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HearthstoneAug 3, 2020 4:00 pm CT

All of the Soul Fragment cards for Warlocks and Demon Hunters in Hearthstone’s Scholomance Academy

School is in session, students, and if you’re a Warlock or a Demon Hunter, you might be interested in the latest course that has been added to Hearthstone’s Scholomance Academy program, courtesy of your beloved headmaster Kel’Thuzad. In a Hearthside Chat, game designer Alec Dawson and popular Hearthstone personality Regis Killbin presented a brand new mechanic that will come with the expansion: it’s called Soul Fragments, and it’s on a bunch of cards for the two demonic classes.

Soul Fragments are cards that can be added to your deck. When drawn, they’re played automatically and heal you. But the healing isn’t what you’re after: Other cards feed upon Soul Fragments to unleash powerful effects. As a rule of thumb, those effects consume the Soul Fragments upon using them, but the dual-class Legendary Soulciologist Malicia (what a great card name!) is the one exception so far.

These are the revealed cards that generate Soul Fragments:

  • Spirit Jailer: a simple cheap minion to get the ball rolling with two Soul Fragments, for both classes. Ideally, you want to get this in your opening hand, and hope you don’t draw the fragments until your stronger cards arrive.
  • School Spirits: cheap AOE removal for Warlock. Control decks will want this.
  • Marrowslicer: a strong weapon for Demon Hunter. Might be useful, even though the class already has so many great weapons.
  • Soul Shear: using the old “deal 3 damage for 2 mana” template that so many other cards have, this is almost sure to be useful in many Warlock decks. For Demon Hunters, this card has stricter competition.

And these are the cards that use Soul Fragments:

  • Void Drinker: if you already have a Soul Fragment in your deck, this is a 7/8 taunt (with a demon tag to boot) for only five mana. Solid card that will certainly be used by Warlocks if this archetype is viable.
  • Shadowlight Scholar: a 3/4 with a Battlecry to deal 3 damage for only 3 mana — as long as you have a Soul Fragment. Super strong card, assuming the conditions are met. Warlocks everywhere will love this!
  • Soulshard Lapidary: this Demon Hunter minion is a 5/5 for five, that feeds upon a Soul Fragment to give your hero five attack that turn. Not as impressive as the previous two, but still useful, especially if combined with a weapon.
  • Shardshatter Mystic: another Demon Hunter minion, this one deals 3 damage to all other minions. Again: We don’t know yet if a more control-oriented Demon Hunter deck will arise, but if it does, this card is likely to make the cut.
  • Soulciologist Malicia: the star of the show, the Legendary for both classes summons a 3/3 Soul with Rush for every Soul Fragment in your deck — without consuming them. This is a strong card for an enormous tempo swing, but doesn’t quite seem like a victory condition on its own. You’ll want to build around this card, not depend on it by itself.

Will this Soul Fragments mechanic be viable — or overpowered?

The Hearthstone team does not have a very good track record with adding these expansion-specific mechanics that find their way on to a bunch of cards — at least at first. Mechanics like Discard for Warlocks, Treants for Druids, and Hand-Buffing for Paladin have been added with underwhelming results, and the team has had to keep tuning those mechanics by introducing more and more powerful cards that feed on them later on — and even then, it’s often not been enough.

Other times, the effects were so overwhelming and powerful that they became the only “right” way to play the class. Jade Druids are the best example that comes to mind, as well as Evolve during the golden days of Shaman. I don’t think that Soul Fragments are as overreaching that they might become that powerful. As the cards are presented so far, they seem like they might help a midrange or control deck achieve victory, but aren’t strong enough to ensure victory on their own. Unless a lot changes, I’m not 100% convinced that the strongest Demon Hunter decks will lean this way — it seems to fit more into Warlock at the moment.

Regardless of its power, this is a cool new mechanic, and it’s always good to see the Hearthstone team try creative new ways to design cards. Let’s hope that there’s more like this in the future.

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