Hearthstone Help: New Naxxramas class cards rated

Goods news everybody! Vincent Sarius here, with this week's Hearthstone spotlight. Blizzard has now revealed all of the class-specific cards that will be released as part of the upcoming Curse of Naxxramas expansion. Each of these will be obtained by completing a specific challenge using the class whose card you want and a deck that's been brewed up by Blizzard. (Uh oh, here come the Magma Ragers). Hopefully, the release of the final card, and the recent leak of other content, means a release date is imminent—but while we wait, let's take deeper look at the class cards, and try to figure out how much use they're likely to be in Constructed play.

Rogue: Anub'ar Ambusher

Mana: 4

Attack: 5

Health: 5

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Rogue

Rarity: Common

Deathrattle: Return a random friendly minion to your hand.

At first glance this card looks incredibly strong. A baseline of 5/5 for 4 mana is insane value, and that's certainly what most people have been focusing on. In addition, the supposed Deathrattle drawback of bouncing another of your creatures into your hand when it dies can be exploited positively with cards like SI:7 Agent and Earthen Ring Farseer, as well as Defias Ringleader if you get lucky.

However, I'm sceptical that the Ambusher will be used in what's (by far) the most powerful Rogue deck: Miracle. Those players probably won't run this minion, as good as it might look, because it doesn't really fit what the deck is trying to do. In certain tweaked builds, like Curi's Semi-Miracle , it could find a place, but the tempo and board presence you lose from self-Sapping one of your dudes when the Anub'Ar dies might be enough to dissuade people from running it.

Overall, I think it's a bit weak in current lists, but it does have potential as a cornerstone for new Rogue decks, so we may see the emergence of some Midrange Rogue decks that really exploit this card's massive stats for full value.

Druid: Poison Seeds

Mana: 4

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Druid

Rarity: Common

Destroy all minions and summon 2/2 Treants to replace them.

Now here's a card that looks like a must play in most Druid decks. The Druid class has long struggled with hard removal, what with Naturalize being completely terrible due to the card draw for your opponent, so players have opted to run cards like Big Game Hunter and The Black Knight to help fill the gap. However, these are quite situational cards which your opponent can either play around, or they may simply be dead draws in match-ups without viable targets.

The Poison Seeds spell gives Druids an equivalent to the Paladin's Equality/Consecration combo. Yes, it leaves behind tokens, but you're probably removing far more than 2/2 per creature in value. As a 4-mana card, it can also be combo'd with something like Starfall or Bloodmage Thalnos plus Swipe for a complete board clear.

As a one-off, I think this card is a surefire inclusion in every Druid list. Two of the card would probably be overkill, though, since you're unlikely to ever need two total sweeps of the board as a Druid.

Hunter: Webspinner

Mana: 1

Attack: 1

Health: 1

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Hunter

Rarity: Common

Deathrattle: Draw a random Beast card.

This card is terrible, and it isn't obvious why due to the way the text is phrased. Webspinner upon dying does not draw a random Beast from your deck. It adds a random Beast to your deck, which you then draw. Effectively, you are playing with a 31 card deck with Webspinner in your list. However, this is grossly unpredictable and variable in value.

Webspinner might give you a Savannah Highmane, or it might give you a Captain's Parrot. It does have cycling potential with Starving Buzzard as such a cheap Beast, but Stonetusk Boar fills that niche very well, and Hunter already struggles with card choices. Adding a subpar, random card into the mix is not something I would personally do.

Paladin: Avenge

Mana: 1

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Paladin

Rarity: Common

Secret: When one of your minions dies, give a random friendly minion +3/+2.

This card is also terrible. It's actually very good statwise—3/2 for 1 mana is good value according to the stats versus mana 'vanilla' test. However, Avenge is a Secret, which means it allows your opponent the opportunity to play around its effect. Yes, it has some nice Synergy with cards like Noble Sacrifice and, disgustingly enough, Secretkeeper.

However, is that enough to warrant a slot in a 30-card deck? Personally, I don't think so. It could be used to push the Aggro Paladin's Mana curve lower, but that deck is already very dubious in its construction. If Secrets could still activate on your own turn, this card would be very good. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case, so this has to go down as another kick in the Paladin's armoured pants.

Priest: Dark Cultist

Mana: 3

Attack: 3

Health: 4

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Priest

Rarity: Common

Deathrattle: Give a friendly minion +3 Health.

This card is rock solid, and a much needed boost for the most underplayed class in the game. Right now Priest has a significant problem with its early game. Priests effectively have no natural 2-drop, and their 3-drops are either Earthen Ring Farseer or Injured Blademaster. The latter relies on having Circle of Healing to combo off, while ERF is just a bit plain and underwhelming if you don't need the healing, as well as being easy to remove in the early game.

Dark Cultist is 3/4 worth of stats plus a very nice secondary effect. The Deathrattle health buff is a bonus, but the real beauty of the Dark Cultist is that he can trade 2-for-1 with every playable 2-drop and most 3-drops, while also being resistant to most early game removal spells (with the exception of Soulfire). It's a great card and I fully expect Priests to run two of them.

Warrior: Death's Bite

Mana: 4

Attack: 4

Durability: 2

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Warrior

Rarity: Common

Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions.

Oh hey, it's the Truesilver Champion during its Goth phase! And, like that card, this is also really goddamn good. Death's Bite likely takes the spot of Arcanite Reaper in Warrior lists that have more of a Control lean, effectively replacing Gorehowl or possibly Kor'Kron Elites. A minimum of eight points of amage for 4 mana is really good, and even more so with the Deathrattle adding further synergy to Warrior decks with it's host of Acolytes of Pain and Armorsmiths.

Death's Bite may cause some awkward hands or situations where you still have a Fiery War Axe charge but nothing to use it on while your hand contains two Death's Bites, but I don't think those scenarios will be enough to put Warriors off from running it. That extra damage from the Deathrattle should also be perfect for shutting down aggro decks. Oh, you wanted to visit the zoo? Sorry, it's closed. Forever.

Mage: Duplicate

Mana: 3

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Mage

Rarity: Common

Secret: When a friendly minion dies, put 2 copies of it into your hand.

On the subject of unplayability, we come to by far the worst of the class cards. Duplicate is atrociously bad for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that it's a Secret, which is inherently going to be played around, and will be very obvious when used since it's in essence a combo card. Players can recognize the combo based upon what you do with the rest of your mana.

The second reason is that it's stupidly slow. Since the copies have no discounted Mana cost, so you have to pay full price for them in addition to the 3 mana spent on Duplicate. Any deck which is using its mana in an efficient manner is going to out-tempo a deck running Duplicate, guaranteed. The card is cool in theory, but I don't think it will ever see play in Constructed.

Shaman: Reincarnate

Mana: 2

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Shaman

Rarity: Common

Destroy a minion, then return it to life with full Health.

Rebirth.… Oh sorry, Reincarnate (as it's now going to be known , because lore), is a card I have mixed feelings about. I think it's the one that is most likely to be undervalued right now, given the information we have. It's certainly very combo-centric and firmly placed in the 'We goin' full Deathrattle' camp of deck building.

The question is whether Deathrattle decks will actually be viable. Shaman is certainly a nice place to fit the archetype, between Reincarnate and Ancestral Spirit they could squeeze a lot of value out of any minion with Deathrattle—think of the extra value you might get from Cairne or Sylvanas—and even more-so if you run Baron Rivendare with his Deathrattle doubling effect.

Will these decks be strong enough to compete with the established Midrange/Value Shaman lists though? I'm really not sure. I think we need to see more of the minions coming with Naxx to tell, but it would be nice if Shaman could run a successful deck that isn't as utterly boring as the current ones are.

Warlock: Voidcaller

Mana: 4

Attack: 3

Health: 4

Crafting cost: 40

Class: Warlock

Rarity: Common

Deathrattle: Put a random Demon from your hand into the battlefield.

Finally we come to Warlock, the class probably most plagued with unplayable and unsynergistic class cards. So how does Voidcaller fare with the likes of Felguard and Pit Lord? Very well actually. Voidcaller is certainly a playable card. Its stats aren't absolutely horrendous for a 4-drop, though they are on the lower end of acceptability, however its effect provides the real reason for running the card.

In a sense, Voidcaller is a tempo engine. You lose tempo on turn 4 by playing a second-rate 4-drop, however if he isn't silenced, you can have an insanely explosive turn 5 where you play a 5-drop and then have Voidcaller suicide to dig out of your hand a free Doomguard or an Infernal, bypassing their disadvantageous Battlecries. From there you ride the tempo wave to a quick turn 7/8 victory. I think Voidcaller single-handedly makes Midrange Demons a deck that is worth looking at. Hopefully one that catches on so that mulliganing vs. Warlock can be even more infuriating.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the Naxxramas class cards, and that in the near future we can all actually play with them instead of sitting around and thinking on how we might play with them. Please hurry Blizzard. Please.

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