Everything we know so far about Hearthstone’s Gadgetzan expansion

Last Updated November 7th, 2016

This year at Blizzcon we got a major announcement for the latest Hearthstone expansion, the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. They gave us an in-depth look at the inspirations for the new expansion’s mafia-esque design, but we all know what you’re really here for – the new cards and mechanics. Will the new expansion fix the meta? Will Priest finally have its day? Let’s find out!

New Mechanics

Factions

Three factions rule the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, each controlling three of the classes in the game. These factions are worked into the expansion’s flavor, of course, but also its mechanics.

Nine cards in the set will be “faction” cards instead of class cards. These are effectively multi-class cards that can be used in any of the three classes the factions represent. Each faction will get 3 cards, one of which will be a card that lets you discover cards from another class, one of which will be a Legendary faction leader, and one of which will be a unique mechanic.

It’s worth noting that these discover based faction cards will always give you a choice of exactly one card from each class, so you can effectively use them to splash a little bit of another class’s power into your deck.

The factions are as follows.

The Grimy Goons – Warrior, Hunter, Paladin

The Grimy Goons are the muscle of Gadgetzan. They are the most aggressive of all three factions, focusing on power, muscle, weapons, and brute strength. They are modeled after the Mafia.

The Jade Lotus – Shaman, Rogue, Druid

The Jade Lotus are the secret agents and hitmen of Gadgetzan. They are based on stealth, speed, and loyalty, and are loosely modeled off the Yakuza.

The Kabal – Mage, Priest, Warlock

The Kabal are the wheelers and dealers of Gadgetzan. They trade in illegal products, potions, magics, and spells.

New Cards

Here is a rundown of every new card that was announced at Blizzcon this year along with a quick analysis on how they will affect the overall meta.

Big Time Racketeer

6 mana 1/1 Rare Neutral Minion

Battelcry: Summon a 6/6 Ogre.

Our take: Six mana for a 7/7 body is pretty standard for Hearthstone. It’s basically exactly as much as you pay for Flamewreathed Faceless, except you can play the Faceless early on turn 4. The only notable difference here is you have to wait till turn 6 and 1/1 of those stats is split off into its own creature. Not horrible, especially as an arena pick, but probably not enough to warrant hitting constructed decks.

Second-Rate Bruiser

5 mana 4/5 Rare Neutral Minion

Taunt. Costs 2 less if if your opponent has at least three minions.

Our take: Players have long complained about aggressive decks completely and utterly dominating the meta in Hearthstone. The high mana curve of Whispers of the Old Gods was an attempt to slow things down, but it didn’t really work. Second-Rate Bruiser might succeed where Whispers failed. Going up against a Shaman with Feral Spirit? Drop Second Rate Bruiser and combat their taunts with your taunt. Druid annoying you with turn one Living Roots, turn two… anything? Not if Second-Rate Bruiser has anything to say about it. While it won’t be the most powerful card in the new meta, I can definitely see it teched into certain decks to win aggressive matchups.

Patches the Pirate

1 mana 1/1 Legendary Neutral Pirate Minion

Charge. After you play a Pirate, summon this minion from your deck.

Our take: Combooooolicious. It was theorized that Gadgetzan would be the “pirate” set since we already saw sets that dealt with mechs, beasts, and dragons. Patches basically makes whatever first pirate you play 1/1 better, which really isn’t so bad, especially when you are playing, say, a turn one Swashburglar. But his combo potential is where it’s at. Blizzard showed off a combo using gang-up, which shuffled multiple Patches into your deck. Playing a pirate summoned them all back at once! Unfortunately, even at maximum combo potential Patches was only able to get about 12 burst damage on the field, which is a whole lot of mana and a whole lot of finagling for less damage than, say, Doomhammer+Rockbiter Weapon. In the end, he will probably be more of a gimmicky card than a meta-definer.

I Know a Guy

1 mana Common Warrior Spell

Discover a Taunt minion

Our take: One of Warrior’s only weaknesses was that he had no reliable turn one plays to make. It looks like that hole’s been covered up. I Know a Guy is simple and versatile and I expect to see it in many warrior lists in the future, simply because there’s nothing much better in that slot.

Getaway Kodo

1 mana Rare Paladin Secret

When a friendly minion dies, return it to your hand.

Our take: More Paladin secrets! This has some really interesting synergy with Redemption. Does that mean you get two copies of the creature that just died? Secret Paladin is the deck to beat in Wild but never quite made a splash in Standard and while this gives it a little bit more power, I still don’t think it can make much headway against better decks without Avenge, which has already rotated out.

Small-Time Recruits

3 mana Epic Paladin Spell

Draw three 1-Cost minions from your deck.

Our take: I can see this being pretty useful in small, quick Paladin aggro decks. It can fetch Selfless Heroes, Vilefin Inquisitors, Worgen Infiltrators, Murloc Tidecallers, heck even Secretkeepers in Secret Paladin. I’m not sure it would be meta defining, but I’m sure more than a few Paladin decks will run it.

Wickerflame Burnbristle

3 mana 2/2 Legendary Paladin Minion

Taunt. Divine Shield. Damage dealt by this minion also heals your hero.

Our take: Wickerflame Burnbristle is either going to be amazing or horrible. It appears as if he has a lot of things going for him. Divine Shield, Taunt, and Life-Link all make for a pretty good set of abilities. But 3 mana for a 2/2 might just be too slow. Maybe he will find his way into Divine Shield aggro decks, but on turn 3 you usually want to be dropping Steward of Darkshire in those decks.

Grimestreet Informant

2 mana 1/1 Rare Goons Minion

Battlecry: Discover a Hunter, Paladin, or Warrior card.

Our take: For a while this card will be absolutely crazy because it can combo off Brann. But even after Brann Bronzebeard rotates out, it will still be crazy. Paladins getting Hunter weapons or spells, Warriors getting Paladin life-gain. Honestly, it looks like Hunter will have the least use for this card, but I expect it to be put in a lot of decks in the near future.

Potion of Madness

1 mana Common Priest Spell

Gain control of an enemy minion with 2 or less Attack until end of turn.

Our take: Another Priest card that does too little. You ideally want to trade a 2/1 into a 3/2 using this card, but it’s just not going to happen. Very few classes run 2 attack minions, especially in the early game. Expect this to be mostly ignored.

Drakonid Operative

5 mana 5/6 Rare Priest Dragon Minion

Battlecry: If you’re holding a Dragon, Discover a card in your opponent’s deck.

Our take: Now THIS certainly seems interesting. Priest is kind of the king of “use your opponent’s deck against them.” Shifting Shade was already obscene value at 4 mana for a 4/3 and getting you a random card from your opponent’s deck on Deathrattle. But a 5/6 getting a chosen card out of the opponent’s deck on Battlecry? That is just better in every single way. The value is absurd! The one catch is that you are going to have to run enough dragons to make it work and many good dragons are rotating out, but I think crafty players will make it happen.

Manic Soulcaster

3 mana 3/4 Epic Mage Minion

Battlecry: Choose a friendly minion. Shuffle a copy into your deck.

Our take: Awesome card. Mage is soon losing its 3 drop of choice in Flamewaker and this is a perfect replacement. Turn two Sorcerer’s Apprentice, turn 3 give yourself another Sorcerer’s Apprentice is just a very powerful play. That way you have a chance of drawing into another Apprentice for your late game Archmage Antonidas turn. Expect this to be in new Tempo Mage builds.

Kazakus

4 mana 3/3 Legendary Kabal Minion

Battlecry: If your deck has no duplicates, create a custom spell.

Spell Ingredients:

1 mana

  • Draw a card
  • Add a random Demon to your hand
  • Deal 3 damage
  • Gain 4 armor
  • Give your minions +2 health

5 mana

  • Transform a random minion into a 1/1 sheep
  • Draw 2 cards
  • Summon 2 friendly minions that died this game

10 Mana

  • Summon an 8/8 demon
  • Deal 6 damage to all minions
  • Add 3 random Demons to your hand
  • Draw 3 cards
  • Summon 3 friendly minions that died this game
  • Gain 10 armor
  • Transform all minions into 1/1 sheep.

Our take: This card is just bonkers. I don’t mean it’s overpowered, I mean it’s just the weirdest thing we have ever seen.

So here’s the deal. Provided that you only run one of every card in your deck (the Reno Jackson condition), Kazakus lets you craft your own spell when you play him. First, you choose the mana cost, which chooses the relative power level of the spell. Then you choose two effects of the appropriate power level. Then the spell goes into your hand.

Blizzard hasn’t revealed all of the effects yet, but holy crap does this look fun. Deal 6 damage to everything and then resurrect 3 of your own? Super powerful. Gain 10 armor and draw 3 cards? Fantastic. Even 1 mana effects like deal three damage and gain four armor is still way better than Bash, which does the same thing, but only gains you three armor, and costs three mana! The big question is: will any of these effects be worth playing only one copy of everything else in your deck? Even Reno was only worth playing in Warlock, which means these spells have to be, on the whole, more powerful than healing yourself up to full.

Pilfered Power

3 mana Epic Druid Spell

Gain an empty Mana crystal for each friendly minion.

Our take: Pilfered Power allows you to create an “anti-midrange deck.” Basically it allows you to have a very powerful aggro type opening, gain a bunch of mana crystals and skip right to the end game. Interesting idea? Sure. Viable in a tournament? Not so sure. If you build a deck around this idea and don’t draw Pilfered Power, you’re just screwed. You can put in some cards to smooth out your mana-curve but at that point you are just playing a mid-range deck, and Pilfered Power strikes me as too slow for a mid-range deck.

Counterfeit Coin

0 mana Rare Rogue Spell

Gain 1 Mana Crystal this turn only

Our take: Rogues get the coin… as a card… that they can open in a pack… The coin’s good in every class, but it’s extra good in Rogue because of combo synergy and Gadgetzan Auctioneer draw. Get it. Play it. Love it. Next!

Lotus Agents

5 mana 5/3 Rare Lotus Minion

Battlecry: Discover a Druid, Rogue, or Shaman card

Our take: Just like all the other discover-based faction cards this one is awesome, but it’s definitely the weakest of the bunch. Five mana is quite a bit for a discover minion and Druid, Rogue, and Shaman have the least cross class synergy. This is a great Arena pick, but it might be the one faction discover card that won’t make it into constructed decks.

Kun the Forgotten King

10 mana 7/7 Legendary Druid Minion

Choose One – Gain 10 Armor or Refresh your Mana Crystals.

Our take: Drop a 7/7 and then get your turn back. Awesome. It’s a fantastic way for Druid to get Tempo back, considering many Druid decks stay behind on Tempo all game. There’s almost no reason not to include him into your deck, since he pays for himself when you play him. The only reason to choose 10 armor is when you are top decking him. Who knows, you might somehow luck out and get to play him alongside Fandral Staghelm.

Finja, the Flying Star

5 mana 2/4 Legendary Neutral Murloc Minion

Stealth. Whenever this attacks and kills a minion, summon 2 Murlocs from your deck.

Our take: Blizzard seems to be pushing the Murloc theme pretty hard, but let’s be honest with ourselves – five mana 2/4 cards are never good, regardless of their effects. Currently in the running for crap Legendary of the set.

Piranha Launcher

5 mana 2/4 Epic Hunter Weapon

Whenever your hero attacks, summon a 1/1 Piranha.

Our take: Huh. Let’s do some math. It’s a five mana 2/4 weapon, but each swing makes a 1/1 so it effectively gives you another power to play around with. That makes this a weapon effectively five mana for a 3/4, which is exactly the same as Assassin’s Blade, which no one plays. It’s a cool concept, but it’s just not good enough.

Kabal Talonpriest

3 mana 3/4 Common Priest Minion

Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +3 Health

Our take: 3 mana for a 3/4 is on curve, but Priest already has a hard time holding the board in the early game. Played next to a Wyrmrest Agent, this might be an awesome card in Dragon Priest, but Wyrmrest Agent is cycling out soon. Frankly, it’s just underwhelming.

Kabal Courier

3 mana 3/4 Rare Kabal Minion

Battlecry: Discover a Mage, Priest, or Warlock card.

Our take: Another discover faction card, another hoard of value. 3 mana for a 3/4 is a good statline and discovering a card is fantastic in any of these classes. Remember, Spellslinger was played for a short while and it is strictly worse than Kabal Courier. This is another great contender for the Mage 3 drop slot that is being given up by Flamewaker next year.

Lotus Assassin

5 mana 5/5 Epic Rogue Minion

Stealth, Whenever this minion kills an enemy, gain Stealth.

Our take: It’s a semi-invincible minion that can keep killing smaller minions. It’s cool, but you probably aren’t going to be wiping up the board of mini-minions on turn six and above. It’s probably going to be benched in most constructed decks.

Mark of the Lotus

1 mana Common Druid Spell

Give your minions +1/+1

Our take: Power of the Wild does the same thing and is more versatile for one mana more, and you aren’t going to be buffing your minions on turn one anyway. Totally useless.

Lunar Visions

5 mana Epic Druid Spell

Draw 2 cards. Minions drawn cost (2) less.

Our take: Druid doesn’t have a whole lot of card draw, so it’s nice to see them getting some more. Nourish is practically always played for the draw, but Nourish draws 3 cards and this spell only draws 2. It might be useful in getting tempo back in the late game, but that’s a pretty big if. It has potential, but only a very small amount of potential. I still think Nourish will be the go to Druid draw spell.

Meanstreet Marshall

1 mana 1/2 Epic Paladin Minion

Deathrattle: If this minion has 2 or more Attack draw a card.

Our take: Blizzard has tried quite a few times to make one mana creatures that get better when they are buffed, but it’s always just too many resources to commit to an early game play. Card draw is good but having to sit on the board for a turn as a 1/2 is basically a death sentence for this minion unless you have a buff card ready next turn. Overall, it’s a pretty weak turn one play and is likely going to get ignored. You can play it in the same turn as a buff, but then it’s a very small return for a specific two card combo.

Pint-Size Potion

1 mana Rare Priest Spell

Give all enemy minions -3 attack this turn only.

Our take: It seems like Blizzard is trying to push the “one mana small effect” spell into Priest, but that’s already the purview of Rogue. Shrinkmeister had a similar effect to Pint-Size Potion and was never played. For Pint-Size Potion to be effective, Priest needs control of the board, which is already difficult for them to achieve. This is just not the tool that Priest needed.

Dragonfire Potion

6 mana Epic Priest Spell

Deal 5 damage to all minions except dragons.

Our take: If dragon decks are still viable, this might be the best board wipe in the game. If they aren’t… it’s still probably the best board wipe in the game. Expect to see it a lot in future Priest builds.

Kooky Chemist

4 mana 4/4 Common Neutral Minion

Battlecry: Swap the Attack and Health of a minion.

Our take: A Crazed Alchemist with a bigger body? I just don’t see the point.

Wind-up Burglebot

6 mana 5/5 Epic Neutral Mech Minion

Whenever this attacks a minion and survives draw a card.

Our take: At most, you can probably rely on getting one card out of this minion, maybe two if you are playing it in Priest or Paladin. It likely won’t make any constructed lists, but it will be a fantastic pick in Arena, which is more based on heavy value trades.

Friendly Bartender

2 mana 2/3 Common Neutral Minion

At the end of your turn restore 1 Health to your hero.

Our take: Last season proved that the 2/3 stat line on 2 mana minions just isn’t good enough. It’s 3/2 or bust, and frankly a drip heal doesn’t make up for the worse stat line.

Fel Orc Soulfiend

3 mana 3/7 Epic Neutral Minion

At the start of your turn, deal 2 damage to this minion.

Our take: To be honest, I don’t know what to think about this. On the surface, it’s basically a 3/5 for 3 after it’s played, and Blackwing Technician was played and it has the same stat line. But it keeps damaging itself, which means it won’t survive much more than one trade. It’s probably bad, but I feel like I’m missing something good about it here. Maybe there’s some combo that can trigger off minions taking damage that will make this totally broken. Who knows?

Mistress of Mixtures

1 mana 2/2 Common Neutral Minion

Deathrattle: Restore 4 health to both players

Our take: Remember when I was wondering if a 2/2 for one mana was good enough back when Karazhan was coming out? Turns out it was. This card isn’t quite as good as Zombie Chow was, but it’s still pretty good. Expect it to see a lot of play in decks that run Kazakus.

Trogg Beastrager

2 mana 3/2 Rare Hunter Minion

Battlecry: Give a random Beast in your hand +1/+1

Our take: Hunter seems to have shifted toward aggressive decks in the current meta, though those decks prefer secrets to beasts. Mid-range variants play more creatures on curve, but have no compelling three drop in creature form. Instead, they tend to run the animal companion spell. That being said, I think that this card might still see some play, since we are getting 4/3 for 2 mana which is exactly what Kindly Grandmother gave us. More often than not, its effect will be to bump your Savannah Highmane up to 7/6, which certainly isn’t nothing.

Grimestreet Outfitter

2 mana 1/1 Common Paladin Minion

Battlecry: Give all minions in your hand +1/+1

Our take: Blizzard appears to be heavily pushing the aggro paladin archetype in this expansion, and Grimestreet Outfitter might just make it happen. Just playing this on curve on turn 2 will net you +3/+3 or +4/+4 of stats which is humongous for such an early game play, and since it alters cards in your hand there’s little that your opponent can do about it. The 1/1 body isn’t that impressive, but it’s really not the point. You are sacrificing some power now to drop, say, a 4/7 taunting Twilight Guardian on turn 4. Scary!

Shaku, the Collector

3 mana 2/3 Legendary Rogue Minion

Stealth. Whenever this attacks, add a random card to your hand (from your opponent’s class.)

Our take: At first glance Shaku seems amazing since he provides, potentially, infinite card value. Except, it’s unreasonable to expect a 2/3 to survive on turn 3. Yes, he has stealth so he is guaranteed one attack, but that’s basically all he is guaranteed. This makes him 3 mana for a 2/3, draw a card. Undercity Huckster is 2 mana for a 2/2, draw a card, and doesn’t cost 1600 dust to craft.

Stolen Goods

2 mana Rare Warrior Spell

Give a random Taunt minion in your hand +3/+3

Our take: It looks like Blizzard saw some of the Bolster decks people made post One Night in Karazhan and decided they wanted to support that archetype. I can honestly see this being run in a few decks in the future. It’s a natural second turn play after I Know a Guy. It makes semi-decent cards insane. Heck it makes the wholly mediocre Sen’Jin Shieldmasta a whopping 6/8! Expect something broken to come from this card.

Alley Armorsmith

5 mana 2/7 Rare Warrior Minion

Taunt. Whenever this minion deals damage, gain that much armor.

Our take: Five mana for a 2/7 is pretty behind the curve, especially in Warrior decks which like to play big fatties if they manage to stall the game that long. You can expect, in general about 2-4 armor from this minion if you play it unbuffed. However, you can expect much more if you run it in a Bolster deck. Remember when I said Stolen Goods was going to break something just a second ago? Casting it on Alley Armorsmith gives you a five mana Ancient of War that gains you 5 armor any time it deals damage.

Grook Fu Master 

5 mana 2/5 Common Neutral Minion

Windfury

Our take: Another bad windfury minion no one will play. Too slow. Too easy to kill. Pack filler at best.

Auctionmaster Beardo

3 mana 3/4 Legendary Neutral Minion

After you cast a spell refresh your Hero Power

Our take: For a brief and wonderful moment, Auctionmaster Beardo will be in the meta alongside Justicar Trueheart. Expect Warrior decks to be gaining 8 armor a turn for 4 mana, and there’s just nothing you can do about it. After Justicar rotates out, Beardo will drop in power significantly, but he still might be worth running. We need to see what other mechanics interact with hero powers to be sure.

Final Thoughts

A couple of things are obvious after the reveal of these first 31 cards. First of all, before rotation, certain decks will be ludicrously high powered. Dragon decks will be especially powerful, and Brann Battlecry decks will create huge card advantage.

Faction cards, especially the discover cards, will make matches less predictable since you have no idea what your opponent will discover with them. That being said, it adds unpredictability without being very random. Yes, your opponent has a chance of discovering a high powered card, but he still needs the mana to play it and it still needs to synergize with his deck. These cards probably won’t be any better than, say, Museum Curator or Netherspite Historian, and those cards are pretty good, but not broken.

Kazakus is just the weirdest card I have ever seen. He’s kind of the anti Reno Jackson. Reno restored your health, so you were given a defensive ability to make up for the life you lost due to deck uncertainty. Kazakus is more offensive and way more flexible. He may be more powerful than Reno, but he basically has to be put into decks that can more effectively hold off opponents in the early game. Right now, I have no idea how he will turn out, but I want him to be amazing. I’d also like to see him get put into Control Warrior decks alongside Prince Malchezaar.

It’s hard to detect what will happen to the meta without seeing the rest of the cards spoiled, but for a while I think Priest is going to pull ahead with Dragon Synergy, discover cards, and their amazing new board wipe. Druid will likely stay on top with Malygos builds. Few cards here look like they will change that strategy. Shaman will be good, as always, but luckily they aren’t really getting any new tools. Warrior, too, will remain good and might receive a small bump due to faction cards and I Know a Guy. Unfortunately, I don’t see many other cards seriously changing the meta position of most decks. Aggro Paladin got a boost, but not enough to see it outdo the incredible power that is mid-range Shaman. Hunter barely got anything. Mage is good and will remain good. Warlock will probably stick to Zoo and discard strategies. Other than Priest, it looks like everything will remain in its place.

Well, at least Priest gets their day in the sun!

Let’s see if this changes much when more cards are revealed.