Following Amnesiac’s victory in the America’s Winter Championships last week, this week had the European Winter Championship, and a new victor. Known for his Hunter play, the winner was Naiman, defeating DrHippi in the finals using his own blend of unique decks. He was the only player to bring Hunter, and the only player not to bring Druid, even playing a traditional Midrange Paladin to round out his list. Clearly he made it work for him, proving that it’s better to stick to what you know. After the tournament he tweeted out the decklists he used, found here. Naiman walked away with $25,000 and 30 points towards Blizzcon this year, as well as his very own mead-trophy.
Following up last week’s Forbidden Flame and Forbidden Shaping, this week Paladin gets a card that costs zero. Unfortunately, this card is a lot weaker than the other two, and comes in a class that already has a two mana heal for six, as well as Lay on Hands. For this card to find any real place in current decks, there will need to be something that changes, or aggro decks will need to be a lot more prevalent than expected in the new Standard format. Comparing it to Healing Wave shows just how poor this card is, as Wave gives more just more than two health per one mana in the worst case scenario, and a full fourteen health for three mana in its best case, far better than anything this card can pull off. Unless something big changes, it’s a fun card for Priests to steal and use with Auchnai Soulpriest, and that’s about it!
This card is really interesting, as anyone reading it can see. It very much harkens back to the Tavern Brawl in which every minion cost one mana and was played as a 1/1. As immediately discussed by the casters upon release during the European Championship, this card is very synergistic with Deathrattle minions, as the Deathrattle goes off for full effect despite the minion’s statline. It also works well with cards with powerful effects such as Prophet Velen or Malygos, or traditional cards like Ragnaros and Emperor Thaurisan. Because of their costs, all of these synergies would require the first minion to live for a full turn or require some mana manipulation, but if any of the synergies do succeed it creates an incredibly powerful board, potentially game-winning on the spot.
This is interesting, because it is the same as Twisting Nether, but two more mana, and with the added draw effects. A big concern that most people have is that it’s too slow to have any impact in aggressive matchups, and you don’t want to be drawing too many cards in control matchups. One potential synergy would be the Warlock decks built around a combo, designed to one shot opponents using a set of cards involving charge, buffs, and Faceless Manipulator. Still, its slowness makes this card very difficult to incorporate, especially since Twisting Nether is typically run as a one-of. Someone mentioned on the forums that perhaps there will be a new legendary minion that says something along the lines of “if you are in fatigue, win the game”. Barring that, this card simply doesn’t seem too powerful, but it will need to be playtested before any final verdicts.
A lot of people saw this card and said “worse Sludge Belcher” and moved on, but the stat line is actually a lot better than most players realize. It only loses two stats from Sludge Belcher, which is perfectly acceptable for being one mana less, and although the spawning minion does not have taunt, this card will be coming out while all the Deathrattle cards from Naxxrammas are leaving, making this one of very few Deathrattle effects left in the meta. It isn’t an amazing card by any means, but it’s not as weak as many players were making it out to be. I hope that it is able to find a place in some decks upon release, as players realize that cards like Sludge Belcher were vastly overpowered, not that this one is underpowered.
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This card was released by Kripparian in a video (LINK), and I do believe he is correct when he labels this as the strongest card of the set so far. It has a very competitive statline, and one of the most interesting and potentially game-winning abilities on any cards released in the current game. Keep in mind that while Shaman has many direct damage spells, they also have several very strong AoE spells, and the damage will all heal your hero directly. Drop him and Lighting Storm, bam, an extra ten health. Are you really in a pinch? Drop this guy and Elemental Destruction, you’re probably back to full health. This card strikes me very similar to Reno Jackson, except you don’t need to design a deck playing only one-ofs in order to pull him off. Great card, I look forward to playing with it.
At this point it’s pretty clear that 1/1s are N’Zoth’s thing. This card is alright, it will fit in well with aggressive warrior decks. However, since it infringes upon Fiery War Axe’s turn two domain, I don’t believe we will be seeing it in too many decks, unless they release a lot more weapon synergy going forward.
More 1/1s! This card is actually really neat though. It’s a tiny Explosive Sheep to deal with tinier boards a little earlier. It looks quite decent against certain aggressive decks. I believe it will actually see play in some Grim Patron decks functioning as another Whirlwind, allowing four in the deck even after Death’s Bite removal.
This card looks like it will be a lot of fun, and create a lot of highlight reels, but I can’t see anyone intentionally putting it in their competitive deck. A one mana reduction simply isn’t worth throwing a crafted deck away for random cards, not to mention having this card take up a slot to begin with.
This card is neat, the fact that it has taunt means that you can synergize it with some odd cards like Ancient Watcher or Eerie Statue, who have incredibly high stats but with negative aspects. However, most decks cannot afford to run cards like that, so the only place I see this card excelling is in Handlock decks.
Another new god has been revealed! My first impression is that this is a lot less interesting than C’Thun, as a single card. Its battlecry isn’t nearly as board influencing as dealing a ton of damage. A large part of why this card strikes me as “meh” is because most of the deathrattle minions have just gone out of standard, and without Sludge Belchers to hold the fort while your opponent takes a turn to answer your ten mana card… you might just get decimated. However, unlike C’Thun you don’t need to build an entire deck around it, so perhaps it will work nicely!