"Rise of the Bloodborn": Card Ratings and Thoughts

MYW / December 16, 2016

Hey, MYW here. I did initial ratings on all the cards in Shim'zar a while ago and that was fun and mostly accurate, so I'm going to do it again here. Hopefully you enjoy my opinions! Grades are a combination of actual power, and potential. And bias. 

I was going to link all the images, but that would be a pain to load. Just go here and follow along! https://duelyst.com/rise-of-the-bloodborn


Draining Wave: Quite a strong tempo card. Not much else to say there. If the deck is fast enough, that HP won't matter. Helps Lyonar solve minions at a distance when they don't want to play Martyrdom. A-

Prism Barrier: Pretty nasty. Best comparison is vanar's Boundless courage, only instead of damage, you get forcefield on other turns. While that is very strong, especially when combined with Roar, it's hard to imagine Lyonar playing this over Afterblaze, and there is only so much space in a deck for buffs. Rating: B

Scintilla: Strong heal card. A good body with a decent heal is the most any heal card deserves. Realistically, better in Argeon because Argeon reliably has targets to Roar. Rating: A-

Sunbreaker: Solid card, but realistically only good against Abyssian and Wall vanar. Otherwise, the body isn't quite competitive enough, and not being able to choose when you want to suicide this card makes it inflexible.  B-

Trinity Oath: People were hyping this up, saying it would break aggro/tempo, but I'm not certain about that. L'kian is functionally better for that deck as Lyonar gets high value out of on board bodies, and because Tempo Argeon is usually consistent enough that it won't need to draw cards out of the deck. This is more useful in slower decks, and for making Solarius sad. Rating: A

Excelsious: Unfortunately, it's probably bad. It's just another fat Lyonar body. Maybe play this if you already have 3 Ironcliffe and don't want to play Elyx or Z'ir for some reason, and have a little dispel bait. I guess I could see it being useful if you don't want to play divine bond but still want single body wombo combos. In that case, this card is basically like dropping Ironcliffe and Divine bond in the same turn in one card. V-value? If you think this card is good, I encourage you to beat my face with it. I'd be glad if this card was good. Rating: D


Obscuring Blow: This card is amazing, I think. Giving ANY minion the ability to take no damage and deal 2 extra conditionally is quite powerful, and the ability to give it to your general is also conditionally very useful. It has two conditional but powerful use cases, in one card, for 1 mana. It's good. Maybe good enough for some people to play Kaleos? Rating: A

Ethereal Blades: Not much to say here, it's solid damage, that can be used as removal or face damage. Reva will probably love it, as it's another card to dump on ranged units, and also gives the main body some removal power. I also like this design because it encourages Songhai to try to play a bit more minions, so this can get value most of the time. Rating: B+

Twilight Fox: Fun, flavorful. Is it good? Hard to say. It seems like it's obviously telling you to use Mask of Shadows, but I'm not sure this minion is solid enough to make that combo strong. I believe that's a theme with this card in general: a flavorful and fun effect, but a bit on the slow/weak side. I do appreciate the design, though. Hopefully I underrated this card. Rating: C

Whiplash: It's kinda bad. For the most part, it's a 3 mana golem. Sure, it'll plausibly do 2 burn damage, maybe 4, but it's a hard sell in the finely tuned songhai decks that actually work. Rating: C

Cobra Strike: This is a meme card, but it's actually not bad. Ever wanted to Phoenix fire a minion, and then face? Do you do that a lot? Well, you're in luck! Also, this card is pretty great with Crescent Spear. Maybe A new form of Crankyhai would use this card. Rating: B

Geomancer: It's ok. This card supports a theoretical late game Songhai which is nice, but realistically, Songhai already can make free heartseekers, which is already as good as phoenix fires. With the bad body too, I can't imagine this seeing too much play. I suppose the only real use is playing it against Cassy, as Reva's BBS does not have a lot of value in that matchup. Still, it's an interesting card to exist and I look forward to it's future. Rating: B-


Stone to Spears: Awful. Sorry Obelysk vet mains, this won't save you from the oppressive gaze of Nightwatcher. All this card does is give you 3 damage for 1 mana, in very conditional scenarios. Maybe this will see play if there is some MEGA OBELYSK in the future. Rating: D

Zephyr: Vegeta is pretty interesting, and makes vet even stronger as an anti-aggro deck, if they want to play it. Against non-aggro, this card doesn't really do too much, and has the same issue as Twilight Fox. Rating: B-

Divine Spark: Hmm. It doesn't look as good as the other draw in this expansion, but it's instant draw and card advantage still. This card will be better if vet gains cheap answer cards in the future. For now, it's a bit on the slow and un-impactful side for a faction that depends on using it's mana efficiently. Rating: B-

Incinera: Fun fact, I speculated that vetruvian would be gaining the ability to move further, due to the fact that most vetruvian tools had become limited to within the general's reach. This card... not quite what I was expecting, and I'm not certain it's strong. The best part about this is that it allows vet to face-punch most ranged units that Songhai plays, which Vetruvian deeply struggles with, but otherwise, being able to move great distances is not that useful the turn you play this card as it costs so much. The turn after though, you can threaten every single vetruvian threat, which is nice. Still, not sure it does enough on the turn of play for it to see play when Vetruvian already has several high value mid-range drops. Overall, I enjoy the direction of the design. Rating: B

Autarch's Gifts: In the average case, it's technically high value. However, the randomness of the card prevents you from establishing a consistent gameplan with the card that isn't just pushing face damage. Non-risktakers probably won't play this too much, but considering any combo that involves Ankh or Spinecleaver is probably very strong, and you have roughly 66% chance of hitting one, it could be pretty strong. Artifact vet players are crazy anyway, so I assume they'll like this. Rating: B

Grandmaster Nosh-rak: Another solid minion in Vetruvian's pile of big minions. It has a decent amount of utility even on the turn it is played for pushing face damage, and if it survives a turn the opponent is in for a world of hurt, so this could plausibly see play even in an aggressively curved tempo deck. Probably the most Remove-or-lose 7 drop in the game too, which also makes it strong as a control deck's topper, since Vetruvian is the faction of remove-or-lose monsters. However, vetruvian control's existence depends entirely on how much backrow play there is in the coming meta. If there's even a little bit of Lilithe, the deck has no chance. Independently though, this card is great. Rating: A


Furosa: The effect is very interesting, but buffing 1/1s to 2/2s isn't worth that much. However, buffing 2/2s to 3/3s is worth a lot. If this survives, it becomes strong. Theoretically this could put in work in late game situations too. Otherwise, it's decent, but it's not unfair enough to devote a card slot for. I really like this card design though, so I hope I'm wrong. Rating: B-

Aphotic Drain: Kelaino wasn't nerfed? This card is pointless, then. Honestly, even without Kelaino, this card really doesn't do that much, especially compared to sundrop elixir. It's not like destroying a friendly minion is actually a gain, most of the time. Rating: E, for e-nobody

Punish: This is a disgusting removal that is so strong it looks like it belongs in Vanar, but it is not: it's in the faction whose main weakness is removing big bodies in the early game. This card slides right into most Cassy decks without trouble, making a great deck even greater. I'll wait for the meta to develop before saying more, but initial impressions of this card signal dark days, and may force an aggro resurgence simply because Abyssian is too strong for midrange and control to fight. Again.  Rating: A+

Horror Burster: One of my favorite card designs in the set. It's finally some lilithe swarm support, and allows her to do slightly more than cash in all minion for big damage. This card definitely wants to be put down while there is a minion with at least 3 health on the board however, lest AOE(tempest honestly) be too strong a punish. Rating: B+

Necrotic Sphere: Mostly garbage, because 9/10 times Sunset Paragon serves this purpose better, and the other 1/10 times dark transformation will do the same job. Rating: D

Grandmaster Variax: The coolest design. Extremely strong card. I won't say too much about it though, because it's not as good as Spectral Revenant in 9/10 situations, and there is no room to play other 7 drops along with 3 Revenants. However, it might see a little bit of play in some late game, bigboyz Lilithe deck. Rating: A


Rancour: This is basically a 2 mana 3/3 at least. Needless to say, that's pretty sick. Combined with all the other self damaging Magmar can do, and this card can easily be disgusting. Rating: A

Entropic Gaze: This, along with Punish, make me afraid. This is too obviously favoring aggro/burn magmar, and fills in a gap in magmar: before, they could only use flameblood for efficient, unconditional face damage, and that was rarely good. This however, is both damage and draw to grab MORE damage, for just 2 mana. I don't think it's amazing in a Vacuum, but with everything else Magmar is capable of, it's doing the same thing Punish is doing: easily sliding into a strong deck, and making it stronger. The speed of this deck and the oppressiveness of Cassy may force the game into very low, aggressive curves to function. Rating: A-

Thraex: Interesting, but will ultimately just be a 3/4 that buffs one other minion by 1 in the average case. However, it would be the only solid 3 drop magmar has, so that alone may make it see play. Rating: B-

Tectonic Spikes: Alone, this card wouldn't be a big deal, but with all the other aggro options Magmar is getting, I start to worry. Overall, this card isn't amazing- playing this in an aggro matchup basically loses you the game, and playing it early in a control matchup often isn't good because a 3 mana gap may be enough for the control deck to gain enough board value to win. Likely best in the late game to pick up more burn cards to use in the same turn. A lot of people directed hate towards this card, but please direct it towards Gaze instead. Rating: B+

Drogon: This card. It does everything. This card feeds aggro Vaath, but also makes control able to punch out even more minions, along with extra finishing potential. The flexibility and strength of this card will possibly make it extremely popular in a multitude of deck types. Rating: A+

Valknu's Seal: This looks like a Timmy card. However, it could see legitimate play, if only eggmar was solid enough to use tech like this. Please buff Veteran a little. Rating: B-


Concealing Shroud: An interesting card. Since there are no out of hand wombo combos vanar can perform, and this can be dispelled, the primary purpose seems to be using this with an artifact, namely White Asp, in slower control decks. The value of this card isn't obvious, but at least you think of it as heal on the turn you hit things. Rating: legitimately not sure, B-?

Frigid Corona: The almost the most hilarious turn 1 play in the game, second only to beamshock face + 2 drop. This card is amazing in Faie, who generally shifts from tempo-control to face damage. This card functions extremely well in both playstyles. Rating: A-

Myriad: Unfortunately, somewhat bad. Realistically it'll only ever create one wall and you can't even place it, so it might be in a useless location. The stats aren't good enough to warrant the non-effect. I like the look of it though, so if I'm wrong, good. Rating: C

Enfeeble: A great, punish level card. But it's in Vanar, the faction that already has the best removals in the game, so it doesn't really change much of Vanar's powerlevel without trading off similarly powerful cardslots. It's primary competition is Frostburn, as Chromatic Cold and Aspect of fox are mostly non-negotiable when it comes to raw single target "removal." However, I could see it replacing both if there were enough ping cards to go with it, but that's a deck that is hard to theorize. Rating: A+

Sleet Dasher: Solid beatstick, but realistically all it does is kill wraithlings extremely well. Otherwise, most people will play around it, and all you get out of it is a solid 3/6 body and the opponent with probably worse positioning than they would have had otherwise. Rating: B-

Grandmaster Embla: Seems a bit low value for an 8 drop, especially one with a decent amount of counterplay. Likely too slow to have much an impact, but even if it is played it would need a Razorback or Winter's wake to support it, (unless you get extremely lucky and get 4+ blazing spines) both of which have their deficiencies. Maybe a decent compromise is playing Aspect of mountains to combine with this instead. Rating: B-


Cryptographer: High combo potential to go along with all these new Blood Surge Abilities. I think there will be many fun decks using this card. However, I think the deck that will enjoy this the most is simply Faie, just to push a bit more damage through, and also combo with Hearthsister for 4 damage removal. The other option that feels colorful to me is Vaath, as every attack he gains is more pressure and better removal. Plus, it can be combined with Drogon for hilarious amounts of damage. I'm rating this probably higher than it should get in a vacuum due to how interesting I think this card has the potential to be. Rating: A

Sanguinar: Unfortunately, I don't think this card will be good. Very rarely is it that pressing to develop a BBS and develop a bit body. In the optimal conditions, it's mostly just a discounted 5/4 minion for 3 mana, and you are forced to use your BBS. Perhaps it has potential combined with Cryptographer, but otherwise it fails to hold up. Rating: C

Meltdown: Ah, Ragnaros. I thought I would never see you again. This is a strong card that is extremely matchup dependant. Against Wall vanar or Swarm abyss, this card is total trash. Against most aggro decks, it's total trash. In other situations, it's actually quite good, although it faces stiff competition with other lategame 7 drops, namely Pandora (and other faction cards). Play if you intend to aggressively push to end the game as your closer, rather than out-value. Probably strongest in a Faie deck. Rating: A-

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