Top 5 Mechs That Paved The Way For Boomsday
The Boomsday Project is finally upon us! Theory-crafters and casual Hearthstone fans alike are venturing into the lab to assemble the most maniacal of mechanical creations. While we mix and match parts from a seemingly endless array of robotic concoctions, we are reminded of the metallic minions that paved the way for Dr. Boom’s army.
As Curse of Naxxramas had reached a pinnacle of driving players insane with unrelenting Undertakers and Sludge Belchers, Blizzard announced a brand new vast expansion set: Goblins vs Gnomes. This set introduced 123 brand new cards to shake up the meta, and give new pieces to deck architects hungry for fresh builds.
With GVG, players got some new toys in the sandbox: Mechs. This tribal affiliation spawned new archetypes (Mech Mage being one of my all time favourites to date), and a plethora of influence in the meta game for a long while to come. A lot of the cards that bore the Mech tag had immense longevity in decklists until the inevitable Standard rotation banished them to the jungle that is Wild.
With fond memories of these contraptions now rejuvenated by Boomsday, Mana Burn presents the Top 5 Mechs That Paved the Way for Boomsday
You can already hear that voice line ringing in your head. Hello! Hello! Hello! It was true to its name in all facets. It was a frustrating card to pierce through, and that audio trigger would be maddening to even the most tilt-resistant gamer.
The Annoy-o-Tron was a card that had a lot of applications. The cheap deploy cost gave it a home in aggressive builds, while it’s durability allowed it to slot in to decks that needed early game stall to establish a strategy. Having both divine shield and taunt made it the affordable wall needed to go wide on board with little minions, while rushing your opponent down. Being resilient also gave it staying power for mech synergies that interacted with that tribal presence (such as the Tinkertown Technician), providing value on curve. He was the fitting follow-up to a first turn Cogmaster, and a great precursor to a Spider Tank or Technician.
#4) Shielded Minibot
What a little beast. As the only class-specific mech on the list, the Shielded Minibot did some handy work in its day. A 2/2 for 2 really pales on the stat line, but throw in divine shield, and you now have a little engine that could. While divine shield may not be game breaking, the cost efficiency of this minion really stood out, and granted Paladin a reliable and sturdy minion to drop on curve, or coin out early.
The appeal of this card was in the work it could do. Establishing board control early is a key facet to winning a Hearthstone game. Being able to choose how to trade minions allowed you make favorable exchanges, keeping more bodies alive, and placing more pressure on your opponent. Dropping a Shielded Minibot often created an annoying 2-for-1 scenario for your opponent to deal with. It was either going to need two minions to bump into it, or would require a spell and a trade. Either way, Paladin had a ticket to value village on the back of this little mechanical beauty.
#3) Antique Healbot
There was often no better feeling than top-decking the Antique Healbot in situations where you need that extra breath of life to really stick it to your opponent. This angelic mech offered more than just a sigh of relief for 5 mana. It was able to provide a body on board to absorb future damage, giving you a fighting chance in dire circumstances. He was the medic we all relied on to drop on board against Face Hunter, quickly followed by a cheeky Emote → Greetings.
While this card acted as a rescue against aggressive decks, it also solidified the playability of control builds. Handlock welcomed this shiny new toy with open arms, no longer relying on Jaraxxus to bail you out of a an entire game’s worth of life-tapping. He gave control builds the longevity to withstand an early onslaught, or to cheaply recover against face-hungry archetypes. Oh, and do we all remember Mill Rogue? Yeah, he helped there too.
Behold the curve master. The Mechwarper was probably reason you didn’t drop an Annoy-o-Tron on turn 2 in a mech build. This card presented a decent statline for the cost, but beyond that, allowed you to establish a wide board fairly early. Coining out your Mechwarper, then dropping a Clockwork Gnome or two gave an opponent with a bricked hand significant reasons to worry. He opened up the door for mech value, and accelerated your curve.
What’s also significant about the Mechwarper is that he ushered in the cherished ability to discount tribal units, a power later mimicked by many other cards for their respective families. Mechwarper was a nuisance if untouched. Leaving this little guy alive on turn two often heralded the coming of our undisputed number one pick…
#1) Piloted Shredder
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you your unchallenged robotic god. What an absolute dynamo. This card is firmly cemented atop this list for various reasons, least of which would be the sweet golden card animation that accompanied it. No, the Piloted Shredder is more than just a high-value four-drop. He was iconic in many other ways. Minion trade efficiency, board stickiness, swing potential, as well as card design influences all ring true with this one powerful card.
The stat line for this card isn’t too intimidating, but it was enough attack value to break through stronger minions, or threaten the board state. It made players think twice about dropping an Azure Drake on turn 5. The real charm of this card came in the mess it left opponents with. It was a sheer pain in the ass to clean up. It traded favorably, and when destroyed, ejected a 2-cost minion to pick up where it left off. And therein lay the beauty… The Piloted Shredder was such a bag of tricks that at times he would stab you in the back by dropping a casual Doomsayer to mess with your well oiled plans. Other times, he’d bless you with a Millhouse Manastorm to lay waste to the hopes and dreams of a previously confident opponent.
This card was a such workhorse across so many classes and builds that it sparked a conversation in the community. Why was it so rampantly included in so many archetypes across all classes? Simple. There was literally nothing else in the 4-mana drop slot that could touch this thing. It was the first choice for the majority of decks that needed presence in that slot. Some tribal decks emerged that dropped this little wrecking ball off their radar, such as Dragon Priest preferring the Twilight Drake, but overall this card was it. It was as synonymous with the game’s identity as Fireball is to Mage. Okay, that may be a stretch, but it triggered a lot of dialogue amongst the community about the direction of card design, RNG, power-creep and more. This card shook more than just the meta, and is our undisputed king of masterful machines.
Don’t agree with our list? Think we missed the mark? Want to hear our honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list? Follow Mana Burn on Twitter, and catch the Podcast LIVE on Tuesdays at 7 pm EST on twitch.tv/n3rdstgamers for more CCG news, discussion, and a fresh Top 5 every week.