The time has arrived for a new Hearthstone expansion. Blizzard is going to school for this next addition to its long-running card game with Scholomance Academy. On top of running with an academia theme, Scholomance Academy will add 135 new cards to Hearthstone, a good number of which will introduce some new mechanics, like Dual-Class cards and Spellburst cards.
We're kicking off card reveals for Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy, breaking down each card one-by-one leading up to the expansion's August release.
Today, we'll be starting with the first batch of cards unveiled during the expansion's initial reveal, as well as the first two revealed on Tuesday night from this special video.
Let's get started.
(1) Frazzled Freshman (1/4)
Analysis: Let's start with something wholly unremarkable. It's a vanilla 1/4 for the Priest, not something Standard players will be using much of when much better 1-Cost options exist. Noteworthy maybe for popping up in Arena here and there.
(2) Cult Neophyte (3/2)
Battlecry: Your opponent's spells cost (1) more next turn.
Analysis: This isn't something that's going to fit in a lot of Standard decks, but it'll be a fun random drop to pull out near the end of the game when opponents are looking to potentially finish or bust out that one-turn kill. An interesting tech choice, but not one you'll see much of, especially since there are ways around it. It might show up in Arena, though, since it fits nicely on curve.
(1) Devolving Missiles
Shoot three missiles at random enemy minions that transform them into ones that cost (1) less.
Analysis: There's a little too much RNG involved for this to reliably get packed into any Standard deck, but I like the idea behind this in terms of disrupting large minions. This takes minions like Edwin VanCleef down anywhere from one to three pegs. It's a strong card, but one I'd expect to see show up more in random effects from spells like Evocation.
(2) Diligent Notetaker (2/3)
Spellburst: Return the spell to your hand.
Analysis: Say hello to the first Spellburst card. These cards trigger single effects after using a spell. The Diligent Notetaker is going to be very strong for Shaman. We'll get to this in a bit, but Burst Shaman is poised to make a big comeback in this expansion and Diligent Notetaker allows the Shaman player to burn one of their burst spells and then put it back in their hand, allowing them to clear off a minion without compromising their win condition. They can also rummage through their deck faster with Far Sight. This is going to be a strong addition to Shaman lineups.
(0) First Day of School
Add 2 random 1-Cost minions to your hand.
Analysis: This is practically a no-lose proposition for the Paladin player, giving them an opening play, as well as a potential play on the next turn. The best thing about this is, it doesn't appear to restrict those 1-Cost minions to Paladin cards. There are some strong opening plays to pull here and even the low rolls won't set you back too much. Good card for Standard and Wild, great card for Arena.
(3) Goody Two-Shields (4/2)
Spellburst: Gain Divine Shield.
Analysis: Goody Two-Shields doesn't look very impressive on the surface, but if you're a Libram Paladin running a handful of buffing spells, this minion can get very big, very fast. And if you can refresh its Divine Shield with a buffing spell, it makes it a potential high-value play. It's not an A-tier card, but it might be one worth trying out.
(0) Lightning Bloom
Gain 2 Mana Crystals this turn only. Overload (2)
Analysis: Here we go. Already, we've got one of the big winners of the expansion right here. On the surface, it looks like a ramp-up tool for Shaman and Druid. No, no, this is a finishing tool for either of these classes using Malygos. Both of these classes have strong burst spells that can wreck opponents' faces and, more than that, both classes have tools to discount the tools they need in their finishing hands, whether it's the Shaman drawing with Far Sight or the Druid discounting what's in their hand with Imprisoned Satyr.
And let's not even talk about Wild, where this now becomes a fixture in the Druid's favorite Kun the Forgotten King/Aviana combo.
This is an absolute A+ spell and will find its way into nearly every Shaman and Druid deck.
(1) Nature Studies
Discover a spell. Your next one costs (1) less.
Analysis: This is an interesting addition to the current Spell Druid deck, allowing Druid players to add a spell to their hand while also discounting their next spell by the same 1-Cost margin. It's hard to envision why a Spell Druid would pack this in and leave themselves at the mercy of Discover RNG when they could just pack in a better spell, but if this comes off of a random drop, then it's hard to complain too much. In fact, pulling this off a Cobalt Spellkin is probably the best case scenario for the Druid player here.
(9) Rattlegore (9/9)
Deathrattle: Resummon this with -1/-1.
Analysis: On paper, this is an absolute nightmare and looks almost unkillable. Use a single-target removal on it and watch as it comes back as an 8/8. And lord help you if this things gets buffed in any way.
For the Warrior player, this is worth packing in, even if taking it out is not impossible. Expect to see Polymorph spells from Mage or Shaman and if this thing really takes off, I wouldn't be surprised if Priest packs in a tech Mind Control. Rattlegore looks devastating and if it takes off the way it looks like it will on paper, I'd expect to see players start packing in more Silence effects to try and curb it.
(3) Shan'do Wildclaw (3/3)
Choose One: Give Beasts in your deck +1/+1, or Transform into a copy of a friendly Beast.
Analysis: This looks like it could be a far greater benefit to the Hunter player, specifically the Highlander Hunter. It could be used to buff up Zixor Prime, but the far likelier use will be using it on Turn 10 with Dinotamer Brann to hit for 16 damage to face. Use that Turn 10 play after a Turn 9 Alexstrasza and it's almost an assured victory condition. Shan'do's place in Druid is to be determined, but it's a winner in Hunter decks.
(2) Transfer Student (2/2)
This has different effects based on which game board you're on.
Analysis: Everybody gets this for free for logging into Hearthstone right now, but I can't imagine anybody using it. If there was an option to select a game board, it'd be one thing, but the game boards are always random and that means so is the Transfer Student's effect. Don't expect to see this outside of a meme pick, unless you get it off a random effect.
(8) Troublemaker (6/8)
At the end of your turn, summon two 3/3 Ruffians that attack random enemies.
Analysis: This is a fascinating 8-Cost minion for the Warrior player, in that it's a 6/8 body by itself, but it can potentially be flanked by two other 3/3 minions. Whether they stay on the board depends on what happens at the end of the player's turn. They can attack face or they can run straight into a brick wall on the other side of the board and wipe themselves out immediately.
If you want to take the chance of those 3/3s eliminating themselves out of the gate, this is a pretty strong pick. And it might be helpful when it comes to those 3/3s damaging a big body to set up an Execute on the next turn. There's going to be a place for Troublemaker somewhere, even if it's just in Arena.
(1) Wand Thief (1/2)
Combo: Discover a Mage spell.
Analysis: This is okay for Mage players, but absolute dynamite for Rogue players. Rogues getting access to Mage spells will open a lot of doors for them, granting them all sorts of area-of-effect spells, Secrets, and summoning effects that they normally wouldn't. Wand Thief by itself makes Rogue a more versatile option than ever before and could lead to a lot of unpredictable wild card plays near the end game. The jury's out on whether it works for Mage players, but I'd expect to see this in every Rogue deck.
(4) Wretched Tutor (2/5)
Spellburst: Deal 2 damage to all other minions.
Analysis: These stats are okay by themselves, but the Spellburst effect makes or breaks this one. And unfortunately, since you're likely trying to establish a board yourself, I can't see anybody willingly damaging their own board like this, unless it's for a minion trigger. So I can't recommend this one in a Standard deck just yet, unless something really wacky comes along down the road.
Deal 4 damage to a minion. Any excess damages both neighbors.
Analysis: We've seen spells like this find their way into Rogue and Shaman, but spells that target neighboring minions haven't really made it into Mage until now. This is a pretty strong spell, able to remove a lot of early targets with little trouble. Eliminating neighboring minions should be considered a bonus and not the main objective here. As it is, look at this as a stronger Frostbolt.
(5) Headmaster Kel'Thuzad (4/6)
Spellburst: If the spell destroys any minions, summon them.
Analysis: The moment this expansion was announced, the assumption was that Kel'Thuzad had to be a big game-changer, considering what his former Lich self was capable of doing in the late game. And the Headmaster certainly doesn't disappoint, taking any minions killed by a spell (including your own) and resurrecting them on your side of the board.
There are many classes that can take advantage of this, but you'll likely have limited mana to work with, given Kel's five mana cost and the likelihood that he'll be removed by the opponent as soon as he shows up. The biggest beneficiary? Priest. On top of the Priest's myriad of single-target removal spells, if you discount enough cards with Fate Weaver, then you're looking at a potential Headmaster combo with Soul Mirror, which can swing the late game significantly.
We're going to be seeing a lot of interesting Headmaster combos in the weeks ahead. And unless something truly game-breaking comes along, he'll probably be head and shoulders above the other Legendaries in this expansion.
We're just getting started with the card analyses for Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy. Come back over the next week as we continue breaking down each card before the expansion's big release. Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy is set to release in August.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 1)