The Comprehensive Whizbang’s Workshop Preview


Data Reaper Report - Warlock

Tabletop Roleplayer

This card’s existence is a bit strange. Roleplayer’s initial body is very mediocre, offering a 4/3 body for 4 mana and needing a Demon in play to buff its attack. Immunity is also only relevant for trading, rather than damage. Obviously, Miniaturize makes the card look better, but the 1/1 is just a slightly stronger version of Abusive Sergeant for Demons.

Roleplayer doesn’t fit slower decks, yet its prohibitive cost limits it from being a great option for aggressive decks. Are aggressive Warlock decks in the upcoming format going to be heavily Demon-centric to the point this card becomes consistently active? We don’t think so.

Even with better support, this card is probably not good enough.

Score: 1

Wretched Queen

Much like Voidlord, Wretched Queen isn’t a very powerful constructed card when played for its full cost. It’s the prospect of cheating it out and potentially resurrecting it, which is very much available for Demons in Warlock, that is the enticing part. Queen offers 14 health in taunts across three bodies. Not a threatening front loaded body, but the stabilization potential in faster matchups is enormous. If Queen is summoned to the board as early as turn 6, we’re not sure how an aggressive deck can ever hit the Warlock’s face again without silence tech cards.

Game Master Nemsy, Crane Game, and Endgame are all very good enablers for Wretched Queen. Some sort of big Demon package like the one from Kobolds & Catacombs is in the cards for Warlock’s late game strategies.

Score: 3

Table Flip

Table Flip is an asymmetrical AOE spell that deals 3 damage to all enemy minions, with a cost set by the number of cards in your hand. A full hand of 10 cards means that Table Flip only costs 1 mana. If we go first and tap on turn 2, Table Flip is active as early as turn 3 (costing 3 mana). By turn 4, it will cost 1 mana if we continue life tapping like a Handlock.

Such a reliable 3-damage board clear, coming down as early and as consistently as Table Flip, isn’t easy to find. Warlock is not only capable of life tapping without being overwhelmed and punished for it in the early game, but it can also use the 1-mana AOE at any stage of the game to swing the board substantially in its favor.

This is a powerhouse of a spell that’s likely going to become a staple going forward for late game focused Warlock strategies. Can’t see any deck passing on it.

Score: 4


Endgame is Resurrect for Demons, but one that isn’t random. It specifically resurrects the last friendly Demon that died, making it much more targeted. When something isn’t random and can be planned for, it’s usually more powerful.

This card can be devastating in combination with Doomguard, Wretched Queen or Enhanced Dreadlord, which are the three highest value Demons in the format. On paper, both Queen and Dreadlord have some anti-synergy with the card, since their deathrattles also spawn Demons. For example, if the opponent clears one of the Queen’s Knight, then the Knight will be the one resurrected by Endgame.

However, this doesn’t discourage our assessment of Endgame. In fact, it makes these big Demons harder to play around. If we manage to cheat out a Wretched Queen and it gets ignored, we can kill it on our own turn and immediately play Endgame. If our opponent can only kill the main Queen body, without killing a Knight, they might avoid doing it altogether. Endgame adds pressure on our opponent’s decision making.

Of course, when it comes to Doomguard, we might be able to use Endgame as a source of more charge damage. The card’s low cost makes it very easy to abuse. The only drawback for it is that it only realistically becomes a threat around turn 6, so it’s a bit of a dead draw in the early game. We’ll happily take that.

Score: 3

Sketch Artist

A 3-mana 3/3 that specifically tutors a Shadow spell, while having the same effect as an infused Door of Shadows. You get an additional copy of the spell that gets discarded at the end of your turn.

Such a narrow tutor will usually have potential to do great things. Sketch Artist is no exception because it can draw us Table Flip. If we go first and Life Tap or play Elementium Geode on turn 2 and 3, we can play Sketch Artist on turn 4 and find two copies of Table Flip. We use the temporary one to clear the board for 1 mana, while the permanent copy will stay in our hand, ready to be cast for 1 the next turn if our opponent decides to redevelop.

We can’t overstate how devastating that is for an aggressive deck. If Table Flip is the only Shadow spell in our deck, Sketch Artist becomes a serious win condition in faster matchups that can end the game on turn 4. Imagine developing a board and getting wrecked by this Artist on turn 4, knowing that they have another 1-mana Table Flip the next turn, so you can’t even reload the board without being punished for it.

Furthermore, Sketch Artist and Table Flip scale well. If you have 9 cards in hand, then you can Sketch Artist as early as turn 6 and cast both copies of Table Flip for a 6 damage AOE. A turn 4 Artist clears any early game threat, while a turn 6 Artist clears almost any mid-game board.

Of course, this does require us to build the deck in a way that excludes Shadow spells, but we think it might be worth it in decks that don’t run Endgame. Alternatively, Artist could do the same thing with Endgame, to resurrect multiple copies of Doomguard and charge the opponent’s face. It can draw Monstrous Form and become a turn 4 target for Forge of Wills in a faster deck.

There are too many possibilities for this card to flop, surely.

Score: 3

Crane Game

Crane Game seems expensive, but it’s quite a robust card for a Big Demon deck. For 9-mana, we summon two copies of Demons from our deck. We don’t pull them, so Crane Game provides additional threats. A deck that runs Wretched Queen, Enhanced Dreadlord and maybe Doomguard, will find that spending 9-mana on Crane Game is not that bad of a deal. The only question is whether we will survive to get to that point. The availability of Doomkin might become important in helping expensive Warlock cards be more viable.

There’s not much subtlety with this card. If you’re looking to play a significant package of big Demons and they’re the focal point of your deck, then Crane Game could make sense. If you don’t run big Demons, or they form a small package in the deck, then Crane Game seems overkill. We suspect this card will not see play, because we would rather run Dirge of Despair to get demons out of our deck faster.

Score: 1

Cursed Campaign

A 3-mana Grave Rune that puts the minions in a 2-turn dormancy. While the potential value over the course of a long game sounds good, especially on something like a Wretched Queen or a Doomguard, this card’s impact on the game is very delayed. Two turns are a long time in Hearthstone, especially when this card can only reasonably be played on turn 6 at the earliest. So, the minion needs to die, then we must wait until the copies come out of dormancy, and only then does Cursed Campaign have an impact on the game.

An argument for the card would be that this is a delayed Carnivorous Cube and makes for an interesting burst combo with Doomguard. It’s another callback to Kobolds & Catacombs when Warlock was a very powerful class. Again, the problem is that Cube could be instantly sacked with Dark Pact, which left very little room for counterplay, while this card is very telegraphed.

It’s possible that we find it difficult to evaluate the dormant mechanic, as not many cards in Hearthstone’s history have the dormant effect. When they appeared, they were difficult to evaluate.

A Cursed Campaign on a Wretched Queen sounds like a game ending play in a faster matchup, but a lot of things need to line up for that to happen.

Score: 2

Malefic Rook

Another Warlock 3-mana big stats minion with a big drawback. We’ve done this plenty of times before and it’s never worked. However, Rook’s stats really push the boundaries on a 3-mana minion. This is a 3-mana Pit Lord. It compares favorably to the nerfed, but still playable, Waste Remover.

There are some interesting synergies in the format that make Rook more appealing too. Felstring Harp can negate the drawback, but what really sells Rook is how much it discounts Imprisoned Horror, which is a card that’s always had potential but never had enough support to get a “Suicide Warlock” off the ground. It was very close to becoming a real meta card earlier in Sludge Warlock’s development.

Add Molten Giant to the Core set, and Warlock’s got more incentive to damage itself in the pursuit of pressure. At some point, the stats get big enough to the point the card is playable. Rook is another bold attempt.

Score: 2

Game Master Nemsy

If there was going to be a Kobolds & Catacombs callback, then what better way to do it than print an insane Demon cheating card that costs 5-mana.

Nemsy is sort of Possessed Lackey with superior stats as a 3/6, but instead of ‘recruiting’, she draws the Demon in a battlecry first. Once she dies, she swaps places with the Demon. The Demon gets summoned to the board, while Nemsy jumps back in our hand.

Yes, this means that Nemsy can be replayed to draw another Demon and swap places with it all over again. She is basically a Kangor for Demons: continuously doing this throughout the game if you’re willing to spend 5-mana on her repeatedly.

With Chaotic Consumption in the format, there’s nothing stopping us from playing Nemsy on 6 mana and immediately killing her too – much like we did with Possessed Lackey and Dark Pact back in Kobolds. The result on board is the same: a Demon from our deck is summoned to the board. The only difference is that we get back Nemsy for another round.

This card is likely to be a top performer for Warlock. It is such an easy card to splash into a deck, even with just a small package of 4 Demons (Enhanced Dreadlord, Wretched Queen). The fact you don’t even need another ‘cheat’ card, since you can keep replaying Nemsy, is a big advantage.

One drawback is that Nemsy clashes with Sargeras, which is a big deal for late game Warlock strategies, since the Titan can be very important for their game plan. However, we can circumvent this by putting Sargeras inside ETC, so he can’t be pulled by Nemsy.

Nemsy is a clear powerhouse that’s going to come down on turn 5 and take over games. Her art is perfect too. She looks incredibly smug and annoying.

Score: 4

Wheel of Death

One of the funniest cards in the set, Wheel of Death is the most blatant single card win condition you may encounter in Hearthstone. Once you play it, your opponent has 5 turns to kill you, or they’re dead.

The small problem is that it’s a spell that costs 8 mana and does nothing else besides setting the clock. Another small problem is that it destroys your deck, instantly putting you in fatigue and with no more cards to draw. There are a couple of workarounds for this.

Wheel of Death has great synergy with Fanottem, allowing you to instantly play the 15/15 with taunt and lifesteal on the turn you play Wheel. This alleviates the “8-mana do nothing” turn, turning it into a proactive play that helps you survive.

Another helpful card is Symphony of Sins. You can play Wheel of Death and follow it up with Symphony, shuffling the powerful movements into your empty deck and stopping the fatigue damage you’re taking.

What neither of these cards solve is the problem that Wheel of Death only wins on turn 13 at the earliest, assuming you find it by turn 8 and play it (you have no tutor for it, unless you really force things with Sketch Artist). Most decks in the game, even the slower and late-game-oriented strategies, usually find the pieces required to win games before that point. Even Control Priest this expansion will likely be able to kill you before Wheel of Death resolves.

We think the clock is just too slow. But it’s a funny card that many players will try to make work.

Score: 1

Final Thoughts

Whizbang’s Workshop Set Rank: 7th

Overall Power Ranking:  5th

Warlock is a class with a very good safety valve thanks to the power of Sludge Warlock. Since the deck loses nothing in rotation, it’s expected to compete well in the post-rotation meta. In fact, it’s getting a massive boost with the addition of Doomguard, which should be an incredibly strong card in the deck. A Forge of Wills/Waste Remover/Doomguard/Chaos Creation curve sounds like cheating.

It’s also possible that new aggressive avenues are found. With both Imprisoned Horror and Molten Giant available in the same format, a Suicide Warlock deck running Malefic Rook is a real possibility.

However, what the class seems to be most focused on in this set is the late game, both in the form of power spikes as well as survivability.

For power spiking, there is no better card than Nemsy. This is going to be the ‘I win’ card for slower Warlock decks in many matchups. A Nemsy package with a minimum of 4 Demons is likely to be included in a Warlock deck that aspires to reach turn 9.

For survivability, we think Table Flip might be getting slept on to a huge extent. That card has the potential to dominate faster decks alongside Sketch Artist. Together with Core updates, Handlock is getting a lot of love from Whizbang, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it finally compete again. It’d be a great source of nostalgia in the expansion marking Hearthstone’s 10th anniversary.

Another great source of nostalgia would be a big Demon package dominating the format like it did during Kobolds & Catacombs and Witchwood. We don’t think the Demon package in this set compares to the one in K&C, but it might be strong enough to make some serious noise. The addition of Doomguard alongside Endgame, perhaps even Curse Campaign, has caught our attention. The only cause of hesitance here is our reliance on Nemsy. Warlock back in K&C had both Skull and two copies of Possessed Lackey to cheat out Demons, a major difference from the tools currently available. It might be time to bust out Dirge of Despair.

A lot of possibilities can be found in Warlock. Beyond the safety of Sludge Warlock, there’s a good chance that the class will be able to diversify its portfolio with at least one more competitive deck.

1 Comment

  1. Good read overall, but the write up on Timewinder Zarimi is a bit over the top. It just screams, “Blizz, if you’re reading our article nerf this card now!”, and I think it’s way too early to jump to that conclusion. Time Warp effects are strong, but it’s no more strong than OTK card strategies; one could argue it’s actually weaker cause you need two turns in a row to win when other decks can OTK.

    A weakness with Timewinder Zarimi that shouldn’t be ignored is its reliance on dragon tribe. Can’t just put in any deck, must devote enough other cards to get to 5 dragons.

    TLDR – Let’s try not to put a target on cards to nerf before they’re actually a problem.

Comments are closed.