A lot Hearthstone players who don’t typically play Arena ask for advice on one of the main junctions of the web, Reddit. And one piece of advice that always comes up is “use HearthArena.” For those unfamiliar, HearthArena is a drafting tool that assigns tierscores to cards given during the Arena draft. While cards are assigned an inherent neutral score, certain covariates like class type, deck synergy, mana curve, etc would cause tierscores to move up or down during the draft. HearthArena has a deal with Overwolf, where a digital overlay would automatically appear during your arena draft. Former HearthArena employees ADWCTA and Merps also have their own tierscores on The Lightforge.
Back in the day, I used these drafting tools for every arena run. Nowadays, I just consult the tier lists when I am really unsure about something, and want professional verification. While tierscores still have tremendous utility for those unfamiliar with the arena drafting process, or those who play horrible arenas, after a while, they don’t help too much. I’m at the point where I have developed my own drafting style, and using the tierscore lists wouldn’t help me too much.
This brings me to back to Reddit. HearthArena is so entrenched with good arena drafting, that for some people, it is all that they know. Smart users of the tool would know to deviate from the tierscores maybe 1-5 times in a draft. Algorithms aren’t perfect, and it is evident, when you do deviate from the tierscores to fill a need. But a lot of people live and die with the tierscore. It doesn’t matter if the only possible source of card draw is just 0.5 points below a high value card, they will pick the highest score possible. Posters of Reddit are also using their aggregate draft tierscores as a way of bragging (e.g. look at my 77 tierscore deck!).
While tierscores as a whole will lead you towards the right path (winning), the blind devotion to a single tierscore is harmful. And this is definitely the case for the card Moat Lurker.
Only a 54
HearthArena and The Lightforge both list Moat Lurker as a 54. On HearthArena, this is a firmly mid-average card, while in The Lightforge, a 54 is on the cusp of being above average. Here is a partial of other neutral cards assigned a 54 in HearthArena:
- Bloodfen Raptor
- Dragonkin Sorcerer
- Lost Tallstrider
- Questing Adventurer
ADWCTA and Merps compared Moat Lurker to a Frost Elemental in their podcast. Frost Elemental has a 62 Lightforge Tierscore.
Moat Lurker’s evident flaws
- Low stats – 3/3 for 6 mana is in godawful territory. That is 7 points below the 13 point standard.
- Minion comes back – In the arena, Moat Lurker is going to be used to remove enemies most of the time. If you destroy Moat Lurker, said enemy comes back.
- Situational – Against faster-style decks, Moat Lurker won’t have much value in removing little guys. He could be in your hand for a while.
Moat Lurker’s value
- Neutral hard removal – While every class has some form of hard removal, this is the first neutral hard removal (err, occasionally Deathwing). Corrupted Seer, an Old Gods arena highlight, was a similar first neutral AoE. This increases the chances a deck can have more than 1 hard removal, or provide the only hard removal for a deck.
- Greedy deathrattle – A more constructed mechanic, Moat Lurker can be used to eat your own minions, and spit them out again. If you manage to have a Sylvanas out, that’s great. Besides eat a card like 1/1 Twilight Summoner or Anubisath Sentinel, doing this to your own minions is a bit of an anti-tempo move.
- Eats up buffs/debuffs – Arena Paladins are fairly strong because of buff mechanics like Blessing of Kings or Seal of Champions. Using Moat Lurker to eat something will effectively remove the buff. Further, you can use this on your own minions to remove a debuff, like Blessing of Wisdom, Aldor Peacekeeper, Keeper of Uldaman, Corruption, etc.
But wait, there’s more!
Back to the hard removal point. This card, like Kidnapper, removes the minions with it’s minion ability, rather than via a spell. This prevents the card from being countered by Counterspell or Loatheb. Further, this card can remove cards covered by the yellow, untargetable haze. You know, Spectral Knight, Faerie Dragon, Arcane Nullifier, and even Soggoth the Slitherer!
I hate to pick on HearthArena again, but yeah. I looked up all the hard removals of all classes. These are the only cards that have a lower tier score than Moat Lurker:
- Naturalize (50)
- Polymorph: Boar (50)
- Humility (51)
- Corruption (35)
These cards above are all not ideal removals. Here are some tierscores for similar good removal cards:
- Mulch (71)
- Assassinate (78)
- SW: Death (95)
- Crush (76)
- Siphon Soul (91)
- Flame Lance (72)
These are the most similar to Moat Lurker, targeting and destroying a minion, without silencing a deathrattle. 54 is much lower than the scores of the cards above.
No way it’s a 54
It’s not easy to assign a single tierscore for such a complicated card. Moat Lurker’s inherent value comes from the number of hard removals in your deck, possible deathrattle synergies in your deck, and a condition of at least winning the board. So it is a situational, win-more, hard removal in a 3/3 minion. No way this card is the same value as Bloodfen Raptor or Lost Tallstrider.
A possibility that the card is given such a low score is because the tierscore reviewers don’t know what to do with it. Moat Lurker has so much good and so much bad, that they settled on the most average tierscore.
I think as time goes by, people are going to realize that Moat Lurker is better than a 54. Given the dilution of hard removal with the increased card pool and ongoing faster/face arena meta, the need to clear a big thing or taunt is high priority.
It’s time to look past a single tierscore. Moat Lurker is better than 54. It is at least in the low 60s.