Hearthstone Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Review #3: Roll them Bones with Valeera the Hollow, Shadowreaper Anduin, Lilian Voss, and more!
We have two brand new Death Knights for you to look at in this week’s Knights of the Frozen Throne card review, as well as a few cards that seem to give you absurd card advantage. New archetypes are finally starting to come into view, but will they define the meta? Let’s find out.
Rare Priest Spell
Copy 3 cards in your opponent’s deck and add them to your hand.
Our Take: Thoughtsteal does the exact same thing, at one less card and two less mana. Will one extra card really make its big brother worth playing? Only if hardcore Control/Value Priest becomes a thing, and the big issue with that deck is that it has to constantly match up against the infinite value of Jade Druid, which beats most other fatigue cards. Maybe if Priest gets one very good complete board wipe we can see this archetype getting big, but with Dragonfire Potion being the best they have, it’s unlikely.
Epic Mage Spell
Put one of each Secret from your deck into the battlefield.
Our Take: Secret Mage is a tier 1 deck, but not because Mage really profits from having multiple secrets on the board at once. It’s a tier 1 deck because it can reliably get secrets into its hand and play them for cheap. Glacial Mysteries requires your secrets to not be in your hand, and playing it is super expensive. It’s the exact opposite of everything that makes Secret Mage good. Many have pointed to the similarities between this and Mysterious Challenger, but Mysterious Challenger gave you a 6/6 body on top of a full Christmas tree of secrets. Glacial Mysteries costs two mana more and does much, much less.
9 Mana 4/8
Epic Priest Minion
Deathrattle: Destroy a random enemy minion.
Our Take: Anything that costs 9 mana better come real close to winning you the game. Unfortunately, Obisidan Statue does not do that. It does stand to create a huge tempo swing if the opponent has to ram creatures into it. However, it very easily falls to transform removal, which is pretty common in the current meta. If Control Priest becomes a tier 1 deck, it might run one copy of the statue, but most likely it will be ignored for higher value cards.
Epic Mage Spell
Copy the lowest cost minion in your hand.
Our Take: Absolute garbage or incredibly good depending on how it operates. If it adds the copy to your hand, then it’s three mana to draw one card, which isn’t really worth it. If it immediately puts it into play, then it’s 3 mana to potentially put an up to 10 mana combo piece into play, which is amazing. Unfortunately, most people seem to believe its functionality will be the former, so don’t expect to see it played often.
4 Mana 4/5
Legendary Rogue Minion
Battlecry: Replace spells in your hand with random spells (from your opponent’s class.)
Our Take: Rogue’s thievery mechanic has not been and never will be good. It’s not because they don’t have card advantage. It’s not because they don’t have good creatures to drop. It’s not because the things that they successfully steal are more expensive. It’s because they can only ever steal random cards and random cards aren’t all that powerful. Lillian Voss replaces all your Rogue spells in your hand with random spells from other classes, but Rogue spells are good! In fact Rogue spells are one of the major reasons to play the class in the first place! Playing Lillian just gives up things you know that are good for things that might be good. It’s just not worth the risk.
Rare Warlock Spell
Choose a friendly minion, destroy it and a random enemy minion.
Our Take: Ooooooh, this was so close to actually being good. If it was just reversed – destroy a random friendly minion to also destroy a targeted enemy minion – this would be a fantastic new card for Warlock. As it stands, it’s just Deadly Shot with a huge drawback. Deadly Shot is already too weak and random to be run, and this is just weaker.
2 Mana 2/2
Common Shaman Murloc Minion
Battlecry: Freeze an enemy.
Our Take: Garbage. Even though Shaman is gaining a new freeze archetype, Brrrloc won’t be run in it. Why? Because it’s 2 mana for a 2/2 and a freeze effect. We already have Glacial Shard, a 1 mana 2/1 with a freeze effect who is an elemental, a more useful tag than Murloc in the current meta. 1 health is not worth 1 extra mana.
3 Mana Epic Warlock Spell
Choose a friendly minion. Your opponent gains control of it.
Our Take: People who remember Donate decks in Magic: The Gathering will think quite highly of Treachery. It turns crappy cards into amazing ones. Ticking Abomination? Now it’s a board wipe for your opponent. Bomb Squad? It’s now a removal plus five damage to your opponent’s face. Someone somewhere will break this card wide open, mark my words. Maybe not in this expansion, but sometime soon this card is going to be the most frustrating card in existence.
Valeera the Hollow
9 Mana 5 Armor
Legendary Rogue Hero
Battlecry: Gain Stealth until your next turn.
Passive Rogue Hero Power
During your turn, add a Shadow Reflection to your hand.
Special Rogue Card
Each time you play a card transform this into a copy of it.
Our Take: Valeera the Hollow is one of the most interesting Death Knight heroes, in that she doesn’t have an activated hero power. Instead, she basically gives you one extra card in your hand, which is always a copy of whatever card you played last. I’m not entirely certain how this works, to be honest. It doesn’t say “at the start of your turn” add the card to your hand, so it seems like you will always have at least one in your hand and it will always leave at the end. That opens the door for some incredible tricks, like Leeroy Jenkins and three cold bloods for 18 burst damage. There’s only one problem though. Valeera the Hollow is a 9 mana card, and Rogue has problems surviving until late game. For this card to see play, Control Rogue would have to become an archetype, which requires Rogue to somehow heal itself, and right now there is no easy way to do that.
Epic Druid Spell
Deal 5 damage, draw 5 cards, gain 5 armor, and summon a 5/5 Ghoul.
Our Take: Ultimate Infestation is essentially one of Kazakus’s 10 mana potions that you can just include in your deck. You gain board presence, armor, cards, and deal 5 damage. It’s a card that does just about everything, but it has a major problem. It’s hard to draw five cards without overdrawing. To avoid milling a card, you need to play this with fewer than five cards remaining in your hand. It’s a great topdeck, and it would do well in a Value Druid deck, but once again the best Value Druid deck is Jade Druid right now, and this doesn’t seem to have a place in it.
Rare Paladin Spell
Give a minion “Deathrattle: resummons this minion with 1 health.”
Our Take: Shaman has a version of this spell, Ancestral Spirit, which resurrects a minion with full health upon death. Desperate Resistance is a worst spell in every way. Ancestral Spirit is already rarely run, so Desperate Resistance won’t be run either.
2 Mana 2/2
Common Priest Minion
At the end of your turn, give another random friendly minion +1/+1.
Our Take: Priest 2 drops have traditionally been quite weak, but Shadow Ascendant seems very powerful. At the very least it’s 3/3 worth of stats as long as you have another minion on the field. Turn my Northshire Cleric into a 2/4? Yes please! Unfortunately, if your one drop dies, this becomes dead in the water, but with a couple of buffs, like Power Word: Shield, it might survive to do a little more work.
6 Mana 4/6
Epic Neutral Minion
Battlecry: Destroy all 1-Cost spells in both hands and decks.
Our Take: There is one reason and one reason only for running this card, removing Jade Druid from the game. I suppose that Secret Paladin also gets removed from Wild, but really this exists to give fatigue decks an opportunity to beat Jade Druid once again. Without their one mana Jade Idols they cannot get infinite value, which makes slower decks far better against it, and effectively resets the meta for the slower control game.
Common Shaman Spell
Draw 2 Murlocs from your deck.
Our Take: Two mana draw two is a great value… if the things you are drawing matter. Murloc Shaman has proven time and again that it’s just not powerful enough to compete in the existing meta and we have seen no evidence that it will get new Murlocs that will change that in the future. Without good Murlocs to draw, Ice Fishing is useless.
Roll the Bones
Rare Rogue Spell
Draw a card. If it has Deathrattle cast this again.
Our Take: Now THIS card is going to be amazing in the upcoming meta. Deathrattle is a major mechanic in the new set and Rogue already has a lot of good Deathrattle cards. If you hit even one Deathrattle card, you will get value out of this card. As we said before, 2 mana for drawing 2 cards is very powerful. Drawing three is absurd, but on a lucky draw you might fill your whole hand using Roll the Bones… or… you know… you might mill yourself to death.
Acoiyte of Agony
3 mana 3/3
Common Priest Minion
Our Take: Priest already has a 3 Mana 3/3 that effectively draws a card from the opponent’s deck with Curious Glimmerroot. Getting a card is far more powerful of an ability than Lifesteal, so I doubt that Acolyte of Agony will be run instead.
3 Mana 2/8
Common Shaman Minion
Our Take: When played on curve this is a 3 mana 2/8 that says “skip your next turn.” That’s… pretty bad. 2/8 isn’t even that powerful of a stat line. If you add all the mana together you are paying six mana for a 2/8 taunt, which is way overcosted. Don’t expect this to see any play.
Fallen Sun Cleric
2 Mana 2/1
Common Neutral Minion
Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +1/+1
Our Take: Reducing Shattered Sun Cleric by one mana is an interesting card design, but that just makes this a target for pinging hero powers. It has less survivability and can only buff one mana creatures, which means it’s pretty much below the power curve for most two drops in the game.
8 Mana 5 Armor
Legendary Priest Hero
Battlecry: Destroy all minions with 5 or more Attack.
Priest Hero Power
Deal 2 damage. After you play a card refresh this.
Our Take: I always said the one thing keeping Control Priest from being amazing was a lack of good board wipes. Shadowreaper Anduin is a pretty good Board Wipe. Demolish the enemy’s board and then make use of your new hero power to ping away any other resistance they put up against you. This will really shine in Raza decks, which will reduce the cost of this power to 0. Put together with the existing Miracle Rogue strategy, I can see Priests doing upwards of 10 damage a turn as they cast spells and fire off their hero power over and over again.
Tune in next time when we finish off the expansion, and be sure to pick up your Knights of the Frozen Throne packs when it release on August 10.