With Hearthstone’s Goblins vs. Gnomes update adding 120 new cards to the online card game, players are hard at work scheming inventive new decks to crush their opponents in ranked play. While a lot of the new cards look cool, Hearthstone fans know that merely good cards can get left by the wayside; the most effective decks only have room for great cards. It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference, and some cards that look good on paper might not work in practice, effectively becoming "noob trap" cards.
This list outlines the standout great cards of GvG, while also looking at some cards that seem tantalizing at first, but will likely come up short.
Put These In Your Deck
This little guy has decent stats at 3/2 for 2 mana, but his Battlecry makes him absurd. Use it to get a Chillwind Yeti into Shadow Word: Pain range, Shadow Madness a Sylvanas Windrunner, or even Cabal Shadow Priest a freakin' YSERA. Shrinkmeister extends the Priest's ability to take control of enemy minions, which really boosts their mid-game. Even if you can't make a sick combo happen, Shrinkmeister can at least snag a favorable early-game trade. Expect every Priest to run Shrinkmeister.
Similar to the Shrinkmeister, the Auto-Barber has solid stats and a great Battlecry. The card effectively grants you half of a Deadly Poison for free, letting Rogues use their dagger to kill a lot of common 2 mana minions. While the Tempo Rogue is not popular in constructed play right now, the Auto-Barber may let Rogues snatch an early upper-hand on Zoo decks, and will be a must-draft in the arena. Auto-Barber’s value is just too high to ignore.
Kezan Mystic is a tech minion like Harrison Jones. Also like Harrison, it holds potential to suddenly swing advantages from one side to the other. While this card will go in and out of favor depending on which classes are popular, right now Hunters are all over constructed play and Mages and Paladins are common arena foes. Stealing an Explosive Trap or Mirror Entity early both wastes an opponent's mana and sets up your board quite nicely, which might be is worth it despite the 4/3 for 4 mana value.
This spell is going to have Shaman everywhere offering prayers to RNGesus. While Crackle can potentially at worst work as a more expensive Lightning Bolt, this card will do an average of 4.5 damage for 3 mana, which is the same damage-to-mana ratio as the excellent Fireball. The variance on Crackle has just as much of a chance to swing high than it does to swing low, overall granting Shamans a valuable spell.
The bomb sheep will likely make a splash with Control decks of multiple varieties. Though comparable to the Unstable Ghoul, the Explosive Sheep has the benefit of making sure everything on the board takes 2 damage rather than just the minion that ran into it. It's a cheap minion that can stop an Aggro deck rush dead in its tracks, and its Mech status is icing on the cake.
Light of the Naaru
Yep, another Priest card. Priests got spoiled hard in GvG, though Light of the Naaru is one of the Priest's less obvious new toys. Although unexciting as a cheap heal, when used with Auchenai Soulpriest it becomes a 1 mana, 3 damage nuke that also gives you a Lightwarden. Lightwarden is not often seen because it competes for deck space with better 1-mana minions, which leads to a lot of people underestimating it. But that will probably stop when they see a Priest pull some healing shenanigans that lead to a 7-damage Lightwarden trading with their Boulderfist Ogre.
If Mech decks wind up working out, this is going to be their mid-game workhorse. The Chillwind Yeti is regarded as a really strong neutral minion due to its stats, and the Mechanical Yeti ups the ante with its Mech synergy. The one downside: Mechanical Yeti’s Deathrattle makes it vulnerable to the new anti-Deathrattle cards like Lil' Exorcist and Scarlet Purifier, but that's a small price to pay for such a reliably good minion.
Terrible Noob Traps
While this card may look like the final piece missing from your Beast Hunter or maybe Control Hunter dream deck, realistically it falls short.. Currently, the only competitive, high-cost beast card run in constructed is Savannah Highmane. If Call Pet draws a beast with a mana cost of 2 or less, it's mediocre. If it draws a card that isn't a beast, it's awful. Maybe if more beast cards existed with value comparable to Highmane this card would have potential. As it stands Call Pet is too niche to be good.
The problem with Iron Sensei is that it is too easy to remove for a 3 mana minion. Yes, its continuous buff effect makes you drool at its snowball potential in a Mech Rogue deck, but its 2 health means you have to have board advantage and hope your opponent has no damage spells or charge minions. Iron Sensei is a card you play while you're winning to help you win more. As much as I love the idea of dropping a badical robot samurai on the board, Iron Sensei is too frail to lead the glorious Mech Rogue army.
"A minion with a replenishing divine shield? How could that be bad!?" By giving it only 3 health for 5 mana. This card has terrible value, and by the time you can play it, your opponent probably has the resources to take it out. A 5 mana card that dies to a ping and a Bloodfen Raptor without any special Battlecry or Deathrattle is, in most cases, not a good card. Maybe some kind of Mech combo exists that can make Cobalt Guardian somewhat viable, but until that surfaces keep this card out of your Paladin decks.
Don't do it. Yeah, you, the one thinking of the crazy Hobgoblin deck that will break the meta and catapult you to break meta and hit Rank 1. It's not going to work. Considering the Hobgoblin's cost of 3 and the fact that most 1 attack minions cost 1 mana and, thus, you want to play them turn 1, a Hobgoblin deck already has some glaring flaws. Hobgoblin is not a solid enough card to base a deck around, with sub-optimal stats and no way to stick to the board to keep its buffing power active. This card is just overall terrible and should be avoided.
King of Beasts
His art isn't the only thing that's busted. Everything about this card is outclassed by other cards. King of Beasts is like a situational Fen Creeper, only silence hurts the King more and requires a Beast Deck to be effective. It might be tempting to put this in a deck just to give something else for Call Pet to work with, but that's putting a lot of faith in chance. Frostwolf Warlord grows in power with your board size better than the King, and if you want a good card to combo with Unleash the Hounds just get a Scavenging Buzzard or, better yet, a Starving Hyena.
By far the worst class Legendary of GvG, Flame Leviathan has bad stats and an effect that you can't control that may help you or hurt you. It is comparable to a War Golem in stats, already a card that is bad in constructed play and okay in arena, but it lets your opponent know when you draw it so they can make sure to save their Big Game Hunters and Shadow Word: Deaths. Maybe it will be an okay pick in arena if your other two options are bad, but compared to the Legendary goodies other classes got this thing is abysmal. Even if it's the only Legendary you own, do not use it.
BONUS: GvG’s Most Fun Cards
One of the themes behind Goblins vs. Gnomes is chance. A lot of the new cards have a degree of random luck to them, so as a bonus, here is a list of the five most fun cards that turn a calm game of Hearthstone into a chaotic steamboat casino packed with explosives.
It's like a Knife Juggler, only it does more damage and goes ”BOOM!” when it triggers. If you are still sad that GvG's new pirate cards are pretty disappointing, set up a couple Ship's Cannons, drop your boarding party, and watch the enemy minions get picked off.
Round and round and round she goes, where she stops will be a bloody mess! Though this card is fun to hurl around the board with abandon, it has legitmate uses. Play this card against a Handlock and sit back as the blade bounces around the screen for a solid 10 seconds chipping away at their golems before finally killing something.
Once you play Fel Reaver, the game turns into a race as your opponent sees how many cards they can get you to discard while you repeatedly hit them in the face for 8 damage. Though it isn't ideal, watching an opponent drop their hand to try to mill through your deck only to realize they have 3 health and no cards left is worth drafting this bad boy.
Priests may have snagged the best tools, but Warriors got the most fun. When this card leaked months ago people thought it was fake, but it is very, very real. Iron Juggernaut makes your opponent play Russian Roulette with their deck, dreading the moment they draw the mine and get hit in the face for 10 damage. The later you play it, the more exciting it is, though an early Iron Juggernaut planting a mine that gets forgotten about until your opponent draws it as their second-to-last card can be just as satisfying.
Mogor the Ogre
Move over Blingtron, this guy is the ultimate party card. With enough health to stick around for a couple turns, Mogor can quickly devolve a normal game into absolute chaos as taunts are ignored, stealth minions are stumbled into, and all of your enemy's carefully laid plans go to ruin. Mogor gives everyone an equal chance to be screwed over by bad luck, and really, is that not what Hearthstone is all about?