Some things never change. We thought that cards in Hearthstone are one of those things. Besides very necessary nerfs when going into Standard, we didn’t expect next batch of changes coming so quickly (because yes, 6 months is quite quickly when it comes to Blizzard). Luckily, we were wrong.
There was a huge outrage in the community recently. About RNG and most notably about Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End. Since my first WoG reviews, I’ve hated this card with my whole heart, so I’m quite happy that it’s happening.
However, I think that my colleagues have covered the changes quite well already. Since I don’t have much to do in that aspect any more, I’d like to focus on one of the cards. I think the way it was handled is really, really amazing. They’ve dealt with the “broken” part of the card, while leaving it as a potential board control tool that allows some fun combos to exist.
I’m talking about Charge.
Effects of the Change
And notice how I’m talking about “change”, not “nerf”. But if you think about it – the card actually has been nerfed when compared to its old, old version. Back in the Beta, Charge used to cost 0 (yes, 0 mana) and just give minion a Charge. It was combo’d with Alexstrasza as one of the first OTK Warrior decks (I think that Molten Giant OTK was first, but it doesn’t matter right now) – Warrior pre-equipped Gorehowl, then played Alexstrasza + Charge and hit both for 15 damage. So, compared to that version it is a nerf.
But the card was nerfed heavily to 3 mana. Sure, it gave minion 2 attack instead, but that wasn’t a big deal. Blizzard has thought that it will deal with Warrior OTK decks. And I don’t know why they didn’t handle it in a different way back then. They clearly didn’t want the card in OTK decks, but they made it completely unplayable outside of them. So if the card was ever played, it would only be in OTK decks. But nevermind. Emperor Thaurissan allowed the card to work again.
Change to the card means that there will no longer be Warrior OTK decks. At least not now. Any deck that relied on any Charge combo will now be dead. So we won’t see Raging Worgen combos any longer. We won’t see Arcane Giant combos any longer. The meta has less and less combo decks and it was a big hit for anyone who likes them.
In theory, less combo decks means that decks that struggled against combo will become slightly stronger. E.g. Control Priest or RenoLock were the easiest targets for the combo decks and it will no longer be the case. But in practice, I don’t think that the Combo Warrior decks were popular enough to significantly affect the meta. So that change won’t likely have any immediate impact on the meta as a whole. But Combo Warrior decks were going in and out of the meta, so it’s very possible that they would eventually come back and become popular again if not for those changes. So it should be a huge sigh of relief for anyone who enjoys playing decks that are weak against OTK combos.
The changes should be healthy for the game in the long run. Having an ability to give ANY minion Charge (and smack face with it) is broken, because some minions clearly aren’t meant to do that. So while I’ll miss the Warrior combo decks (I like to play combo decks myself), I think it’s a good and necessary change if we don’t want some broken combo deck to pop out in the future out of nowhere. People would eventually find more and more crazy ways to kill enemy thanks to the Charge, and now it’s not possible.
Or is it?*
The New Charge
If someone isn’t familiar with all the changes, new Charge will now cost 1 mana (down from 3), still give minion Charge (no +2 Attack buff), but that minion won’t be able to Attack opponent’s Hero this turn. So it’s a Charge, but only a Charge against minions. So it’s kinda like an Icehowl, but the limitations are lifted next turn and it can attack face like usual. So it’s quite obvious that the OTK combos will no longer be possible.
Charge will have a different role right now, if it will ever be played. The new role will be a board control tool.
And I’ll be honest with you – the new version isn’t particularly amazing. It will probably not be an auto-include into any deck. But there are some fun and possibly strong combos that are possible. I’ll definitely test the new version of Charge with few of them. If something will work – that’s great. If it won’t – it’s okay, maybe it will in the future.
Combos & Synergies
Here is the list of potential combos & synergies that will be possible with new Charge. I’ll explain each one, try to point out it’s good and bad sides and try to predict if it will ever see any serious play.
The first and probably the strongest combo will be the one with Wild Pyromancer. Pyro, combined with Commanding Shout, is already used in some Warrior decks. How does Charge make it stronger?
First of all, it’s another cheap spell for the combo. Pyro combos amazingly well with 0-1 mana spells, especially when it can’t die. Basically, when doing Pyro + Commanding Shout combos, Charge turns into a 1 mana Swipe (that doesn’t deal face damage). It deals extra 1 damage to every minions + you can Charge Pyro into something for 3 more damage. This also means that you can use Inner Rage on Pyro if you will need even more damage (e.g. to kill some 8/8 minion) and it won’t be completely wasted.
Oh, and no matter what you Charge into, your 3/1 Pyro still survives.
Pyro + Charge by itself also might be sometimes useful as a 2 cards, 3 mana “Swipe”, but it will be significantly weaker without Commanding Shout.
Remember how insane the pre-nerf Warsong Commander + Grim Patron combo was? Against board full of small minions, Warrior could clear pretty much everything and spawn a board full of Patrons. Luckily (or sadly, depending on which side you’re on) it won’t be available with new Charge, because new Patrons won’t get Charge. But it still looks like a fine combo to do on your Patron turn. If enemy has some small minion on the board, you can play Patron and immediately Charge into it, spawning another one, before you start doing your combos. Or you can first play Patron, Whirlwind and then Charge the 3/3 into let’s say a 2/1.
It doesn’t seem so strong, but it’s pretty good combo. In that case, Charge deals 3 damage and spawns an extra 3/1 or 3/2 Patron – all of that for 1 mana. It’s a strong tempo move, especially in the meta where 1-2 attack minions are popular.
The main problem is that Whirlwind will do very similar stuff in most of the cases, so there might not be a reason to complicate things. Patron + Charge will be the same or worse against 1 health minions, but there are some 2/2’s or 2/3’s in the meta that Charge will be better against. Plus, any Patron deck is also very likely to run Pyromancer, so if Charge will combo with 4 cards instead of 2, it might be more solid.
I feel like the new Charge would work really nicely with Sylvanas. She would be one of the most, if not THE most broken card in the game if not for one thing. After you drop her, enemy can usually respond somehow. He might play some puny minions to increase a chance of you stealing one. Two classes (Shaman, Paladin) can even do that with Hero Power. He can Silence her (although Silence is not popular right now, it might be in the future). He might deal with it without proccing a Deathrattle, through cards like Hex, Polymorph or Entomb. To make the long story short – there are a lot of ways to make her much worse than she could be… if she had Charge.
That’s right, Sylvanas with Charge is an excellent combo. The fact that you can immediately bump her into something is huge. Let’s say enemy Shaman has Thing from Below and Fire Elemental on the board. Charging Sylvanas into Thing from Below will not only clear the board for 2 cards, but also let you take the 6/5. Enemy ends up without board, you end up with board presence. There are a lot of cases where this combo could work wonders. Especially in N’Zoth version of the Warrior. Sometimes Warriors go as far as Shield Slam their own Sylvanas, even if it’s not optimal, to guarantee that it will be able to come back with N’Zoth. It would be way easier with Charge.
The only real problem is – Sylvanas is played in Control Warrior lists. And playing Charge just for her would be kinda pointless. But maybe in the future she will be played in other Warrior list where Charge will be good in.
Remember that guy? Magnataur Alpha is a card with huge potential, but the one that will never really work in practice. It has very strong effect, but with low health it’s easy to kill it + since it doesn’t have Charge, it can be played around. Old Charge was kinda a miss when it comes to Magnataur – the not only it costed 3 mana, so the combo was available only on turn 7, but the +2 Attack from Charge was often wasted. You rarely needed 7 damage AoE. 5 damage AoE is way more likely to be necessary.
The combo would be a 5 damage, Powershot-like AoE for 5 mana. And the great thing about it is that the Magnataur itself also could survive it and stay on the board. The combo would be pretty strong in the Shaman-heavy meta. After all, most of the Totems have 0 Attack. Attacking one doesn’t damage the Magnataur, but it would deal 5 damage to two adjacent minions. Let’s say killing one of the basic totems, Mana Tide Totem and Totem Golem in one attack would be pretty strong. And you’d still have a 5/3 on the board that Shaman absolutely has to kill.
The combo would be great against any deck running some small minions, not only Shamans. Against Midrange Hunters, Zoo Warlocks, pretty much every Paladin. But the question is – will it be necessary? Warrior is already class with the best board clears in the game. It has access to Ravaging Ghoul, Revenge, Wild Pyromancer + Commanding Shout and most necessarily Brawl. With so many AoEs already, does Warrior need another one, that also needs 2 cards to work?
It’s probably more of a gimmicky thing. But I’d love to see it being played, because it would add another layer of strategy into matches against Warrior – positioning. There aren’t many cards you need to play around when it comes to positioning. Cone of Cold, Powershot, Explosive Shot, Betrayal… and that’s it? The first two are incredibly rare and the other two are never seen on the ladder. Positioning is a skill required only in a small number of decks, like Zoo, and if everyone would be forced to learn it, it would increase the skill cap of the game, which is good.
Any Big Minion
That’s actually true. The new Charge might work okay with any big minion. The thing is that most of the big minions have no immediate impact on the board. And that makes them very weak or even completely unplayable. I mean, if enemy has minions on the board, minions that you have to kill, dropping a big body might be way too slow. That’s where new Charge might be useful. Fitting extra 1 mana might be possible and it means that any minions that costs 9 or less and is slow might be more useful.
The best example would be Hogger, Doom of Elwynn. It’s pretty strong, but it’s just too slow. It doesn’t do anything immediately and it takes an extra turn to really start it rolling – kill something and spawn a Taunt. Not to mention that enemy can respond to it before you can do anything. With Charge, you can immediately kill a minion with it and take advantage of the effect by spawning a 2/2 Taunt. Pretty cool. Another minion is Alexstrasza – it’s often played in slow Warrior lists. On turn 10, you could immediately Charge it into something and kill it after playing it.
Charging a big minion into something is also a way to play around removal. Shaman is holding Hex? If you Charge that big guy into Thunder Bluff Valiant immediately, now the Hex will be a little less useful, because your big minion will be damaged. If it will eat Hex anyway, you’ve just removed a 5-drop for 1 mana. Good job.
Charge MIGHT work in slower Warrior lists for that reason. It should work decently well in faster matchups. And the thing is – in slower ones, you probably can afford to have a very situational/potentially dead card AND your dead cards eventually become random Legendaries, thanks to Elise Starseeker. That’s why most of the Control Warrior lists are built to counter high tempo decks and then they have the Elise game plan in slower matchups.
*Bonus: The New Combo Warrior
I’ve read it somewhere on Reddit and I loved the idea. It’s so silly and SO TERRIBLE, but I’m pretty sure someone with a lot of spare time will pull it off just for fun.
It is theoretically still possible to OTK enemy with Warrior and with the new Charge. Ogres are the answer. Yes, you’ve heard that right. After all, Ogres can miss whatever they attack and land the attack ANYWHERE. Anywhere, including opponent’s face.
There are two possible candidates: Ogre Brute and Mogor’s Champion.
Ogre Brute + Charge + 2x Inner Rage + 2x Rampage + Faceless Manipulator = potential 28 damage. Whole combo costs 13 mana, so it would require an Emperor Thaurissan tick on at least 3 cards (other than Inner Rage). And it would only work in the Wild, because Ogre Brute is from GvG set.
Mogor’s Champion + Charge + 2x Inner Rage + Rampage + Faceless Manipulator = potential 30 damage. Sadly, the combo is even more expensive. It costs 14 mana, so a Thaurissan tick on EVERY PIECE (besides Inner Rages) is necessary. I feel like this one is better. Even though it requires one more tick, it requires one less card and it deals 30 damage, so it can kill full health opponents. And it works in Standard too.
Well, in theory it could also work with Mogor the Ogre (in Wild) and Raging Worgen, but it would require Mogor to survive a turn or multiple Thaurissan ticks… So let’s stick to the Mogor’s Champion.
Of course, for the whole combo to work opponent would need to have a minion on the board. A single minion would maximize the success chance. And then both Ogres would need to roll a 50/50 – attack into a minion and miss. So, we have a 6 cards, 14 mana combo that has 25% chance to work in the best case scenario (and only about 0.5% chance against full board). #1 Legend, here I come!
And you know what’s the most broken about the combo? IT CAN GO THROUGH THE TAUNTS. That’s right. Ogres no stoopid, Ogres know that face is the place.
Now, let’s just wait for someone to pull this off and post the video online for a solid laugh. Extra points for doing it in ranked on a decent rank.
Will the new Charge be good? Right now, I’m not sure. I think it has a solid chance to be played in Patron Warrior – for both Wild Pyromancer and Grim Patron synergies. Maybe one copy in slower Warrior lists? But this one is a stretch because of how situational the card is.
However, it opens some future possibilities. Now any slow minion with “on-hit” effect like Grim Patron or Hogger might become playable in Warrior thanks to that. Like Nuba mentioned in his article, if they print a Warrior/Neutral minion with Life Link – something that heals you for however damage it deals (like Mistress of Pain) – it might also be solid, especially if the card will have high attack. Charging a minion like that would mean removing something immediately AND healing yourself.
The old Charge was a poor design, because it blocked some potentially fun cards from being released. This one, however, can’t be abused to kill the enemy with some broken combo, so it’s the other way around. It can turn some meh minions that would never see play into actually solid, playable minions. And since it’s in Classic set, it should always stay with us. So I’m looking forward to see how it will work in the future.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!