The Boomsday Project!
Dr. Boom blasts back onto the Hearthstone scene on August 7th. He hasn’t been seen since about April 26th 2016, when he rotated out of Standard, never to be seen or heard from again. Or so we thought.
Not only is the undisputed king of Hearthstone returning to the limelight – in a big way, considering he’s been promoted to the head of a whole new expansion – we are seeing the totally unexpected resurrection of the Mech tribe.
Much like Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ zombies, or maybe Kel’Thuzad’s wights, Mechs will rise from the metagame grave to revolutionize Hearthstone this summer. We are also seeing the long-awaited arrival of Legendary spells, which are sure to shake things up. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting Boomsday cards that have been revealed.
Pogo-Hopper, a 2 mana 3/2 Rogue Mech, is going to be see play for sure. It has a Battlecry that gives 2+/2+ to each of the Pogo-Hoppers that you have played this game. It’s a lot like the Infinite Murloc from the recent Caverns of Time event. Rogue players will be able to make a serious amount of these robot bunnies. Lab Recruiter, another two mana 3/2, adds three copies of a friendly minion into your deck. It’s basically Gang Up and a free 3/2. It’s slow, but opponents will be overwhelmed if they don’t end the game in a hurry.
We can see that Blizzard is taking bold steps to slow down the metagame’s speed. This has been attempted many, many times in the past. Jade Golems, in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, did not achieve this goal. Instead they were incorporated into aggro decks – mainly Shaman – which became even stronger with boosted late-game strength. But Boomsday has some very strong late-game mechanics that have not been tried before.
The Omega group, containing minions such as Omega Defender, which becomes a gigantic 12/6 Taunt if you have 10 mana, rewards players for holding the game down as long as possible. Cards like Biology Project, in combination with Wild Growth, will allow Druid to make the most of this mechanic. We can’t quite say just yet whether Omega will actually put Control decks back on top for the first time since Cubelock. It’s very promising, though.
Omega Medic, a Priest 3/4 for 3 mana that heals for 10 at 10 mana, is a strong early game contender that gives a huge heal later on. I’m going to predict it will be a must-have in nearly all Priest decks. It really doesn’t have a downside, other than ruining your Auchenai Soulpriests, Reno Jackson style. The same goes for Dead Ringer, a 2/1 with a Deathrattle that draws yet another Deathrattle. Priest now has some very solid midrange minions, complemented by existing heavy-hitters like Duskbreaker and Tortollan Shellraiser. Will Zoo Priest become a thing? Don’t rule it out, especially in Wild mode where N’Zoth still roams.
Unlike in The Witchwood, which suffers from acute first-expansion-of-the-year-itis with its relatively low power level, there are some truly jaw-dropping cards here. The Mage spell, Unexpected Results is at the top of the list. It summons two random 2-cost minions, for 4 mana – improved by Spell Power. With one extra Spell Damage, it summons 3-drops, two more and 4-drops, and so on. There are so many ways to boost Spell Damage: Celestial Emissary has a Battlecry for two more on the same turn, so you can summon two random 4-drops for six mana. Its power lies in mechanics that reduce spell costs (Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Primordial Glyph) and cheap spell power (Bloodmage Thalnos, Celestial Emissary). Spell power, a stat that has been largely ignored outside of Malygos OTK, will be far more important in Tempo Mage decks.
The Boomsday Project’s new keyword, Magnetic, turns Mechs with this ability into pseudo-spells. You can buff other Mechs, such as the apparently wimpy 1/5 Upgradeable Framebot, into beefy Optimus Primes (or Decepticons, if you’re playing with Gul’Dan!). Mechs are again defining how powerful synergy can be in Hearthstone. All those who played through the 2015 Mech Mage nightmare can now relive the terror. Zilliax, who is essentially a discount neutral Al’Akir, can pile on the keywords to any Mech. All classes now have access to a neutral Blessing of Kings – Wargear is a +5/+5 buff as well as a standalone body. It’s rare for a non-class card to come so close to being strictly better than a class card, but Wargear somes close.
Personally, I think Magnetic Mech decks are going to be a major feature of the Boomsday metagame. We haven’t seen all the new Mechs yet, and there are sure to be more powerful cards to come. The cards that really make a splash are the ones with an immediate impact on the board – Charge is a rare keyword for that reason. Magnetic, though it requires at least one Mech on the board, allows for fast buffs and flexibility, too. Spider Bomb, a Deathrattle Mech that outright kills a random enemy minion, gives a little bit of Sylvanas Windrunner, or Obsidian Statue, to midrange Hunter. These cards are very impactful.
The thing I’m most excited about, however, are the oddballs of the set. Whizbang the Wonderful is a totally unique Legendary, who has such a crazy Battlecry that you’ll need to Google him and settle down for a read even longer than this one. New players won’t need to grind for months to craft good decks – just make Whizbang and you’re sorted!
Star Aligner really blows my mind. He’s a 7 mana 7/7 that deals 7 damage to all enemies, on one condition: you must somehow also control 3 other 7-health minions. Much like Windshear Stormcaller, this is the ultimate Wombo Combo card (condolences to War Golem). It won’t see play – but for me, trying to make these insane cards work is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Hearthstone. Regardless, we’re going to see some excellent Trolden clips on YouTube in the coming year.
The Boomsday Project is truly a blast from the past (emphasis on the blast). It’s totally bombastic with the way it stretches the Warcraft lore to new lengths, while breathing new life into some of Hearthstone’s most venerable parts. Even with the small pool of revealed cards, it has a lot of new ways to play the game, as well as some truly innovative (M)echanics – and no shortage of explosively entertaining puns.