Expansion

How does The Witchwood expansion impact Hearthstone?

Andrew 'PenguinZA' Hodgkinson

In Hearthstone the Year of the Mammoth has finally drawn to a conclusion as we enter into a new year of Hearthstone: Year of the Raven. With it we say goodbye to a few expansions,  as well as adventures which find their way into the wild. The introduction of the first expansions of many for this year is titled, The Witchwood. Today I will be breaking down the new mechanics which greet us with The Witchwood, those cards we loved that we say bye to, and then hello to all the memes from the first short while since the release

Out with the old

With the beginning of the new Hearthstone year we bid farewell to Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, One Night in Karazhan, and Whispers of the Old Gods. Gadgetzan brought us the Jade Lotus, The Grimy Goons, and the Kabal. I am sure plenty of us are not disappointed to say goodbye to Jade Druid, or the likes of Singular decks using Kazakus. Dancing and parties is what we as gamers are all about, right? No? Well, Medivh set out to change that with One Night in Karazhan. Probably my most favourite adventure of all, with us bidding Barnes farewell along with Arcane Giant brings a counterfeit tear to my eye.

In Whispers of the Old Gods, who could forget the likes of being top-deck killed by your opponent playing Yogg-Saron, or them dropping a 30/30 C’Thun, or bringing back every single deathrattle with N’Zoth, or , dare I say it, they play Barnes and bring out Y’Shaarj who pulls out the original Y’Shaarj? No one enjoy those times? Nope, me neither, but it was moments like these which brought us an amazing Year of the Mammoth. Plus I won’t forget tilting my opponents by playing some of these exact mentions above.

 

Last, but not least, are those cards who get special mentions, making it into the hall of fame. Special mention to Ice Block, Molten Giant, and Coldlight Oracle. These move out of Standard and into Wild. Ice Block allowed Mage to play a bit more aggressively at times, knowing they would not die. This often worked well with Molten Giant (granted, we’re talking about back in the day when it cost 20 mana and not 25). And then Coldlight Oracle leaving means that no more burning cards thanks to your opponent waiting for the quintessential moment to play it!

Hello Witchwood, my old friend

With the introduction of the latest expansion, comes with new mechanics in the forms of Rush and Echo. Rush adds a spin onto the charge mechanic, but it only allows you to attack minions that turn. To explain this better, let us take two cards, one with charge and one with rush, and compare them. Rabid Worgen, a three mana three attack three health minion has Rush, and Wolfrider is a three mana three attack one health minion which charge.

 

Both these minions can attack the same turn they are summoned, however Wolfrider can attack a hero directly as well as minions, while a minion with Rush can only attack minions that turn. The following turn, the minion with Rush can attack either a minion or a hero directly. This mechanic is incredibly good for board control and for decks which rely on this, such as aggro decks, or even some control decks.

 

The next mechanic that has made its way into The Witchwood is Echo. Echo allows you to repeatedly play a card. Assuming you have the mana to do such. Imagine being able to summon three three mana two attack four health taunts? Sounds like good value, right? Well, this is exactly what you can do with Phantom Militia. Or, if you like nuts, enjoy a healthy dose of them with Walnut Sprite which comes in at three mana three / three!

Echo can allow you to pull off really good combos such as clearing the board with the Warrior Spell, Warpath, which is a two mana, deal one damage to all minions, with echo. So on ten mana, you could play this five times! That’s pretty nutty. Important thing to note is that while Echo seems really good, once the turn ends though, the card will disappear from your hand, kind of like how Cinderella disappeared from the ball.

Meme life best life

Since we are a few days into the expansion, with players all over the ladder testing what could be the next meta-defining deck. I want to bring to you two of the best fun-tier decks I have found so far.

 

First of them is where memes have already begun. Shudderwock Shaman has Twitch chat in roars when it is played. Think of this as the most painful, boring and slowest deaths you could come across in Hearthstone. Shudderwock repeats all the battlecries you played that turn. So remember that time you played Lifedrinker, four times thanks to Grumble, Worldshaker? Well, Shudderwock remembers all of those battlecries and plays them when he is summoned. My jaws that bite, my claws that catch! My jaws that bite, my claws that catch!

 

The second comes courtesy of Thijs who, on stream, somehow got Turret Warrior to work. This deck focuses on using Blackhowl Gunspire, Sudden Genesis, as well as several whirlwind abilities. I saw him go 9 – 1 with this deck on stream one Sunday afternoon, and I was flabbergasted by it. The deck costs a lot to build, but it deals with those pesky paladin decks that are around. Apparently 1 health minions don’t deal well with, “Deal one damage to all minion” abilities well. Who would have thought?

 

What are your highlights of the expansion so far? Which cards do you miss the most? Got any great decks for everyone to check out? Be sure to let us know in our comments section below!