The time has come for Hearthstone to kick off an all-new Standard year. The Year of the Phoenix will begin with an all-new expansion, as players prepare themselves for Ashes of Outland. With the arrival of a new expansion, Blizzard will debut an all-new playable class and introduce 135 brand new cards for both Standard and Wild.
Card reveals for Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland have come and gone and now it's just a matter of waiting for the expansion's arrival. So let's make that time go a little faster by taking a look at the cards that are about to debut and giving them a full analysis.
Before we begin the analyses, be sure to check out the cards revealed during Wednesday's livestream presentation and catch up with Part 1:
(5) Imprisoned Antaen (10/6)
Type: Minion - Demon
Class: Demon Hunter
Dormant for 2 turns. When this awakens, deal 10 damage randomly split among all enemies.
Analysis: Well, hello there, big boy. This is one of the bulkier of the Imprisoned Demons, coming with huge 10/6 stats. It's a 5-Cost minion, so the earliest it'll go off is Turn 7, but that's a powerful effect that could potentially clear the board. If the Demon Hunter is willing to eat a passed Turn 5, this is a strong presence to have later in the game.
(2) Mo'arg Artificer (2/4)
Type: Minion - Demon
All minions take double damage from spells.
Analysis: As we learned from Wednesday's reveal stream, this isn't a minion that you'll commonly see in a constructed deck. But when it shows up off of a random effect, like off a Faceless Lackey, it could mean a bad time for whichever side has more minions. Be ready to roll with the punches whenever this guy shows up, especially if you're up against a Mage player.
(1) Blackjack Stunner (1/2)
Battlecry: If you control a Secret, return a minion to its owner's hand. It costs (2) more.
Analysis: Here's a new 1-drop for the Rogue, but not one you'll see used on Turn 1 many times. This works with the annoying control style of Rogue, as it won't just Sap a minion, it'll make it more expensive. In simpler terms, it's a directed Freezing Trap, which could be a major boost for the Rogue and could quickly become one of the most hated cards for non-Rogue players in this set.
Deal 8 damage to a minion. Costs (3) less if you cast a spell last turn.
Analysis: Here's a strong single-target spell for the Shaman player. At 5 mana, it could be a bit expensive. But if it gets discounted after using a spell on the previous turn, it becomes Crushing Hand without the Overload drawback. That's a pretty good card and one capable of taking down higher-value targets near the end of the game. Shaman players will want to keep one of these handy.
(1) Shadow Council
Repace your hand with random Demons. Give them +2/+2.
Analysis: That old Renonuce Darkness spell was such a crapshoot for the Warlock player, taking your entire deck and putting it in the hands of fate. But Shadow Council is much more usable, given that it only affects what's in your hand. If you have a handful of useless cards, it's a card worth rolling the dice on. Use it as insurance against a deck running Bad Luck Albatross. Or put Impbalming in your deck and use this to turn your 1/1 Worthless Imps into something much more usable.
Big brains will come up with a cool Shadow Council deck at some point, but most others can make good use of this off of a Twisted Knowledge pickup.
(3) Bogstrok Clacker (3/3)
Battlecry: Transform adjacent minions into random minions that cost (1) more.
Analysis: This isn't quite Evolve, but it's a strong 3-Cost minion alternative. You won't be building a deck around this thing, but it'll absolutely have its uses. It can work as a tempo play with Lackeys or it can work as a play with Galakrond, Azeroth's End after using those two 8-Cost 8/8 Rush Elementals. This is a solid addition to the Shaman roster.
(5) Boggspine Knuckles (4/2)
After your hero attacks, transform your minions into random ones that cost (1) more.
Analysis: Speaking of that Evolve spell, here it is, but in weapon form. If you can fill get multiple minions on the board off of the aforementioned Galakrond play or off of multiple Lackeys, this is a good weapon to have around.
(3) Dragonmaw Overseer (2/2)
At the end of your turn, give another friendly minion +2/+2.
Analysis: Priest players are in the middle of a crossroads, where they need to rethink how they approach it completely. For beginners, here's a minion that could make some noise. At the very least, it could buff up any Lackey from a 1/1 into a 3/3. There aren't a lot of aggro Priest builds out there, but this can be a strong addition to those decks.
(3) Underlight Angling Rod (3/2)
After your Hero attacks, add a random Murloc to your hand.
Analysis: Check out the new look Murloc Paladin! This will be one of its anchors, a good early-game weapon that can replenish the player's hand with a helpful Murloc. This weapon can help remove low-stat minions and make space for Murlocs on subsequent turns. All that's really missing from this deck is a strong finisher, but the Underlight Angling Rod is at least a good starter.
(7) Marsh Hydra (7/7)
Type: Minion - Beast
Rush: After this attacks, add a random 8-Cost minion to your hand.
Analysis: Here's a great addition to the Embiggen Druid ranks. The Marsh Hydra is a strong play on its own, able to remove a lot of high-value targets while also adding an 8-Cost minion to your own hand. Whether it comes straight out of your hand or comes out through Strength in Numbers, expect to see a lot of Marsh Hydra out of the Druid player once this expansion goes live.
(5) Al'ar (7/3)
Type: Minion - Elemental
Deathrattle: Summon a 0/3 Ashes of Al'ar that resurrects this minion on your next turn.
Analysis: I think what Blizzard's aiming for here is a Neutral Waxadred, but there's a big problem here. For one thing, Al'ar has significantly worse stats. A three-health minion is easily removed, so that's an issue. Another problem is that instead of getting shuffled into the player's deck, it can only come back if a 0/3 token survives until the next turn. That's extremely unlikely and even if it does survive, it's still just bringing back a 7/3. This is a dud.
That's all for now. We'll be looking at the rest of the new expansion's cards as its release date approaches. Hearthstone: Ashes of Outland releases on April 7.