Welp, the Witchwood is arriving in Hearthstone around this time next week, and it will bring about a new standard rotation, and the loss of the 2016 sets (Old Gods, Karazhan, Gadgetzan). As per tradition with this blog, I will take a look at the best cards in the Arena format that are leaving the game. While they may make an appearance with whatever Wild event happening in the future, these cards are pretty much gone for good. And I really liked some of these cards!
10. Big-Time Racketeer – Hardly exciting, but usually dependable. It is quite amazing that a card being 7/7 worth of stats is just a little better than a similar 6/7 Boulderfist Ogre, but a big difference. The 6-mana Racketeer also had fun interactions with various Evolve mechanics from Shaman, as well as bounce effects.
9. Psych-o-Tron – This guy solved a bit of a problem with Sunwalker costing 6, and dealing with an aggressive board. Taunt + Divine Shield is a great for absorbing many hits, and usually causing multiple trades. Also great against board clears, or protecting a board that is going face for 2 turns.
8. Spiked Hogrider – Situational effects aren’t great, but this card was sneaky good in causing 2-for-1 trades. Taunts usually don’t hit for 5 when played on Turn 4 or 5, so this took care of them usually. More importantly, it probably helped pave the way for situational Rush cards coming down the pipe in the new expansion.
7. Hired Gun – Nothing exciting here at all, but this card was always really good. There isn’t really anything else to add, but the 3-mana 4/3 cards are leaving together in droves it seems.
6. Mistress of Mixtures – Turn 1 became more of a novelty, with a lot of the 1-mana minions leaving in the previous rotation. Mistress, being the spiritual successor to Zombie Chow, didn’t really disappoint in controlling the early game. The 1 Health difference made this a bit worse, but the double heal helped Rogue often.
5. Nerubian Prophet – I always loved playing this on Turn 3, being a 4/4. Greedier players liked playing it for 0 mana. In any case, just a great tempo cheat that does not have an immediate substitute. No, nerfed Corridor Creeper isn’t close.
4. Corrupted Seer – The neutral Blizzard AoE that nobody ever sees coming. Seer set a newer precedent at the time of neutral AoE. We saw a much better version later with Primordial Drake, but this was definitely a card that usually had high board impact.
3. Tri-class Discover (Kabal Courier/Grimestreet Informant/Lotus Agents) – These aren’t exactly neutral cards, but let’s just call them that. Anyways, Discover was almost immediately great in the Arena, given the implications of untangling yourself out of bad situations, with unexpected class cards. At first blush, Lotus Agents seemed too clunky to be good, but it turned out just as good as the rest.
2. Bomb Squad – I play Hearthstone with very low regard to my health, so Bomb Squad is one of those cards that I almost always pick. It turns out that the 5 health cost never mattered much compared to the board removal. Given the new drafting system, removals are more common with class cards. But this is definitely a card I loved playing in Arena.
1. Bog Creeper – Was there ever any doubt? Bog Creeper brought a brand of big beefy minions that followed in sets to come. The 6/8 was almost perfect on Turn 7, an offensive and defensive threat. While we still have big cards on Turn 8 remaining, it is hard to see a card replacing the power of Bog Creeper on 7.
10. Flamewreathed Faceless – The memelord himself, a 4-mana 7/7 was just a lot to deal with. While less good in Arena with less Overload synergy and consistency, a 4-mana 7/7 pushed in a ton of damage. It also is a card that forced many trades on the board.
9. Swashburglar – This guy came at the same time as Babbling Book, but he just did a lot more. 1-mana cards help setup combos. The RNG Burgle mechanic received support with Ethereal Peddler and later with Obsidian Shard. Further, being a Pirate helped sometimes with drafted cards. Usually, the RNG into something amazing is what made the card so good.
8. Rallying Blade – Despite Fiery War Axe being 2-mana in the past, 3-mana 3/2 weapons are still really, really good. Rallying Blade was definitely not a card to save for a Divine Shielded minion, but it was OP if it came to a buff.
7. Jade Claws – Arguably one of the strongest class cards in the Gadgetzan set, with the offering bonuses to Jade Golem cards. Being 1 durability lower than Stormforged Axe never really mattered, as the 2 damage becomes less useful with prolonged turns. The combination of being just right for the mana cost, and leaving something on the board was phenomenal.
6. Fool’s Bane – The infamous “Warrior help card,” Fool’s Bane allowed Warrior (who was usually behind), to clear the board. The downside often came at the cost of being really low on life, but the good times with this card overshadowed those losses.
5. Call of the Wild – A card with probably one of the highest “Played winrates,” it was a game-ender for the opponent. While it probably did clunk up the hand being put at 9 mana with the nerf, it was a near auto-pick.
4. Ravaging Ghoul – Another rare bright spot for Arena Warrior, this card just did a lot for it’s cost. While you can think of really enticing combos with Sleep with the Fishes or powering up a Frothing Berserker, it often did enough to clear the early board. Simply an amazing card.
3. Potion of Madness – If you played against Priest in Arena, it always seemed like this card was in the opening hand, or every Priest had one at the right time. It became such a big part of the Priest identity, that people learned to play around this card by not playing 2 susceptible cards, or Deathrattles. It is possible by next week, it will be finally safe to go faster against Priest.
2. Abyssal Enforcer – This card made it’s presence known right away, making Warlock the best Arena class for a couple of months. Big damaging ability, which fit with Warlock, put in a “big enough” body. This card was such an Arena force that it was presumably nerfed in offering by 50%.
1. Firelands Portal – I’m not sure if we’ll ever know why this adventure card is a common and completely screwed over 8 Arena classes. What we do know is that this the best card that is rotating out. Flexible big damage, and putting a bigger minion on the board. I personally will be glad to see this go, but it will definitely feel weird not having it around to terrorize me.