Before it was released in 2013 and became one of the fastest growing gaming phenomenons on the planet, Hearthstone went through a pretty tumultuous testing period. During this development phase in 2013, a lot of cards were removed from the game or changed into the cards we know today.
Some of those cards were simply too strong and broke the game, while some were simply too bizarre to work. There was the weird chicken that would cause damage to a hero by little more than a wayward cursor movement. There was the the ooze that became more powerful the more games you lost on the ladder. And there was the all-powerful Priest burst card from an age when Priest was a force to be reckoned with.
We’ve collected a few of our favorites that you might not have seen before. It’s fair to say that, for most of these, Blizzard definitely made the right call.
Perhaps the most famous game breaking combination from the earliest days of Hearthstone was the power of the Rogue class. Originally, the Rogue hero power would either equip a 1/2 dagger or add one attack to whatever weapon you currently had equipped. Do that for a few turns and then play Envenom to double the attack of your dagger and swing in for a crazy amount of damage. Three mana for 12 or 14 damage over two turns? Sounds pretty balanced to me.
Envenom and the hero power sounds pretty cool, but you still need to be able to draw your Envenoms. How about a really really cheap card draw spell? Sounds great! Arcane Intellect draws two cards for three mana, or Sprint draws four for seven. Two cards for one mana, with the combo easily activated because of the low cost, is incredibly powerful. Too powerful, some might say. And they did.
Avatar of the Coin
This is a card which never even actually made it into the game in a playable form. One of the hardest things to manage in a card game is balancing who goes first and who goes second so that the person going first doesn’t get a massive advantage every time. Before we arrived at The Coin spell we have now, one thing tried was this Wisp-like minion with possibly the best card text ever. Who can be sad at losing the coin toss when you’ve gained a friend?
In the development of Hearthstone, some pretty cool mechanics were explored that never made it into the game. One of these included the Devouring Ooze, an attempt to create a mechanic in the game that kept players from closing the game in disgust after losing a number of games in a row. While the card never made it past an early development stage, it’s pretty cool that Blizzard aZ trying to find ways to counter some of the worst parts of the player experience.
What if I told you that Priest was once considered so strong, it took a nerf arrow right to the knee? Hard to believe but it’s true, and Mental Collapse was a big part of the reason. While we now see mechanics like this being used for cards like Clockwork Giant, the ability to do even five or six damage for two mana was just too much burst damage. Combined with cards like Coldlight Oracle, Priest could burst you down from out of nowhere. Two-mana Pyroblast anyone?
If Devouring Ooze was a cool attempt at countering one of the negative aspects of playing a card game, the Auto-Pecker 4000 is a card that would have more than likely caused the deaths of thousands of keyboards. I mean really. Taking damage when you mouse over a card? That’s just frustrating and horrible. A troll card if ever there was one. Good riddance.
Image via Blizzard