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Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 5)

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

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There's only a few more days before the bell rings for the next Hearthstone expansion. Class is about to begin for the latest addition to Blizzard's long-running collectible card game, which takes players to Scholomance Academy. Scholomance Academy adds 135 new cards to Hearthstone, many of which introduce some brand new mechanics, like Dual-Class cards and Spellburst cards.

It's time to wrap up our card reveals for Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy, breaking down the last of this set's cards one-by-one leading up to the expansion's release this coming Thursday. 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)
Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 3)
All 59 cards revealed during the final Scholomance Academy livestream
Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy card breakdowns (Part 4)

Let's take this home.

(1) Secret Passage
Type: Spell
Class: Rogue
Rarity: Epic
Replace your hand with 5 cards from your deck. Swap back next turn.

Analysis: An absolutely invaluable spell for the Rogue player. Secret Passage is so versatile and so helpful in the late game. Secret Rogues are going to get a lot of use out of this, because it'll help them rummage for Secrets. It helps aggro decks replenish their hand. It plays directly into Combo cards. And the best part is, you won't draw those same cards again. The card will put your original hand to the side.

There's a multitude of uses for Secret Passage and it could wind up being not only the Rogue's best card, but its cheap cost makes it a potential nerf candidate.


(2) Wandmaker (2/2)
Type: Minion
Class: Neutral
Rarity: Common
Battlecry: Add a 1-Cost spell from your class to your hand.

Analysis: This ultimately comes down to how badly you want something to play on Turn 2. The effect is a great one, especially if cheap spells go towards your win condition. Wandmaker is very friendly to players looking to play something early.

If you're playing more of a tempo deck and already have something you can play in the early turns, then the superior higher-value play will be Cobalt Spellkin instead.


(10) Survival of the Fittest
Type: Spell
Class: Druid
Rarity: Epic
Give +4/+4 to all minions in your hand, deck, and battlefield.

Analysis: Here's a far superior Embiggen effect, one that doesn't come with the downside of increasing minion cost. The catch is, this is a very expensive proposition. Who has 10 mana to spend, right?

Fortunately, there are some workarounds to this. There are two of them, in fact. One is the new Lightning Bloom spell. The other is Kael'thas Sunstrider, who can use a pair of spells to reduce the Survival of the Fittest cost to zero.

The composition of the big body Druid lineup will likely change over the first few weeks, but Survival of the Fittest going alongside Kael'thas should be a consistent strategy and one that will work more often than not.


(3) Speaker Gidra (1/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Druid/Shaman
Rarity: Legendary
Rush, Windfury, Spellburst: Gain Attack and Health equal to the spell's Cost.

Analysis: This is a Legendary that might take some work to get the hang of. If you're playing Druid, you'll want to buff this with Survival of the Fittest, but you'll also want to be sure not to accidentally waste the Spellburst effect with something like Lightning Bloom.

Shaman players don't have too many spells that boost up minions and you need to be careful not to use spells that also affect your own side of the board. The play might actually be Vivid Spores, which can bring it back with a fresh Spellburst effect. Buff it up on the second go with a trusty Bloodlust play and it should help keep the opponent's board clear.


(1) Brain Freeze
Type: Spell
Class: Mage/Rogue
Rarity: Rare
Freeze a minion. Combo: Also deal 3 damage to it.

Analysis: This is a very strong card for both the Mage and the Rogue. For the Mage player, it's a more effective Ray of Frost. For the Rogue player, it's a budget Eviscerate that also freezes the target. Mage players are going to love getting this off of random effects or as part of their OTK Mozaki decks. Rogue players can use this for their Questing Adventurer and Edwin VanCleef plays. A strong card for both classes.


(4) High Abbess Alura (3/6)
Type: Minion
Class: Paladin/Priest
Rarity: Legendary
Spellburst: Cast a spell from your deck (targets this if possible).

Analysis: This is going to be half-decent card for the Priest player, albeit an unreliable one. You're not going to want to pull a healing spell on a full 3/6 minion. Or worse, you don't want to pull a removal spell.

The Paladin player, on the other hand, is going to make a lot of use out of this. Buffing this up with Blessing of Kings, Pharaoh's Blessing, or Blessing of Authority. You can make some big bodies with the Paladin, but they won't come much bigger than this one.


(6) Forest Warden Omu (5/4)
Type: Minion
Class: Druid
Rarity: Legendary
Spellburst: Refresh your Mana Crystals.

Analysis: Here's a great Standard replacement for Twig of the World Tree. This could set up a Survival of the Fittest play, but the more likely play is going to involve seeing this as a potential finisher with Malygos.

If you're playing Wild, this turns the usual Kun the Forgotten King combo on its head. Oh, it'll still kill in one turn. It just might look slightly different going forward.


(2) Lord Barov (3/2)
Type: Minion
Class: Warrior/Paladin
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Set the Health of all other minions to 1. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions.

Analysis: Here's a combination of Equality and Whirlwind, all in a 3-Cost package. That's going to be immensely useful to the Paladin player who's looking for a cheaper Equality/Consecration combo and very valuable to the Control Warrior or the Bomb Warrior.

Lord Barov will be a strong control tool for both of these classes going forward and this will definitely be used for the rest of its time in Standard.


(9) Ancient Void Hound (10/10)
Type: Minion
Class: Demon Hunter
Rarity: Epic
At the end of your turn, steal 1 Attack and Health from all enemy minions.

Analysis: So far, Big Demon Hunter hasn't taken off quite like Blizzard thought it would. That might change with the addition of this beefy boy. It's not enough that the Ancient Void Hound is a 10/10 body, but it siphons one Attack and Health from all enemy minions on the turn it's deployed, which means it can go up to 17/17 and grow even bigger from there.

As is the case with a lot of things Demon Hunter, this gets better if you find a cheaper way to play it. Use Skull of Gul'dan, Raging Felscreamer, or the big Pit Commander and you could maximize this thing's value in terrifying ways.


(7) Guardian Animals
Type: Spell
Class: Hunter/Druid
Rarity: Epic
Summon two Beasts that cost (5) or less from your deck. Give them Rush.

Analysis: This is one of those spells that's as good as the field of Beasts available. Lake Thresher makes this a high-value spell for both of these classes. The Druid player has so many ramp-up tools that this spell can be deployed fairly early in the game. Its high cost shouldn't be much of a deterrent.

The Hunter player benefits because of a much wider field of Beasts to play with. The Tundra Rhino will be the big high roll pull, which can set up a potential lethal play on the next turn.


(1) Trueaim Crescent (1/4)
Type: Weapon
Class: Demon Hunter/Hunter
Rarity: Epic
After your Hero attacks a minion, your minions attack it too.

Analysis: On the surface, this doesn't look too great. Let's say there's a giant target on the board. If you slam into it with your own face, that's probably going to hurt, right?

But wait! What if you play this with Ace Hunter Kreen? Then everything can bash that giant target and stay standing. That makes this weapon a lot more usable. Just make sure to keep Kreen standing, because the Crescent's usefulness is largely dependent on him staying in one piece.


(1) Primordial Studies
Type: Spell
Class: Shaman/Mage
Rarity: Common
Discover a Spell Damage minion. Your next one costs (1) less.

Analysis: There are no two classes better suited for this spell than the Shaman and the Mage. The Shaman player is going to enjoy playing around with the pool of Spell Damage minions. On top of that, you won't mind pulling this off of Instructor Fireheart.

The Mage player will not only make good use of Spell Damage minions, but the pool for that class is arguably better. An Azure Explorer or Astromancer Solarian from this effect will be pretty sweet. Try to make this as high a value play as possible.


That's the full set! We'll have more on this expansion later this week. Shacknews recently attended a Theorycrafting session and we'll be back later in the week with a few Day 1 decks to try out. Hearthstone: Scholomance Academy is set to release on Thursday, August 6.

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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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