Blizzard is preparing to roll out its next Hearthstone adventure, The League of Explorers, this Thursday. It introduces a new Discover mechanic that offers you a choice of three random cards that meet specified criteria, and the selected card goes straight into your hand. The theme of the deck also introduces some intriguing new play styles. Blizzard wasted no time announcing all of the cards, so Shacknews is wasting no time reviewing them all.
Below you can find our thoughts on all 45 of the new cards, categorized by class. Let us know which ones you're looking forward to and the deck types you're already cooking up!
(0 mana, 1/1)
What an adorable little useless card. 0 mana cards are rare and generally pointless in Hearthstone. This one’s tribal synergy with Murloc may give it some gimmick play, but it seems more like a slight nerf to Murloc Knight.
Sir Finley Mrrgglton
(1 mana, 1/3, Battlecry: Discover a new Basic Hero power)
Like many neutral Legendaries, Sir Finley comes with a neat gimmick that’s unlikely to see serious competitive play. While one could certainly envision killer combinations of class cards combined with Hero Powers that aren’t meant for them, you’ll only have a 3/8 chance of selecting the one you need to make such a combo work. A deck that works less than half the time isn’t a very good deck, so Finley is bound to be used for fun crazy plays but not high on the ladder.
(2 mana, 3/2, Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to random enemy)
A neutral 3/2 beast isn’t the most exciting card of the new set, but its stats make it contest lots of early-game plays. If your opponent can kill it with a surviving minion, the extra ping damage might finish it off. Or, your opponent might have to make sub-optimal plays to remove it, or even lose two low-level minions at once.
(2 mana, 1/1, Battlecry: Discover a 3-cost card)
How badly do you want to stay on-curve? The Jeweled Scarab has stats even worse than Loot Hoarder, and that’s saying something. It adds a 3-cost card to your hand, assuring that you’ll have something to play the next turn, but it does so at the cost of essentially passing on turn two. Sacrificing that early game tempo will likely be too much for all but the most extreme Control-based decks.
(3 mana, 2/4, Your Battlecries trigger twice)
In an adventure full of Battlecry minions, Brann seems like an obvious inclusion. His health stat makes him sticky enough to hang around for at least one Battlecry, which could make for some devastating plays if your opponent doesn’t get rid of him immediately. And unlike Baron Rivendare, you’ll be in more control of triggering the double-effect, so it’s likely to see more play.
(4 mana, 7/4, Battlecry: Shuffle an ‘Ancient Curse’ into your deck that deals 7 damage to you when drawn)
Finally, a card that makes Salty Dog look good. The pirate has identical stats for only one more mana, and doesn’t threaten to hit you for roughly a quarter of your health at some random time. It may work in very aggressive decks that intend to end the match quickly, but otherwise the drawback is just too big for the low health.
(4 mana, 7/7, Can’t attack unless it’s the only minion on the battlefield)
This minion isn’t very useful, but it’s a cool design. It almost has Giant stats, with a very cheap cost to boot. Instead of encouraging instant power, though, this is a minion that discourages your opponent from clearing the board with minion trades. If your opponent clears out all your active minions with even trades, the Eerie Statue would remain and become activated. It’s easy enough to play around for low-cost zoo and aggro decks, but more control-type decks may have to make sub-optimal plays around it.
(4 mana, 3/5, Battlecry: Shuffle the ‘Map of the Golden Monkey’ into your deck)
Map of the Golden Monkey
(2 mana, Shuffle the Golden Monkey into your deck)
(4 mana, 6/6, Taunt. Battlecry: Replace your hand and deck with Legendary minions)
This title character is the quintessential example of this Adventure’s slow deck development mechanic. It has not one but two steps to achieve the effect, making for an extremely slow burn for its powerful effect to take hold. On the whole you’ll be spending 10 mana for two mid-tier minions, along with the effect of gaining lots of random Legendaries to play. It’s worth keeping in mind that not all Legendaries are desirable, too, so you very well may get some clunkers. The effect is probably too unpredictable for any serious play, but just-for-kicks control decks can toy around with having four Kel’Thuzads in their hand.
(4 mana, 3/4, Battlecry: If you control another Mech, Discover a Mech)
One of the most specific Discover cards of the new set, Gorillabot isn’t costed very efficiently. What it lacks in stats, though, it makes up for with hyper-specific card draw. Mechs are a small enough tribal group that a selection among three of them will almost always net you something useful, and you’d be putting another body on the board at the same time. Its stats aren’t on-curve, and its effect makes it slow, but this could easily fit in a Mech Mage deck.
(4 mana, 3/3, Discover a Beast)
A victim of the crowded four-spot, Tomb Spider isn’t very useful. Its poor stats make it easy to remove, and a draw from the Beast tribal won’t usually be enough to justify the lost tempo.
(5 mana, 4/4, Deathrattle: Give a random friendly minion +3/+3)
This minion carries a powerful effect that’s mitigated only slightly by its random status. The five-spot is underused in many classes, and clever players will be able to reasonably target their minion of choice by trading the others first, so this Sentinel is going to see lots of play.
Djinni of Zephyrs
(5 mana, 4/6, Whenever you cast a spell on another friendly minion, cast a copy of it on this one)
A minion built around buff heavy classes like Paladin, the Djinni could make a board get out of hand quickly. Any time you use Blessing of Kings, you’d be getting 8/8 of value. Use a healing spell? Your Djinni gets healed too. The stats are decent enough to keep it around, and the effect is strong enough that it’s certainly going to at least be experimented with.
Naga Sea Witch
(5 mana, 5/5, Your cards cost (5))
Naga Sea Witch seems like a less powerful version of the Druid Legendary Aviana, given its less powerful effect. However, its more reasonable cost-stat ratio make it much more viable for competitive play. If you can save your Sea Witch for turn 10, you can put a 5/5 on the board along with anything else you want. It’s a one-two punch of power that takes place on the board immediately.
(5 mana, Whenever you cast a spell, summon a random minion of the same Cost)
This looks awfully familiar. Blizzard took one of the best Tavern Brawls and made it into a card! The Great Summoner Competition is great fun, and makes for pretty amazing spell vs spell matches. Paying five mana for an otherwise useless minion first, however, probably won’t be quite as nice. It’s a really neat card design that can lead to interesting plays, but the Brawl works because both sides are on an evenly random playing field. This seems destined to join “just for fun” cards with crazy effects like Nozdormu.
(6 mana, 4/6, Battlecry: If your deck contains no more than 1 of any card, fully heal your hero)
Reno may have the single biggest chance to shake up the metagame, based on a powerful effect that encourages users to play to the long game. If used strategically, you can dodge that last bit of fatal damage and wear down your hapless opponent. It also requires a level of variety, which would mean we’d see very different deck builds with less focus on doubles to assure your draw order. Though, it is worth noting that the Battlecry refers to “your deck.” Time will tell, but in Hearthstone “your deck” tends to refer to your draw pile, so if you happen to have doubles that you’ve already played or in your hand, the effect should still trigger.
(6 mana, 2/6, Deathrattle: Summon three 2/2 Runts)
Haunted Creeper is played in a wide variety of deck types because of its sticky nature, and Savannah Highmane is one of the strongest Hunter cards. But there’s reason to suspect Wobbling Runts won’t imitate those successes. The reason the Creeper is so common is that sticky minions are more vital in the early game, before board control is well-established. Meanwhile Highmane is a dangerous threat on its own that has to be addressed, and the leftover 2/2s make it even harder to deal with. A 2/6 is too weak to be a late-game threat, and its sticky nature is easier to overcome at that phase.
(8 mana, 8/8, Battlecry: If you control a Beast, gain Taunt)
Why should Druid get all the heavy Taunt fun? The Fossilized Devilsaur is essentially a neutral Ironbark Protector, though its situational Beast condition means it’s likely to only be seen in Hunter or Druid decks. Hunters don’t tend to go into the late game, and Druids already have Ironbark. This could, however, give another tool to Control Hunters in case they run out of steam.
(9 mana, 7/8, Battlecry: Discover a powerful Artifact)
(Lantern of Power - Give a minion +10/+10)
(Mirror of Doom - Fill your board with 3/3 Mummy Zombies)
(Timepiece of Horror - Deal 10 damage randomly split among all enemies)
Rafaam is one of many powerful cards in this set that is more about investment than instant opportunity. In this case, the Discover effect will display the same choice every time, since only three Artifacts exist. That allows you to make the choice based on what you need at the time: a powerful finisher, board presence, or removal. All of the effects are powerful, and by the time you use him you might just need a big board swing. That said, he requires a huge investment to achieve the full effect—19 mana in all—so he may simply be too slow to impact the game in any serious way.
(1 mana, Choose one - Discover a minion; or Discover a spell)
This card is very vanilla and not terribly exciting, but it stands a good chance of becoming a staple in Druid decks by nature of its simplicity. At only 1-mana, it fills a spot that tends to go unused for many Druids. The addition of any random minion or spell directly into your hand essentially makes it a selective card draw. Expect to see plenty of this in play.
(3 mana, 3/2, Deathrattle: Summon a random 1-Cost minion)
Piloted Shredder sees so much play it’s hard to imagine this mini-Shredder wouldn’t as well. Aside from that obvious advantage, it also fills a much-needed slot for Druids. The class has long lacked a reliable 3-drop minion of its own, instead using the turn to start developing its Shade of Naxxramus. Adding a sticky minion to the line-up makes them especially versatile in both the aggressive and control playstyles, so Mounted Raptor is a must-have.
(4 mana, 4/4, Both players have Spell Damage +2)
Druid cards tend to come with powerful effects that are offset by them impacting both players. Jungle Moonkin relies on making a deck with lots of spell damage, but for it to be worthwhile you’ll need to face opponents who aren’t also using spell damage. Plus, it has stiff competition for the 4-spot, since Swipe, Keeper of the Grove, and even the recent Savage Combatant see a lot of play. It’s a solid card in the right meta, but not much more.
(2 mana, Secret: When an opposing Hero Power is used, deal 5 damage to a random enemy)
This is quite an effect to discourage Hero Power use, and especially effective against an empty board or one filled with Inspire effects. That said, the Hunter is already chock full of Secrets and some of them go unused. This is a counter to some very specific board states, so it’s unlikely to be used much unless the meta changes significantly.
(2 mana, Give a minion: +1/+1 and add “Deathrattle: Add an Explorer’s Hat to your hand”)
In theory, at least, this Hunter card adds infinite value to your deck. Unless a minion is hit with silence, you can keep getting a small stat boost over and over, forever. Two mana is a high cost for the stats, but the recycling nature (and the fact that Hunters often have spare mana in the late game) more than make up for it.
(3 mana, 2/4, Battlecry: Put a 1-Cost minion from each deck into the Battlefield)
Similar to the Druid’s Raptor, the Desert Camel packs extra value by adding a second minion. Unlike the Raptor, though, it draws from your own deck. That means you need to pack enough of them to still have one waiting by turn three, and bringing out one from your opponent’s deck could mean they match its power right away. It fills an underutilized minion position that Hunters usually fill with spells or weapons, but it’s hard to see this overtaking the utility of Animal Companion or Eaglehorn Bow.
(3 mana, Deal 3 damage. Shuffle a ‘Roaring Torch’ into you deck that deals 6 damage)
Now this is an interesting spell. At 3 mana for 3 damage, you’re basically getting a worse version of the Warlock's Darkbomb. However, the overpriced spell is an investment in the future to give you an extremely cost-efficient spell later. Mages already have plenty of removal, so time will tell if this one finds its way into most decks, but it encourages a new slow-tempo Control mage style that could just pay off.
(4 mana, 4/4, Your hero can only take 1 damage at a time.)
This effect is so good the minion might as well read “Taunt.” Many Mage deck types rely on stalling for late-game plays, like Archmage Antonidas’ cycling fireballs or the Freeze Mage’s stacking spell damage or Molten Giant drops. Animated Armor gives one more reliable tool to stall, rendering face damage almost pointless until it’s dealt with. It’s going to die almost as soon as it’s put on the board, but your opponent will be forced to deal with it, and that’s not nothing.
(5 mana, 6/3, Battlecry: Discover a spell)
This is one card that pretty poor to start with, and rendered even worse when compared to others in the set. The Druid’s Raven Idol offers the same effect, plus a choice of another effect, for one mana. That raises the question: is a 6/3 minion worth 4 mana? The answer is no, because by turn four almost any minion can take it down with a single hit, much less by turn five. Mages just got the short end of this deal.
(1 mana, Secret: When your opponent has at least 3 minions and plays another, destroy it)
Those sick of the current Secrets Paladin meta are likely groaning at the class getting yet another Secret, but fortunately this isn’t a particularly good one. It’s anti-zoo, effectively punishing opponents who flood the board. However, zoo relies heavily on cheap, disposable minions, so getting rid of one isn’t going to be an enormous setback.
Keeper of Uldaman
(4 mana, 3/4, Battlecry: Set a minon’s Attack and Health to 3)
Aldor Peacekeeper gets a big sister! Keeper of Uldaman basically allows it to challenge any one minion on the board and (barely) survive. Or alternatively, since it doesn’t specify an enemy minion, it can be used in a pinch to beef up weaker minions like Silver Hand Recruits or Shielded Minibots. The four-spot is crowded in general, and for Paladin especially, but Keeper might see some tech utility to answer a meta full of heavy hitters.
Anyfin Can Happen
(10 mana, Summon 7 Murlocs that died this game)
Secrets Paladin. Control Paladin. Murloc Paladin? Murloc heavy decks tend to be too brittle for serious long-term play, so by the time you reach turn 10 to play this, you’re probably losing well past the point of no return. On the other hand, if you use Murlocs selectively instead of basing your entire deck around them, it could pay off. For example, if you put out a Murloc Knight at some point during the match, this heavy spell would have a very high chance of summoning at least one more—if not a full board of seven. More likely to be found in gimmick decks, it’s still a fun (weird) card.
(2 mana, 1/2, Battlecry: Discover a Deathrattle card)
It’s difficult to see a proper place for the Museum Curator. A powerful effect can make up for awful stats, and plucking a Deathrattle card might be one great exercise of it. But why Priest? This card would have more utility in a Shaman or Hunter deck that can use spells like Reincarnate or Feign Death to get double the effect on command. Priest has to rely on Resurrect, which due to the random effect would be unreliable.
(5 mana, Deal 3 damage to all minions. Shuffle this card into your opponent’s deck.)
What a strange card for Priest. At five mana, it costs the same as Holy Nova. It does slightly more damage, but with huge drawbacks: it damages your own minions as well instead of healing them, and gives a copy to your opponent to use whenever they might need a board clear. It could be useful against Patron Warrior, since it wipes Grim Patrons and gives an undesirable card to your opponent who wouldn’t want to wipe their own patrons, but that’s such a super-specific use case that this card is bizarre.
(6 mana, Choose an enemy minion. Shuffle it into your deck.)
The Priest has lots of hard removal tools, and this adds one more to its arsenal. It’s actually a strictly better version of the Rogue’s Assassinate, because not only does it remove your opponent’s minion from play, it also avoids the Deathrattle and gets you a copy. All that benefit for one extra mana makes it one of the best cards of the set.
(1 mana, 2/1, Destroy any minion damaged by this minion)
Pit Snake is in a weird spot for Rogues. While the class has typically lacked strong a 1-mana card, the addition of Buccaneer in The Grand Tournament gave the class a decent 1-drop with strong hero power synergy. At 2/1, the poison effect can only strike once, and the base attack stat would be enough to kill most early minions anyway. It could be useful for taking out late-game minions, but by that point your opponent will probably have a way to dodge the effect. Pit Snake is a dud.
(3 mana, 3/4, Battlecry: Choose a friendly minion. Gain a copy of its Deathrattle effect)
Rogue gets an extremely strong three-drop with a lot of flexibility. You could use it to imitate spiders, or add a second Sylvanis Windrunner to the board. The stats are even decent for the cost, so you’re not sacrificing much for the powerful effect.
(4 mana, 5/4, Deathrattle: Add a Coin to your hand)
The Coin is the Rogue’s best friend, and recently Blizzard has started designing around that. Tomb Pillager only adds one Coin, though, and only as a Deathrattle. Many of the Rogue’s combo cards are low cost, so you wouldn’t really need a coin by turn five or six when you gain it from Tomb Pillager. Plus, it has to contend with an overcrowded four-spot, and even with higher-than-average attack it can’t match the value of Piloted Shredder.
(1 mana, 1/3, Whenever you Overload, gain +1 Attack per locked Mana Crystal)
This may be just what Shaman needs. The Overload mechanic has been tricky to design around, especially since so many of the Overload cards are low cost spells. If you use Feral Spirit on curve, for instance, you’re left with only two mana on turn four. That’s pretty awful, but if you have a Trogg who grew stronger from it, the play becomes significantly better. Plus, the three health makes it hard to remove on turn one or two. Overload decks could make a comeback with the help of this little guy.
(4 mana, 2/6, After you play a Battlecry minion, deal 2 damage to a random enemy)
The League of Explorers is chock full of Battlecry minions, but Shaman synergy is especially apt. Many Shaman staples like Fire Elemental and Fireguard Destroyer, and two of its three Legendary cards, have Battlecry effects. Getting an extra two damage out of every one would be a boon, but with fairly weak stats it’s unlikely that this will replace Fireguard Destroyer in the four-spot. If a Shaman can get it out early with a coin, however, it would be a hearty body that keeps giving.
Everyfin is Awesome
(7 mana, Give your minions +2/+2. Costs (1) less for each Murloc you control)
A natural complement to the underused Neptulon, this is a clear staple for Shaman Murloc decks. However, Neptulon isn’t used much, because Murloc decks just aren’t that common or powerful. Giving them a late-game boost might be enough to make it viable, but it’s doubtful. Murlocs are naturally weak and don’t stick around too long, so chances are you wouldn’t get much of a discount or effect for this spell.
(1 mana, 1/1, Battlecry: If you have 6 other minions, gain +4/+4)
With awful base stats and a difficult effect, Reliquary Seeker would be a terrible card in almost any deck. Fortunately Warlock excels at putting cheap minions on the board. A combo with Imp-losion would make a simple 5-mana combo that puts a pretty beefy minion on the board along with a bunch of Imps. The question, though, is where this fits into the well-established “Zoolock” deck. It would have to replace an existing card for the sake of a conditional minion, and it may not be a comfortable fit.
Curse of Rafaam
(2 mana, Give your opponent a ‘Cursed!’ card. While they hold it, they take 2 damage on their turn)
This curse is a really interesting card design, taking a boss element from a previous Adventure and giving it to players. Even if your opponent gets rid of their curse as soon as they can, it did two damage and forced them to spend two mana to boot. If you hit them with it early enough, you’ll be forcing them to make a sub-optimal play or eat the damage until they can afford it.
(2 mana, 2/2, Discover 1-Cost card)
Its vanilla stats are utterly unexciting, but the Dark Peddler looks to play well with the common Zoo Warlock decks. Zoo relies on cheap minions and uses the Hero Power tap to refresh its deck, so the Peddler’s ability to add a card essentially saves you a tap that you can use towards developing the board or just holding onto your health. This fits neatly into an existing deck type so we’re sure to see it played.
(1 mana, 2/3 Weapon)
Warriors are already chock full of weapons, but the 1-spot has been fairly unoccupied. This gives Warrior a strong early game play that synergizes well with both the armor-heavy Control Warrior and the Taunt Warrior that Blizzard keeps trying to create. After all, the drawback effect can be mitigated to only attack damage if you have walls up to prevent direct damage to your hero.
(3 mana, 3/4, Taunt)
Blizzard’s obsession with making Taunt Warrior a viable deck type continues. This card is fine. It’s basic and straight-forward and would be an obvious inclusion in a deck that doesn’t exist yet. If Taunt Warrior takes hold, though, Fierce Monkey will obviously be a part of it. Also it’s pretty hilarious.
(7 mana, 7/7, At the end of your turn, summon a 1/1 Scarab with Taunt)
Are we noticing a trend? All of the Warrior's cards synergize well with taunts, and to that end it’s introducing a heartier version of the neutral Legendary Hogger. While Hogger is easy enough to remove at only 4 health, Obsidian Destroyer will probably be a bit tougher to overcome, even though its taunt minions are half as powerful. That said, this doesn’t have much utility outside of a Taunt-focused deck, so it will really rely on meta shifts and clever deck-builders to make it work.
Steve Watts posted a new article, Hearthstone 'The League of Explorers' - Every Card Reviewed