Hearthstone's next expansion, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, is coming on December 1. We've been reviewing cards every week leading up to the release, and this week we got a heaping helping of new cards in advance of the release date. Let's get right to it.
(1) Alleycat (1/1)
Battlecry: Summon a 1/1 Cat.
Hunter gets a token card, which basically produces two 1/1 Beasts for 1 Mana. It's not fantastic due to the low stats, but the Beast synergy makes it decent. It's easy enough to ping a 1/1, but producing two bodies means you're pretty likely to have one leftover that you can use to activate other Beast abilities. It's a fine inclusion in Beast decks, though perhaps not fast enough to replace other cheap Beast options.
(6) Ancient of Blossoms (3/8)
Blizzard continues filling out stat-lines with new combinations, and Ancient of Blossoms is no different. It's sort of like a neutral version of the various high-health Taunts available for the Druid class. It's a little less efficiently costed as a neutral card, but it even keeps the same spirit by being an "Ancient" and Taunt. This allows it to synergize with Warrior, which could actually get some use out of it with its Taunt synergy cards. Other than that, it's a perfectly serviceable but unexciting vanilla card, and fine for Arena play.
(4) Blastcrystal Potion
Spell: Destroy a minion and one of your Mana Crystals.
Whoa nelly. This removal spell comes with a pretty significant drawback that makes it for-emergencies-only. Spending four Mana on pure removal, while putting nothing on the board yourself, and then costing yourself such significant tempo, is a pretty rough combination. Chances are you won't run into many situations that you absolutely need removal on turn four, especially with the trusty Siphon Soul just two turns away. More likely, this is best suited for late-game play when burning a Crystal wouldn't actually hurt you anyway, which means it may find a home in control-type decks if the existing removal tools aren't enough. And given the multitude of big minions coming from the Grimy Goons and Jade Lotus factions, that may well be the case, but time will have to tell.
(3) Blubber Baron (1/1)
Whenever you summon a Battlecry minion while this is in your hand, gain +1/+1.
This doesn't technically belong to the Grimy Goons, but the synergy is undeniable. Many of the Grimy Goons buff cards activate as Battlecries, so having Blubber Baron in your hand essentially lets you double-up on the buffs. It could easily be pinged by a Grimestreet card, and then get its stat-boost from its own effect as well. Those may add up well enough to make this a staple in Goons decks.
(3) Celestial Dreamer (3/3)
Battlecry: If a friendly minion has 5 or more Attack, gain +2/+2.
Druid gets a 3-drop that isn't very good to play on turn three. Your chances of having a 5-attack minion that early are incredibly slim, but if you save it for a later-game play you can snowball your opponent with a cheap, relatively high-attack minion. This is a solid inclusion for slower value-based decks, but given that Druid is already going to be getting cheap minions in the form of the snowballing Jade Golems, this may not have been the best time to introduce it. Of course, there's no reason you can't pack both, and use one of your larger Golems to activate Celestial Dreamer for double the punch.
(4) Crystalweaver (5/4)
Battlecry: Give your Demons +1/+1.
This is a pretty basic tribal synergy card, to the point that it's mostly just surprising a card like it hasn't already existed. Demons do tend to be overpowered due to their drawbacks, but purely demon-based decks have never really taken off. Giving it more traditional tribal synergy might be enough to push it in that direction. The Kabal faction relies on one-card Reno-style decks, though, so to take best advantage of the whole expansion's concept, this will have to be used in a deck with single copies of each demon.
(5) Cyromancer (5/5)
Battlecry: Gain +2/+2 if an enemy is Frozen.
Cyromancer is a solid card for freeze-based decks, letting you get an overpowered minion under a pretty easy condition. The obvious inclusion is the ever-popular Freeze Mage, but that deck is light on minions. It relies mostly on card draw, spell cost reductions, and the actual burn that kills the opponent. There may not be room for a minion, even with a great value like this one, and other Mage decks don't have as many freezing options.
(6) Defias Cleaner (5/7)
Battlecry: Silence a minion with Deathrattle.
Silence has been deemed too powerful in the past, and Blizzard has taken steps to mitigate it. In a game that so often revolves around big powerful effects, it just isn't fun to have that taken away too easily. Defias Cleaner is a new, narrowly targeted kind of Silence effect. This is valuable in this expansion, which focuses so much on buffs for cards with the Grimy Goons class, because those should be safe from Defias Cleaner unless they have a Deathrattle too. This is an easy staple for a N'Zoth-heavy metagame, so we'll have to see how prevalent those decks are after the expansion.
(1) Finders Keepers
Spell: Discover a card with Overload. Overload: (1)
This is a clever design. Not only is it a cheap spell to fuel Overload decks, but it lets you double-up on the Overload by being one itself. It's less likely to find a home in Jade Golem decks, since relatively few Overload cards also summon Golems. But Discover mechanics are really powerful since they give you a chance to respond to specific scenarios that your deck may not otherwise be prepared for. This will be perfect for a slower, more control-based Shaman.
(0) Freezing Potion
Spell: Freeze an enemy.
My hope that Blizzard would do something to hobble Freeze Mage isn't just going unanswered; they're actively making it stronger. Freezing Potion is a pretty basic, no-frills spell at a fair cost, and in a vacuum it's a good combo enabler for cards like Shatter and Cryomancer. In a Freeze Mage deck, though, it becomes a no-cost enabler for Ice Lance, effectively letting the Mage do damage with both Ice Lances instead of using one to enable the other. Expect to see one of these packed in every Freeze Mage deck.
(2) Gadgetzan Socialite (2/2)
Battlecry: Restore 2 Health.
Nothing too exciting here. It's an upgraded Voodoo Doctor with one more health in exchange for one more Mana. The body value isn't anything to write home about, and there are better healing options, but it's another filling out of the stat-line.
(4) Genzo, the Shark (5/4)
Whenever this attacks, both players draw until they have 3 cards.
This card probably isn't very good, but it is an interesting design. By offering both players a benefit, it might make your opponent think twice about removing it, especially if they're high on health and low on cards. Why not let Genzo stick around for a turn or two? You could potentially make them pay for their greed... or you could give them the tools to mount a comeback and beat you.
(7) Greater Arcane Missiles
Spell: Shoot three missiles at random enemies that deal 3 damage each.
The idea of an upgrade to one of the Mage's most common spells is cool. The execution is a little lacking. Seven Mana is a huge investment, especially considering Flamestrike can damage all minions on the board for four damage instead of a randomized three. Not to mention, the proportion is off. Arcane Missiles is 1 Mana for three in random damage, while this is 7 Mana for nine in random damage. The utility here is if you need to hope that one missile will hit a bigger minion twice, or that you'll hit the opponent's face in a pinch. Either way, there are cheaper, more reliable options.
(4) Greater Healing Potion
Spell: Restore 12 Health to a friendly character.
Unlike the "Greater" Mage spell above, the Priest is getting its own upgraded spell that's very efficiently costed, albeit worded carefully enough to avoid outright abuse. Though Priest has the healing Hero Power, its spells have sometimes been outpaced by ones from Paladin or Shaman. Blizzard has stated its intention to make Priest the premiere healing class, and here's the apparent solution. One of the biggest, and certainly the most cost-efficient and stable, healing spell in the game. It is careful to specify a "friendly character" though, because otherwise you could combine it with some Shadowpriest abilities to turn it into an ultra-cheap, more powerful Pyroblast.
(2) Hidden Cache
Spell: Secret: After your opponent plays a minion, give a random minion in your hand +2/+2.
Whoa nelly, that is quite a Secret. Hunters are generally the class most known for Secrets, and this is an especially tricky one. The trigger mechanism is one of the most common actions in Hearthstone: merely playing any minion. In exchange, you get a decent +2/+2 boost in stats. That's not as impressive as, say, a 4/2 from Cat Trick or a 3/3 from Bear Trap. But in an expansion that benefits from buffed minions, this is a strong inclusion.
(2) Hobart Grapplehammer (2/2)
Battlecry: Give all weapons in your hand and deck +1 Attack.
The Warrior has one of the best class Legendaries this time around, with a cheap minion that gives a big boost throughout the match. This is a great Warrior inclusion in particular, since Warrior both has lots of weapon variety, and lends itself to long-term control decks. A 2-Mana 2/2 isn't the greatest in stats, but the effect is so powerful that a slight deficit is more than worth it. Now imagine saving this for a combo turn with Bran Bronzebeard.
(5) Kabal Songstealer (5/5)
Battlecry: Silence a minion.
Priest is the one class that seems to have the best Silence effects, which has been one of the ways to make up for its deficiencies as a strong combat class. Now it looks to be coming into its own with some very powerful Dragon synergy cards, not to mention a very strong class Legendary, and it's still keeping its dominance over Silence with a decent mid-range minion attached. If the metagame calls for Silence effects, this is one of the best minions to do it.
(6) Kabal Trafficker (6/6)
At the end of your turn, add a random Demon to your hand.
Another attempt to make pure demon-based decks more viable, this minion will, at the very least, give you one random demon minion to play with. If you can manage to keep it on the board, which will be no easy feat given that your opponent will definitely target it, it just keeps adding value without you actually doing anything to fuel it. It's like an extra card draw, but it doesn't cut into your deck count, and if you structure your deck around demons it continues synergistic combos.
(9) Krul the Unshackled (7/9)
Battlecry: If your deck has no duplicates, summon all Demons from your hand.
The Warlock class Legendary is perhaps the strongest sign of all that Blizzard wants this expansion to make Demonlock come into its own. In exchange for the Kabal's Reno-like quality, you can essentially play a whole hand full of demons for free, and without their drawbacks. That means no damaging your Hero, no discards, just a board full of demons ready to fight. The one drawback is that it leaves you extremely vulnerable to AOE, since it will essentially empty your hand in the process. Use carefully.
(4) Lotus Illusionist (3/5)
After this minion attacks a hero, transform it into a random 6-Cost minion.
This Shaman minion has a fine beginning stat-line for the cost, but it comes built-in with an Evolve effect. By attacking the enemy Hero the turn after, you'll get a random 6-drop on turn five, along with whatever else you play from your hand. That's a potentially very powerful effect, and it could even lead to some interesting risk-reward scenarios in which you attempt to hold off attacking the enemy hero until it's absolutely necessary to save the Lotus Illustionist. Plus it just makes for some great Hearthstone flavor. This is a strong mid-range choice.
(6) Luckydo Buccaneer (5/5)
Battlecry: If your weapon has at least 3 Attack, gain +4/+4.
Another in the series of cards that get big stat bonuses for fulfilling very specific conditions, this one can become a whopping 9/9 as long as you fulfill the condition of having a three-attack weapon. That's fairly easy to pull off with Deadly Poison in the mix, so it's a pretty great value minion. Rogues tend to be much more focused on gimmicks like combos currently, but if this expansion makes for a more tempo-oriented Rogue, this is a great inclusion.
(9) Mayor Noggenfogger (5/4)
All targets are chosen randomly.
This is a strange, bad card. It comes with a huge stat deficit, and its effect makes your own attacks just as unreliable as your opponent's. It's only potentially good as a last-ditch effort to stave off lethal damage, since the text implies it would make any spells or hero attacks random as well. But that scenario is so particular that it can't possibly come up often enough to include in most competitive decks. We're sure to see some funny highlights of players using it to make a Jade Golem accidentally attack its own master, though.
(4) Naga Corsair (5/4)
Battlecry: Give your weapon +1 Attack.
Nothing too exciting, but a fine inclusion for Pirate-based Rogue and Warrior decks. If you happen to use this to trigger Patches as well, it's just that much better.
(2) Public Defender (0/7)
Funny card concept aside, this is basically an upgrade to Mogu'shan Warden. It has no attack value, unlike the Warden, but that old neutral card only had 1 Attack anyway, so it was always negligible. The only real way to get value out of the Warden, and now the Public Defender, is to combine it with other cards that buff it. At half the cost of Mogu'shan Warden, it's much easier to do that with Public Defender, so it's the better choice if you want to build a Taunt-based Warrior deck.
(5) Red Mana Wyrm (2/6)
Whenever you cast a spell, gain +2 Attack.
A neutral version of one of the Mage's best cards, this takes a hit to its stat-line by being slightly overcosted. That's to be expected for a neutral card, and combined with a couple of cheap spells this could easily become a 6/6. You'd probably have to spend 7 Mana to make that happen, though, at the very least, so it's unlikely to find a real home in competitive play.
(3) Sergeant Sally (1/1)
Deathrattle: Deal damage equal to this minion's Attack to all enemy minions.
Sally isn't a great card on her own, but with a buff or two from the Grimy Goons she becomes a pretty powerful minion with some strong removal attached. The Goons buffs can be unpredictable though, so it's much more likely that we'll see Sally find a home in Warlock decks. Combined with Power Overwhelming, she becomes a 4-Mana 5-damage removal bomb.
(3) Shadow Rager (5/1)
The "Rager" series of minions has become something of a joke, so it's strange to see one given as a class card in this set. That said, the Stealth quality makes it slightly better than many of the other Ragers. As long as your opponent can't deal one damage, it can deal five damage, which is powerful for such a low-cost minion. Plus, having Stealth means potential synergy with some other Rogue cards.
(2) Sleep with the Fishes
Spell: Deal 3 damage to all damaged minions.
This Warrior spell is some very efficient damage-dealing, but it's conditional enough that it may be hard to make use of it effectively. Needing the minions to be damaged first means you're probably already trading minions, or you need to combine it with another card like Whirlwind. It seems difficult to pull off consistently enough to warrant inclusion in most Warrior decks, especially since Warrior isn't lacking for removal tools.
(1) Small-time Buccaneer (1/2)
Has +2 Attack while you have a weapon equipped.
In the dream scenario, this one-drop survives the turn it's played, summons Patches, and then becomes a 3/2 when you equip your Hero Power or Fiery War Axe on turn two. That's not too difficult to imagine, and it would include a reasonably strong turn-two minion, a 1/1 with Charge, and a weapon, all by turn two. That could be enough to make it into a Pirate-based Warrior or Rogue deck for a strong start, but anytime after turn one it's just too weak. If you include this little fella, be ready to mulligan aggressively for it.
(1) Smuggler's Crate
Spell: Give a random Beast in your hand +2/+2.
This is one of the most efficient of the Goons buffing spells, giving you 2/2 in stats for just one Mana. It's conditional, applying only to Beasts, but that shouldn't be a problem for Hunters. It's only outmatched by the Paladin spell that applies to your whole hand, since that could provide 3/3 or 4/4 in stats depending on how many minions you're holding. As a Hunter specific spell, though, this is solid for the Goons.
(3) Street Trickster
Spell damage +1.
That sure looks like a Demon, but it's not. The Street Trickster is essentially a sticky, difficult-to-remove spell boost. It might be good to get on the board if you have a strong turn-four spell planned, but after that it becomes much easier to remove. It's not great for combos since there are cheaper Spell Damage minions that you could use in the same turn with a spell, so it's more meant for decks that want the boost to last a couple of turns.
(5) Streetwise Investigator (4/6)
Battlecry: Enemy minions lose Stealth.
Poor Rogue. Just as it's getting some Stealth synergy, along comes this card to mess up the party. Unfortunately a card like this is necessary. Stealth is a powerful enough effect that players needed some kind of neutral answer to the additional Stealth options being introduced. But it's also a reason why Stealth Rogue probably won't take off. Streetwise Investigator is just an easy answer that will always be there to stop it if the deck type gains too much prominence.
(3) Unlicensed Apothecary (5/5)
Whenever you summon a minion, eal 5 damage to your Hero.
This is an overpowered minion as the Warlock class tends toward, but that is one heck of a drawback. If your opponent just allows it to live, or worse yet, reduces its attack with a minion like Aldor Peacekeeper, you're basically discouraged from playing any minions. Plus, we're not sure, but playing it alongside Krul could just be a recipe for instant death.
(1) Weasel Tunneler (1/1)
Deathrattle: Shuffle this minion into your opponent's deck.
This is a cute idea. A simple little minion that then burrows into your opponent's deck and makes their draws worse. The problem is, in order to make their deck worse, you need to make yours worse first, and that's not a great trade-off.
(6) Wrathion (4/5)
Taunt. Battlecry: Draw cards until you draw one that isn't a Dragon.
Now this is a strong neutral inclusion for dragon decks. At worst, it's a 6-Mana 4/5 with Taunt that draws one card. That's certainly fine on its own, but in a deck with a critical mass of dragons, it could easily draw you two or three cards instead. A deck with so many dragons that this just entirely refills an empty hand is unlikely, but card draw is powerful, and even drawing two makes this more than worth the cost. If Dragon Priest regains prominence, as it appears primed to, Wrathion is a must-include.
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!