Scholomance Academy was announced just a few days ago, with some interesting new game mechanics. While we wait for the start of the reveal season, let's explore one of them - dual-class cards. This kind of design choice has been part of the community's fantasies for years, and now they're finally here!
From the Announce Trailer, we know all the class pairings (see below) and the fact that each duo will receive a total of 4 cards, one of them being a Legendary.
Most class identities happen to have some common ground, so let's try to predict what we could get!
- Common themes: Mana manipulation (generation, Overload), healing, minion swarms, big minions
- Predictions: Big decks support, healing synergy, minion generation, early game (spell deck) support
Recently, we got Strength in Numbers, Winged Guardian and Explosive Evolution. Muckmorpher is also still in Standard. Then there are Vivid Spores and Marsh Hydra. All of this could mean that Thrall and Malfurion will get a support card for big decks!
But that's not all, this pairing might also bring a healing card and a minion-generating spell. During Rise of Shadows, both classes received a decent amount of support involving healing, in the form of Witch's Brew and Walking Fountain for Shaman (so mostly survivability) and Crystal Power, Lucentbark, Crystal Stag and Lifeweaver for Druid (more of a themed build). None of these tools have really broken their respective classes yet, so it could be reasonable to assume that we could receive the cornerstone that could push these kind of decks further.
Finally, Malfurion is being pushed for ages towards a Spell build with little to no minions (see Glowfly Swarm, Fungal Fortunes, but also Crystalsong Portal), and Thrall needs some explosive early game to see decent play in the next expansion. So here's our final take: this pairing will bring us a Power of Creation type of card for the early game.
- Common themes: Beasts (big and small), buff mechanic
- Predictions: Swarm support, additional Beast synergy
Shan'do Wildclaw is the first dual-class Legendary revealed, and is based on the Beast-synergy present in both Druid and Hunter. In particular, this minion works really well with high costed units like Winged Guardian and Dinotamer Brann's King Krush. On the other hand, Malfurion and Rexxar have their own ways to flood the board: Glowfly Swarm is a powerful play, but we also have cards like The Forest's Aid, Snake Trap and Unleash the Hounds. Unseal the Vault is also still in Standard. Therefore, we think that the Druid/Hunter pairing could bring to the table a swarm support tool, be it an AoE buff or a Frostwolf Warlord-type of unit.
In the end, we generally think that this combination will be centered around Beasts, but we would not be surprised to see a cheap removal card with some sort of benefit attached to it like Marked Shot.
- Common themes: Weapons, aggression, Charge, tokens synergy
- Predictions: Weapon, early game removal, token generation, Rush+Outcast combo
This pairing is very likely to bring aggressive/midrange-y tools to both Rexxar and Illidan. While weapons, especially those of the kind that immediately impact the board, like Umberwing or Desert Spear, are not that bold of a prediction, we think that an efficient early game damage removal with an upside, like Eye Beam or Corrosive Breath, could be an option, maybe even strapped on a minion.
Another theme, similar to Druid/Hunter in a sense, is token synergy. Illidan has tools like Feast of Souls, Wrathscale Naga and Coordinated Strike that have been heavily underwhelming so far. Some support in this area is definitely needed.
As far as Legendary for this duo goes, a Charge-related minion could fit really well the flavor crossover, but we also fear that it might break the game very easily. Let's just settle for a proactive rush minion with a powerful Outcast mechanic instead.
- Common themes: Card draw, Demons (especially big), Lifesteal
- Predictions: Hand/deck manipulation, big Demon synergy, soul magic(?)
Despite having very different playstyles (at least in the last 4 months), these two classes share a lot when it comes down to class identity.
Given that both Illidan and Gul'dan have the ability to go fast through their decks, we expect a card with an effect similar to Plot Twist and Sightless Watcher, which will allow the player to manipulate their handsize/draws in order to find a specific answer or, even better, exploit effects like Keli'dan the Breaker or Skull of Gul'dan's.
Demons? Demons. The other shared theme we expect to come up is the synergy with big Demons. During the last round of nerfs, HS Game Designer Alec Dawson commented on all the balance changes and stated that:
Quote From Alec DawsonIn the future, we want to be able to push Demon Hunter into archetypes other than aggro/tempo.
Moreover, Illidan already has cards like Pit Commander, Hulking Overfiend and Fel Summoner and we know that Skull of Gul'dan was initially meant to be used with high-costed cards rather than low-costed ones. So, here's our guess: DH/Warlock will receive big Demons synergy!
Another hint was revealed a few hours ago in an interview with Celestalon, HS Initial Game Designer:
Quote From Celestalon[Demon Hunter and Warlock] have got a mechanic for their soul magic which is exclusive to just them, just this set.
What is this "soul magic" and where could that lead?
- Common themes: Single target and board removals, sticky minions, Lifesteal
- Predictions: Disruption card, self-sacrifice synergy, conditional sustain
Anduin uses light and shadow cards, Gul'dan exploits his own life total and Demon synergy, but in the end both classes excel at removing threats and establishing supremacy on the board in the late game, most of the times achieved by exhausting the opponent's resources.
For this pairing we expect the devs to expand each class' horizons, even if just for a bit: in particular, we predict a disruption tool that will mess with the opponent's board or hand. Let's consider this: Warlock has Chaos Gazer and Demonic Project, while Priest has Madame Lazul and Mind Vision. We clearly don't think about an effect like "Discover a card from your opponent's hand" (that would be way too powerful and would lead to endless complaints from the community), but there's still a lot of design space to work with in order to come up with something fun yet playable.
Moreover, we'd like to see some form of self-sacrifice in Priest: be it life total, other minions on the board or (less likely but still) cards in hand, it would be nice to see a resource consuming tool in a class that is very good at generating value.
For what regards Gul'dan, Warlock's only way to heal right now are Nether Breath (which pretty much forces you to run Dragons) and Aranasi Broodmother (same deckbuilding restriction but with Plot Twist), which is not incredibly bad but there are definitely ways to improve the situation. What we think is that might see a big recovering tool, maybe with some conditions attached to it, that will help Warlock in his long-game plans.
- Common themes: Healing, single-target buffs
- Predictions: Single-target healing and/or buff card, board clear
Two classes bound to the Light, which also share a big chunk of gameplay identity.
We think it is fair to assume that we'll receive at least one card that synergizes with either healing or buffing a single target, or maybe both: it would be very interesting to see an effect like "Restore a minion to full Health. If it's already at full Health, give it +X/+Y". There are a lot of ways these two classes can be combined and we're very curious to see what comes up.
Talking about bold predictions, is this the time Paladin will receive a playable board clear again? Keep in mind that Uther's last AoE (if we don't count debuff stuff like Shrink Ray) was Enter the Coliseum from The Grand Tournament, a very forgettable card in a very forgettable expansion. Given that Priest is very good at disposing of enemy threats, we hope that this pairing will give Paladin a chance to receive a somewhat playable board clear, maybe to be paired with Libram of Justice in a Pure list.
- Common themes: Weapons, board control, single-target buffs
- Predictions: Tempo 6-drop, "give a Divine Shield to a damaged minion"
Although the current tools at their disposal are different, Uther and Garrosh are able to cover the same play styles: in fact, they can both go Aggro (Murlocs and Pirates), Midrange (Libram and Bomb) and, with more difficulty, Control (Libram again and Highlander).
This time we'll be very specific: we predict a beefy 6-cost card in stats (if minion) and proactive effect fitting the Midrange style that will help Warrior to (at least partially) divert from the Ancharrr-Skipper build and that will fill a hole in Libram Paladin's curve (Aldor Attendant into Shotbot/Hand of A'dal into Goody Two-Shields into Lightforged Zealot into Aldor Truthseeker into ... nothing).
Two other class strengths we'd like to see merged together are Paladin's Divine Shields and Warrior's enrage damaged minions' synergy: we won't be blown out of the water if we'll see a single-target spell that enhances a damaged minion with a stats buff and Divine Shield (beware: Risky Skipper is Warrior's strongest card, so it would be quite a risk, pun intended, but in the end balancing the game is not our job).
- Common themes: Weapons, Pirates, early game aggression, single target removals
- Predictions: Weapon or weapon synergy, Pirate minion, (un)damaged minion removal
Another easily predictable pairing. We're quite confident to say that we'll receive a weapon or a weapon-synergy card like Raiding Party, Corsair Cache or Bloodsail Cultist and a Pirate minion. Another likely prediction may be a card that exploits the ways of Rogue of targeting undamaged minions (Walk the Plank, Backstab and Shadow Strike) and Warrior's synergy with damaged ones (Bloodsworn Mercenary, but also Execute and Bonechewer Raider): maybe something whose cost/effect changes based on the target's Health?
Talking about damaged minions with upsides, you may want to check our Reveal Season Community Bingo: there's a square just for that!
- Common themes: Card generation, damage spells, card draw, Secrets
- Predictions: Secret synergy, semi-random card generation (burgle-ish synergy)
Have you noticed how this is the only pairing that shares Secrets as part of the class identity? And have you noticed that Rogue's Secrets have just been reintroduced and, despite having a powerhouse like Shadowjeweler Hanar among her lines, Valeera still needs more support to establish the archetype as a build around on its own without being just a package in a bigger deck? Galakrond, the Nightmare we're looking at you. Well, this really looks like the perfect opportunity! So here it is: our prediction for the Mage/Rogue Legendary is a Secrets-related card.
(editor's note: BEGONE ALL SECRET LOVERS!)
While Scholomance Academy could bring more than just one card to promote Secrets, there could also come more support for Rogue's Burgle archetype. Valeera could receive a big payoff for herself (much like Tess Greymane before and Bazaar Burglary now), we're confident to say that Mage/Rogue's crossover could fit one cheap spell, similar to Hallucination and Dragon's Hoard that would replenish the player's hand, give them something to play and compensate the handicap of running conditional stuff (Vendetta, Underbelly Fence) or no minions (Font of Power, Apexis Blast). Wand Thief already hints in this direction.
- Common themes: Damage spells, Elementals, freeze
- Predictions: Elemental synergy, burst damage spell with a condition and/or additional effect
With Devolving Missiles already out (great invention from the flavor's point of view: Arcane Missiles and Devolve merged in one card), we think that Mage/Shaman will receive some Elemental synergy.
Let's just look at Jaina and Thrall's current Standard pool: Un'Goro rotated more than a year ago, but since then we've kept receiving Elementals (Marshspawn, Shattered Rumbler) and Elemental synergy cards (Elemental Allies, Animated Avalanche), but the build-arounds, like Frost Lich Jaina or Kalimos, Primal Lord are not there right now. That is why we have reasons to think that this will be the time we'll finally be able to play Elemental decks with a finisher again.
Moreover, it is fair to assume that we'll see some form of a burst damage, probably a spell: that would help No Minion Mage, which will have one more tool at its disposal, and would help Shaman even more in his climb towards the high tiers. If we were to imagine a card, we'd say something like "Deal X damage. If you cast a spell last turn (Marshspawn, Torrent) summon a Y-cost minion/Discover a spell and add it to your hand".
My hopes are almost nonexistent, but... some Freeze support to keep the meme alive? Please?
Did we miss some major themes? Is there a particular lore character that you think will appear as a dual-class Legendary? What is your prediction for dual-class cards? Tell us in the comments or create a card and show it to everyone! Maybe you will beat Blizzard to it :)
And why not Rogue/Priest... You know... Thievery..?
Because Rogue pairs with Mage and Warrior and Priest pairs with Warlock and Paladin: there won't be any Rogue/Priest cards in the next expansion.
The more and more I read through the hypes of this expansion, I'm more excited for it that the majority of other sets in recent history. I hope to see some stupid stuff for these blended class cards.
I wonder if this ultimately ends up just being a tool to distribute cards more efficiently. As in:
Warlock and Priest are obviously getting some sort of boardclear, meaning with just one card they can tick off this category for both classes and have more room for design with the rest of the cards.
Look at Devolving Missiles. It's not really anything particularly interesting, but it's a solid card that gives both classes polymorph removal while only using one card slot.
I want to point something out about the Druid/Hunter section. You mentioned that both Druid and Hunter have strong swarming tools, and you gave examples such as Glowfly Swarm and The Forest's Aid. However, Shan'do Wildclaw targets the minions (specifically, beasts) in your deck only, not hand or board, meaning you're going to need to run a lot of beasts in order to get any value out of the first part of their ability. This means cards like Glowfly Swarm and The Forest's Aid won't work with them, making me think Druid's going to make use of the "copy a beast" part of the ability while Hunter will make use of the "give beasts +1/+1" part.
Another thing I want to point out is about how much people are freaking out about Shan'do Wildclaw + Dinotamer Brann for a casual 16 damage and 2 8/8s on the board, but running Shan'do exclusively for that combo is likely going to make the deck worse, since it's a dead card until you draw Brann and have 10 mana. You could use this with Zixor, Apex Predator, but especially now that decks are starting to run Nagrand Slam as well means that it's probably not worth it in most cases.
Then again, these are just my two cents, I could be entirely wrong.
For what concerns the first point you're totally right, but we are as well. We said that Druid and Hunter share big Beasts synergy. On the other hand though, they also share the ability to go wide with tokens/small beasts, thus the prediction of some sort of Swarm support. We're both on the same page, it's just that you may have misread that line.
For the second point, Wildclaw is more flexible than you think: yeah, King Krush is the flashy finisher that everyone thinks about, but Highlander Hunter can easily shift towards a more Beast-based build with some good (upcoming?) support. Even just a 3 mana 3/3 with a slight upside like Rush (Diving Gryphon), Deathrattle (Mok'Nathal Lion, Augmented Porcupine) or a conditional effect (Phase Stalker) can be good enough if well timed in the game. In the end we're talking about Highlander decks, which are all about flexibility.
Finally, consider that using Wildclaw on Zixor would turn off both your Dinotamer Brann and Zephrys the Great, which is not a wise choice: it is indeed a cool and value-wise wonderful combo, but maybe it will see consistent application in a non-highlander build or, more probably, when all the no-duplicate cards will be rotated in 8 months.
Ah I see, I definitely misunderstood the message there. As for your second point, you're right, those cards completely slipped my mind. I suppose we'll just have to see, maybe Blizzard prints some good beast buffs or deathrattle to make the porcupine and lion viable.
I don't care what comes out to be honest. Can we just please make Paladin a viable choice in Standard again? Librams are a joke and Pure Paladin is utter garbage. And please, please, please get away from the Resurrection Mechanic for Priest? It's just dreadful. One viable deck (Galakrond Priest) does not a Class Make.
This Meta has bored me shitless and I haven't been able to predict my opponents cards with such accuracy since the days of Pirate Warrior in Standard.
I mean.. prediciting your opponents cards is kind of essential to any meta. At the end of the day we have 9/10 classes wiith viable decks (maybe not Druid anymore....how did that happen anyways? Is +1 mana on Fungal Fortunes that much of a death sentence?
To be fair - judging by HSReplays, two of the top four decks in Standard post-nerf have been Paladin, including the "utter garbage" deck.
Confusing statements. I thought the point of variety is that each turn in hearthstone wouldn't be the same exact predictable lineup.
Warlock/Priest: 5 mana. Destroy all Protesters and Remove Freedoms from Hong Kong. Silence Remaining Minions.
shame on you for slandering the glorious motherlands. Now hand over your organs or it's back to the reeducation camps for you
DH Warlock are definitely getting minion death synergy. It's an important part of both of their classes.
That's what I think Soul Magic is referring to.
I'm also certain that Warrior/Paladin will be getting big deck support. Warrior still has Dimensional Ripper and Paladin still has Duel!, the card Troublemaker in Warrior also suggests a "big" direction.
but the dev said that the mechanic is set exclusive
Yeah I think it could be a mechanic that has to do with your minions dying, you gain soul counters or something.
I could see the Rogue/Mage legendary having a battlecry of adding a random secret from all classes to your hand. Obviously not all classes have secrets, so they may need to specifically call out the four classes that do in the text, or they could just say "all". Perhaps to keep it to the dual class nature it'd just be discover a Mage secret and a Rogue secret instead.
okay so I'm pretty sure that Priest/Warlock will get an AOE lifesteal spell, but it'll be pretty weak unless you combine it with spell damage or that Demon that doubles all spell damage minions take.
...no hold on that would just be spirit lash, they wouldn't reprint that, would they?
Mage/Shaman is absolutely getting some type of Elemental. It just seems way too perfect for them not to do that.