Zechs Files: The 10 Best Cards in Witchwood
Witchwood is almost upon us. Here is our take on the scariest, creepiest and just flat out most powerful cards in the upcoming expansion.
As always, there will be a mix of cards I think are going to dominate standard and cards which are just sweet. They aren't always the same thing, especially in this set where so many of the cool legendaries are designed around legendary effects. Still, if you craft most of the cards in this list you should be in an okay spot moving forward.
Druid: Ferocious Howl
This set may have cool flavour and some sweet cards, but it is kind of a stinker for druids. Howl isn’t particularly exciting, but it does seem pretty good. Shield Block has been a staple of Control Warrior decks forever and this is often going to be even better than that.
Honourable mention: Splintergraft
The issue with druid in this expansion is that none of its cards are particularly exciting. Splintergraft is probably the most interesting card the class gets, but at least it’s a pretty good one. Making a 10/10 copy of your best minion is pretty good, even if it does require a little setup. There are probably some shennanigans with Kun in wild.
Hunter: Wing Blast
Again, this card isn’t very exciting, but it is very good. Triggering the cost reduction is fairly trivial and four damage is going to kill a lot of stuff. Boring, but effective.
Honourable mention: Emeriss
Now this is an exciting legendary minion. Doubling up your minions stats is terrifyingly strong, and will make damage based removal pretty much obsolete when this guy comes into play. However, this being a 10-drop is a real problem. Obviously it’s going to go in the mythical Unicorn Control Hunter deck that wants to go late anyway, but making your minions bigger is far more effective early on and in decks that want to kill opponents quick. The effect here is powerful, but does it have a home? I doubt it.
Mage: Arcane Keysmith
This card is going to be super tilt-inducing at times, but that’s a good sign for people who want to play mage. As a four-mana 2/2, the Keysmith isn’t as good as our old friend Kirin Tor Mage, but being able to discover the secret you need - usually - counts for a lot.
Honourable mention: Black Cat
I don’t know how good the odd/even decks are going to be, though I suspect not very. The payoff just doesn’t seem worth the Still, if they are, this cute little kitty is surely going to be a part of them. This is better in play than Bloodmage Thalnos and draws you the card up-front: what’s not to love?
Paladin: Bellringer Sentry
The flavour text here is on-point (or is it on the nose, you decide). Obviously Sentry isn’t quite on the same level as Mysterious Challenger but he isn’t far off. I think Blizzard learned the lessons that Doctor Six taught us, but still want to play with the design space. It’s dangerous territory, but this card is much safer. Strong, but not overpowered.
Honourable mention: Prince Liam
I like my cards to be consistent and Liam offers anything but consistency. However, the ceiling on this card is very high. The idea is easy: you play your aggressive creatures and Call to Arms. If that doesn’t get the job done, Liam turns your crappy early-game dorks into late-game monsters. The trouble with cards like this is that they don’t always do that, and the more legendary minions added to the game the more bad targets there are for cards like this. Still, this card is cool and definitely worth trying out if you open one. I’d hold off on crafting it for a while though.
Priest: Lady in White
This card just seems stupid to me. It’s a one card combo which also combines with your other combos to make them even better and even easier to do. In terms of build-around effects, this one requires basically no effort to be good. Play minions with high health, then have them turn into huge monsters without really doing any work. I hate the deck this goes in, and I hate this card, but it is very good and you will see a lot of it.
Honourable mention: Squashling
This is a combo card I can get behind. It requires a little bit of setup, but not much, and is very powerful (but again, not too much). This guy is basically the fair version of Anduin, which, it turns out, is still pretty good. The fact that he can also help keep you alive in a pinch is bonus.
Rogue: Tess Greymane
Oh, look, it’s Yogg. Kind of. This requires more work than Yogg, but having some control over what gets cast means it might be worth it. Maybe. At eight mana, you are more likely to cast Tess, which is nice, but the spells are still random. It’s just the point of origin for the randomness that is different. On the plus side, you can get minions from Tess. I don’t know, this card is super cool but it might appear more in Trollden videos than in your ladder games.
Honourable mention: Cheap Shot
Rogue has a lot of pretty good cards in this set, but I think Cheap Shot might quietly be the best of them. A repeatable removal spell is very strong. I think Echo is a dangerous ability for Blizzard to play around with. Cheap Shot looks fairly innocuous but it will kill anything you need it to kill, eventually.
Speaking of Trollden videos, Shudderwock is a shoe-in for multiple appearances. He’s also really good, I think. Stuff your deck full of battlecry effects - which most decks already want to do anyway - and watch this guy go nuts. The randomness is an issue here, but it’s a little easier to play around than the likes of Tess.
Honourable mention: Hagatha
Okay, so, yes, shaman spells don’t tend to be great, but getting them free in the late game is still a great deal, considering you have to do no work to get them. The battlecry helps you still be alive to make use of your free spells, which is nice, but Hagatha will be a lot like Prince Liam: when she gives you removal spell after removal spell you’ll think she’s the best card ever. But for every free Lightning Storm you will also get a Totemic Might every now and then.
Warlock: Lord Godfrey
You may not have noticed, but warlock is in a pretty strong spot right now. It doesn’t really need a lot of help in the new expansion. The class doesn’t get much in terms of quantity, but quality? How about a minion with spell powered Defile as a battlecry effect? Seems good. What if the defile didn’t effect Godfrey himself? Yeah. This card is great. Long live Warlockstone!
Honourable mention: Deathweb Spider
The class that likes to hurt itself the most is also the one that appreciates some lifegain the most. Deathweb spider is comically easy to turn on in warlock and helps mitigate some damage from the hero power. I don’t know if the class actually needs this card, with Dark Pact already everywhere, but Spider is a solid fallback option if 16 isn’t enough healing.
Warrior: Deadly Arsenal
Warrior doesn’t need a lot of help with keeping boards clear, but it gets some anyway. I don’t know if Arsenal is good enough to make Gorehowl come back into the meta, but there are plenty of other weapons to mess around with. This is often going to be better than Brawl. The downside is that Control Warrior, where this fits best, might want to be playing odd-cost spells to get access to Tank Up.
Honourable mention: Town Crier
This one is going to need a little bit of clarification. I don’t think that this card, in the current state of Hearthstone, is actually very good. I do think that drawing a specific type of card from your deck on demand, at such a low cost, has the potential to be excellent. Alas, there just aren’t many (any?) good Rush minions worth searching, but maybe this guy gets better next expansion.
Neutral: Countess Ashmore
I know The Curator doesn’t see a ton of play any more, but the Countess is here to bring us a new and improved version. Sure, she doesn’t have taunt, so she isn’t as good at stabilizing your board, but if you’re alive the following turn you are going to have everything you need to do more than just stabilize. Tutoring effects, even semi-random ones, are always powerful in any card game and Countess Ashmore is no exception.
Honourable mention: Voodoo Doll
This card is superb in the odds-only decks, and pretty good in just any old deck. Obviously it’s best in Mage where you can immediately ping it, but there are plenty of ways to make this work.