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Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons card analyses (Part 3)

Hearthstone reaches the end of the Year of the Dragon, as Shacknews looks at the next batch of cards from the Descent of Dragons expansion.

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Hearthstone is days away from releasing the final expansion for 2019. After hitting the skies and traveling the desert, the Year of the Dragon is about to get some dragons! Blizzard has summoned every dragon it could bring together for Hearthstone's next expansion, Descent of Dragons.

Card reveals for Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons have begun and that means it's time for Shacknews to once again break them down one-by-one. Before we start, let's look at one of the big themes for this expansion: Galakrond. Galakrond is a total different animal, so we won't mix his cards in with these analyses. We'll look at each class' Galakrond separately. For now, let's focus on the other cards and how they'll affect the Standard and Wild metas.

If you've missed the analyses so far, take a moment to catch up:

Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons card analyses (Part 1)
Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons card analyses (Part 2)

Let's continue with the card reveals from the Hearthstone community.

Hearthstone - Shu'ma

(7) Shu'ma (1/7)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
At the end of your turn, fill your board with 1/1 Tentacles.
Source: Hearthstone's Battlegrounds Brawl

Analysis: Tremble in fear of SHUMA!

Shuma-Gorath

No, wait, wrong Shuma.

I'm talking about the new Legendary minion Shu'ma, which fills the board with 1/1 minions at the end of every turn. That gives players the opening to attack with a bunch of really weak guys!

An aggro Shaman who wants to close with Bloodlust might want to pack this in as a last resort. Likewise, a zoo Warlock that's fresh out of resources might use this to fill their board back up before boosting those tentacles with something like Grim Rally.

This won't fit in a lot of other Standard or Wild decks, but it might be an interesting minion to run with in Arena, especially if both sides are getting to the end of their rope in the late game.


Hearthstone - Envoy of Lazul

(2) Envoy of Lazul (2/2)
Type: Minion
Class: Priest
Rarity: Epic
Battlecry: Look at 3 cards. Guess which one is in your opponent's hand to get a copy of it.
Source: Hearthstone's Battlegrounds Brawl

Analysis: It's been a good while since the Priest has had a creative minion like this one. This is a twist on the old Curious Glimmerroot, only this asks the player to guess the card currently in their opponent's hand. In the early game, guessing this card has a fair chance of failure, but as the game gets into the later turns and it becomes more apparent what sort of deck the opponent is running, the chances of success start to increase.

With 2/2 stats, there's no reason not to toss this into your Standard deck. Give it a shot.


Hearthstone - Dragonrider Talritha

(3) Dragonrider Talritha (3/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Legendary
Deathrattle: Give a Dragon in your hand +3/+3 and this Deathrattle.
Source: Hearthstone's Battlegrounds Brawl

Analysis: This is a very similar card to Val'anyr, but now in minion form. Talritha will boost any Dragon in your hand, while also giving that Dragon the power to keep paying the boost forward. The train stops as soon as you run out of Dragons. Fortunately, this expansion and the Paladin's recent cards have provided multiple ways to keep generating new Dragons.

The downside to this is the same that it was for Val'anyr, in that it's easy for Handbuff Paladins to run out of gas in the mid-to-late game. Make sure you have the cards to make this pay off, otherwise you might get left hanging in the later turns.


Hearthstone - Clear the Way

(1) Clear the Way
Type: Spell
Class: Hunter
Rarity: Rare
Sidequest: Summon 3 Rush minions. Reward: Summon a 4/4 Gryphon with Rush.
Source: PlayHearthstone on Instagram

Analysis: The big takeaway for this card is that it's the Hunter's second Sidequest, which means there will be multiple Sidequests for each of the non-EVIL classes.

With that observation out of the way, it should be noted that this is a fairly easy Sidequest to activate. Springpaw or Unleash the Beast gets two-thirds of the way there by themselves. The important thing about the latter is that if Unleash the Beast is used three times over the course of the game, Zul'jin might be able to replay and complete the Sidequest in one go. There are some solid ways to make this work and it makes a decent addition to most midrange Hunter decks.


Hearthstone - Secure the Deck

(1) Secure the Deck
Type: Spell
Class: Druid
Rarity: Epic
Sidequest: Attack twice with your hero. Reward: Add 3 'Claw' spells to your hand.
Source: PlayHearthstone on Instagram

Analysis: Remember how much fun Druid players were having with Gonk, the Raptor for about a hot second a year ago? This Sidequest works beautifully with Gonk and with Spirit of the Raptor.

The problem is that Gonk decks quickly proved to be unviable after a few short weeks in the meta. I have to imagine the same thing will happen here, especially given how good the Druid Quest from Saviors of Uldum proved to be. This can be fun in Wild, especially once Gonk rotates out in a few months, but I don't think this will see too much play.


Hearthstone - Nether Breath

(2) Nether Breath
Type: Spell
Class: Warlock
Rarity: Rare
Deal 2 damage. If you're holding a Dragon, deal 4 damage with Lifesteal instead.
Source: DDaHyoNi on YouTube

Analysis: The Warlock doesn't have too many single-target removal spells in the early games. Well, it does, but they all hurt. Soulfire hurts. Spirit Bomb hurts.

To help mitigate this, here's... Demonfire. At worst, it's two damage. But if there's a dragon in-hand, it becomes one of the Warlock's better single-target spells. It's a better Spellstone. Given how much damage the Warlock player takes over time, this is a good spell to have. And since Handlock finds Twilight Drake so useful, there's no reason not to pack a copy of Nether Breath to take advantage.


Hearthstone - Crazed Netherwing

(5) Crazed Netherwing (5/5)
Type: Minion - Dragon
Class: Warlock
Rarity: Rare
Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, deal 3 damage to all other characters.
Source: DDaHyoNi on YouTube

Analysis: This is more than a more expensive Duskbreaker. It's potentially a more painful one. Crazed Netherwing deals damage to all characters. So somebody took a 5/5 Dragon and strapped the 4-mana Hellfire to it. That makes this thing a heck of a value play on Turn 5.

The problem comes in the late game if you're on the ropes and you can't spare anymore health, but hopefully, you'll have a copy of Nether Breath to help out in that area.


Hearthstone - Necrium Apothecary

(4) Necrium Apothecary (2/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Rogue
Rarity: Epic
Combo: Draw a Deathrattle minion from your deck and gain its Deathrattle.
Source: Silvername on YouTube

Analysis: Rogue, above most classes, has been centered around Deathrattles, as of late. So if you need a strong Deathrattle, this might be something to consider. If you fill your deck with minions like Mechanical Whelp, Anubisath Warbringer, or Hakkar, the Soulflayer, this could be immensely useful.

The other big Deathrattle card to look out for is Waxadred. So you can give Necrium Apothecary its Deathrattle and shuffle a Candle into your deck after it dies. Here's the important thing to remember. Waxadred's text specifically states that once the Candle is drawn, it will summon Waxadred, not Necrium Apothecary. So keep that in mind if you want to put together a Waxadred deck.


Hearthstone - Amber Watcher

(5) Amber Watcher (4/6)
Type: Minion - Dragon
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Restore 8 Health.
Source: Dbraz on YouTube

Analysis: WHOA! This is an outstanding card for the Paladin player, especially the Dragon Paladin player. It's essentially a beefed-up Antique Healbot and one that fits in with any number of Dragons. This is going to be a must-have for all Dragon Paladin players and even most non-Dragon Paladin players, especially given its decent 4/6 stats. It'll be highly-coveted in Arena, as well. An A+ in every way.


Hearthstone - Camouflaged Dirigible

(6) Camouflaged Dirigible (6/6)
Type: Minion - Mech
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Give your other Mechs Stealth until your next turn.
Source: Hearthside Chat: Reporting from Dragonblight

Analysis: The Dirigible is an interesting minion in the sense that it can hide your other Mechs for a turn, but if you put your mind to it, it's hard to imagine when such a situation would even come up. Still, even with the odd Battlecry aside, that 6/6 stat line is pretty respectable. If nothing else, that makes it a half-decent Arena pick. It'll also make for a strong pull off Dr. Boom, Mad Genius, which should make Warrior players pretty happy.


Hearthstone - Hot Air Balloon

(1) Hot Air Balloon (1/2)
Type: Minion - Mech
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
At the start of your turn, gain +1 Health.
Source: Hearthside Chat: Reporting from Dragonblight

Analysis: Hot Air Balloon won't exactly be everyone's go-to for a Turn 1 drop, but you could do a lot worse. It's a run-of-the-mill 1/2 minion and one that gets an extra health at the start of every turn. However, if you have a cheap Magnetic minion, you might be able to bolster this up. If you can keep this alive through Turn 3, you can make a pretty decent wall with Bronze Gatekeeper. So look at this as an average 1-drop that can get better with the right tools.


Hearthstone - Veranus

(6) Veranus (7/6)
Type: Minion - Dragon
Class: Hunter
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Change the Health of all enemy minions to 1.
Source: Hearthside Chat: Reporting from Dragonblight

Analysis: I did a double take up seeing this one, because Veranus is essentially a 7/6 Dragon with Equality. Except it's not a Paladin Dragon, it's a Hunter Dragon. And outside of Hunter's Mark, there aren't a lot of Hunter cards that can manipulate Health.

Veranus does work in a lot of Hunter decks given the types of minions and spells that the class packs in. Unleash the Hounds and Veranus can act as a surefire board clear in most instances, leaving you with a 7/6 Dragon on-board. There are some combos available, which makes this a decent option for a midrange Hunter deck.


Hearthstone - Kronx Dragonhoof

(6) Kronx Dragonhoof (6/6)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Draw Galakrond. If you're already Galakrond, unleash a Devastation.
Source: Hearthside Chat: Reporting from Dragonblight

Analysis: Needless to say, if you're playing Galakrond for any of your EVIL classes, you're going to play Kronx. If you're desperate to draw Galakrond to the point that you're wondering if it's at the bottom of your deck, you can draw it with Kronx. So in case of emergency, just play this to get your Galakrond.

But if you already have your Galakrond, Kronx helps you in a number of ways. The Devastations all assist in different sitautions or fit into different deck types. They're arguably better selections that the ones you'd get from Kalimos, Primal Lord. There's almost no scenario where they disappoint or don't offer immediate assistance. And Kronx himself is a 6/6 body.

Because Kronx is a sure play in every Galakrond deck, start planning counters now. Don't be afraid to be That Guy who plays Hecklebot.


Hearthstone - Zul'drak Ritualist

(4) Zul'drak Ritualist (3/9)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Rare
Taunt. Battlecry: Summon three random 1-Cost minions for your opponent.
Source: PCGamesN

Analysis: This is the easiest way to poison the resurrection pool for any Priest player. Just give them a mess of 1-Cost, low-level junk minions. Conversely, if you're the Priest player, the Zul'drak Ritualist is a nice minion to have for your resurrection pool. Simply bring it back and then hit the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire wombo combo.

Alternatively, you can pack this into any number of decks and pair it with Mind Control Tech if you have enough minions on the other side of the board. Or pair this with an area-of-effect spell. There are some options for this thing, provided you have a way to deal with the downside.


Hearthstone - Sanctuary

(2) Sanctuary
Type: Spell
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Epic
Sidequest: Take no damage for a turn. Reward: Summon a 3/6 minion with Taunt.
Source: Tars on YouTube

Analysis: Sanctuary looks like it'll be cool if it works in the early game, but the thing is, Hero Powers make this almost impossible to get rolling in the opening turns. If the Paladin player can get Time Out! online, it guarantees this Sidequest hits, but Time Out! is such a valuable spell that you might not want to waste it for the sake of getting a 3/6 Taunt on board.

If this hits, cool. But there aren't a lot of circumstances where I see this really working, so this feels like a dud to me.


Hearthstone - Flik Skyshiv

(6) Flik Skyshiv (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Rogue
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry Destroy a minion and all copies of it (wherever they are).
Source: Firebat on YouTube

Analysis: This might as well be called "Destroy Pogo-Hopper: The Minion." Because honestly, that's the one instance where I really see this working.

Here's the problem with Flik. There are ways to get around this effect. If you think this solves the Waxadred problem, it doesn't. Remember, Waxadred doesn't shuffle itself into the deck, it shuffles a Candle into the deck. So Flik wouldn't destroy it. If you're a Wild player, this doesn't destroy Jade Golems because Jades are effects from either spells or minions.

So the language here is what undoes Flik. Because the other thing to consider is that whatever minion it destroys, it might just get put back into play later off a Discover effect. It's like a comic book death. They're only dead for now. So without a greater sense of permanence, Flik doesn't solve the problems that one hopes it might.


We're a good chunk of the way into looking at Descent of Dragons cards. Come back throughout the next few days as we give the full set the analysis treatment prior to the expansion's release. Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons is set to release soon.

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?

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