The most (and least) interesting cards from Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion Festival of Legends
It’s almost time to go to the Festival of Legends, Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion, and enjoy some music of every genre! Each class gets its own flavor of music, and this is reflected with their new Legendary minions — artists of that genre — as well as their flashy new Legendary spells, which represent the biggest hits those acts have to show.
For most classes, that Legendary spell is the card that has the community really excited. Most of them are spectacularly big and flashy, like we’ve rarely seen before in the game. But for a few classes, a Legendary minion might be more interesting — or even just a couple of regular spells might look really compelling and outshine everything else.
So let’s read on to find out which are the most interesting cards in Festival of Legends — and which class sadly doesn’t have a lot to get excited about at the moment.
Death Knight, Demon Hunter, Druid
Shortly after Death Knights were introduced to the game, players figured out that the cards that required 3 runes of the same type were so powerful that it was worth it to build your decks around them. So DK decks were quickly established as “Frost-only,” “Unholy-only,” or “Blood-only.” Having decks with two Runes of one type and one of another was already uncommon enough; having decks that used one of each was absolutely unheard of.
Climactic Necrotic Explosion is a card that requires your deck to be built with one Blood, one Frost, and one Unholy rune — a brand-new concept for the class. Time will tell if this Legendary spell, which deals damage and summons minions, and gets stronger over time — but costs 10 mana — will have enough impact to warrant this new deck archetype for the class.
Their Legendary spell, Going Down Swinging, makes the Demon Hunter attack every enemy minion after gaining some extra attack — and it makes them Immune while doing so too. That, in itself, is a powerful effect — but it can get even crazier when combined with other cards.
Eye of Shadow gives your hero Lifesteal. As is to be expected for the Demon Hunter class, they could play both cards on the same turn as they go down swinging, which would result in the Demon Hunter player damaging or outright killing several (if not all) enemy minions while simultaneously healing themselves by a large amount, for the low combined cost of 7 mana. Yikes.
As time has passed and many expansions were released, bringing with them cards that are more and more powerful each time, the relative value of Hero Powers has decreased. Spending two mana to do something like dealing one damage and gaining one armor isn’t the same now as it was before, because spending that same two mana on cards accomplishes far more these days than it did when the game was new.
Groovy Cat and Free Spirit are two Druid cards that might revitalize Hero Powers for them. They make the Druid’s Hero Power quickly ramp up — as is thematic for the class — giving the player a lot of extra Armor and Attack for that same two mana cost. There are other new cards this expansion that play off this effect as well, such as Spread the Word, and we’re excited to see if “Hero Power Druid” — or whatever it ends up being called — will become a successful archetype or not.
Hunter, Mage, Priest
Stranglethorn Heart has the best animation we’ve ever seen in a Hearthstone card. Check out the video above: it’s beautiful. It takes up your whole board, and it has nice soothing music to go with it. The artists at the Hearthstone team have really outdone themselves with this one!
But the card itself is very interesting too. Resurrecting your big Beasts is always a powerful effect, potentially, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it used with great success by some new decks.
DJ Manastorm is in da house! You get immediate value from playing this Legendary minion by reducing the cost of any spell in your hand to zero — which is already a powerful enough effect. But the discounts continue even after that: your second spell costs one mana, your third spell costs two, and so on.
Depending on which spells Mage ends up having access to this expansion, this could be a very powerful card. “Big Spell Mage” has been a popular archetype for a long time now, and we could see DJ Manastorm fitting on it like a glove.
Love Everlasting could potentially be one of the most powerful cards this expansion due to its ongoing mana reduction effect, which players can activate pretty early in the game. It’s easy to imagine a Priest deck so filled with spells — and probably with the ability to generate more spells — that the discount cascade never ends.
Having tried some Priest decks during the recent Theorycrafting Event, we’re very excited about the new Overheal mechanic. It makes the class far more proactive, even outside of its Shadow archetypes. You’re always thinking about using your heals — whether from your Hero Power, your new Location, Fan Club, or from your spells — to trigger Overheal effects on your minions. The constant discount could definitely help with that!
Paladin, Rogue, Shaman
Starlight Groove not only has the coolest art I’ve ever seen on a Hearthstone card, but its effect is extremely unique and interesting: your hero gets Divine Shield, and the shield gets refreshed every time you play a Holy spell! This is an ongoing defensive effect, which is very fitting for the class — and might make them pretty hard to kill when paired with Lightforged Cariel.
The combination with Jitterbug could be a way to draw a lot of cards. Paladin is getting a ton of new cards that play off the Divine Shield mechanic in Festival of Legends, and this is likely to become a powerful new archetype.
Some people want Shadowstep to be removed from the game. Instead, the developers are giving Rogue even more minion-bouncing effects, such as Breakdance, and their Legendary spell, Bounce Around (ft. Garona)! If you’re a Rogue player, you’re likely thrilled about this: the ability to bounce minions back to your hand and replay them — sometimes even with mana discounts! — is powerful enough to make the class win many games.
The Legendary Spell, in particular, makes every minion that was returned to your hand cost only one mana to be replayed. Every single new Hearthstone expansion, there’s this one card that we look at and think “this is going to break the game at some point, and it’s getting nerfed for sure.” For Festival of Legends, Bounce Around (ft. Garona) might be the one.
JIVE, INSECT! transforms a minion into Ragnaros, the Firelord for the low cost of five mana (plus two Overload). That’s right — you can get your own 8/8 Ragnaros for only five mana! Is this the evolution of 4 mana 7/7? Likely not — times have changed — but it’s still a super cool effect.
Shaman seems to live or die by its ability to summon very big minions early in the game, before their opponent even has the means to deal with them. JIVE, INSECT! could be a powerful tool in the Shaman arsenal — and it could even be used on enemy minions in a pinch to remove some threat you can’t deal with — assuming the Ragnaros left in its wake won’t bother you.
Warlock, Neutral, Warrior
Symphony of Sins has a very cool and unique effect. For six mana, you’ll immediately play one of seven very powerful spells — themed after the seven deadly sins. That versatility alone is already really cool. But the six spells you didn’t choose get shuffled into your deck, and can be played for only three mana once you draw them!
Getting to draw six cards for only three mana is insanely powerful. The other effects all have their uses as well. All in all, this card oozes flavor, and having grown enamored with the Warlock class lately, I’m super eager to try to win games with this card.
Tony, King of Piracy has a crazy effect that could be called “fun” or “infuriating,” depending on your point of view: as long as it’s alive, both players’ decks are swapped! This effect is an aura, so if Tony is destroyed, silenced, or leaves the game in any other way, the decks are switched back.
Regardless, we could see many fun moments arising from this card. It also has a Finale effect — which activates if you spend all your remaining mana when playing it — of drawing a card, which will obviously be a card from your opponent’s deck. So even if Tony dies immediately, you at least get to steal one of their cards, getting some extra value, and potentially denying them one of their victory conditions if you’re lucky.
And the least interesting one… Warrior
Rock Master Voone seems like a big disappointment. His effect just isn’t as flashy or exciting as anything else we’ve seen for the other classes. You get to copy minions that are already in your hand — one of each minion type — and that’s that. No immediate effect on the board, no craziness ensuing.
In fact, nothing about the Warrior class this expansion screams “exciting,” and it’s not a good time to be a Warrior fan if we’re being honest. Voone heralds an attempt at creating a new archetype for Warrior, centered around playing minions of all different types, but we’re honestly unsure if this is going to pay off. Experiments like this usually only work after they get the support of many cards, requiring at least an expansion plus a mini-set worth of stuff.
And that’s that! Which classes, minions, or spells are you most excited about? Festival of Legends arrives April 11, and we’ve already bought our front row seats.
Originally published April 6, 2023
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