The Place for Your Hearthstone Needs!
The upcoming adventure, Blackrock Mountain, makes for an exciting time for every Hearthstone player. A new adventure means new cards; this results in a change in the ranked ladder and tournament meta game, where innovation and deck-building are the key focuses. In this article series, I will endeavour to evaluate the cards from Blackrock Mountain and how they will fare in our current Hearthstone meta game, as well as in the ‘Arena’.
I will be discussing the following two cards because the mechanism in which they operate is similar: Dragon Egg and the newly spoiled Warlock class card, Imp Gang Boss. They both require damage to trigger their effects, which generate a 2/1 or 1/1 minion respectively.
When it comes to Dragon Egg, the popular opinion on the Internet is that this card is not going to see much play, and on the first look, the card is rather underwhelming. It does not have any attack power so it cannot trigger attacks by itself, and a 2/1 minion is rather easy to deal with in Hearthstone (one-third of the Hero Powers are able to deal one targeted damage; e.g. Mage, Rogue and Druid).
However, I personally feel that this card has a place in aggressive decks that plan to play many buff effects like Abusive Sergeant, Direwolf Alpha and Shattered Sun Cleric. The most obvious deck for this card would be in Warlock Zoo decks.
Since the nerf of the Undertaker, Warlock Zoo decks have been hurting for another competitive one-drop (apart from the usual fare of Leper Gnomes, Abusive Sergeants and Flame Imps). Most modern Zoo lists have adopted Elven Archer as their one-drop of choice as a soft counter to the one-health minions in Hunter and Paladin (or just as a value minion that will deal more than 1 damage for 1 mana), while others have went back to the Argent Squire as a sticky minion that cannot be removed immediately with a Hero Power.
This card may be the one-drop that the traditional Warlock Zoo decks of old are looking for in that current flex slot. Below are the following reasons:
I have demonstrated that the Dragon Egg can work as a reasonable one-drop in Zoo. The typical comeback to this would be that the 2/1 minion is not worth it, because they are easy to remove. However, removing the minion will cost mana, and in the early turns against Zoo, this will give you the space to develop more minions with no answer from your opponent.
Furthermore, if anything, the most recent expansion, Goblins Versus Gnomes, has shown that 1-health minions have value in this game. We saw how Implosion changed from being a sub-par card in the eyes of most players to become the predominant way Warlock mid-range or Zoo lists generate value (by flooding the boards with 1/1 minions). We saw how a Paladin’s turn 3 Muster for Battle is actually a fine play as it significantly challenges the board.
Other than that, I do not foresee this card having a place in the meta. Without consistent buff effects in your deck, you cannot trigger it, so it is pretty much worthless. If you need a board insurance against board clears, you have the far superior Nerubian Egg. In the ‘Arena’, where you cannot guarantee buff effects, this card will not be a good pick as well, as the opponent can just simply ignore it and move on with life, guaranteeing that you have wasted a card.
Overall, I feel it is the solid one-drop that Zoo badly needs at the moment. It is definitely not on the same level as the old Undertaker, or its closest counterpart, the Nerubian Egg, but it will make do. Other than that, there will be little application.
In terms of Imp Gang Boss, however, there is less to say, as this card plainly needs less defending. A 2/4 for 3 mana equates to a decent-sized body that is better trading down than up, but still a fair size for its cost, provided it has upside (and boy, does it have one)! Generating 1/1 minions every time it takes damage is no joke, and I will definitely look forward to seeing Imp Gang Boss on my side of the board generating two 1/1 minions on average, creating 4/6 worth of stats for 3 mana – that sounds like a good deal.
Imp Gang Boss is also resilient to board clears from the opponent in two ways – firstly, having four health means that not many board clears less Flamestrike can touch it – and after it gets hit by a board clear, it leaves at least a 1/1 minion after, acting as board clear insurance. This resiliency will definitely place this card amongst consideration for the Warlock Zoo three-drop slot – in fact I can see this card taking the place of Harvest Golem in the three-drop slot at the moment just by simply being more resilient and generating more value.
Its application do not just end at Zoo, however. A 3-mana 2/4 means that it is great at trading down against one and two-drop minions; we have seen its application in Zalae’s Warrior deck that he piloted in the recent ESL finals, where he used Frothing Berserker not just as an early body, but also with late-game applications for burst damage. Imp Gang Boss certainly cannot burst though, but leaving a 1/1 minion every time it takes damage (and it will take damage twice against one and two-drops) leaves a significant board presence that can be used to mitigate against cheaper minions. The trading-down application of this card means that it’s a strong front-runner for Warlock decks that plan to survive against the early onslaught of minions from opponents.
The fact that it is a Demon allows for great value synergies with Voidcaller as well, allowing for a truly mid-range Demonlock shell that can take aggression. I am really excited about this card, and hope to see what it will bring to a Warlock class where the Demon synergies have been severely lacking until now.
As it translates for most Hearthstone cards; if it is great in constructed, it will be at least good in the ‘Arena’. I do not think Imp Gang Boss is an exception – it leaves value smeared onto everything it touches in the form of 1/1 minions, and seeing how Voidcaller is also a common pick, may lead to an improvement in Warlock performances in the ‘Arena’. With the arrival of this card, the stock of Voidcaller in the ‘Arena’ will probably increase as well.
In conclusion, I have big dreams for both of these cards – I am certain that they will both be at least in the consideration as role-players in existing decks. I have bigger dreams for Imp Gang Boss, though: here is hoping for a shift in Demonlock decks to a more mid-range shell, and as such allow for a greater diversity of decks. With this I end my review of these two cards.
Let me know what you think of the review; cheers!
Hey, I’m Avery. Been playing Hearthstone for a year, aiming to hit Legend rank consistently every month. Am looking to step into the world of Hearthstone media content, so if you have any feedback, please send it to Avery.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Silfer