Hearthstone was obviously one of the biggest releases this year, introducing an excellent (but not perfect) card game with interesting gameplay, a small deck size and funny characters from the Warcraft universe. The first expansion called “Gnomes vs Goblins” will be released next week and Blizzard promised some refreshed concepts, like for example the new “Mech” cards.
While it is still too early to evaluate most of these new cards and their upcoming mechanics, we can nevertheless have a look at the impressive class legendaries and their special abilities, keeping in mind that we don’t know the full capabilities of the brand new “Mech” concept yet.
I wanted to start off with the biggest disappointment of Hearthstone’s “legendary” reveal, which is obviously the Flame Leviathan. First of all, I really like to play as a Mage, so my feelings about this announcement are even more negative. A 7/7 card does not really blow my mind especially since it needs 7-mana, but its ability makes it even more lackluster . Damaging everyone in the field (including your own characters) feels risky and unnecessary. Sure, it can give you a chance to break your opponent’s aggro-strategy (IF you draw this early enough), but in the same time it informs your opponent that you have just drew Flame Leviathan because of this effect. This particular class has already so many options in order to clear the board through the usage of area effects, so I do not know why or how they ended up with this card. It feels expensive, unreliable and I doubt that it will have any impact in Arena or Constructed play. I think that this can only work out with some special Mech-Mage strategy that will somehow utilize its “Mech character”.
Bolvar Fordragon promises impressive damage, but only if you have the patience to invest a lot in it. Its 1/7 stats give the player the possibility to introduce this card in the game around the 5th or 6th round with a 4/7 display (if you’re really lucky) and it feels ok if you think about the Paladin’s Hero Power. You could of course invest more time and minions in order to create a “monster-card” with 10/7 stats, but the fact that your opponent can easily silence Bolvar Fordragon left me with mixed feelings about the whole concept behind Bolvar Fordragon . It is neither disappointing nor super-exciting; I would rather describe this card as “unreliable” but also “promising”.
We can all agree that Neptulon’s Overload is huge. His ability though promises that in the next round you will be able to use some of the Murlocs you have just earned. This is how you should be treating a high-value minion with 7/7 stats in order to avoid ending up like a slightly upgraded War Golem. Its board-flooding strategy is definitely more welcome than some random and uncontrollable area damage across the board (you hear that Flame Leviathan?). I think that Shamans will be using this card in both Arena and Constructed games.
Why do Warlocks get such good cards every time? Mal’ Ganis looks and feels simply awesome. Imagine playing this card right after transforming into Jaraxxus. I can’t see how someone will be able to “kill” Mal’ Ganis, get rid of those buffed up demons ( 8/8 Dread Infernals!!) AND eliminate the enemy hero who transformed into Jaraxxus in the previous rounds. This is great for control-style gameplay and I can see many players from this particular class trying out new tactics and playing around with their decks in order to find the best possible way of utilizing this legendary addition.
There aren’t many “expensive” cards available for Rogue-based players, which makes Trade Prince Gallywix an important card. His 5/8 stats are pretty solid and will definitely annoy your opponent. The card’s ability also reassures that you will gain at least one or even two extra cards. In most cases, those cards will be probably some damaging/transforming cards which will be aimed towards Gallywix and those copies might prove pretty handy for you. This is a cool card which you can rely on even without using any extra combos.
Iron Juggernaut is an impressive but also “sneaky” card. Its Battlecry ability would probably fit more to Rogue’s mentality, but Warriors might feel happy to add this to their collection. 6/5 is definitely not great for 6 mana, but the shuffled Mine can damage the enemy hero pretty hard. Like Flame Leviathan, it is a “Mech” legendary minion which opens up more possibilities because of the new Mech-mechanics. All in all, control-based Warriors will obviously use this card in most of their decks, since Iron Juggernaut has no big disadvantages as a whole.
I see Vol’jin as a very interesting card for aggro plays, even though Priests tend to control a lot. Swapping your health with an enemy minion sounds like music to my ears if I am also holding “Smite” in my hands. It gives Priests another possibility of killing anything that lies on your opponent’s side. I can see Vol’jin killing 7/7 minions in Arenas and he will definitely become a favorite card for those people who want to get rid of enemy Giants and Dragons. At the same time, players will create a strong card because of its “health-swap” ability and this can drive them towards another victory. Of course, I do not downplay the possibility of silencing this minion and eliminating it with ease because of its original 6/2 stats, but every card (except Mal’ganis I guess) has to have some weakness, right?
Malorne will probably get the “Pain in the #@# Award” because of its Deathrattle ability. First of all, his 9/7 body is solid and can do some heavy damage for a 7-mana card. Secondly, it keeps returning from the “dead” and that makes it perfect for long, control-based games that will probably end up in damaging your enemy because of “Fatigue” – something that cannot occur on your side if you keep “resurrecting” Malorne, owing to its special ability. This card will obviously drive your opponents into deciding to transform it or silence it and the best part of this is that “Silence” will not affect its stats like in other occasions (Bolvar Fordragon and Vol’Jin). I think that this minion is an awesome card for Druids and for any play style, as it keeps getting shuffled into your deck again and again.
Gahz’rilla will be a reliable companion for Hunters who like to play in Arena. Minions have a strong presence in Arena games and this card will probably annoy a lot of people. It is not an easy kill and if you cannot kill it in one round, you will not risk damaging it without eliminating it instantly, since you will get some hard-hitting 12 damage in the next round. Now, we can argue about whether it is going to be featured in Constructed decks because of its high costs and the popular mid-range gameplay across Hunters., but I really believe that Gahz’rilla will hold a special spot in various decks, especially in Arenas. In Constructed you will probably have to work on your deck in order to fit this in.
I did not want to end this article without mentioning the impressive Troggzor the Earthinator. Its 6/6 stats are definitely not superb, but its ability makes it a very dangerous enemy. Each time your enemy casts a spell, it summons a Burly Rockjaw Trogg which has its own nasty ability! Every time your opponent casts a spell, it gets +2 Attack on its steady 3/5 stats. Imagine how your opponent might feel about this situation if he has a deck full of spells. Even if you try for example to transform Troggzor into a sheep, he will nevertheless summon one of his annoying minions. This card though feels definitely weaker in Arenas, since those games tend to involve more minions and fewer spells.
All in all, most of these cards will probably help a lot of people with their new decks. Some of them seem pretty strong, but we definitely have to wait to see how the new mechanics will play out. How do you feel about the new Class Legendaries? Do you like them? Do you hate them? Let me know in the comment section below.