The Hearthstone Nerf Everyone Wanted + Reynad’s Hot Take

The Hearthstone Nerf Everyone Wanted + Reynad’s Hot Take

Social media has been an impetus for forcing change in the world, and it seems to be happening more and more now. While Twitter and YouTube have been the vehicles for change in real-life events, Reddit has been the weapon of choice in Wizard Poker. The hive of Hearthstone Reddit has become the de facto voice for the Hearthstone community, and the devs claim to monitor it all the time. (I got most of my page views from posting on Reddit!) With that said, it’s not surprising that today’s nerfs (http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/20303031/upcoming-balance-changes-update-613-9-28-2016) happened.

Background

DRR19-Class-Freq.-by-Weeks.png
Courtesy of Vicious Syndicate Meta Report #19

Hey, we’re also in the Information Meta! While it may not be easy to quantify what you’re facing in Ranked. Shaman has skyrocketed to the top of the meta, well ahead of the nearest classes. It has been dominant since Old Gods put things together, and Karazhan made the class more well-rounded. Warrior was once top dog, and was brought down a bit by the Hunter rise. That in turn, shot the Shamans back up. Mage and Druid seem to be the “healthy” meta classes, while Warlock has fallen. Paladin, Rogue, and Priest have been in the cellar.

Quick takes on the changes

  • Rockbiter Weapon – A little torn about this one, given I won’t think of Rockbiter not being 1-mana. The pressure to combine it with Doomhammer likely did it in, but honestly when has a Shaman deck not run 2x Rockbiter? Opens up room for spell Shaman.
  • Tuskarr Totemic – This one is really well-deserved. Getting the result of Totem Golem and Mana Tide Totem is virtually 5 mana of things for 3 mana.
  • Call of the Wild – This one doesn’t seem too significant at first, but think about having 2 9-mana cards in your deck. Seems a bit heavy, though the card is too good still to not run 1 copy.
  • Execute – I think this is way overdue. Warrior removal is so good, this shouldn’t hurt too much. Honestly, Warriors often have the leftover mana to armor up.
  • Charge – While requiring more setup than Leeroy + Shadowstep, 20+ damage in 1 turn is still not very fun or interactive. This is consistent with the anti-charge philosophy the game is heading.
  • Abusive Sergeant – Like Leper Gnome, Abusive Sergeant is long known as an Aggro deck announcer. While this target may be for Shamans, it does hurt Zoolock decks. Could aggro decks now consider Lance Carrier?
  • Yogg-Saron – Stop the presses!

About Yogg

The devs floated some ideas about how to deal with Yogg in some recent interviews, given the outcome of competitive tournament games being decided by him. There was talk of the card being outright removed for tournament play, relegated to Wild permanently, or nerfs. The Yogg changes are two-fold, stopping the stream of spells when Yogg dies, and adding Overload on certain Shaman spells. I have no quantitative evidence, but it seems like Yogg kills himself over 50% of the time. So, we’re in for much shorter Yogg spell barrages. To use a football analogy, Yogg was always a hail mary pass, with a very strong-armed quarterback, and tall receivers. Or maybe like a 55-60 yard field goal. Now Yogg is more like trying to score a touchdown on laterals with the whole team. This primarily will hurt Druid, given it is a near staple for the class, and to a smaller extent Mage. On the plus side, a Yogg story is going to be more epic, and not happening a decent amount of the time.

“Everyone”

This is a fair point, in that the “everyone” that wanted these changes are the vocal minority. Points have been made that most people are more casual players. Hearthstone Reddit represents a minority that is more competitive (and possibly more immature) than the average player. The ban list cuts down on randomness in Tuskarr and Yogg, which are simply rewarding lesser players with wins over better ones. On the other hand, Yogg is much less fun, with spells ending sooner.

Reynad’s Hot Take

Reynad has never been afraid to take unpopular positions, and that continued today. While the majority of folks liked the nerf list, he didn’t think it did much.

reynad.PNG

Is he right or wrong? The claim that Shaman got a buff is odd at first, but check this out.

vs19.PNG
Courtesy of Vicious Syndicate Meta Reaper #19

Shaman fails against Warrior are no secret, and there is a little red in those matchups. Control Shaman is pretty bad against Yogg Druid and Tempo Mage, so that get’s a bump. The dominant decks in Aggro and Midrange Shaman were kept in check by Control/Dragon Warrior, so that is probably what Reynad is talking about. Of course, we have to consider how the 2 nerfs on Shaman would affect matchups against other classes in this grid.

Final thoughts

Rogue didn’t get touched (thank the Old Gods) so overall, this is fairly ho-hum. Shaman is obviously dominant, and the feedback has caused real change. I think a few changes were overdue and necessary. I’m glad this will shut people up for a little while, until there is the next thing to complain about.

Extra: Phrases to Use for Future Hearthstone Memeing

With Keeping Hearthstone Fresh in mind

too oppressive to our players

improve the Standard format in a more permanent way

the most fun type of randomness

we intend to tone down its power enough that it won’t be an automatic inclusion in every Hunter deck and overshadow other strategies

closer in power level to other existing and future removal tools

We’ve redesigned the card Charge in a way that provides opportunities for minion combat, but does not enable strategies that intend to win without allowing opponents to interact.

 

Early Impressions: Rogue’s Rough Sledding

Starting a new series about playing Arena since the major Hearthstone banlist of 45 cards.

I’ve always been proud of being a Rogue player in Hearthstone, and I make no secret that it is my favorite class. While the class repeatedly is put down in Ranked Play, Rogue always had dominance in the Arena, vying with the top spot with Mage. The Great Arena Rebalance hit Mage and Rogue, and anyone in the know knew that Rogue was hit considerably harder with the banlist. Mages would be affected a good deal, if it weren’t for the 200% offering rate of Firelands Portals. Yes, we are currently being smothered by Firelands Portals.

I’ve completed 11 Arena runs since the Arena rebalance on September 15th. Here are what the numbers look like.

Class Wins
Shaman 10
Rogue 6
Druid 4
Rogue 4
Shaman 9
Druid 12
Warrior 5
Rogue 4
Rogue 4
Warrior 9
Rogue 1

Huh. Let’s separate that by Rogue and non-Rogue runs.

Rogue 3.8
Non-Rogue 8.166666667

In this small sample size, Rogue is weighing me down, while the other classes (Shaman, Druid, Warrior) are well into infinite wins. What is going on here? Was the effect of the banlist too strong? Is Rogue just crap now?

val_1.PNG
This picture is also indicative of the class in Ranked since the Blade Flurry nerf.

Decklists

The first deck in this list got 6, so the other 4 decks yielded the low wins. When looking at these, I have to consider what Common cards would’ve been replaced by Goblin Auto-Barber and Undercity Valiant. Maiden of the Lake, a subpar minion, got drafted a whole lot. Karazhan bonus guy Swashburglar is a near autopick in Rogue runs now. Twisted Worgen was picked twice as a 2-drop.

Problems

  • 2-drop mediocrity
    • Defias Ringleader is a fine card, but relies on The Coin to be good, or is played on Turn 3. While premium neutral 2’s will still be around, the loss of GAB and Undercity Valiant forces the need to fill 2-drop consistency with mediocre cards. Because the two removed cards were 3/2’s, the Rogue is forced to have more 2/3 minions, which have less initiative as aggressors on the board.
  • Dealing with early game
    • I really liked Undercity Valiant becuase it dealt with 1-drops very well. Coin + Undercity Valiant was just amazing in Turn 1 board presence. I find myself having to dagger up with my Coin or do something else to deal with a 1-drop. Goblin Auto-Barber was better for sharpening a dagger and dealing with some 2-drop.
  • Karazhan vs Old Gods bonus
    • The shift to the new expansion forces a loss of the Old Gods bonus, and creates a 200% offering rate for Karazhan cards. While Swashburglar is a fine card, it is subject to heavy RNG, and can occasionally whiff. Shadow Strike is just a top-tier efficient removal, that is offered less.

How to Make Rogue Great Again

  1. Draft faster
    1. While 6-wins is not a paragon, my 6-win deck had no minions greater than 5, with a heavy 1-3 presence. Given that the Rogue loses a bit of removal from the banlist, it is more important than ever to get a faster start on the board.
  2. Play faster
    1. Mages are still top dog, and expect to see Firelands Portal from Turn 7 onwards. It is important to push the damage while you can. Against other resurgent classes, they will have slightly faster starts, due to better early game consistency. Play fast and push damage. Cold Blood and Tinker’s Oil could be useful threats in helping the Rogue play fast. Violet Illusionist is a near autopick for Rogue, given it is an aggressive minion, with incentive to trade using your weapons.
  3. Get cheap taunts
    1. I grudgingly drafted the 0/2 Target Dummy in my 6-win Rogue. It did a ton of work. Just by existing, it helped protect my early game board, and allow me to work trades better. Arcanosmith’s 0/5 Animated Shield (I am glorious!) also had a similar function on Turn 4. While cheap taunts aren’t great value picks, they do quite a bit for the Rogue.
  4. Look for synergy in mediocrity
    1. While looking for synergy in the draft hasn’t changed, Swashburglar is everywhere. Swashburglar is a Pirate! Ship’s Cannon, Shady Dealer, Southsea Captain, maybe even One-Eyed Cheat are all a bit better with the synergy of having infinite pirates around.
Hearthstone Screenshot 09-24-16 14.00.37.png
Constructed Burgle Rogue crushes 0-2 Priest’s dreams.

Conclusion

It’s only been a little more than a week since the Arena rebalance. More Arenas have to be completed to confirm that I now suck at Rogue. I need to definitely rethink my drafts, and more importantly, how to play the game. I might consider not autopicking Rogues in the draft until I figure it all out, while riding some hot-hand classes (Shaman).

val_2.PNG
I want some soup now as well.

Juicy Bits from Hafu and Mike Donais’ Co-Op, Pt. 2

Juicy Bits from Hafu and Mike Donais’ Co-Op, Pt. 2

I decided to watch the rest of Hafu and Mike Donais’ Arena Co-op. See Pt 1 here: (https://tastethemana.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/juicy-bits-from-hafu-and-mike-donais-co-op/)

  • On Flamewreathed Faceless (aka “a 4 mana 7/7”)
    • Mike – “This card’s funny, because everybody complained about it a lot, and now people stopped playing it.”
    • Hafu – “They still play it.”
    • Mike – “It’s not in any of the top decks.”
  • On Moat Lurker
    • Hafu – “I love the design of this card.”
    • Mike – “When were testing, we were using all these bad cards, and I used it on my own Sylvanas, and I was using it on Rogue, so I could copy my own deathrattle and Shadowstep it.”
  • On Naming Cards
    • “I made a card called Smoldering Orc in Hunter, they wouldn’t let me keep the name.”
    • “I made all the “Fin” puns, and they’re like that’s an okay amount of puns. Okay, I’m gonna put some more in the next set then.”
  • On Fel Reaver
    • Hafu – “I’m curious what the stats are on Fel Reaver, you probably can’t tell me.”
    • Mike – “It’s very high. Way higher than I expected. There’s a couple of super high cards that are absurdly high. Dr. Boom is absurdly high. Fel Reaver is almost there.”
  • On His Title
    • “I’m Principle Game Designer, same level as Ben.”
  • On Devs Playing Arena
    • Hafu – “Does Ben Brode play arena?”
    • Mike – “He plays some. Not as much as me or some of the other guys. Iksar (Dean Ayala) plays a lot of arena.
  • On Museum Curator
    • Hafu – “You know what will make it better? If it was a 2/1.”
    • Mike – “Yeah.”
  • On Jeweled Scarab
    • “Jeweled Scarab is actually better in Shaman than any other class because they have tons of great 3’s.”
  • On Arena Mages
    • Hafu – “What’s the percentage of Mages at 7+?”
    • Mike – “I don’t know that stat.”
    • Hafu – “You should look at that one, I think that’s the biggest problem. There should be 33% Mage, anyone who will draft it will pick it.”
    • Mike – “That’s not true, Rogue is just as good, if not better, depending on how good you are.”
  • On Flamewaker
    • “Yeah this thing’s good, this thing’s better than everything in our deck, goddamit.”
  • On Medivh’s Valet after 3-dmg trigger
    • Hafu – “What the hell is this…”
    • Mike – “This guy. See, Mages can get 7 wins by playing like this.”
  • On Firelands Portal
    • “That’s a good card.”
  • On Arcane
    • “Arcane magic is not the same as mechanical creations, that’s why Arcane Golem is not a mech.”
  • On Dev Perks
    • Hafu – “You get all the cards for free right?”
    • Mike – “No, we don’t. We get nothing on live. I mean we get Blizz Bucks, and we could use them on whatever.”
  • On Miscellaneous Picks
    • [Zombie Chow / King’s Elekk / Unleash the Hounds] – [Mike hovers over Zombie Chow quite a bit.]
    • [Explorer’s Hat] – “Hat’s good.”
    • [Faceless Shambler / Naga Sea Witch / Frost Giant] – “I know the stats of a lot of cards. I don’t go this low on the list.”

Juicy Bits from Hafu and Mike Donais’ Co-Op

Sorry for the TMZ headline.

See Part 2 Here: (https://tastethemana.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/juicy-bits-from-hafu-and-mike-donais-co-op-pt-2/)

Top Arena player Hafu had a co-op arena run (https://www.twitch.tv/itshafu/v/90864609) with Hearthstone Lead Designer Mike Donais last night. While some might think this is just some ho-hum Twitch vid, it is actually quite significant for anyone who lives and breathes Hearthstone Arena. While I appreciate Mike’s continuing work in making the great game of Hearthstone, the source of enmity comes from a PC gamer interview, in which: 1) he stated Babbling Book and Firelands Portal were similar in power level for the Arena, and 2) he stated Medivh’s Valet was not a great Arena card. So any time, a dev can come off-the-cuff, onto a stream to just play Hearthstone, we can divulge a bit of extra information.

Because I am currently slacking off at work, and don’t want to not work at all, I only watched the first two games (Paladin vs 2 Mages) of the Arena co-op. Here are some bits revealed.

hafu_donais.png
Sweet justice.
  1. Mike Donais – “I play a lot of Arena.”
    1. The most common rebuttal to Mike Donais’ comments in PC Gamer is that he doesn’t play Arena. Like that “screw that guy” meme that started on Keeper of Uldaman.
    2. His point of playing a lot of Arena is backed up by the evident 6475 gold he has on his account. He is probably right.
    3. He later states, “I probably have about 4,000 arena wins.”
    4. Mike states that he has about one win less on average than Hafu. This would put him in the close to 7 range, so an infinite player.
  2. On Ship’s Cannon
    1. “It’s fantastic if you get a pirate.” Very interesting comment, given the statement about Medivh’s Valet, which is a 2/3 2 with a much better effect.
    2. [sic] “Ship’s Cannon was changed from Mech to non-Mech last minute, I didn’t want people to run it in random Mech decks, because Mechs don’t have great 2-drops.” This is also very good to know. I personally never understood why Ship’s Cannon was never a Mech. I guess we know now.
  3. On Rallying Blade
    1. Hafu – “What’s the name of that 3-mana weapon?”
    2. Mike – “The one with divine shield? I don’t know the name of the cards, they change the name after I’m done with them.”
    3. Very interesting that the naming process is completely disassociated with balance. I guess they have to give other Blizz employees work!
  4. On Bad Epics
    1. [Pick of Mountain Giant, Hobgoblin, Arcane Giant] Mike – “These are bad, holy cow.”
    2. Nothing remarkable here, just admission of bad arena picks, which obviously exist.
  5. On Selfless Hero
    1. [Mike thinks Selfless Hero isn’t good against Mages because of the Turn 2 or Turn 1 + Coin ping. Hafu thinks it’s fine because Mages don’t develop a board.]
    2. This is very interesting and speaks about the playstyle of each. I guess Mike is a slower/controlling player, while Hafu just thinks tempo/board. Very interesting to consider how philosophies go into card design, and how it ultimately affects Arena.
  6. On Flamecannon
    1. [Mike and Hafu face 2 Flamecannons in Game 1. A comment is made about Roaring Torch]
    2. A common complaint is that Flamecannon survived the cuts, while Roaring Torch didn’t, when Flamecannon is clearly superior. Mike didn’t really have a good response to this, and suffered in this game from it. There was equal snark in comments made during this exchange.
  7. On Mage Superiority
    1. [The 0-0 Mage was egregiously OP with his/her removal.]
    2. Hafu tried not “to give him shit” but it was evident that the Mage in the 0-0 game dominated because of all the tools available. Mike stated “Without spells, the game would be all about minions” but Hafu said “One class shouldn’t have all the good spells.” No response to this.
  8. On Paladin Weapons
    1. [Mike confirms Muster for Battle is better than Truesilver Champion] This is probably a comparison of win rate for decks with both cards, good to know since both are top tier Paladin picks.

Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck: All-Natural

Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck: All-Natural

I played a Druid deck over the course of 2 days, and got my first 12-win run with the class, and my 10th Lightforge overall. Fittingly, I’ve been using The Lightforge Tierlist for drafting lately (thanks ADWCTA/Merps), given some recent struggles.

Arena Druid 9.19.16

Deck type

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-20-16 22.33.29.png

This deck is weird in that it had no 5-mana cards at all. There is a heavy presence of 2-4 drops, and good amount of late game. See the Addled Grizzly? That was actually Pick #1, and I picked it over Knife Juggler. Seems crazy, but Addled Grizzly is a card I am well-fond of and know how to use.

Two drop consistency

Crazed Alchemist isn’t a true 2-drop, more of a gadget tool. Besides the Alch, there are 8 true 2-drops, which is more than enough to cover my poor mulligan choices. And the 2-drops I drafted are pretty good themselves. Anodized Robo Cub with it’s taunt and choose one ability is as good as it gets in the 2-hole.

Middle game

The 3-4 drops in this deck did a lot of work. 2 Chillwind Yetis, Ogre Brute, and Eydis Darkbane provided the meat for efficient board trading. Addled Grizzly and Flesheating Ghoul served as win-more tools. 2 Cult Masters helped me draw my way to victory in some games. When I had Innervate, I opted to play a 3-drop or 4-drop early.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-19-16 21.46.08.png
1-mana 3/4! The Mana Screw is real.

Big drops

Kodorider is a bit of a trump card to force concedes, though it was played on Turn 8 once for trading. 2 North Sea Krakens provided huge value as a Turn 9 play. Ironbark Protector was great against aggressive boards. Boulderfist Ogre was a useful fat guy. Stormwind Champ great as always. Moonglade Portal provided me some useful 6-drops, including Sylvanas in my 11-2 game, key to survival against 2 Frothing Berserkers.

Reach

North Sea Kraken and Swipe have use as board clears, but were often used to go face in this run. Besides that, Stormwind Champion and Addled Grizzly provided minion buffs for extra damage. Addled Grizzly was MVP in some games.

hearthstone-screenshot-09-19-16-22-30-34
Hey guys, Addled Grizzly is pretty good.

Survivability

Taunts galore, with 6 taunts in this game. The 4 2-drop taunts were key for protecting my early game board, while Ironbark helped in games where I was behind, or facing lethal. Moonglade Portal was surprisingly useful for the 6 heals.

Card draw

No cards provided instant draw, but the 2 Cult Masters outright won me games when I had the board. The constant cycling of board trading and card draw is one of the greatest feelings of dominance when playing arena.

Early removal

I guess Swipe counts, but I did not really use it for removal in this run.

Hard removal

Naturalize is the only hard removal. Though I am hesitant to give my opponent cards, I used Naturalize in a non-greedy fashion, in junctures to gain tempo advantage the board, or just on reads when I felt the opponent had no other good minions.

AoE/Board clears

Swipe was the only board clear, but I don’t think I used the function to much success. I Swiped face once to clear 2 1-health minions. Eydis Darkbane had a spare part trigger once to injure a minion.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-19-16 23.23.59.png
Malfurion moonlighting as a Rogue.

 

Synergy

The main synergy combo in this deck is Haunted Creeper + Addled Grizzly, which forces the creation of 2 2/2 Spectral Spiders. Tinkertown Technician was very good with the 2 Anodized Robo Cubs. Taunts have inherent synergy with Cult Master and Addled Grizzly.

Conclusion

Coming into this game, Druid was my 7th best class (or 3rd worse). My draft was helped vastly by the recent banlist, which helped weed out bad cards. Every card I drafted was at least average, and I made it work with some synergy. Though I had a Swipe, I mostly won my games through minion trading, or using my hero power. With my Rogue struggles since the banlist, it makes sense that Druid would be a good class to pick, given the similar hero power. Now I have 3 classes left to get 12-wins with, Warrior, Priest, and Mage. Frankly, I’ll be happy with 12 in any class nowadays.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-20-16 22.33.51.png
Max bling

My Blizz Job Application Essay: 5 Well-Designed Cards

This morning, I was lead to a Hearthstone job posting for Game Designer, Balance. As a person who truly loves the game would consider a career with Blizzard a dream, I checked it out. And lo and behold, I was out of the running with the first job requirement bullet point of “Legendary status in Hearthstone.” I also did not qualify with the second bullet point of having professional work experience designing games. But I think I qualify for the rest of the requirements. While I was little bummed of this requirement, I get that there needs to be barrier to entry that would prevent any scrub from being accepted for the job. Speaking of which, where is the validation for being good at the Arena? This Constructed bias is getting out of hand.

While the job application includes boilerplate materials in resume and cover letter, there is a little essay requirement. It states “Choose 5 cards in Hearthstone that are well designed and write a paragraph explaining why each is great.” Though I am not applying for the position, I thought it would be fun just to think about 5 well-designed cards and explain why.

400px-Undertaker_(art)
Not a hallmark for design.

Pre-reqs

It is exhaustive to go through every single card to find 5 cards to talk about. I put forth a set of eligibility criteria to help filter out what a well-designed card is.

  • Card shouldn’t be OP in Constructed or Arena
    • Card design should not be misinterpreted with a card’s playability. I think Azure Drake is an example of a well-designed card, that is quite common in Ranked play. However, I do believe the most often played cards are broken in balance. Ranked meta card lists, and those posted by competitive streamers are usually meant to win games. With a lean deck of 30, it is prudent to run doubles of cards, and have very efficient winning cards. Cards that are considered staples are likely not the best designed. They just win too many games with their current design.
  • Card shouldn’t be horrible in Constructed and Arena
    • On the flip side, I think a well-designed card should not be unplayable in both Constructed and Arena. While it is entirely possible that a well-designed card doesn’t fit in the Ranked meta, it should be playable in the Arena. A card that is unplayable in both game modes seems to have failed in card design, or is overtly underpowered. Stoneskin Gargoyle is close to unplayable in Constructed and Arena, and is overtly underpowered to prevent it from being too good.
  • Card cannot be rebalanced in a patch
    • Rebalancing is the definition of a card being imbalanced. While card balance often affects mana cost and stat distribution, some card effects have been permanently erased. Some cards have been nerfed to oblivion, and don’t have a good card design at all.
  • Card cannot be too simple
    • Card games borrow from predecessors and slap new names on things. There is no way around some base mechanics in card games. So a card with no effects, or just one common effect (taunt mechanic) isn’t groundbreaking enough in card design.
  • Card cannot exist outside of Azeroth
    • This doesn’t have much to do with card design, but more the flavor aspect. People sometimes float the idea of having Diablo or Starcraft characters appear as Hearthstone cards. I think this is lunacy, and cards should only exist, if they are believable of existing in the Warcraft universe. While ambiguous characters are introduced now and then, they should fit a racial group in Warcraft at least.

5 Well-Designed Cards

Twilight Summoner

Twilight Summoner(33175).png

4-mana will provide 9 stat points on a fair basis, and Twilight Summoner, in both forms, provides 12 stat points. The downside here is that playing the initial 1/1 for 4-mana is  a horrible anti-tempo play. As a defensive play, the 1/1 troll could be a good counter against random 1-damage pings from Flamewaker and Knife Juggler, as well as AoE spells. Further there is a deathrattle synergy with any associated cards, and trade up usage. Twilight Summoner is not a complicated card, but the combination of initial anti-tempo with plus stats is a great design.

Moat Lurker

Moat Lurker(42063).png

Pretty easy pick here, as Moat Lurker has a truly unique effect. As a neutral hard removal against the enemy, Moat Lurker can provide this “Assassinate” ability for any class. This type of removal is actually more exclusive, as it could remove untargetable minions, and cannot be countered like abilities are. Further, Moat Lurker could be used on your side of the board, to take advantage of various deathrattle synergies. The decision to destroy your own minion, with some remaining value in stat points, will provoke deeper thinking. Finally, Moat Lurker could be silenced, which essentially seals the removal effect. That is a lot going on for just one card, but it just shows how the design of the card opens up a myriad of possibilities. Plus, it is a 3/3 for 6, which is pretty serious anti-tempo.

Jeweled Scarab

Jeweled Scarab(27211).png

Discover is a mechanic that combines some RNG and more evaluation of the best card to select for the game state. While Discover is pretty cool as a whole, some cards make it too easy to select the desired card, as the card pool is too small. In my book, Jeweled Scarab is the perfect Discover card. The limit of 3-mana stretches a wide pool of cards, and doesn’t discriminate by minion, ability, or weapon. Because almost every deck runs certain 3-drops, this card opens doors in Reno decks as a way of getting the needed second copy. As a beast, the card could be drawn by The Curator. Further, the 1/1 body for 2 is akin to Novice Engineer, a card that is definitely not overpowered.

Bloodsail Cultist

Bloodsail Cultist(35204).png

OP minions usually provide good enough stats for the cost, and have powerful abilities. Bloodsail Cultist is that 3-mana 3/4 Spider Tank, with plus abilities. What makes Bloodsail Cultist such great design is that the plus abilities are predicated by 2 conditions: 1) having a Pirate alive on the board, 2) and having a weapon equipped. In a way, this type of design punishes the opponent for not keeping the board clean for the trigger. The “Upgrade” ability of this card on a weapon provides good offensive sustain, and is balanced with the 2 conditions. In a flavor aspect, this card helped push Pirate Warrior, something that makes sense in Hearthstone.

Wrathguard

Wrathguard(22304).png

Blatant class convergence is bad design, as every class starts looking the same. Classes will muddle and lose their individual identity. If every class had weapons, Acidic Swamp Ooze and Harrison Jones would be deck staples across the board. Wrathguard is essentially class convergence, providing a early game “weapon” for the Warlock, without a being a weapon.  The Warlock is using his face, like a 4/2 or 4/1 weapon to clear early game. Further, there is some thinking provoked (usually in Arena) in the late game. Would this card be worth playing in the late game, where it could take game-ending damage? This card is more than an early game stick!