Ever see a cool, high-cost minion revealed and think something along the lines of: “Dang, that’s a cool effect. If only I could reliably play it without dying”. You see it on all sorts of expensive legendaries; Splintergraft, Tyrantus, Blackhowl Gunspire and Emeriss come to mind. It sucks to have so many cool and interesting effects locked out because they lack immediate board impact. But there is a solution; simply add Taunt to more of these cards.
How not to die to board; the high cost dilemma
High-cost minions are some of the most difficult minions to play. Simply adding them to your deck presents a challenge, as they can clog up your hand and provide dead draws. But the true risk comes from when you play them. Their mana requirement means it’s very difficult to combine it with other powerful plays, meaning that if your high-cost minion can’t affect the board the turn it’s played, you’ll often lose to the opponent’s ability to develop and hit face unimpeded.
As such, we only really see high-cost minions where they’re cheated out with ramp or recruit effects, or have immediate board impact. This is fine for some minions, whose abilities are inherently immediately impactful. But many cool effects are relegated either to be on lower costing minions, or to be noncompetitive. Luckily, Taunt is a simple, easy-to-communicate addition that could allow for cool effects on high-cost minions without quite the same risk of immediately dying.
The Lich King is the perfect example of how Taunt can turn a high-cost card into a far more viable option. An 8 mana 8/8 that generates cards is decent enough; but the high cost makes it incredibly risky. But The Lich King’s Taunt makes him a powerhouse, as he can not only grant you value in the long term but also put an immediate 8 health body in between your opponent’s minions and your life total.
Of course, we do not have an alternative, non-taunt version of Arthas to compare with our Lich King, but it is worth considering that many other 8 mana 8/8s with powerful effects like Deranged Doctor and Splintergraft are far from viable and do not have Taunt.
The Recruit problem
Unfortunately, there is one glaring problem with slapping taunt on every high-cost minions: Recruit. The potential to cheat out high-mana minions with powerful effects is already strong enough. When efficient Taunt is thrown on top, then this can become a problem (just look at Voidlord).
As such, this solution might need to be limited during the Year of the Raven, while Kobolds and Catacombs’ efficient Recruit tools still exist. However, it would still be a great option for classes with few Recruit options like Rogue or Mage.
There are also questions of balance with regards to Hadronox and the Warrior Quest. As these benefit greatly from Taunts, too many efficient high-cost Taunts could push these into overpowered territory.
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