The Comprehensive Rise of Shadows Preview

Evil Genius

This card looks strong in theory, but it has a big problem with the current set: lack of good sacking targets. It’s never worth playing this card to sacrifice tempo, so unless there’s a deathrattle minion that we want to kill, such as a Devilsaur Egg or a Carnivorous Cube, this card will struggle to find its way to decks. With the cards available, we don’t see much use for Evil Genius, so we’re giving it an outside chance of making it.

Score: 2

Rafaam’s Scheme

We don’t have much hope for an Imp focused Zoo Warlock if this is the card we’re expected to build around. Scheme just sucks. Even if we keep it in our opening hand, it’s a tempo negative play on turn 3. This is also a horrible card to draw off the top, something Zoo Warlock heavily relies on. This is a no go for us.

Score: 1

Aranasi Broodmother

Interesting card with a cool mechanic, providing us with an immediate source of healing. The problem is obvious: we can’t rely on the healing due to its randomness, and the minion itself is terrible for its cost. The healing effect can be somewhat controlled if we run Sense Demons, but this is still not too enticing of a proposition.

Score: 1

Plot Twist

One of the most difficult cards to evaluate. The easiest way to simplify the power of this card is that it promotes decks that are highly reliant on a specific draw to win the game. We just can’t see that deck in Warlock. This card is nowhere near worth it just to run in order to have another “mulligan”, because it creates card disadvantage and is a dead draw itself. Unlikely to surprise us.

Score: 1


Two effects in one card. The problem is we almost never make use of both effects in one turn, making one portion of the card almost always useless and not worth spending mana on at any point in time. A 3 mana +1 attack buff is weak, and so is a 3-mana Arcane Explosion. Grouping them together doesn’t make this card suck any less.

Score: 1

Eager Underling

If this is what Team 5 wants us to kill with Evil Genius, we don’t want to listen. This card is worse than Fungalmancer in every way. Horribly slow, requires another card to activate and even then, it’s a wasted body. Do. Not. Want.

Score: 1

Darkest Hour

We can’t figure out what the point of this card is. We’re wondering if this is a riddle that only a few can solve. If you have an idea what scenario could possibly ask for 6 mana to be spent in order to create this effect, we’d love to know. If this is supposed to kill Imps in Zoo for us to summon slightly bigger bodies, we’re going to be depressed.

Score: 1

Jumbo Imp

Yet another terrible card. Don’t be fooled, Jumbo Imp is horrid. Even in the best-case scenario where the universe aligns for this card to be good, it can never be played earlier than turn 4 or 5. This makes it a bad mulligan keep, which is the whole point of this card. This is terrible when drawn off the top for obvious reasons.

Score: 1

Arch-Villain Rafaam

Finally, a good card for Warlock. Elise’s Golden Monkey attached to a good taunt body. This may find itself in Zoo Warlock lists as a late game value bomb that can turn games on its head with Life Tap. We could see it being played in slower decks, but it seems most suitable for an aggressive list that focuses on pressuring the opponent and then falling back to Rafaam when it needs a plan B.

Score: 3

Fel Lord Betrug

If you haven’t gotten the memo, Warlock cannot cheat out demons anymore in standard format. This makes Betrug an 8-mana 5/7 with no immediate impact. Betrug/Plot Twist is a pipe dream combo that’s very unlikely to be relevant. This legendary is just a sad reflection of one of the worst class sets we’ve ever seen, in an otherwise powerful expansion overall.

Score: 1

Final Thoughts

Year of the Raven Sets Rank: 6th

Rise of Shadows Set Rank: 9th

Overall Power Ranking: 9th

Warlock’s set in Rise of Shadows looks like a disaster. As other classes have received overwhelming power, Gul’dan has been left with laughable junk that may bring him to his knees. Warlock’s late game sustainability looks so incredibly weak that Zoo Warlock might be the class’ best shot at relevance, and if it wants to be successful, it probably doesn’t want to play all those damn imps. Taking this set into consideration, should Zoo Warlock or Handlock (which got some neat neutral cards this set) fail to make it into the meta, Warlock is in danger of reaching the dumpster and staying there until the summer.




  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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