If you missed it yesterday, we received the sad news that it’ll be a bit longer before we see beta invitations sent out. The flip side is that, the game we do receive access to will be a lot more polished and provide a more satisfying experience overall. Patience is a virtue. While we wait, there are more previews to be had. Today, we’ll talk about the stealthy and often tricky minions available to Valeera Sanguinar and the Rogue deck, and how to combine them and the myriad of spells to great effect.
What a great card. This guy comes in as a gimpy 1/1 for two, but enters with Stealth and an awesome card power. Any minion this gnome stabs will die, assuming they don’t have access to Divine Protection. Odds are, after attacking, Patient Assassin will die a terrible death to return fire damage, but hey. Two mana to take out almost any creature on the board? Yes, please.
Statistically, Defias Ringleader is a sound card at 2/3 for 2. The three toughness gives it a nice degree of durability in the early game. Where the card shines though is its Combo power, the ability to summon a 2/1 Defias Bandit. Given that the Rogue deck features a few zero cost spells, it’s totally reasonable to envision bringing this guy out on turn two, along with some backup. Moreover, if you haven’t listened to last week’s HearthPro Podcast, Rongar paints a very vivid image of walking into a forest, wherein he is beset by at least a hundred Defias Bandits. He’s probably just paranoid.
Master of Disguise
I hope I’m not the only one getting flashbacks to that awful Dana Carvey movie from 2002. Thankfully, this minion is a lot better than a kids movie starring Dana Carvey. Master of Disguise is a respectable 4/3 for 3 that, upon entering, awards a friendly minion with Stealth. This is a great card to run if you’re looking to do a deck that focuses on heavy hitters abusing the Stealth mechanic. I’d love to see it comboed with cards like Edwin VanCleef, in order to ensure that after his initial attack he vanishes (see what I did there) right back into the shadows. The 4/3 stats on the card also make it a decent brawler.
If you read the spells and abilities preview on Tuesday, we discussed Perdition’s Blade. The dagger and SI:7 Agent share a neat pedigree, the power to deal two damage when comboed, in conjunction with admittedly pedestrian stats. The ability to deal direct damage and still retain a modicum of usefulness on the battlefield make both of these cards great, because they effectively become two cards for one, and neither is very expensive, just increasing their worth. SI:7 Agent‘s 3/3 is respectable and, when played intelligently, this hit man packs a decent punch.
I like what the card does, but I’m not huge on the mana cost. At six mana, Kidnapper comes out as an underwhelming 5/3, devoid of Stealth. He does, however, allow you to return a target minion to the owner’s hand. That’s a fairly versatile ability and can serve a number of purposes, from assisting you in recycling specific minions with advantageous battlecries, or Stealth, to simply getting rid of annoying enemy minions with Taunt for at least a turn. The decision to run this card will need to be made based on what you want your deck to do. If you find yourself running something with a lot of stealth and have more expensive generic minions, I’d take a pass. Otherwise, Kidnapper‘s probably worth looking into.
Ahh, the bane of my level 19 existence in Vanilla World of Warcraft, and the boss I always felt worst about murdering for loot. This guy was a man of true grit, standing up to the Noble Class of Stormwind on behalf of the unpaid Stonemasons who worked tirelessly to rebuild Stormwind. Thankfully, the Hearthstone team has done this legendary minion justice, giving him the potential to be a powerhouse if played with enough cards behind him.
Edwin VanCleef might not seem like much, entering the battlefield as a 1/1 for 3, but he comes in with Stealth and the ability to gain a +2/+2 for each other card played during the turn. Given just how cheap most of the core Rogue set is, it’s not impossible to imagine dumping your hand for something like an 11/11 Assassin. Moreover, running him in a deck that features the ability to give Stealth multiple times could realistically make this card a game winner. Not bad for the son of a Stonemason.
There are a lot of different routes to go with this deck, and that’s being conservative about it. The Rogue setup features a great mix of cheap jabs, utility and card draw, along with a couple of more costly cards that can totally turn the tide, or put you in a position to make the final strike.
I could easily envision a deck theme wherein most, if not all of the minions are Stealthed. Patient Assassin, Worgen Infiltrator, Edwin VanCleef, Jungle Panther, Stranglethorn Tiger and Ravenholdt Assassin all feature Stealth and, what’s more, could be given Stealth again through the clever use of Shadowstep, Kidnapper, Master of Disguise, Conceal, et cetera. The various low damage Rogue spells, along with cards like Backstab and Assassinate could ensure that aggressive decks are kept in check while you set up your timely ambushes. If you go this route though, be weary of running non-stealthed minions. They’ll absolutely eat up all of your opponent’s minion hate cards, which is a shame, because Nat Pagle would be great to ensure that your hand remained full for activating Combo cards. Also, slight note, BEWARE OF FLARE.
A deck centered around recycling battlecry abilities would also be interesting, complimented by the standard host of Rogue damage cards. I’d love to try this idea with minions like Ironbeak Owl, Youthful Brewmaster, Crazed Alchemist, Big Game Hunter, and then a couple of the Stealth Minions, mostly run to pack the actual punch. The previous four minions listed, along with some others in the generic set would do a good job of keeping the board locked down and could be summoned, unsummoned and resummoned with ease, making intelligent use of both Rogue and generic cards. It’d be worth noting that, in this deck, I’d look to run a couple of larger, game winning creatures, something in the vein of Ragnaros or Ysera. Again, those are just my picks. Cards that, if left alone, will win you the game after a few turns.
Of all the decks available in Hearthstone, it seems like Rogue is going to be one of the most fun to watch the evolution of. There’s room for a lot of mean spirited tricks and, as a Rogue in World of Warcraft, I cannot wait to see them in action when it comes time for the Hearthstone beta.
Class previews are almost at end, and we’ve saved the most heinously overpowered (I’m not biased, I promise) for last. Check in next week as we preview Druid menace Malfurion Stormrage!