Whispers of the Old Gods
Card Review - Part 6
Here we go with a batch more cards to examine and review.
Blizzard recently unveiled what appears to be the all the rest of the cards in the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion during a stream yesterday. They released so many cards, in fact, that the site I usually link to for the cards (Hearthhead) hasn't, as of this writing, had time to put them all up yet! By my count I have about 65 cards to review. So without further ado, let's get cracking.
Before proceeding, let's recapitulate the rating system:
Excellent - Can't go wrong with this in your deck; it will probably become standard fare.
Good - A more or less excellent card for specific kinds of decks.
Fair - Situationally useful, perhaps as a utility or "tech" card, but not a mainstay addition.
Poor - If you have nothing better to use, go ahead. Poor cards are probably still serviceable, but are underpowered relative to higher-performing cards.
Terrible - Probably best not to run this.
Millhouse Manastorm - Embarassingly bad, up to the point where you're handing your opponent the game.
As noted in previous posts, the cards' relative utility may shift because of balance changes to the existing cards, and the removal of Goblins vs. Gnomes and Naxxramas content from Standard play format remains in effect.
In this post, we're going to look at class cards. With all the new content and so little time before the expansion drops, I'm probably going to try to look at all of them. (Oof!)
(N.B. All images are property of Blizzard Entertainment unless otherwise specified.)
More Druid Cards
Druid got some new cards in yesterday's big reveal. Let's have a look:
- Addled Grizzly
- Fandral Staghelm
- Feral Rage
- Forbidden Ancient
|I'm not sure "addled"|
is the right word here...
|Can you smell what the Majordomo of|
the Firelands is cooking?
|If by feral they meant "tentacular",|
then yes, it's feral.
|I feel bad for this Ancient. Why is it forbidden?|
Addled Grizzly is a 2/2 body for 3 mana, which is very poor, statwise. You basically can't play it on curve. On the plus side, it buffs every minion you summon. You pretty well have to combo it with some other card that summons minions en masse, or have lots of cheap minions in your hand to throw down at the same time. If you have to play it on curve, you're hoping it serves as removal bait, if your opponent thinks you're threatening to, say, Coin the (altered) Force of Nature. (Or, maybe you are hoping to do just that if your opponent can't remove the Grizzly.)
Fandral Staghelm was, for many years (read: thousands), an important fixture in night elf druidic circles, second only to Malfurion Stormrage. Staghelm was a key architect of the night elf victory against C'Thun's forces in the War of Shifting Sands, and worked assiduously to plant World Trees (often against Malfurion's will). In the end, however, he became corrupted, and eventually ended up joining forces with Ragnaros when the latter attempted to destroy the World Tree Nordrassil, atop Mount Hyjal, and was the founder of the Druids of the Flame.
As such, he's a perfect class legendary for druids in the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion. And is he ever a doozy! Fandral has a constantly-active (or ongoing) effect in which you get both the effects whenever you play a card with a Choose One ability.
You can see why Ancient of Lore is getting nerfed. Imagine playing that with Fandral on the board - getting a 5/5 body, 2 cards, and a healing effect? As it is, Fandral is an enabler for some pretty amazing things: Druid of the Claw turning into a 4/6 minion with Taunt and Charge; Ancient of War turning into a 10/10 minion with Taunt; Raven Idol letting you Discover a minion and a spell... well, I think you get the idea.
That Fandral is, at 3/5, a decent body for 4 mana, is a bonus. (He's like a third Sen'jin Shieldmasta, because his ability will act like Taunt.)
Feral Rage is an interesting druid spell, giving the druid either +4 Attack on the turn you play it, or 8 Armour. That being said, usually only aggressive druids have room for spells of this nature. The +4 Attack can help your tempo by letting you remove a bigger minion, and the 8 Armour can help you survive, and Fandral can let you have both.
Forbidden Ancient gives druids a taste of the Forbidden mechanic. Unlike other Forbidden cards we have seen so far, which were spells, this one's a minion. For 1 mana, you get a 1/1 minion that, if you still have other mana, you automatically spend to buff the minion. While it's nice to have an option for a card that prevents dead turns (have nothing to do but this, or Hero Power), the fact that you get a "vanilla" X/X minion (where X is how much mana you spend) makes it underwhelming.
Addled Grizzly - Fair
Fandral Staghelm - Excellent
Feral Rage - Fair
Forbidden Ancient - Terrible
It's not clear that a Beast-themed druid deck is "a thing", and if it were it doesn't have board-flooding mechanisms, so don't expect to see Addled Grizzly in it, despite it being a Beast. An aggressive, board-flood druid deck, on the other hand, might find a spot for one of these.
Not every druid deck will want Fandral, but he's going to become a mainstay in any druid deck that isn't super-aggressive.
In and of itself, Feral Rage is decent. But I just don't see most druid decklists, apart from aggressive ones, being able to make room for it.
When compared to, say, Forbidden Shaping, where you could get minions with amazing value if you're lucky, Forbidden Ancient just doesn't look good. Almost any minion you would play on curve is better.
More Hunter Cards
Let's see what new chew toys Hunter has to play with:
|I guess the Graboid's agent|
got it a good gig. Hope the royalties
are all right.
|How the bat survives staying on fire?|
I don't know, either.
|He's so forlorn right now.|
Can't you just see it?
|"Ma, I think Ol' Yeller needs|
some medicine for... worms
|"The Hunt" is actually what Rexxar|
calls his new chopper. Or the toilet.
I can't decide.
Carrion Grub is sort of like a smaller version of Giant Sand Worm, although without the neat ability. 2/5 stats for 3 mana is all right, as it can trade with pretty well every 1 or 2 drop and stay alive. It's not overwhelming, but should be a good minion if you've nothing better to play, or in Arena. It's a good target for Houndmaster, especially since you can play them on curve one right after the other.
Fiery Bat is, for hunters, the new Leper Gnome. It has the stats Leper Gnome will shortly be deprived of (2/1), a strictly worse deathrattle (unless you want it to hit a minion), and it has Beast synergy. At 1 mana it's a good activator for Kill Command, and if anyone still played Starving Buzzard, that, too.
Forlorn Stalker has decent stats for 3 mana (4/2), although it doesn't have much survivability. It has great synergy with deathrattle minions, given its battlecry. Most of the best deathrattle minions are being consigned to Wild format, so I'm not sure Forlorn Stalker will see much play in Standard.
Infested Wolf is, for hunters, a more expensive replacement for Haunted Creeper in Standard. A 3/3 for 4 mana isn't fantastic, but it leaves two 1/1 bodies behind, so you're getting 5/5 in "sticky" stats for 4 mana. As an additional plus, unlike Haunted Creeper's leftover minions, the Infested Wolf's Spiders are Beasts. You could easily play this on turn 4 then follow up with, say, Ram Wrangler.
On the Hunt is the spell version of Elven Archer. For hunters, it's strictly better than Elven Archer because the minion left behind is a Beast. But Elven Archer doesn't see much play, so I'm not sure this will, either.
Carrion Grub - Fair
Fiery Bat - Good
Forlorn Stalker - Poor in Standard, Good in Wild
Infested Wolf - Good
On the Hunt - Fair
Carrion Grub is decent. Not good enough for a Good rating, but good enough.
With its body and deathrattle, Fiery Bat, on the other hand, is. (If you disagree, keep in mind I would rate Leper Gnome, before its nerf, as Excellent, and the only reason it wouldn't keep that rating post-nerf is because it loses its trading potential.)
The Forlorn Stalker probably won't make the grade in Standard format, although it might help deathrattle hunter make a comeback. In Wild format, where you could, say, buff a Piloted Shredder and Sludge Belcher and then play them on curve, we'll certainly see it.
The Infested Wolf has stickiness and Beast synergy. It's on the lower end of Good rating, if only because the 4-mana spot may get crowded as Sen'jin Shieldmasta sees more play in Standard.
For what it does, On the Hunt is good value for 1 mana. But when you have Fiery Bats and Leper Gnomes, I'm just not sure there's room for it.
More Mage Cards
Let's see how mage rounds out:
|I'm not sure about the company|
Jaina is keeping these days.
|Mr Freeze would be proud.|
Anomalus doesn't have any connection to World of Warcraft lore, which is rare for a Hearthstone legendary card. Anyway, it has a Shadowflame-like deathrattle - except for the part where it hits your own board, too. And 8/6 stats for an 8-mana minion? With those sort of stats, you need something amazing to happen when you play it, or at the end of your turn. And Anomalus, obviously, doesn't deliver on that front, either.
Cult Sorcerer gives mage some C'Thun love (if, in fact, that is something mages want). It's like a slower Sorcerer's Apprentice, giving spell damage instead of reducing spell costs. It has the added rider effect, however, of buffing C'Thun whenever you cast a spell. That means while you can play Cult Sorcerer on curve, you probably want to play it when you can cast a spell or two.
Shatter is, like Ice Lance, a spell that synergises with Freeze effects. It's actually mage's only direct minion-destroying spell, the other minion-destroying spell being Vaporize. The nice thing about Destroy effects is that they disregard life totals and divine shield - meaning if you can freeze Tirion Fordring, you can kill him. The downside to this spell is needing to Freeze a minion before you can destroy it.
Anomalus - Terrible
Cult Sorcerer - Fair
Shatter - Poor
Anomalus = dust for better cards.
The Cult Sorcerer is not as good as the other C'Thun buffing 2-drop, but it's good stats for the mana cost - indeed, it's strictly better than the Kobold Geomancer. So mage C'Thun decks might still play it. Might.
It feels a bit weird to rate a hard removal card Poor, but the Freeze prerequisite is just too much of a downside, in my view, to make it a competitive card worthy of taking up deck slots. If you draw it from, say, Ethereal Conjurer or Cabalist's Tome, that's a different story.
More Paladin Cards
Off to see how Uther can stave off the approaching darkness with his new cards:
|Paladin won't sell out.|
|You know what's not divine?|
Those shoulderpads. Egads!
|Look at it, glimmering in the Sun!|
Don't you just want to get out there
and kill some undead or something?
|I've seen enough hentai -|
well, actually, I haven't.
But I know where this is going,
all the same.
A Light in the Darkness is one of few Whispers cards to use the Discover mechanic introduced in League of Explorers. For 2 mana, you add a buffed minion to your hand. The semi-random effect of Discover makes it not as good as just drawing a minion from your deck and buffing it.
Divine Strength is another buff, an easy +1/+2 to one of your minions on the board. With all the divine shield paladin can run, it could find a home in aggressive paladin decks. I'm not sure midrange or control decks will want to use this, though. While Blessing of Kings is better, this has the virtue of being playable far more often.
Rallying Blade is a 3-mana weapon which will probably replace Coghammer in Standard. A 3-weapon damage with 3 charges (dealing 9 damage over 3 turns) is pretty solid. It also synergises well with Steward of Darkshire and other divine-shield granting abilities.
The Selfless Hero wades fearlessly into what looks like the set-up for some freaky hentai. She's a decent 1-drop, being able to trade with many 2-mana minions, and in Standard format, with Shielded Minibot out of play, can make you the next best thing by giving your 2-drop Divine Shield when she does trade. The downside is that her value is wasted if she gets pinged when you don't have anything on the board.
A Light in the Darkness - Good
Divine Strength - Fair
Rallying Blade - Good
Selfess Hero - Fair
A Light in the Darkness gives up tempo, especially if you're playing it on curve (if you have nothing else to play, say), but it's good value, especially if you get a really good minion play from it.
Divine Strength isn't that great, but it's hardly the worst spell you could play.
Rallying Blade, as a weapon, is good on its own merits. Its battlecry is icing on the cake.
Selfless Hero's vulnerability to pinging, and the finicky-ness of her deathrattle, makes her Fair at best. In and of itself the deathrattle is too good for her to get a Poor rating. (On the other hand, if your opponent pings your Selfless Hero instead of playing their own 2-drop, that's kind of a win right there.)
More Priest Cards
I think I'm running out of ways to introduce "let's see what new stuff this class gets":
|Ever notice that Anduin's cards|
involve a lot of women and eldritch stuff?
|I mean, I'm not saying "Anduin's got|
a hentai cultist fetish",
|But when the hentai jokes write themselves|
(I mean, look at this card!),
|Well, maybe Anduin's got |
a hentai cultist fetish.
Darkshire is becoming less and less a "Sleepy Hollow" kind of place, and more the kind of New England town that is the backdrop for a Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft story, which we'll soon see more of with the warlock's class cards. For his part, Anduin gets the Darkshire Alchemist, who can provide a powerful heal effect to either Anduin himself or to another minion. Her stats aren't great for a 5-mana minion, and she's not a good on-curve play - You would play her after using a big minion to clear a slightly-smaller minion in order to keep the big minion on the board.
Healing effects synergise well with Northshire Cleric, the Lightwarden you get from Light of the Naaru, and Holy Champion, but of those, only Northshire Cleric regularly sees play. What's more, the 5-mana spot is still pretty crowded for most priest decks.
The Hooded Acolyte has 3/6 stats for 4 mana, which is all right, and has a buff effect on C'Thun if you get to heal anything while she's still on the board. She works well with Hero Power, Holy Nova, and other healing effects.
Power Word: Tentacles is, in Standard format, the replacement for Velen's Chosen. Given the latter spell gets you +2/+4 and Spell Damage +1 for 3 mana, while this spell grants +2/+6 for 5, I'm not sure that it's going to be a satisfactory replacement. It combines well with Divine Spirit and Inner Fire.
The Twilight Darkmender is a card that synergises off C'Thun. In this case, she heals your own Health if C'Thun has been sufficiently buffed. At 5 mana she's got great stats for her mana cost (just compare her to, say, the Darkshire Alchemist, statwise), and great value once her battlecry's conditions are met. She'll likely be important for keeping you alive long enough to play C'Thun.
Darkshire Alchemist - Terrible in Constructed, Fair in Arena
Hooded Acolyte - Fair
Power Word: Tentacles - Poor
Twilight Darkmender - Good
Darkshire Alchemist probably won't make much impact in Constructed play. In Arena, where minion-based board control is crucial, she can keep your board stronger after key trades.
Hooded Acolyte doesn't really amaze me, but it will be a solid addition to a priest C'Thun deck, assuming that its playstyle is similar to control priest (where using the Hero Power and other healing effects to establish or maintain board control is crucial).
5 mana is just too much for Power Word: Tentacles. The effect is good enough to avoid a Terrible rating, but terrible is the only description for its mana cost.
Twilight Darkmender is an auto-include for priest C'Thun decks.
More Rogue Cards
Are we done yet?
|That's just a silly name.|
He's a person, not a blade.
|That's just a silly name.|
Those are tusks, not blades.
|"Journey Below" is the name of my|
Journey cover band.
|It strikes... from the shadows.|
|He and his gallant crew of cephalopods|
sailed the seven seas of Azeroth.
(Wait, how many seas does Azeroth
(I would say rogue could have used were more ways to get Toxin cards. Ah, well, maybe next adventure or expansion.)
The Blade of C'Thun has an okay body and an awesome battlecry. The downside is that it's all packaged together in a 9-mana minion. It's incredibly slow for that reason, which may make it unplayable. On the other hand, with all the enormous minions floating around with the expansion release, you could get incredible value from its battlecry. I'm just not sure that it's enough. Assassinate, the basic destruction spell, is 5 mana. You usually won't see a 4/4 minion for less than 4 mana (unless it's Mukla or Millhouse). Layer on the C'Thun-buffing battlecry, and you're actually getting great value for 9 mana. It's just not clear that you can afford to put this in your deck.
The Bladed Culist is a 1 drop that can either be played on curve when you have nothing better to play, played after another 1-mana minion on turn 2 so you get 3 mana worth of minions for 2 mana, coined out with the second one in your deck so you have two 2/3s on the board right away, or used as a cheap activator for your other combo cards.
Journey Below is a tale of epic battle, skullduggery, and tomb raiding. (Or maybe it should be. Note to self: novel title material right there.) For 1 mana you can potentially get yourself a second Sylvanas. In Standard format there are some decent deathrattle cards you can draw. In Wild, it's just an amazing effect for the deathrattle rogue. (Who wouldn't want a third Nerubian Egg, third Piloted Shredder, second Sneed's Old Shredder, and the like?)
Shadow Strike deals 5 damage for 3 mana, which is pretty good value. (It's 1 and 2/3 damage per mana, compared to, say Fireball's 1.5 damage per mana.) The problem is that you have to use it on an undamaged enemy - although this does mean you can use it on your opponent's face directly.
The Southsea Squidface brings tentacular horror to the high seas, and probably also explains almost single-handedly why Blade Flurry got nerfed. 4/4 is a decent statline for 4 mana (it can't be killed by most priest removal!), and the deathrattle is good. The downside is that it's a very finicky deathrattle. You have to try and make it happen on your own terms to get the most value out of it.
Blade of C'Thun - Poor
Bladed Cultist - Excellent
Journey Below - Good in Constructed, Excellent in Wild
Shadow Strike - Poor
Southsea Squidface - Poor
9 mana is just too much for Blade of C'Thun's effect, even if it's actually reasonably priced as I've discussed above. It might have been better at, say, 6 mana with a 1/1 body.
Bladed Culist is a great card, and we'll probably be seeing a lot of it whenever rogue queues up in the matchmaker.
Shadow Strike is outclassed by other cards when it comes time to fill in your deck with spells, although it might be a good way to clear out Sen'jin Shieldmastas and Sludge Belchers. A Malygos deck might find room for one of these, too.
Southsea Squidface is an okay body, but I just think its deathrattle is too finicky to be worthwile. Maybe if it had been a 4/3, or even a 4/2, and the effect was a battlecry?
More Shaman Cards
So... many... cards...
- Eternal Sentinel
- Flamewreathed Faceless
- Primal Fusion
|It's hard to sneak up on this thing.|
|On the Origin of Species would have|
been a very different book had
Darwin written it in Azeroth.
|As tentacular horrors go,|
this one looks like a big'un.
|"Primal Fusion" is the name of my|
dubstep bluegrass prog rock
The Supremes cover band.
|That's gonna leave a mark.|
Eternal Sentinel is like the spell Lava Shock, only instead of doing 2 damage, it leaves a 3/2 minion behind. Neither card is really playable on curve, because you want to get value from the effect. If Eternal Sentinel survives to your next turn, it can do more damage than Lava Shock can - and even more damage if it survives multiple turns, so the question of which one to put in your deck will depend on whether you want a quick run of damage now, or the potential for more damage later.
Evolve does to your entire board what Master of Evolution does to a single minion. For 1 mana, it could be a very powerful effect, although it's finicky because of how the board state can be in a match. Another downside is that the best way for shaman to flood the board is through its Hero Power, and the totems generated that way count as 1 mana minions, so you may not get much in the way of decisive transformations. All in all, though, you get value out of this card any time you have at least 2 minions on the board, and the more minions, the better the value.
Flamewreathed Faceless is like a Fel Reaver, in the sense that it's an enormous minion for a very discounted mana cost that comes with a significant downside. The downside for Flamewreathed Faceless, however, is much smaller than it is for Fel Reaver. (Also, you can play it one turn earlier, which can be very significant.)
Primal Fusion can make any minion into a Dranei Totemcarver, for only 1 mana to boot. The hard part will be having the totems on the board to make it worth your while.
Stormcrack is, in most respects, inferior to Lightning Bolt: it costs 1 more mana and only targets minions, and has the same overload. It's upside is the extra damage it deals, which can be crucial in some situations (the way the extra damage from Flamecannon could make it better than Frostbolt in some circumstances despite its random targeting). I'm just not sure that's going to be enough.
Eternal Sentinel - Fair
Evolve - Fair
Flamewreathed Faceless - Excellent
Primal Fusion - Fair
Stormcrack - Poor
Few shaman decks, to my knowledge, run Lava Shock, and those few that do probably wouldn't want to replace it with Eternal Sentinel. Still, it could find a home in shaman decks that want to be able to go all out on the Overload in one turn and get their mana back the next.
Evolve might have a hard time fitting into a deck, but shamans which flood the board as their game plan will easily find it useful.
Flamewreathed Faceless can win games all on its own if your oponent can't deal with it, and at 4 mana it can be used in pretty well every shaman playstyle, too. As such, despite the Overload it gets an Excellent rating.
Primal Fusion is all right in and of itself. Despite that, I'm not sure it and the other Totem synergy cards in Whispers will help make a totem shaman a powerful deck.
You're probably better off running Lightning Bolt than Stormcrack, unless you get matched up against tempo mage after tempo mage and want just the right spell to deal with all the Flamewakers.
More Warlock Cards
Are my reviews of each card getting shorter as this post goes on? I think so.
|A vote for me is a vote for|
eldritch horrors devouring your
souls - I mean, for peace and
|I think we've left Darkshire and|
found ourselves in Night Vale.
Or possibly Innsmouth.
|They got the card name from a hentai film.|
I'm sure of it.
|She says she'll usher them to a better place.|
Remember what I said about Darkshire when looking at the priest class cards? Well, here we are.
In Wild format, the Darkshire Councilman gets played on curve after Knife Juggler (or Haunted Creeper), and before Imp-losion or Defender of Argus. Whatever the format, the Councilman rewards you for having ways to flood your board. With 1/5 stats he doesn't trade well to start, but he's likely to survive to your next turn. Overall, you can feel pretty good about playing him if he gets at least +2 in Attack buffs from minions (or Defender of Argus).
The Darkshire Librarian is probably not a card you want to play on curve, because of her discard battlecry. On the plus side, her deathrattle helps you cycle through your deck, and she's a decent 2-drop if you have to play her on curve. Cards in hand, though, are usually too valuable to give up, and the Darkshire Librarian's stats aren't good enough to play a card and discard a card for what you get. What's more, warlock card draw mostly comes from Life Tap.
Forbidden Ritual is a board-flood spell that uses the Forbidden mechanic. It's a bit like an any-mana-cost Imp-losion, except you don't damage an enemy but you get a reliable number of minions, because you decide how much mana to spend based on how much mana you have left after it. It's not the best spell, but it's a good activator for Knife Juggler or Darkshire Councilman, and can set you up for minions such as Reliquary Seeker or Gormok the Impaler on subsequent turns.
The Usher of Souls is the warlock's C'Thun synergy card. It rewards including board-flood spells or minions alongside your C'Thun minions when building a warlock C'Thun deck, so you can get lots of buffs from it. Because there are more options for that sort of thing in Wild, warlock C'Thun decks may be more likely to appear there than in Standard. 5/6 for 5 mana is a decent statline, to boot.
Darkshire Councilman - Good in Standard, Excellent in Wild
Darkshire Librarian - Terrible
Forbidden Ritual - Fair
Usher of Souls - Good
Board-flooding zoolocks will have no problem fitting Darkshire Councilman in, especially as they don't have loads of great 3-drops.
The Darkshire Librarian's deathrattle just doesn't make up for her battlecry, in my view. The only warlock card with discard effects that sees any routine play is the Doomguard because it can act as a finisher.
Forbidden Ritual is pretty mana inefficient for what you get, but then again, so was Imp-losion if you only did 2 damage and generated 2 Imps.
It has enough synergy with other zoolock staples that it may well be a one-of in many zoolock decklists.
Warlock C'Thun decks, if any are viable, will surely include the Usher of Souls.
More Warrior Cards
Phew! Last class. (I'm glad Hearthstone has yet to introduce any of the post-Classic World of Warcraft classes.)
|"Ewww... Dave, what's that|
green stuff coming out of your skin?"
|He better be brave, given the other cards|
he's got to contend with in this
|Coming soon to MTV, the next|
hit show: Pimp my Eldritch Claw!
|He may have a massive sword,|
but he's no scrawny emo kid.
Blood to Ichor is not as good a "masochist" card as Whirlwind. On the plus side, though, you can play it when you only have, say, one minion in play that benefits from masochist cards. At only 1 mana, you'll probably be able to play something else the same turn. 1 mana to spawn a 2/2 Slime is already good value; you get even more if you spawn a new Grim Patron or draw a card from Acolyte of Pain out of the deal. That being said, I'm not sure where a warrior deck would make room for this. The "ping your own minion" slot is probably taken up by Inner Rage, which is superior on account of being 0 mana, and it also enables better trades the turn you play it.
The Bloodhoof Brave is a 2/6 Taunt body for 4 mana, which is decent. It also enrages, getting +3 Attack as long as it's damaged. I can see this getting some play in Standard, what with Sludge Belchers being rotated out. Use this to protect your board of Patrons long enough to start flooding the board with them.
The Bloodsail Cultist has me convinced that gnomes don't make for very frightening pirates. Not even when they're tentacled monstrosities. That aside, the Bloodsail Cultist has solid stats for its mana cost, and a great weapon buff (anything that adds Durability to a weapon is pretty solid). The downside is that you probably have to be playing a Pirate deck to benefit from it, meaning you've got a deck full of Pirate cards.
Malkorok is the warrior class legendary. Compared to the rather ironic choice of Varian Wrynn in The Grand Tournament, Malkorok is a great choice, lore-wise, as a legendary card for Garrosh to play. Malkorok was one of Garrosh's most trusted lieutenants during the Horde's attack on Theramore and its subsequent campaign in Pandaria. His card art reflects his ultimate fate - when Garrosh excavated the Heart of Y'Shaarj in Pandaria, Malkorok offered to be infused with its power. He is subsequently one of the boss monsters from the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, when the Alliance and Horde (now turned against Garrosh) team up to defeat him.
As a Hearthstone card, he is a 6/5 body for 7 mana, which isn't very good. But his battlecry gives you an extra weapon. You'll feel pretty bad if you get Light's Justice or Cursed Blade, but most of the other weapons will range from functional to amazing.
From a mana cost perspective, you probably win out so long as you get a weapon valued at 3 or more mana cost. From an effectiveness perspective, of course it depends on the weapon.
Blood to Ichor - Poor
Bloodhoof Brave - Fair
Bloodsail Cultist - Fair
Malkorok - Poor
Blood to Ichor is, strictly speaking, a value play for 1 mana. But it just doesn't stack up against Whirlwind or Inner Rage.
Patron warrior might run this in Standard. Probably not in Wild, though.
Bloodsail Cultist would rate higher if Pirates were a better set of cards overall, because buffing weapon Durability is great. As it is, a
Pirate card that triggers off having Pirates in play... meh.
While I really like Malkorok's battlecry. With the statline and the number of real dud weapons you could get, I think he falls short of getting even a Fair rating.
Well, that's that for that! I'm not sure I'll be able to get through all the rest of the neutral cards before the expansion actually comes out, since I have a lot going on this coming weekend. But we'll give it the old college try.