Tentacles for Arms, Throwing Everyone for a Loop

The Whispers of the Old Gods hype train has been chugging along, and card reveals have been picking up the last few days. As part of the popular Hearthstone streamer voting contest, the player Sjow revealed a card called Tentacles for Arms yesterday.

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If you can’t tell, it is a 5-cost Warrior weapon with a 2/2 distribution, and a infinite return deathrattle. Upon seeing this, I took to Twitter:

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And this opinion was reflected also on Reddit:

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Why does Tentacles for Arms exist?

Quick analysis

Let’s look at some similar weapons, in terms of attack/durability.

The vanilla value weapon is Fiery War Axe, dealing 6 damage over 2 turns for 2 mana. Argent Lance will get 4-6 damage over 2-3 turns for 2 mana. Stormforged Axe will get 6 damage over 3 turns for 3 mana. Perdition’s Blade and Glaivezooka do similar things and deal 4 damage over 2 turns. Coghammer is OP.

Tentacles for Arms does 4 damage over 2 turns for 5 mana. Let’s see other 5-mana weapons!

Doomhammer effectively costs 7, but rightfully does 16 damage overall. Assassin’s Blade does 12 damage, and Arcanite Reaper 10.

Tentacles for Arms does 4. For the same cost.

Why?

The community is baffled as to why such a card exists, and Ben Brode talked about it a great deal from his stream last night. Here are some reasons why the card exists as is according to him, and some input from myself and others.

  • It would be OP otherwise – Brode made several comparisons with Tentacles for Arms with the Rogue spell Headcrack (3 mana, 2 dmg, return card on combo). Headcrack was previously a 2 mana spell for 2 dmg, and the combo return. It was nerfed to 3 mana in October 2013, and subsequently never made it to competitive play right off the bat. He mentioned that it would be better for a card to be bad than OP. Would Tentacles for Arms be OP if it was 4 mana? It would be doing 4 damage for 4 mana, and returned to the hand. What if it was a 3/2 instead?
  • It serves another purpose – With a set of 140 cards, there is going to be some filler, like the Boogeymonster. Brode mentioned that some cards serve other purposes, to cater to other players, such as those who enjoy the challenge of making a deck. I myself have the “competitive evaluation” mindset on cards and just see the low value 5-cost 2/2 weapon. But maybe some people do like trying to make things work.
  • Reno Warrior / Fatigue Outcomes – This was suggested that it could serve as a weapon in a Reno deck, where most cards are singletons. Against a class that doesn’t heal, it isn’t the worst thing in the world, as it is constant damage each turn. In a double fatigue situation, the Warrior would have a weapon and armor up each turn.
  • Something we don’t know! – In all fairness, we have had only a small glimpse of the new card set. While it is unlikely there is a card that specializes in buffing Tentacles for Arms, there could be unseen synergy. There already is a pirate Warrior (that does something else), but there are at least 2 other pirates confirmed through murals for Old Gods. So some card could make these tentacles more palatable.

All in all, it is most likely that Tentacles for Arms is as bad as it looks. It is an epic card though, and these cards are the most experimental lot. And soon, everyone will just accept this bad card for what it is and move on to criticizing some other bad card that comes out.

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Pick Your Poison: The Dilemma of 3 Bad Arena Choices

Yesterday when I drafted my Rogue Arena run, I was faced with a difficult last pick: Master of Ceremonies, Cogmaster’s Wrench, and Murloc Warleader. All three of these options are pretty bad choices that typically aren’t first, second, or third options that come to mind. While I had to make a choice to get on and start playing, my final decision ultimately paid off big time and helped me get to 9 wins. Here’s a virtual checklist I played through my head when deciding.

  1. Synergy – I believe having synergy is the best decider between bad cards. My deck had no spellpower, so the Master of Ceremonies as a 4/2 for 3 mana was not really compelling. The Murloc Warleader is a 3/3 for 3, which isn’t the worst, but has no synergy with no murlocs. Further, this pick had anti-synergy, given the presence of an enemy Murloc Knight or any other Murloc. As for mechs, I had Harvest Golem, 2 Mechanical Yetis and Fel Reaver. 4 mechs in a deck of 30 is not too many, but all 4 of the mechs drafted are all fairly sticky. The Wrench also has synergy with Deadly Poison and Blade Flurry in the deck.
  2. Value – While the definition of a bad arena pick is having poor value, sometimes it really depends. The Murloc is probably the “best” value as a 3/3 for 3. I play 3/3 for 3 all the time in constructed with SI: 7 Agent. Cogmaster’s Wrench has the poorest value with no mechs, as the 1/3 weapon is worst than Light’s Justice. Though with a Mech, it has decent value, hitting up to 9 damage.
  3. Normalizing the Mana Curve – My mana curve was fine for this draft. But sometimes you just don’t have enough early game 2-drops, or your deck is too small for your playstyle. That could make the difference between 3 bad picks. Mogor’s Champion is an example of a bad pick, but could fit the big guy role.
  4. Class Synergy – Certain bad cards work better for some classes than others. Grim Patron could work with Mage for some poor man’s Inspire mechanic. Cheap cards work well with Rogue so they can act as combo enablers. Timber Wolf isn’t the worst card in the world for a deck of beasts in a  Hunter. Bad taunts like Frostwolf Grunt work better for Warlock.
  5. Something is Missing – Sometimes one of three bad picks can fill a missing element in your deck. If you’re lacking reach, you can go for something like Reckless Rocketeer. If you have no card draw at all, you can go for something like Coldlight Oracle. If you want a heal, Priestess of Elune can provide some use.
  6. Upside – I also sprung for the Cogmaster’s Wrench in this pick, because it had the 9 damage upside, along with the weapon synergy. The other cards in my draft offered no upside. When you’re picking between three bad cards, the upside pick could help you eke out a game where the odds are against you. Some examples of upside picks you may encounter include Hungry Crab, Mana Addict and Thrallmar Farseer.

One of the things I enjoy most about the arena is that you will likely get to play every card at some point in your arena experience. And when confronted with three bad picks, the chances improve that you are trying out something new. The Cogmaster’s Wrench was definitely the right pick for my arena yesterday. The pleasant surprises you get from a bad card will likely outweigh having to draft it.

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This deck was likely horrendous.