World of Warcraft TCG

February 18, 2011

In-depth Look at WoW TCG's Latest Raid - Assault on Icecrown Citadel

icc_lichking.jpg

First thing, the Lich King looks badass. However, we expect nothing less from Blizzard. Secondly, it appears that there will be 93 cards in the raid. While not called out explicitly in the article, the writing is on the wall, so to speak, well on the card at least. We will have to see how that plays out. Third, if you check out the article, it appears that the Lich King will be the only Boss Hero in this raid. Those familiar with the MMO will be quick to point out that this is not the case in the 10 and 25 man versions of the raid. However, Drew Walker, Creative Content Lead for WoW TCG and Lead Designer for Assault on Icecrown Citadel, has pointed out that Lord Marrowgar, Blood-Queen Lana'thel, Lady Deathwhisper, and the other raid bosses will still exist in this raid. Just their purpose will change a bit. Instead of taking them on individually, the Lich King, will be able to summon them throughout the battle.

Fans of the Grand Alliance have not been left out of this raid either, you will be able to play Lady Jaina Proudmoore, Dark Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, and Highlord Tirion Fordring. Each of the three iconic heroes also have their own weapons, Staff of Antonidas, Deathwhisper, and Ashbringer, respectively. Also, each hero comes with their own 61-card tournament legal deck. So if you have friends that don't have their own full decks, this raid will provide them for you. You can also replace Tirion, Jaina, or Sylvanas with a tournament legal hero of your own and those same friends can use the decks in a tournament. Pretty sweet.

Check out the press release for more details.

At WoW TCG

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 26, 2010

World of Warcraft TCG Lives with Cryptozoic Entertainment

WarcraftWP.jpgThe World of Warcraft TCG was looking pretty dicey there for a while. We all held our breath when Blizzard terminated their contract with publisher Upper Deck (which was supposedly linked to some counter fitting shenanigans). And for weeks afterward the direction of the franchise was very much in the air.

Blizzard had quickly reassured fans by opening up a new WoW TCG Forum shortly after the unpleasantness with Upper Deck, and posting in their forum that the franchise would march on. However, even then a lot of folks felt the game might not have had the pulse past Summer.

The official word was that a deal was being struck with a new publisher, and that Blizzard would announce who was taking the helm... but the deadline for that news was last weekend. After that deadline came and went we started to realize that we may need to return to Magic: The Gathering for our CCG fix. *gasp*.

But nope. It looks like the WoW TCG is alive and kicking for at least one more season. We're a bit hesitant to say that the entire franchise is fully back and will be as good as ever, considering that Cryptozoic Entertainment was just formed for the very purpose of keeping WoW TCG alive.

While the higher-level pedigree is good as it seems Cryptozoic is made up of ex Blizzard employees, we don't quite know the extent of their skills. Therefore on the downside of this great story we have that unfortunate sick feeling of dread that the success of this franchise still hangs in the air. Hopefully they'll start spreading news on where they hope to take the franchise next.

For the full story checkout this piece from incgamers.com.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 19, 2010

WoW TCG Coma Watch: Reassurances Round 2


WoWComa.jpgBlzzard has chimed-in for the first time since the forum move from Upper Deck, after it news was released that Upper Deck will no longer be handling the WoW TCG franchise.

Unfortunately instead of opening up the balcony doors and addressing the public en masse about the franchise's direction, and inspiring confidence, we instead get an presidential aide telling us all to stay calm:


"We wanted to take a minute and provide an update on the current status of this game. We want to reassure players that the TCG will continue, and look forward to releasing the Wrathgate and Icecrown expansions this spring and summer. The new plans are being finalized and there should be a full announcement by this weekend."
--Blizzard

The statement then goes on to say that the Realm Championships scheduled for this weekend are still a 'go'. Any news in particular about the newest publisher of the franchise will be most welcome this weekend, too. We'll keep you posted.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 28, 2009

Naxxramas Descends Upon WoW TCG

NaxxramasRaidDeck.jpg
We got word from the ether that the WoW TCG Naxxramas Raid Deck [Troll&Toad] has shipped over the holiday break. In fact, our copies should be arriving at our office any time around now.

This is of course the first raid deck for this Scourgewar Cycle, which pits the heroes against the undead hordes of the Lich King. First up is the floating Citadel of Naxxramas, home of countless evil undead and demony bosses, who are all lead by the lich Kel'thuzad. (Wow, we can't believe we just spelled that correctly).

So what's new in this raid? Tons. Gone is the old Trash Mob mechanic. Instead expect more powerful bosses and their flavored minion entourage. Also, Naxxramas departs from the old linear raid and lets players tackle up to four wings of the dungeon before taking on the boss. Each wing comes with its own overaching challenge, like decreasing the attack of your heroes until you defeat the last boss. However, once you clear a wing, you'll get a buff that will stick with you for the rest of the instance.

Balancing out how many buffs you acquire before you take on the Kel'thuzad in the final boss showdown, with how spent your heroes are, is all part of the game.

Other new elements include a Raid Leader who represents the heroes during important Events in the raid. Also, shipping alongside the raid are Individual Treasure Packsfor about 10 bucks. You can use them as rewards for your party as they tackle each section, or refresh an already conquered raid to reward repeat players who make repeat runs, or you could simply extend your collection by buying your own pack on the side. Slick little move Upper Deck, we applaud it.

For a more indepth preview of the raid check out the Official Page (including a link to the rules), or read the two preview articles: Naxxramas Preview - Introduction... to Doom! and How Eventful!

Good luck!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 7, 2009

WoW TCG Fields of Honor is Out!

HordeDeathKnight.jpgIt's true. Cards still haven't hit some of our local retailers (for some reason) but the latest WoW TCG expansion Fields of Honor is officially out -- our online orders have just arrived in the office and we'll be taring through gobs of foil tonight.

Thank goodness, too, because we've been dippying around with our entry level Death Knight Starter Decks [T&T] for too long. Death Knights are fun and all, but there's just not much to explore and mix and match with in just the starter decks alone.

But now it's time for the real prize: a fresh, substantial brick of Death Knight abilities, equipment, and allies in Fields of Honor Boosters [Amazon,T&T] to subsidize our latest addition to our hero collection, plus even more cards featured in the set to fill-out the other hero classes already cemented in our collection of cards, too. The full collection of cards can be found at the WoW TCG DB, accept no substitutes.

A meta note: this release also completes the Player versus Player themed WoW TCG Cycle that began with Drums of War and continued with Blood of Gladiators. Fields of Honor is also the first set with the Death Knight class, and if you missed all the cool information about them - or general information on the set - then checkout our previous story The Skinny on WoW TCG Fields of Honor.

Enjoy!


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 18, 2009

The Skinny on WoW TCG Fields of Honor (June 30th)

HordeDeathKnight.jpgThe final set of cards in the World of Warcraft TCG PvP-themed cycle is slated to hit stores at the end of June. But while the PvP stuff seems cool, with some great new keywords and abilities, the real shining star of the upcoming Fields of Honor is the introduction of the new Death Knight class. That's right - death knights are coming to the WoW TCG, and they look to be glorious.

Upper Deck has started publishing Death Knight class preview articles alongside the standard Fields of Honor set previews (below), so we can get a full look at the new plate wearing casting class before they hit your table in just a few short weeks. The variety of their roles in battle from the WoW MMORPG are very well representated, with their debuffing and tanking Frost spec, Ghoul spawning Blood spec, and sheer dps Unholy spec skills all dealing a considerable amount of hurt. Your newly formed Death Knight should be up to speed, kicking the snot out of your friends heroes despite their back catalog of cards from sets passed.

  1. Death Knight Starter Previews - Knights of the Ebon Blade
  2. Death Knight Starter Preview - You Throw Like A Ghoul
  3. Death Knight Starter Preview - A Dark Presence
  4. Death Knight Starter Preview - Plagued Souls
  5. Death Knight Starter Preview - Cold Steel
  6. Death Knight Starter Previews - For the Alliance
  7. Death Knight Starter Previews - For the Horde

As you can see, to jump start your Death Knight Upper Deck will release a Death Knight starter set that lets you go either Horde (Blood spec) or Alliance (Frost spec) straight out of the box. We've yet to see a reference to any Unholy Death Knights, so they might not make an appearance until the Fall. Of course there could be more Death Knight heroes lurking elsewhere in the Fields of Honor set, too.

Here are some details for the Death Knight Starter, gleaned from one of the preview articles:

"So what do you get in the box? Each package comes with a 33-card Horde or Alliance Death Knight starter deck and 3 exclusive Ghoul Tokens. In addition to this, there is a bonus Death Knight pack containing another 17 cards (along with Alliance Death Knight allies if you want to change your deck to the blue side). Each non-hero card in the starter shows up twice, so you'll only need to get two copies to get full playsets of each card! As a freebie, we've even thrown in a Dark Portal starter deck in the product, so your Death Knight can begin beating down on your friends right out of the box. "

OK, enough about Death Knights for now. The set also expands upon the game in the same way as all of the previous expansion releases (the DK is just icing on the cake). Here are the official preview articles, along with details of the new card keywords: Escape Artist (Gnome Allies),
Escape Artist: When this Ally becomes targeted by an opposing card or effect, you may put it into its owner's hand

  1. The Honor Code
  2. Escape Artist
  3. Will of the Forsaken
  4. Find Treasure
  5. Location, Location, Location!
  6. Tooth and Maul
  7. Goofing Off
  8. The Fields on Fire
  9. That's Not a Pet... THIS is a Pet!
  10. Back Into the Light
  11. Burgle Me This!
  12. Axes and Armor
  13. Charmed I'm Sure
  14. Bring-A-Friend Program!
  15. Searching the Armory

Fields of Honor is scheduled for a June 30th launch date. Oh man, that's in like 2 weeks!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 21, 2009

WoW TCG Arena Grand Melee

WoWTCGArenaGrandMelee.jpgFor better or worse throw away every preconception of what it means to be a World of Warcraft TCG expansion. WoW TCG Arena Grand Melee [Amazon, Funagain] is a hybrid of old and new. In one had. there's the small set of themed cards similar to Feast of Winter Veil and Darkmoon Fair set. However this time around the major theme is that of game mechanic instead of an holiday event: that of preparing your toon for battle in the World of Warcraft Arena.

Prepare Your Face
In WoW (the 'real' WoW), players entering the Arena have a few moments to cast any buff they want, for free. And mirroring that theme is the new Preparation key word introduced in Arena Grand Melee. It's brandished on each Ability and Equipment card within this mini set, and allows each card to be be played for free if you're lucky enough to have it in your hand on your first turn. These cards normally cost around 3-4 resources to play, so if lady luck is shining on you then your game should seriously speed up fast enough to lay some quick smackdown. Alternatively, if you draw these cards later on in your game, then they can be payed for their full price at that point in time. Win/Win.

Well, sorta. Die hard tournament players may find some of these cards aren't worth their full resource prices. There are some better cards out there that do things for "cheaper". Of course, some of these other cards cost 20 bucks on ebay, which is less than this entire set's strike place.

For us, life isn't all about tournament play. If it is for you then you're probably reading the wrong blog, 'cause we're all about sitting back, enjoying a beer, and beating the ego off our friends, not strangers.

Wackiness Ensues
So what, a new expansion with a new keyword, big deal. Well the Arena Grand Melee also ships with a side deck of about 100 cards that are drawn during play. Similar to the Event cards of Boss Battles, these cards inject some randomness to the battle. Some are serious, like damaging specific hero types, etc. There's also some silly cards, too, that are supposed to make things 'more fun'. Like forcing people to whisper through the game, or else suffer the consequences.

We'll try anything once. Considering that there are gobs of cards in the set, were sure that some will make the game pretty freaking interesting, and others we'll just kick to the curb.

Previews
In true Upper Deck fashion the previews are a bit chaotic. On one hand the official WoW TCG website has a series of card previews from the new mini set. This includes the new pair of heroes and the ability and equipment cards that can be placed right into your collection.

Finding official details on the Arena Grand Melee event cards is a bit more tough, but we tracked down a Preview of Cards at Upper Deck's TCG Designer's Blog. Its worth checking out to see if this new game type seems worth your time.

Here are the official WoW TCG Arena Grand Melee Details and Previews:


You want to stand in the grand arena. Do you have what it takes? Are your blades keen and deadly? Do your spells have the ferocity of an archmage? The Gladiators think not. Walk across the sands of the arena and prepare yourself for the greatest test of all. Soon your worth will be revealed!

Opening up an entirely new dimension of the World of Warcraft TCG, Arena Grand Melee adds all-new content, including a new twist on standard play! Now, players each bring a deck from their own World of Warcraft TCG collection and use a shared stack of Grand Melee cards to recreate the chaos that happens when battling in the Arena!

  1. Arena Grand Melee Preview - Heroes
  2. Arena Grand Melee Preview - Are You Prepared?
  3. Arena Grand Melee Preview - Be Prepared
  4. Arena Grand Melee Preview - Prepared, Illidan... Awww You Get It...

WoW TCG Arena Grand Melee is out now, and available to order from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 12, 2009

WoW TCG Arena Grand Melee Previews Begin

KaunoStonehoof.jpgWow, this wasn't quite so expected. Once again the WoW TCG just got interesting, and before the implications of Blood of Gladiators have had enough time to set-in and stain our tablecloth, too.

So what's in store for us in the final expansion set in this cycle of PvP goodness? We'll we're still not completely sure. For one we know that Death Knights will hit the table for the first time, and thats pretty incredible. A whole new class is an extremely nice step (if done well). And now the first hero previews sampled from the standard lot of classes also prove to be extraordinarily promising to boot.

Like the bosses of the WoW TCG raid decks, the flip powers for Grand Melee heroes are on the back of the card. We'll let that sink in for a second. And so far they also seem to be passive, which means you keep reaping the benefits from the onetime upfront cost. How awesome is that?

Start organizing your piles of "flip target hero" cards.

The premier preview article "Arena Grand Melee Preview - Heroes" promotes two hero cards to start with. The first is alliance gnome warrior who gets +1 base attack on her flipped side. No offense folks, but alliance heroes are about as boring as a microwaved poptart.

That's what makes the second hero so awesome. Moonlighting as a 28 health Tauren Druid during the day, the flipped Kauno Stormhoof is an manscaped monster with 40 health on the other. And as the article aptly points out, he's not technically in bear form, which means he remains able to tap his library of cards that apply only when "not in a form," if so desired. Rock.

Grand Melee is slated for a June release, and it can't get here soon enough.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 7, 2009

WoW Minis Spoils of War Expansion

WoWMinisSpoilsOfWarBooster.jpgThe first expansion to the tactical and collectible World of Warcraft Miniatures game system is out on store shelves. Spoils of War [Amazon, Funagain] introduces new characters from the Horde, Alliance and Monster factions.

Of course if that were all then this would be a pretty sleepy expansion.
The cool, new interesting stuff comes via the introduction of card type thats distributable to your characters in addition to to the standard spell and ability cards, i.e. Armor and Weapons. After all, what would World of Warcraft be without the l33t equipment gravy train of self advancement?

The new sets of armor and weapons not only have their straight forward uses, like hacking off limbs for the cheap, but they also give your characters new miscellaneous abilities to boot. In fact, they're so powerful that they actually contribute to each character's honor rating, so use them wisely.

And if that's not enough then the new Channeling spell type should change-up tactics nicely. These spells may continue their effect so long as your character doesn't movie. which should make for some very interesting decisions in such a dynamic game where players jockey for position.

The expansion is available in blind boosters packs of three whic promise a common -> epic rarity distrubution, with something substantial in each box. Word has it that the fabrication process has been improved, so here's hoping for better paint jobs for the figures and more accurately modeled UBases that don't reject their figures. Sadly, the set includes no new maps. While this might not bother some, it is pretty disappointing for us (see our WoW Minis Review) and may diminish the amount of time this expansion would hit our table otherwise.

More details about Spoils of War can be found in our WoW Minis Spoils of War Previews page, which has an index to all of the official preview articles and Minis.

Here's the official word:


Adventure into the Outland with the exciting, new characters introduced in Spoils of War, the second expansion set in the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game! Featuring new Epic Characters, Equipment, and Loot Cards, this expansion is offered in boosters containing three randomized, premium, pre-painted miniatures.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 5, 2009

WoW TCG Death Knights Coming this June

ArthasDeathKnight.jpgThe World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has been our TCG of choice for two years now. Even so, there are been points where we feared the game's stagnation, but just as those fears became frustrations, Upper Deck injected something new to not only hold our attention, but excite us to boot.

Now they just dropped a whopper. We had already begun questioning why the Death Knight - a class introduced to World of Warcraft via the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of the MMORPG - hadn't arrived in the WoW TCG. Well now have to wait just two short months before we get our grubby hands on them.

In the final part of "Caverns of Time - Our History Thusfar" - a WoW TCG and WoW Mini restrospective and state of the union - Upper Deck has announced that a the new Death Knight class will be introduced in the next WoW TCG set this June. Here's the snippet containing the details near the end of the article:


"Even with nearly three full years of sets and products in the books for the World of Warcraft games, the games show no signs of stagnation or slowing down. Wrath of the Lich King's release shattered record books for Blizzard Entertainment and video gaming as a whole, much due to the introduction of the incredible Death Knight class. From the corpses of those slain by the Forsaken, the Death Knights in the TCG will be released this June. The plate-wearing, disease-spreading hybrid class will be the tenth class in both the Minis and TCG games. Plus, as always, we have infinite more loots to slip into packs of our WoW Minis and WoW TCG product. Who knows what items will be available in the future? All I know is that our WoW MMO characters want them ASAP!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2009

WoW Minis Spoils of War Previews

WoWMiniDeluxStarter.jpg

The Spoils of War expansion is out. For more information please release story.

Upper Deck will release the first expansion to the World of Warcraft miniatures table top game that launch last fall. Devout readers may note that while we enjoyed the internal mechanics of the franchise, we thought it had some problems. For one there just wasn't enough interesting content and game modes to keep our attention for long.

We're hoping that this next release will have the standard clean injection of new characters, abilities, etc, but more importantly, we're keenly looking for some map kitss. Something official that we don't have to buy $30 boxes to randomly collect from a set of 3, and which match the theme and balance of World of Warcraft PvP. So far, in the previews, we haven't seen it, and we've been forced to buid our own, and that gets tiring after a while.

Despite the dearth of cool battlegrounds, there's still still some pretty interesting things coming down the pipe in Spoils of War [Amazon, Funagain]. For one we're treated to new Weapon and Armor items that can be placed in your character's action bars. These things are so powerful that they actually contribute to the hero's honor value, so use them wisely. This could be a pretty nice addition if executed well.

Spoils also includes new Channeling powers, which generally continue to deal damage so long the caster stops, concentrations, and essentially doesn't do anything else for the duration. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out considering the game's already strong strategic depth the cost / turn mechanic where choices on what to do, when, and where play an extremely interesting role in the game.

Other than that, the set release is all about the content. Here are the preview articles so far, which mainly focus on previews of the new figures themselves. And when we say 'figure previews', it's the whole thing from 3D imagery of sculpts, all the way down to tick powers and strategy.

WoWMinisSpoilsOfWarBooster.jpgGeneral:

  1. Spoils of War Coming on May 5!
  2. Spoils of War Preview: Equipment

Mini Previews:

  1. Cairne Bloodhoof [Tauren Warrior]
  2. Vigor Darkbreeze [Night Elf Druid]
  3. Sha'do [Troll Rogue]
  4. Felguard Legionnaire [Demon]
  5. Lady Jaina Proudmoore [Human Mage]
  6. Conqueror Aluna [Blood Elf Hunter]
  7. Deathwhisperer [Demon]
  8. Ixamos the Redeemed [Draenei Shaman]
  9. Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider [Blood Elf Mage]
  10. Champion Shadowsun [Blood Elf Priest]
  11. Vindicator Kaustron [Hunter Draenei]
  12. Razaani Nexus Stalker [Ethereal Mage]

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2009

WoW TCG: Blood of Gladiators Crafting Redemptions

BloodOfTheGladiatorsBooster.JPG
We assume that by now you've ripped through all the shiny foil wrappers that separated you from your WoW TCG Blood of Gladiators cards, and you're elbow deep in a slew of arena grudge matches.

But is you savant friend still kicking the snot out of you with his uber hero, even with your new collection? Yeah, we know the type, and yeah, we hate him as much as you.

Its time to gather up all your UDE Point / Tradegood cards and give your favorite hero that extra oomph that might push your guy over the edge. The following are this set's custom crafted armor, created by sending in a mass of your collected Trade Good cards as part of the Blood of Gladiator Crafting Redemption Program.

You haven't been throwing those things away, have you??


WoWTCG.BattleCastPants.jpgBattlecast Pants [WoW TCG DB]

Some slick Hot Pants for you Caster Types.

Click Image to Enlarge.
Ingredients:
  • 4xPrimal Air
  • 4xPrimal Fire
  • 4xPrimal Earth
  • 4xPrimal Water
  • 4xPrimal Mana
  • 6xBolt of Imbued Netherweave
  • 1xPrimal Nether



WoWTCGCloakOfDarkness.jpgCloak Of Darkness [WoW TCG DB]

A haiku (ahem):

A Buffed Cloak for All
Like Cheese it Matures with Age
Store in a Dry Place.

Click Image to Enlarge.
Ingredients:
  • 8xPrimal Shadow
  • 6xHeavy Knothide Leather
  • 8xBolt of Soulcloth
  • 2xPrimal Nether



WoWTCGShadowprowlersChestguard.jpgShadowprowler's Chestguard [WoW TCG DB]

Reason enough to put allies in your Rogue deck? Hmm.. perhaps... but seems like it's cut more for a Druid.

Click Image to Enlarge.
Ingredients:
  • 5xHeavy Knothide Leather
  • 6xPrimal Earth
  • 6xPrimal Shadow
  • 8xBolt of Soulcloth
  • 1xPrimal Nether


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 30, 2009

WoW TCG: Blood of Gladiators

BloodOfTheGladiatorsBooster.JPG
Blood of Gladiators Booster Box [Amazon]
Blood of Gladiators Boosters [Amazon, Funagain]

Oh man, it's time to get back to some WoW TCG gaming goodness. The winter has been long -- last October we put more of our hard earned money toward the inaugural set of WoW Minis instead of the the new third WoW TCG cycle: Drums of War. We chose poorly (read why).

While we wait to see if the WoW Minis franchise can climb out of the crevasse it failed to hurdle in its initial release, we're going to go back to the WoW TCG for our mainstay World of Warcraft gaming experience.

Thankfully Blood of Gladiators looks pretty darn strong. The set centers around the World of Warcraft arena play. The allies in this installment come as standard run of the mill allies (with new keyword powers, see below), but they also appear in separate cards as their Arena alter egos. Just as WoW MMORPG players have their own PvP set of gear, the Arena Allies in Blood of Gladiators sport new Player versus Player themed abilities and attack powers lifted straight from WoW PvP Talent trees.

Additionally, the set includes new racial rules that should make your arena teams click nicely:

  • Inspiring Presence: If a hero or ally in your party would deal non combat damage, it deals that much damage +1 instead. This seems to be a Draenei racial ability, so don't expect your damage over time Horde Warlock, Priests or Mages to get any love. Sad for us, because we almost always roll Horde. Guess it's time to make a few more decks. [Read More]

  • Arcane Torrent: breathes a bit of life into those pompous Blood Elf allies: When this ally enters play, target opposing card in play loses and and cant' have powers this turn. Used well this could seriously run somebody's day. [Read More]

  • Hardiness: can be found on the new Orc allies in Blood of Gladiators. This ability says "if this ally would be dealt damage, prevent 1 of it." About as dry as a Vodka Martini. Those poor orcs need some more interesting stories. [Read More]

We have a complete index of all the feature articles including the new Faction spanning allies, and the new loot cards, in our Blood of the Gladiators Preview article. Check there for a full list of information about the set.

Enjoy!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 3, 2009

WoW TCG Blood of the Gladiators Previews

BloodOfTheGladiatorsBooster.JPGIt's that time of year again -- another World of Warcraft TCG expansion looms on the horizon. The Blood of the Gladiators is the middle set to the PvP Cycle that started back in fall 2008 with Drums of War, with the subfocus now directed toward the carefully constructed group combat of Arena teams.

And with it comes a new Ally type: Arena Ally. These guys are new versions of allies past, sporting Arena gear familiar to WoW MMORPG players, and retooled to buff other allies (spposed team mates). While it's true that we probably wont see many Arena Allies outside oft this cycle, at least they be slid into any deck of the past or the future. That makes them many more times useful than last year's ho-hum Servants of the Betrayer decks, which haven't aged well. They're now entombed in our Temple of Forgotten WoW cards (ie: collecting dust beneath our spare night stand.)

Now if you would have asked us .. oooh... just last week actually, we wouldn't have been really too excited about another WoW TCG expansion was just around the corner. After all, Drums of War last fall was overshadowed by the then impending release of WoW Minis, and we're we're still haven't gotten over our ho-hum blues associated with the launch of that mediocre release.

But after we started delving into the Official Preview Articles, our pulse began to quicken. There really does seem like theres a lot of good stuff coming down the pipe, and it's very flexible. There's a lot of cool things going on here:

GrimReach.jpgNot to be confused with Neutral allies, which have been around since the dawn of time of course. These guys are affiliated with both alliance and horde, which means that any cards you have that buff horde allies or alliance allies can be applied to both. Additionally, these guys seem to not only buff both factions themselves, but some allow you to capture your opponents allies, and then give your new bretheren a swift kick in the butt with a buff, too. Sweet.

Of course, they're epics, so good luck getting 'em. [Read More]

  • New Keyword: Inspiring Presence: If a hero or ally in your party would deal non combat damage, it deals that much damage +1 instead. This seems to be a Draenei racial ability, so don't expect your damage over time Horde Warlock, Priests or Mages to get any love. Sad for us, because we almost always roll Horde. Guess it's time to make a few more decks. [Read More]

  • New Keyword: Arcane Torrent breathes a bit of life into those pompous Blood Elf allies: When this ally enters play, target opposing card in play loses and and cant' have powers this turn. Used well this could seriously run somebody's day. [Read More]

  • New Keyword: Hardiness can be found on the new Orc allies in Blood of Gladiators. This ability says "if this ally would be dealt damage, prevent 1 of it." About as dry as a Vodka Martini. Those poor orcs need some more interesting stories. [Read More]

  • Loot Cards Hmm.. nothing here really great to report. At least not from a World of Warcraft fan's perspective, and isn't that kind of the point? [Read More]

    Here's an index of the Preview Articles thus far. Special Comments added to those articles featuring specific cards:

    Meltdown.jpg

    1. Into the Arena
      The Expansion and You
    2. Teaming Up
      Arena Allies
    3. Meltdown:
      Mage Ability that melts... stuff
    4. Hardiness
      Orc Racial Ability
    5. Arcane Torrent
      Blood Elf Racial Ability
    6. Scatter Shot
      Hunter Ability for use with Two Hands
    7. Utopia
      Druid Ability do over
    8. Inspiring Presence
      Draenei Racial Ability
    9. Divine Favor:
      Paladin Healing Ability via personal card removal
    10. Focused Will:
      Priest Ability that does some crazy damage swapping each turn.
    11. Deadliness:
      Rogue Destruction Ability that roadhouses up to three exhausted card types.
    12. Tidal Mastery:
      Shaman Ability that suddenly makes a plethora of totems so much more worth while.
    13. Grim Reach:
      Warlock temporary Health Sap that becomes more powerful with the more ongoing abilities you have in play. Very, very nice.
    14. Shield Wall
    15. Foul Magics
    16. Split Decision
    17. Pally Power


    The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game expansion Blood of the Gladiators is slated for release this month - March 2009. We'll keep this link live with the latest and greatest feature articles, and we'll let you know as soon as its hit shelves.

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking
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