Curvestone. RNGstone. Just play the biggest minion. Midrange doesn’t have the best reputation for engaging gameplay. While its straightforward and intuitive playstyle and win condition (value, good cards and a strong curve) is great for newer players, more experienced players can find it boring and draw-dependent with few opportunities to display skill. However, there is an exception: mech decks. With skill-testing and varied decks, mechs break the boredom of Midrange. How do they manage it?
One constant source of interaction and interesting choice is Magnetic. Many of the most powerful Mechs have the Magnetic tag, allowing them to become buffs to other mechs. This instantly increases the opportunities for decision-making.
Choosing how to distribute your stats to play around your opponent’s cards adds a whole new dimension of play. Sure, you’ll still be jamming efficient synergistic stats; but now you have far more options. Push it all on one minion? Spread it to counter removal? Tactically hit those health breakpoints? All allow for a far more engaging midrange strategy.
Combos and synergy
Midrange decks are often powered by tribal synergies; but Mechs push it to a whole new level. Mechs bridge the gap between midrange and combo. There are all kinds of tricks mech decks can use to go beyond the traditional midrange gameplan.
Hunter and Paladin in particular have a good number of synergistic combo pieces to work into their mech packages. Paladin is incentivised to balance tempoing out mechs while waiting to build massive ones for Kangor’s Endless Army. Hunter can focus intensely on Deathrattle mechs, comboing the likes of Mechanical Whelp and Spider Bomb with Nine Lives and Necrotech Mechanic. This further increases the options, skill-tests and engagement, meaning that mechs can leave the disadvantages of midrange behind.
Beyond these explicit combos, there are several interesting mechs that make for consistently challenging, impactful micro-decisions. Mechs like Spider Bomb, Venomiser, Missile Launcher and Galvaniser maximise the impact of these small choices with their powerful effects.
Take one of the most popular mechs, Ziliax. In many cases, it’s optimal to avoid taking advantage of its Rush in order to protect your life-total better. Say the opponent has a Mountain Giant on board; if you attack, two Rays of Frost is all it takes for 8 damage to go face. But if you hold back, the opponent has to commit a hero power as well, potentially denying them a Conjurer’s Calling. These small decisions from mechs’ many unique effects can have game changing consequences, and make for a far more engaging version of Midrange
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com
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