There are plenty of reasons to love the Grim Patron. It’s an inventive, unique card that brings an unorthodox mechanic to the game of Hearthstone, which always helps push the meta in a new and interesting direction—and it’s “Hey everyone, get in here!” emote might be my favorite thing in the world.
But truth be told, we weren’t necessarily convinced when it was first unveiled. Five mana for a 3/3 with the ability to spawn another version of itself whenever it survives damage. If you follow the pro Hearthstone scene, you can probably guess the gripes.
“I don’t know, it doesn’t do anything when it hits the board.”“Ugh, a 3/3 for five mana is such a bad tempo play.”
“It’s too susceptible to Flamestrike.”
Now this is all true. The Grim Patron is absolutely a tech choice that needs a deck to be built around it. It’s awful outside of that context. Seriously, can you think of a worse five-mana arena pick in the game? But I think the time has come to admit that we may have underestimated its power. Grim Patron is not the most obscene card we’ve seen in Blackrock Mountain—that honor belongs to the sinister Emperor Thaurissan—but the Patron will be keeping us on our toes for the foreseeable future. Why? Well, let me explain some of the combos.
Inner Rage into Grim Patron
It goes without saying that Grim Patron exists to be played in Warrior decks, due to their many minions and spells that take advantage of damage being done to themselves. And while this particular combo isn’t the most audacious thing, it’s still super efficient.
You drop a Grim Patron and follow up with an Inner Rage. That’ll produce a 5/2 and a 3/3, both with the upside that the Patron provides. The total cost is two cards and five mana.
How good is that? You can compare it to a Silver Hand Knight, which is a five mana 4/4 that spawns a 2/2, so a grand total of 6/6 stats. This combo costs an extra card and offers up an 8/5 ensemble with the added ceiling of more Grim Patrons. When we were evaluating this card, I think this is the one fundamental play we didn’t consider. Even at its weakest, there’s ton of value here.
Warsong Commander into Grim Patron into Whirlwind
This is the thing you’ll be seeing the most in the Grim Patron decks. The Warsong Commander is finally fixed, meaning it grants charge to summoned minions, not just played ones. This means you can plop down a Grim Patron and immediately run it into an opponent’s 1/2 Slime and earn yourself another 3/3 with charge. Combo that with a Whirlwind and you’re now looking at a total of four minions ready to roll.
This can get very ugly very quickly.
Obviously it won’t always look this beautiful. You could get stymied with a Lightbomb or a couple staunch taunts, but this is the sort of combo that proves you can build a deck around a card. It’s not quite as crazy as the next thing I’m going to talk about, but it’s absolutely viable.
Warsong Commander into Grim Patron into Commanding Shout
So this is a little more esoteric.
You drop the Warsong Commander, that’s three mana. You add the Grim Patron, that’s five, and then you Commanding Shout, which is two. That’s 10 mana total, but what it means is that your Grim Patrons can’t die this turn, and they all have charge. This basically gives you a ridiculously exponential board clear. You can run your guys over and over into whatever is standing in your way, spawning more invulnerable Grim Patrons, until your opponent has nothing left and you have an army out of nowhere. Yes it’s a three card combo. Yes it costs 10 mana. But it’s crazy potent.
Here’s an example.
Pretty nuts right? There’s a thing Trump always says about how a deck has to have a certain unfairness to it in order to be good. Handlock is good because it’s unfair to be able to play a 4/9 or an 8/8 on turn four, Face Hunter is unfair because it’s hard to recover from the ridiculous tempo. While the ingredients are a little convoluted, this combo might be unfair enough to finally put the Enrage/Math Warrior over the top. And you know what? The game of Hearthstone would be better for it.
Image via Blizzard