Blizzard is kicking off card reveals for Hearthstone's next expansion. The Witchwood will introduce 135 new cards, using new Echo and Rush mechanics and also introducing a Monster Hunt single-player mode. The Witchwood marks Hearthstone's eighth expansion and the first one for the Year of the Raven.
As is tradition, Shacknews is stepping into the murky forest to break these cards down by the handful. We continue by looking at the first of the cards revealed by various outlets, including YouTube content creators, Twitch streamers, and news sites.
Need a recap? Here's what you've missed:
(5) Muck Hunter (5/8)
Rush. Battlecry: Summon two 2/1 Mucklings for your opponent.
Analysis: This one's a bit of an oddity, as it's hard to imagine where Muck Hunter would fit in. It might work as a follow-up to a Blood Razor turn for Warrior players to dispatch the other 2/1 Mucklings that come up. If the board is empty, it's possible to rush one of the Mucklings and come out with a 5/6 body. That isn't terrible, though it's a bit inefficient.
He might find a home as an Arena pick, thanks to his sturdy 8 Health. Not a top-tier pick by any means, but it'll be squarely in the mid-tier along with other drawback minions like Hungry Ettin.
(2) Redband Wasp (1/3)
Type: Minion - Beast
Rush: Has +3 Attack while damaged.
Analysis: The Warrior has no shortage of Enrage options, but there are few ones for the early game. The question is, how badly does the Warrior want an immediate Turn 2 answer? If there's something lying across the board, like a Silver Hand Recruit, Redband Wasp will instantly take it out and sit there as as a 4/2.
Right now, I'm thinking of this as a slightly worse Amani Berzerker on Turn 2, but if there's a good Whirlwind option ready to activate on that same turn, the Wasp becomes a 4/2 with Rush and that's pretty decent. I can see this being situational, but nothing that's going to replace something like Armorsmith anytime soon.
(7) Lord Godfrey (4/4)
Battlecry: Deal 2 damage to all other minions. If any die, repeat this Battlecry.
Source: Plag1at on YouTube
Analysis: All hail glorious Godfrey! He brings the gift of Defile to all! There will be many situations where Godfrey's Battlecry will be put to good use, especially in Control Warlock decks. Cubelock decks may also be interested in giving this Legendary a look, since he'll kill and trigger any Possessed Lackeys or Carnivorous Cubes.
In the right situation, he's a sure-fire board clear and that more than makes up for his mediocre 4/4 stats. He won't redefine the meta, but Lord Godfrey is definitely a winner.
(2) Hunting Mastiff (2/1)
Type: Minion - Beast
Source: Thijs on YouTube
Analysis: Unleash the Mastiffs! Just don't aim for the face. This minion has its uses in the constructed meta, mainly as a roundabout trigger for Stampede. But it's likely going to be seen more from Discover or RNG effects off cards like Jeweled Macaw. If this gets added to the Deathstalker Rexxar Zombeast pool, this has a chance to cause some real damage.
But more likely, I'd look for this in Arena for the later turns. Even just playing five of these guys in a single turn is worth 10 Attack, which can take out just about any large minion. A minor tool in the Hunter's arsenal, but an effective one.
(4) Forest Guide (1/6)
At the end of your turn, both players draw a card.
Source: Ryo on YouTube
Analysis: At the very least, Forest Guide is good for a single card draw. But with the way the meta currently stands, this might not necessarily be a good thing. Giving Warlock more cards isn't a good solution, nor is giving the Paladin player more tools to work with. With Nourish and Ultimate Infestation, Druids shouldn't need too much help on card draw, which makes this kind of a dud in the constructed game.
Wild Druids may want to give this a look, because it'll help mill decks immensely. Combine this with the Hall of Fame-bound Coldlight Oracle, Grove Tender, and Naturalize to keep the opponent's hand overflowing and flying into fatigue quickly.
Deal 3 damage to a minion. If that kills it, add a Coin to your hand.
Source: Tar Green on YouTube
Analysis: The Miracle Rogue will never die! It can be slowed down, but it can never truly die. Case in point, here's another useful tool to keep the Miracle Rogue train chugging along. WANTED! offers a Coin if its 3 damage can kill off any minion. That shouldn't be any trouble in the early game and if something does have more than 3 Health, then perhaps that Backstab spell can lend a hand.
The Coin, of course, is then used for all kinds of Combos, triggering the Rogue's various minions, like Edwin VanCleef and Vilespine Slayer. This is a strong removal spell and one that should pop up in a number of Rogue decks going forward, both in constructed and Arena.
(4) Scaleworm (4/4)
Type: Minion - Beast
Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, gain +1 Attack and Rush.
Source: 109ace on YouTube
Analysis: The Scaleworm is an interesting minion, because it clearly has dragon synergy, but isn't a dragon itself. That means no pulling it from dragon-related RNG effects. (Though it won't matter too much in Standard, since Netherspite Historian is about to rotate out.)
It's an interesting Turn 4 play for the Dragon Priest that has something on the other side of the board that's just barely outside Duskbreaker's reach. But that lack of dragon synergy does make this feel a bit off. The Dragon Priest, as a whole, is losing a lot of valuable minions in the Standard change, so maybe this will all be a moot point and that deck won't even be viable. But for now, Scaleworm doesn't feel like it fits, nor will it fit particularly well with the game's other classes.
Its 4/4 stats for 4 mana will make it a strong Arena pick, however. The dragon synergy in that instance would be a pleasant bonus.
(4) Vex Crow (3/3)
Type: Minion - Beast
Whenever you cast a spell, summon a random 2-Cost minion.
Source: The Alliance on YouTube
Analysis: Oh dear... summoning a 2-Cost minion is always a roll of the dice and never a particularly fun one. It's not just that the 2-Cost minions are often nothing to write home about, but it's also that there will be those times when calling a random one in backfires horribly. It should almost go without saying that calling in a random Doomsayer is a potential disaster. The only thing worse would be calling in Lorewalker Cho, given how much the Mage depends on spells.
On top of that, the Vex Crow's 3/3 stats for a 4-Cost are weak, especially given what we're seeing from this expansion in terms of higher-stat midranger minions with better upsides. I wouldn't expect to see the Vex Crow get too much play.
(3) Blackwald Pixie (3/4)
Battlecry: Refresh your Hero Power.
(5) Clockwork Automaton (4/4)
Type: Minion - Mech
Double the damage and healing of your Hero Power.
Analysis: I want to cover these last two in a single entry and it's not just because they were both covered simultaneously in a single reveal. Although there is a good reason that VentureBeat revealed both of these at once. It's because the principle behind them is exactly the same. If you put these with an odd deck, they have the potential to hurt a lot.
Both the Blackwalk Pixie and Clockwork Automaton, in particular, are going to hurt a lot in Face Hunter decks. The Automaton, in particular, means the Hunter's Hero Power is going to hit for 6 damage while it's on the board. That is sickening. The Pixie means the Hunter's Hero could strike twice in a single turn, also for 6 damage! And both of those plays would only cost 7 mana. Either of these minions could be a powerful finisher for the Hunter, so start preparing for this painful combo now.
The Pixie may also find a home in the Control Warrior deck, where Warriors can armor up even faster. That means they can armor up 8 in a single turn. The Automaton could also slide right into a Mage deck. If the Mage has double damage Hero Power, the Automaton means the Mage can ping anything on the board for 4 damage, which could knock out a good number of mid-tier minions.
Whether alone or separate, the Blackwald Pixie and Clockwork Automaton will be formidable minions, especially with that odd-Cost deck synergy.
That's it for now! Keep it on Shacknews for the next few weeks for more card breakdowns for the Witchwood, leading all the way up to the expansion's release in mid-April.