Before diving into the results of our recent competition, we wanted to give a bit of a background on how the process of narrowing down the avalanche of entries worked. First, PC Gamer’s Tim Clark talks about narrowing the field, then Simon “Sottle” Welch explains how he went about picking the runners up and overall winner. On the next slide, see the first runner up with commentary from Sottle.
Tim: As Anduin would say: Wow! I can’t remember a response to a competition quite like this. Within the first 24 hours we’d received over 2,000 entries, and they kept coming, from all over the world, for the rest of the week. (Shout out to the incredible number of emails from Korea I got every night.) Many entries were accompanied by hundreds of words of text, and one person sent an album containing 100 card ideas. In the end it took three of us to distill them down to a list of several hundred for Sottle to look at. Thank you so much for all your effort. I hope Blizzard takes note, and even considers running some kind of community challenge of its own.
From the entries several key themes soon emerged. 1) People really want to experiment more with Shadowform. 2) They also actually want to make Silence Priest work somehow. 3) A ton of people would like a Tyrande Whisperwind legendary that allows overhealing and/or giving Anduin a health cap of 50. When picking the cards to send Sottle, we tried to avoid ideas Blizzard were unlikely to ever implement. So Priest weapons and Druid Choose One effects were frowned on, as was cheap card draw or insanely cheap AoE spells.
Also, a lot of the cards were very similar—I lost count of the number of versions of “Discover a Shadow Word card”—so, where that was the case, we kept the one with the most lucid text and best art. On the subject of art, we should have been clearer about using existing Blizzard stuff. So if you see an image you created that you’d like credited or replaced, please let me know and we’ll be happy to do so. Finally, respect to the person who just sent in Ragnaros, Lightlord with no changes. Now over to Sottle...
Sottle: Judging from the sheer volume of submissions, it seems apparent that many of you care deeply about making Priest great again. The weight of all the entries we received meant that I needed to enlist help to overcome the gargantuan task of sorting the pure from the tainted. Who better to join me on this journey of holy discovery than Torpedo Gaming’s Ness (Priest stalwart, Insomnia Truesilver winner) and Relapse Gaming’s TicTac (Rank 1 Legend finisher in the July Season).
Many entries were dumped in the discard pile immediately; the ludicrously overpowered board nukes, the comically overstatted minions, and the seemingly never ending supply of Purify memes, but other entries were also discarded due to few basic ground rules:
-Nothing that just dies to Fiery War Axe without having significant upside.
-Nothing that requires specific synergies to be at all useful.
-Purely reactive cards better be really damn good.
After much deliberation, we narrowed the list down to one winner and nine notable mentions that we have provided for your viewing pleasure.
Dranei Mender by Timothy McLane
I liked this card because it addressed two problems in one. Firstly, the mere existence of this card encourages you to play 1 mana cards in your deck, even going so far as to live the Injured Kvaldir dream if you’re so inclined. This means Priests are on the board, where they want to be, and their numerous buff and snowball cards start to get a platform. On top of this, it also provides a little bit of extra card draw for Anduin through reviving Northshire Cleric for that sweet sweet Circle of Healing value later in the game.
Tyrande Whisperwind by Nicholas Art
Yeah, this is probably too powerful. In theory you can just drop this on the same turn as a Doomsayer, sit back, and laugh (laughing optional, but recommended). It was such a cool design though, that we couldn’t help but include it. By allowing Priest the opportunity to always dictate trades on their own terms, their hero power becomes relevant a lot more often. Tyrande can also be used to protect an early Northshire Cleric that has been contested with a 3 attack minion in order to make sure you get enough card draw value before she sadly expires.
Young Fateless by Oxy Gen
I feel like I just need to personally commend the amount of work that was put into this design. I think the card is just fine in terms of power, but the effort was what caught my attention. The Fates are powerful, but not ridiculously slow, and it just feels like such a rich flavourful card that it was hard to overlook. From a technical side it’s a nice way to allow Priest to carry a bunch of situational options while still having the flexibility to not get bogged down by them. Great stuff.
Violet Drake by Stefan Coffa
Dragons get some love in our next entry. Although most people who are enamoured with Priest view Dragons to be a sleight on the class, instead preferring the pure path of outright control, there can be no doubt that this card would be an effective addition to the more midrange archetype. Providing excellent board presence early in the game as well as functioning as another early Dragon you can hold onto to activate the much needed power cards, Violet Drake ticks a lot of boxes. We do question the need, however, for the Violet Wyrm to have the extra ability.
Stoic Defender by DAWGSUPDAWG
Ness and TicTac both liked this card a lot, overlooking a lot of the more flashy cards in favour of this relatively simple effect. The justification: “We just really want a 2/4”. A 2 mana 2/4 is something that Priests have wanted for a very long time and is a big part of why many gravitate towards Dragons and Wyrmrest Agent. This particular build is clever as in many situations you won't be damaged early enough in the game to play this on curve, but it happens just often enough to make it a very playable card.
Mad Merchant by Sam Rockitt
This card is just... Sweet. We deliberated for a while exactly how strong this card was, and it might be a little on the underpowered side considering how slow it is for its mana cost. Personally though, I just thought it was awesome to have to consider each turn where to direct your attack and whether or not to heal the health in order to buff the attack on the following turn. It seems like a high skill cap card, and I like those, so this one gets a pass even though it’s probably not good enough to be the saviour Anduin needs.
Guardian Golem by SalvadorBobby
Looks kinda broken, right? But actually, when you stop and think about it, it’s really easy for your opponent to manipulate early in the game. In a starting game state there is nothing available to be healed, and even if your opponent has led with a 1-drop minion, they can choose to simply not attack if they see you counter with this, leaving you again with no heal target. We thought that was a cool dance and that the card itself definitely still had enough merit to be playable. Plus you know... Purify synergy!
Triage Nurse by Mitch
We all thought this was a pretty smart design. It’s a super flexible card with a bunch of different uses, but importantly, it's able to simply be a proactive drop if that’s what you need. It can be used to curve out after a Cleric drop to draw a card immediately, it snipes 2/1 minions, it deals with Divine Shields, this unassuming 2-drop has a lot going for it. Importantly again though, if you need to just jam it on 2 to have something on the board, you can, and that’s huge. Also, Nurse with a handsaw? Count me in.
Frontline Medic by pawlrus kim
The maths just checks out really nicely on this one. It can be played on turn two most of the time unless something crazy has happened, especially if you’re going first. If you’re going second, you can play it on turn one if your opponent has dropped a 1-drop, making it a really nice anti-Aggro tool. Further into the game it loses a lot of impact, as it should, but it still remains relatively efficient due to it receiving a Sea Giant like effect of discounting by 1 mana every time you play a minion before it on the same turn. Awesome card.
WINNER: Sunfury Warrior by Mark Knutson
I just personally love this card. It feels too much like poetic justice to not award it the crown. Anduin has faced ridicule from the other inhabitants of the Tavern for far too long about not being able to spend all his mana in a useful fashion. Now, we can punish them for their mockery by dropping a massively undercosted minion on the next turn. Whiffed on turn 2? No problem! Now you have a 3-mana 2/6 Taunt! Got stuck with a bunch of situational cards in the mid-game and had to spend an entire turn on a Shadow Word: Death? Don’t worry about it! Now you have a 0 mana card to Tempo out with next turn.
Congrats Mark, your 60 packs will be with you shortly.