Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 3)

The card reveals for Hearthstone's next expansion are flying in furiously, so Shacknews is taking time to analyze each of the Knights of the Frozen Throne cards. (Featuring some Paladin cards that are... well... they tried, at least.)


Hearthstone's next expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, is slated to release in mid-August. While the main attraction will be the new Death Knight heroes, the expansion is set to receive 135 new cards. Shacknews is going to do its part to march towards this new expansion by analyzing the new cards throughout the week.

For anyone that needs to catch up:
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Week 0)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 1)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 2)

Analyzing Frost Lich Jaina
Analyzing Thrall, Deathseer
Analyzing Valeera the Hollow

(9) Hadronix (3/7)
Type: Minion
Class: Druid
Rarity: Legendary
Deathrattle: Summon your Taunt minions that died this game.
Source: China Joy

This looks like a class-specific answer to N'Zoth, the Corruptor, in the sense that it's a late game minion that resurrects numerous minions played over the course of the game. A wall of Taunt minions can stave off opponents that have built up their boards and, depending on the Taunt minions used, this effect can be brutal. The difference between this and N'Zoth, however, is that this is a Deathrattle effect. And with 3/7 stats, no opponent is going to willfully trade into this thing, unless they have an answer already in mind.

There are numerous counters in place here. Priests can use Shadow Madness or the Pint-Size Potion/Cabal Shadow Priest combo, Mage can trade into this and then use the Frost Nova/Doomsayer combo, and Warlocks can trade into it and simply wipe the board with Twisting Nether, just to name a few examples. Hadronix has the potential to be something wildly powerful, but there are many ways to respond to it.

Of course, if the opponent does have an answer for it and wipes the board of the resurrected Taunts, players simply have the option to play N'Zoth on the next turn and take the ride all over again.

(7) Abominable Bowman (6/7)
Type: Minion
Class: Hunter
Rarity: Epic
Deathrattle: Summon a random friendly Beast that died this game.
Source: 7z

On paper, this looks like it could be a strong card. It's a Boulderfist Ogre with a resurrection Deathrattle effect. Should be strong, right?

Well... no. Yes, it'll resurrect a friendly Beast, but let's look at the Beasts that Hunters play over the course of the game. There's Jeweled Macaw, Alleycat, Fiery Bat, and a lot of other low-cost minions. Losing a 7-cost minion, only to end up with a 1-cost on the board is a terrible trade and it's a circumstance that's highly probably, given the majority of constructed Beast decks. This isn't worth the RNG dice roll, so maybe the Bowman should pick up the hunt somewhere else.

Pack a Savannah Highmane instead, since it's not only a lower cost, but a pair of 2/2 Hyenas is also a far greater Deathrattle effect.

(5) Fatespinner (5/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Druid
Rarity: Epic
Choose a Deathrattle (Secretly): Deal 3 damage to all minions; or Give them +2/+2.
Source: G2 Esports' Lothar on Facebook

Hey, let's welcome a new twist on an old mechanic! Fatespinner allows Druid players to select its effect, in this case a Deathrattle. However, the opposing won't know what the Deathrattle is until it goes off.

The funny thing is, the two effects are so drastically different that it should be easy to predict, depending on the circumstances. If the Druid is putting together a full board, it's unlikely that they're seeking to blow it up. Likewise, if the opposing player is building up some board presence and Fatespinner is the only minion on the Druid's side, it's pretty obvious what the effect is going to be. This should give opponents a good enough chance to plan accordingly.

For Druid players, it's a weak 5/3 stat line that has the versatility to either help clear the board or bolster its board presence. The unpredictability factor, while fun, shouldn't be the focus, but rather that the Druid is getting a versatile minion that can help even the odds in a tight situation or get a cheaper Wisps of the Old Gods effect. That's not too shabby.

(5) Bolvar, Fireblood (1/7)
Type: Minion
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Legendary
Divine Shield: After a friendly minion loses Divine Shield, gain +2 Attack.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dave Kosak

It can't be a coincidence that some of the worst Paladin Legendary minions happened to be some form of Bolvar.

This Legendary is entirely dependent on Divine Shield minions. And granted, the Paladin is getting some new ones to go along with Argent Squire and Wickerflame Burnbristle. But unlike the previous incarnation of Bolvar, he has to physically be on the board to get these stat increases, which means Divine Shield minions have to be ready to go as soon as he hits the board. That's a tough circumstance to pull off in itself.

On top of that, a souped-up Bolvar is far too easily dealt with. His Divine Shield will not protect him from simple removal cards, like Shadow Word: Death and Vilepine Slayer, meaning a lot of effort could easily go for naught. There are far better Legendary options for Paladin than this guy.

Players are far more likely to see Bolvar pop up off a Firelands Portal, which should elicit some groans.

(4) Light's Sorrow (1/4)
Type: Weapon
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Epic
After a friendly minion loses Divine Shield, gain +1 Attack.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dave Kosak

Even on paper, this looks like a weak card. It has the potential to get better, assuming there are Divine Minion shields around. But like Bolvar before this, the problem is that it's the friendly text that undoes it. If Paladins could trade their minions into opposing Divine Shield minions and give this weapon a buff, it becomes a lot more passable. Unfortunately, as it is, it depends entirely on the Paladin having Divine Shield minions at their disposal.

That's without even mentioning that at 4 mana, it's too a hefty cost. There should be no reason to pack this into any deck over Truesilver Champion, still the Paladin's most reliable weapon choice.

(4) Corpsetaker (3/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Epic
Battlecry: Gain Taunt if your deck has a Taunt minion. Repeat for Divine Shield, Lifesteal, Windfury.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dave Kosak

Ok, let's overlook these mediocre 3/3 stats for the moment. This is an intriguing minion that encourages players to pack some variety into their deck. Corpsetaker will take the qualities of any Taunt, Divine Shield, Lifesteal, or Windfury minions remaining in the player's deck. So it could be a force at Turn 4. However, if it's at the bottom of the deck, it becomes significantly less so.

Shaman may want to consider this at the Turn 4 slot, simply because it already takes up the Taunt, Divine Shield, and Windfury qualities of one Al'Akir the Windlord. Quest Warriors may want to consider adding Corpsetaker to a deck filled with Taunts, maybe even adding a Sunwalker to the deck to make sure it gets a Divine Shield. In fact, Sunwalker in any deck makes Corpsetaker a solid addition to any deck. (Or in the Paladin's case, make it Tirion Fordring.

There are some fun possibilities here and depending on the constructed deck, Corpsetaker can either be a dud or a solid Turn 4 play. But only in constructed, because it's hard to imagine this being any kind of force in Arena.

(7) Bonemare (5/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +4/+4 and Taunt.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dave Kosak

Bonemare's expensive cost and menial 5/5 stat line might not work out so well in constructed decks, unless there's a minion already on-board. Paladin and Shaman Hero Powers ensure that there will always be something on the board, so that gives this card insane value to those classes. Other classes might not find so much benefit, since a clear board makes this guy a vanilla 5/5 for a whopping 7 mana.

One deck type that might make the most of Bonemare is Jade Druid. While Jades get bigger towards the later turns, the opponent may opt to go face before things get too hopeless. Bonemare ensures that one of those large Jade Golems gets super-sized, with Taunt, to boot. Unless there's a direct removal counter, that move would permanently swing the game towards the Druid.

While there are constructed possibilities, Bonemare is more likely to make his presence felt in Arena games, where he'll give opponents a big Taunt minion to boost a player's board presence. Again, he'll be a much greater benefit for Paladins and Shamans, where there's always a guaranteed minion presence. However, imagine getting to the late game, where resources are getting low on both sides, and pulling out a Bonemare and a Vicious Fledgling. The very thought of it is blood-curdling.

(1) Animated Berserker (1/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Warrior
Rarity: Common
After you play a minion, deal 1 damage to it.
Source: Dog Thief

This is a peculiar opening play, particularly because of the effect. Why would someone damage their own minion? The first thought is to help build up Enrage minions, like Amani Berserker

and Raging Worgen. Animated Berserker, followed by Grommash Hellscream certainly isn't a bad play in the late game.

It can also be used to trigger damage-based effects. The most obvious one is Acolyte of Pain, for the card draw. That particular idea is doubly effective when combined with Battle Rage. Those that play Wild will get a kick out of using this guy with Axe Flinger and Grim Patron.

With the Warrior carrying around numerous damage-based spells, like Rampage and Blood Warriors, it's not outrageous to think that Animated Berserker can find a home. I just wouldn't think of it as my first choice.

(1) Sanguine Reveler (1/1)
Type: Minion
Class: Warlock
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Destroy a friendly minion and gain +2/+2.
Source: Pathra on YouTube

It's the rise of the Egg Warlock!

Blizzard offered a mere taste of the Egg Warlock with Journey to Un'Goro's Devilsaur Egg and Ravenous Pterrordax, but behold this minion, which... isn't all that terrifying at all, on its own. No, it's just a 1/1 that becomes a 3/3 after sacrificing a friendly minion. But when that friendly minion is a Devilsaur Egg and it hatches a 5/5 Devilsaur, it becomes significantly more frightening.

Given the more numerous egg options in Wild, like Nerubian Egg and Dragon Egg, the Egg Warlock is far more likely to take that meta by storm. But the Standard version of this guy is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Although the minion itself is all Battlecry and no substance, as it's a useless Turn 1 play and can't really shine until slightly later in the game, at which point it's a vanilla 3/3. Not much else to write home about here.

(3) Howling Commander (2/2)
Type: Minion
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Rare
Battlecry: Draw a Divine Shield minion from your deck.
Source: Thijs on YouTube

Oh, Thijs, you deserved a better card to reveal than this.

Blizzard certainly wants to make the aforementioned Paladin cards work, but the trouble is that this 3-mana 2/2 body is the weakest way to go about it. If Howling Commander gets played on Turn 3, it's just as likely to draw Tirion, which wouldn't be useful until Turn 8, leaving a menial 2/2 body on the board.

Murloc Paladins certainly aren't going to abandon their strategy to shift to Divine Shield minions and definitely aren't abandoning their Turn 3 Murloc Warleader. And Paladin zoos aren't going to mess around with 2/2 bodies when the priority is to establish board presence to set up for the Sunkeeper Tarim finisher.

Thijs certainly tries to put a positive spin on this in his video reveal, but there's not much to get excited about here.

(2) Venomstrike Trap
Type: Spell
Class: Hunter
Rarity: Rare
Secret: When one of your minions is attacked, summon a 2/3 Poisonous Cobra.
Source: Eurogamer

This is the second Hunter Secret to focus on dropping a minion when another minion is attacked. So that's going to beg the question: What's better to have, three 1/1 Snakes or one 2/3 Poisonous Cobra?

That's a tough one to answer. Venomstrike Trap can come in very handy in the late gate when minions start to get bigger and a little harder to take out. Massive Taunt minions are at the mercy of Poisonous strikes, so in that sense, it'd be nice to have a cobra around. The problem becomes that the Cobra isn't stealthed, so it can be dealt with immediately before the opponent's turn is over. To go even further, Priests can outright troll Hunters by activating the Secret and then using a Potion of Madness to immediately take control of it and send it barreling into another of the Hunter's minions. That's just not fair.

So with those tremendous downsides in mind, Snake Trap still sounds like the better play, if given a choice. While the Snakes can also be dealt with, if they aren't, they can offer a serious boost to Scavenging Hyena or offer up a serviceable Houndmaster target.

That's all for now. Come back tomorrow for another round of card analyses. Plus, remember that Blizzard is promising Death Knight reveals for this week, in what is being billed as "Death Knight Hero Week." Shacknews will do deeper analysis on those individual Heroes as they are revealed.

Any synergy ideas or thoughts? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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