Sorry for the TMZ headline.
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.
- Mike Donais – “I play a lot of Arena.”
- 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.
- 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.
- He later states, “I probably have about 4,000 arena wins.”
- 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.
- On Ship’s Cannon
- “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.
- [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.
- On Rallying Blade
- Hafu – “What’s the name of that 3-mana weapon?”
- 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.”
- Very interesting that the naming process is completely disassociated with balance. I guess they have to give other Blizz employees work!
- On Bad Epics
- [Pick of Mountain Giant, Hobgoblin, Arcane Giant] Mike – “These are bad, holy cow.”
- Nothing remarkable here, just admission of bad arena picks, which obviously exist.
- On Selfless Hero
- [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.]
- 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.
- On Flamecannon
- [Mike and Hafu face 2 Flamecannons in Game 1. A comment is made about Roaring Torch]
- 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.
- On Mage Superiority
- [The 0-0 Mage was egregiously OP with his/her removal.]
- 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.
- On Paladin Weapons
- [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.