Knights of the Frozen Throne card review: Professor Putricide

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 Professor Putricide.

Professor Putricide

Professor Putricide is a legendary Hunter class card from Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. It is a four-mana 5/4 minion with a special effect that after you play a Secret, Professor Putricide puts a random Hunter Secret into the battlefield.

We have seen this same wording before, in Mysterious Challenger. Therefore, we can assume that Professor Putricide’s Secrets work the same way: they do not count as spells that you cast and therefore will not buff Secretkeeper and will not increase the spell count for Yogg-Saron.

I expect there to be a new Secret in the new set, but evaluating that has to wait until it is revealed. That said, these are the current Hunter Secrets in Standard:

  • Cat Trick
  • Explosive Trap
  • Freezing Trap
  • Hidden Cache
  • Misdirection
  • Snake Trap
  • Snipe
  • Venomstrike Trap

It is important to note that only one of each type of Secret can be in play at the same time. Therefore, if you want to use Professor Putricide with multiple Secrets, you will sometimes be unable to play them all, as Professor manages to put one in play before you. For two Secrets, the probability of this happening is 1/7, and for three Secrets it is 43%. Building a full Christmas tree is by no means guaranteed even if you have the cards and mana!

What kind of competition does Professor Putricide face? Four-mana slot is not one of Hunter’s strong points, so in that regard Putricide may come in at a good time. Whether Putricide is really a four-drop is of course debatable. Anyway, here are the most potent options Hunter currently has for four mana:

  • Houndmaster
  • Infested Wolf
  • Dispatch Kodo
  • Barnes
  • Spellbreaker

There could be room for Putricide here: Houndmaster is probably too good to leave out of any Hunter deck right now, as Hunter has quite a good assortment of Beasts available. Professor Putricide could be just about the only thing to build a non-Beast Hunter around, as it synergizes well with the few non-Beast cards Hunter can run, such as Cloaked Huntress and Barnes, but the Beast synergies are so strong that it is unlikely for a non-Beast build to appear.

Barnes is interesting, as it is both competition and a card with synergy: Barnes pulling a copy of Professor Putricide or Cloaked Huntress can be a big deal.

Cloaked Huntress deserves some attention as well, as I would expect to see it in any decks that want to include Professor Putricide. As a three-mana 3/4, Cloaked Huntress is not always easy to remove, and curving out from that to a Turn four Professor Putricide is very powerful. It is also risky though, as you would need to save Secrets to play the following turn instead of taking the guaranteed tempo.

What is the right deck for Professor Putricide?

The mandatory question, can you build a Control Hunter now? That’s still unlikely because you have no healing, no card draw, and no board clears. Next question.

What about something Yogg’n’Load style? Without Lock and Load, or something similar to that, there is not enough refill available, so no for that one too.

Will Professor Putricide create a Secret Paladin style of a Secret Hunter where you suddenly build a huge Christmas tree of Secrets and swing the game around in the mid-game? First of all, half of the time you can only play two Secrets with Professor Putricide, as it plays a duplicate before you get to play yours. That’s still four Secret in play though!

However, Secret Paladin was not only based on Secrets, but also on the perfect cards to contest a board until the swing turn – and its swing was more powerful the more minions it already had on the board. Hunter already has a hard time contesting the board, and you also need to draw enough Secrets to power the Putricide turn – something Secret Paladin was not concerned of, as all Secrets were pulled directly from the deck, thus doubling up as card draw, something Putricide is unable to do.

This type of deck can still be possible. For it to happen, Hunter needs to be able to reliably fight for the board while having the resources to play Putricide together with Secrets in the midgame. Card draw or drawing Secrets from the deck, something like that is probably needed.

At this point it might be useful to look back at the most successful Secret Hunter build in the Journey to Un’Goro metagame: Kranich’s Secret Hunter. Kranich’s build was fast, aggressive, and only included four Secrets: Explosive Trap, Snake Trap, and two copies of Cat Trick. It did not seek to play a ton of Secrets at once, but was happy to get just one or two of them out with the Cloaked Huntress for a minor tempo swing that gave it more time to hit some face.

Professor Putricide can be a good card even if played in such a smaller role: it is a minion your opponent has to remove unless they already have their eye on lethal, and playing even just one Secret alongside it means that you get another Secret for free. Its 5/4 statline means that most three-drops are unable to kill it, so it can also get a good trade.

Could Professor Putricide strengthen a slower Midrange Hunter deck? Possibly, but Secret Hunter is quite heavily pushed to an aggressive direction: as you empty your hand faster when you have a bunch of Secrets there instead of a bunch of midrange minions and you have no way to draw cards, you run out of resources and have to end the game quickly or lose.

It is unlikely that even Deathstalker Rexxar can change this, as you have no reliable way to draw it. If you did, you could build an interesting deck that went all out on Secrets early and followed them up with Zombeasts in the mid-game. Perhaps you can build it even without a good way to get to Rexxar: sometimes you just win with Secrets, and sometimes when you don’t, Rexxar comes out in time to bail you out. I guess this does not really make for a slower deck either, it’s just the same fast deck with one card included for another go if all else fails. It is not the only possible archetype for Deathstalker Rexxar, but it might be the only one where it joins forces with Professor Putricide.

Overall, Professor Putricide is an interesting and potentially strong card. It does not seem to be a Mysterious Challenger, it is not the centerpiece of the deck, but it can serve a role in a Secret Hunter deck, if a viable list emerges.