I am holding off on my usual infographics until the new formats hit. Until then, allow me to get into the hype of card releases and bring you something that I hope you find useful.When I look at the reviews of the cards due to release in an upcoming expansion, there is always one thing that bothers me. Once the review is written or the video posted there is no turning back until we see the whole picture of the full release. When this finally happens, there will normally be reviews of all cards again, which usually contains a lot of repetition of what was said or written previously.
“This ranking should be flexible and evolve with every card released.”
My approach will be a little different. This ranking should be flexible and evolve with every card released. I will not do any in deep reviews of the cards and I will not give you a minute actual listing of the cards (for that, we already have JR’s (@Eldorian) frequently updated Spoiler List). Instead, I will rather try to catch the leading opinions of prominent players like Firebat, Brian Kibler, Savjz and others and then order the cards accordingly. Of course, when I personally feel a card has been totally misevaluated, I reserve the freedom of putting it where I see fit. In that case, I will most likely indicate my particular reasoning. More importantly though, I will change the ranking of cards, if new Cards are released that Change the meta in a way to affect that card. This article groups the cards based on their potential power level from (1) Excellent to (5) Unplayable. Atop, there are also two interesting categories I find particularly useful to add: tech and build-around cards. You can find a complete overview of the categories as follows:
(1) Excellent: Cards that are top-notch or potentially overpowered. Most decks would like to run them, e.g. Dr. Boom.
(2) Good / Competitively Playable: Superior cards that will very likely see frequent play, e.g. Annoy-o-Tron, Harvest Golem.
(3) Decent / No Competitive Staple: Cards that normally do not make the cut for competitive play but are overall well-designed and might fit into specific decks. These cards can be powerful in Arena though or really viable for newer players but you would not likely see them in tournaments. Also vanilla cards such as Chillwind Yeti fall into this category.
(4) Poor / Too Situational: Underwhelming and/or overcosted cards. These cards have inferior stats and/or underwhelming effects and will not see competitive play, e.g. Voodoo Doctor. Grouped in this category are also cards that seem to be good at first glace, but their effect are so highly situational that most of the times you will not be able to pull them off, e.g. Ghaz’rilla. The latter can arguably be fun and even powerful IF their effect goes of, of course. In any case, these cards I like to call “what-if cards” are so unreliable that they render themselves unusable in competitive play. Feel free to raise these cards to a “build-around” card or just have fun with!
(5) Unplayable: Straight out bad stats, poor card design or simply useless cards that are even too bad for casual play? You have them in your deck? Delete Hearthstone! 😉 These cards you would not and should never put in your deck, e.g. Magma Rager. Okay, one exception here: you want to troll your opponent so that he thinks you are the worst Hearthstone player alive! 😆
(A/B) Archetype Defining / Build-Around: Cards that are only viable if you build your deck around them, e.g. Grim Patron.
(C) Counter / Tech Choice: Cards that mostly have underwhelming stats but are highly useful to counter specific Cards or to Play against a very uniform meta, e.g. Eater of Secrets.
All right fellow Hearthstoners, let’s head to the actual rating after the disclaimer and the growing changelog.
READ THIS FIRST:
- I will update this post constantly after subsequent releases of new cards. There will be a slight delay to this because I have a full time job which does not allow me to update instantaneously. I will also make a recap after the first full season with the new cards. The changelog will be visible directly after this disclaimer.
- Ranking is meant with Standard play mode and with competitive play in mind. It will not cover Wild or Arena Play mode.
- The evaluation is subjective and I might overlook the potential of one card or another. Comments are heavily appreciated below if you do not agree with any ranking or anything else. Alternatively you can comment @OtakuMZ1978 via Twitter (#OldGodsPowerRanking).
- Comments are located at the bottom of this article to clarify some questionable Ratings.
- Sorting is as follows: neutral cards first – classes alphabetically – mana from low to high.
- April 8th 2016: inital release with 54 cards
- Boogeymonster: This is outright trash statwise but I find the concept good enough to not put it into (5).
- C’Thun Cultist: I will rate C’Thun synergy cards in categories (1) to (5) under the assumption that they are played with C’Thun AND that C’Thun is competitively viable, meaning categorized in (1) or (2).
- Cho’Gall: This one is tough to evaluate but seems viable with the right deck. It may even be a top notch finisher or comeback Card (1).
- Faceless Shambler: This one has potential to be better (2)/(3).
- Giant Sand Worm: If BGH is nerfed this might turn out better than it is actually rated.
- Heral Volazj: He might be better (2).
- Hogger, D. of E.: I am unsure about this one. It might turn out either (2) or (4).
- Infest: This may be a archetype defining Cards
- Scaled Nightmare: it might be better (in tempo oriented decks) or worse (in control decks). Very hard to evaluate because its weakness and ist potential. Change to (2) or (4) possible.
- Shadow Word: Horror: It is definitely a tech Card but in general, it does not seem viable (4). Even in board rush heavy meta the decks normally run 2-mana minions with 3 attack rather than with 2, which renders this Card garbage (5).
- Skeram Cultist: If we see a BGH nerf, this can move up a category to (3) because of vanilla stats.
- Spawn of N’Zoth: This might be a build-around card (A/B)
- April 9th 2016: 3 changes (see below) and 3 new cards added: Possessed Villager (3), Soggoth the Slitherer (3), Whisps of the Old Gods (4)
- Blood of the Ancients: Moved from (4) to (5). This is simply almost impossible to pull off. The effect is fun, but pulling it off? Having a 9 mana 9/9 minion played and doing the same the next turn without both being killed? It is most probable in that case, that you already killed your opponent before that juicy 30/30 is on your board. And IF that happens, it has to survive throug hyour opponents turn too. Meh!
- Cult Apothecary: Moved from (C) to (2) If the freeze mage archetype is still viable after changes to basic and classic cards, this one can be really good in that kind of deck.
- Renounce Darkness: Moved from (A/B) to (4). Cool card, but I think AND hope it never becomes competitively viable. The effect might be cool but can backfire heavily because of RNG.
- April 11th 2016: 1 change, 2 cards added: Thistle Tea (3), Twilight Summoner (4)
- Call of the Wild moved up from (2) to (1). 5 direct damage, a minion buff with a 2/4 body, a 4/4 Taunt. Cards with combinations of effect in one are a power to be reckoned and this comes at a discount with 8 mana rather dan 9.
- Category (3) renamed from “Decent / Not Competitivly Viable” to “Decent /No Competitiv Staple
- April 15th 2016: 6 changes, 5 new cards: Deathwing, Dragomnlord (3), Demented Frostcaller (2), Embrace the Shadow (4), Faceless Summoner (1), Forlorn Stalker (4), Shadowcaster (2), Servant of Yogg-Saaron (4), Twilight Summoner (3)
- Possessed Villager: moved up from (3) to (2). It just belongs here, maybe even (1). The Shadowbeast looks awesome too.
- Spreading Madness: moved up from (4) to (3). Better control card than initially assessed, it might finally end up being in (2).
- Steward of Darkshire moved up from (3) to (2). This might be really good in a Eboladin style deck.
- Thistle Tea: moved down from (3) to (4). If there is not a new archetype for rogue this one is underwhelming and inferior to Sprint.
- The Boogeymonster: I like the concept, but the card is crap, removing the sympathy piont for the concept and moved to (5)
- Whisps of the Old Gods: moved from (4) to (5). Great name, awful card.
- April 16 2016: 2 cards added: Shifting Shade (2), Twilight Flamecaller (3)
- April 18 2016: 1 change, 2 new cards: Princess Huhuran (1) and Dark Arakkoa (2)
- Vilefin Inquisitor moved from (2) to (A/B). I still think it is a good card, but the build-around category fits the card better
- April 19 2016: 4 changes, 1 new card: Shifter Zerus (4); corrected Header of (2) above.
- Shifter Zerus: This guy is crazy cute and the effect will be a lot of fun. But for my taste it is to RNG to be competitive
- Cabalist Tome: moved down form (3) to (4)
- Demented Frostcaller: moved down from (2) to (3)
- Infest: moved down from (3) to (4)
- Servant of Yogg-Saron: moved down from (4) to (5)
- April 26th 2016: added the remaining cards
- Cyclopian Horror: This cards value heavily depends on the meta. Against a meta with flood decks (e.g. Eboladin, Zoo) this gets huge value whereas against control it is at best a 3/5. Even against midrange it is not strong because it is too week against a good curve wit ha constant flood of strong minions.
- Darkspeker: This is very difficult to evaluate. I think it will not regularily make the cut because it is in the 5-Mana spot but it has potential.
- Fandral Staghelm: This could be the final thing beast druid needed. Great even though!
- Thing from Below: Moved up to (1)
- May 1st 2016: Winners and Losers of first week article added. It can be found here.
(2) GOOD / COMPETITIVLY PLAYABLE
(3) DECENT / NO COMPETITIVE STAPLE
(4) POOR / TOO SITUATIONAL
(A/B) ARCHETYPE DEFINING / BUILD-AROUND
(C) COUNTER / TECH CHOICE