Warlock Pets: Old School vs. New School

I am going to focus on the Warlock pets for the World of Warcraft trading card game. The Heros of Azeroth provided 4 pets (Grimdron, Helwen, Infernal, and Sarmoth) and Dark Portal gives the Warlock 3 more (Doomguard, Morfiel, Piztog).

First I'll give a quick overview of the cards:
Old School
Grimdron - a 1 cost pet with 0 Attack and 1 Health. Grimdron is elusive and has the ability to exhaust to deal 1 damage to a target hero or ally.
A pretty useful small ally that I did not play a lot He was generally pushed out of my deck by removal abilities like Shadow Bolt and Vanquish. Can be a powerful card when facing a weenie rush as he will destroy Apprentice Teep, Vesh'ral, and Leeroy Jenkins.

Helwen a 4 cost pet with 2 Attack and 2 Health. Here ability is to exhaust and take control of an ally. Helwen is a very powerful card especially if you can get her into a party that contains Mezzik Darkspark. Using her ability to take control of an opponents ally. Use it to attack and then destroy the ally with Mezzik. She is difficult to keep in play with only 2 Health.

Infernal - a 6 cost pet that was the rare card included in the warlock starter deck. This 6 Attack and 6 Health ally is a massive beast that also deals 1 damage to all opposing allies. When I first built warlock decks this was my victory condition. When he hits the borad you are looking at a 2 for 1 exchange or better for your opponent to remove him.

Sarmoth - a 3 cost ally and the best protector in the game. Sarmoth has 1 Attack and 5 Health and if an opponent can attack Sarmoth they must attack Sarmoth. This little voidwalker can buy you a turn or more to build up. I can't think of the last time I built a warlock deck without 4 Sarmoths incuded.

New School
Doomguard - A 7 cost ally that is a true beast. 8 Attack and 8 Health and destroys a target opposing ally at the end of your turn. The downside of this is that you destroy a friendly character in your party when the Doomguard enters play. This is another potential victory condition.

Morfiel - a 4 cost with 4 Attack and 4 Health. While in play Morfiel forces opposing players to pay 1 extra resource for abilities. A 4/4 ally is pretty good and the added control benefits. Add a Morfiel to a pair of Curse of Tongues as your opponent is looking at a 3 resource penalty to play abilities.

Piztog - a 1 cost, 0 Attack and 2 Health pet. Piztog buffs other allies in your party with +1 Health. The same benefit that Nerra Lifeboon grants for the Alliance but much cheaper. Like Grimdron he is also elusive and can make a difference against rush decks.

On the surface the old school seems to have the advantage here. Sarmoth is a must have in every warlock deck. Helwen is more likely to show up in Alliance builds. Infernal will appear in many decks. Grimdron will show in some decks but not a majority. The new school has Piztog that, like Grimdron, is not going to appear in many decks. Morfiel will likely appear in more decks than Helwen. The big hitter from the new school is Doomguard and the possibility of self desctruction when the card enters play will mean he doesn't show up in as many decks as he would otherwise.

I put Sarmoth by himself - this card is too good and will not be replaced by a card in the new set. Sarmoth is the best tank ally in the game everything must attack him and even though he does only 1 damage per attack his 5 health means that of the 202 allies in the game only 37 have the 5+ Attack value to defeat him without help (this does not include allies like Stitches or Tewa Wildmane that might have a high enough attack value). And unlike protectors he doesn't have to be ready to stop an attack.

The other 6 cards can be paired together in 3 sets. Early game (Grimdron vs Piztog), mid game (Helwen vs Morfiel) and late game (Infernal vs Doomguard).

Grimdron vs Piztog
Both these little imps cost 1 resource to bring into your party. While a +1 Health buff to your other allies is an excellent effect, Piztog is not a game breaker in any deck. Were you able to bring in multiple pets his +1 buff would be very powerful indeed but because you can not stack his effect it limits his effectiveness in the game. One thing he will do is keep Vesh'ral and Apprentice Teep from being destroyed by a Frost Nova. Grimdron seems to be the better of the two early game pets. He is very fragile with only 1 health but he can take out a lot of early game allies and he has a chance at destroying a Searing Totem if he is on the field before the totem is played. I am not a fan of either Grimdron or Piztog, I have to give the edge to Grimdron as he has an small outside chance of getting into my side deck.

Helwen vs Morfiel
Helwen is a great ally, if you can protect her for a turn, and you can get control of a good ally, and you can then use that ally against your opponent. Too many conditions. If I play Helwen turn 4. Turn 5 I take control of an Ally. Turn 6 I can use the ally to attack. By turn 7 or 8 the game is usually getting close to completion. So if the controlled ally is destroyed on turn 6, I need to capture another ally turn 7 and then hope to use it on turn 8. I think her power is great but takes too long to have an effect. If I can capture ferocious allies or have other tools like Into the Fray, Mezzik Darkspark, or Sever the Cord she becomes a bit more useful as I can use her each turn past turn 5. Morfiel also costs 4, but with 4 health is a lot tougher than Helwen and its effect comes into play immediately and remains in effect until Morfiel is destroyed. Having your opponent pay extra for abilities is a good effect but really the effect of Morfiel is to force your opponent to play a turn or more behind you. On turn 5 you can play a 5 resource ability but your oppoent is forced to wait for turn 6 - the effect is multiplied if they failed to drop a resource on one of the early turns. I have played Helwen in a Mezzik Darkspark combo deck but I will give hte edge to Morfiel as i can see this pet sneaking into quite a few of my warlock builds.

Infernal vs Doomguard
Infernal was my favorite card early on. I liked the area of effect damage dealt at the end of each turn and with a 6 attack value and Radak Doombringer's flip power you can deal 12 damage in a single turn. With 6 Health he is pretty much guaranteed to be a 2 for 1 exchange and with 6 Attack he can take out almost anything. His only drawbacks were a high resource cost of 6 and a potentially high upkeep cost - discard one card or he his given to another player. Late game the upkeep payment for Infernal can be a bit of a problem but if this is your winning condition you should be able to hold onto him long enough to win the game. Doomguard is more expensive at 7 resources but his payment cost can be devastating. When Doomguard enters play a random friendly character is destroyed. This could include your hero ending the game with a loss. If your hero survives the processes you get a monster 8 Attack and 8 Health ally in play that destroys target ally at the end of your turn. I will probably split deck space between Infernal and Doomguard and will add in a few more little allies to help increase the odds of surviving playing Doomguard.

When I started looking at the Warlock pets I was thinking I would have to conclude with who "wins" old school with Sarmoth and Infernal or new school with Morfiel and Doomguard. Now that I have spent some time looking at these pets the winner is the warlock class. Anyone who wants to play a warlock can build a pretty effective deck. Rush decks with Sarmoth and Grimdron and Piztog. Control decks with Sarmoth and Morfiel and Helwen. A power beat down with Sarmoth and Infernal and Doomguard. The big conclusion I have found is that Sarmoth is the best pet getting the player at worst a one card and one turn advantage and potentially mush more. So for the warlock heroes out there, use your pets wisely.

Note: I have reviewed the cards linked in this article on tNook. If you disagree with my assessments, feel free to post your own reviews of the cards on tNook and post a response here telling me how wrong I am.

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