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 may have missed:
(3) Duskhaven Hunter (2/5)
Stealth: Each turn this is in your hand, swap its Attack and Health.
Analysis: The Druid got to run wild with Druid of the Flame for a while. Now it's the Hunter's turn to get this card, but in exchange for not getting to choose between 2/5 and 5/2 stats, it gets Stealth. That's a pretty significant upgrade.
Not only that, but this Worgen card continues the push for Face Hunter's revival. It'll fit perfectly in an odd-Cost deck, with more aggressive Hunters waiting for the chance to drop this as a 5/2 Stealth. Add this to the aggro Hunter's tool set or use it a strong Arena pick.
(4) Toxmonger (2/4)
Whenever you play a 1-Cost minion, give it Poisonous.
Source: Igxingsu on Panda.TV
Analysis: Hey now, maybe not every Hunter wants to go face. There might still be some Control Hunters out there, ones who want to play around with Secrets and Deathstalker Rexxar. For those players, there's Toxmonger.
Toxmonger can be used on a variety of minions, including Jeweled Macaw or any of the Unleash the Hounds. It's even a good Turn 4 follow-up for Animal Companion. Even without Beast synergy, this is a winner both in constructed and in Arena.
(3) Witching Hour
Summon a random friendly Beast that died this game.
Analysis: Ha ha, Priest! Now who's doing the resurrecting? The Druid, that's who!
And in many ways, the Druid has a little more flexibility because of the language of the card. It will only revive friendly beasts. That means maybe pack in a singular Tyrantus. Or use it on Barnabus the Stomper after completing the Un'Goro Quest. Or maybe use it on...
(5) Witchwood Grizzly (3/12)
Type: Minion - Beast
Taunt. Battlecry: Lose 1 Health for each card in your opponent's hand.
Analysis: The Witchwood Grizzly is a pretty good Turn 5 Taunt option for the Druid. It'll be a hard counter for Dude/Murloc Paladins that keep their hands low, but it'll get dinged against those pesky Handlock players. Wouldn't it be cool if this thing could just take the board with its full 3/12 stats?
Oh, wait a second! How about that new Witching Hour spell? If the Witchwood Grizzly is dispatched for whatever reason after it's played, simply bring it back with full stats! That's a pretty good pull for 3 Mana. I'd expect to see this combo a lot in constructed decks, while the Witchwood Grizzly will capably stand on its own in Arena.
(2) Cathedral Gargoyle (2/2)
Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, gain Taunt and Divine Shield.
Analysis: This is a pretty good minion. Those are nice stats for a 2-drop. And more than that, giving it Taunt and Divine Shield makes it a strong complement to Righteous Protector, assuming there's a Dragon in-hand. That's a very good starting 1-2 combo for the Paladin.
The problem is that this doesn't fit into any current Paladin archetypes at the moment. Paladin players aren't carrying around Dragons. They're carrying around Silver Hand Recruits and Murlocs. So there isn't really anything to trigger this guy. Worse, if it gets pulled out of Call to Arms, it isn't really any good. If the idea is to use Call to Arms, then there's no reason to pack this over Dire Wolf Alpha or Knife Juggler.
This is going to be a good minion for Paladin players someday. It just won't be anytime soon.
(2) Woodcutter's Axe (2/2)
Deathrattle: Give a random friendly minion with Rush +2/+1.
Source: Taomei on Douyu
Analysis: This isn't nearly as sharp as that old Turn 2 Fiery War Axe. Now that was a Turn 2 weapon!
But fine, the Warrior needs something to attack with on Turn 2 and this is as decent a weapon as any, especially in the early game. But only in the early game. This thing's practically a dud in the later game, unless that's one heck of a Rush minion you're putting down. The positive for Woodcutter's Axe is that its Deathrattle allows the Warrior player to plan ahead for when to activate it. Aside from that, this is a half-decent early game weapon, but not a particularly great one.
(6) Deadly Arsenal
Reveal a weapon from your deck. Deal its Attack to all minions.
Source: Ek0p on YouTube
Analysis: In the last expansion, the Mage got an immensely useful spell called Dragon's Fury, offering some crazy control potential. The Warrior wants a piece of that action, but the Warrior doesn't deal with a lot of offensive spells. The Warrior has weapons and lots of them.
Behold! The Warrior has put his weapons to some better use, making his own Dragon's Fury in the form of Deadly Arsenal! Depending on the weapon's Attack power, this has the potential to hurt greatly. If the Warrior is only packing Arcanite Reaper or Gorehowl, it has the power to possibly clear the entire board.
Just make sure to carry extra copies of Dead Man's Hand, because if the Warrior plays Deadly Arsenal spell with no weapons in his deck, the spell is a dud.
(5) Duskfallen Aviana (3/7)
The first card each player plays each turn costs (0).
Source: Inven.co.kr (via accidental leak to Blizzard's Korean press site)
Analysis: This would be a strong card for Druid if it could take advantage of this effect right away. It cannot. Therefore, it doesn't work.
Duskfallen Aviana's worth is entirely dependent on the opponent not having a worthwhile card to play. This might work against Dude Paladin, where the whole idea is to just go nuts and play as many resources as possible. But there are way too many options for the opponent to punish this play. It's not worth it for 3/7 stats. I can't possibly see this getting any play.
(3) Witch's Cauldron (0/4)
After a friendly minion dies, add a random Shaman spell to your hand.
Source: Li Min on Douyu
Analysis: This has the strong potential to be broken. The Witch's Cauldron has a multitude of ways to activate. Hunters can activate it off Unleash the Hounds, Paladins can trade their minions into it, Priests can even buff it with the Lady in White.
The reason it's not broken is because, just like with the Witch's Apprentice, it's worth noting that Shaman spells aren't always great. They're either not particularly helpful (Cryostasis) or have a major Overload drawback (Overload).
But just because this isn't broken now doesn't mean it won't be in the future. Remember, this is in the Standard meta for the next two years. If Shaman gets any beneficial spells in the next couple of expansions, this can get very broken very fast.
(4) Wing Blast
Deal 4 damage to a minion. If a minion died this turn, this costs (1).
Source: Tomatos on YouTube
Analysis: This is a good control option for Hunter players. It shouldn't be too hard to find minions to sacrifice to discount this spell's cost. Unleash the Hounds should be the easy combo candidate here.
On the one hand, it might sound tough to choose between this and Flanking Strike. On the other hand, just use both. That's how the Spell Hunter will operate, now gaining a reliable new removal tool to play alongside Deathstalker Rexxar and Rhok'delar.
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.
On top of that, be sure to come back on Tuesday morning. Because the next card reveal comes from Shacknews.