Knights of the Frozen Throne card review: Abominable Bowman

Hearthstone’s Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion card reveal season is underway! We can expect to see multiple cards revealed on daily basis leading up to the expansion itself.

In this post, I take an in-depth look at Abominable Bowman.

Abominable Bowman

Abominable Bowman is an epic Hunter class card from Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. It is a seven-mana 6/7 minion with a Deathrattle to summon a random friendly Beast that died during the game.

Abominable Bowman itself is not a Beast, so it cannot be used to trigger Hunter’s Beast synergies.

It is attractive to think about the best-case scenarios with Abominable Bowman. You play Savannah Highmane on Turn six and follow it up with an Abominable Bowman on Turn seven. Trade away the Highmane and get another one from the Abominable Bowman. Sounds sweet!

Time for a reality check. Currently, Midrange Hunter plays lots of cheap Beast minions as well as minions that summon Beasts from their Deathrattles. How about getting an Alleycat? Or maybe a Rat from Rat Pack’s Deathrattle? It is especially the Deathrattles that are problematic: getting free copies of the Deathrattle minions themselves is great, but most Hunter Deathrattle minions summon more cheap Beasts, and therefore the card pool from which Abominable Bowman resummons a minion consists mostly of 1/1 and 2/2 Beast minions, not the good stuff.

Things are even worse against slow Shaman and Mage decks: Abominable Bowman can resummon the Frog from Hex and the Sheep from Polymorph. We’ll have to wait and see whether those cards see a lot of play though.

Abominable Bowman also does not achieve much on the turn it is played. You spend seven mana for a Boulderfist Ogre (a six-mana 6/7 basic card) – you don’t even get a Beast tag for the investment.

In current Midrange Hunter builds, Abominable Bowman is simply bad. Because it is an expensive minion with no immediate effect, I’m not sure if it can ever be good.

But we’re here to really think about this, right? OK. First, we’d need a deck that does not run bad Beast minions, so that we do not dilute the resurrect pool with poor options. We want stuff like Bearshark instead of Rat Pack. We want Stranglethorn Tiger instead of Infested Wolf. Maybe even Savannah Highmane is not good enough, although it is such a great card that maybe it is still worth the risk.

Maybe we can build such a deck around Secret core? Cloaked Huntress is not a Beast. Professor Putricide is not a Beast. The Cat from Cat Trick is a fine minion to resummon, but the Snakes from Snake Trap are not, and Professor Putricide may decide to play one for us. There might be something there, still, although the first two turns are really unclear without Beasts.

However, even if we can build a deck that could support Abominable Bowman to gain good value from its Deathrattle, would that deck want to run Abominable Bowman? It would be a fast, aggressive deck, where Abominable Bowman could top the curve. To be honest, Savannah Highmane looks better even if we really try to get the best possible results for Abominable Bowman, and even Savannah Highmane can be too slow for some Hunter decks.

Let’s give Abominable Bowman one more try. What about N’Zoth Hunter that does not care what Abominable Bowman summons, as long as it gets the 6/7 body back from N’Zoth? Sometimes you highroll with Abominable Bowman and hit one of those other Deathrattle minions, and other times you get that 1/1 Beast. A 6/7 body is pretty much as big as it gets from N’Zoth, so that does not sound too bad. Alas, we are back to Savannah Highmane. It’s just better.

The only way Abominable Bowman could see play in N’Zoth Hunter is if it is used in addition to Savannah Highmane. In a sufficiently slow meta, that can happen. In a non-N’Zoth build, given that the results from Abominable Bowman’s Deathrattle vary wildly, you’re much better off running Swamp King Dred in that 7-mana slot, if you even include such expensive cards in the deck.