Hearthstone's next expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, is slated to release on August 10. 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 through the big release date.
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)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 3)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 4)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 5)
(4) Runeforge Haunter (5/3)
During your turn, your weapon doesn't lose Durability.
Source: PLAYER1c via YouTube
Blizzard is certainly trying its best to restore weapon viability after its Blade Flurry nerf, so with that in mind, here's Runeforge Haunter, who ensures the Rogue cannot lose its weapon during its active turn. That means it's still vulnerable to cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze, Gluttonous Ooze, and Harrison Jones.
It's hard to make the case for this card, since there aren't too many reliable weapon-boosting cards in the current Standard. It becomes much more useful in Wild, where Oil Rogue could potentially see a resurgence. Maybe combine the Deadly Fork Deathrattle with Tinker's Sharpsword Oil and go to work hitting face, while making sure Runeforge Haunter's weak body is protected with something like Conceal. It might even be fun to combine with Leeching Poison.
(5) Corpse Raiser (3/3)
Battlecry: Give a friendly minion "Deathrattle: Resummon this minion."
Corpse Raiser is another minion with some weak stats with the potential to compensate for that with its effect. In this case, it's by offering an Ancestral Spirit effect and bringing a minion back to life at full strength.
Quest Warriors may get some use out of this, if they wish to keep bringing their Taunt minions back to life. Quest Priests looking to get the most out of their Deathrattle minions may even find this to be a better substitute to Onyx Bishop.
Paladins will definitely have a great time resurrecting their slew of Divine Shield minions, which makes Corpse Raiser a potentially decent minion for the 5 mana slot. There's room for some shenanigans here, since Corpse Raiser can place this on a Spikeridged Steed-boosted Primalfin Champion. As soon as the Primalfin dies and gets resurrected, simply re-apply the Spikeridged Steed spell. The Paladin actually has a better way to cheese this combo, but let's table that discussion for a little later.
(5) Corpse Widow (4/6)
Your Deathrattle cards cost (2) less.
Source: Kranich via YouTube
This is a solid mid-game play for Hunter. On top of solid 4/6 stats for 5 mana and Beast synergy, this discounts Deathrattle minions by a significant margin. That means 0-mana Kindly Grandmother, Fiery Bat, and Raptor Hatchling, while Savannah Highmane goes down to 4 mana.
The 4/6 stat line is strong enough that it should be able to withstand an opposing turn, so Hunters will likely find a good use for this. Of course, most Hunter Beast decks already have the 5-mana spot slotted for Tundra Rhino, which offers its own benefits and Beast synergy. Whether these two minions can co-exist in a single deck remains to be seen. If nothing else, Corpse Widow is a solid Arena pick.
(5) Devour Mind
Copy 3 cards in your opponent's deck and add them to your hand.
Source: Just Network's Stevinho
This is exactly what it is. It's a bigger version of Thoughtsteal. It's an uninspired addition to the set, but one that makes sense.
Of course, it won't make sense to add this to any constructed or Arena deck. It's simply too expensive for what it does. But if it were to show up off a minion effect, like Lyra the Sunshard, then it's certainly not terrible. Not much else to say about this one.
(8) Glacial Mysteries
Put one of each Secret from your deck into the battlefield.
Back in the old days of the Grand Tournament, a little guy known as Mysterious Challenger terrorized the Hearthstone meta. He was a 6-mana 6/6 body that placed every Paladin Secret on the board. And while Paladin Secrets aren't usually powerful, this was a case of death by a thousand cuts.
Glacial Mysteries isn't that. While Mage Secrets are undeniably more powerful, this is a more expensive spell that doesn't come with the benefit of a 6/6 body... or any body, for that matter. And with Kabal Lackey and Kirin Tor Mage, Mages don't need much help getting their Secrets out there. The one instance where this would work would be if Mages had trouble pulling out a crucial Ice Block.
So Glacial Mysteries doesn't quite work for constructed or Arena, but it does have its uses. Pulling it out of a Primordial Glyph is far more useful, because it gets all of those Secrets on the field for a disconted 6 mana. But anyone relying solely on that outcome should maybe think hard about using Arcanologist to flush those Secrets out of the deck.
(9) Obsidian Statue (4/8)
Taunt. Lifesteal. Deathrattle: Destroy a random enemy minion.
Source: Kripparrian via YouTube
This is crazy card with a crazy effect. However, as Octavian "Kripparrian" Morosan points out in his card reveal video, the 9-mana play is "the pits." Yes, there's certainly Ysera, but it's hard to answer opposing plays and strategies when a single minion is the only play. Fortunately, Obsidian Statue makes up for that with some powerful effects, forcing opponents to try and barrel through its Taunt effect, while also taking any damage it deals out and using it as recovery. Think of it as a bigger, badder, Priest-ier version of Alley Armorsmith. But on top of all of that, if this thing were to get removed, it takes a random enemy minion down with it. It's an appropriately powerful effect for such an expensive card.
So now that leaves the question of what the Priest would rather play: Obsidian Statue or Primordial Drake? Both are 4/8 Taunts that serve distinct purposes, whether it's clearing the board of smaller minions or warding off larger ones. Primordial Drake is tough to replace, given its synergy in Dragon Priest decks and its Battlecry that does damage immediately. Obsidian Statue removes the downside of harming the player's own minions and, barring any Silence spells, will assuredly remove one opposing minion, even if it's removed by a spell or minion effect. Both of these have their merits and Priests may want to consider packing one of each, especially given the potential re-rise of the Highlander Priest deck.
Copy the lowest Cost minion in your hand.
This is a thinker, as the first few days after Simulacrum was unveiled, a chunk of the Hearthstone community misinterpreted its effect. So let's go over it. This spell takes the lowest cost minion that's currently in the Mage's hand and creates a copy of it to use later. It's does not summon that minion, the way that Molten Reflection does.
So then what good is this thing, then? Well, how about Giants? Everybody loves Giants! Late in the game, if the Mage has burned enough spells, the Arcane Giant cost will go down to zero, which allows Simulacrum to offer up a free Giant. Or how about creating a third copy of Sorcerer's Apprentice to help the Quest Mage along in its quest to kill the opponent's face in a single (double) turn?
Simulacrum has its uses, but again, maybe not so much in a constructed deck. An effect off a Primordial Glyph would be pretty sweet. It could also have some intriguing applications in Wild, given the cost-reducing powers of Emperor Thaurissan.
(4) Lilian Voss (4/5)
Battlecry: Replace spells in your hand with random spells (from your opponent's class).
Source: Toxitina via YouTube
Here's another thinker. Lilian Voss takes all of the Rogue spells currently in the Rogue player's hand and replaces them with random spells. So the first thought is that a Turn 4 Lilian should be followed up a Turn 5 Ethereal Peddler. That's a 4/5 and 5/6 body on the board, along with some discounted spells. That sounds pretty sweet, right?
However, Miracle Rogues almost always inevitably run into a circumstance where their hand consists of something like two Counterfeit Coin spells, a Preparation, a Cold Blood, and nothing else. But if Lilian Voss is in that hand, it turns those cards into something that's potentially more usable. If backed into a corner, why not? There are always going to be Rogue spells that work in one phase of the game and not so much in another one. That's when Lilian should come out, along with 4/5 stats are strong for a 4-cost minion.
(3) Unwilling Sacrifice
Choose a friendly minion. Destroy it and a random enemy minion.
Source: MalygosTW via Facebook
It's the continuing rise of the Egg Warlock!
Unwilling Sacrifice eliminates a Warlock minion in exchange for removal of a random enemy minion. Warlocks should have no trouble finding candidates to sacrifice, since Zoolock decks thrive on smaller minions. It could be a Possessed Villager or a Forbidden Ritual tentacle that has outlived its usefulness.
There are also EGGS! How about using this spell on a Devilsaur Egg, eliminating an enemy minion while also raising up a 5/5 Devilsaur? It's a recipe for fun, as Warlocks get more spells that can scramble their opponent's offense. But this isn't even the most fun of the new Warlock spells. More on that one later.
(2) Brrloc (2/2)
Battlecry: Freeze an enemy.
Source: makginaja via YouTube
It's a double dose of goodness for Shaman, as this feeds into the growing Freeze Shaman archetype, while also bolstering their Murloc roster. The adorably-named Brrloc offers some modestly decent stats at 2/2, while also offering the Freeze effect of Glacial Shard.
While this can set up the myriad of freeze-based minions and spells that are coming the Shaman's way this expansion, it's also a solid addition to the Quest Shaman's Murloc quest. A frozen minion can't really trade into anything, leaving it at the Brrloc's mercy if it gets boosted the next turn by Rockpool Hunter or Murloc Warleader. It's also a solid pull from that eventual Megafin play, as opposing minions get bigger, since it makes the freeze effect much more impactful.
Choose a friendly minion and give it to to your opponent.
Source: SpazioGames via YouTube
Now let's back to that fun Warlock spell conversation that was tabled earlier. This ranks up there as the most fun and the most devious of the Warlock's new spells, as it takes a burdensome friendly minion and sends it to the opponent.
This is a guarenteed board clear with Doomsayer, since it immediately activates on the opponent's next turn without any chance to respond. That alone makes this a must-play combination.
But any minion with severe downsides will be prime candidates to get moved over to the other side of the board. Bomb Squad immediately comes to mind, with Warlock players able to do 5 damage to a minion and then send over its dud of a Deathrattle over to the opponent.
(10) Ultimate Infestation
Deal 5 damage. Draw 5 cards. Gain 5 Armor. Summon a 5/5 Ghoul.
Source: Trump via YouTube
It's value master Jeffrey "Trump" Shih that gets one of the ultimate value plays for this expansion. The Druid gets a little bit of everything off of an Ultimate Infestation play. He gets to deal a healthy amount of damage, replenish his hand, gain some Armor, and toss a 5/5 body onto the board. All of these are middle-of-the-road plays (aside from the card draw), so it's worth asking whether it's worth the late-game play.
It's tough to make a case for this card in Jade Druid decks, where card draw is already plentiful, thanks to Gadgetzan Auctioneer and an abundance of cheap spells. It's a great draw for Arena, when resources start to wane in the late game, but 10 mana is a lot to ask for in the constructed game. It's too slow for zoo decks and not efficient enough for Jade decks. In fact, if the latter were to bet on a 10-mana play, it's more likely to be Yogg-Saron.
(2) Desperate Stand
Give a minion "Deathrattle: Return this to life with 1 Health."
Source: PromoarenaTV via Twitter
This is the Paladin's own answer to the Shaman's Ancestral Spirit spell. However, it takes more of a Paladin twist, taking on the qualities of its Redemption Secret and only coming back with 1 Health. This is still nothing to scoff at, given the Paladin's array of Divine Shield minions. Righteous Protector and Tiron Fordring become nightmares to deal with whenever they get this spell attached to them.
But hey, remember that discussion about Corpse Raiser earlier? Well, let's take a look at what happens when one messes around with Primalfin Champion. Try buffing Primalfin Champion with Spikeridged Steed. Then on the Paladin turn, place Desperate Stand on it and trade it into another minion. Watch a Stegadon spawn alongside another Primalfin Champion. Reapply the Spikeridged Steed and Desperate Stand spells that came back from the old Primalfin Champion's effect on the new Primalfin Champion. Repeat forever. Sure, things won't always play out this way, but the fact that this is even a possibility is insane. Intrepid Paladins will find some exciting uses for Desperate Stand beyond this, so be on the lookout for those.
(2) Shadow Ascendant (2/2)
At the end of your turn, give another friendly minion +1/+1.
Source: Hanxiao711 via Weibo
Shadow Ascendant makes a case for a Turn 2 Priest play by virtue of its effect, which boosts a friendly minion's stats by one. And sure, a Northshire Cleric getting boosted to 2/4 sounds nice, but the stats on this minion are weak compared to some of the other available 2-drops out there.
That doesn't mean it isn't worth experimenting with, however. Try playing around with Mirage Caller and get some bonus boosts.
That's all for now. Come back tomorrow for another round of card analyses, as we march towards next week's release date. Plus, remember that Blizzard is promising more Death Knight reveals. 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.