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:
Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Analyses (Part 1)
Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Analyses (Part 2)
Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Analyses (Part 3)
Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Analyses (Part 4)
Hearthstone: The Witchwood Card Analyses (Part 5)
(2) Rat Trap
Secret: After your opponent plays three cards in a turn, summon a 6/6 Rat.
Source: IGN Brazil
Analysis: One sad thing for Standard players is that Cat Trick is about to rotate out into Wild. But while the cat's away, the rat will play.
The Rat Trap is designed for the opponent that loves to play multiple cards in a single turn. That goes for multiple deck types, but the key to success here is going to be timing. It's almost sure to go off against classes holding multiple cards or classes with cheap spells and card draw options, like our good friend Miracle Rogue. It has a place in constructed, just because a 6/6 Rat can either swing the game or halt the opponent's push and force them to deal with it immediately.
This is practically a dud in Arena, though. When resources start to run low in the late game, it's hard to imagine the opponent playing enough cards to trigger this Secret, making it something of a dead play.
(5) Holy Water
Deal 4 damage to a minion. If that kills it, add a copy of it to your hand.
Source: Kripparrian on YouTube
Analysis: The rich get richer, when it comes to Priest. This is a wildly powerful spell that gives Priest players another means to help themselves to some of their opponent's minions.
What makes Holy Water particularly powerful is that so many minions over the past several expansions have various Deathrattle and Battlecry effects that can swing entire games. Using this as a finishing blow can put one of those potential game-swinging minions in the Priest player's hands, while also working to remove the board.
The best part is, it doesn't even have to be an enemy minion. Perhaps you have an Obsidian Statue near death. Simply douse it with Holy Water to kill it, eliminate an opposing minion with its Deathrattle, and get a fresh one in your hand. It's another powerful weapon for the Priest. Add it to the pile.
(4) Spectral Cutlass
Lifesteal: Whenever you play a card from another class, gain +1 Durability.
Analysis: This weapon comes a little bit late for the Standard Rogue. With Swashburglar, Undercity Huckster, and Shaku, the Collector all rotating out, there aren't as many tools out there to generate cards from another class.
That's why Spectral Cutlass will appeal more to the Wild player. Not only do they get these cards and others that can generate cards from other classes, they'll get all the tools from Oil Rogue to make this weapon even deadlier. Standard Rogues will want to stick with Kingsbane and its various buffs, but Wild Rogues will find this weapon to be an enticing option.
(7) Bogshaper (4/8)
Type: Minion - Elemental
Whenever you cast a spell, draw a minion from your deck.
Source: Panthra on YouTube
Analysis: This is a pretty big boost for the Shaman player, especially the Elemental Shaman. It's a little expensive, but being able to draw minions from within your deck by using spells is helpful. This is where it hurts a little bit that Hex got nerfed to 4 Mana.
(5) Deathweb Spider (4/6)
Type: Minion - Beast
Battlecry: If your hero took damage this turn, gain Lifesteal.
Source: Master Wang on Panda.TV
Analysis: A vanilla 4/6 for 5 Mana isn't particularly terrible. If it gets Lifesteal, it's gravy, which seems to be the idea here. It doesn't even have to be damage from one of your cards, but simply from a Life Tap. But hey, if you do have a Kobold Librarian at the ready, go nuts.
The case against Deathweb Spider is that Carnivorous Cube is still just too good for the exact same stats and cost. If the Cube gets nerfed (and I would have to think that idea's still on the table somewhere at Blizzard), then maybe we can discuss Deathweb Spider's playability. Otherwise, this is a decent Arena selection and not much more.
(4) Blood Witch (3/6)
At the start of your turn, deal 1 damage to your hero.
Source: Autumn on Panda.TV
Analysis: A 3/6 on Turn 4 is pretty good, but the Blood Witch comes with the downside of getting 1 damage to your Hero. On top of that, it's an even-Cost minion, so it's not like you'll be getting free Life Taps to offset this damage.
On the plus side, this is very helpful in bumping up the Lesser Amethyst Spellstone quickly. Just be careful not to go overboard with this minion or you'll find yourself in a hole quickly. If you don't need the damage that badly, insert the usual Twilight Drake in this spot instead.
(3) Duskbat (2/4)
Type: Minion - Beast
Battlecry: If your hero took damage this turn, summon two 1/1 Bats.
Source: Valerie on Panda.TV
Analysis: A 2/4 body on Turn 3 certainly isn't a bad thing. Without Imp Gang Boss, it's the easiest way to get 1/1s off a 3-Cost minion.
Where Duskbat doesn't quite work is the fact that it's a Beast. Without the Demon synergy, it's hard to recommend this when Vulgar Homunculus offers virtually the same stats. As much as I like the idea of the Battlecry, I think there are better Warlock options out there.
(4) Dire Frenzy
Give a Beast +3/+3. Shuffle 3 copies into your deck with +3/+3.
Source: AKAWonder on YouTube
Analysis: This will be grizzly!
The Hunter got a really good spell here, one that's usable on just about any one of its many Beasts. Just the +3/+3 boost would be good enough, but getting three copies of the buffed minion (not just the minion with the base stats) is insanely great. Maybe give this to a Charge minion? How about to a Vicious Fledgling? How about to any one of Deathstalker Rexxar's Zombeasts?
This is a great spell and one that's going to see a lot of play, especially from Spell Hunter. It has the potential to be overpowered, but we'll see how this one goes in the early stages of the new meta.
(8) Gilnean Royal Guard (3/8)
Divine Shield, Rush: Each turn this is in your hand, swap its Attack and Health.
(4) Swift Messenger (2/6)
Rush: Each turn this is in your hand, swap its Attack and Health.
(2) Spellshifter (1/4)
Spell Damage +1: Each turn this is in your hand, swap its Attack and Health.
Analysis: Did you miss this exclusive reveal from Shacknews? We have our full analysis up right now.
(5) Dollmaster Dorian (2/6)
Whenever you draw a minion, summon a 1/1 copy of it.
Source: Disguised Toast on YouTube
Analysis: Oh, dear. We may have a winner for this expansion.
Dollmaster Dorian is an incredibly powerful card that works with just about any class in the game. Use it with any number of card-drawing spells like Power Word: Shield, Wrath, Slam, or card-drawing minions like Mana Tide Totem.
There are a multitude of ways to maximize Dollmaster Dorian's potential. Quest Priests are going to love him for sure. But what about Quest Druids, who may be able to summon a 0-Cost Dorian and combine him with the 10-Cost Ultimate Infestation? What about Rogues who would like to combine this with Elven Minstrel? What about Paladins running Divine Favor? All of this is a great use for Dorian and that's not even touching on the players thinking about chomping down on that 1/1 copy with Carnivorous Cube.
This is going to be a mainstay in Hearthstone far beyond The Witchwood. Dollmaster Dorian is here to stay.