Arcane Giant: Garrosh’s Latest Toy

Arcane Giant: Garrosh’s Latest Toy

After the Great Nerf of Warsong Commander, the only really viable type of Warrior on the Hearthstone ladder was Control Warrior. Yep. Get ready for the most boring 20 minutes of your life, as Justicar Snoreheart comes in to liven up the armoring party. Soon enough, there’s a 50 armor Garrosh doing nothing exciting, and cheaply removing everything.

The arrival of Standard Play, with the injection of Whispers of the Old Gods cards seemed to push Warrior out of its monolithic control mold, and opened up a variety of new decks. A lot of the newer Warrior decks are more proactive, tempo-type decks, and some combo decks. Soon enough, Warrior became the model class in Hearthstone, the only class having multiple types of competitive decks. The image below, taken from the Vicious Syndicate Weekly Data Reaper, shows the main types of Standard Hearthstone decks in the past month. Warrior stands out with 6 distinct decks, while all other classes have 1-3.

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Image courtesy of Vicioussyndicate.com

With the different types of decks comes a Warrior subterfuge that gives an edge to any Warrior deck. A big part of Ranked play is knowing what you’re going up against, and when you’re running any of 6 possible decks, it can cause enough confusion to slip up.

The much-anticipated Barnes came out last week in The Opera wing of One Night in Karazhan. While Barnes has some flashy deckbuilding appeal, a somewhat unsung card, Arcane Giant, became the talk of the Hearthstone community. And with Arcane Giant, came another toy for Garrosh’s variegated toolbox.

Mechanics

Arcane_Giant(42049).png

Arcane Giant Warrior is a combo deck that functions a lot like Worgen Warrior, using cards Charge! and Faceless Manipulator for a big damage combo. Unlike Worgen Warrior, Arcane Giant Warrior will focus on playing a lot of spells to make the giant dirt cheap. As such, the Arcane Giant Warrior needs to draw cards and play spells. This makes it a virtual Control Warrior until it draws the combo.

A game against Arcane Giant Warrior

I never realized I was facing Arcane Giant Warrior up until a game yesterday, as I was using my own Arcane Giant Rogue deck. The first tip that something different is when I saw a Novice Engineer on Turn 4.

arcanegiantwar1.PNG

Then came Commanding Shout on Turn 7, a card last seen when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Another Commanding Shout played for the sake of drawing a card showed the Warrior was just going all-out cycling the deck.

arcanegiantwar2arcanegiantwar3

Thinking it was a Worgen Warrior trying to draw into a combo of cards, I realized the gravity of the situation, and tried to do some damage with my own Arcane Giant.

arcanegiantwar4.PNG

Blood Warriors, a card from the dusty cellar of Old Gods, is seemingly core in duplicating cheap Arcane Giants.

arcanegiantwar5.PNG

I tried to forestall my impending doom with a couple Saps, but this is a useless strategy, as the Arcane Giants just got cheaper each turn.

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Deck variation

The deck above was solely focused on card cycling, and had an interesting thing going on with Commanding Shout and Wild Pyromancer. I realized I had faced the deck earlier, but slightly less focused on card draw, and with some handlocky cards in Twilight Drake and Sunfury Protector.

arcanegiantwar8.PNG

How to beat Arcane Giant Warrior

Not that I have had any success, but the clear way to beat the deck is just to full out aggro. Since the win condition involves drawing a lot of cards, just beat them before they can do so.

While Arcane Giant has a lot of potential (before the inevitable nerf) in a variety of classes, the ability to duplicate and charge automatically makes it seemingly most dangerous in Warriors. Yet another viable Standard Warrior deck to deal with.

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Tentacles for Arms, Throwing Everyone for a Loop

The Whispers of the Old Gods hype train has been chugging along, and card reveals have been picking up the last few days. As part of the popular Hearthstone streamer voting contest, the player Sjow revealed a card called Tentacles for Arms yesterday.

tentacles.png

If you can’t tell, it is a 5-cost Warrior weapon with a 2/2 distribution, and a infinite return deathrattle. Upon seeing this, I took to Twitter:

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And this opinion was reflected also on Reddit:

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Why does Tentacles for Arms exist?

Quick analysis

Let’s look at some similar weapons, in terms of attack/durability.

The vanilla value weapon is Fiery War Axe, dealing 6 damage over 2 turns for 2 mana. Argent Lance will get 4-6 damage over 2-3 turns for 2 mana. Stormforged Axe will get 6 damage over 3 turns for 3 mana. Perdition’s Blade and Glaivezooka do similar things and deal 4 damage over 2 turns. Coghammer is OP.

Tentacles for Arms does 4 damage over 2 turns for 5 mana. Let’s see other 5-mana weapons!

Doomhammer effectively costs 7, but rightfully does 16 damage overall. Assassin’s Blade does 12 damage, and Arcanite Reaper 10.

Tentacles for Arms does 4. For the same cost.

Why?

The community is baffled as to why such a card exists, and Ben Brode talked about it a great deal from his stream last night. Here are some reasons why the card exists as is according to him, and some input from myself and others.

  • It would be OP otherwise – Brode made several comparisons with Tentacles for Arms with the Rogue spell Headcrack (3 mana, 2 dmg, return card on combo). Headcrack was previously a 2 mana spell for 2 dmg, and the combo return. It was nerfed to 3 mana in October 2013, and subsequently never made it to competitive play right off the bat. He mentioned that it would be better for a card to be bad than OP. Would Tentacles for Arms be OP if it was 4 mana? It would be doing 4 damage for 4 mana, and returned to the hand. What if it was a 3/2 instead?
  • It serves another purpose – With a set of 140 cards, there is going to be some filler, like the Boogeymonster. Brode mentioned that some cards serve other purposes, to cater to other players, such as those who enjoy the challenge of making a deck. I myself have the “competitive evaluation” mindset on cards and just see the low value 5-cost 2/2 weapon. But maybe some people do like trying to make things work.
  • Reno Warrior / Fatigue Outcomes – This was suggested that it could serve as a weapon in a Reno deck, where most cards are singletons. Against a class that doesn’t heal, it isn’t the worst thing in the world, as it is constant damage each turn. In a double fatigue situation, the Warrior would have a weapon and armor up each turn.
  • Something we don’t know! – In all fairness, we have had only a small glimpse of the new card set. While it is unlikely there is a card that specializes in buffing Tentacles for Arms, there could be unseen synergy. There already is a pirate Warrior (that does something else), but there are at least 2 other pirates confirmed through murals for Old Gods. So some card could make these tentacles more palatable.

All in all, it is most likely that Tentacles for Arms is as bad as it looks. It is an epic card though, and these cards are the most experimental lot. And soon, everyone will just accept this bad card for what it is and move on to criticizing some other bad card that comes out.

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October 13 Arena Warrior: aka “We don’t need no armor”

I’ve meticulously tracked my Hearthstone Arena Runs using Heartharena since December 20, 2014. Over 167 arena runs, I have played Warrior twice. Both runs only got 1 win. An even better fact, both wins I got were against other Arena Warriors! I’m sure I had a Warrior run attain more than 1 run in the year before I started tracking, but who knows. The facts are that I have no idea what I’m doing when I’m playing Warrior. The most glory I have from playing Warrior is with Patron Warrior (RIP).

With that said, I decided to tank an arena run and play Warrior.

Draft

  1. Defender of Argus (69), Coliseum Manager (64), Mana Wraith (30) – Easy pick here, though Coliseum Manager is solid for Warrior arenas.
  2. Drakonid Crusher (67), Unstable Ghoul (44), Grimscale Oracle (8) – The Crusher is easily the best pick over some lackluster cards.
  3. Gilblin Stalker (66), Stonesplinter Trogg (57), River Crocolisk (53) – A rare pick of 3 2/3 2-drops! Obviously the Crocolisk is out since there is no beast synergy here. I like Gilblin Stalker more because the stealth prevents it from being targeted, and helps serve the role of establishing an early board.
  4. Heroic Strike (53), Mukla’s Champion (44), Whirlwind (45) – Not a slam dunk pick here, but I picked Heroic Strike for a decent clear. Mukla’s Champion is a win-more card that is better to pick later in the draft once it’s established a draft has more cheap minions.
  5. Death’s Bite (79), Captured Jormungar (58), Spellbreaker (67) – Death’s Bite is a good weapon to have that helps with board clear and triggering some enrage minions.
  6. Chillwind Yeti (69), Gilblin Stalker (66), Axe Flinger (39) – Can never go bad with a Yeti. A second Gilblin is not a bad choice if I sold out to go fast for the whole draft.
  7. Fiery War Axe (91), Lost Tallstrider (53), Undertaker (26) – It’s called Fiery Win Axe for a reason.
  8. Southsea Deckhand (54), Gnomish Inventor (59), Inner Rage (49) – I have 2 weapons drafted in the first 7, which brings me to this pick. Even with no weapon, the Southsea Deckhand is a fine Turn 1 play to trigger a coin.
  9. Frothing Berserker (107), Coliseum Manager (74), Grim Patron (47) – 2 of these are components of the Patron Warrior (RIP). Anyhow, Death’s Bite has insane synergy to grow a Berserker.
  10. King’s Defender (87), Sparring Partner (70), Questing Adventurer (62) – Don’t mind if I do with a third weapon. Plus, there is some taunt synergy.
  11. Boneguard Lieutenant (64), Clockwork Gnome (54), Shield Block (40) – We don’t need no armor. Either of these minions are fine, picking the 2-drop here.
  12. Knife Juggler (90), Master Swordsmith (22), Injured Blademaster (63) – Can’t pass on a premium card like Knife Juggler. Also, I’m not a real big fan of Injured Blademaster.
  13. Arathi Weaponsmith (84), Frigid Snobold (46), Bolster (9) – Arathi Weaponsmith is too good to pass up. It looks like I’m getting a 4th weapon for this draft.
  14. Argent Horserider (73), Evil Heckler (68), Battle Rage (68) – These are all cards I would want to pick in the draft, can’t really go wrong with any of them. Argent Horserider is the best value.
  15. Drakonid Crusher (62), Nerbu’ar Weblord (51), Shield Block (40) – Going with the second Crusher for more beef. We don’t need no armor.
  16. Death’s Bite (66), Explosive Sheep (38), War Golem (44) – I am forced to pick my 5th weapon by Pick 16. I am strapped and have no armor cards.
  17. Silver Hand Knight (68), Bolster (5), Arathi Weaponsmith (59) – Ok, no more weapons. Don’t have any 5-drop minions so I really need the Silver Hand Knight here.
  18. Charge (43), Reckless Rocketeer (45), Mogu’shan Warden (42) – Charge is a card nobody expects. Better yet, I have 2 Drakonids which could charge for 9 or 11 damage. Win condition found!
  19. Frostwolf Warlord (61), Priestess of Elune (29), Gnomish Inventor (56) – It looks like I passed on card draw yet again for a mediocre biggish guy. Not sure about this pick.
  20. Sparring Partner (98), King’s Defender (64), Secretkeeper (22) – More 2-drops needed here. Sparring Partner is pretty good as a card.
  21. Ship’s Cannon (74), Lance Carrier (54), Ogre Magi (42) – Filling out the 2-drops, plus synergy with the Deckhand.
  22. Novice Engineer (49), Stonetusk Boar (49), Explosive Sheep (40) – I don’t really see the point in ever drafting Stonetusk Boar unless you’re a class that has health buffs. Getting some card draw with the first minion that taught you how to draw.
  23. Haunted Creeper (88), Kor’kron Elite (65), Amani Berserker (77) – All good cards again, but taking a premium 2.
  24. Orgrimmar Aspirant (108), Piloted Shredder (78), Reckless Rocketeer (44) – In normal circumstances, Piloted Shredder is the pick. But in a deck with 5 weapons, the Orgrimmar Aspirant is a great pick. I honestly don’t know how to use the card though, and may make mistakes.
  25. Alexstraza’s Champion (88), Saboteur (80), Revenge (53) – I’ve got 2 dragons for some trigger synergy here. I also really like 2/3 2-drops.
  26. Crowd Favorite (64), Garrison Commander (51), Doomsayer (22) – I have plenty of battlecries here to help make Crowd Favorite a decent card. The warrior hero power is not good enough to warrant Garrison Commander.
  27. Argent Commander (75), Crazed Alchemist (52), Commanding Shout (72) – Argent Commander has crappy stats, but the shield + charge removal makes it what it is as a premium card.
  28. Clockwork Gnome (69), Dragonkin Sorcerer (60), Wisp (14) – At this point, I’m going with a faster pick.
  29. Spectral Knight (53), Shield Block (33), Raid Leader (45) – We don’t need no armor.
  30. Siege Engine (59), Sunfury Protector (66), Jeeves (50) – Sunfury is the better value pick, but I feel like I needed another big threat.

Gameplan

  • Somehow survive and break-even. I have to play faster with my board and remove things with my armory of axes.
I've gotta admit it's fun winning a game with cards you never play. Arena!
I’ve gotta admit it’s fun winning a game with cards you never play. Arena!

Games

  1. Priest – 1st – 1-0 – Unfortunately, I forgot to turn on the Hearthstone Deck Tracker, and I do not know exactly what happened in this game. All I know is it was an easy win. Also, I have tied my previous Warrior Arena runs in the past year!
  2. Paladin – Coin – 2-0 – I was able to take the board early thanks to weapons and Knife Juggler having good RNG. My opponent quit by turn 7, making it a quickie 3-minute match.
  3. Priest – Coin – 3-0 – I was down life for most of this game, but as someone (Trump, I think) once said, life is only a resource in Hearthstone. Thanks to endless trading, and Siege Engine (MVP), I got my opponent to topdeck and I was able to win.
  4. Rogue – Coin – 4-0 – Rogue, Coin, Warrior? I should lose by Turn 6. Don’t know what to say. I kept constant pressure in this game, which resulted in my opponent steadily losing life. Knife Juggler came up big again, especially throwing knives with Haunted Creeper.
  5. Mage – 1st – 5-0 – By now, I feel weird that this deck is where it is. My gazillion axes came up big in this game by helping me clear the board and build mine. I tried to prepare a Frothing Berserker, but it was foiled by an Arcane Golem.
  6. Druid – 1st – 6-0 – This game was a paragon for how this deck works. Make a bunch of taunts and hit things with weapons. Except my opponent played a Fel Reaver to face said wall of taunts on Turn 5. I wound up going face the whole time and putting up taunts, while milling a whole deck.
  7. Warlock – Coin – 6-1 – I faced a golden Warlock, and it was likely the most competitive game in this arena run. I made a big misplay, dropping Silver Hand Knight + Squire, and then triggering my Death’s Bite whirlwind (led to Darkbomb). I also had a cool Orgrimmar Aspirant moment to kill a Fen Creeper in one shot. I eventually lost to a damn Stormpike Commando.
  8. Paladin – 1st – 6-2 – A complete laugher. I got into trouble early thanks to Avenge, and yeah good Paladin decks don’t make things close.
  9. Mage – Coin – 6-3 – A game that showed having too many axes could be a bad thing, as it clogged up my hand. I made good moves to counter being down, but got cleaned up by 2 Krakens.
I've invented a new card that is like Annoy-o-Tron but with flipped stats. #Powercreep
I’ve invented a new card that is like Annoy-o-Tron but with flipped stats. #Powercreep

Upshot

  • Hey 6-3 Warrior run! That’s probably the best since Naxx or Classic.
  • There was a very distinct wall. 6 easy wins and then 3 not-so-close losses.
  • Having a lot of axes is good, but I had 1 or 2 too many in this game.
  • Taunts are good! And I had no Bolster
  • Garrosh don’t need no armor.