Warrior seems to be back where it was during the Grand Tournament. Master of anti-aggro, it languishes behind Tank Up!, with very few other viable archetypes. But Warrior has rarely been this one-dimensional. Frequently, more pro-active Warriors emerged. Utilising strong mid-range minions and tempo removal tools like weapons and pre-nerf execute, the deck sought to close out games with cards like Grom, Deathwing and Varian Wrynn. Should Blizzard look to recreate this strategy?
One of the greatest obstacles to this is the various nerfs Warrior received to its most powerful Tempo tools. Fiery War Axe and Execute were key to Tempo Warrior’s strategy and synergies. Execute was a cheap, powerful way to get through taunts and must-kill threats. And Fiery War Axe was the lynchpin of the class, giving it unparalleled early board control.
With both up by a mana, there are very few options to gain their utility. The rush package offers some of the same power, but its distinctively defensive flavour ill-fits Tempo’s more aggressive mindset. Warrior will need other options to seize the early game
Back in the day, this was accomplished by Pirates. But Pirates were too powerful, prompting a full-on Aggro deck rather than tempo’s more back-and-forth gameplay. For tempo support for Warrior to succeed without creating a similarly purely aggressive strategy, it must play to Warrior’s existing strengths.
The upcoming Rastakhan’s Rumble card Sul’thraze is a great example of this. It has the ability to both push face damage and reactively trade for minions. It looks perfect to lock down the mid-game in a deck that cares about keeping control of the board on turn 6, rather than simply pushing burn.
Flavour and fun
Of course, resurrecting tempo warrior has other potential flaws. Just look at Dragon Warrior. While a powerful midrange deck, it lacked that distinct Warrior flavour. The core of the deck was the largely-neutral Dragon package, with a few Warrior staples sprinkled on top.
New cards that would fit into a new Tempo Warrior archetype should retain the core Warrior flavour. Damaging your own minions, board-focused weapon synergies, and powerful aggressive late-game minions. Here’s hoping Rastakhan delivers.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com