We try to build decks around the worst cards in Hearthstone
Last week, I took a look at a couple weird decks making their way around the ladder that bend Hearthstone in unorthodox ways. I’ve always had a deep appreciation for counterintuitiveness in a stale metagame, so celebrating the weirdos come pretty easy.
That being said, there’s still a handful of cards from Goblins vs. Gnomes that nobody plays. This is because they’re bad, at least superficially. The brightest minds in the game haven’t been able to figure out a place for them, and so they drift through the waste. You may occasionally see them while drafting in Arena, before immediately breaking eye contact.
But I say screw that, there’s got to be a reason for these cards. Blizzard wouldn’t go through that painstaking balance process to release unplayable chaff. Maybe we’re missing something.
So I’ve highlighted a few of these cards, and attempted to build a deck around them. Did I discover anything interesting? Or was it all a fiery disaster that chased me back to my plebe Mech Mage? Read on to find out!
The Anima Golem Deck
What it is? A six mana 9/9 (!) that will be destroyed if it’s the only minion you have at the end of your turn.
Why doesn’t it get played? Ostensibly it holds higher value than any other card in the game, but getting it to stick isn’t easy. There are so many solid board clears in Hearthstone that expecting to have a stocked board every turn just isn’t realistic.
What I came up with:
So I dared to dream. I didn’t try to insert the Anima into any Handlock archetypes, and instead stocked up on efficient sticky minions (like Harvest Golem and the Shredders,) as well as stealthed guys like Worgen Infiltrator, Blood Imp, and Gilblin Stalker to keep my board locked down. I also got super cocky and threw in a couple Wailing Souls for the silence combo.
Does it work? I mean sorta, there will be moments where you get an Anima down with a Gilbin or something and it rules—that comes at turn six at the earliest. You’re trading into Sludge Belchers and Dr. Booms at that point. We’ve already got a Warlock archetype that plays 8/8 Mountain Giants on turn four, and the much more consistent Moltens for free. Anima Golem is probably underrated, but it’s upside still doesn’t outweigh the traditional paths to victory.
The Mini-Mage Deck
Why doesn’t it get played? The snark inside me just wants to say “it sucks” and move on. But there’s more to it than that. Spell damage in Hearthstone can be very powerful, but it’s usually only played if it comes equipped on a one or two cost minion, (see Bloodmage Thalnos). On a hefty four-drop, where it’s competing for real estate with guys like Azure Drake, well, it just doesn’t seem that good.
What I came up with:So I basically shoved a couple Mini-Mages into the hilarious, and hilariously inconsistent Malygos Shaman deck. The idea is to get both of those Mini-Mages to stick so when the Malygos pops out via Ancestor’s Call it’s even more devastating.
Does it work? Of course not! Of course a four-card combo that relies on significant RNG doesn’t work. Are you crazy? This deck is awful!
I seriously don’t get the point of Mini-Mage, and I doubt any of you do either.
The Junkbot Deck
What is it? A five mana 1/5, which ramps +2/+2 for every friendly mech that dies while it’s out.
Why doesn’t it get play? Five mana. 1/5. So, your upside is a 3/7, and if it really breaks right, a 5/9. It just seems like too much work.
What I came up with:
Yeah I don’t know what this thing is. I put a bunch of mechs in a deck and hope they die when Junkbot is out. Dr. Boom seems like good synergy, but seriously what do I know. It’s moments like this where I realize I’m bad at Hearthstone.
Does it work? Nah not really. But that probably has more to do with my fundamental misunderstanding of the card. If anyone can think of something better, let me know.
The Shadowbomber Deck
What is it? A 2/1 with the battlecry of dealing three damage to both heroes. Also a Priest-only card which seriously boggles my mind.
Why doesn’t it get play? Aggro Priest just isn’t a thing, and this is a card you’d only run in some sort of hyper-aggressive Priest variant.
What I came up with:We’re going all out kids. Our Shadowbombers come with Leper Gnomes, Haunted Creepers, and Shadowboxers, as well as a bunch of direct damage like Mind Blasts and Holy Smites. We packed in a couple Shadowforms as well as the very powerful Velen’s Chosen and Power Word: Shield buffs. We also threw in a Prophet Velen, mostly because we couldn’t resist.
Does it work? More than you might think! Priest can actually pack quite a bit of a punch, especially with the Velen’s Chosen. Seriously, a Shadowbomber Coin Leper Gnome opening isn’t the scariest thing in the world, but you shouldn’t sleep on it either.
Right now Aggro Priest reminds me a bit of Demonlock during Naxxramas. The pieces were there, but it wasn’t quite good enough to carve out its own niche. We just need a Mal’Ganis or something to truly rewrite the Priest meta. I was skeptical at first, but call me a believer.
Image via Blizzard