The Grand Tournament Card Review – Shaman and Priest

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26ChargedHammer

This is an interesting card, certainly, but one that seems very difficult to leverage well. At four mana, a two damage weapon doesn’t really do a lot to contest minions on the board. Upgrading your hero power to deal two damage also gets a lot less powerful as the game goes on and that damage is less relevant compared to minion health, and barring your opponent killing your weapon or you replacing it with something else, the earliest you’re going to get your new hero power online is turn seven. Maybe you can ping some Boom Bots before you die to the good Doctor?

30AncestralKnowledge

I actually think that card drawing in Hearthstone is too cheap and too powerful on average, so I’m happy to see that Ancestral Knowledge comes at a steep cost. I can see this potentially having a home in some kind of Malygos burst combo deck to help dig for key components, but I would not expect it to be a commonly played card in midrange or control style shaman decks. The overload is simply too punishing for a deck that needs to try to keep up on the board. 
29TuskarrTotemic

This card seems cool to me, especially with the other totem synergy support in the set. The fact that it can get collectible totems like Mana Tide or Flametongue is pretty huge, and has the potential to cause huge swings in games. The body itself is pretty weak, and clearly quite vulnerable to aggressive decks since it trades down to most commonly played one drops, but the fact that even so it leaves a totem behind makes me hopeful for this card’s effectiveness. Midrange shaman decks have struggled somewhat with quality three drops in the past, and I think this might be just what they’re looking for.
28DraenaiTotemcarver

I’m cautiously optimistic about the potential of Draenai Totemcarver. Without any totems in play, she’s a miserable 4/4 for four mana, which is dreadful in a world of Death’s Bites and Piloted Shredders. With just one – which is the most you’re usually going to realistically hope to have in play on curve – she’s a 5/5, which is certainly quite strong. A deck looking to play Totemcarver really needs to commit a lot of resources to early minions to help control the opponent’s board to potentially keep those totems in play, because she’s really bad otherwise. But in the late game, she has the potential to get really huge in some matchups, especially with support like Totemic to keep the totems coming. 27ThunderBluffValiantAnd even more totem support! It’s like Shaman has a theme this expansion or something! This is kind of like a Quartermaster for totems, except it trades a better body and reuseability for immediate tempo impact on curve. A 3/6 for five isn’t a great deal, but it’s enough health that you can often expect to live through the turn. Plus, much like Quartermaster, you can always just play it on seven mana along with your hero power to guarantee an immediate effect. And while opponents can simply ignore Quartermaster once he’s done his job, Thunder Bluff Valiant threatens to continue to turn your totems into stronger killing machines every turn he remains in play. I’m looking forward to trying this fellow out. 31TotemGolem

 

“How do we make totems decks more competitive? I know! Make a totem with real stats!” Totem Golem is unlike any of the totems we’ve seen before, which have all been generally supportive minions that aren’t really intended for combat. Totem Golem, on the other hand, is something of a beatdown artist. I really like how a turn two Totem Golem curves nicely into a turn two hero power for another totem thanks to the overload. Usually, Healing Stream is the worst totem to get early in the game, but with Totem Golem, it can allow him to immediately take out a pair of two power minions and live to tell the tale. This card is a big deal, and is going to seriously change Shaman’s competitive viability as a midrange/controlling style of deck, whether totem focused or not.
HealingWave

Most Shaman decks, even controlling ones, tend to play a lot of cheap minions to take advantage of Flametongue Totem, so they’re not necessarily the best at winning jousts. Thankfully, Healing Wave is still good even if you lose the joust, and the matchups where you most need the healing, you’re likely to have a much higher chance of winning it. Definitely a powerful card that will see play and help slower shaman decks compete with Face Hunter most specifically.
ElementalDestruction

When you absolutely, positively need to kill every minion in the room and you don’t care about the consequences. I’m not really sure what the metagame would have to look like for me to want to play Elemental Destruction over Lightning Storm, given that the latter deals with most big board states – especially with spell power – only hits your opponent’s minions, and actually lets you play Hearthstone on your following turn. I think this is an interesting card, and I’m glad wacky stuff like this exists, but I’m really not sure where exactly it will find a home. Mistcaller

 

I think this card has been really overrated. Not because it’s not a powerful effect – because it certainly is. The biggest issue with The Mistcaller for me is that I’m just not sure what kind of Shaman deck is interested in paying six mana for a weak body that buffs your future minions. Aggressive Shaman decks are generally going to want to focus on playing cards that have a strong impact on the game immediately to win the game as soon as they can, while midrange and controlling decks generally similarly need to play immediately impactful cards to keep themselves alive into the late game. This doesn’t effect summoned cards like totems or Feral Spirits, so you really need to build your deck in a particular way to support it. I’d love to be wrong, because this is a really cool effect, but I’m just not seeing where it fits. ConfessorPaletress

Confessor Paletress is a really cool card that offers a powerful end game attrition tool to Priest decks. In a heavily controlling metagame, I’ve always liked cards like Ysera that can generate actual additional resources in games that can go to fatigue, and Confessor Paletress not only guarantees another legendary minion if you play her on nine or more mana, but also threatens to continue to generate more if your opponent can’t deal with her right away. This certainly isn’t a card that I’d be putting into all of my Priest decks all the time, but if the metagame slows down, it definitely seems like the kind of tool that can be a trump card in a lot of matchups.

WyrmrestAgent

Yes, please. Dear god yes. The single biggest hole in nearly every priest deck that I have ever played has been the two drop slot. What I have always wanted is a two drop with high enough attack to be relevant in combat, high enough health to leverage my hero power to keep it alive, and some way that it’s not a useless card late in the game. In a Dragon Priest deck, this is a 2/4 taunt for two mana, meaning that it literally ticks off all of those boxes and then some. Wyrmrest Agent threatens to dominate the board in the early game, eating Leper Gnomes and Knife Jugglers alike while soaking up sweet, sweet healing and bridging you to the mid and late game when your dragons can take over.

Where do I sign up?SpawnofShadowsIt takes both a high quantity and high quality of cards that go against the natural bent of a class and its hero power to justify building a deck that goes in the other direction. I think maybe this set may introduce enough powerful Hunter cards with Lock and Load and the like to make Control Hunter happen, but Spawn of Shadows does not seem like enough to push me over the edge to wanting to play Shadowpriest.
Shadowfiend

This is like a mini Emperor, which is actually quite a powerful effect in Priest, where the ability to leverage mana discounts to turn the corner in midrange matchups is very important. That said, unlike Emperor, Shadowfiend actually has to stick around for a while in order to do much of anything. With a body that dies to Fiery War Axe and most solid two drops, that’s a tall order for a minion that costs three. I like the idea of this card, but I’m hard pressed to see where it fits over something like Dark Cultist.
PowerWordGloryIn a world full of ultra-aggressive decks, I can see this card maybe seeing play as either a one cost way to neutralize an opposing minion’s ability to damage you or to try to get some repeated life gain from one of your own minions attacking. In every other world, though, this card just does not do enough to justify its cost and lack of flexibility compared to something like Light of the Naaru or Flash Heal (which we’ll get to shortly). Convert
Convert is interesting, because it effectively lets you kind of tailor your deck as you play. In a control matchup, you can copy your opponent’s big endgame legendaries and give yourself a higher density of important threats, while against aggro, you can just play marginally inefficient smaller creatures that can trade in the earlier turns. If you were simply to pack your deck full of those late game legendaries for the control mirror in the first place, you might be stuck with a hand full of fatties and no way to interact, but instead you have Convert to give you some game.

Those are pretty big ifs, and I don’t really expect Convert to become a staple, but I’m certain it’s a card that people will at least experiment with for a while, if only because of how much people seem to hate losing to their own cards. Priests love their griefing.
20FlashHeal

This card is a pretty big deal for a number of reasons. First, prior to this, Priest had not really had a very good burst healing spell that was reasonably costed. Many times I’d found myself reaching for Holy Fire even though I mostly just wanted the healing effect, or even Antique Healbot, which seems somewhat silly given that Priest is supposed to be a healing class. It’s also a card that works extremely well with Auchenai Soulpriest, which has largely fallen out of favor recently, but may well experience a resurgence thanks to Flash Heal letting it kill things like Ancient of Lore or Sludge Belcher on the cheap. Speaking of cheap, Flash Heal works quite well with Wild Pyromancer as well, and doesn’t have quite the same “oops I killed my Lightwarden” interaction that always seems to come up with Light of the Naaru.
19HolyChampionSpeaking of Lightwarden, here’s her big sister. Holy Champion is a card that really intrigues me, because she offers something that Priest has often struggled with – the ability to close out games quickly. We’ve all seen the YouTube videos with huge Lightwarden/Circle of Healing lethals, but those are so impressive because they happen so rarely because of how fragile Lightwarden is with its two health. Holy Champion has a much better chance of actually living through a turn and getting a chance to blow your opponent up in some huge Wild Pyromancer/Circle of Healing fueled explosion. While I’m more excited for Dragon Priest, Holy Champion has me interested in revisiting old styles of classic Control Priest, since she represents something that deck always needed – a way to actually win.

18ConfuseWhile Confuse has a powerful effect on certain board states, it’s a highly situational card that seems difficult to justify putting into most decks. Priest already has a lot of cards that are conditional and reactive. I imagine if this does see play, it’s likely to be in order to double as additional copies of Inner Fire in a sort of combo priest deck with Deathlords and Divine Spirits, like the one that killed me on turn four not long ago.

 

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