Plague cards in Hearthstone’s Saviors of Uldum expansion bring devastating effects to both sides of the board
Hearthstone’s next expansion, Saviors of Uldum, is due out on August 6, bringing with it new quests, the Reborn keyword, and a whole new category of cards: Plagues. They aren’t properly a new type of card or keyword, and in that way they remind me of the Project cards from the Boomsday Project or Schemes from Rise of Shadows. Plagues were advertised as powerful AOE-style spells, and for that most part, that’s what we see.
Each Plague is a class specific spell, and will only be made for Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Warlock, and Rogue classes. As of this writing, we’ve seen all of them except for Warlock.
Plague of Death
Priest is in a poor spot in the current meta. As a reactive class, Priest needs good board clears. In the past, cards like Lightbomb, Dragonfire Potion, and Psychic Scream filled this role, but none of those are in Standard. Priest has Mass Hysteria which has a random element too it and is dependent on the board state. It’s simply not good enough.
Plague of Death is the Wand of Disintegration treasure from the Dalaran Heist, but with a higher mana cost for Constructed play. It counters the ‘soul’ cards like Soul of the Forest and Soul of the Murloc. If Lucentbark ever gets a competitive deck, this is a nice counter-play. The card laughs off a Kangor’s Endless Army. All Reborn minions stay in the grave.
The biggest problem is the cost. At nine mana, you don’t mana for a follow up except for maybe a Grave Horror assuming you’ve played enough spells. Otherwise, your opponent has a turn to try to rebuild his board.
Plague of Murlocs
This plague can be thought of as a sort of Devolve and has a pseudo silence. It can handle many of the same situations that Plague of Death can, but you’re left with a board of murlocs. This could help stabilize against Conjurer’s Calling Mages and Mech decks like Hunter and Paladin. It could mess up the game for a Resurrect Priest, but not that its a strong deck in Standard.
You will need a way to deal with the Murlocs left behind. The new Earthquake spell or Hagatha’s scheme are good options. Even a Lightning Storm has the potential to clear the board.
This could be also be used offensively. Control Shaman passes some turns with nothing but their hero power. If your opponent chooses to ignore your totems, you could transform them into a more threatening murloc army.
Plague of Wrath
“Destroy all damaged minions” is an effect we’ve seen from King Mosh. This card cists less mana, but doesn’t have Mosh’s beefy 9/7 body. But Mosh didn’t see much play, and it’s possible that this card won’t, either. Warrior has several good board clears right now and this is the same mana cost as Brawl. You need a whirlwind type of effect to activate it so it’s more like a 6-mana play at a minimum. Warpath’s echo is wasted since you’re destroying all the minions anyway, but this might work for a board where the minions health is too high for Warpath.
This might find a home in Dragon Warrior. Dragonmaw Scorcher plus Plague of Wrath is a full board clear for ten mana and leaves the Warrior a 3/6 body on the board.
Plague of Madness
Rogue is still finding its way after the nerfs it received midway through Rise of Shadows. This plague gives each player a 2/2 weapon with poisonous. The Rogue could use it to kill an enemy minion. They’ll take face damage, and Rogue isn’t great at healing itself. Costing only 1 mana, you should have the opportunity to run weapon removal the same turn to take care of your opponent’s knife. You could use Stealth minions like the new Wasteland Assassin to deny them any immediate use of the poisonous weapon. An aggressive Rogue deck might even want the opponent to use the knife as a way to push more face damage. Giving your opponent a weapon will destroy theirs. It’s a way to remove a Wrenchcalibur or a Supercolider. You’ll also buff your Henchclan Thug, but you’ve given your opponent a way to remove it.
This Plague doesn’t fit in with the others. I don’t see any AoE component to it. In an AMA, the developers stated they didn’t want to give Rogue an AOE so they changed the design of Rogue plague. I’m curous what the original design might have been.
What about Warlocks?
The Warlock plague hasn’t been released yet, but I’m expecting something along the lines of a ‘math’ board clear like Lord Godfrey without the body. Plagues look to be interesting cards. I expect the Priest and Shaman Plagues to see play while I’m not as optimistic about the Warrior and Rogue versions.
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