Hearthstone’s Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion card reveal season has started! We can expect to see multiple cards revealed on daily basis for the next couple of weeks leading up to the expansion itself.
In this post, I take an in-depth look at Ice Breaker.
Ice Breaker is a rare Shaman class card from Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. It is a three-mana 1/3 weapon with a special effect to destroy any frozen minions it damages.
This is a difficult card to evaluate with so few cards from the set revealed so far.
For example, how can Shaman Freeze minions? Currently, there are three cards available to Shaman that Freeze minions: Glacial Shard, Frost Elemental, and Frost Shock. None of them see a significant amount of play, or much of any play, really. Glacial Shard has been experimented with in some Elemental Shaman builds, but generally there is not enough room for it.
What kind of Freeze would it take for Ice Breaker to see play? Shaman already has access to one of the strongest single-target removals in the game, Hex. Therefore, if you can generally remove one minion with Ice Breaker, it is better to just run Hex instead, especially as the three mana paid for Ice Breaker is very expensive for those one-attack hits on non-Frozen targets. In order to remove multiple minions with Ice Breaker, you need a lot of ways to Freeze minions, the current Freeze support is nowhere near enough.
Ice Breaker can be compared to Envenom Weapon, a Rogue card that gives your weapon Poisonous. Ice Breaker is essentially Poisonous with the restriction that it only works on Frozen minions. Envenom Weapon has seen some experimentation, but it is generally not strong enough to see play.
There is one key difference between Rogue and Shaman: Shaman can heal. Shaman can heal a lot. Therefore, it is easier for a Shaman player to use health as a resource to remove minions and protect their board, which in turn makes weapon-based removal a lot more attractive. However, Shaman also has plenty of other means of removal with cards such as Hex, Devolve, and Volcano, so it is a little difficult to see where they would fit in Ice Breaker.
If Shaman will have access to a ton of attractive Freeze effects and maybe even more related synergies, Ice Breaker could find a spot in the deck because the effect would be so easy to activate. Easily getting multiple removals from it could see it even replace some existing removal options.
If Freeze effects are more limited, it is hard to see the need to include Ice Breaker: why go for complicated combos when you already have access to powerful stand-alone cards for the same purpose?