The recent expansion brought us a new Ragnaros to dread on turn 8, Ragnaros, Lightlord. Unlike his much angrier evil twin, Ragnaros the Firelord, the angelic Ragnaros heals you or one of your minions at the end of every turn, after smacking something in the face for 8 damage, that is. That’s right boys and girls, the Lightlord can attack. Unfortunately, the Lightlord will only work for Paladins. Why?
No idea, other than they might need some redemption after plaguing us with Secret Paladin for so long. So, if you play as a paladin, you can have both version of Ragnaros on the board at the same time. It’s kind of like the scenario where you have a devil on one shoulder, and an angel on the other, each whispering in your ear. So without further ado, let’s talk about the brothers fire.
So, I want to talk about Ragnaros, Lightlord first. As I said above, he only comes out to play for paladins, and if you are including him in your deck, then chances are good you are playing some form of control paladin. So far, I have seen two versions of paladin that are running Lightlord, and both are end game oriented. The most popular, by far, is the N’Zoth Paladin. This deck concentrates on a putting out a few key deathrattle minions like Cairne Bloodhoof, Tirion Fordring, and Sylvanas Windrunner. Once played, your opponent has had to deal with them, and when they have all died you just play N'Zoth, the Corruptor and bring them all back for a second helping of mayhem. In the meantime, while you are setting up the killing blow with N’Zoth, you play Ragnaros, Lightlord and Ragnaros the Firelord to force your opponents to use their resources on them or die. The rest of the deck is all control, and you must control the board state to win. If you do, the N’Zoth Paladin is hard to beat. The other deck is far less popular, I will call it the Healadin, but effective as it focuses on exhausting your opponents resources with what seems like endless healing. By using cards like Guardian of Kings, Lay on Hands, and the new Forbidden Healing, you can keep yourself alive through virtually any onslaught, if you can make it to the end game. Once to fatigue, you start using Ragnaros, Lightlord to keep you alive while bashing your opponent for 8 damage a turn.
After a brief absence, Ragnaros the Firelord is back, and he isn’t just showing up in paladin decks. The Firelord is making like the phoenix and is enjoying a full on, fiery resurrection. With the combination of all the new end game threats, and the recent changes to Big Game Hunter, there isn’t a lot of ways to handle him that aren’t being reserved for bigger fish, er, I mean Gods. With all the new late game threats, it’s hard to know if it is safe to use the precious removal you have on Rag, or wait for the next threat…if there is one. This means that Rag is probably staying around for at least a turn or two. The effect of this is, while your opponent is weighing the options on whether to use one of their precious removal spells or take sparky out with a combination of minions and direct damage spells, the Firelord is tossing death and destruction randomly about. This forces players have to use more resources than they want to take him out, or try to play around him without dying in the process, and that is great value to me either way. My theory is simple, I believe the fact that Rag has been in the game since the beginning makes him familiar, and less scary to players than some of the newer cards, thus causing the “Fear of the Wolf” effect. I believe that they tend to save that removal for something they aren’t as used to seeing, or are scared of seeing, and it fools them into underestimating the threat of Rag by overestimating the possibility of bigger threats yet to be seen. If you buy into this theory, it means you may get more value out of Ragnaros the Firelord because players are more frightened of what else may be in hiding in the deck, and you can take advantage of your opponent looking for the bigger wolf. So if you are looking for a big end game threat, it may be time to squash some insects!
If you have been waiting for the right time to craft one, or both, of the Ragnaros brothers, then I don’t know if you will ever find a time when they are more powerful than right now. If you aren’t much of a paladin player, Ragnaros, Lightlord makes it the perfect time to immerse yourself in the class. As for Ragnaros the Firelord, remember that he used to be on everyone’s list as the first legendary minion to craft. Sparky may not be as new and shiny as his brother, or any of the newer cards, but I don’t think you will regret finding a place for him in some of your decks.
P.S. If you read the blog in February about cards I believed we would see again, you will notice two of them noted above. Aside from the two listed above, are there any other cards that weren’t getting much attention before the recent changes you have noticed coming back into flavor? I would love to get your responses below, or better yet in an email, and talk about it on an upcoming show.