Reviewing the Goblins vs Gnomes Hearthstone Expansion

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A few weeks ago, I was one of the many Blizzard fans who was fortunate enough to be at Blizzcon.  I not only got a chance to watch the exciting conclusion of the Hearthstone World Championships (and many congratulations to Firebat on his well-deserved victory), but I was also able to try out the initial demo decks for the new Hearthstone expansion: Goblins vs. Gnomes. I played the demo twice – once on the side of the Goblins and once as the Gnomes – and while I didn’t get a chance to see every card in action, I got a decent feel for how they played.

Today, I want to go one by one through the cards that have been revealed from the expansion so far and share my thoughts on them. One note before I begin, though. I’ve seen a lot of uproar on social media regarding the high level of randomness in the card pool we’ve seen so far. I had a discussion with Senior Game Designer Ben Brode (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA), and I brought up that very concern. He assured me that the pool that was selected for the demo contains a much higher percentage of random cards than the rest of the expansion set, because the team felt like the wild and wacky feel of the random cards was the most fun for the demo. Blizzard seems very much committed to supporting Hearthstone as a competitive eSport, and I don’t expect they’ll go too far in the direction of explicitly random effects if it risks undermining that goal.

Many of these cards are difficult to evaluate without knowing more of the context of the set, like what other Mech creatures there might be, but generally I’ve tried to speculate about the conditions I imagine it would take for them to be good. I’m mostly focusing on constructed Ranked play, since that’s most of what I play, but I’ll touch on Arena when it seems appropriate.

The order of the cards is a little mixed up because I got sick while I was doing my initial write-up (damn con crud…) and more cards were revealed, so I just kind of added them in as I went along. I’ll do a more organized and fully thorough review of the cards when they have all been revealed.

Anyway, no more small talk – let’s get to the cards!

Blingtron 3000

Blingtron 3000 was one of the more controversial cards among players I talked to at Blizzcon, since there is a huge range of possible weapons each player can end up with that are clearly disparate in power level. I’ve also seen players comment that this card is crazy because you can use it to destroy an opponent’s weapon while giving yourself one, but I’m not buying it. This is a typical opt-in high risk high reward random card. Yes, sometimes you’ll play it and get Ashbringer and your opponent will get Light’s Justice – but the opposite will happen just as frequently. And if you’re looking for a way to remove an opposing weapon, you’re much better off playing something like Harrison Jones, since you get value from the card draw and guarantee that your opponent’s weapon is gone. Will games be won because of the random outcome from this card? Yes, certainly. Is it likely to happen in high level tournament play? Probably not, because this isn’t as efficient or reliable as other options, so it’s not something competitive players are likely to want toput in their decks. Bomb Lobber_0

Bomb Lobber is another random card that is largely priced out of competitive ranked play, but may end up being solid in Arena, mostly because its randomness is controllable. If your opponent only has a single minion, this just deals four damage to it, which means that you’re not really relying on randomness at all. It’s important that this can only hit enemy minions, not just a random enemy like Knife Juggler, because that makes it much more controllable. While I know some players seem to be vehemently opposed to randomness in any form (which leads me to question their decision to play a card game in the first place), I think this is the sort that is much more palatable, because you have the ability to control its resolution to a significant extent.


Bouncing Blade_1

Bouncing Blade certainly has the coolest animation of all of the new cards we have seen. As to its actual effect, it’s pretty interesting. If you have no minions of your own in play, it’s basically a Deadly Shot that also leaves some of your opponent’s other minions damaged. Of course, it’s much more likely to kill whatever the smallest minion in play is, because it’s based on damage. It’s great against a single large opposing minion, and even better against a board of several large minions because it can help whittle down the ones it doesn’t kill right away. I’m curious to see if this card does end up seeing play, because it is a great way for Warriors to deal with single large minions. If you can use weapons and other spells to clear out small creatures, Bouncing Blade can be sure to take care of the big ones. The damage it deals to whatever it doesn’t kill is also a great way to turn on Executes, to give you an even better chance to mop everything up.
Clockwork Giant_0

This card is cute, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go. Yes, it’s good against Handlock, but it’s really, really bad against just about everything else. And if you’re looking for a powerful cards against Handlock, you’re probably better off just playing something like Big Game Hunter, which is not only more impactful when it comes up but also better in other matchups.  Maybe you can somehow help enable this with things like Coldlight Oracle or King Mukla, but it seems like the sort of card that’s more trouble than it’s worth, at least for competitive play.

200px-Goblin_Sapper

This is a lot like Clockwork Giant, except it’s a card that you can actually play out first and then enable later, and the fail case is a sub-par creature in play rather than a totally uncastable card in your hand. This is a card that I can actually see comboing with Coldlight Oracle and King Mukla  to turn it on, since you can actually play this out first and then use the card draw effects to fill your opponent’s hand and get a big hit in, then finish them off with your oversized gorilla or the Eviscerates you drew from the Seer. Unlikely to be a superstar, but feels like it has a better place than the Giant.
Cogmaster

Cogmaster is a card that’s difficult to evaluate without seeing the whole of the set. It’s what is known in other CCGs as a “tribal” card, which means that it revolves around the use of a particular type of creature. From a game design perspective, tribal cards are really valuable, especially in a game like Hearthstone where the majority of the minion pool being Neutral means that lots of decks can end up looking pretty similar because they use a lot of the same minions. Tribal synergies give players reason to use different minions in different decks based on things other than the raw rate they’re getting for its stats. Without the ability to lean on synergies, the best cards are just the ones that are the best deal for their cost – and we see a lot of this in Arena with the popularity and effectiveness of Chillwind Yeti. The nature of Hearthstone’s Arena system – picking exactly 30 cards and playing with all of them – means that it’s difficult to big toward synergies, so you’re best off just picking up whatever is the best deal in a vacuum. I’m curious to see if the Mech tribal synergies end up being strong enough in Arena once GvG comes out to outweigh that.

In any case, back to Cogmaster. How good this card ends up being depends on how good aggressive Mech tribal decks are. This is clearly a card that wants to go into an aggressively oriented deck, since the payoff is a power boost on a cheap creature. A big problem with the card is that it is not itself a Mech, so if you are playing a heavily Mech theme, you have to worry about diluting your draws for cards that require Mechs and that support them. But a creature that’s potentially a 3/2 for one mana is a really good deal – it can even go toe-to-toe with a pumped Undertaker as long as it has the right support. But that’s the key – will the right support be there? You really want a density of one and two cost quality Mech cards similar to the deathrattlle support that Undertaker has in order to justify putting this guy in your deck – and even then, the payoff isn’t nearly as big as with Undertaker, since the biggest boost he can ever get is just the +2 attack. When he’s off, he’s just a 1/2 body, which is pretty bad, so you need to be able to turn him on much more often than not, and it can’t be too easy for your opponent to turn him off.

If an aggressive Mech deck exists, this guy may be a key feature of it. If not, Cogmaster is going to find himself turned into so much Arcane Dust.
Dr. Boom_0

200px-Boom_Bot

 

Dr. Boom is a 7/7 for 7 mana, which is the same as War Golem. War Golem hasn’t exactly been putting up impressive results, so clearly if Dr. Boom is going to make an explosive entrance into ranked play, it’s going to be on the back of his Boom Bots. But unfortunately for our explosives-loving friend, the Boom Bots don’t really seem like they’re going to put him over the edge. Getting two 1/1 creatures on turn seven is hardly game winning, even if they do have a deathrattle trigger that can throw some damage around. Compare him to Onyxia, who – for two more mana – fills your board with 1/1 creatures and offers a bigger body upfront. Dr. Boom looks fun, and may be a pretty strong Arena pick, but he won’t be making a big impact on ranked play any time soon.

Enchance-o Mechano_0

This is a card that, at a glance, looks like it could be pretty exciting. After all, Windfury, Taunt, and Divine Shield are all very useful abilities, and giving them out to your entire team is quite powerful. The problem is that the effect is random, and applies individually to each of your other minions. You can easily end up with an army of 1/1 minions with Windfury, which isn’t very impressive at all. You pretty much have to have a significant number of decently sized minions in play in order to be sure to get good value off of this guy’s Battlecry effect, at which point you probably have to wonder whether you’d be better off just using something like Defender of Argus or Bloodlust instead. Enhance-o- Mechano certainly seems cool, but it feels like a lot has to go right in order for it to be good.

Explosive Sheep

Boom! Explosive Sheep is certainly an interesting card. By itself, it’s a cheap tool that any class can use as a delayed way to clear out small minions. Some classes, like Warrior or Mage, have ways to easily trigger it without attacking, with Mage having the easiest job of it thanks to its hero power. Generally speaking, it feels like this is a worse anti-aggro tool than something like Unstable Ghoul, because it does nothing the turn you play it unless you have some kind of enabler. If you’re specifically looking to take out two health minions, this may be what you reach for instead of Whirlwind, Arcane Explosion, or Unstable Ghoul, but my guess is that this won’t see a lot of play.
Flamecannon

I have not played a lot of Mage in ranked play, myself, but I have played against it a reasonable amount, and I know that early four health minions can prove to be a problem for them. Granted, this doesn’t have pinpoint accuracy, by any means, but like Bomb Lobber, Flamecannon can only hit minions, so you can do a lot to control its possible targets and ensure that it isn’t very random at all. It’s worth noting that because this doesn’t target a minion, you can use it to hit stealthed creatures, and four damage is the magic number to kill Gadgetzan Auctioneer. It will also take out most Shades of Naxxramas before they get a chance to grow out of control, which can certainly be very valuable. Four damage from Flamecannon plus one from your hero power also clears Chillwind Yeti, which makes this an excellent answer to pretty much everything a Druid might Innervate out early. It can even get four points of damage on a Spectral Knight, and it’s a lot easier to get two points of minion damage on one of those than six!
Gnomish Experimenter

Gnomish Experimenter is an interesting card. In a deck that is low on minions, it’s going to be a 3/2 body for three mana that just draws an extra card more often than not. That’s certainly a pretty good deal, especially in any kind of control matchup. Having only two health makes it fairly weak for board control purposes, since it trades down curve significantly. It seems like the sort of cards that could find a home in a deck like Miracle Rogue, though I wonder if the three-drop slot there is too full to support it. It’s worth noting that playing Gnomish Experimenter will never cause your hand size to decrease, because you always draw a card when you play it, even if that card is turned into a chicken if it’s a minion. That could possibly give it some potential in decks that care about hand size, like Giants Mage or something similar, if they’re looking for something proactive to do with their early mana.

One comment I have seen people make about this card is that it risks losing one of your key minions. If you’re playing a deck like Freeze Mage, for instance, playing Experimenter and having your Alexstraza turned into a chicken could be disasterous, because Alex is fundamental to your win condition. This is true to an extent, but is only really relevant in games that go to fatigue and you actually lose because you don’t have the resource in your deck. It’s important to keep in mind that the order of the cards in your deck is random, and the minions you’re worried about hitting could just as easily be in the bottom few cards of your deck, and playing Experimenter could be getting you a turn closer to drawing them. For decks that regularly draw their entire deck and require key elements to win, like Freeze Mage, this can be a legitimate concern, but realistically most decks shouldn’t be worried about burning minions with Experimenter in the average game.
Goblin Blastmage

Unlike Cogmaster, the other Mech tribal card we looked at earlier, Goblin Blastmage offers a perfectly respectable body even if you don’t trigger its Battlecry ability. A 5/4 creature for four mana isn’t amazing, but nine points of stats for four mana is certainly playable even without an ability, as Chillwind Yeti goes to show. Switching the values around does make Blastmage more vulnerable to removal like Swipe or Eviscerate, and does mean he’s vulnerable to Shadow Word: Death, but again – we’re unlikely to choose to play this fellow if we don’t expect to be able to use his ability. It’s just nice to know that if you you have to play him without support he’s not that bad of a deal.

How good is Blastmage’s ability? Well, it’s important to note that unlike Flamecannon or Bomb Lobber, Blastmage hits enemy  characters, not just minions. That means that if your opponent has no minions, you get a 5/4 creature that deals four damage to your opponent directly for just four mana. That’s a *really* good deal in any kind of aggressive strategy. It’s also quite effective at killing small opposing creatures like Leper Gnome or Loot Horde, which makes him an excellent tempo play against some aggressive strategies. Then again, one health minions are hardly something that Mage has historically struggled with thanks to its hero power – but hey, it’s nice to have another nail to hammer into their coffin.

Basically, if the cards exist to build a quality aggressive or tempo oriented Mech-based Mage deck, Goblin Blastmage will be a central feature of it. That’s a lot of ifs, though, so it’s hard to judge without seeing the rest of the set.
Madder Bomber

This guy is hilarious, even if he isn’t likely to be especially good. I kind of wish he were 6/4 so he’d be exactly two Mad Bombers worth of stats and ability, but that’s a fairly minor quibble. I don’t expect this card to see a lot of play in Ranked, since he’s weaker contextually than Mad Bomber, who doesn’t really get face time these days. Mad Bomber’s ability to potentially hit opposing creatures for one damage is a lot more relevant on the early turns of the game when there are smaller things in play that are more likely to die to it, and random is still random later in the game. In any case, I’m glad this card exists, because he’s awesome, but I don’t anticipateit being a popular card in either Ranked or Arena play.

Mechwarper

This is perhaps the single scariest card that has been revealed from the Goblins vs Gnomes set so far. Cost reduction effects are extremely powerful, and I would not be surprised to see Mechwarper to be one of if not the most important card in most Mech-based strategies when the expansion comes out.

In an aggressively oriented Mech deck, you can potentially use the Coin to play Mechwarper on the first turn, and then play any number of one cost Mech cards in your hand, since it can reduce their cost to zero. Similarly, two Mechwarpers will reduce the cost of all of your other Mechs by two, so you can quickly flood the board with either a swarm of small Mechs or bigger mechs turn by turn if they aren’t removed. If you coin out a Mechwarper on turn one, and then play a second on turn two (for just one mana), you can even follow up with a three cost Mech on the same turn, and a five cost Mech on turn three if they both live that long!

Mechwarper’s 2/3 body means that it can survive an attack from almost every one cost creature, save a pumped Undertaker or Flame Imp, so you can usually expect it to survive to provide its cost reduction effect for at least a turn. And if it lives longer – well, it’s basically like you just got to cast a Wild Growth that also got in two damage every turn. That’s a *very* powerful effect.

 

Mekgineer Thermplugg

Thermaplugg is flashy, but that’s about the end of it. Nine is a lot of mana to pay for anything. Something that expensive really has to have either a huge impact the turn you play it, like Alexstraza, or inevitability if it survivesa turn or two, like Ysera. Thermaplugg does neither, and takes extra work to enable him. He’s cool, but not good.

Micro Machine

Initially I read these guys as only growing at the start of *your* turn, and they seemed a lot worse, but once I realized they grow at the start of your opponent’s turn too, they seem a lot better, since it means they have two power the first time your opponent can attack into them (which isn’t amazing, but is decent at least), and are up to par with s0lid creatures for two mana once it’s back to your turn again. Micro Machines could end up being a totally reasonable element of a Mech deck creature base.

Mimiron's Head_0

 

V-07-TR-0N

As a designer, I love cards like this, because they create really cool moments that players can strive to create, screenshot, and share all over social media. As a player, I enjoy tinkering with this kind of card for fun, and I’m sure I’ll spend at least some amount of time brewing a Voltron deck to mess around with on stream at some point. That said, I don’t expect this to be a card that makes its way into top level ranked play, because it’s a mediocre body for the cost with an ability that is unlikely to trigger.

Ogre Warmaul

This may actually be a reasonable card in the right deck. A four attack weapon for just three mana is pretty powerful, especially if you’re playing an aggressive deck that’s happy getting in four damage to your opponent’s face. Then again, if your opponent has either a swarm of small minions or a single big creature that you *really* don’t want to attack into face-first, things could go horribly wrong. Probably not going to see much action in a world with Death’s Bite, but worth keeping in mind, at least.
Piloted Shredder Piloted Sky Golem

Sneed's Old Shredder

I wanted to talk about the three piloted minions together, because the same basic principles govern all of them. You’re paying upfront for a worse-than-usual body and in return getting a second minion when the piloted minion dies. They’re all pretty much Harvest Golems with different costs and stats, as well as significantly more variable outputs once they die.

Of these, I think Piloted Shredder is the most likely to see Ranked play.  I could see it Piloted Shredder finding a home in a Deathrattle focused deck looking to fill out higher casting costs, or just as a reasonably sticky minion at the four slot. It’s also an excellent follow up play on turn three after a turn two Mechwarper. Piloted Sky Golem feels a lot like a worse Cairne, since on average you’re getting something worse than a 4/5. It could possibly be a budget replacement for Cairne in a deck that really wants sticky minions, but don’t think it will end up seeing much play. Sneed’s Old Shredder feels like the most exciting of the bunch, since there are quite a few expensive Legendary minions you can end up with, but you’re paying eight mana for this guy in the first place and leaving yourself open to getting Silenced or Hex’d and not even getting anything out of the deal.

It’s important to keep in mind that you frequently won’t be getting the full mana cost in value for anything that these summon, because they don’t trigger Battlecry effects. I’d be curious to see the math on these for what the median and average results are stat-wise, but you can generally expect to get around a 2/2 from Shredder, a 4/4 or so from Sky Golem, and a really wide range from Sneed’s Old Shredder. I feel like they’re all reasonable options in Arena, since their up front bodies are decent and they offer a reasonable amount of stickiness and value when they die, but would be surprised to see more than the four cost Shredder finding a home in Ranked play.
Recombobulator

Another “what’s the value of a minion of this cost” card. Recombobulator is a reasonable deal from the start as a 3/2 creature for two mana, so that’s a good place to start. On top of that, it gives you the opportunity to cash in your minions for new ones of the same cost. This is pretty interesting on a number of different levels.

First, it’s potentially quite powerful with minions whose power is front loaded in their Battlecry effect. Playing Recombobulator with something like Defender of Argus lets you cash it in for a shot at a Chillwind Yeti after you’ve already gained a measurable amount of the value of the card.

Second, you can use it on creatures that are heavily damaged to get a shot at a fresh, undamaged minion. Got a Yeti with four damage on it? Spin that wheel! It could be anything – it could even be a Yeti!

Neither of these would worth spending a card on by themselves, but the combination of the two powers plus a reasonably priced body means this is a card that’s worth keeping an eye on.

One final note – Recombobulator would be great with Shaman Totems or Silver Hand Recruits, but there’s some weirdness in which the creatures in play only cost one despite costing two to summon with your Hero power, which means you’re getting much less payoff for transforming them.
Shrinkmeister

Are you trying to convince me to play Undertaker Priest again? Because you’re doing a good job. I like that this is a Priest class card that promotes more proactive strategies, because it’s obviously at its best when you have minions in play that you can use to attack opposing minions early in the game. It’s also worth noting that this makes Shadow Word: Pain more effective, since you can use it to shrink an opposing creature into range. Finally a way to take out those pesky four power minions! Mostly, I like that this gives me an excuse to play a more aggressive Priest deck again, because I’m really sick of playing 30 minute games while I’m trying to get my 500 wins.

Spider Tank

A straightforward vanilla creature that happens to be a Mech. I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see some decks that just want a 3/4 body for three mana, since this is the first of those we’ve seen, but it will also be a workhorse creature in Mech decks. It’s important to have some basic cards that don’t get caught up in the fanciness.

Tinkertown Technician

This guy is a bit fancier, but he’s also just a great rate, too. Tinkertown Technician is a 4/4 for three with upside if you play him while you control a Mech, which is a very good deal. It’s pretty important that he’s good without the Spare Part, because the Spare Parts themselves are pretty high variance. They’re all one cost spells with a minor effect, some of which could be very powerful in a given board state, but many of which are not. I’m actually curious to see if decks that generate Spare Parts to use with Violet Teacher or Gadgetzan Auctioneer end up being a thing, depending on how many cards there are that generate them incidentally.

Clockwork Gnome

This is the Spare Part generator that I’m more excited about. A 2/1 creature for one mana isn’t enough to catch my eye by itself, but the fact that Clockwork Gnome has Deathrattle makes it immediately much more appealing because it can pair with Undertaker, who is pretty much public enemy number one right now. This gives aggressive decks that don’t want Zombie Chow another possible one drop Deathrattle minion alongside Leper Gnome to maximize their best draws, which involve Undertaker and as many cheap Deathrattle minions as possible. Hunter already had access to Webspinner, which helps give it the best Undertakers, but now Warlock can potentially have eight one cost Deathrattle minions as well. The Spare Parts thee gnomes give you may even help protect your other cards from getting discarded by Soulfire or Doomguard, which can be a pretty big deal.

200px-Armor_Plating

200px-Whirling_Blades200px-Rusty_Horn200px-Finicky_Cloakfield200px-Emergency_Coolant200px-Time_Rewinder200px-Reversing_Switch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spare Parts themselves can actually be pretty powerful if you get the right one at the right time. All of the non-stat effects – Reversing Switch, Finicky Cloakfield, Rusty Horn, Time Rewinder, and Emergency Coolant – seem like they can hugely swing a game in the right moment. The stat effects are more generally useful, but feel like they have much less blowout potential either way.
Unstable Portal

 

I find it unlikely that this will be a popular card in Ranked play, since it’s so high variance, but I find it very likely that we’ll see many videos featuring this card showing up on the front page of Reddit as it helps power out huge Legendary minions very quickly, as well as the chat requests of the poor victims to whom it happens.
Upgraded Repair Bot

 

This is a pretty powerful effect on a good body. A 5/5 for five mana isn’t incredible, but it’s solid – Loetheb sees a ton of play with those numbers, though his effect is more universally effective. In order to get value from Upgraded Repair Bot’s ability, you need to have another Mech in play whose Health you wish to pump. Despite the Bot being a Mech itself, it can’t be the target of its own ability, since it’s not in play yet when its Battlecry effect occurs. It’s certainly a fine target if you play one after another, though.

I think this card has potential if a midrange Priest Mech-centric deck turns out to be a thing. And I think it might, if it gets some more support.  Priest is the best class at keeping minions alive, and Mechwarper is an excellent minion to invest in keeping on the board. How does Coin-Mechwarper into Mechwarper into this guy on turn three sound?

200px-Shieldmaiden

 

 

This is actually a pretty powerful combination of stats plus Battlecry effect, but there’s a lot of competition at six mana with minions like Sylvannas and Cairne. In a sufficiently aggressive metagame, or one packed with Silences or other anti-Deathrattle hate,  I might be able to see Shieldmaiden edging the Legendary duo out, but otherwise it’s going to take a lot more than Shield Slam to get this gnome lady into the party.

200px-Ancestor's_Call

 

This is one of the most interesting cards that has been revealed from the new set so far. It’s reminiscent of the card “Show and Tell” from Magic, which is a key piece in one of the best combo decks in the most powerful formats in that game. That said, there are no minions in Hearthstone nearly as powerful as Emrakul or Gristlebrand are in Magic, and you have much fewer tools to set up the kind of hand you need to gain a big edge by playing this. Ancestor’s Call is clearly most powerful if you can use it to get a huge discount on a very expensive minion, like Ysera or Ragnaros. Because it puts a random minion into play, you also want to play few minions in your deck other than these big ones, since you don’t want to end up stuck in a situation in which you might cast Ancestor’s Call and put a weak minion into play – especially if your opponent hits something big. Shaman actually has a very good selection of cheap spells to defend itself with, along with a hero power and spells that make minions like Feral Spirits, so I can actually imagine building a deck with no minions that cost less than six or so mana. Will it be any good? Maybe not. But it would certainly be hilarious.

I certainly expect to see decks try to take advantage of this card, and I’m sure that I’ll try to break it myself. Who doesn’t like putting huge creatures into play long before they should ever hit the table?

Velen's Chosen

Seems like a pretty reasonable creature pump for Arena, since four is a lot of health to give to a creature when you can heal it for two every turn. I can easily imagine assembling a board-dominating minion with this pretty quickly. Spell damage seems almost tacked on here, but maybe there will be more Priest damage spells in the new set. I don’t see this making an impact on Ranked play, though

200px-Goblin_Auto-Barber

Pretty decent cost to stat ratio here, and a power that is always useful to a Rogue, thanks to their Hero power. Seems like it’s certain to be a reasonable Arena card, and may find its way into Ranked play if midrange Rogue decks that aren’t just based around Auctioneer ever exist.
200px-Jeeves

This guy is pretty cool. He’s a great tool for any aggressive deck that just wants to spew out its hand as quickly as possible and doesn’t have access to Lifetap to fill up again. He’s also a mech, which allows him to work with the various tribal effects we have seen, and undoubtably those we have not. Also, rather adorably, he instantly kills someone who has fewer than three cards and is in fatigue, since they’ll keep trying to give them cards until they die. (*I have sadly been told this isn’t true, despite both initial assertions and the card text making it seem like the case) That’s a pretty fearsome butler. Crucially, he’s not a Legendary, which means that this is a card that you can use two copies of and actually try to build your deck around. This is the sort of card that can spawn entirely new types of decks, and I’m excited to see how they turn out.

200px-Foe_Reaper_4000

I love the idea of a big Mech with spinning blades that hack to pieces not only what it’s attacking, but everything nearby, too. I don’t love the idea of paying eight mana for a minion that doesn’t have any kind of stickiness and doesn’t do anything the turn you play it. I can see this being one of the big nasties for an Ancestor’s Call deck, but I don’t think many people will be interested in paying full retail.

200px-IlluminatorThis is kind of a weird card, since you often want your opponent to be triggering your secrets, but it’s certainly annoying in combination with Ice Block. The fact it triggers at the end of your turn means you can often get at least one trigger before your opponent has a chance to pop your secret (or just Flare it away), but overall this seems like a tough card to rely on to keep you alive. It feels like it’s at its best in Mage, but it’s on exactly the wrong point in the curve to play right after a secret there. If you can actually get two triggers off of this, it can be pretty huge, but at one it’s only narrowly better than Earthen Ring Farseer at keeping youself alive, and much less flexible – and there’s always the chance you actually just get zero, and then it’s just a sad 2/4 for three. Hardly a thrilling proposition.

Annoy-o-Tron

Last, but certainly not least, the Annoy-o-Tron. This unassuming little guy actually seems like he could be a pretty impactful card. Divine Shield on a Taunt creature plays out pretty similarly to Sludge Belcher in that it requires multiple hits to get past it in a single turn. Even though this is only like two of the smaller parts of Sludge Belcher, it only costs two mana. At many points in the game, your opponents may find themselves in the awkward position of having to invest much more than two damage in order to get past Annoy-o-Tron, which generally means you’re coming out ahead in the exchange. It’s also worth considering that he’s a Mech, which means he’s a great tool for protecting specific high value Mechs you might be playing – like Mechwarper. The Coin-Mechwarper into Mechwarper-Annoy-o-Tron draw makes it pretty difficult for your opponent to keep you from ramping into big minions quickly – or even just the much more reasonable turn three Mechwarper into Annoy-o-Tron. I expect this guy to see a reasonable amount of play, not only in Mech decks, but also in other decks that are just looking to defend themselves from damage early or trying to protect high value minions.

See the next part of my review here! 

 

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