In early April we’ll embark on a Journey to Un’Goro Crater when the next Hearthstone expansion is released, and we’ve begun to see some of the new cards that shape this year’s metagame! Spoiler season is always a time of great excitement in the community, and there are very innovative ideas on display in the collection revealed thus far. I’m very hyped about the cards we’ve seen, as the Hearthstone dev team seems to be willing to experiment with unique effects and more decision-making this time around. Let’s have a closer look, and examine which might be worth exploring!
At the first announcement of Journey to Un’Goro, the new Quest mechanic was revealed. Quests are 1-mana legendary class cards, and will always appear in your starting hand. This is a very interesting mechanic as, much like Reno Jackson, it creates a straightforward “gameplan” for deckbuilding. The first quest shown is for the Priest class: feast your eyes on Awaken the Makers!
This is a fantastic fit for Priest as many of its best minions come with Deathrattle effects, not to mention the option to revive them with cards such as Resurrect or Onyx Bishop. When completed, the Quest offers a powerful reward in Amara, Warden of Hope: a 5-mana 8/8 with Taunt that sets your hero’s health to 40! Priest also looks to gain from Tortollan Shellraiser, another strong Deathrattle minion that will no doubt be filling out decklists this year.
Another Un’Goro Priest minion was announced this week: Crystalline Oracle, while a weak card on its own, synergizes well with the Priest Quest and helps the deck increase its Deathrattle count. I do dislike is that it’s another random effect, but as it’s from your opponent’s deck the outcome can be far more predictable (at least in theory). This little guy is also a cheap Elemental, so it could play a tribal role if more support is present!
Shadow Visions is interesting, but how good it will be is hard to say. In a regular Control Priest deck, you just don’t want more copies of spells such as Shadow Word: Pain / Death, and the 2-mana extra cost does hurt it. I do think this card may shine in the Wild format, where Reno Priest may now be one of the more potent decks with all its new tools, allowing for doubles of certain cards like Dragonfire Potion or Holy Nova.
The Warlock Quest was also recently revealed: Lakkari Sacrifice rewards you with a unique Nether Portal after you discard six cards. Nether Portal costs 5 mana and creates a permanent effect that summons two 3/2 Imps at the end of each of your turns. I’m really excited to see how this plays out in a deck like Discard Zoolock, as well in conjunction with another new card: the Lakkari Felhound! This Demon is an incredible 4-drop with a unique 3/8 Taunt statline and a two-card-discard Battlecry. This Quest mitigates most of the usual downsides to discarding, especially alongside cards like Malchezaar’s Imp and Silverware Golem!
On top of that, Warlock’s new legendary minion offers a unique take on discard synergy! Clutchmother Zavas is initially unimpressive, but even just discarding her a single time makes for a very cost-effective threat! Yet another powerful tool in Warlock’s kit to lessen the pain of random discards…
Hunters are getting a pretty imposing new legendary minion! Swamp King Dred is already powerful as a 7-mana 9/9, but it has an interesting effect as well: “After your opponent plays a minion, attack it.” This incredibly flavorful and unique ability will allow for a lot of unique scenarios and means it will take some serious resources to bring this dinosaur down!
The Un’Goro Mage cards haven’t been the most exciting so far, but will definitely see play. The first card, Arcanologist, seems great for Control variants, as being able to reliably draw that Ice Block can be game-changing. The other card spoiled was the Mage legendary card, Pyros. This fiery phoenix is a 2-mana 2/2 who returns to your hand as 6/6 for 6 mana and then as 10/10 for 10 mana when he dies. Despite mediocre stats, a minion that has “three lives” is quite good for Control decks and gets a lot of value out of a single slot!
Druid hasn’t seen much so far, but this is a great place to discuss the new Adapt mechanic, first shown on Verdant Longneck! Adapt is essentially a “Discover” for minion abilities, and lets you adapt to the situation and make tough decisions. Some of the Adapt effects are +3 Attack, +3 Health, gain Divine Shield, “Elusive,” or even Windfury! This dino probably won’t make waves in Standard, but I’d expect him to be quite solid for Arena!
Next, Paladin’s new class legendary! Sunkeeper Tarim is tough to judge. Its Battlecry doesn’t exactly work well with the current Paladin decks, but I think it might see play in a midrange board control list. Moreover, the effect does to a degree synergise with the Paladin Hero Power! Time will tell for this one.
Paladin also got a new epic spell: Dinosize. Making that 1/1 into a 10/10 seems great, but this card has a lot of issues. Paladin already has fantastic 8-mana cards, and really doesn’t want more. What’s worse, your giant-sized minion is still vulnerable to hard removal. All that said, I think this card will be good for Discover effects such as Ivory Knight, as it gives Paladins more options without taking up a deck slot.
Volcano is an interesting case. On its own, this card compares unfavorably to alternatives like Lightning Storm and Elemental Destruction. Still, it may find a place in heavy control decks as a fifth board clear or in a Reno deck in the Wild format. How good such decks will be largely depends on the remaining Shaman cards, as well as the Quest that has yet to be announced.
Then there is Sherazin, Corpse Flower. A 4-mana 5/3 seems poised to fill the hole Tomb Pillager is leaving in Rogue, but having such a high requirement to reactivate might be too much. With Conceal leaving for the Hall of Fame, Miracle Rogue is pretty much dead. Gadgetzan Auctioneer will be way less valuable and cards like Questing Adventurer become far weaker as well. Unless there are more combo cards to help Rogue, this plant probably won’t be good enough to see play.
Tar Creeper may seem weak, but actually deserves a mention. A 3-mana 1/5 with Taunt is pretty underpowered, but gaining +2 Attack on the opponent’s turn makes this a great anti-aggro tool. Being a Elemental will become more interesting as more tribal synergies are planned to be released.
First predicted as a joke, Golakka Crawler has actually been created! With a 2/3 start, this pirate-eating crab will be an interesting tech option as a counter to Pirate decks, as well as in the Pirate lists themselves! The synergy with Patches allows for a powerful turn 2 play!
Next up, Gentle Megasaur. Normally I’d write a card like this off before even trying it, but with the recent success of Finja, the Flying Star in the meta, this dino might actually see quite a bit of play. Playing this onto a stacked board alongside a Bluegill Warrior on turn 6 will be incredible! Looking forward to finding out where else this card can find a home!
Last but not least, it’s the return of our favorite Draenei adventurer! Elise the Trailblazer is very interesting on a few fronts. With her 5/5 stats and awesome Battlecry, it’s hard to say exactly where she’ll end up. With the Jade decks dominating at the moment, maybe Elise can help more midrange-focused decks with her beefy body and possible card advantage.
Hope you all had a nice read and some insights in the new cards! We’ll be keeping an eye on all the spoilers as release approaches, and I can’t wait to dive into the secrets that Un’Goro holds! Enjoyed this article? Look for the next card review in the coming week, and check out my Profile below!