It's that time of year again, the most exciting time to be a Hearthstone player: expansion time! And with a new expansion comes some new beasts for all us Deathstalker Rexxar fans to play around with. Just like last expansion, and the expansion before that I'll be taking this time to give you a brief rundown of the new beasts being added to the Build-A-Beast pool and how good I think they'll be. As always, I'll be throwing around terms like "first-pick beast" and "second-pick beast", so if you're unfamiliar with exactly how Build-A-Beast works check out the next section where I explain exactly how it works.
So How Does Build-A-Beast Work Anyway?
Well I'm glad you asked! Build-A-Beast lets you discoverkinda two beasts one after the other, and then gives you a beast card with the combined attack, health, cost, and text of both beasts. But you can't just combine any two beasts, there are rules to this! The pool of all available beasts is divided into two sections: first-pick and second-pick. There is no overlap between these two, a beast is either a first-pick beast or a second-pick beast, but never both. For a beast to appear in either pool it must:
Cost 5 mana or less (so the combined beast always costs 10 mana or less)
Be a neutral or hunter card (so no Murkspark Eel or Black Cat)
Be a collectible card (so no 3 mana 3/3 wolf tokens or 1 mana 1/1 rush Lynx tokens)
Have either an ability (battlecry, deathrattle, overkill, or other card text) or keywords (taunt, lifesteal, poisonous, etc), but not both (so no Witchwood Grizzly or King of Beasts). Cards that gain keywords via an ability are OK though (e.g. Scaleworm, Vicious Fledgling)
Be a beast
First-pick beasts include any valid beast that has some sort of ability. Examples of first pick beasts include Bittertide Hydra (card text), Scaleworm (battlecry), Gurubashi Chicken (overkill), or Plated Beetle (deathrattle). Second-pick beasts include any valid beast that has zero or more keywords. Examples of second-pick beasts include Dire Mole (no keywords), Silverback Patriarch (taunt) or Vilebrood Skitterer (poisonous and rush).
Why did I say that you kinda discover beasts for Build-A-Beast? Well, normally discover effects have a higher than normal chance of offering you cards from your own class, but Build-A-Beast is special: all cards will be offered with equal frequency.
Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of how Build-A-Beast works, lets dive right into the new beasts coming in Rastakhan's Rumble!
1 mana 1/1, Deathrattle: Reduce the Cost of a Beast in your hand by (1).
While not a powerful beast by any stretch of the imagination, Helpless Hatchling could be useful for building smaller beasts to play this turn. The deathrattle is nice too, but not something you really want to count on.
1 mana 1/1, Overkill: Gain +5 Attack.
This could be quite good when stapled onto a large ball of stats like a Stranglethorn Tiger or Bloodworm. The number of high attack second-pick beasts is quite low though, so I wouldn't recommend counting on it. If your opponent has a some weak minions you could also consider combining this with Young Dragonhawk for some sick windfury action, or Vicious Scalehide for some great lifesteal (assuming it can survive a turn). While really need and fun to dream about, I think this beast will be let down by the lackluster combinations it makes with the second-pick beasts.
3 mana 3/5, Battlecry: Deal 5 damage to your hero.
Ignoring the downside for the moment, this some pretty good stats for the cost, and can definitely help you smack down a big threat the turn you generate it. The downside is a bit of a bummer though, considering that Build-A-Beast is one of hunter's only healing tools, making this beast a dead option when you need healing most of the time. You can combine this with lifesteal to heal back the 5 damage (even if it would have killed you), but with only a 38% chance to be offered lifesteal in the second pick you might not want to count on it too much.
Halzzi, The Lynx
5 mana 3/2, Battlecry: Fill your hand with 1/1 Lynxes that have Rush.
Yup, you can make a zombeast out of the hunter loa. Unlike the last three this one actually seems really sweet. The minion itself has no immediate impact on the board (unless you get a good keyword in your second pick) but you can aim for cheap second picks to leave mana open to play lynxes to make up for that. This also has amazing synergy with any zombeasts you've already made with Scavenging Hyena, Timber Wolf, or Dire Wolf Alpha. Even outside this synergy, this is an excellent beast to pick if you're looking for a bomb to drop on your opponent and can afford the tempo loss of playing an expensive and understated minion. You'll definitely want to avoid this when you're behind though.
So What Are The Odds I Get X?
What with the changes to the pool of beasts over time, things have changed a bit since my walkthrough of beasts coming in the Witchwood. Because I like stats and stuff, I've got some updated offering rates for you if your into that sort of thing. But first, some explanation of what this all means:
The # of options is the number of beasts that match the given criteria.
The offering rate is the odds that at least one of the three options presented will match the given criteria. It could be all three, it could be just one, but at least one will match.
All of these offering rates will be for only one of the two beast pools, since calculating odds across two different pools is a bit too advanced for my meager knowledge of statistics and it can introduce all sorts of weirdness.
Now that that's out of the way, lets start it off with keywords:
Keyword Offering Rates
|Keyword||# of Options||Offering Rate|
Note: For the sake of consistency this only includes second-pick beasts. Yes, I know Tundra Rhino technically has charge, but that opens up all sorts of other questions, like "does Nesting Roc count as having taunt?", or "How do you count adapt minions?".
Mana Cost Offering Rates (First-Pick)
|Cost||# of Options||Offering Rate|
Mana Cost Offering Rates (Second-Pick)
|Cost||# of Options||Offering Rate|
Edit: Fixed my broken formatting
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