So, I’ve poked my head into Hearthstone again with the release of the Naxxramas expansion pack. My favored mode of play remains Arena, so I figured I’d put together all the new cards along with a rough idea as to where they’ll fit in the current tiers, using the liquidhearth tier list for reference. (Remember that not all of these are available yet – about 20% unlock each week and will be available in Arena once they are unlocked. The Hearthstone wiki has the full list of what unlocks when.)
EDIT: I’m tweaking this list as of 26 August. AntiGrav1ty has ranked most of these now as well, so I’ll be adding his ranking along with some additional reasoning. Additions in parentheses.
These cards should be picked above all else.
Dark Cultist (Priest, Common, 3 mana 3/4. Deathrattle: Give a random friendly minion 3 Health.) Similar to an Earthen Ring Farseer, but better. A 3/4 for 3 is great stats, and the health bump is almost always useful, unlike ERS’s battlecry heal. (AG Ranking: 10/10.)
Death’s Bite (Warrior, Common, 4 mana 4/2. Weapon. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions.) The middle brother between Fiery War Axe and Arcanite Reaper. The deathrattle is generally good due to all of Warrior’s enrage/pump cards. Great card, but remember you need minions too. (AG Ranking: 9/10.)
Kel’Thuzad (Legendary, 8 mana 6/8. At the end of the turn, summon all friendly minions that died this turn.) Amazing legendary, since you’ve got a good chance to bring back a beefy 6 or 7 drop and win the game. Even if you can’t get an effect that turn, stats are decent and sticking it means you win. Not as good as Cairne, Rags, or Ysera, but probably better than Sylvanas or Onyxia. (AG Ranking: NR.)
Shade of Naxxramas (Epic, 3 mana 2/2. Stealth. At the start of your turn, gain 1/1.) Better than Questing Adventurer since you can choose when he trades. (AG Ranking: NR.)
Sludge Belcher (Rare, 5 mana 3/5. Taunt. Deathrattle: Summon a (1/2) slime with taunt.) Like Stampeding Kodo, the killer of two-drops. (AG Ranking: 7/8.)
Spectral Knight (Common, 5 mana 4/6. Can’t be targeted by spells or Hero powers.) Faerie Dragon’s big brother. Solid but unexciting card. (AG Ranking: 9/10. Probably my biggest whiff calling this average. This thing is a beast.)
Not good enough to plan your deck around, but everything in this category is a strong choice.
Anub’ar Ambusher (Rogue, Common, 4 mana 5/5. Deathrattle: Return a random friendly minion to your hand.) A less controlled version of the Ancient Brewmaster. For most classes, it doesn’t work too well, but as a Rogue card, it’s pretty sweet because you’re likely to have either nothing or a comboable card hanging around. (AG Ranking: 7/10. Demoted to good. Rogues frequently play more aggro than other classes in arena, and AA can kill your tempo.)
Echoing Ooze (Epic, 2 mana 1/2. Battlecry: Summon exact copy of this minion at the end of the turn.) Great card. It’s basically a 2/4 for 2 by itself, and is an incredible combo with buffs. Only downside is it’s not very impactful. (AG Ranking: NR.)
Haunted Creeper (Common, 2 mana 1/2. Deathrattle: Summon two 1/1 Spectral Spiders.) Good card, basically a cheaper Harvest Golem. A bit harder to use, however, since you typically won’t be able to trade with it by itself. (AG Ranking: 7/10.)
Loatheb (Legendary, 5 mana 5/5. Battlecry: Enemy spells cost (5) more next turn.) Better than Harrison Jones, not as good as Sylvanas. Mages HATE him. (AG Ranking: 4/7.)
Webspinner (Hunter, Common, 1 mana 1/1. Deathrattle: Add a random Beast card to your hand.) Free card for 1 mana, can’t beat that. (AG Ranking: 7/10.)
These cards are either meh or have a strong downside to go with their upside.
Duplicate (Mage, Common, 3 mana. Secret: When a friendly minion dies, put 2 copies of it in your hand.) I prefer Arcane Intellect for card draw, which is effectively what this is. (AG Ranking: 6/10. AG ranks this 6 and AI 7, which is pretty much what I think. bumped up to Average.)
Feugen (Legendary, 5 mana 4/7. Deathrattle: If Stalagg also died this game, summon Thaddius.)
Stalagg (Legendary, 5 mana 7/4. Deathrattle: If Feugen also died this game, summon Thaddius.) Essentially blank since the odds of seeing both Feugen and Stalagg in the same Arena game are virtually nil. A 5 mana 4/7 is a solid card, though, and worth taking for stats alone. Stalagg’s 7/4 is not as good, and should be considered Average. (AG Ranking: 3/8 for Feugen, 1/8 for Stalagg. Huh. I don’t think they’re THAT bad. Is Stalagg worse than Nat Pagle, Captain Greenskin, and Lorewalker Cho? Is Feugen worse than Baron Geddon? Still, demoted to Average.)
Maexxna (Legendary, 6 mana 2/8. Destroy a minion damaged by this minion.) It would be a great common, but it’s just an average legendary since it has no immediate impact on the board. Likely to get silenced and ignored. (AG Ranking: 4/7.)
Zombie Chow (Common, 1 mana 2/3. Deathrattle: Restore 5 Health to enemy hero.) A much worse version of Flame Imp. Great early-game card, terrible late-game. (AG Ranking: 7/10.)
These cards are generally situational; there are better all-round options.
Avenge (Paladin, Common, 1 mana. Secret: When one of your minions dies, give a random friendly minion 3/2.) This card is great from a mana perspective, but requires you to have 2 minions on board, does nothing against people attacking you directly, etc. Better than the other Paladin secrets, but still not that great. (AG Ranking: NR.)
Dancing Swords (Common, 3 mana 4/4. Deathrattle: opponent draws a card.) This an interesting card, basically an inverted Gnomish Inventor. I’m still undecided as to whether the board control is worth the card draw, so it’s here by default for now. (AG Ranking: 3/10. Agreed, demoted to Poor.)
Deathlord (Rare, 3 mana 2/8. Taunt. Deathrattle: Your opponent puts a minion from their deck into the battlefield.) This card is tailor-made for dealing with aggro decks. The downside is giving your enemy a free Mindgames. People tend to pick big creatures in Arena so not a fan of the odds here. A bit better for Priest who has some nice combos. (AG Ranking: 3/10.)
Nerub’ar Weblord (Common, 2 mana 1/4. Minions with Battlecry cost (2) more.) 1 attack does you no good and the ability hurts you just as much as the enemy. Pass. (AG Ranking: 3/10. Promoted to Poor because you can play around the ability a bit better than your opponent.)
Nerubian Egg (Rare, 2 mana 0/2. Deathrattle: Summon a 4/4 Nerubian.) Normally this would be down in Terrible land with the other gimmick cards like Ancient Watcher, but AoE sweepers are so common in Arena that this will almost always get popped. A bit better in Paladin/Shaman/Druid due to multiple buff cards, and Warlock due to self-harm cards. (AG Ranking: 3/8.)
Reincarnate (Shaman, Common, 2 mana. Destroy a minion, then return it to life with full health.) This card has so many possibilities. Combo with a charge minion is my favorite, but can restore divine shields, trigger deathrattles on command, be a minion heal, debuff, etc. That said, it still doesn’t actually do anything on its own. (AG Ranking: 3/10.)
Stoneskin Gargoyle (Common, 3 mana 1/4. At the start of your turn, restore this minion to full health.) This card is either amazing or useless. Like the Egg, probably only worth it for Paladin/Shaman/Druid. (AG Ranking: 2/10.)
Unstable Ghoul (Common, 2 mana 1/3. Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions.) A mini-abomination. Not worth it for 2 mana, though Warrior could make it work. (AG Ranking: 4/10. Promoted to Poor because it effectively works as a 2/3 Taunt, which is okay.)
Voidcaller (Warlock, Common, 4 mana 3/4. Deathrattle: Put a random Demon from your hand into the battlefield.) With Warlock hero power, you’ll likely have at least one Demon in your hand, and summoning one this way lets you skip the nasty Battlecries. Would be higher if it wasn’t for the crappy stats. (AG Ranking: 3/10.)
Extremely situational cards that should be avoided.
Baron Rivendare (Legendary, 4 mana 1/7. Your minions trigger their Deathrattles twice.) There aren’t enough Deathrattles in the commons to make picking this card worth it. A worse Mogu’shan Warden. (AG Ranking: 1/7.)
Mad Scientist (Common, 2 mana 2/2. Deathrattle: Put a Secret from your deck onto the battlefield.) In general, this card is terrible. If you’ve already picked at least 1 Secret, though, his value jumps all the way up to Good. (AG Ranking: 2-3/10.)
Poison Seeds (Druid, Common, 2 mana. Destroy all minions and summon 2/2 Treants to replace them.) Dead card if you’re ahead, doesn’t do enough when behind, doesn’t fit the class archetype, terrible card art. Seeing a trend here? I hate this card. (AG Ranking: 3/10.)
Undertaker (Common, 1 mana 1/2. Whenever you summon a minion with Deathrattle, gain 1/1.) Not enough Deathrattles. Skip it. (AG Ranking: 1/10.)
Wailing Soul (Rare, 4 mana 3/5. Battlecry: Silence your other minions.) Constructed card only, not worth the downside. (AG Ranking: 3/8.)
That’s all 30! Peering into my crystal ball, I expect Priests to make a comeback in Arena with lots of new synergies available to them; couldn’t tell you about the other classes fow now. Have fun at the tables!