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Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 3)

Class is in session when Hearthstone releases its Scholomance Academy expansion and Shacknews is here to teach you all a lesson with our third batch of card breakdowns.


The bell is about to ring and that means it's almost time for a new Hearthstone expansion. Blizzard is going to school for the latest addition to its long-running collectible card game with Scholomance Academy. Scholomance Academy adds 135 new cards to Hearthstone, a good number of which will introduce some brand new mechanics, like Dual-Class cards and Spellburst cards.

We're continuing our card reveals for Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy, breaking down each card one-by-one leading up to the expansion's August release. If you missed any reveals so far, be sure to catch up with our previous entries:

Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 1)
Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 2)

Let's get started.

(5) Doctor Krastinov (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Rogue/Warrior
Rarity: Legendary
Rush: Whenever this attacks, give your weapon +1/+1.

Analysis: This should look familiar to the Warrior player, in that it shares similar stats to Darius Crowley, only instead of buffing up a minion, it buffs up a weapon. There are some interesting things you can do with this. Aggro Warriors can do a lot with a buffed-up Gorehowl, Arcanite Reaper, and Wrenchcalibur, while the Rogue can make the most out of the Hooked Scimitar.

The key to success with the Doctor is in attacking more than once. And it's quite possible to do that when using minions like Playmaker or spells like Shadowstep. Don't let the menial stats fool you, Doctor Krastinov can be very effective if used correctly.

(1) Pen Flinger (1/1)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Deal 1 damage. Spellburst: Return this to your hand.

Analysis: It's Elven Archer, but with a catch. If you use a spell, it comes right back to your hand. There isn't too much you can do with that, but it might come in handy in the early game, specifically in Arena.

(4) Star Student Stelina (4/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Demon Hunter
Rarity: Legendary
Outcast: Look at 3 cards in your opponent's hand. Shuffle one of them into their deck.

Analysis: This is an intriguing control tool that could trip your opponents up in the late game. If you feel like your opponent is inching close to their win condition, you can wreck their plans by putting their key card back into their deck. Are you facing down Alexstrasza? Put it back in your opponent's deck and buy yourself a few more turns.

The problem with this one is that there's nothing preventing your opponent from top-decking that very same card on the next turn, it's ineffective when your opponent is out of cards, and it doesn't really work for a deck that's built to draw cards, like Miracle decks. I'd expect Demon Hunter players to experiment with this one, but I wouldn't call it an "A" tier card or anything.

(3) Magehunter (2/3)
Type: Minion
Class: Demon Hunter
Rarity: Rare
Rush: Whenever this attacks a minion, Silence it.

Analysis: Oh, no! This has a chance to be one of the Demon Hunter's most annoying minions and one that should find its way into a vast majority of DH decks. Basically, if the Magehunter targets any minion, that minion is Silenced. That's bad news for Edwin VanCleef or any Deathrattle minion. As one might imagine, this minion is much more effective if it sticks around for more than one turn.

The stats aren't the greatest, but the Silence effect is such a valuable element that it makes up for that in spades.

(4) Lorekeeper Polkelt (4/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Reorder your deck from the highest Cost card to the lowest Cost card.

Analysis: This one required some intense thinking. Why would somebody want to reorder their deck in this manner unless the idea is to hit the endgame quicker? Is there any class that would benefit from this?

There aren't a lot of classes that would, but there is one that stands to be the big winner here and that's Galakrond Rogue. That's because a fully-upgraded Galakrond will take four of the Rogue player's most expansive cards and discount them to 1-Cost cards. That includes Alexstrasza, which could be a big key to ending the game in one swing. It's hard to think of specific Lorekeeper combos, but look for more brilliant Rogue minds to come up with something in time for the expansion.

Druids may get some play out of this too, because playing the Lorekeeper after dropping Ysera, Unleashed will put all of the Dragon Portals at the top of their deck. Nice!

(1) Sphere of Sapience (0/4)
Type: Weapon
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
At the start of your turn, look at your top card. You can put it on the bottom and lose 1 Durability.

Analysis: It's not everyday that you see a Neutral weapon, but here's one that everybody can pack in and use as an opening play. This essentially gives players a reprieve against lousy draws in the early game. The catch is, if it's something players are going to specifically want in about six or seven turns, they'll be out of luck, because it's going straight to the bottom of the deck. What's the easy way to get around this? Well, we did just discuss Lorekeeper Polkelt, so that's one way to get any useful cards out of the bottom of the deck.

This is going to have a place in quite a few decks. Demon Hunter comes to mind immediately, because it gives them a second shot at an Outcast card. Meanwhile, aggro decks can get a second crack at picking something out on curve. This works in quite a few aggro decks, provided that they're running weapons themselves in the early game.

(5) Vectus (4/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Summon two 1/1 Whelps. Each gains a Deathrattle from your minions that died this game.

Analysis: This will fit beautifully with Deathrattle builds, especially the ones with effective early game minions. Think something like Hunter with Shimmerfly, Mage with Violet Spellwing, or those anti-Highlander decks with Bad Luck Albatross.

But the big money here is in copying your Prime effects. I'm talking about Reliquary of Souls, Astromancer Solarian, and Murgur Murgurgle. Getting second copies of those Primes via your 1/1 Whelps will prove to be a wise investment in the late game and could lead to a big swing at the end. Vectus is a pretty good Legendary and one that gets even better if more valuable Deathrattle effects come along later in the year.

(5) Ras Frostwhisper (3/6)
Type: Minion
Class: Shaman/Mage
Rarity: Legendary
At the end of your turn, deal 1 damage to all enemies (improved by Spell Damage).

Analysis: This is a dangerous Legendary to leave standing, because this is not a one-time effect. No, it's going to keep pounding away at your minions and your face. And on top of that, it gets boosted with Spell Damage minions. So if you have either Mage or Shaman Prime lying around, that'll boost Ras' output. Mage has better support minions for this guy with powerful Spell Damage boosters like Azure Explorer and Kirin Tor Tricaster. However, Shaman may have the tools to make the most of this Legendary, utilizing cost-reduction cards like Far Sight and Vashj Prime.

This feels like a big winner for both of these classes, but for Shaman especially. Malygos Shaman is going to be an absolute terror in this expansion.

(4) Groundskeeper (4/5)
Type: Minion
Class: Druid/Shaman
Rarity: Rare
Taunt. Battlecry: If you're holding a spell that costs (5) or more, restore 5 Health.

Analysis: This is a very strong midrange card for both Shaman and Druid, offering Chillwind Yeti stats and Taunt. This is a strong vanilla minion on its own, so consider the Health buff a bonus if you get it. This will find its way into more than a few decks, as well as a lot of Arena decks.

(8) Turalyon, the Tenured (3/12)
Type: Minion
Class: Paladin
Rarity: Legendary
Rush: Whenever this attacks a minion, set the defender's Attack and Health to 3.

Analysis: Is there anything more terrifying than an educator with tenure? They're absolutely fearless!

This is a fascinating Legendary, because it takes the Batterhead design and rather than have the player make the most of it through supplemental spells, it simply turns targets into 3/3 minions.

For Paladin players, this is a great control option, one that can turn larger targets into something much more manageable. It can also help finish games by getting through any big Taunt minion quickly. This might find a place in Libram Paladin builds with Libram of Wisdom buffing it into something much bigger. It'll also fit nicely into Pure Paladin decks, where you might even pull a few more of these off random effects. A solid upper-tier Legendary for the Paladin.

(3) Gift of Luminance
Type: Spell
Class: Paladin/Priest
Rarity: Rare
Give a minion Divinei Shield, then summon a 1/1 copy of it.

Analysis: This is a really cool blend of the Paladin Divine Shield mechanic and the Priest "summon a 1/1 copy" mechanic. Since both classes have strong Deathrattles, this spell is going to do some serious work. Priest will probably wind up seeing it more, just because of cards like Sethekk Veilweaver and Renew.

However, the deck where this might come up more than once is the Murloc Paladin. Beyond using this on Murgur Murgurgle, there are some strong combos involving using this on a Murloc Warleader and then immediately upping the copy's health with Coldlight Seer. Look for Murloc Paladins to make good use of this spell.

(1) Adorable Infestation
Type: Spell
Class: Hunter/Druid
Rarity: Common
Give a minion +1/+1. Summon a 1/1 Cub. Add a Cub to your hand.

Analysis: For a spell that looks so innocent, this is going to make a lot of noise in Hunter decks, especially. The first thing that stands out about this is that it can give any minion +1/+1, not just Beasts, like one would assume with a spell like this. The next thing that stands out is its cheap cost. That means this plays exceptionally on curve, while giving you another Cub to help stall until the next on-curve play shows up in your hand.

I could see a lot of Turn 1 Dwarven Sharpshooter, plus Coin, plus Adorable Infestation for a bonkers opening gambit. Hunter players are going to do some filthy work with this spell and nobody will see it coming, because it just looks so cute.

(6) Runic Carvings
Type: Spell
Class: Druid/Shaman
Rarity: Epic
Choose One - Summon four 2/2 Treant Totems; or Overload: (2) to summon them with Rush.

Analysis: Here's a spell that will work just as well for both aggro Druids and aggro Shamans alike. This will add to the myriad of ways that Druids can summon multiple tokens to the board. The idea is to eventually wear out the opponent with spells like this, like Glowfly Swarm, and like The Forest's Aid and exhaust their removal spells before finishing with Savage Roar.

Meanwhile, the Shaman can use this to keep filling their side of the board and set up for the finishing Bloodlust play, with the absolute worst case scenario being that they can use their Rush quality for quick removal.

(1) Lab Partner (1/3)
Type: Common
Class: Mage
Rarity: Common
Spell Damage +1

Analysis: Here's a new opening play for the Mage player, carrying along strong 1/3 stats. Its Spell Damage +1 quality comes in really handy on Turn 2, where the Mage's Frostbolt can do just a little more damage.

Even if this shows up in the late game, this is nice spell boost for late game spells like Flamestrike and Blizzard. The Lab Partner will do work regardless of when it shows up to the point that it'll be worth packing into almost every Mage deck.

(5) Jandice Barow (2/1)
Type: Minion
Class: Mage/Rogue
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Summon two random 5-Cost minions. Secretly pick one that dies when it takes damage.

Analysis: This is an exceptionally high-value play that wants you to ignore Jandice's terrible 2/1 stats. That's because she'll also summon two more 5-Cost minions with the catch being that one of them dies at the slightest touch.

However, there are ways to take advantage of this. If you low roll and get a low-health 5-Cost minion, set that as the one to die. Or you can pick any of those 5-Cost minions to die and immediately nullify the effect by simply evolving it with Witchy Lackey. Or if you're running Rogue, you can put it back in your hand with Shadowstep. For the Rogue player, there are enough ways around Jandice's negative effect that it's worth running in a lot of decks.

But what about the Mage? Well, lucky for the Mage player, there's a card called Conjurer's Calling that can get around the negative whammy for Jandice. And if both of the 5-Cost minions are worth keeping around, maybe just use it on Jandice herself.

(7) Keymaster Alabaster (6/8)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Legendary
Whenever your opponent draws a card, add a copy to your hand that costs (1).

Analysis: Here's a Legendary that potentially takes your opponent's win condition and takes it from right under their noses. Imagine picking off a 1-Cost Alexstrasza or a 1-Cost Malygos. With Keymaster Alabaster, it's possible! Simply play Coldlight Orac... oh, wait. Okay, so that card's not around anymore. So then how do you force your opponent to draw?

Fortunately, there's a new card that might help if you're running Demon Hunter. Find a place for Keymaster Alabaster and then play the new Glide spell. If you trigger the Outcast effect, watch as your opponent draws four cards and gives you 1-Cost copies of all of them.

Keymaster Alabaster is a card worth watching, because if we get more cards in the next few expansions that makes your opponent draw, it'll be worth packing in.

We'll have plenty more card analyses for Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy. Tomorrow, we're going to focus on the cards that are being revealed by Blizzard on their live Wednesday card reveal stream. Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy is set to release in August.

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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