Analysis of the Discover mechanic – Dark Peddler & Jeweled Scarab

Discover is the new mechanic introduced in the League of Explorers adventure. I was really excited to see it, because it’s a nice middle-ground. Discover is something between those crazy, “fun” (depending on the outcome and on the side) RNG cards and the solid, draw cards that give you good, old card advantage. Recently there […]

Introduction

Discover is the new mechanic introduced in the League of Explorers adventure. I was really excited to see it, because it’s a nice middle-ground. Discover is something between those crazy, “fun” (depending on the outcome and on the side) RNG cards and the solid, draw cards that give you good, old card advantage.

Recently there were a lot of discussions on Reddit concerning the “drop” chance of class cards. I didn’t do the math myself, but it’s clear that the class cards are popping very often – much more often than they should. The card I’ve played with most was the Dark Peddler, but I’ll try talk about the rest of them too. I’ve noticed that I was getting offered class cards much often than I should. There are 29 neutral 1 mana cards and only 7 Warlock 1 mana cards. Yet, I got a Warlock card pretty much every time I’ve played the Peddler, often even 2 Warlock cards. Even without doing any research one can clearly tell that the class cards offering rates are skewed, meaning that certain cards just got much, much better.

(Edit: It’s been officially confirmed by Ben Brode – Class cards show up 4x as often as Neutrals)

The other Discover card is also heavily influenced. Jeweled Scarab. Discovering a 3 mana card isn’t the best effect ever, considering that there are a lot of weak 3 mana cards in the pool. But if we count the increased drop rate for class cards and pick a class with strong 3 mana cards.. the value can suddenly go way, way up.

Since those are the only two Discover cards released so far, I’ll start by analyzing those. I’ll add more of those when I get to play with the next Discover cards when they’re released. Let’s start with reminder of what the mechanic exactly is.

Mechanic Summary

If you haven’t played with the new cards yet or remembering what each effect does isn’t your best quality, let me remind you what the Discover is.

When you play a card with Discover, you get a Tracking-like choice of 3 cards. Then you pick one of the three choices. The card you’ve picked is added to your hand (not drawn, so it doesn’t count for the purpose of cards like Chromaggus or Shadowfiend) and the rest of them disappear.

The cards are random in the given boundaries (e.g. if you Discover a Beast, you get a random Beast). The only limit is that you can’t get offered cards from different classes, so you’re always getting to pick from the pool of your Class cards + Neutral cards. Cards with Discover are usually pretty specific. For example, you don’t draw from the whole pool of cards – you can Discover “a spell”, “a 3 mana card” or “a Beast”. The only more “broad” Discover is the Raven Idol, which lets you pick a random minion from a huge pool of Druid + Neutral minions = hundreds of cards.

If you have any more questions about the mechanic, feel free to ask them in the comment section!

Dark Peddler

First of the two Discover cards already released. Dark Peddler has actually made into some of the Warlock decks already. My first rating of this card in Constructed was Average (3/5), but with the recent find that the class cards are offered much, much more often I’d change the rating of this card the Good (4/5). It’s definitely not meta-breaking, but it’s a very solid. The thing is, Warlock’s 1 mana cards are very strong. There is actually only one “weak” Warlock 1 mana card, but it doesn’t even suck that much. But let’s first talk about the card in general.

The minion has slightly underwhelming stats. Even though we see other 2/2’s 2-drops being played, they have to be pretty much broken to be considered. Dark Peddler is not AS strong as the Shielded Minibot or Mad Scientist, but I actually think it’s pretty close. It can be used as a 2-drop. While not the strongest, it gains you a card advantage. 1 mana cards are great in the early game. They are usually strong for the cost, so dropping them on turn 3 or 4 should be good enough if you don’t curve out perfectly. And that’s the idea – 1-drops help with your curve. For example, dropping an Imp Gang Boss on turn 4 isn’t great. But if you can also drop a Flame Imp or kill their 3/1 with the Mortal Coil, it’s suddenly much better. Dark Peddler can also be used as a 3-drop a lot of time. If you don’t draw a spell, you can play Dark Peddler + 1-drop on t3. Depending on the 1-drop, it can be quite a lot of stats put on the board or a nice, positive effect.

When it comes to the less exciting side of the card – it’s always a 2/2 that draws you a 1 mana card. Later in the game, just “drawing a card” would be much better, since you want to get to your big threats as soon as you can. There are also some bad 1-drops, meaning you can be stuck with three terrible options. Surprisingly, it’s a very rare case. I’ve played Dark Peddler around 30-40 times and I remember getting stuck with 3 terrible options only two times.

Discover choices

When it comes to the choices. Let’s start with the Warlock 1 mana cards. When it comes to the minions, Warlock has the Flame Imp, Voidwalker and Blood Imp. The first two are commonly ran in the Zoo Warlock deck and are some of the best 1-drops in the game. Blood Imp, while weaker, is still a solid option. It’s not good enough to make into the deck, but it can get a lot of value in some matchups – especially those that are more board-centric. Warlock spells are also solid – Mortal Coil and Power Overwhelming are probably the best ones, but Soulfire is very close. Corruption is by far the worst one, but it can get potential value if you’re willing to take some face damage or you want to force enemy to trade with your minions. Both Soulfire and Power Overwhelming can be used as unexpected finishers if you happen to draw them.

When it comes to the pool of Neutral 1-drops, some of the most notable ones are: Zombie Chow, Abusive Sergeant, Argent Squire, Clockwork Gnome, Leper Gnome, Young Priestess. If you need 1 instant damage, you get two options – Stonetusk Boar and Elven Archer. If you need Taunt or Heal to survive, you get 3 options – Voodoo Doctor, Shieldbearer, Goldshire Footman and Tournament Attendeee.

I’d estimate that the chances that at least one of the three options is something solid are above 90%. Obviously, not every “solid card” is good in all the situations. Funnily enough, sometimes situational picks like Hungry Crab can win you the game (it’s crazy against Midrange Paladin).

Decks that Dark Peddler can fit into

The first and most obvious choice is the Zoo Warlock. It’s the deck I was playing Dark Peddler in and I can say that it worked really, really well. Zoo Warlock is the deck that really wants to curve out perfectly. The problem is that it doesn’t run a lot of 3-drops. The only card that you really want to drop on turn 3 is Imp Gang Boss. Void Terror is much more situational and Zoo isn’t really known for any other 3-drops. Dark Peddler fixes that problem. Not only it can serve as a 3-drop, but you can also drop it on t2 and still have t3 covered (another 2-drop + 1-drop or Hero Power + 1-drop, the second one isn’t best, but it’s better than just playing Hero Power). Pretty much every Warlock class card besides Corruption works perfectly with the Zoo. Getting a free Power Overwhelming every now and then is especially exciting, because of how much synergy Zoo has with the spell.

The second deck Dark Peddler can fit into is, surprisingly, Handlock. It’s a deck that wants to have as big hand size as possible. Dark Peddler allows Handlock to kinda eat the cake and have the cake at the same time. You drop a minion, while keeping your hand size the same. It makes your Mountain Giant a possible play even in the faster matchups if you start second. The Coin and extra card allows you to play Dark Peddler on turn 2 instead of tapping and still being able to play Mountain Giant on turn 4. Even though the minion is just a 2/2, it can still be able to contest some of the opponent’s early drops. Even trading for a 1-drop is often good enough – not to mention that possibly getting an extra Mortal Coil is awesome in fast matchups. In slower matchups, Power Overwhelming or Soulfire can be awesome as a source of unexpected burst. You generally don’t play around more than 6 damage from Handlock’s hand (2x Darkbomb or Darkbomb + Hellfire). Possibly 9 if no Darkbombs or Hellfires were played yet. Dark Peddler, however, can add 4 damage to the mix, catching enemy off-guard.

There are also some other decks that you can most certainly fit the Peddler into. For example, Nuba has made a very interesting brew you can check out right here: Peddler Demon Control. Another interesting deck I’ve seen Peddler in is a Warlock “Highlander” deck with Reno Jackson. I’ll try to research a little more on the deck and talk about it later this week!

Final thoughts

Even though Dark Peddler seems like an average card, it turns out that it’s strong. Compare it to Novice Engineer and you’ll see that instantly drawing a card on a 2-drop is very expensive. The fact that you draw a 1-drop and you get to choose one of the three probably makes the effect even stronger in the early and mid game. And for those who weren’t playing Hearthstone back then – Novice Engineer was actually nerfed from 1/2, because it was played in pretty much every deck.

Dark Peddler is a card that can’t be underestimated. While it’s not a game changer most of time, it’s an overall solid stuff. There aren’t a lot of cards that get you value while not hurting your tempo at the same time. This is one of them. I expect to see Peddler in a lot of Warlock decks, both faster and slower ones.

Jeweled Scarab

Jeweled Scarab is the second Discover card currently released. It’s also the only Neutral card with the mechanic, so it was tested A LOT in different classes. Just like Dark Peddler, I’d probably raise my initial rating by 1 point – from Bad (2/5) to Average (3/5).  The reason is that if it’s not purely random, it’s actually playable in the classes that have strong 3 mana cards. I’m still not convinced that it’s going to make into every other deck – it’s probably going to be seen from time to time, in slower decks that don’t want to skip turn 2 and want to curve out more consistently.

The first thing about a Scarab is that it’s really, really slow card. Comparing it to Peddler, the stats are inferior and it’s less flexible in the early game. Even though drawing a thing you can play on turn 3 is nice, by playing Scarab you sacrifice turn 2 tempo for playing 1/1. It’s a similar situation to the Webspinner, but Webspinner is a 1-drop, so Midrange Hunters can get away with it.

Jeweled Scarab is much better in non-Aggro matchups. Not only you have more time, but you can pick the 3 mana card that is good in the current matchup. In the faster matchup, 1/1 minion often can’t contest anything and it’s better to just play on the curve.

It also has a Beast tag, which MIGHT matter if you play it in Hunter, but it’s pretty much useless in any other class. One can argue that it’s also a boon in Druid, but Beast Druid is not a thing anyway (not to mention that Scarab is actually rather weak in Druid, later about that).

Discover choices

There are a lot of strong 3-drops in the game, but the best ones are actually class cards. Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of strong neutral 3-drops. There are 61 neutral 3 mana cards in the game. The problem is that only about 1/3 of them are actually good, and a lot of the cards with “good” tag are also situational. For example, Mind Control Tech is one of the good 3-drops, but it’s also situational – you rarely want to drop it on turn 3 and you might have to wait very long for a good opportunity to play it. There are tons of cards here, so I won’t talk about every “good” cards. I’ll focus on the most notable ones.

If you’re fishing for the Taunt or Heal, you don’t have too many options among neutral cards. Only 7/61 cards have Taunt or can heal you. Those are: Earthen Ring Farseer, Gnomeregan Infantry, Ironfur Grizzly, Silverback Patriarch, Tauren Warrior, Deathlord and Lil’ Exorcist. Arguably, Illuminator is also a healing card, but it’s situational and possibly works in only 3 out of 9 classes. It means that the chances of getting something that might possibly save you are relatively small.

If you need ping/Charge damage, you can get: Gnomeregan Infantry and Ironforge Rifleman for 1 damage, Argent Horserider for 2 damage, Wolfrider for 3 damage and Arcane Golem for 4 damage. If you already have something on the board, Shattered Sun Cleric can give you +1 damage and Raid Leader can give you anything between +1 and +6 damage depending on how many minions you have on the board. A very situational way to get some instant damage is getting Eydis Darkbane and then buffing her with a spell.

Other notable minions that can come handy in different situations are:

  • Mind Control Tech – when enemy has 4+ minions on the board, good against decks that flood the board, e.g. Paladin and Zoo Warlock.
  • Blood Knight – against Divine Shields – very good in Paladin matchup.
  • Big Game Hunter – against big minions, solid in pretty much every slower matchup (everyone plays Dr. Boom).
  • Jungle Panther, Silent Knight & Shade of Naxxramas – Stealth minions.
  • Coldlight Oracle – if you need to cycle through your deck, possibly a way to mill your opponent in certain matchups (e.g. Freeze Mage).
  • Light’s Champion – might come handy against Warlock, especially the Voidcaller.
  • Saboteur – if you want to block opponent’s Hero Power. It can, for example, save you against the Hunter, protect your 1 health minion against Mage or deny Priest’s card draw from the Northshire Cleric.

3-drop slot in Neutral is pretty situational. There aren’t a lot of “always solid” minions that you can just drop on turn 3. Yes, you can get something like Spider Tank, but a lot of time you’re going to get something situational. While it’s probably bad if you play Scarab on turn 2 (because you prefer a solid follow-up on turn 3 to get back the tempo), in the late game it might be very useful.

Classes/Decks that Jeweled Scarab can fit into

Like we’ve already identified, Jeweled Scarab does NOT fit into fast decks. Playing a 1/1 on turn 2 is way too slow. Aggro decks want to play the best standalone card each turn, high tempo plays are important – they don’t play for the value. We’ve also identified that playing him only for the Neutral cards wouldn’t be good enough – a lot of them are weak or very situational. So, we need to pick a class that can play a slower deck with a lot of good 3 mana cards. It’s a pretty hard call and I’m not actually sure whether Jeweled Scarab is good in those (especially since some of those aren’t even a thing right now), but let’s do some theorycrafting.

The first class I want to mention is Shaman. Shaman has a lot of very strong 3 mana cards. 3 mana cards in Shaman are: Hex, Feral Spirit, Healing Wave, Lava Burst, Lightning Storm, Far Sight, Elemental Destruction, Tuskarr Totemic, Unbound Elemental, Mana Tide Totem and Powermace. Depending on the situation, pretty much every of those cards is strong. Healing Wave, Feral Spirit and AoE cards are awesome in faster matchups. Tuskarr Totemic is an overall solid minion. Unbound Elemental was once ran in every Shaman deck and it’s still good if you have some Overload cards in your deck. Hex and Mana Tide Totem give you an advantage in slower matchups. Powermace can be used as a 3 mana version of Fiery War Axe – even if you don’t have Mechs it’s okay. But the thing is that even slower Shaman decks might actually run Piloted Shredders, so there is a possibility that it’s going to get Deathrattle value too. Lava Burst can be used as a finisher or just a removal. Far Sight is probably the worst card here. It’s good only if you would float a lot of mana on a certain turn. Then you can actually play Far Sight and have higher tempo later in the matchup. Control Shaman seems the first possibly viable option for the deck to run Scarab in. It’s slow, it doesn’t need very high early game tempo, because it has some comeback mechanics, it has a lot of good 3 mana cards that he can choose depending on the matchup. Is the deck viable? That’s a harder question. Nuba has recently done a brew of the Control Shaman with Jeweled Scarabs (I’ve actually seen it just after finishing this article) – you can check it out here. If it works for him, I think it could also work for you.

Second class I see Scarab working in is the Paladin. I wanted to say Midrange Paladin, but it’s probably not the case. Midrange Paladin also wants the early game tempo and has very powerful 2-drops like Knife Juggler and Shielded Minibot. It wants to get into the board early, so Scarab is too slow. But the Control Paladin – why not? Just like in case of Shaman, the deck might not be 100% viable right now, but you can try it. It also might become better in the future. Control Paladin is AWESOME at dealing with both Control Warrior and Handlock, so if the meta slows down (which might be possible thanks to the Reno Jackson decks) Control Paladin might actually be a thing. Seal of Champions, Muster for Battle, Aldor Peacekeeper and Coghammer are great in pretty much every matchup. Scarlet Purifier, even though situational, might get some value in certain matchups. For example, it might work very well against the Hunter, since the class runs so many Deathrattle minions. Warhorse Trainer is another situational card – but it’s a solid in combo with Muster for Battle or just in the late game, especially if you also have Justicar Trueheart in your deck. Sword of Justice is not the worst card ever, but it might be too slow. It’s okay in the slower matchups – +5/+5 for 3 mana is okay if you don’t fall back on the tempo. The only card that is really bad is Divine Favor. I mean, it can still get some value against Handlock or Freeze Mage, but that’s pretty much it. But since you get 3 cards offered, you can just not pick it. I think that Jeweled Scarab is slightly better in Shaman than in Paladin, but Paladin also has a lot of great 3 mana plays. Also, what’s strong about them is that most of them are high tempo plays. Muster for Battle is one of the best turn 3 plays ever. If the Scarab Survives, Seal of Champions or Coghammer can get value. Scarlet Purifier might wreck the Hunter on turn 3, but even let’s say destroying Mad Scientist for free is good enough. Overall, it might fit the slower Paladin deck, especially since Control Paladin wouldn’t be running a lot of early game.

The class that gets a honorable mention is Hunter. Hunter’s 3 mana spells are one of the strongest in the game. They have something for pretty much every situation. Animal Companion, Deadly Shot, Unleash the Hounds, Powershot, Kill Command are all top-notch spells. The minions are worse, because of how situational they are – Desert Camel requires you to run 1-drops, Metaltooth Leaper works only in Mech decks and Stablemaster is sometimes okay if you have a high attack Beast on the board. Oh, and there is also a weapon – Eaglehorn Bow, which is awesome in any Hunter deck running Secrets (so like… any Hunter deck). Still, the quality of the spells + weapon is good enough to consider running the Scarab, even though 3 mana minions aren’t great. The only problem is that most of the Hunter decks are extremely fast (Face Hunter) or at least proactive (Midrange Hunter). If Control Hunter ever becomes viable (for example some version of the Lock & Load Hunter), Jeweled Scarab might fit into it. I can see one copy in the Midrange Hunter, in a manner similar to less-RNG Webspinner.

Final thoughts

I don’t think that Scarab is meta-breaking, but it’s a solid minion. The strongest thing about it is that it gives certain decks a turn 2 play. They might play Scarab instead of just passing. The question is – isn’t it better to just play a strong 3 mana card instead of the Scarab? This way you’re guaranteed to draw something good and you’re just losing a 1/1 body for 2 mana (which means that Shaman / Paladin can just Hero power on t2 for roughly the same outcome). Yes, that might be the case and that’s why I don’t rate Scarab too highly. But the truth is that getting THREE CHOICES is very important. Depending on the matchup or situation you’re in, you might pick completely different card. On turn 2 you might just pick a solid 3-drop, against Aggro you might pick AoE for the future, against Control you might go for the value stuff or big removals etc. If you play Scarab in the class with strong 3-drops, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get something strong. You also have a huge chance to get at least 2 or even 3 viable options, which you can just pick according to your current situation. The flexibility is what makes Scarab a viable choice over just a solid 3 mana card.

Closing

Right now that’s all. Ethereal Conjurer and Tomb Spider are going to come out this week, so I’ll write the next analysis after I get to play with them. I’m especially hyped about the Ethereal Conjurer which, in my opinion, has a CHANCE to take the Azure Drake‘s spot in Mage. I’m not sure whether it’ll really be better than one of the most solid cards in the game, but I’ll give it a try.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the section below!