The ever popular Hearthstone streamer Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan is never afraid of giving his thoughts on Hearthstone’s design. Recently, he released a video detailing his suggestions for the most problematic cards. High among them was the second most popular 5 drop in the game: Fungalmancer. But is this omnipresent buff card truly a problem?
The Buff King
Fungalmancer is incredibly efficient. For 5 mana, you get +4/+4 in buffs, spr
ead across two minions, and a 2/2 for your trouble. This means it’s great for pushing damage and solidifying an early board lead. And at 5 mana, it slots right into tempo Odd decks. Unsurprisingly, this has lead to its widespread adoption in virtually all board-centric tempo decks.
While it’s not quite at Giggling Inventor levels, it’s remained a mainstay, hovering between 1st and 3rd out of the most played cards. It’s got a great winrate and is played in several top tier decks. But is its power and ubiquity reason enough to put it in the nerfhammer’s crosshairs?
Winning More, or Losing Less
Unlike Giggling Inventor, you can’t just jam Fungalmancer into any type of
deck. For maximum impact, you need to stick at least two minions into turn five. This means that you can only really hope to leverage it in the decks that fight tooth and nail for early board control.
This is where one of Kripp’s key criticisms comes in: its “win-more” nature. But winning on the board doesn’t necessarily mean winning the game. Especially if Spreading Plague, Dragon’s Fury or Brawl are coming down next turn, making your board taller and getting four extra points of damage in can be the difference between staying in the game and being completely shut out.
A Necessary Evil
The counterargument to Kripp’s approach would be that Fungalmancer is
what allows Aggro decks to compete, especially with the power of many decks to lock down boards with the likes of Giggling Inventor and Spreading Plague (okay, it’s mainly Giggling Inventor and Spreading Plague).
With 2 drops weak and powerful new sustain options, a card that’s uniquely strong in aggro may be needed, especially considering that it punishes decks that ignore the early board completely. While it might be unsavoury to improve the chances of “braindead” aggro, it is required to stem the tide of combo decks.
A Fungusy Future?
Of course, Fungalmancer won’t be around forever. With only one expansion between now and rotation, his mushroomy power is of limited Standard potency. But should its power be curtailed between now and then?
Well, there is one potential reason why. If incoming nerfs reduce stalling powers by touching cards like Giggling Inventor and Spreading Plague, then there may be reason to also tone down aggressive tools like Fungalmancer. But until that time, it’s probably a good idea not to leave two minions up leading into turn 5.
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