Mean Streets Arena Risers and Fallers: First Impressions

Mean Streets Arena Risers and Fallers: First Impressions

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

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

Hearthstone Screenshot 12-10-16 23.09.57.png

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

Hearthstone Screenshot 12-16-16 22.46.31.png

Advertisements

Patches the Pirate: Fundamentals Over Flashiness

Unless you’ve quit the game of Hearthstone, you would know that Patches the Pirate has been one of the most popular cards in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The card has contributed to the wave of Pirate decks that are dominating the meta early on, seemingly making waves over than any of the swanky tri-class decks.

What I find most interesting about Patches the Pirate is that he is being used in a completely different way than when first revealed. It is a bit of a demonstration of competitive winning fundamentals, over an amazing play. The glory versus the story, if you will.

History

Patches the Pirate has an astoundingly long card development backstory (http://hearthstone.gamepedia.com/Patches_the_Pirate#History), possibly more than any other card. I first noticed a version of the card, the so-called Captain Scaleblade, being a teaser card in the The Grand Tournament trailer, and not being released in the card set. After a number of swaps with artwork, and drop out of some cards to Wild, Patches the Pirate is finally here, in a set with decent Pirate support.

Removed_Grand_Tournament_Minion_T.png
Definitely would’ve been a cool card.

First Impression: Gang Up

Patches was one of the first cards revealed at BlizzCon, and the gameplay demonstration showed him being involved in a wombo-combo. Basically, Patches was Ganged Up twice, and released with 6 clones upon playing a Southsea Captain. 12 damage!

patches.PNG
Fun and interactive

Hearthstone devs also mentioned that Patches was not released earlier because of interactions with GvG cards Ship’s Cannon and One-Eyed Cheat. The Patches was advertised as a combo charge with the janky ingredient Gang Up.

Accurate Impression: Aggro-Control

Skilled players knew right away to not include Gang Up in their decks when playing Patches. Rogue decks often fail as a result of dead cards, like Cold Blood, Preparation, and Conceal. Adding 2x Gang Up would further exacerbate the matter. Rather, Patches shines without Gang Up because he embodies what Aggro-Control is all about. This is also a very basic Arena concept of grabbing the board early with big tempo, controlling the board, and playing aggressive. Small-Time Buccaneer is the early game hammer that works well with Patches, putting 2/3 worth of stats, that swells to 4/3 with a weapon. Other 1-cost pirates like N’Zoth’s First Mate and Swashburglar put out a total of 2/2 for 1 mana. All of this early game tempo, comboed with a weapon, allows the player to hold on to the board and let the aggression win the game.

Hearthstone Screenshot 12-07-16 20.18.37.png

The “Pirate Package”is so effective that amazing things are happening. Shamans have dropped cards from the bulletproof Midrange deck to include Jade Claws and the Pirate cards. Warriors have gazillions of decks and have all switched to one deck. Rogue is actually playable! While I expect the meta to adapt and stomp out the Patches Pirate package in the coming weeks, it is amazing how a perceived combo card became the Aggro-Control staple of MSG.

All the Minion Stats You Need to Know After Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

All the Minion Stats You Need to Know After Mean Streets of Gadgetzan

I’m a sucker for numbers, as stats can allow one to make a better decision in most avenues of life. Thus, when the remaining Mean Streets of Gadgetzan (MSG) cards were released today, I was able to update my master spreadsheet of cards. Given the ample amount of randomness in the game, I thought it would be a good idea to update various numbers on Hearthstone minions, given the new cards are officially part of the Standard rotation.

Objectives

  • Learn about how the average cost, attack, and health of Hearthstone minions change when MSG is released.
  • Revisit the “evolution table,” which shows minion stat attack/health changes when moving up and down a mana cost. This is relevant given Evolve, Master of Evolution, and Devolve are standard cards.
  • Learn what the average drops are from portals and other special summons.
  • Look at other random stats.

Overall Minion Averages After MSG

Mode Cost Attack Health
Standard 4.19 3.5 4.04
MSG Std 4.17 3.47 4.02
Wild 4.14 3.47 4.05

The introduction of MSG only decreased the average minion cost, attack, and health by a small amount.

Set Cost Attack Health
Evergreen 3.99 3.28 3.85
Naxx 3.4 2.6 4.28
GvG 4.15 3.72 4.18
BRM 4.96 4.3 4.7
TGT 4.26 3.83 4.09
LoE 3.77 3.24 3.97
WotoG 4.64 3.77 4.43
Kara 3.82 2.94 3.59
MSG 4.08 3.31 3.89

Overall, the average minion set of MSG averages 4 and is close to a 3.5/4 statline. This isn’t hard to believe, given the number of anti-tempo minions around in this set with the Grimy Goons and Jade Lotus minions. With the dropout of Blackrock Mountain, Old Gods will represent the beefiest set of minions. MSG minions are overall on the small side.

Evolve/Devolve Table (Standard)

Org Cost Org Attack Org Health Trs Cost Trs Attack Trs Health ∆ Attack ∆ Health % Taunt % Charge
0 1.00 1.00 1 1.29 1.58 0.29 0.58 6.45% 1.61%
1 1.23 1.64 2 2.02 2.46 0.79 0.82 6.90% 1.15%
2 2.02 2.46 3 2.60 3.08 0.58 0.62 6.96% 1.74%
3 2.60 3.08 4 3.22 4.06 0.62 0.98 7.48% 1.87%
4 3.22 4.06 5 4.04 4.77 0.82 0.71 11.11% 3.70%
5 4.04 4.77 6 4.78 5.07 0.74 0.30 11.94% 2.99%
6 4.78 5.07 7 5.70 5.88 0.92 0.81 18.18% 0.00%
7 5.70 5.88 8 6.69 7.56 0.99 1.68 18.75% 12.50%
8 6.69 7.56 9 6.71 8.14 0.02 0.58 9.52% 9.52%
9 6.71 8.14 10 8.36 8.36 1.65 0.22 0.00% 0.00%
10 8.36 8.36 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

This table shows how the average statline of minions changes across mana cost. This is useful for determining stat changes from cards like Evolve, Devolve and Master of Evolution. The average attack and health numbers are across all Standard Play minions, with the 4 basic Shaman totems added to the 1-mana pool. The largest transformation benefit occurs from a 7-mana minion to an 8-mana minion. Taunt has a decent change of hitting from 6 to 7 and 7 to 8. The best chance to get Charge minions are from 7 to 8. The transformed minion stat values are also valuable for determining what minions you get out of various portals. For example, the average Firelands Portal summon will create a 4/5 minion on average.

Evolve/Devolve Table (Arena)

Org Cost Org Attack Org Health Trs Cost Trs Attack Trs Health ∆ Attack ∆ Health % Taunt % Charge
0 0.67 1.33 1 1.30 1.61 0.63 0.28 5.71% 1.43%
1 1.22 1.65 2 1.96 2.44 0.74 0.79 7.83% 1.74%
2 1.97 2.41 3 2.58 3.16 0.61 0.75 8.15% 2.22%
3 2.58 3.17 4 3.21 4.09 0.63 0.92 7.03% 2.34%
4 3.21 4.08 5 4.11 4.75 0.90 0.67 10.28% 2.80%
5 4.10 4.75 6 4.88 5.26 0.78 0.51 10.13% 2.53%
6 4.78 5.18 7 5.90 6.08 1.12 0.90 15.38% 0.00%
7 5.95 6.08 8 6.55 7.60 0.60 1.52 15.00% 10.00%
8 6.53 7.53 9 6.91 8.04 0.38 0.51 8.70% 8.70%
9 6.91 8.04 10 8.36 8.36 1.45 0.32 0.00% 0.00%
10 8.60 8.60 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

This table is the same as the table before this, but deals with the arena. The original minion includes the Wild set of minions, excluding all undraftable cards, like C’Thun cards and balanced out cards. The transformed minion includes any minion from the Wild set, as those cards can all appear in the arena through a summon.

Best/Worst Outcomes

Mana Cost Best Outcome Worst Outcome
1 Injured Kvaldir (2/4) Elven Archer (1/1)
2 Dirty Rat (2/6/taunt), Milhouse Manastorm (4/4) Novice Engineer (1/1)
3 Injured Blademaster (4/7) Blubber Baron (1/1)
4 A 4 mana 7/7 Faceless Shambler (1/1/taunt)
5 Earth Elemental (7/8/taunt), Leeroy Jenkins (6/2/charge), Doomguard (5/7/charge) Bomb Squad (2/2)
6 Savannah Highmane (6/5/DR), Sylvanas (5/5/DR), Illidan (7/5/effect) Big Time Racketeer (1/1)
7 Archmage Antonidas (5/7/effect), Bog Creeper (6/8/taunt) Acidmaw (4/2)
8 Tirion Fordring (6/6/taunt/effect), Ragnaros (8/8/dmg) Boogeymonster (6/7)
9 Ysera (4/12/effect) Blade of C’Thun (4/4), Majordomo (9/7/bad effect)
10 Deathwing (12/12) N’Zoth (5/7)

Here is a rough table of the best and worst outcomes. While there is a concern than evolving a 5 into a 6 or devolving a 7 to a 6 will make a 1/1 Big-Time Racketeer, it is also an equal chance for a Savannah Highmane or Sylvanas.

Average Demon

Cost Attack Health
Standard Demon 4.04 3.7 4.96
Wild Demon 4.19 3.78 4.93

Ever since the banishment of Mal’Ganis to Wild Play, demons have been mostly ignored in Hearthstone class design. MSG brings about some new demon support with an interesting card in Kabal Trafficker, which adds a random demon each turn. Krul the Unshackled is another big interesting demon in the new set.

Average Murloc

Cost Attack Health
Standard Murloc 2.33 1.94 2.06
Wild Murloc 2.48 2 2.29

4 new Murlocs are in this new set, and most interesting one is Finja. These minion averages only apply for the Murloc Knight Inspires, and overall the new Murlocs just further dilute the best Murloc summons of Murloc Knight and Murloc Warleader.

Average Beast

Class Cost Attack Health
Hunter 3.64 3.16 3.53
Druid 3.43 3.25 3.4
Warrior 3.37 3.09 3.4
Rogue 3.31 3.06 3.31
All Other Classes 3.38 3.09 3.38

Tomb Spider is one of the top 3 arena commons picked on average, so I took a look at what the average beast stats are across classes. Here, you’re looking for a useful effect over raw stats, but interesting that the Hunter beasts are actually heavier than Druid ones.

Average Legendary

Cost Attack Health
Pre-MSG Std 6.43 5.21 5.83
MSG Std 6.2 4.95 5.55

Finally, this table shows the average stats for legendary minions in the standard pool before MSG and after MSG. As you can see, the average legendary minion is cheaper and has a bit less attack and health after the release. This confirms my eye test of noticing smaller legendaries made in this set, and the changing Team 5 philosophy of making less impactful neutral legendaries.

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.

 

Salty Rogue

Salty Rogue

Over the Thanksgiving break, I had limited access to Internet, but occasionally checked Reddit on my phone for Mean Streets of Gadgetzan card reveals. On Thanksgiving Day and Friday, I became aware of Hearthstone Reddit blowing up with Rogue players and other agitators joining in on the ruckus. As a Rogue player, I have been often frustrated when taking it to Standard Ranked Play, given the overwhelming presence of faster Shamans. The Rogue frustration can best be summarized in these points:

  1. Blade Flurry was nerfed for design space reasons. No weapon buff has been seen since. Fan of Knives and Dark Iron Skulker are the only AoE for Rogue. This came just as Shaman aggro and midrange swarms became popular.
  2. Rogues have no source of damage mitigation, whether healing or armor or immune. This combined with the propensity for Rogue to draw cards makes Rogue impossible to run as a control class. Any controlly Rogue class card is unplayable as such.
  3. Burgle Rogue is the main deck type being pushed in the last few sets. Burgle Rogue is fun but not competitive. You have no win condition and are literally playing Randomonium. Rogue has been consistently the 6th or 7th best class over the Old Gods/Karazhan meta.
  4. Combo decks are being nerfed as a whole, as they are not interactive, and this appears to be the only way Rogues can win with the cards.
  5. Rogues have a strong set of Evergreen cards, but this makes playing Rogue not fun, as you are playing the same set of cards you did before Naxx came out. (Did Naxx come out yet?) Also, Gadgetzan Auctioneer is a crutch that Rogue decks can’t play without.
val4.PNG
Little did she know, Broll gave her Thistle Tea.

Timeline of MSG Rogue Card Reveals

11/4/16 – BlizzCon

File:Lotus Assassin(49619).png
“Hey this card is neat. It’s like a Stranglehorn Tiger, but it could restealth! It doesn’t fit into what Rogue does, but okay…”
File:Counterfeit Coin(49643).png
“Hey, this looks good. This can be a coin for when Tomb Pillager rotates out, and this helps Auctioneer cycle cards.”

11/5/16 – BlizzCon Disguised Toast Leak

File:Shaku, the Collector(49657).png
“This card is garbage and shouldn’t be a legendary. Overcosted Undercity Huckster. Burgle Rogue sucks. Rogue cards suck confirmed.”

11/21/16 – Jade Lotus Reveal Week

File:Jade Shuriken(49711).png
“Another source of damage for Maly Rogue, probably will see play. I don’t know how this Jade Golem thing will work.”

11/22/16 – Stream Reveal

File:Jade Swarmer(49713).png
“Sigh, a 1/1. We don’t know how this Jade Golem thing is going to shake out.”

11/24/16 – Jade Lotus Reveal Week

File:Gadgetzan Ferryman(49722).png
“This is a Brewmaster that is a class rare for some reason. Team 5 doesn’t care about Rogue. Rogue dumpster class confirmed. We need someone from Blizz to explain why this card exists. Let’s complain so they make good Rogue cards in the next set.”

11/25/16 – Stream Reveal

File:Shadow Sensei.png
“Fuck it, I don’t care anymore.”

Hope is not lost yet, as there are still 2 class cards (1 common and 1 epic) to go. I expect 1 more Jade Golem mechanic card, which could save the class from complete ineptitude in Standard play. Dean Ayala did state that Rogue has the best ways to utilize the Jade Golem mechanic, with Shadowsteps and Unearthed Raptor. I also do long for a weapon buff in the epic slot, as there hasn’t been a viable weapon buff since Tinker’s Oil. Things don’t look good, and playing this class isn’t fun right now. We just need a good Jade card, and a weapon buff. Is that too much to ask? Well, we still can dominate arena at least. Right?

val3.PNG
Weapon buff?

Stream of Consciousness on the Slow Meta

This is as unorganized as it will get on this site, so get ready for me just talking for the sake of writing a post before Thanksgiving.

84 out of 132 cards have been revealed for Mean Streets of Gadgetzan as of this post, with one coming from Kolento (hot meme inserted) in a couple hours.  We already know what the Grimy Goons and Kabal do, and we just learned of the main mechanic of the Jade Lotus yesterday. All of these faction mechanics clearly point towards the direction of an upcoming slow meta.

The Grimy Goons work by putting out anti-tempo drops, which in turn buff minions in the hand. We don’t really know what these decks would look like, but there are card staples that you still want. Warriors are known for carrying good weapons, and lots of removal spells. This would go against what the Grimy Goons do, in keeping a bunch of minions in hand for buffing. Hunters have the Dispatch Kodo, which costs 4, and requires a bunch of buffing to be devastating. Paladins look like the best fit to go aggro, and benefit from the Grimy Goons, given they have cheaper buffs like Smuggler’s Run. While Paladins can play faster, the need to buff things with anti-tempo cards will make the new aggro Paladin slower than the current version.

File:Grimy Gadgeteer(49679).png
Dangerous card

The Kabal have potions and powerful highlander legendaries. With the exception of bad card Bloodfury Potion, the currently revealed potions are all control spells. Three of the potions are board clears, one is a debuff, one is a mind control-psuedo board clear, one is a removal secret and one is Bloodfury Potion. Tempo and Face-Freeze Mage don’t really get much benefit for playing a highlander style, as they will lose a ton of damage spells. Inkmaster Solia is certainly a good card, but costs 7. Warlocks have gotten a 4-mana murloc, which could signal the return of Warloc shenanigans, but have received more control cards so far, like Abyssal Enforcer and Felfire Potion.

File:Inkmaster Solia(49693).png
Definitely fun, but can’t tell how good.

The expected rise of the Priest class (gee thanks, Reddit) also adds to the expectation of a slow meta. The debacle about releasing Purify at the dire juncture of the oppressive Shaman rise led to some legitimate admissions of fault from Blizz devs about saving Priests. This led to some frankly broken Priest cards revealed from the get-go, showing that the class is here to play soon.

Pros: The artwork. Cons: Everything else.

And finally, the Jade Lotus was revealed to have the Jade Golem mechanic, which summons a base 1/1 golem, and becomes a bigger golem for each new one. While the post teased a 30/30 golem, this is honestly going to be impossible to pull off. Like the Grimy Goons, one needs to consider how many of the Jade Lotus cards can supplant other options in the deck. Rogues for example, need core cards like 2x Backstab, 2x Eviscerate, 2x Preparation, 2x Sap. Some of the new cards, like Jade Shriuken will be weaker versions of spells that add the Jade Golem mechanic. While the Jade Golem mechanic has snowball potential, it seems very slow. We just need wait to see how fast these guys can be produced. If this mechanic does succeed, it straight out destroys control decks. Think about how strong the Jaraxxus Infernal hero power is in the late game, by producing 6/6’s. The Jade Golems will just exhaust removal, and keep making bigger threats.

Card literally released when I wrote the paragraph above.

This makes me think whether this signals the return of super aggro. When I say super aggro, I mean Old Gods Aggro Shaman, and even old school Face Hunter. All of these gang mechanics are just slow, and aggro decks can take advantage of all the set up to pick apart the hero. Of course, the nerf of cards like Knife Juggler and Abusive Sergeant have put a damper on the truly aggressive decks. And we haven’t seen any card that is cheap and aggressive so far. The question is whether the new age of aggro decks are fast enough and powerful enough to kill an opponent setting up for big gang mechanic plays.

Anyhow, I am pretty excited to see all the new cards. My internet is going to be limited and I may also be occupied with whatever family stuff needs doing in Thanksgiving. But I may likely be in some coffee shop in Kings Highway over the weekend to get in some Wizard Poker. And refreshing Reddit to see what card reveals I missed.

Card Games on Motorcycles: Hog Riders in the Arena

Every time a new Hearthstone expansion rolls around, my affliction starts again. The anathema of having to see new card reveals is a bit consuming, forcing me to stay on Hearthstone Reddit for the latest news. I was sated early today, with the reveal of 3 new cards, seemingly quilboars that are part of a bike gang. While the cards are very flavorful in fitting in with the new expansion theme, they are also situational cards that aren’t all that competitive. Still, the common and rare hog riders have some important implications that will affect how the Arena is played.

Tanaris_Hogchopper(49688).png

The common card, Tanaris Hogchopper, will be at the crux of this discussion. It is a 4-mana 4/4, which is a seemingly very common stat distribution you see in the Arena. This makes it a little below-average, but certainly playable  over many cards. The card gains Charge if your opponent has an empty hand, making the upside a card better than a Kor’kron Elite.

Card advantage is not guaranteed in the Arena, and there is always a need to contest the board by playing minions. As such, topdeck wars do happen a good deal. The Tanaris Hogchopper simply punishes players who will unload their hand in a push for lethal, or to contest the board. While it is prudent to hold onto backup minions when you make a read of a board clear (i.e. Flamestrike), most classes won’t have them. This will change the way Arena is played, and will making one think twice about throwing everyone out there. While there are guaranteed cards that provide charge like Reckless Rocketeer and Wolfrider, this guy is a common and gets the increased offering bonus as part of the new expansion. Plus this guy fills the 4-drop curve, and has a decent size for a charge minion. You will see this card a lot, and it could have a big impact on gameplay decisions.

Spiked_Hogrider(49687).png

The rare card, Spiked Hogrider, is a 5-mana 5/5, also possesses playable stats as a serviceable 5, like Clockwork Knight. The upside of this card is like a Doomguard with less health and doesn’t require discards. This card gains Charge on taunts, so it can easily wipe out value minions like Sen’jin Shieldmasta and Sludge Belcher. With additional removal in hand to remove a taunt, this guy can be used to go face. Given the rarity status of this card, and the need to play taunts in the Arena, this guy shouldn’t be played around. Overall, the Spiked Hogrider is just a fine 5-drop in the Arena, but the Tanaris Hogchopper has a bigger impact on Arena gameplay.