As you have likely noticed if you are a Hearthstone fan, the newest expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, was released today. I will be recording all my pack opening this evening, and likely uploading the video to Youtube tomorrow (link). Until then, I present my prediction as to the top 10 most impactful cards from the new set. I hope I bust a few open! For the extra curious, I created a “first impressions” document with reviews of all the cards, available here: (link). The first impressions list was mostly made upon first looking at the card, without any aid from other reviews and certainly before playing with any of the cards. It is an exercise in “how wrong can I be?!,” but it is always fun and I like to do initial impressions and then impressions a month or two later with every set. Check back in a month or two to see what I got right (there are always a few) and what I got very wrong (also, always a few). Both lists are based on the new Standard format only, unless indicated otherwise.
Anyway, without further ado, my top 10 cards from Whispers of the Old Gods:
This one is pretty obvious: the set is basically built around him and everybody gets a free copy. On top of that, he is one of the strongest cards in the set. There is no way we don’t see a ton of C’Thun decks for the next couple months, or, I would guess, even throughout the time that he is in standard.
2. Thing from Below
This card is the main reason why people will switch from face shaman back to midrange shaman. It is decently priced even without any reduction, but it gets very easy reductions from hero power, cards that summon totems, and playing some of the good totems shaman has at its disposal. This card will routinely be played on curve as an OP 4 drop, and will make for a nice late game topdeck to seal victories behind a decent-sized taunt.
3. Eternal Sentinel
Having decided that Overload was priced too harshly, Blizzard has effectively made it useless as a downside with Trogg, Lava Shock, and now Eternal Sentinel. On top of making several other cards in your deck more efficient, he is fairly efficient himself–with a decent body for a 2-drop. He further encourages midrange shaman by giving it the option of unlocking overload with a decent body instead of just a one-time spell. As a 3/2, it is almost guaranteed to door more damage than the already prevalent lava shock.
4. Call of the Wild
Call of the Wild offers up to three times the value of the ubiquitous Animal Companion, combined into one, predictable card, and at a discount. I think this card is massively underpriced (to the tune of approximately 2 mana), and is a solid finisher for midrange hunter decks. At full value, it is an instant 9 damage and additional value for the following turn. At absolute worst, it is 5 immediate damage, and at least 12 damage the following turn, if unanswered. The kicker: at 8 mana, the hunter can still steady shot on the same turn they cast it.
5. Master of Evolution
Master of Evolution is the third Shaman card in this list, and we are still on the top 5 most impactful cards in the set. Midrange Shaman is going to be absolutely nuts. This card is good because it passes the vanilla value benchmark (the “yeti” test, for the ubiquitous 4-drop pre-Piloted Shredder, which is now gone again), and has a powerful effect to boot. Transforming a minion will, on average add more than +1/+1 to its stats (thanks, twitter’s @GreenRanger_HS), effectively heals the minion, “recaptures” already-expended battlecry value, and allows for the use of more situational cards that can have big effects in the right matchup. Great card.
6. Disciple of C’Thun
This card probably didn’t make too many other top 10 lists, because it is more subtle, but he is a fantastic card that solidifies the viability of C’Thun decks against aggro. The danger of playing a deck reliant on a 10-mana legendary is that you might very well die before it comes out. His faithful disciple, however, is a brilliant tempo-play that will take out almost any minion your opponent has on the board and sometimes trade with another! He is great for winning back tempo from the faster decks out there, which allows you to trade with your on-curve minions until you have set up the optimal C’Thun play. He will be a 2-of in every single decent C’Thun deck. He is such a high tempo swing.
7. Steward of Darkshire
This card may very-well result in a new paladin archetype. It is a 3cc card that can be played on-curve, of which Paladin is light now that Muster for Battle has rotated. Even more importantly, its powerful ability triggers whenever a 1-health minion is summoned. As with Thing from Below, that means it triggers from hero power, spells, other minions, and playing the appropriate minions from hand. That makes this card extremely powerful, and class-synergistic. The divine shield makes formerly fragile minions much more effective.
8. Ravaging Ghoul
The card to save us from Steward of Darkshire decks! Also, more importantly, to trigger our damage effects (like Acolyte of Pain and Grim Patron). Also, the card is a 3cc 3/3, which is close enough to curve, especially in light of its ability, which makes it essentially at least a 4/3 in most cases. Finally, it is great with Blood Warriors, one of my favorite new cards from the set. Great for controlling swarms and activating your own cards, this is a highly valuable card–and only a common!
9. Ragnaros, Lightlord
For reasons that I do not understand, this card saw a lot of flak when it was spoiled. I think he is great! First, very importantly, it can attack–unlike OG Ragnaros. That means you are getting an 8/8, that heals at least 8, and continues to heal every turn it lives, after BGH has been nerfed. That makes him very aggressively priced (compare: Healing Touch + Fel Reaver). If you do it right, he is basically infinite removal on midrange minions (healing himself), or the best way to race an aggro deck (16 point swings every turn they ignore him). This card is not going to be in every type of Paladin deck, like Tirion tends to, but it will be VERY good in those decks it gets into.
10. Undercity Huckster
Undercity Huckster is a clear signal that Blizzard wants Rogue to go into the tempo direction, instead of the combo path that it has mostly followed until now. Huckster is a great tempo play, trading pretty well with 1 and 2 drops, while replacing itself in your hand. In theory, the card it replaces itself with has a decent shot of being good (as class cards are, generally, supposed to be a tiny bit stronger than neutrals). Additionally, this synergizes well with Unearthed Raptor, which will likely be in the middle of the new tempo-rogue movement. In sum, this card is great value that is not going to break the game, but that will see a lot of play in filling the void that Rogue is currently faced with.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Hopefully we all open some good stuff today and, like I said, check back in a month or two to see if my predictions were any good. What do you think now?