Rise of Shadows kicks things off with a big, billowing breath of fire as there are a few really powerful dragons in it.
While this could be a signal that even more dragons are to come throughout the year, there's also room for a few other card types that will change the face of the Standard and Wild metas.
Let's see what Rise of Shadows brings to the table.
Poisonous is a very powerful effect that can turn even the smallest minions into real threats. On top of that, Murlocs have received serious attention in this meta. From the looks of it, Murloc decks are returning with a blast.
Toxfin will definitely see play in all of those decks, as it is neutral and incredibly cheap.
For most, the best choice for it would most likely be Murloc Shaman, as it has got some amazing Murlocs in the Rise of Shadows expansion.
Secret Paladin may return in full force with the help of this two-drop. This is basically a Totem Golem with no drawbacks, and we all know how powerful Totem Golem was back in the days.
It's not like Paladin needed another highly aggressive card, but it seems that Blizzard just really wants people to play secrets in other classes as well.
Rogue players, for example, haven't been too keen on using secrets, but this card could change everything for some Hearthstone players.
Veteran Hearthstone players remember a spell named Gang Up from the old days. Well, Togwaggle's Scheme is an improved version of that spell. It costs less than Gang Up, and it can potentially put far more copies of cards in your deck than three.
Both Pogo-Hopper and Malygos Rogue archetypes will have a blast playing this card. It's not only good for executing some fun combos, but also in preventing your deck from fatigue damage.
Pre-nerf Fiery War Axe is back! This time, it's in Paladin, which isn't really surprising. It's the only other class that relies heavily on weapon synergies, so this combo makes sense.
Rise of Shadows has also introduced two new secrets for Paladin that make this card so much stronger. Apparently, this is all in Blizzard's plan to justify the Divine Favor nerf that made many aggro players ... upset.
Arena players will love this weapon just like they loved Fiery War Axe, making Mysterious Blade an excellent choice for any format.
Rise of Shadows has not been kind to Warlocks. Unfortunately, most of the Warlock cards in the new expansion leave a lot to be desired. However, Plot Twist may be one of the greatest new discoveries for Control Warlock players.
Plot Twist can change your whole game for just two mana. If you're holding a bad hand with no removal, you can instantly find an answer with the help of this spell.
Of course, other Warlock archetypes may not find this card very enticing, as it is specifically oriented for control.
Many players have said that Underbelly Angler will only be good in Murloc Shaman decks. While that is very true, many actually miss the mark because this card is good in any Shaman deck.
The value players receive for only two mana is severely underappreciated, and it can be played even if you don't have all of those fancy Murlocs in your deck.
This also makes Underbelly Angler the undisputed champion of Arena, where it will create a lot of problems for opponents.
Two words: combo disruption!
The last Hearthstone meta was infested with OTK combo decks that were too powerful. Hecklebot was created to disrupt those decks and potentially concede on spot.
It is functionally the same as Dirty Rat, and those who had the chance to play it remember what trouble that card could create for many combo players. That makes Hecklebot a welcomed return of that mechanic. You can bet this one will see play in this meta.
Spell Hunter and Deathrattle Hunter archetypes will benefit greatly from Nine Lives. Since there are already lots of powerful Deathrattle cards in the format, this spell's value will only grow with time.
Even if you take something as insignificant as Shimmerfly and discover it using Nine Lives, you still get an additional minion and a spell for only three mana. That is a fantastic deal.
Similarly, this card will be incredible in Arena, although the epic rarity makes it a rare find.
Murloc Shaman is going to be the next big thing in Hearthstone, and the reason is this little legendary card: Scargil.
It has a very simple yet powerful effect, which has historically been the attribute of some of the most successful cards in Hearthstone.
Wild format players will enjoy playing Scargil even more because the OTK Murloc combo will now be a lot easier to execute.
Togwaggle is a very situational card, but the fact that you can choose one of his four treasures makes it a very solid card for some powerful combo set-ups.
One such combo makes Togwaggle especially exciting. Here's how it goes:
Now, that's powerful.
This isn't exactly the original Dr. Boom, but it's so similar that playing this is a must.
There are several cards in the new expansion that support it by throwing bombs into your opponent's deck, such as Wrenchcalibur and Clockwork Goblin.
The bomb package looks very good at this point, and it may even surpass the efficiency of the original Dr. Boom. The only minor drawback is that Blastmaster Boom isn't a Mech.
This card is a perfect addition to any control deck trying to anti-fatigue opponents. It works even if you have no cards in your deck; when you play Elysiana, she will add 10 more cards, which you can discover.
Obviously, you have to be fast when choosing cards, or you'll get them randomly chosen by the A.I., which isn't the best option. But other than that, Archivist Elysiana is a true winner in every sense of the word, especially for decks that care about going deep into the late game.
Players who fancy Wall Priest, especially its wild iteration, will welcome this card with open arms. But Big Priest players will have just as much fun with it. With several solid options, Catrina is one of the most desirable cards in Rise of Shadows.
She's very similar in design to Y'Shaarj, who put minions from your deck at the end of a turn. But Catrina is a bit better, as she is cheaper to cast and she summons copies of dead minions, giving you more control in what you get.
Combo Priests will love this card. Jepetto could draw you Velen and Malygos, bringing the total damage of the Mind Blast spells to 40 from both copies.
This combo alone guarantees the high demand for this card. But since it's neutral, Jepetto will be used in many other combo decks. And who knows what wild players will use it for?
The potential is boundless and the value is extremely high in Jepetto Joybuzz.
Mage decks of all kinds will have a blast playing this card because almost every archetype plays a decent number of spells.
A high health pool also makes Kalecgos very hard to kill, just like it was the case with Malygos and Ysera.
This means that a Dragon Mage archetype with some heavy spells will shine once more in the Rise of Shadows meta.
This is definitely one of the best legendaries, and cards, in the whole expansion.
Which cards will you craft in the Rise of Shadows season? Share your thoughts below in the comments section, and be sure to come back soon for more Hearthstone guides at GameSkinny.