Hagatha the Witch (Hearthstone The Witchwood card preview)

Hearthstone’s The Witchwood expansion reveal stream took place yesterday and revealed ten new cards. The most anticipated one was Hagatha the Witch, a legendary Shaman Hero card, and the only Hero card in the entire expansion.

In this post, I take an in-depth look at Hagatha and her effect.

Hagatha the Witch

Hagatha the Witch is an eight-mana Legendary Shaman Hero card with a Battlecry to deal 3 damage to all minions. It also gives you 5 armor, like all other current Hero cards, and replaces your Hero Power with a new one.

Hagatha’s Hero Power is Bewitch: a passive Hero Power that adds a random Shaman spell to your hand after you play a minion. You thought Lyra the Sunshard was good? How about getting a similar effect that cannot be removed? (Granted, Lyra fed herself because each spell could be used to generate a new one and Hagatha cannot do the same as you need to play minions to get spells.)

Note that the requirement is to play a minion, not summon a minion: any summon effects will not work with Bewitch, you only get one spell for each minion card played from hand.

Hagatha’s spell pool (Standard, pre-Witchwood)

There are 26 Shaman spells in the upcoming Standard format – excluding the Witchwood spells that are yet to be revealed:

0 mana:

  • Ancestral Healing: Restore a minion to full Health and give it Taunt.
  • Totemic Might: Give your Totems +2 Health.

1 mana:

  • Earth Shock: Silence a minion, then deal 1 damage to it.
  • Forked Lightning: Deal 2 damage to 2 random enemy minions. Overload: (2)
  • Frost Shock: Deal 1 damage to an enemy character and Freeze it.
  • Lightning Bolt: Deal 3 damage. Overload: (1)
  • Unstable Evolution: Transform a friendly minion into one that costs (1) more. Repeatable this turn.

2 mana:

  • Ancestral Spirit: Give a minion “Deathrattle: Resummon this minion.”
  • Crushing Hand: Deal 8 damage to a minion. Overload: (3)
  • Cryostasis: Give a minion +3/+3 and Freeze it.
  • Ice Fishing: Draw 2 Murlocs from your deck.
  • Rockbiter Weapon: Give a friendly character +3 Attack this turn.
  • Windfury: Give a minion Windfury.

3 mana:

  • Healing Rain: Restore 12 Health divided randomly among all friendly characters.
  • Far Sight: Draw a card. That card costs (3) less.
  • Feral Spirit: Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. Overload: (2)
  • Lava Burst: Deal 5 damage. Overload: (2)
  • Lightning Storm: Deal 2-3 damage to all enemy minions. Overload: (2)
  • Primal Talismans: Give your minions “Deathrattle: Summon a random basic Totem.”
  • Spirit Echo: Give your minions “Deathrattle: Return this to your hand.”

4 mana:

  • Avalanche: Freeze a minion and deal 3 damage to adjacent ones.
  • Hex: Transform a minion into a 0/1 Frog with Taunt.
  • Tidal Surge: Deal 4 damage to a minion. Restore 4 Health to your hero.

5 mana:

  • Bloodlust: Give your minions +3 Attack this turn.
  • Volcano: Deal 15 Damage randomly split across all minions. Overload: (2)

7 mana:

  • Lesser Sapphire Spellstone: Summon 1 copy of a friendly minion. (Overload 3 Mana Crystals to upgrade.)

What does all of this mean?

Some key probabilities related to Hagatha (pre-Witchwood):

  • Area-of-effect damage (4 – 15%): Forked Lightning, Lightning Storm, Avalanche, Volcano
  • Direct damage to face, bypasses Taunt (3 – 12%): Frost Shock, Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst
  • Freeze (3 – 12%): Frost Shock, Cryostasis, Avalanche
  • Damage to face, requires an attack (2 – 8%): Rockbiter Weapon, Windfury
  • Silence (2 – 8%): Earth Shock, Hex
  • Healing (2 – 8%): Healing Rain, Tidal Surge
  • Taunt (2 – 8%): Ancestral Healing, Feral Spirit
  • Chance to find a specific spell: 4%

Making the most of Hagatha

In order to get a lot of spells, you want to play a lot of minions. While some people are speculating on decks based on small minions, that seems an unlikely path to me. However, there are ways to play minions multiple times in Hearthstone, and those seem to be especially interesting in connection with Hagatha.

The new Echo mechanic is particularly synergistic with Hagatha: with Echo, you are playing each copy from hand as a separate minion, and therefore each of them will give you a random Shaman spell from Bewitch. As my previous examination of Echo synergies shows, Shaman is in a great spot to bounce some Echo cards back to hand in order to play them again and again.

Grumble, Worldshaker is a great minion and can really keep Hagatha well-fed. Hagatha also has a level of self-sustain in the form of Spirit Echo, which is also one of the spells you can get from Hagatha. Some neutral cards can also do a good job of maintaining your minion pool, such as Youthful Brewmaster, Ysera, and Zola the Gorgon.

Elementals also naturally synergize with Hagatha: Fire Fly and Servant of Kalimos already see play and can replace themselves with another minion. Likewise for Stonehill Defender, which is not an Elemental, but sees some play in Shaman.

Perhaps even Nightmare Amalgam can prove to be useful in a Hagatha deck: it synergizes with Totemic Might and Ice Fishing while also being an Elemental.

Hagatha decks need minions. It is unlikely that they will resemble old Control Shaman decks, but they don’t seem to be full Token Shaman builds either. Instead, more midrange-style decks such as Elemental Shaman could put Hagatha to good use in the late game to gain more value to outlast and overwhelm opponents.