Hearthstone 'Mean Streets of Gadgetzan' Card Reviews (Part 4)

Hearthstone's 'Mean Streets of Gadgetzan' expansion is just around the corner. This week, we review cards from the shadowy Jade Lotus faction.

3

Hearthstone's next expansion, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, is coming in early December. We're reviewing cards every week leading up to the release. Keep in mind this expansion introduces new "Faction" cards, which can be used by any one of three classes. This week was focused mostly on the "Jade Lotus" faction, with some neutral cards peppered in for good measure.

The Jade Lotus faction includes several cards that create "Jade Golems," a minion that starts as a 1/1 but gets bigger by +1/+1 every time you summon it. So the second Jade Golem you summon will be a 2/2, the third will be a 3/3, and so on.

  • Grimy Goons: Hunter, Paladin, Warrior (Symbol: Crossed Clubs)
  • Kabal: Mage, Priest, Warlock (Symbol: Round Potion Bottle)
  • Jade Lotus: Druid, Rogue, Shaman (Symbol: Blossoming Flower)

(6) Aya Blackpaw (5/3)

Battlecry and Deathrattle: Summon a Jade Golem.

Though the Jade Lotus faction legendary has a large stat deficit for her cost, the fact that she summons two Jade Golems makes it a pretty fair trade. Even if she's the first time you play any Jade Golem cards, you'd get a 1/1 and a 2/2 out of the deal. That makes her a combined 8/6 for 6 Mana, spread across three bodies. It's not terrible even at that level, but more likely you'll want to put Aya in a deck with several other cards that summon Jade Golems. If you've already summoned two, for example, she comes with a 3/3 upon entering the battlefield and leaves a 4/4 when she leaves it. The stacking effect may end up being very powerful.


(5) Burgly Bully (4/6)

Whenever your opponent casts a spell, add a Coin to your hand.

This is technically a neutral card, but it might as well belong to Rogues. The Rogue class makes the best use of the Coin, and this minion is a great way to discourage your opponent from using removal spells. Particularly if you use it on an empty board, you're likely to get at least one coin just from your opponent attempting to get rid of it, so it's likely to find a comfortable home in combo-based Rogue decks.


(4) Call in the Finishers

Spell: Summon four 1/1 Murlocs.

Shaman is essentially getting its own version of the Paladin's Stand Against Darkness, which was never a card that saw much use. There is some potential for combo potential with Everyfin is Awesome, since this card knocks four Mana cost off of that spell and would make for a field of 3/3 Murlocs. But that's a turn 7 play, when AoE removal is fairly common. For the combo to work it really needs to activate earlier, which means having Murlocs on the board before turn four. It's hard to see this working consistently. It may also have some synergy with the neutral legendary Finja, since it would let you play him for just one mana on turn 5.


(4) Daring Reporter (3/3)

Whenever your opponent draws a card, gain +1/+1.

Don't let the stat-line fool you: at minimum this card will be a 4/4, since it will always go up against a card draw as soon as your opponent starts their turn. That makes it pretty basic vanilla stats from the start, but this card could be very powerful in the right meta. That meta is one crawling with Warlocks, because Daring Reporter is a perfect answer to both Zoolock and Discardlock archtypes. Break it out when your Warlock opponent's hand is empty and it will likely be forced to draw a card to deal with it. Against Discardlock, which relies on drawing cards constantly, it could become a very big threat. Overall it relies on discouraging something your opponent generally wants to do, which could make it powerful under the right circumstances.


(2) Devolve

Spell: Transform all enemy minions into random ones that cost (1) less.

This spell is extremely powerful, especially in a meta with so many Deathrattle and N'Zoth based control decks. The Shaman now has an easy and cheap answer to those, which is arguably even better than a Silence effect. The one drawback is that any minions it transforms will have their full health, Divine Shields, etc. On the whole, though, if you Devolve a Sylvanas Windrunner or Tirion Fordring, you won't care as much about creating a semi-powerful minion as much as totally ruining your opponent's win condition.


(6) Fight Promoter (4/4)

Battlecry: If you control a minion with 6 or more Health, draw two cards.

With a condition that relies on big minions, this looks targeted for Control decks. Most of those decks already have efficient card draw tools, but this one comes with a body attached for a pretty reasonable cost. It's hard to tell if that will be enough to make it a staple, but at that cost it's probably best in a Shaman Evolve-based Control deck. That way you can get the card draw benefit and then trade up for a bigger body.


(2) Gadgetzan Ferryman (2/3)

Combo: Return a friendly minion to your hand.

It's honestly difficult to suss out why this card even exists. It has the same cost, and the same effect, as an existing neutral card, Youthful Brewmaster. The only difference is that Brewmaster is a 3/2 and doesn't need a Combo to take effect. The swapped Attack and Health stats make it slightly better in one respect, but the Combo requirement makes it much worse. Then there's the fact that Ancient Brewmaster also does the same thing, is also neutral, and is higher in the mana curve. And Shadowstep also does the same thing, for 0 Mana, and it reduces the cost of your minion to boot. The only way you'd absolutely need the Ferryman is if you need to bounce minions back into your hand more than six times in a single game, and when would that ever come up?


(4) Hozen Healer (2/6)

Battlecry: Restore a minion to full Health.

Another minion seemingly made for late-game control decks, Hozen Healer will get the most impact if played off-curve. On turn four, none of your minions will be big enough to get much benefit out of a full heal. On turn eight or ten, though, you're likely to have a big 6- or 8-Health minion out, and healing those bruisers is much more likely to swing the tide of battle your way. 


(6) Jade Behemoth (3/6)

Taunt. Battlecry: Summon a Jade Golem.

With a name like "Behemoth," this is surprisingly small for the cost. A 3/6 Taunt on turn six is a nuisance, not a real threat, but the real strength of Jade Behemoth will come from having built up a few other golems first. If it summons a 4/4, for example, that's a pretty strong stat-line with an attack minion being protected behind the Behemoth. If Golem Druid becomes an archtype–and it has every reason to given the Jade Idol (below), this is a likely inclusion.


(3) Jade Blossom 

Spell: Summon a Jade Golem. Gain an empty Mana Crystal.

Take Wild Growth, a staple in Druid decks, and add one more Mana for a Jade Golem. At worst you're getting a 1/1 body for 1 Mana, which is a pretty bad deal but mitigated somewhat by combining it with a ramping effect. If it's the second Jade Golem you play, you get a 2/2, which makes the trade-off pretty fantastic, and anything above that is just gravy. The one drawback is that this is one Jade Golem summoning card that should really be played as early as possible, since the empty Mana Crystal turns into a simple card draw once you reach ten Mana.


(7) Jade Chieftain (5/5) 

Battlecry: Summon a Jade Golem. Give it Taunt.

One of the Shaman's Golem staples comes with a DIY Taunt. This is especially welcome in a Shaman deck. The Shaman is lacking a solid class seven-drop, and the underpowered stats make this a perfect target for an Evolve-based deck. Since Jade Golem cards on the whole usually involve summoning two bodies, Evolve only makes sense, and in this case it would get you an 8-drop along with an upgraded body from whatever Jade Golem you summoned. That has serious potential for synergy, and may be enough to press a more hearty control-based Shaman.


(2) Jade Claws (2/2)

Weapon: Battlecry: Summon a Jade Golem. Overload: (1)

Overload effects can be hard to evaluate, since it factors in the cost of the card along with the cost that you're borrowing against in the next turn. This one is doubly difficult, because it also summons the ever-moving target of a Jade Golem. Needless to say, if you only get a 1/1 out of this, it's a pretty bad deal. If you get a 2/2 it's a little better, but still not fantastic, and 3/3 is when it starts really becoming a good effect. But like most Jade Golem cards, you'll probably just have to take the tempo hit the first few times in favor of it snowballing later. This can either be part of your early tempo-loss plays to build to a bigger late-game, or you can save it for the late-game itself.


(1) Jade Idol 

Spell: Choose One - Summon a Jade Golem; or Shuffle 3 copies of this card into your deck.

This spell is so powerful it stands a decent chance at being flat-out broken and needing to be nerfed. First, let's take a look at the initial effect. For 1 Mana, you summon a Golem. For your first Golem, that's a 1-Mana 1/1, which is dull as dishwater. At any point after that, it's a great value, becoming a 1-Mana 2/2, or 3/3, and on. Not just that, but it has a secondary effect that gives you even more of these, letting you replicate them forever. As long as you keep making two Jade Golems and then using the third copy to refresh your deck, you can make more Golems indefinitely. 

Consider the power of a Control-based deck that holds onto copies of Jade Idol alongside Fandral Staghelm. On turn seven, for example, you could conceivably summon Fandral, three increasingly powerful Golems, and shuffle 9 more copies into your deck. 


(4) Jade Lightning

Spell: Deal 4 damage. Summon a Jade Golem. 

This Shaman Jade Golem spell is very situational, since the cost calculations are a bit different than the Jade Blossom. Four damage for a Shaman averages at a value of about 2.5 Mana, so the Jade Golem on average has to be that much higher. It would be barely alright as a 2/2. On the other hand, if you use this in the late game, it can act as relatively cheap removal and leave behind a big minion as well.


(2) Jade Shuriken

Spell: Deal 2 damage. Combo: Summon a Jade Golem.

Like many of the Rogue's Combo cards, this one is just flat-out bad if you don't get the combo effect. 2 Mana for 2 damage is pretty awful, so you really need the extra benefit to make it worthwhile. That means it's terrible on its own, and one more reason for Rogues to use cards like the new Burgle Bully to assure they have a coin to enable combo effects like this one.


(4) Jade Spirit (2/3)

Battlecry: Summon a Jade Golem.

This Jade Lotus faction card is likely to be a staple, and you'll want to pack two if you're making a Golem deck. Its stats are pretty bad on its own, and the addition of a possible 1/1 doesn't make it much better. A 2/2 or up is much better, and if you combine it with Bran Bronzebeard, it becomes pretty powerful. Its real efficiency comes from helping fuel the ramp, so that later Golems will continue to grow stronger. 


(2) Jade Swarmer (1/1)

Stealth. Deathrattle: Summon a Jade Golem.

This minion is pretty unexciting on its own, but it has decent combo potential. The Stealth allows it to usually wait a turn to strike, at which point it could be buffed with Cold Blood and trade up, then leave behind a body as well. Or, it could be paired with Baron Rivendare (in Wild) or N'Zoth to get double the value for a big late-game swing. At the very worst, it's 2 Mana for two 1/1 bodies, and that's not terrible on its own.


(4) Jinyu Waterspeaker (3/6)

Battlecry: Restore 6 Health. Overload: (1)

This Shaman card is an oddity. The current agressive Shaman doesn't struggle with health because it's usually putting too many bodies on the board for the opponent to attack its face. For a Shaman that does attempt a longer, control-based deck type, Healing Wave is probably a better option, packing more health at a lower cost, and without the Overload effect. It's just hard to see where this fits. It's not awful, but there are better options.


(2) Mana Geode (2/3)

Whenever this minion is healed, summon a 2/2 Crystal.

Priests tend to excel at decks that revolve around a particular gimmick, like stealing opponent's minions or revivals. This one is more attuned to a classic, minion-based Tempo deck. If played on curve, it runs the risk of being incredibly frustrating for your opponent, letting you use it to pick off small minions and constantly use it to summon more annoying tokens to deal with. It's hard to tell if Priest has enough value minions to make a deck like this actually work, but if it does, Mana Geode is a decent if unspectacular inclusion.


(4) Shadow Sensei (4/4)

Battlecry: Give a Stealth minion +2/+2.

Rogues tend to be the Stealth class, and this is looking to get back into that with a specialized buff effect. The stats and effect are fine for the cost if you can get it to trigger, but you might need to build a deck around Stealth minions to assure you can get the effect. It has good synergy with Jade Swarmer (above), if you can hang onto it for two turns. Otherwise, you'll have to find some other Stealth minions to buff, and there may not be enough good ones to go around, especially if you're also trying to build a Jade Golem deck.


(5) Virmen Sensei (4/5)

Battlecry: Give a friendly Beast +2/+2.

In an expansion full of Jade Golem cards, this one feels a little out of place. The attempt to start up Beast Druid was two expansions ago, and even then, it didn't work terribly well. That said, in the attempt to actually build a Beast Druid deck, this is a pretty strong inclusion. It's what's known in classic Hearthstone circles as "Yeti Stats," which usually costs 4 Mana. That means that for one extra Mana, you're getting an effect similar to Mark of Y'Shaarj, which costs 2 mana. Consolidating two card effects into one leaves more room for other cards, so it's reasonably powerful. It's just meant for an archtype that may not be able to break through, especially with Golem Druid looking very powerful already.


(5) White Eyes (5/5)

Taunt. Deathrattle: Shuffle 'The Storm Guardian' into your deck.

This card, and its associated "Storm Guardian", are less broken than they probably appear at first glance. Instead, it's best to consider it elegantly designed to fulfill a specific purpose: to slow down the Shaman class. The last two expansions have turned Shaman into an underdog that had trouble finding its footing into a powerhouse, with the ability to segue smoothly from quick aggressive-style plays to more paced mid-range, within the same deck. Some fans have even started to jokingly refer to the game as "ShamanStone" in refernece to how dominant the class has become.

(5) The Storm Guardian (10/10)

Taunt.

Obviously, the Storm Guardian is a massively unbalanced statline and a huge tempo swing at that. But to play it, you'll need to wait until you play White Eyes, and then wait for Storm Guardian to cycle through your deck as well. This lends itself to a slower, more control-style deck. Shamans who want to take advantage of it will need a slower deck style in general, which in turn will give their opponent more time to prepare and respond. Altogether, it's a great card for a specific deck type that isn't being run right now, so Blizzard is aggressively encouraging players in that direction. 


Be sure to check out all of our of Card Reviews for Hearthstone's Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, and take a look at our full gallery of all the revealed cards!

Hearthstone Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Card Reviews: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Hearthstone Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Full Card Gallery

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty