A new set means new two drops. With the full roster for Rastakhan out, new two mana minions may threaten the infamous Prince’s power. But will they be up to the challenge? Or will the undisputed Prince of turn two rule standard until rotation?
You’ve been Belligerent Gnome’d
One contender is the new Neutral taunt minion, Belligerent Gnome. Although it’s only a 1/4, this Taunt gains another attack when the opponent has 2 or more minions. Depending on the meta, this can often be an all-class Vulgar Homunculus. Could this be a reason to skip the big K?
Perhaps not. Vulgar Homunculus is far more reliable and it’s not enough to dislodge Keleseth in Zoo Warlock. And while plenty of decks will help Belligerent Gnome fulfill the requirements, it’s hardly the best answer to those decks. You’d likely be better off including AOE against the likes of Odd Paladin. And a two mana 1/4 will be hardly an effective counter to the likes of Druid. Overall, this card might work as a tech choice in Even decks, but probably won’t be enough to push out Keleseth.
Ironbeak Owl was strong enough to warrant a nerf, and whilst Shieldbreaker isn’t quite as powerful as the old hooter, it certainly looks tempting. Aggro decks primarily tech silence to deal with Taunts anyway, so restricting the silence to Taunt minions doesn’t make much of a difference.
If we end up seeing a lot of big lone Taunts return to the meta, this card may be a valid reason to move away from Keleseth. It won’t be the only 2 drop to replace it, but it might push the adoption of cards like Knife Juggler and Dire Wolf Alpha alongside it. Being a full 2 mana cheaper than Spellbreaker and the same statline as Owl for 2 rather than 3 may be enough of an impetus to push Keleseth. Provided, of course, that Witchwood Grizzlies and other big Taunts are still about. With that said, expect to primarily see a lot of this in aggressive Even decks.
Dragon decks are a prime contender for Keleseth. With a high dependence of minions, and a light early game, Keleseth can make a big impact for little cost. But Firetree Witchdoctor is a compelling reason to reconsider. As a 2 mana 2/2 that discovers a spell given a Dragon activator, this minion is incredible value for the cost. We’ve already seen the power of Hydrologist, and this is arguably stronger.
Alongside cards like Dragon Roar and Cathedral Gargoyle, Firetree Witchdoctor is a compelling reason to leave the Fresh Prince of Turn Two by the wayside. With so many mid-range minions, it’ll be valuable to have some consistency to ease you towards your mid-game drops. Plus, if you drop Keleseth, you can run the most powerful Dragon of all: Faerie Dragon.
An eggcellent replacement
Scarab Egg may bring horrible flashbacks of some horrifying Naxxramas aggro tools. The terrifying love-child of Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper, Scarab Egg looks incredibly strong in token decks. A cheap body for buffs that spawns three whole bodies on death, it looks set for Wild domination. But with the lack of board buffs in standard, will it be as potent?
Perhaps. Warlock did get access to the powerful Grim Rally, which this card benefits from whether it’s the target or not. And a card like this may be enough to make old-school minion-based Token Druid make a return. If you’re running lots of board buffs, this card will be a compelling reason to kick out Keleseth. But don’t expect it to take over the world in classes that can’t benefit from buffing wide boards.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com
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