Class Convergence in Kobolds & Catacombs + Cool Neutrals

Class Convergence in Kobolds & Catacombs + Cool Neutrals

Well, Kobolds & Catacombs was revealed in it’s entirety yesterday, getting every dedicated player and thinker of the game riled up to play with the new cards. No matter what your opinion is on K&C, I think everyone can agree that this is a huge expansion in shifting the game. While I have been unfamiliar with the Hearthstone Ranked Meta for some time, it is clear that having cards of an unseen power level are going to shake things up. As is a tradition in this blog, I will now take a look at class convergence in this new set, and also discuss interesting neutral cards that dip into new directions.

Class convergence

Every class is supposed to feel different with their hero power, class cards, and interactions with the neutral cards. Class convergence is the feel of classes starting to look like other classes, brought upon by the introduction of new class cards. Let’s look at all the classes and where they fall on class convergence thanks to new cards.

Druid

  • Copy effects – Druid, a class of flexibility, is getting copy effects for the first time. The cards Ixlid, Fungal Lord and Astral Tiger both have such abilities. Ixlid is more like a Priest card in Mirage Caller. Astral Tiger is more similar to an older Druid card, Malorne, though it acts as a copy, instead of the same card.
  • Armoring – Druid always had secondary armor cards in Feral Rage, Bite, Gnash, Claw, etc. The interesting thing is that armor was never a focus for Druid, just a damage mitigation tool. With the Druid Jasper Spellstones, armoring becomes a chief focus in leveling up the spell. As such, K&C puts an emphasis on Druid armor cards with Barkskin, Ironwood Golem, Oaken Summons, and Branching Paths.

Hunter

  • Positioning – K&C brings about the most positioning cards we have seen, and Hunter has always been a general position-against class, by playing your strongest monsters on the edges. Crushing Walls flips that script, making the reverse positioning tactic more effective. Really for Arena considerations, there is no way to position against the Hunter now, as you need to play around Explosive Shot and Crushing Walls.
  • Warrior positioning attack – First seen on Foe Reaper 4000, Warriors had a few cards like Magnataur Alpha and Scourgelord Garrosh that focus on damaging multiple minions at once. Cave Hydra, is the first Hunter card to attack multiple minions on each hit.
  • Cheap weapon – Glaivezooka was a very good Hunter card, not only for the battlecry, but for being a 2-cost weapon. We are seeing the first cheap Hunter weapon in a while, Candleshot. While just a 1-attack weapon, it is definitely amazing in the Arena and opens up Pirate synergy for Constructed.

Mage

  • Board flood – Dragoncaller Alanna allows the Mage to fill the entire board with 5/5 Dragons. This is notable as Mage is known for being an off-the-board class, not necessarily imposing will with minions. Alanna combines the aspect of using big spells to translate to a lot of minion power.
  • Armoring – Just a one-of, but Arcane Artificer allows the Mage to continually armor up with spells. Armor has always been in Mage with Ice Barrier, but this is the first card that can allow the class to continually heal up.

Paladin

  • None – Just by looking at the Paladin cards, they all do what Paladins already do. Lynessa Sunsorrow focuses on card buff abilities. Level Up!, Crystal Lion, and Drygulch Jailor have Silver Hand Recruit synergy. Cards buff, Taunt, and give Divine Shield. There’s healing. There’s a good weapon. All Paladin stuff.

Priest

  • Turn manipulation – The legendary Temporus has a battlecry that allows your turn to skip, and your opponent’s turn to skip. Previously, we only had the Mage Quest skip a turn, so this would the second turn manipulating card.
  • Coin – An old Rogue mechanic of stealing coins has now gone to Priest through Gilded Gargoyle. The bad stats on this card will probably render this card less useful, though Priest ramp is likely more powerful than Rogue.
  • Divine shield – Unindentified Elixer has 1 outcome providing Divine Shield. To a minion. I believe this is the first Priest-exclusive card that gives Divine Shield.

Rogue

  • Secrets – Fairly big deal in the class convergence department, as Rogues finally got Secrets. It is something that always made sense, and has finally come to be. Rogue secrets play and activate like previous secrets. Evasion will sequence like Eye for an Eye. Cheat Death will sequence like Getaway Kodo. Sudden Betrayal will sequence like Ice Barrier.
  • “Ice Block” – Evasion is a cheaper and worse version of Ice Block. It is a lot worse in that any killing blow will not trigger the Immune activation. So unlike Ice Block, where you try to wittle down as much life as possible, you would hit harder first against Evasion.
  • Drawing/tutoring – We see two cards Elven Minstrel and Cavern Shinyfinder, which draw minions and weapons respectively. Rogues had card draw in the past, but nothing that specifically targets specific card types in the deck.

Shaman

  • Copy effects – Shaman never had copy effects, but they are now. The Sapphire Spellstone cards will level up on copying friendly minions. Grumble, Worldshaker is a bit like a Rogue card, in that it bounces minions, and has the 1-cost mechanic.
  • “Tortollan Primalist ability” – The legendary weapon, The Runespear, can Discover a spell and casts it on random targets. The Discover makes it like Tortollan Primalist, so that’s new. Mage has Servant of Yogg-Saron, which eschews the Discover part.

Warlock

  • Conditional taunt – Hooked Reaver is a powerful card that provides conditional Taunt. We most recently saw this with Tol’vir Stoneshaper and Nesting Roc. Unlike those cards though, the Hooked Reaver goes from bad to amazing, based on the conditional ability. Life manipulation is no new thing though, with past Handlock decks.
  • Big heal – Dark Pact allows the Warlock to heal for 8. While the Warlock dabbles with healing to use Life Tap, this is almost a Priest heal in it’s big number.

Warrior

  • Golems – Warriors are getting Mithril Golems through their Mithril Spellstone. This sounds a lot like Jade Druid and Jade Golems.

Interesting neutral cards

  • Mister Oakheart – 9 mana, but you could basically summon 4 bodies to the board. While there are constructed implications in what you put in your deck, this card also fits very well with typically Arena mana cost is for minions.
  • Arcane Tyrant – Great tempo cheat after Turn 5.
  • Shimmering Courser – Neat ability, but 4-mana 3/3 is easily dealt with by minions.
  • Spiteful Summoner – A bit like previous Tavern Brawl rules we’ve seen.
  • Void Ripper – A big swing ability previously seen in the Priest spell Confuse.
  • Gravelsnout Knight, Hungry Ettin – Over-stated guys who bring back the Hungry Dragon mechanic. Esports!
  • Kobold Monk – We see hero untargetability in other games, but a first for Hearthstone. The stats are on-curve as well, making this a very interesting card.
  • Dire Mole – Vanilla minions are always interesting, as there are a few stat combinations that we have not seen. This is clearly the stickiest neutral 1-drop we have seen in some time, with no downside.
  • Dragonslayer – Reminds me of an old 3-mana 4/3 called Light’s Champion.
  • Shroom Brewer – Neutral heal is always cool, so a little worse than Earthen Ring Farseer, but decent.
  • Stoneskin Basilisk – Possibly better than Giant Wasp. Divine Shield and Poisonous is a great combination, but the ability to get pinged off and traded into might make it the same as Wasp.
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Death Knights Leaving Arena + Thoughts About the Community and Future

Death Knights Leaving Arena + Thoughts About the Community and Future

The newest Hearthstone Arena changes are coming in a few days, with the removal of Death Knight cards from the draft pool. Maybe because there is no relevant news for the game for the time being, this became a very controversial change. While the actual implications to the Arena are low with these removals, the precedent this has set is more important to discuss.

Arena Death Knights by the Numbers

overall dk

Here are the overall numbers, courtesy of hsreplay.net. This doesn’t really say much, as these are the overall numbers for each class, from the pool of all games and cards. All you can tell with this is that the Rogue DK card is pretty bad, the Shaman DK card is debatable, and the 7 others are pretty good. The played WR of the Rogue DK card is especially low, signifying poor initiative from the card.

class specific

Here are the numbers again, with class-specific percent rates. While their removal is relatively low impact, these numbers show that the DKs appear more than other cards. With the increased offering rate of legendaries, and with DKs generally being OP, they get picked nearly automatically for legendaries. You can see that there is approximately a 10% chance of facing a Death Knight in each Arena game. 10% isn’t enough for one to start playing around DKs, but it isn’t nothing either.

The deck winrates by rank are also very high. Malfurion, Jaina, Anduin, and Guldan are all the #1 Arena card for their respective classes, while Rexxar, Uther, and Garrosh are top tier. Thrall is around average, and Valeera is as good as Priestess of Elune.

So yes, DKs are generally really good in Arena. The Gul’dan and Jaina cards in particular, boast very high Played WR percentages, showing they have a bigger direct impact in flipping the board when played. Further, these cards were offered a lot during the forgettable “Synergy Pick Era,” planting the seed for complaints for the removal of all DKs.

Reaction

kibler death knight.PNG

This initial point, which sparked much discussion afterwards, is neither correct nor incorrect, as it depends on one’s perspective on the matter.

  • If you play a lot of Arena (daily), the chance of seeing a DK isn’t a rare thing.
  • DKs will be offered less by next expansion, but they will universally be drafted, making it close to 7% of matches.
  • Not sure if people play Arena just to play cards they don’t have.

Of course, any of my points above are dependent on your own individual experiences.

kibler iksar death knight.PNG

Here we see dev Iksar saying the changes were not targeting Arena balance. As correctly noted by Kibler, that is how many, myself included, initially interpreted the changes. This could also be a way to defend the inclusion of OP commons like Bonemare staying in Arena.

amaz death knights

Here, Amaz expresses his disappointment with the change. Amaz is a very good Arena player, but not a particularly long-time Arena player. His views of Arena may lean towards having more exciting and useful cards to draft.

A Dangerous Precedent (Changes)

The Hearthstone Arena is improving. The Hallow Arena event was a success, enjoyed by players of all types. The synergy picks got removed, approved of by most. Now the Death Knights are leaving, prompting the currently mixed response. Is the Arena changing too fast?

Old Arena players remember when the Arena stayed the same from 2013-2016. I come from the school of ADWCTA and Merps, of the Lightforge Podcast, and part-creators (yeah, I said it) of the HearthArena tier list. On the scale of 1-10 of willingness to criticize Team 5, they are on 11. They have criticized Team 5 for not caring about Arena, doing things poorly for Arena, not having played enough Arena, and communicating poorly about the Arena. They’ve gone all the way. Arena went unchanged until last year, when they decided to ban the first set of cards from drafting. Basically, complaints launched by the Lightforge went unanswered for a while. What I’m trying to say is that old Arena players are not used to change. They want change, but did not expect it that often.

Now you can just go on r/ArenaHS, and several posts by known members of the community calling for more cards to be banned from Arena. Are changes coming too often? Why is this a dangerous precedent?

Hearthstone Screenshot 08-28-17 12.15.06
“You don’t stand a ghost of a chance”

Who Asked?

Recent Arena bans have clued us into who asked for the bans. A co-op between Hafu and Mike Donais showed that she really wanted (and was pleased with) the Vicious Fledgling removal. Kripp recently posted a video complaining about Arena DKs, and here we are. It’s not surprising that Team 5 would listen to Hafu and Kripp, as they are the most known and prolific Arena players in the game.

My concern is a possible unfair weighing of views. Do Hafu and Kripp’s opinion on cards matter more than that of others? It’s known that Team 5 doesn’t particularly get along with the Lightforge, which is understandable. While they possess top-tier knowledge of Arena, do their opinions on cards matter less?

This also spreads to that of the masses of lesser players online. Are r/Hearthstone and r/ArenaHS on the same level in voice? The dedicated players are probably on r/ArenaHS, but they have low upvotes/participation, which may not catch the eye of Team 5.

Hearthstone Screenshot 10-23-17 14.50.45.png
A deck full of cards that could be banned

A More Boring Arena

Just like literally anything in the world currently, the future of Arena is murky. With Death Knights being gone, we can admit that Arena drafts get less interesting. Besides gameplay changes, the thrill of getting a new hero power, affecting the board, and implanting a new hero portrait is gone.

Games will be closer. Often, the play of the DK hero led to the end of the game. While there are plenty of win conditions still available in the draft, the removal of DKs got rid of very flashy and effective closers. Almost like removing a second Deathwing from the game. Now you’ll have to do your dirty work with things like Eldritch Horror.

In terms of class balance, getting rid of 1 legendary really isn’t much. This probably does hurt Warrior the most, as the Warrior DK does give a draft some hope. Mages aren’t living their glory days, but I can’t say the Mage DK keeps them up high. Warlocks definitely have a lesser incentive to draft demons for synergy.

Overall, the removal of DKs isn’t a big deal at all. The more important discussion is what will change next, and who Team 5 is actually listening to.

 

Hearthstone’s Arena-Exclusive Cards

Hearthstone’s Arena-Exclusive Cards

BlizzCon wrapped up last night, and a lot new features were announced for Hearthstone over the past few days. Announcements include the new expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs, card reveals, the new PvE mode, Dungeon Run, and more. What got me most excited were some new Arena-exclusive cards coming to the game in a future event. Let’s talk about these cards, which ones were picked, and the implications of it all.

Arena now

Today is the last day of Hallow Arena, which has gone on for nearly 2 weeks. The reception to the event was mostly positive from hardcore Arena players and never Arena players. I even got my 12 win run yesterday with the Shaman-Hunter combo, so I am satisfied. It was great for being new, testing new skills, and not lasting too long. Tomorrow we revert to a new Arena state, of KFT bonuses, but no grandfathered cards from Wild expansions. And no Vicious Fledgling.

The voting process

Yesterday, the Hearthstone Live Q&A began with a session where the attendees were shown three new cards from each class, and they picked the card that would make it to Arena. From what I know, it was a verbal shouting vote, not unlike a band giving you two options for their encore song.

This part feels a little bad. Arena is a bit of the black sheep among Hearthstone players, with a few hardcore players, and most players not touching it. I even regularly see people complain about being forced to play Arena with the free tickets. It is not the most popular mode, but those who love it, love it. I expected the crowd to reflect this mindset. There were concerns that Arena would be “ruined” by voters unaware of the class balance issues, and more.

Further, the voting was a gut reaction. The crowd was shown new cards, and forced to vote for 1 of 3 right there. No analysis was made. So this gives a chance for a flashy, but bad card to make it.

The new Arena-exclusives

Now, I will display the cards by class, talk about them a little, and the winners. It is important to note that these may not be the final version of the cards. Or they could be. Further, they will not be permanent Arena additions, but inserted for a special event.

Druid

druid1

  • Thornstrike – This would’ve been OP, as it covers a weak spot for Druid in little AoE. And you get into the issues of every class having a 1 damage AoE.
  • Boon of Elune – A bit of a Rogue constructed card calling back to Razorpetal Volley. It does give 4 reach, and makes Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Spell buffers a little better. Bad Arena card overall.
  • (W) Nature’s Champion – This was my vote, and the crowd agreed. The +5/+5 is bigger than Blessing of Kings, but it must be bounced. You can think greedy with big things, but this is probably best with small things. Stonetusk Boar, or another cheap charger can make good use of this in one turn. Druid of the Swarm and Crypt Lord probably will get even more sticky with this.

Hunter

hunter1

  • Reload – I like this card, but probably way too good. Hunters should play aggressively with reliance on the hero power, and this is too much card draw, for probably discarding nothing important in the hand.
  • Volley – RNG card that can give you pretty good cards. The shots like Deadly Shot, Arcane Shot, Multi-Shot, are all pretty good. The bad shot, Cobra Shot, is already gone. So a bit like Cabalist’s Tome, where it feels bad to face.
  • (W) Deadeye – The winner, which harkens back to Steamwheedle Sniper, a good Arena card back in the day. Control Hunter is the darling of every Hearthstone player, and this is good for the Arena, allowing Hunter to support a draft that doesn’t give aggro cards.

Mage

mage1.jpg

  • Arcane Flux – Bad 2-cost spells that also cycle a card are everywhere. Flare, Roll the Bones, Purify (whoops). This has that Servant of Yogg-Saron ability that is purely dangerous when playing Mage. Probably wouldn’t have had a huge impact in most cases, but possibly frustrating when it does have one.
  • (W) Polymorph: ??? – The winner, and probably the best choice. It is flexible, allowing it to boost a friendly minion, or downgrade an enemy minion. And with Discover, you are getting a good range of cards. The question is whether this Discover has the 4x Mage bonus. My guess is it does.
  • Power Cosmic – This is the seemingly OP card of the 3. With Discover, you are leaning towards a 4x Mage bonus, so Sindragosa and Antonidas were likely outcomes.

Paladin

paladin1.jpg

  • Retribution – Has the same trigger as Eye for an Eye, and probably worse than Noble Sacrifice in that it doesn’t cover minions. Would’ve been an okay Paladin card, definitely worse than many.
  • Relic of Hope – The RNG card of the group, giving you something bad or good. There are actually a good number of bad Paladin spells around, and some really good ones.
  • (W) Hand of Salvation – I was firmly stuck on this one, and the crowd liked it as well. I think I liked it just because it is a new mechanic. These three cards aren’t exciting at all, and the Paladin would’ve been fine if they all sucked more.

Priest

priest1.jpg

  • Aboslution – A bit like the Paladin spell that gives +1/+2, making this fit the Priest theme of LIfesteal. It probably would’ve brought Priest up a little bit, allowing the early game to compete a bit better. This card probably would’ve helped the most.
  • Mass Resurrection – Corpse Taker is a really solid 5-mana 3/3, and this does it at the same cost. This is a card that either gives you a ton of value, or is useless on an empty board.
  • (W) Generous Spirit – This was my pick, and that of the crowd as well. Priests shouldn’t have a ton of problems drawing cards, so this would help out those with fast Priest drafts. People probably won’t draft really bad cards to make this work, but some steal combos are in order.

Rogue

rogue1.jpg

  • Assassin’s Training – Debatable whether is good or not. It is not a good card, as it is a 2-for-1 without leaving anything on the board. Plague Scientist is good for the 2/3, and having the same effect. It could also be good as it provides a ton of value on trading a little guy on a big guy.
  • (W) Smoke Bomb – This is good for being card draw, which Rogue’s struggle with in Arena usually. Conceal was never a good card, but Rogues have tend to have reach and play fast. I like this card, and don’t think it was too strong for a strong class.
  • Mindspike – Classify this with some epic rarity weapon that sucks. Probably better than Poisoned Blade.

Shaman

shaman1.jpg

  • Refreshing Jolt – This was my choice, but honestly is powercreeping over the 4-cost Tidal Surge. This is cheaper, does more flexible damage, heals more, and heals flexibly. I feel this is a good card for an underwhelming Arena class, but doesn’t make sense with Tidal Surge around.
  • Magma Shock – A big Earth Shock. Shamans already have a really good 4-cost Jade Lightning, and this is just worse in every way.
  • (W) Crackling Doom – Somehow this card won the vote, and it is flashy as all. Definitely reminds me of a Warlock bomb spell, except the ability to win right away is much higher. I don’t like this card, as it allows the infinite board swing that you cannot play around. There is no playing around this card. While Shamans do need help, making a very unfair board state isn’t the way. Very disappointed with this vote.

Warlock

warlock2.PNG

  • (W) Bottled Madness – You read this right, Bottled Madness was selected by one random audience member after this vote tied. The fate of Arena decided by one person. Incredible. Anyways a very good refill card for Warlock, and most Demons are pretty good. Good thing Howlfiend exists for balance I guess.
  • From Beyond – Similar to the Hunter Reload card, except Warlocks never had trouble drawing cards. Insane late game value.
  • Combust – Definitely OP, as it is Siphon Soul packaged with Hellfire, a 10-mana value.

Warrior

warrior1

  • Training Blade – All of the Warrior cards are very solid, and it is good to see some help for the class. This on it’s own is very good for the Warrior early game, which doesn’t exist due to the hero power. Think how good Light’s Justice is for Paladin. I think this should’ve been the pick.
  • Axe of the Eclipse – The flashy card, which definitely is very good as well. 4/2 on 5 isn’t bad at all, as Twilight Hammer has the same stats.
  • (W) Blazing Longsword – The winner of a tough choice, and pretty good.  Best board control card of the bunch, and has built in Cleaves.

 

 

 

Dual Class Arena Synergy Guide

Dual Class Arena Synergy Guide

Starting on November 24th, we will have dual class Arenas in Hearthstone, for about a span of two weeks. Like in the Frost Festival, free Arena tickets will be provided for each week of the event.

It might be tricky to determine which classes to pick for the event. The safe thing to do is to pick a hero with good cards, and then a good hero power. To help understand this process, I decided to look at all of the class interactions, to look at what happens to certain synergies when you combine their card pools.

dualclassgraphic
The witch is back.

Methodology

  • In a completely qualitative manner, I looked at commons, rares, and epics of cards that showed up in the Arena.
  • I started with the Druid and compared Druid cards with that of the other 8 classes. The cards apply to specifically the hero power.
  • I gave a “Verdict” and a simple thumbs up/down/okay score.
  • Certain cards were left out of synergy discussions. Crackling Razormaw for example is beast synergy, but is fine on it’s own without it, unhurt by lowered synergy. The same goes for Kirin Tor Mage.

Top interactions to look for

Ethereal Peddler + Any class

Ethereal Peddler(42023).png

Use Rogue as one of the Dual Class choices, and you’ll have this card in your rare pool. You’re getting a 2 cost discount for your other class cards in your hand. While this is dependent on hand size, getting a 2-mana or 4-mana discount on 1 or 2 cards is already huge, as it can set up a huge turn. Also, this card is a 5-mana 5/6, which doesn’t exist as a neutral anymore.

Obsidian Shard + Any class

Obsidian Shard(55587).png

Same deal with Ethereal Peddler. Because part of your collection will belong to another class (not the selected portrait hero), this card will get discounted a bit. Definitely a good idea to cheat this out in the early game to shut down the opponent board faster.

Light’s Justice + Deadly Poison or Envenom Weapon

Light's Justice(250).pngDeadly Poison(87).pngEnvenom Weapon(55588).png

Absolutely nutty. Light’s Justice is close to auto-draft for Paladins already, and pairing Paladin with Rogue makes a lot of sense. Throw in these weapon enhancers, and the game is over once you get this combo off.

Blackguard + Priest Healing

Blackguard(62907).pngLesser Heal(126).pngGreater Healing Potion(49755).pngSpirit Lash(58722).pngDarkshire Alchemist(35199).pngPriest of the Feast(42056).png

A little harder to pull off given the Blackguard is competing with other epic cards, but this is just insane board clear potential. Best used when you are a Paladin playing with the Priest hero power, so you can guarantee constant healing.

I Know a Guy + Paladin Hero

I Know a Guy(49623).pngTirion Fordring(391).pngSunkeeper Tarim(55462).png

Wickerflame Burnbristle(49633).pngGrimestreet Protector(49678).pngStonehill Defender(55529).png

In this setup, you’ll need to play as a Paladin with the Warrior hero power. While choosing the Warrior hero power is not a winning play, the class chances of getting off I Know a Guy on a great Paladin taunt is very high. You don’t have to be a Warrior, as Stonehill Defender will do this so long as you have a Paladin portrait, but the chances are higher when you have the Warrior hero power.

Full dual class analysis

The following is very long, so proceed at your own caution. Thanks for reading!

Druid Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Druid Verdict
Hunter ↑↑ Beast Synergy (Bestial Wrath, Mark of Y’Shaarj, Menagerie Warden, Crackling Razormaw, Houndmaster, Kill Command, Virmen Sensei, Trogg Beastrager, Abominable Bowman)

↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Alleycat, Scavenging Hyena, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Rat Pack)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Deathrattle Synergy (Corpse Widow, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

A natural pairing of the beast classes, though the difference-maker is being able to ping as a Druid. Druid traditionally plays big, so having Hunter cards will favor a lighter draft. It is fine though, as there are plenty of Druid tools to help power swarm tactics.

👍👍

Mage ↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

With no synergy between the class cards, and very similar hero powers, this is not a great team. The Druid hero power has late game armor, though the damage cannot always be spent. Mage does have the most powerful spells, and Druid has good cards as well. Overall, the card quality is going to be good. Just know you will draft Mage spells to cover what is lacking for Druid in AoE and big direct damage.

👌

Paladin ↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Meanstreet Marshall)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

With Paladin cards in tow, the Druid-Paladin combination will have access to a lot of buffs. Besides skipping on network synergies like Jade and Murloc, the overall card quality is just going to be great. And these classes don’t clash much, both working similarly.

👍👍

Priest ↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

If there’s anything Druid and Priest have in common is that they have big minions and heal. Again like with Mage, you’ll probably just be looking for the really good Priest spells. The Druid hero power gives ping, and a straight upgrade. Forget the healing synergy cards. Drakonid Operative is fine to draft, but don’t expect a discover.

👌

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↑ Stealth (Shellshifter, Elder Longneck, Verdant Longneck, Shadow Sensei)

↓ Combo (1-drops, Razorpetal Lasher, Bone Baron, Vilespine Slayer, Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

Rogue is great for many reasons, and provides many benefits in the dual class format. The Druid hero power isn’t as good for the early game, but provides the late game heal. Rogue will offer 2 rares, which would provide cost reduction, making them bonkers in the format. Both classes can go fast, and play Jade cards. Ignore the Rogue weapon support, and this is a really good pairing.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Jade (Jade Lightning, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Overload Synergy (Unbound Elemental)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Shamans do have decent cards, but are hindered by a really bad hero power. Having Druid will definitely help, making the pairing solid overall. Shaman does have a mediocre Jade Chieftain, which becomes better. Also forget fringe Elemental, Totem, and Overload synergy. Evolve is slightly worse with Druid cards, as their minions are bigger on stats usually.

👍

Warlock ↑ Healing (Moonglade Portal, Chittering Tunneler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Having access to Druid heal helps mitigate damaging Warlock cards like Chittering Tunneler. Like with Mage and Priest, you would primarily look for the big board clears that Warlock has access to. Despicable Dreadlord and Defile aren’t bad picks either. Overall, a low synergy pairing buoyed by the Druid hero power.

👌

Warrior ↑ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger, Protect the King, I Know a Guy)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

With the Warrior cards, the first thing to think about is taunt synergy. Warrior doesn’t have Bolster, but Strongshell Scavenger works well with Protect the King. Both have plenty of taunts to throw around. Expect a lot fewer weapons to draft, so don’t go for the synergy.

👌

Hunter Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Hunter Verdict
Druid ↑↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Alleycat, Scavenging Hyena, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Rat Pack)

↑ Beast Synergy (Bestial Wrath, Mark of Y’Shaarj, Menagerie Warden, Crackling Razormaw, Houndmaster, Kill Command, Virmen Sensei, Trogg Beastrager, Abominable Bowman)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Deathrattle Synergy (Corpse Widow, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

Most of mentioned above with the Druid-Hunter pairing is still relevant. If you pick the Hunter hero power, definitely bank on the aggro swarm picks much more than beast synergy. The ability to flood and buff will be very fast.

👍👍

Mage ↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

↑ Freeze (Ice Walker, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Breath of Sindragosa)

↑ Burn (Pyroblast, Firelands Portal, Fireball)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

Here we have the two classes with the most secret synergy. While secrets typically aren’t good in Arena, Hunter has the best ones, and has the best synergy card in Cloaked Huntress. Aside from secrets, the burn ability from both classes is pretty substantial, making the gameplan more aggressive. Mage also provides much needed card advantage cards.

👍

Paladin ↑ Swarm Aggro (Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Meanstreet Marshall)

↑ Divine Shield (Steward of Darkshire)

↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Hydrologist, Paladin Secrets)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

With the Hunter hero power, you would shape your Paladin play faster, which is fairly natural. Paladin cards revolve around the board control game, so the Hunter won’t really help in that regard. Overall, the strategy would be aggressive and probably dependent on how many weapons get drafted between the two classes.

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Priest ↑ Silence (Kabal Songstealer, Silence)

↑ Deathrattle Synergy (Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker, Obsidian Statue, Tortollan Shellraiser, Shifting Shade, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

The odd couple here. Not only are the hero powers opposites, but many minions just flip their attack and health! The Hunter hero power does nothing for Priest heal synergy. The only hope is that the Priest cards provide health buffs, or provide a means of board control. There is possibility for decent deathrattle synergy, and abusing the strong Priest minion’s effects. Not a great pairing, but a chance for a fringe synergy.

👎

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Hard Removal (Sap, Vilespine Slayer, Assassinate, Plague Scientist)

↑ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below, Roll the Bones, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

With the Rogue tool set, you have access to many more hard removal cards, an upgrade over Deadly Shot. As such, you can use these cards to your advantage to take out strategic taunt minions, and go face. I like this pairing quite a bit just for that reason, and both play faster than most. You also have some fringe synergy with deathrattle.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↑ Burn (Jade Lightning, Lava Burst)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Similar to Mage, you’ll have access to a number of decent spells that can deal direct damage or provide AoE. The difference is that Shaman can provide overstated minions, good for the aggro game. Shaman overload is also palatable with Hunter, allowing them to just use the hero power. Evolve is better with Hunter, as the minions are cheaper, and aren’t known for having big stats.

👍

Warlock ↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Devilsaur Egg, Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

No synergy between these two classes, but Warlock class cards do fit an aggressive playstyle decently. While certainly a deadly pairing, this might just be too all-in a combination. With no card advantage Life Tap, this deck could just burn out thanks to discards.

👎

Warrior ↑ Taunts (Alley Armorsmith, Ornery Direhorn, Direhorn Hatchling, Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

With Warrior cards, you are looking for weapon help, or cards that can get big. Frothing Berserker comes to mind right away, and Warriors have a number of taunt minions. The problem is you need those cards to make it work. If you are just drafting Warrior cards that don’t fit the Hunter strategy, there won’t be much with this pairing.

👎

Mage Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Mage Verdict
Druid ↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Taunt (Strongshell Scavenger)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

As mentioned above, there is no synergy between the classes, and the hero powers are almost the same. Ice Walker does come into play, as the Mage ping does freeze targets. Other than that, there is great card quality from both classes.

👌

Hunter ↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

↑ Burn (Pyroblast, Firelands Portal, Fireball)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

Having the Mage hero power is better than the Hunter one most of the time, as it fits a wider range of playstyles. Typically you would look for the Hunter minions that serve as an upgrade over the mediocre Mage cast. Hunter AoE spells are pretty high value though, so choosing between an Explosive Shot versus a Blizzard will bring interesting cases. Also, Ice Walker + Steady Shot should freeze the enemy hero, if they plan on using a weapon.

👍

Paladin ↓ Handbuffs (Smuggler’s Run, Grimestreet Outfitter, Grimestreet Enforcer)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

The Paladin playkit doesn’t really clash with much, but Mage being a spell-heavy class does with handbuff cards. Again, this is a pairing with two really good card pools, that isn’t really marred by the lack of synergy. If anything, the Mage hero power helps control the board better for the Paladin setup cards.

👍👍

Priest ↑ Cost Reduction (Radiant Elemental)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Lightspawn, Mana Geode, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

Both classes can play off the board, using various spells to remove enemy monsters. As such, you can build a better control deck than ever in the Arena. There is also interesting interplay with combining the different elementals together. Card advantage is something both these classes do that well too. Combine these classes if you want to play control in the Arena.

👍

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

Rogue cards are cheap and Mage cards are expensive, but that isn’t a big deal. Both sets will have a ton of hard removal to go around, so don’t pick too much. Rogue cards will serve as the way to go fast, while the Mage cards can do board clears and finishers. Really, just a good combination of two great Arena classes, that don’t synergize the way you would expect.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Freeze Synergy (Brrrloc, Ice Breaker, Voodoo Hexxer, Avalanche, Breath of Sindragosa, Ice Walker, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova)

↑ Cost Reduction (Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Stone Sentinel, Fire Elemental, Hot Spring Guardian)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

I’m not really sure what to call this partnership, but you’ve got the classes that wield elemental damage. Board clears and damage spells for days. A neutral spellpower minion might be worth a look in a drafting spot. Shaman does provide better minion quality. Shaman also has a good amount of weapons to help with establishing a board. Additionally, those new useless Shaman freeze synergy cards will definitely be more playable with Mage freeze help. It would be a push to say they would be good, but definitely not horrible.

👍

Warlock ↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire, Fireball, Pyroblast)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

When you have the Mage hero power, the Mage and Warlock cards have similar strengths. Lots of single target removal and board clears. The best way to play is to go the burn route, given the abundance of spells from both. Warlock provides beefier minions than Mage, but definitely watch out for the discards, which could hurt Mage more than others.

👌

Warrior ↑ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant, Execute, Battle Rage)

↑ Taunts

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

The Mage ping is really good with Warrior cards. While they have plenty of Whirlwind-like moves, the ability to choose targets helps greatly for removal and self-enraging. Having access to Warrior taunts is also a good thing for Mage, as it allows the hero protection. In most cases, the difficult draft decisions are picking premium weapon vs spell.

👍

Paladin Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Paladin Verdict
Druid ↑ Swarm Aggro (Mark of the Lotus, Crypt Lord, Power of the Wild, Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Addled Grizzly, Druid of the Swarm, Living Mana, Meanstreet Marshall)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

With the Paladin hero power, you lose the ping you get from Druid, but gain the 1/1 dude board advantage. And that is fine. In fact, the amount of buffing that will go around, is fairly dangerous. The Paladin hero power is also better for a card like Crypt Lord. This pairing is exciting, and I would prefer the Paladin hero power here.

👍👍

Hunter ↑ Swarm Aggro (Lost in the Jungle, Righteous Protector, Meanstreet Marshall)

↑ Divine Shield (Steward of Darkshire)

↑ Secret Synergy (Cloaked Huntress, Hydrologist, Paladin Secrets)

You’ve got two faster classes combining, but you don’t have to play as fast with the Paladin hero power. In fact, you would just play your Paladin board game, but you can get guys out even faster. Hunter has some cheaper spells that Paladin doesn’t have access to until turn 4, so that is good for establishing the early board. Cloaked Huntress is around, but you don’t get the Mage-specific synergy.

👍

Mage ↑ Freeze (Ice Walker, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Breath of Sindragosa)

↑ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist, Hydrologist, Paladin Secrets)

↑ Discover (Ivory Knight)

↓ Handbuffs (Smuggler’s Run, Grimestreet Outfitter, Grimestreet Enforcer)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Ice Walker, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

There is a similar strategy to Hunter, where Mage freeze is seemingly better for Paladin, as it helps the board develop and grow. The difference is that the Paladin will eventually have to deal with the board from growing out of control. The plethora of weapons and spells from both classes should allow that to work easily. Paladin secrets are also cheap, and slightly more useful, allowing secrets to work better for Mage synergy minions.

👍

Priest ↑ High Health (Tortollan Shellraiser, Temple Enforcer, Drakonid Operative)

↑ Blackguard (Binding Heal, Spirit Lash, Holy Nova, Acolyte of Agony, Holy Fire, Priest of the Feast, Darkshire Alchemist,

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

The main strength of this pairing is that Priest minions have high health, allowing them to stick around for taking the Paladin buffs. The Paladin hero power isn’t particularly useful for Priest, besides allowing a curve-filling 1/1. Priest does have access to dragons, so Nightbane Templar might be draftable for once. Blackguard is really strong in the hands of Priest, but having the hero power is preferable to having just the cards.

👍

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Poison (Plague Scientist)

The Paladin-Rogue union is probably going to be the dual class to beat for the entire event, but I think having the Rogue hero power is a lot better. Still, this is a great duo, as weapon synergy is still present. Light’s Justice becomes a game-winner if combined with Deadly Poison or Envenom Weapon. Both classes still lack big AoE outside of Consecration/Equality/Wild Pyromancer, but the single-target removals of Rogue should help a lot.

👍👍

Shaman ↑ Resurrection (Ancestral Spirit, Spirit Echo)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Not really any synergy between these classes, but the hero power guarantees a 1/1 every time. With Shaman cards, you’ll be looking for the damage, AoE, and removals. Resurrection effects are a bit better on certain Paladin cards with Divine Shield.

👌

Warlock ↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Devilsaur Egg, Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

Like with Hunter, there is some benefit to being able to have small things out, for sacrifice synergy. Double-side AoE isn’t compatible with Paladin, as divine shields and 1/1’s will get wiped out, and it undoes building your board. Access to multiple sources of reach and removal are useful, but I think it hurts Paladin more than it benefits.

👎👎

Warrior ↑ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

Both classes typically have weapons in the draft, so buffs or even Forge of Souls is solid. Like with Warlock, the self-damaging AoE isn’t good for Divine Shields or 1/1’s.

👎

Priest Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Priest Verdict
Druid ↑ High Health (Crypt Lord, Scarab, Ironbark Protector, Druid of the Claw, Ancient of War)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Honestly, I might like the Priest hero power for Druid minions, as it allows sticky minions like Crypt Lord or Scarabs stick around. High health and healing work well together. You can forget any network synergies with dragons, beasts, elementals, and jade though.

👍

Hunter ↑ Deathrattle Synergy (Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker, Obsidian Statue, Tortollan Shellraiser, Shifting Shade, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↓ Beast Synergy (Crackling Razormaw, Houndmaster, Kill Command, Trogg Beastrager, Abominable Bowman)

The Hunter-Priest odd couple is seemingly worse with the Priest hero power, which is useless for helping low health minions. Generally, the Hunter cards will just provide initiative, and things for the Priest to play. There is a little deathrattle synergy that still applies thanks to Hunter support cards. Forget any network synergies that applied to each individual class.

👎👎

Mage ↑ Discover (Shadow Visions)

↑ Cost Reduction (Radiant Elemental)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Lightspawn, Mana Geode, Crystalline Oracle)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

As mentioned before, the Mage-Priest pairing could be a very strong control component never seen before in Arena. An added benefit of playing as Mage with Priest hero power is discover with Shadow Visions. Imagine having 2 Flamestrikes, 3 Firelands, or 4 Fireballs in a deck? Look no further!

👍

Paladin ↑↑ Blackguard (Lesser Heal, all Priest heals, Divine Strength, Grimestreet Outfitter, Smuggler’s Run, Sword of Justice)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

Like with Hunter, Paladin cards will just give the Priest some initiative and something to put on the board. Blackguard becomes absolutely nuts in the hands of the Priest hero power and cards. His high health allows him to stick around forever, barring enemy hard removal. Buff him to 4 attack to make him immune to Priest removal.

👌

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↓ Heal Synergy (Priest of the Feast, Northshire Cleric, Auchenai Soulpriest)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon, Luckydo Buccaneer)

This partnership becomes much more useful with the Rogue hero power, but what can you do. The Priest hero power isn’t great for Rogue minions, as they typically have low health. With these pools of cards, you can play control well, as you will have single target removal for all situations. Rogue can provide some sneaky damage to the normally reactive Priest.

👌

Shaman ↑ High Health (Flamewreathed Faceless, Drakkari Defender, Earth Elemental)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Radiant Elemental)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Similar to Druid, Shaman has some big dudes who can benefit from healing after trades. Shaman damage spells are slightly worse without the 25% roll for Wrath of the Air Totem, but I think the value of Lesser Heal is better. Both classes also wield a fair number of class elementals, allowing extra value from neutral elementals.

👍

Warlock ↑ Healing (Priest heals, Chittering Tunneler, Felfire Potion, Pit Lord)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

These two styles clash, and their relationship is better when you have the Warlock hero power. You’re discarding high value cards and sacrificing high health minions. There isn’t much to like besides healing to patch up for Chittering Tunneler, Felfire Potion, and Pit Lord.

👎👎

Warrior ↑↑ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant, Execute, Battle Rage)

↑ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↑ High Health (Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave, Direhorn Hatchling, Alley Armorsmith)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

Don’t sleep on this pairing. The Priest hero power is solid for Enrage minions, as it allows them to power up without dying. This will definitely be skill-testing, as you need to find the line where you can maximize enrage and not die to opponent cards. Besides that, high health taunts provided by Warrior have a good chance to stick around thanks to the heals. Having Warrior weapons helps clear the board.

👍

Rogue Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Rogue Verdict
Druid ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↑ Taunts (Crypt Lord, Scarab, Shellshifter, Spreading Plague, Druid of the Claw)

↑ Healing (Moonglade Portal, Jinyu Waterspeaker, Ultimate Infestation)

↑ Stealth (Shellshifter, Elder Longneck, Verdant Longneck, Shadow Sensei, Savage Roar)

↓ Combo (1-drops, Razorpetal Lasher, Bone Baron, Vilespine Slayer, Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

There is a lot to like with this pairing, and it mostly revolves the Druid having access to taunts and healing. With it, the Rogue can use the weapon liberally, and maybe in the late game. Bad Jade cards like Jade Swarmer, Jade Spirit, and Jade Blossom get a bit better as well. There is also sneaky stealth value, if you drafted a Shadow Sensei.

👍👍

Hunter ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below, Roll the Bones, Terrorscale Stalker, Forlorn Stalker)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

The Hunter toolkit primarily helps with the various position-based AoE has in Explosive Shot and Grievous Bite. Otherwise, it is probably best to go faster with the Hunter cards. Forget any beast synergy with under-stated cards, but things like Crackling Razormaw and Trogg Beastrager are still worth it.

👍

Mage ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

As shown with various Burgle effects, Rogue really makes good use of Mage cards. Not only can the combination of cards control the board really well, but there is extra burst potential of straight damage to the face. The Ethereal Peddler cost reduction synergy I keep pasting probably has maximum value on Mage spells.

👍👍

Paladin ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Taunts (Righteous Protector, Spikeridged Steed, Grimestreet Protector)

↑ Healing (Ivory Knight, Lay on Hands)

↑ Divine Shield (Plague Scientist, Cold Blood)

This is the combination to beat, playing as Paladin with the Rogue hero power. Journey Below is amazing, as the discover potential is fairly high on Tirion. Light’s Justice is great with Deadly Poison and Envenom Weapon. Divine Shield minions provide extra uses for Plague Scientist’s poison and Cold Blood buffs. General heals and taunts help, as Rogue is taking damage from hitting things. There is literally nothing to not like from this combination.

👍👍

Priest ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Healing (Binding Heal, Priest of the Feast)

↑ Deathrattle (Journey Below, Roll the Bones, Obsidian Statue)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Combo (Kidnapper, Spectral Pillager, Vilespine Slayer)

Healing with the Rogue hero power is a big highlight. Priest of the Feast is possibly better with the abundance of cheap spells with Rogue. Northshire Cleric and Crystalline Oracle are 1-drops also, which don’t hurt. There is some deathrattle synergy on Journey Below discover, in that you can fish for an Obsidian Statue or Shifting Shade.

👍

Shaman ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Spirit, Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Lightning)

↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↑ Taunts (Hot Spring Guardian, Earth Elemental, Drakkari Defender)

↑ Healing (Hot Spring Guardian, Jinyu Waterspeaker)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The Rogue-Shaman combination is very similar to the Rogue-Mage combination, in that the Rogue gets a lot AoE and burn spells. Really, once you take away the Shaman hero power, their cards are pretty good! Aside from spells, Shaman provides a little healing/taunts, and has extra Jade synergy value. This has potential to be a very good combination.

👍

Warlock ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Self-Damage (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Pit Lord, Chittering Tunneler)

I am officially calling this pairing Team YOLO. Both classes use their health as a resource, and when you are double dipping in that department, the game could be over fast. On the flip side, the burst potential is really high, and there is plenty of removal options between the two classes. So you could end the game fast with a win. Either way, this is a very high-risk pairing I would not recommend.

👎👎

Warrior ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Runeforge Haunter, Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Naga Corsair, Bloodsail Raider, Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Pirate Synergy (Bloodsail Cultist, Swashburglar, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Southsea Captain)

↑ Taunts

↑ Armor

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

The weapon buff synergy is the sexy thing that sticks out, and even bleeds into a couple of useful vanilla Pirates. Then there’s Pirate synergy, which isn’t really a thing, but let’s just say you draft a bunch. The Warrior has a lot of taunts and armor, so that helps protect. There is also solid burst potential in this pairing. An enraged Frothing Berserker could be game-ending with Cold Bloods or stealth.  

👍

Shaman Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Shaman Verdict
Druid ↑ Jade (Jade Lightning, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Overload Synergy (Unbound Elemental)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

The Shaman hero power isn’t really good given the RNG factor, but you can make some use of the Spellpower totem. That doesn’t particularly apply to Druid, as their spells aren’t bountiful in that regard. A boost on Swipe is sure nice, but there is RNG involved. Other than that, just some Jade synergy. Both classes heal? Hard to get excited.

👎

Hunter ↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

With the Hunter hero power, you can go for more damage, but dicier with the totems. The totems do provide additional bodies, which protect, and make Evolve a bit better. The taunt totem definitely isn’t bad if you’ve got a board going. Still, I think there are many better options, which don’t involve the Shaman hero power.

👎

Mage ↑ Freeze Synergy (Brrrloc, Ice Breaker, Voodoo Hexxer, Avalanche, Breath of Sindragosa, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Stone Sentinel, Fire Elemental, Hot Spring Guardian)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

This is a case where the 25% roll for the Spellpower totem isn’t the absolute worst. Besides that, you have a no ping dual class with some elemental synergy and possible draftable freeze Shaman cards. When you go from a very good hero power to one of the worst, things go off the rails. But the amount of spells available is still dangerous.

👌

Paladin ↑ Resurrection (Ancestral Spirit, Spirit Echo)

↓ Overload (Lava Burst, Flamewreathed Faceless, Volcano, Earth Elemental, Feral Spirit)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The Shaman hero power isn’t horrendous when combined with Paladin. The taunt totem is definitely useful for keeping stuff alive and can buy a minion living for a buff. Healing totem is solid as well. In some cases, the 75% of having a 2 health totem can be big over a 1 health dude. This might be one of the better combinations, if you choose the Shaman hero power for some reason.

👍

Priest ↑ Heal Synergy (Healing Totem, Northshire Cleric)

↑ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller, Radiant Elemental)

↓ Dragon Synergy (Drakonid Operative)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Forget the big minion compatibility, as you’ll need to rely on Priest spells for healing, over a hero power. If you do roll a healing totem, you could be in for mass draw with Northshire Cleric. You’ve got some elemental synergy going on, but unfortunately not much else.

👎

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Jade (Jade Spirit, Jade Swarmer, Jade Shuriken, Jade Chieftain, Jade Claws, Jade Lightning)

↑ Evolve (Evolve, Master of Evolution)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The spellpower totem could definitely be useful with cheap Rogue spells, but none of the other ones are really. Besides that, you can maybe rely on a little jade synergy. Can’t complain too much, when there is enough single target removal to go around, but not having the Rogue ping is something to think about. Shamans aren’t guaranteed a weapon, but Envenom Weapon could make a splash with Spirit Claws.

👌

Warlock ↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↑ Defile

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

There might be something with the roles reversed, but not much going on here besides a shared card pool. The Warlock sacrifice cards are helped by the totems just existing. The card Defile also gets helped by the spellpower totem, and have extra totem bodies to trigger more activations.

👍

Warrior ↑ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant, Execute, Battle Rage)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

The enrage minions get a slight uptick given the chances to roll the healing or taunt totem. Besides that, there isn’t anything really interesting here. You’ve the bottom barrel classes joining forces, with no pings.

👎👎

Warlock Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Warlock Verdict
Druid ↑↑ Taunt (Druid of the Swarm, Crypt Lord, Shellshifter, Druid of the Claw, Spreading Plague, Ancient of War, Ironbark Protector)

↑ Healing (Moonglade Portal)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Taunts are best with Warlocks, as it allows them to preserve life to use with Life Tap. Druids have an endless supply of taunts, so very useful. With enough board clears and high health minions, this could be a sneaky good combo.

👍

Hunter ↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Devilsaur Egg, Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

We might have a very good aggro team here, combining the cheap Hunter cards with Warlock life tap. Without natural taunt minions, Hunter secrets might have use in distracting the opponent from going face. The double-sided AoE isn’t great either with flimsy minions, but Despicable Dreadlord still exists.

👌

Mage ↑ Discover (Chittering Tunneler)

↑ Burn (Felfire Potion, Soulfire, Fireball, Pyroblast)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

With the Mage hero setup and Warlock hero power, the card Chittering Tunneler essentially becomes Primordial Glyph on a body. As mentioned before, there is a lot of burn potential and board clears, which gives this duo a lot of upside. I don’t think it would be ridiculous to consider drafting Ice Block or Ice Barrier, as it helps Warlock.

👍👍

Paladin ↑↑ Taunt (Righteous Protector, Spikeridged Steed, Grimestreet Protector, Legendaries)

↑ Healing (Lay on Hands, Ivory Knight)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Dread Infernal)

The Warlock-Paladin combo is one of the least compatible, but at least there are taunt and healing benefits when life tapping. The double-sided AoE isn’t really beneficial when you are trying to build your side of the board.

👎

Priest ↑↑ Healing (Priest of the Feast, Binding Heal, Greater Healing Potion, Obsidian Statue, Acolyte of Agony)

↑ Taunt (Tortollan Shellraiser, Obsidian Statue)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

Priests have a cache of healing abilities, so Warlock can keep using Life Tap. This combination is just great card advantage, and can draw infinite cards in the late game. I believe investment in subpar healing cards is fine, as Warlock class cards do enough in dealing damage and removals. Obsidian Statue is just ridiculous in the hands of a Warlock.

👍👍

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Sacrifice Synergy (Unwilling Sacrifice, Ravenous Pterrordax, Sanguine Reveler)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓ Self-Damage (Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Pit Lord, Chittering Tunneler)

↓↓ Weapon Buffs (Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

This half of the Warlock-Rogue team is basically a Warlock that has Rogue cards. There shouldn’t be extra damage being taken, aside from drafting a few weapons. In the dual class Arena, you probably would like to combine Warlock Life Tap with a class that heals or taunts. Rogue does neither.

👎

Shaman ↑↑ Taunts (Hot Spring Guardian, Drakkari Defender, Feral Spirit, Thing from Below, Voodoo Hexxer, Earth Elemental, Legendaries)

↑ Healing (Hot Spring Guardian, Jinyu Waterspeaker, Tidal Surge)

↓ Discarding (Doomguard)

↓↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Shaman has a lot of class card taunts, big and small, across all rarities. Healing options aren’t the best, but there is a little. This will definitely make the Shaman combination one of the better pairings for Warlock. Shadowflame also gets a boost, as Shaman minions can get higher attack for cheap.

👍

Warrior ↑↑ Taunts (I Know a Guy, Bloodhoof Brave, Tar Lord, Direhorn Hatchling, Ornery Direhorn, Alley Armorsmith)

↑ Dread Infernal

↓ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Felfire Potion, Hellfire)

This is the last time I will mention this, but Warriors have lots of taunts! The difference between Warrior and other taunt classes is that the rest of the card pool isn’t too impressive. Weapons are great, but not particularly for the Warlock to use. Armorsmith and Alley Armorsmith provide armor value, but I wouldn’t recommend something like Iron Hide. Additionally, big AoE that hits both sides isn’t useful for enrage minions, if it kills them. Dread Infernal is an exception to that.

👍

Warrior Hero Power

Hero Hero Power – Warrior Verdict
Druid ↑ Taunt Synergy (Strongshell Scavenger, Protect the King, I Know a Guy)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓ Jade (Jade Behemoth, Jade Blossom, Jade Spirit)

↓ Beast Synergy (Menagerie Warden, Mark of Y’Shaarj)

Putting on a new broken record that says the Warrior hero power is basically nothing. So, we’ve got the Druid-Warrior partnership where you need taunt synergy in Strongshell Scavenger and I Know a Guy.

👎

Hunter ↑ Taunts (Alley Armorsmith, Ornery Direhorn, Direhorn Hatchling, Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

↓ Beast Synergy (Houndmaster, Kill Command, Abominable Bowman)

Hunter has decent early game removal AoE and a ping card like On the Hunter. Taunts and Weapons help the Hunter minions do their things and go face. Still not much synergy with this pairing.

👎

Mage ↑ Taunts (Alley Armorsmith, Ornery Direhorn, Direhorn Hatchling, Tar Lord, Bloodhoof Brave)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

↓↓ Secret Synergy (Medivh’s Valet, Kabal Lackey, Kabal Crystal Runner, Ethereal Arcanist)

Without the Mage hero power, you’re not only losing your ping, but also your enrage trigger. Having access to Mage cards is definitely a boon, but not having the hero power is a big loss.

👎

Paladin ↑↑ I Know a Guy, Stonehill Defender (Tirion Fordring, Sunkeeper Tarim, Wickerflame Burnbristle, Grimestreet Protector)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

Pairing a hero with the Warrior hero power isn’t going to be good most of the time. Except here. I Know a Guy and Stonehill Defender will give you the OP Paladin taunt minions. Besides that, there is some weapon synergy with both card sets.

👍

Priest ↑ Double-Sided AoE (Spirit Lash)

↓ Weapon Buffs (Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls)

With the Warrior hero power (nothing), you’re losing help for healing enrage minions and high health minions. Healing synergies on the Priest side definitely come up big here, and having weapons would be needed to gain on the board.

👎👎

Rogue ↑↑ Cost Reduction (Ethereal Peddler, Obsidian Shard)

↑ Weapon Buffs (Runeforge Haunter, Grimestreet Pawnbroker, Forge of Souls, Upgrade, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Naga Corsair, Bloodsail Raider, Deadly Poison, Envenom Weapon)

↑ Pirate Synergy (Bloodsail Cultist, Swashburglar, N’Zoth’s First Mate, Southsea Captain)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Whirlwind, Ravenous Ghoul, Blood Razor)

Rogue cards primarily provide lots of single target removal and weapon synergy. Without a guaranteed Rogue weapon hero power, this draft definitely needs weapons to even tread water.

👌

Shaman ↑ I Know a Guy, Stonehill Defender (Earth Elemental, Al’Akir the Windlord, White Eyes)

↓ Elemental Synergy (Stone Sentinel, Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper, Blazecaller)

↓ Totem Synergy (Thing from Below)

Shaman probably has the second-best stock of taunt minions, making I Know a Guy and Stonehill Defender relevant again. There are enough control strategies to go around with Shaman spells and removal combined with Warrior taunts.

👌

Warlock ↑ Dread Infernal

↓ Enrage (Frothing Berserker, Val’kyr Soulclaimer, Bloodhoof Brave, Death Revenant)

↓ Double-Sided AoE (Felfire Potion, Hellfire)

The taunts are irrelevant because you are not Life Tapping. Dread Infernal is still amazing for enrage targets. Definitely some catchup potential with Warlock cards, but not that exciting overall.

👎

Latest Arena Scoop with Hafu and Mike Donais

Latest Arena Scoop with Hafu and Mike Donais

One year ago, I first reported on some Hearthstone Arena insights, thanks to top player Hafu and game designer Mike Donais playing Arena on Twitch. I became aware of another co-op that went on yesterday, which can be seen here. As a dedicated Arena player, any of these insights are especially juicy and interesting. I watched the co-op to pick up on any incoming news coming to Arena. The following declarations are not official, but come from now Principal Game Designer Mike Donais, so that for what it’s worth.

Vicious Fledgling out

Arguably one of the most snowbally cards in Arena history, Vicious Fledgling, is going to be on a banlist coming next patch. It definitely is not the best card in the rare pool when you look at wins, but it definitely was not a fair card. The card won’t be gone entirely, as it will come up in Discover/Random Effects/Transform. I for one will be glad to see it go, as the bad moments seem to come up much more than the good ones.

Mage is mid-tier

Mages got a subpar set of cards in KFT. Their best Arena card is a 3-mana 3/4. This coupled with microadjustments, has knocked Mage to being the 5th-best Arena class. Definitely an unfamiliar position for the class. While you’ll still run into those who have constant answers and board clears, the ones who don’t get victimized more in the low-win pool.

Speed mode?

Never cared for slow Hearthstone play. When asked about the possibility of a speed mode, Mike Donais mentioned that the team has tested it out. He mentioned there were problems with dragged out effects, and mobile play.

A card like Dinomancy

In the background noise of Blizzard HQ, there seemed to be a social gathering going on where Mike was playing Arena. There was laughter (not Brode), and people talking loudly, but indiscriminately. In this, Mike mentioned that Iksar was talking about a card that had a similar effect as Dinomancy. Dinomancy is predictably one of those cards that never went anywhere, is just for fun.

Auto-squelch

Mike Donais squelched every opponent in the run, something I am starting to do more of. He personally is a fan of implementing that feature for Hearthstone, but I have a feeling that decision isn’t up to him.

Robot drafts

Were synergy picks made to specifically combat Arena drafting tools? Hafu and Mike faced a few players who had amazing decks, but made a lot of bad plays. The subject of “robot drafts” came up, in how seemingly players have amazing decks everywhere, sometimes not matching up to skill. Mike mentioned synergy picks meaning to throw a wrinkle to the robot drafts.

Arena patch timing

The next patch, which would get rid of synergy picks, Vicious Fledgling, and possibly more, isn’t coming in the “next week or two.” Mid October or later October?

OP Death Knights

An Arena complaint that shows up every so often are Death Knights, which can swing the game right back in the favor of a player. A big-time “blue shell play.” Mike didn’t imply that Death Knights were leaving Arena, or were planned to do so yet.

Stream of Consciousness: Hearthstone HCT Disconnects

Stream of Consciousness: Hearthstone HCT Disconnects

I’ve always been a skeptic regarding the sustainability and success of esports. It sounded really cool for a while, and I often joked that I should “drop everything and play games for a living.” Reality sank in, and continues to when you see esports teams disbanding all the time, or dropping their teams. Esports teams remind me of old automakers. Did you know there used to be hundreds of automakers? Now you can mostly name them in minutes. They don’t make Mercury and Oldsmobiles anymore!

A couple days ago, I went to an ASUS Republic of Gamers event to try to win free stuff. Notable esports host Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico was there, playing Overwatch and announcing the raffle. It was cool, I got to play Overwatch on a really fancy gaming rig. I got to sit on a gaming chair. I won a pillow. But in the middle of a busy electronics store, not a lot of people stopped by. Even the raffle itself was like 10 people vying for the grand prize. Which makes my not winning it feel worse… But even the ASUS employee asked if I was going to the ESL at Barclays Center, and my response was, “what game are they playing?” Is esports here in New York? Not sure.

In the realm of Hearthstone esports, my views have always been colored by RNG, not other problems. Once Yogg-Saron decided a game, all bets were off. The “anything can happen” aspect of Hearthstone isn’t the best vehicle for something important. It could be fun and spectacular, but fairly back-breaking to those who ultimately work for nothing.

The focus of this weekend, the 2017 Americas Summer Playoffs were mainly disconnects. This one is a doozie.

Here is something from Twitter:

Capture.PNG

Here is something from Reddit:

Capture2.PNG

Blizzard at least acknowledged the problems:

Capture3.PNG

If the internet gets everyone riled up enough, this seems like a big disaster. There could be some fixes down the line, but what if it isn’t enough.

Some practical ideas on how to fix it:

  • In-game tournament mode.

I’m just being a troll by mentioning this, and I don’t know if it will come. I don’t know if the game is built for it. I don’t know if it is worth the money to develop. I’m just going to assume this isn’t coming, and look for other solutions.

  • Scrap the current Innkeeper system and hold them at bigger venues.

The Innkeeper makes the tournament experience seem grassroots and is definitely very flavorful. It helps build human relationships in a digital game. But in the end, is it worth it? The problems associated with this weekend in Hearthstone esports could likely have been avoided. I mentioned the Barclays Center earlier, where they are playing CS:GO at ESL. They have concerts there. It will definitely have the capacity for an esports tournament. Internet problems seem to be an issue of 1) not having strong enough wireless fidelity and capacity (sorry I don’t know the tech words), 2) not having enough manpower to build/strategize/create better, 3) not having enough money to build something better.

Remember when Buffalo Wild Wings was a bit of a meme? That actually turned out quite decently, and people at those venues didn’t have disconnection issues. I don’t think it was luck that Buffalo Wild Wings had good enough internet. They have standards for quality, and can afford it.

  • Force everyone to play on a wired connection.

Earlier in the year when I had a job, I had college student interns. Once when trying to connect a printer, I asked her where the ethernet port was on the printer. She didn’t know what it was, responding, “I’ve had WiFi all my life.” I was shocked and the moment will likely remain with me forever.

I don’t trust WiFi. I’m not sure if it is because I literally can’t see it or what, but I just don’t believe in it. Not only are your speeds slower, but interference can come from anywhere. Background applications and programs can hog bandwidth. A train could be passing outside and cause a disturbance. I just had to install a WiFi extender, since my room can’t get connect right.

A trusty ethernet cord will eliminate most disconnect problems. Sure, you could have issues with the router/modem. Sure, you could mess up with ethernet in other ways. But having a tenable connection is better than something floating in the air.

The dark truth (NA Internet)

It’s also possible that the problems can never be resolved. Not unlike our healthcare system, the internet in America sucks. Anyone who has paid for internet here knows they aren’t getting a good deal. You have to pay an arm and a leg for internet (and no, I don’t want phone in this day and age), and have to pay a lot after the contract year. Disconnections happen, and they may not resolve for a while. Internet companies are greedy and can do whatever they want. They aren’t regulated too much by the FCC, and the consumer has very little say at all.

Innkeepers may never have the capability to have decent internet, given the poor built environment for it. No matter what upgrades you can make, it will always be shaky footing. While a big venue like the Barclays Center can shoulder the load, costs are costs. I don’t think it is in the cards to borrow a big venue for these Hearthstone esports events.

 

Set It All on Fire: A Look at Hearthstone’s Nerf History

Set It All on Fire: A Look at Hearthstone’s Nerf History

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, Team 5 doesn’t like nerfing cards. They wait a very long time (compared to other games) to make a change. Like it or hate it, that is a core philosophy reciprocated by the devs. With the current KFT Druid continually breaking records, the calls for Druid cards to get the axe grow more vociferous by the day.

azumoqt.JPG

In order to get a sense of when (if) Druid will get a nerf, I decided to look at all the cards that have been nerfed, since the game was officially released post-beta, on March 13, 2014. Wow, I’ve almost played this game 4 years.

It is not a complete science, as older cards get nerfed later on to open up design space, or due to unforseen interactions with newer ones. We can also try to pick out why certain cards were nerfed for what reason.

Release

Unleash the Hounds – 56 days (Release to nerf); 112 days (counting Closed Beta)

  • Unleash has been iterated numerous times in it’s existence, and is honestly a tough one to balance. The 8 weeks to nerf this card from launch is likely one of the fastest nerfs, though the version existed prior in Closed Beta. It was changed to it’s broken form when I started the game.

Curse of Naxxramas

fun and interactive.PNG

Eaglehorn Bow – 131 days

  • It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people played Mage around this time. The Eaglehorn Bow worked Secrets against the Mage to a weapon buff effect, an ability seen much later in Pirate Warriors.

Leeroy Jenkins – 193 days

  • Culprit of the “fun and interactive” meme, I’m surprised this one took this long. The main target was Shadowstep Rogue, which didn’t use any tools from Naxx, except Loatheb. Also possible the streamers of yore didn’t make decks as fast young kids these days.

Starving Buzzard – 193 days (Release to nerf); 286 (counting Closed Beta)

  • The third Hunter nerf out of four cards nerfed. It makes sense to get rid of the Hunter draw engine, but it is possible removing all of their tools at once would’ve been too much. We’ll never know.

Goblins vs Gnomes

Flare – 266 days

  • Seemingly more help for Mages against the Hunter onslaught. Frankly in retrospect, 1-mana for card draw plus ability is way too cheap. It took 3/4 of a calendar year for this one, and might have to do with nerfing all Hunter toys at once.

Gadgetzan Auctioneer – 266 days

  • This card gets a lot of hate, but it was nerfed in GvG, which put away Miracle Rogue for a while. Leeroy was already out of the equation at this point, and may have been targeting MalyRogue, if it was big then.

Soulfire – 266 days

  • Obviously, this was nerfed because Zoolock was too good. At it’s 1-mana cost, it still sees play (wherever the Warlocks are).

Undertaker – 191 days

  • The first expansion card to get nerfed. And it took over half a calendar year to happen. GvG was one of the most aggressive sets overall, and it took Undertaker over the edge.

Blackrock Mountain

None

The Grand Tournament

Warsong Commander – 586 days (since Release); 201 days (since Grim Patron)

  • This one was big, as it put an end to the most oppressive form of Patron Warrior. It did take 201 days, since Grim Patron came out, but I’m sure the deck didn’t perfect itself overnight.

The League of Explorers

None

Whispers of the Old Gods – All Classic cards (773 days from Release to nerf)

Hearthstone Screenshot 01-14-16 22.44.01.png

Ancient of Lore

Force of Nature

Keeper of the Grove

  • The original Druidstone kappa. Ancient of Lore and Keeper of the Grove were cited for auto-inclusion, while Force of Nature was the piece of ForceRoar that took the nerf. Obviously, this long wait was because Druid was never amazing like Hunter, from the beginning.

Hearthstone Screenshot 01-10-16 22.38.30.png

Ironbeak Owl

Big Game Hunter

Hunter’s Mark

  • These cards all brought cheap hard removal, making big controlly minions still not be a thing in Hearthstone. Obviously, Hunter did not run Ironbeak Owl back in the day, and it was likely precipitated by all the prior Hunter nerfs. The long wait was definitely a meta call.

Blade Flurry

  • The classic “design space” meme, which was likely brought on by MalyRogue being at it’s peak prior to Old Gods. Blade Flurry was always great against Aggro, and this nerf was likely allowed since Aggro was weakened. It got the double-whammy and remains unplayed.

 

Knife Juggler

Leper Gnome

Arcane Golem

  • Two “Aggro announcers” and a charge-piece. Knife Juggler is the only one that still sees any play at all now, and this was all done to fight Aggro. Good calls all around here, precipitated by meta shifts.

Molten Giant

  • Handlock was once a thing. The patch notes state that this was allowed due to the nerfs to charge cards. Not sure about this one, as Molten Giant remains MIA.

Master of Disguise

  • This one could’ve happened whenever, but was cited for the reason Animated Armor wasn’t neutral. That card never saw play anyways, and this one didn’t either. Oh well, design space.

One Night in Karazhan

Call of the Wild – 160 days

  • This could be the Blizzard Paragon for nerf to broken card “not that long” after expansion. 160 days is not nothing, but is the quickest nerf in some time.

Execute – 935 days

  • Control Warrior in my eyes, was always super boring to play against. Nerfs don’t come for that specific reason, but this one took a really long time to materialize. It still sees play now, so this wasn’t that big a deal.

Rockbiter Weapon – 935 days

Tuskarr Totemic – 406 days; 252 days (since Old Gods)

  • Shamanstone was around since Old Gods, so this was the first response. Tuskarr Totemic didn’t see play until Old Gods, so this year plus wait is misleading.

Abusive Sergeant – 935 days

  • A dying breed! Another Aggro-announcer meets it’s end, cited for being in too many Aggro decks. Abusive Sergeant still exists here and there though.

Charge – 935 days

  • Pirate Warrior sprouted from Old Gods, and this was done to keep that deck in check. It is still alive and well, never really going away to a significant extent.

Yogg-Saron – 160 days

  • Another nerf that was done in fairly short time. It was a bit of a turning point, as random outcomes were never really denounced by Team 5. They were always a positive. The competitive community finally got a win in this battle.

Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

 

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Small-Time Buccaneer – 91 days

  • Hey look, a rare card to be nerfed within it’s release era. Pretty much a staple for Warrior, Rogue, Shaman, anyone who can hold a weapon. Interesting that the card existed, given the nerfs to all the early Aggro cards. But a fairly timely response here.

Spirit Claws – 203 days

  • A bit overdue. Shamanstone finally ended with this nerf, but it was a long wait.

Journey to Un’Goro

The Caverns Below – 97 days

  • The controversial nerf that everyone was okay with in the end. I don’t think many at all, Rogue mains included, liked playing Quest Rogue. The source of contention, for me at least, is the explanation behind it. If cards that are not fun to play against get nerfed, a whole lot of Mage cards should fit the bill.

Best case scenario?

Recently, Small-Time Buccaneer and The Caverns Below were nerfed within their expansion windows, 91 and 97 days after, respectively. Call of the Wild and Yogg-Saron saw nerfs 160 days after release. Overperformers like Ultimate Infestation, Spreading Plague, and Crypt Lord are the targets here. It is useless to do this exercise for Innervate, as it would have the longest gap between nerfs ever, if it were to see a change. Unleash saw the shortest gap ever at 56 days, but it being the first nerf ever, we can’t rely on that timeline.

And just for those who have made it this far, Knights of the Frozen Throne has only been out 21 days. Unless this current Druidstone is so spectacular! that it causes a nerf never before seen.

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