Just a few weeks remain at most until Journey to Un’Goro, the next Hearthstone expansion, is released! We’ve seen a fair number of new cards now, and the major themes of the set are beginning to become clear. In addition, we now have a good idea of what some of the underdog classes will have to work with in the upcoming spring season! I’m super excited to discuss the new cards, so let’s take a closer look and talk through their strengths and weaknesses!
With the expansion we’re seeing a lot of cards that care about the new Elemental tribe. These effects are mostly based around playing Elementals throughout the game, as many of them depend on what you did last turn. One impressive example is the new neutral legendary minion Ozruk. His Battlecry, granting +5 Health for each Elemental played the turn prior, can be incredibly powerful with even one or two relevant minions. Combined with any other ways to buff Ozruk, he’ll quickly become one of the biggest minions out there!
Another card with similar conditions is epic Shaman minion, Stone Sentinel. If you played an Elemental last turn, this guy produces a stunning 8 power and 10 toughness for 7 mana! Powerful on its own, the Sentinel would be even better with Ozruk on the following turn as a 5/20! However, its stats are extremely poor if you can’t trigger the ability – a high density of Elementals will be necessary!
The Shaman class legendary has been revealed: Kalimos, Primal Lord! Kalimos comes with another “if you played an Elemental last turn” Battlecry and a solid 7/7 statline. The Battlecry is the selling point here, as the “Elemental Invocation” gives you four 0-mana spells to choose from and cast immediately. The effects numerous ways to deal with differing game states: you can deal three damage to all enemy minions, fill your board with 1/1 Elementals, deal six damage to the enemy hero, or restore twelve health to your own. This card is super versatile and will definitely find its way into the Elemental Shaman deck!
To more consistently activate all these Elemental triggers, we’ll need numerous cheap minions. Fortunately Blizzard has provided low-cost common Elementals like Fire Fly to address this issue! While a 1-mana 1/2 isn’t very strong alone, adding a second 1/2 Elemental to your hand will help to smooth out your turns and reliably activate these triggers with fewer deck slots.
But not every Elemental synergy card has a tribal tag itself. We recently saw the rare neutral minion Tol’vir Stoneshaper spoiled. While this card is strong at first sight, it might not make the cut as it relies on Elementals but “disables” these synergy effects for the following turn’s play. If you’re not dependent on playing him on curve, this minion gets much stronger!
Murlocs will be making a big impact in Un’Goro, with the legendary Shaman Quest requiring that you summon ten of the fishy buggers. This seems like an incredible game plan! Given tools like Call in the Finishers and Everyfin is Awesome, the class synergy is undeniable. On top of that, the Quest reward is Megafin, a 5-mana 8/8 that fills your hand with Murlocs: just the kind of sustained threat this deck was lacking! I’m excited to see where Murloc Shaman ends up ranking in the new meta.
Paladin also got an interesting new Murloc: Hydrologist. While I can’t really see this being played in Murloc Paladin, I do think it may find a place in regular Paladin decks. Paladin has always lacked solid early game minions, and this could fill that spot. With most Secrets in the new expansion looking alright and more likely to be revealed, this little Murloc seems like a decent inclusion!
There has been a lot of excitement for Rogue, with some really cool new cards announced! The Rogue Quest, The Caverns Below, creates an entirely unique style of play: trying to play four minions with the same name is definitely interesting and it’s quite difficult to evaluate. Accordingly, its reward, Crystal Core, is incredibly powerful: for the rest of the game, your minions are 5/5! However, the ways you have to activate it aren’t as straightforward as other Quests. For this goal to even be possible, you’ll need to run cards like Shadowstep, Vanish, or even Thistle Tea.
We also got a new tool to make the Rogue Quest more achievable: Mimic Pod lets you draw a card, then adds another copy of it to your hand. Despite making the Quest easier, this card is a double-edged sword. Drawing a minion is obviously great, but if you end up hitting a conditional spell it can cost a lot of investment for little reward. This one is for tightly-tuned lists only!
This week saw the unveiling of the Hunter Quest, The Marsh Queen! Playing seven 1-cost minions should be fairly easy for Hunter, as they already want to be dominating early game. Complete the Quest for an insane reward: Queen Carnassa, a 5-mana 8/8 that shuffles 15(!) unique Raptor cards into your deck. The Raptors are Carnassa’s Brood, 3/2 Beasts costing 1 mana and with Battlecry: Draw a card. This Quest should give Hunter the staying power it was lacking and put it back near the top!
Another one of the new Hunter cards, Small Raptor, will help reliably get Momma Rex into your hand. Aggro decks always love 2/1 1-drops, and this Deathrattle effect gives the deck even more threats to deploy! This little dinosaur should increase the consistency of completing your Quest, and is pretty scary when followed up with more on-curve minions. This Raptor is definitely going to be seeing play in many aggressive Hunter decks.
The last Hunter card revealed this week was Tol’vir Warden. While a bit weak with a 3/5 statline for 5 mana, the Battlecry makes up for quite a bit by drawing two 1-cost minions from your deck. This is another one that will definitely help complete the Quest, as well as fill out the historically poor 5-drop options for Hunter.
It’s not looking good for Warrior so far, although I can’t say I’m unhappy after the reign of Pirate Warrior throughout the previous few months. The new class legendary was announced though, so let’s start with that one. King Mosh is a 9-mana 9/7 with Battlecry: Destroy all damaged minions. Frankly, it’s awful. I wish there was more to say about it, but there just isn’t. Warrior doesn’t need a turn 9 board clear; it’s not what the class has ever lacked. This card almost certainly won’t see play as it’s just far too expensive. That is, unless the Quest makes this card relevant, like play 3 minions of 9 or more cost? And even then, it’s hard to see this card justify a deck slot.
Up next, Molten Blade. This is essentially a Shifter Zerus with fewer options. Although many are detractors of this card, I think it may find a place in Control or even Pirate Warrior lists. You always want more weapons in these decks, and the possibility of getting another Gorehowl or Fiery War Axe can make a world of difference for both those decks.
Finally, a fantastic new neutral card! Gluttonous Ooze alone might thwart Warrior’s chokehold as it’s basically the perfect anti-Pirate-Warrior card. The minion itself has fine stats, and with its low cost this card can fit nearly every deck’s flex slots. Really excited to see this minion as it addresses one of the core issues Hearthstone has, extreme lack of counterplay.
I hope this helped you all have some insight into the new cards that will be available soon! We’ll be sorting through all the spoilers, and I can’t wait to dive into the secrets that Un’Goro holds! Did you enjoy this article? Look for the final card review next week, and check out my Profile below!