Hey there, World of Warcraft TCG community! As the lead designer of this newest set, it's my pleasure to bring you the first major inside look into the beginning of the new block: Timewalkers, War of the Ancients. For those of you who don't know, my name's Ben Stoll, and I'm one of the designers for the World of Warcraft TCG, with my last lead design effort being Crown of the Heavens.
We had a lot of goals with this newest block, and I'm personally very proud of how we did on the set and I'm excited to see the reaction from all of you! So what were these goals?
One of our main goals was to keep working to improve the sealed and draft experiences. We wanted draft to be a more fun and more dynamic experience, without it being too complex or mentally cumbersome. We wanted to make sure new Constructed deck archetypes were there for players to explore. We also knew it was important to make sure Monsters stayed going strong, and we wanted to make sure the heroes had a cool new hook!
The Timewalkers Block takes us back through time, and focuses in on some of the races that have been getting in on the action ever since the Burning Legion first showed up at Azeroth's doorstep. Specifically, you'll be able to build decks that center around Orcs, Tauren, Humans, or Night Elves, and each of these decks will have its own unique play pattern.
But enough of the lead up, I know why you all are REALLY here. Card previews!
First up, we'll look at a few of the new heroes. You'll notice that most heroes from this set portray a major character from the lore, and each hero is an all-around total badass. As such, we knew they needed to do something cool! So each hero has TWO hero flip powers, that you do in order:
Make some Treants, and then heal your entire party. What's not to love? Malfurion is a man of many talents, so we wanted him to have access to two cool and totally different Druid effects.
Broxigar's front side features an aggressive way to finish off a damaged ally, and he follows it up with a way to finish off your opponent's hero! The more beat up Broxigar gets, the harder he's going to hit back.
Draw a card, then kill an ally, all without even spending a card in your hand? That sort of card advantage is every Mage's fantasy. Not to mention getting to bask in the beauty of Azshara while all this is happening…
You may have noticed the Basic tag on these cards, as well as on the Blood and Thunder! card that we revealed as the Sneak Preview promo. Basic simply means that you can only play that card during your main phase while there are no effects or cards on the chain. You'll see this on non-instant abilities as well as next to various card powers from here on out.
Let's take a look at some of the allies, the heart and soul of the new set.
The Timewalkers are the keepers of the timeways… and they can also function as the backbone of any deck that is trying to build around a specific race, especially because each featured race has a Timewalker ally that is unlimited, meaning you can put as many copies of that specific ally into your deck as you want. For example, check out this Human Timewalker:
The Humans are all about slowly amassing a swarm of allies while staying alive with Protectors, and Timewalker Guard is perfect to help make that a reality.
Timewalker Lightsworn shows off the new keyword for Humans: Unity. As long as you have at least three humans in play, your 1/1 Protectors can hold down the fort while Timewalker Lightsworn starts beating the tar out of your opponent. With cards like Timewalker Guard (and he's far from the only one), achieving Unity is no trouble at all for a well-built Human deck.
Next up are the Night Elves:
These guys start to get painful, fast. During testing, many an R&D member who couldn't find a way to keep these guys under control found themself dead in no time. A lot of the Night Elves have Elusive, making them extremely difficult for some decks to deal with.
Since the Night Elves are so good at staying alive and beating on your opponent, Haste plays perfectly in an aggressive Night Elf strategy. While the Orcs of the Timewalker Block are about aggression and force in its purest most basic form, the Night Elves favor a strategy that is still aggressive but sacrifices just a touch of speed for some finesse, utility, and in the case of this ally, card advantage to keep the pressure on.
Let's check out the Orcs:
You may be trying to figure out just how quickly a couple of these guys on the board can result in a dead opponent. The answer is “extremely quickly”. One of the most aggressive cards to ever see print, Timewalker Grunts absolutely must be answered right away or you're in for a fast game.
What better keyword to supplement such an aggressive strategy than Bloodrush. As long as your opponent has more damage on his hero than you, all of your Bloodrush powers are active. Note that this adds new texture to effects that heal your hero, as well. Once a card like Orgrimmar Hearstriker triggers his Bloodrush, it's going to be that much harder for your opponent to get his head above water again.
Last but not least are the Tauren, who are all about getting powerful allies with Tribe Powers into play and then protecting those allies. When it comes to bodyguards, it's hard to find a man (cow) whose as good for the job as Timewalker Sunguard:
Here's an example of one of the aforementioned Tribe powers:
Like I said, give this guy a few turns to stick around in play and he can start racking up tons of efficiency for you. To be sure, if enough Tribe powers get online and stay protected, your opponent will simply be buried beneath the accumulation of Tribe triggers.
What about Monsters? Well, you can expect to see your fair share of Demons (you know, what with the Burning Legion opening portals and wreaking havoc from across the universe and whatnot), but you'll also see a healthy portion of the Ancients that rally together to fight them! Many of these ancients have smaller allies that are made in their image. For example, it's hard to find a more hard-hitting ally at two resources than this little fella:
These guys are particularly fun in a format like Booster Draft. Horde and Alliance players can't even make use of this little powerhouse, not to mention he's a common, so if you're planning on being a Monster hero you can just scoop these guys right up!
But what about big papa Agamaggan?
Now, I'm not saying that we haven't printed some brutal allies with Smash before, but NOBODY has smashed people to death in playtesting as much as Agamaggan. If this guy gets online, your opponent is in for a world of pain.
You'll find all sorts of Ancients and their spawn floating around the set, eager to be added to your favorite Monster Deck!
Abilities aren't the focus of this preview, but I thought I would mention the fact that Tank classes, DPS classes, and Healer classes each get their own common ability to share in Timewalkers, so, for example, if you need another basic damage effect in your deck you can always rely on Blitz:
Just in case you weren't sold yet on building a deck focused around a specific race, check out the Legguards of the Legion.
Get your army out faster while also getting your hero in on the fight? Seems good. This card is a perfect cornerstone to a deck centered around a specific race.
I've got just one quest to show you today, but it's a cool one! I wrote you a little poem about it:
The future's uncertain
But that's part of the fun,
It's a combo with Delve
And it only costs one!
Thank you for suffering through that. Here's the card: <3 <3 <3
And now for the Grand Finale(s). You've just seen a handful of commons and uncommons for the new featured races, and some of them are little badasses in their own if I do say so myself! But what would an army of say, Orcs, be without someone downright EPIC to lead them?
No, you're not hallucinating. No, there are no typos, and no, there's nothing wrong with your monitor. This card should make it absolutely clear that Orcs are a force to be reckoned with, and leading the Orcish charge is an angry, ultimate, ass-kicking Orc named Garrosh. But don't worry, the other races haven't been left out in the cold. Check out the leader of the Night Elves:
With a whopping 5 health and Spellshield to boot, this guy's absurdly hard to deal with while also dealing absolutely ridiculous amounts of damage.
Oh, wait a second. You don't know what Spellshield does? It's a new keyword for an old power we've used on cards like. Opponents can't target an ally with Spellshield, but unlike Untargetable, you certainly can! Play attachments to your heart's content on Kur'talos, or simply fill the field with allies and make this epic Night Elf the ultimate Warrior.
To be honest, I'm not even sure how I snuck this guy past my lead developer (the one and only Patrick Sullivan), but, lo and behold, here is, ready to help you annihilate your opponents before they even know what's happening. Oh and uh… one more thing. In case you didn't realize, he's what we call a “combo” with the Haste keyword. You might want to scroll back up to Eldra'thalas Sorceress to see what I'm talking about.
Last but not least of today's treasures, what set would be complete without a sweet, sweet, Master Hero? This guy is so epic that he FATHERED one of our previous Master Heroes, not to mention he's the most powerful Ancient that ever lived . So, kind of a baller. Behold:
If you're wondering whether or not it's fun to have Malorne as your hero, the answer is: yes. Also, I recommend activating his last ability. It's been known to increase his controller's odds of winning.
Well, that's all for now, kiddos. I hope you enjoyed reading, and I hope you enjoy exploring the new set! Timewalkers: War of the Ancients Sneak Previews take place on September 22nd and 23rd. Be sure to check out a participating hobby store to get your hands on the new set before it is officially released on October 2nd!
Check out a War of the Ancients Sneak Preview near you on September 22nd and 23rd!