L0rinda

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan: Preview of Revealed Jade Lotus Cards

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The next expansion, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, has been announced, and many of the cards have been spoiled already. This preview discusses the announced cards from the Jade Lotus classes of Druid, Rogue, and Shaman. There are seven of these cards, bringing the total previewed so far to fifteen.

The Jade Lotus gang are one of the three factions in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. Their relevance in-game is the use of tri-cast cards. Jade Lotus cards can be played by Druid, Rogue, and Shaman. Grimy Goons cards can be played by Warrior, Hunter, and Paladin. Kabal cards can be played by Mage, Priest, and Warlock.

Jade Lotus card:

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As mentioned previously, this card can be played by any of the Jade Lotus classes. Discover among three classes needs to be tested, but is probably still powerful, despite the wide range. Lotus Agents does not seem like a card that will see play. It compares unfavourably with the very fringe card Ethereal Conjurer, and although you should never swear by such comparisons, it does seem that the effect is unlikely to be powerful enough for a minion with such a low Health vs Mana cost.

Rogue cards:

vrGSdLR.png

Two Rogue cards were announced in the initial release. People have always regarded Rogue as a class that works better with The Coin, due to cards like Gadgetzan Auctioneer, as well as powerful Combo cards. Now you can choose to have two more coins in your deck in the guise of Counterfeit Coin. Of course, the downside of this is that there will be a lot less gas in your deck, and so such a deck would likely need to be fueled with card draw, such as current Druid decks, but it is a card that will definitely merit investigation.

I feel that Lotus Assassin is a really well designed card. The idea of him jumping out of the shadows, killing someone, and then hiding again is full of flavour. It also seems to be a card that could see play. Rogues are at their best when controlling the board, and Lotus Assassin should be good at killing two minions without reply. It will also function well in conjunction with cards like Cold Blood for lethal pushes. Finally, Rogue doesn't have great 5-drops at the moment and so there is definitely a position for a card like this.

Druid cards:

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Druid got more of the things it already does well. Getting more does not always mean getting better, and so these cards will all need to be tested against the cards they will replace. Mark of the Lotus will naturally be tried in an aggressive token build alongside Violet Teacher and Power of the Wild. There are definitely times that you feel you'd like a third Power of the Wild in token Druid, so there's a chance it will be played as at least a 1-of in those decks. When that happens, people usually find a way to insert a second copy, so there's a chance it will see play.

Pilfered Power looks to be a little too conditional. If you have a huge board already, then you probably don't have much use for the extra mana. If you don't have a board, then it will sit in your hand as a dead card. A potential use would be a combo deck involving Wisps of the Old Gods, but it feels like there are better things you could do with ten mana. 

Lunar Visions is hard to assess, but a deck in which it was played would need to be extremely minion heavy. If you do meet the conditions though, and get both minions reduced, the card becomes 1 mana, draw two cards. With that pricing, you can bet that people will be trying to make an aggressive deck with this card.

Kun the Forgotten King looks powerful. Arcane Giant is already strong in Druid and would probably be better if not for Kun's Armor ability. Naturally the focus is on the fact it's a 0 mana 7/7 if you reach turn ten, but I think that the Armor will actually be the reason that this becomes a commonly played card. Currently Druid can struggle to stabilise as it gets control around turn ten, but this would dominate the board while buying a turn after a turn nine clear. I feel that the Mana Crystal refresh is probably overrated by most people, but the Armor is underrated.

Shaman cards:

So far, no Shaman cards have been spoiled.

Other cards:

The preview for the Kabal classes can be found here.

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Turn 1 living roots

Turn 2 living roots or 2 drop or coin pilfered power for 2 crystals

Turn 3 pilfered power for 2-3 crystals

Also, the rare occasion you play Kun after Fandral to steal the late game

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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).

 

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

One big thing to note is that I'll be giving two ratings - one for the current Standard, and one for going forward, in 2017-2018.

To kickstart things off - on all the triclass cards, or "Gang" cards:

Spoiler

The idea is definetly cool, but current iterations do not look great. It reminds me of multicolored cards in Magic: The Gathering, except for one huge thing. Being multicolored is a design thing that imposes strict disadvantage - a card is harder to cast because you need different types of mana. This drawback opens up space for card text to be good - and it will be balanced out in the end, because color screw is a very real thing. With those Gang cards coming in Hearthstone, design goes in a directly opposite way - being available to three classes is a strict advantage. You just can't make it good and don't stick an opportunity cost to make it fair. Also it would greatly reduce the diversity of the format. So it ends up undertuned, like it was with Inspire in TGT. 

Lotus Agents

Despite being the best of cycle, they are still pretty bad. Statline is just slightly beyond playable. Ethereal Conjurer is a card that comes to mind instantly, but that one is not played for the same reasons : Azure Drake just has better stats. Add the fact a Mage spell is in definetly better than a random class card from any 3 Lotus classes, and that those classes' archetypes are pretty tight on their gameplans, and you have a bad card. It's not bad enough to justify giving it D rating, because of what my D rating means, so it gets a C-.

Verdict : C- for now, C- in '17-'18.

Counterfeit Coin

That's a card I've wanted for Rogue since day 1. With what Miracle looks like right now, it will have a ton of potential. Going forward, though, it may fall behind if Rogue shifts from this playstile towards more fair strategies.

Verdict : B for now, B in '17-'18.

Lotus Assassin

I would agree this guy is a flavor win, but on the sole power level he does not make a deck. And the support for fair Rogue decks is not great now. Maybe things could change, but I don't have high hopes for this Ninja for now.

VerdictC for now, C in '17-'18

Mark of the Lotus

Much like the Coin card, having a Power of the Wild half is a cool but slightly lazy idea. It's much less flexible than a split card, though, and fits only dedicated strategies. Something non-token but proactive, like a Beast deck, wouldn't play the card just because spell count is already big there, and Power's flexibility is better. I'm giving it a C+ because I think it's way too niche. An efficient token generator like Living Roots is destined to rotate, as well.

Verdict : C+ now, C in '17-'18.

Pilfered Power 

I would agree with everything that @L0rinda says here. It can have a potential with a fast token generator like Living Roots though, but that rotates. Key thing to note here is that fast mana is very easy to break, and Pilfered Power is exactly that kind.

Verdict : C- now, D in '17-'18.

Lunar Visions

I'm not going to be a fan here and hold on these facts : a) Druid decks historically have had a lot of spells, regardless of how proactive they were, and b) It's still 5 mana, and even with a discount, even with a double discount, you're not going to play them instantly in the majority of cases. That's a ton of durdle for a hypothetical tempo deck, even though it's a better durdle than Nourish is. I cannot think of a Druid deck that couls utilize Lunar Visions before rotation, because Spell Druid decks are just so good right now.

Verdict : D right now, C in '17-'18.

Kun, The Forgotten King

First of all - what is this guy doing here??? Isn't he like, an ancient Mogu king out of somewhere in Pandaria? How did he end up in Gadgetzan? How is he a Druid dude? What is going on? Flavor Judge!!!

A lot of talk is about this card being good. I cannot agree, even though it's a 0 mana 7/7 meme.

It's a Ancient Shieldbearer/Arcane Giant split card, I get this. But it does not have any good qualities of these two cards! Either of these is good because they do not cost 10 mana. You can play them when they are needed. A 10-mana armor gain is a joke; against a dedicated damage deck, you should be dead for 3 turns by then. Against slower decks, this life would rarely matter, and for the matchups where you'd like to go above 30, there is Feral Rage which is pretty much the same armor gain, but it also can deal 4 damage which is huge. Same Cain be said about Feral Rage in stabilizing situations. 7/7 is a mediocre threat against Control, when you compare it to other options like Ragnaros the Firelord, for example.

Maybe it will be good after rotation, when the format slows down. But right now, Spell Druids are pretty tight on deck slots and have the bases that Kun should cover already covered, and with better options. I'm totally not hyped.

Verdict : C for now, C+ for '17-'18.

 

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I like thief rogue concept and was excited to get more ways to get your opponents class cards from the next expansion. But Lotus Agent is so disappointing.  Thief rogue wants to play his Ethereal Peddler on curve not  5\3.

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36 minutes ago, Strongpoint said:

I like thief rogue concept and was excited to get more ways to get your opponents class cards from the next expansion. But Lotus Agent is so disappointing.  Thief rogue wants to play his Ethereal Peddler on curve not  5\3.

I agree this is a fairly interesting way to support Burgle Rogue, that's why they have changed the wording on Ethereal Peddler. Would Lotus Agents be a 4 mana 3/3, I could have seen them getting some screen time. But not in this condition, and not with Miracle being around and bei

I also think that Burgle was a failed concept since day 1. It has way too much random element to it, and does not add anything to Rogue design as class : you play some of your dudes to get their spells, so you essentially play with other class' cards, not your own, which creates a fairly empty identity if you focus too hard on it. Not having an incentive to support it leads to, well, lacking support, and so the whole archetype struggles.

OffTopic: 

Spoiler

 

I also get triggered really, really, really  hard when somebody says "Thief Rogue". No offense.

But, give me at least one reason why is this word is better than "Burgle".

Here is a list of why I think "Thief Rogue" is wrong at every level:

1)The original card is called Burgle. Not "Thief" or something. They are close synonyms, but not the the same interchangeable word. It features a specific mechanic, and it's only logical that this in-game action should have a name of the card it was "invented", or, at least, be related to it directly. Naming things is not about common sense.

2)Then we get to see a Swashburglar which features exactly the same mechanic three expansions later. Before that comes Undercity Huckster who has absolutely nothing to do with neither theft nor burgling, so we can dismiss him. I think Swashburglar showcases us the consistency in terms of how do Blizzard call their own mechanics. It also proves the logic I've outlined in point 1.

3)The biggest trigger for me is the fact we already have an in-game action that can be called "stealing", or "theft" in nouns, using the same pattern - featured on the Priest card Thoughtsteal. It has an actual "steal" in it - and nothing to do with Burgle, because unlike the Rogue mechanic, it bears at least some resemblance to an actual theft - you get cards that are in your opponent's possession - in their deck. "Burgling" gives you a class card copy that may be not in their pocket. Thoughtsteal is not unique because we also have Mind Vision and Shifting Shade. Granted, they have as little to do with stealing as Huckster, but here it is - a recurring in-game action. 

I won't hold on to the fact "thief" is harder to pronounce than "Burgle" if you are not a native speaker. But I only hit the sounds right 6 times out of 10.

This is a fairly marginal detail, but I just can't stand it when somebody on the Internets is wrong. I'm sorry if it looks absolutely irrelevant or stupid. For me it's not.

 

 

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23 hours ago, Paracel said:

But, give me at least one reason why is this word is better than "Burgle".

Decks are named generally after the things in the deck that are crucial to the deck. Burgle is not the sole focus of the deck. The idea of stealing cards from the other class is, with something else in addition, such as our site deck that uses Burgle, Swashburglar and Ethereal.

Thief is also a Rogue archetype from other games, so it makes sense to involve it, no?

Hence why decks are named Yogg-Thief, N'zoth-Thief etc.

If there was a deck that was the standard rogue list of 28 cards + Burgle, I'd call it Burgle Rogue, but that's not what the list is.

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      Group A
      This group consists of Frederik "Hoej" Nielsen, Julien "DocPwn" Bachand, Jon "Orange" and Chen "tom60229" Wei Lin. The first match of the day was between the Danish Hoej vs the Canadian DocPwn (2-3). This was one of the longest matches, with both players displaying exceptional skill. It all culminated into the 5th game, where DocPwn managed to get his Keleseth Rogue early game going and beat Hoej's Priest. In the other game, tom60229 from Taiwan easily beat Orange from Sweden with a score of 3-1.
      The two defeated players, Hoej and Orange, proceeded to play against each other. Hoej's Murloc Paladin, the deck that made him stand out compared to other contestants, betrayed him as he lost 3 times in a row with it! Thus, one of the favourites for the World Championship was eliminated. DocPwn also sweeped his opponent tom, but he had a much harder time. Their last game, with Keleseth Rogue for DocPwn and Jade Druid for tom, had quite a few upsets and you should definitely watch it.
      The decider match between Orange and tom60229 will take place on Saturday.
      Group A Match W-L Total W-L DocPwn 2-0 6-2 Orange 1-1 4-3 tom60229 1-1 3-4 Hoej 0-2 2-6 Group B
      Muzahidul "Muzzy" Islam, Jason "JasonZhou" Zhou, Aleksandr "Kolento" Malsh and Samuel "SamuelTsao" Tsao play in this group. Muzzy, who represents America and is one of the favourite's to win the World Championship, beat the Chinese JasonZhou with a score of 3-1. In the next match, even though SamuelTsao made some mistakes, he managed to even the score with the Ukranian legend. In their final game, the young Taiwanese's Priest beat Kolento's Druid with an impressive 46-damage OTK (3-2).
      The elimination series between Kolento and JasonZhou is totally nail-biting! The two experienced players evened out each other and it all came down to the final game with a Keleseth Rogue mirror match. Jason drew better and he managed to eliminate crowd favourite Kolento (along with everyone who voted for him) with a score of 3-2. SamuelTsao managed to beat Muzzy with the same score in another intense series. Their last match (Warlock vs Priest) had a lot of upsides, but in the end luck smiled to SamuelTsao.
      The decider match between Muzzy and JasonZhou will take place on Saturday.
      Group B Match W-L Total W-L SamuelTsao 2-0 6-4 Muzzy 1-1 5-4 JasonZhou 1-1 4-5 Kolento 0-2 4-6 Final Remarks
      Thursday was a day of surprises, particularly unpleasant ones for Europe. Favourites Kolento (RIP packs) and Hoej were eliminated; I am mostly suprised about Hoej, since he had one of the strongest deck line-ups of this Championship. Statistically speaking, I don't think we'll have a European World Champion this time.
      On the other hand, outsiders DocPwn and SamuelTsao managed to come out on the top of their groups. DocPwn's effort is certainly admirable, since he's not exactly a full-time professional Hearthstone player: he was calm, level-headed and showed some exceptional critical decision making. In contrast, Samuel's youth and inexperience were quite evident, but his opponents also underestimated him. I think he has a lot to show for in the future.
      The not-so-surprising highlight of the day was Warlock being banned in almost all matches. Among the decks that stood out were Orange's Hunter (he's the only one that brought one and he won 2/2 of his games with it) and JasonZhou's interestingly teched Aggro Druid.
      Day 2 of the Group Stage is currently underway, so make sure to watch it!
    • By Zadina

      The two Hearthstone developers talked to IGN about the design process behind some of the most impactful cards from Kobolds & Catacombs.
      First of all, Peter Whalen and Mike Donais confirmed that there will be an update on February, a month after the World Championship. This patch will contain new events and possibly balance changes. They will take a look at the meta as it's been and as it is in the World Championship and they will decide accordingly.
      Moving on, they talked about some of the classes and how K&C cards have affected them. Starting with Warlock, Cubelock was a deck that was tested internally and it was an archetype the team was "certainly concerned about and [they] played a bunch of games with it". Carnivorous Cube was also tested internally in Recruit Hunter and in Quest Druid. As far as Possessed Lackey is concerned, there was a second version of it that read "Battlecry: If you control a Demon, Recruit a Demon", while Dark Pact was 0 mana at some point. Lastly, Rin, the First Disciple's seals used to have different effects and Azari, the Devourer was a 15/15 untargetable minion.
      The two devs talked next about the other dominating class of the current meta: Priest. Mike Donais pointed out that Highlander Priest was already doing well, so it was only given one new card: Psychic Scream. On the other hand. Big Priest has a pretty medium win rate, even though it can feel frustrating to play against. It's also a deck that will lose several cards in the upcoming rotation. At this point, the devs repeated that they are looking forward to develop and see in action new playstyles in the post-Barnes era. Finally, during the design process Twilight's Call could summon any minion, not just Deathrattles, but this was deemed too powerful.
      The next class to be discussed was Rogue. The team is happy with how balanced the Kingsbane Rogue deck turned out to be. Some internal iterations of the Rogue legendary weapon were dual-wielded daggers or a weapon that had the Battlecry: Discover a card, everything you draw is a copy of that. Mike also talked about Valeera the Hollow: he expected her to be more powerful than she already is, but maybe players will find a way to use her more in the future.
      There were a few words about Hearthstone's currently weakest class: Shaman. The devs think that the Shaman Spellstone is a powerful "sleeper" card, although maybe there's presently not a proper deck for it. They were also slightly worried about Unstable Evolution. Another "sleeper" card for them is Warrior's Drywhisker Armorer.
      An important point is that when asked about Corridor Creeper, Peter said that it's "one of the cards that raised a red flag". Lastly, they talked about King Togwaggle and the numerous iterations he had - all around swapping decks with your opponent. The penalty on the spell card isn't high enough on purpose, because they didn't want Togwaggle to be a super competitive card.
      I've tried to summarise the most important points, but you should definitely check out the entire interview on IGN. There's much more detail behind the design process of Kobolds & Catacombs, while there is also temp artwortk of cards as well as two cards that never made it into the game!