Hearthstone is a game of constant innovation and invention where minions and spells are constantly getting slotted in and out of a tightly wound 30-card limit. Here’s Mind Control Tech in every Druid deck for two weeks! Now here’s River Crocolisk in Priest! It keeps us on our toes. And personally, I love it that about twice a year I need to be on the lookout for Hogger.
However, there have been some cards that are terminally overlooked. Sometimes that’s because they’re objectively bad (looking at you Silverback Patriarch,) and could only make a deck in some bizarro version of Hearthstone. But that line of thinking isn’t absolute. It reminds me of a conversation I had with Ben Brode, essentially the patriarch of Hearthstone, who told me that the team is well aware of cards that aren’t being used correctly, but speaking of that out loud would disrupt the meta—much like a wildlife photographer doesn’t make themselves known at a watering hole.
That means among the discarded chaff lay some truly underrated plays. With that in mind, I collected five Hearthstone cards that I think deserve a second look.
I’ll admit, Demolisher is one of my pet cards. I just think it’s tremendously underused. Yes you need to wait until the start of your next turn for it to get any value, but that’s par for the course for a lot of early game. Yes it’s saddled with that problematic one health which makes it hard to trade with anything, but its text should make up for that. It’s three mana for a mini-Ragnaros, why don’t you guys believe?
I actually know why. You’re expected to play this thing on turn three, which means it might be immediately staring down a Yeti or something equally scary. However, since Goblins vs. Gnomes the Demolisher was blessed with the blessed “mech” distinction, meaning you could get it out on turn two with a coined Mechwarper! Or better yet, get it buffed by an Iron Sensei and have it quietly lob bombs as a 3/7! I’m telling you, Demolisher will have its day, we just need to take the bait.
Six mana, return all minions to their respective hands. That’s a lot of mana for a symmetrical effect. Back in the Miracle days you’d never run this because the only time it’d make sense was when you were cueing up a massive Leeroy finish, which would already take up most of your resources.
However, in 2015 Miracle is dead, and Rogue meta is wide open. I’ve seen a few people experimenting with a “Combat Rogue” archetype, in which you buff your Assassin’s Blade into a huge 15/4 (or more) decapitator that obliterates your opponent in about two swings. Here’s the thing—this plan goes awry at the sight of a Sludge Belcher, or even worse two Sludge Belchers! Or a Sludge Belcher and an Ancient of War! Or any combination of taunts that aren’t easily dealt with.
The solution? Vanish! Vanish the board, swing at the face, rinse and repeat. If your whole goal as a Rogue is to carve the most accessible path possible towards your opponent’s precious lifepoints, and you’re running hardly any minions save for useful battle cries like Coldlights and Auto-Barbers? Vanish seems like an obvious inclusion.
Nobody would argue that Emperor Cobra is bad. It’s a three mana minion that comes with (mostly irrelevant) 2/3 stats and who, like Maexxna and Patient Assassin, will destroy anything it damages. That sounds pretty good right? It’s what makes it a pretty standard pick in arena, but it’s still yet to penetrate the constructed scene. I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s because everytime I see Emperor Cobra get played, it’s usually in the early game to stay on curve.
Look, I understand the desire to spend the mana you can, but that’s such a fundamental miscalculation of the Cobra’s value. You never want to drop it in the early game, instead you’d much rather use it like Loatheb—a devastating supplement to your bid for board control.
Think of it this way. It’s turn seven, you drop a Yeti and your opponent puts out an Ancient of War, or a Dr. Boom. You’re screwed! He’ll cut down your board and start mounting his offense. Instead imagine if you played a Yeti and a Cobra! All of a sudden your opponent simply can’t play his Ancient of War, and has to hope he has the means to deal three damage. And yeah, that’s certainly possible, but it’s a huge swing in tempo for a card that only costs three mana. If you’re using the Cobra right, it can invoke the same fear as a Sylvanas at half the cost.
Explain to me why opening a game with a Flame Imp and a Target Dummy wouldn’t be terrifying? Or better yet, how about Undertaker Coin Leper Gnome Target Dummy? Would that cause you to instantly concede? I probably would! The Target Dummy gets so much garbage for being a zero-mana 0/2 with taunt. I understand it’s Wisp-tier in terms of imposingness, but Target Dummies aren’t meant to be scary on their own. I honestly don’t understand why we don’t see more of these in Hunter and Zoolock. Shieldbearer used to get run in Zoo, doesn’t Target Dummy accomplish that goal even more efficiently?
And don’t get me started on my Target Dummy Target Dummy Mimiron’s Head Conceal deck. Because I swear to god that will work someday.
What if I told you there was a six mana 6/7 that was small enough to avoid Big Game Hunter but still scary enough to need to be dealt with immediately? What if I told you that card wasn’t a legendary, or even a rare, and you could find it in every Hearthstone starting set around the world?
Seriously, sometimes we get caught up in the ever-shifting tech that we forget about the pure things. Boulderfist Ogre can totally win you Hearthstone games. Next time you KO your laptop because Ragnaros got BGH’d, maybe take another look at the basic suite.