Knights of the Frozen Throne card review: Bolvar, Fireblood

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 Bolvar, Fireblood.

Bolvar, Fireblood

Bolvar, Fireblood is a Legendary Paladin class card from Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. It is a five-mana 1/7 minion with Divine Shield that gains +2 attack after a friendly minion loses Divine Shield.

Because the previous version of Bolvar (from Goblins vs Gnomes) was buffed while it was in your hand, I have seen several people confuse the way these two cards work. There is nothing in Bolvar, Fireblood that would indicate it getting buffs when it is not on the board. Instead, it gains +2 attack while it is on the board and a friendly minion loses Divine Shield.

Note that as Bolvar has Divine Shield of its own, it also buffs itself after it loses the Divine Shield. Therefore, the first attacker will hit a one-attack Bolvar, but the next one has to face a three-attack Bolvar.

Bolvar looks significantly better than the other synergy card based on losing Divine Shield, Light’s Sorrow. 3/7 stats for five mana are not stunning, but they are not exactly bad either. If you can pop just one other Divine Shield from a friendly minion, Bolvar already becomes 3/7 before his own shield goes down, and 5/7 afterwards. This is way better than Light’s Sorrow, which only gets started after two shields are down.

Add to this that the five-mana slot is relatively dry for Paladin – there are practically no useful class cards in that mana slot for Paladin, except for Grimstreet Enforcer for handbuff decks – and that at six mana there is a certain Spikeridged Steed waiting, and Bolvar becomes quite an attractive on-curve play. With that seven health and Divine Shield, it is quite sturdy for its mana cost.

There are some good neutral cards at five mana for various purposes – Finja, Harrison Jones, Elise the Trailblazer, Servant of Kalimos, and Stampeding Kodo – but a Divine Shield Paladin might not care too much about any of them either.

Paladin has access to a number of minions with Divine Shield, so the tools to build a deck around Divine Shield exist:

  • Tirion Fordring
  • Bolvar, Fireblood
  • Argent Commander
  • Sunwalker
  • Psych-o-Tron
  • C’Thun’s Chosen
  • Corpsetaker (conditional)
  • Silvermoon Guardian
  • Tol’Vir Stoneshaper (conditional in Elemental decks)
  • Scarlet Crusader
  • Wickerflame Burnbristle
  • Argent Squire

Paladin can also give Divine Shield to minions in multiple ways:

  • Grimestreet Protector
  • Steward of Darkshire
  • Argent Protector
  • Selfless Hero
  • Hand of Protection

Many of these cards will obviously not see play, but there have been various Aggro Paladin builds that have focused on Divine Shields, especially giving them to minions with Steward of Darkshire. If you really want to take them all away, there’s always Blood Knight to do that.

While it is possible to take those Divine Shields away, do you really want to? Minions with Divine Shield are resistant to area-of-effect damage and can take valuable trades. Light’s Sorrow really needs those Divine Shields gone, but Bolvar Fireblood is much more patient: it can get to work after one shield is gone, and just keeps getting better if it is not dealt with.

Between Corpsetaker and Bolvar Fireblood, a number of Divine Shield Paladin archetypes from Aggro to Midrange seem possible. It will be interesting to see which turns out to be the best one, and whether it can overcome the power of Murlocs.