Jaded: An Evaluation of Jade Golems

Jaded: An Evaluation of Jade Golems

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

Jade Golems: An Explanation

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

Jade_Golem_animation.gif

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

Valuation of Jade Golems

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

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

Triclass Neutrals

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

Druid Cards

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

Rogue Cards

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

Shaman Cards

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

Example of Jade Golem Usage

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

 

Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck: All-Natural

Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck: All-Natural

I played a Druid deck over the course of 2 days, and got my first 12-win run with the class, and my 10th Lightforge overall. Fittingly, I’ve been using The Lightforge Tierlist for drafting lately (thanks ADWCTA/Merps), given some recent struggles.

Arena Druid 9.19.16

Deck type

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-20-16 22.33.29.png

This deck is weird in that it had no 5-mana cards at all. There is a heavy presence of 2-4 drops, and good amount of late game. See the Addled Grizzly? That was actually Pick #1, and I picked it over Knife Juggler. Seems crazy, but Addled Grizzly is a card I am well-fond of and know how to use.

Two drop consistency

Crazed Alchemist isn’t a true 2-drop, more of a gadget tool. Besides the Alch, there are 8 true 2-drops, which is more than enough to cover my poor mulligan choices. And the 2-drops I drafted are pretty good themselves. Anodized Robo Cub with it’s taunt and choose one ability is as good as it gets in the 2-hole.

Middle game

The 3-4 drops in this deck did a lot of work. 2 Chillwind Yetis, Ogre Brute, and Eydis Darkbane provided the meat for efficient board trading. Addled Grizzly and Flesheating Ghoul served as win-more tools. 2 Cult Masters helped me draw my way to victory in some games. When I had Innervate, I opted to play a 3-drop or 4-drop early.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-19-16 21.46.08.png
1-mana 3/4! The Mana Screw is real.

Big drops

Kodorider is a bit of a trump card to force concedes, though it was played on Turn 8 once for trading. 2 North Sea Krakens provided huge value as a Turn 9 play. Ironbark Protector was great against aggressive boards. Boulderfist Ogre was a useful fat guy. Stormwind Champ great as always. Moonglade Portal provided me some useful 6-drops, including Sylvanas in my 11-2 game, key to survival against 2 Frothing Berserkers.

Reach

North Sea Kraken and Swipe have use as board clears, but were often used to go face in this run. Besides that, Stormwind Champion and Addled Grizzly provided minion buffs for extra damage. Addled Grizzly was MVP in some games.

hearthstone-screenshot-09-19-16-22-30-34
Hey guys, Addled Grizzly is pretty good.

Survivability

Taunts galore, with 6 taunts in this game. The 4 2-drop taunts were key for protecting my early game board, while Ironbark helped in games where I was behind, or facing lethal. Moonglade Portal was surprisingly useful for the 6 heals.

Card draw

No cards provided instant draw, but the 2 Cult Masters outright won me games when I had the board. The constant cycling of board trading and card draw is one of the greatest feelings of dominance when playing arena.

Early removal

I guess Swipe counts, but I did not really use it for removal in this run.

Hard removal

Naturalize is the only hard removal. Though I am hesitant to give my opponent cards, I used Naturalize in a non-greedy fashion, in junctures to gain tempo advantage the board, or just on reads when I felt the opponent had no other good minions.

AoE/Board clears

Swipe was the only board clear, but I don’t think I used the function to much success. I Swiped face once to clear 2 1-health minions. Eydis Darkbane had a spare part trigger once to injure a minion.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-19-16 23.23.59.png
Malfurion moonlighting as a Rogue.

 

Synergy

The main synergy combo in this deck is Haunted Creeper + Addled Grizzly, which forces the creation of 2 2/2 Spectral Spiders. Tinkertown Technician was very good with the 2 Anodized Robo Cubs. Taunts have inherent synergy with Cult Master and Addled Grizzly.

Conclusion

Coming into this game, Druid was my 7th best class (or 3rd worse). My draft was helped vastly by the recent banlist, which helped weed out bad cards. Every card I drafted was at least average, and I made it work with some synergy. Though I had a Swipe, I mostly won my games through minion trading, or using my hero power. With my Rogue struggles since the banlist, it makes sense that Druid would be a good class to pick, given the similar hero power. Now I have 3 classes left to get 12-wins with, Warrior, Priest, and Mage. Frankly, I’ll be happy with 12 in any class nowadays.

Hearthstone Screenshot 09-20-16 22.33.51.png
Max bling

This Isn’t Moonglade – A Valuation of Addled Grizzly

This Isn’t Moonglade – A Valuation of Addled Grizzly

I’m pretty sure Druid is my least-played class in Hearthstone, as it is a level 38 or 39 for me. It has always sat in the bottom three in my Arena classes, and I presumably only play Rogue in constructed. After 3 consecutive Druid Arena runs, it is now my 6th best class, edging out Hunter, and pushing Warlock for 5th best class. What gives? It turns out I had one card present in all three Arena runs: Addled Grizzly.

Hearthstone Screenshot 05-13-16 14.34.44.png
That extra addled damage adds up!

Initial impressions

Addled Grizzly looks like crap. It is a 3-mana 2/2, which gives a +1/+1 buff to any minions summoned, while it is on the board. It is a rated a 34 on the Lightforge Tierlist, and a 50 on the HearthArena Tierlist. Hafu did like the card upon first glance in her card review. It is also rated “average” in Hearthstone Pro Players.

Flavor-wise, it is a bear that talks with a goofy voice. This might be confusing for people unfamiliar with Warcraft, but it is a shapeshifted Druid, who is likely talking in Night Elf form. So we’ve got a bear talking, but it’s really when he’s a Night Elf or something. And he doesn’t know where he is or what he’s attacking. Addled means confused, and is usually used in conjunction with drugs (i.e. pot-addled).

Valuation and Revelation

2/2 is like 1.5 mana worth of stats, so this is an anti-tempo play of 1.5 mana. The closest relative of this card is Shattered Sun Cleric, which grants the same buff, with Liadrin being a 2-drop body (3/2). This means the +1/+1 buff is worth about 1 mana. So you need to buff 2 minions for Addled Grizzly to be worth playing.

Addled Grizzly will never be a great card because of the described conditional effect. It must buff 2 things to be worth playing. This will always hold it back.

I admittedly picked Addled Grizzly in the first choice because the other options were really bad cards. I have been forever changed as a result of this happenstance.

Taunts

Taunts are the top priority when you have Addled Grizzly. They just become better for the rest of the draft and help protect the Grizzly.

  • 5 mana
    • AG + Anodized Robo Cub = 2/2 + 4/3 or 3/4
    • AG + Annoy-o-Tron = 2/2 + 2/3 (divine shield)
  • 6 mana
    • AG + Squirming Tentacle = 2/2 + 3/5
  • 7 mana
    • AG + Sen’jin Shieldmasta = 2/2 + 4/6
    • AG + Evil Heckler = 2/2 + 6/5
  • 8 mana
    • AG + Psych-o-Tron = 2/2 + 4/5 (divine shield)
    • AG + Bear Form = 2/2 + 5/7
  • 9 mana
    • AG + Sunwalker = 2/2 + 5/6 (divine shield)
  • 10 mana
    • AG + Bog Creeper = 2/2 + 7/9
Hearthstone Screenshot 05-14-16 23.08.27.png
Much taunt. Such value.

Chargers

Charges get quite a bit of value from Addled Grizzly, as a +1/+1 on a charge is likely worth more than 1-mana, given that charge minions are rather under-stated. Chargers have lots of utility, as they could protect the bear, clear a big minion, or just push face damage.

  • 5 mana
    • AG + Sabertooth Tiger/Bluegill Warrior = 2/2 + 3/2
  • 6 mana
    • AG + Argent Horserider = 2/2 + 3/2 (divine shield)
    • AG + Wolfrider = 2/2 + 4/2
  • 8 mana
    • AG + Cat Form = 2/2 + 5/5
  • 9 mana
    • AG + Argent Commander = 2/2 + 5/3 (divine shield)

Tokens

Tokens get an instant buff from Addled Grizzly, which makes them the clear value play, in getting as many things out on the board, with more power.

  • 4 mana
    • AG + Living Roots = 2/2 + 2/2 + 2/2
  • 5 mana
    • AG + Bilefin Tidehunter = 2/2 + 3/2 + 2/2
  • 6 mana
    • AG + Razorfen Hunter = 2/2 + 3/4 + 2/2
  • 7 mana
    • AG + Mire Keeper = 2/2 + 4/4 + 3/3
  • 8 mana
    • AG + Silver Hand Knight = 2/2 + 5/5 + 3/3

 

Other benefits

  • Increased offering rate – Addled Grizzly shows up a lot in the Arena because it is an Old Gods Druid Rare. First of all, there is an increased offering rate for Old Gods cards. Secondly, because of Klaxxi Amber-Weaver not being present, Addled Grizzly and Mire Keeper get an increased offering rate. So this card will be around often for a rare pick.
  • Deathrattle summons – It provides buffs to anything that comes out of deathrattle as well. So there is extra synergy with Haunted Creeper, Nerubian Egg, Infested Tauren, Piloted Shredder, etc.
  • Beast synergy – Gets buffs from Mark of Y’Sharrj and Wildwalker.
  • Scarab target – Rather high chance of discovery from Jeweled Scarab.
  • Not a soft taunt – A lot of people don’t see Addled Grizzly as dangerous. They see the 2/2 or the 34 tierscore and ignore it. It has inherent protection for being an unknown quantity! Smart players would kill it when they have the chance.

Conclusion

  • I’ve been harping on Twitter for a few days, but I’m gonna say it. Addled Grizzly is average in the Arena but has tremendous upside. I’m picking it over lackluster fillers like 3-mana 4/3 rare guys.
  • It is still not worth picking over really good picks. Mire Keeper still might be better as well.
  • It is not a 3-drop at all. Best used in the late game. Never play it for tempo, unless you are facing lethal.
  • The value just gushes out as long as it stays on the board. Bait out removals and AoEs. Play Addled Grizzly with taunts. Reap rewards.
Hearthstone Screenshot 05-13-16 14.28.13.png
Confused and holding secrets. Sounds like any old person!

Druid Arena Run – Velociraptor Mafia

5 years ago, I was a second semester senior at college. Coasting through the semester, me and some friends decided to play weekly trivia Tuesday nights at a local bar. We were a consistently competitive team, winding up in the top 3 most nights. One of the other competitive teams was a sorority group, named Velociraptor Mafia. When I drafted 4 Mounted Raptors in this arena run, I thought of them.

Decklist

Arena Druid 1.16.16.png

  • Mostly decent card quality for this run, highlighted by the 4 raptors. Likely faster than a standard Druid arena deck, given the high amount of 1-3 drops.
  • While I do have removals, and card draw cards, there are no synergies in this deck.
  • I still am inexperienced playing Druid in Arena and Constructed.

Games

  • Mage – Coin – 1-0 – Aren’t the first games in an arena run sometimes the most difficult? An 18-turn game here. My board was blown out with a Flamestrike in Turn 13. A Webspinner which dropped from a Raptor was Faceless Manipulated by my opponent, as they were down on cards. My Webspinner wound up giving me a Gahz’rilla, while opponent got a Hungry Crab. My opponent plays Reno Jackson on Turn 17 to heal up, but my boosted Gahz and board were too much. Maybe due to fatigue, my opponent makes a misplay in the end, by playing a minion rather than Fireblasting my Gahz. Oh well.
Hearthstone Screenshot 01-16-16 23.53.00.png
Playing around Mirror Entity is easy and makes you feel good.
  • Hunter – 1st – 2-0 – I played a guy named BattleZerg, and it was a bit of an aggro swarm. I had a boosted Scarlet Crusader (4/2) that my opponent was never able to deal with. Things died and my Scarlet kept applying pressure. An opponent Desert Camel brought out enough for a lethal.
  • Mage – Coin – 3-0 – I started with a hand of 3 Raptors, which is a bit much too be honest. But the Raptors did play a big role in giving me things on the board. I simply had minions on the board, while my opponent was left with tech cards and specialty removals.
Hearthstone Screenshot 01-17-16 00.03.48.png
Velociraptor Mafia. The 4th one was taking a nap.
  • Warlock – 1st – 3-1 – I used Innervate to get a Mounted Raptor out in Turn 1, but it was countered well by my opponent. It was over when an Imp Gang Boss was out and a Twilight Drake joined in Turn 4. A Jeweled Scarab into Demonwrath cleaned off the board. I tried to stick around the last few turns, but it was clearly over.
  • Mage – Coin – 3-2 – I do the worst against Mages, and this was a straight up Grinder Mage. Flamecannon there, Arcane Explosion and Arcane Missles, 2 Frost Novas here and there. Eventually I got beat by big things like a boosted Ethereal Arcanist, Sea Giant, and Force-Tank Max. Impressive deck that was virtually spells and big things.
  • Paladin – 1st – 3-3 – I was applying pressure most of the game while the board was contested, as evidenced by the 24-8 score by Turn 10. But I was in topdeck mode, while my opponent had a growing board and The Beast. With my opponent at 4 life, I played Raven Idol to attempt to get a spell for damage. I got another Raven Idol. I play it again, and get… Wild Growth. I play Excess Mana, and no extra reach in my deck.
Hearthstone Screenshot 01-17-16 00.49.48.png
Possible misplay here.

Upshot

  • Deck was good, but I still have no idea how to play Druid.
  • Mistakes in playing Druid include not knowing when to play Innervate, mulligan options, etc.
  • The Mounted Raptors were useful but not “amazing.” Definitely worse than Piloted Shredder.
  • Possibly the lack of synergies hurt me in this run.