Part 2: The Dragon Aspects (2)
As we all know, Descent of Dragons will be Hearthstone’s thirteenth expansion, with a special focus on dragon, possibly the coolest tribe in the game. To commemorate the launch of the first Dragon-heavy expansion (the second one if you count Blackrock Mountains), we’re going to go through a close analysis of all the legendary dragons in the game thus far (and of the new dragons when they will be released).
In our last article, we talked about Deathwing and Alexstrasza. In this article, we’re going to go through the remaining Aspects: Ysera, Malygos, and Kalecgos (and not Nozdormu, but I’ll be explaining why!)
Nozdormu, Aspect of Time
Nozdormu the Timeless is one of the five Great Aspects empowered by the titans to watch over Azeroth. He fought against the demons during the War of the Ancients. Following this intervention, he retreated into seclusion, immersing himself in his duties. He emerges only infrequently, when events require his direct presence. He intervened in the defeat of Deathwing at the hands of Krasus and his allies, one of the few times that he has been seen in the skies of Azeroth.
In Hearthstone, Nozdormu does have a time-related effect: shorten the turn-timer. This ability has nothing to do with the functioning of the game apart from making mobile gamers feel miserable. Apart from that, an 8/8 body is really weak for a card you have to spend 9 mana on. As such, Nozdormu has not seen play in any competitive deck, even in ones that played dragons just because they are dragons. It’s joked that Nozdormu is the best counter to the infamous SN1P-SN4P combo though, and we can see why. SN1P-SN4P Warlock all relies on magnetizing as many SN1Ps as possible before the turn timer ends, and we can see how robbing 60 seconds can cripple the deck. But it’s all just meme anyway; by the time you reach turn 9 against SN1Ps, you’re probably already dead.
Ysera, Aspect of Nature
Ysera, the green Dragon Aspect, was charged with the protection of the Emerald Dream, but also watched over Azeroth. To the druids, she was known as the “mother” of Cenarius, but since she is a dragon, this is not literal.
In Hearthstone, Ysera is a very slow card with a sticky body. She can provide recurrent value if she’s allowed to stick (which happened pretty often); this made her an awesome value-generator for many decks in the past. It’s a shame that now infinite value-generators are powercreeped so much (see Death Knights) that cards like Ysera are made redundant, but she does make occasional entrance as a discover option from Zephrys or Netherspite Historian.
Ysera is a prominent part of many successful control decks in the past. Alexstrasza and Ysera were used in old Wallet Warrior back in The Grand Tournaments as late game options. Things were so much simpler before, in a meta where simply having big dragons mean you can outvalue your opponent. This deck has reached #8 Legend back then.
Another Control deck was notorious for having ridiculous immediate value (and for cheating a ton of mana), is Big Priest. Back when cards like Catrina Muerte wasn’t printed, a debate in Big Priest was to whether include Ragnaros the Firelord for instant pressure, or Ysera for late-game value. This version by Theo reached #20 Legend in the beginning of 2018, which is almost two years ago. Barnes has been nerfed, but Big Priest didn’t change much otherwise since then.
Malygos, Aspect of Magic
Do you know that Malygos’ cart art in Hearthstone is actually Kalecgos, and Malygos is actually the puny 5 mana 4/4 Azure Drake? No? Well, now you know. Malygos was the Aspect of the blue dragonflight and one of the most ancient creatures living on Azeroth and the eldest of the Aspects. Norgannon, the titan master-magician and keeper of lore, granted Malygos a portion of his vast power. From then on, Malygos would be known as the Spell-weaver, the guardian of arcane magic and hidden arcanum.
Consequentially, Malygos has a spell-related effect in Hearthstone. Malygos’ effect is a really good one; even though he’s expensive, there are plenty of ways to cheat out a big dragon, as long as you have enough burst damage to accompany him. This makes it so that Malygos has historically been one of the most used dragons, and probably the most used Legendary dragon in the whole game. We’ll go through a few iconic decks featuring the card.
Back when Hearthstone was much simpler, Malygos used to be an alternative way to build classic Freeze Mage. With Thaurissan tick on the blue dragon and a few burn, the deck can easily unleash 30 damage within a single turn. This is the deck that Fibonacci hit legend with, four years back.
Malygos Shaman is a deck that has been in-and-out in Wild, and is pretty much a meta call. There are plenty of ways to cheat out a Malygos in this deck (Barnes, Ancestor’s Call, and Thaurissan), and Shaman has always been the class with the most burn. This is the deck that helped Corbett achieved #1 Legend back in Rastakhan’s Rumble.
The most recent development for a Malygos deck in Standard is the incorporation of the Quest shell. There is many way to cheat out a Malygos: you can use Aviana (in Wild), or you can use Dreampetal Florist, like this version that got #13 Legend three months ago. Quest value offers a lot of survivability until you can finally safely land that Florist for a game ending combo.
Kalecgos, Aspect of Magic
Why are there two Aspects of Magic? Are you reading wrong? No, you are totally reading it right. Kalecgos is the former Aspect of the blue dragonflight, after the death of Malygos. In his mortal guise, he is known as Kalec and appears as a half-human, half-elf with blue-black hair, a form that appeals to him because it represents a melding of two worlds, just as Kalec himself feels that he is a blend of the worlds of dragons and humans. Due to the blues being most in tune with magic of all the dragonflights, Kalec has the powers of a sorcerer and the strength of a warrior. It’s funny that some people doesn’t remember him as a renowned aspect, but simply as the ex-lover of Jaina Proudmoore (that’s her in the art, right there on the dragon!)
Kalecgos is the newest entrant to the board of Aspects, and the only card not already in the classic set (Kalecgos was added in Rise of Shadows). He has a powerful (albeit really slow) ability; therefore, all the decks that used him had to have some ways of cheating high-costed minions. Therefore, both Highlander Mages in Standard (before Luna’s Pocket Galaxy’s nerf) and in Wild (current) have to play Luna’s Pocket Galaxy to get the most value out of this card. Being a Mage-only card also restricted him from being played in many other decks too. Below, we are featuring the Highlander decks that have achieved rank 1 Legend in Wild and Standard. The first one is the Standard version piloted by Kalas, while the second one is from Vlue. Highlander Mage has been a strong deck for quite some time, and hopefully will be a prevalent force for the next few expansions to come, especially with new dragons introduced.
That is it for this article! Next time, we’ll be looking into other legendary dragons: Brightwing, Chillmaw, Nozari, Temporus, Chromaggus, Nefarian, Sindragosa, Onyxia, and Emeriss! Stay tuned!
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