Rather than spend hours breaking down every single one of these new cards, I decided to highlight a handful that I found particularly hilarious and painful-sounding.
My first thought when I looked at this card was to discount it, because so few cards with a mana cost of seven or more are worth it. But for a mere three mana, especially for something so easily in the warrior's control, this is sure to cause some annoyance when it kills one of my best minions.
On the one hand, this cards text makes it devastating to most decks and highly unlikely to be used by a lot of players. On the other hand, playing it early with a cheap silence — the Priest's zero mana cost Silence spell card, for example — could give decks an early edge. I'm very interested (and terrified) to see what kind of deck builds a card like this could inspire.
Tree of Life
Tree of Life is brilliant in its simplicity and its potential for trolling. While some may look at the fact that it heals all characters and scoff — why would you want to heal your opponent?! — this spell actually has the potential to really disrupt the currently popular super-fast meta. If a druid can survive against a low-cost rush or zoo deck long enough to use Tree of Life, it essentially resets the board against opponents who don't have decks built to last into the late game.
While we're pondering these new cards, here's a complicated but potentially hilarious setup I want to see: Let's say I'm playing a priest going up against a druid. I use Thoughtsteal or Mind Vision and happen to get Tree of Life. Then I play Auchenai Soulpriest, which turns all of my healing spells into damage spells. Then I play Tree of Life. Instead of healing us...will it just kill us both instantly?
I can't wait to find out.
Anima Golem is probably the least immediately scary card of the batch I'm showcasing here, but I like it (and fear it) for one big reason: It forces players to react immediately. It has a good chance of showing up earlier than many other heavy-hitting cards, and the second it does, you have to throw any plans you have out the window to take care of it. What's especially interesting, though, is that you can take care of it in a new way — by taking out any surrounding minions rather than attacking it directly.
I'm intrigued by the new gameplay wrinkle here. Plus it's got that "mech" designation, which means there will be lots of other units and abilities to help buff it up even more.
Mogor the Ogre
This one is going to drive me crazy any time it's played. Success in Hearthstone is ultimately determined by making the correct, best possible choices, and one of the most important choices you make in any given turn is who to attack with each minion. I could see many people who could otherwise get use out of this card avoiding it for the simple fact that it affects their minions too. Jerks with jerk decks are going to love it, though.
Echo of Medivh
Mages! My eternal enemy! This spell is like a super powerful version of the already-annoying Duplicate secret, which was introduced to Mage decks in the Curse of Naxxramaus add-on. Minions are rarely a focus for most successful Mage decks, but this is just one more relatively low-cost tool they can use to ensure that whatever minions matter stay active for as long as necessary. Prepare for even more Water Elementals that just refuse to stay dead.
F**k Murlocs and f**k all these new cards tacitly endorsing the creation of new Murloc-focused decks.
Mal'Ganis' first bit of bonkers card text makes demon-heavy Warlock decks better than they've ever been in and of itself. The second bit makes it killer. Turning the hero character "immune" — i.e. unable to be damaged — is an incredibly rare effect in Hearthstone right now, and it means opponents must concentrate on taking out that big scary minion no matter how low on health the Warlock is. Presumably it also means Warlocks will be able to wring even more use out of their hero ability, which normally takes away two health in exchange for a card draw.
Mal'Ganis' core stats — nine damage and seven health for nine mana cost — are not astounding. But if nothing else, this card opens the door for further playing around with cards that grant the "immune" status in the future.
Just looking at this card gives me heartburn. On its own, a six attack, five health minion for six mana isn't superb. But that Mine is basically a random-draw version of a Mage's Pyroblast spell. Even with the chance that it gets shuffled to the back of an opponent's deck, that is a lot of damage just waiting to be unleashed. I'm already whimpering.
These are the cards that stuck out most to me while browsing the new reveals, but who knows how Hearthstone's meta game will shift in the weeks and months following the release of Goblins vs. Gnomes. We'll begin finding out next week, since the expansion arrives then.