Hello, Agigas here!
Now that a very exciting spoiler season has just ended, I wanted to review some of the most promising cards that are coming in the “A Curious Journey” expansion.
The evaluations and ratings given to the cards in this article are, of course, still pretty speculative. In the coming weeks, some of the new cards are going to pleasantly surprise us, while some others will disappoint. But still, we can already start forming some early conclusions to get a headstart in the new season.
7 – Gleaming Lantern
Not only this unit’s effect is very powerful, quickly snowballing the game with the cost reduction, but Gleaming Lantern also comes with a good statline.
There is already a surprising amount of strong Faes in the game, and Gleaming Lantern can be the glue if a tempo archetype built with Faes were to emerge.
While Gleaming Lantern’s effect seems incredibly powerful in the right shell, I have decided not to place it too high on this list.
Finding the right shell for this card might prove difficult, as you need not only to have a lot of Faes but also to make something out of this tempo.
6 – Assistant Librairian
When it comes to straight-up power level and combos, I am quite impressed by Assistant Librarian.
Curving this unit out into an Attach creature or buff is gonna be really scary for the opponent, who will either have to chump block right from the early game or let you draw cards.
The fact this is a Fae makes it even better and will be an auto-include in a Fae synergy deck.
Finding the right shell for this unit, just like for Gleaming Lantern, will take some work as currently there is no ready-built home for it.
5 – Quick Quill
Cheap Attach units are great since they can be easily played and replayed again when their host gets removed.
Quick Quill combines really well with Challengers and other units that force the opponent to block. I expect it to see some play along with Demacia as they rely a lot on Challengers, especially with the new powerhouse that is
The card gets even better with Fae synergies and will be a big incentive to go for the Bandle City region when looking for good Attach units.
4 – Tusk Speaker
For a 2-cost unit, Tusk Speaker shows impressive stats and has Overwhelm, enabling him to easily push damage in combat to threaten the opponent and activate synergies.
Its good statline and effect with numerous synergies it the perfect 2-drop for any Freljord deck looking to push Nexus damage.
3 – Petricite Broadwing
Petricite Broadwing will be the backbone of the Formidable archetype along with Shield of Durand, as its Challenger keyword allows for a quick snowball of the board.
But more than just a good Formidable unit, this card simply is an excellent and cheap Challenger – something Demacia was really looking for.
It synergized with Quick Attack, Barriers, health buffs, and heals, and I expect Petricide Broadwing to see a ton of play as a key unit of the Demacia region.
2 – Yuumi
A +2/+2 buff for 3 mana can already make for a very threatening unit, but Yuumi has further snowball also on top of that.
Attached to a unit with strong keywords, or to a key engine, Yuumi sure will make the opponent’s life difficult.
Yuumi is also extremely hard to deal with. Her ability to go back to the hand whenever the unit she’s Attached to gets removed makes her an extremely high-value card that will keep buffing threats until the end of the game.
Her ability to give a Spellshield in her level 2 form makes it even harder for the opponent to remove the massively buffed unit.
The champion is not without weaknesses – in particular against archetypes looking to rush down the opponent with a wide board, or to stall out the buffed unit with stuns. But overall, Yuumi does seem to be an excellent card.
1 – Gnar
With relatively high power and the Quick Attack keyword, Gnar can attack pretty safely no matter which form he is in, especially if you can back him up with combat tricks and damage spells.
His level 1 form generates Pokey Stick – a great spell, making Gnar a powerful engine value that will help you cycle through your deck.
Pokey Stick can even target the opponent’s face, making it a great card to transform Gnar and activate other Nexus damage synergies.
Once leveled, Gnar will allow you to Challenge the biggest opponent’s unit all the while pushing a lot of damage with his massive stats and Overwhelm keyword.
Transforming back to his level 1 form will often not even be a bad thing, as he also is great there and will get another opportunity to transform back into
Overall Gnar seems to present a lot of pressure and value when not removed immediately. With 3 heath points, he isn’t too easy to deal with and can be protected.
All that makes him a very interesting champion for a ton of archetypes, whether they are looking for Nexus damage synergies, a large Overwhelm unit, or just a high-value and high-pressure champion.
- Shield of Durand: The amount of health this buff provides is massive, and it will be a great protection spell in decks built around an important engine. The card also combines particularly well with Formidable units. However, its relatively high cost makes it harder to hold mana for it to defend units, making it a bit clunky.
- Teenydactyl and Spotted Toad: Both units are very impressive when transformed. However, they also both are underwhelming before then, and having to wait a turn at the very least to make use out of your unit is an important downside.
- Murkwolf Shaman: While the unit before it transforms is underwhelming, its leveled form is very impressive. Such massive stats with Regeneration are very hard to bring down, and the draw is extremely valuable, especially in Freljord. However, just like for Teenydactyl and Spotted Toad, having to wait a turn before it transforms is a hurdle.
Complete Card Ratings
|Transposition||2.5||An interesting combo piece with cards such as Abominable Guardian or Ice Pillar. The former seems very unreliable, whereas the latter already had a better combo with Go Get It, so I’m not convinced that Transposition will find an archetype, but it is an interesting card nonetheless.|
|Spirit Portal||2.5||The effect is powerful in board flood archetypes but comes here at a very expensive cost. But look at Poppy or Yordles in Arms, and you can tell it pales in comparison.|
|Yordle Portal||3.0||Burst-speed summons are very strong and usually way overcosted. This card can pull some good units, and in the right archetypes, the Discard condition won’t be so much of a cost. However, Yordle Portal can be a bit inconsistent as there are a lot of 3 or lesser-cost Yordles, and not all of them are good especially when taking Play ability away.|
|Gleaming Lantern||4.0||Not only this unit’s effect is very powerful, quickly snowballing the game with the cost reduction, but it also comes with a good statline. There is already a surprising amount of strong Faes, and Gleaming Lantern will be the glue binding them together.|
|Assistant Librarian||4.0||Curving this unit out with an Attach creature or buff is gonna be really scary for the opponent, who will either have to chump block right from the early game or let you draw cards. The fact this is a Fae makes it even better and will be an auto-include in a Fae synergy deck.|
|Rainbowfish||3.0||Rainbowfish is an expensive Attach unit, making it quite slow in a lot of matchups. That said, it has the ability to create a threatening Elusive unit, and when that unit gets killed, you get Rainbow Fish back to create yet another Elusive threat.|
|Papercraft Dragon||2.5||With such a high cost, Papercraft Dragon seems too large of an investment. One of Attach units’ biggest strengths is to come back to your hand to be played again, but this one is too expensive to do that in most games. Your buffed unit being removed then becomes a big problem. That said the card combos well with large evasive units.|
|Quick Quill||4.0||Chep Attach units are great since they can be easily played and replayed again when their host gets removed. Quick Quill combines really well with Challengers and other units that force the opponent to block. It gets even better with Fae synergies and will be a big incentive to go for the Bandle City region when looking for good Attach units.|
|Heroic Refrain||2.5||3 mana is very expensive for a stat buff spell. In the right situation, it will definitely be worth its cost, however, this is a situational trick. That said, Bandle City is low on Burst-speed buffs, so Heroic Refrain will fill that niche for decks that need one.|
|Fae Sprout||2.0||Not all Faes are equal, and most of them aren’t good outside of a specific archetype. Paying one more mana for a +1/+1 buff isn’t a very good trade. You really need to be very deep into Fae synergies to make room for this card in your deck.|
|Prowling Projectile||2.0||Ping effects tend to be good, but this card pales in comparison to Pokey Stick, which shares the same region. Even in a Fated archetype, I am not convinced Prowling Projectile would get its spot.|
|Friendship!||3.0||Friendship is a versatile card when it comes to protecting a unit. Just like Bastion, it could help the region to protect its units against large removals. However, it is quite expensive and situational, as it gets countered by the numerous 1-damage cheap spells in the game (no matter if you chose the Barrier or the Spellshield).|
|Wallop||2.0||Wallop seems quite over-costed and too low-value to be played a lot. This is a fairly generic card that doesn’t find many great synergies, so I would not be surprised if it doesn’t see play at all.|
|Minitee||2.5||While Minimorphing the opponent’s best unit every turn does sound like a lovely idea, the fact it comes on such an expensive unit, which has no immediate impact gives me cold feet to actually run it in the deck. Moreover, the power of this card is locked behind a condition, which, while not being too hard to fulfill, can furthermore delay the effect of this unit. With no on-play or on-summon effect, Minitee is very vulnerable to removals, which makes me doubt its competitive future despite how impressive it can look.|
|Primal Strength||1.5||Such a small boost on a 4-cost buff seems very over-costed and I can’t think of any deck that would make room for it.|
|Teenydactyl||3.5||At a 4-cost, Teenydactyl is quite easy to invest a turn into before it gets to transform and become a real threat. Its ability is particularly impressive with decks able to leverage it with synergies.|
|Spotted Toad||3.5||With its large stats, Spotted Toad is not easy to get rid of before it gets to transform, where it becomes a very big unit with Impact. However, with no on-summon or Play ability, the card is weak to removal, and the delay set by its transformation will make the card a bit clunkier.|
|Bitsy Lizard||2.0||When we look for payoffs for synergy, we only look at the meaningful ones, as the rest of the deck should be dedicated to enablers. Bitsy Lizard unfortunately is not a powerful payoff.|
|Chief Nakotak||2.5||Chief Nakotak is pretty good when it goes off, enabling your transform units to stick to the board and get bigger. However, transform units are already very big anyway when they transform. Chief Nakotak does not enable the archetype’s synergies and needs to see other units transform to have an effect, which seems too much of an investment for a relatively small payoff.|
|Udyr||3.0||Stances are pretty good cards and allow Udyr to be a versatile champion. That said, they are quite expensive and there aren’t a lot of ways to create them at a cheaper cost than Udyr himself. For a 5-cost champion, Udyr does seem quite slow. However, if you get to cast a couple of Stances, he will snowball games very effectively and can easily close things out by granting himself Overwhelm.|
|Spirits Unleashed||1.0||At 5 mana and Slow speed, this spell is incredibly over-costed. Even in a deck looking for these exact effects, I don’t expect Spirits Unleashed to be maindecked.|
|Hyara Allseer||2.5||At 6 mana I expect a unit to really swing the tides of the game. Hyara Allser unfortunately isn’t very impressive.|
|Vulpine Wanderer||3.0||While we are still far off of a Conchologist level of value here, a 2-cost unit that creates a versatile spell is never too bad of a deal. Because Stances are a bit overcosted, Vulpine Wanderer will not fit in any deck, but only those with Stance synergies – Udyr decks in particular.|
|Shaman’s Call||2.0||Outside of specific synergies, this is a very over-costed spell. It can be interesting in a spell synergy deck, but even there I am not confident it would make the cut.|
|Wrath of the Freljord||2.0||This unit is very expensive for something that only works in specific scenarios. Moreover, with no on-play or on-summon ability, Wrath of the Frejlord is extremely vulnerable to removals or bounces.|
|Mammoth Shaman||2.5||This Overwhelm unit grows very big very quickly, and thanks to its keyword rapidly becomes a threat that requires an answer. However, all that power is locked behind a condition. While not hard to fulfill, it means this unit will be weak the turn you play it, and sometimes for even longer. Moreover, a 6-cost unit without an on-play or on-summon unit is very vulnerable to removals or bounces.|
|Murkwolf Shaman||3.5||While the unit before it transforms is underwhelming, its leveled form is very impressive. Such massive stats with Regeneration are very hard to bring down, and the draw is extremely valuable, especially in Freljord. The potential being locked behind a condition makes this unit weaker and slower, but with its cheap cost, I expect Murkwolf Shaman to level early enough to matter.|
|Bone Scryer||2.0||This is a very synergy-oriented unit. While it looks really bad on its own, it could find its place in the Scarground archetype, which regularly comes back in the meta to punish decks investing too much into ping effects.|
|Tusk Speaker||4.0||For an Overwhelm 2-cost unit, Tusk Speaker shows very impressive stats and can easily push damage in combat to threaten the opponent and activate synergies. His play effect leans the unit even further in that direction, making it the perfect 2-drop for any Freljord deck looking to push Nexus damage (Plunder, Udyr, Gnar, etc).|
|Galio||3.0||At 7 mana, you need your champion to pretty much close out the game right away, else it will underperform – playing without a champ for 6 turns is a big sacrifice. Unfortunately, Galio isn’t overly threatening right away. The champion needs to level up to be good but only does so at the end of the turn and at condition.|
|Petricite Hound||3.0||A great unit for a deck centered around Formidable units, but too synergy-driven to make it into other archetypes. Its play rate will be heavily influenced by how good Formidable build-around will be.|
|Petricite Broadwing||4.5||This is an excellent and cheap Challenger unit, something Demacia was really looking for. With synergies with Quick Attack, Barriers, and buffs, I expect Petricide Broadwing to see a ton of play. Moreover, its 0 attack stat allows it to synergize even better with Yordle Smith and Poppy.|
|Durand Protege||2.0||Chain Vest is a lot better when you can use it at Burst speed, making this unit’s effect underwhelming. That said it can be used for synergies, for example along with the Formidable keyword, but even there Durand Protege might have too low of an impact to see play.|
|Durand Sculptor||2.5||The effect is good in slow matchups with damaged-based removals, as you don’t get punished for the initial tempo cost and can make your board more resilient. That said this effect is not too impactful and the initial tempo cost of playing Durand Sculptor and not trading it can be punished in a lot of scenarios.|
|Durand Architect||3.0||A very interesting build-around with a lot of synergies (ex. Braum, Soraka, Bubble Bear, Flame Chompers!). However this unit is quite vulnerable when attacking, and decks built around it could easily end up inconsistent.|
|Petricite Stag||2.0||This protection unit can easily fail to do its duty, as your supported unit will still take full damage if Petricide Stag dies during combat. The unit’s statline is good, but it doesn’t provide much as a 4-cost unit, and I don’t think it will be played a lot.|
|Shield of Durand||3.5||The amount of health this buff provides is massive, and it will be a great protection spell in decks built around an important engine. The card also combines particularly well with Formidable units. However, its relatively high cost makes it harder to hold mana for it to defend units, making it a bit clunky.|
|Winds of War||2.5||Demacia already has several strike effects, and this one does seem quite weak in comparison because of its Slow speed and relatively high cost. However, Winds of War fills its own niche as a powerful heal.|
|Mountain Drake||3.0||Mountain Drake has very powerful stats and grows quickly, making it a particularly good fit with Galio. However, a 5-cost unit with no other effect, and no evasive keyword or Challenger, could often be too slow.|
|Gorlith the Unscalable||3.0||A very interesting unit that can either heal your Nexus or become an unbelievably massive unblockable threat. However, with no self-protection of any kind, this card will usually be removed or stalled with spells, making it a terrible tempo loss.|
|Yuumi||4.5||Pantheon was already insanely strong and despite Taric being a decent pairing the archetype – he has never truly found the perfect fit. Yuumi is pretty much guaranteed to impact the meta with this archetype and could enable many more new decks.|
|Gnar||4.5||Thanks to the Quick Attack keyword, Gnar can attack pretty safely. His level 1 form generates Pokey Stick which is a very impressive spell, and his level 2 will allow you to Challenge the biggest opponent’s unit all the while pushing a lot of damage with the Overwhelm. Overall Gnar seems to build up a lot of pressure and value very easily when not removed immediately.|
|Hothead||2.5||Fragile for a 3-cost unit, its impact is not impressive and not reliable.|
|Blastcone Seedling||2.5||The flexibility is good and the Barrier can often dissuade the opponent from attacking. However, not being able to target another unit with the Barrier makes this unit quite weak, and choosing the Impact keyword will make up for a very weak unit overall. Could be played in a deck with enough Fae synergies but I doubt it will.|
|Grandfather Fae||2.0||Simply granting an attack point isn’t a very impressive ability, especially when you falling behind in tempo to get this unit on the board first. The generated Hungry Owlcat is a nice addition and helps flood the board as you get 2 units for one card. That said, it doesn’t seem like there are enough good payoffs for flooding the board in the Fae archetype.|
|Scholarly Climber||1.5||This unit does have stats but Spellshield is not nearly as useful on a unit with no evasion of specific ability. For a 4-cost unit, Scholarly Climber doesn’t contribute to any gameplan and I can’t imagine a deck that would make room for it.|
|Mushroom Ring||2.0||This is a very fragile payoff, and it doesn’t really threaten the opponent even when you protect it as it has no evasive keyword.|
Overall, this expansion’s power level seems high, but probably not to an extent of the previous release, which had the developers team intervene with emergency nerfs less than a week into a season.
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