Recently, Hearthstone's official Twitter account shared a cryptic message, implying that today we will receive a major announcement.
Quote From PlayHearthstone
Although we may have cracked the code (don't be impatient: we'll get there!), no one really knows the range of the upcoming announcement: will it be the long-awaited Mercenaries content update? Will it be a Duels event?
To us, this tweet means only one thing: almost two months have passed since Voyage to the Sunken City went live, so it's time for the next mini-set! Therefore, we'll take this occasion to share our own predictions regarding what we'll see in the Sunken City Mini-Set. In order to do this, our judgment will be based on the archetypes that were pushed in Sunken City but still need an extra nudge in order to get to the point of being playable. Have a good read!
Disclaimer: Since cards in the mini-set tend to have a higher than average power level than the ones contained in an expansion (you add a few cards just to shake up the meta: what would be the point of adding weak cards that wouldn't see play?), we are fairly positive that this upcoming event will bring a breath of fresh air in the format, which is still adapting to one of the largest balance patches the game has ever received.
General Discussion - Mechanics
We're at the first expansion of the Year of the Hydra, so Sunken City's Mini-Set will mostly focus on broadening the main expansion's archetypes; however, it cannot be excluded that we'll receive support for decks pushed in the Year of the Gryphon.
As a reminder, here are all the archetypes pushed for each class with the Sunken City expansion:
- Demon Hunter - Naga, Big Minions, Aggression.
- Druid - Naga, Choose One, Beast, Buffs.
- Hunter - Big Beasts, Naga, Secrets.
- Mage - Naga, Mechs.
- Paladin - Mechs, Holy, Buffs.
- Priest - Silence, Naga, Miracle.
- Rogue - Pirates, (Big) Spells.
- Shaman - Spell Schools, Piranha Swarmers Aggression, Spell Damage.
- Warlock - Murlocs, Abyssal Curses
- Warrior - Weapons, Big Minions, Pirates.
While we have no way to be 100% sure about which or how many mechanics will return, we are fairly sure we won't end completely missing the target. As a final thought, remember that the Naga tribe has been a thing for just two months: with such a short story, there is no way we won't see more tribal support, especially since you consider that expansions and mini-sets have always been thematically connected.
General Discussion - Mini-Set's Theme
Speaking of having cracked the code, we think we know what Hearthstone's announcement is going to be about. The tweet you see above includes an octopus and a triton: let's start by focusing on the latter. If you have some World of Warcraft knowledge, one character will immediately come to mind: Neptulon, one of the four Elemental Lords.
Man, they really did him dirty during GvG...
During its existence, Neptulon has come in contact with Queen Azshara and the Naga multiple times, none of which represented particularly friendly encounters: in fact, the Naga were interested in enslaving the Elemental Lord for their own ends. Therefore, fight was inevitable. Fight. Fight. Two fists that clash together, like in the tweet!
Now, there's only one thing left to understand: the octopus. While everyone's screaming at N'Zoth, we think there's a far better candidate: Ozumat.You may wonder who it is, and we shall give you the answer.
Ozumat, the patriarch of all kraken, is in the service of the Old Gods' forces. The Naga managed to bend it to their will and use its prowess to wage war against Neptulon and his allies.
"Tales of the monstrous kraken that terrorize Azeroth's high seas were once relegated to myth... but no longer. By some ill means, the naga have bent Ozumat - the patriarch of all kraken - to their will and unleashed him against Neptulon and his followers."
Now, let's put all the pieces together. Hearthstone's announcement will be about Ozumat and Neptulon fighting against each other! Such occasion will give the perfect chance for another under-water content release, just like Sunken City was.
Predictions - Big Demons
We start off with a rather difficult class to predict: ever since its release in 2020, Team 5 managed to make Demon Hunter feel unique throughout each expansion - sometimes things were more balanced, sometimes they were a bit less, but this doesn't change the fact that the devs really did a good job with Hearthstone's 10th class.
With this being said, the Sunken City class set for Demon Hunter looks quite compact: we've got a big focus on Naga, leaning towards the aggression that characterizes Illidan's identity, with very little left to imagination. However, we still managed to dig up one solid idea: big dudes.
The rotation of Pit Commander represented a terrible blow, from which Big Demon Hunter is still recovering: Sigil of Reckoning, Caria Felsoul and possibly Warden of Chains are excellent cards, but the archetype is beyond the verge of unplayability. However, we feel like Team 5 may still have plans for it, and Sunken City's Abyssal Depths and Xhilag of the Abyss are why we believe so. Let us explain.
Although very expensive (we do not exclude Team 5 considering a buff in the future), Abyssal Depths represents a great tutor draw for decks with heavy top end cards and need early units to play. Want an example? Vanndar Stormpike! I personally fooled around with Abyssal Depths into Ambassador Faelin and Vanndar, and it's as bad as fun. Raging Felscreamer is another option. On the other hand, Xhilag is the only Demon Colossal we've received and the fact that it got recently buffed (Xhilag's Stalks's damage now start at 2) makes us hopeful that the devs have something for us.
To be honest, we had another prediction, which was as interesting as dangerous, so we ended up discarding it: handbuff support. With time, Demon Hunter has received a handful of units that would love some form of class handbuff - a green Alliance Bannerman we might say. The new Coilskar Commander and the two copies of itself that it summons would absolutely love it. The downside? Lady S'theno - we don't wanna see even more people dying from 30 with an empty board, and we recognize handbuff mechanics may turn out to be unhealthy for the game.
Predictions - Choose One, Token
Druid's first half of the Sunken City expansion was quite successful: Ramp Druid dominated April, but even after receiving some nerfs it did not disappear, possibly because of how fun it can be for some to play. By taking a look at Druid's Sunken City set and Core set, we noticed that the Choose One package is a path that may be explored in the near future. Why so? Druid's Core is largely made of cards with synergy towards that keyword (9 out of 17), and Team 5 didn't bring back Fandral Staghelm just to show off its cool entrance. Moreover, Alterac Valley brought us Pathmaker, Pride Seeker, Raid Negotiator and Boomkin, which we genuinely didn't expect to remain so irrelevant after April's rotation. There's also the new Flipper Friends, so... more Choose One cards incoming!
Secondly, Aggro Druid had to put up with Arbor Up's departure, and we dare to say that the wound is still bleeding a lot. Although Azsharan Gardens looks like a very fun tool (especially when combined with the 0 mana Aquatic Form), Malfurion needs more reasons to follow such gameplay.
Predictions - Naga, Big Beasts
Despite having received so much love in the recent buff patch, we wouldn't be surprised to see another addition for Big Beast Hunter: the deck feels so different from what the class usually does, and we are not new to situations where Team 5 buffs an archetype they're about to support (you'll see an even clearer example in just a bit). Who knows, it might come in the form of a Neutral Colossal or in a spell, but for the aforementioned reason we wouldn't count this deck out.
However, we're almost certain that Rexxar will receive Naga support. With damage spells excluded because of Defend the Dwarven District being a (very obnoxious) card, it seems fair game for Team 5 to be willing to give Hunter more Naga, especially since Raj Naz'jan and Twinbow Terrorcoil are not enough to justify support tools like barbed nets and (especially) Naga's Pride. Moreover, Conch's Call seems like a very sweet card, just waiting for the Naga pool to be a little wider.
Predictions - none.
To put it simple, we don't have the slightest clue about what's next for Mage. The Sunken City class set was evenly split between Naga and Mechs, with both archetypes currently seeing acceptable degrees of play. Although nobody says that they won't receive further support, there's the argument that mini-sets usually promote archetypes that are not quite there or even create new ones from dust, which is not the case for neither of the aforementioned decks.
If we still were to give a prediction, we'd say Big Spells support: the archetype received a lot of love in the Fractured in Alterac Valley expansion, but it has never really found remarkable success and, as if that were not enough, the rotation brought away all the class' focus in favor of the new and shiny Naga and Mech Mage.
Predictions - Holy
This one is easy. With the Libram package rotating, there's little to no reason for Team 5 to print Kotori Lightblade, a tribe-less 2 mana 2/3 with very little synergy and literally no reason to be played. It kind of reminds us of Overlord Saurfang back in Forged in the Barrens: a completely irrelevant (and, at that point in time) overcosted Legendary unit, until the Wailing Caverns brought Warrior Kresh, Lord of Turtling.
Long story short, we expect Sunken City's Mini-Set to give Kotori its Kresh, so that Holy Paladin will have higher chances to be more than just a Mr. Smite OTK package - which is as effective as sad.
Predictions - Shadow
Team 5 themselves gave away what Priest will receive in the mini-set. How so? If you look at the current card pool, you'll notice that Priest only has 9 Shadow spells, among which we can find multiple little packages with no synergy between themselves.
If that's the case, why did Team 5 buff Shadowcloth Needle to 1 mana? Buffs are implemented so that the class that receives them can perform better (at the very least) in the short period, so again: why? Because Sunken City's Mini-Set will bring this long awaited Shadow support, which will hopefully make Shadow Darkbishop Benedictus playable again.
As you might understand, we have no way to know in what direction (aggression, control, combo) said Shadow support will be, but we deem this as one of the predictions we're the most confident about.
Predictions - Big Spells, Deathrattle
The recent buff to the Burgle package brought a breath of new life for the class: before the last balance patch, the class was all about Pirates (with little success!), but now we can spot multiple builds on ladder - Wildpaw Gnoll is one hell of a card!
As for the mini-set, we expect Team 5 to focus on other archetypes, such as Deathrattle and... big spells. Starting from the former, it's been a while since Deathrattle Rogue has been a thing in Standard: as we speak, players are experimenting with a brand Naval Mine build, but there's no say whether it will prove to be competitively viable or not. Maybe another class Deathrattle to tutor with Sketchy Information could improve the whole archetype. On the other hand, Smokescreen is still legal, and this brings us to our second prediction.
Rogue has never had many expensive spells, and for reasons: the class is all about optimization, combo, direct damage and (we have to say it) mana-cheat - with something like Preparation being a cornerstone of every Rogue deck since the dawn of times, Valeera prefers to close games early rather than playing big hitters and let her preys escape.
With this reasonable premise, you'll understand that Swiftscale Trickster definitely jumps to the eye: print it for almost any other class and it will break the game, but not for Rogue. However, we doubt Team 5 gave Trickster to Rogue just to mock Hearthstone's other 9 classes: support may be on the way, and it may be closer than we think.
Predictions - Big Spells for Spell Schools, Aggro
Shaman currently has a few unsolved archetypes. The first one is aggro: Thrall received a Piranha Swarmer package consisting of Schooling, Piranha Poacher and Anchored Totem. While the synergy with Bloodlust is kind of obvious, the archetype has never taken off, and we think the Sunken City Mini-Set has high chances to change this.
Our second prediction aims to improve "Spell School" Shaman, and especially Big Spell Shaman. Wrathspine Enchanter was printed in a set with no big spells and, on top of this, there are currently only 3 Fire spells for Shaman in Standard (Scalding Geyser, Perpetual Flame and Don't Stand in the Fire!).
Although we cannot predict whether it will be Fire or not, we are quite confident to say that Shaman will receive a big spell (with a Spell School) in the upcoming Sunken City Mini-Set.
Predictions - Murlocs
Let's be real: Curse Warlock will not receive more gas - not because it's particularly strong (even though the buffs to Dragged Below and Sira'kess Cultist have improved the archetype's play and winrate), but because you don't really want a strategy like that to influence the meta beyond a certain limit - pretty much like Tickatus Warlock back in the day, we're okay with decks that mess with our opponents to exist, as long as they're not a consistent slice of the pie.
For this reason, we think that the mini-set will give Gul'Dan even more Murlocs. If you are familiar with the Mercenaries game mode, you might have bumped into Clownfish in the new Darkshore zone. What's interesting is that this unit's art is brand new to the game, but at the same time it seems so detailed that it has a high chances to be a commission for Constructed as well. Examples of what we're saying are Cookie, the Cook's Go Fish! 1's units, which use card arts belonging to Swordfish, Shimmering Sunfish and Helmet Hermit.
Clownfish's full art.
To be fair, Clownfish's art does not seem to the too Warlock-y, but at the same time it doesn't change the fact that Gul'dan should receive more fishy support.
Predictions - Big Warrior,
Finally, we have Warrior. Almost all of Garrosh's Sunken City set is yet to see any degree of play: only Forged in Flame, Obsidiansmith, From the Depths and Nellie, the Great Thresher can be found on ladder. What about the rest?
Well, there's a large Weapon Warrior package sitting idle in all our collections. Outside of Forged in Flame, none of the cards belonging to this archetype have seen play, as the reasons you should play the deck aren't good enough when the best you have to offer is a 5 mana Upgrade! and some late-game stats. There's no way Team 5 won't give this archetype more love, right?
Predictions - N'Zoth, Colossal
Ever since Voyage to the Sunken City was announced, everyone expected N'Zoth to make a comeback and appear in either the Sunken City expansion or the Year of the Hydra's Core set - it is such a fundamental character for the Naga to be completely ignored. Well, Team 5 bamboozled us, but we... may still be right.
That which was sunken, shall rise again.
Really beautiful piece of art. However, as you can notice yourselves, it isn't as wide as necessary for it to fit into multiple cards, just like any other Colossal does with its appendages. For this reason, we think that if N'Zoth will be part of the next mini-set (something we're moderately confident about), it will focus on its "sunken God" part (N'Zoth, Sunken God sounds extremely cool!) rather than being a Colossal. For example, we may receive one of these designs:
- A Start of the Game effect that automatically puts N'Zoth at the bottom of your deck in exchange of an upside.
- Following N'Zoth's usual flavor (resurrecting different kinds of stuff), it may replay all the kinds of Sunken cards (e.g.: Sunken Saber) you've played this game.
- Kind of a weak effect, but we're merely brainstorming.
- A Battlecry that summons any minions in the bottom (x) cards of your deck.
- Ambassador Faelin support!
As you can see, there are several ways for N'Zoth to come back, so only time will give us the answer we're looking for.
Secondly, there's the Colossal unit. Although no one confirmed that Colossal would be part of the Sunken City Mini-Set, it would totally make sense: mini-sets are extensions of the expansion they belong to, developing their mechanics even further. Again, there's no guaranteed, but we'd be surprised to not see any new Colossal. In this regard, Ozumat would really fit the role!
On a final note, we wonder whether Neptulon will return as a Shaman card (just like in the old days) or as a Neutral Legendary.
What do you think about these predictions? Are there any archetypes you'd like to see pushed in the upcoming mini-set? Let us know in the comments below.
Reading this prediction article now (from the future) I chuckled with the fact that Clownfish was dead on aside going to Shaman but Avalon did said it doesn't look like a warlock card, well he was right 😜
What's up with referring to elemental lords as "it"? World of Warcraft canon consistently refers to them with "he/him" pronouns, so I find it creepy and disrespectful that you'd go out of your way to try to erase their gender, especially when calling Ozumat a "patriarch" in the same article.
It would've been a fine argument to make on its own, pointing out to the WoW's handling of these cases, and then stopping at that. It's not likely to be a common knowledge within the Hearthstone's realm of things, after all (on a side note, Therazane does not exactly fit the theme/example given, while also being classified as one of the Elemental 'Lords').
But going well beyond that to ascribe such bad intent to somebody's words without there being any proof they would do so purposefully is... too much.
Wow, you think I honestly care about the feelings or gender identity of a big gross monster? It was a joke, y'all. Get a grip.
You know, I'd hope so. But regardless of intent, it's been rather clear with these reactions it just didn't come across that way. Very difficult, if not impossible, to tell the context between deadly serious and tongue-in-cheek in the absence of any indication as to the latter. Stranger things have caused heated arguments.
No, it wasn't a joke. You realized that your attempt to be an asshole backfired horribly and now you're trying to backpedal to save face.
Backfired? Hardly. If I was in fact trolling, then it succeeded brilliantly.
I really should just put "/sarcasm" in my sig so people can recognize my brilliance as it unfolds. But we don't have sigs here, do we ... I guess this whole mess is all outof.cards' fault, really.
Dont know why, but we're nearly two months in and I hardly noticed. Perhaps for once in some time I feel like Im actually playing hearthstone.
There's likely going to be a neutral colossal, but I dont think its nzoth. Likely its Ozumat instead. I feel that team5 would prefer to keep the old gods together for the most part. Instead, nzoth's fish is likely to appear, perhaps as the mandatory useless miniset epic.
Im more interested to seeing whether neptulon can finally make an appearance that isn't completely embarrassing like the last time. But if ozumat is in, then neptulon will very likely be as well.
Maybe N’zoth will appear in fish form in some way? The N’zoth fish was in the expansion teaser but never appeared in sunken city.
How about a Colossal? A neutral one, summoning a large board, like their other incarnations.
Fish of N'zoth. Summon a single Deathrattle minion that died this game.
Priest Legendary of course
Wow, you've made an incredible read out of an announcement of an announcement 😀!
Really cool stuff
Hey, glad you appreciated it!
I honestly don't think that this is the teaser for the mini-set and that for multiple reasons.
Aside of a bunch of new mercs and bounties (I expect around 15-30) I also anticipate that they are going to release one of the major features they announced in the past. Kinda like how Battlegrounds added one big feature/gameplay element like Darkmoon Prices, Quillboars, Buddies etc. with their major updates. Those already announced major merc features include:
Well, this is a bit awkward now, isn't it?
wasn't wrong though on the mercs part, but I absolutely can't understand why they don't make a dedicated blog post for it or even just mention it in the one they just published.
Avalon you're a handsome genius.
I like to believe you downvoted yourself
Someone felt like they needed to humble me a bit.
Mmh… perhaps it was for the genius part