Tag Archives: Blizzard

Hearthstone Road Trip: Destination Witchwood

Introduction

It’s that time of year again. Blizzard has released a new expansion for Hearthstone. I did a quick preview of the set about a month ago when it was announced. Before that, I wrote a bit about the new things that we could expect with the new season. You don’t have to read either of those to understand what’s going on in this article, but it would be great if you did!

One of the rumors about the new set was that it would take place in Duskwood. I said at the time that I didn’t exactly get a Duskwood vibe from the design of the set teaser and that has proven true. However, I do give you some credit, internet. You did get the woods part right. Just the wrong bunch of trees. Also, whoever first posited that the “Year of the Raven” was going to involve dark and spooky themes, I say “Kudos to you!”

And a hearty high five on top!

I already talked about the new mechanics in my previous article. Echo is fun, but so far I don’t think there’s anything that is truly broken (yet, more on that later). Rush is much preferred to charge as that mechanic will hopefully become Wild only over time. Granted, there are classic cards with charge on them, but good old Blizzard could just send them to the Hall of Fame or easily change the wording on the cards. Even and Odd decks are cute and I think there might be something to Odd quest warrior. In addition, odd paladin makes that class even more annoying to play against. But, that’s not really our thing here, so on to what we do best. Playing games and having fun.

The Cards

Neutral

This isn’t necessarily a keyword, so it wasn’t covered in the preview. It also came as a bit of a surprise when I saw it as I hadn’t been watching the spoilers for this set very closely. But, I like the mechanic of this card. It isn’t the only one that swaps attack and health each turn that it is in your hand. It is just the one that I have seen used and used myself most effectively. It’s relatively cheap and can remove big stuff right away if it is in 6/2 mode. All in all, an interesting addition to the game.

Honorable Mention

A 3-mana removal spell in this meta? Only bad thing is that if you aren’t able to target it (with hero power or other cheap spell), the opponent can silence it. Still, playing it just to frustrate your opponent and make them check the history to see what was just played against them makes it all worth it.

Druid

Naturally, this card makes me think of Twilight Drake. For one more mana, it has taunt. Both of those points are relevant. As soon as I saw this card and a few of the other new cards, I started thinking about a druid odd taunt deck. I’ve heard rumblings about such a deck existing, but I have no idea if it is actually any good. Then again, I’ve never cared too much about winning. I just want to have fun with the game.

Honorable Mention

She’s five mana and can be played in my Odd Taunt Druid deck that I’m trying to make happen. Also, and this isn’t relevant to that deck. But,A� if you can get her to stick, you could play Ultimate Infestation, then Kun, and then another Ultimate Infestation all in one turn. I don’t know how practical that is, but it sure would be fun to watch.

Hunter

This is the kind of card that I love. On first look, it looks great. Upon further inspection, it looks pretty terrible. Upon even further inspection, it settles into a decent situational card. You can use it to make an army of 4/4 minions with rush or even charge. You can use it to attempt to blow your opponent out of the water with a whole bunch of 9/8 lions that leave 2/2 hyenas in their wake (if they ever die). It’s just a potentially wacky card.

Honorable Mention

I know what you’re thinking. That’s a terrible card. And you’re right. It is an awful card. But, look at that! A 6/6 rat?! That thing’s huge!

Mage

I am bit biased towards this card because it is the gift legendary that I’ve gotten on two of my accounts so far. Moreover, I’ve been able to play it a few times. Once I got Aya Blackpaw and another time I got Stalagg (or was it Fuegen?). Stay tuned for more! I could steal this card with Rogue, play it, Shadowstep it, play it again, and get both of them for the meme Thaddius dream.

Honorable Mention

Similar to a few other cards on the list, this one invokes feelings of another card. It’s a slightly worse improvement on arcane missiles. However, in a meta where everyone is playing 1 and 2 mana cards with only 1 or 2 health, throwing around one mana fireballs seems like a decent thing to be doing.

Paladin

A card that makes Quest Paladin viable! Not really, but I did see someone on low level ranked playing the deck and it ran all over my pile of Mage cards that I’ve been using to try to finish the quest. I have packs upon packs of standard legal cards, but I’m trying to save them to open them for a YouTube video. See, guys I do care. As far as this card, this isn’t an example of a broken Echo card, but it does come pretty close.

Honorable Mention

Hearthstone has bulk rares, too! Just like their big brother Magic the Gathering. The difference here is that you get useful dust from the card in addition to the hollow empty feeling of what the card might have been after opening it from a pack.

Priest

In addition to the earlier “that’s busted, wait that’s terrible, no actually that’s a decent situationally” card that I mentioned above, this is my other favorite type of card. It’s a card that does new things that we’re not used to in the game. Like the other type of card, it might just be terrible. Then again, it just might be brilliant and it hasn’t found where it wants to be yet. I can’t wait to find out.

Honorable Mention

This was a toss up between Squashling (but I didn’t want to mention two Echo cards back to back like this), Quartz Elemental (which could be fun in an Inner Fire deck, but ultimately isn’t all that interesting), and this card. Other than those reasons above, I chose this card because I like the Priest theme of using your opponent’s cards against them. Sure, rogue has those cards, too, but rogues are thieves on the outside. This confirms my suspicions that any priest in any fantasy setting is secretly a thief.

Rogue

Not a good card, but it is a Legendary minion that you can play multiple times in a turn (at least 3 on turn 10 and maybe more given coins), and it gives you a body and a card every time. Hearthstone understands that if they can’t give us great cards every time, at least they can give us fun cards.

Honorable Mention

This was a tough one and for the opposite reason of the priest honorable mention section. That one had too many good cards to choose. Rogue got some really awful cards in this expansion. I suppose that’s to be expected since they got Kingsbane last time and that card bordered on completely busted. As far as Tess goes, she doesn’t make Thief Rogue viable, but she does make it fun, in that unnerving Yogg kind of way that we all love.

Shaman

In Knights of the Frozen Throne, we got new hero cards for all of the classes. This hearkened back to the old WoW TCG where you got to choose your hero for your deck. This time, we just get poor old Hagatha. She’s got a decent battlecry, and a passive battlecry (which is always cool), but it pales in comparison to Valeera’s DK power. I choose cards because they are unique, not because they’re good.

Honorable Mention

What if they had made this 1 mana and given it Echo? Would it have been the broken Echo card that I know is coming sooner or later? I don’t think so, but we are definitely getting closer to it. What if it is still the exact same, but with Echo? That’s pretty broken, but you do potentially sacrifice your next turn for it. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Warlock

A 7 mana almost guaranteed board clear and you get a 4/4 minion out of it, too? I don’t usually pick good cards (and I might not have here), but this card seems crazy to me. This card is almost guaranteed not to see play because Cubelock seems pretty stable as a deck right now. So, nobody will ever suspect when I play this card on them. Muahahahahaha!

Honorable Mention

Another echo card that exists only to annoy your opponent? I’m sensing a bit of a theme here. This is kind of a weird card because it feels more like a Priest card than a Warlock card, but I’ll allow it. It’s just such a stupid and fun card that I could see playing two turns in a row against some silly aggro face deck just to prolong their misery.

Warrior

This isn’t a good card. This isn’t even a fun card. I mean, it has rush and that interesting twist of gaining +3 attack on the turn it’s played. This is maybe a decent Arena card. What gives with this pick? Well, that just goes to show you how terribly Warrior was treated with this expansion. If Rogue was awful, Warrior is off the charts terrible.

Honorable Mention

I seriously cannot come up with another Warrior card for honorable mention. This is not me trying to be cute or provocative. The Warrior cards are that bad. If you haven’t seen them yet and don’t believe me, just go look. There’s nothing good, nor interesting, nor fun. It’s just a pile of frightening garbage.

Shudderwock

You may have been surprised to not have seen this card in the Shaman section. It’s a crazy card that does crazy things. Seems like it would be my kind of card and I’d have been able to find some place for it. Well, I did. As with any new Hearthstone expansion, there is a busted card with busted interaction that makes a deck that does ridiculous things. This one is no different.

I had heard rumbling about this deck and how stupid and noninteractive it was. I played against it once and it seemed weird, but not overpowered. Then, I decided to do something that I haven’t ever done. I took all of my dust and I crafted the cards necessary to create the deck. Playing it only once was enough for me to see that it is the special kind of stupid that Hearthstone can be known for. I misplayed the deck and I was still able to win because the card is so silly. It just becomes an almost infinite series of interactions that can’t be countered by the opponent, not even by conceding. I have a feeling that something might be done about this card soon.

The Verdict

There are some decent cards in this set. There are also some possibly fun cards that might inspire me to make a few decks to try out during the season. Other than that, there isn’t much here. Overall, the set is quite disappointing and while it might change the meta a bit and bring back some old deck archetypes, I don’t see there being huge changes overall.

The few streams that I’ve been able to watch this week verify that. Kingsbane Rogue is gone and Druid is more of a taunt variety. However,Cube and Control Warlock still seem to be a big part of the meta along with different varieties of aggro Paladin and I don’t see those going away any time soon.

Some Notes on the Nerfs

Introduction

I know that you don’t come here for the latest breaking news in games.A� Also realize that this article won’t change that.A� I barely have the time right now to post my articles about 30 year old video games and my status as a filthy casual as a Magic the Gathering player.A� I’m not going to even attempt to keep up with all of the current video game news.

However, I did notice a post on the Instagram feed of one of the people that I follow.A� It had a picture of Patches the Pirate from Hearthstone and the tagline “I’m in charge now”, but with the “now” crossed out and “next turn” scrawled above it.A� I didn’t know what to think because Hearthstone players have been screaming for a nerf of that card since it was released.

I mean, seriously, what the hell was Blizzard thinking with this one?

Initially, I thought it was a joke and laughed accordingly.A� But, something nagged at me, so I went in search of an article that I didn’t even think existed.A� I typed “Hearthstone Nerfs” into Google and expected to only find articles from the past.A� Much to my surprise, an article written that day was the top search result, so I followed the link.A� Apparently, Blizzard finally got around to nerfing the card right as it was on the cusp of rotating to Wild.A� More on that later.

I texted Chris about it, but then we got to talking about something else.A� Later in the night, he must have checked out an article about it because he texted me out of the blue “I actually agree with the nerfs” in response to my assertion that maybe Blizzard had gotten it a bit wrong.A� It’s not that I don’t agree with the nerfs.A� It’s just…warlock right now.A� Jeeze.A� How could they not do anything about Warlock?A� I know that they want the players to use the tools available to them to figure out the meta, but c’mon.A� When they nerf one of those tools, what are players supposed to do?A� More on that later.

Patches the Pirate

This is the big one.A� As I said earlier, this is the one that players have been talking about since before the card was released.A� It thins your deck, gets played automatically most of the time, and has an immediate board impact.A� There was a time when players were running pirates in their deck just for this card.A� It was absurd.A� The power level has diminished some in standard due to the proliferation of control and durdle combo decks, but this guy is still all over wild.

It’s gotten to the point where when I see this card in wild, I just concede.A� Sometimes I will just concede if I see a warrior or rogue because I know that they are probably pirates.A� Rogue also has the mill archetype.A� They are both just such triggers for me.A� They are just no fun to play against.

I will say that I’m impressed that Blizzard is at least making an effort to support their eternal format.A� I was afraid that it would just be a dumping ground for past standard cards and they’d never even think about it again.A� I like wild because I like the eternal formats, so I play it almost exclusively.A� Instead of ignoring the format, they actually made a nerf that was at least partially due to their thoughts of how the card could warp in Wild.

Raza the Chained

This is one that has only recently gotten on to people’s radars due to the Priest Razakus combo deck that has taken over Standard.A� According to Blizzard, though, that wasn’t the main reason.A� Actually, come to think about it, their statement makes it sound like that wasn’t even a consideration.

I find that strange.A� They’ve nerfed cards in the past to prevent one turn kills and the Razakus combo is exactly that.A� Then again, it takes some effort to pull off, standard rotates every 3 or 4 months, and the card will eventually meet it’s match.A� Where it again becomes a problem is Wild, where Razakus could rule, potentially forever, squeezing out any creativity and imagination in deck building.

Since Wild gives you all of the cards to build your decks, that’s exactly what it needs to be.A� There needs to be room for new and interesting decks that are constantly evolving due to new cards rotating into the format.A� It doesn’t need to be a stagnant swamp of durdle deck against durdle deck that makesA� you want to throw yourself off a cliff.A� Again, good job thinking of us filthy casual Wild players.

The problem with this one is that Razakus was the only thing keeping Warlock from being a truly dominant force in the Standard meta.A� They may have plans to deal with Warlock in the coming months with some rotation/hall of fame moves, but in the mean time, Warlock is going to be mean.A� This doesn’t affect me much because I never play Standard at any high level, but the streams I watch will become Gul’dan v. Gul’dan, which is troubling.

Corridor Creeper

0 mana 5/5?A� What could go wrong?A� This card is crazy stupid in a game that encourages minion trading.A� At least with the giants, you can get them to 0 mana, but it takes some skill and strategy.A� This thing, you just throw your little guys into the other guy’s little guys and play him for free.A� Good riddance.A� It might still be borderline playable in arena, but the other two picks would have to be pretty bad.

This is the one that I’m least concerned about.A� It has a powerful effect and delaying that effect for one turn might make it unplayable.A� Because, we all know, when Blizzard nerfs a card, they either miss completely and the card just becomes slighly less powerful or they ban hammer it into a deep hole.A� I think this card might be in the first category instead of the second.A� It’s still a decent late game card in arena and maybe even in constructed control decks.A� I have no idea and I’m honestly not all that concerned if it isn’t.A� This card just doesn’t register all that much, but that might be because it is an arena nerf and I don’t play much arena.

The Verdict

While I ultimately agreed with Chris and all of the nerfs hit the spot, I’m a bit concerned about what Warlock will become.A� I like to watch streams because I’m terrible at the game, but I do enjoy the interaction.A� I have no idea when the next expansion is going to hit, but until then it is going to be all Warlock all the time.

It’s going to be like when Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman were all over the place, but as of right now, there isn’t a natural enemy of the Warlock.A� I’m sure that streamers and pro players will find that counter and hopefully they do soon.A� Because during the aforementioned Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman meta, I watched less and less Hearthstone.A� Maybe that’s a good thing.

Hot for HotS?

I stink at League of Legends.A� Unlike other players who

  1. don’t know that they stink (and I’m not sure how they could possibly remain ignorant because the community is too willing to tell you.)
  2. are under the delusion that they can get better (and that may be)
  3. don’t care (this is most likely as I have both heard of and seen LoL trolls in action)

I know that I’m terrible, operate under the impression that I have almost no chance of getting better, and while I don’ t care that I’m bad, I also don’t have the time or energy to troll an entire community.A� League of Legends just seems like one of those games that has been swallowed by the esports scene.A� You either play it to “Go Pro, Bro”, spectate the championships, or don’t care one way or the other.A� I am absolutely fine being in the last camp.

I don’t care about this thing! Now, let me get on the internet and type angrily about how much I don’t care!

So, why did I just spend an entire paragraph and number list talking about how much I don’t care about League of Legends?A� Well, after stinking up the joint in that game, I did what most LoL burnouts do these days, I loaded Blizzards offering into the not-MoBA *wink, wink* genre, Heroes of the Storm.A� As with most of Blizzard’s games these days, it gave players a noob friendly experience that more or less replicates the gameplay of the more established game.A� They call it removing unnecessary elements to make the games more fun.A� I call it stealing, or copyright infringement, at least.

Okay, I’ll ease up on the random Blizzard hate.A� Because, I honestly like Heroes of the Storm.A� Unlike League of Legends, I found a mode in HotS that allows you to play solo with bots to practice strategy.A� As an added bonus, the mode allows for the completion of quests to gain gold and buy more heroes.A� For a hopeless anti-social noob like me, that’s perfect.A� Sure, it gets boring beating the AI all the time and occasionally I will venture into PvP mode.A� It doesn’t last long because my incompetence shows very quickly.A� However, unlike LoL (again), there isn’t a heap of abuse that awaits new or bad players.A� Instead, other players are decent and many more than you’ll ever find in LoL are actually helpful.

Typed League of Legends noob into the Google machine to see if I could get an example of the abuse. This image came up, which I assume is supposed to be insulting. I, however, am such a neophyte to the game that I’m not entirely sure.

Now, why am I digging up ancient history with LoL and HotS?A� I haven’t played either in months and don’t really miss my time in game.A� Well, a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Blizzard was advertising Heroes of the Storm 2.0.A� Instead of making some snarky comment about releasing unfinished beta as a completed game, I will keep an open mind and see what’s the big deal.

Upon logging in, there’s a huge splash screen announcing that they are officially out of beta. A�Er, I mean, they’ve retooled the whole game and are now calling it the 2.0 version! A�Then, you get some of the goodies that await you like player level, 3 (!) different kinds of currency, and two other things that obviously weren’t that impressive that I felt the need to remember them minutes later. A�Oh, and lookie here! A�Loot chests! A�Woo hoo! A�Opening stuff is fun! A�In all seriousness, this feels like the loot chests from Deulyst and contains most of the same kinds of loot like emoji, “spray” (whatever the hell those are), and skins for the heroes. A�All in all, I got some pretty decent stuff, including a legendary skin. A�I will give it to Blizzard. A�They know how to get you on that treadmill.

I always use treadmill, but I suppose that hamster wheel is more appropriate. If you work on a treadmill for long enough, you will start to see results.

The gameplay remains largely untouched, as far as I can see. A�I’m sure they’ve done some “Blizzard balance” ™ on certain heroes and powers, but it still revolves around defeating your enemies, collecting various bonuses depending on the map you play, and killing the opposing base by whatever means necessary. A�You can still play strictly AI games (though I didn’t have the patience to finish out the game and see if they still offer quest completion that way) so that’s a nice way to ease back into things.

Similar to LoL and many other multiplayer games these days, the esports scene has infiltrated HotS and there are competitive games. A�So, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to get into the game as it is intended to be played. A�However, if I’m bored some days and fed up with the other games that I usually play, I might fire it up and play a few games with the bots. A�They are entertaining enough for limited interaction.

And, now, even as I’m writing this, I go exploring and find that they have several modes that are not competitive in nature. A�Quick Match, Unranked, and Brawl are all modes for the filthy casual like me. A�So, I fired up a Brawl match to see what it was all about and I got matched up against a single other player with bots filling in the rest of the team. A�That seems to have been a one time occurrence and the second game was with actual players. A�There wasn’t any of the abuse of League of Legends, we came back to win a very close match, and I actually had fun.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives and I will most likely be trying to rotate Heroes of the Storm into my daily routine. A�One of my Hearthstone accounts might suffer for it, but that’s a risk that I’m willing to take. A�Damn you, Blizzard. A�Just when I think I’m almost out, you pull me right back in.

Not you, though. You stay dead and buried in my shameful, but glorious (no! do not give it power!), past.