Aug 11 2016 - 1:38 pm

One Night in Karazhan's worst cards

Over the last 72 hours every man woman and child in the Hearthstone community has recorded a savage takedown of an underpowered new Priest spell called Purify
Luke Winkie
Dot Esports

Over the last 72 hours every man woman and child in the Hearthstone community has recorded a savage takedown of an underpowered new Priest spell called Purify. Ben Brode, the face of Hearthstone and a generally affable dude, put out a YouTube video where he essentially apologized for the design, which is unprecedented considering the card isn’t even out yet.

So, we here at Dot Esports could write a big editorial about why Purify sucks, but here’s the thing, there are plenty of other suspect cards in the upcoming One Night in Karazhan expansion. Yes, none of them reaches bottom-tier quite like a two-mana silence your own minion effect, but that doesn’t make them exempt, okay? Here are our picks for the five worst Karazhan cards not called Purify.

Ironforge Portal

Blizzard

Let’s be clear, I’m okay with Warrior not getting a great spell. The class has dominated Hearthstone since Whispers of the Old Gods, and the last thing we need is another Shield Slam enabler, or another tempo spell. Ironforge Portal seems deliberately underpowered when compared to Moonglade Portal (heal for six, summon a random six-drop) considering you’re only gaining four armor and only earning a four-drop for five mana, but again, you’re sure not going to hear any complaints from me. I do think there is a slight chance we’re underrating this card, because people thought Shieldmaiden was bad before Goblins vs. Gnomes, but it certainly doesn’t look scary from here.

Pompous Thespian

Blizzard

Okay, this minion isn’t necessarily bad. A two-mana 3/2 with taunt is pretty standard. We’ve seen it before with things like Anodized Robo Cub in Goblins vs. Gnomes, and much like that card, Pompous Thespian will be above average in arena and won’t see any competitive play. That’s fine. We need flotsam in Hearthstone. The commons in the major expansions like The Grand Tournament and Whispers of the Old Gods are filled with the uninspiring likes of Eldritch Horror and Captured Jormungar. However, One Night in Karazhan is a specialized, 45-card injection. Why are we wasting one of those slots on something so vanilla? At least Purify—as bad as it is—has a mechanic we haven’t really seen before. The fact that I’m going to spend money on a wing and be greeted by a 3/2 with taunt is kinda frustrating. I mean, I guess I’ll be able to finally take Frostwolf Grunt out of all my decks.

Arcanosmith

Blizzard


I actually have some respect for Arcanosmith. It’s an interesting design! We haven’t seen a 0/5 with taunt in Hearthstone before, which makes the card weirdly tough to evaluate. It’s the same reason a few of us thought Eerie Statue might have potential back when League of Explorers was announced. Unfortunately in regards to Arcanosmith we’re talking about a big, dumb token your opponent can trade into for free while losing minimal tempo. Sometimes it’s fun to win with bad cards. And I have no doubt that there’s a legion of Hearthstone addicts out there eager to construct a Protect The King/Arcanosmith/Bolster abomination that will work roughly 20 percent of the time.

Pantry Spider

Blizzard

Pantry Spider is going to be amazing in Wild. I can’t wait to take this thing to a super noxious Hobgoblin aggro deck and make everyone in my way beg for mercy. You play Hobgoblin, you play your Pantry Spider, and all of a sudden you’ve got two 3/5s for three mana. That’s near-Twin Emperor Vek’lor levels of value.

Unfortunately no one plays Wild, and in Standard this thing will be bad. Yes, technically it’s a combined 2/6 in stats, but as we learned from Echoing Ooze, cards get a lot worse when you’re splitting the stats down to one-attack shares.

Wicked Witchdoctor

Blizzard

It’s at least clear that Blizzard has learned its lesson.

If it was tuning Wicked Witchdoctor for The Grand Tournament, League of Explorers, or even Whispers of the Old Gods when Shaman was still low-tier, I bet the battlecry would summon any random totem. Of course we’ve all been well-acquainted with Aggro Shaman, Midrange Shaman, and the delectably unfun randomness of Tuskarr Totemic, so the Witchdoctor only spits out a basic totem. There is a design doc out there where this thing was pumping out an endless supply of Totem Golems and Flametongues (which would’ve probably lead to the end of Hearthstone as we know it,) so this is… better. Finally a Shaman minion that doesn’t come with an outside chance of a totally broken tempo swing! Hooray!


Jan 20 2017 - 9:38 pm

Blizzard designer says Hearthstone Shamans "don’t win too often"

The deck is still stifling the meta game, however.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Shaman continues to dominate the Hearthstone ladder, and at this point players are resigned to it. They are just hoping that in a few months' time the new set rotation will shake things up and dislodge it from its position at the top of the tree.

Blizzard game designer Max McCall addressed the power of the class on the official forums recently—but according to him, the class doesn't have an overwhelming success rate.

"All of those [Shaman] decks are strong," McCall said. "but they are all weak against Dragon decks (like Priest and Warrior) and Reno decks. If you’re tired of losing to Shamans, play Reno Warlock. In some ways, that is fine: Shamans are popular, but there are strategies that are good against them."

"Playing Shaman isn’t a dominant strategy – again, they lose to plenty of decks – but it is still boring to play against the same class over and over again," he continues.

These comments puzzled and angered some players, who pointed to their own experience and other sources of data like the Vicious Syndicate meta report that suggested these matchups were much closer than McCall suggested. And the other matchups were much more one-sided for the Shaman. Indeed, in a second forum post McCall that Reno Warlock was only favored by half a percentage point.

Others took issue with McCall's characterization of the state of Shaman deckbuilding. According to McCall, there are aggressive decks which run pirates, and midrange decks that run pirates and jade cards. But by virtue of running pirates, the inclusion of jade cards doesn't stop a deck from being aggressive in style (something we have highlighted before).

Jade Claws and Jade Lightning, which are often the only jade cards run in the faster lists, lend themselves very well to an aggressive style. Jade Claws takes the spot of Spirit Claws, as early game weapons continue to drive aggressive Shaman decks with value and early pressure.

However, McCall did rightly admit that Shaman is a problem on ladder because of how frequently it appears. According to his data, Shaman currently makes up about 25 percent of games on ladder. This can make games feel repetitive and a grind, especially if you aren't playing one of the limited counters.

At the end of the day, Blizzard is watching Shaman closely. And if it doesn't decrease in popularity, it is prepared to make changes. But that won't help those players who feel demoralized by the ladder right now.

Jan 20 2017 - 5:37 pm

CompLexity and Luminosity win 11-game thrillers in Trinity Series debuts

The teams took each other to the limit on day two.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via DreamHack

CompLexity Gaming and Luminosity Gaming came out on top during the second matchday of the ESL Trinity Series Hearthstone league—but both teams were taken to the limit.

Luminosity Gaming, with Keaton "Chakki" Gill and Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang playing from China, claimed a 6-5 win over Team Liquid.

After Liquid left the Shaman of Luminosity unbanned, the only team to do so in the four matches of week one, Luminosity fancied their chances. But that Shaman was ineffectual, knocked out by the Druid of Team Liquid as David "Dog" Caero and his teammates piloted the Druid to three straight game wins.

That left Liquid at 5-3 and match point, but Luminosity were able to win a crucial Druid mirror and go on their own streak to take the comeback win.

In the second match of the day the experienced Cloud9 lineup of James "Firebat" Kostesich, Cong "StrifeCro" Shu, and Andrew "TidesofTime" Biessener nearly pulled off a similar comeback.

Cloud9 and CompLexity Gaming traded games back and forth until CompLexity's Reno Mage, driven by Jan "SuperJJ" Janssen, took three straight wins to put them in the same position at 5-3. TidesofTime attempted to reverse the tide with Reno Warlock and fought back to 5-5, but Cloud9 were forced to use their combo pieces early and CompLexity won the match with a Reno Warlock of their own.

After beating Alliance 6-0 in the first match of the tournament, G2 Esports sit atop the table after the first week of games.

Week two will see Alliance take on CompLexity, Luminosity against Tempo Storm, G2 versus Virtus Pro, and Cloud9 will play Team Liquid.