It’s no news that SN1P-SN4P Warlock is currently the strongest deck in the Wild format, and possibly one of the most powerful decks to ever existed in Wild. In terms of oppressiveness, the deck is comparable to some of the top decks in the most imbalanced meta in the game like Midrange Shaman or Standard Jade Druid. It’s achieved a perfect score of 100 in Vicious Syndicate’s power ranking, a score that’s only been achieved by the craziest decks that’s ever graced Standard like Razakus Priest, Odd Paladin and Lackey Rogue, as well as being the first ever deck in Wild since the inception of Wild Vicious Syndicate report to achieve this feat.
Apparently, some players are so frustrated with the decks that they brought up several arguments against it. It’s common to see people complain about a deck when it starts becoming oppressive, but this time, it seems that their reasoning are more than justified.
So what’s so crazy about SN1P-SN4P Warlock? There are several reasons for this, and I’ll go through them one by one.
- Fine balance & ridiculous chemistry: SN1P-SN4P Warlock only realistically needs 3 cards for an infinite combo: SN1P-SN4P, Mechwarper and Summoning Portal. This leaves room for a plethora of defensive options, stalling and board clears for the deck to reach the point it can finish the game, not to mention the Warlock’s hero power. Defile and Plague of Flames are some of the strongest and most efficient removals in the game; those two together are capable of removing both small tokens and big minions. The Soularium is an extremely powerful card draw, while other draw tokens like Thalnos and Loot Hoarder have synergy with both of SN1P-SN4P’s boardclears. Not to mention all the mechs, from sticky ones (Mecharoo) to infinite healing (Glinda + Zilliax). Let’s just say the whole deck synergies with each other, and every single card is capable of swinging the game.
- Unstoppable combo: Similar to SN1P-SN4P Warlock, there are decks that feel nearly unstoppable when they can execute their combo before (see Star Aligner Druid and Naga Warlock). However, SN1P-SN4P Warlock seem superior to the vast majority of these decks based on these reasons. Firstly, it’s almost impossible to disrupt a SN1P-SN4P Warlock using traditional anti-combo cards like Loatheb and Dirty Rat. SN1P-SN4P’s combo requires 0 spells, and there are way too many small minions in SN1P-SN4P to disrupt their combo with random minion pulls. The more reliable way is to use secrets like Explosive Trap and Potion of Polymorph, but even they can be easily tested with many of the Warlock’s cheap minions. Also, it requires fewer combo pieces. Naga Warlock needed to keep many giants, while Aligner Druid needs 5 combo pieces. Razakus Priest was really similar, and it was really powerful because it didn’t really have a true counter. However, SN1P-SN4P is even more powerful than Razakus because its combo can get on board from as early as Turn 5. The board that SN1P-SN4P generates are usually so huge that there are few ways it can be dealt with (Poison Seeds, Mass Dispel). This gives most decks no chance to assemble their counter cards.
- Consistency: Access to draws give SN1P-SN4P so many ways to get to their combo early. Furthermore, the deck doesn’t only have one combo. It has a secondary combo in Glinda Crowskin + Zilliax, and an additional combo in Mecha’thun + Plague of Flames (optional) should things go South. It’s hard for any deck to deal with that many win conditions, each one of them requires immediate answers.
Decks like SN1P-SN4P Warlock have historically been bad for the health of the game, and for good reasons. It leads to very stale meta-games where other decks desperately try to beat them; it’s even more miserable when there isn’t a tech card or a specific playstyle that can extinguish the deck completely (see Standard pre-nerf Jade Druid). It’s a matter of time before the deck is nerfed to the ground. Given Blizzard’s history of over-nerfing decks, I want to give some suggestions of nerfs that will weaken the deck, but will keep it around as a powerful force in the Wild metagame.
This is the nerf that is most likely to happen. Summoning Portal is a Classic card, and nerfing Classic cards seem to be Blizzard’s vision of balancing the core set and the game going forward. Also, it’s a Common card, so nerfing it won’t give players back too much Dust. If the Portal is changed to 6 mana, the SN1P-SN4P player will need to survive until at least turn 7 to execute its combo, giving aggro decks the chance to burst them down in time, and control decks the time to find their counter cards.
Mechwarper nerf is also nice for a few reasons: it only affects Wild and it solves several problem with Mech as an archetype. Mechwarper has always been a problematic card; it enables so much mana cheat and so many early combo before opponents have the chance to react. Nerfing Mechwarper to 3 mana won’t disrupt the original Summoning Portal combo, but it kills the secondary Glinda + 5 Mechwarper + Zilliax combo, which is another way for SN1P-SN4P to win the game.
However, Mechwarper also enables many strong Aggro decks in Wild, namely Handbuff Paladin and Mech Hunter. Nerfing Mechwarper might mean that these decks will disappear, and it will reduce the diversity of the format.
SN1P-SN4P is a terribly designed card. Its cheap cost, Magnetic and Echo keywords make it so easy to abuse. The simple nerf to SN1P-SN4P would be to bump its cost up to 4 mana. This means that with Summoning Portal, the SN1P-SN4P player will need both Mechwarper to be able to execute its combo. This is actually the biggest impact nerf to the combo, since using both Mechwarper would mean more draws needed, the original combo comes down a turn later, and Glinda secondary combo is neutralized.
The problem with nerfing SN1P-SN4p is that the card is still in Standard. Blizzard might want to keep Standard as is, and it’s very likely that if changes in Wild are going to affect Standard, it’s probably not worth it from Blizzard’s point of view.
Defile + Plague of Flames
There’s a reason why Warlocks have been so strong in Wild for the past two years. These two board clears are huge offenders that contribute to the oppressiveness of many Warlock decks in the meta currently. Nerfing the duo will not only decrease SN1P-SN4P defensive capabilities, but also of other Warlock decks, solving potential problems with Warlock as a class in the future.
More Combo Disruption
This is the idea that I want to advocate the most. I think that the issue with Hearthstone isn’t combo decks, it’s the lack of ways to interact with your opponents combo.
Hearthstone has a big problem dealing with combo decks. The nature of the game allows for the player to seize initiative in their turns with limited counterplay, and one of the only ways to disrupt combo has been to randomly interact with a card in your opponent’s hand, which is oftentimes ineffective and relies too much on RNG. Other cards such as Neru’bar Weblord or Mana Wraith have too weak of a stat, they can’t really stick on board, or is too high-costed like Unseen Saboteur. Printing new anti-combo cards with cheap cost and decent stats might be a way to deal with SN1P-SN4P Warlock. I think the better way to print combo disruptors is to print them as class cards, giving certain classes the ability to counter certain classes. Here are a few examples (these cards might not be very well statted or might be too low costed, but I’m sure the ideas can be picked up somewhere in the future) :
What’s your proposal to the problem at hand with SN1P-SN4P Warlock? Let me know what you think in the comments!
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