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Hearthstone: How to Nerf Doctor Boom, Mad Genius

Control Warrior performs exceptionally well. With a ladder packed with juicy Rogues to farm, the archetype is arguably the second best deck in the game right now. Unfortunately for Garrosh, we’re coming up on likely mid-season post-tournament balance changes. With Warrior doing so well and causing so much frustration, it could be in the firing line. One of the key cards pushing Warrior over the edge is Doctor Boom, Mad Genius. In a post-Death Knight World, his infinite value and removal is extremely powerful. But should the mad Doctor get nerfed? And if so, what form should it take?

Don’t Hit the Mana

One thing should be clear: don’t just raise the mana cost. Traditionally, Blizzard likes to keep the ‘soul’ of the card, keeping everything the same but the cost, but this wouldn’t work here. Doctor Boom’s power isn’t tied to his tempo (he’s objectively terrible as a tempo play) but in his late-game value.

The fundamental problem of Doctor Boom is that he offers Death Knight style value in a non-Death Knight world. Raising his cost may bump Warriors down a fraction in the power rankings, but won’t change the frustrations of infinite Mech removal potential. Not to mention the flavor of the classic ‘Dr. 7’ mana slot.

Look at Delivery Drone

boom
Delivery Drone has a great chance to give you powerful Warrior Removal

One of the most powerful hero powers from Boom’s alternating ‘Big Red Button’ is Delivery Drone. By letting you discover a Mech, it adds a huge amount of development and removal potential. Since Mechs have rush when Boom’s up, even a simple Harvest Golem becomes a flexible, efficient removal option. What’s more, the ‘Discover’ effect’s class weighting means that Warriors are extremely likely to his one of the few Warrior class Mechs. This is particularly problematic when you consider that two of the Warrior Mechs in Dyn-o-matic and Omega Devastator are ridiculously efficient removal options.

Delivery Drone simply gives Warrior too much reliable removal, allowing them to sit back and clear everything rather than make pro-active plays. If Blizzard want to tweak Dr. Boom, they should consider either removing the hero power or changing it from a ‘Discover’ effect to simply add a random Mech to the hand. This would make the frustration of the 4th Omega Devastator less likely and force Warriors to run heavier cards.

Reconsider Rush

boom
With Rush, even bad mechs can clear almost anything

Giving every Mech Rush is an incredibly powerful effect. Unfortunately, it can make Warriors too reactive. Rush essentially makes every minion into a potential removal spell. This is perfect for Control decks that want infinite removal. But its not great for providing a lot of what makes Hearthstone fun; pressure, board tension, and fighting for control of tempo. Especially in the mirror, Rush makes trades happen too easily, meaning its incredibly hard to build a board. Moreover, it makes cards like Omega Devastator and Dyn-o-Matic even more ridiculously efficient at clearing everything forever.

Blizzard may wish to consider changing Boom’s effect to give taunt rather than rush. This still lets Mechs play a useful defensive role, but it makes games more about building board tension and seizing tempo to dictate value trades than sitting back and killing everything your opponent throws at you.

Print more Death Knights?

There’s one final option for Blizzard: power creep. If they simply print new Hero cards for other classes that match the power of Boom, it would seem less unfair. However, this might prove an unpopular option. Many people prefer the careful resource management of old-school Hearthstone to the polarising inevitability of Death Knights. That said, it would undoubtedly sell a lot of packs, and make the likes of Doctor Boom and Hagatha look worse in comparison.

 

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com and PlayHearthstone on Twitch.

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