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hearthstone Get a Load of the Grimy Goons: Card Previews

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Blizzard have published an article talking about the members of the Grimy Goons. I will take this opportunity to update the previews from those three classes. There are nine cards, bringing the total to thirty nine.

The article talks about Don Han’Cho, the two-headed ogre leader of the Grimy Goons. It also sums up the flavour for the gang.

Blizzard LogoGrimy Goons

We’re the tough guys. That means we got Hunters, we got Warriors, and we even got Paladins. Da Warriors are natural rough n’ tumble types.

The article linked is entertaining, and well worth a look for those of you who enjoy your lore. 

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Grimestreet Smuggler is a Grimy Goons card. It plays on a theme that we are seeing a lot in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, a mechanic that buffs cards in your hand. In general, this mechanic is going to take a lot of testing, as conditional cards are usually not quite as good as they first look. The instinct is to say that there will always be a minion in hand, but that's not actually true. If you top deck a card with this mechanic late in the game, you have actually lost quite a bit of value. Grimestreet Smuggler in particular doesn't strike me as particularly powerful. As always, you have to be careful when playing the stats game, but it compares as approximately equal to Blackwing Technician. It is easier to activate, but has a less immediate effect, and Blackwing Technician is a card that doesn't always make it into Dragon decks.

Paladin Cards:

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Wickerflame Burnbristle looks like a great card for Control Paladin variants. It fills in the awkward 3-slot, as well as working fine as a later game draw. Grimestreet Outfitter seems like a potentially powerful card in the right deck. If Aggro Paladin manages to find a way to use the card draw of Small-Time Recruits and Divine Favor, then Outfitter could be worth a lot of extra damage if the tempo loss doesn't turn out to be crippling. My instinct is that Grimestreet Enforcer comes down with an empty hand too often to be playable.

Hunter Cards:

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Trogg Beastrager appears to just be a good card. A 3/2 for two mana needs very little to be playable in Hunter in the current environment, and so one with a powerful Battlecry like this will likely see play. It is worth noting that it is not a beast however, which may lead to synergy issues in some decks.

My first instinct is that I don't think Shaky Zipgunner is good enough, but the effect is really strong and the stats are respectable, so I definitely do not want to rule the card out. I think this card will see a lot of testing to see how often the effect hits an on-curve minion.

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Stolen Goods seems like it will not be particularly great, even though it has obvious synergy with cards like Alley Armorsmith and Soggoth the Slitherer. Having to outlay an entire card, and often an early turn, to make a later turn better can be okay, but it also opens up the chance to be wiped out by cards such as Hex or Deadly Shot. Alley Armorsmith looks like a great card as a stand alone card however. It compares favourably with Ironforge Portal, which is already a staple in Control Warrior decks. Grimestreet Pawnbroker looks like a strong card in Pirate Warrior decks. Whether it makes the cut will require testing.

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Looks like I need to move Harrison higher in my "legendaries to craft" queue.  

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8 hours ago, Strongpoint said:

Looks like I need to move Harrison higher in my "legendaries to craft" queue.  

At least Ooze is a decent replacement until then :p

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I was a bit out of the circulation and missed the spoilers a bit. But it's never late to party!

I'll try to give my opinions on the spoiled cards and rate them, using this scale :

Spoiler

 

A : Obviously powerful, a multi-archetype staple, perhaps, a format-defining card.  (Tunnel Trogg, Fiery War Axe, Piloted Shredder);

B: A decent card, your typical "bread and butter"; archetype staple; reliable niche card (Blackwing Corruptor, Cult Sorcerer, Blood To Ichor, Acidic Swamp Ooze);

C: A mediocre or weak card that is a filler, outclassed by its peers or has a niche that's not reliable (Eater of Secrets; Stampeding Kodo;Stranglethorn Tiger; Infested Tauren);

D: It has seen play. Once. Something that's just really not great, but can occasionally make it in a meme deck, or via "get a random card" things. (Cone of Cold; Bloodsail Corsair; Starfall);

F: Striclty unplayable. It exists to brick your random effect cards. (Shatter; Wisp; Purify; Captain's Parrot).

I'm also fond of a plus and minus signs, which means that a card is does not exactly fit the definition, in good or bad ways. 

Ratings are purely subjective, and, of course, opened up to debate. But I'll try to back them up with reasonable explainations.

On the whole Grimy Goons mechanic :

Spoiler

 

Honestly, I can't find myself liking it at all. It's deceptively simple - much like Hearthstone is taglined - and to me, to a veteran of weird stuff being printed, it feels like a lazy overhaul of just buffing dudes. However, it's still a different mechanic, and here is what I feel concerned about :

Good stuff is that targets of these buffs are protected from interaction. It always hits, without giving your opponent a chance to do something about it. Creatures with the right card text can benefit greatly from these buffs as well (what text is right - that's complicated, we'll talk when we get to them). The fact "front side" of these class cards is not exactly powerful makes it more of a mana investment mechanic - which is a good thing, as it requires you to think strategically and plan ahead, much like Overload already does.

This is where the fun ends, though. This mechanic is a double-edged sword in a lot of ways : mostly, because uninteractive stuff sucks. You can't stop these buffs, and it can be a very one-sided beatdown that will make you feel helpless and miserable. Also, classes like Paladin and Hunter are not exactly keen on keeping cards in hands. Actually missing is more real than ever.

Another important thing is that there is even more pressure now on tracking your opponent's hand - so you can find out which cards have been affected. This is a whole sub game and a "different game zone tracking" thing that many players don't like, because it overcomplicates things and is just uncomfortable in general. It also puts more heavy lifting on deck tracker apps, which would provide even more unfair and sizable advantages.

Not to mention the flavor aspect. I mean, what is buffing cards in hands even mean? Are they, like, armoring up while being in the shadows? But they are damn Goons - charging in, guns blazing and kicking ass! The idea of this mechanic feels more appealing to the Lotus gang rather than to Grimy Goons. But flavor is not what this game is about(for a long time already).

 

Grimestreet Smuggler

"The Gang" card opens up the score and it does not look promising. It's not pushed, undercosted or overpowered, which is fine, but that's why it's not a Standard playable thing. It's a slightly redistributed Zoobot, and trust me, this guy sucks even in a dedicated deck. 4-health is a magic number, though. A shame here is a lot of competition in 3-mana slot.

Verdict : C-

Paladin

Wickerflame Burnbristle

To be fair, I've been sold the moment I saw the art. It did not matter what was the card text. Guy has a burning beard and a freaking cannon in his belly. This is so awesome I can even forgive the name.

It's already passable on its own, because it has a lot of relevant text - Taunt and Divine Shield is a marriage made in heaven. Healing is really the cherry on top, but it is all balanced by the 2/2 statline. Enter The Grimy Goons mechanic. Imagine all those buffs landing on top of these keywords! That's insane! This is a very strong payoff card for what is an investment mechanic, and I do enjoy such design. What bothers me, however, is the question "whether a minion-heavy Paladin deck would have the rest of its cards".

Verdict : B as in Badass. And ++.

Grimestreet Outfitter

This is your cheapest "enabler". You would probably need more than one, though, or two like it was it's C'Thun guys, but I would probably pay 2 mana for it even without a body. It may turn out this small roleplayer will be the glue that holds Paladin together.

Verdict : B.

Grimestreet Enforcer

Has "snowball potential" written all over it. His own statline is pretty bad, but with other cards he can not just get out of control, but keep you getting out of control. You're not exactly holding a lot of cards around turn 5 with a dedicated minion deck, though, but I think the results of sticking for a couple of turns will be worth the risk. It's a fairly solid roleplayer.

Verdict : B

Hunter

Trogg Beastrager and Shaky Zipgunner

These two buddies I'd like to talk about together. Face sides are passably playable, and the raw numbers on their effects look solid. What I think undermines otherwise decent cards are, surprisingly, their contemporaries.

Specifically, Cloaked Huntress. I'm very fond of this card and Secret Hunter that it made viable for many reasons. It's a very elegant design choice that took a long standing, essentially, class-identifying feature and turned it into a format staple deck, with one card featuring one sentence long, simple and intuitive card text. With Secrets coming back the interaction returned - not the interaction in my profile signature, the actual interaction. Bluffing became a thing, as well as body language - relatively alien before to digital Hearthstone, but very core to the TCG experience itself.

Okay, maybe it's me not being able to get over Magic again. But my personal attachments and feelings aside, trying to support a class through two entirely different themes - minions and spells - at the same time - it's not going to work. Secret Hunter is already a good deck, and it's not the fact we don't need to improve it - it's the fact that we're not going to kill both birds with one stone - what bothers me and makes me feel uncomfortable going with Hunters forward in general and rating these two cards specifically. I'm going to give them a passable grade, nevertheless.

Verdict : C+ for both.

Spoiler alert : there is another Hunter class I know about that's not in this preview but which I'm totally hyped up for and it can make these two really good roleplayers. Stay tuned!

Warrior

Stolen Goods

Just based on the raw stats and the fact it has "aim" - a special criteria to be met, which is obviously a boon when it's next to a word "random" - I think this is a decent card. It doesn't really have a home, as the current proactive Warriors are Dragons and they are not interested in this card, but it can reinvigorate more "classic" Tempo Warriors coming forth, especially with all the other toys.

Verdict : B-. Warriors are still not that creature-heavy.

Alley Armorsmith

A better lifelink, statline of already awesome Bloodhoof Brave and a Taunt? And all that even without any synergies with the rest of set? Sign me up, and by me I mean my Control Warrior, my Tempo Warrior, my Patron Warrior and my Combo Warrior. Christmas came early this year!

Verdict : A.

Grimestreet Pawnbroker

This one is really interesting. Bloodsail Cultist was already formidable in her deck, but often she doesn't have a Pirate enabler. Pawnbroker is more reliable, and even more so because Upgrade! on a card in your hand means it's Acidic Swamp Ooze-proof, which is just insane for Weapons. This is borderline OP (design-wise) and showcases, in my opinion, what I've called a possible issue with The Grimy Goons mechanic. It's good to see, though, that they are upping the ante, by giving not just anti-Aggro tools but also solid offensive updates.

Verdict : B.

 

 

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