Snapshots of the Early Un’Goro Arena Meta

Snapshots of the Early Un’Goro Arena Meta

I like to think of the current Hearthstone Un’Goro meta as the “trigger meta,” in that I have become annoyed with a lot of cards. A lot of this has to do with the meta decks in ranked play as Pirate Warrior, Quest (Caverns) Rogue, and Quest (Exodia) Mage are simply frustrating to lose against. While these constructed decks perturb me often, the same can be said about the Arena meta.

We are in the teeth of the new rotation, meaning that this is the lowest card pool in the Arena pool all year. When the second and third expansions come out in 2017, the draftable and playable card pool will increase. Thus, we will see more variety in the draft pool, as well as the Discover and random effect (Burgle, Transform) pool. Combined with the increase in spell rate, we are seeing a lot of cards over and over again. Let’s take an overview of the most common Arena cards, in this early Arena meta.

Hearthstone Screenshot 04-16-17 22.29.30.png
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Data source

I just pulled the data from hsreplay.net, about 12 pm EST on 4/18/17. The data pulls numbers from the last 14 days. I filtered out cards that are now rotated into wild, but may still be present in “grandfathered” Arena decks. I also filtered out Legendaries, as they are not really important to Arena.

Top neutrals

Neutrals are the glue of the Arena. But with a new card pool, boost to rares and epics, and decreased offering rate to Basic cards, what should we expect?

Frequency

hsreplay_top10neutral.PNG

9 of the 10 top neutral cards are from Un’Goro, with Bog Creeper being the sole holdout. It’s interesting that the two poisonous cards in Stubborn Gastropod and Giant Wasp have the lower played winrates, which goes to show that cards without intiative have lower played winrates. Really no surprises in this list, as they are all very good. It is obvious that Volanosaur is #1 despite not being the best card in this list, since everyone gets to draft a golden one.

 

Deck winrate

hsreplay_neutraltop10win.PNG

Here we have the top 10 neutrals in terms of deck winrate, and hey there’s Primordial Drake again. I think Bright-Eyed Scout may be an underlooked card, as it could be a late game play on Turn 9 for big tempo. Silithid Swarmer and Naga Corsair are on the list because they are good Rogue cards. Charged Devilsaur is also proving it’s worth as a great epic neutral.

Top class cards by frequency

Finally, I will look at all the top class cards in terms of frequency. These are useful in playing matchups against a particular class, to play around certain cards. I am only looking at cards that are in over 30% of decks for each. I picked 30% for no particular reason.

Druid

hsreplay_druid30pct.PNG

Tortollan Forager, despite having a dumb voiceline, will be seen in 50% of Druid decks. Just a very good card. Druids will have a bunch of removal spells from the boosted offering rate, though no hard removal. Moonglade Portal is in 33% of decks, and has the bad RNG aspect to help swing games. As expected, Druid is one of the worst Arena classes right now.

Hunter

hsreplay_hunter30pct.PNG

Hunters are seeing healthy winrates, and their top 3 neutral commons are from the new set. Plus, they all have solid deck winrates. Explosive Shot and Call of the Wild show up over 33% of the time, so come to expect those power cards on Turn 5 and 9. Play around Deadly Shot and Unleash.

Mage

hsreplay_mage30pct.PNG

When Flamestrike saw it’s offering rate cut in half, there was debate as to why Flamestrike and not Firelands Portal. We’ll never get the answer why, but Firelands Portal continues to be the menace of having high deck winrate and played winrate. The initiative of leaving something on board is too good, and the chance to get Leeroy and Doomguard are as high as ever…

Anyhow, you’ve got a lot of powerful stuff appearing for Mage. Important to play around Meteor with good positioning on minion placement. They’ve got some early game now as well, so just a lot of good Mage stuff.

Paladin

hsreplay_paladin30pct.PNG

Paladin dropped to the middle tiers it seems with Gadgetzan, but seems to have cards with higher deck winrates now. Spikeridged Steed is seen a ton, as it has the spell offering buff, and is just a very OP card. Dinosize is a card that I like a lot myself, despite initial impression, and is sporting a solid played winrate, as a finisher. Vinecleaver is also another sneaky card that looked bad to me at first, but has a huge played winrate. Paladin is back, and these cards are quite fun.

Priest

hsreplay_priest30pct.PNG

Priest has the biggest list in terms of diversity, and they are mostly spells. Potion of Madness is still appearing in a maddening 41% of decks, so continue playing around that card. Free From Amber is as I expected, overrated, as the guy you get is a neutral card with likely no battlecry effect. Nothing really new to report, but Priests are doing their thing with reactive spells and just a big variety of choices.

Rogue

hsreplay_rogue30pct

Vilespine Slayer, possibly the strongest card in Un’Goro, predictably has high winrates and is the autopick in the epic slot. Hallucination is amazing, but falls victim to RNG gets now and then. But Rogue just has a ton of hard removal, as almost every card in this list is just that. Still great for Arena.

Shaman

hsreplay_shaman30pct.PNG

With the loss of strong early game tempo minions, Shaman has become a reactive Arena class. Volcano, despite it’s horrible played winrate, will be seen in half of Arena Shaman drafts. A lot of other spells are present, with the Hot Spring Guardian being an okay card seen a bit. Shaman doesn’t seem to be in a great spot, but if you like flashy looking spells, Shaman could be fun.

Warlock

hsreplay_warlock30pct.PNG

Warlock took a step back after being top dog. While Abyssal Enforcer getting reduced is the sexy answer, it is most likely because Imp Gang Boss is gone. Warlocks still have hard removal and AoE options, with things that hurt the player. It is interesting that the power epic cards like DOOM! and Twister Nether aren’t being picked more often. Ravenous Pterrordax is showing up a bit, and could be snowbally like the neutral Pterrordax.

Warrior

hsreplay_warrior30pct.PNG

Bringing up the rear as always is Warrior. There’s a short list here, because Warriors likely have to hedge picks for weapons, which inexplicably don’t get the increased offering rate that spells do. Weapons are spells for weapon classes! Direhorn Hatchling isn’t a great Arena card, since it relies on getting the draw for value, but it is the default leader. Just as a fun exercise, Ornery Direhorn, the class common was played 51,000 times in the last 2 weeks. Meteor, the Mage 6-mana epic, a situational removal play, was played 260,000 times in the last 2 weeks. That can show you what state Warrior is in.

Forecasting Arena Shifts by Class

Forecasting Arena Shifts by Class

As mentioned in the past, I love looking at data, and trying to use it to my advantage when possible. Hearthstone Replay officially made their collected data publicly available yesterday, much to my delight. I didn’t even know that this was planned for a release, but I knew data was collected through Hearthstone Decktracker, a tool I have used for years myself.  There’s lots of data about win rates for constructed decks in Standard and Wild, with great UI to see specific deck changes by deck. There’s also separate Arena data, which is what I was interested in the most, and will explore here.

Arena data

Not surprisingly, the Arena data has information about every single draftable card, as you’ll get a different deck each draft. These are the variables measured for each card:

  • Included in % of decks – What % of drafts have this card.
  • Copies  – Average copies of the card in each draft.
  • Deck winrate – Win% when card is in draft.
  • Times played – Raw times played.
  • Played winrate – Win% when card is played in game.

Assumptions

While having big data is great, it could be worse having data and misinterpreting it. Misinterpreting data leads to faulty reasoning and arguments. Let’s try to make some assumptions of this data before we proceed.

  • Players who use HS Decktracker are better Arena players than the average HS player.
    • HS Decktracker provides a ton of information in the game, which will allow the user to gain an advantage in getting intel. One could assume this helps, and the players who use it are more likely use other methods, like drafting tools.
  • Deck winrate and played winrate are independent by class.
    • As a class struggles, the overall winrates will plummet for the class. Just by looking at rates by class, we can see that Warrior and Druid are struggling a lot in the NA server over the last 14 days. Grimy Gadgeteer and Headcrack have the same deck winrate at 49.8%. One is a lot better than the other in reality, as Rogues win a lot more than Warriors.
  • Played winrate has bias depending on game situation.
    • I noticed that some pretty good cards had lower played winrates than expected. Flamestrike sits at 53.3%, the same winrate as Assassin’s Blade. Think about it this way, if you’re playing Flamestrike, chances are you are behind on the board. Mage players who choose not to, or don’t have to play Flamestrike likely have won already.
    • The same goes with card advantage cards. I often play card draw in a last ditch effort to draw into an out. This would skew card advantage cards to lower played winrates.
    • Pyroblast has a very high played winrate at 73.4%, but a 57% deck winrate. This signifies people playing Pyroblast to achieve lethal.

Methodology

  • I’m going to look at the top 10 class cards for each class in deck winrate. It has been established that deck winrate is likely better at evaluating a card than played winrate.
  • I will only look at commons, rares, and epics. Legendaries are omitted as they show up too infrequently. Arena 7.1 put epics back on the map with higher offering rates.
  • I will omit undraftable cards included from old drafts.
  • I will seek to identify the cards that will be rotating out in the Arena once Journey to Un’Goro releases.
  • These data were collected on 4/3/17, approximately around 4pm EST.

Druid

hsreplay_druiddeckwin10

  • Druid appears to be taking a huge blow to their Arena kit when TGT drops out. 7 cards in the top 10 will be leaving.
  • Without Mulch or any replacements in Un’Goro, Naturalize becomes the only Druid hard removal. While it becomes a better pick, it still isn’t great.
  • Shellshifter and Verdant Longneck are solid cards, but it isn’t enough help given what is dropping out.
  • Prediction: Druid might become one of the worst Arena classes.

Hunter

hsreplay_hunterdeckwin10.PNG

  • Things are looking up for Hunter lately thanks to Arena 7.1. Also, none of the top 10 cards are dropping out.
  • Houndmaster is looking even better in the Beast meta.
  • Hunter gets some amazing early game cards and a seemingly premium early removal with Grievous Bite.
  • Prediction: Hunter gets more tools and isn’t losing much. Beasts will help the class even more.

Mage

hsreplay_magedeckwin10.PNG

  • Faceless Summoner and Forgotten Torch are undraftable cards, so ignore them here.
  • Mage will lose 2 cards in the top 10, Fallen Hero and Ethereal Conjurer. All the powerful spells are still here.
  • Primordial Glyph does the samething as Ethereal Conjurer albeit without the threat on board. A bunch of the other common cards are quite solid as well.
  • Prediction: Mage continues to be an Arena powerhouse. Elementals help bolster neutral minion picks.

Paladin

hsreplay_paladindeckwin10.PNG

  • Paladin loses Keeper of Uldaman, Argent Lance, and Seal of Champtions. These are 3 premium cards, but 3 out of 10 isn’t the worst.
  • Spikeridged Steed and Lost in the Jungle are solid gains.
  • Paladin also gainst other snowbally threats that are more win more.
  • Prediction: Paladin either stays the same or gets a little worse. In any case, it should remain in the middle of the pack, possibly still one of the better picks.

Priest

hsreplay_priestdeckwin10.PNG

  • Priest loses nothing from their top 10 list in the upcoming rotation.
  • The loss of Dragons from rotated set would peg a card like Drakonid Operative a little. 5-mana 5/6 is still great to get though. Dragonfire Potion is still a board wipe to pick.
  • Priests get some Elemental synergy with Radiant Elemental and Crystalline Oracle. Shellraiser and Mirage Caller are pretty good as well.
  • Prediction: Priests remain in their current position as a strong Arena class. Fewer Potions of Madness will be a relief.

Rogue

hsreplay_roguedeckwin10.PNG

  • Undercity Valiant is not a draftable card, so it isn’t in this top 10.
  • Rogue loses a couple tools in Dark Iron Skulker, Buccaneer, and Shady Dealer. The class was propelled to #1 thanks to Arena 7.1, and Dark Iron Skulker was likely the culprit for that.
  • The new Rogue toolkit is very solid. Vilespine Slayer, despite being an epic, looks like an autodraft. Obsidan Shard, Hallucination, Biteweed are all solid.
  • Prediction: Rogue remains a top tier Arena class. SI:7 Agent (top deck winrate card) and tools are all still here to keep the class competitive. Lack of AoE didn’t kill the class before, and it won’t now.

Shaman

hsreplay_shamandeckwin10.PNG

  • Whirling Zap-o-matic isn’t a draftable card, so not included in this top 10.
  • Shaman loses none of it’s top 10 cards.
  • Shaman is going all in with Elemental synergy, and I believe this will benefit greatly with all the neutral Elemental cards. The minions are all unimpressive with their stats, so drafting synergy will be key.
  • Prediction: Shaman makes the leap from middle of the pack to top tier. The ability to curve out in the Arena with Elementals will weigh heavily on how well it will do. Some drafts could possibly stall out, if synergy breaks down.

Warlock

hsreplay_warlockdeckwin10.PNG

  • Darkbomb isn’t a draftable card, so it doesn’t belong in this top 10 list.
  • Warlock loses 4 cards from this top 10 list, including Imp Gang Boss, Dark Peddler, Tiny Knight of Evil, and Wrathguard. Really, IGB and Dark Peddler are really bad to lose, as they are really, really good.
  • The new Warlock cards are definitely decent, with the minions being good stat sticks. Chittering Tunneler could be the new Dark Peddler.
  • Prediction: Warlocks get worse and will need to focus on increased minion-based combat with taunts. Could possibly be forced out of top tier status to the middle.

Warrior

hsreplay_warriordeckwin10.PNG

  • These are some putrid winrates. We are looking at the top 10 here!
  • Warrior loses a couple from this top 10, including Obsidian Destroyer, King’s Defender, and Alexstraza’s Champion.
  • Warrior gets very good minion help from Un’Goro, but nonexistent spell support. The three spells they get are nearly undraftable. Sudden Genesis is draftable but win more.
  • Prediction: Is it possible Warriors become even worse? Going forward, the strategy might just be to taunt up and draft weapons, as the spells are no good. That or just continue not playing Warrior.

Thanks to hsreplay.net for all the data and screenshots!

RNG Series: Un’Goro Edition

EDIT: Thanks to @Old_GuardianHS for reminding me adapt is 3/10 not 3/9. Post fixed.

When I first started this blog in the last quarter of 2015, I wrote a bunch of posts where I tried to quantify RNG in the game, the RNG Series. I guess doing the math became too much work for me, as it appears I have not written one of these in 2016 or 2017. Upon the release of all the Journey to Un’Goro cards yesterday, I felt that this expansion had quite a bit of reduction in randomness. Let’s go in and see look at all the random effect cards, and try to quantify some probabilities.

Hearthstone Screenshot 04-26-16 20.02.29.png
Un’Goro RNG ain’t your Old Gods’ RNG

Adapt

  • Single Adapt (12 cards) = 3/10 = 30%
  • Double Adapt (2 cards) = 1 – (7/10)^2 = 51%
  • Galvadon = 1 – (7/10)^5 = 83%

Single Adapts are easy to calculate, just 3 out of 10 outcomes. For multiple Adapts, the events are independent, meaning each roll will be 3/10. So when Galvadon screws you over by not getting Stealth, that was a 17% chance. It will happen.

Discover

  • Hydrologist = 3/5 = 60%
  • Primalfin Lookout = [3/18, 3/14] = [16.7%, 21.4%]
  • Chittering Tunneler = 3/25 = 12%
  • Tortollan Primalist = [3/32, 3/25] = [9.4%, 12%]
  • Free from Amber = 3/30 = 10%
  • Primordial Glyph = 3/32 = 9.4%
  • Servant of Kalimos = 3/36 = 8.3%
  • Stonehill Defender = [3/56, 3/49] = [5.4%, 6.1%]
  • Curious Glimmerroot = 3/59 = 5.1% + Your Brain
  • Hallucination = 3/59 = 5.1%
  • Explore Un’Goro = 3/366 = 0.8%

Discover cards all have a numerator of 3, since you are selecting 1 of 3 picks. The denominator will vary quite a range. Hydrologist has a fairly low RNG, as there will only be 5 Paladin secrets in Standard. While Curious Glimmerroot has an inherent 5.1% of a card, you will likely know what class card is in the opponent’s deck. Also since Discover picks from the pool of Class + Neutral, some cards will vary like Primalfin Lookout for Murlocs, Tortollan Primalist for Spells and Stonehill Defender for Taunts. Explore Un’Goro draws from a pool of Warrior + Neutral cards, giving a 0.8% chance for each card.

Random Card Advantage + Molten Blade

  • Crystalline Oracle = [1/26, 1/1] = [3.8%, 100%]
  • Megafin = 1/19 = 5.3%
  • Molten Blade = 1/23 = 4.3%
  • Elise the Trailblazer = 5/135 = 3.7%
  • Lyra the Sunshard = 1/31 = 3.2%
  • Shimmering Tempest = 1/32 = 3.1%
  • Stampede / Jeweled Macaw = 1/76 = 1.3%

Crystalline Oracle will vary depending on how many cards are left in the deck, so highly variable, but limited in Constructed with repeated cards. Megafin will give a 5.3% chance for each Murloc, and that probability will increase depending on how many cards you get to draw. Stampede and Jeweled Macaw had the probability for a desired Beast plummet after the heavy insertion of Beasts in the new set.

Draw

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  • Tortollan Forager = Turn 2 – 5 attack minions
  • Arcanologist = Turn 2 – Secret
  • Tol’vir Warden = Turn 5 – 2 1-cost minions
  • Mimic Pod = Turn 3 – Anything

Draw cards always start off with a limited denominator of how many cards are left in a deck. Turn 1 players start with 26 cards, while the Coin player starts with 25 cards in deck. Then you subtract what turn a card can be played on inherent card draw. So, the Tol’vir Warden for example, will likely be drawing cards from the smallest deck pool, on average. Mimic Pod is the most variable of these cards, as there is no limiter on what is drawn, like Thistle Tea. Getting 5-attack guys and Secrets are likely more discriminating than 1-cost minions, but these are all random outcomes of limited probability, given the parameters of 30 card decks.

Damage

636265805068200603

  • Volatile Elemental = [1/7, 1/1] = [14.3%, 100%]
  • Sulfuras = [1/8, 1/1] = [12.5%, 100%]
  • Volcano
    • Chance of getting hit with no minions = 99.9%
    • Chance of not getting hit with 14 minions on board = 38%

Back in GvG, random damage appeared to be the main mechanic. Surprisingly, there are only 3 cards like this in the expansion. Volatile Elemental will range from 1/1 to 1/7, so that can obviously be modified. The Ragnaros hero power from Sulfuras will include the hero, so that bumps an extra character. Volcano, obviously is highly variable, depending on it’s own randomness and how much stuff is on the board. With an empty board, the chance of a hero dodging 15 shots is 0.0031%, so nary impossible. On a full board of 14 minions and 2 heroes, the chance of something not getting hit once is 38%. Of course, there are more complicated calculations depending on how much health everything has, as a minion with 1 health dying off will increase the odds of everyone else getting hit. Too complicated.

Summon

636265786513309245

  • Giant Anaconda = [1/10, 1/1] = [10%, 100%]
  • Cruel Dinomancer = varies

Again, we’re not in GvG, when Piloted Shredder dropped off anything. Giant Anaconda at the least has a 10% chance, and this is the highly unlikely scenario of having a hand of 10 5-attack guys. Cruel Dinomancer can be controlled by how much discard you are running. If Clutchmother Zavas was thrown away a lot, she will likely be the most likely outcome of summon, as a 2/2.

The upshot

It’s safe to say that Team 5 took the feedback that bad RNG is bad for the game and competitive Hearthstone. Most of the RNG in Un’Goro is Discover and Adapt, outcomes which have a skill requirement to it. Cards with really wacky RNG outcomes likely won’t be all that good in this set. A card like Stampede is likely a card advantage engine, where you’ll just be looking to get “A Beast” rather than “OP Beasts.”

I think that state of the RNG discussion will focus on the Discover cards, since there will always be variation in a pool of 59 or so cards. Adapt is pretty safe as a mechanic, with the 30% probability floor (not to mention multiple good Adapts).

Looking at the New Look Miracle Rogue: Cores, Techs, and More

Looking at the New Look Miracle Rogue: Cores, Techs, and More

Many complaints emerged prior to the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, about the state of Rogue. A combination of lackluster laddering ability against a hostile meta, and gimmicky expansion cards, and a host of other reasons led tot his “uprising.” It all hilariously culminated on Thanksgiving, when Gadgetzan Ferryman was revealed.

Flash forward to today, January 2017, and Rogue is the third most-played class in the meta. While it is easy to attribute the bounceback of Rogue to the introduction of new neutral pirate cards, other innovations have been made to the class that have it’s current success. Namely, the rather large core set of Rogue cards is seeing variation, allowing the building of various viable Miracle Rogues.

Entrenched Core Cards (20)

  • 2x Backstab
  • 2x Preparation
  • 2x Cold Blood
  • 2x Eviscerate
  • 1x Edwin VanCleef
  • 2x Fan of Knives
  • 2x Tomb Pillager
  • 1x Patches the Pirate
  • 2x Small-Time Buccaneer
  • 2x Swashburglar
  • 2x Gadgetzan Auctioneer
Hearthstone Screenshot 01-08-17 10.56.43.png
Early tempo VanCleef central to this deck.

 

Core Cards of Debatable Usage

  • Counterfeit Coin – Most Miracle Rogue decks have one Coin, but other builds run two Coins, which could lead to a bigger Edwin VanCleef in the early the game to contend with. Obviously, the problem with this is that adding two Coins adds more dead cards to the deck.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos has had a firm spot as a Rogue legendary since the beginning of time, until now. He just doesn’t do enough against a Pirate Warrior, serving as a 1/1 on Turn 2. While the spellpower is nice, doing 3 damage on a Backstab, or 2 damage AoE on Fan of Knives could be too late against a Warrior.
  • Sap – Still an entrenched core card, but decks are starting to use only one Sap instead of two. Sap is still very good against any slower decks, and Shaman overloads, but does next to nothing against Pirate Warrior.
  • SI:7 Agent – Definitely a former core card that usually is played with two copies or none. Most decks will either use SI:7 in lieu of Questing Adventurer or vice versa. Can also be used in conjunction with Questing Adventurer in decks without Leeroy.
  • Questing Adventurer – Certainly the most fluid card in Miracle Rogue, where he can serve as the primary win condition, be an intermediate threat, or be cut altogether. While I have seen/used decks with Questing and Leeroy, I think they are cards that basically do the same thing, and don’t synergize well together. Questings are meant to stick around on the board and do the snowball damage over a few turns, while Leeroy is just the end-game burst.
  • Azure Drake – Still an entrenched core card that is often run two of. I have tried running just one copy in Questing-dedicated decks, to offer a lower mana curve. I’ve also had experiences against other Pirate decks, where the Azure Drake just doesn’t get you out of a tough spot.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Mostly still a core card in Miracle Rogue, except for in dedicated Questing Adventurer decks. He is being cut, as the one time burst mechanic doesn’t do much against heavy aggro Pirate Warriors, and doesn’t fight for the board.
hearthstone-screenshot-01-07-17-20-23-12
New card!

Flex/Techs

  • Conceal – Many decks, especially Questing decks, still run one Conceal. With the usage of Counterfeit Coin, decks are trying to reduce the amount of dead cards. This has lead to some decks cutting the card altogether, in favor of more coins.
  • Shadow Strike – Typically Shadow Strike is the replacement for the second Sap in decks. While it is better against cards like Thing from Below and Kor’kron Elite, I can still see Sap being better run as a double, against most other cards.
  • Shaku, the Collector – A new tech choice of a card that was ballyhooed (by people like me) when it was revealed. The reasoning for Shaku is that he provides a “sticky” 3-drop, while being super effective in getting cards against classes like Shaman and Mage. I have to say that he has been solid so far, and will see further innovation in future decks.
  • Beneath the Grounds – Purely a tech choice against any Kazakus or Reno shenanigans. Not a horrible idea, given that Priests, Warlocks, and Mages comprise about 1/3 of the meta. Also solid against the mirror, but pretty bad against Warrior.
  • Burgly Bully – KremePuff (@KremePuffHS) runs a Burgly Bully, presumably to serve as a sturdy 4/6 body, and to generate coins. I can’t speak as to hell well this card does overall against other classes, but I assume it is working.
Hearthstone Screenshot 01-07-17 13.21.08.png
Reno decks countered with Beneath the Grounds.

 

The Future of Miracle Rogue

  • From my experience, and according to data, the current Miracle Rogue struggles a lot against Pirate Warrior. I have tried Earthen Ring Farseer, but it doesn’t seem to do much against this powerful deck.
  • The cards being played now are all based on the dominance of Pirate packages in Warrior, Shaman, and Rogue. Rogue typically dominates versus Control matches, but the inclusion of more Midrange decks could force changes.
  • This is the last stand for Tomb Pillager. The card, along with any other card from League of Explorers, is rotating out in the next expansion release in a few months.
  • The potential replacement for Tomb Pillager is anyone’s guess, but Xaril immediately comes to mind. I can also see Ethereal Peddler fitting in as the big body drop of Miracle Rogue, though the Coin being a card/spell is big.
  • There is also new speculation that Azure Drake will get cut from the Standard Set. This speculation comes from the popularity of Azure Drake, and Ben Brode’s comments on potential changes (https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/5mqebr/ben_brode_has_spoken_about_changes_in_classic_set/).
  • I tried using Undercity Valiant (while I can), and I lost all the games with this deck. You can’t just put any card in and expect to win after all.

Mean Streets Arena Risers and Fallers: First Impressions

Mean Streets Arena Risers and Fallers: First Impressions

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Arena meta has been interesting to say the least. I struggled quite a bit early on, averaging 3.8 wins in my first 10 arenas. To snap out of the slump, I used a drafting tool, and I have been infinite in the last week, with a 7.57 average. From this change, I learned to look for more synergy with my unassisted drafts, which help with more cards with more effects. Overall, I have 5.35 wins/run over 17 arenas in Gadgetzan.

It’s time to evaluate some of the cards that I have either played a bunch myself, or have faced a bunch. I’ve included the scores of two different tierlists, to show how professionals rate the cards. The “arrows” basically represent how my personal perception of the card changed since the launch of MSG, based on my games using or facing the cards.

Hearthstone Screenshot 12-10-16 23.09.57.png

Card Lightforge Score HearthArena Score Commentary
Abyssal Enforcer 68 93 ↑↑The power of this card was recognized right away, and has turned Warlock into a legit arena class. I had an 8 or 9 win run where this card accounted for all 3 of my losses. This card makes you wish your opponent has a Flamestrike instead. Playing around this card is easier said than done, because you wouldn’t want to forfeit the board of tempo going into Turn 7. The solution appears to push more face damage, to make the Abyssal Enforcer self-damage too damaging to the Warlock. Or play more big guys going into Turn 7.
Ancient of Blossoms 50 57 ↔This card seems like Fen Creeper so far, a ho-hum taunt that I don’t like drafting, but is better than half of the other offerings.
Backroom Bouncer 51 53 ↑A more stable version of Flesheating Ghoul. While the attack doesn’t snowball like Ghoul, the 4-health makes it slightly better for contesting the board.
Big-Time Racketeer 56 69 ↔I have yet to employ the sexy combo with Evolve, but this guy is working as expected. I think I have countered a secret or two with it as well.
Blastcrystal Potion 56 92 ↑I have defeated at least 1 Warlock who used too many Blastcrystals and fell behind on mana. While it isn’t always wrong to use this card in the mid-late game, think about turn planning prior to using. The second-most important card in the rise of Warlock.
Blowgill Sniper 53 54 ↔No complaints about this card so far. It definitely is doing more work than the other Murloc 2-drops.
Daring Reporter 55 63 ↑This card is performing well, and has been a good counter against things like Cult Masters and Warlocks. I have used it to good effect with Kooky Chemist, where I flipped the attack and health after making a trade.
Dragonfire Potion 68 88 ↑↑While an epic card, it seems to be the autopick for the Priest epic pool, as I have seen it a ton. Think about putting down a Dragon when ahead on the board.
Drakonid Operative 63 73 ↑I have not been able to use this myself, but opponents are making good use of it, picking the best cards for the situation.
Fel Orc Soulfiend 36 52 ↓I played against this guy once, and make a favorable trade. Doesn’t seem real good at all.
Friendly Bartender 58 57 ↑Very dependable card that can actually heal solid quantities of health when you have the board. The gap between this guy and River Croc is bigger than I expected.
Grimestreet Enforcer 46 77 ↑Paladins appear to be the Grimy Goon class in the Arena, and this guy will win the game for you, if you are banking on such a mechanic.
Grimestreet Outfitter 47 62 ↔While this feels bad to play on Turn 2, I have won some games where I played him on the Turn 1 coin. While a decent pick, Paladins typically have better options in class cards.
Grimestreet Pawnbroker 66 69 ↑This card looks good and feels better when you have Arcanite Reaper in your hand. Game-ender when you have Fool’s Bane buffed. I have resisted playing it as a tempo 3/3, but it might have to happen in alternative-weapon decks.
Grimestreet Protector 67 91 ↓Yes, the value is there, but you need to survive and have the board to make use of him. Smart players who play the board won’t leave stuff on the board against a Paladin anyways. I had a Paladin run end where I never got to play this guy.
Grimy Gadgeteer 53 74 ↔Pretty good when you have weapons or board control, not that good without. Like with Pawnbroker, this card is pretty good when you have a Fool’s Bane.
Hired Gun 59 55 ↓This guy is doing what is expected, but I have seen instances where a 2-drop kills him. I may have expected something extraordinary, because of the apparent value of vanilla 4/3 + taunt, but nothing amazing is happening really.
Jade Chieftain 47 54 ↔I got beat by a Shaman who played 3 of these guys. Like with many of the Jade Cards, this guy is great in a dedicated Jade deck. Only draft him if you plan on going the full Jade route.
Jade Claws 79 82 ↔This card is an exception to Jade cards, where it is fine to draft this weapon, without other Jade cards.
Jade Lightning 69 66 ↑Very dependable Shaman-like removal spell. Possibly better than Lava Burst in the midgame. The Jade Golem is a bonus, and any synergies will make it definitely better than Lava Burst.
Jade Shuriken 69 64 ↔This card is like Jade Claws, where it is a fine draft pick without other Jade cards in the draft. Jade Shamans have the ability to get out of hand, given the number of cheap options. I’ve done well with Jade Rogue decks with 0-6 Jade sources.
Jade Spirit 44 49 ↔This card is only worth picking with a dedicated Jade draft.
Jade Swarmer 52 50 ↓This card is only worth picking with a dedicated Jade draft. Not good at all if this is the only Jade card you have, but becomes decent with 3+ Jade sources.
Kabal Chemist 47 77 ↔This card is more average than good due to the RNG of potions. I have seen many players not even use the potion they get.
Kabal Talonpriest 74 105 ↓There’s some debate about what the best Priest card is. While this guy has the apparent value of Dark Cultist-plus, it is just a 3/4 when a class goes faster on Priest. Priests got early game help, but can still easily fall behind on the board in the early game.
Lotus Agents 56 80 ↑↑I think I said that this card was the worst of the tri-class discovers, but I am blown away with the stuff I am discovering. I feel like this card makes up it’s bad stats with a more synergistic discover. The Jade classes seemingly make use of each other’s cards very well. I don’t think I have been majorly disappointed by anything I have gotten so far. The 5/3 is also a fine play on an empty board or trading up.
Lotus Assassin 57 78 ↑Very solid card that I have used to eat up 3 minions in one instance. Fine to push face damage as well.
Naga Corsair 53 (neutral) / 62 (Rogue) 54 (neutral) / 71 (Rogue) ↑While the weapon buff is less pronounced than with Goblin Auto-Barber in Turn 2, it is has been performing great for Rogue drafts. Also a readily available pirate common, which helps Ship’s Cannon and Southsea Captain.
Potion of Madness 80 85 ↑↑I think this is doing much better than Kabal Talonpriest so far in the arena meta, as I have been screwed over by it countless times. This card flips the board too well for 1-mana. I am learning to play around the card now, holding back on 2-attack things and using 3-attack minions instead. You can safely unload any 1 or 2-attack minions when you are ahead on the board, and where the trade doesn’t completely screw you over. This card is also pretty easy to make a read on, so definitely hold off on 1 or 2-attack things, if it will completely screw your board up.
Second-Rate Bruiser 47 71 ↔I have only seen this guy played against me, and he is pretty effective against a board of small things. Less impressive in the late game, with bigger minions able to eat him up.
Sleep With the Fishes 49 46 ↓Despite having some big impact of just 2-mana, it is a very clunky card. I tried pairing this card with a Revenge I drafted for a 10-win Warrior, and I wound up playing it once or twice when I was behind.
Small-Time Buccaneer 31 (neutral) / 59 (Rogue) 30 (neutral) / 75 (Rogue) ↔Patches isn’t coming along in the arena, but as good as it gets for Rogues in the 1-drop slot, to go with dagger. Not worth picking for the other classes, unless you have an abundance of weapons.
Smuggler’s Run 56 67 ↑More flexible than Grimestreet Outfitter, and makes Paladin decks dangerous in the arena.
Tanaris Hogchopper 50 50 ↔This card is performing as expected, and nobody seems to be playing around it either. The Charge is useful every now and then.

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Taking a Look at that Pretty Bad Hearthstone Commercial

Blizzard Entertainment seldom produces television commercials, so it was pretty exciting that they decided to release one for Hearthstone today. While Hearthstone is extremely popular and on the heels of the new expansion, this particular commercial was to say the least, baffling. Let’s take a look at this commercial frame-by-frame, and look at some reactions to it.

Frame 1 (00:01) – “Man I love chips and guac”

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Set in an office, Paul is eating chips and guacamole in a styrafoam container. There appears to be plenty of chips around for the taking, given the trays and containers of it around the break room. But I have a feeling the guacamole was not free, and Paul purchased it himself. Anyways, he got so much satisfaction from it, that he let out one of those loud “Mmm” sounds in public. I don’t think I have enjoyed food enough to do that in public.

Frame 2 (00:06) – “Vlad Putin with the People’s Eyebrow”

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The unnamed antagonist of the commercial, a guy who looks like a skinny Vladimir Putin (subliminal message anyone?), steals Paul’s guacamole container and eats a chip from it. I mean guacamole is enjoyable, and I have made it myself on occasion, but is it worth stealing? When I go eat Chipotle, I am not willing to pay extra for guac. Anyhow, this guy is clearly a douchebag, and does the People’s Eyebrow to make our protagonist (is he?) feel bad. He has no remorse for his actions.

Frame 3 (00:09) – “Bullying is not okay / Poor guac boy”

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Paul is upset and says that the guacamole container is clearly his. He wrote is goddang name on it after all. Seen in the background are a variety of other sauces and maybe even a tray of churros. Clearly those other dipping salsas are inferior and just microwaved out of glass jars or cans. That’s why Paul had to bring his own stuff to the party.

Frame 4 (00:15) – “Ready for action”

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Our antagonist asks the central question if Paul “wants to take it inside.” For those who don’t understand the vernacular, “taking it outside” means settling a dispute outside via fisticuffs. Because this is a Hearthstone commercial, they take it inside, and settle their dispute through Wizard Poker. Of course this requires the two guys to be Bnet friends, which could have other implications. I mean they could see each other’s Arena scores, or see when someone unpacks a legendary, or becomes a level 50 Priest.

Paul becomes some Alliance dude (Goldshire Footman probably), and says he wants to take it inside.

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This was likely an inspiration.

Frame 5 (00:17) – “Shuttlecock Elton John”

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The bully counters as Sylvanas, who looks like Elton John, primarily because of the shades. He is also wearing shuttlecocks for some reason, which is odd because Sylvanas doesn’t wear feathers.

Frame 6 (00:19) – “WTF”

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Paul/guac boy re-emerges as some green guy. This commercial becomes the worst commercial of all-time with this arrival.

Frame 7 (00:22) – “Literally unplayable”

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So he is now apparently Dr. Boom. This is weird because Dr. Boom is a Wild card, and people won’t be using Dr. Boom in Standard. Also, bringing improvised explosive devices to the occupational setting is not cool.

Frame 8 (00:23) – “Rank 20 plays”

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The antagonist finally uses the phrase “guac boy” and pulls out his bootleg phone to show how he played Sylvanas on an empty board. Filthy casual confirmed. Guac boy will likely win the game.

Appropriate Reactions on Reddit

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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.

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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.