Hearthstone card reveal: Roll the Bones

Later this month sees the release of Hearthstone's Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, bringing with it 135 new cards themed around WoW's Lich King lore. We've been tracking the cards revealed here, and have already seen some potentially insane effects. Today it's our turn to unveil a card, and I'm delighted to say we've got an interesting one to evaluate.


Roll the Bones is a 2-Mana rare Rogue spell. As you can see from the text, it draws you a card when you play it, but here's the kicker, if that card happens to have a Deathrattle effect, then Roll the Bones will be cast again.

You can watch our thoughts on the card's power above, but know this for certain: When the set launches later this month, someone is going to immediately jam a single copy of Roll the Bones into a deck that otherwise only contains Deathrattle minions, coin it out, and immediately mill 20 cards from their deck. And that person will almost certainly be Disguised Toast. But what about some less memey possibilities? 

When considering any card, the thing to ask is what kind of deck wants this effect. And in this instance the answer is obvious. What's less clear is how many Deathrattle minions you need to run in order to ensure Roll the Bones' effect gets consistent value. To help work that out, there's some precedent in the form of Wrathion from the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan set, which kept drawing cards so long as they were Dragons. 

Smarter minds than mine did the maths on how many Dragons you needed to include in your deck in order to make drawing more than a single card likely, which you can read here. Suffice to say that you're going to need around 12-16 Deathrattle cards to have a good time. Of the current pool in Standard, you're looking at stuff like Undercity Huckster, Xaril and Sherazin as the class options, and the likes of Bloodmage Thalnos and possibly Loot Hoarders and Infested Tauren from the neutrals. 

There's also obvious potential in the 'Jade package' thanks to Aya Blackplaw and Jade Swarmer both having Deathrattle synergy, which means you'd likely also end up running Jade Shuriken for removal. It feels like the Deathrattle archetype needs to depend on value, which likely means also adding N'Zoth, but Rogue's lack of healing doesn't really fit with super late-game plans. 

That said, there will also be plenty of new Deathrattle cards to come from the new set, less than half of which has been revealed so far. Shallow Gravedigger, which draws you a random Deathrattle card when it dies, feels like a potential fit, but other new Deathrattle cards like Meat Wagon and Ticking Abomination seem too situational for Rogue.

Where I really expect the card to potentially shine is in Wild, which has a dense selection of Deathrattles to choose from. When you're Rolling the Bones and getting back Sylvanas, Piloted Shredder and Sludge Belcher, that's absurdly good value for an outlay of 2-Mana considering that Arcane Intellect costs 3. Even if Roll the Bones doesn't make a splash in Standard, I would definitely expect to see it see substantial play in Wild.

The biggest thing I like about Roll the Bones, though, is that it's another example of the "cast it again" effect which Blizzard has introduced for spells in Knights of the Frozen. We've also seen Defile for Warlock and Spreading Plague for Druid, both of which have this multiplicative effects and look super interesting. As I wrote recently, it's exciting to see Team 5 unafraid to add some complexity to the cards in the new expansion. Roll on the release.

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.