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.

Valeera the Hollow(62876).png

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.

Spreading Plague(62841).png

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.

The Lich King(62922).png

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.

Frost Lich Jaina(61810).png

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.

Kara Out! A Look at 2 RNG Cards

I painstakingly stayed up last night to watch the Hearthstone reveal, which turned out to be what most were expecting, a Karazhan adventure called “One Night in Karazhan.” Only 7 cards out of 45 were revealed for the adventure, but 2 RNG-based cards caught my eye, Firelands Portal and to a much lesser extent, Ivory Knight. Let’s look at the numbers and see how good these cards really are.

Firelands Portal

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This is an eSports portal with more predictable results, limiting to 5-drops. A cursory view of this card is saying you’re paying 2 mana for 5 damage, and getting fair value for the 5-cost minion. But this is wrong!

Standard
Attack 4.19
Defense 4.69
Wild
Attack 4.13
Defense 4.68

The table shows the average attack and defense of the current 5-drops in the game. Very similar numbers of a minion having a near-vanilla 5-drop stat points, like Chillwind Yeti. Whatever 5-drops coming from the new adventure would likely be a drop in the bucket to affect these averages too much.

Battlecry 33%
Taunt 9%
Inspire 9%
Charge 4%

This table is more telling. 1/3 of your outcomes will be battlecry minions, meaning you are not getting battlecry from the summon, and you will be left with an under-stated minion. This is the main downfall of Firelands Portal. Getting a Faceless Manipulator (3/3), or Ram Wrangler (3/3), or BGH (4/2), with no battlecry. On the flipside, you could get Earth Elemental (7/8, taunt). Otherwise, taunts and inspires come up a good amount. Important to note that Firelands Portal costs 7, meaning you can inspire the same turn after Turn 9. Your rare chargers have a good chance to be big time reach with Leeroy Jenkins and Doomguard.

So is Firelands Portal good? Yes. It will practically kill most 0-6 drops with 5 damage and leave something on the board. Just don’t expect that minion to be too valuable. With that said, it looks to be a better arena than constructed card, because Mages just need more good common cards in the arena. (/sarcasm)

Ivory Knight

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The more boring card I will spend less time on is the Paladin card above. You’re basically paying a 2+ mana anti-tempo to discover a Paladin spell, and heal yourself for that value. A unique mechanic I must say, and I dig the chess theme.

Wild 2.94
Standard 3.04

The average costs for Paladin spells sit around 3. So you’re healing 3 and getting a 3-cost spell.

Secret 26%
Buff 23%
Destruction 13%
Card Draw 13%

The percentages in the table above aren’t exactly accurate, as discover allows you to pick from 3 cards. 26% of Paladin spells are 1-cost secrets, with most of them being bad. Paladin buffs on the other hand are typically OP cards. Some form of damage and destruction (Enter the Coliseum) and card draw cards are also other outcomes.

So is this card good? It’s hard to tell at the moment. In the arena, it is card advantage of getting a good spell. Just not sure if the big cost of a 6-drop is worth it.

In the coming days, the rest of the cards will be leaked. Excited to see the rest.

Paladin Arena: Liadrin Joins the Struggle

Last week, I spent two days playing WoW in order to obtain my Lady Liadrin Paladin skin. I did obtain her, but was continually not offered Paladin in the Arena. I notoriously don’t play Paladin as a Ranked class (2 wins), so I needed a Paladin Arena selection to debut Liadrin.

Decklist

Hearthstone Screenshot 03-20-16 18.51.17.png

  • A red carpet debut for Liadrin, with two legendaries in Tirion and Fjola. Unlike many other 2 legendary drafts, which don’t work well, both of these cards are pretty good. Tirion could be the most valuable card of any in the Arena.
  • I spent the first 20 picks or so drafting for value, and had a huge glut of 4 drops. My last 10 picks was catch up in drafting early game. I had to make awkward picks like Gadgetzan Jouster over Boulderfist Ogre.
  • This deck has a little bit of everything it seems. Some removal, some AoE, some buffs, some secrets, some weapons, some taunts. Card draw could be an issue, as I just have Hammer of Wrath and Tomb Spider.

Games (now on YouTube!)

  1. Paladin – Coin – 1-0 – A weird game in that I never really won control of the board. I was just ahead through the game and was able to be aggressive to close the game out. Ashbringer from Tirion came through for some face damage.
  2. Paladin – Coin – 1-1 – I got in an awkward spot Turn 8 when I was forced to trade a 8/5 Frost Ele into a 6/1 Lord of the Arena. I burned out due to lack of card advantage and was overrun by Murlocs.
  3. Paladin – 1st – 1-2 – I made the face turn up 30-10, but it was a turn too early. Like the last game, I was topdecking and overrun by Murlocs.
  4. Hunter – 1st – 2-2 – I was mostly in control in the game, and a Tomb Spidered- Maexxna was useful.
  5. Rogue – Coin – 3-2 – A 4 minute blowout in which I had the board right away and had tempo to put stuff out every turn.
  6. Druid – 1st – 4-2 – A game where a lot of taunts were put out on the board, but Tirion ended the game.
  7. Mage – Coin – 5-2 – The mage had no answers in board clears to clear my minions.
  8. Mage – 1st – 5-3 – A 16 turn affair where I just threw the game away. The mage had a lot of spells to remove my minions. Instead of trying to take the board, I kept hitting face and put pressure. My opponent’s Cult Master helped draw enough to beat me.

Upshot

  • Was too greedy throughout the arena run, where trading could’ve helped. The double good legendary draft must have wrecked me with power.
  • Tirion is as good as advertised, but he is not immune to a board of Murlocs.
  • Card cycling is important, and it was a big downfall of this deck.
Hearthstone Screenshot 03-20-16 22.12.32.png
Murloc destroys Tirion

12 Win Paladin – Praise the Lord (RNGesus)

Given my baffling inability to play Paladin, I was glad to get back to 12 wins. While I played well for the most part in this run, I did not deserve to get 12 wins. I will try to highlight all the times I won the benefit of adverse probability to pull off the 12 wins.

Decklist

12winpaladin.png

  • I personally don’t own a Ragnaros, so it was a pleasure to use it. I chose him over a pick of Deathwing and Ysera.
  • The draft took me this way, and I benefited much from the plethora of card draw. There are 7 cards that help card advantage, and I only had 1 game where there was topdecking going on. Very underlooked.
  • I was offered Equality, giving me the chance of the sexy Equality + Consecration combo, but I didn’t like the chances and took the Argent Lance.

Games

  • Paladin – 1st – 1-0 – I had the board for a good 7 turns and was doing some face damage until my opponent put bigger things out. I used MCT to steal the Mukla’s Champion, and subsequently had the opponent MCT my Amani Berseker. Jeweled Scarab got me another MCT, to which I stole a 6/7 Emperor Cobra in Turn 12.
  • Priest – Coin – 2-0 – My opponent never had the board, and I did, so the game was over by Turn 7. Keeper of Uldaman helped a little in controlling the board.
  • Shaman – Coin – 3-0 – My opponent was aggressive with a boosted Gadgetzan Jouster and Micro Machine, but my Argent Lance helped control the board a little. In an evolution of my gameplay, I used Aldor Peacekeeper on a 4/4 Ogre Brute, just to preserve my minion (Spellbreaker (4/3) on the board, when trading. I was able to deal with some big threats like Earth Elemental and Force-Tank Max. MCT stole me a 5/2 Arcane Golem, to which I boosted to clear the tank.
  • Paladin – 1st – 4-0 – A 16-turn game, so a long one. MCT stole a 2/1 Squire for his first failed steal. I was consistently losing the board, but was winning the card advantage game. I guess my opponent was losing patience and threw their entire hand out on the board on Turn 11. It was a pure topdeck game by Turn 13, and just a lot more trading. Opponent puts out Tirion Fordring on Turn 15. I get Cult Master, and trade into a Aldor Peacekeeper. My Evil Heckler taunt stood up to protect me from hits.
  • Paladin – Coin – 5-0 – A game that involved a lot of trading, as evidenced by a 29-29 score by Turn 9. MCT stole a Silver Hand Regent, so it was good, but not amazing. I had pure card advantage, and threw out Ragnaros for his debut in Turn 9. Ragnaros his face a good few times, before getting killed off, but I had enough on the board to win.
  • Rogue – Coin – 6-0 – Another very competitive game, which lasted 12 turns. My opponent had some Mech Rogue thing going on early (Iron Sensei too) for board presence. In my evolved gameplay, I used Aldor Peacekeeper on a 3/4 Spider Tank. After the mechs died, the Rogue starts playing Crowd Favorite, and a ton of battlecry minions, eventually buffing it to 10 attack. Cult Master won me the game here, as I had pure card advantage. Ragnaros showed up to help close the game. MCT stole a 1/1 Boar out of BM.
  • Mage – 1st – 6-1 – A 19-turn slugfest, in which I played an attrition Mage. I got Flamestruck on consecutive Turns 10 and 11, and then an Arcane Explosion on 12. My opponent was doing some Gorillabot shenanigans with Duplicate, giving them a good cycling of cards through discover. I put out Ragnaros out of desperation but died immediately to a Flame Lance. I was just exhausted and was out of resources by my concede.

I decided to go to sleep and continue the next day.

  • Druid – 1st – 7-1 – I was getting SMOrced, as evidenced to the 28-9 score in Turn 8. While opponent wasn’t particularly trading much, I was able to control the board. Cult Master was big, as I was able to cycle a lot of cards through trading.
  • Mage – Coin – 8-1 – With one Consecration in the deck, I had to resort to putting stuff out on the board just to get hit, to wear my opponent down. This happened a bit here, when I was down on the board. And I was able to use Consecration, when it counted most. My MCT stole a 6/3 Ethereal Conjurer. The game dragged on for a while, until I  was able to draw Argent Commander for lethal.

I watched the Steelers – Bengals football game. The final stretch to 12!

  • Rogue – Coin – 9-1 – The replay disappeared. But there was the highlight where Ragnaros was silenced and swung for lethal.
Hearthstone Screenshot 01-10-16 00.04.30.png
Ragnaros saves up his hits to hit extra hard.
  • Paladin – 1st – 10-1 – Lost the replay, but it was a competitive 15-turn game that involved Murloc Knights, blessings and secrets. I somehow overcame it all.
  • Mage – 1st – 10-2 – Lost the replay, but the game only lasted 5 minutes. I attempted to use a Tinkmaster Overspark to transform a 6/4 Piloted Sky Golem, but I only turned my minion into a 1/1 Squirrel.
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Go squirrel!
  • Rogue – Coin – 11-2 – The run should have ended right here. This 13-turn game ended with the screenshot below. I had 8 life, while my opponent had a 3/3 SI:7, 4/4 Anubisath Sentinel, 3/4 Unearthed Raptor (with Anubisath deathrattle), along with a 7/7 Eerie Statue (can’t attack). Option 1 would have been to kill the Anubisath Sentinel, and hope for a 33% chance to buff the Eerie Statue, allowing me to potentially survive the turn. I went with Option 2, kill the SI:7, play Elven Archer to hit face, and hope Ragnaros hits face. I went with a 25% chance play vs a 33% chance play. The rest is history.
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eSports! glory chaser
  • Rogue – Coin – 12-2 – Hey, the replays back! A 10 turn game, but only lasted 5 minutes. I was losing the board, but had pure card advantage. I discovered a Deathlord, which helped protect my 6 HP. MCT stole a 5/5 Frost Elemental, and a bunch of Seal of Champions allowed me to trade effectively and put out big stuff on the board.

Stray notes

  • My 5th Lightforge Key, 2nd with Paladin. I didn’t save the screenshot, but I got 250 gold, 2 TGT packs, and a gold Lance Carrier.
  • Card advantage won me a lot of games. I appreciate Gnomish Inventor and Cult Master a lot more now.
  • I learned to be not greedy with Aldor Peacekeeper and Keeper of Uldaman. I learned to let the situation dictate the play. I can’t say how many times Aldor Peacekeeper on a 3 or 4 attack minion helped me preserve a minion.
  • I also think I learned how to play Questing Adventurer. He helped a lot just as a 3/3 or 4/4 for board presence. No greed here.
  • I’m so glad I picked Ragnaros over Deathwing.
  • MCT stole more good things than bad things. He stole a lot of things.
  • I got friend-requested 2 times in this run, with both people not cussing me out and unfriending me. Yay humanity!