The Comprehensive Rise of Shadows Preview

Ray of Frost

On the surface, this card may seem weak. A freeze effect for 1-mana certainly seems like overpaying, but the fact it’s a Twinspell changes our perspective. Being able to freeze a large minion over two turns with 1 card is great. Being able to freeze two minions on the same turn is essentially a mini-Frost Nova for 2 mana. Freeze Mage or other defensive Mage decks would love the utility this card provides, and faster Mage decks may be able to abuse it with Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Vex Crow and Mana Cyclone. This is a versatile card that will likely find its way to differently styled decks.

Score: 3

Magic Dart Frog

Mini-Flamewaker that doesn’t hit face. This card seems pretty good at maintaining board control, which is an issue faster Mage decks generally face when competing in aggressive mirrors. Synergizes very well with Mage’s cheap spell kit. The only problem is that Magic Dart Frog has a weak body, and it doesn’t hit face. Have we mentioned that it doesn’t hit face?

Score: 2

Messenger Raven

3/2 discover for 3 mana is a good deal, and we’re also getting a guaranteed class minion, which tends to be stronger on average than neutral minions. Raven would be a good fit for Mage decks that look to abuse Conjurer’s Calling, since it’s both a good target for the spell and generates another minion that could potentially become a target. If a minion-centric Mage becomes viable, Raven will be played, but it might be good enough to get into other decks too.

Score: 2

Magic Trick

By itself, this card doesn’t seem that impressive, but it has great synergy with some of the more powerful mechanics available to the class in this expansion. To be clear, we want gas for Mana Cyclone and Magic Trick offers 2 spells in 1 card. It also has a very good chance of offering us another 1-mana spell, potentially enabling these “Miracle” value turns.

Score: 2

Conjurer’s Calling

This is a very interesting card and promotes minion-centric decks much like Evolve decks. We want high impact battlecry minions with relatively small bodies for their mana cost in order to maximize the spell’s effect, with an option to cast it on damaged minions. Astromancer is a good example. This card also makes for a scary, and relatively cheap combo with Khadgar. Success with Conjurer’s Calling is not a certainty, but its power level is worth trying to build around.

Score: 3

Kirin Tor Tricaster

Cool design but ultimately, mana cost is the most important aspect in Hearthstone. The drawback outweighs any utility the card provides, especially when its body is so weak for 4 mana. Mage wants to be able to play its spells efficiently, and there aren’t enough strong combos that this minion enables.

Score: 1

Mana Cyclone

We believe Mana Cyclone is one of the best cards in this set. For 2-mana we’re getting a 2/2 that can generate an obscene amount of value relative to its cost. Think of it as a reverse Lyra the Sunshard. Its ability is not as powerful as Lyra’s since it cannot continue to chain spells it has generated, and its effect is not persistent through multiple turns. But it’s just a 2 mana 2/2 and it’s not even a legendary. Mana Cyclone warps deck building around cheap spells and promotes a “Miracle” style of play where we swing the board with multiple spells during a single turn and “cash in” at the end of it. Has great synergy with Twinspells and Sorcerer’s Apprentice in particular.

Score: 4

Power of Creation

This is a pretty good value card that also generates a fair bit of tempo. The rule of thumb is that a random minion is “worth” one mana less than its cost in tempo, so we’re looking at 10 mana’s worth of stats for just 8. The only problem with this card is that it doesn’t do anything that is truly “broken”, and most likely fits a midrange style that is dense in minions and threats, where it tops the curve. Whether this card sees play depends on how good that Mage deck would be. Power of Creation doesn’t carry a deck to competitiveness by itself.

Score: 2


If Khadgar doesn’t see play in this expansion, it will be because the decks he enabled weren’t quite strong enough. He has pretty good synergy with cards like Conjurer’s Calling, Vex Crow, Astromancer and Power of Creation. Khadgar’s biggest problem is that he’s very reliant on synergy and if his obvious partners turn out to be underwhelming, he won’t make it either.

Score: 2


This dragon is a flashy card with a lot of potential. The biggest advantage of Kalecgos is its persistent effect. You can combo it with AOE and clear/freeze the board, and if left unanswered, it will continue to enable free spells every turn. He also has mana cheating implications with Jepetto, potentially turning into a Preparation on steroids. Kalecgos’ biggest weakness is his base cost. At 10 mana, you need a very good reason to put him in your deck. Eventually, Mage will probably find one.

Score: 3

Final Thoughts

Year of the Raven Sets Rank: 8th

Rise of Shadows Set Rank: 6th

Overall Power Ranking: 8th

Mage got some cool cards but they’re unlikely to be enough to make up for the fact its Year of the Raven sets are horrid. Mana Cyclone and Conjurer’s Calling are promising build-arounds for a spell-focused deck and a minion-focused deck, respectively. If both directions fall flat though, Jaina will be in trouble.




  1. How long do we have to wait before we can make fun of them for whiffing on all the Bomb/Mech/Alysiana cards?

  2. I have a few disagreements
    – Jepetto is completely overhyped and I’m surprised you too fell for it. Everybody seems to forget that one must draw AND PLAY Jepetto BEFORE drawing the minions required for an OTK, otherwise it just falls flat. Tog’s Schema can make Jepetto more consistent. You can cast Tog Scheme on Malygos and then draw two 1-mana Malygoses with Jepetto, which sounds good in theory but is actually worse than Kobold Illusionist + Necrium stuff (not to mention Rogue loses the petals…). If 2018 Maly Rogue wasn’t competitive, 2019 Jepetto Maly Rogue won’t be either.

    – Implock is bad, but imo not totally unplayable. It could fill Odd Paladin’s niche as the hyperswarmy deck. It won’t break the meta but can carve a spot into tier 3 imo.

    – Fiery War Axe and Totem Golem are good cards, but they require you to play a Secret on turn 1…but a true aggro deck want to play a minion on turn 1, not a defensive card! Totem Golem is bused when it follows a Tunnel Trogg, not so much when it follows a Never Surrender. Also, Paladin has no way to refill its hand.

    Besides that, I agree with most of your analysis. Very nice job, and very funny to read too. I too would like to marry Waifu Innkeeper 🙂

  3. Yeah you are pulling a caverns below reveal with the Portal demons, a.k.a massively understimating them

  4. Always fun to see predictions that turn out really bad. There is some lack of vision on some of this predictions but overall they seem spot on

  5. “Barista Lynchen” seems like a great card. Until you watch her reveal video. She actually copies “other battlecry minions you control”. So you need to have minion survive for this to be relevant, so fuck this, this seems 2 at best mostly for the steampunk espresso machine.

    Another one is “Exotic Mountseller”. Compare it to auctioneer, for instance. Greedy goblin friend provides card advantage to win the game. This provides board advantage (for 1 more mana and 5 more stats). Violet teacher is reasonable comparisson, but board of 1/1s does not win games without buffs. Board of 3/3 (on average) just might. It is at least 2 for me in the right class and deck, maybe even 3.

  6. Kudos on a fantastic piece of work! I particularly like the fact that you prepared it without previously having seen other set reviews. I’ve seen several, now, and value your unique perspective. It’s thorough and thoughtful, and I appreciate your focus on each card’s relevancy with respect to ladder-play, as opposed to stream & meme or pro-tournaments. Much appreciated!

  7. I really like the choice y’all made to do ratings out of 4, and how you’re very straightforward with your reasoning/explanations. Definitely the best comprehensive set review I’ve seen.
    I’m skeptical as to whether Waggle Pick really is better than Necrium Blade (even without synergies) in a Raiding Party deck. If you play Pick + Corsair on 4 and attack, then when you attack the next turn and return Corsair to your hand, you lose all the tempo you got playing it for free last turn. I think the deathrattle is really bad when it hits most of that deck and you’d rather just play a 3 mana 3/2 weapon that doesn’t mess up your gameplan. Now if the best Rogue deck winds up being a Lackey/Heistbaron Toggwaggle deck that just runs Raiding Party for consistency/thinning, then maybe you have enough targets that don’t make you sad for this to be better.
    Can’t wait to see what you have to say as we get into the upcoming meta. Cheers

  8. Thank you for all the hard work you put into your content guys! I haven’t played hearthstone competetively for a few months now, but I still enjoy everything you put out, it always gets me hyped to try new things in the game

  9. Plot twist can enable a mechathun otk but it doesnt seem like there will be enough good controlock cards until future expansions.

    Evil genius might be underrated. 2 mana add two random lackeys to your hand seems good so as long as you hit a 2/2 (maybe even a 2/3) or worse it might be worth it.

    Darkest hour might be for a wild deck with voidcaller, lackey, and eggs? Maybe they’re trying to push a deck with spells that summon small minions like scheme (lol) to sac and recruit the big ones from your deck?

  10. Will you do a pre-release poll? It’s a nice tradition, and it would be a shame to have it stopped.

  11. Man this article is a dream come true coming from you guys. And excellent read, I can’t wait for the next article! I certainly hope this become tradition, because this is some seriously quality content!

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