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Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows card analyses (Part 1)

Hearthstone's villains have united for Rise of Shadows and today, Shacknews begins breaking down each card one-by-one leading up to its April release.


Earlier today, Blizzard revealed what's next for long-running digital collectible card game Hearthstone. The new Standard year is about to kick off with the arrival of 2019's first expansion, Rise of Shadows. The villains have all gathered to usher in the Year of the Dragon. And that means a whole new set of cards to take Hearthstone into a brave new world.

On Thursday, Blizzard gave players a taste of what to expect in Rise of Shadows by revealing a handful of cards. And as has been the case with every expansion, Shacknews is here to give these cards a thorough analysis of how they'll fit into the game. So let's give them a look.

Hearthstone Arch-Villain Rafaam

(7) Arch-Villain Rafaam (7/8)
Type: Minion
Class: Warlock
Rarity: Legendary
Taunt. Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions.

Analysis: Rafaam's return has made a lot of waves this week, but his Legendary minion card may leave something to be desired. As cool as the Golden Monkey effect is, it's hard to think of a constructed deck that will work with Rafaam. Think of it like a different, roundabout version of Renounce Darkness in this sense: You're not building a constructed deck only to throw it out the door for random cards.

Having said all of that, this will be entertaining to watch in Arena or in constructed games where it shows up off of a random effect.

Hearthstone Chef Nomi

(7) Chef Nomi (6/6)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: If your deck is empty, summon six 6/6 Greasefire Elementals.

Analysis: Chef Nomi is a last resort and will fill up the board with 6/6 minions. But it's hard to imagine making room for this in a constructed deck, just because its success is entirely dependent on going into fatigue. And if you go into fatigue before your opponent, the game is likely lost at that point anyway.

Nomi's an interesting Discover effect, but don't expect for it to see much play beyond that.

Hearthstone EVIL Miscreant

(3) EVIL Miscreant (1/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Rogue
Rarity: Common
Combo: Add two random Lackeys to your hand.

Analysis: This is a quick way to fill up the Rogue player's hands, offering up some useful Lackeys.

Hang on, rewind. We haven't gone over the Lackeys. Let's look at them right here:

Hearthstone Lackeys

So think of the EVIL Miscreant as a different kind of Xaril, Poisoned Mind, only it adds a 1-Cost minion to your hand. The minions offer the bonus of an extra body to go alongside their Battlecry effects, but their 1-Cost prove more useful as combo pieces. They can also buff up Edwin VanCleef something fierce. Look for EVIL Miscreants to work as valuable tools in both constructed and Arena decks.

Hearthstone Forbidden Words

(0) Forbidden Words
Type: Spell
Class: Priest
Rarity: Rare
Spend all your Mana. Destroy a minion that much Attack or less.

Analysis: At its best, Forbidden Words could prove to be a much, much more expensive Shadow Word: Death. So maybe this won't quite fit into a constructed deck. But as a random drop from a card effect, Forbidden Words is the best that a Priest player could hope for. As long as an opposing minion's attack doesn't go off the charts, it should be a reliable removal tool. But when it comes to dealing with the likes of Deathwing, keep Shadow Word: Death or something similar handy.

Hearthstone Hagatha's Scheme

(5) Hagatha's Scheme
Type: Spell
Class: Shaman
Rarity: Rare
Deal 1 damage to all minions. (Upgrades each turn!)

Analysis: This is the first of the Scheme cards and it's going to prove to be one of the best of the new Shaman spells. Shaman hasn't had a lot of good removal options and it's only going to get tougher with Volcano about to rotate out. But Hagatha's Scheme can grow to be a beast, especially if it's drawn in the Shaman player's opening hand.

Hagatha's Scheme can deal with zoo decks in the early game and if it's held for the long haul, it can be an instant board clear. It's important to draw this early, so if it doesn't show up in the opening mulligan phase, use Storm Chaser to force the issue.

Hearthstone The Forest's Aid

(8) The Forest's Aid
Type: Spell
Class: Druid
Rarity: Rare
Twinspell: Summon five 2/2 Treants.

Analysis: This is an introduction to the Twinspell mechanic, though the Druid player might wish for a slightly better one. Five 2/2s isn't bad, but 8 mana is a high asking price. Aggro Druids won't want the game to even reach Turn 8, so this doesn't quite work in those decks. Those players will want to stick with Wispering Woods and their large variety of buffing spells, even if some of them are set to rotate out.,/p>

If you're playing Wild, stick with Living Mana and put the pressure on the opponent early.

Hearthstone Spellward Jeweler

(3) Spellward Jeweler (3/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Rare
Battlecry: Your hero can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers until your next turn.

Analysis: With Kobold Monk set to rotate out into Wild, Spellward Jeweler steps in with a different way to issue its effect. If you feel like the opposing Mage is about to bop you with Pyroblast, give yourself a moratorium for another turn. While there aren't a lot of places for this sort of effect in a constructed deck, it might be an intriguing option for a Shudderwock deck that's looking to rebound from falling behind.

With reliable 3/4 stats on a 3-Cost minion, expect to see Spellward Jeweler pop up frequently in Arena. It'll be in the lower end of that group under the more useful Untamed Beastmaster.

Hearthstone Kalecgos

(10) Kalecgos (4/12)
Type: Minion - Dragon
Class: Mage
Rarity: Legendary
Your first spell each turn costs (0). Battlecry: Discover a spell.

Analysis: Oh, man! It's "Value" with a capital "V." Kalecgos' effect is just bananas, offering a free spell the moment it's deployed. And if you don't have a spell, you can Discover one on the spot! That means there's a chance to find a board-clearing spell like Flamestrike or a potential lethal blow like Pyroblast. And with 4/12 stats, there's a good chance that Kalecgos sticks around on the board a while, meaning its effect can stretch for multiple turns.

Meanwhile, consider what happens if this falls off a random effect from a card like Dragon Roar and another class gets to make use out of it. Just wait until the first Wild Priest gets this off a Bone Drake. A 4/12 Dragon and a free Mind Control is just killer.

This is the first big winner of this set and is sure to be a Mage staple, especially in Big Spell Mage decks.

Shacknews will continue to monitor cards and analyze them in the lead-up to the next big Hearthstone expansion. Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows is set to release on April 9.

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?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 14, 2019 10:30 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows card analyses (Part 1)

    • reply
      March 14, 2019 10:57 AM

      At least rafaam is overstated for 7 mana, so there is a recognition that turning good cards you put in your deck into random legendaries is usually a bad thing.

      And yeah the mage legendary is nuts. It has to die immediately and will be put in deck that has other stuff to bait out removal.

      • reply
        March 14, 2019 11:34 AM

        Rafaam is like the original Elise but without having to find the map and monkey. I think it is going to be a solid card. Also his stats for 7 mana are pretty good too.

        • reply
          March 14, 2019 11:47 AM

          The original elise wasn't a good card... The Un'goro version was better because you just had to manage handsize and it had duel use as an anti-fatigue card so it saw tons of play in odd warrior and it was played a bunch a year ago in the old dragon control priest because you could shadow visions the elise pack and just hammer your opponent with value.

          Actually one deck I've been thinking about making is pure fatigue hunter with augmented elekk and dire frenzy. I guess you throw elise in there too. The point is to queue into an odd warrior and make them cry.

          • reply
            March 14, 2019 12:04 PM

            The original Elise was very good in control warrior. It has been awhile but this card was definitely played a lot.

            I think you are underestimating the power of Rafaam if control warlock is a thing.

            • reply
              March 14, 2019 1:23 PM

              I just have too many memories of seeing the monkey come out and not having to play around the last copy of brawl anymore. And it's going to be the same thing with this card. Warlock needs healing to be good and spellstone and guldan rotate so I'm not overly optimistic.

              • reply
                March 14, 2019 1:28 PM

                Could maybe be used in some sort of zoo/midrange deck. Similar to how Prince Liam is used but with a more immediate impact.

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