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Today's HCT Championship broadcast began with the reveal of x new cards. This article takes a look at those cards and assesses how they might be used in the Year of the Mammoth.
First of all, we have confirmation that Adapt is costed at 1 Mana. A Pit Fighter with double Adapt is 7 Mana
This seems like a good time to remind everyone what the Adapt options are. They are: +3 Attack, Divine Shield, Deathrattle: Summon two 1/1 Plants, +1/+1, Poisonous (as in Emperor Cobra), Stealth until next turn, Windfury, Taunt, +3 Health, and Cannot be targeted (as in Faerie Dragon). Volcanosaur is likely too expensive to play a serious part in the meta, but you will often get the abilities that you want from it given that Adapt works with Discover, and so might be worth bearing in mind in heavy ramp decks, or in decks that need a very late win condition.
It is good to see Blizzard keeping an eye on the current metagame. Gluttonous Ooze is a great card for slowing down aggressive decks that rely on weapons, such as the Current Pirate Warrior. Current ways to deal with Weapons are not particularly satisfactory, so this is a welcome addition to the game.
Mana Bind is a logical card to have created. It is the Spell version of Mirror Entity, and as such will be a nuisance. It will also make playing around cards generated by random effects more complicated. Currently you will usually play around Spellbender and Counterspell as a pair, and the chances are not that great that they have been generated. With Mana Bind in the mix as well, people will have to be a lot more careful when playing around a random Secret.
As more secrets get added, there is always more chance that a Secret synergy deck revolving around Kabal Lackey and Medivh's Valet type cards will become relevant. It seems unlikely that this card is powerful enough to swing the balance, but it is an archetype to be looked at.
One of the major complaints about Hearthstone for the entire time that the game has existed is the lack of comeback mechanisms. Over the last year or so, the introduction of Portals and cards like Inkmaster Solia have shown a desire for this to change. Vilespine Slayer is another card on that list, and it seems like it is a pretty strong one. The card will fit into a variety of decks as it can fill the role of both a control card, and a card at the top of the curve in an aggro deck to clear the way (although Sap would often fill that role). I think this card will see play in Standard, but as usual, we will need to see how the meta evolves to see exactly how it fits in.
The first thing to note about Living Mana is that it only generates 2/2s until the board is full. The rest of your mana is preserved. This opens the opportunity to play the card on turn 10 and then Savage Roar the turn after if your opponent doesn't deal with the Minions. Against that, if you play it and don't fill the board, you will have no Mana Crystals until either your opponent deals with the Minions, or you trade them off. This is an interesting card that I'm sure people will have fun trying to put into decks.
There were several other reveals, which will be posted here shortly!
The HCT Winter Finals will take place from March 23 until March 26 in The Bahamas. This article outlines the deck archetypes that each player has submitted for the event.
The players have been split into four groups of four players. Two players will advance from each group. Matches are best of seven Conquest, with a ban.
b787: Reno Mage, Reno Priest, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Control Warrior
Fr0zen: Kun Combo Druid, Freeze Mage, Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Reno Warlock
WeXHope: Freeze Mage, Questing Rogue, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
ShtanUdachi: Reno Mage, Questing Rogue, Aggro Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
DrJikininki: Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
Neirea: Jade Druid, Freeze Mage, Questing Rogue, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
Palmblad: Freeze Mage, Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
LovelyChook: Jade Druid, Reno Mage, Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Pirate Warrior
Fr0zen's Questing Rogue
Pavel: Reno Mage, Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
LvGe: Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
DocPwn: Jade Druid, Dragon Priest, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
Yulsic: Freeze Mage, Dragon Priest, Finja Rogue, Mid Jade Shaman, Pirate Warrior
OmegaZero: Yogg Tempo Mage, Dragon Priest, Questing Rogue, Mid Jade Shaman, Pirate Warrior
SamuelTsao: Dragon Priest, Finja Rogue, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
GreenSheep: Jade Druid, Tempo Mage, Finja Rogue, Aggro Shaman, Pirate Warrior
Tarei: Jade Druid, Reno Mage, Mid Jade Shaman, Reno Warlock, Pirate Warrior
OmgeaZero's Tempo Mage
Coverage starts at 7am PDT on March 23 on the official PlayHearthstone channel.
As expected, the card reveals are now coming thick and fast. March 21st brought four more, which brings the total so far to twenty-eight. The Shaman Quest card was amongst those revealed in E.Malone's Journal Week 3.
For those interested in the flavour of the Journal, it can be found on the official site. Professor George H. Doyle's second video is shown at the bottom of this post. The rest of this article concentrates on the cards revealed.
As with all of the Quest cards so far, the Shaman Quest relies on doing something a certain number of times. It remains to be seen if there will be ways to counter this, or if you have to rely on being able counter the reward once it has happened.
Unite the Murlocs seems really powerful, although 10 Murlocs is a lot of Murlocs, especially if you have to keep the Quest and play it on turn 1 or 2, which seems likely. Megafin is the perfect reward because decks that have to play a huge number of cheap minions run out of cards fast, refilling your hand for five mana while developing a huge threat seems like it will probably be game winning in many situations. All that remains to be seen is if there are any new Murloc cards, and how the synergy plays out in practice.
So, there is a new Murloc card, which follows the pattern so far of printing a new card that is clearly designed to work alongside the Quest. Although it is not clear which way you would build a Murloc deck for maximum efficiency, the ability to Discover a Murloc is a powerful one, especially with Finja, the Flying Star in the rotation. It seems very likely that this card will see a lot of play. Just a note of caution to budding deckbuilders out there, Everyfin is Awesome does rotate out of Standard when Un'Goro is released, so that won't be able to go into this deck.
Tol'vir Stoneshaper builds on the Elemental synergy plan that is being pushed hard in this set. Obviously the card is pretty powerful if it comes down after an Elemental often enough. A 3/5 for 4 Mana is reasonable enough on the occasions that it doesn't trigger that the card will definitely be considered in Elemental heavy decks that have things to do on turn 3.
19-20 March: here.
Live reveal stream, 11 cards: here.
Un'Goro announcement video: here.
7.1 is live, brings Arena changes, balance tweaks and more
The latest update, Patch 7.1, is live. This update includes changes to Arena, the long awaited balance changes, and the introduction of Un'Goro pre-purchase.
The entire list for the notes can be seen at the bottom of this post, but here are the highlights.
Balance and Ladder Changes
As announced previously, Small-Time Buccaneer is now a 1/1 minion. Spirit Claws now costs 2 Mana. You will no longer be able to fall below certain Ranks on ladder. Those ranks are 15,10, and 5.
Also now live are the announced Arena changes.
Arena has seen a major overhaul, with the format being Standard only. Commons, and neutral Basic and Classic cards will be less frequent. Spells will be offered more often. If you have Golden cards in your collection, they will appear in your draft.
The keyword Poisonous has been added to replace "Destroy any minion damaged by this minion". This will apply to Pit Snake, Emperor Cobra, Maexxna, and Patient Assassin. From the pieces we have seen regarding Un'Goro, it will probably also apply to Plants in the new set, and possibly some other cards as well.
There have been changes to the matchmaking system. Presumably in line with the discussion with Iksar last week. If so, these changes will mainly impact Legendary players.
Ranked Play Upon achieving certain milestones in Ranked Play, it will no longer be possible to lose ranks beyond those milestones for that season. The milestones are Rank 20, 15, 10, 5, and Legend. Arena Creating decks for the Arena will now feature Standard cards only. Arena runs that were started prior to the patch will still include Wild cards. Rares, Epics, and Legendaries will be offered more frequently during Arena deckbuilding. Spells will now show up with a higher frequency. Neutral Basic / Classic cards will appear less often. If you own a Golden version of a card, the first copy you draft will be Golden. If you own multiple Golden copies of a card, all copies you draft will be Golden. Balance Updates Small-time Buccaneer’s health reduced from 2 to 1. The mana cost of Spirit Claws increased from 1 to 2. GeneralNew keyword: Poisonous - Minions with Poisonous will destroy any minion they inflict damage to. Pit Snake, Patient Assassin, Emperor Cobra, and Maexxna have been updated with the new keyword. Added some memory optimizations. Improved matchmaking for new players. We are testing an update to the account creation process for mobile players. This will minimize the overhead associated with creating a new Battle.net account, and will be available in limited release. Maximum in-game music volume has been capped in order to retain the best audio quality. [Android] We made some optimizations to Android distribution, allowing for a smaller install size and smoother patching in the future. Bug Fixes Resolved inconsistencies in the way that Small Time Buccaneer’s Attack interacts with effects such as those generated by Humility, Keeper of Uldaman, and Crazed Alchemist. Resolved an issue where a Kazakus potion spell cards could appear blank when copied by a minion or spell effect. Knuckles will now correctly use its effect when under the effects of Misdirection. Addressed an issue with the interaction of Wrath’s card draw timing in conjunction with Daring Reporter. Snipe will now correctly trigger after Potion of Polymorph. Djinni of Zephyrs will now correctly copy spells buffed by spell damage. Bouncing Blade will now correctly continue bouncing after clearing a Divine Shield. Resolved an issue where seasonal reward cards could take a while to show up in the Collection Manager. Searching the Collection Manager with a class name will now correctly display Tri-Class cards. Resolved issues that could slow or stop payment authentication when using the in-game Shop. Fixed many minor visual issues and some card text inconsistencies. (source)
The official site has published a discussion with Mike Donais about the design process of Elementals for Journey to Un'Goro. The article contains a lot of interesting information, as well as four new cards.
As usual when the designers discuss their work, the article is well worth a read. Anyone interested in the design process should take a look. For the purposes of this article and comments though, we will concentrate on the new cards revealed.
Stone Sentinel introduces us to how Elementals are going to function, where the full power of the card is unleashed if you also played an Elemental on the previous turn. A comparable card is Jade Chieftain, which in a straight stats battle will probably come out on top. However, if the metagame goes the right way, Stone Sentinel could still be a playable card in a control deck as aggressive decks often struggle to get through two Taunt minions in one turn. Shaman can also usually find ways to use wide boards, and generating three minions from one card will have added value because of this. This is a good example of why just adding up stats isn't always the best way to decide how good a card is, and the card will require testing within a synergetic deck to see how powerful it is going to be.
While Ozruk has some "wow" factor, (It is stated in the article that the design team have seen it with 30 Health), it is probably aimed more at casual players than serious ones. Unless it can combine with another card to become untargetable, then a huge Health total might not be as good as it seems most of the time. Ancient of War comes down just in time to be a huge nuisance to aggro decks, while Soggoth the Slitherer almost always eats a relevant amount of damage. Ozruk has neither of those benefits, and although it will definitely win some games as a 5/20 Taunt minion, it seems likely that there are will be too many ways for decks to circumvent a single expensive card like this.
After seeing the first two cards, it was clear we were going to need some enablers. Fire Fly and Flame Geyser are two of those. A little like predicting Jade cards, these are going to be difficult to have a feel for until they are played in the new meta. They do seem like good cards on face value alone though, and when Elemental synergy is added in, it seems likely that we'll be playing these cards next month!
The other notable point regarding Elementals in the article, was the list of cards that will now be classed as Elementals. Those cards are listed below. We know, from when Mechs were added, that even if there are cards that impact Elementals in a negative way, there will be no dust refund for the changed cards. (Other than Ragnaros of course, as it is entering the Hall of Fame.)
Water Elemental Anomalus Ragnaros Lightlord Lightspawn Dust Devil Unbound Elemental Fireguard Destroyer Rumbling Elemental Earth Elemental Fire Elemental Neptulon Al’Akir the Windlord Arcane Anomaly Ice Rager Magma Rager Frost Elemental Baron Geddon Ragnaros the Firelord