For the first time in history, Hearthstone cards are getting a buff! While normally cards would receive a functional reprint that fulfilled the same purpose but better, Hearthstone is using their powers as a digital card game to make buffs happen now in a way that will bring immediate effects to cards that need a little boost for them to hopefully help reshape the meta or bring them up to an appropriate power level. All of these buffs are slight mana or stat adjustments but the implications of some are huge and have made some cards way more playable than they were previously. So let’s review every buff in order of what I think will be least impactful to most impactful.
The following opinions are not based off any decks created after the nerfs have gone live.
Flark’s Boom-Zooka – 7 Mana (From 8)
Flark’s Boom-Zooka, in my opinion, is a card that requires a deck built around it for very little payout. The minions die after the effect ends which means unless the minions have Deathrattle effects then you gain no value. You can only really play the card when you’re behind on board, a place Hunter never wants to be, and because of the deck building implications of having to have big minions to work with it, it’s way too narrow to ever work. The mana cost adjustment isn’t going to make the card better and it definitely won’t see any more play than it is now except in very fringe meme decks.
Dr. Morrigan – 6 Mana (From 8)
As same as Flark’s Boom-Zooka it’s not really the mana cost that is the issue of this card but instead the effect. While I think the card is much more playable in its current state I just can’t justify putting it in a deck. Warlock is in a poor state as it is and Dr. Morrigan doesn’t really work with any great win conditions for the deck to abuse. Unlike Hunter Warlock has great ways of coming back from full board states. In an ideal scenario where you have Dr. Morrigan into Twisting Nether, you can flip a game on its head, but the card just doesn’t have a home in any established archetypes good or bad in a class that’s already seeing no success.
Glowstone Technician 5 Mana – (From 6)
Glowstone Technician is another take on the failed “Handbuff” archetype of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The problem with the archetype is the idea that the deck wants to sacrifice power early in order to create powerful board states later in the game with their buffed up cards. The slight adjustment doesn’t make Glowstone Technician playable at all. A 3/4 on turn 5 is terrible and even with the added ability to buff your hand it really isn’t worth it to lose power on turn 5 in any deck that is midrange which this card would fit into. Turns 4-6 can be very decisive and playing a 3/4 setting up for “better turns” in the future isn’t worth the sacrifice. Handbuff isn’t a mechanic that will be good anytime soon and Glowstone Technician looks to follow that trend. However, in Arena this card definitely got a buff due to Arena being a format where minions are essential in winning a game. However, in standard or wild Glowstone Technician won’t do anything great.
Cloning Device – 1 Mana (From 2)
Cloning Device is one of the many ways to get a random card of some type. The issue with many of these cards is the fact that the cards you get almost never fit with your deck’s game plan. Priest usually requires very specific minions to enact their game plans. Getting a random unknown minion from your opponent in an established deck will hurt your hand with a dead card 90% of the time or more. In Arena the card is better because as I said previously, Arena is a format where minions can win games. However, Cloning Device is too wide of a spectrum of bad cards to hit to warrant running.
Violet Haze – 2 Mana (From 3)
This card sort of falls in the same trap as Cloning Device, but the card has more support it’s just that the archetype itself isn’t really established. Deathrattle Rogue, in theory, has a lot of cards that can fit in its shell, but the deck itself isn’t up to par with competitive deck standards. With its cost decrease, the deck definitely gets better, but the Deathrattles being random again make the card inconsistent in a standard environment. As a one of I could see the card making a Deathrattle package list for Rogue, but the deck is still long from being playable.
The Storm Bringer – 6 Mana (From 7)
OK, this card is cool. However, as we’ve mentioned again and again random is usually bad. However, legendary minions have on average large stat-lines or good Deathrattles/persistent effects. The Storm Bringer can roll high or low on this aspect. The Storm Bringer is only really good if you have a lot of creatures, but if you have no board the card is essentially a dead worthless card in your hand. When it comes to being a win condition Bloodlust just seems like a better card for the strategy you’re going for. With The Storm Bringer you’re looking to go wide on board then turn your minions into big legendary minions to finish off your opponent. With Bloodlust, you can essentially accomplish the same strategy without having to jump through multiple hoops to win.
Luna’s Pocket Galaxy – 5 Mana (From 7)
Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is one of those cards that can be so powerful that many players build entire decks around it. The biggest downside was its cost and its ability only affecting cards in your deck and not your hand. Blizzard has fixed one of these issues, but will the card see play? Khadgar Mage has been using big cost minions to achieve their game plan so it’s possible, however, I wouldn’t see Luna’s Pocket Galaxy creating a deck on its own but instead working with a deck such as this as a possible support card. The issue with building an entire deck around Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is that it’s only a one of and very inconsistent to actually draw. I see Luna’s Pocket Galaxy as possibly showing up as a support card in decks that want to use big minions, but itself making an archetype is still unlikely.
Gloop Sprayer – 7 Mana (From 8)
Gloop Sprayer was intended to be a great tool in a theoretical “Big Druid” type of Deck. We haven’t really seen anything remotely close to that deck even make a ripple in the meta. However, there’s one card that this card can help break that could make the deck good and that card is Lucentbark. Being able to copy Lucentbark means that you can create a very sticky board state that can be recreated constantly by bringing Lucentbark back from being dormant. Other than that Gloop Sprayer has no real place in the meta, but it certainly has potential.
Mulchmuncher – 9 Mana (From 10)
Mulchmuncher as a card is all about getting that sweet sweet cost reduction. With token Druid being more popular Mulchmuncher is a possible conclusion if the deck wants to go more midrange and have some proactive threats. However, the current builds just don’t really have a spot for Mulchmuncher and would rather have cards that create a board state that forces the opponent to deal with. Mulchmuncher is an attempt at a “free card” but there just isn’t room in a deck or enough Treant synergy to worth running it.
Necromechanic – 4 Mana (From 5)
There is some potential with the buff of Necromechanic. One of the most popular Hunter builds has been “Nine Lives” Hunter which has a ton of Deathrattle synergy built into the mech package it has. In this deck, Necromechanic can be used as a value card with your great Deathrattle effects as well as being a must kill threat. With the buff, it has the same stat-line as a previously good Druid card in Fandral Staghelm. Fandral was a great Druid inclusion that had to be answered or Druids got a lot of value out of their next plays. I can see Necromechanic popping up in these decks if they want to be more on a general value plan.
Pogo-Hopper – 1 Mana (From 2)
Pogo-Hopper used to have its own archetype. The archetype was very meme-y, but it could steal games from very slow decks. Is this small buff going to make Pogo-Hopper a viable deck? Actually, with the increase in Control Warrior, I think it’s possible. This makes Pogo-Hopper as a card more flexible against decks such as midrange and aggro which the deck is extremely weak to. It allows you to power out more Pogo-Hoppers if you can and this buff can definitely shore out more match-ups. I think it’s possible with how the meta is shaping out that Pogo-Hopper can become an archetype, but we’ll have to see if it has the support and opportunity to do so.
Beryllium Nullifier – 4/8 Stats (From 3/8)
A buff to Beryllium Nullifier and Security Rover are a hint that Blizzard wants mech Warrior to be a good deck. The idea being to use mech Synergies the class has in Magnetic and Dyn-o-matic to play a midrange style and create threats using the mechs with each other. Beryllium Nullifier is usually the icing on the cake to a good mech giving it the ability to not be targeted and removed easily. With this buff, the deck definitely could see more action, but Control Warrior is a dominant beast as it is and there is unlikely to be much room for a Mech Warrior deck.
Extra Arms – 2 Mana (From 3)
The buff to Extra Arms is great. Making the card cheaper makes it better due to it being a buff spell. The spell is essentially a 4 mana 4/4 to put on a body which is way better than a 6 mana 4/4 it was previously. The stats it gives now makes it a better Blessing of Kings due to it’s flexibility. Setting you up for trades and giving your important minions more survivability. There’s no real home at the moment outside of arena for Extra Arms, but the buffs were definitely necessary to put the card up to par. Can we see a deck like buff Priest or an aggro/midrange variant of Priest? Maybe, but it would need support.
Spirit Bomb – 1 Mana (From 2)
Control Warlock variants have fallen hard after their spellstone was rotated out. They really don’t have any good removal but the adjustment to Spirit Bomb might help. The downside of losing life makes this card hurt a lot when you cast it, but it’s one of Warlocks only good early pieces of removal they currently have available. Hopefully, this can help future Control Variants succeed, but right now even with this buff Control Warlock needs a lot more tools in order to succeed. This buff brings great potential but we’ll have to wait to see what the future holds.
Thunderhead – 3/6 Stats (From 3/5)
Thunderhead has already seen play but his popularity has fallen off as Midrange Shaman decks have fallen off. The card does have a pretty good effect with a requirement that midrange decks can meet pretty well. The small stat change isn’t extremely huge and the deck still needs some pieces, but Thunderhead is an extremely good card when played on turn 4 and the extra survivability is great for the card. Many times when this card is played it’s put down on turn 4 and is a must kill threat especially against aggro decks or ones that require having a board state. With this buff the card is better and all it’s missing, as with many other cards, is a shell for it to fit in. However, since we’ve seen this card before I don’t think creating a midrange shell for the card to fit into would be that hard, but in a very Control Warrior dominant meta, it would be very difficult for midrange shaman to succeed as a deck.
Security Rover – 2/6 Stats (From 2/5)
Security Rover got a small increase to its health which is great because of its ability to create minions whenever it takes damage. Warpath is a very popular card now in Control Warrior archetypes. We’ve seen some play from him as his ability can really shut out an aggro deck if he gets going. I expect to see some play from him in a control shell. The buff gives him more survivability which is important as well as allowing him to be activated more times.
Unexpected Results – 3 Mana (From 4)
The buff to Unexpected Results is huge. The decrease in mana makes it absolutely great. The increased flexibility as well as being (hopefully) 4 mana worth of stats for 3 mana is great. With a little bit of spell damage the card just gets better and it’s easier now with the decreased mana cost increasing flexibility. I expect this to make a Tempo Mage archetype strong as a key card in the package. Tempo Mage has always been one of those decks that always pops up and with a powerful minion generation tool such as this I expect to see more.
Crystology – 1 Mana (From 2)
Crystology is a huge buff. Playing this card on turn 2 previously means you had to take a huge tempo loss for only two one drops. Now, you can do Crystology on turn 1 and have 2 one drops to slam on your second turn of the game. Essentially the card can act as a 1 mana draw 2 which is pretty insane especially if 1 drops are cards you’re searching for. This card can slot pretty well into any aggro or midrange Paladin build that comes around as those decks can rely off 1 drops and use them effectively even into the mid turns of the game.
What do you think of the new buffs? Anything meta breaking that I missed? Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said in the article or feel free to Tweet at me @PentaWatt and as always stay tuned for more TRS Hearthstone content coming in the near future.
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