A couple weekends ago I picked up the newest raid deck from Cryptozoic, which just happened to be Icecrown Citadel featuring Arthas himself. Only one and a half of my friends that night had ever played the WoW card game before but were all Magic veterans so the rule conversion wasn’t a difficult process.
The Icecrown Citadel raid deck actually comes with 3 pre-made players deck you can use out of the box to take on Icecrown Citadel. Your friends can take up the role of Jaina, Sylvanas, or Tirion with exceptionally powerful heroes and some shiny weapons to boot (I am looking at you Ashbringer). These 3 player heroes are too powerful for regular play and cannot be used outside of fighting the Icecrown raid deck.
The first thing I I noticed as I was preparing the raid deck was that unlike previous multi-boss raid decks such as Black Temple, the party does not fight the bosses in order. Bosses like Marrowgar or Deathbringer Saurfang are part of your regular deck that can come into play at anytime. The party is always fighting Arthas and the other bosses accent the encounter.
There is also a hard time limit on the encounter as if you get enough resources to flip Arthas, everybody dies no matter what.
For the first few rounds it felt like Arthas might have been over-tuned but as we quickly approached turn 7 and 8 the player decks came into their own. Especially with the ability for Sylvanas and Tirion to immediate search up their respective weapons which are far beyond any normal weapon available in the game.
In comparison to the raid decks like Black Temple or Molten Core, it was obviously shorter, but to the point it felt rushed. The week after we played this raid deck, I brought Illidan to lay the smack down and I think the experience was more enjoyable as they had more times to let decks set-up and do their thing. However if you are short on time, Icecrown is probably a better option.
As my friends are primarily Magic players, they were expecting something like “Archenemy” which was Wizards of the Coast attempt to answer the popularity of the raid decks. I think they were pleasantly surprised how much more went into the raid decks.
Ultimately the raid deck is fun and fairly solid, but fails to try and recreate the the raid experience like the other decks do. I was hoping to have my friends cut through Lady Deathwhisper and the Blood Queen but they never popped up. In the future I hope Cryptozoic tries to return to the idea of doing their best in faithfully recreating raid encounters in cardboard format.