The Comprehensive Rise of Shadows Preview

Never Surrender

Thank the RNG Gods, for Odd Paladin is gone, as this spell would be so ridiculous in that deck. Our condolences, Wild players.

But we might have to face a different nightmare, in the form of Secret Paladin. This secret can be quite crippling to an opponent’s ability to deal with the Paladin’s onslaught, though it is admittedly weak when falling behind. In Secret Paladin, we believe this is a staple 2-of. It’s just so powerful against removal and AOE.

Score: 3

Lightforged Blessing

With the current card pool, this card looks weak and we highly doubt it will see play. We’re not enamored with the idea of Immortal Prelate and it’s difficult to find other synergies that stand out (Batterhead is probably the coolest one). However, lifesteal tends to be underestimated early and then becomes more powerful with further support. It just needs a minion worthy of the blessing, so perhaps, it will find it in the future.

Score: 1

Bronze Herald

This card is a neat package of value but a sad package of tempo. It has obvious synergies with dragons for two reasons. The first is that we generally want to hold dragons in hand in order to activate the primary mechanic of the tribe. The second is that the 4 mana 4/4’s are great targets for Dragonpeaker, since unlike most dragon decks, we shouldn’t settle for the minimum number of dragons required for the tribal mechanic’s consistency. The problem: Where are the other dragons?

Score: 1

Desperate Measures

This card may seem weak initially, but there’s quite a lot of power behind it. It’s important to remember that when secrets are completely random, they are harder to play around and can become very annoying. This card is also a 2-in-1 that fuels Secret Paladin’s early game extremely well without us needing to draw or keep secrets in our opening hand. Let your actual secrets get pulled with Bellringer Sentry. That makes for perfect synergy.

Score: 3

Mysterious Blade

Unnerfed Fiery War Axe in Secret Paladin. Okay then. Guess Secret Paladin is going to be good because it can play the best weapon that has ever existed in Hearthstone. Is there any need to explain why this card is strong?

Score: 4

Call to Adventure

This card is very underwhelming and really made us scratch our heads. For 3 mana, you’d usually be able to play a 2/2 on the board while drawing a card. Witchwood Piper, for example, is a much stronger card with a similar effect despite being a neutral. Call to Adventure was clearly designed and balanced around Immortal Prelate, and we’re not too enthusiastic about that interaction.

Score: 1


Handbuff hasn’t been a successful experiment in Hearthstone. The mechanic was always too slow and weak to make a real impact on the meta, which is why we keep getting stronger and stronger Handbuff cards over time. Dragonspeaker is the first handbuff card which raises the bar with a +3/+3 buff, albeit it’s restricted to dragons, and there just aren’t enough good dragons to justify this seeing play.

Score: 1


A symmetric Gather Your Party that costs one less mana doesn’t strike us as game changing. The main problem for a potential “Big” Paladin is whether there’s enough “Big” stuff that’s worth cheating out, and whether Paladin can stop itself from dying despite running a high curve of minions. The Equality nerf hurts this potential archetype a lot.  Duel also has anti-combo implications, but for that purpose we struggle to find a good reason to play this over Hecklebot.

Score: 1

Commander Rhysa

If Secret Paladin is a real threat next expansion, this card will see play. This is one of the more one-dimensional legendary cards that belongs in one deck but is very strong in that specific deck. It has great synergy with Desperate Measures, and curves into Bellringer Sentry. Seems like a perfectly good fit.

Score: 3


A 4/12 dragon that casts Tree of Life, a spell that was budgeted at 9 mana but almost never saw play outside of a meme Mill Druid deck. This card is obviously much more powerful. At 10 mana, we’re looking for a game changing effect from a minion, and this can hit the spot. Three things to keep in mind: Prismatic Lens can potentially cheat this out earlier. Paladin has Time Out, which has great synergy with the card. Paladin also has Thekal, which can cripple late game decks with limited burn. Don’t underestimate a full heal effect. A Paladin deck that plays this would not care about healing the opponent, and considering the little deck building cost, this effect is desirable enough to be experimented with. It’s hard to imagine this card not seeing play over the next two years.

Score: 2

Final Thoughts

Year of the Raven Sets Rank: 3rd

Rise of Shadows Set Rank: 5th

Overall Power Ranking: 4th

Secret Paladin has received absurdly good support from this expansion, but other Paladin archetypes have been left in the dust. Thankfully, Paladin’s Year of the Raven sets are good building blocks for success in the new year, so the class has a good chance of remaining relevant through multiple archetypes. The worst case scenario for Paladin is that it only has one dominant deck, but there are reasons to have some faith in Holy Wrath and Kangor’s Endless Army.




  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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