The Saviors of Uldum are here, and while some disappoint, others open up vast new opportunities. Sir Finley of the Sands falls firmly into the latter. Sticking close to his hero-power altering original incarnation, he now grants a choice between three impressive upgraded hero powers. But in return for this massive power boost you must pay an additional mana and submit to a stringent deckbuilding cost compared to his predecessor. So why does Sir Finley of the Sands inspire such hope? Why is he looking like the best of the Saviors of Uldum?
One of the key aspects of Sir Finley is that he’s a weird compromise between hero power mechanics. Previously, deckbuilding restriction rewards were either too reliable and repetitive (Genn, Baku) or too random and uncontrollable (Death Knights, Justicar Trueheart). Sir Finley provides an interesting compromise.
Since you can run only one copy of Sir Finley, there is a worry you’d almost always lose the 20% of games he’s in the bottom ten cards of your deck. But luckily, Finley is tutorable. Murloc Tastyfin, Call to Adventure and Witchwood Piper can all draw Finley from the deck. This massively improves the reliability of drawing Finley, without the problems the ‘start of game’ effect brings.
Curse of Reliability
Another big difference between Finley and past upgraded hero powers is the flexibility. Death Knights, Justicar, Baku and even the Warrior Quests had one fatal flaw: a singular game plan. Since these hero powers were so powerful and predictable, decks tended to go all in on one particular gameplan.
Look at Justicar Control Warrior’s Fatigue strategy, Odd Paladin’s board flood or Shadowreaper Anduin Priest’s burn plan. This can contribute to negative polarisation of the meta, as going all in on one strategy typically leads to some great and some terrible matchups.
But Finley provides an interesting way around this. Instead of reliable access to a single hero power, Finley lets you discover an option. As such, you only have a 38% chance to get any one particular hero power as an option. This means you can’t rely on a singular strategy like card draw, armor or 1/1s, and must instead have the ability to work with multiple potential hero powers as your win conditions.
But on the plus side, this slight lack of single-dimensional powers means you can tailor your hero power choice to your matchup, reducing polarization.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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