The Witchwood reveal stram just went offline and we got a glimpse at some exciting new cards. Here are our initial thoughts.
The stream started right on time with hosts Peter Whalen (Senior game designer) and Dan ‘Frodan’ Chou (Hearthstone personality and caster). The two didn’t mess around and jumped straight to the point – revealing some fresh new cards and discussing their effects, potential uses, and overall significance. Let’s get straight to the highlights!
Hunter gets Houndmaster Shaw. He’s a 3/6 minion for (4), that reads ‘Your other minions have Rush.’ This allows for some very aggressive plays after turns 5 or 6, which is the make-or-break point for Face Hunters. As an added cool bonus, we will be able to play as Shaw himself in the single-player mode, which is all about hunting spooky monsters.
Warlock gets Glinda Crowskin – a 3/7 for (6) that reads ‘Minions in your head have Echo’. Whalen jokingly exclaimed ‘infinite Wisps!’, but this card has some serious combo potential. The tough body helps it stick to the board for a turn, which is all the time that is needed. Combined with cheap cards (maybe not Wisps, but Sea Giants?), or a Summoning Portal, we’re looking at some serious damage output. Not to mention Doomguard – since Echo triggers after the discard Battlecry, we get as much Charging daemons as our mana crystals could buy. Sick.
The big reveal came in the form of the only new Hero card.
Shaman gets Hagatha the Witch, the godmother of the entire set. She is an (8) Hero with 5 armor, a Battlecry that reads ‘Deal 3 damage to all minions’ and a Passive Hero Power that reads ‘After you play a minion, add a random Shaman spell to your hand’. We are looking at powerful potential midrange and control builds, which might pick up the entire class from the mud. Shaman is currently hands-down the worst class in Hearthstone (stay tuned for upcoming article on this very subject!) and it really could use a shot in the arm. Or at least a witch’s brew.
Other notable cards
Without going into too much detail, here’s a couple of interesting concepts that the two gentlemen introduced.
‘Hand size matters’ is becoming a more prominent archetype, and not only in Warlock, too. A couple of the new Druid-class cards count your cards in hand and reward you for them, which opens up interesting deck-building possibilities. Not bad, given the fact that some of the key Druid combo pieces are rotating out of Standard.
Priest goes back to its roots with cards who care about healing, and not so much about endlessly spamming your free Hero power. A card named ‘Vivid Nightmares’ copies one of your minions, but damaged down to 1 Health. This introduces interesting combo potential with Northshire Clerics, Prophet Velen or a wide variety of Deathrattle and effect-type Minions.
The design of the new set was top-down, meaning emphasis was put on the flavour and theme, and not so much to mechanics. But Blizzard clearly show that they’ve kept a keen eye on the evolving metagame and have full intention to shake it up really nice, so we can get some excitement out of the cards once more. It’s interesting to see all the other cards they still keep up their sleeve.