10 Bold Predictions for ‘Knights of the Frozen Throne’

10 Bold Predictions for ‘Knights of the Frozen Throne’

The following is a guest post from Tehl (@TehlHS), multi-legend player and my occasional arena co-op partner. He is the creator of Snakes and Drakes. You can catch him on the Hearthstone podcasts Top Deck Kings and Hearthcore.

10 Bold Predictions for The Frozen Throne

10. Rogue got the best Death Knight.

Valeera the Hollow(62876).png

Valeera the Hollow is an insane card.  This card essentially locks out the game with infinite Vanish followed by Arcane Giants allowing you to continuously swing in for 16 damage as long as your opponent doesn’t have removal for them.  In addition, to that the stealth that gives you when it comes down allows you the time that it takes in order to set up the combo.  The only decks that are going to punish this are burn mage and decks that play aggressively on the board,  which brings me to my next point…

9. Druid is going to be the only class playing on the board.

Spreading Plague(62841).png

With Mage and Taunt Warrior (particularly good matchups for Jade Druid) probably sticking around, Druid now has insane tools to combat aggro as well, especially Spreading Plague.  This card is at worst a stall of probably two turns and at best clears their board in the process, but either way, aggro is losing one of it’s best matchups in the game.  Rogue also has new tools to combat aggressive decks with the Shadowblade and it’s counterpart Doomerang which will undoubtedly see varying degrees of play depending on how long aggro sticks around.  Either way you will have time to play your Death Knights because I predict a much slower meta where aggro will be punished.

Bonus Bold Prediction: Skulking Geist was printed for the sole purpose of beating Jade Druid and it will see some (if it makes up over 30% of the meta a lot of) play for that reason.  (Note: I don’t count Taunt Warrior as a deck that plays on board)

8. Hunter is going to be worse.

Build-a-Beast(58725).png

The new hunter cards that are being introduced are terrible…I guess that’s all I really have to say.  Deathstalker Rexxar is the worst Death Knight and arguably may give you a worse hero power than Steady Shot.  For Hunter to continue to challenge the meta they needed more sticky aggressive minions to pressure the opponent, instead they got durdly, inefficient, clunky minions that when everything goes perfectly you probably still are going to lose a majority of your games…

7. The Lich King is the best neutral legendary in the game.

The Lich King(62922).png

This one may be slightly hyperbolic, but if I said The Lich King is a very good card that wouldn’t exactly be a bold prediction.  The Death Knight cards are as powerful as the Ysera Dream Cards, with taunt it gives it initiative, and if all goes right it can give you insane value while smashing face for 8.  While I am less confident in this prediction than some of the other ones, I also have no doubt this will be in more meta decks than any other card currently in the game.

6. Ultimate Infestation was a mistake.

Ultimate Infestation(62879).png

When you look at this card it instantly looks like a Firelands Portal that gains you some life and gives you approximately 8 mana worth of card draw.  So we already have a card that should cost approximately 16 mana, but the card is actually better than that, doing all of this at the same time gives this card increased value.  Normally we would have to play one card that is a Firelands Portal, one card that is an Iron Hide and one card that is a super-Sprint, now all of this is combined onto one card, meaning that this card kind of reads draw seven cards and play three of them…

5. Priest moves up a tick.

Shadowreaper Anduin(62889).png

While most of their new cards are as disappointing as the Hunter cards, Eternal Servtiude should definitely see a good chunk of play and their Death Knight is a game-changer.  While Shadowreaper Anduin on it’s surface may not be that impressive as far as the Death Knights go, it gives priest an opportunity to do something that it’s never been able to do very efficiently, close games.  Raza the Chained also could see an appearance back in the meta allowing priest to machine-gun chain two damage as long as they can continue to play cards.

4. Aggro Paladin will see a come-back.

Righteous Defender(62864).png

I know this is completely contrary to point number nine, that no one is going to be playing on the board, but on the backs of Bolvar Fireblood, Righteous Defender, and Light’s Sorrow all of the board clears that are going to be in the game may be playing right into this decks trap.  I don’t think this will be a very good deck, especially out of the gate, but with some tweaking and as the meta starts to settle, you may be able to catch some people off-guard with this old classic.

3. Mage will not play any of the cards released, and it will still be good.

Frost Lich Jaina(61810).png

Frost Lich Jaina and Sindragosa are definitely cuspers, and I may end up being wrong about them not seeing play, but neither of these cards buy you the late game tempo advantage that Medivh the Guardian does that usually wins you the game just fine on his own.  With the deck already relying on Alexstraza to stabilize, I don’t think there will be room for the new cards.  That being said, this will be one of the most fun decks to mess around with, although I think the best Mage list is already established, and it will continue to stick around, as it is one of the premier decks to contend against new Rogue.

2. Freeze Shaman will not be a thing.

Moorabi(62845).png

While you aren’t going to be bummed out ripping a Voodoo Hexxer from a Stonehill Defender, it is still going to be the third-best taunt that you are hoping for and that’s the best freeze card to be introduced by a mile.  Blizzard is definitely afraid of making another overpowered Shaman deck and acknowledges the power of Jade/Token Shaman in the meta, so they do the thing they are apt to do, which is try to introduce a new mechanic.  This deck will not be good, it will not be fun to play, and it will lose to everything in the game, maybe including new players playing Chillwind Yetis and Boulderfist Ogres.  With nothing being implemented to help its existing archetypes, shaman will definitely be taking a major step back in the Frozen Throne meta.

1. Defile is the best card in the game, and Warlock still may not be playable in Standard.

Defile(62840).png

This card was my whole reason for wanting to write this article to begin with.  I rated Ultimate Infestation a 10/10 and could see a nerf, I rate this card an 11/10 and will probably see an emergency nerf. Everyone is sleeping on Defile.  This is the most efficient, cheapest, and easy to accomplish board clear in the game, that requires little to no set-up.  Next time you are playing a game pay attention to how many huge boards could be cleared with a Defile.  On top of this, after this card stops clearing the minions on the board, it starts clearing their deathrattles, making minions like Dragon Egg and Haunted Creeper also susceptible to it’s reign of devastation, if you are playing Egg Druid or Pirate Warrior in Wild, I’m sorry to say that your days are numbered.  On top of this, this card has an insane synergy with Grim Patron which allows you to defile ad infinitum and wipe all boards and leave yourself with 15-21 power on the board.  Okay so we’ve established that this card is the most broken wild card ever printed, but will it have any impact on Standard?

If Warlock is viable in standard, it will be on the back of Defile.  Possessed Villager is still around to kick the defile train off and it will really punish Token Druid, Shaman and Pirate Warrior, furthering point #9, but Warlock may not have powerful enough tools to contend in the late game, even with the most efficient AoE in the game.  Honestly it makes my brain hurt trying to think of what a standard warlock deck would look like these days, cards like Kabal Trafficker have never seen any play and on an unchecked board, may make for an alright deck with the new warlock Death Knight which is okay and the Lich King definitely making a cameo, but even I am not bold enough to say that Kabal Trafficker Warlock will be the new meta.

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The Fall: Personal Hearthstone Crisis

The Fall: Personal Hearthstone Crisis

I’ve always been an honest person in my life, sometimes too much to a fault. I also have difficulty hiding emotions or disguising facial expressions, and this has gotten me in trouble now-and-then. So, I’m going to say it: I’ve played the least Hearthstone I have played in a while. I started this January 2017 season very strong, getting to Rank 8 or 9 within the first week, doing well with various Miracle Rogue decks. Then things slowed down to a halt, and I find myself barely getting by the past few weeks. I must note that I have listened to the first 8 minutes of the Top Deck Kings Podcast #79 (which you should totally listen to) as of this writing, and I have paused it, until I finish all my thoughts, to prevent any cross-contamination. But I have pinpointed a few obvious reasons to my playing Hearthstone at a minimum these days.

1. Real life getting in the way

One of the perks to being a professional gamer is that gaming is your “real life.” While you may have family and friends to interact with, the job portion of real life is bundled into your gaming space. My real life is definitely getting in the way, as I am looking for a new job. While people look for jobs all the time, I was rather complacent in that area, and I am in a bit of trouble. Writing cover letters, updating resumes, and applying takes time, but the more arduous task is figuring out what I want to do in my life. This is something I am unlikely to figure out by the time I get my next job, and will be a struggle for the future. But, I am cutting out time each day to look for and apply to jobs.

2. Other games getting in the way

When I am very enthused with Hearthstone, it is the only game I play and devote time to. With other games getting mixed into my more limited gaming time, I am starting to manage my interests. Heroes of the Storm has a Lunar New Year promotion Rooster Race, with the special golden rooster mount acquired with 25 Rooster Races completed. I completely suck at HotS, but by god, I want that golden rooster mount. Valeera is also a new hero that appeared in HotS. While she is difficult to play, and I have a habit of overextending, I am a big fan of the character, and she has brought me back to the game. Competing card games Shadowverse and Duelyst have daily login rewards that require my logging in to get as well.

Screenshot2017-01-24 18_53_24.jpg
Here we go

And thanks to LA-based esquire Decktech (@hsdecktech), I have been hooked on Yugi-Oh Duel Links on my phone. The whole reason I got into Hearthstone likely is tied to my interests in Yugi-Oh, and now it has been recreated as an addictive phone game. This is not unlike the Pokemon Go craze, but I do not have to brave the outdoor elements to play Duel Links. Also unlike Pokemon Go, Duel Links is actually quite the strategic and interactive game, not just walking around and throwing a ball in different angles.

2017-01-29 15.03.28.png
Sending people to the Shadow Realm is a full-time job.

 

3. Meta getting in the way

The above two reasons are actual excuses for me, but let’s not sugarcoat the problems affecting Hearthstone. While I am hesitant to say that the meta has gotten stale already, the game just seems very “binary” now. There still remain various competitive decks in Hearthstone, and definitely more than there were in certain points of the game’s history. But it seems like “everything” is Face Aggro (Warrior, Shaman) or Highlander (Kazakus/Reno). Classes are clustering too much it seems, and deck types don’t seem too different by class. Rogues are still doing fine in their own thing, and Jade Druid is here now and then. But Paladins and Hunters are suffering now. These problems have been discussed at length by Devs in recent articles and tweets. The main problem of course is the high rate of Shaman play, something bolstered by seemingly-continual OP cards released for the class.

shaman-problem
The HS Problem, courtesy of Vicious Syndicate

This is all likely some sort of bias, losing to frustrating decks like Pirate Shaman and Warrior. But truthfully, If Hearthstone didn’t have it’s problems, I would likely not be playing other games as much.

What now

Of course, what now? I actually expected possible nerfs to Small-Time Buccaneer by the end of this month, but it seems like the Devs are deciding what to do about that card, and perhaps others. I haven’t stopped playing Hearthstone, as I am still interested in completing dailies, and doing an Arena run almost nightly. But the already tepid desire I had to play Ranked has just gotten cold. If things don’t change, I will likely revert to my old self, and just play Arena until the last 2 weeks of the month, when I can pick on weaker competition. Yep, Scavenging Buzzard mode is likely for next month.

 

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.

 

The Hearthstone Nerf Everyone Wanted + Reynad’s Hot Take

The Hearthstone Nerf Everyone Wanted + Reynad’s Hot Take

Social media has been an impetus for forcing change in the world, and it seems to be happening more and more now. While Twitter and YouTube have been the vehicles for change in real-life events, Reddit has been the weapon of choice in Wizard Poker. The hive of Hearthstone Reddit has become the de facto voice for the Hearthstone community, and the devs claim to monitor it all the time. (I got most of my page views from posting on Reddit!) With that said, it’s not surprising that today’s nerfs (http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/20303031/upcoming-balance-changes-update-613-9-28-2016) happened.

Background

DRR19-Class-Freq.-by-Weeks.png
Courtesy of Vicious Syndicate Meta Report #19

Hey, we’re also in the Information Meta! While it may not be easy to quantify what you’re facing in Ranked. Shaman has skyrocketed to the top of the meta, well ahead of the nearest classes. It has been dominant since Old Gods put things together, and Karazhan made the class more well-rounded. Warrior was once top dog, and was brought down a bit by the Hunter rise. That in turn, shot the Shamans back up. Mage and Druid seem to be the “healthy” meta classes, while Warlock has fallen. Paladin, Rogue, and Priest have been in the cellar.

Quick takes on the changes

  • Rockbiter Weapon – A little torn about this one, given I won’t think of Rockbiter not being 1-mana. The pressure to combine it with Doomhammer likely did it in, but honestly when has a Shaman deck not run 2x Rockbiter? Opens up room for spell Shaman.
  • Tuskarr Totemic – This one is really well-deserved. Getting the result of Totem Golem and Mana Tide Totem is virtually 5 mana of things for 3 mana.
  • Call of the Wild – This one doesn’t seem too significant at first, but think about having 2 9-mana cards in your deck. Seems a bit heavy, though the card is too good still to not run 1 copy.
  • Execute – I think this is way overdue. Warrior removal is so good, this shouldn’t hurt too much. Honestly, Warriors often have the leftover mana to armor up.
  • Charge – While requiring more setup than Leeroy + Shadowstep, 20+ damage in 1 turn is still not very fun or interactive. This is consistent with the anti-charge philosophy the game is heading.
  • Abusive Sergeant – Like Leper Gnome, Abusive Sergeant is long known as an Aggro deck announcer. While this target may be for Shamans, it does hurt Zoolock decks. Could aggro decks now consider Lance Carrier?
  • Yogg-Saron – Stop the presses!

About Yogg

The devs floated some ideas about how to deal with Yogg in some recent interviews, given the outcome of competitive tournament games being decided by him. There was talk of the card being outright removed for tournament play, relegated to Wild permanently, or nerfs. The Yogg changes are two-fold, stopping the stream of spells when Yogg dies, and adding Overload on certain Shaman spells. I have no quantitative evidence, but it seems like Yogg kills himself over 50% of the time. So, we’re in for much shorter Yogg spell barrages. To use a football analogy, Yogg was always a hail mary pass, with a very strong-armed quarterback, and tall receivers. Or maybe like a 55-60 yard field goal. Now Yogg is more like trying to score a touchdown on laterals with the whole team. This primarily will hurt Druid, given it is a near staple for the class, and to a smaller extent Mage. On the plus side, a Yogg story is going to be more epic, and not happening a decent amount of the time.

“Everyone”

This is a fair point, in that the “everyone” that wanted these changes are the vocal minority. Points have been made that most people are more casual players. Hearthstone Reddit represents a minority that is more competitive (and possibly more immature) than the average player. The ban list cuts down on randomness in Tuskarr and Yogg, which are simply rewarding lesser players with wins over better ones. On the other hand, Yogg is much less fun, with spells ending sooner.

Reynad’s Hot Take

Reynad has never been afraid to take unpopular positions, and that continued today. While the majority of folks liked the nerf list, he didn’t think it did much.

reynad.PNG

Is he right or wrong? The claim that Shaman got a buff is odd at first, but check this out.

vs19.PNG
Courtesy of Vicious Syndicate Meta Reaper #19

Shaman fails against Warrior are no secret, and there is a little red in those matchups. Control Shaman is pretty bad against Yogg Druid and Tempo Mage, so that get’s a bump. The dominant decks in Aggro and Midrange Shaman were kept in check by Control/Dragon Warrior, so that is probably what Reynad is talking about. Of course, we have to consider how the 2 nerfs on Shaman would affect matchups against other classes in this grid.

Final thoughts

Rogue didn’t get touched (thank the Old Gods) so overall, this is fairly ho-hum. Shaman is obviously dominant, and the feedback has caused real change. I think a few changes were overdue and necessary. I’m glad this will shut people up for a little while, until there is the next thing to complain about.

Extra: Phrases to Use for Future Hearthstone Memeing

With Keeping Hearthstone Fresh in mind

too oppressive to our players

improve the Standard format in a more permanent way

the most fun type of randomness

we intend to tone down its power enough that it won’t be an automatic inclusion in every Hunter deck and overshadow other strategies

closer in power level to other existing and future removal tools

We’ve redesigned the card Charge in a way that provides opportunities for minion combat, but does not enable strategies that intend to win without allowing opponents to interact.

 

Master of Evolution – A Bright Future

Cards are being released for Whispers of the Old Gods in Hearthstone. The cards released have gone anywhere from deck defining, controversial, must-craft (for me), and downright horrible. Today a card was released that made me say “Wow.”

masterofevolution.png

What you see is a card that passes the vanilla stat distribution test, and has the ability to ramp up a friendly minion. It is a Chillwind Yeti with a positive effect.It looks to be an auto-include for Shaman decks, and a very excellent choice in the Arena.

What is it good for?

  • Ramping up a minion – Obviously the ability to transform a minion one mana higher will usually result in a better-stated minion. Sometimes you can transform an understated battlecry minion, to make a big leap to the next mana cost. In the next section, I will show how much more you are getting for each ramp.
  • Healing – Sometimes you are trading and have an injured minion that doesn’t have much remaining value. A 6/1 Fire Elemental for example. With the transform, you are not only ramping up a minion, but you are basically healing your injured minion.
  • Fishing for effects – With the RNG of transformation, you never know what you’re getting. You can get a taunt, continuous positive effects, etc.
  • Reach – You could be a little off winning and need a touch of reach. Turn a 7-mana minion into Ragnaros? Turn something into a charge minion?

Benefits of evolution

Here I did some math to determine how much better a minion you are getting when transforming your minions.

The methodology is as stated:

  • I took the average “original minion” attack and health for each mana cost, 0-9. Because the original minion belongs to a Shaman, I only limited the class types to Shaman and Neutral minions.
  • I included the 4 free totems (Searing, Stoneclaw, Healing, Wrath of the Air) as 1-mana, as they are commonly played on the field.
  • Then I took the average “transformed minion” attack and health for each mana cost, 1-10. These minions include all class cards and neutrals.
  • I took the difference from “transformed” minus “original.”
  • The card sets include all of the currently released sets, not including any Old Gods cards.

masterofevolutionstatsupdate.PNG

 

So typically, you are getting something like 1.5 points of stats higher. Turning a 7-cost into an 8-cost actually could result in a lower attack minion, but much higher health. It looks like transforming a 6 to 7 gives the best jump in stats, almost a +1/+1.

Downsides

  • Midrange Shaman does not become a thing – Time will tell, but it’s possible that Aggro Shaman remains the only viable type of Shaman deck. That could limit this card being included in decks, though it will remain an elite Arena pick.
  • Mercy of RNG – Of course, you could get a understated minion, like a Antique Healbot from a 4-cost. Such bad outcomes include turning a 1-cost into Doomsayer and turning a 4-cost into Venture Co Mercenary.

All in all, I think this card has a great future. I think it will be a Top 5 card in Old Gods, even after every card is revealed. It just has no downside, and seems great in constructed and arena. Oh, and it is a little fun seeing what you’re getting.

12 Win Shaman -Arena on Fire

12 Win Shaman -Arena on Fire

Last night I queued up a Hearthstone Arena (like most nights), and decided to play Shaman. 85 minutes later, I got my 6th Lightforge Key, and the first with a Shaman. Here are some possible explanations about this:

  1. All the pro Hearthstone players were playing Duelyst, leaving a weaker crop of opponents.
  2. I have been virtually devoid of extra Hearthstone thought of late, given the blizzard and watching football. Oh yeah, and playing lots of Diablo 3.
  3. I drafted a good deck, and things went well this run.

Unlike previous Arena recaps, I will try a different format. The deck tracker actually lost the replays of my last 4-5 games, so there is no point in doing that. So instead, I will grade every card I drafted, and how well it did in this particular arena run.

Hearthstone Screenshot 01-24-16 22.22.02.png

Report Card

  • Lightning Bolt – B – This was one of 2 removal spells in the deck, and it did what lightning bolts do, remove small things. Occasionally, the Wrath of the Air Totem provided 4 damage.
  • Abusive Sergeant – B – While the battlecry was triggered a few times in the game, this was my go-to 1-drop, to trigger ping minion. That 1-drop tempo at times is very useful in forcing coin usage.
  • Stormforged Axe – B+ – Typically a great weapon, but in this run, I didn’t draw it too often, or had it in the late game. It did it’s job in the few games I had it, allowing me to clear small stuff.
  • Lava Shock – B+ – Did about the same as the Lightning Bolt, though the removal of overloaded crystal helped 1-2 times this run.
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze – A- – I was able to destroy a poisoned dagger once, and a bunch of Light’s Justices from Paladins. Against non-weapon classes, played a typical 2-drop.
  • Bloodfen Raptor – C+ – I don’t know if this card can ever be amazing outside of Hunter and Druid. But he did his job, trading with things, getting traded by opponents, etc.
  • Flame Juggler – B- – Normally a solid card, but he was a the bad side of RNG consistently in this run. He hit face a lot, when clearing a minion would be better. This won’t stop me from drafting him though.
  • Micro Machine – C+ – Micro Machine is a card people get greedy with. In this run, the card did help me win one game, when it was boosted by a Powermace. Otherwise, it stayed in my hand, or was a good distraction piece.
  • Sunfury Protector – B – This deck doesn’t have a ton of 2-drops, and this was my consistent 2/3 drop, which I prefer. The taunt bonus was used a few times, though mostly played a tempo role. I drew her a lot in this run, giving her a plus.
  • Whirling Zap-o-Matic – B+ – Whirling Zap single-handedly won a game, applying constant pressure to my opponent, and played a big role in another. Otherwise, it was a tempo 2 that got killed right away, or was a distraction.
  • Powermace x2 – A – Just a solid weapon, and the added bonus helped a bunch of my mechs through the run.
  • Hex x2 – A+ – Hex is the best removal in the game, and having 2 was vital to getting 12. I hexed anything that got in the way, from Chillwind Yetis to Force-Tanks.
  • Shattered Sun Cleric – B+ – Shattered Sun provided me a few key boosts, in which the 1-health boost allowed my minions to survived after trading, and trade some  more. Great for totems.
  • Spider Tank – B – Just a steady 3-drop that traded its usual 2-for-1 deal.
  • Dark Iron Dwarf – B+ – I think I only played this guy for tempo once the whole run, so he was otherwise boosting things for trading the whole game.
  • Defender of Argus – A- – The boost helped a lot of minions and totems trade and survive subsequent attacks. Helped stop an aggressive deck once.
  • Fireguard Destroyer – A – Played the role of the beatstick in this game, and I had him in most games for whatever reason. 75% of Fireguard Destroyer outcomes are worth or provide benefit for the cost, so overall great. I don’t recall getting the 4/6 outcome at all, so good RNG.
  • Maiden of the Lake – C – Really didn’t do much in this game, besides sticking around the board. It became a 3/7 taunt with Defender of Argus once. I didn’t abuse the 1-cost totems too much.
  • Rumbling Elemental – A – Bah gawd. This card is overlooked a lot, but one must consider how many battlecry minions there are. This deck had 14. The constant triggers, coupled with good RNG, helped wipe boards consistently of weak minions. I have a whole new appreciation of this card, though it will probably screw me over once in a while.
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Naxx out? Get it, get it?
  • Spellbreaker – A- – Spellbreaker had a key save on a super-aggressive deck, by silencing all the buffs off this 9-attack Argent Horserider, allowing me to come back and win. He also stopped a Sunwalker once, among other fancy things.
  • Thunder Bluff Valiant – C- Normally a very good card, but didn’t do anything in this run. I think I boosted totems once in the entire run. It was more a product of my deck, in which Fire Elementals dominated my late drops. In a loss, he just served as a distraction. Next time bud.
  • Argent Commander – A – I honestly used him to go face a good few times this game, which helps much, given the divine shield.
  • Fire Elemental x4 – A+ – During the draft, I was offered 4 Fire Elementals, and drafted all of them. I was considered I had too many big drops, but I was wrong. This card made up for the lack of removals in the deck, consistently clearing boards and providing a biggish body. Always draft Fire Elemental over any card, with the exception of Hex, if you really really need 1 Hex. Otherwise pick this guy. I probably would have had 6 wins if I didn’t have so many Fire Elementals.
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Yes, I played Fire Elementals for 4 straight turns once.
  • Force-Tank Max – C+ – Often times, this was too big for me to play, but I often paired it with a totem. I did some fancy Powermace buffing with the tank at least 2 times. Just a big threat that did more intimidating than action.
  • Archthief Rafaam – B – The true win condition of the deck, I played Rafaam a total of 3 times the whole run. Once the Mirror of Doom and 3/3 Zombie flood actually helped me win a game. In the other 2 games, Rafaam just served as intimidation, causing people to concede soon after, knowing I had an artifact. Solid legendary pick over Gruul and Bronzebeard.
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Low-gold 12 win award. I did get Epic cards I didn’t have from both packs.

Upshot

  • Shaman becomes my third best class in the arena, actually having a almost identical percentage as Paladin.
  • I had good RNG, though the Rumbling Elemental + Battlecry setup will let you win the randomness battle more than not.
  • Fire Elementals are money.
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I got a bonus reward for my 12th win!