Hearthstone: Analyzing Thrall, Deathseer (Knights of the Frozen Throne)

Blizzard has kicked off Death Knight Hero week and, as promised, the creators of Hearthstone have begun unveiling the remainder of the Hero Cards for the card game’s upcoming Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion.

Today, Blizzard is looking at Thrall and the Shaman is getting a special boost for all of his friends. Shacknews is here to take a deeper dive into today’s class, looking at its synergies, viability, and damage potential.

Let’s look at Thrall, Deathseer that players face with the new-look Shaman.

(5) Thrall, Deathseer
Type: Hero
Class: Shaman
Rarity: Legendary
Battlecry: Transform our minions into random ones that cost (2) more. Gain 5 Armor.

Hero Power: Transmute Spirit
Transform a friendly minion into a random one that costs (1) more.

First Look

As our with Hearthstone’s developers from a few weeks ago implied, certain Death Knight heroes will allow for certain deck archetypes. The Shaman is the first to fit a particular play style, as it builds further on the Evolve Shaman that has taken the meta by storm over the last expansion.

The Hero Power upgrade is an interesting one for Thrall, because it means sacrificing the neverending Totem parada that ensures there’s a minion on-board at all times. So it’s worth asking whether the Hero Power trade is going to be worthwhile at Turn 5.


The obvious synergy involves the aforementioned Evolve Shaman. These Shamans spend the early game building massive board presence through the use of , , and similar low-cost minions. The hope is to use as a finisher. However, if the game goes to the late turns, the idea is then to use the combination of and to bring out a trio of heavy-hitting (in theory) 6-mana minions. It’s a deck that’s proven reliable and one used regularly in the pro circuit.

Thrall, Deathseer allows for those minions on-board to immediately evolve into minions that cost (2) more, which can be massive upgrade. The only issue here, as mentioned, is the loss of the Hero Power totem, which helps bring down the cost of , but if there are enough minions on the board, it’s a worthwhile play.

Of course, there’s no rule that says Thrall, Deathseer must be played on Turn 5. In fact, if players wait for the late game, the Doppelgangster/Hero Card combo fit perfectly into a 10-mana play. That would up the costs of the former 5-mana 2/2 minions into three 7-cost minions, which could be nasty.

Playing Against Thrall, Deathseer

Thrall, Deathseer isn’t nearly as daunting an opponent as Deathstalker Rexxar or Frost Lich Jaina, simply because the previous two classes had potentially limitless resources. Thrall, on the other hand, is entirely dependent on his resources, so in order to take the Death Knight down, it’s a simple matter of clearing the board.

The Turn 5 Death Knight play can be taken away by clearing the board of all of the Shaman’s low-cost minions. Eventually, the Shaman will be able to get resources on the board, especially if he pulls off that Doppelgangster/Hero Card combo on Turn 10. But anyone that can clear the board with cards like , , , or gives Thrall nothing to work with.

In fact, a well-timed should provide an exclamation point on this matchup quite nicely. If Thrall, Deathseer has no answers and nothing to evolve, it should be game over.

The rest of the Death Knights are coming! Blizzard has promised that the remainder of the Death Knight Heroes will be unveiled over the course of the week, so keep an eye on Shacknews for analysis on each one. Also, be on the lookout for analysis on the rest of the expansion’s cards over the next couple of weeks.