Throne of the Tides, Voyage to the Sunken City's mini-set, goes live tomorrow, June 1, and we've got some thoughts on the new cards coming for Mage, Paladin, Priest, and Rogue. Let's go over the new cards and see where we're headed in the mini-set meta. Have a good read!
In case you missed it, a few days ago we published our Voyage to the Sunken City mini-set prediction article - how well do you think we did?
In order for us to understand how viable Submerged Spacerock will be, the first thing we have to do is take a look at all the Arcane spells currently in Standard. As you can see, there is a decent number of cheap options, some of which (Runed Orb, Gifts of Azshara, Siphon Mana and Arcane Intellect) would be really great to receive, especially since you'd be able to easily play at least one of them.
The fact that the generated spells will last only one turn makes us a bit skeptical about Submerged Spacerock's viability, as Mage does not lack card draw or generation, and Spacerock isn't a Naga, so it would hardly fit into the current Ping Mage lists. It's an interesting card, but we'll probably need to wait for the next expansion before seeing it played.
From the card text we can infer that, in case Submerged Spacerock will die during your opponent's turn, you'll still have a chance to play the generated spells, as they won't be discarded at the end of your opponent's turn, but at the end of yours.
There are two ways to see Polymorph: Jellyfish:
- A cheaper Polymorph, with the downside that it needs to be addressed immediately.
- Spell Damage on demand for 3 mana, which can also be previously discounted by the likes of Lady Naz'jar and Siphon Mana - Guild Trader is still legal and has never seen play in Mage, but Poly has more synergies overall, so there's a little chance.
We expect both aspects of Polymorph: Jellyfish to see some degree of experimentation, although we are sure the former will be popular from the very start, as it lines up perfectly against top-tier decks like Handbuff and Mech Paladin, as well as Control Warrior's Nellie, the Great Thresher. Poly Mage is back, whether you like it or not (I don't like it).
An interesting card that gives Naga (and possibly Control) Mage some form of flexibility, depending on the matchup. The current version of Naga Mage already runs spells belonging to the Frost, Fire and Arcane Schools, so this should be a rather easy include. Here are a few thoughts regarding each Lady Naz'jar form.
- Arcane Naz'jar - An additional Siphon Mana for the class, which might help you to set up crazy combos or to simply make your Rune of the Archmage and such come down earlier.
- Frost Naz'jar - Mage is not a particularly proficient class when it comes to survivability, so you have to respect an on demand Heavy Plate.
- Fire Naz'jar - Explosive Shot that comes with a free 5/5. Not a bad deal.
While all these options seem good but not great, you have to consider that you'll be able to pick the one you need the most every time: in other words, Lady Naz'jar sacrifices a bit of power level in favor of flexibility - and the latter is incredibly important in modern Hearthstone.
Although it's not been confirmed yet, it is our understanding that Naz'jar's forms won't stack: if you play a Fire spell and then a Frost spell, Naz'jar will only grant you the Armor.
While Front Lines may have some disruption implications (you can summon your opponent's key units from their deck and then proceed to kill them), its main application is clearly in Big Paladin. However, just like for that archetype, we're not particularly optimistic about this spell's viability.
While the effect is great on paper (you fill your entire board with supposedly big minions), the problems come when you consider that you have to wait until turn 9 for it to make an impact, while Big Paladin wants to win games on turn 5/6 with Cavalry Horn shenanigans. Moreover, Paladin doesn't have access to any form of reliable mana-cheat (such as Wild High Abbess Alura or Prismatic Lens) outside of Barbaric Sorceress, which would however force you to not run any cheap spells, making your already skinny early game even less reliable.
Unless things dramatically improve in the future, we expect Front Lines to not see any form of competitive play whatsoever.
Kind of a Corridor Creeper, kind of a Devout Pupil, kind of a Thing from Below. While it won't come down as early as Creeper could back in the day, Lightray does not ask you to do anything you don't want to do already: you are a Paladin, you play Paladin cards (not spells, not minions: just cards). Sure, there's no "Pure" support in Standard right now, but this doesn't change the fact that Uther will usually have access to a free 5/5 with Taunt around turn 6.
Just like for Myrmidon, the synergy with Holy Maki Roll is quite blatant. One of the best cards of the mini-set.
Just like Lightray, Myrmidon is a clear example of the design space opened up by Librams rotating to Wild: if Libram of Wisdom were still in Standard, Myrmidon (and Lightray) would've never seen the light of day.
Regarding the card itself, this Naga represents a mid/late game cycle engine, particularly proficient with Holy Maki Roll and other cheap spells like Noble Mount, which will also give this unity some form of protection.
Remember the days when Paladin did not have card draw? Yeah, we don't either.
Let's start this card's review by saying that disrupting your opponent's next draw is an interesting concept, which was occasionally explored by Team 5 (Mischief Maker, Gnomeferatu) in the past.
However, here's the thing: in order to see play, disruption effects and tech cards need to be either very cheap (Dirty Rat) or efficient (Loatheb) - the player base has always gone crazy at Team 5 for printing very situational tech cards, only for them to never see play.
Looking at Disarming Elemental, we've got a 4 mana 4/4 (stats slightly below average) with no immediate impact on the board, giving you the chance to brick a card for your opponent and potentially mess up one or two enemy turns. If you manage to hit the right cheap card, you may even have Disarming Elemental pay for itself!
All of this considered, the best we can do is consider this unit as a 1-of inclusion in some form of Reno Jackson Priest, which goes to show you that we're not particularly confident in Disarming Elemental flipping the tables.
Another really, really good card from the mini-set. The Shadow Spell School might have some future Darkbishop Benedictus implications (too hard to tell now, as the Shadow spell pool is still too narrow), but this is not the most interesting part of the card.
Drown in basically an Entomb for 2 less mana, which is a sign that not only has time has passed since League of Explorers, but also that the card is pretty impressive in what it does. We can read it as a 4 mana "make an enemy minion disappear", removing it from potential resurrect pools and giving you Dredge synergy.
Yes, Priest does not have any good Dredge cards for minions (Illuminate gives a discount only to spells), so the class will have to rely on Neutral tools, but this doesn't change the great tempo swing that Drown can provide.
While it's probably going to be a bit too expensive for the Shadow Priest lists we were used to seeing before rotation, we expect some experimentation in Control Priest (hoping that the recent buffs to Whirlwind and Blackwater Behemoth will be enough for the deck to be competitively viable) and the good old Questline Priest, although the latter already has plenty of 4 mana cards you may not be able to play on curve.
Remember Omega Medic from The Boomsday Project? That unit managed to see decent play back then, and Herald of Light seems a better card under almost any point of view:
- It has a less stiff requirement - casting a Holy spell vs reaching 10 mana crystals.
- It heals for less (6 vs 10), but heals every friendly character, just like Divine Hymn.
Just like Herald of Chaos for Demon Hunter, Herald of Light is a very solid answer against aggressive strategies, which also has the tribal upside of being a Naga. We're not sure the current Serpent Wig decks may want Herald (they usually go tall rather than wide), but having one more tool at disposal (especially in the Discovery pools like Nightmare Amalgam's) won't hurt.
This unit reminds us of Fractured in Alterac Valley's Gankster, except for the fact that it exchanges the automatic trade for a built-in Immunity while attacking. You see, developing early minions into Inkveil Ambusher is going to be very difficult, as they'll just be killed for free during the following turn; on the other hand, if your opponents play around it by not dropping any minions, you'll have a 2 mana 4/2 which will then be going face. Sure, losing Stealth will hurt Ambusher a lot, as it will become a lot more susceptible to removals, but at the same time it already does a lot for its modest cost.
Great, great tempo. Now, all that's left to see is whether Rogue will have a place for it or will stick to the Burgle archetype.
Other Deathrattle Rogue support without Deathrattles for Rogue to be supported - at this point it's become a meme.
Being forced to rely on Neutral units, Shattershambler may work with the usual Nerubian Egg and it will definitely see some experimentation in the current Naval Mine lists. A whacky curve would be this unit on 1, Snowfall Graveyard on 3 and discounted Burning Blade Acolyte on 4 for two 5/8s with Taunt.
This card has potential, this is sure, but we just struggle to see how we could put it to use.
If Jackpot! were printed back when Burgle Rogue was a value deck (thanks for Spectral Cutlass), it probably would've been really good. However, the current Maestra of the Masquerade/Wildpaw Gnoll Burgle Rogue is all about tempo, and a 2 mana do nothing that has chances to clog up two hand spaces is not something you really want.
Sure, Jackpot! does discount Gnolls by 2, but so do Tradeable cards, and the latter have already proven to be really good for the deck's gameplan. Moreover, Gnolls are already played on turn 2/3 with relative ease, so it's not like you're desperately looking for additional ways to discount them.
If Jackpot! had some sort of mana-cheat mechanic attached to it, chances are it would've been considered for competitive play; however, we expect this spell to be more of a "fun" card, which is going to generate some hilarious memes in combination with Swiftscale Trickster.
What do you think about these cards? Are there any you're excited to play with? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to check out our other articles in this review series:
I kinda disagree with the shadow cards pool being narrow. Drown is the single-target removal that was needed for a control shadow priest to rise.
Yeah, but then? What else do you have? You don't have Soul Mirror of Psychic Scream anymore, and a Control deck needs a big board reset. You cannot reasonably rely on Shadow Word: Ruin to solve your problems.
Drown is very, very good, but we need something more.
The more bad cards I saw, the more I realize, that they are trying to make the small pool of discover (minions/spells) more balanced. So you can't expect every time you discover will result in a good card.
Although, they could've have done this in the next expansion too. Because miniset tends to shake the meta a bit. This not it.