I know that you don’t come here for the latest breaking news in games. Also realize that this article won’t change that. 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. 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. 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. I didn’t know what to think because Hearthstone players have been screaming for a nerf of that card since it was released.
Initially, I thought it was a joke and laughed accordingly. But, something nagged at me, so I went in search of an article that I didn’t even think existed. I typed “Hearthstone Nerfs” into Google and expected to only find articles from the past. Much to my surprise, an article written that day was the top search result, so I followed the link. Apparently, Blizzard finally got around to nerfing the card right as it was on the cusp of rotating to Wild. More on that later.
I texted Chris about it, but then we got to talking about something else. 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. It’s not that I don’t agree with the nerfs. It’s just…warlock right now. Jeeze. How could they not do anything about Warlock? I know that they want the players to use the tools available to them to figure out the meta, but c’mon. When they nerf one of those tools, what are players supposed to do? More on that later.
Patches the Pirate
This is the big one. As I said earlier, this is the one that players have been talking about since before the card was released. It thins your deck, gets played automatically most of the time, and has an immediate board impact. There was a time when players were running pirates in their deck just for this card. It was absurd. 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. Sometimes I will just concede if I see a warrior or rogue because I know that they are probably pirates. Rogue also has the mill archetype. They are both just such triggers for me. 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. I was afraid that it would just be a dumping ground for past standard cards and they’d never even think about it again. I like wild because I like the eternal formats, so I play it almost exclusively. 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. According to Blizzard, though, that wasn’t the main reason. Actually, come to think about it, their statement makes it sound like that wasn’t even a consideration.
I find that strange. They’ve nerfed cards in the past to prevent one turn kills and the Razakus combo is exactly that. 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. 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. There needs to be room for new and interesting decks that are constantly evolving due to new cards rotating into the format. It doesn’t need to be a stagnant swamp of durdle deck against durdle deck that makes you want to throw yourself off a cliff. 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. 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. 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.
0 mana 5/5? What could go wrong? This card is crazy stupid in a game that encourages minion trading. At least with the giants, you can get them to 0 mana, but it takes some skill and strategy. This thing, you just throw your little guys into the other guy’s little guys and play him for free. Good riddance. 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. It has a powerful effect and delaying that effect for one turn might make it unplayable. 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. I think this card might be in the first category instead of the second. It’s still a decent late game card in arena and maybe even in constructed control decks. I have no idea and I’m honestly not all that concerned if it isn’t. 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.
While I ultimately agreed with Chris and all of the nerfs hit the spot, I’m a bit concerned about what Warlock will become. I like to watch streams because I’m terrible at the game, but I do enjoy the interaction. 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. I’m sure that streamers and pro players will find that counter and hopefully they do soon. Because during the aforementioned Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman meta, I watched less and less Hearthstone. Maybe that’s a good thing.