Thursday, April 6, 2017

Journey to Un'goro Card Review - Musing Of A Rank 20 Hearthstone Player

Hearthstone is a game I've played on and off over the years ever since I got into the beta. While I wasn't and still am not that good at the game, I have found it interesting enough to regularly watch content from some Hearthstone streamers and the like. Personally, the time I most enjoy watching them is when they do card reviews and after several expansion and adventures, I thought I'd do some myself for fun. Originally, I was going to review all the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan cards, but Hearthhead seems to lack a forum to post them on so I had to abandon that idea. Now, with the Journey to Un'goro expansion arriving shortly, I wanted to try again in the form of an article with my thoughts on the cards, providing the perspective of a rank 20 player to add to the analysis by all of the pros.

Card reviews will appear in the order shown on Disguised Toast's site. It is highly recommended you look at the cards alongside this review. I will also provide a rating for the card for both Standard Constructed and Arena that reflects what I think will happen to the card until the next expansion releases or Blizzard starts changing cards. Arena card ratings will be largely about individual power level and other factors that contribute to the likelihood of it being drafted drafted. The rating criteria for Constructed play is related to whether the card is included in the deck, going as follows:
  • Terrible = The card will see no play.
  • Bad = The card will see barely any play at most.
  • So-So = The card has potential and may see some play but isn't quite a deckbuilding staple in a high-tier meta deck.
  • Good = The card becomes a deckbuilding staple or is otherwise frequently used if not potentially even deck-defining.
  • Great = The card is prominent in one or more high-tier decks and may even define the meta with its presence.
Knowing me, my ratings are going to be horribly inaccurate but I hope you enjoy reading the card reviews anyways.

Druid

This card seems like it might work well with the Druid quest. As it turns out, a lot of pretty bad cards with 5 or more attack (like Magnataur Alpha) are rotating out which leaves a pool of pretty decent cards to work with. With that said, the card gotten will vary pretty wildly in terms of mana cost, generally favoring the high end. This means it may sit in the hand for a while and at that point I'd prefer more consistency.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.

Elder Longneck

This card will be fairly good, though not necessarily a must-include in a deck built around the Druid quest and may work well in other decklists that run some 5 or more attack minions. A majority of the Adaptations are strong on this card though I'd favor ones like Divine Shield, Stealth, Elusive, and +3 Health. The statline leaves it pretty vulnerable without Health-oriented Adaptations though and it otherwise doesn't feel too unfair.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.

Verdant Longneck

I initially thought this card wouldn't be that good to the point of rating it Terrible for Constructed since a 5/4 for 5 doesn't seem to have too many favorable Adaptations. The Druid quest improved my expectations slightly, but it seems like there's better options in Constructed anyways though, but there's a very slim chance it makes it into some lists. I think Arena will be a little more generous to this card though, especially since cards like the 5-drop Pit Fighter are rotating out.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Earthen Scales

This card seems good in at least a couple potential Druid decks. It helps provide some "healing" in Jade Druid that cards like Feral Rage also provide, but Feral Rage also has removal utility that may end up being used instead so it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan. Besides, at 1 mana, tossing out a +1/+1 on a relatively high attack minion, which can be a large Jade Golem or even something like Aya, for a ton of Armor seems really useful. It'll also likely see application in decks running the Druid quest since there's a good likelihood of at least getting 6 Armor if needed.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This card is interesting and might be fun in a board flooding Druid decklist like the ones I like to make, but a lot of the Adaptations don't seem that favorable and this card reminds me of why Soul of the Forest isn't that great. With that said, this card is a little more flexible and might see some fringe application such as giving Druids a board clear by making Wild Pyromancer Poisonous, but at this point I'm probably grasping at straws.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Bad.

Shellshifter

This card seems pretty flexible and its Stealth form, aside from being pretty resilient against board clears especially with Excavated Evil rotating out, helps to complete the Druid quest. While the Taunt form isn't that much better than Sen'jin Shieldmasta, that may be enough to hold the line when needed. However, similar cards like Druid of the Claw aren't seeing much play and this card has one fairly average statline at the very least, so it doesn't seem like a must-include.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


This expansion seems to provide a pretty strong incentive to run cards that ruin this one like Mass Dispel, Vanish, and Devolve, the latter of which is already seeing some play. Living Mana might be fun in some gimmick or aggro-oriented deck but I see it getting squashed pretty fast if such a deck ever sees the light of day due to the aforementioned counter cards and some other versatile options. However, summoning at least 10/10 worth of stats isn't something that should be entirely overlooked... if one can even manage to draft it in Arena due to its epic quality.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Good.


This card seems way too slow and susceptible to being ruined by Silence or transformation removal despite how great it would be for completing the Druid quest. It's also not that great for topdecking despite its high cost. It might lead to a very occasional crazy tempo swing in Arena though.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.

Jungle Giants/Barnabus the Stomper

This is the Druid quest where the player must summon five minions with 5 or more attack. The fact that the minions only have to be summoned leads me to believe this is a really easy quest to complete and the reward is fairly good, though generally not good immediately. With that said, I can see this card always being run in Jade Druid, especially the variant that has Gadgetzan Auctioneer. The card can simply be mulliganed away in favor of ramp or matchup-dependent cards and drawn later when Jade Golems are going to come out huge. Crank out a few of those and cards like Aya and the quest will be completed in no time. The bonus is that if there's an Auctioneer left in the deck when Barnabus is played, its cost is reduced to 0, which can lead to some crazy late game combos. At the very least, a 5 mana 8/8 is a nice little bonus for including one spell card that likely ends up being cycled.

A deck built around the quest is also very likely to happen since there's many minions with 5 or more attack that can allow the quest to be completed in a fairly timely manner. Hemet, Jungle Hunter, who also counts towards the quest, can help to weed out any low-cost cards remaining in the deck once the quest is completed but before playing Barnabus. Even with card draw and other factors, that particular deck seems a little slow though.

With all that said, the card probably isn't meta-defining since its primary usage seems to be to enhance Jade Druid. It's certainly powerful, but pales in comparison to some other quests and combos being introduced. 

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, the value of this card strongly depends on how early it's gotten in the draft (if it's the first card it's almost certainly Great) but it'll generally be So-So since there's cases where it's a detriment to have it in the starting hand.


This is a pretty large minion that's difficult to remove. It'll almost certainly show up in a deck with the Druid quest. It may also work fairly well with Kun. Aside from that, it's too low-impact for a 10-mana card to show up in other decks.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good

Hunter

Jeweled Macaw

I've seen a few pros already mention that this card is really good. I also agree that it is, especially since it's a more immediate, topdeck-friendly Webspinner. It might also help that this expansion is bringing a ton of strong Beasts too. On top of that, it helps to complete the Hunter quest and has strong synergy with a certain other card. Finally, as a common that'll be weighted to show up more often, it'll end up in a lot of Hunter Arena decks too.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Great.


A great followup to the many 1-cost Beasts Hunter will end up running. Alleycat seems like an especially reliable target for the Adaptation. The 3/2 statline by itself along with the Beast tag makes it useful even without the effect. The card is pretty cheap, making it easy to combo with during later turns.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


Might be useful as some cheap removal. It's probably a little better than the Powershot it's replacing but still not too great for Constructed in particular especially with some control Hunter-oriented cards rotating out like Lock and Load.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.


The 4/3 token this card shuffles into the deck also costs 1, which means there's a chance this one card counts twice towards the Hunter quest. At the very least, this card works well with some other Hunter cards and a 4/3 for 1 is very good value even later on, though getting it will often be slow.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


There are a lot of decent Hunter Deathrattles such as Raptor Hatchling, Infested WolfSavannah Highmane, Kindly Grandmother, and possibly even Rat Pack. There's also some good neutral options. At a relatively inexpensive 3 mana, this might not necessarily end up in every Hunter deck, but it'll definitely be considered. It also means there's three Deathrattle activators if for some reason Princess Huhuran is run.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


This card is useful for completing the Hunter quest but also good for thinning out the deck of 1-cost minions. Some of these minions are decent to pull out such as Raptor Patriarch (from Raptor Hatchling) and Carnassa's Brood (from the Hunter quest). Arena, on the other hand, will offer limited deckbuilding strategies for this card to the point a drafted deck probably won't have too much in the way of 1-cost minions.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


I think this might be the best card in the set. With its low cost and the high likelihood of playing cheap Beasts to draw more Beasts, there's a good chance at least 2 or more are drawn during each Stampede. This is excellent value for a 1 mana spell which also enables massive combo potential.  In addition, this card is effective in the late-game since it's highly likely one can chain out many Beasts with a single Stampede. The only thing that would make this more insane is if it worked with summoned minions, which might make it more ludicrous than pre-nerf Starving Buzzard.

In Constructed, this card is Great+. In Arena, this card is (usually) Great.


This card exchanges tempo and a card for the ability to make Beasts more powerful though at a +2/+2 buff it'll pay for itself quickly compared to the base Hero Power. Such a Hero Power seems very useful in a deck with cheap Beasts such as one intended to complete the Hunter quest. It also has great combo potential with Rat Pack. It also seems very useful in an Arena setting since if a Hunter manages to get it there's going to be Beasts to support with it. The constant buffing can turn most of them into a potential win condition.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


This is the Hunter quest and it's a little demanding to complete. While it constitutes a tempo loss and weakens early game play, which is a big deal for Hunters, the reward is so strong it seems to be worth it since a completed quest translates to a high likelihood of 3/2s flooding the board. In Constructed play, building a deck with a lot of 1-cost minions and support cards like Tol'vir Warden will help to make it more reliable to complete. The same can't be said about Arena, though I'm sure someone will live the dream once in a blue moon.

In Constructed, this card is Great. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card has a really interesting concept that can help Hunters control the board, but it's a big, costly minion that's highly likely to be removed. It also doesn't seem to fit into the probable Hunter decks which don't seem that control-oriented. It probably doesn't help some control-oriented cards like Lock and Load are on their way out, even if they didn't see much play. The stats for its cost plus its effect make it pretty good for Arena though, but it still has the aforementioned vulnerabilities.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.

Mage

Arcanologist

It's fairly well-stated for a 2-cost minion and might end up being run in a lot of Mage decks since it, at the very least, is a reliable way of drawing an important secret like Ice Block. It also helps to prevent a secret from being a dead draw.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


Dealing 2 damage for 2 mana is okay, if a little below the Frostbolt norm. The Elemental that's added to the hand can be useful for activating Elemental effects later on though, which means it'll be run in an Elemental Mage deck if it ever coalesces into existence. I don't think that's very likely though since while the Elemental synergy is interesting, Mage doesn't benefit strongly from it and the Neutral cards don't seem to provide enough help in that regard. With that said, it is a burn card that can activate Archmage Antonidas and the like, so it may see some play.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


This looks like an inferior Babbling Book what with the poor statline and the fact the similar effect is a Deathrattle instead of a Battlecry. However, it may be vital for completing the Mage quest and because of that, it's an important card to keep an eye on. It also helps that Mage spells tend to be pretty good.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is (barely) Good.


Mana Bind is a pretty decent Secret that is helpful for completing the Mage quest even if it happens to just copy The Coin. The applications beyond that are a little more limited than Counterspell since timing it well doesn't have an immediate effect that could save you, the board state, or the game.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


This card might be fun in Exodia Mage I guess. Other than that, it seems like a cheaper Faceless Manipulator which can enable some other fun combos that may even see usage in a quest Mage deck or the like, but probably isn't a staple anywhere outside of the aforementioned.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


This Elemental will lead to up to two instances of Elemental synergy in itself. The Flame Geyser it generates is more useful than including one in the deck since it counts towards the quest, but the problem whether it's worth trying to activate the effect or not. I'm inclined to say it probably is, but it's hardly a must-include.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


Being able to Discover a Mage spell, which could potentially be another Primordial Glyph, that is partially paid for could lead to some serious comboing shenanigans with cards like Archmage Antonidas. The discount can also be useful for getting a decent spell, like a board clear, off much earlier than usual. At the very least, this card is going to be a staple for completing the Mage quest.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


The damage this card does is overkill to the point of being hilarious. Probably not a quintessential removal spell in Constructed, but it'll be powerful in Arena that'll make a great addition to the already-potent Mage arsenal, even if it is an epic.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Great.


The Mage quest is fairly strong and it seems to be pretty easy to complete as well. Mages have access to a lot of support cards that can generate spells especially the tri-class cards from Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The reward almost seems too powerful, though technically at least half a turn's mana has to be spent to take the extra turn. This still enables some powerfully lethal combos, such as with Arcane Giant.

In Constructed, this card is Great. In Arena, this card is Terrible.


While this card is an Elemental and has excellent synergy with N'Zoth, its stats aren't too great for its mana costs and a 10/10 for 10 mana seems really slow and weak in particular. It's probably not unplayably bad in Constructed in particular, but it really doesn't seem to be good. It might work in Arena though.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Paladin

Lost in the Jungle

A fairly simple, yet solid early game card that can help with the Paladin quest and has other nice synergies too. Too bad Quartermaster isn't around.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


This seems like a more flexible, if perhaps unreliable, Blessing of Might. It'll be useful for completing the Paladin quest and may also make for a potent emergency board clear with Wild Pyromancer if no Equality is in hand.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


Discovering a Secret that doesn't have to be put into the deck, like Getaway Kodo or Redemption, seems quite useful and the mechanic, as always, helps to fine-tune a choice based on the situation. The 2/2 body that comes with it makes for pretty good value, though it's unlikely to see much play in Constructed.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.


Fortunately for the Lost in the Jungle card, there is something of a Quartermaster in this card. Poisonous is probably the most devastating Adaptation if Silver Hand Recruits have been on the board for a while but there's other decent ones that work as a combo. Not necessarily a must-include for Paladin decks, but one that's on the radar for sure.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


A very expensive buff card that will probably still see use in the Paladin quest deck despite how slow it is. The card reminds me of a more expensive, more conditional, but also more powerful Sludge Belcher. Wouldn't be too bad to use on turn 8 with a Silver Hand Recruit if the Paladin survives that long.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


This card reminds me of a slower, more powerful Piranha Launcher. It probably won't see any play in Constructed but it might work out okay in Arena.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So (but almost Good).


The Deathrattle effect of this card makes it almost mandatory to have in order to complete the Paladin quest in a reasonable amount of turns. It'll also be a magnet for Silences and transformation removal though.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Bad (but Good if drafted early).


The most expensive "buff" card for Paladins. Probably not too practical to use in Constructed despite combos with cards like Stonetusk Boar but has a place in Arena where at worst, it's a 10 mana 10/10. No, I'm not making a joke about shrinking Jade Golems.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.


The Last Kaleidosaur is a fairly demanding quest that, when completed, basically hands the Paladin a win condition. Adapting 5 times is highly likely to give it at least Windfury and Stealth, which along with its body will make it difficult to remove after which it proceeds to obliterate the opponent, synergizing well with whatever buff spells the Paladin happens to have left. There are some soft and hard roadblocks that stop this, but that doesn't entirely destroy the Paladin's ability to win. Therefore, a deck built around the Paladin quest may at least end up in tier 2 or so. Such deckbuilding strategies are unlikely to happen during an Arena draft.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Terrible.


I would personally prefer Keeper of Uldaman more in Constructed, but it may see some play especially when combined with cards like Lost in the Jungle. It at least could buy some time to complete the Paladin quest, but there's other ways to do that effectively as well. It helps that the card is stated to handle at least a few 3/3s.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.

Priest


While an interesting idea, this card seems inferior to the Flash Heal that rotating out since it's less flexible. It's costly to use this card if an Auchenai Soulpriest-like effect is present and it can't even be used for an OTK. Healing for 10, even split among two targets, strangely just doesn't seem that great.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card, with its 3 health, might be a bit better at surviving than its Sorcerer's Apprentice cousin. It's pretty good for helping to tempo out some decent Priest cards like Power Word: Shield and also has combo potential. It's also an Elemental for the synergy potential, which can see some fringe application.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


A good card for helping to complete the Priest quest but in Constructed, the Deathrattle doesn't seem that great and a 2/6 with Taunt for 4 mana is okay, but not that great either. It should be a decent Arena card though.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


Not only is this a cheap Elemental, it's one with a decent Deathrattle effect. Probably good enough to include in at least some Priest decks in general.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


A good card for copying Deathrattle cards and any cards with constant effects (even something like Priest of the Feast maybe). Probably won't have too much impact but is better than Herald Volazj. The fact it'll generally summon 3/4 of stats makes it okay in Arena.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


Free From Amber reminds me of Forbidden Shaping but it probably won't be too great for Constructed even though it is subject to a discount from Radiant Elemental and generally seems more consistent at providing a decent card to summon. It's a little too slow and even with Discover, it's unreliable. Good card in Arena though.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.


This card seems really good for fetching spells you want more of from the deck and it'll likely evoke some strategic thinking when deckbuilding. It has decent combo potential with cards like Radiant Elemental and possibly even Lyra.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


A very interesting card that rewards knowledgeable players and passively drives players to be more knowledgeable about common decks. It also may drive players to innovate to counter the card, even though it might not see much play.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


Summoning 7 Deathrattles, while not the worst requirement, is still fairly demanding even with some helper cards like Onyx Bishop. This might be one of the quests that doesn't see a lot of play. The reward helps to prevent the card from being bad in Constructed though since it helps a Priest stabilize.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Bad.


A lot of people have been calling this one bad but I see a glimmer of potential despite the fact there's quite a few bad Priest spells if only due to the aforementioned combo creating a card engine that could generate immense value. To be fair, this is a 9-mana combo though.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Bad.

Rogue

Hallucination

Discovering a card from the opponent's class seems pretty strong and continues the thematic of Rogues generating cards based on their opponent's class. It's more reliable than Swashburglar, though it sacrifices a body for that reliability.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


This card seems really slow especially since it does nothing by itself, resulting in a tempo loss. The 1-cost cards and maybe even Razorpetal Volley itself would probably be used to draw a card with Gadgetzan Auctioneer or used to activate a Combo. This card seems a little too slow though.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Terrible.


The body is okay for a 2-mana card that generates a 1-mana spell used for the same reason as mentioned in Razorpetal Volley. It's not too bad but it is a little slow.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.

Mimic Pod

This is probably better than Thistle Tea and might be useful for completing the Rogue quest as well. With good deckbuilding anything that gets duplicated by this will probably be a good draw.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


This card seems pretty strong since it has a high chance of removing at least two minions at the expense of health. I don't think it works with Blade Flurry unfortunately.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


While this card plays well into the idea of the Rogue thematic of playing cards from the opponent's class, it seems really slow. At 3/3, it might be a fairly decent weapon to use on 4 though. The question is whether a Rogue deck would have room for it.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Great.


Biteweed works well with the Rogue quest reward and may be nice for throwing out a smaller threat that's still dangerous. It requires a fairly specific deck to combo often enough to sustain 2 copies of this card and Edwin though.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Bad.


At 5, this card might be a little too expensive to play when it comes to activating the Combo effect. However, there are a number of cheap cards being added to activate it, so it may end up replacing Assassinate as the prime removal card for Rogues.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


Apparently this card is difficult to evaluate but I think it'll be good. A number of minions Rogues seem to play are relatively cheap and/or below 5/5 in stats. Minions like Edwin and Biteweed will end up larger than ever since they'll start at 5/5 then get buffed by their Combo effects. Finishing the quest is a bit of a doozy but not as hard as it looks thanks to cards like Shadowstep and Shadowcaster.

...Actually, spamming Shadowcasters would be an interesting way to complete the quest or benefit from the reward.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Terrible.


This card doesn't seem quite as bad as it looks but it basically has a mini-quest in itself just to reactivate it. It should work fairly well in a deck like Miracle Rogue, but I'm skeptical about it making the cut let alone the deck surviving since it's really slow to keep reactivating it. It doesn't help that Conceal is rotating out either.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Shaman

Air Elemental

A cheap Elemental activator that is only immune to the Mage Hero Power when it comes to 1 damage Hero Powers. Since it's already so fragile as a 2/1 for 1 mana, the Elusive effect isn't going to do it too many favors. There's better choices for Elemental activators, especially in Shaman.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This is a good Elemental activator, for example. Its statline is fairly tough and with Taunt plus an Earthen Ring Farseer effect it's decent value for 3 Mana. It'll at least help to hold back the endless tide of aggro decks.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


An interesting card but a little limited compared to cards like Holy Fire and Drain Life. Furthermore, while it might be nice against aggro in particular, I'd almost rather run Jade Lightning and/or Jinyu Waterspeaker in the 4 slot even though one of those cards has Overload. This is because both of them produce a body that can help contest the board.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This reminds me of a mix of Emperor Thaurissan and Grimestreet Outfitter. The card has a 1/1 body for 2 that "buffs" Elementals in the hand by reducing their cost by one. This is pretty nice to have in an Elemental Shaman deck since it makes Elemental activation more reliable by making them cheaper. Furthermore, Shaman in particular is getting two Elemental cards that have Elemental activator effects on them that may end up getting played sooner. Finally, this card as an Elemental can activate those effects. These factors lead me to believe it'll be a staple in Elemental Shaman.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card is somewhat handy for completing the Shaman quest. However, there's probably better Murlocs to play on 2 and getting (slow) value out of the totem seems impractical and unnecessary despite the combo potential this card may have.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card doesn't pack as much punch as the Elemental Destruction card it's replacing. It also costs 5 mana and benefits less from Spell Power compared to the typical board clear spell. It might be run in some Shaman decks, but it's hardly mandatory considering alternatives like Lightning Storm and Maelstrom Portal.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


A 7-mana 4/4 is generally pretty bad, but one that basically casts Feral Spirit with Elemental synergy seems quite good and may help to slow the match down. It's also an Elemental and curves well off of Fire Elemental. Therefore, it seems very useful to include in an Elemental Shaman deck.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


I could see this card being run in some gimmicky decks. Otherwise, it seems too risky to put it in anything else since there's a high chance it ends up as a dead draw or a Totem cloner despite it's potential to duplicate Elementals and good Battlecry cards. Arena might be slow and peaceful enough to extract value out of this card though.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


While summoning 10 Murlocs seems like a tall order, there's some cards that can easily summon many such as Call in the Finishers. Finja will almost certainly have a home in this deck as well.

The problem may be whether it's worth sacrificing turn one and a card to play the quest since it'll certainly need to be a fast deck that may lack on card draw. With a low, Murloc-heavy deckbuilding strategy and Megafin to refill the hand on Turn 5 at best, it's possible.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Terrible.

This potent Elemental packs some excellent Battlecry effects that'll almost certainly be activated in an Elemental Shaman deck that this will be built around. It may not necessarily be a finisher, but it'll be able to turn the tides with three of the Invocations. A 7/7 body on top of that isn't too bad either, especially since Kalimos might be discounted by Fire Plume Harbinger.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.

Warlock


Discard Warlock is getting a fair bit of love in this expansion and a 4-drop that helps put a stop to aggro may help a bit. I'm a little skeptical of the consistency though in terms of making this particular archetype a highly competitive deck.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


There's a fair few weak minions that can be sacrificed to this minion for the ability to Adapt twice, which should provide a fair amount of power. Probably still not good enough to make it a good card in Constructed though despite the 4 mana 7/7 meme potential.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


Nice for stopping aggressive decks but Warlocks surely have better choices than this, especially when it comes to maintaining board presence.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.


It's a little slow, but I could see it being used as a more reliable board clear than Doomsayer. If the meta demands it, both might end up being run. Warlocks do have some other decent board clears though.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


Probably would be too strong at 4 Mana, but it seems too slow and weak at 5 despite the combination effect.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This card has synergy with Discard Warlock, but the randomness of the discard makes this a little unreliable to use. It's also a rather demanding 6 Mana for a somewhat weak body, which isn't helping matters.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card is interesting and could see fringe play. Otherwise, it might end up being too costly to use especially when there are cheap, efficient options for the board clear that's likely played in conjunction with this.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Terrible.


Doesn't seem too bad but also doesn't seem to fit too well in any Warlock decks in particular. It'll probably be experimented with periodically as a result and may even see success from time to time. That drawback seems like it could be pretty harsh though especially if a board clear spell that damages the Warlock is chosen due to a dire need.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.

Lakkari Sacrifice/Nether Portal

As I mentioned above, I'm skeptical of this card having a place in the upper echelons of competitive play because Discard Warlock decks seem inconsistent despite the extensive support it's getting. This is largely due to the discard being random which in itself can lead to wildly different results that may leave the Warlock unable to complete the quest at all because their discard effect cards got discarded. Even without considering the randomness of the discard, there are few cards that the Warlock would want to discard, which leads to potentially unfavorable discard results. It doesn't help that the reward seems a little on the weak side compared to the requirement despite the endless value it generates.

The sad part is that Warlock is probably the best class in terms of handling the disadvantages inherent to starting with a quest thanks to Life Tap.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Terrible.


This is probably one of the best cards to discard in a Discard Warlock deck. Unfortunately, this means it also adds to the variance since it won't always be in the starting hand or when it's useful to have it discarded due to its Legendary status. When it is around though, it's highly likely to end up being discarded multiple times with strategic play and a little luck. It's such a shame there's so much randomness to consider.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.

Warrior

Iron Hide

This card is both better than and worse than cards like Flash Heal since it basically "heals" the Warrior for 5. Most notably, it's useful for synergy with Shield Slam. However, when it comes to stabilizing with some Armor, cards like Shield Block and Armorsmith seem like better options overall since they do more.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Terrible.


A single Adapt on a 5/5 Taunt minion for 6 seems weak, especially since one Adaptation is redundant. Even if the Taunt Adaptation doesn't show up, four of the options seem pretty terrible and a number of the remaining "decent" ones don't seem to be good value (such as +1/+1 and Deathrattle: Summon two 1/1 Plants). Probably not even good enough for the Warrior quest.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Tar Lord

At 7 Mana, this doesn't seem like the best solution to aggro but may stop midrange, but even then there's plenty of better options Warriors can use. Also, while Warrior may not necessarily have need for high-powered minions, it does help to have some that can trade during the mid and late game and otherwise pose a threat. Shouldn't be too bad in Arena though and it's not entirely unplayable.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.


While most weapons tend to be pretty good, Warriors already have some decent deckbuilding options to the point I doubt they have room for an unreliable random weapon. Might be fun for experimentation though.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.


I could see this being very, very bad to use against some classes like Hunter. While Warrior can easily clear the 1/1s, it requires specific situations to make the clear efficient to use. Pretty sure there's better options.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.

Direhorn Hatchling

While a Fen Creeper of stats isn't that great, being able to stall fatigue might be helpful in certain matchups and getting two Taunts closer to completing the Warrior quest is helpful too. Thus, this one might see some play, but it's unlikely to be a must-include.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


A rather fun gimmick card, though strange to see in Warrior in particular. It's probably not too good in general especially since the act of Discovering a card costs 1 Mana, but someone's going to try to make it work in some fringe deck. It's also probably the one card that anyone with a small collection will love since it'll allow them to use any Neutral or Warrior card in the game (or another class depending on the situation).

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This'll probably be a little more attractive to use when Blood Warriors rotates out. Until then, Blood Warriors seems a lot better to use, especially since it's cheaper and one may want to copy Battlecries too. This doesn't even help with the Warrior quest as much as Blood Warriors does.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


As Ragnaros says "Farewell" to Standard, he leaves behind his weapon for Warriors to wield. Playing 7 Taunts is pretty demanding though and might cripple a standard Control Warrior deck that would want the Hero Power since Justicar Trueheart is rotating out and dealing 8 damage, even to a random target, helps to give the Warrior an edge super late in the game. That Hero Power alone may be worth seeking though and there are quite a few decent Taunt options out there, though unfortunately since the Warrior has to play them, cards like Unleash the Pawns won't work.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card has some incredible and consistent board clear potential. It could be a good answer to Jade Druid in particular and may allow Control Warrior to compete somewhat with them. At 9 Mana, it combos perfectly with Whirlwind, though whether it's practical to save one for the combo is another story.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Neutral

Legendaries

Spiritsinger Umbra

While this card might not see play in a Priest deck since Priest may get pushed out of the meta or at least out of the higher competitive tiers, it could work in a Hunter deck or something maybe. Probably not a must-have though since it is a bit expensive to combo with.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


I think this might be the card that makes the Paladin quest doable in a reasonable amount of time. Based on the wording, I believe it duplicates spells cast on it, so only three are needed on The Voraxx in particular to acquire Galvadon. More realistically, this will reduce the spells actually needed to complete the quest from 6 to 5 or 4. It doesn't seem that great otherwise though.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


Reminds me of the old Elise in the sense that there's value to be gotten but it'll happen later on in the game. The pack seems to be strongly rigged in favor of getting high quality cards, which may be of great benefit especially since the player acquires 5 by "opening" it. This card would be the best card in the set if the player could keep the cards though. Also, the pack itself has some synergy with Shadow Visions.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


While this card seems difficult to evaluate, the fact it destroys cards of a specific type in the deck makes for some very interesting deckbuilding strategies that should easily find its place in competitive. I expect someone to find a way to make this card work in a tier 1 deck because thinning the deck out to increase the chances of getting expensive key cards from the midgame onward can be an enormous boon even with the risk of hitting fatigue sooner. A 6/6 body on top of all that isn't too shabby either.

In Constructed, this card is Great. In Arena, this card is Good.

Ozruk

"Break yourselves upon my body. Feel the strength of the earth!" While in World of Warcraft, this boss was legendary for its difficulty on Heroic, this card probably won't have much of a legacy in Hearthstone, since even if it ends up with 30 Health it'll probably be destroyed by hard removal. Also, about 2-3 Elementals need to be played on a turn to give this guy even remotely decent stats that could be better served to activate other effects. Ultimately, I'd almost rather run Soggoth to dodge removal or, more likely, another major threat to bait removal since a lategame Taunt just doesn't seem that useful overall.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Epics

Emerald Hive Queen

The drawback seems a little too harsh to be worth playing, even in Arena, for those stats. It doesn't help that for control decks, which this card seems better for, there's Mistress of Mixtures.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


A useful tech card against any meta that has weapons in it. It'll probably see some play and it certainly isn't bad considering the effect, but it's more of a reactionary card that makes it more defined by the meta as opposed to a card that defines the meta. To be fair, its presence might make weapon-users think twice.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


This seems like it would be really, really good with Finja since giving it Poisonous or the Murlocs it summons an Adaptation in general seems like excellent value. Since Gentle Megasaur is a Beast, Curator may also be run to fetch it to make the combo even easier to pull off. Gentle Megasaur may also have a place in the Shaman quest deck since Murlocs are cheap and can easily be comboed with.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card might be useful to throw into a deck with Hemet and has a little more in the way of stats than Gnomish Inventor. The fact the cost of the card is changed to 5 guarantees an on-curve play, but also requires good deckbuilding to make that play on 5 a strong, worthwhile one.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


Despite the drawback that is reminiscent of Fel Reaver, this might get thrown into aggro decks to try to end the game fast. However, I see such deckbuilding getting punished quickly or at least met with hard removal.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.


A really good card to play after Fire Elemental that helps to seal the presence of Elemental Shaman as a deck in place. It may also show up in some other Elemental decks, but I doubt those will be quite as powerful.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


Discovering a spell is nice but this seems really overcosted for that benefit. It's not entirely unusable, but very slow and could backfire horribly.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Bad.


A decent, control-oriented card that can be fetched reliably with Curator (especially with Azure Drake out of Standard) and has multiple aspects of it that are useful for some classes. For instance, the Taunt makes it useful for the Warrior quest and Dragon Priest may potentially survive (albeit at a lower tier probably) despite the Blackrock Mountain adventure rotating out. The point is I definitely see this being used somewhere even though it's costly for its stats.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.



This card is literally better if summoned instead of played. Seriously though, it's not that good despite potential board control applications and reminds me of why King Krush doesn't see much use. That is to say, at 8 Mana, Charged Devilsaur is a pretty expensive "fast" card.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Good.

Rares


Gluttonous Ooze is a more general response to weapon usage and is likely to have more of an impact in the long term, even if it's targeted at a certain Pirate decks that also run weapons. Golakka Crawler, on the other hand, was more narrowly designed to combat a meta (or rather, a set of cards) that dominated the ladder for the better part of several months. It's possible that that meta will continue to feature Pirates and some may even run this card to eat their Patches. With that said, the Small Time Buccaneer nerf does tone down the power of the Pirate package a fair bit so this card isn't that meta defining.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


Discovering a Taunt minion is pretty nice for helping with the Warrior quest but there's a far better Taunt at 3 mana that might be needed to put a stopper to aggro and otherwise prevent face damage or damage to vital minions. I'd argue that being able to have board presence better than a 1/4 on turn 3 is better than the long-term benefits provided by this card.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This card is a fair bit larger than Nerubian Egg and fits in a similar category of loving buffs and collateral damage. While hand buffing never really took off in the competitive scene and Power Overwhelming, a major activator of these kinds of cards, is leaving Standard, there's still a fair amount left to break the 0/3 egg.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This card has great potential because it can Adapt Windfury when it attacks to immediately gain another Adaptation. However, with a 3/3 body I don't see it lasting too long so it'll see fringe usage probably. Arena is a different story and I'm highly certain it'll become a monstrosity in that format.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Great.


Really good to Taunt up and potentially even Silence. However, at 3 Mana, I think it'll have some competition since this card requires some sort of setting up to be effective.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Bad.


The Elemental synergy this card has is great and is almost always likely to be activated. When it does activate, it's a Sen'jin Shieldmasta with Divine Shield which seems pretty good for a 4-Mana card. Almost certainly a staple in Elemental decks.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Good.


Another good Elemental synergy card that has potential to Discover Kalimos. What is certain at least is that this card is pretty likely to activate two other Elemental synergy cards and with a 4/5 statline for 5, this seems like it'll command a fair amount of board presence in addition to the value it provides.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.


This card is sort of a giant due to its 8/8 statline but it's an Elemental instead. The drawback means it'll likely end up in some control or midrange deck of sorts that likes to Taunt it up, Silence it, or maybe even just use it to activate Elementals. Still seems like it might be too slow to use even for that since without a Silence, it attacks every other turn.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.


With the ability to Adapt twice, this card should end up with some fairly good effects and may even provide a huge, 8/9 body for 7 Mana. Unfortunately, this is still probably not good enough for Constructed but that possibility, along with numerous others, sounds incredibly powerful for Arena. At least it's already getting memed.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Great.

Commons


While the body is underwhelming at 1/2 for 1, the strength of this card lies in the power to make at least three classes fairly strong. Hunters love this card because it helps complete their quest. Rogues love this card because it helps complete their quest, strongly benefits from their quest reward, and activates combos. Shamans love this card because they seem to be the most likely to make an Elemental deck and having two more activators for cheap is great. This tiny card packs a lot of metagame power, I think.

In Constructed, this card is Great. In Arena, this card is Good.


A cheap freeze can be a lifesaver and it also activates Elemental synergies. Probably not as big of an include as its fiery brother, especially since it does to 1 damage, but it might show up in at least Hunter and Elemental decks.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is So-So.


It might be interesting to use in aggro, but I doubt this gets a spot in the Hunter quest deck since there's plenty of better options even with its Beast tag.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.


This card doesn't seem too difficult to activate for some classes like Hunter, Paladin, and any deck running the pirate package. However, this card doesn't seem like it would be too strong half the time. Maybe it's just enough to get run occasionally, but not much more than that. Incredibly strong in Arena though, especially since its cheap cost allows it to be comboed easily.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Good.


This card seems too susceptible to dying to small spells. It's okay for drawing out that kind of removal but otherwise it seems really weak despite the Poisonous tag. This is probably something I'd consider tossing on the sideboard if that was a thing in competitive Hearthstone, since I could see the card working in specific matchups against some control decks.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


The effect seems like a good bit of fun for making the early game interesting, but despite its potential Elemental synergies, I'd consider a 2-drop that has more punch instead since this might be killed as a 1/1 that has no effect whatsoever.

In Constructed and Arena, this card is Bad.


This helps make other Murlocs not frail and is a durable Murloc itself. A likely staple in a Murloc Shaman deck that's likely to happen.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This card seems like it dies way too quickly to be useful despite its potent Deathrattle and its decent fit into the 3-cost slot. It might have so little health it doesn't even do much to deter board clears since it should be pretty easy to kill first. Harvest Golem seems a little more attractive to use actually.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is So-So.


A very potent aggro-stopping 3-drop that has Elemental synergy. It also helps immensely that it costs 3 unlike its more expensive, class-exclusive siblings, since that makes it more practical to fit into a curve to activate said synergies along with the power of making a fairly solid 3/5 wall. This card, probably along with Tol'vir Stoneshaper above, may become a 4-card "anti-aggro package" that shakes up the meta, though more due to this card than the Stoneshaper since it stands by itself very well.

In Constructed, this card is Great. In Arena, this card is Good.


A decent 3-cost Murloc card to add to the Murloc Shaman deck. It should be pretty easy to get a combo off to Discover an additional Murloc, which provides more fuel to complete the quest. The statline is okay too.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is So-So.


This Deathrattle Elemental also holds a spot in the 3 Mana slot and is far superior to Eggnapper. Not only does it produce two 1-drop Elementals that help empower decks that Fire Fly does, it is also an Elemental that makes it great for an Elemental Shaman deck. It may even make Deathrattle Elemental Priest a reality, though that seems like a rather bloated deck. The statline isn't that bad to boot!

In Constructed, this card is Great. In Arena, this card is Good.


An fairly decent Elemental synergy card on paper, but there already appears to be a couple decent 3-drops for the Elemental decks and other Elemental synergy cards seem a lot stronger than just Adapting, which even on a 3/3 for 3 probably isn't enough to really push any boundaries in Constructed.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Good.


The Stealth this card has basically forces the enemy to answer with a fairly substantial board clear or some other effect that ignores Stealth. It's not easy to remove efficiently because of its 2 health but it's almost always necessary because otherwise the Poisonous effect will end up killing something potentially important. Also, this card makes Patient Assassin look like a total joke by comparison.

In Constructed, this card is Good. In Arena, this card is Great.

Pterrordax Hatchling

Ravasaur Runt looks quite playable compared to this. Doesn't seem to be that great since even with favorable Adaptations it's basically an average 3-cost minion, meaning with bad Adaptations it's not.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Bad.

Stegodon

Probably miles better then Worgen Greaser even though it dies to it cleanly. It's still basically pack filler but at least the 2/6 Taunt statline isn't that bad.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Fire Plume Phoenix

An Elemental that has a fast effect of dealing 2 damage doesn't seem too bad. It even has a better statline than Keeper of the Grove and some synergy potential in Elemental decks. Probably not worthy of being a staple though and in non-Elemental decks a card like Disciple of C'Thun seems like a better, cheaper fast option.

In Constructed, this card is So-So. In Arena, this card is Good.

Nesting Roc

While a 4/7 statline is fairly in line for a 5-drop and the effect isn't that difficult to activate for some classes, other classes like Warriors that might like having a 4/7 Taunt have some difficulty activating it. Because of this, the card probably won't see much use. It should, however, see a fair bit of usage in Arena since it does have fairly decent stats for a 5-drop.

In Constructed, this card is Bad. In Arena, this card is Great.


Stranglethorn Tiger is cheaper and more durable. While Giant Wasp might be good for baiting out board clears, it's efficient to do so with it since it's cheap. At 6 Mana, I can't say the same about Sabretooth Stalker.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.


At first glance this looks like it could be okay in a Murloc Shaman deck, but at 7 mana it's far too slow. Probably not worth considering in other decks either, such as a possible Deathrattle Priest.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Good.

Stormwatcher

While it is an Elemental and a fairly durable Windfury minion, it's too expensive to use as just an activator when there's plenty of cheap options and beyond that, it just kind of dies (in Constructed, anyways). Arena is a different story.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is Good.

Giant Mastodon

While it's a decent-sized taunt, it's not that well-stated. Probably still good enough for Arena, but definitely not for Constructed when there's better (but probably also not playable) options in the 9 Mana slot.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.


Definitive, if visually disturbing, pack filler. The statline makes it difficult to deal with in Arena though assuming it can even get onto the board.

In Constructed, this card is Terrible. In Arena, this card is So-So.

Final Statements

This concludes my card review of the Journey to Un'goro set. The statistics for cards of each rating go as follows:
  • In Constructed, I rated 28 Terrible cards, 24 Bad cards, 32 So-So cards, 43 Good cards, 7 Great cards, and 1 Beyond Great card.
  • In Arena, I rated 8 Terrible cards, 22 Bad cards, 46 So-So cards, 43 Good cards, and 16 Great cards.
Overall, I enjoyed doing this if only because it was a nice break from the constant WoW articles I publish along with my everyday life of dissecting why humanity is in the state it currently is. I might be back for the next Hearthstone expansion and I look forward to being hilariously wrong about at least some of the cards, especially since I seem to have strongly differing opinions on some cards than a few pros and streamers do.

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