Exclusive Hearthstone card reveal: Silver Vanguard

Reveal season for Hearthstone's new Kobolds & Catacombs expansion is in full swing, and following the nine new cards shown by Blizzard on stream earlier this week, today we've got another for you. Silver Vanguard is a 7-Mana neutral minion with 3/3 stats, and let's be clear up front that those stats are absolutely terrible. But the reason to play this large-fisted lady is for her card text, which reads: 'Deathrattle: Recruit an 8-Cost minion.'

Recruit is a new keyword being added by the Kobolds & Catacombs set. When it triggers it pulls a creature from your deck and places it straight onto the board. So the immediate question is what are the juiciest 8-cost minions you can get from your Silver Vanguard. Here's the full list available in Standard today, but obviously there will be more added by the new set. I've ranked the classes in the order that I think has the most potential...

  • Paladin: Ragnaros Lightlord, Tirion Fordring
  • Warrior: Rotface, Grommash Hellscream
  • Shaman: Al'Akir the Windlord, Kalimos Primal Lord
  • Druid: Ironbark Protector
  • Hunter: Giant Sand Worm
  • Mage: Sindragosa, Anomalus
  • Priest: n/a
  • Warlock: n/a
  • Rogue: n/a

Knowing you're getting Rag Lightlord or Tirion means you're guaranteed a strong defensive option in Paladin

What's notable is how strong Paladin and Warrior look. Knowing that you're going to get either Rag Lightlord or Tirion means you're guaranteed a strong defensive option in Paladin, while both Grom and Rotface in Warrior demand immediate answers from your opponent. For Paladin, I could imagine using buffs like Blessing of Kings or, better, Spikeridged Steed to force your opponent to interact with the Silver Vanguard. It's also a powerful insurance policy against board clear spells, ensuring you have something meaty left over. Control Paladin also usually runs the Equality+Wild Pyromancer combo as an emergency reset button, which could work nicely with Silver Vanguard.

Still, there's no hiding from the fact that Silver Vanguard is a very slow, greedy card, which only late game decks will even consider running. I had wondered if it might work in the 'Big' Druid and Priest decks. Druid can get to 7-Mana more easily than other decks thanks to its ramp cards, and has previously included Giant Anaconda which had a similar but more situational effect. Priest could also use Shadow Essence and Barnes to cheat a copy of Silver Vanguard out, but both classes have few good 8-drop creatures. So let's look at the neutrals, again ranked in the order I think you'd likely most want to pull them...

  • The Lich King
  • Charged Devilsaur
  • Primordial Drake
  • Doomcaller
  • The Boogeymonster
  • Gruul
  • Eldritch Horror
  • Medivh The Guardian
  • Marin the Fox  
Carnivorous Cube combo

This green meanie is being hotly tipped as one of the key K&C cards, and has great synergy with Silver Vanguard, potentially enabling you to Recruit three 8-Mana cards (over the course of several turns).

The Lich King is the obvious standout here, and I think you absolutely want to be running it in any deck that plays Silver Vanguards. Hopping over into Wild, we don't find a ton of interesting extra options from the class cards, but the neutral pool does gain Force-Tank MAX, Foe Reaper 4000, Sneed's Old Shredder and of course the original Ragnaros The Firelord. Again, Rag has to be an auto-include in Wild Silver Vanguard decks.

So will Silver Vanguard see play? I think it might. It's certainly the kind of fun card that streamers like to experiment with in control decks. Skelemancer, which is a 5-Mana 2/2 that summons an 8/8 Skeleton if it died on your opponent's turn, saw some action in Paladin—and although Silver Vanguard is substantially more expensive, it's also less conditional. 

And if you want to really think about magical Christmas land combos, imagine using Carnivorous Cube, which is another new card from the set, to get triple value from your Silver Vanguard. Let me know what you make of Silver Vanguard, and what combos you plan to try with it, in the comments below. Here's the full art for you to feast on:

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.