Looking Back at My Top Old Gods Card Predictions

Looking Back at My Top Old Gods Card Predictions

Two months ago, I attempted to give my take on what the top Old Gods cards would be. These predictions were made before I even opened a pack. Now we are in what I would like to call “The Information Meta.” Everyone is just so well-informed, that they are playing the best decks to counter the meta. I noticed this specifically with the rise of Dragon Tempo Warrior and Midrange Hunter. I strongly believe a lot of it has to do with the Vicious Syndicate, who have produced the best weekly Hearthstone meta report ever, complete with data, expert insight, and cool charts! They are a great resource, but I feel they have brought upon this “Information Meta.” That is my way of complaining about even struggling to get to Rank 10 this season. Tangent aside, here is a look back at my old predictions.

10. Thing from Below – The Thing is a staple in “Midrange Shaman” which isn’t really midrange, and plays slightly slower than Aggro Shaman, but with more totems. Coupled with Tuskar Totemic and Totem Golem, this is an amazing tempo play. It might be a Top 5 card so far in this meta.

9. Infested Wolf – Midrange Hunter is surprisingly diverse, with so many plug-and-play options. Infested Wolf is typically in the deck, running 2 or 1. I’m not sure if it is as good as a Top 10 card, but it is definitely strong and is a staple for Midrange Hunter.

8. Forbidden Ritual – I didn’t include Darkshire Councilman, but this is essentially the card that completes him. It made a lot of sense this would be a good card, given the loss of Imp-losion. I’d say this card is rightfully in the lower Top 10.

7. Evolve – Welp, good idea, but the rise of Shaman via Aggro Shaman and “Midrange” Shaman made this card more of an interesting accessory. I am not knowledgeable enough to know why it isn’t in the deck. One big downside is transforming 1-mana totems into Doomsayers. Otherwise, it just doesn’t make the cut in the fast Shaman meta. You still see in the Arena now and then as a desperation move. Big whiff here.

6. Journey Below – This card is typically found in N’Zoth Rogue, but N’Zoth Rogues aren’t exactly a hot deck in the meta. Rogues got hot with a Miracle Resurgence, but overall weakness against the fast meta has put the class back down to a lower tier. Given that Miracle is still stronger than N’Zoth Rogue, this card isn’t seeing a ton of play overall.

5. Master of Evolution – Similar to Evolve, but I believe this card is more versatile and has a chance to re-enter the meta. I see it in some “Midrange” Shaman decks now and then, but I believe it is cut if the player wants to go faster.

4. Blood to Ichor – Tempo Warrior is very strong now, and Blood to Ichor is a big reason why. It just works so well as an Enrage trigger, Acolyte of Pain draw, ping before Ravaging Ghoul, etc. Plus the 2/2 tempo Slim isn’t to be ignored. It is basically a 1-mana Ironforge Rifleman. Good prediction.

3. Cabalist’s Tome – Not many Mages ran this card until the “Chinese Tempo Mage” invaded the meta. Now that deck is rather strong, and this card provides sustain to keep going. Getting 3 random spells has synergy with various cards in Tempo Mage, and more fuel with Antonidas. Further, you are very likely to get Pyroblast for lethal.

2. Bloodhoof Brave – The brave is a near-staple for Warrior decks, providing tremendous utility as a defensive and offensive option. The Black Knight has seemingly dropped out of the meta again, meaning he is safe. Further, Priests are typically milk carton characters now, so it wouldn’t have it’s mind changed. It might be a bit lofty to predict it as the 2nd best card in Old Gods, but it is definitely a Top 10 so far.

  1. Hallazeal the Ascended – Aside from some creative Malygos shenanigans, Hallazeal suffers from the same fate of other Shaman cards that aren’t 4-mana 7/7’s. It just isn’t at the meta because Shaman is so strong when going fast. Maybe he will re-emerge (I hope so!). Otherwise this prediction is a huge swing and miss.

Bonus: Fandral Staghelm – I predicted Fandral Staghelm will suck. Well, he is now a Druid staple for the seemingly only deck of Token Druid. I should just stop predicting legendaries.

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“Who the hell is that!?”

My Top 10 Cards from Whispers of the Old Gods

All the cards from Whispers of the Old Gods are out in the open now before next week’s release. I watched the entire livestream, and spent the time afterwards feverishly checking the Facebook album releases.  From that point on, I tried to process all the new cards in my mind, how they work in the arena and constructed. Pro players are in the process of putting out their opinions on the cards. Heck, even two guys sitting next to me on the bus were busy looking at the cards and pointing out which cards sucked. Now that I have had a whole day to process the cards, here is my pre-release list of the Top 10 cards of Whispers of the Old Gods.

Honorable mentions: Twilight Summoner,  Embrace the Shadow, Call of the Wild

10. Thing From Below – This card was revealed fairly early on, and it’s power was recognized by many. Just by playing 1 totem in the game, the Thing will be worth it’s cost as a 5/5 taunt. With further reductions in cost, it will be an insane tempo play along with other stuff, or with removal spells.

9. Infested Wolf – This is clearly the spiritual successor to Haunted Creeper, with the deathrattle spider summons. It has a little synergy with Forlorn Stalker and Princess Huhuran. But the best part of it is that the Spiders summoned are beasts, and will have synergy with Houndmaster and Kill Command.

8. Forbidden Ritual – Zoolock will be hit very hard with the phasing out of Imp-losion and Haunted Creeper, and weakened to an extent with nerfs to Leper Gnome, Ironbeak Owl and Knife Juggler. While it’s possible the deck will never come back from this, this card provides Warlock a reliable token generator. These weak bodies are perfect for boosting with Power Overwhelming and Abusive Sergeant, as well as synergy with Sea Giant and Gormok.

7. Evolve – A while back, I took a look at Master of Evolution, and found that a minion will typically gain something short of +1/+1, when moving up a mana crystal. I have yet to rerun these numbers, but there is a net positive. Also, minions get an artificial heal, after being transformed. Evolve will transform an entire board to make better minions for just 1 mana. Shamans have no trouble flooding the board with minions and totems, so this card will be well worth it’s value. Of course, hesitations of this card are like that of Bloodlust, in that the board has to be there for this card to be worth something. But I think Shamans are getting enough tools, and have enough removal to protect their board.

6.  Journey Below – A tried to figure out if there’s a word that means “metaphor of itself” but I couldn’t find this word. This is exactly what Rogues are going through once Standard Play hits. A journey below, in order to find a viable deck that can compete in the meta. As seen with Priests, Museum Curator became a big hit in decks, and regularly fishes out legendary cards. Though deathrattles take a hit from Standard Play, this card should still usually yield something powerful. Throw in the fact that it is a cheap spell, it helps even more. The problem with it is that Rogues are completely aimless at the moment.

5. Master of Evolution – I talked about this card at length before, but this card just has nothing but upside. If there is nothing to transform, it doesn’t hurt you with the Yeti-stated body.

4. Blood to Ichor – This card was not on this list, but then I realized how good it is. It doesn’t look too useful to deal 1 damage, but it fits into what the Warrior needs. First of all, it can used to weaken a 4-health minion to put it in range to getting killed by a Fiery War Axe or King’s Defender. Second, it can be used to hurt your own minions, which has synergy with virtually any card in the Patron Warrior deck, along with the new Blood Warrior card. Third, the 2/2 Slime itself is worth the 1 mana, so it’s a free 1 damage. So much flexibility with this card.

3. Cabalist’s Tome – I was doubtful of this card at first, until I saw it in use during the playstream. Mage spells are likely the best spells of all the Hearthstone classes, so you’re getting pretty good cards. This card also allows reloading without using the deck, preventing fatigue against control decks. Further, this has a good chance of providing reach, when needed for lethal. The question remains whether Freeze Mage decks can afford to fit anything else, given it was mostly unaffected by the nerfs.

2. Bloodhoof Brave – Let’s address the scrollophant in the room. It gets wrecked (or stolen) by Priests. With that class aside, I feel this card will be effective against every other class. First of all, it cannot be removed on Turn 4 by anything except for Mage Fireballs. The extra health over Sludge Belcher and Sen’jin Shieldmasta is big in allowing in to stick around. While it doesn’t hit the first minion hard for 2 attack, the enrage mechanic will force it to trade up with the next minion on the board. With 5 attack, it will usually be strong enough to clean up something around 4 mana. With Warriors, there is upside of becoming a 7/5 taunt with Inner Rage and Cruel Taskmaster, letting it trade with something even bigger. As a hefty taunt, it can protect a board of Patrons or Berserkers. Further, there is potential with taunt Warrior becoming a thing and the card Bolster. The possibilities are endless with Bloodhoof Brave, with it possibly fitting into any type of Warrior deck and really good in the arena as well.

  1. Hallazeal the Ascended – Whuspers of the Old Gods doesn’t seem to have outrageously OP legendaries at the moment, but this guy rises to the occasion. As a 4/6, it is just a shade under-stated. The thing you have to consider is that healing costs mana, and damage costs mana. When you get a card that does both like Holy Nova, it only damages/heals for 2 for 5 mana. Consider this: Shamans have a ton of damage spells. Single-target spells like Lightning Bolt (3), Lava Burst (5), and even the new Stormcrack (4). Shamans have decent AoE with Lightning Storm (2-3) and Elemental Destruction (4-5). Further, spellpower Totems are likely to be around to give a magic boost. Shaman overload has been mitigated with Lava Shock, and a new card Eternal Sentinal. With this card, a Shaman can control a board, deal damage, and heal himself completely, in the process. The value is just off-the-charts. The question is where this card will be, given the seemingly myriad of Shaman deckbuilding options.

Bonus: Bold Prediction

Fandral Staghelm will be the Troggzor of this set.

 

Halftime Grumblings

With over half of Whispers of the Old Gods released, some of the cards revealed have told some very telling things about the new card set. While managing expectations is a normal part of the card reveal experience, there are some big implications here!

  1. Classes aren’t following a linear path – When it was revealed that the Warlock was receiving Renounce Darkness and DOOM!, it became apparent that not every class is getting a “Forbidden” x-spend card. This point was reinforced, with the reveal of Dark Arakkoa, giving Druids 2 C’Thun helper cards. Given that there are 16 C’Thun help cards in all, this means that one or more classes may get 1 or even 0 C’Thun help cards. Warrior also has a rare C’Thun help card, so chances are the Warrior is getting the C’Thun support like Druid.
  2. Arena imbalance – From Point 1, it is apparent that the classes are getting varying number of C’Thun help cards. Because it has been stated that C’Thun and help cards are exclusive to Constructed, Druids will definitely have an arena imbalance, with regard to offering rates on cards. This will lead to a increased markup on cards like Mire Keeper and Mark of Y’Shaarj, which is a good thing of Arena Druids. If Warriors follow the same trend as Druid, they might get a big boost on some pretty good Arena minions.
  3. RNG is blowing up – With GvG dropping out, it has been conjectured that RNG will be lessened, with the removal of things like Piloted Shredder and Madder Bomber. Then Yogg-Saron dropped in. And then his Servant. And today, Shifter Zerus. It seems the somewhat restrained RNG of damage from goblin bombs and machinery has translated to eSports! levels of RNG. Pulling out spells and minions from the Hearthstone universe into your game is becoming a thing. Good luck playing around that!
  4. Boring cards, cool design – If there’s anything this expansion has brought, it is good card design. Cards that are considered OP aren’t exactly broken, and there is a lane for variation among bad cards, making them playable in certain decks. There has been a disproportionate amount of legendaries and epics released, so the rest of the cards in the set are likely boring, relative to what has been released. But one should expect some well-designed cards that will spice up decks and the arena.

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Yogg-Saron – Making Sense of Insanity

Yogg-Saron was released today, and he (it?) promptly became the manifestation of RNG itself.

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This effect prompted a flurry of questions on Twitter, clarifications of Yogg-Saron can be found in this well-arranged thread.

Like the Master of Evolution, I wanted to know what the raw probabilities of things happening were. How insane will this Old God be?

Methodology

  • All 224 collectable spells so far from Basic, Classic, GvG, Naxx, BRM, TGT and LoE. Old Gods is not included, and neither is the distinction between Wild and Standard Play. A future update might have these figures.
  • I calculated percentages for “Target affected.” These will add up to 100%.
  • I calculated percentages for Spell Type. These do not add up to 100%, as some spells have multiple abilities in one card.
  • Choose one cards are a 50% probability, so are counted as half cards for each effect.
  • Certain cards have a less than 100% probability of the effect carrying out. Such cards include 4 Demon spells and certain cards that draw for you when something dies. I chose not to deduct probability from these cards, but just know the percentages are slightly inflated. So these are assumptions that I made for this data.

Target affected

Yogg effect

  • All characters (both teams) – no target, everyone is healed or damaged
  • All minions (both boards) – no target, every minion is affected
  • One board – 50% probability of something happening to the top or bottom of the board. Could be AOE, reinforcements, etc.
  • One character – probability divided among all characters (minions + 2 heroes)
  • One hero – 50% probability of either hero getting benefit or harm
  • One minion – probability divided among all minions on the board
  • One team (minions + hero) – 50% probability of either team
  • Secrets – kept separate, as they interact with various characters at different junctures

Spell type

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  • Buff – exclusive to minions, anything that helps a minion in someway. This figure is overinflated, in should be closer to 14%, not including the demon buffs.
  • Damage – any time some character loses health
  • Debuff – a negative effect that isn’t damage, like health reduction, silence, or freeze
  • Hard Removal – exclusive to minions, a minion is destroyed without damage being dealt
  • Heal – any time some character gains health
  • Reinforcement – any time a minion is summoned to the board by card effect
  • Resource Gain – exclusive to heroes, any gain in mana crystals, card draw, deck additions
  • Secret – secrets kept separate
  • Weapon – exclusive to heroes, any time a hero is granted attack

A few spells didn’t really fit into the traditional bins.

  • Shadowform – I put it under the “Weapon” bin, as it allows a steady damage source to enemy minions or faces
  • Astral Communion – I begrudgingly put this under “Resource Gain.” It affects resources, but will have an actual negative effect, as Yogg can’t be played before Turn 10.
  • Beneath the Grounds – This is a delayed reinforcement, so I put it under “Reinforcement.”
  • Confuse – I put this as 1/2 Buff and 1/2 Debuff. It is too complicated to know whether there is any benefit when Confuse is played, so I split the difference.

What this tells us

  • 30% of the Yogg-Saron’s spells affect only 1 minion at a time.
  • Pyroblasts to the face are always a concern, but only 36.4% of spells will affect the heroes. This makes Pyroblasts to the face less likely than perceived..
  • Hard removal to a minion will occur 13% of the time.
  • 1 of 10 of Yogg-Saron’s spells will be secrets.
  • Most spells are some kind of damage (35%), with some resource gain occurring in about 1/5 of spells.
  • Overall, Yogg-Saron seems more fun than good, as his battlecry will cause the game to be a virtual coin flip. Of course the hero with higher health and minions on the board will have a better chance of withstanding whatever comes from the battlecry.

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.”

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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.

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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.

Endless Nameless Hype

Because almost everyone who plays Hearthstone is helplessly addicted, it’s no secret that everyone is drawn to the ongoing Old Gods card release. As such, people sleuthed their asses off to get the latest scoop and posted it on Reddit. Thumbnails were obtained of all the streamer card voting reveal cards, and by which streamer. What is unknown is what each card does, obviously.

So which ones am I most excited to see? Here are the remaining 15 cards in ascending order of excitement.

#15 – Tiddler Celestial

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A mantid it looks like, wearing a crown. Pretty boring thumbnail.

#14 – Scamaz

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Looks like Ancient Shade, but with well-defined muscles. Another lackluster reveal!

#13 – Savjz

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This really looks like a spell. The Faceless in the picture looks ensnared or impaired in some way. Of course this could be a minion card, but looks like a spell really. A Priest Spell.

#12 – Reynad

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What do you call a book of dark arts?  A grimoire or something? Most likely a Warlock spell. But that tentacle!

#11 – Firebat

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You’ve got a Murloc wizard/spellcaster guy, but he has tentacles for legs. While this guy has a good chance of being OP, could this open the door for Mage or Warlock Murloc decks?

#10 – Trump

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Looks like an imposing Faceless minion, most likely a rare or epic card. I mean look at this, it can’t be common!

#9 – Kranich

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Some people think this could hint at Cho’Gall, but it looks like a dead giveaway at a spell. I mean the focus is on the death ray, not on Cho’Gall himself. Some kind of hard removal looks likely.

#8 – Thijs

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This is some next-level ish. Possessed wisps? A big AOE spell? The possibilities are endless!

#7 – Richard Knight

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So clearly you see all of Rexxar’s Animal Companions in a violent lunge. 9-mana summon all of Huffer’s companions? Always Huffer still applies!

#6 – Zhang Ding

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This one is likely getting released soon, but a very spiny, infested dragon. It doesn’t look like a legendary dragon, but could be some rare or epic. A Twilight Drake of some sorts? Also dragon art is just amazing.

#5 – Lifecoach

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So an orc is getting cloned. Or is this dude so mad that his rage side takes up matter? I am willing to bet this is a Warrior spell.

#4 – Roger

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Looks clearly like an infested Druid minion, given the antlers.Though it also looks like a goblin, and I don’t think goblin druids exist. Anyhow, this guy looks really cool.

#3 – Kno

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As a Rogue player, this is probably the one I care about the most. It’s basically Valeera with armor. So it’s likely a Rogue spell or weapon. Also obviously, Valeera follows the chainmail bikini protocol. Full armor would hamper her aerodynamics!

#2 – Kibler

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People are saying this is Deathwing, but looks more likely some form of Black Dragonflight. Just a really cool looking dragon.

Winner – Dog

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It’s crazy that of these 15 thumbnails, a goddang cup is the most exciting to me. Some things are clearly minions or spells, belonging to certain classes. This cup is just a mystery. I am dying to know what this does, even if it is horrible.

What a Time to Be Alive

 

Given this blog is all about Hearthstone, what an exciting week it has been leading up to today. It all started with the sleuthing of Disguised Toast. Then came a mural in Brooklyn. And the Spanish website, which turned out to reveal everything revealed today. The upcoming expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods was announced a couple hours ago, and is set to launch late April – early May. Here’s what has been confirmed on stream:

  • This Monday (3/14 St Patty’s Day), we will get the 9 deck slots.
  • The patch will also include a preview of wild/standard formats. It is not launching this Monday.
  • During the promo period, every user will get 3 Old Gods packs, and the legendary C’Thun. The promo card back might be pre-order only.
  • The 20-something nerf to Classic/Basic cards was not discussed.
  • More cards revealed over the weekend and from now on.

Unlike League of Explorers, there is a big amount of time until this new expansion hits, giving time for people to save up gold or whatever. While we are stuck with the stale meta some more, this is probably the most exciting time to be a fan of Hearthstone, with the eager anticipation of waiting for cards to be revealed. When I started playing Hearthstone, I visited Hearthpwn a lot. Then I started going to the site less and less, due to the frequency of banal posts, complaining, and “custom card makers” everywhere. Now, I have no choice but to visit that site every day, in case a card gets revealed.

And this slow card reveal will go on for weeks. Streamers likely have their hands on some cards to reveal. Magazines and websites will have some cards. A bunch of cards in foreign languages and unconfirmed names!

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Originally called “Scared Warrior”

It will all lead up to “massive card dump day,” which is probably the most exciting day of the year.

And of course there will be speculation and sleuthing among the Hearthstone community. I went through great lengths to figure out Subjugator Kor’ul maybe a card, and there have been trailer rumblings of Corrupted Hogger and Coldlight Seer.

All and all, it is a great time to be a Hearthstone fan. Some can’t take this slow reveal, hype-building strategy. I won’t have it any other way.