Whatever you're thinking heading into tomorrow's release of Hearthstone's latest expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, you've got to hand it to Blizzard, they went for it. They really went for it.
This set doesn't have any of those foot-off-the-gas vibes that accompanied last year's Grand Tournament. Lots of these cards share the creative, deceptively powerful kind of effects that were introduced in League of Explorers, which changed Hearthstone in a lot of unexpected ways. With a good chunk of LoE being slept on (and another sizable portion seeing zero play), I don't think there's ever been a set that is coming with as much anticipation.
A baker's dozen from THL weigh in on what they love, what they hate, and what's going to surprise us from The Old Gods. There's plenty of worry mixed in with the excitement, perhaps best expressed through the very divisive Yogg-Saron, Hope's End the old god that casts a buttload of random spells at random targets.
Will this card be fun? Will this card be infuriating? Will it make you question the very validity of this game from a competitive perspective? I'm pretty sure we don't have to wait for tomorrow to know the answer to those questions, it's an answer which applies to so much of this great game, it's yes.
Cards THL Loves
Cho'Gall, whilst probably not powerful, it fits the theme of warlock so organically and still breathes new life into the class. --Killajive
I love Cho'Gall. I think his card text and design is super cool. Enabling Warlock to health for tempo is neat. Not sure if he'll be playable but I dig him. --Mainge
Evolve, it's a full on heal and it makes your minions even stronger. Its like a spare part gone Super Saiyan. --Detrucci
Darkshire Alchemist. Auchenai Soulpriest is one of my favorite cards, and this puts a Flash Heal on a very decent body. --Gideoneko
I love Fandral Staghelm. It reminds me of Brann in a way that it's still a solid minion even if you can't get the value out of it, however, if it lives, there are several strong combos you can pull off, such as 4 damage draw a card wrath or 4/6 taunt with charge. --cheesee10
Fandral Staghelm. 3/5 is decent for a 4 drop and the multiple choose 1 value could help druid with card advantage. --SmokedSalmon
Fiery Bat. It fills the much need 1 drop slot for midrange hunter with webspinner leaving. I think it will be an auto include in all hunter decks for the next two years. --MVParker
Master of Evolution. It's a Yeti that not also completely enhances another minion's value for four mana. Worst case is it turns a totem into a real two drop. Best case is it turns defender of argus into a 5 drop. Don't discount the pseudo heal it provides a minion after a value trade either. The card is good whether you're ahead, even, or even slightly behind on board. Sign me up. --Cassity14
Princess Huhuran. She's hot. --Nade
Shadow Caster Interesting mechanic that should provide significant value and Rogue definitely needs some love. --stiLLer3k
Vilefin Inquisitor. Paladin is losing crucial early game, and I think this guy is going to bring a lot of flavor to the class in Standard. --Slimsch
Yogg-Saron. Not competitively viable in the slightest, but will make for some great *wow* moments in Hearthstone. I also love Darkspeaker. That card has a lot of potential in making bad cards with cool effects actually decent. --Jasper K.
Yogg. Sure I'm worried this might be viable, and I may come to hate it when every game is decided on a bunch of turn-10 dice rolls, but if I'm being honest with myself—there's no card I more want to play than this guy. Also, a hyphen, a comma, and an apostrophe all in one card, that's punctuation value, friends. --Firpo
Cards THL Hates
C'thun. I'm really worried that multiple classes will have one viable control deck that revolves around C'thun. I can't imagine these matchups playing all that differently, which could hurt variety. --Firpo
Evolve. Do not get me wrong, I love the effect and flavor of it, but I am afraid it will be a toxic card in the meta with such a cheap mana cost. --Jasper K.
Flamewreathed Faceless encourages a more aggressive style of play that can't easily be answered due to BGH being at 5 mana. Wouldn't be an issue if the card was 5 mana, too. --Killajive
Forbidden Flame—it's sad to see Mage get such bad spells this time, I feel bad since its my favourite class and I haven't been able to really play it lately. --Detrucci
I hate Infested Tauren. Not only is it bad, it's incredibly boring. I can forgive bad cards if they're interesting like Curse of Rafaam and Fist of Jaraxxus. I can't forgive boring. --Mainge
I hate Power Word: Tentacles. It's a very boring card design and it's very bad. There is nothing fun, exciting, or remotely playable about this card. --MVParker
Squirming Tentacle. It's too hot. --Nade
Tentacles for Arms because I never want to play in a meta where that shit is actually viable. --stiLLer3k
Twin Emperor Vek'lor, because it seems really easy to meet the condition in a C'thun deck, and have an insane play on 7, sort of like our good friend Dr. Boom. --cheesee10
Validated Doomsayer. A 0/7 wall for 5 mana is too op kappa. --SmokedSalmon
Yogg-Saron. One of the Warcraft Universe's most iconic figures has been reduced to a stupid Trolden card that represents everything I'm frustrated with in Hearthstone: unpredictable RNG. --Cassity14
Yogg-Saron, Hope's End. The amount of RNG in this card is disturbing, and even if it isn't run competitively we may see him from time to time from The Golden Monkey. That will be upsetting. Good for Trolden, but not Hearthstone as a whole competitively. --Slimsch
Anything to do with Yogg-Saron. It's too random and you WILL make problems for yourself. --Gideoneko
The Cards That Will Surprise
Call of the Wild. Instant board state, pseudo-removal, powerful synergies. --Gideoneko
If you mean the most powerful card that everyone will complain about, that would be Call of the Wild, because of just how much tempo and burst it generates at the same time. If you mean my pick for the best card that no one else believes in, it would be Shifter Zerus. This little guy gives a ton of utility to slower decks, and fits nicely at home in renolock. --cheesee10
Evolve is the best card of the set really, but N'zoth is going to be super strong if you can survive that long. --Detrucci
Eternal Sentinel may be the best shaman card ever printed. Getting rid of overload without losing tempo is incredibly important. The card will do the job beautifully that Lava Shock really never could. --Jasper K.
Fiery Bat. It's overlooked because it's a cheap, simple card, but it's an autoinclude in Hunter decks from its inception until it gets rotated out, IMO. --Cassity14
I think Flamewreathed Faceless is going to be very good in aggro Shaman. It's like a slightly cheaper Fel Reaver with an effect that has much less potential to ruin everything you've ever lived for. Also think Twin Emperor Vek'lor could be very good. --Mainge
Part of me wants to believe Shifter Zerus, but my picks for sleepers of the set are Flamewrethed Faceless and Faceless Summoner. --Killajive
N'Zoth's First Mate got some interesting support in the other weapon buffing pirates. That fast Warrior deck is always lurking on the fringes of play, maybe it's there now. --Firpo
Renounce Darkness. Reducing most of the cards in your deck sounds great in theory. --SmokedSalmon
SHIFTER ZERUS! This card has so much potential IMO. I'm not saying it will be good but in a control mirror you could let it sit in your hand until it's something you're willing to play. When playing versus aggro sometimes you just need something to play and this could be something to put on the board. --MVParker
Shifter Zerus. It's manlet status hot. --Nade
Steward of Darkshire. --Slimsch
Yogg-Saron, Hope's End. --stiLLer3k
The THL blog is curated and edited by Donde. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to us on Discord at Donde#4239 or via the THL Help email address: firstname.lastname@example.org