Mini-sets are always a super exciting time for me. Compared to an expansion, getting only 35 or so new cards means they will be much more impactful on average.
Also, the metagame of the expansion tends to be solved by the time the mini-set comes around. So players are eager to get their hands on the new cards and are extremely creative, even with cards that would otherwise be looked over in a larger set.
From what I could observe around the community, it looks like many people are very happy to see new cards in general but are not particularly happy about the ones in this mini-set.
Several reviews and opinions I looked at have been claiming this to be a rather disappointing set pushing weak archetypes while not giving them enough to compete with the ones currently on top.
Are those thoughts right, or could they be a bit on the pessimistic side? Let's break down everything coming our way with the mini-set and prepare for its release on Tuesday evening.
Shaman and Druid get some underwhelming class cards.
If we are looking only at the three cards each class is receiving, we could be worried that Druid and Shaman are in a similar and unfortunate state before and after the mini-set.
Of course, some cards can have some fringe potential, like Incarceration being a decent single target removal for Druid. Or Framester looking fine to include more disruption in Control Shaman. But at the same time, it is hard to overlook a card like Torghast Custodian, which looks downright insulting in 2022. Or Attorney-at-Maw, whose 1/3 stat line makes it difficult to imagine outside of very specific situations.
As a result, the potential development for these two classes likely has to come from the neutral additions, and it very well might. The new Sylvanas, the Accused, looks to be at its best with these two classes, in addition to looking like a solid neutral card overall.
For Druid, it is a potential removal that is reasonably easy to infuse using Scale of Onyxia or Flipper Friends. For Shaman, it is one of the best battlecries in the game that could be abused several times.
Mage, Demon Hunter, and Rogue received solid tempo tools.
While the tools they are each receiving might not be of equal value, there are a lot of similarities in the direction I anticipate these classes will take.
Mage is probably the easiest one to guess out of all classes with its Secret synergy being the clear focus for the class in Maw and Disorder.
Up until this point, the Secret Mage archetype has never made it as a real archetype, even for fun. I don't recall seeing the deck in September at all. With Objection! and Contract Conjurer, the deck received two good reasons to be tested once again, hopefully with more success this time.
If the Secret looks good, it definitely should compete to be in the rotation for the deck. The big impact card should be the hopefully free Contract Conjurer, allowing the deck to be much more explosive early on, and bringing the heat onto our opponent.
Moving on to Demon Hunter now, who received one of the two class legendaries of this mini-set: Prosecutor Mel'tranix. I've read a lot of different things about the card, from players happy to see more disruption to others lamenting its existence already.
Yet, it is the other 4-Cost card, Sightless Magistrate, which I think is the real deal of this set for Demon Hunter. In order to get the player base to play something other than the Relics archetype, a current fan favorite, other builds in the class will need to step it up. And with the addition of the Sightless Magistrate, the super aggressive build might have a shot at doing so.
Last on our list of classes receiving some solid tempo cards is Rogue, who seemingly got cards for most of its archetypes. Murder Accusation is looking decent in Burgle Rogue. The deck is slow enough to let the opponent take the board early on. Paired with a Wildpaw Gnoll, the card should be great to gain board control back. Perjury is obviously going into the secret archetype, which, just like Mage, was dying for some help in order to gain some relevancy.
But the card I want to talk about specifically is Scribbling Stenographer, a card that could (or not) change Miracle Rogue, by giving it a shot at not playing Maestra anymore. If the new Rush card is able to be discounted enough and played for 0, then it could replace the Wildpaw Gnoll, meaning we can cut Maestra and gain a slot in the deck.
In addition to making Shroud of Concealment more reliable (we now have four units in the pool instead of five), we also get to play a better card than a vanilla 3/2.
Priest and Hunter get new archetype staples.
If Beast Hunter has been Rexxar's figurehead ever since the last balance patch, ranking as the best deck for most of the past few weeks, Anduin's Thief archetype had quite the reversed path with the deck emerging recently and being buried far behind Naga and Bless Priest.
With the mini-set, both archetypes are receiving some custom-made cards for their preferred gameplay. Indeed, Defense Attorney Nathanos has Beast synergy written all over it, as picking Mountain Bear or Azsharan Saber seems like a ton of tempo.
With this new, middle-of-the-curve, value-oriented option, I feel like Beast Hunter is getting a great card. I have never been a fan of the late game package included in the deck, whether it was Denathrius or Wing Commander Ichman. So getting a 6-Cost minion that is still able to bring a ton of value is exactly the way I would want to play the deck, as it allows focusing the end of the curve on closing the deal.
As for Priest, its Thief archetype is not performing as well as Beast Hunter, but still receives the praise of decorated Priest players like TicTac. He could be joined by a lot of Priest enthusiasts when Theft Accusation and Incriminating Psychic are added to the game, both cards clearly supporting this specific archetype.
The unit especially is looking very juicy, potentially opening the deck to bridge with Dragon synergy (Kazakusan) or Deathrattles (Xyrella, The Devout).
Paladin receives a solid set of cards.
If we completely forgot the current state of the Paladin class, one could say Uther is the big winner of the mini-set Maw and Disorder. Indeed, all three cards are looking decent at the very least.
Jury Duty is the worst one, but isn't necessarily bad. It will contribute to feeding the Silver Hand Recruits synergy and could see play in tempo-heavy Pure Paladin lists.
Speaking of Pure Paladin, Class Action Lawyer will be included in every single one of them, no matter the play style. The card is exactly what the archetype wants to receive in a card, and makes the sacrifice of not playing a single neutral card much more bearable.
Lastly, there is Order in the Court, a bit of an enigma for me. On the one hand, the card is obviously strong and could be played as a simple “Draw Cariel and Countess more often” kind of tool. It could be enough to make Paladin better than it is now, and with the Class Action Lawyer as a great early game tool, the deck also found some good sustain.
On the other end, the card could very well become the next problem if someone finds a combo that can be abused thanks to Order in the Court. With Cavalry Horn still a card in paladin, there is definitely some potential somewhere. At worst, we might just be happy with drawing some zero mana Lightray.
Warrior gets a great control tool but no love for the Enrage archetype
Control Warrior has never been the same since the patch back in May, which saw the archetype nerfed to the ground. Sometimes, it comes back as a counter to a specific deck, but it hasn't really found a way to stay relevant for a long period of time since Castle Nathria's release.
While it probably won't be enough, the addition of Call to the Stand could be quite the addition to Garrosh's Control "bag of tricks." The already rebranded “Dirty Rat spell” because of its effect has the ability to win some matchups on the spot.
Also, the card is looking great alongside Warrior's AoE cards like Brawl or Shield Shatter, as the summoned unit will likely be removed on the spot. For all those reasons, I believe control players probably want to give the deck a shot before giving up on the class until the next expansion. Warrior players as a whole probably only have this option, considering nothing was added to the Enrage archetype.
You might have noticed I didn't include Warlock in the discussion, which has nothing to do with my affection for the class. The reason for it is that I couldn't really figure out what to do with the tools Warlock received, as every card looks to be a support to a different archetype. As a result, the cards don't feel like they really help a deck get stronger. Perhaps they could instead see play in a deck that already is competitive and finds a reason to play one of these cards.
And to be fair, apart from Mage specifically getting help for its Secret archetype, a lot of the mini-set has that flavor. Obviously, some surprising synergies will be found along the way, but I wouldn't be surprised if the metagame was quite similar to the current one when we reach a stable environment.
I do reserve a majority of my curiosity to Paladin though, who received three decent to solid cards.
Thanks for reading this piece! You can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/den_CCG.
Good Game Everyone!
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