing hero.
  • In Eternal, your units are going face automatically, when you declare an attack. Your opponent then selects their units, which would block attacks from your units. Blocking is incredibly strategic, as you can assign anywhere from none to all of your units to block. Additionally, multiple units can block one unit. This blocking mechanic is almost identical to Magic the Gathering.

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Unit healing and exhaustion

  • The counterpart of having a blocking mechanic is exhaustion. If your unit attacks one turn, it cannot be used to block during your opponent’s move for offense.
  • Also, units in Eternal heal themselves after the end of a turn.

Weapons

  • In Hearthstone, weapons are equipped to the hero. They have an attack and durability. During your turn, the weapon is unsheathed, and can use a charge. On your opponent’s turn, the weapon is sheathed and cannot be activated (except for Misdirection situations). Weapons can attack hero or minion.
  • In Eternal, “Relic Weapons” are the hero weapon, while regular “Weapon” are buffs for units. Relic Weapon come with an attack and durability, except the durability is considered armor, which can be destroyed, rendering the weapon broken. Attacking into a unit, or getting hit by a unit will degrade the weapon. Relic weapons must attack units before the enemy hero. Weapon enchantments for units are basically spells, and don’t really have a durability factor.

Secrets are more secret

  • In Hearthstone, 3 classes have secrets, which are set with your turn mana.
  • In Eternal, “Fast Spells,” are like Instants, which can be activated from the hand. These combat tricks either affect units, deal damage, or negate activations. You must have leftover energy to play a fast spell. So having leftover energy could either mean you can’t afford stuff from the hand, saving something for later, or are setting up a fast spell.

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Bouncing is less effective

  • In Hearthstone, returning a minion to the hand or deck will remove all buffs granted to the card.
  • In Eternal, units retain all of their buffs forever.

New keywords

  • Some keywords just exist since Eternal is a blocking game. Endurance is a keyword that lets a unit not be exhausted after attacking. Flying exists, which makes a unit only blockable by other flyers.
  • There are a few other keywords that exist in Eternal. Aegis is a shield that allows a unit protection from 1 spell/unit targeted effect. Infiltrate is an ability/effect that occurs when a unit attacks the hero for the first time. Killer is an ability that lets a unit apply damage to an enemy unit, without attacking. Quickdraw is a conditional ability that lets a unit kill another enemy unit without losing health. Destiny allows a unit to be played for free when it is drawn, and allow another draw.

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Game modes

  • Hearthstone’s Ranked system has the ranked floors for every 5 ranks, and then Legend. You move up and down stars between each tier.
  • Eternal’s Ranked system is more like that of other digital card games, where you move up and down a points bar, and you get promoted after filling the bar. Compared to Shadowverse though, losses are more punishing in Eternal.
  • Eternal has a Gauntlet mode, which now makes sense, given it is the same company that made TES: Legends. But you play a constructed deck in an elimination mode against 7 enemies.
  • Hearthstone has Arena, where you draft 30 picks, picking 1 out of 3 cards each time. You play until you get 12 wins or 3 losses.
  • Eternal has two limited modes, Forge for PvE, and Draft for PvP. Both end at 7 wins or 2 losses. Forge is more similar to Hearthstone arena, in that you draft 25 cards, and 1 out of 3 cards. You are limited to 2 classes/colors, which are picked from your first picks in the draft.
  • PvP Draft mode is unique. First, you pick cards out of simulated packs, which gives you an option of 1 out of 12 cards to begin with. This pack dwindles to a smaller amount, until you start picking out of a new pack. Then, out of 48 cards, you dwindle that to 45 cards.

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Game economy

  • Hearthstone packs cost 100 gold, which contains 5 cards, and additional value in disenchanting.
  • Eternal packs cost 1000 gold, which contains 12 cards, is guaranteed 100 crafting resource, and additional value in disenchanting.
  • Eternal has a Gem resource, which is the “p2w resource.”
  • Eternal Forges cost 2500 gold, but in addition to the winning prizes, you get to keep all 25 cards you draft. The same is applied to Draft, except in a much bigger scale, as you pay 5000 gold for entry.
  • Eternal Gauntlet is free, and appears to be the best resource-generating valve for players.
  • Quests are more generous in Eternal, as you are given many packs for quests and first wins. You can even win preconstructed decks in some quests.

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Set It All on Fire: A Look at Hearthstone’s Nerf History

Set It All on Fire: A Look at Hearthstone’s Nerf History

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, Team 5 doesn’t like nerfing cards. They wait a very long time (compared to other games) to make a change. Like it or hate it, that is a core philosophy reciprocated by the devs. With the current KFT Druid continually breaking records, the calls for Druid cards to get the axe grow more vociferous by the day.

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In order to get a sense of when (if) Druid will get a nerf, I decided to look at all the cards that have been nerfed, since the game was officially released post-beta, on March 13, 2014. Wow, I’ve almost played this game 4 years.

It is not a complete science, as older cards get nerfed later on to open up design space, or due to unforseen interactions with newer ones. We can also try to pick out why certain cards were nerfed for what reason.

Release

Unleash the Hounds – 56 days (Release to nerf); 112 days (counting Closed Beta)

  • Unleash has been iterated numerous times in it’s existence, and is honestly a tough one to balance. The 8 weeks to nerf this card from launch is likely one of the fastest nerfs, though the version existed prior in Closed Beta. It was changed to it’s broken form when I started the game.

Curse of Naxxramas

fun and interactive.PNG

Eaglehorn Bow – 131 days

  • It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people played Mage around this time. The Eaglehorn Bow worked Secrets against the Mage to a weapon buff effect, an ability seen much later in Pirate Warriors.

Leeroy Jenkins – 193 days

  • Culprit of the “fun and interactive” meme, I’m surprised this one took this long. The main target was Shadowstep Rogue, which didn’t use any tools from Naxx, except Loatheb. Also possible the streamers of yore didn’t make decks as fast young kids these days.

Starving Buzzard – 193 days (Release to nerf); 286 (counting Closed Beta)

  • The third Hunter nerf out of four cards nerfed. It makes sense to get rid of the Hunter draw engine, but it is possible removing all of their tools at once would’ve been too much. We’ll never know.

Goblins vs Gnomes

Flare – 266 days

  • Seemingly more help for Mages against the Hunter onslaught. Frankly in retrospect, 1-mana for card draw plus ability is way too cheap. It took 3/4 of a calendar year for this one, and might have to do with nerfing all Hunter toys at once.

Gadgetzan Auctioneer – 266 days

  • This card gets a lot of hate, but it was nerfed in GvG, which put away Miracle Rogue for a while. Leeroy was already out of the equation at this point, and may have been targeting MalyRogue, if it was big then.

Soulfire – 266 days

  • Obviously, this was nerfed because Zoolock was too good. At it’s 1-mana cost, it still sees play (wherever the Warlocks are).

Undertaker – 191 days

  • The first expansion card to get nerfed. And it took over half a calendar year to happen. GvG was one of the most aggressive sets overall, and it took Undertaker over the edge.

Blackrock Mountain

None

The Grand Tournament

Warsong Commander – 586 days (since Release); 201 days (since Grim Patron)

  • This one was big, as it put an end to the most oppressive form of Patron Warrior. It did take 201 days, since Grim Patron came out, but I’m sure the deck didn’t perfect itself overnight.

The League of Explorers

None

Whispers of the Old Gods – All Classic cards (773 days from Release to nerf)

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Ancient of Lore

Force of Nature

Keeper of the Grove

  • The original Druidstone kappa. Ancient of Lore and Keeper of the Grove were cited for auto-inclusion, while Force of Nature was the piece of ForceRoar that took the nerf. Obviously, this long wait was because Druid was never amazing like Hunter, from the beginning.

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Ironbeak Owl

Big Game Hunter

Hunter’s Mark

  • These cards all brought cheap hard removal, making big controlly minions still not be a thing in Hearthstone. Obviously, Hunter did not run Ironbeak Owl back in the day, and it was likely precipitated by all the prior Hunter nerfs. The long wait was definitely a meta call.

Blade Flurry

  • The classic “design space” meme, which was likely brought on by MalyRogue being at it’s peak prior to Old Gods. Blade Flurry was always great against Aggro, and this nerf was likely allowed since Aggro was weakened. It got the double-whammy and remains unplayed.

 

Knife Juggler

Leper Gnome

Arcane Golem

  • Two “Aggro announcers” and a charge-piece. Knife Juggler is the only one that still sees any play at all now, and this was all done to fight Aggro. Good calls all around here, precipitated by meta shifts.

Molten Giant

  • Handlock was once a thing. The patch notes state that this was allowed due to the nerfs to charge cards. Not sure about this one, as Molten Giant remains MIA.

Master of Disguise

  • This one could’ve happened whenever, but was cited for the reason Animated Armor wasn’t neutral. That card never saw play anyways, and this one didn’t either. Oh well, design space.

One Night in Karazhan

Call of the Wild – 160 days

  • This could be the Blizzard Paragon for nerf to broken card “not that long” after expansion. 160 days is not nothing, but is the quickest nerf in some time.

Execute – 935 days

  • Control Warrior in my eyes, was always super boring to play against. Nerfs don’t come for that specific reason, but this one took a really long time to materialize. It still sees play now, so this wasn’t that big a deal.

Rockbiter Weapon – 935 days

Tuskarr Totemic – 406 days; 252 days (since Old Gods)

  • Shamanstone was around since Old Gods, so this was the first response. Tuskarr Totemic didn’t see play until Old Gods, so this year plus wait is misleading.

Abusive Sergeant – 935 days

  • A dying breed! Another Aggro-announcer meets it’s end, cited for being in too many Aggro decks. Abusive Sergeant still exists here and there though.

Charge – 935 days

  • Pirate Warrior sprouted from Old Gods, and this was done to keep that deck in check. It is still alive and well, never really going away to a significant extent.

Yogg-Saron – 160 days

  • Another nerf that was done in fairly short time. It was a bit of a turning point, as random outcomes were never really denounced by Team 5. They were always a positive. The competitive community finally got a win in this battle.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

 

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Small-Time Buccaneer – 91 days

  • Hey look, a rare card to be nerfed within it’s release era. Pretty much a staple for Warrior, Rogue, Shaman, anyone who can hold a weapon. Interesting that the card existed, given the nerfs to all the early Aggro cards. But a fairly timely response here.

Spirit Claws – 203 days

  • A bit overdue. Shamanstone finally ended with this nerf, but it was a long wait.

Journey to Un’Goro

The Caverns Below – 97 days

  • The controversial nerf that everyone was okay with in the end. I don’t think many at all, Rogue mains included, liked playing Quest Rogue. The source of contention, for me at least, is the explanation behind it. If cards that are not fun to play against get nerfed, a whole lot of Mage cards should fit the bill.

Best case scenario?

Recently, Small-Time Buccaneer and The Caverns Below were nerfed within their expansion windows, 91 and 97 days after, respectively. Call of the Wild and Yogg-Saron saw nerfs 160 days after release. Overperformers like Ultimate Infestation, Spreading Plague, and Crypt Lord are the targets here. It is useless to do this exercise for Innervate, as it would have the longest gap between nerfs ever, if it were to see a change. Unleash saw the shortest gap ever at 56 days, but it being the first nerf ever, we can’t rely on that timeline.

And just for those who have made it this far, Knights of the Frozen Throne has only been out 21 days. Unless this current Druidstone is so spectacular! that it causes a nerf never before seen.

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Updated Evolve/Thrall, Deathseer Chart for Knights of the Frozen Throne

Updated Evolve/Thrall, Deathseer Chart for Knights of the Frozen Throne

A long time ago, I got really excited by Master of Evolution and decided to look at the effect of stat changes brought on by the new Evolve mechanic. I’ve only opened 1 legendary in 40 packs of Knights of the Frozen Throne so far (boo), but got the Hero Shaman card for completing the prologue, Thrall Deathseer. By running the updated Evolve Shaman for ranked play, I suddenly got excited about Master of Evolution again. So, I decided to update the Evolve chart.

Methodology

  • I filtered all the minions that are currently playable in Standard, including the cards from this expansion.
  • All playable minions are grouped by mana cost and an average was taken from attack and health.
  • The transformed mana cost is either +1 or +2. I found the difference between the average attack and health by graduation in mana cost.
  • I look at percentages of the evolved minion having an ability. The abilities I looked at were Taunt, Charge, Spell Damage, Lifesteal, Divine Shield, and End Turn Effect.
  • I have a category called “Disaster.” This would be an evolved minion with something that could be really bad, causing you to lose your whole board or the game. The identified disaster evolves include Doomsayer, Ticking Abomination, Rattling Rascal, Bomb Squad and Anomalous.
  • For the 1-mana cost slot in original minion, I included the 4 basic Shaman totem tokens. I figured these would be the most common evolve targets on the board in a Shaman game.
  • While there are many more tokens that could be included in “original minion”, they were left out because there were too many.
  • There are caveats to abilities. Hogger was counted as a Taunt minion in the 6-slot, even though no Gnoll will be made on a full board. I did not include Twilight Elder as an end of turn ability in the 3-slot. I did not include Ethereal Arcanist as an end of turn ability in the 4-slot.

1-mana Evolve chart (Evolve, Devolve, Master of Evolution, Thrall hero power)

KFT Evolve Chart 1

2-mana Evolve chart (Thrall hero battlecry)

KFT Evolve Chart 2

Takeaways

  • 2-mana Evolve from Thrall is really good, probably what makes the hero card so impactful on Turn 5.
  • 4 mana to 5 mana is the best intermediate cost evolution for stats. 6 to 7 and 7 to 8 are really good as well.
  • The ability to get Taunt goes up a good degree in the middle to late mana costs.
  • 8 mana seems to be where all the big effect cards are. A 1/19 for Anomalous though.
  • Once the minions get too big, they just become Snowfury Giant or Sea Giant. Probably shouldn’t evolve them by then, unless for healing purposes.

 

 

10 Bold Predictions for ‘Knights of the Frozen Throne’

10 Bold Predictions for ‘Knights of the Frozen Throne’

The following is a guest post from Tehl (@TehlHS), multi-legend player and my occasional arena co-op partner. He is the creator of Snakes and Drakes. You can catch him on the Hearthstone podcasts Top Deck Kings and Hearthcore.

10 Bold Predictions for The Frozen Throne

10. Rogue got the best Death Knight.

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Valeera the Hollow is an insane card.  This card essentially locks out the game with infinite Vanish followed by Arcane Giants allowing you to continuously swing in for 16 damage as long as your opponent doesn’t have removal for them.  In addition, to that the stealth that gives you when it comes down allows you the time that it takes in order to set up the combo.  The only decks that are going to punish this are burn mage and decks that play aggressively on the board,  which brings me to my next point…

9. Druid is going to be the only class playing on the board.

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With Mage and Taunt Warrior (particularly good matchups for Jade Druid) probably sticking around, Druid now has insane tools to combat aggro as well, especially Spreading Plague.  This card is at worst a stall of probably two turns and at best clears their board in the process, but either way, aggro is losing one of it’s best matchups in the game.  Rogue also has new tools to combat aggressive decks with the Shadowblade and it’s counterpart Doomerang which will undoubtedly see varying degrees of play depending on how long aggro sticks around.  Either way you will have time to play your Death Knights because I predict a much slower meta where aggro will be punished.

Bonus Bold Prediction: Skulking Geist was printed for the sole purpose of beating Jade Druid and it will see some (if it makes up over 30% of the meta a lot of) play for that reason.  (Note: I don’t count Taunt Warrior as a deck that plays on board)

8. Hunter is going to be worse.

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The new hunter cards that are being introduced are terrible…I guess that’s all I really have to say.  Deathstalker Rexxar is the worst Death Knight and arguably may give you a worse hero power than Steady Shot.  For Hunter to continue to challenge the meta they needed more sticky aggressive minions to pressure the opponent, instead they got durdly, inefficient, clunky minions that when everything goes perfectly you probably still are going to lose a majority of your games…

7. The Lich King is the best neutral legendary in the game.

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This one may be slightly hyperbolic, but if I said The Lich King is a very good card that wouldn’t exactly be a bold prediction.  The Death Knight cards are as powerful as the Ysera Dream Cards, with taunt it gives it initiative, and if all goes right it can give you insane value while smashing face for 8.  While I am less confident in this prediction than some of the other ones, I also have no doubt this will be in more meta decks than any other card currently in the game.

6. Ultimate Infestation was a mistake.

Ultimate Infestation(62879).png

When you look at this card it instantly looks like a Firelands Portal that gains you some life and gives you approximately 8 mana worth of card draw.  So we already have a card that should cost approximately 16 mana, but the card is actually better than that, doing all of this at the same time gives this card increased value.  Normally we would have to play one card that is a Firelands Portal, one card that is an Iron Hide and one card that is a super-Sprint, now all of this is combined onto one card, meaning that this card kind of reads draw seven cards and play three of them…

5. Priest moves up a tick.

Shadowreaper Anduin(62889).png

While most of their new cards are as disappointing as the Hunter cards, Eternal Servtiude should definitely see a good chunk of play and their Death Knight is a game-changer.  While Shadowreaper Anduin on it’s surface may not be that impressive as far as the Death Knights go, it gives priest an opportunity to do something that it’s never been able to do very efficiently, close games.  Raza the Chained also could see an appearance back in the meta allowing priest to machine-gun chain two damage as long as they can continue to play cards.

4. Aggro Paladin will see a come-back.

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I know this is completely contrary to point number nine, that no one is going to be playing on the board, but on the backs of Bolvar Fireblood, Righteous Defender, and Light’s Sorrow all of the board clears that are going to be in the game may be playing right into this decks trap.  I don’t think this will be a very good deck, especially out of the gate, but with some tweaking and as the meta starts to settle, you may be able to catch some people off-guard with this old classic.

3. Mage will not play any of the cards released, and it will still be good.

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Frost Lich Jaina and Sindragosa are definitely cuspers, and I may end up being wrong about them not seeing play, but neither of these cards buy you the late game tempo advantage that Medivh the Guardian does that usually wins you the game just fine on his own.  With the deck already relying on Alexstraza to stabilize, I don’t think there will be room for the new cards.  That being said, this will be one of the most fun decks to mess around with, although I think the best Mage list is already established, and it will continue to stick around, as it is one of the premier decks to contend against new Rogue.

2. Freeze Shaman will not be a thing.

Moorabi(62845).png

While you aren’t going to be bummed out ripping a Voodoo Hexxer from a Stonehill Defender, it is still going to be the third-best taunt that you are hoping for and that’s the best freeze card to be introduced by a mile.  Blizzard is definitely afraid of making another overpowered Shaman deck and acknowledges the power of Jade/Token Shaman in the meta, so they do the thing they are apt to do, which is try to introduce a new mechanic.  This deck will not be good, it will not be fun to play, and it will lose to everything in the game, maybe including new players playing Chillwind Yetis and Boulderfist Ogres.  With nothing being implemented to help its existing archetypes, shaman will definitely be taking a major step back in the Frozen Throne meta.

1. Defile is the best card in the game, and Warlock still may not be playable in Standard.

Defile(62840).png

This card was my whole reason for wanting to write this article to begin with.  I rated Ultimate Infestation a 10/10 and could see a nerf, I rate this card an 11/10 and will probably see an emergency nerf. Everyone is sleeping on Defile.  This is the most efficient, cheapest, and easy to accomplish board clear in the game, that requires little to no set-up.  Next time you are playing a game pay attention to how many huge boards could be cleared with a Defile.  On top of this, after this card stops clearing the minions on the board, it starts clearing their deathrattles, making minions like Dragon Egg and Haunted Creeper also susceptible to it’s reign of devastation, if you are playing Egg Druid or Pirate Warrior in Wild, I’m sorry to say that your days are numbered.  On top of this, this card has an insane synergy with Grim Patron which allows you to defile ad infinitum and wipe all boards and leave yourself with 15-21 power on the board.  Okay so we’ve established that this card is the most broken wild card ever printed, but will it have any impact on Standard?

If Warlock is viable in standard, it will be on the back of Defile.  Possessed Villager is still around to kick the defile train off and it will really punish Token Druid, Shaman and Pirate Warrior, furthering point #9, but Warlock may not have powerful enough tools to contend in the late game, even with the most efficient AoE in the game.  Honestly it makes my brain hurt trying to think of what a standard warlock deck would look like these days, cards like Kabal Trafficker have never seen any play and on an unchecked board, may make for an alright deck with the new warlock Death Knight which is okay and the Lich King definitely making a cameo, but even I am not bold enough to say that Kabal Trafficker Warlock will be the new meta.

Class Convergence in Knights of the Frozen Throne

Class Convergence in Knights of the Frozen Throne

In the world of card games, it is important for “classes” to be different. You want to play with a unique set of mechanics and archetypes for your specific class, and be different from the other classes. If two classes play too similarly, the demarcation of “class” has no meaning at all. A natural consequence of a card game going on longer is newer and better cards. And sometimes classes converge, in that a certain class starts taking on characteristics of another class.

Is class convergence an inevitable consequence for every card game? I’m not positive, but I think it is, unless the game evolves to an extremely complex entity where everything remains different. In games with limited mechanics, we can expect some class convergence down the line.

In this writing, I am going to examine class convergence in Hearthstone for the new expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne. Class convergence is nothing new in Hearthstone, as it is meant to be a more simple game, with limited mechanics. I can assume that Hearthstone can afford more class convergence than a game like Shadowverse. The class hero power is something that will keep a class unique from another. Shadowverse has crafts with their unique set of cards, but the hero does nothing unique from a different one. Still too much class convergence is a bad thing. Let’s take a look at this set.

Druid

Continuous buffs

Crypt Lord – Druids buffed typically buff things 1 card at a time. This card, similar to Darkshire Councilman in Warlock, will grow in size.

Poisonous (Hard Removal) – Mulch is Wild-only and Naturalize is horrible so Druid has lacked in the hard removal department. They are now being pushed in the Poisonous keyword.

Malfurion the Pestilent

Druid of the Swarm

Webweave

Resurrect

Hadronox – First resurrect ability for Druid.

Secret deathrattle

Fatespinner – For the first time, Druid has a “secret” dynamic. While this is unique as a Deathrattle, it is the first thing they have to keep the enemy guessing.

Taunt buffs – Only seen with Warrior with cards like Bolster and Stolen Goods.

Strongshell Defender – Literally Bolster on a River Croc.

Hadronox – More Taunt support, rather than buffs.

Hunter

AoE

Exploding Bloatbat – Hunter never had AoE, outside of cards that hit 3 things, based on positioning. Also Dreadscale existed, but it was a niche card.

Discover

Stitched Tracker – Hunter has the random card advantage card in Jeweled Macaw, but never had the ability to choose something. This card is very Priest-like.

Resurrect

Abominable Bowman – Hunter played with Deathrattle, but never had a resurrect ability like Priest.

Mage

Hero picture because not really any class convergence.

Mana manipulation

Doomed Apprentice  – Mage stays almost identical to it’s class identity, with more Freeze pushes, thanks to the icy theme. This is the first class card to mess with opponent mana manipulation.

Paladin

Also barely any class converagence

 

Heal to damage

Blackguard – Paladins healed in big chunks, but never used it for offense. This is a similar effect to the Priest card Shadowboxer, except more explosive and control-oriented.

Priest

Destroy random minion

Obsidian Statue – A mechanic seen rarely with other classes like Dark Bargain for Warlock or Deadly Shot for Hunter.

Early AoE

Spirit Lash – Priests never had early game AoE. Almost Maelstrom Portal, but much worse for saving the board.

Rogue

Survivability – Rogue could never Taunt or Heal, so now there are new mechanics that allow the Rogue to not take damage.

Leeching Poison – Lifesteal is everywhere in the new expansion, but heal is heal.

Shadowblade – Immune was also available previously through Violet Illusionist, but this is a one-turn effect, like Ice Block.

Doomerang – Unique card that is the first of it’s kind. Not unlike Blade Flurry, but still very different and helps survivability.

Valeera the Hollow – Close to a one-turn Ice Block, except you can still get hit by things that hit stealthed enemies.

Shaman

Freeze – The heaviest and most blatant push in class convergence, with 6/10 Shaman cards having a Freeze synergy. While Frost Shock existed since Basic, it almost never saw play outside of Malygos shenanigans.

Avalanche

Brrrloc

Cryostasis – Buffs and freeze in one!

Ice Breaker – A bit like Shatter in Mage.

Moorabi – Also has copy effects on enemies, so can work like a Priest card.

Voodoo Hexxer – Very similar to Alley Armorsmith in Warrior.

Enemy positioning – Flametongue Totem was self-positioning, but this is a new area.

Avalanche – Previously, you only had to worry about Betrayal in Rogue, Explosive Shot/Grievous Bite for Hunter, and Meteor/Cone of Cold in Mage. This one is like Betrayal, in that the fulcrum minion is undamaged.

Warlock

Mind Control

Treachery – Reverse Mind Control, but still a new tactic for Warlock.

One-sided damage

Despicable Dreadlord – Warlock cards typically hurt everything. This will be the first that only affects the opponent’s board.

Warrior

Warriors hit the survive damage thing hard.

Copy into deck

Dead Man’s Hand – Blood Warriors and Sudden Genesis were precursor Warrior class copy cards, but this is the first to put a bunch of cards in the deck. Almost like a Priest card.

Neutral

Big buffs

Bonemare – This ability screams Paladin buffs.

Handbuffs

Deathaxe Punisher – Similar to the Grimy Goons handbuff ability, but only for Lifesteal minions. This conditional nature makes it much worse than the clan ones.

Random card advantage

Bone Drake – This could get any Dragon for any class.

Shallow Gravedigger – This could get any Deathrattle for any class.

Death Knight cards

The Lich King and Arfus will give access to Death Knight cards, which scream class convergence. However, given there are 8 choices, you won’t likely be roleplaying as every class in a single game.

OP

Anti-Magic Shells – Neutral board buffs.

Obliterate – Neutral hard removal.

Death Coil – Neutral removal, reach, or heal.

Frostmourne – Neutral weapon and resurrect abilities.

Doom Pact – Neutral self-mill and DOOM!

Death Grip – Neutral Entomb, but much faster and cheaper.

Death and Decay – Neutral Hellfire (AoE and Reach)

Army of the Dead – Neutral self-mill and a much stronger ability than the legendary Varian card.

That’s that. From what I could tell some classes barely veered into other class identity (Mage, Paladin, Warrior), while some like Druid and Shaman are starting to diversify a good amount.