It’s been two weeks since Hearthstone’s latest expansion, “Whispers of the Old Gods,” arrived, and we’re beginning to get a look at the impact the new cards and new Standard Format are having. We’ve picked a few cards from each class and the neutral pool that we think are sizing up to be the strongest in the set.
It’s important to note that crafting any standard set cards takes priority over “Old Gods” cards, as eventually “Old Gods” cards will be filtered out as a result of Standard gameplay. So in the long term, Standard set cards are more valuable, since they’ll always be playable (at least until Blizz nerfs them *knocks on wood*).
As you might imagine, a sizable chunk of the neutral cards in “Old Gods” are related to C’Thun, but several of them are very playable on their own, even if you’re not running a C’Thun deck. Fortunately for the impoverished players out there, not many of the neutral cards are must haves.
Twin Emps is a fantastic value card, though obviously only if you’re running C’thun. By turn 7 your C’Thun is pretty much guaranteed to have 10 health if you’re running any C’Thun buff cards at all, ensuring you’ll be getting 8/12 worth of stat value across two minions with taunt for 7. Your opponent will have to burn resources quickly to get the guys out of the way, and by the time they do, your C’Thun should be ready to go. Doctor 7 is dead, long live Doctor 7.
A 4/2 with Divine Shield is a great card on its own, and while it may not seem much better than Scarlet Crusader on paper, the extra 1 health prevents your opponent from pinging it to death with his hero power. Something’s going to have to eat that 4 damage. Add to that the free +2/+2 for your C’Thun, and this one’s a no brainer for any C’Thun deck.
3 mana for a 2/1 is horrible. Add deal 2 damage though, and things get interesting. The vast majority of 1 and two drops are likely to get wiped out by a 2 damage ping, especially given the popularity of 3/2 over ⅔ minions these days, and you get a minion on the board. Of all the C’Thun cards, this one seems like the most playable in any deck, it’s just too handy. And oh yeah, it’s an auto-include in C’Thun decks because of the +2/+2 in addition to everything else.
N’Zoth makes the list primarily for his inclusion in one of the stronger decks we’ve seen out of “Old Gods,” N’Zoth Paladin. Loaded with strong Deathrattle minions, this deck makes up for its slightly slow start with incredibly sticky/dangerous minions, healing, and the promise that the Tirion, Sylvanas, and Cairne you killed will be making a return performance once your opponent plays N’Zoth.
Of all the classes in “Old Gods,” the general consensus is that Shaman has received the biggest boost. Only a few of the key cards that made Aggro Shaman so successful have been removed, and the new cards replacing them are arguably better anyways.
Shaman’s overload mechanic is sort of like a credit card, you can get that TV now, but you’re gonna have to pay for it later. Lava Shock let you skip out on your credit card bill, and now Eternal Sentinel lets you skip out AND gives you a 3/2. It’s an epic so it’s a little pricey, but you’re worth it.
It’s a 7/7 for 4 mana. 2 overloaded crystals may seem like a lot, but if you can get this out on turn 4, or 3 with the coin, it’s a massive tempo swing in your favor. Even better if you have an Eternal Sentinel, but trust us, the downside on this one is minimal at best. Additionally, this card is even more brutal in Arena, pick it as soon as you see it.
Solid stats and an almost always useful ability make Master of Evolution an extremely good card to have. While it’s true you’ll occasionally whiff and get a worse minion than the one you started with, in most cases it will do double duty, preventing your damaged minion from dying and replacing it with a better one.
The titular card to the popular evolve Shaman, Evolve allows Shamans to quickly convert their board into something potentially extremely dangerous. For 1 mana. As with Master of Evolution, there’s the chance of a low roll, but on minions like totems it’s virtually always a safe bet.
Druids took a pretty big hit with the Force of Nature nerf, meaning they’ll have to work a little harder to close out games than they have in the past. Fortunately, their traditional mana boosting ramp tactics are better now than they’ve ever been, which plays perfectly into C’Thun decks. Blizzard is also serious about pushing Beast-themed Druid decks, as several cards from the set focus around that idea.
Given that Druid’s previous 4 drop auto-include, Keeper of the Grove, got hit with the nerf hammer, Mire Keeper is here to fill that slot. It’s slightly less versatile than its predecessor, but plays perfectly into the signature mana ramp style that Druid is known for.
The “Choose One” mechanic allows Druid cards to have a lot versatility, making them useful aggressively and defensively, early game and late game. Getting both of the choices lets you get 5/5s for 3 mana (Druid of the Flame), and equivalently super value cards. His baseline stats are also acceptable given his cost.
Warlock’s “Old Gods” cards have given its zoo potential a massive shot in the arm with Possessed Villager, Darkshire Councilman and Forbidden Ritual. The rest of the cards fit into Warlock’s self-destructive, aggro theme, but as of now, none of them are must haves. Renounce Darkness is pretty fun though.
The “spend all your mana” cards have gotten a bit of a mixed reception, but Forbidden Ritual has become a key part of a very popular ultra aggressive Warlock zoo deck. It’s also fairly playable late game, as a board full of 1/1s can still be a pain to remove if your opponent is lacking board clears or taunts.
Directly related to the card above, Darkshire Councilman is the other key piece of the aggro Warlock zoo deck. ⅕ is pretty wimpy, but in conjunction with small 1-2 drop minions and Forbidden ritual, the councilman can quickly spiral into a major threat. Fairly useless outside of zoo decks though.
Mage has been given a solid group of cards, almost all of which have the potential to see play in Standard decks. Freeze Mage still remains one of the game’s strongest decks, so expect to see several of the cards her experimented with in the standard freeze deck list. C’Thun and Tempo decks can also play around with these cards, though don’t expect earth shattering changes.
“Old Gods” offered surprisingly few new options for card draw, which gives the Cabalist’s Tome extra weight. Add to that the fact that Mage has arguably the best overall class cards, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get useful draw.
Even a low roll on the random 3 drop will get you 7/7 worth of stats for 6 mana, which is solid. It also fits the 6 drop gap Tempo Mage decks desperately needed filled.
Face Hunter was hit pretty hard by the neutral card nerfs to Leper Gnome, Knife Juggler and Arcane Golem, but the class’s natural aggression makes it unlikely its aggro variant will vanish completely. Hunter’s best new cards are inarguably designed for a more midrange style of gameplay, so expect to pace yourself a bit more.
Call of the Wild puts a 4/2 charge, a 2/4 that grants +1 attack to your minions, and a 3/3 taunt on the board, 11/9 worth of stats for 8. It impacts the board immediately and Mishka is there to protect your squishy Huffer, setting up a solid next turn short of any big board clears. Expect to see this run in virtually every non-aggro Hunter deck.
As mentioned above, we’re expecting a surge in midrange tempo/control Hunters, making Princess Huhuran a solid choice for triggering perennial Hunter auto-include Savannah Highmane, or even Sylvanas Windrunner, one of the game’s best legendaries.
Control Warrior has remained in the top tier of decks for quite some time now, and though it lost a few cards with the switch to standard, it’s by its nature a great fit for a C’Thun deck. The defensive nature of the class means players should have no problem getting to turn 10, and several of the “Old Gods” cards, make it even easier.
Whirlwind has been a Warrior staple card since forever, and attaching it to a 3/3 gives Control Warriors a tool to help combat some of the ultra aggressive zoo decks packed with 1 health minions.
Similar to the Priest’s Twilight Darkmender, but better since there’s no danger of overhealing with armor. With Shieldmaiden out of the picture, this card is a shoo-in for Control Warrior decks running C’Thun
Rogue took a pretty big hit with the most recent wave of nerfs, most notably losing Blade Flurry, pushing the class into a more control oriented strategy. While their “Old Gods” cards don’t seem quite as OP as the other classes some are definitely worth including.
3 mana for 5 damage is sort of like a fireball junior, but the 1 mana difference is great for rogue as it enables more plays with the combo mechanic. It’s also versatile, serving as either face damage in a pinch, or hard removal for a class that desperately needs more options in that category.
Xaril may have underwhelming stats for 4 mana, but that’s not really the point. Getting two above average, albeit random, 1 drop toxin cards allows a rogue player to buffer into their combo cards, pump up their Edwin Van Cleef, and pad out their mana curve. It also fits nicely into the post-Blade Flurry, more board control focused version of Rogue.
On the whole, the Priest class’s “Old Gods” cards are a little underwhelming, which is why you’re still seeing a fair amount of Dragon Priests out there. The class’ strength still relies on control themed decks, but feel free to experiment with mid-range shadow type decks if you don’t mind doing some experimentation. And losing.
The obvious question here is why would you play this over Auchenai Soulpriest? The answer, 2 mana cheaper, and flexibility. While the 4/5 body is obviously better than embrace’s 0/0 non-body, Auchenai ensures you can’t heal until she’s dead/silenced which can become a problem. It also allows for 2 damage board clear with circle of healing, which may prove valuable as aggressive decks pick up steam.
Another C’thun card, Darkmender’s 10 health boost synergizes perfectly with the control until turn 10 nature of C’thun decks. And as with a lot of the C’thun cards, it’s priced fairly on stats, making the buff a big fat cherry when it goes off.
And that’s it, check out the Hearthstone Wikia for more info about “Whispers of the Old Gods.”