As has been said many times before, Warrior is in a bad spot. After almost a year of almost nothing but Pirate being viable, now even that steadfast archetype fell to the Patches and Fiery War Axe nerfs. Set rotation and a new expansion brings hope, but what does Warrior need? It might be time to look to an old, fondly-remembered archetype for inspiration. Patron might hold the key for Warrior’s future success. But what would remaking a neo-Patron Warrior involve?
Tempo and swings
Warrior currently has a dearth of tempo options, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. Efficient tempo plays on turns 1-3 are basically lost to current Warriors outside of N’zoth’s First Mate, Blood to Ichor and Ravaging Ghoul. That’s the bad news. The worse news is that all of these options are rotating out with the Year of the Raven. Warrior still has powerful tempo cards of course; Blood Razor, Sleep with the Fishes and other whirlwind clears are incredibly good at mopping up Aggro boards. But unlike in the Patron era, Warrior has no way to clear a board and create one at the same time in the crucial mid-game.
How can Patron provide inspiration? Patron famously was able to get away with only running one Fiery War Axe due to the power of drawing into its mid-game swing turns. If Warriors had the tools to create boards and clear them at the same time, then maybe some of the old Patron magic could return. More cards that synergies pro-actively with whirlwind effects and board clears would go a long way to fill this hole. Think Rotface, but cheaper and less random.
Of course, big boards of Patrons were only half of the Patron Warrior equation. The primary win condition against decks with multiple board clears was the infamous charging Frothing Berserkers. Now, there’s very strong reasons not to allow the frustrating OTK aspect of Patron back into the meta, but there’s a strong argument to be made that Warrior needs better late-game combos and finishers.
Currently, the best option is to either run an incredibly unwieldy Recruit package, an anemic N’zoth shell, or the inconsistent and achingly slow Dead Man’s Hand mill plan. With N’zoth and Coldlight rotating, Warrior could use more late-game combo potential outside of plopping down massive minions less effectively than Druid or Priest. This could take some creativity, but minion-duplicating shenanigans could open up some interesting possibilities. Blood Warriors was at the cusp of being viable with Arcane Giants and Armorsmiths; perhaps more cards in that vein and more minions that are exponentially more powerful with duplicates could open up some seriously powerful and versatile late-game strategies.
Decisions and interactivity
A final lesson to take from Patron could be the sheer thrill of piloting it correctly. The deck was famously hard, with complex math, vast arrays of decisions and huge opportunities to display skill. Investing more resources in Warrior cards with unique, flavourful and deep interactions would go a long way to revitalise that spirit.
Warlock got Defile, a fascinating and hugely powerful card that rewards players able to think ahead and play to the numbers. Perhaps something similar would help Warriors regain that skill-testing, “tricky” feel? Maybe a Wild-Pyromancer-a-like that didn’t damage itself? Or more discover options to add low-mana interactive Warrior spells that otherwise aren’t worth the card slot, like Charge or Iron Hide?
Whatever future cards end up being added to help Warrior compete, here’s hoping they can bring back some of the old Patron magic.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via Hearthstone.gamepedia.com.
To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon