In an interview with the Daily Dot at Blizzcon, Hearthstone‘s senior game designer Mike Donais claimed that the recently nerfed Patron Warrior was “a bad deck,” and poor player experience was the main factor behind the nerf. We asked high-level Warrior player Brian “Th3 RaT” Courtade”, who coached world champion Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall on the Patron deck, to respond.
In the interview with the Daily Dot, Mike Donais painted an incomplete picture, one that tells a story of a deck that isn’t anywhere near over-powered, but instead just flat out terrible. I’m here to finish that picture in an appropriate frame. Patron Warrior was a bad deck for people who couldn’t play it. But for those who excelled, it clearly paid dividends.
According to Donais, Patron did not have an impressive win rate. Yet Blizzard still decided to nerf the deck anyway thanks to a barrage of complaints from the community. This is important, as it sets a precedent that Blizzard is willing to give in to the community despite having information that contradicts the public’s opinion.
Moving past that, let’s take a closer look at the statistics that he provided, in addition to other available statistics that are left out of this interview. He says that, early on, Blizzard learned the deck had a 49 percent winrate at high levels. This supports the position that Patron was in fact a bad deck. Luckily, this tweet from fellow professional player Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert presents another statistic apparently confirmed by Blizzard. According to Blizzard, Bentert’s Patron winrate in the month of September was a whopping 75 percent. Impressive for a bad deck.
In the interview, Donais stated that Patron Warrior also has a poor professional win rate of 49 percent before finally concluding that it is a, “bad deck across the board”. But looking at players like world champion Ostkaka, according to LiquidHearth he has a 71 percent winrate with Patron Warrior in tournaments. Outperforming other pros by an astounding 22 percent. But if Patron is a bad deck, how can a winrate like that be maintained over a relatively large sample of games?
This consistent difference in the winrate of some pro players compared to other pro players makes the skill cap of this deck and its power level apparent. From personal knowledge I can tell you that there were pros who played patron in tournaments while openly admitting they weren’t very good with the deck. Why did they play it and why did all the people who were losing play with it? They played it because it felt good when you lost with it and even better when you won—the losses were something that players of any skill level could blame on themselves and the wins felt unbelievably rewarding.
All of this is to say nothing of a meta that was focused around beating Patron Warrior. These frankly ludicrous winrate percentages occurred in as hostile of an environment as it gets.
Hopefully Blizzard can recreate the high skill level and rewarding feeling with League of Explorers. Without Patron Warrior your next best option is Freeze Mage, and it leaves a lot to be desired.
Image via Blizzard