Knights of the Frozen Throne Expansion Roundtable
With the Hearthstone Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion set to be released on August 10th, we sat down with our Hearthstone competitors and streamers to find out what they think about the upcoming set.
What are your general thoughts about the expansion so far?
Sylvanhunter: It’s a pretty interesting expansion with a lot of randomness in it. Many cards are fun to play (with your friends) but I’m not so sure about them in the competitive scene.
Tyler: I'm very excited for this new expansion. I think it's good enough to give us a new and fresh meta and plenty of decks to experiment with.
Asmodai: A lot of underwhelming effects, however the new Death Knight concept is something that I feel can have potential if the meta slows down.
Casie: Frozen Throne is the best expansion since League of Explorers, a lot of unique and different style of cards, which can improve and or create different archetypes.
ProfessorNox: It would seem to us, over years of watching Blizzard operate, that they have at last, since Un'Goro, established a clear plan for what they want Hearthstone to be and become. This expansion seems the best of all the worlds, a harkening back to the olden days of Naxxramas, mixed and matched with a more modern vision of balance. After the magnificence personified in Un'Goro, it was rather unlikely they'd surpass themselves; we were wrong, though. It seems they just may have. Glory!
The Hearthstone Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion is set to be released on August 10th, 2018!
Sottle: I'm really excited about it, even as someone that doesn't know anything about Warcraft lore I can tell that this is a big deal and they've put an appropriate amount of effort into making everything feel epic. From a game design perspective I like that they're pushing new mechanics and pushing classes in different directions. It also seems like many of the post powerful cards are late-game Control tools and things that stabilise from Turn 8 onwards.
TheJordude: I think overall the expansion looks to be a lot slower paced. I don’t see too many cards that will support very aggressive decks and there is a decent amount of value cards for the mid and late game. I like the new Death Knight cards, if even one or two of them are playable, then it will at least make the game feel fresh.
Mryagut: I am super hyped for the new expansion. It seems like the meta will slow down and make control and midrange decks better. Aggro got almost nothing this expansion.
Crane: Looks very cool! Definitely one of the expansion with the coolest cards and it doesn’t feel like there is too much stupid RNG. Much of the RNG seems bearable in fact! However, I am a little worried that not many of the cards are playable. I feel like there are very few strong cards in general. Does not have to be a problem though, except I would like some change from the current meta game.
Which card do you think will have the most impact?
Sylvanhunter: Lich King - everyone would prolly be chucking it into every midrange deck there is. It's powerful but too random because there are 8 possible outcomes.
Tyler: I think Sulking Geist is going to have the biggest impact on the meta (even when it doesn't see play). These kinds of counter effects usually have a very interesting effect in the meta. As an example, just the threat of Hungry Crab being available made Murloc Paladin see way less play even though it was one of the strongest decks in the Un’Goro meta.That means Jade Druid will become less viable and other slower control decks might see more play.
Asmodai: Hard to say just out of pure power level Ultimate Infestation seems broke, but I’m curious to see how big of a part the Death Knights are actually going to have in the meta - so my pick is leaning towards The Lich King.
Casie: Depending on how slow the meta will be, from the first look of it, i think The Lich King will be super powerful, a more defensive Ysera with at least six out of eight good outcomes!.
ProfessorNox: The question seems rather dependent on what it is one wants to play; at the risk of sounding dreadfully boring, I must admit to high expectations for Deathspeaker. A 3-Cost Neutral minion that nightly guarantees an efficient trade takes place, all the while offering a reasonable body size? Yes. I think so.
Sottle: Probably Bonemare. It might not be the best card in the set, but it's up there and it's a neutral common, so it's likely to be one of those ever present things that you see in almost every board focused deck. Potentially good enough as a control tool as well.
TheJordude: I think Skulking Geist will have a huge impact on the meta. This expansion is quite slow, so a lot of people may try to take advantage of it with Jade Druid as it is a control killer deck. However Skulking Geist destroys all Jade Idols so a deck with good removal tools can survive the Jade army and possibly fatigue out the Druid. Skulking Geist also snipes Evolve, which I talk about in a different question.
Mryagut: The Lich King seems pretty strong. It looks like a better Ysera for eight mana with taunt. We should see this card in some control decks and also do not forget that you can get this out of Stonehill defender too.
Crane: The Lich King. Even though I feel like the card is massively overrated, it is also the only card that I am pretty sure is very strong. Also it is a very impactful neutral card, so if it is powerful it might see play in a bunch of decks, which definitely impacts the meta.
Which Death Knight will have the biggest meta impact?
Sylvanhunter: Rexxar seems good (not that I have a Hunter bias) and Thrall too. Being able to cast your hero “upgrade” early is good. The pseudo-Geddon battlecry is good for Hunter to get back on track if falling behind or just push itself even further by preventing opp minions from catching up.
Tyler: I think the Paladin Death Knight will have the biggest impact. Control Paladin is already so strong, and you don't need to build your entire deck around this Deathknight. You can just jam it in Paladin and it is good. You get a big weapon, some life gain and an upgraded hero power.
Asmodai: I think Uther of the Ebon Blade seems like the strongest, it fits very well into the Pala decks we currently are running and it should be able to add some additional control / win condition in certain matchups.
Casie: I feel like Paladin will have the biggest impact, since Paladin was always there to kill control decks and now with the addition of the new Death Knight, it will improve those matchups even more.
ProfessorNox: Controversially, Shaman seems to me the most likely candidate for across-the-board playability in its class, more so when considering archetypes possibly emerging from the depths of Icecrown. To remain fair to other Death Knights, though, they all seem quite potent in their own right.
Sottle: I think Shaman is definitely in with a shout, the fact that it's a powerful effect that can potentially be played alongside an already proven archetype makes it the most likely to be meta-shaping in my opinion. Druid is super good as well. All of them have potentially for me though apart from Hunter, which just looks too slow and doesn't have enough support in the Hunter class to make it worth it.
TheJordude: I think Bloodreaver Gul’dan will have the biggest impact out of all the Death Knights. It has a N’Zoth like effect, and we already see how strong N’Zoth is. It has the most impact on the board the same turn it is played compared to the other Death Knights, as you fill up your board and demons have a variety of effects from taunts to charge, so depending how you build the deck the 10 mana playing Gul’dan may not even be scary to invest in. The hero power is very sustaining, a good late game effect that can spot remove minions or pressure your opponent’s health while sustaining your own.
Mryagut: The Paladin Death Knight should be the strongest. You get 20 heal and a 5/3 weapon for 9 mana. This is already much better than Forbidden Healing if you do not get rushed down. Also you upgrade your hero power from a 1/1 to a 2/2. It will probably rarely happen that you get all 4 Horsemen but the heal and 2/2s instead of 1/1s already good enough.
Crane: Rogue, because somehow I am not convinced any of the other DKs are playable. Hell, I am not even sure if Valeera is! Out of the other DKs though, I think Druid and Paladin are the most likely to be playable, with Mage coming in fourth. I don’t think Mage DK is playable and I am also very sceptical about the Druid and Paladin one.
Which class benefits the most in your opinion?
Sylvanhunter: Mage. The freeze/elemental synergy cards seems better than the other classes’ class-based synergies.
Tyler: I think overall control paladin is going to benefit the most, because Jade Druids are being pushed away and Paladin gets some nice new cards.
Asmodai: I think Rogue benefits the most, both Shadowblade and Doomerang seems insane to me, and since control is being pushed and Rogue punishes control this is looking good for the Rogue boys and girls.
Casie: This is what I will always say, but i think Rogue benefits the most from it, since i expect the tournament meta to be either midrange or a little bit slower and Rogue benefits from that the most.
ProfessorNox: New archetypes may yet open up for every class, but I would hedge my bets on Rogues being rather happy about the addition of Shadowblade and Doomerang to their general arsenal. Not so specialized, mind you, but potent nonetheless.
Sottle: Hard to say which class truly benefits the most, it seems to be that the power level of classes is likely to stay pretty similar to what we have now with Mage, Druid, Shaman, Warrior, and Paladin all scrapping for dominance, with Priest and Rogue a little behind and Hunter and Warlock bringing up the rear. Druid and Warrior both got great tools to make other kinds of decks possible though, so i'll go with those two. I'm super excited for Whirlwind Warrior, hopefully it can capture some of that Patron feel.
TheJordude: With this expansion, I think the class that benefits the most is Shaman. Since the set is slow, a deck with Evolve Shaman should still be very powerful with the ability to snowball a strong board with Doppelgangster + Evolve on 6 and finishing the game with Bloodlust before you can even set up a Death Knight. Shaman also got some support to this archetype with their Death Knight. Rogue might benefit a lot from this expansion also, if nothing in Miracle Rogue gets touched (like Auctioneer) - since this is traditionally a good deck to counter slow ones.
Mryagut: I think Druid got a lot of good cards. Ultimate Infestation is just an insane card and will work in any ramp deck. Then you also got Spreading Plague. This is a beautiful defensive card and helps you against aggro decks. Druid of the Swarm and maybe Crypt Lord might work in an aggressive deck.
Crane: Rogue comes in first, Druid and Paladin comes after that and Mage. Reason is Rogue got a weapon, Doomerang plus Valeera and potentially Lilian Voss, although I don’t think Voss is good. Paladin got a good 1-drop for Aggro/Tempo archetypes and maybe Blackguard with Uther of the Ebon Blade, while Druid got Crypt Lord, Ultimate Infestation and maybe Malfurion the Pestilent. Mage got three maybes: Coldwraith, Breath of Syndragosa and Lich King Jaina and perhaps a card that helps Quest Mage (Ghastly Conjurer), although I doubt it very much.
Overall: Top 10 Ranking
|1||The Lich King||Ultimate Infestation||The Lich King||Deathspeaker||Bloodreaver Gul'dan|
|2||Thrall, Deathseer||Uther of the Ebon Blade||Blood Razor||Shadowblade||Skulking Geist|
|3||Deathstalker Rexxar||Blood Razor||Defile||Venomous Trap||Thrall, Deathseer|
|4||Sindragosa||Spreading Plague||Crypt Lord||Ghastly Conjurer||Defile|
|5||Bone Drake||The Lich King||Uther of the Ebon Blade||Stiched Tracker||Gnomeferatu|
|6||Ultimate Infestation||Frost Lich Jaina||Saronite Chain Gang||Defile||Blood Razor|
|7||Uther of the Ebon Blade||Malfurion the Pestilent||Shadowblade||Thrall, Deathseer||Sindragosa|
|8||Obsidian Statue||Skulking Geist||Righteous Protector||Corpsetaker||Bone Drake|
|9||Frost Lich Jaina||Ghastly Conjurer||Shadowreaper Anduin||Happy Ghoul||Ultimate Infestation|
|10||Gnomeferatu||Righteous Protector||Ultimate Infestation||Blood Razor||Corpsetaker|
|1||Ultimate Infestation||Defile||Ultimate Infestation||Malfurion the Pestilent||The Lich King|
|2||The Lich King||The Lich King||The Lich King||Bonemare||Blackguard|
|3||Happy Ghoul||Ultimate Infestation||Doomerang||Ghastly Conjurer||Defile|
|4||Lilian Voss||Crypt Lord||Forge of Souls||Righteous Protector||Righteous Protector|
|5||Corpsetaker||Righteous Protector||Shadowblade||Blood Razor||Ultimate Infestation|
|6||Uther of the Ebon Blade||Acherus Veteran||Bring It On||Rattling Rascal||Bring It On|
|7||Righteous Protector||Shadowblade||Uther of the Ebon Blade||Corpsetaker||Valeera the Hollow|
|8||Shadowblade||Happy Ghoul||Shadowreaper Anduin||The Lich King||Despicable Dreadlord|
|9||Bonemare||Valeera the Hollow||Eternal Servitude||Acherus Veteran||Shadowreaper Anduin|
|10||Blackguard||Mountainfire Armor||Rattling Rascal||Ultimate Infestation||Bonemare|