Category Archives: Hearthstone

The Unofficial Hearthstone Guidebook has been Released!

Great news, everybody: My first  book is now available for purchase! Entitled “The Unofficial Hearthstone Guidebook”, the book is a full guide to playing Hearthstone, and includes tips and strategies for Constructed, Arena and Tavern Brawl. There are also full walkthroughs for every one of the single-player adventure encounters, so new players can collect all the cards these have to offer.

The e-book version is free for Kindle Unlimited users, and $2.99 for everyone else. The paperback version is $4.99, but the quality is better.

I hope you enjoy the book, and your skills at Hearthstone improve because of it!

E-book version is found here.

Paperback version is found here.

How Hearthstone has changed WoW

For most of its lifespan, Hearthstone has stood in WoW’s Shadow. Its characters, settings and spells were all taken from the popular MMO while WoW ignored the card game’s existence (with the exception of a couple Easter Eggs). Over time, however, Hearthstone has grown massively popular (reaching over 50 million players, according to Blizzard) and by the time Legion rolled around, WoW had definitely taken notice.

Here are the ways Hearthstone has influenced WoW, starting with the Easter Eggs from Pandaria and WoD, and ending with the massive impact it has had on Legion.

Mists of Pandaria

In Mists of Pandaria, if you visit the Shrine of Seven Stars or the Shrine of Two Moons in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, you’ll find some NPC’s playing Hearthstone while other NPC’s spectate. In addition, there is a second Hearthstone table set up someone nearby that players can sit next to in order to ‘play’ the game against each other.

Warlords of Draenor

In WoD, you can find an NPC named Benjamin Brode wandering around your garrison. As you probably know, Ben Brode is the lead designer for Hearthstone, so if you talk to his NPC you can buy a couple Hearthstone-related toys.

In addition, there is a mission in your Garrison called ‘Hearthstone Tournament’ that you can send your followers to complete. The enemies on this mission are named after popular Hearthstone decks (such as the ‘Zoo Lock’), and if you successfully complete the mission, you’ll get a couple Hearthstone-themed toys.


Now, the Easter Eggs in Mists and Warlords were fun, but they didn’t really have a huge impact on the game. In Legion, Hearthstone takes a much bigger role, heavily impacting one of the expansion’s core elements: the Emissary Quest system.

In Legion, players receive an Emissary Quest every day, which requires them to complete World Quests for a specific faction. Once you complete an Emissary Quest, you’ll get substantial rewards from the appropriate faction, such as gold, gear and Artifact Power.

This system is virtually identical to the Quest system from Hearthstone, and since Blizzard is known for sharing good ideas between their games, there’s a good chance that’s exactly where it came from. Similarly, the Brawl mode that’s coming to WoW was inspired by Hearthstone (according to WoW Game Director Ion Hazzikostas during the Blizzcon WoW panel).

On the Easter Eggs side, the Return to Karazhan Dungeon was filled with references to the recent ‘One Night in Karazhan’ expansion for Hearthstone. These include references on item tooltips and effects, but the biggest and most noticeable Easter Eggs have to do with some mobs right after the Opera Event.

Called Back-Up Singers, these mobs are affiliated with the ‘Medivas’ faction (a nod to the Hearthstone expansion), and they cast two spells:

1: Firelands Portal, a 7-mana spell that deals 555,555 damage and summons a random creature from the Firelands Raid.

2: Purify, a 2-mana spell that dispels all negative magical effects on a friendly target and lets the caster draw a card (whatever that means).

Needless to say, these two spells are obvious references to the Hearthstone Cards Firelands Portal and Purify, and it’s really cool that these show up in the Karazhan dungeon.

Last but certainly not least, Legion marked the first time that a character original to Hearthstone was introduced into the World of Warcraft. This character is the famous Sir Finley Mrrgglton, explorer extraordinaire.

Found along the eastern shoreline of Stormheim (just north of Greywatch), Sir Finley has set up camp nearby the ruins of Dreyrgrot. Talk to him, and he’ll tell you that he was on his way to observe the local murlocs of Morheim when he stumbled across the ancient burial grounds of Dreyrgrot.

Being of member of the Explorer’s League, the gentleman murloc felt obliged to check the ruins out—however, before he could conduct a proper survey, a small fleet of pirates landed and broke into the main tomb, unleashing an ancient evil that lurked within.

Corrupted by the darkness lurking within Dreyrgrot, the pirates began wildly looting and pillaging the nearby area. As Sir Finley is

Sir Finley’s Location

just a simple Murloc, there’s nothing he can do to stop this crisis, so he needs your help!


The quest series that follows has you grapple from ship-to-ship, battling a host of Blood-Crazed Pirates before entering the tomb to destroy their new leader, a powerful Vrykul Vampyr! It’s not a huge questline, but it’s a lot of fun, so any Hearthstone fans should definitely check it out!

The Gurubashi Arena: Thrall vs. Uther – Part Two

Uther stared up at the massive Flamewreathed Faceless. The creature’s tentacles swirled menacingly, thirsty for the Paladin’s blood. A faint tinge of fear slithered through the human’s veins, but he stood his ground and waved for his next ally to come out.

The Arena’s gates opened once more, and a giant woman made of ivory strode out. “Oho!” Dar’jin declared, “Uther be bringin’ out da Keeper of Uldaman. Let’s see if she can turn da tide.”

Joining the Silver Hand Recruit and the Murloc Warleader, the Keeper of Uldaman raised a giant golden hammer and yelled, “None may steal our secrets!” As she spoke, a blinding beam of golden Light shot from the hammer and slammed into the Flamewreathed Faceless. Screaming in agony, the monster hunched over, trying to protect its face from the searing pain.

“Now!” Uther yelled. Heeding its master’s call, the Murloc Warleader charged across the field and slammed his sword into the fallen creature’s exposed back. Groaning in pain, the Flamewreathed Faceless collapsed to the ground, mortally wounded.

Cheering, the Murloc raised its blade in triumph—but this celebration was cut short, as in one final act of defiance, the Flamewreathed Faceless rose up and impaled the Murloc upon a flaming tentacle. “Ouch!” Dar’jin announced, grimacing at the grotesque display, “I guess dat be what ya get for celebratin’!”

Back down on the field, Uther finished his turn by ordering the Silver Hand Recruit to destroy the already damaged Wrath of Air Totem. This done, Uther stood back and prepared himself for Thrall’s counter-attack.

Thrall’s jaw was set in anger at how easily his creature had been defeated. However, he wasn’t done yet, and with a wave of his hand he summoned a second Tuskarr Totemic into the Arena. “Did you bring some fish?” he asked Thrall curiously, and once again, the orc shook his head no. Sighing in disappointment, the Tuskarr reached into his satchel and placed an inviting yellow Healing Totem onto the sandy Arena Floor.

Sighing at the mediocre result, Thrall turned back to the first Tuskarr Totemic and commanded it to attack the enemy. “Tusk tusk!” the walrus-like creature declared before charging across the Arena floor and slapping the Paladin across the face with a loud ‘smack’,

“Ouch! Dat looked painful,” Dar’jin winced at the mighty slap, “But dat be da end of Thrall’s turn. Now, what will Uther be doin’?” Narrowing his eyes, the Paladin reached into a scabbard at his waist and withdrew a massive two-handed sword. “Oho, dat be da Truesilver Champion!” Dar’jin declared, “Looks like Uther be dishin’ out da retribution himself!”

With a yell, Uther charged forward and slammed his sword into the first Tuskarr Totemic’s chest. The walrus-creature’s eyes widened in shock and it collapsed to the ground, dead. A second later, the Keeper of Uldaman charged forward as well, slaying the second Tuskarr.

Gazing down at the bodies of his fallen Totemics, Thrall felt a surge of anger run through his veins. Lightning surged around the orc’s body, and after a couple seconds he unleashed it in a mighty burst of power. Crackling electricity surged through the bodies of all Uther’s minions, slaying them all instantly. “And Thrall unleashes da power of da Lightning Storm ta annihilate all Uther’s allies. Now, back ta da Paladin.”

Looking down at the smoldering bodies of his allies, Uther let out a cry of rage. A second later, an answering cry boomed from the tunnel, and a large Azure Drake stepped out and took its place by the Paladin’s side. A smile crossed the Paladin’s face, and he turned back to face the orc with confidence.

Thrall isn’t cowed so easily, however, and with a mighty yell, he raises his hammer and charges. “Elements guide me!” he cries, slamming his hammer into the Azure Drake’s skull. The dragon attempts to fight back, but even its great might is not enough to stop the orc’s attacks, and the Azure Drake falls.

“Wow,” Dar’jin declared with excitement, “There be no way Uther saw dat one comin’. Now, Thrall has da advantage, and as we all know, once dis orc smells blood, he ain’t gonna be stoppin’ for anyting.”

Down on the Arena floor, Uther pondered his predicament. He needed to build up a wall of minions quickly, because if Thrall turned his hammer onto the Paladin, the fight would be over right then and there. If Uther was going to survive, he’d need an ally who could protect him—and fortunately, he knew just who to call.

“The Menagerie is for guests only,” a mechanical voice boomed, as The Curator (a giant Arcane Guardian that used to guard the Karazhan Menagerie) strode out onto the sand of the Arena. Taking its place in front of the Paladin, the Curator set its feet and prepared to defend Uther against his orcish foe.

Across the Arena, a look of worry crossed Thrall’s face. He had no doubt he’d be able to break through the Curator eventually, but he wouldn’t get through that battle unscathed. No, there had to be a better way, and after a minute of thinking, the orc figured out exactly what he had to do…


To Be Continued…

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Deck Experiments

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is here, and I’ve already started work on new decks. These three are the best I’ve come up with so far, and while they’re not quite perfect yet, they got me quite a few wins on the ladder.


Stealth/Jade Golem Rogue

Hidden in the shadowy corners of Gadgetzan, the Rogues of the Jade Lotus plot out their devious schemes. Combining the power of the Jade Golems with their natural ability for stealth, these devious scoundrels plot their attacks against the Grimy Goons and the Kabal.

The first deck I played, spurred by the jade-golem-roguefact that I got two copies of Shaku, the Collector out of my first 30 packs opened. The idea behind the deck is to use Stealthed minions to build up a board presence, and then snowball opponents on the back of my Jade Golems.

Now, I know that I said that Jade Golem Rogue would be the worst deck to come out of the expansion, but so far, it’s actually been somewhat good. It can go toe-to-toe with Mid-Range decks, and so far, I’ve actually defeated all the Priests, Mages and Warlocks I’ve faced.

The only decks I’ve lost to have been Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman, and while I’ve been playing at a somewhat low rank (because of the reset), I think that it may turn out to be one of the better decks of the expansion.

The Pros: Incredibly powerful mid-to-late game. Can generate more resources than the typical minion-based decks.

The Cons: Can have trouble regaining board control against aggressive decks.

Notes: I was a bit worried that the Shadow Sensei would have trouble finding targets, but between Shaku, the Shadow Rager, the Shadow Swarmers and the Lotus Assassins, I’ve actually managed to land the buff in nearly every game.

The Gadgetzan Ferryman has also been surprisingly good, as Rogue’s advantage over other Jade Golem decks comes from its ability to bounce Golem generators back to the hand. Now, while a Youthful Brewmaster could have pulled this off as well, the Ferryman’s 3 health has made it surprisingly good during minion trades.


Grimy Goons Paladin

Dismayed by the crime that permeates Gadgetzan’s streets, Paladins from all across the world have banded together to purge the city’s evil. Striking a tentative alliance with the seemingly well-intentioned Don Hon’Cho, the Paladins begin their righteous crusade against the Jade Lotus and the Kabal.

The second deck I played, Grimy paladin-enforcement-decklistGoons Paladin is another counter to the Jade Golem Druid decks permeating the meta. In this deck, you use the classic Paladin Board clears (such as Pyro/Equality) to deal with pesky golems, while using hand-wide buffs to make big minions of your own.

The Dopplegangster plays a big role in this deck, as being able to summon a trio of 5/5’s or 6/6’s early in the game allows you to actually out-tempo Jade Golem Druid. Another card that was surprisingly powerful was the Grimestreet Protector, as the Divine Shields it provides help tremendously with value-trading.

This deck struggles a bit against Pirate Warrior, because it doesn’t have any really good ways to counter early aggression. I think that Wickerflame Burnbristle (the Paladin Legendary) could probably help a lot in this aspect, but since I don’t own the card, I can’t say for sure.

The Pros: Incredibly powerful in the mid-game. Can out-tempo Jade Golem decks due to cheap but powerful minions (especially the Dopplegangster).

The Cons: Can have trouble regaining board control against aggressive decks.

Notes: As I mentioned above, Wickerflame Burnbristle would probably be an excellent addition to this deck. If you have him, I’d probably swap him out for Cairne, who doesn’t have any really powerful synergies in this deck (other than being a good, solid minion).

When playing against a Mage, try to get your Dopplegangsters to at least 5/5, so they can’t be cleared by Flamestrike; against Priests, Shamans and Warlocks, go for 6/6 to counter Dragonfire Potion, Elemental Destruction and Felfire Potion respectively; against everything else, 4/4 should be enough.


Mid-Range Warrior

Upon arriving in Gadgetzan, there were many Warriors who sailed in as Pirates. These no-good swashbucklers raid and pillage the Gadgetzan docks, slaying those who stand in their way. After a large shipment of weapons was hijacked by these scallywags, Don Han’Cho ordered the Warriors under his command to go out and protect his investments.

Mid-Range Warrior is a deck with anti-pirate-warriorone goal: defeat the ever-present Pirate Warrior. This goal is accomplished by playing a lot of Taunt minions that are buffed by cards such as Stolen Goods or the Grimy Gadgeteer.

Because of how early you can get taunts onto the board (as early as turn 2 in many occasions), this deck can stall Pirate Warrior long enough to draw into powerful board clears such as the Ravaging Ghoul.

Public Defender and Alley Armorsmith are the main Taunt minions the deck plays, but it also runs a copy of Bloodhoof Brave for a little extra consistency. To buff these minions, the deck runs one copy of Stolen Goods, a copy of Grimestreet Smuggler, a pair of Grimy Gadgeteers and Don Han’Cho himself.

The Pros: This deck is spectacular against Pirate Warrior and other Aggressive Decks that don’t run a lot of hard removal.

The Cons: Struggles a bit in the late-game against control decks and Jade Golem Druid.

Notes: I’ve been running Varian Wrynn to give me some late-game tempo against very aggressive decks. He has a tendency to be hit-and-miss, however, so you’ll probably want to replace him with Garrosh Hellscream in most cases. (I don’t have Garrosh, or else I’d do this too. I haven’t been running Bolster, because it would rarely hit more than one minion, and that’s not good enough.


These are the decks I’ve mainly played so far, but I’m sure I’ll create many more over the next few weeks. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for your own deckbuilding, and I’ll see you on the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Card Ratings

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is here, but before I begin playing, I wanted to rate every single card of the expansion according to how viable I think it’s going to be. In a month or two—once the new meta has settled—I’ll come back to this list and see how right (or how wrong) I was.

(To see a card in more detail, click on its name.)



5 = An auto-include in any deck that it could possibly fit in.

4 = A good card that will be included in most decks that it works with.

3 = A decent card that will show up when there are strong synergies.

2 = A tech card only used to counter specific decks.

1 = A bad card that will see virtually no play anywhere.


The Cards:


Neutral Commons:

Mistress of Mixtures: 4

Blowgill Sniper: 3

Friendly Bartender: 3

Gadgetzan Socialite: 3

Backstreet Leper: 1

Hired Gun: 1

Street Trickster: 3

Toxic Sewer Ooze: 2

Daring Reporter: 2

Hozen Healer: 3

Kooky Chemist: 2

Naga Corsair: 3

Tanaris Hogchopper: 2

Worgen Greaser: 1

Grook Fu Master: 1

Red Mana Wyrm: 3

Streetwise Investigator: 2

Ancient of Blossoms: 3


Neutral Rares:

Small-Time Buccaneer: 4

Backroom Bouncer: 1

Bomb Squad: 3

Dopplegangster: 5

Second-Rate Bruiser: 3

Spiked Hogrider: 3

Big-Time Racketeer: 3


Neutral Epics:

Weasel Tunneler: 3

Dirty Rat: 2

Blubber Baron: 1

Fel Orc Soulfiend: 3

Burgly Bully: 2

Defias Cleaner: 3

Fight Promoter: 5

Leatherclad Hogleader: 2

Wind-up Burglebot: 1


Neutral Legendaries:

Patches the Pirate: 3

Auctionmaster Beardo: 1

Sergeant Sally: 4

Genzo, the Shark: 3

Finja, the Flying Star: 3

Madam Goya: 3

Wrathion: 4

Mayor Noggenfogger: 3


Druid Cards:

Mark of the Lotus: 3

Jade Blossom: 5

Jade Behemoth: 4

Jade Idol: 4

Virmen Sensei: 1

Celestial Dreamer: 1

Pilfered Power: 2

Lunar Visions: 2

Kun, the Forgotten King: 4


Hunter Cards:

Alleycat: 4

Smuggler’s Crate: 4

Shaky Zipgunner: 3

Trogg Beastrager: 4

Hidden Cache: 2

Dispatch Kodo: 5

Rat Pack: 5

Piranha Launcher: 1

Knuckles: 4


Mage Cards:

Freezing Potion: 2

Kabal Lackey: 4

Cryomancer: 3

Potion of Polymorph: 3

Volcanic Potion: 4

Kabal Crystal Runner: 3

Manic Soulcaster: 3

Greater Arcane Missiles: 3

Inkmaster Solia: 5


Paladin Cards:

Grimscale Chum: 3

Smuggler’s Run: 4

Grimestreet Outfitter: 4

Getaway Kodo: 3

Grimestreet Enforcer: 4

Grimestreet Protector: 3

Meanstreet Marshal: 5

Small-Time Recruits: 4

Wickerflame Burnbristle: 4


Priest Cards:

Potion of Madness: 4

Kabal Talonpriest: 4

Kabal Songstealer: 3

Pint-Size Potion: 4

Greater Healing Potion: 3

Drakonid Operative: 5

Mana Geode: 4

Dragonfire Potion: 5

Raza the Chained: 5


Rogue Cards:

Jade Shuriken: 4

Jade Swarmer: 4

Shadow Rager: 3

Counterfeit Coin: 4

Gadgetzan Ferryman: 2

Shadow Sensei: 2

Lotus Assassin: 3

Luckydo Buccaneer: 3

Shaku, the Collector: 3


Shaman Cards:

Call in the Finishers: 3

Jade Lightning: 4

Jade Chieftain: 4

Devolve: 3

Jade Claws: 3

Jinyu Waterspeaker: 3

Finders Keepers: 3

Lotus Illusionist: 3

White Eyes: 4


Warlock Cards:

Crystalweaver: 3

Blastcrystal Potion: 3

Abyssal Enforcer: 5

Bloodfury Potion: 2

Seadevil Stinger: 3

Felfire Potion: 4

Unlicensed Apothecary: 4

Kabal Trafficker: 3

Krul the Unshackled: 3


Warrior Cards:

I Know a Guy: 3

Public Defender: 3

Grimy Gadgeteer: 4

Stolen Goods: 3

Grimestreet Pawnbroker: 4

Alley Armorsmith: 4

Sleep with the Fishes: 3

Brass Knuckles: 4

Hobart Grapplehammer: 5


Grimy Goons Tri-Class Cards:

Grimestreet Smuggler: 4

Grimestreet Informant: 3

Don Han’Cho: 4


Jade Lotus Tri-Class Cards:

Jade Spirit: 4

Lotus Agents: 4

Aya Blackpaw: 5


Kabal Tri-Class Cards:

Kabal Chemist: 4

Kabal Courier: 3

Kazakus: 5

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Preview: Final Thoughts

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is less than a week away! In fact, it launches this Thursday (two days away at the time of publication), so I decided that I should get in my final analysis before the expansion launches.

Best Class/Deck: Jade Golem Druid

Now, it’s obviously a bit early to declare this outright, but from the cards shown so far (and the results of the Live Stream on Monday), Jade Golem Druid looks like it will be the best deck by far once the expansion launches.

Thanks to the synergy between Ramp and Jade Golems in this deck, Druids can easily get out gigantic Jade Golems by turn 6 or 7. Even Midrange Shaman can’t build up a board that powerful that fast, which makes the mere thought of what Jade Golem Druid can become truly terrifying.

Worst Class/Deck: Jade Golem Rogue

Now, just because Jade Golem Druid is good doesn’t mean that all Jade Golem decks will be powerful. In fact, Jade Golem Rogue is likely the worst deck to come out of this expansion, for one simple reason: they’re fragmented. Where Jade Golem Druid has 3 cards that summon Jade Golems (including one that multiplies), Rogues only have 2 such cards.

In addition, Rogue only got two new spells (and no weapons!) which makes it even more difficult for them to control the board than it was before. As a result, it’s unlikely that Rogue players will even live long enough to get their Jade Golems out anyway.

Potentially Best Class/Deck: Dragon Priest

For the first time in just about forever, Priest looks like it might take a top spot in the meta due to them finally receiving cards that are powerful without being situational. Dragon Priest looks like it will be especially powerful, thanks to the phenomenal Drakonid Operative (a 5-mana Priest minion that’s actually playable). In addition, the new Priest Legendary—Raza the Chained—looks like it’s going to be a very powerful card, giving the class even more healing if the deck is built right.

In fact, Priest didn’t get a single bad card this entire expansion, which would set them up for an amazing year in the limelight—if it weren’t for one thing.

Potentially Worst Class/Deck: Dragon Priest

That one thing is the Standard Rotation. When the first adventure or expansion of 2017 hits, Dragon Priest will be completely devastated.

With the loss of Blackrock Mountain, the deck loses the Blackwing Technician and Blackwing Corruptor; with the loss of the Grand Tournament, Dragon Priest loses the Wyrmrest Agent and Twilight Guardian; and with the loss of the League of Explorers, Dragon Priest loses Reno Jackson, the only card that makes playing a Highlander deck for Raza the Chained viable.

As a result, many of Priest’s most powerful cards from this expansion will be made completely irrelevant, leading to the class’s early death. However, there’s a good chance that it will be one of—if not the—best decks for the next month or two, so you should give it a shot while you can.


Most Powerful Card: Aya Blackpaw

Now, while Kazakus is probably the most powerful card of the set, he’ll become virtually unplayable the moment Reno Jackson leaves the Standard Format. As a result, the title of Best Card has to go to Aya Blackpaw, the Jade Lotus Tri-Class Legendary who makes Jade Golem Decks possible.

Aya is the card that pushes Jade Golems from big to huge, and because she is a Battlecry and a Deathrattle minion, she can be used with cards such as N’Zoth and Brann Bronzebeard to make her potential even greater.


Least Powerful Card: Blubber Baron

Now, while I was tempted to go for an easy target, such as the Grook Fu Master or the Gadgetzan Ferryman, I decided to choose the Blubber Baron for one simple reason: his initial stats. Sure, he can get larger, but if you pull him from the top of your deck late in the game when you need an answer, he’s just a 3-mana 1/1 that does absolutely nothing. Even the Grook Fu Master and Gadgetzan Ferryman could have their uses in this situation, but the Blubber Baron is absolutely pointless.

However, despite being weak, the Blubber Baron is weak in a good way. Unlike the Grook Fu Master, the Blubber Baron has an interesting effect, and on the rare occasions when he actually does what he’s supposed to, it will make for some interesting gameplay.

Most Interesting Card: Mayor Noggenfogger

Now, this expansion has a lot of very interesting cards, but the one that I personally find the most exciting is Mayor Noggenfogger. A 9-mana 5/4, Mayor Noggenfogger causes all minions and targetable spells to choose random targets. Now, these plays still have to follow the rules (so minions cannot attack their own allies, and Spells that target a specific side’s minions cannot target the other side), but this effect will still make for some very interesting games.

Now, will this card see much—or any—competitive play? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a fun card. And besides, who knows? Yogg-Saron is even more random that Noggenfogger, and it sees play, so really, anything is possible.

Least Interesting Card: Grook Fu Master

It’s a 5-mana 3/5 with Windfury. What else is there to say?


Overall, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is shaping up to be the most interesting expansion Hearthstone has ever seen, and I can’t wait until it releases on December 1st.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Preview: The Jade Lotus

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is fast approaching, and in the weeks prior to the launch Blizzard has been revealing all the new cards that are coming to the game. Each week attention will be focused on one of the three gangs—this week, that gang is the Jade Lotus.

Comprised of Rogues, Shamans and Druids, the Jade Lotus are Gadgetzan’s spies and assassins. Need someone taken down? The Jade Lotus are the guys you call. For as long as anyone can remember, they’ve been content with this role—however, rumors have been going around that there’s been a change in philosophy among this faction’s leaders, and that the Jade Lotus is about to come out of the shadows to take their rightful place as the rulers of this city.

To provide the muscle for their new army, the Jade Lotus have created powerful Jade Golems that do their every bidding. The first time a Jade Lotus player summons a Jade Golem, it will be a 1/1—however, every time a Jade Golem is summoned after that, it will gain +1/+1, and before long you’ll be summoning Golems that are 10/10 or even larger!

jade-spiritFor example, the Jade Lotus have the Jade Spirit, a 4-mana 2/3 that summons a Jade Golem upon being played. Now, a 2/3 is pretty bad for 4 mana, however, the Jade Golem it summons will likely be a 2/2 or a 3/3. As a result, this card becomes a 4-mana 4/5 or 5/6, which is actually pretty good.

The Jade Golem mechanic is present throughout all the Jade Lotus classes, but the way it’s activated is different in each one.


In Rogue, the Jade Golem mechanic focuses around spells and stealthed minions. For Spells, Rogues have the Jade Shuriken, a jade-shuriken2-mana spell that deals 2 damage. If the Combo is enabled, however, it will also summon a Jade Golem. This card isn’t as powerful as Eviscerate in most Rogue decks, however in Jade Golem focused decks its power is much, much higher.

The other Jade Golem Rogue card that has been revealed so far is the Jade Swarmer, a 2-mana 1/1 that has Stealth and Deathrattle: Summon a Jade Golem. This card is difficult to predict power-wise, as its stats are a bit bad—however, the Deathrattle is actually very good, so the card might see some play.

shaku-the-collectorThe Rogue Legendary—Shaku, the Collector—is a Stealth minion, but it has nothing to do with Jade Golems, so it’s hard to see where exactly the Rogue archetype is going to be focused. There are still a lot of cards that haven’t been revealed yet, however, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the future.


Ever since the launch of The Grand Tournament, Shamans have been pushed into the Midrange and Aggro Archetypes. With the arrival of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, however, Shaman is finally getting some control tools, in the form of their Jade Golem Cards.jade-lightning

The first cards Shamans have is Jade Lightning, a 4-mana spell that deals 4 damage and summons a Jade Golem. Because of its higher cost, Jade Lightning isn’t a particularly good Aggro card, but the combination of removal and summoning a minion (likely a 2/2 or 3/3) is amazing for Control.

In addition, Shamans got the Jade Chieftain, a 7-mana 5/5 that summons a Jade Golem and gives it Taunt. In most cases, the Jade jade-chieftainGolem it summons will be at least a 4/4 or 5/5, which makes this card an impressive 7-mana 9/9 or 10/10! Needless to say, this effect is super powerful, and will definitely help Shamans to control the board against more aggressive decks.

Finally, the new Shaman Legendary is White Eyes, a 5-mana 5/5 with Taunt and a Deathrattle that shuffles the Storm Guardian into your deck. Now, White Eyes’ stats aren’t too great, however the Storm Guardian he shuffles into your deck is a 5-mana 10/10 that also has Taunt. That’s pretty crazy value, which could be all that Control Shaman needs to become truly viable.


Out of the three Jade Lotus classes, Druid was pushed the furthest into the Jade Golem archetype with some very powerful new cards. The first is the Jade Blossom, a 3-mana spell that summons a Jade Golem and gives the Druid an empty mana crystal. This is the same effect as Wild Growth, but the fact that it also gives a Jade Golem makes it incredibly good.jade-behemoth

The next card they got was the Jade Behemoth, a 6-mana 3/6 with Taunt that summons a Jade Golem when played. Like the Jade Chieftain, Jade Behemoth’s stats aren’t very good, but the Battlecry by itself makes the card amazing.

The final Jade Golem card Druids get is the Jade Idol, a 1-mana spell that allows players to summon a Jade kun-the-forgotten-kingGolem or shuffle 3 copies of this card into their deck. This is a very powerful card, as it single-handedly prevents Druids from ever dying to fatigue again.

Finally, the Druid Legendary is Kun the Forgotten King, a 10-mana 7/7 that allows players to gain 10 armor or refresh their Mana Crystals. Needless to say, this is a very powerful effect, but it’s hard to say what archetype the card will fall under, so it’s impact on the meta is impossible to predict.

The Jade Lotus Legendary

Like the other two gangs, the Jade Lotus has a special mechanic that their decks focus upon, so it’s only fitting that their tri-class Legendary revolves around that goal. Enter Aya Blackpaw, a 6-mana 5/3 with Battlecry and Deathrattle: Summon a Jade Golem.aya-blackpaw

This is an insanely powerful effect, as Aya Blackpaw’s subpar 5/3 stat-line effectively becomes 12/10 or even higher depending on how many Jade Golem cards have been played up to that point. Even better, she can be brought back with N’zoth, which allows the Jade Golems to keep ramping up.

Overall, the Jade Golem mechanic seems very powerful, and will have a huge impact on the meta when the expansion releases.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Preview: The Kabal

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is fast approaching, and in the weeks prior to the launch Blizzard has been revealing all the new cards that are coming to the game. Each week attention will be focused on one of the three gangs—this week, that gang is the Kabal.

Comprised of Priests, Mages and Warlocks, the Kabal are Gadgetzan’s main magic users. Hiding away from the prying eyes of the Grimy Goons, the Kabal hoard all the Mana they can get their hands on. No one knows for sure what this Mana is used for, but there are rumors of an underground alchemy lab where Kazakus—the leader of the Kabal—brews up a host of diabolical potions.

In addition to the usual slew of basic cards, the Kabal have a bunch of cards that focus around two mechanics—Potions and Highlander decks (where you have no duplicate cards in your deck).

kabal-chemistFor the most part, Potions are just basic spells, similar to what has been released in previous expansions. However, there are some cards that interact specifically with Potions in a way that hasn’t really been seen before. For example, there is the Kabal Chemist, a 4-mana 3/3 that adds a random Potion to your hand when it’s played. Because Potions tend to be better than the average spell, this minion’s effect will be pretty good most of the time.

The second mechanic present across many of the Kabal’s cards is the Highlander (or no duplicate theme). Cards with this effect are generally weak for their mana cost, but if the conditions for playing the card are met, these cards suddenly become some of the most powerful in the game.

Now, while these mechanics don’t vary quite as much between the classes as the Grimy Goons’ holding mechanic did, there are still some pretty big differences.


In Priest, the Potions revolve around the Control archetype, and dragonfire-potionthey help fulfill this goal in many ways. On the Board Clear side, they have the Dragonfire Potion, a 6-mana spell that deals 5 damage to all minions that are not Dragons. This is a very powerful Board Control Spell unless your opponent is running a Dragon deck, in which case Dragonfire Potion will do absolutely nothing.

In addition, Priest has a pair of Potions that combine to do some very interesting things. The Pint-Size Potion is a 1-mana Potion that gives all enemy minions -3 attack for one turn, and the Potion of Madness is a 1-mana Potion that gives you control of an enemy minion with 2 or less attack for one turn. Together, these Potions can let you take control of an enemy minion with up to 5 attack, which is a very powerful effect.

raza-the-chainedAs far as the Highlander effect goes, Priests have the Legendary Minion Raza the Chained. A 5-mana 5/5, Raza the Chained causes your Hero Power to cost 0 for the rest of the game as long as your deck has no duplicates. Needless to say, this is an incredibly powerful effect, as it allows the Priest to always be able to heal no matter how much mana he uses.


Mages don’t have quite as much subtlety to their Potions as Priests have, however that doesn’t make them any less powerful. The first potion-of-polymorphPotion Mages have is the Volcanic Potion, a 3-mana Spell that deals 2 damage to all minions. Mages have plenty of Board Clears already, but this card will still likely see some play.

The other Potion Mages have is the Potion of Polymorph, a 3-mana Secret that transforms the next minion your opponent plays into a 1/1 Sheep. Needless to say, this is a terrifying effect, and its very presence will often force your opponents to play weaker minions to ensure that their powerful Legendaries aren’t Sheeped.

Similarly to Priests, the inkmaster-soliaHighlander Mechanic shows up in the Legendary. Named Inkmaster Solia, the Mage Legendary is a 7-mana 5/5 that makes the next Spell you cast completely free, as long as you have no duplicates in your deck. This is possibly even more powerful than Raza the Chained’s effect, since being able to play a Pyroblast for free on turn 7 along with a 5/5 minion is absolutely insane for Tempo.


Warlocks also got some very powerful cards—however, for the first time in several expansions, the majority of them were focused on Control, rather than Zoo. For example, Warlocks got the Felfirefelfire-potion Potion, a 6-mana Spell that deals 5 damage to all characters. This has no place in a Zoolock deck, but fits perfectly in a Control-style deck.

Warlocks also got the Bloodfury Potion, a 3-mana Potion that gives a minion +3 Attack, and in some cases, also gives the minion +3 Health. This is more aggressive than the Felfire Potion, but it’s still too slow for the average Zoolock.

As far as Highlander Cards go, it’s impossible to say, because Warlock Legendary wasn’t revealed this week. Once it does get revealed, however, we’ll update this section to mention it.

The Kabal Legendary

Unlike the Grimy Goons, the Kabal have two main features that their decks center around: Potions and No-Duplicates. As a result, their tri-class Legendary—named Kazakus—puts both aspects of this kazakusgang into one card. A 4-mana 3/3, Kazakus has a Battlecry that allows players to create their own custom Potion, as long as they have no duplicates in their deck.

These potions are created through a series of three Discover mechanics. The first one decides the cost (1, 5 or 10 Mana). The second adds an ingredient, and the third adds a second ingredient. These ingredients decide what the potion does, and include things such as:

Goldthorn – Give your minions extra health.

Felbloom – Deal damage to all minions.

Kingsblood – Draw cards.

Mystic Wool – Transform minions into 1/1 Sheep.

Ichor of Undeath – Summon friendly minions that died this game.

These effects scale depending on how high the mana cost is, so at 10 mana, you’re looking at a pretty powerful potion. However, a 1-mana potion will still be very powerful for its mana cost, which potentially makes Kazakus the best card in the game.

Overall, the Kabal seems like a worthy contender to the Grimy Goons, and I can’t wait to see how they perform.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Preview: The Grimy Goons

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is fast approaching, and in the weeks prior to the launch Blizzard has been revealing all the new cards that are coming to the game. Each week attention will be focused on one of the three gangs—this week, that gang is the Grimy Goons.

Comprised of Paladins, Hunters and Warriors, the Grimy Goons are your typical Gangsters. They flaunt their power openly (unlike the other two gangs) and aren’t afraid to throw their weight around to maintain their idea of order.

In addition to the usual slew of basic cards, the Grimy Goons have a bunch of cards that share a brand new mechanic: the ‘holding’ mechanic, which buffs cards that are in your hand.grimestreet-smuggler

An example of a card that has this Mechanic is the tri-class Grimestreet Smuggler. A 3-mana 2/4, the Grimestreet Smuggler’s Battlecry gives a random minion in your hand +1/+1. This is a pretty powerful effect, as while you sacrifice some tempo by playing a 2/4 on turn 3, you gain those stats back on a future minion.

Now, while this mechanic is present throughout all the Grimy Goons, its impact and power varies depending on which class is being played.


In Hunter, the holding mechanic is focused around cards that are efficient plays for their mana. For example, they have the Trogg Beastrager, a 2-mana 3/2 (good stats for two mana) whose Battlecry gives a random Beast in your hand +1/+1. This effect isn’t as powerful as the Grimestreet Smuggler’s (because it’s limited tdispatch-kodoo a Beast), however its stats are better for the Mana Cost.

In addition, Hunter has the Dispatch Kodo, a 4-mana 2/4 with the Battlecry ‘Deal damage equal to this minion’s Attack’. At first, this just seems like an okay card—however, couple it with buffs from cards such as the Trogg Beastrager, and this minion becomes insane—dealing 3, 4 or even 5 damage when played.


Warriors utilize the holding mechanic in a similar way to Hunters, grimy-gadgeteerbut with one distinct change: they forego some tempo in exchange for more powerful buffs. For example, Warriors have the Grimy Gadgeteer, a 4-mana 4/3 that gives a random minion +2/+2 at the end of your turn. Obviously, this is a more powerful effect than the Trogg Beastrager’s, however, the Grimy Gadgeteer is a much weaker minion stat-wise.

In addition, Warriors also have the Grimestreet Pawnbroker, a 3-mana 3/3 whose Battlecry gives a random weapon in your hand +1/+1. This is a very powerful effect, and even though it’s attached to a minion with a weak body, its effect more than makes up for the small tempo loss.

Finally, Warriors have the Stolen Goods, a 2-mana Spell that gives a i-know-a-guyrandom Taunt minion in your hand +3/+3. Now, Warriors don’t usually run many Taunt Minions, however this card combos with I Know a Guy, a 1-mana Spell that lets you Discover a Taunt minion. This combination guarantees that you’ll always have a Taunt to buff, but you’ll be spending 3 mana to do nothing, so it’s a fairly weak play.

As far as minions that benefit from holding buffs, Warriors have the Alley Armorsmith, a 5-mana 2/7 with Taunt and an effect that says ‘Whenever this minion deals damage, gain that much Armor’. Now, at 2 Attack, this effect isn’t too powerful. However, if it gets buffed by the Grimy Gadgeteer or Stolen Goods, it’s actually a pretty powerful effect.


Paladins are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Hunters. Where Hunters have high-tempo cards with weaker grimestreet-outfittereffects, Paladins have low-tempo cards with very powerful effects. For example, Paladins have the Grimestreet Outfitter, a 2-mana 1/1 with a Battlecry that gives all the minions in your hand +1/+1. Needless to say, a 1/1 on turn two is terrible tempo-wise, but its effect is incredibly powerful.

The next minion Paladins have is the Grimestreet Enforcer. A 5-mana 4/4, this minion gives all the minions in your hand +1/+1 at the end of your turn. Once again, this is a very powerful effect—though it is countered by the fact that it is very low tempo.

Finally, Paladins have Smuggler’s Run, a 1-mana Spell that gives all the minions in your hand +1/+1. This is possibly even better than the other two cards. Since it only costs one mana, the loss of tempo you take by playing it can be counteracted with a single buffed card.

meanstreet-marshalFor the cards you’ll be buffing, Paladins have the Meanstreet Marshal, a 1-mana 1/2 that draws a card when it dies as long as it has at least 2 attack. Now, this minion actually has good stats for its mana cost, but if you play it on turn one, you’ll have trouble making use of its Deathrattle. However, this problem can be solved thanks to Small-Time Recruits, a 3-mana Spell that draws three 1-mana minions from your deck.

Small-Time Recruits allows you to fill your deck with weak 1-mana minions, pull them out on demand and then buff them with cards such as the Grimestreet Outfitter and Smuggler’s Run. Pull this off successfully, and you’ll have turns where you play 6 or 9-mana worth of stats for only 3 mana. Needless to say, that’s pretty insane.

Finally, the Paladin Class Legendary—a dwarf named Wickerflame Burnbristle—also benefits from this mechanic. Wickerflame wickerflame-burnbristleBurnbristle is a 3-mana 2/2 with Divine Shield and Taunt. In addition, whenever Wickerflame Burnbristle deals damage he restores that much health to your hero. Now, like the Alley Armorsmith, this is a bit underwhelming at first. However, when given a couple buffs, Wickerflame Burnbristle becomes an absolute monstrosity.

The Grimy Goons Legendary

don-hanchoBecause the Grimy Goons revolve around the holding mechanic, it only makes sense that their tri-class legendary would do the same. Enter Don Han’Cho, a 7-mana 5/6 that gives a random minion in your hand +5/+5. Now, a 5/6 is pretty bad for 7 mana, but when you consider the buff it gives, Don Han’Cho becomes a 7-mana 10/11, and that’s pretty good.

Overall, the holding mechanic is very, very strong, and it is likely to completely change the game as we know it today.

The Gurubashi Arena: Thrall vs. Uther – Part One

“Ladies and Gentletrolls—welcome once more to da Gurubashi arena! I be Dar’jin Longtusk, and I be excited ta bring ya anodder excitin’ match. Today, we be seein’ a battle widdout equal, as two mighty warriors go face ta face!”

The announcer troll pointed to the Arena’s sandy floor, where a human clad in golden armor and carrying a massive hammer was standing. “Today’s challenga be Uther, a Paladin of da Silver Hand,” the troll proclaimed, “Dis may be his first visit to our Arena, but even I’ve heard of his reputation as a strong and mighty champion of da Light.”

The crowd cheered as Uther held his hammer aloft and declared, “I fight with honor!”

 Waiting a moment for the noise to die down, the troll turned to the Arena’s entrance and announced, “And now, please welcome our reignin’ champion and leader of da Earthen Ring, Thrall!” Raucous cheers poured forth from every mouth as a tall, green-skinned orc stepped through the entranceway. The orc carried a giant stone hammer in one hand, while his other crackled with intense energy.

“For Doomhammer!” Thrall roared, raising the aforementioned weapon. “For the Frostwolves!” The cheers of the crowd grew even louder—if that were even possible—and they didn’t subside until nearly a minute after the orc had taken his place across the Arena from his human opponent.

“Two warriors enter, but only one leaves,” Dar’jin proclaimed, “Let da battle begin!” Immediately, a hush fell over the Arena, as everyone gave their full attention to the battle before them.tunnel-trogg

For several moments, the two combatants eyed each other warily, but then Thrall raised his arm and made a slight gesture. Immediately, one of the doors at the Arena’s edge opened, and a short, barrel-chested creature with a sharp stone hatchet came charging out onto the Arena floor. “Troggs rule!” the little humanoid (commonly known as a Tunnel Trogg) announced, skidding to a halt in front of its master. “Troggs rule!”

From the other side of the Arena, Uther narrowed his eyes, observing this first threat with concern. “It appears dat our challenga don’ know what ta do,” the troll announcer helpfully commented. “Da Tunnel Trogg be too much for him.”

Indeed, this appeared to be the case, as Uther stared at the lone Trogg in apparent indecision. Several moments passed, but then the paladin’s eyes brightened as he got an idea. Reaching into the coin purse at his waist, Uther withdrew a single gold coin and tossed it over to the tunnel on his side of the Arena. Instantly, the wooden door was pushed open, and a blood elf clad in bright red robes strode out and yelled, “The End is Coming!”doomsayer

“Well, dis be a bold play,” Dar’jin stated, watching the proceedings with interest. “It appears dat Uther be putting his fate in de hands of da Doomsayer. Now, Thrall has ta make a decision: kill da Doomsayer, or let him go off. This be a tough choice, and…”

The announcer’s statement turned out to be incorrect, for even before he had finished speaking, Thrall barked an order and the Tunnel Trogg charged at the human paladin. Raising his hammer, Uther blocked the blow, but the sheer force of the charging Trogg knocked him back several steps.

Regaining his balance, the paladin slammed the Trogg with his hammer, knocking the creature away. Hissing, the ugly humanoid prepared to attack again, but before he could, the Doomsayer yelled, “I knew it!” An expression of horror crossed the Trogg’s face for a split second before both he and the Doomsayer were engulfed in giant burst of flame.

“Well, da end has come for dat Trogg,” the troll announcer proclaimed. “Now, it be up ta Uther ta decide which of his allies he’ll summon next.” Unlike Thrall, the human paladin was taking his time in making a decision, and nearly a minute and a half passed before Uther’s gates opened again, and a lightly armored Silver Hand Recruit charged out.silver-hand-recruit

“Reporting for duty,” the young paladin saluted before taking his place in front of his commander. Nodding gratefully at the Silver Hand Recruit’s quick response, Uther looked back at Thrall, ready for whatever his opponent was planning.

Once again, Thrall was not long in making up his mind, and raising the mighty Doomhammer, he barked yet another order. Immediately, the doors on his side of the Arena opened—and a blubbery Tuskarr Totemic stepped out. “Did you bring some fish?” he asked his commander curiously. Thrall shook his head, and the Tuskarr let out a sigh.

“So, we have a Tuskarr Totemic,” Dar’jin Longtusk proclaimed, “Now, we jus’ need ta see what he will summon.” Down on the Arena floor, the Tuskarr raised his hand, and a second later a massive ‘thud’ resounded throughout the entire structure as a massive creature appeared. “By da loa,” the announcer gasped, “Dat be a Totem Golem!”tuskarr-totemic

Raising his hands, Thrall let out a cheer at this incredible luck—but then, a gigantic foam mace dropped from the heavens and crushed the Totem Golem into splinters. “Whoa!” the troll gasped again. “Thrall’s amazing luck has been foiled by da power of da Nerf Hammer! The Tuskarr Totemic is trying ta repair his creation, but it looks like da best he can come up with is a Wrath of Air Totem. How embarrassing.”

Laughter rippled through the Arena at this turn of fortune, and with a smile Uther summoned his next ally. The gates opened, and with a loud “Mrglglrglglgl”, a Murloc Warleader marched out onto the battlefield and took its place beside the Silver Hand Recruit.murloc-warleader

Waiting until the Warleader was settled, the Silver Hand Recruit yelled, “To Battle!” and charged across the field right at Thrall’s Wrath of Air Totem. With a loud ‘clonk’, the young paladin slammed his battle-hammer into the Totem, causing cracks to appear all over its wooden surface.

Satisfied for the moment, the Silver Hand recruit returned to his allies as Thrall pondered what he’d do in response. Several seconds passed, then a scowl crossed the orc’s face, and facing the doors he let out a primal yell. Immediately, a cloud of darkness began issuing from the tunnel, and a second later, a massive monster stepped out, murmuring “Nflamewreathed-facelesseed a light?” as it came.

“Oh, no!” Dar’jin exclaimed, “Dat be da Flamewreathed Faceless, da most powerful Arena fighta in recent years. Dis guy alone be why Thrall is so powerful—so unless Uther can find a way ta deal with it, dis match be over right now.”


To be continued…