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Hearthstone: The Power Creep We Need

The last expansion of the year is mere days from being announced. With it will come excitement, new concepts, an upended meta-game and, above all, power creep. Since each year’s last set lasts the least amount of time, the devs are incentivized to make it splashy and powerful; this incentivizes packs because they’ll be around less to cause problems. But if power creep is inevitable, what kind of broken cards do we want to see to support a more diverse and fun meta?

Better 2-drops

power creep
I think we’ve all had enough of this guy

I think we’ve all heard “None will survive!” and “Truth is found in death!” enough. The severe lack of viable two-drops across a variety of classes is limiting variety and pushing us towards an unhealthy meta. Out of the top decks in the game, all but a handful plan to play Keleseth, Wild Growth or a Baku-buffed hero power on turn two. As a result, we’re seeing a decline in the kind of reliable mid-range decks that are accessible and cheap. With the early game either impossibly high-rolly or non-existent, “fair” decks just can’t compete.

The exception, of course, is Genn decks; but this is limited to the pro-active hero powers of Warlock, Paladin and Shaman. With stronger two-drop options for classes that can’t utilize Genn (especially Baku staples like Warrior, Hunter and Rogue) we can push Hearthstone away from uninteractive combos and high-rolls, and towards the kind of intuitive, skill-based knife-edge board based play that works so well

A new Paladin Hero

power creep
Paladin has the tools to survive, but very little to win

For a class with a strong identity in taunts, clears and heals, Paladin hasn’t had a viable control deck in forever. The last time Control Paladin was any good was back when Anyfin and N’zoth were still in rotation. At the core of the problem is the lack of any viable win-condition. With monsters like Shudderwock, Toggwaggle, Malygos and Deathstalker Rexxar prowling the meta, healing and taunting just isn’t enough. And the Paladin hero, whilst powerfully defensive, simply doesn’t create the power to win outside of a slow, clunky and unreliable combo.

By giving Paladin a Hagatha or Doctor Boom- style value engine, it would go a long way to allow Control Paladin to do more than just peter out. Ideally, the card would be 7 or 9 mana, so as to provide a powerful effect without super-charging Genn Paladin into a mid-range monster. Although, giving Genn Paladin an incentive to be more reactive wouldn’t be the worst idea.

More reasons to play non-Odd Warrior

power creep
Odd Warrior crowds out other options

Almost every viable Warrior deck is some variant of Odd Warrior. By filling in the archetype’s weaknesses, Supercollider, Doctor Boom and Dyn-o-matic propelled it to arguably the best Control deck in Standard. But Odd Warrior isn’t ideal; many Warrior fanatics find the playstyle boring, and the super-defensive hero power makes the archetype inherently polarising.

With Blood Razor, Drywhisker Armorer, Woecleaver and Scourgelord Garrosh rotating out imminently, we need a host of new Even cost Warrior cards to give us a reason to play the class without Baku. By introducing more potent even-cost win conditions and big minions, Blizzard can make the class better at dealing with scary combo decks while still occupying a vital role as the Aggro gatekeeper. This can be done without the kind of extreme polarization that Baku brings.

Life Support for Mage

Without the efficiency of Mana Wyrm, Mage is in an existential crisis. The class is forced to run an inefficient Murloc package to survive as an aggro deck, and Big Spell Mage lacks the tools to win out against large swathes of the meta. To make matters worse, class-defining tools like Arcanologist, Aluneth, Dragon’s Fury and Frost Lich Jaina are all due to rotate out. And without Mana Wyrm, there is no longer any viable tempo mage shell in Classic.

As the introductory class, Mage needs big support. Ideally, Blizzard should give the class more viable midrange minions and spells. “Good cards mage” would be a great archetype to push to ease newer players into a successful deck while ensuring Mage’s competitive survival. A combination of powerful common or rare minions and spells that allow Mage to dominate the mid-game would be the perfect way to encourage this. Giving them a powerful 2-drop or two wouldn’t hurt either.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com

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