The 10 most interesting cards in Voyage to the Sunken City
There are only a few days left until Voyage to the Sunken City, Hearthstone’s first expansion in the Year of the Hydra, is upon us with 135 new cards. But of all those cards, which ones are truly cool, fun, powerful, or interesting?
In an expansion with compelling new keywords like Colossal, as well as the prospect of a return to board-based combat, giant minions are more important than ever — as are the spells that deal with those minions, being flung left and right by the crafty Naga. So let’s enjoy this selection of 10 cards that are almost guaranteed to make an impact on this expansion.
Watch out for these Colossal Minions before they devour you
Colossal Minions might be the most exciting new concept brought by this expansion to a lot of people — and with good reason. The idea of minions so immense that they don’t fit into a single card, and the fact that you might need to destroy parts of them to make them less powerful before you can kill them is certainly enticing. While we could have listed quite a few of them, here are the ones we considered to be the most unique.
You could say that Gigafin has an extremely peculiar appetite. When you summon it, it’s hungry enough that it devours all enemy minions! It’s got a drawback, though: if Gigafin dies, he spits all of those minions back out with its Deathrattle effect.
But even that can be avoided: its appendage, Gigafin’s Maw, is a 4/7 minion with Taunt and a Deathrattle that permanently destroys all minions that Gigafin devoured. So all you need to do is ensure that the Maw dies before the main body, and your powerful board clear effect will work as intended — even if a bit delayed.
Nellie, the Great Thresher (Warrior)
Nellie, the Great Thresher roams the oceans, and Pirates flock to it. I don’t know how they managed to accomplish that, but they actually made a Pirate Ship on Nellie’s back. So when you summon this creature, you’ll get to Discover 3 Pirates to crew Nellie’s Ship, and the ship will be summoned alongside the main body as a 2/6 Beast with Taunt.
When Nellie’s Pirate Ship dies, the three Pirates you discovered to crew it are added to your hand, and they only cost 1 mana each! It’s looking like Pirate Warrior is going to remain a strong archetype with the new expansion — which is very fitting with the sea theme, after all — but aided by a colossal friend this time.
Candidates to dominate the meta
We don’t have psychic powers or crystal balls to predict the future, but we can still take a look at a few of the upcoming cards and make educated guesses as to how powerful they’re going to be when we can finally play with them. And boy, are there some candidates already.
Some of these new cards have been designed in a way that synergizes perfectly with what their classes always try to do to close games anyway, giving them newer, better tools to accomplish that. So let’s take a look at a couple of these.
Raj Naz’jan (Hunter)
Hunter is always in vogue in Hearthstone. It’s hard to imagine a meta where there isn’t at least one playable deck for the class, since what it tries to accomplish is so simple — deal as much damage to the opponent as possible every single turn.
Currently, one of the possible archetypes for the class is Quest Hunter, which likes to toss a lot of spells around. And the new Hunter Legendary, Raj Naz’jan, lets those spells apply some damage directly to the enemy’s face, in addition to whatever effects they already have. Winning games doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Priestess Valishj (Priest)
Priest as a class is known to allow its players to spend a lot of time in their turns, playing many cards, generating even more cards, playing them too, and eventually, poof, all of your stuff is gone and they’re back to full health. It’s like magic. And Priestess Valishj is already making enemies of the Priest class shout for it to be removed again.
The ability to refresh many — possibly all — of your Mana Crystals is powerful, as long as you’re able to play a ton of spells before summoning Priestess Valishj. But that might be reasonably easy to accomplish because of the Core Set rotation: cards like Lyra the Sunshard and Radiant Elemental are returning to the game, bringing back to Priest the ability to generate and play lots and lots of cheap spells on the same turn. The possibilities are as deep and vast as the ocean, but no one will be able to hear your muffled cries of “Delete Priest!” this time.
The Naga are adept at casting spells, and it shows
“Spells are fun. So fun!” said the Babbling Book in 2016, but that simple concept remains true to this day. Voyage to the Sunken City isn’t just about Colossal minions, after all: no one is as well-versed in spellcasting as the Naga. That means that you’re not only getting Naga minions that empower — or get empowered by — your spells, you’re also getting powerful effects that are even better than what we’ve seen before.
School Teacher (Neutral)
School Teacher is a Neutral Naga minion with a really fun effect: you Discover a spell that costs 3 or less mana, and teach that spell to a Nagaling. When you summon that Nagaling for 1 mana, its Battlecry will immediately cast the spell it learned. It’s such a broad effect that it’s guaranteed to open up lots and lots of possibilities.
Discover effects tend to be very well-liked by players because it’s hard for them to backfire. You usually get at least one worthy option for whatever game situation you find yourself in. Combine that with the ability to discount that spell by up to 2 mana, and this card has the potential to be very versatile, and add to some compelling gameplay moments that might fit into a lot of decks.
Whirlpool is the board clear to end all board clears. For the hefty cost of 9 mana it’s slow, sure, but its effects are powerful enough to warrant that. Whirlpool destroys all minions from the board, but also from hands, decks, and wherever else they might be. Stormwind? Orgrimmar? It doesn’t matter. Whirlpool will send hitmen to those cities and destroy those minions in there too!
It’s hard to really determine how useful this card will end up being: that will depend entirely on how fast or slow the meta is. But we’ve been told by the developers that this expansion should return us to board-focused gameplay — and the Colossal minions certainly seem to indicate a move in that direction. Under that scenario, Whirlpool might truly shine: not only can it clear boards to give the Priest player some breathing room, it can also tamper with the opponent’s future plans by destroying key minions before they’re played — or even drawn.
Cards that move the game in interesting new directions or bring back old archetypes
These cards are interesting from a mechanical standpoint. They might not be huge minions or dazzling spells, and they might not be key lore figures that change the game when summoned, but they’re still worthy of analysis because of how they interact with the moment to moment gameplay, and even with how players think about crafting their decks.
Blademaster Okani (Neutral)
Blademaster Okani is one of my favorite card designs this expansion. It’s so simple and elegant: its effects are easy to understand, cause people to invariably react to it, and promote back-and-forth plays. When you see your opponent play Blademaster Okani, what do you do? Do you cast a cheap spell to bait out the counter, or do you prefer to play a cheap minion first? If you guess wrong, you can potentially waste two plays on that turn — a massive tempo swing in your opponent’s direction! And you might not even have a cheap spell or a cheap minion in hand to try to bait out the counter.
The fact that it can counter both spells and minions, and the opponent needs to try to play around both situations is what makes this card. It may sound like a single extra layer of mechanics, but the increase in possible plays and counterplays that arises from it is exponential.
It’s hard to judge how powerful or impactful this card will end up being: it seems like it was deliberately designed to not be too overpowered, almost as if the team is just testing the waters for this kind of effect. Okani might be killed on the board before it even gets to trigger its effect, so the player can’t simply throw it at any moment. Nevertheless, I really like it when cards move the game in new directions like this, and I’m always eager to see more of that.
Selfish Shellfish (Neutral)
Remember Silence Priest? No, I’m not telling you to ask your Priest opponent to shut up; I’m talking about an old archetype that relied on playing minions that had high stats for their cost, attached to some sort of drawback — and then using Silence effects on those minions to remove those drawbacks, leaving only the good parts. Would such a deck still work in today’s Hearthstone landscape?
Well, Priest is getting not one, but two new cards that might work for that: One is Azsharan Ritual, which Silences minions, copies them, and adds Sunken Ritual to the bottom of your deck to repeat the process. The other is Whispers of the Deep, which Silences a friendly minion and deals damage equal to its Attack randomly split among enemy minions. If that’s not enough, there’s also a third card that might help: the Neutral minion Smothering Starfish, which Silences all other minions when played. Will this support be enough to enable the Selfish Shellfish to shine?
This card is worth mentioning because Silence Priest isn’t even the only archetype it makes us reminisce about: there’s also the potential for a Mill deck — a deck that aims to make your opponent draw so many cards that they kill themselves through fatigue. That one seems much less likely to happen under the current environment, but at least the concept has been brought up again to the minds of players through this card.
Legendary Minions that let you choose from a selection of very powerful effects
These minions aren’t here to play; they’re here to end games. These powerful Legendaries offer you the possibility to choose from potentially game-closing effects, as long as you’ve met certain conditions prior to summoning them.
Pirate Admiral Hooktusk (Rogue)
Pirate Admiral Hooktusk is a Rogue Legendary that asks you to go full Pirate Rogue. As long as you summon (not necessarily “play,” which is important) eight other Pirates before playing Hooktusk, you get to choose from one of three very powerful plundering effects.
- Take their Gold! steals two cards straight from your opponent’s hand. Value is the name of the game, and you get to generate value for yourself while denying your adversary from using their own tools.
- Take their Supplies! takes five cards from your opponent’s deck. While the payoff isn’t immediate, the long-term ramifications are even bigger.
- Take their Ship! lets you take control of your opponent’s highest Attack minion, which can lead to some truly scary tempo swings.
Queen Azshara (Neutral)
As was to be expected for a character of such importance, Queen Azshara debuts as a minion in Hearthstone in the shape of a truly fantastic neutral Legendary. If you cast three spells while holding it, once you play Queen Azshara you’ll get to choose from one of four amazing relics full of importance, lore, and very powerful effects.
- The Horn of Ancients adds a random Colossal minion to your hand, and makes it cost 1 mana.
- The Ring of Tides is not a playable card, but sits in your hand waiting until you cast a spell. Once you do, it transforms into a copy of that spell that you can play again for the measly cost of 1 mana.
- The Tidestone of Golganneth has the power to shuffle five random spells in your deck, and make each of those spells cost 1 mana. It then draws you two cards.
- And last but certainly not least,
our beloved knaifuXal’atath deals 2 damage to the enemy hero whenever you cast a spell, hastening their march to their inevitable doom.
And there you have it. These cards are just a taste of what’s in store for us — but it’s certainly looking like Voyage to the Sunken City is shaping up to be a memorable expansion.
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