The Paladin Legendary weapon Val’anyr is stacked with value. My first question is whether Control Paladin is a good enough deck to make use of that value. In theory you could never go a turn without having this weapon to swing (play 6, use up 7, play buffed minion 7, dies on 8, play weapon again...). But is this a win condition or are you slowly killing yourself a swing at a time? So it depends on having ample healing and threats in the deck, as well as not being way behind on turn 6. I am sceptical about Control Paladin having the tools it needs to compete.
The next thought is, would this fit as a finisher in aggro paladin? Maybe, since aggro decks have consistent pressure and ample card draw (especially with the addition of Call to Arms). This weapon could be the perfect late game fuel in a deck that often fizzles due to a collection of weak minions. You can use the last swing at the beginning of the turn to see where the buff falls, before playing any cards. Now, a sudden +4/+2 is quite a boost for that 1 mana card you just top decked, and 4-8 extra damage per turn could be enough to finish the job.
Lynessa Sunsorrow: 2/5
Lynessa Sunsorrow could be enough to make buff paladin viable, but if the meta remains full of silences it may be limited to memes. One thought is, if you pack your deck with enough buff targets that demand a silence, maybe your opponent will not have an answer when you apply all the same buff cards to this card on turn 7. The other thought is to simply include Lynessa in another deck that already runs Blessing of Kings and Spikeridged Steed, which provide enough value for this card to make some noise. Again, you have to hope your opponent is out of answers or all you have left is a 1/1 ping target. But if they are, this card could win some games.
Call to Arms: 3.5/5
Call to Arms packs lots of value, though you forgo minions’ Battlecries. The card has potential in both aggro and midrange archetypes. It does have a key advantage, in that it gives a way to fill the board on turn 4, whereas Blessing of Kings can only buff an existing board and against an empty board Truesilver Champion may sit idle. Playing this card on turn 4 sets up a Cobalt Scalebane follow up on turn 5. Could be on turn 5 before Sunkeeper Tarim, but it floats a mana unless you have the coin and your opponent may clear your recruits before they ever attack. The card does provide board refill on late turns, and since the minions go straight to board it doesn’t fill your hand with junk so it works fine with Divine Favor. With Prince Keleseth decks, drawing and playing 3 buffed 1 drops is worth more than 4 mana. Look for minions that are durable and/or impact the board. Righteous Protector will be a good fit. For non-aggro, this card thins the deck.
Level Up!: 2.5/5
Level Up! is a card that provides burst that token paladin decks desperately need. In addition to the threat of Sunkeeper Tarim, your opponent has to worry about paladin tokens after turn 4. The value is there if you have at least 3 recruits on board, but the card does have drawbacks. It is expensive, so it is difficult to combo it with significant token generation on the same turn, though Lost in the Jungle and Vinecleaver can help with this. The card is slightly overcosted due to the inclusion of taunt, which doesn’t seem particularly helpful. It isn’t the Quartermaster we need, but it is the turn 5 token buff card we have. If this doesn’t work, it may be several more weeks of Murloc Paladin.
Crystal Lion: 3.5/5
Crystal Lion will provide much needed punch for silver hand decks and could even work it’s way into other archetypes. It doesn’t require it but it has a really cool combo with Stand Against Darkness. An instant full board for 6 mana is reminiscent of the old Call In The Finishers & Everyfin Is Awesome combo. But even with 1-2 recruits you can play this for a decent midgame body. Note: If you played 3 recruits on turn 3, and only 1 is removed, this costs 4 mana on turn 4. A 4 mana 5/5. Womp, womp. But that’s actually pretty good. Plus maybe the scary lion will distract the opponent from killing your 1/1’s. This card should see play if Paladin does.
Lesser Pearl Spellstone: 2/5
With consistent self-healing, the Paladin Spellstone could turn into a 2 mana 6/6 taunt. The 3 health requirement is somewhat awkward. Two swings of a Truesilver Champion or one turn with a Benevolent Djinn could accomplish one upgrade (but only if health is actually restored). Even a 2/2 taunt seems decent value, but upgrading this could be clunky. Consider how making the Taunt better has a similar result to a Shaman making his 5/5 Thing From Below cheaper. So eventually the paladin has a 2 mana 6/6 taunt and the Shaman has a 2 mana 5/5 Taunt, but the Shaman did it by playing 4 Totems (easy to do) and the Paladin has to take face damage and play a limited number of healing cards. So, don’t count on easy upgrades. Given that the Spellstone is likely limited to control decks, will it be enough to help restore Control Paladin to glory, or will it sit on the sidelines of the meta? I fear it will not be enough. Note: This card lacks synergy with both of the Paladin Legendaries.
Unidentified Maul: 1/5
Possible Battlecries for Unidentified Maul include giving all your minions Divine Shield, Taunt, +1 Attack, or summoning 2 Silver Hand Recruits. Unfortunately this card competes with Rallying Blade and does not compare favorably since it only has 2 attack. It could take its place after rotation, but seems inferior for now. The problem with the Battlecry is that you don’t get to choose one to match your current situation. The more powerful ones are highly dependent on already having a board, and the last thing Paladin needs is more cards that depend on a pre-existing board. I think this card is too inconsistent.
A way this card could find play is in a 4 weapon deck, where it you double down on 3 mana weapons nearly ensuring you have one in the early game. Depending on the meta, that could be a way for Paladin to keep up with aggressive decks, or more likely it could be an exciting game of “which Unidentified Maul top deck will disappoint me this time.”
Benevolent Djinn: 3/5
Benevolent Djinn is a nice source of incremental healing which can support weapon use or buy time against aggro, although we might wonder how long this minion will actually live. Healing can be a whiff against combo decks that may leave you at 30 while they assemble your certain death. It does score points for partial synergy with the Spellstone and isn’t badly over-costed. Unlike Aldor Peacekeeper, there’s no major opportunity cost for playing this on turn 3 for tempo. It has some combo potential with Blackguard from the prior set which seems worth exploring. So it's a decent minion with a fascinating effect, but it may not be enough to make Control Paladin great again. As a bonus, maybe your opponent will get tired of this card healing you and use up removal instead of saving it for Tirion Fordring.
Drygulch Jailor: 3/5
Drygulch Jailor basically gives you a weaponless Muster for Battle on turn 3. You can also hold some of the cards for a future Crystal Lion, Level Up!, or Sunkeeper Tarim turn… or just for that awkward turn when you have 1 mana left over. The 1/1 body is incredibly weak, but unless Earth Shock sees play it will probably not seem worth a silence from your opponent. The hope of a Crystal Lion followup on turn 4 could punish passive opponents during the middle turns.
Another bonus of this card is it provides fuel for Aggro Paladin in the transition to late game. This is a lot of value for a 2 drop and is a solid pull from Call to Arms. It can help set up a late game comeback combo, such as a Bonemare play on turn 8. Putting down 3 1/1’s and a Cobalt Scalebane may be just enough to stymie a top-decking opponent.
Despite being low tempo, playing this card is never worse than using your hero power. Not much of a commendation, but we’ve been surprised before by weak cards that provide value.
Potion of Heroism: 2/5
Potion of Heroism is a promising card but will it see any mainstream use? Deathspeaker, a fringe card in constructed, does the same job with a body instead of card draw, but perhaps the lower cost and refill will make this card more useful in some situations. I could be underestimating it and wouldn't mind seeing a viable Divine Shield generator, but I don't expect this to be a breakout card. Makes for good trades but why not just run another threat instead? Great in the right situation, but the low tempo and need to already be on the board seem limiting.
The exception would be if Buff Paladin turns out to be viable. Then this card could be bonkers. The next Purify perhaps? We’ll see.
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