One of the best 1-drops in the history of Hearthstone and that’s pretty much all you need to know about it. If Zoo is a thing, then a turn 1 Flame Imp is a thing.
A decent cycle card that has found its way into slower Warlock strategies over the years, but not a permanent feature in these decks. There are meta’s where Coil isn’t quite good enough to be played, mostly when there aren’t many 1-health minions it can easily target.
Villager was a staple Zoo Warlock card back in Whispers, and we expect it to fill a role for the archetype over the next year. With Voidwalker gone, Zoo needs resilient 1-drops that can stick to the board, and the possibility of deathrattle synergies alongside Nerubian Egg increases its viability.
This is a monumental addition for defensive Warlock strategies going forward, as they sorely missed early game survivability in the classic set, often heavily relying on multiple expansions to find a critical mass of defensive tools to make them competitive. We know that Penance was a strong Priest card, and we expect it to be even stronger in Warlock. A no-brainer.
This card has never been played in constructed except for one instance in Wild where it was used as an enabler for Darkest Hour. In any other strategy, we struggle to see it being played because even if Zoo is incentivized to run “tokens” with a board buff such as Wicked Whispers, it’s probably better off running strong early game minions than settle for this card. The potential combo with Ritual of Doom also doesn’t strike us as a winning one.
The most basic AOE spell available for Warlock, Hellfire is a very appropriate feature in the core set as it is usually played when the class lacks better options to clear early game boards. When Warlock gets better AOE tools (such as Dark Skies), it has a far better chance to see competitive play, and at this point, it almost always drops Hellfire.
The buff to Felhound means that its discard effect can now be funneled to specific targets, making it more viable in Standard than before, but we’re still skeptical. Discard synergies need to be so extensively supported to see play that it took years until Felhound and its ilk finally found their place in Wild.
This card only saw consistent play once in Hearthstone’s history, and that’s in Even Warlock when Odd Paladin was a very popular deck on ladder. We highly doubt that the stars will align for it in such a manner once again, as it is otherwise very weak.
Enslaved Fel Lord
This card is a little more playable than the complete waste of space that was Siegebreaker, but still far too slow to see play. We’ve seen enough 7-mana taunts with this kind of stat-line to know what’s required of them to be competitive, and this effect will not be relevant in most games because it will probably be removed on the turn it’s played.
Ritual of Doom
The text and payoff on this card might be throwing players off the scent regarding the usefulness of this card. Yes, Ritual of Doom can work in a Zoo Warlock deck that’s token centric. But what if we don’t care about the payoff and simply run this card to activate a certain deathrattle immediately? That could make it useful on its own. 0-mana cards find a way.
Tiny Knight of Evil
Much like Lakkari Felhound, this ‘can’ be a decent card for Zoo Warlock decks, but its history tells us that it needs an extremely powerful discard package to see play, as evidenced by the fact it has seen more consistent play in Wild than it ever did in Standard.
The last time Void Terror saw constructed play was when Nerubian Egg was available. It’s available once again, but another critical piece that’s now missing and really turned Void Terror into a threat is Power Overwhelming. Void Terror did get a health buff that makes its baseline stats more respectable, but we’re not convinced it’s good enough as an ‘egg-popper’ alone.
Another single target removal spell that saw its cost reduced by 1, making it on par with Assassinate’s new cost. The problem, of course, is that we’re still very unlikely to want Siphon Soul in a constructed deck.
This is a well-designed card that offers temporary disruption to the opponent, but beyond the cool flavor, we don’t think it’s constructed-worthy. The stats are just too vanilla for a 5-drop. If it were an early game minion, we’d be far more interested as it would have the potential to decrease the consistency of an aggressive deck’s curve, and it’d be more likely to temporarily pitch a card that the opponent kept in the mulligan.
The unconditional AOE is very often played in Control Warlock decks, and the next year could be its best time to shine due to its utility in Tickatus decks. Rotation should initially decrease the late game power available in other classes, and that usually means that win conditions that stick around rise in value. A reduction in card generation also helps Nether become stronger.
The buff to Jaraxxus is remarkable, as the drawback has been completely removed, and the Warlock now gains 5 armor instead without losing any previous benefit. This makes Jaraxxus the strongest late game win condition available in the core set and one that hard counters removal-focused strategies with low lethality. Yes, the card is still quite slow and there’s an expectation that finishers introduced in expansions will outclass it, but this is a great starting point for the class.
Core Set Rank: 6th
Warlock’s new Core Set is a clear upgrade on its previous starter tools. Although it is full of cards that need significant support to see play, it’s better than having a set of utterly useless cards that have no chance of ever seeing play. On the surface, Zoo Warlock may have been slightly weakened by swapping Voidwalker for Possessed Villager while losing Soulfire, but Warlock’s late game is much better now. Drain Soul is a massive boost to Warlock’s survivability, and Jaraxxus is now a legitimate late-game win condition, possibly the strongest one available in the Core set. Control Warlock decks usually needed a massive surge of strong cards to see play, and this will help them become viable a little more easily.