Hearthstone

Analysis of Hearthstone: League of Explorers

The latest adventure for Hearthstone was revealed this weekend at BlizzCon and it looks like Brann Bronzebeard will be leading the League of Explorers through a few interesting missions. Each wing of the adventure will feature a different explorer and some really interesting game mechanics that don’t simply involving overrunning the NPC opponent with a Zoolock deck. While a few of the adventures do look like they’re going to be fun to play through, the real importance of the adventure expansions is to add new cards. We’re going to take an in-depth look at what Hearthstone: The League of Explorers has to offer and which cards are going to be the best.

Hearthstone

TRASH TIER:

These are the cards that no one should ever really play, and there is almost always a better option in every situation. Your deck will be significantly worse with any of these cards.

  • Explorer’s Hat: It’s not good the first time you play it, so why would you constantly want it back in your hand? Two mana for +1/+1 is a horrible ratio and doesn’t really fit into the Hunter meta at the moment.
  • Desert Camel: A 2/4 for three mana is already behind the curve and potentially giving your opponent a better card than you is risky. It would only be good if you know your opponent doesn’t have any 1-cost creatures, but you can never determine that before the game starts.
  • Sacred Trial: Destroying a minion for one mana seems like great value, but players will quickly learn how to play around this. Sacred Trial will most likely be a wasted card slot in every deck and is only decent against aggro decks like Zoolock.
  • Dark Peddler: Two mana for a 2/2 and getting to discover a 1-cost card is simply not good value. Most 1-cost cards aren’t great and there are too many to count on getting anything usable.
  • Reliquary Seeker: Even though Zoolock can flood the board, rarely do they get 7 minions out. If they can the game is probably already over and Reliquary Seeker will turn into a “win-more” card.
  • Cursed Blade: Even though the stats are amazing, potentially taking double damage for 3 turns is not worth the risk. Furthermore, after turn 1 it becomes a completely dead card.
  • Jeweled Scarab: There are too many 3-cost cards for this to be reliable and even a Novice Engineer is better in almost every situation.
  • Fossilized Devilsaur: Ironbark Protector with an added requirement. Druid already has a better version of this and Hunters don’t normally play control. This is one of the worst cards in the set and should never be used.
  • Anubisath Sentinel: Another card that looks like it has excellent value on paper, but it’s way too slow and will be a prime target for silence or removal spells.
  • Naga Sea Witch: A neutral version of Aviana that could potentially backfire. Could be a cool gimmick, but likely won’t work a majority of the time.
  • Ancient Shade: Even if Ancient Shade didn’t have the drawback it wouldn’t see much play. Eventually receiving 7 damage makes it even worse.
  • Wobbling Runts: Six mana for 8/12 worth of stats looks amazing, but a smart opponent will either completely ignore it or silence it. Turn 6 already has way too many important cards to play for this to ever be a thing.

Hearthstone: League of Explorers

SITUATIONAL:

Interesting cards that generally require a specific deck to work. Not terribly flexible and might make it into a few meta decks, but they won’t be included in every one.

  • Pit Snake: Not a particularly great card because it can be taken out by most hero powers, but Rogue doesn’t really have any other great 1-mana minions.
  • Mounted Raptor: A slightly worse version of Harvest Golem, but it is a beast and could find its way into certain Druid decks.
  • Jungle Moonkin: This is a very strange card and could really give your opponent an edge. This needs to be used in combination with a spell the turn it’s played to get any value from it, but it could still backfire next turn.
  • Animated Armor: If placed behind a few taunt cards, Animated Armor could cause havoc against certain one-turn kill decks. However, if just thrown in any deck it basically becomes a more accessible Bolf Ramshield.
  • Anyfin Can Happen: While it will probably never see play, but when it does amazing things will happen. The biggest upside to this card, for its huge ten-mana cost, is that a few Murlocs do have charge and could have an immediate impact on the board.
  • Museum Curator: Two mana for a 1/2 is really bad value, but getting a card out of the deal isn’t terrible. A possible side upgrade to Loot Hoarder.
  • Everyfin is Awesome: In the right deck this could be significantly more useful than Bloodlust, but it could also be a dead card if the perfect situation doesn’t present itself.
  • Excavated Evil: With slightly better clearing potential it could find a place in certain control Priest decks, but giving your opponent extra cards is almost never a good option.
  • Unearthed Raptor: It fits the curve, but the Battlecry is quite strange on a Rogue. If someone could copy Anub’arak, or Sylvanas, it would be brutal, however, that’s highly unlikely. This ability would have been much more useful on a neutral card.
  • Rumbling Elemental: Shaman does have a few decent Battlecry minions, but Rumbling Elemental is probably too slow to deal with aggro decks.
  • Curse of Rafaam: A good way to stall opponents and if not dealt with could deal a decent amount of damage over time. Could possibly have a place in Handlock.
  • Obsidian Destroyer: Basically a worse version of Dr. Boom, but it has good value and could easily find a place in cheaper control Warrior decks.
  • Murloc Tinyfin: Murlocs focus on buffing each other, and a 0-cost minion might not be a bad choice here. However, this is also a nerf to every Murloc spawning card.
  • Huge Toad: It’s a beast and has decent stats. Probably won’t see play outside of Arena, but it’s not terrible either.
  • Gorillabot A-3: Could easily fit in a Mech Mage deck, but other than that it doesn’t have much utility and has subpar stats.
  • Tomb Spider: Essentially in the same position as the Gorillabot, but it’s a guaranteed card and could be useful in certain Druid or Hunter decks.
  • Eerie Statue: A great target for silence, Defender of Argus, or a control deck with heavy removals. Too awkward to be an automatic include in every deck, but Handlock should be able to find a place for this one.
  • Summoning Stone: I would really like to see a deck that makes use of this card, but it probably won’t see more than one turn alive. If used in a Rogue deck, with Stealth, Summoning Stone could lead to some really interesting combinations.
  • Djinni of Zephyrs: This card could see some really interesting combinations in a Priest or Paladin deck that focuses on buffing cards.
  • Elise Starseeker: A great card for any deck that constantly goes to fatigue. If played as the last card, you could instantly get a deck full of Legendary cards on your next turn. However, only a handful of control decks make games last long enough for Elise to truly shine.
  • Arch-Thief Rafaam: Incredibly slow, but he does have a lot of value by gaining a very powerful, 10-cost spell. Probably won’t see play often in the competitive scene, but he might see play over Ysera or Nefarion in certain decks.

Hearthstone

GOOD BUT NOT AMAZING:

These cards look good on paper and will probably perform as well or better than others currently in the game. Not likely to create a major shift, but they could very likely find their way into a lot of decks.

  • Dart Trap: Five damage for two mana is incredibly efficient, but the randomness could be a drawback.
  • Ethereal Conjurer: The only reason this card is any good is because Mages have access to a lot of amazing spells. The 6/3 body for 5 mana is terrible and even getting a card out of the deal isn’t necessarily a win.
  • Tomb Pillager: Receiving a coin on death essentially turns Tomb Pillager into a 5/4 for 3 mana, which is excellent and having a coin can trigger multiple Rogue combo effects.
  • Tunnel Trogg: Basically Shaman’s answer to Mana Wyrm and could be a valuable first-turn drop.
  • Fierce Monkey: A straight upgrade to Ironfur Grizzly and Silverback Patriarch, but it will likely see mostly Arena play unless Bolster becomes the meta.
  • Sir Finley Mrrgglton: A really interesting card that will most likely find a place in Shaman Murloc decks. The ability to change hero powers could help counter certain decks and Sir Finley doesn’t really have a drawback.
  • Reno Jackson: Will lead to some very interesting decks with 30 unique cards. Duplicate cards can still be in the deck, but they have to be played or drawn before Reno’s Battlecry will work. However, six mana for a 4/6 and a full heal could completely change the outcome of a game.

Hearthstone

GAME CHANGERS:

Every once and awhile a new card comes out that finds a place in every deck and potentially shifts the meta. These are those cards.

  • Raven Idol: This card is huge. One mana to discover a minion or Druid spell is incredibly flexible and is great at any point in a game. The potential to pull out a third Swipe or Wild Growth is very dangerous.
  • Forgotten Torch: Although Mages already have a lot of direct damage spells, Forgotten Torch essentially gives them two more. Three mana for three damage is a little subpar, but then it doubles its damage for the same cost later on.
  • Keeper of Uldaman: Remember Tinkmaster Overspark. Well, this is basically a less random, and potentially better, version of that card before his chain of nerfs. Paladins already have a ton of control at their disposal and Keeper of Uldaman will make them even more frustrating to play against.
  • Entomb: Entomb not only removes an enemy minion but it also puts it in your deck. It’s only 1 more mana than Assassinate and fits the Priest curve pretty well. Most Priest removal is highly situational and this gives them something much more reliable.
  • Brann Bronzebeard: For his potential value, Brann Bronzebeard is an incredibly cheap card and should find his way into any deck that runs a lot of Battlecry effects. Cards like Antique Healbot, Fire Elemental, Frost Elemental, and Ironbeak Owl would become twice as effective.

There you have it, a quick analysis of every card scheduled to come out in Hearthstone: The League of Explorers. Compared with previous expansions, there seem to be a lot more cards that could definitely find a place in many common decks. The new Discover mechanic is a great addition to the game and provides a lot of flexibility. However, this is just a look at the cards before they become available and things could change dramatically once they’re officially introduced to Hearthstone.

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About Nick Shively

Nick is an eSports and RPG enthusiast. He can normally be found in the deepest parts of a dungeon or in the arena slaying opponents. Nick has been a gamer since an early age and involved in the industry since 2011. He obtained a degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2015.