Hearthstone 'One Night in Karazhan' Card Reviews (Part 1)

Hearthstone's next Adventure is less than two weeks away, and we're taking a closer look at all of the new cards from the set.

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Hearthstone's next single-player Adventure, One Night in Karazhan, is launching on August 11. Until then, Blizzard is slowly teasing new cards that we'll see from this set. We've seen 14 revealed so far, more than 1/4 of the 45 total new cards, and we're going to be breaking them all down one-by-one starting today.


(1) Babbling Book (1/1)

Battlecry: Add a random Mage spell to your hand.

A 1-mana 1/1 makes for pretty bad stats that your opponent will be able to counter very easily. However, the functionality of the Babbling Book is similar to Cabalists Tome or Ethereal Conjurer: it lets you play a deck with more than 30 cards. Sometimes the random spell will be bad, of course. You won't have any use for Shatter if you have no freezing spells, for example. But it's an easy way to fill your deck with more options, or maybe just more fuel for a big Yogg-Saron turn.


(4) Barnes (3/4)

Battlecry: Summon a 1/1 copy of a random minion from your deck.

Barnes could be a great card given the right deck build. As Ben Brode pointed out during the reveal event, at worst he's a Chillwind Yeti spread across two bodies. If you have a deck with plenty of big minions with ongoing effects or Deathrattles, summoning a 1/1 copy of it can make for a huge swing in your favor. That means Barnes will be best in Deathrattle-heavy N'Zoth decks, or ones built around effect minions like Ragnaros. The randomness means he won't always summon a big play, but when he misses it's not too bad and when he hits it could win you the game.


(6) Book Wyrm (3/6)

If you're holding a Dragon, destroy an enemy minion with 3 Attack or less.

Blizzard gets points for the wordplay, but otherwise, this card is bad. A 6-mana 3/6 makes for poor stats, and the effect is extremely conditional. You need both Book Wyrm and a Dragon in your hand, along with a 3-attack minion to destroy.  By turn six, three-attack minions should no longer be so much of a threat that you need a specialized removal minion. It's like a worse version of Rend Blackhand. Book Wyrm essentially provides a neutral version of the Priest's Shadow Word: Pain spell, but it costs more and only activates under particular circumstances. No thanks.


(1) Enchanted Raven (2/2)

This is a very vanilla card that is bound to become a staple. A 1-mana 2/2 can trade evenly with most one- and even two-mana cards, making it very easy to trade up. Plus, its health stat makes it survivable against Hero Powers, so you'll be relatively assured to stick around a turn to use it. The Beast synergy seems engineered to take advantage of Mark of Y'Shaarj on turn two, which would leave you with a 4/4 Beast and a card draw. That's a big early tempo swing for a class that usually relies more on speeding its way toward the late-game.


(5) Ethereal Peddler (5/6)

Battlecry: Reduce the cost of cards in your hand from other classes by (2).

Undercity Huckster has become a staple in many Rogue decks, but Burgle hasn't really found its legs. It just doesn't provide a good value for the cost. However, the addition of Ethereal Peddler might change all that. Burgle would make for fuel for this card, which provides a deep, targeted discount. It's like a very specific Emperor Thaurissan. If you've Burgled once and used a Huckster by the time you break out your Peddler, you're guaranteed a total cost reduction of 6 mana. Plus, at 5/6 for 5 mana, it's just a good solid body for the cost. This may not be enough to make a whole build-around deck, but it's certainly worth experimenting with.


(7) Firelands Portal

Spell: Deal 5 damage. Summon a random 5-cost Minion.

This is a powerful card with some limited utility, so you may just want to pack one in a deck. Its strength is in its ability to serve dual purposes: removal plus board presence. At five damage, it does just slightly less than the Mage's trusty Fireball, which overkills minions often enough that five damage is more than enough to remove some pretty significant threats. That means you're essentially putting a random 5-mana minion on the board for somewhere between three and four mana, which is a great value. It's also a common card, so prepare to see it a lot in Arena.


(6) Ivory Knight (4/4)

Battlecry: Discover a spell. Restore health to your hero equal to its Cost.

Similar to the Mage's new Firelands Portal, this card is engineered to serve two purposes at once. Unlike the Mage card, though, this one seems difficult to squeeze the value out of. Most of the Paladin's spells cost only 1 or 2 mana, so more than half of the time, you'll only be getting 1 or 2 points of healing for 2 mana. That's a pretty bad value. Sometimes you might get a bigger heal from a 5-mana spell, and the dream is to get 8 points of healing with Lay on Hands for double the healing value. 

Plus, you might sometimes be forced to choose a spell that doesn't give as much healing just to get the card you need, or inversely, pick a spell you don't really need because it packs more healing. That choice means it has versatility, but never fulfills either purpose ideally. 


(5) Kara Kazham

Spell: Summon a 1/1 Candle, a 2/2 Broom, and a 3/3 Teapot.

Following the lead of some notable Mage spells, this is the Warlock's version of using a spell to put bodies on the board. Altogether it amounts to 6/6 in stats for 5 mana, which passes the vanilla test just fine even if the weakness of the 1/1 makes it slightly weaker than the pure statline would suggest. It could synergize nicely with Cho'gall for lots of bodies at a relatively cheap cost, or with Yogg-Saron to keep board advantage until you go for the YOLO finale. On its own, it's a decent board-filler for a class that usually thrives with lots of bodies.


(2) Kindly Grandmother (1/1)

Deathrattle: Summon a 3/2 Big Bad Wolf.

Blizzard seems intent on making Hunter the go-to class for Deathrattle decks, and this is yet another addition. In Wild, it will be a slightly different version of the Haunted Creeper, with better Beast synergy. Haunted Creeper was useless for a Houndmaster buff if your opponent killed it initially, and Kindly Grandmother's "Big Bad Wolf" transformation is still a Beast. However, Hunters already have plenty of two-drops, and the more they flood their deck with cheap Deathrattles, the less chance they'll have for N'Zoth to summon a field full of bigger minions like Highmane and Sylvanas. 


(1) Malchezaar's Imp (1/3)

Whenever you discard a card, draw a card.

Warlocks don't exactly have a problem with card draw, but tying it to their hero power does mean they have to essentially pass on turns when they could be putting power on the board. This little Imp aims to resolve that, with a sticky body for the early game and a nice ongoing effect. If you build a deck around discarding, you can essentially cycle through your deck to get your big combo or trash some worse cards to optimize your hand. Or, combine with Doomguard at six mana to draw two cards and put a charge on the board. It's not exciting, but it has some nice utiltity functionality, and it's another one-drop for a class that almost always defaults to Possessed Villager or Flame Imp.


(3) Moroes (1/1)

Stealth. At the end of your turn, summon a 1/1 Steward.

Moroes seems made for token decks that fill the board with small minions and then buff them up for big damage. He spits out a constant stream of 1/1s, so paired with some token cards from Shaman or Druid, or the Paladin's Hero Power, you could easily get a full board. The Stealth gives him some degree of survivability, too. However, he's still vulnerable to AOE spells or random effects, his Stewards aren't stealth minions, and only taking effect once per turn means it will take a while to really get the full value out of him. If he only gets two turns, you essentially paid 3 mana for a 3/3 across three bodies, which is a pretty vanilla level of value. It's possible that a savvy player could buff up Moroes himself to be more hearty, and pair it with group buff cards, but that essentially makes him a build-around card, and he's just not strong enough to justify such a move.


(5) Prince Malchezaar (5/6)

At the start of the game, shuffle 5 extra Legendary minions into your deck.

This is an early frontrunner for the best Neutral card of the set, at least among the ones revealed so far. As a 5-mana 5/6, its stats are perfectly reasonable on their own. Its unique effect, taking place at the start of the game simply by having it in your deck, means you don't even have to draw it to get the benefit. Essentially, having Prince Malchezaar in your deck means you'll be playing with 35 cards, making him indispensible for long Control-style games that are likely to go to fatigue. 

Functionally, he serves a very similar purposes to Elise Starseeker. By the time you drew the Golden Monkey and cycled through all the cards you wanted to use, you'd likely be down to five or fewer cards anyway. But instead of replacing some cards you might need, Malchezaar simply adds to your pile. Yes, that will sometimes mean you draw a dud of a Legendary instead of a card that plays well with your build, but as long as you have some draw power in your deck, that won't matter. Expect many control Warriors to swap Elise for the Prince, and the Demon synergy means we may see the emergence of a more control-oriented Warlock.


(3) Protect the King

Spell: For each enemy minion, summon a 1/1 Pawn with Taunt.

Continuing the chess theme, the Warrior gets its own version of Unleash the Hounds. But while the Hunter is centered around Charge minions, the Warrior throws up several Taunts. Just like UTH, this is weak to area-of-effect spells, but UTH could be used for removal before your opponent gets a chance to kill them all at once. These Taunt minions are more vulnerable since they're static, but Bolster could give you a relatively cheap way to make them more survivable. At the very least it's a bother for your opponent to get through, and maybe this will finally be the card that makes Taunt Warrior a viable deck type. Maybe.


(7) The Curator (4/6)

Taunt. Battlecry: Draw a Beast, Dragon, and Murloc from your deck.

This is probably the most intriguing new card we've seen so far, simply because its effect is so different than anything we've seen before. Its stats are similar to Twin Emperor Vek'lor, and like Vek'lor, it's flat-out bad without meeting criteria to make its ability useful. In this case, you'll have to build your deck around the draw ability. Building a deck with substantial numbers of all three would be too muddled for good synergy opportunities, so it's probably best to build a deck around one type and have one or two token members of the other two that you know you can count on. Even then it might not be worth it, but it will certainly be interesting to try. 

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