08 Aug Karazhan Card Review
Starting a new place where I can write some thoughts out since everything in video format is a bit limited and my friend wants to work on his web design skills so here it is.
Card ratings are based on a scale of 1-5. The card ratings are tied into the standard metagame and current meta decks and what I predict will become meta decks instead of rating cards purely in a vacuum. Decks are “in” the meta when they affect other decks, so even non top tier decks still can affect the meta. This is a bit subjective but an example: Miracle rogue still affects the meta even though it is not popular, but aggro priest does not. Some cards have gotten a revised rating because of new cards being revealed or new insight on my end.
5 – Meta defining (Fiery war axe, Innervate)
4 – High impact cards in the metagame (Violet teacher)
3 – Constructed Playable (Flame juggler, Huge toad, Crazed worshipper, Feral rage)
2 – Probably won’t end up making the cut in the constructed metagame (Sideshow spelleater, Skeram cultist)
1 – You don’t even have to think about it (Duskboar, Magma rager)
Enchanted Raven – 4
Enchanted raven is an easy card to fit into an aggressive beast druid list and should have a high impact in this deck. The synergy between this card and mark of y’shaarj is undeniable and with a potential turn 5 druid of the claw or stranglethorn tiger into a turn 6 menagerie warden followed by savage roar, beast druid is looking to make a strong entrance into the post Karazhan meta game as yet another strong midrange tempo deck with a similar playstyle to the current dragon warrior.
Menagerie Warden – 4
Another good card in beast druid. Compared to wildwalker, it generates much more stats if you have a beast on board and more importantly it gets you to the key amount of power to immediately threaten lethal on the following turn via savage roar. Since it summons a copy of any friendly beast, this makes a leftover druid of the claw in charge form much more threatening.
Moonglade Portal – 2
Even though there are a lot of powerful 6 drops, it’s unlikely worth it to trade the consistency of actually running a premium 6 drop to get an extra heal for 6. Druid is one of the worst classes to have a heal on because of powerful taunters and the hero power as well as one of the classes exclusively favoring a proactive playstyle.
Kindly Grandmother – 4
Kindly grandmother helps midrange hunter stick beasts versus more aggressive decks at the cost of a strong immediate body when they need to deal damage versus slower decks. Since this type of hunter is already very strong versus the slower decks and needs a lot of help versus faster decks, Kindly grandmother should be a good card to fit in existing midrange hunters. Some midrange hunter lists have even dabbled into doomsayer, but kindly grandmother is a much more solid choice.
Cloaked Huntress – 3
Cloaked huntress is in a weird spot because Hunter already has so many good 3 mana cards and it doesn’t easily fit into an existing powerful archetype. In a vacuum, cloaked huntress looks very powerful, it is a 3 mana 3 / 4 with a very noticeable upside. The deck that cloaked huntress should fit in the best is a yogg and load heavy trap eaglehorn list, aiming to chip at the opponent with eaglehorn bow and hero power while using traps and shots to play a very reactive style, eventually dealing enough damage to kill the enemy with leftover burn/call of the wild or winning via lock and load/yogg saron. I see this card as constructed viable but not severely impactful because the secrets have to be in your hand when the huntress is alive and midrange hunter already has too many good 3 drops and does not have a high average hand size to make major use out of this card.
Cat Trick – 3
The only new secret in this set, cat trick goes well with cloaked huntress. This card is a 2 mana jungle panther that activates on an enemy spell cast. I see cat trick being good in a similar yogg and load deck that cloaked huntress could be good in. Cat trick is a little too situational or a little too weak for a tempo based deck like midrange hunter, but becomes more viable with cheat engines like cloaked huntress, eaglehorn bow, and lock and load.
Firelands Portal – 2
Deal X damage is a very flexible text on cards because it can be used both as reach and removal so mage having access to a lot of these effects puts the class in a relatively unique position of being able to finish the game even if a little bit of minion damage connects while not being screwed over by dead cards in hand like mind blast or bloodlust. That said, the power level of the card is maybe a little weaker than fire elemental and while fire elemental used to be considered the gold standard of a powerful card, it has since then been valued much less highly. Tempo mage is so focused on cheap spells and the synergy between them and the minions and control mage wins through having more resources than your opponent and is more focused on staying alive to make sure that can happen.
Medivh’s Valet – 4
My personal favorite card of the set, it’s a monkey in a suit! One of the cards that could bring control mage into the meta, the effect is a little stronger than even alexstrasza’s champion but harder to activate as well. The 2 / 3 statline and the fact that ice block is the best secret to activate it with makes it more suitable to control mage than a tempo mage. Reno decks get less appealing with some of the new control mage cards. I expect to see some non reno control mages coming back using kirin tor mage with an assortment of defensive secrets for this little monkey and I expect the tomes and books to be able to pick up secrets for kirin tor mage as well.
Babbling Book – 4
The new mage webspinner is something that might fly under the radar, but a small body can have a huge effect. For control mages, having a 1 drop that is good all game as well as frequently activating your ping on turn 2 can be a noticeable improvement from having almost no early game at all. I wouldn’t even be too surprised if this makes its way into tempo mage. Mages have good spells all around and even a random one is pretty highly valued.
Nightbane Templar – 5
A very strong new card for dragon paladin, this is 4 / 5 worth of stats for 3 mana. This is on the muster for battle levels of power and could give us a new age of midrange paladin anchored by dragons instead of dudes. Paladin has long been the class with some of the strongest midrange cards, but before GvG had too weak of an early game and after GvG became too meta warping with a strong early AND mid game. As of now, we still don’t have a super powerful turn 1 and 2 minion, but nightbane templar combined with netherspite historian can enable midrange dragon paladin just off of the sheer power level of the cards.
Silvermoon Portal – 2
Similar to some kind of hybrid between blessing of kings and keeper of uldaman, it lacks the burst power of kings and the flexibility of uldaman. It also lacks consistency. There are better alternatives with less variance.
Ivory Knight – 3
Midrange Paladin is becoming more and more of a potentially very powerful deck and Ivory Knight has a good home it could go into. Ivory Knight can replace lay on hands in tempo based midrange decks but the 6 drop slot is very competitive with sylvanas, justicar, cairne, and emperor all on slot 6. Don’t be quick to dismiss this card though because these cards have been beaten out by shieldmaiden in the past.
Purify – 2
I doubt purify is constructed playable, but this type of card is so unique that I can’t rate it a 1. It could enable a new type of self silencing deck, but I strongly doubt that deck will be competitive.
Priest of the Feast – 3
The 3/6 stat line is ridiculously good, even beating out the 4 / 5 stat line as it trades into most early game minions after 1 shot and has more life. That said, water elemental has a stronger ability and priest has so many combo cards already that saving combo cards for the priest will be hard. This little guy is hard to leave up for aggressive decks, but those decks tend to kill most minions anyways early on.
Onyx Bishop – 2
Resurrect based decks have a critical flaw in the sense that is it inherently a tempo based deck using a combo approach and onyx bishop is not that aggressively stated. At 4 mana I feel this could enable a resurrection based deck, but at 5 mana it doesn’t follow up with injured blademaster that well and priest’s biggest problem right now is a poor early game that onyx bishop does not fix.
Swashburglar – 3
Another webspinner clone, this time for rogue instead of mage. Swashburglar is a 1 drop that is good all game long and combines even better with the rogue hero power than mage. We could see this card in any rogue deck, but it looks best in a more tempo based, less combo based pirate/midrange style.
Deadly Fork – 2
The deathrattle is weaker than draw a card because the card is an overcosted fiery war axe late in the game and fiery war axe shines on turn 2. We are not currently in an age where polluted hoarder could be good and loot hoarder is only played in combo decks that want to thin out the deck.
Ethereal Peddler – 2
Slightly revised rating because of swashburglar and because in tempo rogue, azure drake becomes less good than in miracle but I still see other tempo decks much stronger than tempo rogue.
Wicked Witchdoctor – 2
Very similar to Violet Teacher. It has a stronger effect but a weaker body. Has huge synergy with totemic might in the same way violet teacher has with power of the wild and totemic might is 0 mana. The current midrange totem shaman is extremely tempo based and already has so many cards that flow with that style with tunnel trogg and totem golem openings. Wicked Witchdoctor is not strong enough to build a combo deck around and midrange shaman has less spell synergy than druid has inherently.
Spirit Claws – 2
Spirit Claws still doesn’t have enough turn 2 spell damage synergy on turn 2. I can see Spirit Claws being played in a midrange shaman with bloodmage thalnos and azure drake and perhaps a couple of more spell damage activators for it, but I don’t think it has quite enough power to justify.
Maelstrom Portal – 4
This feels like the strongest of the portal cards and can be compared to ravaging ghoul and twilight flamecaller. Importantly maelstrom portal also has synergy with spell damage and shaman has easy ways to get spell damage. Compared to spirit claws, maelstrom portal can get all the value from spell damage in a quick burst, instead of having to stick around. Even though shaman already has an early area of effect in lightning storm, maelstrom portal also leaves behind a body and allows for shaman to clear out a lot of swarmy openings without overcommitting to a lightning storm. Could have a very strong place in midrange shaman but midrange shaman will face a lot of new competition from beast druid and dragon paladin and still has a huge weakness to yogg saron.
Malchezzar’s Imp – 2
Warlock as a class notoriously does not need too much draw effects because of lifetap. The upside is a little weak compared to similar cards being printed with full stats. It is important to note that you only draw a card if you discard one and most discard decks are based around dumping your entire hand before key turns like doomguard. Zoo already does something very strong, play minions and then play cards that enable the minions to trade very efficiently and some of these discard effects dilutes that game plan.
Silverware Golem – 3
Free minions are really strong and Hearthstone is a game dictated a lot by tempo. Compared to fist of jaraxxus, silverware golem is much stronger because the effect is proactive and a 3/3 is comparable to 4 random damage.
Kara Kazham! – 3
Kara Kazham! might be the best spell to combo with cho’gall and with medivh coming as well, we could see a new spell based control warlock that could make an otherwise very unimpressive card become a staple of this deck. I still see reno being a requirement for a non taunt based control warlock and with only 1 copy of Kara kazham allowed, the deck still feels a little weak on spell synergy.
Fool’s Bane – 2
Fool’s bane is a control card which allows warrior to trade life for tempo but the tradeoff rate is a little too poor. By turn 5, 3 damage effects is usually not enough to kill the minions being dropped around those turns and taking multiple hits to destroy any 1 minion will make fool’s bane generally not worth it. It does a good job at destroy multiple small minions like knife juggler and dire wolf alpha, but brawl will generally be a much better area of effect spell.
Ironforge Portal – 2
Ironforge portal is somewhat similar to a shield block plus a 2 drop or the shieldmaiden of old, but the inconsistency of this card makes it significantly worse. A lot of 4 drops rely on the battlecry meaning you will get stuck with a lot of 2/4s with ironforge portal.
Protect The King! – 2
Now that the whole set is released, I’m revising my rating of this card to 2 instead of 3. There are much stronger midrange decks and I was pretty doubtful that a bolster deck would be good in the first place. Please see my first youtube video for a more thorough review of this card because I talked extensively about it there, but to make it short, I see this as a midrange card much more than control card.
Pompous Thespian – 1
A 3/2 taunt for 2 mana is too low impact to be seriously considered. There have been strictly better cards that were never really used.
Zoobot – 2
The beast, dragon, and murloc synergy cards are some of the funniest cards yet. Zoobot is similar to pre nerf shattered sun cleric, but I don’t think pre nerf shattered sun cleric would be played today. Having all 3 tribes in your deck is hard enough, having them on the battlefield at once should be close to impossible and there are cards like gormok the impaler that have much stronger situational battlecries.
Menagerie Magician – 2
The beast, dragon, and murloc synergy cards are some of the funniest cards yet. Having all 3 tribes in your deck is hard enough, having them on the battlefield at once should be close to impossible and there are cards like gormok the impaler that have much stronger situational battlecries.
Netherspite Historian – 4
A ⅓ draw a card for 2 mana is insane and discovering a dragon should be very comparable to drawing a card. Slower dragon decks now have netherspite historian and book wyrm as well as nightbane templar which should create some very powerful decks. A lot more about these implications is talked about in the book wyrm section.
Book Wyrm – 4
A revised rating with new cards being revealed, Book Wyrm should fit very well in dragon paladin. The fact that this and twilight guardian are both dragons and azure drake being a neutral dragon means that dragon decks can effectively operate without any 9+ drop dragons which opens up a lot of possibilities. It’s interesting to note that slow grindy midrange decks are my favorite decks to play in Hearthstone and the only previous top tier slow midrange deck was midrange paladin before mysterious challenger came out (after which paladin made a shift to secret paladin).
Runic Egg – 3
Runic Egg is an interesting card because nothing like this was attempted before. It is effectively a 1 mana heal for 2 cantrip without board control, but the decks that could activate runic egg would not care for the heal in the first place. Runic egg should be best in classes that have hero powers that create tokens (shaman, paladin) because they can build a deck around activating runic egg and other small minions. Runic Egg is a nice target for blessing of kings and flametongue totem and allows decks running these cards to have another cheap threat versus reactive decks, but in matchups that are about board control (probably over 90% of the time), runic egg is much less powerful. Drawing a card is generally more powerful than a 2/1 whelp though and runic egg also has the deathrattle tag at the cost of only ever getting the activation once compared to dragon egg. This is the sleeper card of the expansion for me. I’m safely rating this a 3, but I can see Runic Egg being meta defining if it can enable a new type of midrange deck.
Pantry Spider – 2
2/6 Stats for 3 mana is very good, but the stats are split weirdly enough that I don’t consider this a very powerful standalone card. By turn 3, having a ⅓ statline is about as bad as possible, the only possible other worse weights being a 0/4 and 4/0 kappa. Pantry spider has beast synergy, but druid has better turn 3 beasts by far, and hunter has carrion grub which is comparable and also not that playable. Pantry spider could be a great card in evolution shaman, but that deck becoming strong is something that I would not expect.
Arcane Anomaly – 2
Growing health is better than growing attack for 1 drops but a base statline of 2/1 should make this card a little too weak competitive play. The other 1 mana snowball minions are ⅓ which is also more sticky for the effect to have more time in play.
Arcanosmith – 2
Too often would get eclipsed by Sen’jin in this slot, the split stats might mean that you would rather have a ⅗ taunt. Seems much better in constructed format than arena since it handles removal very well, but does poorly in creature combat. It could be a zoo card because it is better at protecting important low health minions than stopping minion damage but seems too weak.
Violet Illusionist – 2
A 4/3 for 3 mana is an okay statline, but there are so many of these decent stats with marginal effects that they are usually not competitive. Mostly synergy with weapons but rogue has very good 3 drops already and warrior doesn’t need it.
Avian Watcher – 2
Even for secret decks, 5 mana for a 4/7 taunt activating at 80% of the time isn’t good enough.
Moat Lurker – 2
Interesting effect but I could be playing sylvanas at 6 mana. Has a lot of synergy with different things, but none quite strong enough.
Arcane Giant – 2
Too slow and expensive for the early game and by the time this card is discounted enough to play, any tempo based decks should have long since fizzled already. Playing arcane giant in a more aggressive list as perhaps the last dying breath before you run out of stuff is probably not as good as a more traditional finisher like leeroy or fireball.
Barnes – 4
I’m going to revise my rating of Barnes to 4 because I feel more confident about midrange decks post expansion in general compared to before. Has a ton of synergy with cards with strong effects or deathrattles like ragnaros and cairne bloodhoof. I don’t have any particular deck in mind for Barnes that I think is top tier but Barnes is a little too powerful in a vacuum to rate a 3.
The Curator – 3
A card commonly compared to ancient of lore, the curator has similar stats with taunt and a very stringent deck building requirement and the added inconsistency of needing to not have drawn all 1 type of any one of these minions. I don’t think the dragon tribe getting so many upgrades helps the curator too much because unlike azure drake, the new dragon cards require a dragon deck. He can help you look for one particular card, he can draw you multiple cards attached to a strong body but this is a card that I feel the deckbuilding requirements is too much for the reward. I always wonder though if a dragon/beast/murloc druid can possibly be viable with the 3 new menagerie cards and since the curator is the strongest of the 3, I will rate this one 1 higher.
Moroes – 2
Best against aggressive decks without any aoe since a 1/1 every turn can cause some annoyance but the stats are still quite low. Not really a strict upgrade from dreadsteed since moroes can easily die and dreadsteed needed a large cheat engine to make even remotely powerful.
Prince Malchezar – 2
Compared to elise starseeker, the random legendaries immediately dilute your deck which presumably is trying to do something strong. Elise allows you to convert excess cards into random legendaries already without it ruining your deck early on. This is quite a unique effect though but I feel he won’t be too powerful.
Medivh – 4
Finally we have the master of karazhan himself. Pretty excited about Medivh since he can be a strong lategame value engine in spell heavy decks like control mage and warlock. He also needs much less babysitting than archmage antonidas or lord jaraxxus but is also less powerful than these cards. I think having a much higher floor but lower ceiling for the variance of the effect is quite a good thing for Medivh and he could be a much quicker and easier way for these decks to win and perhaps archmage and jaraxxus can be secondary win conditions. Control mage in particular gets some nice new cards covering up its early game with babbling book and medivh’s valet so this is a deck to look out for.