With less than a week left for the new expansion to drop, we prepared a selection of Duels-focused content. In anticipation of the many changes coming to the game mode, we will feature special coverage on all things Duels the following 12 hours (In addition to our usual content, of course).
Beginning with this preview commentary on the new Death Knight Passives and Active Treasure, we will also go in-depth on the new Heroes, Scarlet Leafdancer and Sai Shadestorm, and offer a variety of theorycrafts for when it all becomes available on March of the Lich King's release date, December 6th.
Tier 1 Passive - Cadaver Collector
A rather simple Passive effect to start things off with, Cadaver Collector grants you the ability to gain one extra Corpse each turn. It's rather telling of the remaining Passives, as they all either give a bonus when a Corpse is gained/spent, or reward you for how many Corpses you've amassed until that point in the game.
On its own, gaining more Corpses doesn't actively advance your gameplan: for optimal use you'd ideally want to run cards that stand to gain from a sizable reserve of Corpses. Especially Lord Marrowgar stands out as the ultimate payoff, being able to spend an uncapped amount of Corpses for stat gain.
Corpses are generally in high demand for all playstyles. Marrow Manipulator, Corpse Explosion, and Army of the Dead cover each of the 3 Rune colors while serving different purposes.
Tier 1 Passive - Blood Shields
Do note how it reads "gain 1 Health", not restore. Increasing maximum Health might sound decent, but that makes Blood Shields still look like a worse Recycling due to it only triggering once per turn. If anything, this is a direct confession on the fact that Recycling is somewhat overtuned, and could use that very same restriction.
However, Death Knights are in the unique spot of preferring Health far over Armor. For Blood Rune decks in particular, restoring Health comes easy with the many Lifesteal effects they have, whereas Vampiric Blood increases your cap even more. At the same time, paying HP for Obliterate or Deathbringer Saurfang will become easier to accomplish.
In terms of Hero Powers that consistently gain Corpses, Sai's Ghoul Blitz is your best bet. Scarlet doesn't have anything as fast, with Blood Parasite being the closest (but still not so great) alternative.
Tier 2 Passive - Cold Feet Pact
The concept of this Passive is a departure from the usual principle of Corpse-usage. Every 2 Corpses count as +1/+1 for your endless army of Risen Grooms. To avoid an endless feedback loop of Groom-Corpse-cannibalism, the Token itself does not leave behind a Corpse.
Regardless, the amount of Corpses an average Unholy deck can generate should still amount to a fairly threatening minion. The downside of spending Corpses resulting in less stats is still in your control, and can possibly be mitigated when you happen to roll Cadaver Collector as your first Passive.
Tier 2 Passive - Ghouls Rush In
For the second Tier 2 Passive and the final of the bunch, Ghouls Rush In also promises constant board presence. It's probably the Passive that's the toughest to estimate the strength of beforehand. Spending Corpses doesn't really come as easy as gaining them.
An exception to that is Scarlet's Hematology Hero Power. Even so, the 2/2 statline appears to be potentially too low. At least the Rush gives the Ghouls an edge over Cold Feet Pact's endless Grooms.
Active Treasure - Tiny Thimble
Thimble! Tiny? Yes. Strong? Depends on which pool of Treasures it can be found in. Seeing Thimble show up next to Coin Pouch or Creepy Curio makes it an easy winner by comparison. On the other hand, The Exorcisor or Staff of Scales makes you reconsider how valuable a Rushy Undead can be at best.
Unlike all the Corpse mechanics contained in this update, Thimble is actually a Neutral minion and can thus show up for every Class when Active Treasure are offered in the middle of the run. It's a standalone good card regardless of the deck you play, similar to the majority of currently available Active Treasures.
In favor of Thimble's abilities, supporting Passives are part of the possible upside. Mummy Magic and Special Delivery offer you two Regular-Size Thimble for the price of one Tiny. In the right circumstances, the upgraded version can cause a snowball effect of gobbling up all the opponent's small minions, while only growing in size. After all, such an effect was previously reserved for the much slower Boogeymonster.
Do you think the new Passives will lead to Death Knight's success in Duels? Let us know in the comments below!
Is Cold Feet Pact/Risen Groom a reference to marriage?
There was a thread about that somewhere on Twitter, but it does seem like it!
Being hesitant, or having "Cold Feet" right before something important.
And also "Ghouls Rush In", which is a play on "fools rush in" (a saying I never heard of, tbh). That can be seen as the opposite, reckless behaviour.
Those are really fitting names, considering that one passive rewards you for holding on to your Corpses and not making a "commitment", while the Ghouls want to see action every turn over and over
The full saying is "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." Perhaps a bit old-school; I usually only hear its abbreviated version now, as you described it.
The downside of me not going on Twitter is that I don't find this stuff out.
The upside of not going on Twitter is literally everything else, though, so. . .
Thanks for the explanation for the Twitter-challenged.