The Harms of Misinformation: Debunking the Myth You Can Ladder Well with Rogue

I’ve been hanging out on Hearthstone Reddit quite a bit, and there is the ongoing rage about frankly lousy Rogue cards. While overcomplaining is obviously toxic behavior, a common argument against the state of Rogue is that it is a fine class for laddering. People on this front often cite The TempoStorm Meta Snapshot as why the Rogue is actually fine. I went on TempoStorm to check out the Meta Snapshot.

ts_meta.PNG

Lo and behold, there are the two “viable decks” of Rogue in Tier 2. Anyone who plays Rogue to a good degree knows that it is pretty good against control, but pretty bad against faster decks. Malygos Rogue in particular is rather slow. While these decks could be better in the high ranks or in the Legend bracket, most people aren’t there. The people reading TempoStorm are probably somewhere between Rank 5 and Rank 15. Anyone who thinks a Rogue deck is on the same level as Tempo Mage in Rank 5 to Rank 15 is out of their gourd.

The Vicious Syndicate Data Reaper report, a great resource, relies on actual user submitted data. Let’s take a look at the latest report.

vs data reaper freq.PNG

Nothing new here. Just the same old sauce of Shaman being top dog, and Mage rising fast to #2. Thrall x Jaina powercouple confirmed.

Now look at this matchup log. Blue means winning, orange means losing.

vs data reaper matchup.PNG

There’s a big streak of dark blue over Paladin and Priest for Rogues. Rogue dominates over the two least played classes, and a control deck here and there.

Now finally, here are the win percentages Rogue does against the top 5 decks from Rank 10 to Rank 1.

  1. Midrange Shaman – 43.7%
  2. Tempo Mage – 47.1%
  3. Spell Druid – 46.2%
  4. Zoo Warlock – 45.3%
  5. Secret Hunter – 39.6%

Winning a below 50% clip doesn’t feel good. I should know! I’m like a 51 or 52% player on Ranked and always feel miserable playing.

So there you have it, people are misinformed, thinking that Rogue is a decent ladder class, when it clearly isn’t in this meta.You can still ladder with Rogue if you’re really good. But the average netdecker tryhard will be mislead.

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All the Minion Stats You Need to Know After Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

All the Minion Stats You Need to Know After Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

I’m a sucker for numbers, as stats can allow one to make a better decision in most avenues of life. Thus, when the remaining Mean Streets of Gadgetzan (MSG) cards were released today, I was able to update my master spreadsheet of cards. Given the ample amount of randomness in the game, I thought it would be a good idea to update various numbers on Hearthstone minions, given the new cards are officially part of the Standard rotation.

Objectives

  • Learn about how the average cost, attack, and health of Hearthstone minions change when MSG is released.
  • Revisit the “evolution table,” which shows minion stat attack/health changes when moving up and down a mana cost. This is relevant given Evolve, Master of Evolution, and Devolve are standard cards.
  • Learn what the average drops are from portals and other special summons.
  • Look at other random stats.

Overall Minion Averages After MSG

Mode Cost Attack Health
Standard 4.19 3.5 4.04
MSG Std 4.17 3.47 4.02
Wild 4.14 3.47 4.05

The introduction of MSG only decreased the average minion cost, attack, and health by a small amount.

Set Cost Attack Health
Evergreen 3.99 3.28 3.85
Naxx 3.4 2.6 4.28
GvG 4.15 3.72 4.18
BRM 4.96 4.3 4.7
TGT 4.26 3.83 4.09
LoE 3.77 3.24 3.97
WotoG 4.64 3.77 4.43
Kara 3.82 2.94 3.59
MSG 4.08 3.31 3.89

Overall, the average minion set of MSG averages 4 and is close to a 3.5/4 statline. This isn’t hard to believe, given the number of anti-tempo minions around in this set with the Grimy Goons and Jade Lotus minions. With the dropout of Blackrock Mountain, Old Gods will represent the beefiest set of minions. MSG minions are overall on the small side.

Evolve/Devolve Table (Standard)

Org Cost Org Attack Org Health Trs Cost Trs Attack Trs Health ∆ Attack ∆ Health % Taunt % Charge
0 1.00 1.00 1 1.29 1.58 0.29 0.58 6.45% 1.61%
1 1.23 1.64 2 2.02 2.46 0.79 0.82 6.90% 1.15%
2 2.02 2.46 3 2.60 3.08 0.58 0.62 6.96% 1.74%
3 2.60 3.08 4 3.22 4.06 0.62 0.98 7.48% 1.87%
4 3.22 4.06 5 4.04 4.77 0.82 0.71 11.11% 3.70%
5 4.04 4.77 6 4.78 5.07 0.74 0.30 11.94% 2.99%
6 4.78 5.07 7 5.70 5.88 0.92 0.81 18.18% 0.00%
7 5.70 5.88 8 6.69 7.56 0.99 1.68 18.75% 12.50%
8 6.69 7.56 9 6.71 8.14 0.02 0.58 9.52% 9.52%
9 6.71 8.14 10 8.36 8.36 1.65 0.22 0.00% 0.00%
10 8.36 8.36 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

This table shows how the average statline of minions changes across mana cost. This is useful for determining stat changes from cards like Evolve, Devolve and Master of Evolution. The average attack and health numbers are across all Standard Play minions, with the 4 basic Shaman totems added to the 1-mana pool. The largest transformation benefit occurs from a 7-mana minion to an 8-mana minion. Taunt has a decent change of hitting from 6 to 7 and 7 to 8. The best chance to get Charge minions are from 7 to 8. The transformed minion stat values are also valuable for determining what minions you get out of various portals. For example, the average Firelands Portal summon will create a 4/5 minion on average.

Evolve/Devolve Table (Arena)

Org Cost Org Attack Org Health Trs Cost Trs Attack Trs Health ∆ Attack ∆ Health % Taunt % Charge
0 0.67 1.33 1 1.30 1.61 0.63 0.28 5.71% 1.43%
1 1.22 1.65 2 1.96 2.44 0.74 0.79 7.83% 1.74%
2 1.97 2.41 3 2.58 3.16 0.61 0.75 8.15% 2.22%
3 2.58 3.17 4 3.21 4.09 0.63 0.92 7.03% 2.34%
4 3.21 4.08 5 4.11 4.75 0.90 0.67 10.28% 2.80%
5 4.10 4.75 6 4.88 5.26 0.78 0.51 10.13% 2.53%
6 4.78 5.18 7 5.90 6.08 1.12 0.90 15.38% 0.00%
7 5.95 6.08 8 6.55 7.60 0.60 1.52 15.00% 10.00%
8 6.53 7.53 9 6.91 8.04 0.38 0.51 8.70% 8.70%
9 6.91 8.04 10 8.36 8.36 1.45 0.32 0.00% 0.00%
10 8.60 8.60 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

This table is the same as the table before this, but deals with the arena. The original minion includes the Wild set of minions, excluding all undraftable cards, like C’Thun cards and balanced out cards. The transformed minion includes any minion from the Wild set, as those cards can all appear in the arena through a summon.

Best/Worst Outcomes

Mana Cost Best Outcome Worst Outcome
1 Injured Kvaldir (2/4) Elven Archer (1/1)
2 Dirty Rat (2/6/taunt), Milhouse Manastorm (4/4) Novice Engineer (1/1)
3 Injured Blademaster (4/7) Blubber Baron (1/1)
4 A 4 mana 7/7 Faceless Shambler (1/1/taunt)
5 Earth Elemental (7/8/taunt), Leeroy Jenkins (6/2/charge), Doomguard (5/7/charge) Bomb Squad (2/2)
6 Savannah Highmane (6/5/DR), Sylvanas (5/5/DR), Illidan (7/5/effect) Big Time Racketeer (1/1)
7 Archmage Antonidas (5/7/effect), Bog Creeper (6/8/taunt) Acidmaw (4/2)
8 Tirion Fordring (6/6/taunt/effect), Ragnaros (8/8/dmg) Boogeymonster (6/7)
9 Ysera (4/12/effect) Blade of C’Thun (4/4), Majordomo (9/7/bad effect)
10 Deathwing (12/12) N’Zoth (5/7)

Here is a rough table of the best and worst outcomes. While there is a concern than evolving a 5 into a 6 or devolving a 7 to a 6 will make a 1/1 Big-Time Racketeer, it is also an equal chance for a Savannah Highmane or Sylvanas.

Average Demon

Cost Attack Health
Standard Demon 4.04 3.7 4.96
Wild Demon 4.19 3.78 4.93

Ever since the banishment of Mal’Ganis to Wild Play, demons have been mostly ignored in Hearthstone class design. MSG brings about some new demon support with an interesting card in Kabal Trafficker, which adds a random demon each turn. Krul the Unshackled is another big interesting demon in the new set.

Average Murloc

Cost Attack Health
Standard Murloc 2.33 1.94 2.06
Wild Murloc 2.48 2 2.29

4 new Murlocs are in this new set, and most interesting one is Finja. These minion averages only apply for the Murloc Knight Inspires, and overall the new Murlocs just further dilute the best Murloc summons of Murloc Knight and Murloc Warleader.

Average Beast

Class Cost Attack Health
Hunter 3.64 3.16 3.53
Druid 3.43 3.25 3.4
Warrior 3.37 3.09 3.4
Rogue 3.31 3.06 3.31
All Other Classes 3.38 3.09 3.38

Tomb Spider is one of the top 3 arena commons picked on average, so I took a look at what the average beast stats are across classes. Here, you’re looking for a useful effect over raw stats, but interesting that the Hunter beasts are actually heavier than Druid ones.

Average Legendary

Cost Attack Health
Pre-MSG Std 6.43 5.21 5.83
MSG Std 6.2 4.95 5.55

Finally, this table shows the average stats for legendary minions in the standard pool before MSG and after MSG. As you can see, the average legendary minion is cheaper and has a bit less attack and health after the release. This confirms my eye test of noticing smaller legendaries made in this set, and the changing Team 5 philosophy of making less impactful neutral legendaries.

Jaded: An Evaluation of Jade Golems

Jaded: An Evaluation of Jade Golems

With every Hearthstone card release, the expectation of a new mechanic becomes regular chatter amongst the playerbase. I personally believed (https://creators.co/@GreenRanger/4139409) that positioning would be  focus of the new expansion, but that turned out to be unfounded. Triclass cards became the new mechanic, flush with 9 cards being shared across classes. The Grimy Goons employ a new mechanic of buffing minions or weapons in the hand, while the Kabal brings more cards that push singleton decks aside from Reno Jackson. Many thought that the Jade Lotus gang would stress an emphasis on mana manipulation, given the similarities binding Druids, Rogues, and Shamans. But the loosely bound Jade Lotus gang wound up sharing the new Jade Golem mechanic.

Jade Golems: An Explanation

Jade Golems are vanilla minions that are summoned to the field, as an add-on to another card with the mechanic. The first Jade Golem starts out as a 1/1, and each additional Jade Golem summoned with add +1/+1 to the last Jade Golem summoned.

Jade_Golem_animation.gif

It appears that Jade Golems go up to a level 30 30/30.

Valuation of Jade Golems

Below is a table showing the stats of the first 10 Jade Golems, and their approximate mana worth. The mana calculations are made comparing the Jade Golem statlines to currently existing vanilla minions like River Crocolisk and Chillwind Yeti. It is noteworthy that no vanilla 9-drop currently exists, but a 9/9 or any vanilla 18 point minion should be worth 9 mana, given the benchmarks for vanilla 8 (Eldritch Horror) and vanilla 10-drops (Faceless Behemoth).

Jade Golem Stats Mana Worth
1 1/1 0
2 2/2 1.5
3 3/3 2.5
4 4/4 3.5
5 5/5 4.5
6 6/6 5.5
7 7/7 7
8 8/8 8
9 9/9 9
10 10/10 10

Triclass Neutrals

  • Jade Spirit – 4 mana 2/3 + 1 Jade Golem
    • Jade Spirit is a River Crocolisk that costs 4. Hence, it costs 2 mana to summon this Jade Golem.
  • Aya Blackpaw – 6 mana 5/3 + 2 Jade Golems
    • The leader of the Jade Lotus has an underwhelming 5/3 body, which costs about 3.5 mana. The ability to summon 2 Jade Golems across the -2.5 anti-tempo makes each of her Jade Golems cost 1.25 mana.
This picture doesn’t show how small Aya Blackpaw is.

Druid Cards

File:Jade Behemoth(49718).png
“Elephants guide me”
  • Jade Blossom – 3 mana Wild Growth + 1 Jade Golem
    • Jade Blossom is simply a Wild Growth (+ empty mana crystal) that costs 1 more than it should, so the Jade Golem here clearly costs 1 mana.
  • Jade Behemoth – 6 mana 3/6 Taunt + 1 Jade Golem
    • The 3/6 Taunt is a unique distribution, but should cost 4.5 mana, as it is just a tad better than Tazdingo. Hence, this Jade Golem costs 1.5 mana.
  • Jade Idol – 1 mana Reshuffle 3 into deck or + 1 Jade Golem
    • Jade Idol is easily a staple of any future Jade Druid deck, as it allows the deck to proliferate to an infinite number of Jade Golems to be summoned. At most, this card will only cost 1 mana for the first Jade Golem to be summoned, and be worth playing for Jade Golem #2.

Rogue Cards

A lot of weapons for a 1/1.
  • Jade Swarmer – 2 mana 1/1 Stealth + 1 Jade Golem
    • A 1/1 Stealth is worth less than 1 mana, but the Stealth actually has value, as it allows a Jade Golem deathrattle to trigger later. I’d say this overall package is worth 1 mana, so the Jade Golem costs 1.
  • Jade Shuriken – 2 mana 2 dmg + 1 Jade Golem
    • Jade Shuriken hits like Arcane Shot, so the Jade Golem costs 1. This noticeably has to be played as a Combo for the Jade Golem, so it isn’t guaranteed on every play.

Shaman Cards

File:Jade Chieftain(49720).png
Awkward when this guy has to work for a Pandaren.
  • Jade Lightning – 4 mana 4 dmg + 1 Jade Golem
    • Direct damage spells that do 3 damage typically cost 2 mana, with things like Quick Shot, Frostbolt, Lightning Bolt, and an average Eviscerate. Wild Shaman spell, Crackle, averages 4.5 damage with a cost of 2 + 1 Overload. As such, Jade Lightning is overcosted about 1.5 mana.
  • Jade Chieftain – 7 mana 5/5 + 1 Jade Golem with Taunt
    • Taunt is a worth a point, no matter who gets it. So the Chieftain is sorta like a 5/6 or a 6/5, meaning it costs 5, and the Jade Golem is a costly 2 mana.
  • Jade Claw – 2 mana 2/2 weapon (1) Overload + 1 Jade Golem
    • Stormforged Axe is a Shaman weapon that costs the same but is a 2/3. So if the Jade Claw makes the 2nd Jade Golem, it breaks even with Stormforged Axe. Let’s just say this makes a Jade Golem that costs .5 mana.

Example of Jade Golem Usage

Let’s say you are building a Jade Rogue deck. You run 2x Jade Swarmer, 2x Jade Shuriken, 2x Jade Spirit, and an Aya Blackpaw for max Jade. The Jade Shuriken can only be used once unless it is duplicated by a Thistle Tea. You can run 2x Shadowstep and 2x Gadgetzan Ferryman to take advantage of Jade Battlecries in Jade Spirit and Aya Blackpaw. Further, you can run 2x Unearthed Raptor for the Jade Deathrattles. This equals 14 Jade Golems. Jade Swarmer is about 1 mana anti-tempo, and Jade Shuriken is a little less. Jade Spirit costs 2 extra, and Aya Blackpaw about 2.5 mana. But 14 Jade Golems is over 100 points worth of stuff. This is even before you throw in Brann Bronzebeard for more Jade Golems. This early overpay seems to be well-worth the massive mana gain in Jade Golems in the late game. The question is striking the balance between having deck staples versus making a massive Jade Golem army.

 

Salty Rogue

Salty Rogue

Over the Thanksgiving break, I had limited access to Internet, but occasionally checked Reddit on my phone for Mean Streets of Gadgetzan card reveals. On Thanksgiving Day and Friday, I became aware of Hearthstone Reddit blowing up with Rogue players and other agitators joining in on the ruckus. As a Rogue player, I have been often frustrated when taking it to Standard Ranked Play, given the overwhelming presence of faster Shamans. The Rogue frustration can best be summarized in these points:

  1. Blade Flurry was nerfed for design space reasons. No weapon buff has been seen since. Fan of Knives and Dark Iron Skulker are the only AoE for Rogue. This came just as Shaman aggro and midrange swarms became popular.
  2. Rogues have no source of damage mitigation, whether healing or armor or immune. This combined with the propensity for Rogue to draw cards makes Rogue impossible to run as a control class. Any controlly Rogue class card is unplayable as such.
  3. Burgle Rogue is the main deck type being pushed in the last few sets. Burgle Rogue is fun but not competitive. You have no win condition and are literally playing Randomonium. Rogue has been consistently the 6th or 7th best class over the Old Gods/Karazhan meta.
  4. Combo decks are being nerfed as a whole, as they are not interactive, and this appears to be the only way Rogues can win with the cards.
  5. Rogues have a strong set of Evergreen cards, but this makes playing Rogue not fun, as you are playing the same set of cards you did before Naxx came out. (Did Naxx come out yet?) Also, Gadgetzan Auctioneer is a crutch that Rogue decks can’t play without.
val4.PNG
Little did she know, Broll gave her Thistle Tea.

Timeline of MSG Rogue Card Reveals

11/4/16 – BlizzCon

File:Lotus Assassin(49619).png
“Hey this card is neat. It’s like a Stranglehorn Tiger, but it could restealth! It doesn’t fit into what Rogue does, but okay…”
File:Counterfeit Coin(49643).png
“Hey, this looks good. This can be a coin for when Tomb Pillager rotates out, and this helps Auctioneer cycle cards.”

11/5/16 – BlizzCon Disguised Toast Leak

File:Shaku, the Collector(49657).png
“This card is garbage and shouldn’t be a legendary. Overcosted Undercity Huckster. Burgle Rogue sucks. Rogue cards suck confirmed.”

11/21/16 – Jade Lotus Reveal Week

File:Jade Shuriken(49711).png
“Another source of damage for Maly Rogue, probably will see play. I don’t know how this Jade Golem thing will work.”

11/22/16 – Stream Reveal

File:Jade Swarmer(49713).png
“Sigh, a 1/1. We don’t know how this Jade Golem thing is going to shake out.”

11/24/16 – Jade Lotus Reveal Week

File:Gadgetzan Ferryman(49722).png
“This is a Brewmaster that is a class rare for some reason. Team 5 doesn’t care about Rogue. Rogue dumpster class confirmed. We need someone from Blizz to explain why this card exists. Let’s complain so they make good Rogue cards in the next set.”

11/25/16 – Stream Reveal

File:Shadow Sensei.png
“Fuck it, I don’t care anymore.”

Hope is not lost yet, as there are still 2 class cards (1 common and 1 epic) to go. I expect 1 more Jade Golem mechanic card, which could save the class from complete ineptitude in Standard play. Dean Ayala did state that Rogue has the best ways to utilize the Jade Golem mechanic, with Shadowsteps and Unearthed Raptor. I also do long for a weapon buff in the epic slot, as there hasn’t been a viable weapon buff since Tinker’s Oil. Things don’t look good, and playing this class isn’t fun right now. We just need a good Jade card, and a weapon buff. Is that too much to ask? Well, we still can dominate arena at least. Right?

val3.PNG
Weapon buff?

Stream of Consciousness on the Slow Meta

This is as unorganized as it will get on this site, so get ready for me just talking for the sake of writing a post before Thanksgiving.

84 out of 132 cards have been revealed for Mean Streets of Gadgetzan as of this post, with one coming from Kolento (hot meme inserted) in a couple hours.  We already know what the Grimy Goons and Kabal do, and we just learned of the main mechanic of the Jade Lotus yesterday. All of these faction mechanics clearly point towards the direction of an upcoming slow meta.

The Grimy Goons work by putting out anti-tempo drops, which in turn buff minions in the hand. We don’t really know what these decks would look like, but there are card staples that you still want. Warriors are known for carrying good weapons, and lots of removal spells. This would go against what the Grimy Goons do, in keeping a bunch of minions in hand for buffing. Hunters have the Dispatch Kodo, which costs 4, and requires a bunch of buffing to be devastating. Paladins look like the best fit to go aggro, and benefit from the Grimy Goons, given they have cheaper buffs like Smuggler’s Run. While Paladins can play faster, the need to buff things with anti-tempo cards will make the new aggro Paladin slower than the current version.

File:Grimy Gadgeteer(49679).png
Dangerous card

The Kabal have potions and powerful highlander legendaries. With the exception of bad card Bloodfury Potion, the currently revealed potions are all control spells. Three of the potions are board clears, one is a debuff, one is a mind control-psuedo board clear, one is a removal secret and one is Bloodfury Potion. Tempo and Face-Freeze Mage don’t really get much benefit for playing a highlander style, as they will lose a ton of damage spells. Inkmaster Solia is certainly a good card, but costs 7. Warlocks have gotten a 4-mana murloc, which could signal the return of Warloc shenanigans, but have received more control cards so far, like Abyssal Enforcer and Felfire Potion.

File:Inkmaster Solia(49693).png
Definitely fun, but can’t tell how good.

The expected rise of the Priest class (gee thanks, Reddit) also adds to the expectation of a slow meta. The debacle about releasing Purify at the dire juncture of the oppressive Shaman rise led to some legitimate admissions of fault from Blizz devs about saving Priests. This led to some frankly broken Priest cards revealed from the get-go, showing that the class is here to play soon.

Pros: The artwork. Cons: Everything else.

And finally, the Jade Lotus was revealed to have the Jade Golem mechanic, which summons a base 1/1 golem, and becomes a bigger golem for each new one. While the post teased a 30/30 golem, this is honestly going to be impossible to pull off. Like the Grimy Goons, one needs to consider how many of the Jade Lotus cards can supplant other options in the deck. Rogues for example, need core cards like 2x Backstab, 2x Eviscerate, 2x Preparation, 2x Sap. Some of the new cards, like Jade Shriuken will be weaker versions of spells that add the Jade Golem mechanic. While the Jade Golem mechanic has snowball potential, it seems very slow. We just need wait to see how fast these guys can be produced. If this mechanic does succeed, it straight out destroys control decks. Think about how strong the Jaraxxus Infernal hero power is in the late game, by producing 6/6’s. The Jade Golems will just exhaust removal, and keep making bigger threats.

Card literally released when I wrote the paragraph above.

This makes me think whether this signals the return of super aggro. When I say super aggro, I mean Old Gods Aggro Shaman, and even old school Face Hunter. All of these gang mechanics are just slow, and aggro decks can take advantage of all the set up to pick apart the hero. Of course, the nerf of cards like Knife Juggler and Abusive Sergeant have put a damper on the truly aggressive decks. And we haven’t seen any card that is cheap and aggressive so far. The question is whether the new age of aggro decks are fast enough and powerful enough to kill an opponent setting up for big gang mechanic plays.

Anyhow, I am pretty excited to see all the new cards. My internet is going to be limited and I may also be occupied with whatever family stuff needs doing in Thanksgiving. But I may likely be in some coffee shop in Kings Highway over the weekend to get in some Wizard Poker. And refreshing Reddit to see what card reveals I missed.

Card Games on Motorcycles: Hog Riders in the Arena

Every time a new Hearthstone expansion rolls around, my affliction starts again. The anathema of having to see new card reveals is a bit consuming, forcing me to stay on Hearthstone Reddit for the latest news. I was sated early today, with the reveal of 3 new cards, seemingly quilboars that are part of a bike gang. While the cards are very flavorful in fitting in with the new expansion theme, they are also situational cards that aren’t all that competitive. Still, the common and rare hog riders have some important implications that will affect how the Arena is played.

Tanaris_Hogchopper(49688).png

The common card, Tanaris Hogchopper, will be at the crux of this discussion. It is a 4-mana 4/4, which is a seemingly very common stat distribution you see in the Arena. This makes it a little below-average, but certainly playable  over many cards. The card gains Charge if your opponent has an empty hand, making the upside a card better than a Kor’kron Elite.

Card advantage is not guaranteed in the Arena, and there is always a need to contest the board by playing minions. As such, topdeck wars do happen a good deal. The Tanaris Hogchopper simply punishes players who will unload their hand in a push for lethal, or to contest the board. While it is prudent to hold onto backup minions when you make a read of a board clear (i.e. Flamestrike), most classes won’t have them. This will change the way Arena is played, and will making one think twice about throwing everyone out there. While there are guaranteed cards that provide charge like Reckless Rocketeer and Wolfrider, this guy is a common and gets the increased offering bonus as part of the new expansion. Plus this guy fills the 4-drop curve, and has a decent size for a charge minion. You will see this card a lot, and it could have a big impact on gameplay decisions.

Spiked_Hogrider(49687).png

The rare card, Spiked Hogrider, is a 5-mana 5/5, also possesses playable stats as a serviceable 5, like Clockwork Knight. The upside of this card is like a Doomguard with less health and doesn’t require discards. This card gains Charge on taunts, so it can easily wipe out value minions like Sen’jin Shieldmasta and Sludge Belcher. With additional removal in hand to remove a taunt, this guy can be used to go face. Given the rarity status of this card, and the need to play taunts in the Arena, this guy shouldn’t be played around. Overall, the Spiked Hogrider is just a fine 5-drop in the Arena, but the Tanaris Hogchopper has a bigger impact on Arena gameplay.

Simple But Effective: Don Han’Cho, the Latest Trigger in Hearthstone

Simple But Effective: Don Han’Cho, the Latest Trigger in Hearthstone

In the weeks leading up to the release of The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Team 5 (Hearthstone devs) has been up to their usual shenanigans of slowly revealing cards from the massive 132-card set. The Grimy Goons were the first faction to have their reveals. In addition to 5 cards being revealed by known players, there was a voting system that would reveal the boss of the Grimy Goons, Don Hon’Cho, one that encouraged individuals to vote every day. This was a needlessly tedious process, and one that ratcheted the hype for the card. The card was finally revealed after a whole week, and it turned out, well, boring.

My initial reaction to the card was negative, as the week-long wait and simplicity of the card just wasn’t worth it.

After a couple of minutes, I came to my senses and realized that Don Han’Cho is a really good card. I mean it has value that could make it one of the best cards in the new expansion. I was okay with the fact that the card is really boring. Though a lot of people on Reddit did not feel that way, with a lot of posts coming up saying how bad Don Hon’Cho is. There was even this ridiculous poll:

What is this guy on
What is this guy on

Is the anger over Don Hon’Cho justified? Or is the Hearthstone community overreacting over another issue?

Simple but Effective

Because Don Hon’Cho is such a simple card, he is very easy to evaluate. He is a 7-mana 5/6, meaning he is a 5-mana body, with 2 anti-tempo. The +5/+5 buff is better than the 4-mana Paladin buff Blessing of Kings. So in a quick-and-dirty calculation, Don Hon’Cho is worth a little more than 9-mana for what he does. This ability of buffing random cards in hand has pros and cons over a regular Paladin buff spell. The pro is that Don Hon’Cho doesn’t require another minion on the board to buff, rather just a minion in hand, which is easier to pull off. The con is that the buff is random and you can’t target a minion of choice. Because buffing any minion is better than buffing nothing, I’d say the pros outweight the cons. So all and all, Don Hon’Cho might be worth 9.5 mana. This isn’t broken like Dr. Boom, but is quite a bit more value than the 7 it costs to play.

Synergy with Current Cards

Though we haven’t seen many of the cards in the new expansion, some obvious card combos come to mind. A +5/+5 on Dopplegangster will allow you to summon 3 7/7 minions for 5-mana. Dispatch Kodo with allow 7 points of targetable damage, and creating a 7/9 minion, all for 4-mana. Wickerflame Burnbristle becomes a 7/7 Divine Shield and Taunt minion, with a plus ability for 3-mana. Rat Pack becomes a 7/7, which will spawn a full board of rats. Aside from the legendary, you could run duplicates of the other cards, increasing the chance of getting the +5/+5 buff in hand.

Synergy with Existing Cards

It doesn’t take new cards to get excited over Don Han’Cho. Cheap taunts like Fierce Monkey could be played the same turn as the Don. Charge minions, will get the +5 attack, allowing a cheaper alternative to Leeroy Jenkins in face decks. Brann Bronzebeard, played before Don Hon’Cho will allow +10/+10 distributed to hand minions. Another interesting card to consider is Soggoth the Slitherer, who becomes a 10/14 unmovable bulwark.

The Backlash Against Don Hon’Cho

There are several reasons why some people are upset at the Don Hon’Cho reveal. As described earlier, the card is flat-out boring. Along with a bunch of other Grimy Goons, which all buff minions in the hand, there is anger about the cards all doing the same thing. Prior to the reveal, some thought Don Hon’Cho would allow the player to create a custom weapon. I though that Don Hon’Cho would provide custom buffs, with things like Taunt, and Divine Shield that come with variable costs. The expectation that Don Hon’Cho would be creative obviously stems from the reveal of Kazakus.

The expectation that Don Hon’Cho would be creative obviously stems from the reveal of Kazakus. Revealed at BlizzCon, Kazakus is the Kabal legendary, and obviously the most creative card created to date.

Principle Designer Mike Donais explained that Kazakus has the possibility to discover 135 different potion combinations when played. The player undergoes a triple discover, choosing a mana cost, and two separate discovers for different abilities. While Kazakus is extremely flashy, and awards higher-skill players for making good decisions, it is at the mercy of 2 discovers, which means there is a bit of RNG in it. In the end, I think Don Hon’Cho will be a more useful card in Hearthstone, given the lesser reliance on RNG and player skill. But I get that these two boss legendaries are on the opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to creativity, making Don Hon’Cho more disappointing.

Another argument against Don Hon’Cho and all related Grimy Goons cards is that they all have the same mechanic. If the mechanic of buffing hand cards is not viable in the competitive meta, most of the cards will not be played. This all-in approach has some benefits, as it makes the Grimy Goons cards have a lot of consistency to constantly buff cards. While it is a completely valid concern that the cards won’t be played due to the meta, I have confidence in the Hearthstone dev team in their play-testing for all the cards.

In the end, I think the argument against Don Hon’Cho is a bit ludicrous and reactionary. It’s okay to be disappointed in the lack of creativity, but to call it one of the worst legendaries is absurd. Fortunately, most people in the Hearthstone community on Reddit recognize that Don Hon’Cho appears to be a pretty good card, and can overlook his boring ability.

What do you think of the new cards?