Journey To Un’Goro Card Review #1
Journey to Un’Goro card reveal season is officially opened! The PlayHearthstone stream featuring Senior Game Designer Peter Whalen and Sean “Day9” Plott finished a few hours ago and we’ve learned about 11 new cards, most of which are really exciting and look promising!
If you want to watch the whole reveal stream (it’s around 45 minutes long) with the new mechanics being showcased, you can find the VoD here.
Just like every expansion, I’ll try to review the cards. Remember that with only small part of the set known, it’s still a bit hard to talk about the power level of some of them. We don’t know all the new synergies and interactions yet, so a card that might seem bad might turn out to be good etc. I’ll rate cards from 1 to 5 in Standard Constructed, where 1 is unplayable, 3 is average (might see play, but no fireworks) and 5 is insane and probably going to be played A LOT.
Other Un’Goro reviews:
First card is a Warrior Epic. And it’s an example of a wonky card that’s not ever meant to be competitive. It’s very similar to the Renounce Darkness from Whispers of the Old Gods, but even more random. Just few words to explain how it works – after you play it, your whole deck and I mean literally your whole deck including your current hand turns into a 1 mana spells that Discover a card. That’s it, you get to choose from 3 random cards every time you play one.
It’s a bit similar to turning your whole deck into the Arena deck that you create on the fly. And I have to say that on the one hand, it might be the most powerful card in the game. I’m not kidding, there is a slight chance that you will discover the most optimal play and the best counters to what your opponent is doing every turn. However, given how many cards there are in the game, the chances are, let’s make it clear, close to zero. Most of the time you’ll end up with a bunch of vanilla minions or bad spells, because you didn’t get to discover anything good. Even cards like Kabal Courier sometimes end up with 3 bad option and this is even worse, because not only it counts cards from every class (it might be hard to find cross-class synergies) but also Neutrals (and trust me, there is A LOT of bad neutral cards).
The only situation where this might be useful is to use it like you did use Elise Starseeker in Control Warrior. In Control mirrors, when you’re left with a bunch of card draw like Acolyte of Pain and Shield Block which you don’t want to play, you can turn them into random Discover cards with this. Which will probably let you pick something at least playable, maybe even a big minion or two. But that’s a really niche situation and it basically means that if you draw it early, it would be a dead card for the whole match until the last turns (unlike Elise).
Edit: It turns out that the card only replaces your deck and not hand. I made a wrong assumption, sorry guys! It makes the card even worse than I’ve anticipated.
In the end, it’s more of a joke card that will make into some highlights and that’s it. When it comes to its Constructed viability, I can’t really see none.
Card rating: 1/5
Well, this card is decent. Judging by the quest, it seems like they will try to push Deathrattle as this expansion’s Priest theme. And well, Priest really needs some solid Deathrattle cards to make that quest work. This is a pretty okay minion to be honest. The direct comparison in Deathrattle decks is Infested Tauren, which is actually viable in Constructed N'Zoth, the Corruptor decks. Taunts are really great to get back on N’Zoth turn, because they reduce the chance that your opponent will have some way of counterplay (like it protects a bigger Deathrattle or your face). And I think that this one might be better than Infested Tauren, actually. If you count the Deathrattle, it’s theoretically 3/7 in total stats, but that’s not really how it works – it won’t always proc and it won’t always hit something it’s useful on, but that’s always the extra stats you’ll be getting from time to time. The main problem, however, is that if this will ever become popular, there are multiple ways to punish it. For example, when the Warrior’s Bloodhoof Brave was very common in Whispers of the Old Gods, Stampeding Kodo has became a very common tech and it was just CRUSHING that 4-drop. It would be similar in case of this one. Overall, I feel like it’s an average card, especially since Priest has access to so many good 4-drops (Priest of the Feast, Auchenai Soulpriest and the other Deathrattle – Shifting Shade). It might get played in Deathrattle Priest in case the meta is pretty aggressive, but in case of slow meta Shifting Shade would probably be just better choice.
Card rating: 3/5
Warlock Quest. It’s very interesting, because I thought that Warlock will get some “slow” Quest that will fit the Control Warlock more. But it seems that this one has no place in Control Warlock, because well, Control Warlocks don’t play that many Discard cards. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Zoo card – a Discard Zoo card. And it’s REALLY interesting. I’ll be honest that this quest is pretty hard to accomplish. Current Discard Warlock lists runs 3 different Discard cards – Soulfire, Darkshire Librarian and Doomguard. If you run 2 copies of each, that’s 8 Discards in total. This quest requires 6 Discards – that’s A LOT compared to the 8 you currently run. So hey, let’s just put more Discard cards in the deck! It’s not that simple. Putting more Discard cards will make the deck less consistent, as you’ll often end up with multiple cards that Discard and nothing you want to Discard. Discarding 6 cards is much harder than it seems, especially since you don’t ALWAYS discard something. E.g. if you topdeck that Doomguard, you end up with no Discards at all.
But, hear me out. I think that this one might still be worth it, as it gives Zoo Warlock an inevitable long game win condition. Everyone who played Zoo knows that even though the deck is very fast, it has A TON of staying power. If you play Zoo vs a Control deck, the games often last long past turn 10. I’ve played dozens of games that went nearly to fatigue from the Zoo’s side. And in such long games, this quest is insanely powerful. Just check out this reward.
The reward costs 5 mana, which is kinda a lot, but it’s a good investment. Nether Portal summons TWO 3/2 Imps at the end of your turn. Every turn until the end of the game. It means that you get two 3/2’s ON TOP of whatever you play. Which means that, in all seriousness, you have a chance to outvalue a Control deck in a long run. Let’s say that the game will last 10 more turns – that’s extra TWENTY 3/2 minions that your opponent has to kill. The portal takes one slot on the board, which is a little downside since Zoo really floods it, but it’s not that big of a deal if you have an infinite army of the Imps.
Amazing card? It sure is! But playable? Well, that’s the harder part. In the current state of Discard Zoo, I don’t think it is. We’ll need more Discard synergies to make it work, after all Discarding 6 cards is a lot. And the meta also would need to slow down. I mean, let’s be fair – this is completely useless in any faster matchup, but it’s insanely powerful against slower decks. I love this card, but its playability really depends on the speed of the meta. I’m moderately hopeful.
Card rating: 4/5
I’d say that the card would never see play in the current Discard Warlock. It’s much weaker than Doomguard is (that 5/7 Charge is way more powerful) yet is also Discards 2. 3/8 Taunt for 4 mana is obviously powerful, but Discarding 2 cards is big. Basically, Zoo would never play Sen'jin Shieldmasta and this card is a Sen’jin + 3 health + 2 discards. Are the 2 discards worth +3 health? Not really.
However, when thinking about this card I also need to have the new Warlock’s Quest in mind. With this card, Discarding 6 cards has became much easier. There is a single problem, however. Zoo will now have tons of card that Discard, but not that many cards that they WANT to Discard. There is Silverware Golem and.. that’s it. Fist of Jaraxxus is TGT so it’s out of Standard, not like it was that good anyway (Silverware Golem is at least playable without discarding it, Fist is not). What Discard Zoo needs to really take off is another Silverware Golem-like card that they want to Discard.
But I’ll be honest that even without a new Silverware Golem there is a chance that this will see play just because of the quest. We need to remember that the Quest gives Warlock a source of infinite value. If they get it relatively quickly, they can stop worrying about anything else and just win from the Portal value. Oh, and this one is actually better against Aggro than it is against Control. Against Aggro, putting a 3/8 Taunt on turn 4 might actually turn the game around. Right now I’m like 50/50 about this card. I don’t think it would be playable by itself, but it might with the Quest.
Card rating: 3/5
It’s a very powerful card. Not on the Mad Scientist levels of power, but still powerful. I suspect that it will see play in every Mage deck running some Secrets. After all, if you run a Secret, it’s a 2/3 for 2 with “Draw a card” Battlecry. I mean, imagine the Freeze Mage. The deck plays Novice Engineer and this is WAY better to play on turn 2. Not only you can curve out with a t3 Ice Block in case you didn’t have anything to do, but you also have a 2/3 body on the board that can trade into some small drop. It’s almost strictly better on turn 2. Later in the game it really depends – it’s obviously bad when you’re out of Secrets, or if you’re looking for the burn, but snatching the second Ice Block from your deck can buy you another turn AND thin your deck making it more likely to draw what you want.
Control Mage decks will run Ice Block just because of how powerful it is at stalling the game, and Mage decks running Ice Block will most likely put at least one copy of that card too.
Then, there is also a mythical “Secret Mage” that they’ve tried to push a bit last expansion with Kabal Lackey and Kabal Crystal Runner. And it actually fits this really well. I’ve tried to play that deck and the main problem was, to be honest, running out of cards. This card can fix that problem a bit by giving you a card draw and not just any – the card you draw can be played for free with Lackey or Kirin Tor Mage AND it reduces the cost of Crystal Runner by 2. Okay, I was really optimistic about the Secret archetype last time and I won’t hype it so much this time, because we all know that it might not work. But this card is good even if you don’t count that archetype – it’s good in any Mage deck running Secrets!
Card rating: 4/5
Elise the Traiblazer
That’s… surprising. I didn’t expect to see a card like that. But I actually like it a lot! Let me start with this – it’s a pure value card, it’s a CONTROL card, so it will obviously be terrible if the meta will be fast. Aggro decks ruining everything – same old, same old. But how does this card exactly work?
Similarly to the regular Elise Starseeker, it shuffles a 2 mana card into your deck. This time, however, instead of that card shuffling another card, the 2 mana spell is a card pack. When you open it, you get 5 random Journey to Un’Goro cards. Yes, 2 mana that gives you +5 cards. Like, Cabalist's Tome is a 5 mana card that gives you 3 cards. This one is 2 for 5. No kidding, that’s TONS of value. And the “drop rate” is not like in a normal Un’Goro pack. You’re guaranteed to get at least one Epic and the chance to get Legendary will be a lot higher.
In an even remotely slow meta, this card will be an auto-include into any slow deck. I mean, it’s broken as hell in Control mirrors. It’s a 5 mana 5/5 so you don’t even have to sacrifice tons of tempo in order to play it. Then you get +1 card in your deck, which is good – remember that the later you get to fatigue, the better it is for you. And that card is a 2 mana GET 5 MORE CARDS IN YOUR HAND. That’s one of the highest value Legendaries in the game while not being that bad against let’s say Midrange decks either (it’s a 5/5 after all).
I have to say that it might be even a bit too powerful. If the meta doesn’t greet us with 50% Aggro like Gadgetzan did, this will be a very common card on the ladder. And another concern is that, while being insanely powerful, it’s also hell lot of RNG. There are 135 Un’Goro cards and you get 5 at random. The variance is insane – you can get 5 terrible cards or 5 very powerful cards. I know that every card that generates value outside of the deck has some kind of variance, but this might be just too much.
Card rating: 5/5
I mean… This card makes sure that Pirates will never dominate the meta again, at least until it rotates out of Standard. Right now people play Acidic Swamp Ooze as the anti-Pirate tech. And this is 10 times stronger. The card would shake up the current meta completely. Pirate Warrior has ~25% representation in the higher ranks and it only gets worse. This one card, however, can destroy the whole archetype. I mean, not only you get to destroy ANY Pirate, but you also get a 3/4 for 2. Snatching a 1/1 is good enough already, but imagine killing a Bloodsail Cultist or Southsea Captain AND getting a decent body on top of that. It’s almost like an auto-win if the rest of your deck doesn’t suck.
I, for one, am glad for this tech. I was really worried that Pirate Warrior will dominate the meta post-rotation. The deck is not losing almost any cards – the only vital card is Sir Finley Mrrgglton, but that’s 1 out of 30. Other 29 stays the same and I’m not kidding – the Sjow’s list runs 29 cards that won’t rotate out. With this card, we can be sure that Pirate Warrior will NOT dominate the meta. Of course, the deck will most likely still see some play, but if it gets all over the ladder, people would just start teching Crawlers and game over.
The card is obviously bad against anything non-Pirate. Which makes it once again similar to Acidic Swamp Ooze. The card is just a vanilla 3/2 in multiple matchups, which is obviously bad, but not exactly unplayable. It’s always an extra 2/3 body for 2 mana in the scenario where you don’t snatch any Pirate. Just like any other tech card, this is very hard to rate, because it’s an obvious 5/5 in a Pirate meta, but 1/5 in a meta without Pirates. I’ll give it 4/5 because even if it won’t see any play, it’s a very welcomed tech.
Card rating: 4/5
A well designed and really balanced card. It’s a clear power-creep over cards like Silverback Patriarch or Am'gam Rager, but let’s be honest, almost any 3-drop is a powercreep over those cards. So, it’s a 1/5 Taunt for 3 mana which magically turns into a 3/5 Taunt on the opponent’s turn. Taunt’s Attack matters most on the opponent’s turn, so that’s good. If you drop it on turn 3, your opponent sees a 3/5 Taunt he needs to go through – a 1 mana cheaper Sen'jin Shieldmasta which, let’s be fair, is already solid against Aggro.
But, it has a clear downside of having only 1 Attack on your turn. It means that if YOU want to trade it with something, well, too bad, unless it has 1 health, you won’t be able to. It means that you can’t kill important cards you want to kill – like let’s say the Warrior drops a Grimy Gadgeteer – you really want to kill that, and if you had a 3/5 minion that would be a good trade, but you just can’t.
Which leads me to one conclusion – this card will be great as an anti-Aggro tech, because Aggro deck will want to get through that Taunt himself in order to continue punching the face. In case you drop and have nothing good to attack, you also don’t care about face damage against Aggro – you want to survive, not kill him as fast as possible. But in slower matchups, not only you often want to initiate trades in order to make them as efficient as possible, but the extra face damage is also useful.
So, all in all, good anti-Aggro tech, similar to Second-Rate Bruiser in terms of power level, but not so good in any meta that’s even a bit slower. So I rate it 4/5 for the potential, but it might actually not see play if the meta won’t be Aggro-heavy.
P.S. Oh, and I forgot – it’s an Elemental, so maybe in case we get some cool Elemental synergies, it might see play in a dedicated Elementals deck. Who knows?
Card Rating: 4/5
Let’s get some facts straight first. In the best case scenario, this is a +9/+9 buff (Paladins don’t run any 0 attack minions) and that’s quite a lot. It’s similar to 2x Blessing of Kings, but with one card instead of 2. Packing 2 BoKs into one card makes it great, but also much, much less flexible. Few things to remember:
This is a +9/+9 only on a 1/1. If you cast it on let’s say 3/5, then it’s only a +7/+5, which is not that powerful. This is a buff, so like every other buff it is silence’able (in case of Buff meta, Silence might get back into the decks). But one important thing to note is that the minion, obviously, keeps its effects. So if you play Stonetusk Boar + this, you get a 10/10 Charge minion, which makes it a bit like a Grommash Hellscream-like finisher. You can use it to deal the last chunk of damage or you can use it to immediately kill a big minion on the board.
I’ll be honest that I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, this is a great late game card, because you can turn a leftover 1/1 Recruit into a 10/10 which basically gets Charge – normally if you play a 10/10 minion, you’d have to wait a turn to attack – if you buff your Recruit, you can attack straight away. On the other hand, it might be just not flexible enough. It’s an 8 mana spell, so it’s very clunky.
And one thing I see people saying about this card that’s really wrong. It’s NOT an Aggro card, Aggro games are decided before turn 8 most of the time and you don’t really want to have a dead card in your hand (remember that Aggro Paladin uses Divine Favor which has negative synergy with dead cards). If anything, it might be played in Midrange/Control Paladin variants as a kind of finisher or way to burst. Because historically those decks were really bad at bursting – they rarely could deal more than 6 damage from their hand, and that’s a big improvement. But once again, this is simply terrible vs any Aggro deck. So in slow meta – it might see play. In fast one – no way.
Card Rating: 3/5
Sherazin, Corpse Flower
First thing I have to say is that I LOVE THIS CONCEPT. I’m really grateful that they want to experiment with new mechanics and things we didn’t previously have in the game. Even if the card turns out to be unplayable, it’s a step in right direction to make the game more diverse. Unique, interesting effects like that are way better than forcing an archetype with best vanilla statline and powerful, but generic effect (Drakonid Operative).
So, about this card. It’s a 5/3 for 4 mana which makes it unplayable stat-wise. It needs to have a really good effect to compensate. And the effect is kinda good, but might be a bit too slow. Instead of dying, it basically “hides” and becomes an untargetable minion on the board. It stays there forever, until the game ends. And every time Rogue plays 4 cards in a single turn, it jumps onto the board again, giving you a “free” 5/3 minion. The thing is, though, how many times you need to play it for it to be worth and which archetype can do that?
I have to say that playing it once is definitely bad (5/3 for 4..). Getting it second time is on the verge of being playable. But it should really start being good enough after the second ress (or third time in play in general).
It’s a big no-no in Aggro decks. Maybe you could ress it once before running out of steam, maybe you couldn’t even ress it at all. No, the card screams Miracle Rogue. The card would ress every time you a) have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer turn and b) you have a high tempo turn with let’s say a big Edwin VanCleef. If you drop it on turn 4, I suspect that in a long game you might ress it probably 3, maybe even 4 times in some extreme cases. And that’s great, but is the initial investment worth enough?
Right now, I would say no. There would be no reason to play this over Tomb Pillager, which is simply better, because it gets a much faster pay-off (the Coin is an extra card with Auctioneer, +2/+2 for Edwin etc.). But remember that Pillagers will be gone in Standard. They will rotate out and counting only the current cards, Rogue will probably go back to Violet Teacher. And while Sherazin is clearly worse than Pillager, I think it might be good enough to get one 4-drop slot in case Rogue doesn’t get more powerful 4-drops.
It’s a bit similar to the Beneath the Grounds, but a better version, because it’s not completely RNG and you have some control over it. I like it more because of that, I think the card’s well designed and it also looks pretty fun. Is it playable? I know that it sounds boring, but it’s “depends on how fast is the meta” again. Against Aggro, it’s just a 5/3 for 4 and that’s it, most of the games don’t last long enough for you to ress it. But in slow matchups, after the initial investment it’s a free tempo swing you’re getting 2-3 more times in the same game. Rogue in those matchup relies on those tempo swing turns to win, and having an extra 5/3 a few times is great. So the card, once again, is pretty powerful in slow matchup but sucks against Aggro. It’s probably between 2/5 and 4/5 depending on how fast the meta gets, so I’ll average it out at 3/5.
Card rating: 3/5
Swamp King Dred
Another card I really love. It might be the first really powerful Hunter Legendary. First of all, the statline – 9/9 for 7 is INSANE in a Midrange Hunter deck. You’d imagine that such a card needs to have some downside, it couldn’t be that good. And yes, there is an effect, but it’s not strictly a downside. Depending on the situation, it might be a huge upside.
The card attacks everything opponent plays. By attacks I mean that the cards perform a combat action – Dred damages it, it damages Dred. So if you drop a Dred and the opponent plays a 3/6 minion, Dred kills it and gets 3 points of damage. So, the effect is a HUGE upside against the decks that run low attack minions. Let’s imagine you play against Priest who has no way to answer this and has a bunch of 3-4 Attack minions in his hand. He would need to play 3 of them in order to kill it, and that’s even impossible if that’s on turn 7. Or against Aggro – you drop Dred and Aggro deck can’t overwhelm you with multiple minions on the board OR rush you with Chargers, because they just die immediately. There are multiple situations where this effect is amazing.
But, mind you that there are also clear counters. So, first of all, this is a pile of stats. Unlike something like a Savannah Highmane which has Deathrattle or Ragnaros the Firelord which has immediate effect, this card is really bad against big removals like Shadow Word: Death or Blastcrystal Potion. Then, there is a Poisonous keyword, which will be one of the Adapt options. Let’s say your opponent drops some small minion, like a 3-drop with Adapt and gets a Poisonous. Since they attack each other, Dred will just die.
Because we still don’t know whether they a) will introduce some new Poisonous minions (they might since they made it into a keyword) b) will release powerful, cheap Adapt minions, this card might be playable but it also might not be. This is one of those cards that we just can’t know how good it will turn out. But let’s say in the Midrange Hunter from the Call of the Wild WotG era, this card would be really powerful. I remember Midrange Hunter struggling against Zoo Warlock a bit, dropping this on the empty board would just destroy Zoo. Against a lot of decks, this card would be insanely powerful and it would fill the 7-drop slot that Midrange Hunter was missing after Dr. Boom rotated out. I’m really excited for this card, I’d like to see some Hunter again in Standard.
Card rating: 4/5
That’s all folks. Sorry for making this so long, but I’m really excited to finally see some new cards and have an opportunity to review them! I just love the reveal season, seeing new cards, theorycrafting and already building the decks I will play on launch day in my head.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!