Both players are hunched over, gazing intently at their screens. The game that they played for the past 50 minutes will soon be at an end. Suddenly, a familiar battlecry rings out: “Save the best till last!”. With a sigh, Ryan ‘Purple’ Murphy-Root holds up eight fingers. That’s the eighth Omega Devastator this game, and with it, a tie is inevitable. With its powerful effect, Mech synergy and literally devastating battlecry, Omega Devastator is often the nail in the coffin of your hopes and dreams against a Warrior. It often comes down when Doctor Boom’s up, annihilating your last chance of victory with 10 damage and rushing for 4. Its power leads to many calling for a nerf. But would nerfing Omega Devastator fix Warrior?
A Cuttable Card?
One reason why an Omega Devastator nerf may not be enough is that while powerful, it is by no means necessary. I have personally hit legend multiple times with Warrior decks that don’t include the 4 mana 4/5, and I doubt I’m alone. There are many good Warrior alternatives for similar effects, most notably Execute. This means that a harsh Omega Devastator nerf will simply mean more Executes or Big Game Hunters. And if Warrior truly needs as much hard removal as possible, there’s even cards like Devastate or Voodoo Doll.
The stats back this up. Omega Devastator has a decidedly middling drawn win rate, trailing towards the lower end. This makes sense; while it’s great when you have 10 mana and Doctor Boom up, the game is often over by this point. The best Warrior cards are those that get you to that stage: the likes of Town Crier, Eternium Rover and Doctor Boom itself. So why does Omega Devastator get all the flack?
Win-more and Visibility
One unfortunate downside of player perceptions is that we place undue importance of what happens towards the end of a loss. Even though the earlier turns can have a massive knock-on impact, we instead tend to look at the flashy ending. We blame the Leeroy, not the Si-7 Agent that got in 9 chip damage. We blame the topdecked Conjurer’s Calling, not the Ziliax that allowed them to survive that long. And with Warrior, we blame the Omega Devastator that takes out our last threat, not the fact that we needed that last minion to stick to win.
Ultimately, Omega Devastator becomes a mascot for everything frustrating about Warrior. It’s a powerful removal Mech, with heavy synergy with the rest of the deck, specifically Doctor Boom. The reason it’s so despised is that all of Warrior’s frustrating elements are what makes it good; the sustain, card generation and Mech synergy.
So if the problem is largely psychological, is everything fire with Omega Devastator?
More than Two is an Issue
Hearthstone balance can’t just be about performance. It also has to be about feelings. And simply put, Omega Devastator feels bad. More specifically, dealing with multiple Omega Devastators from Omega Assembly and Delivery Drone feels terrible.
If Warrior does see an Omega Devastator change, it must be focused on limiting the negative feelings from the possibility of facing so many in a single games, nuking your board turn after turn. If nothing else, it will help Purple feel better.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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