Hearthstone's next expansion, The Witchwood, is set to arrive later this Thursday. In the hours prior to the expansion's release, Shacknews has one last piece of unfinished business and that's the new Hero Card. Here's what I originally said about Hagatha in one of the first Hearthstone analyses for this expansion:
"Here's the one and only Hero Card for the Witchwood. It's the mysterious Hagatha the Witch!
"There's some more to say about this card, but not quite enough room to discuss it. So let's table this discussion for now. Come back later in the week and I'll have a little more to say about Hagatha the Witch."
That sure was a long week, wasn't it? Yeah, the jury was out on Hagatha for quite a bit, but with the expansion set to see the light of day, let's finally dive into this newest Shaman Hero character.
(8) Hagatha the Witch
Battlecry: Deal 3 damage to all minions. Gain 5 Armor.
Source: The Witchwood Card Reveal Livestream
Type: Passive Hero Power
After you play a minion, add a random Shaman spell to your hand.
This is the Shaman's second Hero card, but Thrall, Deathseer is about to get a whole lot less appealing with Doppelgangster and Evolve both rotating out. So here's what Blizzard hopes to be a suitable replacement.
Hagatha the Witch's appeal is in generating new Shaman spells for every minion that's played. That means that Hagatha's strength is mainly in her Shaman spell availability.
After looking through The Witchwood, the Shaman's gotten enough good spells that this Hero Power is worth rolling with. Zap!, Blazing Invocation, and Earthen Might are all fantastic off a Hero Power. Blazing Invocation also keeps the minion train going, generating new spells. The benefits start to outweigh the cons, of which the Shaman has quite a few. But it's worth risking drawing a dud spell like Totemic Might or Primal Fusion if it means rolling high with something like the Lesser Sapphire Stone or Volcano.
Wild decks will have some good choices, as well, though it's hard to see Hagatha getting play there. Burst Shaman has pretty much been perfected in the Wild meta and it'll take more than this new Hero to change that class' direction.
Hagatha's Battlecry is also worth looking at, because a Duskbreaker effect is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Hagatha will fit beautifully into Elemental decks. Suddenly not getting that Fire Fly on Turn 1 isn't the worst thing in the world. Continuing to Discover off of Servant of Kalimos is critical to keep Hagatha's effect working. Having a Bogshaper either in deck or ready off a Discover effect is also helpful in keeping minions coming out.
Another deck that might have some success with Hagatha is the Quest Shaman. The first several turns are dedicated to getting Murlocs on the board, with the Shaman either ready to drop Megafin on Turn 5 or later after Hagatha is played to replenish the Shaman's resources. Also don't sleep on Ghost Light Angler as a major cog in any Murloc deck running Hagatha, which can generate multiple spells off a single turn.
Playing Against Hagatha the Witch
If Shaman players run Hagatha, it's important to exhaust their minion resources as quickly as possible. The best class suited for this is Warlock, which can run Rin, the First Disciple and work towards bopping the Shaman's deck with Azari, the Devourer.
If it's not possible to wipe out the Shaman's deck, the best course of action is play control. Big Spell Mage players running Frost Lich Jaina and Arcane Artificer should be able to keep the board state under control. Keep on making Water Elementals whenever possible and be sure not to use Alexstrasza too early, because there's alawys a chance that Hagatha will generate Healing Rain.
Lastly, the best option against these Shaman players is to finish the game quickly. Remember, the Standard Shaman is losing precious control options with Maelstrom Portal and Jade Lightning rotating out, so bring out that resurgent Face Hunter and hit hard out of the gate.
Hearthstone: The Witchwood arrives later today. For more, be sure to catch up on all of our Witchwood coverage over the past few weeks.