Exclusive Hearthstone card reveal: Shadow Council

Honestly, I've only just recovered from yesterday's ridiculous Hearthstone news dump. In any other year, the announcement of the next expansion, a complete re-work of the Priest class, the removal of duplicates from packs, and a new set of Hall of Fame cards would have given players enough to chew on for weeks. But of course Team 5 had an even bigger bomb to drop. The game is finally getting its 10th class, the Demon Hunter, and having spent a day playing with multiple decks, you can read (or watch) my impressions here.

But we're very much not done, because there are still a ton of cards to reveal from the Ashes of Outland expansion, starting with our exclusive one:

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Shadow Council is a Warlock spell, and it looks pretty spicy. For a paltry 1-Mana, you can convert all cards in your hand into random Demons, and give them all +2/+2. So you're immediate question is, 'How good are random but buffed Demons?', swiftly followed by the follow-up, 'What deck would want this effect'? As I'm sure you're more than aware, there are a lot of bad demons, but as Prince Keleseth taught us, a lot of cards look much better with bigger stats. So chances are, when you play Shadow Council, you're going to have a handful of garbage, but it's going to be beefy garbage.

Which makes the second question more interesting: What deck wants random beefy garbage? My guess would be that it's a minion-centric deck that wants a fallback plan if it gets dragged out into the late game. Zoo feels like a potential home, as it doesn't run many crucial spells it cares about losing, and can combo Shadow Council with The Solarium to interesting effect. We need to see what other Demon synergies are coming with Ashes of Outland to know for sure, but I feel like there's definitely a spot for this.

Don't take my word for it though, here's senior game designer Chadd Nervig's take on why you should take Shadow Council seriously: 

"Shadow Council takes inspiration from past cards like Renounce Darkness or Golden Monkey. One of its hidden strengths is in a deck with a high number of situational or 'tech' cards. One problem with those sort of cards is that when their use case doesn't arise, they can be pretty poor cards. Use Shadow Council to turn those into really good Demons!"

Okay, so "really good Demons" might be a little optimistic, but what I can say is that this is going to make for some hilarious shenanigans when Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron decides to cast it. Ashes of Outland is out on 7 April, and we'll be publishing a brutally efficient guide on decks that counter Demon Hunter a day before. You've been warned.

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.