The Hearthstone developers worry about Priest. In particular, the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo. This simple, Classic combination threatens huge damage from any Priest minion that can stick with high health. The play is simple: stick a large-health minion to the board. Then, double its Health twice with Divine Spirit and turn that into attack with Inner Fire or Topsy Turvy, and kill your opponent with ludicrous damage. Is this an issue for the class? And what should be done to prevent it?
The oldest combo
Divine Spirit/Inner Fire has been in Standard since the very beginning of Hearthstone. With Divine Spirit in Basic and Inner Fire a Common, it’s often the first combo newer players try out. But being in the game for so long, it’s decisively shaped and limited the design of Priest cards.
With it, Priest can’t have too much tutoring. Divine Spirit and Inner Fire dominated to an unhealthy degree for as long as Shadow Visions was around. For similar reasons, they can’t get too much reliable unconditional card draw that could fit in a Midrange deck, or even just too much tempo tools that would allow Priest to reliably get off their ludicrous Northshire draws.
Divine is fine: two aren’t
The core issue with the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo isn’t the fact that it gives Priest a burst finisher. The problem is that when two Divine Spirits are involved, it becomes a bootleg OTK.
In general, players don’t like dying so out of nowhere. Leaving a 2/5 up resulting in 28 damage from 4 cards and 6 mana feels unfair and frustrating. The issue isn’t the doubling of health, but rather the combination of two Divine Spirits for a Quadrupling of Health, and the ludicrous burst damage that results. Instead of doubling Health, Divine Spirit could simply add a set amount of health or be moved to Hall of Fame to avoid this.
Make Inner Fire better?
But where Divine Spirit is a problem, Inner Fire should be encouraged. Priest needs good ways to end games before the likes of Doctor Boom and Luna’s Pocket Galaxy shuts their board-based strategies down. Inner Fire is great for this, making big threats out of healthy minions.
Potentially, a good counterbalance to the nerf or rotation to Divine Spirit would be to buff Inner Fire by allowing it to draw a card. This would allow Priests to more reliably build mid-game threats while limiting the over-centralization of Priest’s draw on Pyromancer combos.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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