The Grand Tournament has finally reached the general public. Hero powers just got a lot more interesting, and blood sacrifices to RNJesus won’t be crucial for a winning record, now that Goblins vs. Gnomes is taking a back seat. While Hearthstone has added a new play mode in Tavern Brawl, a new set of prizes in their monthly ranked chest, Arena is still the most consistent means of upgrading one’s collection. With a few days to test their new Inspire mechanic, it looks like a welcome addition to the fold: generally useful without being broken. The previous article was focused on constructed play, and was rare heavy as a result. Since this is Arena focused, only commons will be reviewed, since that’s gonna be most of the deck anyway. The commons most valued in this article tend to be effective as standalone cards, ones that need a tribal affiliation or additional combo piece to be effective are marked down.
Silver Hand Regent is the truth, and not just for Paladin. It’s a sneaky threat that survives most of the really cheap removal, and its body isn’t imposing enough that it would demand the opponent’s more effective kill spells. It’s a lot easier to trigger its combo than Violet Teacher, and can nudge the board state in one’s favor early. It won’t win a game on its own, but rolling with the Regent is great way to transition into the big plays.
North Sea Kraken might be the best available common to swing a game late. It won’t save a player from a beat down, but being able to send 4 damage anywhere can drop a lot of possible threats in a stalemate. It doesn’t hurt that the 7 toughness can outlast almost any damage based removal, and the ones it can’t will take up half an opponent’s mana tray, if not more. 9 is a little expensive, but at least it has the body to justify it.
Dragonhawk Rider is a great play in the mid-game. Its fairly common to be staring down a board state with a medium threat and a small taunt creature protecting it. With the rider out, a player can solve both problems with just their hero power and still have mana left to drop a 3/3 or 4/4. In the late game, this can close out the last 6-10 damage needed to win, with a little help from a Dark Iron Dwarf or Abusive Sergeant.
However, what really ties the room together is Mukla’s Champion. It can pump some weenies high enough to drop the opponent’s big threat, force an early boardwipe, smash any hope of a comeback or solve a potassium deficiency. For one extra mana, it effectively makes Stormwind Champion‘s pump permanent without sacrificing too much body. The biggest knock is its easy to remove, but if set up properly, only one trigger will ever be needed. Worth consideration as a first pick.
Argent Horserider needs a pump to be good. Getting two damage out on turn 3 is okay, but once the divine shield gets popped, five of the classes have hero powers that can potentially remove it. Unless this is played with a Blessing of Kings late, its probably better to pass on this card for something else. It costs too much for not enough of an effect. It has potential in constructed, but when one can’t pick other cards to bolster it, its probably better to snag something else.
Tournament Attendee is one of those cards that begs the question “why bother?” It can technically trade with more cards than Arena whipping-boy Goldshire Footman, but unlike the Footman, it can be torched by some hero powers. This card should not be picked for any reason, beyond desperately needing to balance a mana curve.
Lowly Squire has some potential in constructed play, but is largely underwhelming in Arena. In ten Arena games using this card (4 of which it was played turn 1), its only creeped past two power once. It takes too much mana to get this card going, and able to trade with more valuable cards, to be worth the effort of anything but a late pick.
Tournament Medic has a little more utility than the last two cards, but on its best days still only adds 4 health per turn in a Priest deck. The part that kills it is the 1 power. Having this card as a 2/6 would at least give it a chance to trade with multiple creatures, or creature + removal. As it stands, this is something players can ram their midrange creatures into repeatedly without any worry their health will drop too much for mass removal.
Best in Class Commons
Class cards tend to be pretty solid in general, so here’s a few that might get overlooked:
Living Roots is particularly handy early, in a class that could use a turn 1 play. Given Druid’s predilection for pump spells, those 1/1s can become a lot more. It also provides an alternative to Claw, in that it can quickly answer an early problem before a board state escalates.
King’s Elekk has a nice draw ability, and is probably only worth considering when playing Hunter in Arena. Facehunter is the most viable way to play the class in constructed, but would probably lead to a failed trigger far too often. At least the Arena format demands enough high cost cards to make this viable.
Flame Lance is the kind of removal that demands at least one slot in any Mage Arena deck. Its worth picking over Dragon’s Breath, at the very least, and might end up more useful than Fireball and Polymorph in certain situations.
That just about wraps up this review of the new commons. Stay tuned for a look at some of the rares of the set, coming soon.
All card images from BlizzPro.