Controversial Hearthstone Card Not Appearing in Arena

One of the new cards being added to Hearthstone with the upcoming One Night in Karazhan expansion has been creating a negative stir.  Purify is a new card for the Priest class, which is currently the weakest class in the game, and has received a great deal of criticism from several noteworthy players for possibly being the worst card to have been introduced to the game yet.

Most notably, Kripparrian posted an extensive rant against the card on his Youtube channel that mainly focused on how the card will effect the Arena game mode. Arena has players drafting a deck of random cards and seeing how far they can go playing against people working under the same conditions, so introducing a bad card is always going to have an impact in that mode.  However, the development team has issued a surprising statement in regards to Purify and how they are responding to the criticism.

Ben Brode, the lead designer on Hearthstone and the face of the game, released a Designer Insights video on the official Hearthstone Youtube channel speaking specifically on Purify.  He explains that the design team’s thought process on designing the card was to support the niche archetype of Silence Priest that, while not a competitive-level deck, still has viable strategies and can take people by surprise.

However, they do understand the importance of Arena balance and have been working on a new algorithm for the frequency of specific cards that appear in Arena in order to even out the various classes.  While this isn’t expected to be ready any time soon, the developers are taking action to prevent Purify from skewing Arena balance by keeping it out of the game mode entirely.  This isn’t the first time that a card has been made undraftable in Arena as all of the C’Thun-based cards introduced in Whispers of the Old Gods were given the same treatment.

Brode closes his video with the following statement: “We’re going to disagree sometimes on decisions that we make, and we’re going to make mistakes, too, but hopefully we can learn together and make the game better overtime.”  What are your thoughts on Brode’s feedback to the community?  What do you feel still needs to be done to sort out Arena balance?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Hearthstone: One Night in Karazhan Cards Preview #2

Hearthstone

Things weren’t off to the best start with some of the first cards we saw being added with One Night in Karazhan, but the full list is now available and we can make some definitive statements on what we can expect in Hearthstone‘s near future. Hearthstone Let’s see if this update saved its best for last and how it will shape the game.

The developers are really pushing for Discard Warlock to be an archetype and this one card could be what makes it a reality.  The biggest drawback to discarding has always been that, even with a hero power that draws cards, it quickly drains your resources and you simply can’t regain momentum.

MalchezaarsImp

Malchezaar’s Imp allows you to maintain momentum even while discarding several cards and has a strong stat line to keep it alive long enough for a considerable effect.  The one caveat is that the deck would have to be aggressive in nature if you’re discarding that many cards as you can’t risk losing anything too valuable.

VioletIllusionist

Given how powerful aggro decks have been for so long, I welcome something like Violet Illusionist into the game with open arms.  Granted, she won’t be enough to counter aggressive decks on the same level as Antique Healbot on her own, but she’ll offer more survivability across the board without being overpowered.

Zoobot

Hey, neutral beast-synergy that isn’t junk.  It also works with dragons and murlocs, but only one for each.  It’s a bit of a strange concept, but you really only need it to hit one of your minions for this to be good.  Even if you have to play it on it’s own, it still has a decent stat line on its own.  It’s less so now that 3/4 minions are becoming more and more common, but it still looks like a decent card.  It’s just strange to think of where it will find its place in constructed with how sporadic its effect is, but just remember that you don’t always have to get maximum value out of card for it to be good.

MedivhGuardian

The final prize at the adventure’s end, Medivh, is interesting for a couple reasons.  For one, it shows that characters who are already playable heroes can also be cards, which could have some interesting results in the future.  Second, he gives you a neutral weapon that spends its durability whenever you cast a spell to summon a random minion matching the spell’s cost.  We’ve already seen this effect with Summoning Stone, but the Atiesh weapon has greater potential as your opponent won’t have an easy way of removing it.  Cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze can counter it, but it’s not something that is going to drive cards like that up in the meta on its own.  The high cost and unpredictability will probably make Medivh too niche for most competitive decks, but he will definitely find his place in certain control decks.

Purify

♫The rich get richer♫

♫And the poor get poorer♫

♫And Ben Brode lauuughs at your pain♫

I certainly hope that the bosses in this next adventure are at least fun, because One Night in Karazhan is undoubtedly the weakest Hearthstone expansion in terms of a meta shift.  Between Firelands Portal making Mage stronger and Purify making Priest weaker, this expansion is not only maintaining the status quo, but actively cementing it.  There are a few new archetypes that can emerge from some of the new cards, but most of it merely supplements what is already dominant in the game.  All signs point to Medivh throwing a lame party and I already feel like I have a remorseful hangover.

What are your thoughts on One Night in Karazhan?  Do you have more optimism for what it can offer Hearthstone than I do?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods Preview #2

Whispers of the Old Gods

Whispers of the Old Gods is right around the corner and I have a lot of cards to catch up on.  Obviously, I’m not going to cover all of the new cards, but I will highlight some of the most interesting that we’ll be getting in the new expansion to Hearthstone.  Before we actually get into the cards of Whispers of the Old Gods, there are a couple of corrections I need to make.  For one, C’Thun and the cultist cards that interact with it will not be available for Arena drafts.  While most of the cultists have premium stat lines, there are a few that have a heavy reliance on C’Thun and Blizzard has opted not to include any of them in Arena to avoid saturation (although there are already cards like Junkbot and Rend Blackhand in Arena that are far worse than any of the cultists, so…).  Secondly, my claim in the previous preview that each class would receive a Forbidden spell was actually a matter of miscommunication.  Only Druid and Warlock have received Forbidden cards in addition to Mage, Paladin, and Priest, and Druid’s Forbidden card is actually a minion.  I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.  With all that out of the way, let’s delve into the cards that will be entering the Whispers of the Old Gods game soon.

Renounce_Darkness

This may be the single weirdest Hearthstone card I’ve ever seen.  For just 2 mana, your Warlock can give up on being a Warlock and become anything else.  There is use for that as the Warlock’s hero power, while incredibly powerful in the early to mid-game, is the worst for any match that goes into fatigue.  Jaraxxus has already proven that changing your hero out late in the game is extremely good, but that raises the question of whether or not it’s worth playing this over Jaraxxus.  Generally, the answer is no, but it could have some applications.  It could work in a deck with a lot of high-risk, high-reward cards and needs an emergency switch, but it wouldn’t work well alongside Jaraxxus because playing this first would replace the eredar lord and playing it second would likely leave you with a worse hero power.  The mana discount has a lot of potential, but the fact that you not only get random cards, but a random class on top of that, makes it highly unreliable.  It’s an experimental card and it probably won’t work, but I’d love to see it take me by surprise.

Herald_Volazj

On the surface, this card might look terrible.  “Why would I want to copy my minions if they’re just going to be tiny 1/1 version?” I hear you ask.  Well, there are plenty of minions that have their value tied to the their effects rather than their stat lines.  Ragneros, Sylvanas, Thaurissan, Ysera, Brann, and Malygos are just a few examples of cards that work remarkably well with Volazj.  It’s not limited to big legendaries either as any deathrattle minion will also benefit from duplication.  The only thing that’s tricky about Volazj is that you really need to set the board carefully to get a good effect out of him.  You don’t want to copy just one minion with him or you’re left with a worse Faceless Manipulator.  He’s a gimmicky card and probably won’t see much high-level play as a result, but those willing to take a risk on him won’t be disappointed with what he can do.

Let’s continue with Whispers of the Old Gods game cards…

Hallazeal_the_Ascended

Hallazeal is an interesting card,if nothing else.  It’s definitely something for control Shaman decks, which this expansion has been giving a serious push for.  I’ll certainly take it over the infuriating Aggro Shaman that has been infesting the ladder recently.  Hallazeal has a decent enough stat line to see play and can combo best with AoE spells like Lightning Storm to really pull you out of a tough spot.  He’s not going to act as a hard carry for any deck, but he can be a handy safety net to keep you alive.  The one big problem is that he’ll be most valuable against aggressive decks, and those will probably kill you faster than you can get him on the board and use his ability.

Y'Shaarj

It is said that Y’Shaarj was the strongest of all the Old Gods and remained one of the most dangerous and powerful beings in Azeroth even as a corpse.  Its card aptly captures the overwhelming power of Y’Shaarj with not only a massive stat line, but also the ability to bring more minions into battle.  You’re guaranteed at least one minion before your opponent will have a chance to shut it down with hard removal (which is less likely now that BGH is being nerfed), but the minion you get is going to be random and you’ll have to build a specific type of deck to get good mileage out of Y’Shaarj.  This is a Whispers of the Old Gods card made for control decks with lots of big minions available to have the best odds on getting a good pull.  Keep in mind that Battlecry effects won’t trigger and you’ll mostly want to avoid putting those in the same deck as Y’Shaarj.

Yogg-Saron

I take it back; THIS is the single weirdest card I’ve ever seen.  Yogg-Saron is a being of such cunning that it was able to take complete control over the prison built specifically to contain it with its sinister whispers alone.  It is the creator of the Emerald Nightmare and can twist mortal minds into madness with barely a motion.  The Yogg-Saron card is appropriately insane for such a beast with an effect that is beyond predictability.  While its stat line is terrible, it likely won’t matter as there’s a fair chance that every minion, including Yogg-Saron itself, and both heroes will all perish the moment it appears on the board.  The spells Yogg-Saron casts are not limited by mana nor class; any legal spells from across Hearthstone can be cast.

Yogg-Saron can throw a Pyroblast at your face, heal you back with Healing Wave, buff an enemy minion with Blessing of Kings, steal the buffed minion with Mind Control, destroy it with Assassinate, turn itself into a frog with Hex, clear the enemy board with Flamestrike, let zero dogs out with Unleash the Hounds right after, and then lose you the game outright with three more Pyroblasts to your face.  At least it won’t cast spells for your opponent, but it will randomly chose a target based on what is normally allowed for that spell (ex. casting Flamecannon would only ever hit an enemy minion and never a friendly one or either hero).  Also, while Yogg-Saron is using the effects of spells, they’re all considered his battlecry effect and don’t interact with minion effects like spell damage, but it can be doubled by Brann Bronzebeard.  There is no chance of Yogg-Saron seeing competitive-level play, but it is the ultimate card for closing out any joke deck.  It’s a card you can play 1000 times and still only see a fraction of what it’s capable of.

Forbidden_Ritual

Zoolock definitely looks to be making a comeback given the new board-swarming cards that are being released.  Warlock’s Forbidden spell, for example, lets you fill the board with as many minions as you need at any point in the game.  This is one of the best cards Zoolock could ever hope for as it can refill the board and help you bounce back after a mid to late-game board clear, Zoolock’s biggest weakness, but it’s also extremely flexible and can be dealt out whenever you need some more bodies.  Yeah, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any less of Knife Juggler in the new meta.

Vilefin_Inquisitor

Along with Zoolock, Murloc Paladin is also looking to come back in vogue with some new murloc cards.  This one is chief among them, changing Paladin from being a really good class for murlocs to being the best class ever for murlocs.  Murloc decks depend on you having murlocs, to generating them at will with your hero power is best you could ever ask for.  If any card is going to end up being overpowered in WotOG, my money is on this one.

Journey_Below

Good news; the Discover mechanic is still alive and well post-League of Explorers.  Journey Below is a really good card for two reasons: For one, it gets you a Deathrattle card of your choice, which Priest’s Museum Curator has already proven to be a very useful ability.  Secondly, it’s a cheap card that you can just play whenever you want to, which makes it great fodder for setting up cards with Combo effects.  Definitely expect to see this pop up in quite a few Rogue decks.

Evolve

Shaman has been struggling as a class for the longest time with nothing but the recent aggro build to push it into the meta, but WotOG looks to change that with plenty of powerful new cards for the class.  Easily the most potent of the bunch is Evolve, a cheap spell that can have huge results.  Along with working well in control decks, it’s also the one new card that can work in aggro decks.  Honestly, it doesn’t make much of a difference what deck you put this in because simply casting it on at least two totems from your hero power can be enough to get you a good result.  There is a risk of getting Battlecry minions with terrible stat lines, but you’ll be making a net gain with Evolve over all.

Fandral_Staghelm

The Druid’s Choose One effects already make for some of the best cards in the game with just one of their possible choices, so Fandral Staghelm looks like a pretty potent card.  With a 4 mana 3/5 body, he’s definitely playable in just about any deck.  There are just a couple of important caveats to keep in mind with him.  First off, your opponent is never going to leave him be if they can help it.  Any minions they have on the board or spell damage in their hand is going straight for him.  While he can be played on curve in a pinch, it may be better to save for the late game so that you can guarantee a combo with a good Choose One card.  That could end up being too slow a strategy to work and he could really end up falling flat.  Secondly, two of the best Choose One cards are getting nerfed at the same time Fandral is coming out, so you should hold off on crafting him until he’s had a chance to prove himself in the meta.

Deathwing,_Dragonlord

If this new Deathwing card doesn’t get people playing dragon decks other than Priest, I don’t think any one card can.  It’s a big, stompy minion that your opponent will actually be afraid to use their hard-removal on because even more big, stompy minions will probably storm the board as a result.  This new Deathwing even makes the old Deathwing look appealing because nothing crushes souls like a 12/12 going down only for another 12/12 to immediately take its place with a couple 8/8’s tagging along for good measure.  It really answers the big set-back of high mana costs that previously held dragon decks back significantly.  However, Silence effects and transformation cards like Polymorph and Hex can shut him down entirely, so be sure to have those in mind as you make your plays.

Psych-o-Tron

HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLO.  HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I may change my tune once the expansion drops and I start to see some of these Whispers of the Old Gods cards in action, but I am very happy with WotOG right now.  While there are a few underwhelming cards included, the good ones are really good and open up a lot of new possibilities for the game going forward.  The best part is that there isn’t a single card that strikes me as being egregious in any way.  There’s nothing that looks inherently broken like Dr. Boom and there’s nothing that actively outmodes old cards like Evil Heckler.  Maybe Vilefin will end up on the overpowered side when put into practice or maybe one of the Old Gods will prove be even crazy than it looks on the surface, but this is looking to be the best Hearthstone expansion to date at the moment.  If you’ve fallen off the game or haven’t started yet, now is looking like the best time to jump in.

Whispers of the Old Gods releases on April 26th.  What are your thoughts on the new expansion?  What are your favorite and least favorite new cards?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about Whispers of the Old Gods game.

Blackrock Mountain Cards Preview #5

Blackrock

This is the grand finale of cards that will be added in Hearthstone‘s Blackrock Mountain adventure.  This will cover all of the remaining class cards, including both Paladin cards.  Also, be sure to check on all of the previous articles on Blackrock to get completely caught up on all of the cards: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5.

DragonConsort

If you’re looking for a class to run dragons with, Dragon Consort just helped you make a decision.  This Paladin minion is good just as a 5/5 dragon for 5 mana, but the battlecry makes this card pretty crazy.  Note that the card doesn’t specify the turn it’s played, so that 2 mana discount will stick around until you spend it on a dragon with it.  If anything in this expansion is going to make dragon decks a thing, it’s this card.

SolemnVigil

Paladin has been needing some more card draw options and Solemn Vigil does a pretty good job.  On its own, it’s just a worse Arcane Intellect, but no class is better at expendable minions than Paladin and getting the cost of this card down won’t be hard.  Run this alongside Muster for Battle, Haunted Creeper, and other good token cards and you’ve got a pretty strong deck.

Demonwrath

Whether Demonwrath is a better or worse version of Hellfire is going to depend on the deck you run it in.  If you’re running a demon deck, it’s great as a cheap area-of-effect spell that can give you a big lead.  It also works with non-demon deathrattle minions like Nerubian Egg and Loothoarder.  It may not be a good pick for arena, but there are definitely plays to be made with it in constructed.

FireguardDestroyer

FINALLY!  A 4 mana 3/6 minion for someone other than Mage!  That stat line alone makes this one of the best cards in the expansion.  Water Elemental was the only card to have such a strong body to it from the start and it’s about time another class got to use a minion this tough.  Actually, this is a 4 mana 4/6 in the worst case scenario and a 7/6 at best.  There is that overload to consider, but that’s a small price to pay for such a powerful body.  With Lava Shock entering the game, that overload is even less concerning.  Fireguard Destroyer is definitely worth running.

Revenge

BLIZZARD, PLEASE, LEAVE WARRIOR ALONE!  I fell in love with Control Warrior recently, but Goblins vs Gnomes made the class significantly weaker.  In constructed, aggro decks became far to fast for Warriors to keep up with.  In arena, every new Warrior card save for Shieldmaiden was bad for the mode’s board control meta.  Between Axe Flinger and this worse version of Whirlwind, Warrior is only going to become even weaker with Blackrock.  Revenge is far too situational and Warrior already has enough AoE options that there’s no point to trying to fit it into your deck.  At this point, Warrior would be better off not getting new cards at all.

TwilightWhelp

LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE LITTLE GUY!  I don’t care if he’s arguably a worse version of Zombie Chow, he’s just so cute!  In all seriousness, this card probably isn’t going to see much play as Zombie Chow already gives Priest a 1 mana 2/3 that doesn’t demand a lot of dragons and can synergize with Auchenai Soulpriest in the late game.   While he may not have the downside of healing your opponent when you don’t have Auchenai, it’s still a worst topdeck than the zombie and just about any other card in the game.  On the plus side, I promise not to abuse caps lock for the rest of this article.

VolcanicLumberer

On the one hand, Volcanic Lumberer is a worse Ironbark Protector on its own.  However, cards like Force of Nature and archetypes like Token Druid can make it very easy to cheaply summon.  Even with that, it’s still a fairly situational card and may not be practical even in decks built around it.  It has potential, but we’ll need to see how it plays out in practice to see how viable it really is.

That does it for the Blackrock previews.  Keep an eye out for boss guides to hit once the adventure releases this week.

Blackrock Mountain Cards Preview #4

Cards

With Blackrock Mountain releasing its first wing this week, Blizzard has revealed all of the cards that will be added into Hearthstone with the new adventure.  I’ll go over seven of the new cards that have been revealed in this article with the remaining seven covered in one last article.  We’ll look at the three remaining legendaries and some of the first cards that will be released with the expansion.  Some look like guaranteed mainstays in the new meta game, while others make for better comic relief than competitive cards.  Either way, fun times abound.

Emperor_Thaurissan

First up is Emperor Thaurissan, the first legendary that we’ll get and easily the best.  His stat line may be a little undervalued for the cost, but his ability to reduce the mana costs of the cards in your hand makes up for it.  Since it triggers at the end of your turn, you’re guaranteed to get some value out of him.  There’s also the fact that there aren’t too many great turn 6 plays in the game already.  I have no doubts that Thaurissan will enjoy the same kind of popularity as Naxxramas‘ Loatheb as there simply isn’t a deck that he’s bad in.

Majordomo_Executus

This guy is hilarious, but also extremely impractical.  When Majordomo Executus dies, your hero will be replaced with Ragnaros the Firelord and your hero power will now deal 8 damage to a random enemy.  It sounds awesome, but then you realize that Ragnaros only has 8 health and this transformation leaves you extremely vulnerable.  It could act as a heal if you’re desperately low on health, but it will only get you so much and you can’t heal higher than 8 afterwards.  This could have some potential in Warrior with the aid of armor for added surviability, but will most certainly be relegated to joke card in all other scenarios.

Chromaggus

Chromaggus straddles the line between being good and being goofy.  On the one hand, his stat line isn’t great and his effect has a good deal of randomness to it.  On the other hand, the simple virtue of having more cards in your hand than your opponent is a major advantage.  In control-focused decks, he could be viable as a late-game asset that keeps your resources plentiful.  However, he may not be practical enough for many decks.

Gang_Up

The new Rogue spell, Gang Up, certainly isn’t a card that many competitive decks can fit in.  Getting three minions of your choice from what’s currently on the board sounds nice, but you still need to draw into them afterward and this can cost you a great deal of tempo.  However, it will be great in a certain type of joke deck called Mill Rogue.  Mill is the tactic of intentionally filling your opponents hand inorder to burn their most important cards and to kill your opponent with fatigue damage once their deck runs out.  One weakness of the deck is that you tend to burn yourself out as quickly as your opponent, so a card that increases the size of your deck would certainly be useful.  It’s not a great card, but I’m definitely glad to have it.

Resurrect

Randomness is a factor in the Priest’s Resurrect spell, but it may still be viable at a competitive level.  Odds are fairly good that you’ll get at least a 2 mana minion and that will be decent value.  If you get anything bigger, then this card is incredible.  The biggest problem is that the odds will depend on the minions that your opponent is using and high aggression with smaller minions is very popular at the moment.  It’s a good card, but now might not be the best time for it.  Oh, and speaking of aggro…

UPDATE: I JUST noticed that the card specifies friendly minions, so my problem with getting a bad minion from your opponent is not actually an issue.  This card is 100% awesome.

Quick_Shot

Raise your hand if you hate face-damage Hunters!  Quick Shot is strong just as a 3 damage spell for 2 mana, but the added effect of card draw when your hand is empty makes this insane as a late-game topdeck.  Your best hope is to try and bait your opponent into spending it in the early game where it will still get good value but won’t lock down a win.  Otherwise, the nightmare of your opponent drawing into lethal has just gotten worse.  Hunter is currently incredibly strong and this card is only going to make them more powerful than ever before.

Druid_of_the_Flame

Finally, we have Druid of the Flame, a 3 mana 2/5 for Druid.  You have option of making it a 5/2, but you’re never going to.  It’s okay, but pretty bland for a class exclusive minion.  It is worth noting that transformation is immune to silence, so whichever buff you pick will stick.  Also, both forms count as beasts, so this may encourage players to use Druid of the Fang more.  It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it can be viable in most decks.

There are only seven more cards to cover and they’ll be here soon.  Until then, let us know which cards you’re most excited to play with.