Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Analyses (Part 1)

With the card reveals for Hearthstone's Witchwood expansion set to begin on Monday, Shacknews is wasting no time with our card analyses by looking at the cards that have been unveiled to this point.

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Hearthstone players are ready to tune in on Monday, March 26. This is where the card reveals for the game's next expansion, The Witchwood, are set to begin in earnest. The Witchwood marks Hearthstone's eighth expansion and the first one for the Year of the Raven.

However, Blizzard has already begun revealing a couple of cards prior to this. And as usual, Shacknews is stepping into the murky forest to break these cards down by the handful. So before the Twitch stream begins on Monday, let's go ahead and analyze what's already been revealed.

(6) Genn Greymane (6/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Start of Game: If your deck has only even-Cost cards, your starting Hero Power costs (1).
Source: The Witchwood Announcement Video

(9) Baku the Mooneater (7/8)
Type: Minion - Beast
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Start of Game: If your deck has only odd-Cost cards, upgrade your Hero Power.
Source: The Witchwood Announcement Video

Analysis: I hate to immediately kick this feature off with a cop out, but the jury is out on both of these guys. While Blizzard has already noted that there will be no further odd and even synergy cards, who knows what else this expansion could contain that could make these decks great? So until I see the rest of the expansion, I'm holding off on any deep dives on Baku or Greymane.

I will say one thing, though. Beast synergy for Baku is subtly hinting at the return of Face Hunter. In fact, Hearthstone designer Dean Ayala already mentioned this idea in a previous video.

Aside from that quick note, let's table the conversation on these two Legendaries for another day.


(7) Azalina Soulthief (3/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Replace your hand with a copy of your opponent's.
Source: The Witchwood Announcement Video

Analysis: Those are some seriously weak 3/3 stats for a 7-cost minion. In fact, that high cost makes Azalina a huge gamble in the late game. But there are a couple of interesting uses for this card.

What if you're a Mage or Paladin that has already exhausted all cards in-hand? Play Azalina and maybe get a boost from your opponent. Let's make the possibilities a little more interesting. What if it's Turn 7 and your opponent has a Death Knight in their hand? That could be quite the advantage for the later turns.

The most fun scenario, though, involves Azari, the Devourer. If the opponent has completed the process of playing the various Seals and has an Azari sitting in-hand, maybe just pluck Azari yourself and play him on the next turn.

Again, the 7-cost is a bit of a killer, but it should be exciting to see what the Hearthstone pros come out of the lab with for this Legendary.


(3) Phantom Militia (2/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Rare
Echo. Taunt
Source: The Witchwood Announcement Video

Analysis: It's the first of the new Echo cards. It's important to note the inherent ceilings involved with cards like Phantom Militia. Even if he's discounted by an effect like Emperor Thaurissan, the "echo" copy that returns to the player's hand will come at full cost. So don't try and be slick and try to play infinite copies of this guy. That's not possible. (At least for now.)

So with that said, this is a solid 2/4 Taunt for Turn 3, but also a quick wall of three 2/4s in the later game. Those playing constructed will want to stick with the higher value Saronite Chain Gang. However, Phantom Militia may strike gold in Arena for potential late game protection. Just watch out for pesky area-of-effect spells like Flamestrike, because they'll end this ragtag army quickly.


(3) Pumpkin Peasant (2/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Lifesteal: Each turn this is in your hand, swap its Attack and Health.
Source: The Witchwood Announcement Video

Analysis: Here's the first of the Worgen cards, which swap stats each turn it's in-hand. The Pumpkin Peasant doesn't quite fit in with a lot of decks at the moment, neither as a 2/4 or a 4/2. Lifesteal doesn't really matter in the early game, except for Warlock players.

So maybe a Keleseth Zoolock will find a home for this guy. After all, these Warlocks like to Life Tap like crazy and a 3-cost 3/5 with Lifesteal doesn't sound quite as bad.


(4) Militia Commander (2/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Warrior
Rarity: Rare
Rush. Battlecry: Gain +3 Attack this turn.
Source: The Witchwood Announcement Video

Analysis: Whether the Militia Commander sees play depends on what kind of Warrior is seeing play. The aggro Warrior won't want anything to do with this and opt for Kor'kron Elite instead. Control Warriors may want to give this a second look, because a 4-cost 5/5 drop that can clear out most minions doesn't sound too bad.

Think of this card as a cheaper Spiked Hogrider, which turns into a Stormwind Knight at the end of the first turn. That should make Militia Commander a great choice in Arena, where control is a major key to success.


(3) Black Cat (3/3)
Type: Minion - Beast
Class: Mage
Rarity: Common
Spell Damage +1. Battlecry: If your deck has only odd-Cost cards, draw a card.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dean Ayala: Even & Odd

Analysis: Black Cat is interesting for several reasons, some of which don't have anything to do with the odd-cost synergy at all.

First off, even if Mage players don't opt for the odd-cost synergy, the Black Cat is a solid minion in itself. Its Spell Damage increase and 3/3 stats mean it's basically Soot Spewer from the old days. But this isn't a Mech, it's a Beast. Mages don't have too many Beasts, outside of the Raven Familiar. That's going to be one heck of a random pull for Hunter cards like Jeweled Macaw or Ram Wrangler in Wild. Black Cat won't define any metas on its own, but it's certainly not a terrible card by any means.


(5) Gloom Stag (2/6)
Type: Minion - Beast
Class: Druid
Rarity: Epic
Taunt. Battlecry: If your deck has only odd-Cost cards, gain +2/+2.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dean Ayala: Even & Odd

Analysis: Here's another Beast that's poised to get a big boost from odd-Cost decks. This one could see a lot more play, though. Getting a 4/8 Taunt for odd-Cost decks makes Gloom Stag a solid choice, even moreso than Druid of the Claw.

The question for Druid players, however, is whether this is really a better choice than the reliable Oaken Summons/Ironwood Golem combo. That's a tough question to answer, because there's no replacing that Armor boost, even with a beefed-up Hero Power. This is a card to keep an eye on for the moment, but it's hard to see it replacing what's been a good Druid combo.


(2) Murkspark Eel (2/3)
Type: Minion - Beast
Class: Shaman
Rarity: Rare
Battlecry: If your deck has only even-Cost cards, deal 2 damage.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dean Ayala: Even & Odd

Analysis:

That's right! For eel!

(I am... so sorry!)

Ahem... as a 2-drop the Murkspark Eel has some solid vanilla stats. Its 2/3 line puts it in line with most of the game's other two drops, while the 2 damage effect makes it a slightly less effective version of Medivh's Valet, having an even-cost deck means that effect can kick in immediately.

The Eel is a good 2-drop just for the stat line alone, but whether it'll be a truly great 2-drop depends on what else the Shaman will have to support this even-cost deck synergy. It's certainly not too bad at the moment, since having an even-cost deck means Shamans should more often than not being playing a Turn 1 Hero Power totem.


(5) Glitter Moth (4/4)
Type: Minion - Beast
Class: Priest
Rarity: Epic
Battlecry: If your deck has only odd-Cost cards, double the Health of your other minions.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Dean Ayala: Even & Odd

Analysis: With Drakonid Operative about to rotate out, the Priest is in sore need of a new Turn 5 drop. Glitter Moth might be it. At worst, it's a vanilla 4/4, which is just below average. It's certainly a steep drop from that 5/6 Dragon that's going away.

But if there's any kind of minion presence, the Glitter Moth offers an instant Divine Spirit. That could be wildly powerful, especially if a Twilight Drake went down the turn prior. Combo Priests who love to bop their opponents with Inner Fire just got another tool in their arsenal... which sort of evens out the fact that odd-cost decks can't have Divine Spirit in their decks to begin with.

This odd-cost synergy thing is harder than it looks.


(3) Face Collector (2/2)
Type: Minion
Class: Rogue
Rarity: Legendary
Echo. Battlecry: Add a random Legendary minion to your hand.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Peter Whalen: Echo

Analysis: This is one crazy new toy for the Rogue. Serious Rogue players aren't normally seeking out RNG effects on their road to victory, but it's hard not to be enticed by the Face Collector. Getting an army of Legendaries for the late game sounds pretty sweet.

On top of that, the Rogue has numerous tools to help exploit the Echo keyword. The big one is Shadowstep, which will bring the Face Collector back for more turns. This has a chance to be a lot of fun in constructed, though I can't see this overtaking Miracle Rogue or any of the other more reliable Rogue decks.

This is going to be a killer in Arena, though. As resources start to wane in the late game, having multiple Legendaries can easily decidde a game.


(2) Warpath
Type: Spell
Class: Warrior
Rarity: Common
Echo: Deal 1 damage to all minions.
Source: Hearthside Chat with Peter Whalen: Echo

Analysis This is another great tool for Warriors looking to Enrage their minions or summon multiple Legendaries from Rotface.

The Echo effect means this can be used as a simple Revenge play or it can be used in the late game as a last ditch effort to clear the board. The fact that it maxes out at 5 damage means it might not be enough if the opponent has assembled a board of large minions. Unless something comes along to replace the departing Sleep with the Fishes, it's tough to recommend playing this over Brawl.


And that's it for now! We'll be back after Monday's stream to break down those cards. We'll then follow the other reveals for the Witchwood, leading all the way up to the expansion's release in mid-April.

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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