Sunday, 28 November 2010

It's Sunday: Death Knight Jin'rohk nonsense

A while ago, around the time of Scourgewar's release, I built a deck that was designed to do one thing - Jin'rohk your opponent in the face repeatedly. For better or worse I chose Death Knight as the class to do this with, and threw together a clunky deck that could sometimes perform this feat for the first time on turn 6. It looked a little bit like this:

Hero: Erondra Frostmoon

4 Beserker Bracers
4 Bonefist Gauntlets
4 Greathelm of the Scourge Champion
3 Breastplate of Undeath
2 Jin’rohk, the Great Apocalypse

4 Corpse Explosion
4 Unholy Presence
4 Unholy Rune
3 Death Grip
3 Army of the Dead

4 Wanda Darkfizz
4 Deathcharger
3 Short John Mithril
2 Pappy Ironbane

3 Eye of the Storm
4 Darkness Calling
4 Hazardous Materials
4 Bane of the Illidari

Clunky, I know. It did have its moments though - spending the opening turns armouring up, including Bonefist Gauntlets, prevented a large amount of early damage, Unholy Presence lets you play and swing with weapons for cheaper, and with those two cards on the table enabled you to drop - and swing with - Jin'rohk on turn 6. Armour was a big problem though, and thinking back I probably played a huge amount of irrelevant shit instead of Pappy too, but I don't have an accurate decklist to hand.

The Death Knight flavour of this deck was probably just a bit ahead of its time as there still weren't enough Death Knight cards out to build anything other than a red aggro deck. Since then a lot of cards that benefit this particular deck have been printed; also, one of the recent glut of previews could perhaps help bring this deck back to life a little: Dancing Rune Weapon.
Basically the new card enables you to play a Jin'rohk for one resource on turn seven, swing with it and still have resources left over. In the above deck, you shuold be able to swing for free on turn seven, do other stuff, and then on turn eight play the sword again, and have another crack.
Not to mention this involves you swapping specs to Blood, which gives you access to Hysteria; no more messing around with Death Grip! It is likely that one swing will be all you need to put the game beyond reach of your opponent when you destroy seven of their cards. There's no denying that Corpse Explosion is a big loss, but hopefully some of the other cards I've added since then will help out, especially now we have an extra turn to play with before Armageddon.
This is most definitely a work in progress as we don't know what else Worldbreaker will bring for our Knights, not least whether the red hero will have a flip that is at all useful or not! That said, the following list renders Krog's flip redundant anyway.

Basically, Beserker Bracers stop you from dying, Sun-Emblazoned Chestplate stops people attacking your hero, Helm makes your Jin'rohk bigger, Broderick makes your Jin'rohk bigger, Hysteria makes your Jin'rohk bigger, Hazardous Materials makes your Jin'rohk bigger, Wooly White Rhino prevents people from stopping you having fun with your great big, fat, Jin'rohk... Vuz'din makes you sad (Army is your only out) but other than that...

You get the idea. It is the beginning of the end.

Yet more Worldbreaker Previews

Some more previews! Some are in German.

Enduring Winter

Hi Vuz'din! On a more serious note, I don't envisage this seeing much play - Mages that would make use of this tend to have a lot of redundancy in their decks as it is. Even Stuart Wright in his preview article struggles to find much good to say about it. There are a few interesting ideas and combos going on in the official forums, but I remain unconvinced. Maybe something that pairs with this card will be printed later on in Worldbreaker.


"Emit a Sonic Blast" indeed. The Hunter pet two-drop slot is pretty contested as it stands, with Fang and now Deuce vying for attention; I like the idea of this guy in a control deck and if played on turn 2 he will likely take out your opponent's one-drop for free; I think playtesting will reveal his true worth, but it's definitely promising, even if it is yet another pet!


1. Get your Nature allies killed
2. Play Reawakening
3. Illidan

Garet Vice

It's Kinivus, but better!

Blessing of the Kindred

As already stated in the article, this would probably work best in an Argent Crusade-style build, or, ironically, ALAMO druid rush. It's instant, which enables combat tricks with it; its scope is narrow though and I doubt it will inspire a new wave of Paladin rush any time soon.

Guess I got out the wrong side of bed this morning or something :)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Preview catchup

Death Knight and Druid previews are up.

Chains of Ice

Interesting. It's sort-of Polymorph for Death Knights with the secondary effect of searching out a disease. With the currently available diseases though it is questionable how much extra tempo gain you will get from this card - currently only Icy Touch and Frost Fever affect the board immediately upon being played, though it will be interesting to see what diseases get printed in Worldbreaker to pair with this card.

Earth and Moon

I've seen this described as the replacement for Moonkin Form, and that might be about as much description as you need. There's a pretty comprehensive list of allies this card will help buff in the main Crypto article, but the thing I like the most about this card is that it buffs two separate types of damage.

Single-element decks can have a really tough time against Silvermoon City (hello Pinprik), and providing your deck contains enough of both damage types you won't necessarily have to worry about Silvermoon as much with this card.

Also it makes Hurricane do a bit more work for its cost...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Thar be dragons

Two more sets of previews!

Ruby Enforcer

Stats are a little underwhelming but the effect is immense - it's not as reliable or survivable as Orgrimmar but not only does he give himself ferocity, if he sticks around for a turn then bad things will happen. I want to compare him to Broan Charges-the-Fight but both allies do different things - it doesn't really matter if Broan snuffs it the turn after he comes into play, as by then he's already done his part. I really like this card and intend to have a good play around with it though.

Vylokx on the official WoWTCG forums made a very good jank combo with the Enforcer too.

He also works well in theory with the next preview...


The effect on this is crackers, but I'm not sure how often it'll see play. It's a large ally, so very susceptible to spot removal, though in a curve-based deck it could effectively double your seven-drop. Struggling to think of genuinely useful applications for this effect - it is great but I think it will come too late in the average game to have much of an impact.

Also completely useless against a Death Knight, they would shit themselves with delight if you played this card!

Now to the Green Dragonflight, who after a bit of a shaky start all of a sudden look highly enticing:

Emerald Tree Warder

Having this guy in play turns Your Fortune Awaits You into Counterattack! or The Reason for the Season. Not only that, he works with Stash, and in something of a more extreme example, Babagahnoosh the Grumpy. I love the idea of getting your free 5/5 and a load of Death Rattle effects, and on top of that, getting to refill your hand thanks to all those quests you turned over just moments earlier!

Emerald Lifewarden

Look at that bitey bastard!

I don't really have much to say about this guy, other than he's not restricted to having only one in play so you could potentially be laying three resources a turn. Combine him with the Tree Warder above and lots of Stash cards and things just got silly. Of course, you'll rarely find yourself in this situation, and while it might seem like the best thing ever when it does happen (see also: Paint Bomb + Hemet) it's important to evaluate cards on their individual strengths.


This is more like it! Over-statted for his cost and an absolutely absurd ability. Not only does the resource enter play ready, you can gain any Stash bonuses, and even a face up Quest/Location if that's what gets revealed. Ramp decks are going to have a field day with this guy.

Cairne, Earthmother's Chosen

I'm really happy to see some older racial keywords on their way back in - Cairne gives all Tauren in your party Warstomp, which was last seen in Drums of War. Hopefully this paves the way for other underused keywords to make a reappearance soon - my favourites would be Inspiring Presence, Shadowmeld and Will of the Forsaken, despite the latter giving my Hunter Trapper deck fits.

Also of note is that Cairne and the previously-previewed Magni produce factioned tokens when Stashed - most tokens are usually X/X Neutral but these are Horde or Alliance. I wonder if this hints at more faction-based powers in the future?


Ceraka isn't going to change the world overnight or anything but she could be a nice psuedo-finisher in an Orcs deck. Her power synergises with the Green Dragonflight blah blah blah. Next.

Exxi the Windshaper

Three-drops are a funny breed - short of rare cards and Zi'mo there are rarely any that boast four attack, breaking the cycle of cards that are overstatted. Exxi doesn't break that tradition but makes a pleasant return to on-curve stats after Icecrown's dearth of 2/4s. Ability speaks for itself - if you have a Goblin hero she'll be crazily useful, if you don't then you've just played a sensible ally. Seems pretty decent to me!

Yet more good previews - I'm not sure what kind of impact Worldbreaker will have on our existing constructed formats but you can't ignore the power level of some of these cards. The previews are doing their job anyway - I'm hyped :)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Blue Team

Only three previews today but they're definitely more exciting than most of the ones we've seen up to now.

Rolan Phoenix

I like the look of this guy - well-costed and with a nifty effect that can trigger off your Worgen hero, but the Alliance three-drop slot is incredibly packed right now, with Adam Eternum and Flint Shadowmore. Unless you have a good reason to keep recurring this guy I can't see him getting much play over one of those two, no matter how good he otherwise is.

That said - he is going to be really bloody difficult to get rid of, four health is still non-trivial and he sports the Aberration keyword too...

Varandas Silverleaf

I've never been a fan of turning my quests down for anything other than getting the reward off the front of them, and while three damage is a not insignificant reward for doing so, I wonder how much use this ally is going to be during those times when you've mulliganed into a hand with one whole quest.

Maybe he'll play better than my sceptical mind thinks - he definitely has potential but at this point I think I'd rather just play Ashnaar.

Magni, the Mountain King

Magni's effect is pretty interesting for armour decks but to get the most out of him you're going to have to build a Dwarf All-Stars deck that also runs a lot of armour - and I just don't think it's going to really be useful enough to make much of an impact in any deck that isn't built around his ability. I suppose it would make Spelunker Maddocks a bit more survivable after graveyard hate, but then a 0/3 Spelunker isn't going to be much use to you anyway, much like the 1/1 token Magni's Stash ability generates.

Also of note is his restriction on the type line - 'Magni (1)'. Not 'Unique'. Previous Magni cards were Unique; why not this one, and are the other Magnis going to receive errata to this effect? I understood the change of Shadowfiend from Unique to Pet (1) as that would have broken Crusade Engineer Spitzpatrick; if the other Magni cards don't receive errata to become Magni (1) (to prevent quantum dwarf occurrences) I can see no functional reason behind this change, other than Spitzpatrick potentially proving more powerful than the R&D team expected.

Definitely an interesting set of cards today though, Worldbreaker is shaping up to be an interesting set so far.

Deck Breakdown - Hunter Trapper Dickhead (Core)

With the Core landscape changing drastically in just under a month I have been revisiting some of my older, moderately successful decks and giving them a bit of spit and polish. First up was one of the endless attempts to make a competitive Hunter deck - I'd tried Beast Mastery pet rush, Koth Orcs, a Viper Sting/Upstanding Spaulders/Jaina deck and even delved into Classic for some Super Simian Sphere action, which was great until your opponent played an ongoing ability..

The one deck that gave me the most success was a Horde Survival deck. The object of the deck was to simply keep the opponent's board clear of anything relevant and eventually turn in to Kel'thuzad. It was a nice concept but when I took it to my local Battlegrounds it tanked, largely due to either inefficiency or not having the right cards in hand. I don't have the exact decklist to hand but the notable differences to the updated list are the lack of Survival Instincts, Shadala for ability destruction and Buzz for equipment destruction.

After a bit of thinking I ported the deck to the Alliance, and turned out the following:

Shaii is the ideal hero for a deck of this type. Your first turn play will hopefully be Concerted Efforts - a great fit for this deck as it hits Snipe, Explosive Trap and Kel'thuzad amongst others; if your opponent comes out the gate with Gora or Broderick you can take care of them for free - even if you went second and have no resources, in Gora's case - and save your traps for bigger prey.
You will almost always find that when playing this deck your action for turn will be draw, place resource, pass. All but four cards in the deck (Pappy, Dundee, Rifle and Survival Instincts) are instant; you can almost always wait for your opponent to make the first move, and with your hand full of cards you should always have a response. If there is nothing you need to respond to, your resources are free for questing.
The key to success is knowing when to play the non-instant cards. Depending on your opponent, playing Dundee on your third turn can either be an inspired or crazy play - against ally-heavy decks it is usually great as a hungry crocodile ready to go on your fourth turn is worth its weight in gold; against Death Wish decks you've just guaranteed your opponent that they're going to land their Greaves and you're not getting rid of those until turn 7 at the earliest. Well-timed Snipes and Bombards will win you games with this deck so be careful not to over-extend until you are sure it's safe.
Trapper's Rifle has been the subject of some criticism considering Envoy of Mortality deals that extra vital point of damage for one less strike cost, but I'm really impressed with the Trapper after testing. This is a slow and safe deck and I reckon it fits perfectly.
I took this to my local Battlegrounds and comfortably went 5-0 with it, though there are definitely weaknesses to the deck - it is a free win for Control Mage, a very tough matchup with Death Wish (if they go first and land T1 Plate Bracers, T2 Death Wish you are in big trouble) and any other deck with no allies in tends to render your Kel'thuzad impotent.
Changes I would have made to the deck after those five matches would be slim; I would probably switch out Eye of the Storm for The Darkmoon Faire as ditching abilities into your graveyard is not necessarily a bad thing with Planned Assault in your deck, and it would have been nice to fit Mikael the Blunt in the deck for his synergy with Explosive Trap, but there might just be enough ally hate in here already and I don't think the extra two points of damage to an opposing hero is really going to make all that much difference. Call to Arms: Arathi Basin is a dangerous quest to complete it you don't already have Kel'thuzad in your hand - I have skipped past him with a completion of this quest more times than I care to remember! This was one of the main reasons I swapped A Question of Gluttony for Concerted Efforts.

I had a lot of fun with this deck though. Choosing what to row when you run out of quests is one of the hardest decisions in this deck, along with knowing when to play your non-instant stuff; that said, if you are patient then you will succeed. If you put this together, let me know how it fares in your local meta!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

This time with keywords

More previews today - I'll try and keep it a little shorter this time!

Block number in set image

It's strange how such a simple idea will eventually make the game's formats so much easier to explain. Core is blocks 3-5. Sorted. Including this information on crafted cards and prestige sets shows the idea is well-thought out.


Heroes no longer having professions is a shame but won't affect me personally as I have never had enough crafting materials to get hold of any meaningful number of one particular crafting card. Things like Tankatronic Goggles and Khorium Boar make sense thematically and it's disappointing to see that no further heroes will be printed that can make use of these cards, but I think this will be all but forgotten not long from now.

New Flips / Static Powers

The idea of flipping for an ongoing benefit has been explored previously with the heroes from the Arena Grand Melee sets, Emmi Sprinklestrike and Kauno Stonehoof. Both the previewed flips (pay 3 for static Mend 1 and pay 4 for static Assault 1) are not exactly exciting but these have the potential to be very powerful. Protection Warrior flips and becomes a Protector, maybe? An Orc hero gaining Hardiness, or a Troll gaining Berserk?

Worgen / Goblins

Not being an MMO player, the new races are still exciting but aren't getting me quite as moist in the pants as they are for some. The new races have brought their own keywords to play, and they're getting a bit ridiculous now - when Magic introduced 'Proliferate' some turned their noses up, but...

An ally with Aberration prevents all non-combat damage that would be dealt it; this has the potential to give heavy control decks (such as Varanis) nightmares if a Worgen with more than one health is printed! Vexmaster Nar'jo has been used for this purpose in the past but providing the Worgen aren't generally terrible, then...

Ferocity for the Alliance is also a pleasant surprise. Classic Leeroy Jenkins plus Worgen rush go!

A Goblin ally with Time is Money (yeah, that's really the new keyword) will be able to use their exhaust powers on the turn they enter play. This is a really nice themed keyword despite the name, portraying the Goblins as a smart, efficient race. Initial impressions seem to be pointing towards a fear of a Myriam Starcaller-style effect on a TiM Goblin, something which I seriously don't expect to happen. I'm not going to go as far as offering to print out this entry and eat it if I'm proved wrong, but I really hope the designers have learned their lessons from Myriam.


Remember Arena Allies? They were bad. Dragonkin appear to be what Arena Allies should have been in the first place. I'm not sure what the logic behind confusing the card border colours is all about though - considering the amount of work that has gone into simplifying a lot of the game, a needless flavour change such as this really strikes me as odd.

You appear to be able to combine different colours of Dragonkin in your deck - how does that tally up with the MMO? Are all the Dragonkin flights allied with one another?


Stash is a great idea - cards that have normal effects, but if you choose to place them as resources, they have an additional effect before being consigned to the row. This also ties in with the new Heirloom equipment, which is simply equipment that gains a bonus for each Heirloom counter on it; you gain Heirloom counters by Stashing other Heirloom equipment. Great idea - the previewed Arcanite Reaper (why can Hunters not use this one?) will be playable in limited formats even with no other Heirloom equipment to use with it, and if there is enough stuff available could easily get ridiculously powerful - all at the expense of card advantage of course, as you won't be placing quests while you're powering up your Heirlooms...

However, you will still gain the benefits from Mounts as you are technically placing a resource face up. On Ruby Wings is the first thing that jumps out at me as offering a huge gain in conjunction with Stash, also providing assistance with the card advantage issue mentioned earlier!

Damage type still matters (in limited)

I don't see many of the damage type cards receiving too much constructed play at first sight, mostly due to Silvermoon City and the few ways of getting rid of it, especially for the Alliance. Still - about 240 more cards to be seen yet!

Diane Cannings Shaman

This is probably my favourite thing that I ever created in the World of Warcraft trading card game. It wins games occasionally, is great fun to play, makes people look at you funny and wonder what you're up to, can hit for twenty in one combat with the right board setup and if Diane is left unanswered for a turn she can decimate your opponent in very short time.

Unfortunately due to the new rules regarding attacking that I wrote about in my last post, this deck is unlikely to survive past Worldbreaker as it loses one of its main win conditions, and arguably the most fun part of the deck!


4 Legendary Leathers, Dalaran
3 A Final Blow
3 Bane of the Illidari
3 Akama's Promise
2 Spirit Totem
2 Orders from Lady Vashj

4 Girdle of the Blasted Reaches
4 King Dred's Helm
4 Spaulders of Lost Secrets
4 Quickstrider Moccasins
4 Edge of Oblivion
3 Signet of Manifested Pain

4 Naan the Selfless
4 Diane Cannings
3 The Red Bearon

4 Feral Spirit
4 Lightning Arc
3 Chain Purge
2 Gifts from the Past

The deck is a little flabby at 64 cards, though you could likely cut it down a little by putting proper quests in the place of Spirit Totem and removing Lightning Arc - which is useful but probably non-essential unless you fear Pinprik in your local meta.

So. Looks like a pile of cards nobody really plays. However, if you draw Legendary Leathers and the appropriate bits of armour in your opening hand, you can play the Girdle on your first turn, the Spaulders on your second, maybe play a Signet or a Lightning Arc on your third, and the big blowout on turn four:

Play Diane Cannings with your three non-location resources, exhaust Legendary Leathers (now worth 4) to play Quickstrider Moccasins, ready Legendary Leathers with the moccasins, play King Dred's Helm

Assuming Diane survives a turn, with a full armour suite she can swing twice for 12. If you have a Shaman in play (not that difficult with the Signet) you could then play an Edge of Oblivion and swing for 10, and grab a free Chain Lightning from King Dred's Helm while you're at it. Alternatively, swing for 15 if Diane doesn't make it, or hold the axe until the next turn if you have a Spirit Totem in play and swing for 20.

Yes - this deck is ridiculous, and yes, it will automatically lose to a lot of other decks. It is great fun to play though and with the new rules coming in, it will not really ever exist in its current incarnation again.

Diane will be joining me for one last foray into the battlegrounds in a week or two.

When we eventually part, I will be sad; we had some good times together but it was never meant to be.

Friday, 19 November 2010

First Worldbreaker Previews... and Rule Changes

Worldbreaker Previews - click here

The previewed cards in the above link are largely unremarkable, but I feel the need to make comment on some of the rules changes that have been covered in this first article.

Equipment is now a card type

This is pretty sensible. Amusingly the first thing I thought of was King Varian Wrynn's nerf - he gives -1/-1 to the opposing board for each card type you have in play, so he will theoretically be 'worse' as a result of this change.

Cards that reference 'Equipment' have been around for ages, whereas the cards themselves have always been divided into separate categories - Weapon, Armour and Item. Changing those to subtypes (so cards will now read 'Equipment - Weapon' will be very useful in helping teach new players about card definitions.

Combo/Finishing Move changes

The new way these cards will work is great - especially for limited play, which can be quite depressing when you open six packs of cards, crack a rare Finishing Move and no Combo cards to go with it. The fact that no further Combo cards will be printed could potentially be an issue for Overkill-based decks though.

ADDENDUM: Oopsie! Of course, Overkill requires you to remove Finishing Moves from your deck, not Combo cards.

Could this also lead to an overall decrease in power of finishing moves, now any Rogue ability card can be used as part of their bonus payment? Only time will tell, though Steal Steel is looking pretty powerful against the right sort of decks.

Also, in Icecrown, the first Druid Finishing Move was printed. Now it is redundant. Whoops!

Druid Forms

Form of the Serpent is notorious for having one fundamental difference over other Druid Forms - it doesn't break if you strike with a weapon or do non-Feral things. While I find the idea of a bear wielding a mace slightly preposterous, a snake wielding a mace is not much better so this is definitely a change for the better gameplay-wise, even if it completely eschews sensibilities taken from the game itself.

Feral Druid hasn't really been a top-tier deck for a while, and while these rules will help make the Feral spec more viable again, a magic-chucking, weapon-swinging cat is going to take a little getting used to!

Striking with weapons

On the one hand, I'm glad that striking with weapons is now simpler - however, I built a deck a couple of months back that let you strike with a weapon four times in a single combat. It is a bit silly though! I will put up the decklist shortly as I won't be using it this time next month...

Again, most of these changes are relatively straightforward, and while I can't say I'm necessarily pleased with the way hero combat will work come Worldbreaker due to the removal of ability to fake an attack and then ready with something like Quickstrider Moccasins, it's definitely going to be easier to explain. Want to attack? Declare target, exhaust hero, exhaust weapon, pay strike costs, done.

There is still scope for combat tricks while defending, such as playing instant weapons and striking with them whilst defending. Shame you can no longer do this while attacking, but it's a sensible sacrifice considering the new attacking rules.


I love Totems - my first real deck all that time ago was a Phadalus the Enlightened Totem Control deck. It would simply stall to turn 10 with the aid of Totemic Mastery, then play Gorehowl to finish. One swing was generally all it took as Myriam Starcaller would generally do the rest of the damage in fits and spurts throughout the game.

Everybody hated playing against it. Despite this, I didn't win all that often, but the crazy Totem rules made every game a slog for my opponent. Let's run over a few of the best ones:

  • Totems are abilities, but when they are in play, they can be targeted or attacked as if they were allies
  • When in the graveyard, Totems are abilities, and so cannot be eaten with Undercity
  • Totems are invulnerable to Area of Effect attacks like Engulfing Blaze, and also effects like Flint Shadowmore's redirection effect that don't target
  • Any attachments that are attached to a Totem are destroyed during the next Pre-Priority Processing (so, immediately then)
Now all of the above bullshit is no longer relevant. Again, this is at the expense of keeping canon with the way Totems work in World of Warcraft, but removes so many stupid rules from the game that even a die-hard Totem fan like me can accept the changes happily enough.

An interesting benefit to this change is that it appears that Totems can now be given ATK bonuses, which they previously could not under the old rules - so while you lose some benefits you gain others, even if you are likely to get horribly dicked by anyone running Corpse Explosion.

New Cards are a bit ugly


That's your lot for now - This set of rules changes will likely divide opinion for a while but I can't wait for the day I don't have to explain a million caveats about Totems to a new player.

More stuff from CZE tomorrow apparently!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A quick introduction

After a surprising amount of radio silence from the WoWTCG community and the setup and subsequent decline of quite a few blogs and sites of late, I've got my writing cap on. If the top players don't have anything to write about then perhaps the ramblings of an enthusiastic moron will suffice.

I hope to post one proper entry per week, starting this weekend where I'll be doing some deck recon on something I took to our local battlegrounds this week that proved surprisingly effective.

I'm also hoping to create a short, clear and concise guide to the various formats of WoWTCG, as I remember the issues I had when I first started playing and I had no idea what a Booster Draft was.

Also I am very sorry about the name. While it is a card-based pun, it's still dreadful. I will think of something better in short time.


I like bacon.