Skull of the Man'ari: 1/5
Now this card is quite interesting. Skull of the Man’ari, at a glance, seems strong. The ability to cheat mana is always powerful, and most demons that would be run in a control deck with this card are inherently strong. However, when put into context, this card is somewhat trash. On turn 5, the loss of tempo is insane, and will most likely get you killed. The dealbreaker is the fact that this card says “at the beginning of your turn”, not “at the end”. If it was at the end, summoning sickness would be a non-factor, and it would get immediate value and tempo when cheating out big demons such as Voidlord. Instead, you lose tempo, gain no immediate value, and probably get killed by a Cobalt.Scalebane.
Rin, the First Disciple: 1/5
This card isn’t even worth really discussing in depth. It’s 41 mana’s worth of understatted minions with bad effects that doesn't even win the game every time you pull it off. Warlock just doesn’t have the ability to cheat out this much mana without just dying, and the demons you create are far too small for far too much mana. Rin will see lots of experimental and meme play, but everyone will eventually come to realize that losing every game is not a fun meme to play.
Cataclysm: 1/5 (Potential 3/5)
I feel like this rating needs some explaining. This card on it’s own is pretty garbage. Yes, a turn four board clear is awesome, but not in a deck that relies so heavily on having a hand as HANDlock does. Discarding your entire hand makes it near impossible to ever come back in the game, so even if you clear the board, you will presumably still lose the game. Now, my rating says potentially 3/5. I believe that this card could single-handedly bring Lakkari Sacrifice Warlock into the meta. Turn one Lakkari Sacrifice, tap turns two and three, dump your hand to clear the board on four using Cataclysm, and finally play the Nether Portal on turn five. The downside is, you will still be working with topdecks for close to the rest of the game, and just because of that it may not be good enough. One important factor is whether or not Cataclysm draws cards from Malchezaar’s Imp. If it does, then this card is nuts. If you can get a full board clear for 4 mana and refill your entire hand, while completing the quest, then laying the quest on 5, I think that this card is nuts. For that reason alone, I give Cataclysm a potential 3/5, but much more likely 1/5.
Are three Voidwalkers in a trenchcoat worth 9 mana? My intuition says no. It’s way too weak to silence, and it’s deathrattle is practically irrelevant with the amount of board clears that can come down by the time this dies. Other than that, there’s no need for large Taunts in Warlock that cost 9 mana. If a control Warlock wants large taunts, they don’t want them on turn 9 because they tend to be dead by then. The strongest way to play a Voidlord is with cheat-out cards such as Possessed Lackey or Skull of the Man’ari, and (as you’ll see) neither of those cards seem good enough to do the trick. I think that Voidlord will see experimental play in control builds, but ultimately will be cut for simply being slow and somewhat ineffectual. Bloodreaver Guldan does have a lot of synergy with this, bringing back a lot of taunts, but I still don’t think that’s enough to push this card into viability.
Hooked Reaver: 4/7/7 (2/5)
First thing’s first, loving this card flavor-wise, as the Hooked Horror is one of my favorite monsters from Dungeons and Dragons. As a card, I also love it design wise. 4 mana for a vanilla 4/4 Demon is obviously incredibly weak, and not worth playing, but in a Control type build, it becomes a 4 mana 7/7 Taunt! That, obviously, is just outright stupidly good. So the thing is, how feasible is it to run this card out on turn 4? The answer is next to impossible. So then, is it still worth playing? Probably not. I can see this card seeing fringe play in Control Warlock decks, but I think that getting to 15 life is too inconsistent an activator for a Warlock to come back from, and they can do it without Hooked Reavers in their deck.
Possessed Lackey: 1/5
A 5 mana 2/2 is very hard to convince me of in a meta where Cobalt Skillbanes dominate in every deck. This card just seems way too slow to be any good. First of all, you can’t play it in any kind of zoo archetype, because they’re far too reliant on Flame Imp and Malchezaar’s Imp to cut them, and if you don’t cut them, well, then this card sucks. So assuming you are only running demons that are strong to pull with this effect, then how good is it? Well, still not the best. It’s still slow as a snail. You’re still playing a 5 mana 2/2, while you opponent is killing you with a Scalebane and assorted other minions. If your opponent ignores this, you have to trade it yourself, but what are you trading into? With only 2 attack, it’s not going to get very much done. So now that you’ve actually pulled a demon, you have to wait another turn to even attack with it. In the end, the loss of tempo isn’t made up for in value at all, especially considering most strong demons are already roughly 5 mana. The only potential this card has is with the new epic Voidlord, and even that feels not good enough to make you run this garbage 5 drop.
Lesser Amethyst Spellstone: 3/5
The Spellstone set in general is very interesting, and I am of the belief that this is one of the best of them. The best way to evaluate a Spellstone is to figure out how plausible it is to upgrade the card, and how good the card is once upgraded. The major benefit of Lesser Amethyst Spellstone is that you really don’t have to build around it. A normal control Warlock deck already runs two Hellfires, two Abyssal Enforcers, and potentially Kobold Librarians and Vulgar Homunculi. If we assume you run all of these cards, you have 8 cards that that will upgrade your Spellstone. Even having been upgraded only once, the card is fine. When upgraded twice, which is actually feasible by turn 4 or 5, this card is nuts. 4 mana deal 7 with Lifesteal is really powerful, especially with cards like Bloodmage Thalnos for bonus spell damage. This card will help Warlock deal with Bonemare’d minions and the like, which is really useful in the current meta. I think this card will see pretty consistent play in Control Warlock builds.
Dark Pact: 1/5
Well, this card is sadly garbage. Let’s compare it to the most similar card in Warlock, which is Sacrificial Pact. For one more mana, Dark Pact gives you 3 more health, less restrictions on which of YOUR minions you can destroy, but you lose both the opportunity to destroy an opponent’s demon, and the opportunity to win the game against Lord Jaraxxus. So, by comparison, Dark Pact is generally worse. The only reason Sacrificial Pact saw even fringe play in Renolock was because Jaraxxus was popular, and so making it more expensive AND taking away it’s ability to win the game on the spot makes Dark Pact a very weak card.
Kobold Librarian: 4/5
This card is insane. I can’t get enough of it. The Warlock hero power is the strongest hero power in the game, by a pretty large margin, so reducing its mana cost AND giving it a 2/1 body is just crazy. As seen with that hero power, two damage to your face is irrelevant when it draws you a card. One argument against one drops in control style decks is that they are terrible topdecks in late game attrition wars, but with Kobold Librarian drawing a card, it’s actually a perfectly fine draw. This card will see play as a turn one cycler in Control/Renolock archetypes, and can be played as just another one-drop in Zoo. I imagine it pretty much like Arcanologist, in that it goes in every deck and probably will until the time it rotates. It isn’t overpowered in a way that is shapes the meta or Warlock decks themselves, but it is a consistently powerful one drop with late game relevancy that should see play in every Warlock archetype, both existing ones and ones that have yet to be discovered. Bonus effect, it also upgrades the Warlock Spellstone. It is also the cutest Kobold ever printed, and probably a contender for cutest card in the set.
Vulgar Homunculus: 3/5
Yet another insane common minion in Warlock. 2 mana for a 2/4 Taunt is strong on it’s own, but it’s the Demon tag that really makes this card. The Zoolock curve gets so much better with this card in it. Think Flame Imp/Malchezaar’s Imp turn one, followed by Vulgar Homunculus, followed by Bloodfury Potion or a few more demons, followed by Crystalweaver. I believe that this card is actually worth removing Prince Keleseth from Zoolock, similarly to the experimentation of Eviscerate in Tempo Rogue. I think that the demon curve is insane enough on it’s own, and this card warrants at least experimentation without Keleseth. In a demon Zoo style deck, removing Prince Keleseth also allows additions such as Succubus (a strong early game demon) or Golakka Crawler (to combat Rogue). Like Kobold Librarian, I also believe this card can see play in Control Warlock, as a strong turn 2 minion against aggro that activates your spellstone and also comes back with Bloodreaver Gul’dan.
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