Reno Jackson Rotating Out: An Unpopular Opinion

Reno Jackson Rotating Out: An Unpopular Opinion

Reno Jackson was a revolutionary card from the moment it was revealed in BlizzCon 2015, one week before it’s release. The card simply turned games around against needlessly oppressive Face Hunters, forcing concedes right away.  The feeling of playing a topdecked Reno on Turn 6 which 3 health left was an inexorable high. Reno also was the first “Highlander” card in Hearthstone, creating a new take on deck building, which focused on less consistency and more variation.

Hearthstone Screenshot 11-15-15 10.18.18
Reno plays

If you roam Hearthstone Reddit now and then, you’ll see posts like the one below, which beg of Reno Jackson being excused from the Standard rotation.

reno-reddit

That hope was finally quashed today in the cyberhighway route known as Twitter:

brode reno.PNG

While this news was not unexpected, given the rules of Standard rotation, it nullifies any possible leniency for Reno, and possibly any other card rotating out. While Ben Brode mentions keeping the meta fresh as the motivation for not sparing Reno Jackson, I think this is great news for a completely different reason. I believe Reno Jackson completely undermines the skill of deckbuilding.

My Reno Rogue Story

I was pretty excited when Reno Jackson came out, as I was fairly tired of Face Hunter. I decided to build a Reno deck with my eternally bae class, Rogue. I’m not a person with good deckbuilding skills at all, so I just threw together a bunch of cards I had in my collection. I took various things like curve, and card advantage in consideration, but mostly focused on high-value greed.

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This Reno Rogue deck became my go-to Ranked deck for a few months, and I was able to achieve a high of Rank 6 at the time.

renoroguestats.PNG

Overall, the stats with this particular version of the deck won over 57% of the games, which is higher than that of my current try-hard season with Miracle Rogue (56%). While Mage and Paladin were still bugaboos, the deck did fairly well against every other class and deck. The stats showed that I was above 50% against every class as well. I had achieved success with a deck I built with very little skill or thought. Further, I didn’t have to go through the process of relentless iterations and testing to revise the deck.

A World Without Reno

Reno Jackson was a very fun and useful card, and a lot of people are going to be upset of his rotating out. This news might even be devastating enough to make a bunch of people quit the game. Further, this seems like big news now, given competitive Hearthstone decks typically run the aggressive Pirate package or Reno. The entire Kabal (Warlock, Mage, Priest) heavily rely on Reno currently.

Aside from the cons of Reno dropping out of the Standard, I believe that decks should not be continually be rewarded by lazy deckbuilding. Also, all those other reasons about keeping the meta fresh and whatnot. At least we’ll always have this gif.

UM5MOIL - Imgur

 

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Fixing a Hole: Brainstorming Standard Play Adjustments

Fixing a Hole: Brainstorming Standard Play Adjustments

The Hearthstone-playing community has no idea when the game will face it’s biggest shift ever, when Standard Play and Wild become established. There is an upcoming Hearthstone announcement in about 2 weeks, so perhaps the end is nigh for our current state of the game. While there are going to be changes to basic/classic cards, and a whole new expansion, let’s take a look at a deck in particular, and look for ways to fix the hole afforded by the exclusion of Naxx and GvG cards.

Reliquary Zoolock

Currently this is one of two decks I ladder with in February 2016, and I am currently Rank 9. Fairly standard Reliquary/Flood Warlock deck. It plays a little heavier by excluding a 1-drop for having both Enhance-o-Mechano and Gormok. Brann has revitalized the deck, allowing doubled battlecries that work great with Reliquary Seeker, Dark Peddler, Gormok, and most of the other cards. This deck is fast and has limited removals.

Cut list

  • 2x Nerubian Egg
  • 1x Loatheb
  • 1x Echoing Ooze
  • 2x Haunted Creeper
  • 1x Enhance-o-Mechano
  • 1x Dr. Boom
  • 2x Imp-losion

1/3 of the deck is restricted for Standard Play, so a fairly big loss!

Current replacement options (in some order of relevance)

  1. Imp-losion – Seems like the biggest blow to this deck. You are losing a token generator and the only spell removal of the deck.
    • Bane of Doom – A small spot removal, with the potential to make a bigger demon on your side. While not great in this deck, the removal + minion effect directly gives what Imp-losion did. The minion will be stickier than the imps you get, but that will depend on RNG.
  2. Haunted Creeper – Just a great value card, where you get 3/4 worth for 2 mana. The staggered effect of spiders also works very well.
    • Knife Juggler – A lot of people run Knife Juggler in the current Reliquary format, given some synergy with cheap minions. To make it work, the deck will have to get smaller, with more 1-drops. Loss of Imp-losion also works against it.
    • Flame Juggler – A sturdier 2/3, with a battlecry that could trigger twice with Brann. Another 2-drop consideration.
    • Sunfury Protector – A 2-drop that can let you taunt up big guys or Imp Gang Boss.
  3. Nerubian Egg – Another big loss, as this was the prime target for buffs in this deck, to make a 4/4 minion.
    • Dragon Egg – This egg is inferior, but can fill the same role as the Nerubian. You’re getting a 0/2 for 1 mana, so a Power Overwhelming will give the same 4 attack egg beater, and summons a 2/1. A Defender of Argus will make a 1/3, which has potential to spawn 2 2/1’s. Really the only benefit of Dragon Egg is that it costs 1 and has the potential to make 2 Black Dragons.
    • Ancient Watcher – Only has utility to be taunted up, or if you want to waste your Owl to let it attack.
  4. Loatheb – He served as the protection play to save the board, close out a victory, or just be a 5/5 for tempo.
    • Lorewalker Cho – Right now, Cho serves as the immediate “protection” from spells. This protection is more a mental stressor on the opponent, as nothing is preventing them from taking action to play the spells. Against a flood deck, playing a Blizzard, Flamestrike, or Consecration is likely well worth it getting copied by Cho. In other cases, you will get a spot removal spell, when they kill Cho. Cho also only costs 2, which is good for this deck. Also, this deck runs almost no spells.
    • Frostwolf Warlord – Can fill the 5-drop tempo hole, and has the potential to be fairly big minion (10/10) in a flood deck. The best case scenario has Brann out as well, so can become a 16/16. There are enough beaters in it though with the Reliquary Seekers and Sea Giants.
  5. Dr. Boom – Token generator and great value that fit very well in this deck.
    • Onyxia – A subpar legendary replacement, but the flood of Whelps could have a use for setting up the rest of the deck.
  6. Echoing Ooze – Just a token generator, not the hugest loss for the deck.
    • Murloc Tidehunter – A clearly inferior option, as the 2/1 and 1/1 Murlocs can be readily killed by hero power, while the Oozes were 1/2 minions.
    • Razorfen Hunter – Gives you a 2/3 and 1/1 for 3 mana, which something to think about.
    • Imp Master – Provides a steady stream of Imps, but is a little slow at 3 mana.
    • Silver Hand Regent – An infinite token generator that is a bit slow to set up for this deck.
  7. Enhance-o-Mechano – Just an RNG-dependent upside card, one that could provide a big swing with the windfury, or some protection.
    • Blood Imp – Theoretically Enhance-o-Mechano was always the budget Gormok, so he can be replaced by the “Zombie Chow” that was always in the deck. But no Zombie Chows in Standard Play. The 1-drop Blood Imp will remain on the board if you’re not facing Mage, and gives buffs to keep your small things alive.
    • Gadgetzan Jouster – While providing use with early surveillance on your opponent’s deck, the only way she wins a joust if you reveal your own Sea Giant.
    • Argent Squire – Sticky 1-drop. Very good!
    • Leper Gnome – More aggressive and likely not to make the deck.
    • Flame Imp – Another 1-drop for consideration

 Standard Version

Reliquary Zoolock

Of course this exercise is moot given the new expansion, but this is a good starting point of thinking about the effect of Standard Play on a deck like this.

Wild Thing: Hearthstone’s New Standard Gambit

Wild Thing: Hearthstone’s New Standard Gambit

By now, we should expect the Hearthstone dev team to spit out big news when we least expect it. It happened again today, with a big announcement of Standard Play. All of it is well-explained on Hearthpwn but here are some key points:

  • Standard Play is an entire game mode which excludes every card of Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes. The regular game mode with all cards is going to be called “Wild.”
  • Arena rewards will not include Naxxramas or Goblins vs Gnomes.
  • There are separate ladders in Ranked play for Standard and Wild.
  • Competitive eSports in Hearthstone will be Standard Play only.
  • 9 more deck slots!

Of course, the exclusion of Naxxramas and GvG does not hit all the cards equally.

  • Mech decks are completely gutted. The Grand Tournament and League of Explorers effectively carried 1 mech each. All mech synergy cards are also gone, or useless.
  • Classes hit the hardest include Warlock, Paladin, Mage, and Priest.
    • Warlock – High value cards like Imp Gang Boss, Imp-losion and Voidcaller are out, as well as boss Mal’ganis.
    • Mage – Mech mages hit the hardest here. Mad Scientist hits hard as well.
    • Priest – Velen’s Chosen! Lightbomb limits the Auchenai Circle combo.
    • Paladin – Nothing to play on Turn 1-3 now it seems. Turn 4 if you count Piloted Shredder. Avenge is the best Paladin spell, and now likely subbed by something like Eye for an Eye.
  • Classes hit less or not at all include Warrior, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, and Druid.
    • Warrior – Shieldmaiden and Death’s Bite are staples now. Death’s Bite can be effectively traded in for Arcanite Reaper, thought not well.
    • Hunter – Losing Glaivezooka makes Face Hunter a lot weaker. Mad Scientist out as well.
    • Rogue – While it is clear that Oil Decks are out, Mill Rogues, Mech Rogues and Pirate Rogues are also out as well. As a Rogue player, this isn’t really a huge loss as Cold Blood can come back. Miracle is also workable without the banned cards.
    • Shaman – No real big losses honestly. Crackle can be replaced by a sure thing in Lava Burst.
    • Druid – The biggest loss is probably Anodized Robo Cub, so no big loss. Druids will still terrorize Standard Play with the combo.

While this announcement is basically a fancy way to announce restricted cards in the game, there are a number of reasons why this was done:

  • The Hearthstone devs now don’t have to focus on rebalancing through nerfs and buffs. No more calls for Dr. Boom’s head!
  • Really annoying cards you see all the time will be gone! Thank god for no more Shielded Minibot.
  • The pool of Hearthstone players will be divided quite a bit now, with some people committing to either Standard Play and Wild, with some muddling the two modes. It should be easier to play Ranked, just because there is less competition in the competitive ranks.
  • The restriction of Naxx and GvG galvanizes every class balance significantly, with the strongest constructed classes now shot down. I expect Druid or maybe Shaman to become the strongest Constructed class, as they seems to be unaffected by these changes.
  • On the eSports side, this is where skill divergence will be evident. The true pro players should be able to endure not having to play really good cards and adapt, while the less good players will burn out from this change.

But if you’re not game, you can just play Wild mode and forget this all happened. And this humongous shift will occur with the next expansion coming out in the spring!

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So this ain’t happenin’ anymore