Hearthstone Basic Cards Rating and Guide
Hearthstone Basic Cards Rating and Guide by Overarrow
First post, and I wanted to cover my initial rundown of each card, issues with balance, and the classes as I play. Any updates I make will be notated in the “Updates” section, so you can see which days and where I’ve added updates.
Bear in mind, everything in here is my opinion, with what experience I have at the time. I will read through this each time I go to update it, however, the key word here is that this is my opinion, and all game designers view mechanics is vastly different lights. What I find ineffective may simply require a better light to be used properly. There for, if you don’t agree, constructive criticism is welcome! We are a community after all.
Table of Contents
To use this, just hit Ctrl + F to open the “Find” bar, then type or copy paste the text in (brackets) to find the section you’re looking for!
I. Who am I? (1.00)
II. Diction in the world of CCGs (2.00)
III. The Classes (3.00)
IV. Card Rankings/Playability (4.00)
Basic Rarity (4.10)
i. Druid (4.11)
ii. Hunter (4.12)
iii. Mage (4.13)
iv. Paladin (4.14)
v. Priest (4.15)
vi. Rogue (4.16)
vii. Shaman (4.17)
viii. Warlock (4.18)
ix. Warrior (4.19)
x. Neutral (4.20)
Common Rarity (4.21)
i. Druid (4.22)
ii. Hunter (4.23)
iii. Mage (4.24)
iv. Paladin (4.25)
v. Priest (4.26)
vi. Rogue (4.27)
vii. Shaman (4.28)
viii. Warlock (4.29)
ix. Warrior (4.30)
x. Neutral (4.31)
V. Playstyles (5.00)
VI. General Bugs/Hangups (6.00)
VII. The Great Debate: Is Going Second Too Powerful? (7.00)
(1.00) Who am I?
I am a game designer by trade, specifically CCGs and TCGs. I had been watching twitch streams of others playing the game, and took a huge interest right off the bat. Once I saw the key sitting in my inbox, I dived on the opportunity to get to know the beast on a more microscopic level.
No, I don’t have a massively popular twitch channel; I’m just a guy who loves playing and creating games as a professional endeavor. If you feel like adding me and playing a game/discussing, go for it! Overarrow #1834.
(2.00) Diction in the world of CCGs
As you read this, there will be several new words you may see. I will do my best to NOT use typical CCG terminology, but I’ve added this section in case you are confused and wish to know what I am referring to. For those who have played MTG, you probably know the majority of these already.
Spot Removal – Any spell or ability that can remove a threat, typically a minion, directly and permanently.
Tempo – Systematically gaining advantage on your opponent by having the game follow your deck’s flow of strength.
Sweeper – a large scale removal card, usually something that clears the board of threats (Holy Nova, Flamestrike, Hellfire).
Wall Up – Means to play multiple Taunt minions in order to defend yourself and push for a late game win.
Ramping – Playing spells such as Innervate and Wild Growth to “ramp” or increase the amount of resources (mana crystals) you have, enabling you to play larger threats than your opponent can handle.
Buff – Increasing the stats of a card either temporarily or permanently.
Rush – Playing multiple low cost minions in order to kill your opponent before the late or even mid game begins.
Will add more as I think of them.
(3.00) The Classes
There’s obviously a ton of parallels that can be drawn from the WoW (World of Warcraft) TCG, most notably the art. Here I’ll update descriptions as I play, so for now, this is only in regards to my limited experience so far.
In terms of class strength, my initial assessment is as follows: Priest > Mage > Hunter > Shaman > Rogue = Warrior = Warlock = Paladin = Druid, though these class strengths vary wildly in the arena due to the RNG on the packs (30 packs of 3 as opposed to 3 packs of 15 in MTG).
- Mages have substantial burst damage potential at lower tiers of play, but has a controlling nature at the higher tiers. Mages are weak to Priests due to the Priest’s natural ability to mitigate damage, and partially to Druids due to their pump abilities.
- Priests have bite by playing the “what’s yours is mine” game using Mind Control. My assumption is that the Priest is naturally weak to Warriors and partially Shamans, due to their burst potential and due to their lack of reliance on strong minions. This assumption has been proven correct so far.
- Shamans are heavily favored as the 100% health to 0% health class at lower tiers. Several times I have been against the rails at 3 or less health, and swung for 30 in a single turn.
- Warriors function much the same way as a Shaman, but all the damage comes from the hero, not a minion. They also have the added benefit of gaining armor, buying them those last few turns they need to pull out their big turn.
- Rogues rely on setting up combos properly, but the game isn’t allowing combos in the traditional CCG sense. I’m told that many high level cards are required to make a Rogue deck work properly, making them near unplayable for neophytes such as myself.
- Hunters are the best way to learn the basics of creature combat, and the only deck I can build currently is a beast centric rush type. I will have more later on as I get more experience with the class.
- Warlocks I haven’t played enough of yet to garner an opinion, but they seem to be the mass removal class.
- Paladins I have zero experience in at this time.
More will be added as I experience the game.
(4.00) Card Rankings/Playability
(4.10) Basic Rarity
- Innervate (★★☆☆☆) – Playing this on turn 1 can have a high effectiveness, but because it relies on other cards in your hand, and doesn’t actually net you any direct benefit, this card is a 2 star card at best, and is only relegated to getting a typically late game minion out during the early game. Even if you somehow get a large minion out, you’ve now spent two cards which your opponent can Hex, Polymorph, Shadow Word Death, or any other combination of instant removal. Even if it has stealth, the chance and risk together make Innervate extremely weak. In design, this card exists so newer players have an interesting mechanic to try out, but even the slightly seasoned will recognize its weakness.
- Moonfire (★☆☆☆☆) – 0 cost spells are never worth it at the current stage of the game, and Moonfire is no exception. 1 damage for 0 may sound amazing on paper, but imagine what that Moonfire in your hand could’ve been. Even a Wisp would be better, at least then you have a minion on the board that can possibly be pumped by Druid spells, or even hit for more than 1 damage. This is yet another weak card that design inserts to show the same point Innervate has, but it’s also at basic level to illustrate the concept of direct damage to newer players, which makes this a superbly designed card to teach the game, just not playable in any way.
- Claw (★★☆☆☆) – Slightly worse than Innervate. In a normal game, this could allow you to trade evenly against a 2/2 minion, clearing away a taunter, or you could sneak an extra 2 damage, however then what? I’d still rather have a minion than this. If you want to play a class with massive hero attacks and armor, then go warrior. if you just want to hero attack with no armor, go shaman. It seems like the design direction of this was falling in line with the Druid’s hero ability, but when you base the design of a card you draw on something you get every turn, it needs to account for the difference in availability. +3/+3 probably would’ve been fine on this ability in my opinion.
- Mark of the Wild (★★★☆☆) – Solid card. Who doesn’t want a taunter that’s even bigger AND hits back? It leaves a little bit to be desired, but not every card can be amazing while designing a CCG, otherwise the game wouldn’t be balanced, and it would leave newer players completely confused and left out. I wouldn’t change a thing about this card: it’s flavorful, strong, and useful in a myriad of situations.
- Wild Growth (★★☆☆☆) – Same issues I stated as Innervate. My mind tells me that it should give a usable mana crystal, but my gut is screaming that there is probably an amazing combo for Druid that breaks the game if that were the case. Ramping is great, and this card further solidifies Druid as being the class to champion the strategy, however with the amount of easily accessible removal in the game, this card, along with the ramp strategy is not worth playing at this time, however should an amazing minion come out that defends itself, the ramp strategy will become extremely viable, along with this card.
- Healing Touch (★★☆☆☆) – Healing in majority of CCGs follows the same rule: it doesn’t directly affect the game. Sure, you gain health, but to what extent? Druid doesn’t have access to the utterly amazing Northshire Cleric, so why should you heal? In very rare circumstances, you’ll have a massive minion you want to heal, but rarely for the full 8, meaning you wasted or overhealed the potential of this card. Again, the flavor of this card is fantastic, but the usage falls far short of the marker. If I were to suggest a fix, I would suggest pushing it into the “choose one” archetype that Druid has, heal 8 OR heal 4 and if the target is a minion it gets +1/+1 seems alright to me, maybe even +2/+2. This feeds into the buff mechanics of the Druid class as well.
- Savage Roar (★★★★☆) – VERY powerful at the early stages of the game, and even the later ones. The availability of minions that come with an additional, smaller minion pushes this card into the upper tier of play. If you can clear away defenders with 5 minions in play, that’s 10 damage granted from Savage Roar, on top of the minion’s normal attack values. Dealing 30% of your opponent’s health in a single turn is amazing value in a card with a median cost of 3. Wouldn’t change this and love the design space this takes, pushing Druid forward in the rush archetype.
- Swipe (★★★★☆) – Let’s compare this across the board to other sweeper abilities. Vs Hellfire, Swipe does less across the board, but leaves you untouched. Vs Holy Nova, Swipe is slightly lacking, but makes up for it with the 4 damage to the initial target. Vs Flamestrike, Swipe’s cost is 3 turns sooner. Playing this, wiping the opponent’s board, then following up with a savage roar for the win is a tried and true strategy for any player looking to play with an extremely aggressive mindset. Wouldn’t change this card at all!
- Starfire (★★★☆☆) – Kills one of the most annoying taunters in the game, Sen’jin Shieldmasta, and nets you an extra card. This direct damage ability can also be used to hit the opponent in the face for 5, giving you that added pressure to go with your swarm of minions. Not a bad card, but its cost means it will probably be the only thing you do during your turn. Starfall is strictly better in every way, however this is a great basic card to give to players who don’t have the packs to make up for their lack of direct damage.
- Ironbark Protector (★★☆☆☆) – Same issue as before: your opponent more than likely has a response to this guy, the worst being Anduin mind controlling it, turning your amazing taunter against you. Because it doesn’t have any way of protecting itself from being instantly removed via the usual suspects (Hex, Polymorph, SW Death, etc), the worth of this card goes way down. Design wise, this fits the Druid bill perfectly, giving you a guy with huge stats to play and really make your opponent deal with it or straight up lose the game.
Basic card only Druid decklist
- 2x Innervate
- 2x Goldshire Footman
- 2x Stonetusk Boar
- 2x Mark of the Wild
- 2x Bluegill Warrior
- 2x Frostwolf Grunt
- 2x Murloc Tidehunter
- 2x Novice Engineer
- 2x Savage Roar
- 2x Raid Leader
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- 2x Wolfrider
- 2x Swipe
- 2x Dragonling Mechanic
- 2x Starfire
- The point of this deck is to clog the board, then play Savage Roar for massive damage. If the opponent has any health remaining, your Starfire and whatever minions remain should be enough to clean up. Be sure to use your spells wisely. If you don’t kill them with your all in, or if you never have enough minions, this deck won’t succeed. This deck is extremely susceptible to sweepers, so bear that in mind.
- Hunter’s Mark (★☆☆☆☆) – Same as Moonfire, the chances of this being playable is slim and none. Sure it can reduce a Lord of the Arena to 1 health, but then you have to sacrifice another card to finish it off, ultimately causing you to waste 2 cards to their 1, even under optimum conditions. If I were to fix this card, I would rather solve the Hunter’s lack of silencing abilities by causing it to silence as well, then it can be used in aggressive strategies at the very least.
- Arcane Shot (★★★☆☆) – I consider this to be the middle of the road direct damage spell that I compare to everything else. 2 damage for 1 is good early game, decent mid game, but poor late game, making this the card that sets the middle benchmark for all direct damage. It’s also designed to be just that, allowing players and the designer to compare across the board whether direct damage for other classes should meet, exceed, or go under this spell’s power level. It also allows the beginner players to once again experience how direct damage works early in the game. Because of this duality, I wouldn’t change a thing about arcane shot. It’s designed perfectly, and belongs in the game.
- Tracking (★★☆☆☆) – Great first turn play, but not very good afterwards. Some will compare this to Brainstorm in MTG, completely missing the part where you have to discard the other two cards you look at, not to mention Brainstorm is draw three, not look at three. I suggest playing with this until you find a suitable alternative, or until the power level of your hunter deck’s 1 cost cards exceeds it. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing about this card either, in a design sense. It facilitates a pseudo draw for Hunters, and builds confidence for the player using it.
- Timber Wolf (★★★☆☆) – I’d give this 2.5 stars, but alt + numpad hasn’t evolved in awhile. If you can stick this guy on turn 1, and your opponent let’s it stay, you can consider your next turn fairly well off. Typically you’ll hit a threshold of around 3 beasts and your opponent will deal with it, sooner if you’re playing against a mage. This pup is good for beast rush variants, but has its stats hold it back from being included in any other archetype. I think making this guy a 1/2 would be a suitable fix. Mages get 1/3 Mana Wyrm and Priests get 1/3 Northshire Cleric. Mages naturally have tons of spells and Mana Wyrm keeps the bonus. Priests have a hero ability heal with NS Cleric’s draw ability. I think Timber Wolf’s stats can be upped, even just slightly to compensate.
- Starving Buzzard (★★★★☆) – In CCGs of all kinds, drawing cards is king. If you ever want to see who’s currently winning a game, check both player’s health. If you want to see who will probably be winning in 2-3 turns, see how many relevant cards each player has. If Starving Buzzard sticks around and nets you even one card, you’ve made back your investment by playing it. Any more cards than that is gravy (or frosting, if you prefer). I wouldn’t design this any other way. It dies to most sweepers, and has a huge benefit if it isn’t dealt with right away.
- Animal Companion (★★☆☆☆) – This card creates 1 beast from the following: a 4/2 with charge, a 2/4 that gives all other friendly minions +1 attack, or a 4/4 with taunt. All have their uses in certain situations, however which one you get is completely random, and therein lies the weakness of the card. Designing this to where you choose which beast you got would give Hunter a Druid type of card (design wise) and would shatter expectations of what the hunter can do. This card is only suitable if you get the beast that you need for your particular situation. Due to hwo many variables there are on this card (3 different cards, random, stats, abilities, etc), I can’t give a clear decision on whether I would change it.
- Kill Command (★★★★☆) – Extremely strong direct damage spell, able to take out two of the most annoying defenders in the current build: Sen’jin Shieldmasta and Lord of the Arena, with the added benefits of being extremely cheap and able to be aimed at the opponent’s face. In my opinion this card is near staple quality, and should only be ignored if you have minimal amounts of beasts in your deck, as 3 damage for 3 is nowhere near a quality trade. I wouldn’t design this any different.
- Multi-Shot (★★★★★) – Absolutely amazing. Comparing this across the board, if played on turn 4, will probably kill two minions, meaning you played 1 card to their 2. This will put you well on your way towards winning the mid game. If you happen to have been dropping beasts properly, your opponent will be staring down a stampede of wolves, buzzards, and bears that only a sweeper would be able to handle. The only downside is this card requires your opponent to have two minions in play, meaning turtle strategies like Mage and Priest can make this card utterly useless, especially if they play with Multi-Shot in mind.
- Houndmaster (★★★★☆) – Let’s think of this guy in a different way. Imagine his text was “If you control a beast, this gets +2/+2”. You’d play that, right? Now imagine he also got taunt, so you’re getting a Lord of the Arena on 4. Extreme benefit with that text, but your opponent could then polymorph, SW Death, or use a removal spell to kill him. Since his text requires you to target your beast, I argue he diversifies your board, decreasing the likelihood that your opponent can deal with both him and your now amazing beast card. I only give it 4 stars because it still requires a beast to be beneficial. Amazing card design wise that teaches new players about buffs/importance of taunt minions, as well as blending into the beast mechanical traits of Hunter.
- Tundra Rhino (★★★☆☆) – When I first read this card, my mind surreptitiously inserted the word “other” into the text. This beast’s effect actually gives itself charge as well, meaning you have a 2/5 charge that gives your other beasts charge. Can end games quicker than a flash, provided you have cheap beasts cluttering your hand, but the chances are minimal that this could happen. Best case, you can play him and mop up your opponent’s minions, paving the way for a victory down the road. Some may say he should be turn 4, but then he would be a strictly better Stormwind Knight, throwing off the card balance completely. I like where this is at, and it facilitates the 5 drop spot for newbie beast decks beautifully.
Basic card only Hunter decklist
- 2x Arcane Shot
- 1x Tracking
- 2x Timber Wolf
- 2x Bloodfen Raptor
- 2x Novice Engineer
- 2x River Crocolisk
- 2x Starving Buzzard
- 2x Animal Companion
- 2x Kill Command
- 2x Silverback Patriarch
- 2x Multi-Shot
- 2x Houndmaster
- 2x Tundra Rhino
- 1x Boulderfist Ogre
- 2x Lord of the Arena
- 2x Core Hound
- Your basic beast centric deck. Primarily, this deck will lose out to a large threat with more than 5 toughness, and (again) to sweepers, though not as badly as the Druid above. Make sure to save your Kill Command and Multi-Shot for when it’s truly necessary, and not just when the opponent plays a Murloc Tidehunter.
- Arcane Missiles (★★☆☆☆) – Fantastic damage for the cost, though at the expense of accuracy. As a small bonus, AM can hit stealthed minions since it does not require a target, adding a nifty ability to mage’s already expansive repertoire. The randomness of this spell makes or breaks it. Sometimes it will seem like the game loves you with all 3 missiles hitting your opponent’s 3/3 taunter, paving the way for an otherwise unwinnable game. Other times it will seem like the only way it could’ve gone worse is if the missiles turned and hit you in the face. Pairing this with Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Gadgetzan Auctioneer will give you a free spell with a draw, really ramping up your deck’s speed. I wouldn’t design this spell any other way, as it’s effect and damage display exactly what arcane magic was not only in WoW but also the WoW TCG: unreliable, cheap damage.
- Mirror Image (★★☆☆☆) – Playing this on turn 1 is absolutely amazing, but anywhere past then makes this a near dead draw. I rank it slightly higher than a heal due to 1 factor: opponent error. A heal will only ever heal you for its printer value, plus any bonuses it may have. However, a taunter made by Mirror Image is different. Sure it only has 2 health, but it can block however much damage your opponent is willing to hit it with, meaning it has the potential to mitigate more damage than your standard heal. The fact that it creates two minions also allows you to get additional benefits off of minion centric strategies (Knife Juggler, Raid Leader, etc). This spell replicates it’s design sense perfectly, giving the mage the stall it needs to go to late game, where it can truly rain ice and fire on the opponent.
- Arcane Explosion (★★★☆☆) – Standard early game sweeper spell. This has an extremely cheap cost, and will guarantee you have board control from turns 1-3, barring any buff shenanigans (looking at you, Paladin). This does not target, so it can kill a pesky stealthed Blood Imp if you need to, and its damage can be increased via plus spell damage minions. The downside? AE is terrible in the mid to late game, having near zero effect once minions hit the 4-5 health range. Playing against a well seasoned opponent will make this spell near useless as well, as they will refuse to over commit to the board, leaving you with this stuck in your hand. This spell’s design serves many purposes. It teaches new players about sweepers in a simple way, and it also gives players will less of a card pool a way to affect the game state in a powerful way. Wouldn’t change a thing!
- Frost Nova (★★★☆☆) – In MTG, there’s a well known spell called “Time Walk”, which cheaply allows the caster to take an extra turn. Some cards have such an amazing effect, that they can be considered a pseudo Time Walk, keeping the game state from changing, and giving you an opportunity to keep the flow the way it is, or have extra time to change it. Frost Nova does just that, but only that, provided your opponent’s hero doesn’t have a weapon. At the lower levels, playing a Frost Nova typically elicits an opponent to play even more minions, playing right into your Arcane Explosion or Flamestrike, giving you greater value for your cards. At the higher levels, opponent’s will bide their time, take their new shiny mana crystal, maybe use their hero ability, and simply wait and see what you have up your sleeve. Frost Nova is a fantastic stall spell, but, like healing, does nothing beyond that. Since healing doesn’t freeze the game state and Frost Nova does, it makes it much better in the end (again, can mitigate more damage as well). This card is perfectly designed and, unlike its WoW TCG counterpart, does no damage, does is at half cost. Giving this spell damage would make it strictly better than Arcane Explosion, giving Frost Nova its own niche and separating its design sense from AE.
- Frostbolt (★★★☆☆) – For a mage spell, the cost to damage ratio on this spell is a little higher than normal, however you get a freeze on top. Bear in mind, you can use this to freeze the opponent’s hero, giving Frostbolt an additional benefit over its sweeper cousin, Frost Nova. The downside is if you use Frostbolt to destroy a minion with 3 or less health, you lose out on the bonus freeze effect, making the cost slightly worse. The three damage on FB makes it good from turns 1-3, however after that you’ll be relying on the freeze effect to help out. Because you can use Frostbolt to chunk away at the opponent’s health, I highly suggest playing it in any mage build. This does exactly what it should do, and is nearly identical to its WoW TCG counterpart, in its text and in its art.
- Arcane Intellect (★★☆☆☆) – With all draw abilities, what truly matters is what you draw. Sure you may have more cards in hand than your opponent, but if you’re on turn ten, and you have Murloc Raiders and an assortment of one cost cards, you’ll soon be on the receiving end of a sweeper from the opponent, and quickly chalk up a loss. Typically when I play this spell, I check how many cards are left in my deck, then think about what I could draw. Constantly count what cards you could have left in your deck, then calculate whether the 3 cost to play Arcane Intellect is worth it to try digging up that answer to your current problem. Design wise, this card is perfect again. Mage’s need extra cards to burst down the opponent, and AI will help you find those extra cards.
- Fireball (★★★☆☆) – Great damage for the same cost ratio as Frostbolt. This card will melt powerful taunters like Lord of the Arena and Sen’Jin Shieldmasta, or can even provide a fantastic direct damage spell to your opponent. However, if you aim to kill something with Fireball, make sure it actually finishes them off, otherwise your opponent can recover, making it seem as if you never played a Fireball. This spell fits the bill for spot removal in the mid to late game, giving mages everywhere an excellent control or aggro mechanism. Designed perfectly, and balanced well with its icy counterpart, I highly suggest playing Fireball for all mages who’s deck has issues with the mid to late game scene.
- Polymorph (★★★★☆) – The only reason this doesn’t get 5 stars is because it gives your opponent a 1/1 beast. While normally not mattering, the beast can become a benefit to an opposing Hunter, and that 1 power can be the difference in a game, however small. Regardless, the main play with Polymorph in the late game is to target a high profile minion, then use your hero ability to destroy it. Early game this card is at its weakest, but it continuously gains strength as the game goes on. Love the design on this card, though sometimes I wonder if the cost isn’t high enough. However, changing it at this stage would require a complete re-balancing of all removal spells like it.
- Water Elemental (★☆☆☆☆) – Cost is way too high, along with its stats to make this card worth playing. Thankfully, the majority of players see this cards inherent weakness, and choose not to play it. If I had to suggest a way to balance it and make it usable, a 2 cost 1/3 with the same effect might see some extremely narrow play. However, with the opponent able to currently choose which minions do (and do not) attack it, this card is forever doomed to sit in your collection and look pretty. If you are looking for a minion that freezes, you should be playing the Frost Elemental in the neutral minion section.
- Flamestrike (★★★★☆) – Nearly the king of all sweepers. Very few minions cannot be killed by this spell, and even if it can’t, an arcane missile even slightly in your favor can clean up anything left after you scour your opponent’s side of the board. Adding plus damage to this makes it even stronger, and even a slight +1 spell damage will enable you to clean out the opponent’s side 90%+ of the time. Only the strongest minions survive after this, and nearly none of them are taunters. Be sure you have some form of board presence after playing this, or at least be sure your opponent is low on cards. Amazing card, and wouldn’t design it any other way.
Basic card only Mage decklist
- 2x Arcane Missiles
- 2x Mirror Image
- 2x Arcane Explosion
- 2x Frost Nova
- 2x Frostbolt
- 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2x Kobold Geomancer
- 2x Arcane Intellect
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- 2x Silverback Patriarch
- 2x Fireball
- 2x Polymorph
- 2x Nightblade
- 2x Lord of the Arena
- 2x Flamestrike
- You must play very cautiously when running this deck. Don’t be afraid to take damage if it is necessary to keep a spell in your hand. A few times while practicing with this deck, I would take 7-10 damage just to wait for my opponent to over commit to the board, only to wipe them out next turn with a Flamestrike. You should play your taunters, then wait for your opponent to over commit before taking over the game. Don’t be afraid to Frostbolt just to slow the opponent down, that’s why it is there.
- Light’s Justice (★☆☆☆☆) – Typically weapons in HS present an amazing opportunity to guarantee getting 2 or even 3 cards for 1, especially if you’re playing the aggressively costed warrior. However, this weapon simply isn’t worth it. Playing this card to only deal 1 damage an attack will end up causing you to take more damage than deal, ultimately putting you in a worse position. If you could increase the damage substantially, I would put maybe another star on it, but at this time this weapon should be avoided at all costs. I know this is meant as an introductory weapon for the Paladin, and also meant as a teaching tool, however there’s no reason it couldn’t be decent at the same time. My initial suggestion is to increase the cost to 2, then make this a 2/2 weapon. This way, you can at least trade with 1 or 2 drops enough to be worth it, you still allow the warrior to have its aggressive Fiery War Axe (different class begets different costing measures), and still remains simple enough for a beginner to understand by being textless.
- Blessing of Might (★★★☆☆) – For the cost, this card is absolutely amazing. Once you are certain your opponent doesn’t have an answer, drop this on a mediocre minion to make it a complete monster, forcing your opponent to deal with it. The downside is if your opponent does have an answer, then you just 2 for 1’d yourself. I find using it on a 1/1 I created with my hero ability to trade up is a great idea. I wish this gave health, but flavor wins in this case. This card does exactly what it should do, and emulates its source material perfectly. No changes suggested!
- Hand of Protection (★★★★☆) – Same issue as Blessing of Might above, except you can use this card on a minion you have to ensure it survives vs. another minion, guaranteeing you at least break even with it. Be sure that when you use this card, you use the shield to destroy an opposing minion that is better than you minion you’re attacking with, otherwise you’ve only lost out. I suggest running this card, especially in a charge centric deck with high damage minions. I suggest playing this card when you can, but only if it fits with your overall deck strategy. Another perfectly designed card which also teaches new players about how awesome divine shield can be.
- Humility (★★☆☆☆) – Mediocre card late game, absolutely worthless anytime before that. By using this, you haven’t actually removed the card you targeted, only made it a slightly smaller threat. It still deals damage, and it still has an effect (if any), and, at the end of the day, it’s still a minion on the board. Consider this a poor man’s silence, and you get the gist of what I’m saying. I would much rather this make the minion’s attack 0 rather than 1. If you’re being humbled, typically you aren’t aggressive at all, so why set their attack to 1? I’m assuming it’s so I can’t run one of my 1/1’s I created into it for free, but the card still has it’s max health, while with Polymorph and Hex, both attack AND health are changed. This is supposed to function like the Paladin’s Hex/Polymorph, but ends up falling a bit short. I suggest making this card change their attack to 0, or, even more extreme, cost 2, change their attack to 1 AND silence them. That way the card trades on power with Earth Shock.
- Holy Light (★★☆☆☆) – If you haven’t read through my explanation of why healing is typically bad, see “Healing Touch” under the Druid section. This card is here to simply establish the Paladin’s identity as a warrior/healer, as well as show the mechanics of healing off. I would suggest never playing this card, not even in your first basic card deck. You will typically find that, when you draw this card, you would rather it be anything else besides a simple heal.
- Truesilver Champion (★★★☆☆) – This card is pretty good for what it does. It will enable you to kill off a few minions, while mitigating the damage they deal back. This will help you pave the way for your minions to finish the game, a la warrior decks. I suggest playing this until you find a suitable alternative (Sword of Justice). If you’re looking to play a minion buff and swarm strategy, you don’t need to play this at all. The main downside to TC is its cost. Going second means you’ll probably be looking down a minion that has five health, meaning it’s just out of TC’s reach to kill. However, this weapon will kill anything turn 3 and under, so it’s a great starter weapon. I wouldn’t change a thing about this card. Its power level fits the rarity, and it marries the weapon + healing aspects of the Paladin amazingly well.
- Blessing of Kings (★★★★☆) – Turning a 1/1 into a 5/5 turns it into an instant “deal with me or else” type of card, making this a near staple for Paladins. This, like divine shield, can enable a smaller minion to contend with larger costed behemoths without breaking a sweat, and still survive to boot. I highly suggest playing this card, possibly in a Paladin control variant. Wouldn’t change a thing here!
- Consecration (★★★☆☆) – The main issue with the Paladin comes to light thanks to this card. Because the Paladin and Priest occupy the same design space (damage + heal), this ends up being a weaker version of Holy Nova, mostly Nova has interactions with Northshire Cleric and its healing goes up the more targets there is. Sure, Nova costs 1 more, but the extra healing more than offsets that. Still, Consecration is the Paladin’s only sweeper of use, so in a vacuum it works out. I suggest changing this spell so you tie the Paladin’s main difference from Cleric in: the usage of a weapon. If you wanted Light’s Justice to see play, you could have it say “Deals damage equal to the durability of your weapon”. However, if you didn’t want it to tie to a weapon, and more to the buffs side of Paladin, you could have it cost 5, and “Deal 2 damage to all enemies. All friendly minions get +1/+1 this turn.”
- Hammer of Wrath (★★★☆☆) – Expensive spot removal that only destroys minions of turn 3 or less, but does replace itself with a new card. Can be useful under most circumstances, though during the late game you will mainly be using it to trade evenly after running one of your minions into the opponent’s. I think this card works perfectly and as intended: It should cost more than usual because Paladin focuses on bettering its own minions, not removing the opponent’s directly. I suggest playing with this card, as it will probably be your main source of spot removal for a time.
- Guardian of Kings (★★☆☆☆) – Same speech about healing, but this time you get a minion with great stats on top of it. The stats are good, just not good for turn 7. Nine times out of ten, I’d rather have a Lord of the Arena, since taunt is ultimately more useful than healing for 6. This guy could find a home in a Paladin control deck, but there are still better neutral minions for you to be playing. The fact that the heal can only target your hero makes the card even less viable. I’d definitely suggest allowing it to heal anything, bump its cost to 8, then give it taunt. He isn’t much of a “Guardian” if he can’t defend against an attack.
Basic card only Paladin decklist
- 2x Blessing of Might
- 2x Hand of Protection
- 1x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2x Bloodfen Raptor
- 2x Novice Engineer
- 2x Scarlet Crusader
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- 2x Wolfrider
- 2x Truesilver Champion
- 2x Blessing of Kings
- 2x Consecration
- 2x Hammer of Wrath
- 2x Stormwind Knight
- 2x Nightblade
- 2x Reckless Rocketeer
- 1x Core Hound
- The charge/divine shield build I was referring to. You want to hold back until your opponent makes a mistake, then make them pay dearly for it. If they overcommit, wipe the board with a Consecration. If they play a big creature, crush it with Blessing of Might/Blessing of Kings on a minion. If they try to tempo you, out tempo them with divine shielded minions. In the end, this deck has burst potential, and really shows its teeth during the mid game.
- Holy Smite (★★★☆☆) – Same card as Arcane Shot, both in cost and in usage. The only slight awkward benefit this has is its synergy with Northshire Cleric. If Holy Smite won’t win you the game, and your up against the wall, you can smite your own minion, then heal it with your hero ability to get a different card. I can only think of one game out of hundreds where this mattered, but it always helps to know that the option exists. I honestly think this card is way too aggressively costed for a control class like Priest. It would be neat if this cost 4, dealt 2, then set the target’s attack to its new health total if it wasn’t destroyed. This would reflect the passive attitude Priests have until later in the game.
- Mind Vision (★★☆☆☆) – Don’t play this card. You have no clue what you’re getting, and it only replaces itself. You could get something that doesn’t aid you in your current play situation, or you could get something downright terrible. The only upside is you get insight on a single card in your opponent’s hand. I suggest never playing this card unless you absolutely have to.
- Power Word: Shield (★★★★☆) – Absolutely amazing. Not only does it add survivability to a minion, but it also replaces itself, all wrapped in an extremely cheap package. No reason not to play this card. I honestly think its too strong in its current iteration. Making it cost 2 would be perfect for the text as it is now. Until then, play two copies of this card all the time.
- Northshire Cleric (★★★★★★) – Absolutely, nuts. This card is WAY off the reservation in terms of strength. a 1/3 on 1 can survive anything your opponent can play, barring any cards with obvious downsides (Flame Imp). If your opponent decides to play any minion and it doesn’t have 3 attack, then on turn 2 you get a free card as your Northshire Cleric swings in, takes damage, and is healed by your hero ability. Don’t forget that if you do a mass heal like, say, Holy Nova, you draw 1 for each minion healed. Also add in that if your opponent heals their minions, you draw as well. No other class can generate this much card advantage this early in the game, making her an automatic 2 of at any level when it comes to playing Priest. Northshire Cleric needs a hard nerf, and is one of the few Priest only cards actually damaging to the meta in my opinion. Making her a 1/2 instead of a 1/3 would fix a great deal of her issues, and would require the Priest to play a Power Word: Shield to make her truly shine. Also, her text needs to be changed to only allow the player to draw if a friendly minion is drawn. Both of these would be steps in the proper direction.
- Divine Spirit (★★★☆☆) – I’m not a huge fan of this card, since Power Word: Shield typically gets me above whatever issue I can see coming. Granted, this card is amazing against any class without a kill spell or a polymorph-esque spell, but I don’t see the draw of doubling a minions power. Few cards really benefit from this spell, the most powerful of such being Lightspawn. If you decide to build a deck centered around minions who benefit from this card, more power to you, but for now, I suggest playing the card initially, and slowly phasing it out as you continue to find better strategies/cards.
- Mind Blast (★★☆☆☆) – Another card that gives Priest way more aggression than they should have. I wouldn’t play with this card unless you are playing a minion rush strategy, in which case there are other classes that are much better. Design wise, I feel this is slightly flawed, and could’ve been made better. There is only 1 archetype that I don’t see represented very well that can be for Priest: discard effects. Priest wins by slowly taking control of the game, so why can’t this card limit the opponent’s options and push that control a little more in your favor? I suggest the cost increase to 3, and the effect be “Your opponent discards 1 card at random from their hand”.
- Shadow Word: Pain (★★★★★) – One of the best removal spells in the game. Gets around divine shield and other effects, and kills a great number of minion ranging from 1-4 cost. Always play 2 copies of this card. There isn’t much to be said about this, and the card does exactly what it was designed to do. I only wish it was a common and not a basic card. Priest is one of the best decks because its so cheap to make, which causes everyone to play it, which in turn makes more people lose to it, which segues into public backlash. I feel that if a few of the amazing Priest cards had been shifted to the expert part of the game, this could have been avoided.
- Shadow Word: Death (★★★★★) – The flip side to pain is death, and this card does not disappoint. Always run 2 copies of this in any Priest deck you play to match the other. The same point I stated about Pain can be said about Death, though I would make Death a rare and not a common. If this was done, I wouldn’t change the text on this card.
- Holy Nova (★★★★★) – The cadillac of sweeper spells. This also synergizes fantastically well with Northshire Cleric, drawing you cards for every minion you heal with the Nova. Always run 2 copies of this as well. I highly suggest this card be changed to deal 1 damage and heal 1 health, forcing Priest players to think if they want to build into this with spell damage. It is already better than every other sweeper spell in the mid game, and Priest should not be such an aggressively costed class.
- Mind Control (★★★★★★★) – Say what you want, but this card is absolutely amazing. If you have ever considered not playing two copies, you aren’t playing the proper class or the proper strategy for a Priest. Conversely, this card has the easiest change to balance it: make it take a random enemy minion, not your choice. By at least giving the opposing player a chance, you give them a little bit of hope. The majority of players dread playing against Priest if only for this card, and changing it would do everyone a service of the grandest regard.
Basic card only Priest decklist
- 2x Holy Smite
- 2x Power Word: Shield
- 2x Goldshire Footman
- 2x Northshire Cleric
- 2x Shadow Word: Pain
- 2x Frostwolf Grunt
- 2x Shadow Word: Death
- 1x Ironfur Grizzly
- 1x Silverback Patriarch
- 2x Sen’jin Shieldmasta
- 2x Holy Nova
- 2x Darkscale Healer
- 2x Gurubashi Berserker
- 2x Lord of the Arena
- 2x Stormwind Champion
- 2x Mind Control
- Play cautiously from turns 1-4 by playing taunters, then crush your opponent in the late game with your overly large minions, removal, and by Mind Controlling any major threats. This is the best deck you can build out of all of the basic only decks in this post, and I highly suggest getting level 10 with Priest first so you can start gathering money by playing against normal people.
*Please note: Because Rogue is a “combo” playstyle (see the section labeled “Playstyles” below for a description), all cards may be judged as weaker due to being judged as a card by itself.
- Backstab (★★★☆☆) – Will carry you through turns 0-2 fairly well, but falls off a cliff in terms of usability afterwards. This card single handedly makes sure you don’t get blown out by something like a Knife Juggler whehn your opponent starts with the coin. I like this card as it is design wise and wouldn’t change a thing about it at this time.
- Deadly Poison (★★☆☆☆) – Reads as strong, but isn’t quite up to snuff. Think of it this way: you play a weapon that will inevitably break. By putting this card on the weapon, your investing into a card that is guaranteed to leave play in an established amount of time. Still there isn’t anything wrong in a design sense with this card, however there are better cards to be playing once you have an established Rogue deck.
- Sinister Strike (★☆☆☆☆) – Don’t play this card under any circumstances. It may work in a combo type deck, but the damage for the cost isn’t worth it, and it can’t even be aimed at minions. A suggested fix for this card would be to leaves its cost at 1, then have it deal damage equal to your equipped weapon’s attack to something. Yes, to anything, just in case you want to trigger your own enrage keyword. Then I would say this card is definitely worth playing.
- Sap (★★★☆☆) – Good, but not great. This will only help you to gain a slight advantage on the board, however it has the huge downside that it will re-activate any of your opponent’s battlecry effects if the target has one. Typically, Sap will help you to keep advantage, or to delay an advantage your opponent currently has. This will buy you a turn, provided the minion doesn’t have charge. I wouldn’t change a thing about this card, as it fits perfectly with the Rogue’s current archetype direction.
- Shiv (★☆☆☆☆) – Don’t bother playing this card, as it has been completely nerfed into the ground. The cost should be put to 1, and the text should be “deal 1 damage. Combo: draw 1 card”. This would enable the card to keep the level of power it had before, albeit slightly lowered and a little slower. Don’t play this under any circumstances in its current iteration.
- Fan of Knives (★★☆☆☆) – Another card that is completely useless in the currently deck. Without substantial testing, I don’t have an automatic answer for how to fix it. My brain is telling me to put “Combo: deal 1 damage to all enemy minions”, that way it deals 2, but my gut says that would be way too strong. Compared to something that’s a sweeper and costs 1 less like Arcane Explosion it would be too strong then. Safest change is to drop the cost to 2, then add the card draw to Combo, much like the Shiv change. Also having the 1 damage hit every enemy would be good as well.
- Assassin’s Blade (★★☆☆☆) – This card reads as really good, but when compared to something like Truesilver Champion, it comes off as weaker. Truesilver Champion deals 8 damage total and heals 4, giving a total health change of 12, and it costs 4. This has a health change of 12, but costs 2 more, and takes significantly longer before the damage adds up. I only suggest playing with this until you pilfer yourself a pair of Perdition Blades.
- Assassinate (★★★★★) – Amazing, always play two copies. The only way this card is bad is if you aim it at a lackluster target. Stealth dodges it as well, however that doesn’t make this a terrible card in the slightest. I suggest saving this card until later in the game, when your opponent is getting truly desperate. Wouldn’t change a thing about this card.
- Vanish (★★★☆☆) – Resets the board, but to what end? If you spend a turn to play this (which you probably will) you better be sure you have a lot of battlecry effects to make it worth it. Simply based on the cost to play Vanish, I wouldn’t put it in my Rogue build, but perhaps I’m not seeing a use? Comment below and let me know!
- Sprint (★★☆☆☆) – I only give this two stars because it draws 4 cards, but the cost makes it near unplayable. I would absolutely love it if this card drew 3 instead, and had “Combo: this card costs 2 less to play”. If that is still too weak, then moving the cost down to 5 and removing the combo would be the next step to try. In any case, You can play with this, but I don’t suggest it.
Basic card only Rogue decklist
- Honestly, I wouldn’t build Rogue until you get some of the amazing rares Rogue has. Of note are SI:7 Agent, Master of Disguise, and Headcrack. Once you get these, then you can build a decent combo/stealth deck.
- Ancestral Healing (☆☆☆☆☆) – Take my logic of all healing from before, but limit its use to only your minions, and you get the score I have above. Don’t ever play this card. If you want to heal, there’s far better classes to do it with. In terms of design, I don’t find this card salvageable in its current iteration, and suggest it be scrapped and redone, perhaps with a different spell that the Shaman deck actually needs to be more competitive. You’ll see in a great of deal other cards that are Shaman specific the general issue: most Shaman cards don’t push you towards victory, they only stall the board out.
- Totemic Might (★☆☆☆☆) – Another card that doesn’t push you to victory, but stalls out the board. TM is only good if you get the taunt totem with the heal totem, and even then you’ve already put 4 resources into that board position, which doesn’t further you. If this cost 2, and gave all your totems +1/+1, then we may have something to work with. As it stands, this (again) only stalls the board out, and even then that’s only if you hit the taunt totem. Don’t suggest playing this card.
- Frost Shock (★★☆☆☆) – Great for stalling until the later turns, but doesn’t actually deal enough damage to be a threat. This will give you an extra turn if your opponent only has one threat out, but won’t do much else. Yet another Shaman card that falls into the same issue as the cards above. Still, the card is very flavorful, and should be left as is: a cheap removal/stall spell for a midrange style deck.
- Rockbiter Weapon (★★★☆☆) – Pretty good card, and balanced perfectly with the Paladin’s Blessing of Might. You can use Rockbiter on yourself, which may give you that extra damage you need to defeat your opponent. I suggest using this on a card that has Windfury, essentially giving you an extra 6 damage potential for the turn. Wouldn’t change a thing about this card!
- Windfury (★☆☆☆☆) – The only reason this is ranked worse than Frost Shock is because it requires you to control a minion in order to be relevant. This reliance is ultimately Windfury’s downfall. Still wouldn’t change a thing about it, as sneaking a Windfury on a stealthed minion is an amazing play that typically seals games in a heartbeat, something all Shaman players are familiar with. I don’t suggest playing this unless you absolutely have to, even then I suggest playing Windfury minions instead.
- Flametongue Totem (★★★★☆) – Definitely a playable card, especially if you play it in the correct position and learn to attack properly to maximize the efficiency of the bonus you get from it. Playing this in between two of your summoned totems gives you amazing value that your opponent will have to deal with before it becomes a problem. Definitely play two of this in any deck where you are aiming for a minion type of victory. Amazing card, and wouldn’t change a thing about it.
- Hex (★★★★★) – Obvious two of in any Shaman deck you ever play. Not only does it remove all prior text, bonus’, or given effects, your opponent is left with a 0/1 that is near useless. The only backlash your opponent can do is if their a Hunter, since the newly christened Frog counts as a beast type. Amazing card, balanced cost wise with the mage’s Polymorph by the Frog gaining taunt and 0 attack. Wouldn’t change a thing.
- Windspeaker (★★☆☆☆) – This card brings up a topic that’s been bugging me: why can’t this card affect itself? Battlecry says the effect happens when I “play it from my hand”. I understand that the gist of targeting for this game is to decide the target before it enters play, however this again goes against the norm of the majority of CCGs. It will cause a great deal of confusion at first because of the disparity, but eventually people will grow to accept it as the norm for this game exclusively. However, because Windspeaker cannot target itself, it falls into the same category of Windfury: it requires another minion to target, and a 3/3 for 4 isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination. If the stats were slightly better (4/4 would be fine considering Chillwind Yeti is a 4/5 for 4, and this is Shaman specific), then this card would be considerably better. For now, I can’t suggest playing this card.
- Bloodlust (★★★★☆) – Amazing card if you are going for the minion rush. If you have a bevy of totems out, this will give them some serious teeth and make your opponent reconsider ever letting a Shaman keep their totems in the future. I don’t suggest playing this if you’re going for a windfury type of build, though you can play a single copy if you feel like randomly blowing your opponent out. Wouldn’t change a thing about this card, as it’s balanced very well next to other global buffs of the same type (Savage Roar).
- Fire Elemental (★★☆☆☆) – Amazing card for Arena play, but terrible in normal constructed. I don’t suggest playing this card, as many of the neutral minions sport much better stats and typically have better effects to boot (Lord of the Arena). I don’t suggest playing this card unless you absolutely have to (unless it’s the Arena, in which case, go wild!). I wouldn’t fix this in its current state, since it’s obviously designed to function in the Arena rather than in constructed.
Basic card only Shaman decklist
- 2x Rockbiter Weapon
- 2x Goldshire Footman
- 2x Windfury
- 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2x Flametongue Totem
- 2x Novice Engineer
- 2x Hex
- 2x Raid Leader
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- 2x Dragonling Mechanic
- 2x Sen’jin Shieldmasta
- 2x Windspeaker
- 1x Bloodlust
- 1x Darkscale Healer
- 1x Frostwolf Warlord
- 1x Fire Elemental
- 1x Reckless Rocketeer
- 1x Stormwind Champion
- I highly suggest waiting until you get some of the Shaman’s better spells, but here is a basic list regardless. You have to make a crucial decision around turn 2: do you want to minion swarm, or wait until the late game and push with larger minions that are difficult to deal with? Be sure to force your opponent to use their major removal on other threats before you play the large minions, or else you’ll find yourself in a losing position very quickly.
- Sacrificial Pact (★☆☆☆☆) – Well, at least it works in the mirror match, otherwise you’ll need to pair it with something like Imp Master to even be remotely worth it. Don’t ever play this card, as there are other cards that heal and have a much stronger affect on the game state. I’d much rather this destroy a demon, then draw a card, but that’s because of my abrupt hatred of healing. A very small part of me feels like this can see use in some kind of wacky build, but right now that isn’t within my grasp.
- Soulfire (★☆☆☆☆) – If Warlock had a way to generate positive card draw, this would be amazing to play. However, since all Warlock does is replace cards it uses, this card will forever be something I suggest you never play. I still wouldn’t fix it by any means, however, as it does illustrate the Warlock’s innate ability to cause harm to itself for a bonus, though I would love to see the cost go to 1 and the damage go to 5.
- Corruption (★★★★☆) – An absolute must in any Warlock deck. This will help you deal with any threat your sweepers can’t deal with, and there are a great deal of them. Use this to pave the way for your huge minions to beat your opponent’s face in, or to simply sway the board in your favor during your next turn. Wouldn’t change a thing on this one.
- Mortal Coil (★★★★☆) – Amazing when your board can push the draw card in your favor. For the cost, the extra card comes at a near free cost when it happens, as such I must suggest you play two copies of this great spell. The only reason you wouldn’t play this card is if you have a playstyle that doesn’t get along well with this (like a rock type deck, which Warlocks are fantastic at).
- Voidwalker (★★★☆☆) – Fairly good early game taunter, with a slight stat boost compared to its neutral counterpart, Goldshire Footman. Play this card if you don’t plan on playing a rush type of deck, as it will clog up the board long enough for you to start controlling the flow of the game with sweepers like Hellfire.
- Succubus (★★☆☆☆) – Can’t suggest playing something that can be easily removed by a single card when it costs you two cards overall. If the health on this minion were slightly better, then it would go into the playable column, however the 3 health leaves it vulnerable to a laundry list of removal spells/minions. Making this a 3/4 would make it much more playable in my opinion, and would even give this card the chance to survive your own Hellfire, making it that much better.
- Drain Life (★★★☆☆) – I could take or leave this card. The 2 damage will allow you to kill turn 1-2 minions, but will fall off in terms of usability during the turn you can finally play it. On the positive side, it does gain you life, which will enable you to life tap an additional time during the game. I wouldn’t change this card one bit!
- Shadow Bolt (★★★☆☆) – I would rate this a 3.5, but I can’t bump it up to a 4 star rating because it only hits minions. I am NOT suggesting they bump this up to hit players as well, as that would make the card way too strong across the board. This is a great direct damage spell that can be use in aggressive decks to pave the way to the opponent’s face for all your minions to bash on. No changes here.
- Hellfire (★★★★★) – An absolute must have in any Warlock deck wanting to play a “rock” type variant filled with huge minions. If you play minions with large amounts of health, this will ensure they live and the rest of the board dies, giving you complete board advantage and pushing your opponent into a corner right off the bat. Highly suggest playing this unless you are playing aggro, in which case this spell cannot be played because of the high probability of it backfiring on you.
- Dread Infernal (★★★☆☆) – Again, great in a deck wanting to run big health creatures with sweepers, however the cost makes it much less enticing. There are plenty of other creatures that have sweeper type of effects that are much cheaper and better than this guy, however they tend to come in a rare flavor. I suggest playing this until you get yourself someone more efficient to replace him. No changes on this card!
Basic card only Warlock decklist
- 2x Corruption
- 2x Mortal Coil
- 2x Goldshire Footman
- 2x Voidwalker
- 2x Voodoo Doctor
- 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2x Novice Engineer
- 2x Shadow Bolt
- 2x Ironfur Grizzly
- 2x Hellfire
- 2x Sen’jin Shieldmasta
- 2x Darkscale Healer
- 2x Gurubashi Berserker
- 2x Dread Infernal
- 2x Lord of the Arena
- Your goal with this deck is to sweep the board and stick a huge threat immediately afterwards that your opponent will have to deal with or lose the game. Use the Voodoo Doctor to keep any of your already large minions out of range from your Hellfire if you have to, that’s why he’s there. Be sure to use Gurubashi Berserker before playing Hellfire so you can get the bonus damage on him.
- Charge (★★☆☆☆) – Has the exact same issue as Windfury for the Shaman, however you can use charge to instantly place a minion in a threatening position, or even win the game before your opponent can do anything about it. I don’t suggest playing this card, mostly because the warrior cards tend to already come with charge on them. This card is completely overshadowed by the Warsong Commander, meaning they shouldn’t be played in the same deck. Still, I wouldn’t change this card in any way.
- Execute (★★★☆☆) – This card is a decent removal card to start your foray into warriors with, however as soon as you get a few decent weapons you can get rid of it. The warrior should be using his weapons to destroy any threats to his flow, not using this card to kill minions. A single arcanite reaper will destroy 99% of threats, making this card obsolete as soon as you finish unlocking all of the warrior basic cards. Moreover, if you have to use this to kill a minion, then you already have more than likely spent another card to damage it initially, meaning you’ve lost two cards to one already. Still, this card has its uses, and I don’t suggest changing it.
- Whirlwind (★★★☆☆) – Goes fantastic in an enrage deck, but is otherwise useless. Enrage is a archetype variant available to Warrior, and this should be a 2 of in your deck if you plan on trying for it. Otherwise, this is best left in the binder and away from your deck. I don’t suggest any change for this card, as it fulfills everything an enrage deck needs.
- Fiery War Axe (★★★★☆) – No reason not to run this amazing card in any warrior deck you make. The warrior’s prime strength comes from the weapons it uses to either clear your opponent’s board out, or to rush to victory even faster. I wouldn’t suggest changing this card in any way.
- Cleave (★★☆☆☆) – Not a bad card, but only when it is played on turn 1 or 2, which means your opponent was rushing you. Because it can only be used when you’re being a rushed, that makes the usage of Cleave very narrow, meaning it only applies its full power in a specific situation. Because of this, I don’t advise running it. I wish this did something different from Multi-shot. My suggestion is to change the text to “give 2 damage to target minion, and 1 damage to a random minion next to it”. The randomness is still maintained, the damage is slightly lowered, but the card functions differently in every way from Multi-shot.
- Heroic Strike (★★☆☆☆) – Okay if you don’t have a weapon, but is usually overkill if you do. Since your depending on your weapons to deal hero damage, I don’t suggest playing this card, as the need for an extra 4 damage in any circumstance is slim and none, again making the usage of this card very narrow. I still wouldn’t change this card in any way however, as it shows the basic flavor of how the warrior works, and does have its uses for early adopters of the warrior’s way.
- Shield Block (★★☆☆☆) – Armor has a slight benefit over healing in that there isn’t a limit to the maximum amount of armor you can have. Until Blizzard differentiates healing from armor, armor will always be mechanically better because of this factor. This card is okay if you plan on being very defensive, but there are better classes for playing that type of deck, and until more cards are released for a protection type warrior build, I can’t suggest playing this card.
- Warsong Commander (★★★★★) – Absolutely nuts is the only way I can put it. Late in this game, this will allow you to push for the win in a sudden manner, so sudden in fact that most opponents (including the annoying mage) will be unprepared for the onslaught the Warsong Commander brings with her. Always play two copies of this card in any warrior deck, and be sure to use her sparingly, as her effect is extremely unique and will attract the endless ire of the opponent the second she hits play.
- Kor’kron Elite (★★★★☆) – Amazing card that I suggest always playing again. The stats for the cost are already decent, but to get charge on top of that pushes this card into staple level power. This guy will be a huge threat if you play him on 3 or 4, and will always be a card in the back of the opponent’s mind when they don’t have taunters out. I find this to be an amazing card and wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Arcanite Reaper (★★★★☆) – Another amazing weapon for the warrior. This will enable you to destroy 90% of threats the opponent may play against you. I have found that simply having this weapon out will cause my opponent to hesitate on what minion they play next. Be sure to only attack with this weapon when you need to, since it only has 2 durability. Yet another amazing card I wouldn’t change in any way.
Basic card only Warrior decklist
- 2x Charge
- 2x Execute
- 2x Murloc Raider
- 2x Fiery War Axe
- 2x Cleave
- 2x Heroic Strike
- 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- 2x Warsong Commander
- 2x Kor’kron Elite
- 2x Sen’jin Shieldmasta
- 2x Arcanite Reaper
- 2x Nightblade
- 2x Reckless Rocketeer
- 2x Core Hound
- Use your weapons only to remove potential threats to your minions. Only use them to attack the opponent directly if it will end the game on the same turn. Heroic Strike should be used the exact same way: clear the threats and let the minions whittle the opponent down. Very easy deck to play, and even easier to update once you get a few of the expert level commons from the packs.
- Elven Archer (★☆☆☆☆) – It triggers enrage and Gurubashi Berserker’s text, but other than that I wouldn’t bother playing this card. This also works fairly well with Execute if you’re playing the Warrior, but that still doesn’t mask how bad this card is after its effect has applied. I don’t suggest playing this unless you are playing an enrage type build. I don’t, however, suggest changing it in any way. It is a basic card for basic rarity, and should remain as such.
- Goldshire Footman (★★★☆☆) – Fairly good card, considering the taunt comes on a decently stat’d 1 drop. Typically getting a keyword ability on a minion would cost extra, and I’m surprised to find this guy to even have 1 attack to boot. Play with this if you have no other alternatives, or if you play on clogging up the board in preparation for a sweeper.
- Grimscale Oracle (★☆☆☆☆) – Only playable in a murloc deck, otherwise ignore this completely. In a murloc build, this will enable you to push your board into overdrive, typically turning all otherwise harmless murlocs into killing machines. TLDR: good for murlocs, ignore otherwise.
- Murloc Raider (★★☆☆☆) – Yet another “only good in murloc decks” basic, however I gave an extra star because it may see a place in a quick aggro deck that wants to win before turn 5. I don’t suggest playing this unless your deck fits one of those two criteria. I still wouldn’t change the card, but this is what I consider my middle of the road 1 drop, and is what I compare to every other 1 drop for balance purposes.
- Stonetusk Boar (★☆☆☆☆) – An introductory card for the charge keyword mechanic. Again, I don’t suggest playing this. I would only expect to see this in a Hunter deck, and that’s only because it has beast, but Hunter has much better beast cards in the 1 drop slot than this guy.
- Voodoo Doctor (★★☆☆☆) – Nothing fantastic, nothing great, oh hell, there’s not much here, but the stats plus the effect for 1 resource isn’t too bad on your mana wallet. I only suggest playing this if you absolutely need a 1 drop AND if its effect synergizes with other cards in your deck (Northshire Cleric, Gurubashi Berserker, etc). Otherwise, steer clear of this one.
- Acidic Swamp Ooze (★★★★☆) – If you need a nice 2 drop and you aren’t playing a Beast deck, this is a great choice in the basic card pool. The only time Bloodfen Raptor is better is in a beast variant, but barring that this guy has the same stats and an effect that is applicable. Weapons are a great tool for generating card advantage, and this guy removes that advantage and gives you a body to attack with as well. Great card, and good design space utilized.
- Bloodfen Raptor (★★☆☆☆) – Decent in a beast deck as I stated above, but is overshadowed by Acidic Swamp Ooze otherwise. The beast keyword only gets you so far, so I don’t suggest playing this card unless you are playing a beast deck. This feels a slightly niche area for design, and is a great tool for teaching minion types and how they can matter. Excellent teaching card in terms of its design, but falters in its playability.
- Bluegill Warrior (★☆☆☆☆) – Would rather play a Murloc Tidehunter every time, unless its a murloc deck, in which case I love this little guy for the sudden burst of damage he can provide. Would never suggest playing this, and suggest playing Tidehunter over it every time. I still wouldn’t change a thing about it, however, as it demonstrates the charge keyword in a simplified, low cost format so new players can understand the mechanic.
- Frostwolf Grunt (★★★☆☆) – Not a bad card. It loses out on health/attack by a single point by getting taunt in exchange. Good for gumming up the board, but the damage will leave you wanting every time. I suggest playing this if you want to defend until the late game, such as in a Priest control or a low cost Mage control deck. Again, this is also another low drop with only a single keyword on it to teach about the mechanics of taunt.
- Kobold Geomancer (★★★☆☆) – Aside from how much nostalgia I get from the “you no take candle!’ battlecry, I actually play this little guy in my mage control because of the cheap spell damage benefits it provides. On turn 9 or 10, I can eek out a 5 damage Flamestrike in the same turn, typically wiping my opponent’s board and leaving me with a 2/2. The only other low cost spell damage amplifier is Bloodmage Thalnos, who I don’t currently have. Great card if playing a mage control deck, fairly useless otherwise, as I don’t consider the plus damage worth it unless I play a sweeper.
- Murloc Tidehunter (★★★☆☆) – For a two drop this guy isn’t half bad. The first few decks you build will probably center on being aggressive, and this will slot perfectly in a rush deck along with Novice Engineer. Paladin’s love this because they enjoy buffing minions they have, however I don’t suggest this in any control or combo oriented deck, especially if not focusing on minions in some fashion. Decent card, but not amazing.
- Novice Engineer (★★★☆☆) – In the world of CCGs, anything that draws cards is typically good. Any creature/minion that draws cards is great, as it provides a body and replaces itself with a fresh card. I highly suggest playing this minion if you have nothing better for the 2 drop slot, however as you start collecting more and more, you’ll find her slowly getting phased out (Knife Juggler comes to mind). Another great card for starting players, but starts disappearing the more seasoned a player you are.
- River Crocolisk (★★☆☆☆) – Yet another card that only fits in a beast variant and is near useless otherwise. The extra health is nice, and will enable Crocolisk to trade with a 1 or possibly a 2 drop. Using Croc in a beast deck with Houndmaster is an amazing play, giving you a 4 drop equivalent beast ready to tear the competition to shreds. Otherwise, I’d steer clear of this card.
- Dalaran Mage (★★☆☆☆) – If you’re looking for low drop spell damage amp, use Kobold Geomancer. If you’re looking for something with health that will live, then use Silverback Patriarch. This card takes up a design spot that is largely unneeded at this time, as midrange type decks don’t exist at the lower levels of play. I don’t suggest playing this card.
- Ironforge Rifleman (★★☆☆☆) – It seems nice on paper (digital paper?), but in the end the effect can only kill maybe a 1 drop, and then you’re left with an understatted 2/2 for 3, essentially losing 1 resource unless the effect killed something. Don’t get me wrong, this guy’s effect can matter, but the number of situations where it does are few and far between. In the scheme of things, I suggest not playing this card.
- Ironfur Grizzly (★★★☆☆) – Decent card for the resources required. Has great stats for a 3 drop, and comes with taunt to boot. Great card that only loses out to turn 2 plays like Bloodfen Raptor and Acidic Swamp Ooze (your guy costs 3 resources, those cost 2). Grizzly with generally get you a 1 card for 1 card trade, but you should watch out since you’re still in Multishot range.
- Magma Rager (★☆☆☆☆) – If it sticks to the board for a turn, it’s great, but I can guarantee you the opponent won’t allow it to stay. Completely worthless against mages, and mostly useless against any class with spot removal (meaning anyone), this pile of useless card should stay in the binder and far away from regular play. I’d much rather this be a 3 cost 4/2 so it at least stands a chance of surviving. This also keeps it in line with Jungle Panther, a 3 cost 4/2 with Stealth and a beast, but a common expert level card. Ball Lightning, this is not. Stay away.
- Raid Leader (★★★★☆) – If you don’t have amazing legendary level cards, this guy will be the cornerstone of the aggressive strategies you create. Highly suggest playing two copies of this in any rush deck you play, as the added damage on top of the decent stats makes Raid Leader completely worth it. This guy is particularly annoying in a Shaman or Paladin deck, who can generate minions with their hero ability.
- Razorfen Hunter (★★☆☆☆) – While Murloc Tidehunter is great for a 2 drop, this card pushes the envelope too far. An extra 1/1 on 3 isn’t going to do a thing to change the battle, and this card’s stats don’t make it any better. if the 1/1 had charge a la Stonetusk Boar, I could see this doing something, but I can’t suggest playing it otherwise. Her battlecry should tell you she’s not a good card: she’s rooting for the 1/1 she creates. Enough said.
- Shattered Sun Cleric (★★★★☆) – The easiest way to understand why I gave this 4 stars is to look at the stats. You’re already getting a 3/3 for 3, which is great by itself. Add in that you also toss a +1/+1 to another minion and you get a very efficient minion for the cost. Definitely play this minion if you don’t have a stronger alternative, which are few and far between.
- Silverback Patriarch (★★☆☆☆) – Pretty good if your only goal is to clog up the board, but it won’t deter your opponent from attacking you anytime soon. In a trade off between this guy and Ironfur Grizzly, I will take the Grizzly every time, mostly because of the effective card advantage it generates. Patriarch won’t be trading 1 for 1 in most situations by turn 3, but Grizzly will most likely. If you’re playing Paladin, Patriarch may be a better choice due to blessings of all types making it into a monster. Still don’t suggest a change, as it offers an interesting, albeit usually weaker alternative to Grizzly.
- Wolfrider (★★★☆☆) – I’m sure others will shun me for this score, but Wolfrider will typically generate you at least a 1 for 1. If you manage to divine shield, or even windfury it, then you get a huge threat that must be dealt with. The charge and the damage are what sell this card, though it will only trade for cards of the same drop or lower. I suggest playing this only if you absolutely need a charge minion on turn 3.
- Chillwind Yeti (★★★☆☆) – Typically this would be a 2 star, but because he has 4 power, I gave him a 3. Why is 4 power so special? It dodges two of the priests most powerful removal: SW Pain and SW Death. The magical number to dodge both of those removals is 4, and Yeti comes with decent health to boot. I would play this card until you can find suitable alternatives in the expert cards.
- Dragonling Mechanic (★★★☆☆) – Pretty good for the cost, especially if you can drop a Defender of Argus and give her taunt. She’s already a 2/4 on her own, which wouldn’t normally be something to write home about, but you also get a 2/1, which can be threatening in the right circumstances. Typically playing this card on top of having another minion in play will cause an opponent to play a sweeper, which the Mechanic will typically live through (unfortunately the same can’t be said for Mr. Bitey). Decent card to play until you find something that fits your strategy better.
- Gnomish Inventor (★★☆☆☆) – As I stated before, drawing a card is good, but not when it comes attached to stats that are simply bleh. A 2/4 won’t be changing the board much for you on turn 4, but it can survive through sweepers of all types. If your a warlock who desperately needs cards and doesn’t want to life tap, this could be your gal, however I would suggest steering clear of this one and seeking other alternatives.
- Oasis Snapjaw (★☆☆☆☆) – I wouldn’t even play this in a beastmaster type of build. Giving it taunt would be too much, and giving it any other keyword wouldn’t make much sense. Don’t ever play this card, as there are much better non-beast alternatives. The only way this card could be fixed is if it had a unique effect of some sort, but what that effect is, I’m not sure.
- Ogre Magi (★☆☆☆☆) – I would only suggest playing this if your looking for a spell damage +1 in your warlock deck with swee- wait a minute…. He amps your Hellfire to 4 damage to kill himself? He really isn’t ready, is he? Don’t play this card. There are much better alternatives at this drop, or lesser drops for that matter.
- Sen’jin Shieldmasta (★★★★★) – Unless your deck has a strategy that this guy cannot ever help fulfill, you should be playing two copies of this. The stats are incredible for the cost, and he comes with taunt. Guaranteed to get a 1 for 1, usually a 2 for 1 when you play him. The only downside is he dies to SW Pain, but that’s only against priests. Play this card, there’s no reason not to.
- Stormwind Knight (★★☆☆☆) – At least he as charge and a substantial health total, but there’s nothing else to write about here. Paladins may like him because of potential for a sneaky 5 damage with a blessing of might, but nobody else should really be playing this unless you have to.
- Booty Bay Bodyguard (★★☆☆☆) – the 4 health total really hurts this guy’s potential. It’s like an overcosted Sen’jin Shieldmasta, with more damage and less health. I always find myself shying away from this, as I’d rather have an aggressive 5 drop rather than a defensive one. I’m sure some decks might appreciate him, but I’ve never taken a liking to the overall package that is the BBB.
- Darkscale Healer (★★★☆☆) – Decent card if you have a field of minions who don’t die to a sneeze. Has good health and its power actually dodges Priest removal for the most part. You should be playing this gal if you need mass healing in your deck, otherwise there are far better cards to be playing.
- Frostwolf Warlord (★★★☆☆) – With Paladins and Shamans, this can probably be a 4 star card, however since we are rating across the board, I have to dock him a point. If you have an empty board, this card is a complete loss for its cost. On the plus side, you only need 1 or 2 minions to make Warlord completely worth your mana crystals and time. Definitely play this if you are looking to rush your opponent out, as it fits perfectly at the top of your cost curve. Other than that, I would shy away from him after you find suitable alternatives.
- Gurubashi Berserker (★★★☆☆) – A lot of people swear by this guy, and I can see how amazing he can be when you first start. He will typically trade evenly, and if he happens to live until your next turn, your opponent will be fighting an insane monster of a card that will be near impossible to kill, especially if your playing Priest or Paladin. However, I have found that my usage of him quickly falls off once I start attempting to build towards a strategy rather than simply build a pile of good cards. Use him until you feel he is no longer a fit for your current deck strategy.
- Nightblade (★★★☆☆) – Guaranteed 3 direct damage to the opponent, which may or may not put the scare in them. the stats are decent for a 5 cost as well, giving you an okay minion to play with until better alternatives are found. I found myself taking the Gurubashi Berserker over Nightblade frequently, as Nightblade is only good when you are in a prime board winning position, while the Berserker wins when you are at parity and also while in a winning position.
- Stormpike Commando (★★☆☆☆) – See my comments under “Ironforge Rifleman”, but substitute 1 damage for 2 damage. At this cost, 2 damage won’t do too much to hinder your opponent’s strategy and board position, and the 2 health the Commando has doesn’t help his rating at all. I honestly wish he was a 4/3 so he couldn’t be sniped as easily by direct damage like holy smite, but I can see the argument where he doesn’t deserve 3 health as well.
- Archmage (★☆☆☆☆) – Nope, don’t even go near this. Don’t even consider it, just keep on moving, nothing to see here. In all seriousness, I’m not sure why this guy is here. Perhaps to fulfill a high cost slot for a spell damage deck? I could see it, but for this cost you’d be limiting your plays to near 0 on the turn you play him. If I was going to play a spell damage deck, I would much rather play it like a combo deck, dropping tons of low cost spell damage amplifiers, then burning my opponent down before they know what hit them.
- Boulderfist Ogre (★★☆☆☆) – He’s…. big. That’s about it. He’s also a generic card newer players can easily understand. Everyone in the beginning understands bigger numbers = better, and this guy has big numbers in spades. I occasionally see people playing him, but some quickly find that there are far better things to be doing with 6 mana crystals than to spend it on a big, lumbering ogre.
- Lord of the Arena (★★★☆☆) – He’s pretty good for a basic card, but once you get expert cards he falls off a cliff. Highly suggest using 2 copies of him when you first start, then slowly replacing him as your card pool grows larger. The taunt is especially nice, enabling him to typically trade evenly with any aggressor. If you manage to make him larger via stat bonus’, or even slap a divine shield on him, then you’ll have a threat that must be dealt with immediately, or your opponent risks a quick and handy loss.
- Reckless Rocketeer (★★☆☆☆) – The kid in me always wants to play this for the random game wins it can generate. I used to play two copies in my first windfury Shaman deck since Rocketeer comes pre-packaged with charge, but have since let her fall by the wayside. Her 2 health is what ultimately makes her terrible, as a simple two drop with taunt can make you grind your teeth faster than your brain could consider this to be a good card.
- Core Hound (★★☆☆☆) – Another big card that ultimately does nothing unless you are already way ahead. If your behind, the Core Hound will laugh as your opponent mercilessly beats you down. I tried this card once when I first started and again in a beast deck, and found it to be useless in both cases. I give it 2 stars because my gut says there may be a place for him, but I’m not exactly sure where yet.
- Stormwind Champion (★★★☆☆) – If you can afford it in an aggressive deck, and still have minions on the board, this guy is charitable in his bonus giving. I would only suggest playing a single copy of him, as you won’t be needing two copies. If a single drop of this doesn’t seal the game, then you were probably too far behind to pull out a victory with your current board.
- War Golem (★☆☆☆☆) – I have never considered even playing this card. I would always rather play Stormwind Champion or Lord of the Arena, as the extra stats don’t equate to the extra cost in my mind. Avoid this card and don’t play it. It does work great in arena though….
(4.21) Common Rarity
- Naturalize (★☆☆☆☆) – I’ve used this is very specific circumstances to remove taunters, like in a Druid rush deck, however 90% of the time this card won’t see play, as Druid likes to drag the game out and win via card advantage generated by its higher cost removal spells like Starfire and Wrath. I don’t suggest playing this unless you need a cheap removal spell to get rid of a taunter, and even then I suggest silencing them before outright killing them and giving your opponent two cards. This card was designed to give removal to Druid, but has such a steep drawback because Druid isn’t archetypically strong in hard removal. Damage? Yes. Hard removal? No. Still, this card has its design space, and it exists to show you what Druid cannot do as well as the other classes.
- Power of the Wild (★★★☆☆) – If you have this early, you’ll be making a 3/2 on turn 2, which isn’t bad, but doesn’t stand up as well against something like a Knife Juggler, but the hybrid ability of POTW make up for that. This is a card that is good at parity on the board or while you’re ahead. Since Druid seeks to stay at parity as long as possible, this is a decent card you should consider in Druid builds, especially ones where you want to rush your opponent down. This pumps your creatures, has a hybrid ability, and creates a decent minion, fulfilling all the conditions of the Druid class.
- Wrath (★★★☆☆) – You pay 1 extra above Mortal Coil for the hybrid ability, and the 3 damage is good enough to kill a minion up to turn 3, on average. I realize the text isn’t EXACTLY the same as Mortal Coil as Wrath doesn’t require the minion to die, but I don’t see people cleaning out their mana crystals to pay 2 for 1 damage and a draw without a kill as well. Wrath is decent enough to consider for your deck the majority of the time, mostly for the card draw potential. Yet another Druid card that excels while at parity on the board, and comes with the staple hybrid effect. Decently designed card that continued Druid’s obvious play strategy.
- Mark of Nature (★★☆☆☆) – I’m not crazy about this, mostly because I don’t enjoy investing too much into a card with a Druid deck. For some reason the cost turns me off, possibly because Mark of the Wild exists? Either way, I tend to play Mark of the Wild over this, as I would rather play a minion on turn 3. Each time I’ve played with Mark of Nature, I always feel very underwhelmed about the change it provides. The +4 attack is too aggressive and the +4 Health and Taunt is too defensive, especially since Druid wants to slowly take control of the board through card advantage, not brash and openly hostile/defensive play. Suggest playing Druid of the Claw over this, since its the same style of effect, but with a body.
- Soul of the Forest (★★☆☆☆) – I could see a narrow situation where this is good, but the cost is a complete turnoff for me. If it cost 3, I would definitely consider it, since it fits better in a rush strategy. That single extra cost breaks the card in my mind, and I haven’t had any success with it. Yet another card that is good at parity or ahead, and secretly feeds into the Druid player’s card advantage strategy. If a token strategy for Druid (not Paladin) takes off, I could see this card coming back into a positive light, becoming a staple for the deck. Until then, it stays in the binder.
- Druid of the Claw (★★★★☆) – Good while behind, at parity, and ahead, this guy is pretty amazing. Everything about this card has great value, and your opponent is guaranteed to have to deal with him with at least 1 card, probably 2. You can play two copies, however I can see situations where you may only need 1. Well designed with a great hybrid ability that builds into the Druid strategy.
- Unleash the Hounds (★★★★★) – I’ve been trying to play Rogue for the last week or so, but I’m missing an Edwin still to make the deck complete. UTH always manages to beat my Rogue deck 1 turn before I can finally combo off on my opponent, and that’s at a common rarity. You should be playing this strategy if you play Hunter, as there isn’t a single secret that can stop you if you can nail the combo and vomit your beasts onto the board, give them charge, and feast on your opponent’s health. I honestly think this card is a bit too strong, and a cost increase should be instituted. The issue is any change to the text itself will destroy the card’s intention, as well as usefulness. I suggest increasing the cost to 3, possibly 4, and making the +1 attack non-permanent. The fact that Blizzard hasn’t changed it makes me think that set 2 has an answer, perhaps in a secret of some type, as that’s the only real way to respond to UTH. Until then, play two copies of this!
- Explosive Trap (★★☆☆☆) – This is a great card to clear the board, but when I see a hunter play a secret, I usually assume it’s this, and run a novice engineer or something equally bad into it before continuing to drop threats. Easily seen through due to the other not as useful secrets the hunter has access to, I suggest playing this, but only if you can lead your opponent on with other secrets as well. On the plus side, it pairs amazingly with Eaglehorn Bow at that point. This card fulfills the sweeper category for Hunter, and also shows that hunter isn’t as good at sweeping as other classes, fulfilling a dual design duty.
- Freezing Trap (★☆☆☆☆) – Want to know why I attack with a novice engineer when a hunter plays a secret? Because of this. I rank this one star because of the over abundance of battlecry style effects in the game. Freezing Trap has the potential to completely backfire, giving your opponent another card, another 2/1 dragonling, or any of the more ridiculous battlecry effects. I don’t suggest playing this card at any point. I’m also surprised this simply doesn’t freeze the attacker permanently, giving it frozen type text, forcing the opponent to silence it if they want to use it. Heck, you could even make it gain “This minion cannot attack” text. I’m guessing the programming couldn’t handle this, as something is already considered attacking once the secret is triggered.
- Snipe (★★☆☆☆) – I was playing this with Eaglehorn Bow for awhile, but the card always kills something I didn’t actually want to hit. It’s my guess that I have the worse luck in the world or that I played Snipe way too early, however it doesn’t make this card that much better on its own. Snipe goes great when you want to fool your opponent into thinking you have an Explosive Trap, or when you want to get an extra durability on your bow, but other than that, don’t play Snipe.
- Scavenging Hyena (★★★☆☆) – I was going to give this two stars, but those buffs can add up quick, and will force your opponent to have to deal or die. I could see Hyena being used in a more consistent damage deck for Hunter, but can’t see it being used anywhere else. In the Unleash the Hounds OTK deck, Hyena doesn’t fit the strategy whatsoever, as it wants to sit and grow, not attack instantly and be done. Only suggest playing this in more controlling hunter decks.
- Deadly Shot (★★★★★) – You should be playing this in every hunter deck you build, period. Hard removal is hard to come by currently, and this delivers in spades. If your opponent has only one minion, Deadly Shot will be forced to “randomly” choose that one minion. Works amazing in a control deck and decently in aggressive decks, Deadly Shot is one of the best commons in set 1 for Hearthstone, and shouldn’t be overlooked, or be left to collect dust for that matter.
- Ice Lance (★☆☆☆☆) – Not sure why anyone would want to play this card in the game’s current state. This is a strictly worse Frostbolt and, although cheaper, the ends do not justify the means, or in this case, the effect. There is zero reason to play any copies of this card and, unless a staggeringly amazing frost card is released, won’t see much play in the future. I wish it dealt 1 damage and froze OR dealt 4, that way it could at least see a miniscule amount of play, and would be as flavorful as the ability it emulates, but wish in one hand…
- Mana Wyrm (★★★★☆) – Asks to be dealt with in a timely manner or the opponent loses. This is the feeling you want minions to evoke from your opponent. Mana Wyrm starts off tiny, but only gets better with the Mage’s main playstyle: play tons of spells and control the board. I did not give this 5 stars because it is terrible in the late game or while behind. Wouldn’t change this card at all, as it’s already an amazing minion for a common rarity.
- Sorcerer’s Apprentice (★★★☆☆) – Amazing card as long as your main goal is to play a ton of spell cards. If you are going for minion rush, Knife Juggler is a much stronger option. Goes best when paired with a hint of Gadgetzan Auctioneer, but still only good if spells are your end goal.
- Cone of Cold (★★★☆☆) – Not bad at all if your at parity or behind on board. This will more than likely buy you an extra turn, and possibly take a minion with it. I currently run this because of my mage deck being more of a control archetype. If you want to control the game and push a turn 9+ win, this is a card tailored to you.
- Ice Barrier (★★☆☆☆) – I only give this two stars because of the mage’s possible secrets decktype. The 8 armor will give you survivability until you can stick a sizable threat to the board, but this card is completely useless in any other deck. At least it provides armor and not healing, right?
In all CCGs, three types of generalized playstyles exist: Control, Combo, and Aggro. Each of these have varying ways to victory, but seeing as how there is nine classes, I believe the breakdown is as follows (along with descriptions!)
- Combo: Decks under this type seek to 100% to 0% the opponent in a single burst, ending the game instantly. The three classes that go here are Shaman, Rogue, and Warrior.
- Control: Control variants strive to make you rethink any play you make, limiting your options and driving the game where they want it to go, typically to the late stages. Priest, Warlock, and Mage all belong here.
- Aggro: This involves any play style that relies on spot removal (directly dealing damage) to push your minions through for a quick win. The three main aggressors are Druid, Hunter, and Paladin.
If you pay very close attention to the above, this holy trinity of playstyles create a circle of effectiveness which can tell you what playstyle tends to beat what. This order is: Aggro beats Combo beats Control, which then loops back around (yes, that means Control beats Aggro typically).
(6.00) General Bugs/Hangups
- • The description text for Stealth isn’t quite accurate. Currently it states “Can’t be attacked or targeted until it deals damage”. However, I can target it with my own spells/effects, meaning it CAN be targeted, but only by me. I suggest the description text be changed to “Can’t be attacked or be targeted by enemy’s abilities/effects until it deals damage”.
- • The text for Taunt should be altered due to how it interacts when also on a card that has stealth. Suggest changing text from “Enemies must attack this minion” to “Enemies must attack this minion, if possible”.
- • Exploding Trap and Ice Barrier have the same timing, but different text. Exploding Trap states “Secret: When your hero is attacked, deal 2 damage to all enemies”, Ice Barrier states “Secret: As soon as your hero is attacked, gain 8 armor”. One or the other should be changed to match.
- • Sap states “Return an enemy minion to its owner’s hand”. I had a small debate with a friend over this, however a part of game design and wording cards in a game relates to transference of memory. More often than not, it’s a bad idea to try and rewrite the established rule, as many players will play with the assumption that the card functions as it does in other games, regardless of whether it is different. I had an opponent Mind Control, which says “take control of an enemy minion”, not change ownership, and I went to Sap it back to my hand. I assumed that, even if transference didn’t apply, I am the owner of the card. I brought it to the game I was playing. The card ended up going to my opponent’s hand, who later replayed it to swing for game. I suggest changing the text on Sap to “Return an enemy minion to its controllers hand”, or fix the interaction between these two cards.
- • I cannot filter by “basic” in the card filter under my collection. However, if I type “common”, I get commons and some basic cards. I suggest this be fixed.
- • Small typo, but the card “Grommash Hellscream” has flavor text where the last word says “decisision”, which should be “decision”.
(7.00) The Great Debate: Is Going Second Too Powerful?
I’ve had quite a lot of time to see if this is true, and I think I have finally come to a verdict I can stand by.
First, let’s lay out the pros for going first and the pros for going second:
• Always 1 resource ahead.
• Get to attack first
• Get the coin to boost ahead by a single turn.
• Get to draw an extra card.
• Get to mull 4 cards instead of 3.
Bear in mind, Hearthstone is not a best 2 of 3 game, meaning the losing player never gets to choose to go second. This is a drastic change and departure from normal CCG rules, and should be paid particular attention to in regards to balancing going first vs. going second.
Hopefully this illustrates the issue: going second enables so much hand fixing that a smarter player can outplay the opponent before the game has even begun, and there’s nothing the other player can do about it. Because most sweepers are mid game costed, the aggressive strategy may score the first player 10-20 damage against the opposing hero, but it will never end the game in a quick enough form for the strategy to succeed. Typically the second player will use the coin to play a sweeper or an extremely debilitating card in the opponent, instantly stymieing any strategy the first player was on.
It doesn’t help first player either when they play a mediocre 1 drop on turn 1 and a decent 2 drop on 2 while the second player can have 4 resources worth of minions if they so choose. Several times I’ve dropped Knife Juggler on turn 1 by using the coin and the opponent has no chance of removing it without wasting their turn. If they decide to remove the Juggler via losing their 1 drop and another card, now I’m two cards up: the extra card I got from going second, and the extra card they wasted. Worse yet, say they use a hero ability instead. Now I have board control with the minion I drop on 2 AND I’m up a card.
My final opinion presents two choices: Remove the coin card, or remove the extra mull-able card. I suggest the latter rather than the former, as the coin presents an interesting decision to the second player about where to really push for their presence. Instead of giving player 2 the option to mulligan 4 cards, give them the option for 3, then have them draw after performing the mulligan. Let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments below.