Esports Hearthstone

Hearthstone’s 2-drop problem

2 drop
The few classes with good 2 drops have great tempo decks built off them

Where have all the good 2-drops gone? That’s a question many players ask themselves whilst sifting through their collection. While no one wants pre-nerf Knife Juggler back, it’s undeniable that there are few good pro-active turn two plays for many classes. With control tools and sustain getting ever stronger, is this lack of good early players distorting the meta? Let’s take a look at how Hearthstone is impacted by the lack of many good 2-cost minions.

No 2-drops? Just go odd

2 drop
You don’t need good 2-drops if you don’t have even cards

It’s no accident that the decline of 2-drops for many classes coincided with the rise of aggressive Odd decks. This isn’t just due to the power of Baku.

Take Odd Rogue for instance. Aggressive Rogues already struggled for a lack of turn 2 plays before Baku. Outside of Keleseth, double 1-drop or Hero Power, there simply weren’t many good choices for Tempo or Miracle.

Similarly, Paladins were only really able to run 2-drops when they were backed up by the cheaper Call to Arms, either in Murloc or in Even. After the Call to Arms nerf, Odd Paladin became superior to both. A great part of this is Paladin’s lack of any consistent two drop that can compete with the latest in sustain tools. While another Shielded Minibot would be overkill, it would perhaps be beneficial to the meta to have more archetypes of Paladin available, particularly ones that do not get completely blown out by the likes of Spreading Plague and Blood Razor.

Keleseth, the coin-flip alternative

Keleseth is a high-variance option

Of course, there’s still an option for decks that don’t want to go odd, and also don’t fancy running the measly 2-drop options available. Keleseth gives you an excuse to empty your deck of two-mana cards in exchange for a massive increase in draw RNG.

He’s great for minion heavy decks like Zoo, but he can be shoved in practically any deck that doesn’t have anything better to do for two mana. Control Mage, Shudderwock Shaman, Deathrattle Hunter; almost any deck can benefit from him (in the 30% of the time you draw him early).

Naturally, this presents a bit of a problem. Keleseth is the kind of highroll that frustrates high-level play. If 2-drops were able to compete better with Keleseth’s inconsistent power, then there would be far fewer games where an early Keleseth overpowered the enemy. More close games means better gameplay.

Control heaven, or combo hell?

There is one more strategy to avoid the lack of aggressive two cost minions; simply not playing aggressive decks. Control decks flourish, with great winrates expressed for the likes of Odd Warrior, Control Warlock and Control Mage

With Aggro railroaded and crippled by the lack of 2-drops, does this mean we’re headed to the fabled Control meta? Well, maybe not. Control, after all, needs something to ‘control’. It’s no good if many decks ignore the early game to focus on uninterruptible combos.

Aggro is a crucial part of the meta. While it may be reviled, it must exist to counterbalance other strategies. And while draw RNG and one-sided matchups are valid complaints against it, current Aggro versions without strong two cost minions either rely on Keleseth or Baku are arguably much worse on each regard respectively. Hopefully, the expansion brings better options for the majority of classes that lack aggressive two mana options. Bringing a bit more bite into the meta could make it a tad more healthy.

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

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1 comment

zevolp August 30, 2018 at 1:11 am

hi paul from korea here.
i read your article from reddit and thought it would be awesome if i share this into korean hearthstone community too.
is it okay to translate this article and share it on few korean hs communities?
let me know if there’s any more steps i have to take to let me translate and share your article.
thanks

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