Hunter looks to master Arcane magic. Warlock aims to control the biggest Undead.

We’re here once again, this time to discuss new additions to the Hunter and Warlock classes and their potential, thanks to Blizzard providing us with early information on the cards revealed today. In just one week, we will be discussing the entire set in our ‘Comprehensive March of the Lich King Preview’, just before the biggest theorycrafting article you’ve seen yet!

Arcane Hunter

First, the Arcane Hunter package revealed by Bennidge could encourage a playstyle we have yet to see from the class.

When we initially found out about Arcane Quiver, a tutor for spells in the vein of Thrive in the Shadows that can give Arcane spells a spell damage buff, we were scratching our heads. Arcane Shot was the only Arcane spell that Hunter had, so…

Finally, they are here, and they make things quite interesting!

Ricochet Shot deals 1 damage to three different enemies, so if 2 minions are on the board, it will hit them both as well as the opponent’s face for 1 damage. If the board is empty, it will only deal 1 face damage, so it’s best utilized as an AOE effect.

Conjured Arrow deals 2 damage at its baseline to a minion. On 6 mana, it has a Manathirst ability that draws cards equal to the damage dealt.

Eversong Portal summons one 4/4 Lynx with Rush, but their number grows with Spell Damage.

What’s obvious here is that these spells dramatically improve with spell damage. Ricochet Shot’s damage potential doubles for every spell damage point. Conjured Arrows not only deals more damage, but also draws more cards, and Eversong Portal summons more rush minions to swing the board.

So how do we buff these spells further? Is it about utilizing spell damage minions such as Bloodmage Thalnos or Talented Arcanist? That’s one way of doing it, but Arcane Hunter is getting a unique mechanic that allows it to buff its spells without needing minions on board.

Farstrider buffs Arcane spells in hand, while Halduron buffs Arcane spells in deck. We’ve got everything covered! So, what we want to do is find these minions early, play them and then utilize Arcane spells with boosted spell damage to wreak havoc on our opponent. The damage dealing spells would obviously be very strong fits in Quest Hunter, but can we build a dedicated Arcane Hunter?

It just so happens that we’ve got a list prepared! The key is to run as few non-Arcane spells as possible so that Arcane Quiver can always give us a buffed spell, or a game changer such as Wild Spirits and Collateral Damage!

Since Arcane Hunter is a bit reactive in nature, akin to a Hunter sniping an enemy from afar, it makes sense to add the Wildseed package to provide us with board presence as well as more damage through the Stag Spirit weapon.

We also add the small package of Shockspitter, Keeneye Spotter and Candleshot to further improve our ability to respond to the opponent’s threats. Barak Kodobane should be a huge draw engine and complements the Arcane package perfectly, while Twinbow Terrorcoil could be devastating in combination with Eversong Portal.

Our game plan is to fend off early pressure, fight for board with Wildseeds, turn the corner in the mid-game with boosted Arcane spells, and close out the late game with Collateral Damage. On December 6th, you too can become a Quel’thalas Farstrider!

Deathrattle Warlock

An hour ago, Feelink revealed a Deathrattle Warlock package that could change the way we think about the class’ entire set.

The glue card in the package could be the already revealed Amorphous Slime, which hints at Warlock’s desire to utilize the biggest Undead minions available.

And now we can connect the dots to form the bigger picture:

Dark’Khan Drathir might be the most significant payoff for cheating out big undead minions. Infantry Reanimator can then resurrect big undead minions that were cheated out by Slime, while Shallow Grave can activate Slime immediately on turn 7 and trigger its deathrattle twice, summoning two copies of the undead minion that Slime discarded!

Twisted Tether is a hard removal spell that can buff an undead minion in hand, and this buff will transfer to Amorphus Slime’s deathrattle since it’s a copy effect. Devourer of Souls could copy the effect of Slime, but might be a better fit for a deathrattle deck rather than a big undead deck, as it is a small undead minion. It could offer a boost in the damage potential of Phylactery Warlock., for example.

So how could we utilize this ‘Big Undead” package? The more we thought about it, the more we wanted a very small and curated package of undead minions, rather than a huge package of undeads, in order to get the most out of Amorphous Slime, Dar’Khan Drathir and Infantry Reanimator. This could also open up more deck space for an alternative win condition.

We think the key piece that could make this all work at a high consistency level comes from the neutral set: Flesh Behemoth.

By running Flesh Behemoth and Dar’Khan Drathir as the only 2 undead minions in the deck, we make sure that Amorphus Slime becomes the most powerful play possible. Picture this scenario: Amorphous Slime discards Flesh Behemoth in hand, and summons the giant taunt when it dies. When the opponent clears the Behemoth, it draws Dar’Khan and summons a copy of it to the board.

Infantry Reanimator can then either summon Behemoth, a very big and annoying taunt, or Dar’Khar Drathir. This is a lot of pressure on the opponent as well as survivability, which reminds us a little bit of the glorious days starring Possessed Lackey and Voidlord. Just a little bit.

So where could this fit in? This suggestion of an undead package is meant to act as the closing stabilizer, to beat faster decks that will struggle to get through Behemoth and Dar’Khan once they drop to the board on turns 6-7. It is not intended to win late game matchups, as we will eventually run out of threats against a defensively sound opponent packed with removal.

What better way to beat a defensively sound opponent packed with removal than the Abyssal Curse package! So our idea is to take the floundering, impless, control variant of Curse Warlock, and complement it with the big undead package.

(The final 5 cards are Dar’Khan, 2xReanimator and 2xShallow Grave)

Shallow Grave is not just an amazing Slime enabler, is it also an amazing Explosive Sheep enabler! Together with Grimoire of Sacrifice, we have 4 copies of cheap spells to combo with Slime and Sheep, to either deal 4 AOE damage or to immediately cheat out big threats to the board. Watch out for Shallow Grave’s utilization in other archetypes as well. It could be very strong in a deathrattle focused deck.

The sacrifices in this build are Tamsin Roame and Mistress of Mixtures, as they’re small undead minions that we don’t want to pull with Behemoth or Slime.

So we’ve got the mid-game mana cheating and the late game scaling in one deck. That’s a good formula for success. Let’s see whether the struggling Control Warlock can make its mark on the new format.

Thirsty for more theorycrafts? You don’t have to wait much longer. The biggest theorycrafting article you’ve ever seen on this website is not far away!

Hang tight,

The Vicious Syndicate Team.