Welcome to Part 2 of my first look and review of the new class cards of Blackrock Mountain. I reviewed the previously revealed cards in part 1. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and have a look at the new class cards of Blackrock Mountain!
Warrior – Revenge
Revenge is an interesting new card that seems unlikely to see much play in most constructed formats. At above 12 life, it’s an overcosted Whirlwind that provides no additional benefits. At 12 life or below, it becomes a Hellfire that effects only the board. While this can be quite useful for two mana, the condition is often out of your own control, and when the condition is met, you may actually find yourself preferring the one-damage version in order to trigger your minion’s effects without killing them.
The below 12 life effect is likely to be of little enough use that, realistically, you’ll only find Revenge serving as an extra, B-list Whirlwind in decks that revolve around cards like Axe Flinger, Grim Patron, Acolyte of Pain and Frothing Berserker.
Mage – Dragon’s Breath
For me, this is a hard card to understand. It comes out of the gate at the huge cost of five mana for four damage. This cost can be discounted by killing off minions, but at least two minions have to die on the same turn before this card ever comes close to having any value. Sure, it’s possible for this card to be a steal at 1 or 0 mana, but those situations are unlikely, and four damage is rarely a game-changer. It’s nice following a Flamestrike, but can you afford having this card sitting in your hand next to your seven-mana Flamestrike just for that extra 4-damage? Probably not.
The question, to my mind, is can you really spare a place for this card in your Mage deck when far more consistent effects like Fireball and Frostbolt achieve much the same things at guaranteed cost points?
The only decks this card is likely to see play in are low-cost minion decks like Mechmage, where trading for the board on a given turn is fairly likely. However, even then, it seems unlikely that the value proposition made by this card will exceed that of Mage’s existing direct damage options.
Hunter – Quick Shot
This card appears to double down (along with the other new card, Core Rager) on what may be a new mechanic for Hunters – that of emptying their hand. While Hunter was in no need of more aggro-oriented effects (indeed, quite the contrary), Blizzard seems to want to encourage almost reckless hand-clearing aggression from the class. From a class that in WoW was traditionally about kiting enemies and using traps, this makes little thematic sense. Also, Warlock already has this mechanic in a de facto sense due to their cards that discard other cards in the hand, like Doomguard and Soulfire. Why Blizzard decided to add this to Hunters is a bit of a mystery. But I digress.
Quick Shot itself is a perfectly usable card, offering decent face value before the conditional card-draw effect is taken into consideration. Unlike Core Rager, this is something you can fully be happy to play in most situations without the conditional effect triggering. It’s basically a Frostbolt without the freeze, which is perfectly fine, as that’s what Mages are paying for with that card most of the time anyway. Getting the conditional effect is just a bonus.
The problem for this card is that it tries to fit into the current aggressive Hunter meta, which is already very well defined. What would be cut to include this card? I expect we’ll see quite a lot of experimentation, although it’s too early to say whether this card will find a permanent home in Hunter decks.
Warlock – Demonwrath
There’s a bit of a theme with new Warlock cards, and that theme is demons. Blizzard has been pushing Warlocks to move toward demon-based decks with new releases since Curse of Naxxramas‘ Voidcaller.
And, indeed, some players have begun experimenting with demon decks. But while they’ve made appearances in some tournaments, they still don’t appear as frequently as either Handlock or the waning Zoolock.
Demonwrath is a card that certainly could help Demonlock decks, being a sort of Consecration for all non-demons. In a demon-only deck, this is quite the boon at its 3 mana cost, and if Demonlocks become a serious new threat, I fully expect to see this replacing Hellfire given it’s lower cost, and the fact it neither damages your own hero or potentially, your own board.
Whether that replacement will stick will require the test of time, but Demonwrath’s ability to keep your own board intact, while providing a serious AoE effect at a relatively low cost is likely to see this find its way into at least a few Demonlock decks. An all-round solid, if not amazing, new card.
Shaman – Fireguard Destroyer
A top-tier card I expect to see in most Shaman decks, Fireguard Destroyer provides a hell of a wallop for 4 mana (and even one overload). The worst thing you can get out of this is a 4/6 for 5 mana, which while less than ideal, is hardly horrible, given that you can get it out on turn four. The fact that it averages 5 to 6 attack makes it a real beast to drop that early in the game, easily beating out most other Shaman four-drop options like Dunemaul Shaman.
Additionally, the one mana overload comes at a perfectly acceptable time in the curve. Two 4-mana turns in a row works just fine for Shaman, still allowing the turn 6 Fire Elemental to played.
While I don’t love randomness in numerical values, especially large ranges (I’m looking at you Imp-losion and Crackle), this sort of randomness is hardly game-breaking off the bat, since it doesn’t impact the board state immediately in the same way that those other cards can.
There isn’t much else to say about this. This is a great card that will see lots of play.
Rogue – Gang Up
On the other hand, here’s a card I have a hard time seeing any play in constructed. Having three additional cards in your library is great if you’re likely to go to fatigue, but with Rogue’s current meta-game dominance and burst potential, this is not something Rogue is likely to want or need. In fact, drawing through most of your deck is generally the preferred strategy for the modern Oil Rogue build.
It’s interesting that you can target your opponent’s minions with this card, and I can imagine that this will have rare and wonderful effects with many of the legendary cards in the game. I look forward to the Trolden videos. But most Rogue decks are streamlined with nary a card out of place, and given how much it delays your gameplan to make any use of this effect, I have a hard time seeing it finding a home in any seriously competitive deck.
Paladin – Solemn Vigil
Like Dragon’s Breath, this is another over-costed effect that gets a reduced cost when minions die during the turn. And like Dragon’s Breath, this is another card I doubt will see much play. Again, at least two minions need to die before this becomes on par with Arcane Intellect. And again, yes, there’s the possibility of drawing two cards for only 1 or 0 mana, but those cases are unlikely, even with all of Paladin’s Silver Hand Recruits.
It’s a great card to have to follow an Equality into a Consecration, but those situations are rare. As Paladin tends to kill minions by trading, in most situations, it’s simply worse than playing a Cult Master and making the trades you would have anyway. Cult Master costs 1 less, can draw you more cards in the right situations, and still results in getting a 4/2 on board. It’s all-round more consistent.
Additionally, in more aggressive Paladin decks, there’s no better card draw than Divine Favor, and it’s hard to see a deck that can make use of this over those cards. I don’t expect to see this in any competitive decks, but I’ve seen other opinions that differ.
Paladin – Dragon Consort
A dragon that begets more dragons? Yes, please.
Dragon Consort is a 5/5 for 5 that lets you trigger dragon-effects and provides a free Innervate towards your next dragon drop. This is one of the few class dragon-synergies, and it’s an excellent one. Along with the natural Paladin synergy with Volcanic Drake, this helps make Paladin an early contender as the new dragon-master. The tempo swing it provides is enormous, and its mid-cost makes stacking a deck full of dragons less onerous when trying to ensure you have dragons in your hand to trigger the new dragon-in-hand-based effects.
I don’t have much else to say about this card, but I fully expect to see a great number of Paladin dragon decks following the release of BRM, and I know this card will make its way into every one of them.
Druid – Druid of the Flame
Druid of the Flame is a mediocre 3-drop that, like Ancient of War is probably likely to see the higher-health version getting used the majority of the time. A 2/5, while low on the attack side, is annoying to remove, and the fact that either option is a beast helps provide some synergy with Druid of the Fang, if of only marginal utility.
The problem with this card is that neither option is particularly useful, or has the board impact that something like Druid of the Claw provides. Indeed, neither option is particularly better than many other available three-drops, and Druid’s mana ramp often bypasses the need for 3-drops completely, making this of little use. The simple fact is that with only mediocre stats and no additional abilities, it’s hard to see how this card can find a place in the current Druid builds.
Druid – Volcanic Lumberer
You don’t see many Ironbark Protectors being played in high-level constructed, and it’s equally unlikely you’ll see any Volcanic Lumberers. A 7/8 with taunt for 9 mana is simply bad, and Druid is one of the classes least able to use the cost reduction for minions dying that turn, given it’s lack of solid board clear effects. Druid rarely wants to trade off its own minions, meaning that for this to be discounted, you have to kill off opposing minions. That implies both that your opponent has minions on the board, and that’s it’s possible to make favourable trades. In any case, it’s unlikely this will be discounted below 6 or 7 mana, which while decent, is hardly anything to write home about.
The card also doesn’t really fit into the current Druid game-plan, neither offering the mid-game bulk needed for Combo Druid, or the reliability of other large Ramp Druid options, like Ancient of War. Further, the fact this gets killed by both Big Game Hunter and The Black Knight means it’s hard to play in any meta.
Simply a bad card that Druid doesn’t need.
Priest – Twilight Whelp
One of the few low-cost dragons in the game goes exclusively to Priest, and it’s…pretty good. That is, assuming you have a Dragon Priest deck (if nothing else, Dragon Priest takes the award for most badass deck name).
In a deck with lots of dragons, more often than not Twilight Whelp will be a Zombie Chow without the Deathrattle, which is functionally excellent. While Priests can make use of Zombie Chow’s deathrattle to deal damage with an Auchenai Soulpriest, in a Dragon Priest this synergy becomes less likely, and Twilight Whelp can step in to fill the void against early aggression.
Of course, all that depends on the utility of dragons with Priests. Unfortunately, I don’t see enough natural synergy with the current Priest lineup to pull off a dragon deck better than Paladin or Druid, and therefore it’s possible that Twilight Whelp could see little play.
The other question is whether Twilight Drake actually is better than a Zombie Chow given its conditional effect, vulnerability to silence (like it’s big brother Twilight Drake, it too dies to Earth Shock), and the fact that Zombie Chow’s drawback is rarely a drawback at all in Priest’s early game. Time will tell, but I suspect we’ve not seen the last of Zombie Chow in Priest’s linup.
Priest – Resurrect
Resurrect is a sort of variation on Mindgames, which is a card that, for good reason, never sees play. I likewise don’t expect Resurrect to find its way into high level constructed, and largely for the same reason. It’s just too much of a gamble. Of course, this could be a great card if you can somehow ensure that all of your minions are huge, but such a deck with Priest (and most other classes) simply isn’t viable.
The problem is for this card to have any real value, you can only play it after at least one large-ish friendly minion has died. Because of this, while it only costs 2 mana, you’re not likely to be playing this card until fairly late in the game, and even then, it’s probably a gamble since you likely had a few lower cost minions lose their lives in early trades. In such cases, you’d probably rather just play a big, game-changing minion for its full cost than gamble on this. Becuase it relies on a big-minion deck, and because it loses effectiveness in any deck that runs low-cost early game minions to counter aggro decks, which is almost mandatory in the Priest metagame, there’s little reason to expect much from this card.
I do expect we’ll see some interesting experimentation with this, but my feeling is that it will always be too little, too late.