Earlier this year, the Hearthstone team kicked off the game’s Year of the Phoenix with the release of the phenomenal Ashes of Outland expansion. Both that expansion and the name of the game’s current content year sent a clear message that the Hearthstone team is looking to restore the CCG to glory in the minds of those who may have walked away over the years.
That brings us to Scholomance Academy. The recently revealed second Hearthstone expansion of the year looks to pick up where Ashes of Outland left off by changing the way that we play the game. Naturally, that means introducing a series of new cards.
So join us as we take a look at the best Scholomance Academy cards and help you decide which cards you should try out as soon as the expansion launches on August 6.
As a well-stated, neutral card with an effect that’s almost always valuable at any point in the game, Vectus checks just about every box we use to judge whether a Hearthstone card will actually see regular play in the game’s competitive meta.
Even if the minions Vectus summons don’t gain your preferred Deathrattle effect, this card will almost always end up being valuable whenever you play it as long as the summoned whelps gain some kind of Deathrattle effect. Only the most aggressive decks will be able to consistently counter this card.
Sphere of Sapience
While it’s true that Sphere of Sapience isn’t the kind of card that wins you a game outright, you have to respect a card that is always valuable in every type of Hearthstone match imaginable.
For the low cost of one mana, Sphere of Sapience gives you four second chances you’d otherwise never get. It allows you to slightly decrease the chances of a bad draw costing you the game. We’re curious to see what kind of decks ultimately value this card the most, but it’s certainly a potential game-changer.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Lorekeeper Polkelt is one of the most exciting, unique, and potentially dangerous cards in Hearthstone history.
While this card will immediately be valued by slower decks that look to draw their big cards as soon as possible, the real potential here comes from combo decks which can exploit this ability with devastating results. Either way, someone will figure out how to maximize the potential of Lorekeeper Polkelt.
There’s another five mana card in Hearthstone that gives your weapon +1/+1 when it’s played (Captain Greenskin) and it has regularly seen play ever since Hearthstone’s closed beta days
As such, there’s really no reason to suspect that Doctor Krastinov won’t eventually find a home in competitive decks. It’s an efficient way for Warriors and Rogues to add stats to their weapons, and Krastinov’s Rush ability even means they won’t immediately lose tempo just by playing this already valuable card.
This card hasn’t been getting a lot of love recently, and that seems to be because nobody is sure how many beasts you can put into a deck while remaining competitive.
However, I’d argue that’s a greedy way to look at this card. Even if the +1/+1 doesn’t hit every minion in your deck, you can help ensure it hits valuable minions. Besides, this card’s low cost, moderate stats, and potentially devastating secondary effect mean that it doesn’t have to hit a home run in order to win you the game.
Truth be told, I think this card is a little too expensive to consistently be used in potentially devastating combos. That variance in value could eventually limit its reliability.
Even if you’re not able to consistently get the maximum value out of this card, though, being able to trigger its effect once or more per match will almost certainly swing the momentum to your side. Those “YouTube-worthy” uses of this card may not happen often, but even modest applications of Headmaster Kel’Thuzad’s ability will have an impact.
We understand if a quick look at this card doesn’t immediately reveal why it’s so dangerous. After all, why would you want to help your opponent refresh their hand?
How many times in a game would you really want to shuffle your entire hand into your deck, though? This card’s secondary effect will infuriate opponents who are either holding on to specific cards or are holding on to a full hand of cards. We have a feeling Glide will be an aggressive player’s new best friend.
Every Hearthstone expansion, there are several cards that don’t initially look that exciting but end up being very powerful. We think that Lab Partner is one of Scholomance Academy’s best examples of such a card.
Even if Mages weren’t getting a few new reasons to run spell damage cards in their deck, the prospect of a one-mana spell damage card with good stats is one of those seemingly simple things that Hearthstone’s designers have strayed away from in the past due to the way such a card could easily end up being overpowered. We’re about to see what the true power level of such a card really is.
Soul Fragment isn’t actually a collectible card. Instead, it’s a token that several new Scholomance Academy cards can generate and shuffle into your deck when played.
As such, this entry is really a group entry for the entire Soul Fragment line-up. Cards that rely on Soul Fragments wield powerful effects that are useful in every type of Hearthstone game. If you’re able to shuffle enough Soul Fragments into your deck, you’re going to be very hard to beat.
Some of the most dangerous cards in Hearthstone history are those that open up the chance for “chain” plays. That basically means any card which generates some kind of value that you can chain into your next play.
Instructor Fireheart has the potential to be one of the best chain cards we’ve seen thus far. Spells are going to be even more useful than usual in Scholomance Academy, and this is the card that will fuel every other card that relies on spells for their full potential. Even on its own, this card is almost guaranteed to yield value.
After spending a little time with this card during a Scholomance Academy preview event, I can safely confirm that it is incredibly powerful.
What you basically have to do is ignore Lightning Bloom’s Overload downside. It doesn’t matter. By the time you’re done making a big play with this (whether it be playing a big minion, activating a Spellburst effect, or completing a devastating combo), you’re probably going to be too busy winning the game to care about the lost mana.
Survival of the Fittest
It takes a lot for a 10 mana spell to have an impact on Hearthstone‘s metagame, but trust me when I say that Survival of the Fittest is going to be the star of your nightmares until further notice.
Cards like Lightning Bloom allow Druids to reach 10 mana faster than usual, and once they’ve played this card, they’ve basically started a countdown to victory. What really makes this card work is the +4/+4 to your minions on the board which helps ensure there is rarely a bad time to play this spell.
In the history of Hearthstone there have been a few “Hail Mary” cards that you play in the hopes of finding an answer to a bad situation. Secret Passage may just be the best of those cards.
Actually, most “Last Chance” cards are based around the idea that you’ll likely lose if they don’t work. Secret Passage allows you to dig for the perfect answer for the low cost of 1 mana. Considering that you can put two of these into your deck, it’s actually a fairly reliable way to get yourself out of a jam or even with the game.
If I had to nominate a few candidates for a shortlist of Scholomance Academy cards most likely to be nerfed, Voracious Reader would be somewhere near the top of that last.
It’s impossible to overstate how good this card is. There has never been a more reliable neutral draw engine for aggressive decks. This single card may help ensure that aggressive players remain competitive even with all the great control decks being added to Hearthstone. I respect the Hearthstone team for taking a chance on a card like this, but it’s already pretty clear it’s going to be a problem.
Long-time Hearthstone players have probably already guessed that Intrepid Initiate is good fofr aggressive decks, but it’s actually much better than that.
With its low cost and easy-to-enable effect, Intrepid Initiate may just find its way into midrange and even control decks as well. It’s a surprisingly versatile card that you can make use of in all but the most unwinnable situations. There’s not much to this card at first glance, but it’s capable of helping you set the tempo for nearly every game.