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Zechs Files: Reviewing the set review

Posted by Michael "Zechs_" Radford at 15 August 2017 14:32

This week we take a look back over last week's set review and figure out what we got right and what went wrong.


This week we take a look back over last week's set review and figure out what we got right and what went wrong.

Knights of the Frozen Throne may have been out for less than a week, but we are already starting to get an image of which cards lived up to their hype and which didn’t. My own preview, published last week, had some bullseyes but it certainly had its fair share of misses. This week I’m going to go back over that top ten and see how I did, card by card.

Fatespinner: MISS
I don’t know about you, but I have only seen this card played once and that was in arena. My opponent cast it and I silenced it and moved on with my day. Most of the druid decks I’ve faced in standard have had plenty of new cards, but they have mostly been big taunts, spider tokens and 10-mana epic spells. I thought that the flexibility offered by Fatespinner would push it into competitive play. So far, I have been wrong.

Stitched Tracker: TBD
This is a tough one. I have yet to see it played in one of my own games, but I’ve seen plenty of streamers playing with it. The card itself is clearly good in the big hunter decks, but whether or not that deck is good remains to be seen. This is a definite “wait and see” card.

Coldwraith: TBD
Again, I just haven’t seen anyone playing much mage. Kibler said in his set review that he expects this card to see a lot of competitive play. The trouble is, there hasn’t been any competitive play in the past five days and freeze mage isn’t really a deck that gets played on ladder or on stream. It only really shows up in tournaments, in the hands of experts, because it dominates certain specific match-ups and because game time is less of a factor. I reserve my judgment of this card (and my preview) until HCT rolls around.

Uther of the Ebon Blade: HIT
This is not a resounding success - no home run, let’s say - but I’ve been impressed with it. No single thing makes this card great, but everything it does adds up to being solid. The lifesteal weapon and five armor help you to stabilize a losing game and the hero power starts to turn things back in  your favour. I have yet to see anyone die to the four horsemen but that doesn’t matter. Just making infinite 2/2’s with cards like Spikeridged Steed in your deck can be enough to end games.

Eternal Servitude: HIT
This card ticks all the boxes I laid out in the preview. I’ve played with and against it and I’ve seen plenty of it on Twitch. Priest has definitely been one of the biggest benefactors of the new expansion and this card, alongside Anduin, is a big part of the reason why. It’s good in Raza/Kazakus decks and great in the Barnes/Y’Shaarj decks that has been played a ton by streamers lately.

Spectral Pillager: MISS
This is easily my biggest whiff and, looking back, I’m not really sure why I thought it would be good. I haven’t seen much rogue, but the few I have seen had no place for this card. Even my honourable mention, Doomerang, has only been conspicuous by its absence, which is a shame because the golden one I opened looks pretty cool.

Thrall, Deathseer: MISS
I almost gave this one another TBD, but I just haven’t seen Thrall do much yet. Unlike the other TBDs, I have seen Thrall in play and beaten it a couple of times. The thing is, nobody seems to be playing Shaman at the moment. Nobody wants to play boring, efficient aggressive decks when we have fun new toys like Lich King and Rotface to fool around with. But I think there’s a chance that in a week or two, when the excitement has worn off, people will start to realise that Evolve Shaman is still one of the best decks in the format and Thrall will probably slip right in.

Bloodreaver Gul'dan: HIT
This is the hit I’m least sure of. Thijs was playing a lot of demon handlock with this card in and was winning a lot more than he was losing. My own experience with the card is less impressive. Then again, I’m no Thijs. I was playing it in a Reno list in wild and only played a couple of games, so in choosing whether my preview article was correct I erred on the side of a bigger sample size from a better player. I’m not sold, but I trust Thijs’s results over my own.

Scourcelord Garrosh: MISS
Another card I just haven’t faced. I watched Kibler play a bunch of blood warrior last night but it was pretty underwhelming. There were definitely some Trollden moments, like triple Rotface, but other than that the deck seemed pretty mediocre. It’s possible that, with some tuning, there is a real deck there, but that’s not enough to call Garrosh a hit just yet. I have yet to see him in a more controlling deck, which is where I originally expected him to be at his best. Time will tell.

The Lich King: HIT
Blizzard must be feeling pretty good about this one. The marquee card of the set is great. He’s showing up everywhere right now, even in decks he doesn’t really belong in, because he just oozes value. He’s great by himself and he makes other cards great. Barnes and Y’Shaarj are seeing serious play now but Eternal Servitude and Stonehill Defender are also best buddies with the baddest Deathknight of them all. Have you had this guy stick around for two turns yet? It’s borderline unbeatable when that happens. I called this one of the strongest cards in the set in my preview and I stand by that.

Who Rates the Rater?
Over all, I gave myself four misses, four hits and two to be decided. I’m fairly happy with that, given the fact that Spectral Pillager was such a huge miss I almost consider it not trying at all. Coldwraith and Stitched Tracker still have time to come good, and I’m not surprised they haven’t seen huge amounts of play yet because they’re not flashy, exciting legendaries; they are solid utility spells that generate value instead of memes. Thrall, too, could swing for the fences if things shape out his way. What do you think? Did I cover your favourite card in the set?

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