Good afternoon, class. We’ve spent a lot of time on different types of decks, both how to use them and how to handle them when they’re on the other side of the board. This week I want to go off of this topic and focus on a few specific cards. These cards aren’t necessarily the best of their type, nor do they belong in every single deck. Instead, I consider them to be excellent training tools; effective and easy enough to use that you can come to understand how their various effects work and thus can more effectively build a deck around those abilities, even if you end up using an entirely different card.
Iron Beak Owl
For those who aren’t familiar with the effect, Silence essentially nullifies the abilities and buffs of any other target card. Windfury, Taunt, Deathrattle, and even special abilities unique to that card are wiped out by this effect. Iron Beak Owl isn’t the hands-down best card that uses this skill, but it is one of the cheapest aside from the Priest-only Silence card. Though he’s only a 2/1, Iron Beak Owl is cheap enough that you can use him without worrying too much about your resources, thus allowing you to experiment with the ability more freely. It’s also a useful card for learning when to hold your cards even when you can use them.
Taunt is arguably one of the best abilities in Hearthstone. It can protect your more dangerous minions and it can buy you a much-needed extra turn. While there are lots of taunt cards in the game, Sen’jin Shieldmasta is one of the most common and with good reason. At four mana he’s a bit more expensive than some other taunt cards, but he has the necessary stats to still be effective. The three damage ensures that he’ll do a decent bit of harm to anyone that goes up against him, and the five life keeps him out of danger from most nuke spells. While you may find yourself using different taunt cards in the future, Sen’jin Shieldmasta is good choice to watch your back while you learn the ropes.
Shattered Sun Cleric
With three’s across the board, Shattered Sun Cleric can hold her own against many other cards for a good price. What makes her special though is that +1/+1 buff that she gives to any other minion on the board. Placing her can make even the Paladin’s Silver Hand Recruits that much more threatening. The reason that I consider a card like this important even for new players is that it’s necessary to learn exactly how best to use buffs. Many new players, myself included, often want to choose a single minion and give it all of the + abilities in the world to turn it into an unstoppable juggernaut of death. That’s all well and good until a certain other card listed above gets dropped and brings the minion back down to Earth. At least when that happens you might still have a decent 3/3 on the board. You’ll quickly learn while using this card and other buff spells to spread the love and make a strong team that can withstand one or two losses.
Like the Iron Beak Owl, Novice Engineer is not a fantastic card on her own. At only 1/2 she’s not much of a threat to anybody and there are cards that have way better stats for the same cost. Where Novice Engineer shines, however, is her Battlecry. While simply drawing one card doesn’t seem all that special to the untrained player, veterans know the important of card cycling. There is of course a chance that the card drawn is nothing special, but even still that extra cards gives you that much more to do during your next turn. Once again, there are arguably better card-cycling cards out there, but Novice Engineer’s low cost means that you can see the benefits of card-cycling sooner rather than later.
In an earlier article I explained that Enrage was tricky because no enemy is going to trigger the ability unless they can kill the card outright or silence it first. Thankfully, with 2/3 behind his belt, Amani Berserker is still a good card to drop in the early game even if you never get to use his Enrage. Additionally, the three health gives you a chance to come up with ways to trigger the effect yourself such as using the Mage’s fireball on him. Amani Berserker has an additional lesson to teach; even cards that don’t have Taunt will often perform the same role. Many novice players will go after Enrage cards like there’s no tomorrow, leaving other cards unharmed in the process even when it is unwise to do so.
Faerie Dragon is possibly the card in this list that is most likely to end up in most of your professional decks, as well as being the only card here that jerk Iron Beak Owl can’t ruin,, but it’s still a great card for novices. For one thing, it’s an incredibly dangerous card to see early game. Three damage is great for any card since there are very few minions that cost the same amount of mana and can withstand that kind of damage. If the dragon gets to hit the enemy hero that’s even better since that’s a whole tenth of their max health right there. The thing that makes Faerie Dragon truly great, however, is that special ability which is also why he’s listed here. That ability makes him completely invulnerable to any single target nuke and control spells, meaning that the most likely way that an enemy will deal with FD is to throw another minion at it, likely killing the aggressor in the process. For educational purposes, Faerie Dragon proves just how important such abilities are. Like they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and there’s nothing like being unable to use an ability that you take for granted to prove just how great it is. Play this card against a Mage or Warlock and you can practically see the frustration through your monitor.
Once again I must reiterate; these cards do not belong in every deck. This isn’t meant to be a list of cards that every player needs to use all the time to succeed. What these cards do, however, is serve as excellent and easy-to-use minions that any player can get use out of while they are still learning how different effects work and when best to play them.