The latest offering from Blizzard is another tentacle-thrashing Legendary in the form of N'Zoth the Corruptor (Or N'Zoth for short). N'Zoth reads; “Battlecry: Summon your Deathrattle Minions that died this game”.
Now, I saw this and got over-excited (As I am prone to doing, spoiler season does some straaange things to me). Cogs began whirring until I realised that a LOT of the good Deathrattle minions go out of rotation as Whispers of the Old Gods hits in the Spring. Piloted Shredder, Boom Bots, and Sludge Belcher all go bye bye as WOTOG is ushered in. As we do here at Team MetaMinds, let's see what kind of impact N'Zoth will have on the new standard format, and what it's interactions are.
Looking at the card in a purely one-dimensional fashion, he's (It's?) a Kel'Thuzad with tentacles. A ten-mana 5/7. Nothing spectacular, right? It's not until you take him out of his perspex box and look at it in rose-tinted spectacles that you realise it's a pseudo Mysterious Challenger. Before you don your helmet and destroy your Caps Lock, give me a chance to explain. N'Zoth can resurrect problems, and big ones at that. It's possible to create a stupendously sticky board that is practically impossible to deal with.
Imagine the scene; It's late game, and you top N'Zoth. Let's draw upon those Challenger comparisons. You play Mysterious N'Zoth. And rather than spawn either nothing (After opening relevant secrets) or a slew of secrets that shut the game out, you spawn something like this;
A 5/5 body that steals an opponent's minion upon being destroyed, a 4/5 body that spawns another 4/5 body when destroyed, a 4/4 Body that gives another “Secret” +3/+3 upon destruction, a 2/3 body that summons a 2/1, a 2/1 that draws a card, a 2/2 that gives everything +1/+1 upon death, or a 1/1 that hits everything for 1 damage when he gets smushed. And that's not even covering the class specifics.
So Challenger gives you a 6/6 turn 6 with a plethora of options, but as a trade-off you have to play seven 1-mana spells that are dead draws effectively, rather than pro-active minions that can fight for the board independently. Yes, the argument could be made that Secret Paladin is amazing because of the curve available to Paladins, but we are in spoiler season, let a man dream!!
The neutral minions listed above come together to form a board with multiple layers that are hard to undo. Not impossible, but super sticky. N'Zoth as a card can generate some serious card advantage through nothing but a battlecry and forces huge expenditure from the opponent to clear or poses an option to throw caution to the wind and get face damage in or clear favourably on their end what is effectively a 3-layered wall which regenerates advantage through Loot Hoarders, Sylvanas Windrunner and Cairne Bloodhoof.
Popping a pin in the neutrals for a moment, let's consider the impact of class specific minions that could add to this line of play. The first card that jumps to mind is Tirion Fordring. N'Zoth can summon all of the above, including a Tirion Fordring offering an extra layer of protection and perhaps filling the void left by Belcher in N'Zoth's arsenal. A 6/6 Divine Shield Taunt that gives you a 5/3 Ashbringer upon death? Sign me up!
Rhonin is a Mage Specific rattler that provides a 7/7 body and 3 Arcane Missiles upon death. Which potentially opens the door to Malygos plays.
From here we look at Savannah Highmane. A 6/5 that summons 2 2/2s upon death. This isn't a legendary minion, so N'Zoth can summon TWO of these guys.
Rogue can spawn us two Tomb Pillager, a 5/4 body that gives us a coin upon death.
Mentioning Rogue, it has one of the more intricate plays N'Zoth offers. One would come to the conclusion that if a Deathrattle minion died more than once in a game, N'Zoth would summon more than one copy. This opens the floodgates to a potential board full of Anub'Arak, which summons a board full of Nerubians and an infinite supply of the creepy spider dude.
Finally, we look at Dreadsteed. Arguably easier to execute, N'Zoth could fill your board with six 1/1 minions offering infinite trades each turn whilst getting digs in with the body of N'Zoth.
In conclusion, N'Zoth is perhaps a bridge too far for even the most ardent innovators out there. The tools are there, by all means, but the process that the deck has to go through to get to a point where N'Zoth is a game-ender is a long one, and the game may be lost more often than won on the way to successfully casting this ten-mana win condition.