Hearthstone's second Adventure, titled Blackrock Mountain, was announced at PAX East last Friday, and as well as outlining the basics of the new content, we also got a sneak peek at five of the 31 new cards that will be rewarded for completing the various challenges set in the Adventure.
Here's a quick card-by-card review of the new characters and creatures we've seen so far, and how we think they might shake up the metagame when Blackrock Mountain is released next month.
Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain - Blackwing Technician Analysis
There's very little about the Blackwing Technician that feels essential right now, although we'll make the point that there are plenty of cards still to be revealed. Its vanilla stats are pretty unremarkable, but if Blizzard reveals some extremely low-cost Dragon minions in the coming weeks, it may feel a good deal more viable. You'd include the Blackwing Technician in a deck themed entirely around Dragons, of course, but you'd have to be pretty reckless to make it a part of your Arena strategy.
Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain - Dark Iron Skulker Analysis
This particular card is just for the Rogues amongst you, and should provide a pretty decent mid-game board clear against the ever-popular aggro decks. Just keep in mind that the Battlecry effect will only affect undamaged minions, and so you won't be able to make use of Backstab in combination with it. Misplays will abound when this card hits the metagame. Anything which deals mass-damage and leaves a body on the board is certainly a good pick in Arena.
Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain - Grim Patron Analysis
There's a lot of potential for the Warrior to build entire decks around the Grim Patron. Cards like Death's Bite, Bouncing Blade, Whirlwind and many others can be used to activate the Patron's cloning ability – the potential for absolute anarchy is apparent. There's far too much dependency on other cards to reliably pick the Grim Patron in Arena, but we think there'll be some incredibly fun decks popping up in the Ranked and Casual modes.
Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain - Hungry Dragon Analysis
Effectively a turbo-charged Chillwind Yeti / Mechanical Yeti - albeit one with a minor Battlecry penalty – the Hungry Dragon is going to be an extremely common card to encounter. Thankfully, most of the one-Mana minions in the game only have a single point of health, so it shouldn't be too tricky to mop up the Battlecry effect. Mages and Rogues in particular will enjoy dropping this Dragon down on Turn 6, with enough Mana left over to make use of their Hero Powers for removal. It's hard to imagine a Dragon-themed deck that won't include this card.
Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain - Rend Blackhand Analysis
Rend Blackhand might seem like rather a big deal at first glance, but when you consider that a very similar effect can – most of the time – be achieved using Big Game Hunter, it loses much of its shine. The Dragon-in-hand requisite doesn't sell the card much either, and with a mere four points of health it's hard to imagine Rend sticking around long enough to punch that eight attack damage into anything before he's removed. Yes it will work - sometimes. Will it – on average – represent great value? We think not.