The 3rd major expansion for Hearthstone, Whispers of the Old Gods, has been out a few days now. It boosts the game’s card pool by a whopping 134 cards, and like many an expansion for many a card game, some of those cards are good, some of them are bad, and some of them are just plain interesting. They either have effects too random to be “great,” or have new effects that make you ponder the many ways in which they can be utilized now or in the future.
The trouble with listing off the good cards in Whispers of the Old Gods is that they are – admittedly – also quite boring. They have new variants on battlecries and deathrattles that we’ve seen before, and have enough health and attack to be competitive. It’s much more fun to take a look at the more interesting card in the set. These aren’t necessary good – although quite a few of them are – but they sure are interesting. Here are the my top 10 list of them.
The Toxin cards granted by Xaril, Poisoned Mind are basically Spare Parts on steroids. They’re all good. They’re all cheap. And they can be combo’d to great effect. Combo Xaril with Unearthed Raptor and roll around in them. I wouldn’t be surprised if even more cards that grant a Toxin are added in later expansions.
Nat, the Darkfisher is so laughably bad that it’s interesting, and proves Blizzard is willing to make bad cards just for the thrill of it. It might have some potential in mill/fatigue decks, but 50% is likely not consistent enough to be viable, and if you let your opponent draw too many cards it may come back to bite you . At the very least, the card art is delightful. Poor Nat.
Cho’Gall is interesting in that he’ll synergize with any Warlock spell Blizzard will ever add to the game. They may even add a spell at some point that has a base mana cost of well over ten (think a spell form of Molten Giant), and you can suicide by comboing it with Cho’Gall as a true “take that,” to your opponent. He’s got plenty of uses now, notably with Bane of Doom and Siphon Soul, but in essence he can be combo’d with any Warlock spell to make a decent tempo play at the cost of life. Go ahead and combo him with Doom, I won’t stop you.
Shadowcaster has the potential for many ridiculous combos, and works well with both Battlecry and Deathrattle minions. Just think of the possibilities. You can copy Sylvanas, then play a mini version of the card, which you then activate immediately with an SI:7 Agent, Backstab, or Eviscerate. You’ll then steal your opponent’s Ragnaros and spam emote for the utmost effect.
Harold Volazj has a lot in common with Shadowcaster, but since it summons the cards immediately, it works best with Deathrattle. I can see some pretty interesting combos coming about with a potential Deathrattle Priest deck. Unfortunately because of the board limitation of 7 minions, the most you could copy with Volazj are 3.
Evolve, at the very least, will let you heal your board of minions. It’s one of those “roll of the dice” cards that might end up doing you more harm than good, but might also let you replace your 4/1 Azure Drake with a 5/5 Sylvanas. Or there’s the dream of replacing every one of your totems with Millhouse Manastorm. It’s cheap enough in mana-cost that I can see a lot of Shaman trying to fit it into their decks.
Shifter Zerus is every card in the game, but rarely will it be the one you want. Most of the game he’ll sit in your hand indefinitely. The whole while, he’ll be morphing into random cards that you’ll either not have the mana to play or won’t want to play regardless. Once in a while, though, you’ll strike gold, and he’ll become just the card you need at just the right moment. More often, though, he’ll morph into something that’ll make you go, “Yeah, that’ll work.” That’s interesting enough, is it not?
Forbidden Shaping is almost like a better Shifter Zerus. In a sense at least. With that card, you’ll know what you get, but most of the time you’ll be unable or unwilling to play it. With Forbidden Shaping, you’ll get a minion of the respective mana cost, and there’s a decent chance it won’t suck. It’s a good and interesting card, and a great way to fill any holes in your curve. It could also be compared to Unstable Portal, only instead of 2 mana, the mana-cost is variable and lets you choose roughly the minion you’d want. You’ll just have to cross your fingers and hope that it’s not a dud.
That Yogg-Saron is interesting goes almost without saying. I’m not convinced it’s a good card, but it’s definitely an interesting one. Play it in a spell-heavy Mage deck and watch the madness unfurl. Or combo it with Brann Bronzebeard for absolute bedlam. Mostly of the time it will almost always wipe the board, so at the very least he’s a 10-mana board clear. If you’re lucky he might actually win you the game while he’s at it. Or lose it for you.
Renounce Darkness is a lot like Yogg-Saron, in that I’m not sure it’s a good card, but it sure is an interesting one. It’s pretty easy to make a deck, too. Just load up with Warlock cards, and maybe a few key neutrals. The deck would hinge on drawing Renounce Darkness, so it might be good to throw in some card draw, too. But once you play it, the reduced mana-cost might actually help you to win the game. Renounce Darkness decks may not wind up being competitive, but they’ll be fun.
Much as you’d expect of a lowly servant, Servant of Yogg-Saron doesn’t get its own place on the list. He does what his daddy does, only on a much smaller scale. Still, you could play him, and he could cast Lay on Hands on your face, or your opponents face, or your opponent’s Northshire Cleric. The servant could also cast Doom and wipe the board, milling you in the process and causing you a loss. Now isn’t that interesting?
I suppose if you notice a trend, RNG plays a role in many of these cards. Love it or hate it, Blizzard definitely wants randomness to be a large part of Hearthstone. At the very least, it continues to make the game great for spectators.
Who knows what else they have cooking in for the next card set.