Out of all the Boomsday buffs coming in the Rise of the Mech update, one stands out. Extra Arms, the proto-Twinspell Priest buff, will soon be 2 mana rather than 3. This is huge.The card goes from a flexible (if low-tempo) value tool to a terrifyingly efficient buff in a class best suited to take advantage of it. When both Extra Arms and the ‘More Arms!’ card it generates are 2 mana, the card will become the best buff in the game. Will it be enough to finally forge an aggressive Priest deck to punish those pesky Mages, Hunters and Paladins?
The best buff
At 2 mana, Extra Arms will be ludicrously powerful. A two-cost +2/+2 is already a decent-ish card, in Mark of the Wild (with Taunt upside). Warlock has occasionally experimented with Demonfire as well. Extra Arms blows both of these out of the water. The added value makes it a powerful play whenever you have a minion, and the flexibility means you can expertly play around your opponents’ weaknesses.
But the biggest reason to fear it is to compare it to Blessing of Kings. This Paladin mainstay saw play in virtually every Tempo-based deck that could include it. Extra Arms is a strictly better Blessing of Kings, with far more flexibility. Most importantly, it is a great turn two play, meaning it is far less likely to be stranded in hand. A question remains however; can Priest properly utilise it?
Priest likes buffs
Extra Arms could work especially well in Priest more so than other classes. Priest loves to build high-health minions and take value trades, as it synergises perfectly with its healing hero power and spells. But more than that, a specifically 2 mana buff is especially valuable in Priest.
Priest lacks good turn two plays a lot of the time, much like so many classes. However, Priest has access to one of the best 1-drops in the game. Turn one Cleric into turn two Extra Arms is an incredibly strong opener that allows Priest to snowball to an early lead. But is this enough? Or could Priest push for an even more powerful and reliable early tempo push?
The Silence solution
Silence Priest is agonisingly close to being viable. It shows a lot of promise, with extremely high-tempo mid-game plays. Unfortunately, it has one glaring weakness; its earliest turns tend to be pretty lackluster. As such, it can’t rely on pure tempo, and has to include awkward divine spirit/inner fire combos to kill the opponent.
Extra Arms could change all that. By super-charging Priest’s early game, it could allow Silence Priest to pivot to a pure aggro gameplan. With a good selection of one-drops like Northshire Cleric and Saronite Taskmaster to find a target for Extra Arms, you have an early burst of pressure to lead into your Ancient Watchers, Arcane Watchers and Hench-Clan Shadequills. This extra tempo means you can even throw in some Mind Blasts to burn them out on turns 6-8 rather than relying on inconsistent Divine Spirit combinations. There is a chance that Extra Arms could make a true Aggro Priest deck; but for now, maybe don’t disenchant that Nomi just yet. The historical precedent is not great.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com
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