The League of Explorers
Hearthstone's latest adventure, The League of Explorers, is bringing some exciting new additions to the card pool. We watched through many of the top pro players' set reviews to look for stand out cards and trends in their opinions. From all of that, we came up with a list of the top 10 best cards from The League of Explorers based entirely on the opinions of the players who are best at the game. Read on to see (in no particular order) which cards you should be most excited for.
Here's who we watched to determine the best cards of the set:
A cheap legendary with a potentially powerful effect, Brann Bronzebeard is the sort of card that gets the mind racing with combo ideas. While Lifecoach wasn't as excited about Brann as most other pros, it was the most universally praised legendary of the set. Amnesiac said he thought it would fit straight into classic Handlock, pointing out that “you can get a 4/19 Twilight Drake" or "heal for 16" with Antique Healbot, which are certainly strong enough effects to warrant at least testing Brann out.
Brann Bronzebeard isn't available until the second wing of the The League of Explorers releases next week, so we won't see it in action until then.
Forgotten Torch asks you to pay for an overpriced card now to add an underpriced card to your deck. A lot of players didn't know how to feel about this one, but the general consesus is that it will be good in Freeze Mage and bad in pretty much every other kind of Mage—though Firebat thought it might work in a Tempo deck. In a more aggressive Freeze Mage, it allows you to use the first half of it as removal without sacrificing face damage later in the game.
Forgotten Torch is immediately given to players who unlock the Adventure's first wing, so we'll see how effective it is quite quickly.
Keeper of Uldaman
Another divisive card, Keeper of Uldaman is unique because it can be used offensively or defensively. As Lifecoach succinctly put it, "this card is awesome," being able to bring high health minions like Ysera into kill range, and as a worst case scenario able to buff your Silver Hand Recruits. The only real complaint among pros is that the 4-mana slot for Paladin is already so saturated with good cards that it may be hard to find a place for it.
Keeper of Uldaman will be unlocked by completing the Paladin class challenge in the second wing next week.
Sort of a smaller, Beast version of Piloted Shredder, most pros think Mounted Raptor isn't very impressive on its own but could definitely find a deck to call home. Amnesiac said it was a “strong addition to what [Aggro] Druid needed," which was echoed by a few others who explained Aggro Druid has never had a great 3-drop minion. Shade of Naxxramas is the de facto Druid 3-drop, and although it's individually a better card than Mounted Raptor, Shade doesn't fit into an Aggro style deck.
Mounted Raptor can be unlocked through the Druid's class challenge in the second wing of The League of Explorers, coming next week.
This is a strange card, almost universally determined to be a pretty weak 2-drop, but still a good card for Priest. Amaz put it best when he said, “There’s so many bad [Priest] 2-drops and I think this one might just make the cut, because deathrattle cards are just naturally really good." Plain and simple, Priest needed a minion to play on turn two (assuming you aren't playing Dragon Priest) and while Museum Curator isn't great, it fills a long empty gap in the Priest curve.
We'll have to wait and see if it fills that gap well enough, as Museum Curator won't be available until the final wing of The League of Explorers comes out in four weeks.
Naga Sea Witch
Play Naga Sea Witch on turn ten and you can follow it up with literally any card in the game. Whether or not that effect is powerful enough to build a deck around, nobody's sure. What the pros are sure about though is that it's powerful enough to try. RDU said Naga Sea Witch "is going to be really good in expensive decks," because if you play it on curve you've essentially ramped to turn ten immediately.
Naga Sea Witch is coming in the third wing of The League of Explorers, three weeks from now.
Tomb Pillager is another midrange card for the minion-based Rogue Blizzard is giving tools to, and it's a good one. Lifecoach may have described Tomb Pillager best when he simply said "you play this card," and it was Kolento's top pick of the set. The argument against Tomb Pillager is that having four health means it probably won't stick around very long, but Kolento described it as essentially being a 3 mana 5/4 thanks to the coin you get back.
We'll have to wait until the The League of Explorers' final wing four weeks from now to try out Tomb Pillager.
The early game minion people have wanted for Shaman since the dawn of Hearthstone, Tunnel Trogg is one of the only universally praised cards from The League of Explorers. Not a single pro thought it wouldn't see play, and Firebat picked it as the best card of the whole set. Kolento explained that “you can play two Zombie Chows and two Troggs and aggro match-ups won’t be a problem any longer," and Lifecoach described it as “a must play for every Shaman out there.”
Tunnel Trogg will unlock next week in The League of Explorers second wing.
Regardless of power, Unearthed Raptor is a very cool card—both with its effect and its art. That being said, it almost didn't make the list as some pro players weren't too thrilled. But Amaz pointed out the potential power of its ability, saying, "If you copy a Sylvanas, you just win the game." By contrast, Lifecoach didn't like the card as it doesn't work with what current Rogue decks want to do. Firebat represented the middle ground saying it has huge potential to be great, but only if a successful deck emerges that it can thrive in.
You'll have until next week to start theory crafting, as Unearthed Raptor unlocks in The League of Explorers' second wing.
Gimmick or game winning? The decision was split on Reno Jackson, but something I noticed is that pros looking at it for the first time dismissed the card as a silly joke, while players who really thought about the potential realized it could be an extreme buff to decks that play to fatigue. Amnesiac is the one who convinced me, so I'll let him explain it better than I could:
“I think this card is going to be really good in Freeze Mage, because you thin your deck a lot and you get to that late stage where you have eight cards left in your deck and it’s very likely that they’re all one [of a kind]. And you’re in a spot where if you Healbot you [survive an extra] turn, but Reno Jackson gets you two turns. If Freeze Mage gets an extra turn from what it’s already getting, it’s going to be unbeatable.”
The impulse is to play it in a deck made up of 30 unique cards, but the point Amnesiac makes is that you don't need to if you draw through most of your deck anyway. We'll find out if this is another buff to Freeze Mage right away, as Reno Jackson is unlocked in The League of Explorers first wing.
Overall, there are a little more than a dozen cards that earned praise from at least one pro, and only a couple in that list weren't criticized at all, so there are a few cards that have been well reviewed, but not enough to make the cut.
Desert Camel was generally praised, but that praise always came with the caveat that the meta could easily shift to counter the card. Put a single Zombie Chow into every deck, and suddenly the Camel is much worse.
Entomb also came close to the top 10, with Firebat calling it a "very solid card." But its similarities to Recycle (which already doesn't see play) cast a lot of doubts. Pros were either optimistic about it, or incredibly negative.
Arch-Thief Rafaam was generally called a "better Nefarian" by most pros, but the fact that it's not a Dragon might mean it won't see any play. Kolento actually called Rafaam his number two card of the set but other players said he would never see the light of day.
Wobbling Runts and Fierce Monkey were almost unanimously praised for their value in arena, despite the fact that they'll almost definitely not see competitive play. But still, arena Warriors matter.
And finally, Murloc Tinyfin. I actually almost put Tinyfin in the top 10, because pretty much every single pro gave it the exact same review: something along the lines of "a 0 mana 1/1 is terrible, but two copies of Murloc Tinyfin should absolutely be in any Murlock deck." It's not generally a good card, but it's amazing in the deck it's made for. So what's the difference between Forgotten Torch only being good in Freeze Mage and Murloc Tinyfin only being good in Murloc decks? Well, for starters, there aren't any competitive Murloc decks right now, but that may change soon...
What are your top 5 cards of the set? Let us know in the comments below.