Four mana can buy you a lot of lifegain in Hearthstone. We’ve seen cards like Branching Paths, Greater Healing Potion and Healing rain gain you 12 for 4 mana or less. Now Warrior is getting a new 4 mana lifegain card in Doctor Boom’s scheme. One-upping all of these, the lifegain from this spell is potentially infinite; in theory at least.
Unfortunately, practical considerations might reduce its potential. Will this be the first Warrior armorgain card not to see play? Why is Dr Boom’s Scheme so terrible?
An Impossible Dream?
The Scheme in question is obvious; hold the card in hand as long as possible, then unleash a massive wave of armor to outlast anything your opponent can throw at you. In theory, a heavy Control Warrior could hold on to these spells long enough to make them far more valuable than they might suggest. Especially with cards like Dead Man’s Hand rotating, massive amounts of life in a single card could prove vital in a fatigue game or to out-tank a combo.
Optimistically, you could look at it like Justicar Trueheart. With two Dr. Boom’s Schemes in hand, you essentially gain 2 armor per turn for free! It doesn’t sound too unreasonable at first glance; so why are so pros and streamers saying the card is so bad?
One clue would be to look at how long cards are held right now. Shield block is typically only held for about 3 turns on average, making it vastly superior to Doctor Boom’s Scheme. Another problem is the necessity of greed; lifegain is only worthwhile before your opponent kills you after all. Having to risk unlikely lethals to get maximum value makes the card more unreliable. And speaking of unreliability, this card will undoubtedly suck even more in the times it’s in the bottom half of your deck.
But overwhelmingly, the biggest problem is the necessity of holding an effectively ‘dead’ card for so long. Since this card is only good when you draw it early, but only powerful when you play it late, it inevitably ends up either massively weakening your entire early game or becoming an utterly useless topdeck. It’s comparable in many ways to Quests, but without the incredible payoff, and occasionally failing completely. With prospects looking grim, why does the card cost as much as the reliable lifegain of other classes?
There could be a couple of reasons for the high pricetag. One would be Wild, where it could have an overly oppressive synergy with Dead Man’s Hand. Duplicate copies of this shuffled into the deck could lead Warrior to having ridiculous quantities of lifegain. However, this seems unlikely. The amount of wacky Wild shenanigans that are currently possible far exceeds a few lightly above-curve armor cards.
Instead, the real problem is more likely fun. Unconditional, high-quantity lifegain with no bodies attached is often polarizing, locking certain strategies out of the game too easily. What’s more, this Scheme would be heavily RNG based, being far more effective when drawn particularly early. If the card was unfun at lower mana costs, it makes far more sense to include it as an uncompetitive interesting gimmick rather than a polarizing, swingy, RNG-based competitive card.
But despite the undeniably inefficient and noncompetitive nature of Doctor Boom’s Scheme, it’s still worth messing around with. There are probably all sorts of combos to consider; and you’re probably going to unpack a lot of them.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com.
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