Hearthstone metagame has been stagnant for the past 4 months or so. Nothing new happened and basically the same decks kept being played over and over again, but this will (hopefully) change with The Grand Tournament (TGT).
Today’s article is not going to be talking about card analysis. (Check out Camzeee’s posts for those) No, today we are going a lot deeper in the expansion analysis to be able to tell, just by looking at the cards spoiled so far, what will happen to Hearthstone as a card game in the next couple of months.
Note that in order to read this article you better take a look at the cards that were spoiled first, otherwise you might be lost!
[toc]A quick say on Today’s Metagame[/toc]
Today’s metagame is a lot different from the ones of the previous expansions: There has been no changes at all since the start, it has always been the same dominant decks.
The strongest cards in constructed, not counting [card]mad-scientist[/card], are the ones with the most absurd randomness involved in them: [card]piloted-shredder[/card], [card]dr-boom[/card] and such. These cards can randomly win you games because of the randomness they imply and their raw power*. But playing with randomness isn’t always fun – at least not when you are trying to consistently win games – and that is where the strongest decks in the game (currently) come in: Hunter, Patron Warrior and Handlock are all Tier-1 decks in the game and neither of them use (or have to use) these “random” cards.
The fact that you avoid randomness makes it so your deck stays highly consistent, and that is what makes such Tier-1 decks stronger than other decks, and also what makes the metagame so stagnant.
*It is, for example, impossible to create a RNG-less card that is stronger than Piloted Shredder without raising the curve power as a whole, because they literally gave the card an extra power (the card itself is as strong as 5-drops simply because it has randomness implied on it as a form of “downside”)
There are many problems with today’s metagame, let us try to name a few:
- The inability to interact with combos.
- Getting rushed down without being able to respond.
- Cards with randomness being far superior than cards without them.
The never-ending Hearthstone Combo problem… Blizzard wanted Patron to happen, but they probably just didn’t know how strong that would’ve been. I currently see no way of fixing such problem, but then again I do not think that this problem is something that people should be worried too much about, because as long as power creep (the strongest cards in the game) level keeps getting raised and the level of such combos don’t, we will be seeing less and less Patron Combo in the game.
The second problem can easily be fixed by adding better (and more consistent/less situational) responses for early game aggression that somehow scale decently to the late game, however this hasn’t been done so far.
The last 2 problems is something I am sure Blizzard does not care in solving right now. Seeing how spoiled cards are being treated, I do not believe that we will be seeing consistent cards better than random ones this expansion. Therefore, as far as spoilers go, you should not believe that dominant archetypes will stop being dominant since the root of the problem is the randomness implied in the stronger cards.
[toc]Expectations: Game’s Speed[/toc]
A lot of cards have been shown to us so far with this expansion, most of them clearly show us how Blizzard wants the game to slow down and get more consistent(*). However, as said before, the solution to deal with fast decks has not been shown to us, rather we were just shown a bunch of cards with effects that gets exponentially better as time pases.
Running cards like these, however, just makes it so decks like Face Hunter becomes even better, since the defending player won’t have time to generate value from these cards and/or they will most likely be dead by then.
Expect the so-called “rush” decks to continue being a thing in the metagame post TGT if no real response gets presented to the player base.
(*) all the Inspire cards are cards meant to be slower than already existing cards, but with lasting effects that get exponentially better the more the time passes and the longer they stay in play. See: [card]thunder-bluff-valiant[/card], [card]nexus-champion-saraad[/card] and [card]kodorider[/card] as examples.
[toc]Expectations: Thematic Decks[/toc]
No, I do not believe this expansion brings any new thematic decks with it. I believe “inspire” to be more like a backup strategy than a full theme.
Do not expect any “inspire” decks to show up, rather you should look for already existing strategies to get either better or worse with this expansion.
PS: Just to clarify here, your strategy gets “worse” whenever other strategies gets better and yours doesn’t.
Transforming the worst class in the game into something playable seems to be one of this expansion’s main focuses so far, and in this matter I believe that they are somehow succeeding.
Most of the Shaman class cards presented us until this very moment are very interesting, and I believe that Shaman might become playable once again after TGT hits.
However, I do not believe that the class will go up to some level that we are able to call “overpowered”. Shaman, right now, is in such a state that the class is literally much worse than any other class in the game, and adding strong tools to it won’t do anything more than just making it “playable”.
In case you are wondering, the “very strong” Shaman cards we are talking about are: [card]thunder-bluff-valiant[/card], [card]totem-golem[/card] and [card]tuskarr-totemic[/card].
[toc]Expectations: Hopes and Dreams[/toc]
A bunch of slow cards are being added to the game, but we are not even halfway through all the spoilers, so I won’t just go ahead and scream it out loud that the metagame won’t slow down: it definitely can.
As far as expectations go, I want to believe that we will somehow have a slower and more consistent metagame with powerful mid-range cards that scale well in the late game (Inspire cards are the best example) and better early game defenses overall. Yes, I know we haven’t seen much of this but since this seems to be Blizzard’s main focus, one can only hope!
Dreams aside, expect Tier-1 strategies not to get buffed, because it is very likely that they won’t. Also expect Tiers 2 and 3 classes (everything else that is not Tier 1 and Shaman) to get slightly buffed, while expecting Shamans to get a big buff as discussed before, but to be at best a Tier-2 class.
What makes me happy about this whole TGT thing is that most of the Midrange cards presented so far are cards that get exponentially better as time passes, which means you’ll both be dropping a end-game threat on the board as well as have extra mana to cast possible responses to whatever the opponent drops on the board, making the game more thought-oriented rather than strategy-oriented, and that is something I look forward to seeing.
And these are my expectations towards TGT so far!
We are still very far from seeing all the cards, and a lot of the information posted here can change, but overall this is what I can say about the expansion, judging by the cards we have seen so far.
Oh, yes, I was on vacation, and that is why you guys haven’t seen or heard anything from me the past month. Hopefully we will have a lot of deckbuilding to do once TGT hits, so expect to see more articles from Nuba next month 😀
Love you guys, its good to be back!
PS: My favorite card spoiled so far? [card]justicar-trueheart[/card] 😀