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Don’t Nerf Control Warrior’s 3 Classic Cards, Target Boomsday and Witchwood

control warrior

Control Warrior is still the focus of most community complaints. With Reckless Mummy and Frightened Flunky, the deck is even more reliable in the early game. And while counters exist (most notably in Quest Paladin and Secret Hunter), they may not be enough. The deck brutalises all aggressive, board-based strategies. Ironically, it punishes Aggro Warrior hard. We may be moving towards a dark future, where Control Warrior destroys all board-based strategies and Aggro Warrior sweeps up everything else. Many feel that a nerf to Control Warrior is inevitable. But should this come at the expense of Warrior’s Classic toolkit? Or cards like Eternium Rover, Town Crier and Doctor Boom, Mad Genius?

Brawl’s backup

classic nerfs
Good, but not vital

There are only 3 Classic cards in current Control Warrior lists: Shield Slam, Shield Block and Brawl. Out of these, Brawl is arguably the most impactful. With the ability to efficiently sweep up non-Deathrattle boards, Brawl is the ultimate punish for decks that go wide on turn 5. Should Brawl see a mana cost increase?

While Brawl would likely still see play at 6 mana, Warrior would be fine without it. Between Warpath, Supercollider and Plague of Wrath, Warrior has plenty of alternate board clear options available. A Brawl nerf would hurt the class, but not enough to topple it from its current zenith. Worse, Warrior’s classic package is weak enough as is. If Brawl were nerfed, Warrior may go down the Priest route of needing a new clear every expansion, with all the variance in power level that results.

Shield Slam’s Support

At 2 mana, Warrior’s identity collapses

Shield Slam is also high on many peoples’ radar. With its ability to efficiently clear minions for 1 mana, there are some calls for it to be given the Execute treatment. But this ignores the larger problem, and paves the way for a complete erosion of Warrior’s class identity.

Shield Slam is only ever as strong as its support cards. The whole theme of Warriors and Armor hinges on the ability for Shield Slam to regain the tempo loss from gaining Armor. If Shield slam is nerfed directly, this whole facet of Warrior’s identity crumbles. What’s more, Shield Slam is not even an especially strong card in the deck, with drawn winrates far below that of Warpath, Frightened Flunky or Sn1p-Sn4p.

Instead of nerfing Shield Slam directly, Blizzard should consider targeting its support cards. Without Eternium Rover, Town Crier and efficient Rush minions holding the early board, Warrior would have a much tougher time gaining armor. In addition, a nerf to Eternium Rover or Doctor Boom’s armor-gain might force Warrior to choose between efficient Mechs or efficient Shield Slams.

The Real Troublemakers

Instead of nerfing Classic cards like Shield Slam or Brawl, Blizzard should address the real problem; Warrior’s early package and Doctor Boom from the Boomsday Project and Witchwood expansions. Eternium Rover and Town Crier are absolutely premium 1-drops that can often single-handedly secure the early game. One of them will need a big adjustment.

But of course, the biggest offender is Doctor Boom, Mad Genius. Players and data alike agree, the card is busted in a post-Death Knight world. Even the new Quests can’t keep up with its value and removal power. If Doctor Boom weren’t a single-card win condition, Warriors would be forced to adopt more interesting, value-oriented strategies. The card needs a major change, and fast. A 6 mana Brawl and a 2 mana Shield Slam just won’t cut it.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

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