The Comprehensive Whizbang’s Workshop Preview


Data Reaper Report - Paladin

Fancy Packaging

A big 1-cost buff. A 2/3 buff would normally cost closer to 2-mana, so Fancy Packaging looks strong. The limitation on divine shield minions is quite significant though. The timing of Fancy Packing’s release comes with rotation taking out the best 1-drop to buff with this spell in Sanguine Soldier. There aren’t many strong early game divine shield minions available for Paladin in the upcoming format. You’re looking at Righteous Protector and Hi Ho Silverwing. Tigress Plushy might be a good target for the buff, but it can’t happen before turn 4, or turn 3 with the coin.

This is the kind of buff that becomes strong once a critical mass of targets is available, but it may not hit the ground running.

Score: 2

Tigress Plushy

We really had to double check what this card does, because it seems cracked for the cost. You’re looking at a non-legendary form of the original Zilliax that costs 2 less mana. Plushy is only missing Taunt and Magnetize as keywords, which are not too important for its purpose as an early-mid game board control swing card.

On top of it, Plushy has Miniaturize. A 1-mana 1/1 might seem tame with all these keywords, but a Plushy Mini is a fantastic target for both hand buffs and board buffs.

We just can’t get over how efficient this card is. There is not a single Paladin deck that’s going to pass on it. Regardless of synergies, which can only amplify Tigress Plushy’s power, this 3-drop might be the best rush minion in the format at its baseline form.

Score: 4

Painter’s Virtue

This weapon buffs minions in your hand +1/+1 every time it attacks. With 3 durability, this means a +3/+3 buff to your hand over 3 turns. This is wrapped up in a 2/3 weapon with lifesteal, so an unnerfed Aldrachi Warblades because sure why not! We understand that a lifesteal weapon is much better in Demon Hunter than Paladin, but this does reflect how many numbers this weapon has. It just does so much.

Painter’s Virtue’s only drawback is it’s a bit slow. A 2-attack value on turn 4 doesn’t kill a lot of things. But the lifesteal component should help the Paladin prolong the game enough for the buffs to start impacting the game.

With Tigress Plushy being introduced in the same set, it’s clear that Paladin is headed in a handbuff direction, reminiscent of Prismatic Jewel Kit making waves a couple of years ago. We strongly suspect that Painter’s Virtue will prove to be the superior card, possibly one of the best handbuff cards ever made.

Score: 4

Trinket Artist

A 3-mana 2/3 that draws two cards is very strong. Trinket Artist tutors two specific types of cards: an Aura and a divine shield minion. A divine shield minion shouldn’t be difficult to include in any Paladin deck, especially with Tigress Plushy being added. An Aura depends on the Paladin deck, but both Crusader Aura and Deputization Aura are strong choices here.

Card draw in Paladin tends to be very valuable, since the class normally doesn’t get a lot of it, so Trinket Artist should become a commonly used minion in the class. The only slightly awkward aspect of Artist is that a Paladin deck normally doesn’t want to run too many Auras. Running two copies of Trinket Artist means you want to run at least 3-4 Aura spells. If you run 2 Auras, its strength might be slightly diminished in the late game.

Score: 3

Wind-Up Enforcer

A Paladin Wind-Up minion. Enforcer summons a copy of itself, with the number of copies increasing every time it gets traded. At its baseline, a 6-mana double 3/5 is quite horrible for constructed play, considering there’s no protective keyword, so it has no immediate impact on the game.

This minion is clearly supposed to be a handbuff target. While buffs do persist after it gets traded, Enforcer is in contradiction with itself. If we want to buff Enforcer, we need to keep it in hand, not trade it away. If we significantly buff it and then trade it away to upgrade it, then who knows when it’s coming back to impact the game?

If we’re playing a Handbuff Paladin deck, we need to be aggressive. We can’t rely on the tradeable mechanic to apply pressure on the opponent, because games will be decided long before a minion gets drawn for the second time. This minion is giga-unplayable for the archetype it’s intended to be put into.

Score: 1

Crafter’s Aura

This is the most expensive Aura we’ve seen yet. Crafter’s Aura costs a whopping 7-mana, summoning a random 6-drop at the end of every turn. Since it lasts 3 turns, that’s 3 random 6-drops summoned over that period.

Crafter’s Aura represents a good amount of stats for the cost, but we do wonder what kind of Paladin deck will want to play. It’s a very slow card to get off the ground and only translates well at its conclusion. An aggressive Paladin deck that sees most of its games decided by turn 7-8 will not enjoy most of Crafter’s Aura uptime. On the other hand, even Reno Paladin may not want this card since it doesn’t need to focus on long term value when it has Spirit of the Badlands as its cornerstone piece.

One way to make Crafter’s Aura look better is to run it alongside Holy Cowboy. Cowboy is a card we rated quite well and ended up flopping because its initial body was too weak to justify playing in a proactive Paladin deck. It also somewhat clashed with the Garden’s Grace.

We’re not sure two questionable cards form a pairing that makes them strong enough to see play.

Score: 1

Cardboard Golem

Cardboard Golem is the first minion to directly affect Auras. It increases all your Auras’ durations by one turn, whether they’re in play, in your hand, or in your deck.

As a 4-mana 4/4, this card seems quite terrible. As an example, a proactive Paladin deck doesn’t want to play an undersized body for the sake of extending Crusader Aura because Crusader Aura is supposed to end the game within two turns anyway. Extending Deputization Aura doesn’t seem that great either, certainly not to the point we’d run Golem for it.

It seems like Golem is intended to extend Crafter’s Aura, which is also a highly questionable endeavor. We get more value from Crafter’s Aura, but it happens very late in the game and may not even matter if we don’t find both cards at a reasonable time frame. The dream curve of Holy Cowboy, Cardboard Golem, and a turn 5 Crafter’s Aura just doesn’t strike us as something Paladin will be interested in playing.

Score: 1

Flash Sale

A new board buff for Paladin, Flash Sale provides a +1/+2 buff to all friendly minions, but not before summoning an Annoy-o-Tron to the board. Just like Arbor Up, the minion summoned gets the benefit of the buff, so Flash Sale always develops a 2/4 taunt with divine shield.

Thinking it over, a 2/4 taunt with divine shield is already worth quite a bit of mana, so it’s enough for the board buff to land on a couple more minions to be worth the cost. What is more is that the buffed Annoy-o-Tron helps protect the board we’ve managed to establish, making it more difficult for the opponent to remove it via trades.

With the addition of Flash Sale, it now becomes impossible to ever ignore a board from an aggressive Paladin deck. Both Crusader Aura and Flash Sale now serve as powerful board finishers the Paladin can use to pounce on an opponent taking a single turn off.

We remember what happened when Aggro Druid had access to both Pride’s Fury and Arbor Up. It was very difficult to fend off its aggression and prevent its snowballing. The existence of Crusader Aura and Flash Sale in the same format has massive implications on Aggro Paladin decks for the next year. We expect them to take full advantage.

Score: 4

Toy Captain Tarim

Tarim is back as a Toy Captain, and he looks like he might be a very impactful addition to the Paladin class. Preserving his original stats, Tarim is a 3/7 taunt, as well as a Miniature minion that costs 5 mana and sets a minion’s stats to be equal to his.

Most Miniaturize minions have an underwhelming first body, but Tarim is a genuinely strong pseudo-buff. Targeting a friendly minion means buffing it to a baseline 3/7, which is particularly powerful if the target is a plain Silver Hand Recruit or another small body. On top of that, Tarim’s ability scales with hand buffs, so the bigger he gets, the more powerful his ability is.

But then you have Tarim’s Mini form, which becomes pseudo-removal. A 1-mana 1/1 with this ability is a much stronger form of Subdue. In this case, targeting enemy minions is the ideal utilization.

Tarim seems like one of the most dynamic Miniature designs of the set and one that every Paladin deck should enjoy. Not only is it generically strong as an initiative-taking play, but it gives us a powerful 1-mana pseudo-removal card on top of it. Add the obvious synergies with handbuffs and you have a class staple.

Score: 4

Pipsi Painthoof

Pipsi is a late game drop with a big deathrattle. An initial 7-mana 4/4, she summons three minions to the board upon death: one with divine shield, one with taunt and one with rush.

This deathrattle could be powerful if properly directed to be through deckbuilding, but when we compare it to a card such as Thunderbringer, we can see several flaws.

Thunderbringer has taunt, which is harder to ignore. Pipsi’s targets are very generic keywords, so it’s very difficult for a normal Paladin deck to avoid including smaller minions with them. Small Beasts and Elementals are easier to avoid for the purpose of maximizing a Thunderbringer’s deathrattle.

For that reason, Pipsi seems limited to a Big Paladin archetype. The 7-drop has great synergy with Kangor and is capable of summoning Annoy-o-Troupe with the deathrattle. It can also be activated through Dance Floor to sack immediately via a trade.

We do have question marks about the viability of a Big Paladin deck post-rotation, especially when it loses Masked Reveler, which would have been great alongside Pipsi. Unless Pipsi ends up working out in a normal Paladin deck that simply avoids running keywords on its cheaper curve of minions, the card might end up sitting this expansion out, or at least until its archetype gets boosted via buffs or a mini-set.

Score: 2

Final Thoughts

Whizbang’s Workshop Set Rank: 2nd

Overall Power Ranking:  1st

Paladin has all the ingredients required in Whizbang’s Workshop to do what Paladin does best, set the tone for the rest of the field by dominating through the sheer power of stats. But rather than imitating its previous antics with buff decks, there is a strong argument that Paladin is gaining access to tools it didn’t have before, tools that make it more dynamic.

When it comes to the Handbuff archetype, which seems to be receiving most of the focus in the set, we first think about an aggressive deck that’s dangerous when given time to develop its game plan but struggles when it loses the initiative. This kind of framing goes out the window when Painter’s Virtue and Tigress Plushy pack so much recovery potential that even if you manage to outpace the Paladin in the early game, you could still get completely blown out and stare at a full health Uther smirking at you a few turns later.

And, then when we look at the slower matchups, Paladin has another joker in its hand called Leeroy Jenkins. A handbuff deck without burst damage could always theoretically see its threats picked apart by removal and lose the game even if the opponent has taken a significant amount of damage. With Leeroy, Paladin can patiently buff the charger until it deals unavoidable lethal damage through Shroomscavate. To be able to stall the game until it finds a pseudo-OTK is not a game plan this archetype could embrace before.

So, while Paladin is notorious for getting outplayed by stronger players, these two elements of recovery and burst make it much more difficult to play around.

Outside of handbuffs, Paladin is also in a great position to run a competitive board flooding deck. Thanks to Flash Sale, it’s almost impossible to leave up a Paladin board and not get punished for it on turn 4 through either Flash Sale or Crusader Aura.

The main question marks surround Paladin’s slower archetypes. We’re not convinced a Big Paladin deck will be good enough to compete with the addition of Pipsi. A Reno Paladin is also in a relatively weak spot because it doesn’t have great finishing capabilities in the late game. Perhaps, it can take a proactive game plan that mirrors Aggro Paladin to solve that issue.

Paladin is almost certain to be one of the major frontrunners at the launch of Whizbang’s Workshop. The extent of its dominance across different levels of play will be the most interesting thing to keep track of.

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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