The Rise of Mech event was unique in Hearthstone history. It’s the first time since Beta where cards were explicitly buffed. Two cards from every class from the Boomsday expansion. But with the most recent balance changes, Blizzard reversed two of the most impactful changes. With the remaining cards largely limited in impact, was this bold decision worthwhile?
Buffed, then De-buffed
There were three big winners from the Rise of Mech buffs. Crystology, Extra Arms, and Luna’s Pocket Galaxy. These three cards formed core components of competitive ladder and tournaments decks. But out of these, only Crystology escaped untouched. Both sides of Extra Arms took a one-mana nerf to its original values, and Luna’s Pocket Galaxy had a massive two-mana increase back to its original 7 mana state.
Clearly, Blizzard thought that these two cards are better off in their original state. This makes sense. The decks these cards empowered were arguably overtuned and may have oppressed the meta.
But does this mean these two buffs were a mistake? Perhaps. There’s a strong argument that Luna’s in particular didn’t promote positive gameplay. Too often, coining it out on turn 4 or playing it on 5 while the opponent didn’t have the board lead to an extremely one-sided game. This was compounded by the draw RNG; if your high-mana minions weren’t in the first few draws after you play it, it could be lights out. But if the top card is one of these, it can instantly win you the game.
Meanwhile, while the power of Extra Arms during Saviors of Uldum was certainly over the top, that doesn’t make it a bad buff. Priest was in a pretty terrible state prior to the Rise of Mech update. Extra Arms at 2 mana temporarily allowed it to compete on a level playing field before its Saviors of Uldum cards came out.
The Paladin Exception
While many of the buffs inconsequential or reverted, are there any long term impacts? One class in particular still benefits massively from the Rise of mechs updates. Both Glowstone Technician and Crystology continue to shape Paladin and keep it relevant.
Crystology gives the class a much-needed draw engine. And Glowstone Technician allows one of the only viable handbuff strategies in Hearthstone. If nothing else, the continued relevance of Paladin is to a large degree down to the successful experimental buffs in the Rise of Mech.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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