The Comprehensive Whizbang’s Workshop Preview

Blind Box

A 2-mana spell that generates two random Demons and, instead, allows you to discover the Demons if in Outcast form. For a generation card, Blind Box doesn’t seem better than similar cards that never saw play. Its random value is not a reliable method of furthering your game plan, since the Demon pool is highly varied.

When discovering, the pool narrows down a bit, but the question remains whether it is a reliable method of beating your opponent in a resource battle. If we’re that desperate to find the best Demons, then why not just run them in the deck? Why do we need a conditional 2-mana spell to find them? And let’s say we run this card alongside a Big Demon package, are we really incentivized to stack as many big Demons as possible in the upcoming format?

Even in the mythical Reno Demon Hunter, we don’t think we want this card.

Score: 1

Umpire’s Grasp

A 3-mana 3/2 weapon with a powerful ability. Once it’s expended, Umpire’s Grasp draws a Demon and discounts it by 2-mana. It’s a tutor with a baked in discount on a weapon that’s strong enough to impact the board in the early game. It reminds us of Harpoon Gun; although it might be even stronger since it’s not reliant on finding other cards to have a consistent payoff.

What we like about Umpire’s Grasp is its versatility. While the initial thought goes to “big” Demons, such as the upcoming Magtheridon or Illidari Inquisitor, it’s a weapon that can go into any Demon Hunter deck with a Demon package, whether they’re cheap or expensive. A 2-mana discount is a 2-mana discount.

Some examples: It’s very good with Abyssal Bassist, as it essentially discounts it by 4-mana. It’s strong with Window Shopper since the discount carries over to its discovered Demon. It can set up a turn 5 Mythical Terror. Even drawing a 0-mana Battlefiend in an aggressive Demon Hunter isn’t a bad outcome.

We expect Umpire’s Grasp to be a strong consideration for any kind of Demon Hunter deck, whether it’s aggressive or defensive in nature. Completely splash-able.

Score: 4

Ball Hog

Ball Hog is a big ball of life. This 4-drop twice, on Battlecry and Deathrattle, deals 3 damage to the lowest health enemy while having lifesteal. This means that Ball Hog heals you for a minimum of 6, with its attacks potentially healing more if it ends up dealing damage.

It does all that healing while controlling the board quite well. Ball Hog is very comparable to Thassarian and arguably even stronger than the legendary Death Knight 4-drop that saw plenty of play.

Though it’s generally more suitable for a slower deck, the amount of damage it deals means that we wouldn’t be surprised if it became ubiquitous. We’re confident it will be played if Demon Hunter sees play.

Score: 3

Lesser Opal Spellstone

Opal Spellstone is a relatively simple card draw effect. A baseline 2-mana to draw 1 is horrible, but the spell can be upgraded to draw 2 or 3 cards, both of which are favorable. A 2-mana spell that draws 3 cards is very strong.

Upgrading the Spellstone is the tricky part, and how easy it is to do will determine whether Opal Spellstone sees any play. For every two attacks by our hero, it upgrades once. This seems quite daunting at first. Outside of its amazing synergy with Going Down Swinging, we will usually need to wait 4 turns while it’s in our hand to fully upgrade it. Even then, we might need to spend mana on our hero power to get it done, as we won’t always have weapon charges available to us.

A common thought will be on how bad this card will be to draw off the top of our deck, but we remember another card that behaves similarly: Frost Lotus Seedling. A fully upgraded Seedling is stronger, but Opal Spellstone does have a middle ground form that’s quite acceptable. If Demon Hunter has other things to do while Spellstone gets upgraded, this could offer serviceable fuel.

Score: 2

Spirit of the Team

Spirit of the Team is a weird minion that, upon initial glance, looks quite underwhelming due to its 0-attack value and propensity to get traded for free. We can break down its guaranteed benefits quite easily. For 2-mana, we get +2 attacks with our hero over the next couple of turns. Spirit has stealth for 1 turn, so it’s very difficult to kill it immediately after it’s played, unless the opponent invests mana on AOE or a non-target removal card.

For early board control, it can help us deal with a couple of early game minions, such as a Miracle Salesman. What’s more is that the opponent needs to kill it once it breaks stealth, because it can’t afford giving us more free attacks and damage.

Yet, Spirit of the Team does a good job protecting itself. If we keep using the attack bonus to clear off enemy minions, the opponent might need damage from hand or a rush minion to deal with it.

In an aggressive deck, when we’re usually the ones applying the pressure, it can get annoying. The opponent doesn’t want to give the Demon Hunter additional turns of damage, and if resources are spent to clear a 0/3 that has already dealt 4 damage, it’s not too bad for us.

Moreover, this card is a decent enabler of Opal Spellstone and Going Down Swinging. Not a very powerful card, but might be better than it looks.

Score: 2

Workshop Mishap

This spell is very situational. Dealing 5 damage to a minion is very bad for 4-mana. We need the opponent to have multiple minions in play, then overkill one that’s placed in the middle to get a reasonable AOE effect. Not only can our opponent play around it with varying effectiveness, but Mishap’s best-case scenario doesn’t even move us that much for 4-mana.

The lifesteal on Outcast is supposed to get us more interested, but slow decks that run such defensive cards will have difficulty activating its Outcast form. You need Bartend-O-Bot to make Mishap strong, while giving up cheaper Outcast cards. This is not a worthy replacement for Silvermoon Arcanist/Unleash Fel, and we have little faith in slower Demon Hunter decks in the upcoming format anyway.

Score: 1

Red Card

Dormancy has proven to be a weak form of soft removal across multiple cards over the last few years. However, Red Card might be the best attempt to make it work, since it’s cheap and not baked into any condition.

The problem with dormant as a mechanic to get rid of a threat is that the threat comes back and is immune to AOE effects during this time. For some minions with powerful static effects, that can easily backfire. There are plenty of minions you will not want to send off with a Red Card.

On the other hand, when the effect is so cheap, it might be good enough to push the Demon Hunter ahead on board, to the point that it’s able to deal with the threat more easily once it comes back online.

An appeal to Red Card’s versatility could also be made, as we can target our own minions with it to set up some swing, but taking our minions off the board is almost never a good idea. One hilarious utilization is to send Magtheridon back into Dormant to continue dealing AOE damage.

Red Card’s cheap cost may prove to be compelling enough, especially in Demon Hunter decks that are focused on executing a big swing turn.

Score: 2

Window Shopper

Window Shopper is another way to discover demons, although it is likely more compelling than Blind Box. The demon discovered is set at the cost and stats of Window Shopper. So, if Window Shopper is a 5-mana 6/5, then its discovered demon will also be. If you play the Shopper’s Mini, then the demon discovered will be a 1-mana 1/1.

One obvious synergy here is with Umpire’s Grasp. If you draw and discount Window Shopper, the discount also affects the discovered demon, making it a 3-mana 6/5.

This card is as good as the discover demon pool, which currently consists of 11 possible demons. We suspect that Window Shopper is only good enough if the odds of finding Magtheridon justify its inclusion. Finding Magtheridon from Blind Box isn’t a very good outcome, but a discounted Magtheridon is nuts.

You have a 48% chance of finding at least one Magtheridon when playing both the Window Shopper and the Shopper’s Mini (27% chance of finding Magtheridon in each discover). Is that enough to make it worthwhile? Hard to say, but this kind of card likely gets worse, rather than better, with future expansions as the pool of potential Demons grows.

Score: 2


Ci’Cigi gives you Demon Hunter cards from a specific pool of 8 cards, as they were released in Ashes of Outlands. This legendary is a nostalgic tribute to Demon Hunter at its launch, which ended up being the most overpowered a class has ever been in the history of Hearthstone. For one day on its launch, Demon Hunter obliterated all other opponents in its path in a show of unprecedented dominance.

That makes Ci’Cigi sound good. After all, we’re getting cards from the most overpowered deck in the game’s history. The issue is that all these cards are taxed by a 4-mana 4/3 with a deathrattle. When you put cards behind such a tax, they become much worse.

The other issue is that cards require some level of synergy and consistency to optimally utilize. Ci’Cigi is a slow, random value generator, which is an awkward fit for most Demon Hunter decks.

For an Aggro Demon Hunter, this doesn’t offer good reload, because you want to be on the front foot every turn. If you play Ci’Cigi on curve, you’re at risk of falling behind because of her weak body. If you draw her off the top later in the game, she doesn’t provide you with immediate resources to keep applying pressure.

For a slower Demon Hunter deck, you probably want a more consistent game plan. Ci’Cigi strikes us as a card that a Reno Demon Hunter will play as filler. Unfortunately, Reno Demon Hunter looks nowhere near a real deck.

Score: 1

Magtheridon, Unreleased

Magtheridon is the centerpiece for a Demon package in Demon Hunter. It is essentially an AOE effect that summons a big minion once it resolves. It deals 3 damage to all enemies for the first two turns it’s on the board as a dormant minion. This is asymmetrical damage that doesn’t impact your own board and goes face; akin to Prison Breaker before it got nerfed, but also in two back-to-back waves.

Prison Breaker does present a good comparison. If Magtheridon is drawn and discounted by Umpire’s Grasp and played on turn 6, which was a reasonable timing for Prison Breaker to be active, it would be devastating in any matchup against a faster deck. Raging Felscreamer can similarly discount it too.

In slower matchups, Magtheridon can still be impactful, but it’s likely that its body will face an effective answer once it wakes up since it is very telegraphed.

For its value in faster matchups, where it is a genuine win condition by itself, we’ll give it some respect. This card is likely paired with Umpire’s Grasp in any Demon Hunter deck with late game aspirations.

Score: 2

Final Thoughts

Whizbang’s Workshop Set Rank: 11th

Overall Power Ranking:  11th

A brutal rotation and an underwhelming year of sets could catch up to Demon Hunter this expansion. Its Festival set was reliant on synergies from the previous year. Its Titans set was a dud. Its Badlands set was all in on the failed Reno archetype and the nerfed Naga tribe.

The Whizbang set does not inspire confidence. In contrast to other classes, it seems to lack direction. We’ve struggled to theorycraft Demon Hunter decks more than any other class because its cards just don’t talk to each other very well.

What bothers us most of all is the sudden focus on generation in the class, which feels strange. Demon Hunter is not a class poised to win late game attrition battles. It’s not going to outvalue opponents with demonic discoveries or Ci’Cigi. Its best late game scaling package (Relics) is rotating out. There are no finishers. No ability to close out games reliably. Reno Demon Hunter doesn’t work because it possesses a very weak late game. Nothing in this set addresses that issue.

The best card in the Demon Hunter set is Umpire’s Grasp. We expect it to be played across multiple archetypes, should they exist. But Umpire’s Grasp forms a package of cards that you can splash across different decks. That’s not a bad thing, but it doesn’t make a deck. Big Demon Hunter has its most powerful cards rotating, so we’re not optimistic that it can re-emerge thanks to this weapon.

Where Demon Hunter’s greatest hope may lie is within the Core Set updates. There is a clear effort to support Aggro Demon Hunter with these updates. Leeroy and Metamorphosis provide a lot of reach and burst, while the new Battlefiend should become one of the best 1-drops in the format, supported by both Quick Pick and Umberwing as turn 2 follow ups. A strong, snowballing early game followed by burst damage were the two components that made this archetype very successful in the past.

Demon Hunter should be a heavy underdog going into Whizbang’s Workshop. Two years ago, we thought the class was going to be a bottom feeder in Sunken City. It ended up being the strongest class. Is everyone sleeping on Demon Hunter again? Is there an unsolved riddle that could unlock its power? We’ll find out next week.


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.

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