The 10 most impactful class cards of 2015
Here's our pick for the ten class cards that defined the Hearthstone landscape in 2015.
2015 is behind us but its Hearthstone legacy will live on for much longer. With three expansions, last year shook the game to the core, bringing on major fluctuations in the class balance. Mage enjoyed a fantastic year as Flamewaker revived the tempo build. Druid and Warrior had their ups and downs, swinging from the very top back to mediocrity. Paladin and Priest had the days of their lives as they were given new powerful toys to play with.
But enough introduction. Let’s get down to our list of the ten most impactful class cards of 2015.
Honorable mention #1: Tomb Pillager
Rogue is in an incredibly weird place still. GvG’s Tinker's Sharpsword Oil picked up where Miracle Rogue had left off, but that was at the end of 2014. In 2015, Rogues got mostly disappointing trash and it wasn’t until League of Explorers that Valeera enjoyed well tested and thought-out cards.
While Unearthed Raptor is still patiently waiting for the day that Rogue will have enough quality minions to go for a tempo build, Tomb Pillager fit right into the combo decks. A 4 mana 5/4 is good to begin with but when you add the Coin effect – a free ramp and combo enabler – it makes sense to auto-include it. A Sprint a turn earlier? Yes, please.
Honorable mention #2: Totem Golem
The dozen or so Shaman players left in the world were probably ecstatic when they saw the spoilers for The Grand Tournament. Totems were going to be a thing, or at least that was Blizzard’s plan.
That never came true, but Totem Golem was a very important first step towards the partial resurgence of Shaman. While midrange decks are still to be made viable in the current meta, Totem Golem would later play an instrumental part to the rise of aggro Shaman in League of Explorers. Who knew that playing a 3/4 will always be better than hero powering into a random useless minion.
As a control player, Entomb instantly became one of my favorite cards not just in League of Explorers but in 2015 as a whole. The card’s power level was uncertain at first but as Priests got more options to survive the early game, it became a powerful ally. Essentially, Entomb is a weaker Sylvanas whose effect you can control. In control match-ups it’s an effective way to remove a powerful finisher and recast it later yourself, but the card also works against midrange decks to counteract threats like Mysterious Challenger or Dr Boom.
Entomb perpetuated the gradual climb of Priest, which started with Wyrmrest Agent back in Blackrock Mountain and I expect it to be a regular singleton in most Priest decks to come.
9. Quick Shot
Hunter has never needed complex card effects to be competitive. In its core, the class is all about dealing damage as quickly or as consistently as possible, while not running out of gas.
Introduced with Blackrock Mountain, Quick Shot covered both these requirements. Most of the time, it simply provides some reach damage – which is more than enough to begin with – but Face Hunters grew to love the card for its added draw effect when empty handed, which they often are. Granted, Quickshot is far from the pretentiousness or coolness of Lock and Load but it gets the job done and that’s what it counts at the end of the day.
8. Dark Peddler
League of Explorers introduced Discover to Hearthstone and no class card possesses a more powerful Discover effect than Dark Peddler. This little two drop did wonders for Warlock towards the end of the year. It helped Zoo to once again become a tier 1 deck, providing card draw and board presence at the same time.
Its impact was felt across more decks. The Malygos controls saw it as an alternative source to a Soulfire, or Power Overwhelming or Mortal Coil and welcomed it wholeheartedly and the same was true for the Renolocks. Depending on what 1 drops we get next year, Peddler’s power level might change, but something tells me it will only improve.
7. Wyrmrest Agent
The Grand Tournament was supposed to be all about Joust and Inspire, and knights, and things like that. Nobody ordered any Dragons, which were sooo BRM.
This delayed Dragon love, however, meant everything to Priest. Like Shaman, the class had few to no good early drops which made them lose to aggro decks often but Wyrmrest Agent changed everything. Together with Twilight Guardian, Dragon Priest became a force to be reckoned with and although it was never regarded as a Tier 1 deck, it dragged the class into the spotlight for the first time in years.
6. Murloc Knight
Speaking of Inspire, meet the best card with this mechanic: Murloc Knight.
Once players realized Murloc Knight’s potential to generate threats, it became an auto include in midrange Paladins. The class has long been notoriously slow in building board presence because of its incremental playstyle, but this armored Murloc came to finish what Muster for Battle started with GvG: give Paladins an instant army. Although the card is technically a 4-drop, clogging this already saturated slot for the class, it’s more often played on T6 for immediate triple minion threat, allowing for comeback after massive board clears.
5. Tunnel Trogg
The best card Shamans have gotten all year is without question Tunnel Trogg. This 1-drop represents everything the class lacked so far: a strong early drop that synergizes well with Shaman’s core but otherwise double-edge mechanic.
With cards like Lava Shock and Totem Golem already in the game, Tunnel Trogg’s arrival onset the rise of aggro Shaman. For the first time ever, Shaman was out of “Shaman tier” and actually competed with Druid and Secrets Paladin in Tier 1. A fantastic card that did more for the class than any other minion or spell accomplished last year.
4. Imp Gang Boss
Dark Peddler and Imp Gang Boss share similarities. Both were pivotal in the Zoolock renaissance during two different metagames, offering a decent body with an added cool effect. Both were also used in slow decks like Malylock, as it helped them transition into a healthy mid-game.
The reasons why IGB is higher on this list is its earlier release – and hence its longer life in the meta – and the fact that it might just be a stronger card overall. Although a bit more expensive, IGB comes with a better body and an effect that is both controllable and consistent. While you won’t always appreciate the 1-drops you get from Peddler, the extra 1/1 tokens will always make friends with Defender of Argus, Abusive Sergeant or Sea Giant.
On the outskirts of our top 3 lies Flamewaker, Mage’s most impactful card released in 2015. Flamewaker diversified the class even further, becoming the centerpiece of a new and powerful Tempo Mage.
Making use of cheap drops to trigger multiple Flamewaker shots, the deck became known as “Machine Gun Mage” and competed with its big Freeze Mage cousin for the best build of the class. Although a bit tricky to play, it conquered ladder by storm as it made for quick, if polarized playstyle, and it was seen in many tournaments as well. Even if Tempo Mage has now lost much of its potency compared to the re-empowered Freeze, it’s still a scary opponent to face.
2. Darnassus Aspirant
By the middle of 2015, the pro player community had deemed Druid an inconsistent and unreliable class. With subpar removal, Malfurion struggled against the invasion of Patron Warrior as well as the reinforced Zoolocks of Blackrock Mountain. The class was too reliant on drawing ramp early on, which made it hazardous.
Darnassus Aspirant arrived with The Grand Tournament to improve Druid’s tempo significantly. In a world where ramping on not ramping meant the difference between winning and losing, DA became the savior of the class, relaunching it back to the undisputed Tier 1 position. More recently the card has gained competition from Living Roots, however in 2015 DA was definitely the best thing that happened to Malfurion.
1. Mysterious Challenger
You probably didn’t need another article reminding you that the bane of Mysterious Challenger is still a thing, and won’t likely change till the next expansion gets released or the nerf bat falls.
Much like many meta-breaking cards in the past, Mysterious Challenger’s full potential wasn’t realized until the Secret Paladin was perfected (though it’s surprising how a 6/6 for 6 with potential 5 mana worth of value and 5 cards deck thinning was not automatically labelled as broken). Through MC, Paladin experienced a meteoric rise in power, sparring head-to-head with even the pre-nerfed Patron Warrior and Aspirant-invigorated Midrange Druids. A very streamlined deck, the Secretadin put power in the hands of even the least experienced player and its rule over the ladder spread like wildfire.
That’s our list for the 10 most impactful cards released in 2015. Do you agree with it? Leave your comments below!
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