In this Hearthstone Journey to Un’Goro card spotlight, I take a look at Vicious Fledgling. It is a high-risk, high-reward card that has largely flown under the radar, but that can really win games.
Vicious Fledgling is a neutral 3-mana 3/3 Beast with a very special power: after it attacks a hero, it adapts. This makes it somewhat unreliable, as each time you attack a hero, you have a 30% chance to find the ability you want the most, but on the other hand it is also a card with unlimited snowballing potential: after a few hits, it is a full-blown beast and not a fledgling anymore!
Generally, the first adapt you want to pick is always Windfury: if you find Windfury, you can go again on the same turn for another pick, and go for two more picks each turn from there.
What limits the power of Vicious Fledgling a little is that you really want to hit face with it and not spend time trading – although sometimes when I have picked Poisonous and Divine Shield, pushing through a single taunt is not that big of a deal. On the other hand, Vicious Fledgling is a minion the opponent has to remove immediately, as it can rapidly become too powerful to remove with additional health, stealth, or being untargetable by spells and hero powers.
Aggro Druid: Home sweet home
The most comfortable home Vicious Fledgling has found so far is in Aggro Druid. Not all lists are running it, but considering its power level it is a great fit. Druid is one of two classes that can get the Vicious Fledgling on the board on the first turn thanks to the power of Innervate, and a turn 1 Fledgling often just wins the game.
Furthermore, the Beast tag is a good fit in Aggro Druid, as Druid is running Mark of Y’Shaarj anyway, so that gives an option to both buff the Vicious Fledgling and draw a card at the same time.
It is also worth considering whether a slower Beast Druid could be viable. The Druid lists that currently see play are either very aggressive decks or ramp decks, and the Fledgling obviously only fits in the aggressive type. However, should any midrange Beast Druid become viable, Vicious Fledgling could find a spot in it as well, as there is some nice potential for it together with Menagerie Warden and maybe even Virmen Sensei.
Midrange Hunter: Beast power
The second-most common place for a Vicious Fledgling to see play in is Midrange Hunter. A snowballing early-game Beast that curves out into Houndmaster on turn four? Maybe play it together with a Tundra Rhino a bit later in the game? There is some serious potential here.
That said, Fledgling has not had quite the effect on Hunter as it has had on Druid so far. Hunter lacks the means to cheat it out early, and the midrange strategy typically involves fighting for board control early in the game, so the Fledgling’s desire to hit face is not a perfect match for that early-game plan.
Vicious Fledgling in Tempo Warrior
Over the past few days, I actually experimented with Vicious Fledgling in Tempo Warrior. It was not bad, but it might not be good enough either.
The dynamic duo of Vicious Fledgling and Frothing Berserker means that you have a whole bunch of three-drops that require immediate attention, and dropping one on the coin on two followed by another on three is a lot of early-game power.
Furthermore, Tempo Warrior has taunts to protect the Vicious Fledgling with. Vicious Fledgling into Bloodhoof Brave? Maybe follow it up with a Direhorn Hatchling? Or grab that Fledgling from The Curator and have The Curator protect it.
Tempo Warrior has reasonable means to protect Vicious Fledgling, but the main questions are whether Tempo Warrior needs another three-drop, or whether something with a little more punch and durability at a higher mana cost, such as a Bittertide Hydra for five mana, is better suited to be that big threat. I’m not completely sure, but I’m leaning towards not including the Fledgling. Regardless, it is an interesting card to experiment with!
Can it find yet another home?
There are multiple ways Vicious Fledgling can prove to be useful. If a deck can cheat it out early, it is potentially really powerful. Likewise, if a deck has the means to dictate trades or otherwise protect the Vicious Fledgling, it can shine.
In addition to Druid, Rogue is the only class with the means to get the Vicious Fledgling out early thanks to Counterfeit Coin. However, Rogue typically has other uses for those precious coins, such as enabling combos or growing a huge Edwin VanCleef. Perhaps some kind of Aggro Rogue could find a use for Vicious Fledgling.
Paladin could be interested in Vicious Fledgling as well, if the right build is discovered. Right now, Paladin is so focused on running a lot of Murlocs that fitting in a beast seems far-fetched.
Vicious Fledgling is an interesting card that has managed to fly under the radar for the most part. It is commonly seen in Aggro Druid and sometimes seen in Hunter, but it also remains an option for many other aggressive builds. Competing with Pirates or Murlocs for a spot in a deck can be hard, but Vicious Fledgling is always a card to consider when building an aggressive deck.