Freitag, 12. August 2016

Falling up the Stairs (12) - One Night in Karazhan

... or Kazachstan, according to Gaara. Best slip of the tongue ever!

So yeah, I'm doing a review of the cards spoiled for the new adventure "One Night in Karazhan" (ONiK) releasing for Hearthstone today (the 12th, at least in EU). "Review" meaning that I spout my human-sciences, semi-ambitious-casual-on-a-glorified-typewriter opinion onto the internet for you all to read.

If you're looking for a cutting edge gamer review/opinion - you might be wrong here but you're welcome anyways! In all other instances, you're right here, and welcome.

I will go through the list of playable cards (as in: has a mana cost and come into your collection) in the order they appear on Hearthpwn, so by clicking the link you can see the actual card pictures. As used in other places on this blog, I'll use a star-based rating system that is a scale of 0-4.

Also, I'd like you all to tell me the card you're looking forward to the most in the comments!
Spoilers: I like it. I also use the word Niché. Often. And et aliter means "and others".

Let's go, shall we?

Arcane Giant (****)

It's a bit awkward that this guy shows up right at the start - here's the gist: A lot of things in ONiK (Oink?) are about casting numerous spells. My take is that this guy will be seen a lot. Not everywhere, sure, but its reduction trigger is ubiquitous, certain decks run large numbers of spells... and you get a sweet 8/8 epic card without the bloody randomness that is opening packs. One of the best/most promising cards in the set.

Medivh, the Guardian (***)
This is neutral heavy which gives you a weapon - Atiesh is a 1/3 that summons a minion of equal mana cost after(?) every time you cast a spell, then loses 1 durability. It's interesting to note that this will be a weapon for all classes, so even Mage/Priest/Warlock can punch some face in, albeit pitifully. Those classes do however really appreciate the minion. This guy and Summoning Stone has me giggle. And Medivh is an acceptable body on the board as well and a good heavy for player with less-than-stellar collections.

Firelands Portal (*)
Deals five damage, summons 5-Mana minion. Initially, this reminded me of Holy Fire (costs 6, deals 5, heals 5 Priest spell), which has always annoyed me to no end, so I can see this one being a thing. The board swing provided is not insignificant, though a lot of the minions at this cost are taken for their battlecries. The best this could pull is probably... the Psychotron. With it's high cost, this is more of a niché card for Mage.

The Curator (**)
It's a 4/6 Taunt for 7 that draws you cards. That by itself doesn't sound too bad... thing is, it doesn't just draw cards of the top, it fishes for three specific subsets (Beast, Dragon, Murloc) from your deck, which is both curse and blessing in that you can clearly dictate what it'll draw, at the risk of missing out because you either don't have them in your deck or already have them in hand. I can see including an 8-Mana Beast and 9-Mana Dragon to fill out your curve alongside this, but still think it's rather Niché.

Moonglade Portal ()
Druid - at least, competitive Druid - doesn't play heal spells. Not for the cost of 6 Mana, when the Minion you get is random. Actually, ok, this gives minions outside of your class, but still. I can't currently imagine this getting play above Rank 10.

Book Wyrm (***)
I love this pun. This card is one of those that'll provide the "Dragon" theme with useful cards for the future, when BRM rotates out. The fact that this destroys a targeted Minion with up to 3 attack is huge. There are a great number of impactful minions this can just take off the board, and that's good. The "have a dragon in hand" condition is also not too bad... you should have another one by turn 6, but it's present enough so you wouldn't include this everywhere (which is why it's not "a better Kodo").

Ivory Knight (***)
4/4 for 6 is not enticing, but: You get a body, a spell, and a heal. The whole package, though, makes me think that this card is a serious consideration for inclusion, since all parts of it's package are always going to do something (unless you're just wiping your opponent, in which case it doesn't matter).

Menagerie Warden (*)
I heard there was a Beast Druid theme, but nobody plays it because it doesn't hold up competitively (not a good reason to not play it, though), and some key cards rotated out. In ONiK, they seem to be pushing that theme again. This one summons a copy of a friendly beast already on the board. Statswise, she isn't too bad off, and if her ability works, it'll be potentially quite good. The thing is getting it to work. If you can play a perfect curve (a nice beast on 5, and then her on 6), I think it has reasonable chances of working, but heaven's forbid the board state demands sth else.

Moat Lurker (****)
This is another of this set's ace cards for me. The shenanigans are so numerous. Kill your own deathrattle minions. Have them appear again, die again. Then N'Zoth. Kill the opponent's biggie, then silence your Lurker. Kill an injured heavy of your own, have it reappear at full health after a cataclysm. Bloody hell.

Fool's Bane (**)
Well, can't call any Warrior weapon bad while there's Tentacles for Arms... Eh, joking, Fool's Bane is actually quite nice, and the "can't attack Heroes" shouldn't come up to often... with Arm at a good level, you can go and B-Slap the board. ;-) You know, actually, it's also a stealth nerf to Malkorok and the Blingtron. While it lowers the chance of drawing cursed blade to (currently) less than 5%, suddenly there's a weapon that's not an outright damage buff. And it has ridiculous synergy with a card further down.

Ironforge Portal (*)
I guess this is workable, even though the cost of 5 is kinda prohibitive, it's still a random minion, and an armour gain isn't affecting the board in any way.

Kara Kazham (**)
I love this card for its style (as well as the Beauty and the Beast references). Just... why is the teapot the strongest, eh? For a cost of 5 mana, you get a 6/6 spread over three bodies. I guess this would be better in other classes, but I figure it's okay in Warlock, though it more or less directly competes with Forbidden Ritual.

Avian Watcher (**)
If you control a secret, this becomes akin to a super Twilight Guardian. Thing is, you need a secret. This takes him down a good notch since there are six classes without access to secrets. Paladin has the best chances since it has the cheapest secrets (on turn six, play Heroic Sacrifice and this guy, for example). The best thing to have would a secret that doesn't trigger, and IMO the best one for that is Mage's Spell Shaper.

Ethereal Peddler (***)
This card is good on stats alone (5/6 for 5), and the ability is pure gravy. Priest can build a deck that mostly plays with the opponent's cards, Warlock has Renounce Darkness... now Rogue can, too. Between Burgle, Undercity Huckster, and Gang Up (the Peddler's cost reduction DOES apply to class minions you shuffle into your deck and then draw) as well as the new Pirate... there's some stealing going on. Might be a fun deck. And when in doubt, beat face.

Menagerie Magician (*)
*sigh* So it's 4/4 for 5, which means it pays off if the buff triggers only once... but it's niché. I suppose that, IF you run this card, you will most likely not look to buff all three types, but rather many of a single. This guy could be an addition to Murloc/Beast deck (that runs fairy dragons), but other than those? No.

Onyx Bishop (**)
The Priest Class is quite "Meh" at the Moment, and this Sider Tank with a Resurrect tacked onto it at no discount won't change it. I mostly dislike the randomness, because while then works out statwise, you might get only rubbish, especially later on. If played, say, on curve in a N'Zoth Priest, you're probably 50/50 on getting either a Loot Hoarder or you Ethereal Shadow/Infested Tauren, and it only gets worse from there.

Prince Malchezaar (**)
He's alright statswise, and I love the idea of extra Legends (since I don't have a lot). Sure, they might be bad, but freebies are freebies, and the potential of one of them having severe impact balances the reduced oddities in drawing your normal cards.

Silvermoon Portal (**)
Yet another 4-Mana card for Paladin. Both a buff and and minion is nice (I certainly like it more than Blessing of fucking Kings), but was has me giggling is the thought f casting this with a Djinni on the board, because it copies the whole spell. That'll be worth a one-off. :-D

Arcanosmith (**)
If your first thought is: "Well, this might be pretty good with Brann", that's a clear indicator that we're talking about a mediocre card. While the 0/5 Taunt is nice, it doesn't contest anything immediately. Sure, there are situations where that one taunt is going to save you, but in general, ANY taunt will do that in the respective situation.

Barnes (***)
Now here's a minion summoner that has people talking. Yet again, the randomness keeps it from being a definite inclusion everywhere, but there are some strong static or triggered abilities out there he can definitely leverage. Or, if you're mainly playing small deathrattle minions, you might not notice the difference between original and copy.

Priest of the Feast (**)
There's another 4-Mana 3/6 (Hooded Acolyte) which doesn't see play, but this Priest is at least worth a consideration. Anduin cast a good number of Spells, while too often not having Mana to Hero Power heal himself... and the Priest fixes that, without a need to resort to healing spells. I guess you could have sth in conjunction with the minions that gain +2 Attack with every heal.

Wicked Witchdoctor (**)
I almost forgot this one! I don't like it very much. SURE, you couldn't just let it summon any kind of totem with a spell (all the Totem Golems!), but being restricted to basic totems is harsh (though very nice for Primal Fusion), and blocks usage of the hero power. It should, however, be able to exceed the limitation of basic totems just the Tuskarr Totemic. Still, not a fan.

Protect the King (***)
AKA "Unleash the Taunts". It's one of those cards that get better when you are behind in the game, but with the minions not having Charge but Taunt, it also works well when you're ahead and the opponent is attempting to catch up. It also jives well with Bolster.

Cloaked Huntress (**)
She's highly reminiscent of the Kirin Tor Mage, though I'd rate her higher since her effect is static, and limited to the same turn. It does require you to still have secrets in you hand, though, lest she shall be a fancy Spider Tank.

Deadly Fork (**)
I love these tongue-in-cheek-humor cards. A 3/2 for 3 isn't exciting, but when it transforms into a Fiery Waraxe, that's good, and when then returns via N'Zoth, that's not shabby either.

Moroes (*)
I originally thought he was just 1/1 summon 1/1s. Turns out he has Stealth, which is a huge improvement. It's basically the Paladin's Hero Power for everybody. Except against Mage, Rogue, Shaman and everyone running Wild Pyromancer, where it will die a speedy death.

Nightbane Templar (**)
This card may be the start of Dragon Paladin making a comeback. If you hold a Dragon, it becomes a Chillwind Yeti instead of a River Croc. That's decent for 3 mana. Sadly, I'm not deep enough into Paladin to fully recognize the card's potential.

Pantry Spider (**)
It's a 2/6 for 3 Mana spread out over two bodies, meaning that it does have synergy with Knife Juggler and others in addition to being a solid bunch of stats in general. It's otherwise rather bland. The image is TEH CUTIEZ, tho'.

Silverware Golem (**)
The reason that this one does not get a (***) rating is the fact that it's too niché at the moment. Together with Malchezaar's Imp (see below), and cards like the Darkshire Scholar, Succubus, Doomguard, and Fist of Jaraxxus... there's a potential Aggro Deck waiting to be done. However, as with any combo piece, it loses out on a lot of value outside the combo.

Violet Illusionist (***)
Slight warning: The above rating is only general. For those classes that don't hugely benefit. For all others, its (****). Warrior-, Rogue-, and Warlock-Players are probably salivating en masse over this card. Not taking damage on your turn... Soul Tap? Pitlord? Eye for an eye? Going man-mode on a big taunt? Fool's Bane? Hellfire? Non-issues, all of them.

Zoobot (*)
See Meagerie wizard above, because the very same logic and arguments applie(s). At the very least, his stats are better!

Cat Trick (***)
At first, I was thinking "Nice, another secret". Then: "4/2 with Stealth is pretty crazy". Also, that pun is great. :-) But it took a little while to come to important realisations: the trigger is very loose, which means it's great for Eaglehorn Bow, and it triggers after the spell is done, which means you'r not going to lose board after things like Twisting Nether or Flamestrike et aliter, and your opponent probably can't deal with cat until his next turn. It's rad, and we'll see it for sure.

Maelstrom Portal (**)
The Zoo match is generally considered weak for Aggro Shamans, so this card would help there... but competitively speaking, it can't beat Lightning Storm. But it will be nice to have for Players that don't have Lightning Storm, I guess.

Purify (*)
The weirdest of all Priest cards. Silence a FRIENDLY minion? Why would you ever do that outside of rare cases like your enemy having cast PW: Glory or Blessing of Wisdom on it, or Moat Lurker. That last one actually earns the card its one star. Otherwise I've rarely felt the need to silence one of my minions. Sure you could slap that onto the LoE Statue, but if I wanted a 7/7 for 6 (or for 4 when playing the Purify the following turn), I'd play that (or Shaman) instead of burning a deck slot. But it could also be future-proof card, meaning that there might be minions coming which are good, but have an included drawback. Or it's intended for Wild... what was that Warlock automaton again? Exactly, in the wrong class!

Kindly Grandmother (**)
It's a 1/1 that deathrattles into a 3/2. It's a poor man's Twilight Summoner! Apparently, Hunter is becoming the next Dethrattle class (N'Zoth certainly approves). I'm liking it, and I feel a good number of players will, because that's one sticky 2-drop.

Medivh's Valet (**)
Highly reminds me of Blackwing Corruptor or Fire Elemental, which is not a bad thing. I know I ragged on the "good with Brann" thing earlier, but here that less of an issue, since Mage's secrets are more expensive than this guy, so there's every possibility of you playing the secret on turn three or four, and then going Brann + this guy on five. Now all we need for the Secret Mage to rule is a secret with no triggers. ;-)

Netherspite Historian (**)
Oh, this gal. She's awesome for Dragon Decks, even "essential". In standard, there are 24 Dragons, 21 when you dismiss the class ones, about half of them legends. The chances to something great are outstanding (even better than those of Museum Curator). It'll be interesting to see what comes in future sets on that front. If played as a two-drop, I'd keep my fingers crossed for Hungry Dragon - the historian alone should be able to trade with summoned 1-drop.

Pompous Thespian (*)
Besides the name and the art (which speak to my literature scientisty heart), this one hasn't got much to go for it. It might be good in Arena, though...

Spirit Claws (**)
These seem lacking (Everything does next to Doomhammer), but you have to consider the ease with which Shaman can get Spell Power (always 25% at worst). And then, they're a better Fiery Waraxe. Also, it's not a battle cry, so you can play the claws and grab the Spell Power later!

Arcane Anomaly (***)
This guy is rad. It's basically an inverted Manawyrm for everybody, though Mage can probably make the most out of it. Tempts me to include at least one Crazed Alchemist... The 2 attack also mean that you're not super sad if this guy bites it too soon, since he'd only do that much work anyway. I can see every Class (bar Druid, maybe) having some serious fun with this. Hell, Warrior with Rampage et al can make this guy hit so hard, the Innkeeper will feel it. Rogue probably never had that tough (or hard hitting... Crazed Alchemist) a minion. ;-)

I'll be daring here: This card is the best sex Priest ever had in Standard. It might be the best Priest card in the whole set. In fact, I'm convinced it is. #shotsfired

Babbling Book (***)
Speaking of spells and tempo decks... this guy does both. In a world with so many cards counting your spells (Yogg-Saron, Arcane Giant, Manawyrm, Arcane Anomaly et aliter), this guy is money. nd with him giving only Mage Spells... there is even only one bad one (Shatter), and the jury is still out on that.

Enchanted Raven (**)
Gaara talks about 1-drops and "power creep". Please remember that I respect his opinion while I do my best Christopher-Lambert-as-Raiden (aka Le Raidon) impression: I don't think so. Look at other 1-drops. For stats only, they should be 1/2 or 2/1. There's only one of those (Murloc Raider), all the others have meaningful abilities on top. This guy is stats only, and a class card to boot. Were he any lower, he'd be a waste! Is he useful for Druid? In the mythical Beast Deck and Arena, I guess. Will be really nice when followed by Mark of Y'Shaarj.

Malchezaar's Imp (***)
And here we have another enabler for the Discard-o-Rama Warlock (together with the Silverware Golem above). Turning Discard into card-draw? Sure, where do I sign. and why is it in blood? It'll be intersting to know if you actually have to discard the card (I'd guess so), or if that top-deck Doomguard now comes with a free Arcane Intellect.

Runic Egg ()
So this is this adventure's egg, huh? This would've been a consideration for 0 Mana, but not like this. It doesn't give sth outside the deck, and doesn't punch face, so it might as well be something sensible for the same slot! I know there's got to be bad cards, but COME ON!

Swashburglar (***)
Thank God I can close the review on a positive note, also, another great pun. I was alluding to this card when talking about the Ethereal Peddler. A 1-drop that steal cards? Where have you been all my unsuccessful Rogue career?!? I heard some people were playing Argent Squires because Rogue's early game was pretty atrocious, but this guy really ups the ante on possibly not having to play Miracle Rogue (I like the idea of playing him and a Bladed Cultist on turn two)...


Summary:
As said in the Spoilers, I like the cards. Nothing terribly new, sure, but also no clunky internal synergies, and a lot of interesting cards, causing the deckbuilding itch.
Now to witness the adventure itself, optics and all. In a month, when it's done, you'll be able to read my review on that.

Also, don't throw money at blizzard buying all wings in the first week. These people gave you the Diablo III Auction house. Pay with gold - the cardback isn't even fancy or interesting enough.

Until next time, remember:
It's all fun and games until somebody runs out of cards!