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Nerfs Announced – Pro and Dev insights by Nuba!


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Introduction

And so finally the nerfs that were announced last week were revealed, and it caught many people, including myself, completely off guard with the number and scope of the nerf bat.

A lot of class cards and things we weren’t counting on just got nerfed, so I figured it would be nice for you guys to have both the Pro and the Dev insight on the changes!

So with no further delays, let us begin!

Innervate

Innervate now grants 1 crystal instead of 2.

Personal Insight

I have discussed a few weeks ago, on my Facebook Page (it’s in Portuguese though), that the Druid’s overpowerness comes from innervate rather than other cards added to the game.

Tell you the truth, Innervate wasn’t just the most overpowered card in Hearthstone, it was one of the most overpowered Card Game’s cards of all. Having the power close to Black Lotus, what is generally considered the most broken card of all Card Games of all times, Innervate as-was had no place in Hearthstone.

Pro Insight

With the massive amount of Card Draw added to druid this expansion in the form of ultimate-infestation I honestly don’t believe it’ll be a problem to still play Innervate. The nerf did not render the card unplayable and the effect of speeding up your game is still present on it.

I have a strong belief that this change won’t affect Druid’s playstyle, but it will for sure make it less dominant.

Note: To the discussion that counterfeit-coin will have a higher impact on its deck than Innervate due to combos, auctioneers and whatnot: Counterfeit Coin is a rotating card from an expansion, Innervate is an Eternal card from the basic set. That alone is enough explanation for them to have a different scope of utility despite being similar.

Dev Insight

I believe this was the easiest change to be done. According to the Developer’s note on the nerf, they tested quite a lot of different interactions but they usually had too much text and felt weird in general.

While testing makes it better to determine what to do, Innervate is indeed a Basic card, and has no place having a big text. While the explanation for them not wanting to have Basic cards “be too complicated” seems wildly off (they say they don’t want it to be “confusing”), their desire to keep the Basic set…. Basic, is commendable and exactly what I would want them to do to the game. Note that most of these changes they do are aimed at the long term of Hearthstone, so the common player might not understand the change at first.

Fiery War Axe

Fiery War Axe now costs 3 mana instead of 2.

Personal Insight

Fiery War Axe was one of the best removal in the game prior to the nerf, because it had the flexibility of becoming face damage, and because you would pay it in advance and get value out of it turns later.

While I do like the nerf, and once again would have done exactly the same, I realized that the say “there are no Warrior core 2-drop cards after the nerf” (or almost no 2-drop at all in Warrior) only isn’t true because they nerfed execute into a 2-mana card.

Blizzard will have to seriously add a few 2-drop cards to the Warrior core next expansion to keep the class alive after this nerf.

Pro Insight

Fiery War Axe nerf is indeed as big as they’re calling it out to be. With the cost increased not only it renders a former top removal in the game barely-playable, it also makes it so Warrior has nearly nothing to play currently at curve-2.

Surely, armorsmith is a strong 2-drop that Warrior has always had, and Execute costs 2-mana (but you can’t curve it on turn 2), but the lack of efficient Tempo plays on turn 2 will render a class, that has a hero power that literally kills tempo, unplayable. I actually believe that at least until next expansion Warrior will not see any competitive play at all, not even as a Tier-3 deck holder.

Even Pirate Warrior, having nzoths-first-mate (and, therefore, a weapon) will lose enough consistency to be rendered unplayable.

Dev Insight

Now that the Pro Insights are gone I can actually give the Dev team a bone for what they did here. While there will be a massive downgrade in Warrior’s playability, Blizzard had the chance of adding another flexible slot to the Warrior lists by essentially removing Fiery War Axe from the game.

Let’s be honest: As-was Fiery War Axe was going to see play in every Warrior deck until the end of times, and that isn’t something nice for the long-term when it comes to card games.

Also, the same thing said about Innervate applies here: many players have been constantly suggesting elaborated texts that makes more sense and wouldn’t make Fiery War Axe as bad as it became, but honestly the card can easily still be played on Warrior decks, even if just the most Basic decks, and since we’re talking about Basic set here (not just “Classic” set, but the Basic one!) it makes sense for the card to be the most intuitive (least text) possible.

Hex

Now costs 4 mana instead of 3.

Personal Insight

Another card that I’d call “One of the best removal in the game” is Hex. At 3 mana it gets rid of any threat in the entire game for good. No Deathrattle, no Resurrect shenanigans, nothing: Just straight up gone for good.

While I do love Shamans, I have to admit having such a powerful removal in the Basic/Classic set is problematic to the least. Such a card existing makes it so the Developer’s can’t explore the game further by creating fun, new and exciting removal cards for the Shaman class ever.

At 4 mana, Hex gets downgraded to the power level of polymorph, but due to the lack of Fireblast (mage’s hero power) Hex becomes slightly weaker than Polymorph with this change.

Pro Insight

Hex wasn’t even seeing play anyway. Token Shaman wasn’t running it so I don’t think Shaman’s gameplay will suffer because of this change. I understand that having the ability to Tech-in hard removal is always good, but in general Hex was just being used as a Tech for big dudes, and we’ll probably want to run the-black-knight over Hex as a tech in this metagame (as well as the coming metagame, probably).

Therefore, I don’t believe this change will affect Shamans, at least not right now.

Dev Insight

Having room to create different cards is always good. Blizzard mentioned something about not really knowing what Shaman’s weaknesses were, but I honestly don’t think that was a problem in the long term. Shaman is generally seen (in both WoW and Hearthstone) as a “Jack of all trades, master of none” which usually gets replaced by “Master of them all” when it becomes overpowered, but since it is not “overpowered” right now we can just call Thrall that.

In general Shaman was indeed the “Master of Hard Removal”, so they had to nerf Hex just a little bit to keep the class identity intact, but between you and me here, I don’t think they even know that Shaman’s identity is what was just mentioned (despite having a feeling of it), and that the change announced was more intuitive and instinct-based than logical.

Murloc Warleader

Your murlocs now get +2 attack only instead of +2 attack / +1 health.

Personal Insight

No harm will be caused here. Murloc Warleader is still a beast, and this change is likely only happening because Blizzard wants to get rid of weird wild-pyromancer interactions happening very often. I mean, having to respond at least one support-ticket about this every hour or so should be annoying(I am serious about this).

Pro Insight

As mentioned previously, no harm will be caused. The card is still a very potent and powerful 3-drop, and still has a very solid pool of Murlocs being played so it doesn’t become a problem, rockpool-hunter and vilefin-inquisitor are the real Murloc enablers and they were left untouched. In wild the card is also still powerful as the nerf doesn’t break our so beloved anyfin-can-happen combo.

If anything, Murlocs could become less overpowered, but since Druids are getting more nerfed than Murlocs this won’t be a problem.

Dev Insight

Murloc is indeed a Classic tribe, so nerfing it for the sake of design space isn’t a reason for nerfing a card. As much of a joke as the explanation posted on the personal insight looks like, I actually believe it had a strong say in this nerf.

All in all, this change makes Murlocs less overpowered but only just slightly, which should be enough to make sure Murlocs won’t be the kings after the Druid’s nerfs go live.

Spreading Plague

Now costs 6 mana instead of 5 mana.

Personal Insight

This card was just too broken for Druid. Blizzard likes keeping Class identities intact when they release cards, sometimes trying to make up for the class’ weaknesses with a set-card here and there, but nothing came so close to Spreading Plague before. A card that completely fix a Class’ weakness and actually turns it into a strength is just too game breaking and had to go.

I actually believe that the power of this card isn’t even it in being Overpowered, but actually in it turning a class’ weakness into a strength, and that haven’t changed.

Pro Insight

I have a strong feeling players will start testing this card once again as a 1-of, but will eventually go back to playing 2 of those because as mentioned: it turns a weakness of a class into a strength, so the mana cost isn’t really what makes the card so powerful, it just made the card completely broken.

So, I have a strong belief that the card will not only still be playable, but that it will end up still being played as a 2-of and will still be a problem, not because it is overpowered, but because it is in the class that wants it the most.

Dev Insight

The nerf makes sense: The developers probably see this card as too powerful on-curve, so they heightened the curve to see if it fixes itself. (that is also the reason why the Scarabs didn’t just go 1/4 instead).

In my opinion this was a “miss”. Because of the reasons mentioned previously, the card will still be a very powerful meta-changing card for the rest of its existence as long as it doesn’t get changed again, so despite the developers not wanting to render the card useless with a nerf, they might be making it so they’ll be called upon to make another change in the foreseeable future.

Not-Nerfing Ultimate Infestation

So they didn’t nerf UI, and I actually agree with them.

10-mana cards should be powerful, and 10-mana rotating cards should feel powerful enough. This card isn’t a Yogg: You can expect it. It is indeed a very powerful one, but no 10-mana card has been played before without the objective of being a finisher, and this card is just different than what we have seen before.

Blizzard also mentioned it wasn’t one of the problematic cards at their data, but I have to admit they were a little bit naive on the data itself since players will always be mulliganing for Ramps and Innervates instead of for 10-mana cards (therefore, winning less games with it than they do when they draw Innervate).

Closing

So this article turned out being a lot bigger than I expected, but I guess it is fine, I almost got a hand-ache because of this though.

Writing this was fun regardless of how tired I got, because it allows me to give different insights and let you, my beloved reader, get the point of view of not only the player, but also the developer.

I hope you guys enjoyed this article, and I would very much want to hear your opinions on the matter!

Let me know everything in the comments section below!

Love you guys,

Nuba

Hearthstone

Top Legend Decks – That aren’t Druid!


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Introduction

It feels weird writing about Hearthstone when everyone just can’t stop talking about Druid overdominance.

Today I come with some alternative cool lists for you to try before jumping into the Druid bandwagon just like everyone one of your friends has already done.

Every list posted in this article were featured in the top 20 Legend in the past few days!

The Metagame

Before we start talking about the decks I wanted to have a brief discussion about what is going on in the metagame right now.

Basically, the decks are evolving in a much slower pace than they have ever since classic, I honestly did not expect to see such a slow evolve when it comes to deck building.

While I have a few theories about this, the most accepted to be true is the one that says the big names, those that make the deck lists we always copy, aren’t worrying too much about anything other than Druid, but honestly I believe there is something else going on here.

First things first, it took players too long to figure out they didn’t need to add the-lich-king to every single one of their decks, maybe the memes are finally catching up to reality but people just insist on doing things like adding The Lich King to their Tempo Mage, Midrange Paladin, Face Hunter and even Pirate Warrior decks more often than my brain can accept. We discussed this one article ago, that people would do something like this, I just didn’t expect it to take so long for people to realize how unsmart that was.

With that said, the decks are evolving and real good cards are being finally looked upon: cards like bonemare are starting to show up in decks more often than before and I expect such things to keep on going.

Keleseth Discard Zoo

And the real decks start to show up in the metagame.

When howlfiend was revealed people gave it the shits, saying how unplayable the card was simply because it was supposed to discard your entire hand upon played, but we knew better, didn’t we?

When we called the card a sleeper it was obvious that it was done so because something like this possible of happening, and boy it did! Top 2 Legend Zoolock!

Another card that powered up aggressive decks quite a bit was price-keleseth, for all the reasons we have previously discussed in the previous articles the card is simply a master engine for Aggressive decks. Another huge pump to the Price Keleseth power was acherus-veteran, that is both a super powerful 1-drop as well as Neutral, so these guys are basically best buddies and you’re likely to see them holding hands until the very day of their rotation.

While I don’t think this is the final version we’ll see of Zoo, it is indeed a good starting build to climb the ladder with!

Conjurer Tempo Mage

Another card that was completely looked down during the reviews but that we called out as one of the expansion’s sleeper was ghastly-conjurer.

The card itself is nothing flashy, but it does so much for a single card, while being straight on the spots that were weak on Tempo Mage previously to its addition, the card kind of fits perfectly into Tempo Mage while making it a much better positioned deck in the metagame than people are giving it credit for.

In between coins and one-mana spells, archmage-antonidas becomes once again a powerhouse that is bound to instantly close games that were supposed to get grindy within the next few turns.

Another important thing to note is how the secrets should always target the metagame, in this meta’s case the counterspell and mana-bind are my favorite choices, because of how powerful the spells being played currently are.

I consider swapping the spellbender for a second Mana Bind, but honestly Paladin is still a powerful enough threat to leave that as just a consideration.

Corpsetaker Midrange Paladin

Bonemare is such a strong curve card. And what deck wants to win by curving out perfectly more than Midrange Paladin?

While the overall deck based didn’t change a lot with Knights of the Frozen Throne, it did gained quite a few new tools and changed some others to fit it better.

Despite looking so well rounded-up, however, I don’t think this is even close to the optimal final version of Midrange Paladin that we’ll be seeing in the next weeks. This mostly happens because I still think there is room for cards like the-curator to be worked on freely, same goes for adding other possible aggressive cards like cobalt-scalebane and the room for innovation is just there, and whenever there is room for innovation we usually see better stuff showing up later. I also miss primordial-drake quite a lot.

With all that said, Midrange Paladin is still a very powerful and consistent deck that can be played on the ladder without the fear of losing to Jade Druid.

Scourgelord Tempo Warrior

I really really want to play this deck, it fits perfectly into the strategy I have enjoyed playing the most lately.

The early game of Tempo Warrior is basically the same of the Control Warrior we all know and love, but differently from all the previous Control Warrior decks this one aims to win the game with simple-but-effective threats that are likely to give your opponent quite the headache to deal with.

What I like the most about this deck is that it aims on making multiple plays in a turn, always having room to deal with different states while maintaining pressure. The fact Bonemare can turn seemingless minions like armorsmith and acolyte-of-pain into powerful and scary threats is just another reason for me to want to play this deck.

With all that said, I don’t think this deck is playable without scourgelord-garrosh, not only because of the sheer amount of pressure it alleviates, but also because the constant Whirlwind effects on the board are super welcome in this deck and mostly wanted in order for a late-game race mechanic.

Conclusion

Druid is not the only option to beat the Ladder, and every single one of the decks posted today reached very high ranks on the Ladder, at least enough to prove how powerful they are.

A protip for those expecting a Control meta in case the Druid nerf comes: Don’t.

What do you guys think of the deck lists posted in this article? Have you personally tested any? Do you want to play any of the lists posted here?

Let me know everything in the comments!

As always, love you guys, we’ll see each other again next article!

Nuba

Hearthstone

5 Brews to Play at Launch! Druid, Paladin, Priest and Warlock!

Introduction

With all the reveals, reviews and discussions, people are eager to start experimenting on Knights of the Frozen Throne cards as soon as they hit, but while there are tons of cards we really want to experiment, sometimes finding a playable home to experiment and playtest those cards end up being harder than it looks.

Same goes even when you’re simply trying to fish some easy wins out of the inexperienced players building all those clunky decks: Building the right aggro deck to munch of all those bad Control decks can sometimes be a challenge, especially on an expansion such as this one where are seems to be just so many untested tools even for Aggro.

Today’s article is for you, looking for decklists to playtest some of the most promising cards in Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, regardless of what you’re looking to do!

Prince Keleseth Decks

Aggro Paladin is the obvious deck we’ll be testing with Knights of the Frozen Throne, but not so obvious in a sense that it spots cards that I really think have potential to break the metagame but haven’t been discussed as much as cards I personally consider to be way overrated, and that one card is: prince-keleseth.

The Prince is a card that I have talked about a little on my reviews and only touched it recently saying I have a belief that it is underrated but I didn’t quite go too deep there because back at the time I wasn’t really trying to brew decks as I was later on.

The fun fact is, Prince Keleseth has the potential to do what few cards have done in Hearthstone: Break the meta.

As a 2-mana card, it is not hard to spot it on 1-drop filled Aggro decks such as Paladin or Zoo, and the effect of turning 1-drops into something potentially higher than a 2-mana card without even lowering the mana cost of the cards, despite not being something that seems to be that tempo-oriented, causing some sort of problem for deck building, it indeed is an effect that can be completely or partially nullified by effects that abuse card draw, and guess what? Both Zoo and Aggro Paladins do have effects that abuse card draw, such as divine-favor, small-time-recruits and the Warlock hero power, Life Tap.

With that said, I only recently came to realize how well rounded up those decks were, and how capable of completely obliterating the metagame during the first few days they are, so if you ask me for decks that can give you high profit those are the two ones I would recommend you playing.

Playtesting the Big Guy

the-lich-king was a card that was revealed in the last stream and since then has been quite turning people’s heads upside down with claims of how powerful it is.

Recently I wrote on an article my take on it, stating that I believe it is a completely overrated card because I am sure it just can’t see play in every single deck there is, and because it is simply just another finisher in a world full of “good finishers”.

With all that said, it is still a pretty damn good card and people will still win games with it by having it snowball out of Control after exhausting the opponent out of threats in Control matchups, despite me not believing this will be the same very often. Following the “rating” articles I made, I’d rate The Lich King as a well rounded up 3/5 card.

With that said, there are still ways to completely abuse its ability without actually playing it that often, and that is: barnes and yshaarj-rage-unbound.

After some pretty long tinkering I came up with the deck I am now presenting to you guys, which seems like a rounded up well balanced take on what a Control Playtesting starting point should be in Day-1 of KTF.

The reason why I believe this has a much bigger chance of succeeding over the clunky and heavy builds people will be making is that this has some sort of “Combo” feeling into it, which can easily steal a few matchups here and there even against Aggro decks, while still maintaining all the powerful anti-aggro tools of traditional Control Priest and the ability to easily play the long-term Control vs Control matchup in case you end up stumbling upon (and you will, trust me) those clunky Control decks.

The Safe Approach in Playtesting

And while many people are interested in either having fun by playing those big Control decks, or possibly streaking wins, there is always the safe route of playing an already well-known MIdrange deck to be powerful with a few additions from the last expansion that, at least in first sight, makes complete sense and feel like obvious additions.

With that said, I made quite a few changes to Midrange Paladin to make it the deck you guys now see, to a point that we’re sure the deck will work, just not much sure on how better it will end up being than the traditional builds.

corpsetaker seems like an obvious addition to Paladin Midrange since it already runs wickerflame-burnbristle and tirion-fordring, and just the Taunt+Divine shield is already enough to make it a powerful 4-drop, and the chance of it having Lifesteal is just the ice in the cake.

Meanwhile, bonemare seems like quite the powerful Tempo play if played into the snowballs, so it feels natural to add one or two into the playtesting list.

Beating all the Control

Going deeper into safeness, Jade Druid quite seems to be on the spot for the metagame we’ll be facing in the first few days: With the addition of malfurion-the-pestilent the deck can now consistently Armor up! +3 every turn, and it doesn’t matter how powerful and how many late-game threats your Control deck has, you will not be beating a Jade Druid on the late game that is gaining 3 Armor every turn. I know, people talked about skulking-geist but the card has been discussed already and is highly likely to not see any play.

In addition, we have ultimate-infestation that adds the next level of consistency to the already powerful Jade Druid, now you don’t need auctioneer or clunky combo-ish cards that don’t do anything on their own as you have a card that does everything all these cards want to do, in addition to being what Druid really lacks: A removal. Ultimate Infestation fits perfectly into Jade Druid, makes it a lot more consistent and on top of it all it is indeed something you want to Ramp into – Jade Druid players might be familiar with spamming Ramps and then being stuck with a clunky hand, well no more!

Closing

And these are pretty much the lists I will be playtesting right after KTF is out, obviously after I get to defeat The Lich King with every class so I can earn my Arthas Hero Skin 🙂

So many decks, so many delightful possibilities!

So what do you guys think of the deck lists I made? Is there any other deck you’ll be playtesting right off the bat when KTF lands? Which ones? What were your playtesting results?

Let me know everything and anything else you have to say in the comments, I will be eagerly awaiting your comments!

Love you guys,

Nuba

Hearthstone