Top 15 Hearthstone: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Cards
It’s that time again, the one point of the year we have all been hoarding gold for. The next Hearthstone expansion. With all the new quests under our belts and the copious number of times we have bothered friends to split the 80g quests with us have been building up to this one point.
There will be Meta shifts, new combos, and more importantly a reduction in the strength of Shaman on ladder – hopefully. As always, we have been keeping a keen eye on the cards and noting what we thought would be a top 10 of the cards, but found the potential in the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan to be really amazing. So we decided that we would go with 15 top cards that you’ll need to keep an eye out and spend some dust on later on. So without further ado, here’s our list! (Please note this is not a running order of how strong these cards are, but just an indicator of cards we think will be strong.)
1. Kun the Forgotten King
Kun is a big boy, perhaps the biggest boy, in Hearthstone’s latest expansion. Sitting at 10 mana means he is the most costly card in the expansion, Kun offers the player a choice between 10 armour or to completely refresh you mana crystals. In long games Kun’s ability to be played and refresh the mana crystals will provide a massive tempo swing, I mean who doesn’t like a 7/7 for free? Coupled alongside a Fandral that doesn’t get instantly clear the 10 armour is a big bonus and something that might prove especially important against Zoo decks and in some cases Freeze Mage should it resurface.
2. Grimestreet Protector
Protector by name, protect by nature. The Grimestreet Protector provides a sturdy taunt at 7 mana and boasting 6/6 in stats. It’s nothing special at first glance but his ability to give adjacent cards divine shield when played and further protecting them with his own body means that clearing and trading on board could be an absolute nightmare for some classes. First they have to deal with a 6/6 taunt which isn’t easy, even for mage, and then find some way of ridding your minions of their divine shields. Just like Kun, Grimestreet Protector could prove vital in tempo swings and will potentially snowball games.
3. Aya Blackpaw
Aya Blackpaw is this expansion’s Toshley, but ramped up to 11. The fact that you have to deal with the initial golem, which will be a 1/1 at the worst and then summoning a 2/2 on death means that the stick presence could prove frustrating. Although in decks that have already summoned one or two golems the value of Aya Blackpaw increases exponentially.
4. Finja, the Flying Star
Do you remember Murloc Zoo? Those moments when you were praying for a Flamestrike because the board was just too much? Well imagine that deck just got an insane draw power that actually summons two Murlocs with you really having no answer or ability to deal with the card the turn after it is played. Finja doesn’t have the best stats, but the ability completely changes everything. Drawing 2 cards is worth 3 mana to most classes and the addition of playing what you draw is perfect.
5. Hobart Grapplehammer
With the Meta looking like it is tailored to far more midrange and tempo based decks Warrior is in a very good spot to bring in some new classes and reinvigorate the dreaded Pirate/Weapon Warrior deck. For 2 mana Hobart Grapplehammer will buff every weapon in your deck by 1 attack. This seems minimal at first, but the implications for big discounts on swing turns and the synergy some cards have with weapons means that there is a very real chance that Pirate Warrior could become deadly, or deadlier.
Knuckles seems a little underwhelming at first, a 5 mana 3/7 isn’t anything to write home about, but he does set a precedent. Knuckles introduces a new mechanic; Trample. Even though it’s not noted on the text, players who are familiar with Magic: The Gathering will know all too well that Trample can be deadly in decks designed to pressure and wear down your opponents. With all the buff cards being added to Hunter there is a good chance that Kunckles will destroy the competition and make players consider maximising their mana with small minions when he is on board. If unanswered Knuckles could devastate Paladins, Shamans, and Warlocks aimed at lost cost board flood archetypes. And like any good Hunter card, Knuckles always goes face. Yup.
7. White Eyes
Shaman is the best class in Hearthstone right now. There’s no disputing that. But what Shaman does lack is diversity. Every single deck is a variant of one specific list and they are all midranged. So in an attempt to change things up Blizzard have given Shamans one hell of a card. White Eyes might seem unassuming at first, a 5/5 for 5 mana isn’t anything to write home about, but as a Deathrattle card that places a 10/10 taunt in your deck and has great synergy with N’Zoth you will see some brave players break free from common convention and experiment with more late game orientated Shaman decks.
8. Kabal Talonpriest
It’s well known that Dark Cultist was a good card for priest, playing around him could be a pain and the body was tough to contend with. Then he fell out of rotation and Priest started a downward spiral until it hit rock bottom in the current expansion. Now Dark Cultist is back, although this time with a Battlecry as opposed to a Deathrattle. Coupling the Kabal Talonpriest with new priest cards, like the Mana Geode, will prove vital in establishing effective trades and hopefully redeem Priests from the current position they find themselves in.
At first we had Evolve, now we have Devolve. Silence is something of the past in Hearthstone, a mechanic left to Reno decks and the odd Mad Scientist playing around with Priest’s worst cards. Yet here we see Shaman been given the ultimate middle finger to a big board. It’s no Flamestrike or Brawl but it’s far worse. Stacked up against an N’zoth deck with Tirion, Sylvans or Highmane on board? No problem, let me just ruin that synergy and turn that nice wee 3 mana card you’ve got their in to a Doomsayer. It’s a card we will see in Trolden moments for months to come.
10. Grimestreet Outfitter
I’ve always had a soft spot for Paladin, he was one of my first golden heroes and a deck I revisit from time to time. There were some clear changes made throughout previous expansions, including the demise of Mysterious Challenger, which left Paladin in a strange place. Too late for some late games and too weak for earlier/faster games resulted in Paladins struggling with midrange shifts at times as they weren’t fast enough of their strong board clears relied on perfect draws. They were by no means bad, but lacked any true midrange power. With so many buff cards appearing from Paladin it was hard to pick a favourite, but for me the Outfitter sticks out. Offering a +1/1 buff to all minions in your hand. It’s a solid card through and through.
11. Small-Time Buccaneer
More pirate synergy for pirate warrior is pretty scary. I can foresee the Small-Time Buccaneer taking the place of N’Zoth’s First Mate in a lot of pirate decks and acting as a Cogmaster for Pirate Warrior. It’s a good turn 1 and followed up by Fiery War Axe will make it an essential play with great tempo. It will also help fill out those awkward mana turns.
12. Patches the Pirate
Again with the Pirate Warrior buffs. Patches the Pirate is a 1/1 for 1 mana, nothing groundbreaking or too exciting. Although with the inclusion of Small-Time Buccaneer it helps gear the already aggressive Pirate Warrior up for more aggression. As soon as you play any pirate you can consider it as a card draw towards thinning your deck and an instant trade or pressure tool for face that needs to be dealt with. You are effectively increasing the value of your draw by including Patches as long as he isn’t in your starting hand.
Hunters are spoiled for choice on 1 drops for beasts. They have Fiery Bat and, eh, that’s about it for the most part. Thankfully Alleycat offers a stronger turn 1 play, splitting the damage potential between 2 minions and widening the board with the addition of having more activators for Kill Command.
14. Jade Idol
If the Meta takes a turn towards the late game the Jade Idol will prove to be the game changer for Druid when it comes to fatigue. I personally think that a Jade Golem Druid could potentially be a strong contender for good ramp and late game pressure based on the Jade Idol mechanic. Late game, after a few idols, you are either getting some insane stats for 1 mana or bolstering your deck by 3 cards to eke out some fatigue wars. Just like many of the Druid’s choice based cards it proves extremely malleable in theory and could prove for more impressive swing turns with a card that will provide some great stats and fill out those clunky curves you might find with ramping up.
15. Mana Geode
We have already discussed Priest’s underwhelming position in class power but they have received some really nice cards to help stave off early game pressure with some nice synergy with Power Word Shield and Priest’s hero power. If left alone Mana Geode will snowball games and prove crucial when it comes to dealing with more aggressive decks. When it starts to gain momentum you can consider your hero power to be “Summon a 2/2 for 2 mana while healing your minion for trading”. Although I would say the Mana Geode could be divisive if its ability to trade is dampened by the other buff cards available in the new cards of The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan.
There’s a lot going on in Hearthstone’s latest expansion, we are seeing new archetypes and tri-class cards being introduced. I am hoping we see some Control Shamans, Jade Golem, Druids, some interesting Rogue variants, and Buff Paladins. I even have hope for some interesting Hunter decks that will move them away from Secret Hunter. Although we won’t know what’s truly powerful until we see what the Meta will look like and how certain cards will interact with each other outside of perfect theory.