The new Hearthstone year starts in a couple weeks, bringing with it the free Core Set, which comprises 235 cards and will be refreshed annually, the new Classic mode that takes us back to Hearthstone's June 2014 patch, and of course 2021's first expansion: Forged in the Barrens.
Today we've got an exclusive card reveal from that set for you: the Paladin spell Conviction.
One of the new features of Forged in the Barrens is Ranked Spells. Each class is receiving one of these, and the gimmick is that they automatically upgrade in power as you reach 5 and 10 Mana. The upgrade occurs regardless of whether the card is in your hand or deck, and should mean that Ranked Spells are flexible tools that never feel bad to draw.
Conviction costs just 1 Mana and gives a random friendly minion +3 Attack. Here's how that effect scales up as the game goes on:
- Conviction Rank 1 (1-4 Mana): Give a random friendly minion +3 Attack.
- Conviction Rank 2 (5-9 Mana): Give two random friendly minions +3 Attack.
- Conviction Rank 3 (10+ Mana): Give three random friendly minions +3 Attack.
The Year of the Gryphon also introduces Spell Schools, which will retroactively group spells into seven different categories: Arcane, Fel, Fire, Frost, Holy, Shadow, and Nature. As Conviction is intended for the Paladin class, it neatly fits the Holy tag.
I don't think there's any doubt that Conviction will see play, and it'll be particularly potent in aggro decks. While we'll have to wait to see what else Paladin gains from the new expansion, Conviction synergises well with the new Frenzy keyword—a one-time effect that triggers when a minion survives damage. Due to the keyword's design, even low-cost Frenzy cards tend to have substantial health to ensure the effect pops, which should help them stick to the board for a turn.
Dropping an additional +3 Attack on a random friendly minion will enable hefty damage early, either pressuring the opponent's life total or making key value trades with minions. On turn 5 this output increases to +6 provided you have two minions in play, which could even serve as a finisher in an aggro deck.
Conviction nicely complements Paladin's existing tools. Scholomance Academy introduced Pen Flinger, First Day of School, and Animated Broomstick, which have become staples in Libroom Paladin. Spending 1 Mana to buff Darkmoon Races' Crabrider levels the cheeky Murloc into a 4/4 with Rush and Windfury, which sounds like a pain for opponents to try to remove on turn 3.
There's certainly room for Conviction in other Paladin decks that can utilise its Rank 3 buff too. Unleashing an extra 9 damage in the late game effectively turns Conviction into a cut price Bloodlust—again, provided you have three minions on the board. The ability to run two copies translates to +18 damage for just 2 Mana from turn 10 onwards, and potentially even more if you can discover additional copies.
It's also worth noting that Wandmaker, which adds a random 1-cost spell to your hand from your class, is set to get quite a bit better with a lot of the trash Paladin Secrets leaving as part of the Core Set revamp. Thanks to how cheap Conviction is, I can see Paladin players making room for it in most decks. Running both copies will make turn 5 onwards feel very dangerous for opponents. Perhaps we're even getting close to a 'miracle'-style Paladin, with so many good cheap spells—Conviction, First Day at School, Libram of Wisdom, Shield of Honor, Wave of Apathy etc.—and considering that Gadgetzan Auctioneer will also remain in the Core Set.
We'll have to wait until March 30 for Forged in the Barrens to release before we can put Conviction to the test. That said, there's a brief period of anarchy to look forward to in Standard next week when we'll see the Great Unnerfing of 35 powerful cards before they rotate into Wild.