In honor of Journey to Un’goro launch day I decided to take a look at the 5 cards I’m most excited about. I do not think these cards are necessarily the best or most powerful within the set, just ones I think will lead to interesting gameplay.
5. Tar Creeper
A strong anti-aggro card that aggro would never want to play. Its a very elegant design that I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen yet. This card is also a great example of Hearthstone taking advantage of it’s digital medium. While this card is totally possible in a physical game, it would also be very fiddly and harder to keep track of.
4. Spikeridged Steed
Buff spell cards have the weakness of setting up your opponent for an easy 2 for 1: remove the creature, remove the buff. Generally you could get around this by the buff being low cost, or high impact enough that you could cast it on a minion already on board and use its effect immediately. But if your opponent removes all of your creatures before you turn starts, you can never cast it. Spikeridged Steed attempts to side-step the 2 for 1 problem by leaving behind a body after the buff target dies. In this way it is similar to the Bestow mechanic from MTG*. As far as I can recollect there are no buff cards like this in Hearthstone. I find buffs very fun to play, but rarely worth the risk. I’m hoping for more “safe” buffs like this in the future.
*One of my first MTG decks I made myself was a Totem Armor (on death, creature stays, aura dies) deck, which works like reverse Bestow (on death, creature dies, aura becomes creature). I never played during the Theros set, so I never did get to try out a Bestow deck.
3. Ravenous Pterrordax
Adapt is a very cool mechanic, giving you a lot of flexibility when playing a creature. On paper it seems like a faster, and maybe slightly less random version of Spare Parts from GvG. But where adapt gets really interesting is when you get more than one, letting you effectively build your own creatures (similar to Kazakus’s custom spells). I decided to highlight Ravenous Pterrordax because it seems the most likely to see play. It synergizes with Possessed Villager, or even better a Devilsaur Egg, so may have a home in a Zoo . Volcanosaur is probably too expensive, and Galvadon’s quest seems a bit too difficult to pull off.
2. Kalimos, Primal Lord
Elementals are the new tribal for Ungoro. Similar to Mechs and Dragons they are a pile of creatures with synergistic effects. Elementals generally care about you having played an Elemental on the turn before the turn they are played on. Similar to the Dragon synergy, playing an Elemental telegraphs a more powerful one coming down the next turn. Due to the set up required, elementals have a less forgiving mechanic than Dragons, but the payoff seems much higher. The best example of that high payoff being Kalimos, Primal Lord: the shaman legendary creature. Kalimos has a relatively unique effect in being a modal creature with 4 options. The choose one from 2 options mechanic in Druid is my favorite part of that class, so 4 options is twice as much fun and versatile! Each of the invocations is fairly strong on its own, but being able to choose based on the situation is the real strength of this card.
1. The Marsh Queen
Quests break many rules previously established in hearthstone. They are legendary spells, they sit in the secret bar once played, and are guaranteed be in your opening hand. Despite this, the concept is very easy to grasp and their use intuitive. To me the most exciting thing is that each one will bring along a new deck archetype, although we will have to wait and see how many are viable (at the very least each will make for fun highlight videos). I decided to shine the spotlight on “The Marsh Queen” because of its extremely over the top rewards. First you get a 5 mana 8/8, who then adds the second reward: a pile of 15 cantriping, 1 mana, 3/2 raptors into your deck. The quest requirement is also going to be a fun deck-building challenge, with plenty of support from Tol’vir Warden, Raptor Hatchling, and Jeweled Macaw*.
Honorable Mention: The mage quest, Open the Waygate, has a very difficult requirement, but the additional turn spell is a new effect to HS that should open up some interesting combo decks.
*Hunter is my favorite class to play, so I’m biased towards their quest. I’m excited that Hunter is receiving many powerful new cards in this expansion.