Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 9)

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. (Almost at the end!)

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Hearthstone's next expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, is slated to release this coming Thursday, August 10. While the main attraction will be the new Death Knight heroes, the expansion is also set to receive 135 new cards. Shacknews is going to do its part to march towards this new expansion by analyzing the last of the new cards through the big Thursday 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)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 6)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 7)
Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Card Reviews (Part 8)

Analyzing Frost Lich Jaina
Analyzing Thrall, Deathseer
Analyzing Valeera the Hollow
Analyzing Shadowreaper Anduin
Analyzing Malfurion the Pestilent
Analyzing Uther of the Ebon Blade
Analyzing Scourgelord Garrosh
Analyzing Bloodreaver Gul'dan


(4) Keening Banshee (5/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Rare
Whenever you play a card, remove the top 3 cards of your deck.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

What is this card? Serious, what the heck is this?

It's a 4-mana minion with 5/5 stats with a horrific effect. I can't believe someone thought "poor man's Fel Reaver" was a good idea, but here it is.

No constructed or Arena player in their right mind is adding this thing. No, instead it's going to be the dud card that pops up from a Tortollan Forager or the like. Warriors that run Ironforge Portal should also beware of this minion popping up, because it'll ruin their day fast.


(6) Spellweaver (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Spell Damage +2.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Spellweaver is a bigger version of Evolved Kobold, offering up a +2 Spell Damage bonus. However, bigger isn't necessarily better in this case.

Evolved Kobold was viable for Freeze Mages in a world where Emperor Thaurissan and Ice Lance were terrorizing the Standard meta. And it's still terrorizing the Wild meta, but mainly because the Evolved Kobold is relatively cheap at 4 mana. Spellweaver's more expensive 6-mana cost makes it unviable in this or pretty much any other strategy, so don't look for this to replace the beefed-up Kobold anytime soon.


(5) Skelemancer (2/2)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Deathrattle: If it's your opponent's turn, summon an 8/8 Skeleton.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

There's some room for creativity with Skelemancer, particularly in zoo decks. If there are enough minions on the board, the opponent is going to want to clear it with area-of-effect spells, at which point they get a rude surprise with an 8/8 Skeleton staring them back in the face.

Druids can get some good use out of this card, thanks to its minion-buffing spells. Give the base 2/2 minion a boost with Mark of the Lotus or Power of the Wild to make it enough of a threat that the opponent can't simply leave it alone.

However, Paladin will arguably get the most use out of this minion, since it can play Skelemancer on Turn 5 and buff it up with Spikeridged Steed on the next turn. That means the opponent is forced to trade into it and leave a 2/6 Taunt and an 8/8 Skeleton. That's just filthy. This minion has the potential to take the meta by surprise, so be on the lookout and get ready for it now.


(5) Venomancer (2/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Poisonous
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

A high-health Poisonous minion like Venomancer has some value, but not in any kind of constructed deck. It loses major points for not having any kind of subtype synergy, because if it had been a Beast or anything like that, it could have been workable for certain decks.

This is a decent Arena minion, but not much beyond that. However, it'll be a solid pull from Firelands Portal.


(5) Bloodworm (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Lifesteal
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Can I copy and paste the last entry for this one, too? Because most of what was said about Venomancer can apply to Bloodworm.

The big difference is that Bloodworm is a Beast and benefits from that synergy. Hunters shouldn't use it to replace Tundra Rhino or anything like that, but as a drop from Jeweled Macaw, it's solid.


(4) Wicked Skeleton (1/1)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Gain +1/+1 for each minion that died this turn.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Wicked Skeleton takes the Cult Master effect and turns it on its head, instead giving it a Battlecry closer to the Flesheating Ghoul effect.

It feels too situational to work in a constructed deck, but there is room for some shenanigans here. Paladins can work it into the Wild Pyromancer/Equality combo and get a good boost out of it.

Doomsayer offers a real chance to give Wicked Skeleton a boost. However, it's expensive 4-cost and situational effectiveness is ultimately its downfall. Don't expect to see too much of this guy.


(4) Grim Necromancer (2/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Summon two 1/1 Skeletons.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

How badly do Shaman and Druid players want that board presence? Grim Necromancer puts three minions on the board for just 4 mana, which carries some good value. It's amazing what an extra 1/1 minion will do, but that's what this minion offers over Dragonling Mechanic. Given the aforementioned Mark of the Lotus and Power of the Wild spells, Druid players might be able to do a lot of damage with this card.

There's a lot of Arena value to be had here, for sure. Look for this to become a potential staple there.


(4) Night Howler (3/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Whenever this minion takes damage, gain +2 Attack.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Night Howler tries its best to be a neutral version of Frothing Berserker, but isn't nearly as good. It only gets the attack bump if it takes damage, so that right there makes it feel like a dud.

On top of that, its initial 3/4 stat line is pretty weak. And given no useful synergies, it's hard to see this getting play anywhere. Thumbs down on this guy.


(4) Grave Shambler (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Whenever your weapon is destroyed, gain +1/+1.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

What an oddly circumstantial card. Grave Shambler has some half-decent 4/4 stats for a 4-mana drop, but the effect is almost dependent on having a weapon out and the opponent having a counter for that weapon. A lot of things have to go right for this minion to be any kind of useful.

This won't be in any constructed or Arena decks and will be among the lower-tier Discover picks off a Servant of Kalimos play.


(3) Hyldnir Frostrider (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Freeze your other minions.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

That Battlecry looks like a serious downside, but for the rising Freeze Shaman archetype, Hyldnir Frostrider actually might not be too bad. As an early game drop, it has a minimal downside, especially if the other minions on the board are mainly totems like Mana Tide Totem or Primalfin Totem.

As for the late game, this has some serious synergy with new Legendary Moorabi. If there's enough board presence, this combo can provide some serious value. Also, if there's a frozen ally already on-board, might as well give it that Cryostasis boost.


(3) Vryghoul (3/1)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Deathrattle: If it's your opponent's turn, summon a 2/2 Ghoul.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Vryghoul is an uninspired 3-drop for constructed decks. There's no point in trading it into anything in the early game, since the Deathrattle becomes inactive. And even if it does activate, dealing with a 2/2 Ghoul is easier than it sounds. With no other synergies, this is another dud.

Arena players may not get much use out of this guy, either. Both Scarlet Crusader and Eggnapper work better in the 3-mana slot, so just use those instead.


(2) Tuskarr Fisherman (2/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Give a friendly minion Spell Damage +1.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Tuskarr Fisherman could be an interesting 2-drop for Shaman players. It's got a perfectly serviceable 2/3 body, but also has the benefit of giving another minion a Spell Damage boost. Giving this boost to something like Primalfin Totem would be immensely useful, since the Shaman player can follow it up on his next turn with a souped-up Maelstrom Portal.

Look for this minion to find a potential home in Shaman zoo decks, not much else. There aren't enough useful minions to utilize this in a Mage deck and the circumstances don't shake up quite right for Druid, Paladin, Hunter, and Warlock decks. He's passable, though, and he'll make the cut in more than one Shaman deck and maybe even a Rogue deck, with the latter potentially putting him on a Jade Swarmer.


(2) Tainted Zealot (1/1)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Divine Shield, Spell Damage +1
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Tainted Zealot gives it a good effort, offering some additional Spell Damage with a Divine Shield to limit removal options. So that leaves the question of whether it's a better play than Bloodmage Thalnos.

The answer to that is simply "no," just because Bloodmage Thalnos' Deathrattle is too valuable in the early game. While Spell Damage is good and all, Thalnos is played mainly for its extra card draw and helping rummage through the deck in the early turns. Tainted Zealot does not offer that upside, which makes it far more expendable. Play Bloodmage Thalnos or Loot Hoarder instead.


(1) Wretched Tiller (1/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Whenever this minion attacks, deal 2 damage to the enemy hero.
Source: Knights of the Frozen Throne live card reveal stream with Ben Brode & Brian Kibler

Wretched Tiller is an intriguing Turn 1 play, particularly for aggro decks. Would aggro Druid decks be willing to dump something like Argent Squire to give this a shot?

The key to this minion is that it deals 2 damage whenever it attacks, so it simply has to survive the initial turn to get its licks in. If it gets buffed up by Mark of the Lotus or Power of the Wild, it becomes even more valuable and suddenly starts to become more of a nuisance. As a Turn 1 play, this is perfectly adequate for Druid, though not so much for any other class.


That's all for now. There's only one more batch of cards, so come back soon. It'll be up before the new expansion hits on Thursday morning!

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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