With the next Hearthstone adventure less than a week away, you might be asking yourself a very important question: What should I be expecting?
Just as a heads-up, I am by no means a pro when it comes to Hearthstone. I’ve never been legend, I almost always play Yogg-Saron when I could win normally, and I mostly play for fun. That said, I love looking at new cards and wondering what on earth to do with them! Now that Blizzard has announced the rest of Hearthstone’s Karazhan set, I’ll be going over how the new cards affect Standard, as that will be what the majority of people play. I can’t say much for arena fans, and Wild is kind of unpredictable at the moment. If you don’t want to be spoiled on One Night in Karazhan and want the cards to be a surprise, turn back now and come back when you’ve got ’em all; otherwise, let’s dive in!
Enchanted Raven is pretty simple: a 1 mana 2/2 Beast. Does it have any explosive effects? Nope. But it provides a 1-drop minion for Druids that functions decently on its own or fantastically in a Beast Druid deck. Not much else to say about this one, but I’ll say it’s competitive-ready.
Picture this. Turn five, you play Stranglethorn Tiger. Turn six, you use Menagerie Warden to spawn another Stranglethorn Tiger. Congratulations, you managed to play three 5/5 minions in two turns! This card is definitely competitive-ready.
Ah, the first of the portal cards! One Night in Karazhan adds quite a few of these to Hearthstone, and I’d argue that Moonglade Portal is the best of the bunch. Not only does it provide an extra heal for more control oriented decks, but it also summons a 6-mana minion. Just running through the stats, some notable names that could pop out of this portal are Sylvanas Windrunner, Emperor Thaurissan, Sunwalker, Hogger, and Dark Arakkoa. Then again, it could just drop a 4/4 Nerubian Prophet, but even then you have an extra body on the board! I’m calling it now, but I’d say this card is competitive-possible due to its potential value. The RNG factor shows that it might be a one-of in some decks (Reno?), but it is by no means consistent.
My, what big teeth you have, Kindly Grandmother! Or, perhaps as a more likely expression, “What big teeth you WILL have!” The biggest problem with this card is the same issue with many other 1 health minions: it dies to a third of the hero powers! Mage, Rogue, and Druid can all take care of the initial drop fairly quickly, which will leave you unable to combo the deathrattle effect with anything. But that weakness is also its strength, as a 3/2 minion can trade pretty well with 3 or 4-drop minions. I’ll say this card is competitive-unlikely, as Hunter may prefer to play something else for a 2-drop.
One of the show cards from the Karazhan stream, Cloaked Huntress has great stats for a 3-drop minion and could see play even without a ton of secrets to accompany it. Just playing the card on its own is excellent, but comboing it with, say, Snake Trap or Freezing Trap is downright glorious. This one is definitely competitive-ready.
…I see what you did there, Blizzard. Puns aside, Cat Trick is a good counter to many board clears such as Blizzard or Consecrate. It essentially allows you to have at least one minion on the board at all times, and it provides an alternative to Bear Trap. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything to your opponent like Freezing Trap or Snipe, so it can only have at best a competitive-unlikely rating. While good, there are better secrets.
Dat tempo. On turn two, Medivh’s Valet is about the same as any other 2-drop. Nothing new there. Mid-to-Late game, however, this card truly shines. As long as you’ve got a secret such as Ice Block in play, you can drop this amazing card down and swing the board in your favor. Freeze Mage, get ready for your comeback, cause this thing is competitive-ready.
Out of the Firelands Portal comes Leeroy Jenkins! Or Big Game Hunter. And a 3/3 Faceless Manipulator. This one is not as great as Moonglade Portal, but it could still work in some decks as a decent tempo play. The major problem is the lack of game-changing 5-drops. In fact, you could wind up with Naga Sea Witch! This card gets at best a competitive-unlikely rating.
Okay, this is a toss-up. As a 1-drop, Babbling Book has to compete with or replace the amazing Mana Wyrm. It, sadly, does not. It is easily pinged off by hero powers, and it gives you a random Mage spell. Getting a Pyroblast in your hand on turn 1 is not exactly great. That said, it could swing the game with the right spell, so I’d say it’s competitive-possible.
Oh. My. Stars. Remember Muster for Battle? Nightbane Templar is the new version of it for Standard. Getting a total of 4/5 stats for only 3 mana is great on its own, but One Night in Karazhan’s new Menagerie mechanic (buffs for Dragon, Beast, and Murlocs simultaneously) combos with this card well. Needless to say, it’s competitive-ready.
Silvermoon Portal is bad. Really bad. It is the worst of the new Portal cards. While it could pull something like Millhouse Manastorm, it could also drop a Doomsayer. The buff is not only worse than Blessing of Kings (which is 4-mana as well), but there are so many other great 4-mana Paladin cards such as Consecration and Truesilver Champion. Sorry, but this card is dust-fodder.
I like Ivory Knight. Paladins have quite a few healing spells, and this card almost doubles your ability to heal. For a Reno deck, it also adds some extra flexibility. On the other hand, you might get a bad draw of spells (Forbidden Healing, A Light in the Darkness, Divine Strength?). While it may not show up in every deck, it is definitely competitive-possible.
Purify is a bit of an odd duck. It only affects your own minions, so is it a worse Power Word: Shield? Yes, save for one instance: Silent Priest. Put this on Ancient Watcher or Eerie Statue, and you have a some value. Oh, and there’s also Barnes (more on him later). That makes it competitive-unlikely, but it could have some interesting possibilities.
Priest of the Feast. 4-mana 3/6. Not bad. The effect is also nice and combos well with Power Word: Shield. It could see play, but Priest doesn’t have a lot of cheap spells, so I’ll give it a competitive-possible rating.
Checkmate! Onyx Bishop can be a huge power swing mid-game if played right. Your Injured Blademaster might have gotten Frostbolted turn 3, but Onyx Bishop could bring it back. While Resurrect is a thing, Onyx Bishop guarantees you get a 3/4 minion in addition to whatever you rez. It’s also a great fit in a N’Zoth deck. I say it’s competitive-ready.
Drink up, me hearties! Ye got yerself a 1-drop for Rogue! And a Pirate, to boot! I think Swashburglar is a fantastic card for Rogue, whose 1-mana options have been fairly lackluster historically. With this, Rogue can obtain an early card advantage, but the card you get may not be the best. It’s competitive-possible, though the RNG may screw you over from time to time.
Deadly Fork sounds good until you get to the very last word. “Cool, I get a 3/2 weapon after it dies!… Wait, to my HAND?” The weapon also being 3 mana doesn’t help. You’re paying 6 mana total for a 3/2 minion and a 3 mana Fiery War Axe. While it could find use in a Reno deck, this is not going to see much play outside of Arena. It’s competitive-unlikely.
Stat-wise, Ethereal Peddler is decent. Rogue doesn’t have a lot of 5-drop minions to begin with, so Ethereal Peddler could easily fit in that slot. Its battlecry is… interesting, to say the least. With Rogue having a lot of cards that “borrow” from opposing classes (like Swashburglar), this card can get even more value. It might only be a one-of for some decks, it’s competitive-ready as a good 5-drop minion with plenty of potential.
Oh, good, another 1-drop for Shaman, and this time it’s a weapon. When Spirit Claws was revealed on the Twitch stream, I was sure I could hear some groans from the audience (though that might have just been my echo). Now, I remember back in Goblins Vs Gnomes that there was a Rogue card called Cogmaster’s Wrench that was 3-mana for the same stats and a similar effect. That card was trash. Spirit Claws, on the other hand, gives Shaman an early-game alternative to Stormforged Axe and Doomhammer, more early aggro, and the potential to add more damage just by using the Shaman hero power. Yeah, it’s competitive-ready.
Wicked Witchdoctor is not a
4-mana 7/7 so it’s dust fodder great card. For one thing, it only spawns the basic totems from your hero power. For totem oriented decks, it might see some use, but otherwise it is competitive-unlikely.
When looking at Maelstrom Portal, I initially thought it was the worst of the Portals. Then I saw Silvermoon Portal and changed my mind. While it is by no means the best portal, Maelstrom Portal does have some neat interactions with cards like Azure Drake and the Air totem from Shaman’s hero power. There are many great 1-cost minions such as Flame Imp and Tunnel Trogg, and a potential board clear could help more control-style Shaman decks gain an early advantage. It may only be competitive-possible, but it is possible, nonetheless.
Kara Kazham! is a worse Call of the Wild for Warlock. It won’t be popping up in Zoo, and while it might find use in Renolock, it is competitive-unlikely overall.
Well, it’s not Flame Imp 2.0. Blizzard seems intent on making Warlock’s discard mechanic work, and Malchezaar’s Imp might just be the card to do it. While the discards are still random, you do get to cycle through your deck for more cards. I’ll say it’s competitive-possible, at least for the fun decks that could arise due to this one card.
Silverware Golem goes great with Malchezaar’s Imp, since it will let you summon it once it’s discarded AND you’d then draw a card to replace it in your hand. But it suffers from the Big Obvious Problem of “you can’t choose what to discard.” It’s competitive-unlikely unless Discard Warlock goes on a roll, which I really hope it does.
Fool’s Bane is a very malleable weapon. Warrior has plenty of cards that buffs weapons–Upgrade comes to mind–and many damage mitigation options. This allows Fool’s Bane to be anything from a Mega-Windfury board clear vs Zoo to an equalizer for larger minions. Competitive-ready, it is.
Do you like Shield Block? Do you like 4-cost minions? Have an Ironforge Portal. I think this card is decent, and it could signal the return of Control Warrior. The major issue with it is that it takes up the 5-mana spell slot that is currently occupied by Brawl, so I can only give it a competitive-possible.
Where Hunters have had Unleash the Hounds, Warriors now have its direct counter in Protect the King! This is just what Warriors needed to keep up with aggro decks. It is competitive-ready, for sure.
Did somebody say Dragon Priest? Cause Netherspite Historian is absolutely great for it and other Dragon decks! This will be an auto-include for every Dragon deck and is competitive-ready.
3 mana for 2/6 worth of stats isn’t too bad, though Pantry Spider suffers from a lack of offensive bulk. It could work in a Beast deck, but I can’t say much about it. It’s competitive-unlikely for now.
Arcanosmith is competitive-possible. 3/7 stats for 4 mana is really good, and the additional taunt works well against early aggro. It could have been an even better card if the taunt had some sort of damage, but for now it might find a spot in some decks.
Alright, here me out on this one. Runic Egg could be good. It isn’t as easy to ping off of as Loot Hoarder, it is cheap enough to combo with cards like Unearthed Raptor, and it is a deathrattle. Then again, it could also be resurrected by N’Zoth instead of your Sylvanas. I’m calling it as competitive-possible.
Violet Illusionist‘s effect sounds weird at first. “I’m not getting hit on my turn, why would I need to be Immune?” Now, put that in context with Fool’s Bane, other weapons, and Warlock’s hero power. The stats also help make this card competitive-possible.
Another one of the Menagerie cards, Zoobot, has the odd effect of boosting a random minion. Oh, wait, I read that wrong. It boosts up to THREE minions. The biggest problem is that it is very situational, and you’ll only get the jackpot boost once or twice every ranked season. Since there are quite a few cards for this new mechanic, I’ll say it’s competitive-possible.
Zoobot’s big bro, Menagerie Magician. Same as Zoobot, but the higher cost makes it competitive-unlikely.
But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? If Pompous Thespian doesn’t quote Shakespeare incessantly, I’ll be disappointed since there isn’t a lot of good for this one. Taunts with aggressive stats like this don’t usually see play because the idea is to keep the taunt alive! It’s competitive-unlikely.
Try to make Mana Worm defensive, and you get an Arcane Anomaly. The biggest problem with this card is that it is quickly outpaced by other minions as the game goes on. Oh, and it can be pinged off immediately if you play it turn 1 without playing any spells. Dust fodder.
Take Stampeding Kodo. Increase its mana cost by 1 and slap “Dragon” on it. Then, make the battlecry a targeted ability. You’ve got yourself Book Wyrm. I approve of this card, and I give it a rating of competitive-ready.
Moat Lurker has one of the more unique abilities of the set. Its stats are garbage for the mana, but the effect has some curious synergies. Destroy your own Sylvanas, and you’ll bring it back later. Take out an enemy taunt, then Polymorph: Boar or Purify this card. It may not pop up on ladder often, but expect some skilled plays. Competitive-possible.
5-drop for Freeze Mage! Avian Watcher could help bring Control decks back for Mage and Hunter, and the buff keeps it out of Shadow Word: Death range. I call it as a competitive-ready card.
Oh, baby. Somebody ask for a giant? There are so many good decks that could use Arcane Giant well. Yogg and Load Hunter, Tempo Mage, Freeze Mage, Ramp Druid, and Control Warrior are all decks that come to mind. For those alone, I give it the competitive-ready rating.
Moroes, Moroes, Moroes. It’s an automated Paladin hero power, and it benefits from Steward of Darkshire. That’s it. That’s all that this card is good for. Maybe you could buff it afterward, but I see no reason why I shouldn’t give it a competitive-unlikely rating.
The Curator is just okay. It’s great for the future Menagerie decks, and it provides a good-bodied taunt. The problem is that the mana cost is only worth it if you draw at least 2 cards, meaning you have to commit to the theme. It’s competitive-possible, but we’ll have to wait and see.
There is SO MUCH HYPE around Prince Malchezaar, and why wouldn’t there be? Legendaries are awesome! There are a few major issues with the Prince, however; namely, the Legendary minions it adds cannot be copies of ones you already have. You won’t be getting double Ragnaros, triple Ysera, or quad Elise Starseekers either. They are five different, random Legendaries you don’t already have. It is certainly a great card for those without a large collection, but many players will stick with Golden Monkey. He’s competitive-unlikely on ladder.
Now, coming onto the stage, is the one, the only, the magnificent Barnes! With the right amount of luck, Barnes could change the whole game. He could pull out Y’Saraaj or Sylvanas on TURN FOUR. Or, you know, Loot Hoarder. With the right deck, Barnes could be competitive-possible, but he’s nothing compared to…
The Majestic, Mystical, Marvelous Medivh! The man himself is big enough to take on most minions, but the main perk is Atiesh, the unique weapon he bestows upon the player. It’s only a 1/3, but it’s a 3-use Summoning Stone for late game comebacks. Plus, Medivh can be used by all classes, so he could find a home in almost any deck. He is, without a doubt, competitive-ready.
And that is all 45 cards of Hearthstone’s One Night in Karazhan! I hope you all enjoyed my examination of the cards, and I would love to hear what you have to say about them. Do you agree with me? Is Moroes actually good? Will this adventure change Hearthstone’s meta entirely? Let me know in the comments below!