Hearthstone’s next expansion is almost here: tomorrow the entirety of Knights of the Frozen Throne will be available on servers worldwide! Pros and casuals everywhere have been digging through the revealed cards to discover cool new tech… And I’d like to share my list of cards to watch! Who more suitable to start our review than the Lich King himself?
The Lich King
There are some good cards in this set that will no doubt fly under the radar and be absent from most reviews. This is not the case with The Lich King himself, a card that resembles Ysera but is actually way stronger since it’s 1 mana cheaper and has Taunt! Unlike the Emerald Queen, who is rarely good when played from behind, the Lich King is powerful in almost every situation due to his Taunt. The eight different “Death Knight” cards that you can get vary, but most of them are very strong. It’s also almost impossible for your opponent to play around them. Crafting a golden Lich King is not going to be a misplay!
Not the most exciting card, but very strong if it hits a target. Like Blessing of Kings, it’s an aggressive card but the Taunt effect can also help against slower foes. Overall it’s a 5/5 + 4/4… That’s 9/9 total worth of stats, plus the 4 attack can have an immediate impact!
Bonemare is a value card that can generate a massive board tempo swing, and it will be best in decks that have targets with good effects like Acolyte of Pain. Paladin already has Blessing of Kings and Spikeridged Steed, so Shaman looks like a good candidate due to its totems. A 4/6 or 5/5 with Taunt is definitely a force to be reckoned with! Note that this card will be a powerhouse in Arena as well.
Malfurion the Pestilent
Very solid card, and underrated by many right now. The Hero Power is the best part of the card, as it’s absolutely insane with Fandral Staghelm. A Waraxe-sized attack or 3 Armor each turn can be dominating in longer games. Both the Poisonous and Taunt minions are strong options depending on the matchup, and this card should see play in either a slow ramp or Jade Druid list.
The community has been complaining about the sheer late-game power of Jade Druid and the answer is here… Only it’s not in the form of a nerf, but rather a tech card similar to the Crabs. Skulking Geist can destroy all the Jade Idol cards in your opponent’s deck, thus eliminating their ability to rack up endless value in the late game. However, the new Druid archetype seems very strong so I don’t expect this card to see too much play unless the metagame calls for it.
Those who have faced a Priest in Shadowform know that it’s a very strong effect… and this Hero Power is even stronger! The only downside is not being able to heal, but the plethora of Lifesteal minions for Priest should mitigate this issue. The ability to cast a mass Shadow Word: Death at the perfect moment puts this card over the top. If Priest proves to be strong enough, control Death Knights should have potential.
It’s hard to evaluate how good this card is, because it costs 10 mana but is far from an auto-win. At the same time, the effect is very strong… The fact that it’s a Druid card means you can abuse it in a ramp deck. It’s not good versus aggro but in slower, grindier games it’s a better Ancient of Lore with both effects combined – you pay an additional three mana to get both effects, draw four extra cards, and deal five damage.
Warlock is my favourite class in Hearthstone and I’m saddened by the fact that the class is usually very weak. Unfortunately, I think it still won’t be very strong after Knights comes out, but if Warlock defies expectations then it’s probably because of this card.
I got very excited when I first saw Defile, since I assumed that the effect repeats until no minions die. It’s currently a little unclear if the effect happens only twice or repeats indefinitely, but if the latter is true then it’s a powerful card indeed. This would make it a very strong board clear that your opponent has to consistently respect. It also rewards a skilled player who can manipulate the board state before playing it. At only two mana it offers a solid answer to early aggression as well as a versatile tool in the late game, with the potential to clear even the toughest boards!
In the new set, Paladin seems like it’s all about “Losing Divine Shield” synergy. However, I have my eye on the new 3/9 as a card with lots of potential. We have yet to see how a Paladin can reliably “heal” though. I don’t think any of the new Lifesteal cards Paladin has access to are very strong. Thus, we’d have to rely on older cards. Truesilver Champion and Wickerflame Burnbristle are the obvious candidates, but in a slower deck Ivory Knight and Lay on Hands could also see play.
Even without healing, it’s stat line isn’t terrible. Three Attack is low but Paladin has a lot of ways to increase that, and nine Health survives almost everything. It also curves perfectly into the aforementioned Bonemare, which would make it a 7/13 with Taunt. This could see play in Control Paladin since many of these cards already make the cut. Let’s not forget Ragnaros, Lightlord and Forbidden Healing either!
It’s tough to tell how impactful two damage will be in the future metagame, but the Whirlwind effect is really strong and rewards smart play. The only question is where it fits… Battle Rage Tempo Warrior maybe? In any case, I think this is a well-designed card.
Argent Squire is an unassuming card that has been played in almost every aggressive Paladin variant. Taunt may seem weak on a 1-mana card, but the Divine Shield plus the fact that the Paladin can buff the card, make this an excellent and versatile choice for the archetype.This fits well alongside Spikeridged Steed and Blessing of Kings. This card can fight for the board early and protect your minions later (it’s a 1-mana Psych-o-tron)! If aggressive Paladin ends up becoming relevant then expect Righteous Protector to make a large impact!
There are some interesting cards in this set that won’t see play because their archetypes aren’t that strong. One example is Professor Putricide, which could single-handedly return Secret Hunter to the meta… although I think the archetype needs more love to be competitive.
It’s also worth mentioning that two of the strongest classes (namely, Paladin and Druid) got very strong cards. On the other hand, the two weakest classes (Hunter and Warlock) didn’t get much love. Hopefully I’m proven wrong… Check back next week for my followup article!