Everybody playing Hearthstone is familiar with ‘Created by’. It’s the two words that appear when your opponent plays a game winning card out of nowhere. Random card generation effects are incredibly prevalent in this meta, and ‘Created by’ has a huge impact on Ladder and tournaments. Just on one day, you can watch David ‘Dog’ Caero dodge lethal by playing ‘Time Out’ as Rogue, or see Ryan ‘Purple’ Murphy-Root win off an unexpected Stormbringer. Meanwhile on Ladder, some Mages get multiple Pyroblasts and Fireballs while Warriors chuckle as they play their fifth Omega Devastator. Has ‘Created by’ gone too far?
Warrior’s power spikes
Most of the time, the ‘Delivery Drone’ hero power and the random Mechs from Omega Assembly are pretty fair. Cards like Safeguard, Demolisher or Skaterbot tend not to be too powerful on their own, so getting a whole bunch of them for a small card investment in the late game is reasonable. Often, this is an example of ‘Created by’ working well.
But there’s a key flaw; Warrior has several mechs that are far, far above the typical mech power curve. Multiple copies of the likes of Dyn-o-matic and Omega Devastator can be back-breaking when the Warrior is lucky enough to receive them. These power cards do not typically lead to more interesting or unique situations, as they’re run anyway. To make matters worse, they crowd out more interesting and less powerful mech options due to the class discovery bonus. Card generation should try to avoid having a number of obviously superior options, and cut down on these power spikes.
Burgle Rogue is a growing subsection of the meta, and is one of the premier Tempo Rogue variants. But while the creative plays offered by the non-Rogue class cards are interesting, they can get old fast. A key problem is that burgle effects can give Rogues a lot of power in areas their class is meant to be weak in high-tier deck.
Rogue is meant to struggle with survival tools like efficient taunts, board-clears and lifegain. This is to balance their strong early tempo and powerful combos. Unfortunately, the sheer variance of Burgle Rogue means that Rogues can often come out with unexpected ways to outlast their enemies. That’s not to say that Burgle Rogue is inherently problematic. But when Burgle is top-tier, high-level tournaments are decided by any class card in the game. This can lead to frustration and a sense that Hearthstone is just RNG.
Mage does it better
In contrast, Mage’s Mana Cyclone and Magic Trick are good examples of ‘Created by’ in action. Mage spells typically either freeze, remove, burn or draw, with not many out-there effects. And while there is power variance between spells, it’s nowhere near as blatant as with Warrior.
But the biggest difference is the sheer quantity of ‘Created by’ cards Mage produces. By generating a large number of similar cards, you rarely feel too cheated. Sure, dying to that Frostbolt feels frustrating at times, but you could have easily died to a Fireball, Pyroblast or Cinderstorm. Cone of Cold may disrupt your counterpush, but Vaporise, Mirror Images, Frost Nova or Blizzard could have also.
‘Created by’ is most frustrating when it feels like you’re being punished for playing well. Blizzard would do well to move future high-power card generation effects to limited pools of similar-ish options.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com
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