The Undertaker Problem

Undertaker is currently the best neutral one drop in the game if used in the proper deck - snowballs easily and gets gimmicky.

What is the Undertaker

Undertaker is currently the best neutral one drop in the game if used in the proper deck. It has 1 Attack and 2 Health which are incremented by one each when you play a minion that has a deathrattle. His ability to snowball games is what makes him so dangerous. An early Undertaker is sometimes buffed to a 3/4 or 4/5 which is insane value for just a 1 drop.

The Deathrattle Effect

Deathrattle is one of the strongest mechanics in the game. By definition all deathrattle minions have an effect after they are dead. This means that if you use a card on a minion with deathrattle like a loot-hoarder it already two for one’d you. They are incredibly sticky i.e. They are difficult to remove. A haunted-creeper is one of the most annoying to deal with card in the game. It comes out as a 1/2 and then splits into two 1/1’s it has a health of about 3-4 while having 3 attack and it is only a 2 drop. Due to the strength of this effect deathrattle minons are usually given lower stats than their vanilla cost provides them with. harvest-golem is a 2/3 for 3 mana which is 1 health and attack less than the vanilla cost. But is that really true? when you add the stats of the pre deathrattle and the post deathrattle minion the stats end up being higher than what they should be. Which makes the harvest-golem a 4/4, haunted-creeper a 3/4 and cairne-bloodhoof an 8/10. However the total stats are only effective when the minions are used on the board. You can deal 8 damage to a single minion by playing Cairne but not to the face. Deathrattle minions are great for developing the board.

Balance Issues

Now that I have stated how powerful of an effect deathrattle is, there exists this card that is buffed by simply playing a minion that has the deathrattle effect. Lets take a look at some of the buff cards available in the game:

shattered-sun-cleric – A 3/2 for 3 mana. Compromised stats.

dark-iron-dwarf – a 4/4 for 4 mana. Compromised stats.

cruel-taskmaster – a 2/2 for 2 mana. Compromised stats.

defender-of-argus – a 2/3 for 4 mana. Extremely compromised stats.

Every buff card in the game has its vanilla stats compromised due to its ability to buff other creatures. Now when we compare this to our friend Undertaker, he is a 1/2 for one mana who can be buffed by ‘any’ deathrattle minion. cairne-bloodhoof, tirion-fordring, savannah-highmane, sylvanas-windrunner all these cards have a huge effect on the board when played, but they also buff the Undertaker. So the problem here is that for the usual buff cards the stats of the card that buffs other cards are reduced so the board doesn’t go crazy.

Imagine  a defender-of-argus which is a 4/5 how ridiculously overpowered would that be. But with the Undertaker he is buffed when you play minions normally whose stats have not been compromised, this leads to a board state that is extremely difficult to deal with. This is where things start getting overpowered. You have a one drop that you can buff at any time by just playing cards which may not even have bad/compromised stats then the board starts getting more and more difficult to be dealt with, also called the snowball effect.

You play an Undertaker followed by a haunted-creeper into a harvest-golem. now your Undertaker is a 3/4 on turn 3 with another 3/4 (Haunted Creeper) and a 4/4 (Harvest Golem). Such a board on turn 3 is extremely hard to deal with. Not only is it sticky because of the deathrattle minions but also can snowball even harder. Thus buffing the Undertaker not only gives you a huge minion but also a board that is ‘sticky’.

Undertaker in every deck

The huge success of this card in every class has given the aggro archetype a new power. Every class can now run an aggro/tempo deck with the Undertaker. It gave rise to decks like Tempo Priest, Hyper aggro secrets mage, Tempo Paladin and the crowd favorite The aggro Hunter (Huntard). Every deck can basically get a good early game by running Undertaker and a bunch of deathrattle minions.

So isn’t it a good thing that Undertaker gave life to decks that would have otherwise never been viable. Yes, it is a good thing, but that brings me to the second issue. When a certain amount of cards are included in every deck the game starts to get boring. Any deck you face they are running the same cards. There is variety in classes but the decks feel the same. This is a bad thing for Blizzard too if their game starts becoming boring and stale. Remember the old ‘Standard’ meta, where everyone ran the pre-nerf novice-engineer, shattered-sun-cleric, defender-of argus, dark-iron-dwarf, sylvanas-windrunner and the rest of the deck was basically tech cads. Yeah, that is the kind of meta we might get again if undertaker isn’t changed Soon™.

Conclusion

I wanted to write this piece regarding the problems with Undertaker because he is getting too much out of control. Running rampant in every deck and snowballing games to instant victories. I feel Blizzard did not know the snowball potential of this card when launching it but I hope that they realize it soon. Undertaker is a great card but it is not balanced due to the fact that it gains a whole new stat level when you play something with deathrattle. It’s stats are not compromised at all, playing three deathrattle minions makes him a chillwind-yeti which is totally possible to achieve on turn two.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article on our friend Undertaker, if you have any feedback or suggestions regarding anything feel free to post int in the comments down below. Have a nice day 🙂