This might be the most disappointing class 1-drop that was introduced in the core set, not necessarily because it’s entirely useless, but because it’s very reliant on drawing weapons early. Unlike the ‘Studies’ cards we’ve seen introduced in Scholomance for example, it represents no additional value and isn’t “self-activating”.
Many Warrior decks, including the most recent ones, have utilized Whirlwind synergies to become dominant meta competitors. But Whirlwind itself is not a card they’ve often used, as it’s only genuinely strong when it’s tacked into another card, such as Death’s Bite, Flesheating Ghoul, or Risky Skipper. Whirlwind serves an introductory role, and not much else.
Taskmaster is an introduction to Warrior’s self-damage mechanics, but much like Whirlwind, isn’t a card you’d run in a constructed deck. Inner Rage was the stronger card, which is why it’s gone.
This card was overpowered at 1 mana, but never saw consistent play once its cost was doubled towards the end of Whispers. Warrior will usually be given better single target removal in expansions (such as Coerce), which don’t require the synergy-reliant condition. Execute’s problem is that it always needs us to spend another card to activate it, so it was only ever worth it when it gained tempo.
Used to see play as an enabler to Execute back in 2014 but has no real use anymore. Looks sad when you compare it to Chaos Strike.
Fiery War Axe
One of the best cards of all-time, its nerf to 3 mana meant the end of its presence in competitive play. If this is the best weapon Warrior can run in the early game, it means that something has gone horribly wrong. Not sure what it’s doing in the core set other than telling new players that “Warrior runs weapons.”
This update was certainly in the cards. Warsong Commander’s nerf in the height of the Patron Warrior era was probably one of the worst changes that Team 5 has ever made, turning it into a laughably useless card. Now, it has a clear purpose, which is reminding us how busted Animated Broomstick turned out to be.
Kor’kron Elite is gone, and Outrider is its replacement, symbolizing Warrior’s identity shifting from Charge to Rush. Outrider is not very constructed worthy, looking like a worse Militia Commander, and the class should be getting better rush minions in future sets.
Armorsmith is certainly the best source of armor gain in Warrior’s core set, though heavily reliant on synergies to maximize its potential. Death’s Bite was the first time the card looked oppressively powerful, while Risky Skipper’s absurdity carried Armorsmith to the peak of its Hearthstone career. Whenever Warrior starts to whirlwind, this 2-drop becomes obscene, and we do expect that the class will continue to utilize self-damage mechanics that work perfectly with Armorsmith, much like Aldrachi Warblades benefits from attack modifiers.
Much like Armorsmith, Berserker is reliant on Whirlwind synergies to become powerful, but its usage is more limited to faster decks, where Whirlwind synergies are slightly more awkward to make work. There were plenty of instances where Berserker was tested as a stand-alone card in aggressive decks without WW synergies, and in most cases, it was surprisingly tame.
Battle Rage is gone, and even though it was reliant on WW synergies to be powerful, it’s a massive loss to the class considering it also lost Acolyte of Pain a year before. Instead, the class is given its own version of Hunter’s Pack. War Cache should generate cards of greater quality than Hunter’s Pack, but it is still a very underwhelming card that we can’t envision wanting to play. Unless Warrior is put in a desperate situation of having received no draw in expansion sets, it should have better things to do.
Shieldmaiden is replacing Shield Block in the core set, and while it is a good card, it is a downgrade as Shield Block was strong in a wider variety of Warrior decks and was a cheaper enabler for Shield Slam. Shieldmaiden is a stabilizing card for Control Warrior decks but is too slow for Combo Warrior archetypes.
One of the best removal spells in the history of the game, Shield Slam may suffer from the loss of Shield Block, but Control Warrior decks in the future are pretty much guaranteed to receive new ways to gain armor. As long as they can gain armor, Shield Slam will be one of the first cards they include.
One of the best AOE effects in the core set, Brawl has been a permanent feature for basically every Control Warrior deck that has ever existed, and we can’t see that changing. Expansion set AOE’s need to be particularly absurd for Brawl to be pushed out in their favor, and very often, they’re just paired together. More removal? Heh, Greetings.
In 2014, Gorehowl could seriously deplete opponents of resources, while being paired with armor gain cards that could offset the loss of life points caused by the Warrior constantly punching minions. Card draw, generated value and a faster pace of threat development means this is no longer even close to being a viable strategy.
Grom’s usage in Standard format rose with the introduction of Bloodworn Mercenary, which pushed Inner Rage into play. The legendary peaked in power with the introduction of Risky Skipper and the subsequent rotation at the launch of Ashes of Outland. Inner Rage and Risky Skipper are now both gone, and Grom should go back to its usual place: serving as a possible finisher for Warrior decks with self-damage mechanics.
Core Set Rank: 9th
Warrior is one of the biggest losers of the Core Set. It lost Battle Rage and Shield Block only a year after losing Acolyte of Pain, dramatically cutting down on its drawing capabilities. It lost nearly every aggressive tool it had in the Classic set, such as Inner Rage and Kor’kron Elite. Meanwhile, compensation is hardly there, with Shieldmaiden looking like the only new addition that’s likely to make an impact. Warrior’s Core Set supports the Control archetype very well thanks to Brawl, Shield Slam, and Armorsmith, but it doesn’t do much else. With Risky Skipper gone, as well as many other influential Year of the Dragon cards rotating out, Warrior is in a tricky position heading into Barrens.