Adapting in the Arena feat. Verdant Longneck

A week ago, the upcoming Hearthstone expansion, Journey to Un’Goro, was officially announced, with a few of the new cards. The official card leak cycle is set to begin on March 17th, so the hype will be intensifying as that date comes closer. Oh yeah, and here’s the infamous Ben Brode rap, which put him on the front page of the Internet. What a marketing win for Blizz.

Anyways, I’m here to talk about the new Adapt mechanic, and how to pick the right one in the arena. Quests are a new exciting card type, but as they are relatively irrelevant in the arena for being: 1) legendary rarity; 2) draft-dependent, they will be a topic for another day. Thanks to the card Verdant Longneck, we can look at the Adapt choices, and see what are the best choices in the arena.

Crackling_Shield(52590)
Spoilers!

Adapt

While a bolded keyword, Adapt is being bundled into the Battlecry mechanic. Basically, you play a minion, and the Battlecry becomes a Discover, allowing a pick of 3 abilities for the minion to gain. There are 10 Adapt mechanics overall. Some notable cards that interact with Battlecry will notably be gone from the arena by the time this mechanic is introduced.

  • Nerub’ar Weblord has been rotated out, would have increased the cost of Adapt minion by 2.
  • Crowd Favorite will be rotated out, would get a buff for each friendly Adapt minion.
  • Brann Bronzebeard will be rotated out, would allow a minion to get 2 Adapts.

We won’t know what cards come out of the next set, but any Battlecry-affecting cards would have a big impact on whether or not you should draft an Adapt card.

Verdant Longneck Adapting

Verdant_Longneck(52583)
New card!

Verdant Longneck at it’s base is a 5-mana 5/4 Druid Beast card. Simple analysis says Verdan Longneck is under-stated by 3 points. A 5-mana card should have 11 points, so that’s 2. Being a Druid-class card will also have leeway for 1 point bonus, so that’s 3 points off what it should be. Is Adapt worth those 3 points? Let’s look at the table below to see what the Verdant Longneck becomes with each Adapt.

Adapt Result Close Analog
Crackling Shield 5/4 Divine Shield None
Flaming Claws 8/4 > Salty Dog
Living Spores 5/4, Deathrattle of 2 1/1’s None
Lightning Speed 5/4 Windfury > Dunemaul Shaman
Liquid Membrane 5/4 Elusive < Spectral Knight
Massive 5/4 Taunt ~ Booty Bay Bodyguard
Volcanic Might 6/5 ~ Twilight Darkmender
Rocky Carapace 5/7 ~ Dark Arrakoa
Shrouding Mist 5/4, 1 turn Stealth < Stranglehorn Tiger
Poison Spit 5/4 Poisonous None

We can do a little analysis with the cards that the Verdant Longneck becomes.

  • Flaming Claws – Better than Salty Dog, but not saying much, so possibly average.
  • Lightning Speed – Dunemaul Shaman was pretty bad, so not much more than that.
  • Liquid Membrane – Spectral Knight was average, and this is a full 2 health off.
  • Massive – Booty Bay Bodyguard is as unflattering a pick as it gets.
  • Volcanic Might – Purely average, can get traded down by 4-drop, but can trade up a little.
  • Rocky Carapce – Dark Arrakoa has taunt and is a 6-drop, so this isn’t a bad choice at all.
  • Shrouding Mist – A full point off the Tiger, and non-permanent stealth.

Other adapt choices

  • Crackling Shield – I think for Verdant Longneck, this is obviously the best pick for Adapt. Divine Shield is an ability that scales up with attack, so having a 5/4 Divine Shield is tremendous. Essentially the minion is doing 10 damage. Also, Divine Shield is very handy in causing 2-for-1 trades, or forcing the enemy to Hero Power.
  • Living Spores – Harder to evaluate at the moment, but I think that any Deathrattle + Summon ability is solid. While this will be a weaker version of Piloted Sky Golem, leaving stuff on the board will protect against board clears, and help contend with the board.
  • Poison Spit – Poisonous is definitely something that is better with higher-health minions (Maexxna), as the attack is moot. 5/4 with Poisonous is essentially a mimic of the Flaming Claws ability, as 8 attack will kill almost anything. Not a very good adapt for Verdant Longneck.

When to pick

I think it will be obvious that none of the remaining Adapt creatures in this set will be 5-mana 5/4’s. They will come in a variety of costs and stats, possibly with other abilities. Let’s look at each Adapt outcome, and see when or when not to pick them.

457px-Shrouding_Mist(52598)
Very situational!

 

Crackling Shield (+Divine Shield)

  • Pros: Works great with high attack minions. Good for forcing trades or mana usage. Can push lethal with it.
  • Cons: Not effective with very low attack minions (1 attack). Can be ignored if opponent has bigger stuff on the board. Blood Knight is offered more as an Epic.
  • Overall: Great, I would pick it most situations, as it will result in your minion getting multiple trades.

Flaming Claws (+3 Attack)

  • Pros: Works fine in an aggressive deck, or on an empty board. Good for pushing lethal and damage. Allows trading up. Good against Priest if minion has 1 attack.
  • Cons: Doesn’t work great with aggressively-stated minions, as low health will allow a much smaller minion to trade up. Spells can destroy minion easily.
  • Overall: Average, will need to evaluate the situation.

Living Spores (+Deathrattle, 2 1/1’s)

  • Pros: Provides 4 stat points to your minion’s stats. Helps compete with the board. 1/1’s can be boosted to trade up. Protects your board from AoE. Deathrattle synergy with Unearthed Raptor.
  • Cons: Not particularly useful in the late game. Enemy MCT or Second-Rate Bruisers can take advantage.
  • Overall: Pretty good for all purposes, while fighting for the board, or early game.

Lightning Speed (+Windfury)

  • Pros: Can push lethal. Good in the early game.
  • Cons: Bad with minions that don’t have great health. Bad with minions that don’t have great attack in the mid-late game.
  • Overall: Bad, unless it is on a 2-drop with decent stats (3/2 or 2/3), like Whirling Zap. Cards like Grotesque Dragonhawk, Windfury Harpy, and Grook Fu Master are all pretty bad.

Liquid Membrane (+Elusive)

  • Pros: Encourages trading, so softens the board. More spells in the arena, so can’t be targeted. Can’t be hit by Mages. Can provide a fulcrum against Betrayal, positioning cards.
  • Cons: Minion will likely be under-stated, and doesn’t gain a useful ability. Doesn’t work on minion effects.
  • Overall: Pretty bad. You can’t see the cards in your opponent’s hand, so you won’t know exactly if a spell is selects targets. Possibly useful for softening a board before a weak AoE.

Massive (+Taunt)

  • Pros: Taunt forces trades, protects hero health, protects lethal damage board.
  • Cons: Minion with low stats doesn’t gain anything for being a taunt. Not great with aggressively-stated minions.
  • Overall: Situational, better in the late game for all picks. The Verdant Longneck isn’t good as a Booty Bay Bodyguard, but it can save you in a game, or protect your better minions.

Volcanic Might (+1/1)

  • Pros: Great with any early game minion. Works great with a defensively-stated minions, to allow an on-curve vanilla play, or something better. Can allow you to compete with something weaker on the board. Good against Priest on a 3 attack.
  • Cons: Not very sexy. Doesn’t do anything if you are behind, or doesn’t do enough to be threatening.
  • Overall: Good, but possibly broken if stuck on a 2/3 2-drop. Great for playing the board, making sure your minions have more stats. Look for better options if the game isn’t in your favor.

Rocky Carapace (+3 Health)

  • Pros: Good for ensuring a sticky minion to compete for the board. Allows you to play around AoEs.
  • Cons: Probably not great for minions with already low attack. Doesn’t do much in the late game.
  • Overall: Good. Very versatile in the early game, or when competing for the board. Look for better options if the game isn’t in your favor.

Shrouding Mist (+Stealth, 1 turn)

  • Pros: Can setup lethal. Allows spell buffing the next turn. Synergy with Shadow Sensei. Can provide a fulcrum against Betrayal, positioning cards.
  • Cons: Minion doesn’t gain stats, so will likely be under-stated. Doesn’t get pass taunts. Can still get killed by AoE, or random effects. Encourages opponent to go face.
  • Overall: Bad. Best situation to pick is when setting up lethal, so look for better options at every other phase of the game.

Poison Spit (+Poisonous)

  • Pros: Can allow any minion to trade up on something bigger. Works great with high health minions, as the poison could be used on numerous targets. Fine on an empty board, to discourage enemy tempo.
  • Cons: Doesn’t work well with low health minions. Minions with high stats shouldn’t have Poisonous, as their attack is wasted.
  • Overall: Situational. Best with low attack, high health distributions. Possibly good against high-value targets.
Ungoro
Pick the Stealth, guys!

Will it work?

So far with Verdant Longneck, Adapt definitely doesn’t appear to be overpowered, which is the danger when introducing a new mechanic. Also, Adapt brings about the type of “good RNG”, which combines limited probability elements with some strategy. I for one, will be excited to see what other cards exist in this set, and if they combine Adapt with other keywords. Only a week and half left!

 

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