Over the weekend, players around the world descended on gaming hubs and bars to get an early look at the new cards from The Boomsday Project.
As part of a series of special pre-release Fireside Gatherings, players could open their pre-ordered packs from Hearthstone's next set. Once they'd busted open those packs, they could use them in a Tavern Brawl against other players on site.
The only other cards allowed were Basic set cards, so it wasn't exactly the full meta experience. But it was an interesting insight into what cards players are looking at.
The OP was on hand at Meltdown London for one of the events, and we battled through the WiFi to play and watch a series of matches on the day. Here's some of the cards we think are worth looking out for come release.
Coming into the pre-release Tavern Brawl, it wasn't clear that Thunderhead would be important in the limited format. It looks like a strong card in general for sure, but there aren't any Basic Overload cards. Only the two Boomsday ones were available—Voltaic Burst and Beakered Lightning.
But it turns out this was more than enough. Those two cheap spells meant it was almost always possible to play Thunderhead with at least one of them, and it offered really great board control and presence. When cards like Zap! and Lightning Bolt become a factor, this could be really strong in the Standard meta.
Yep, a second Shaman card. From the limited look at the meta the pre-release offered, Shaman was one of the strongest decks we saw. Electra Stormsurge with Bloodlust is just too good. Be careful with Overload though—the spell triggers twice, so the Overload is doubled. That's one of those interactions you might not expect when you first jump into the game tomorrow.
Based on these two cards, Midrange or Token Shaman could be a very real deck in the new meta.
Zero attack minions can often seem too passive to bother with, especially in the midgame. By turn five, you want to be doing stuff. But Magnetic changes things—Mech Paladin could be a very real deck, and Mechano-Egg wouldn't be a totally left field inclusion. Play this on turn six or seven and add a Glow-Tron or Skater Bot, and suddenly it's doing work. Then when it dies there's an 8/8 Robosaur, and you can Magnetic things to that too.
Maybe Mechano-Egg won't find a spot in a potential Mech Paladin, but it shouldn't be instantly cast to the side based on what we saw.
Okay, so this one is almost certainly a product of the limited Boomsday and Basic card format! But still, it's something we observed—Academic Espionage was totally broken. Like Mysterious Challenger on steroids broken.
Your opponent is playing Chillwind Yetis? That's cute, let's have a bunch of one mana cards that are almost certainly better than half of your opponent's deck regardless of the reduction.
Giggling Inventor is probably the best neutral card in the set.
It brings Annoy-o-Tron back into the Standard format, after the cheery little nuisance went out with Goblins vs. Gnomes. A five mana 2/1 is obviously terrible, but those two Taunts with Divine Shield are hard to cut through. Combine that with a buff deck, or a token-focused strategy, and this is a great mid-game play. Expect to see it a ton of decks tomorrow.