Another disclaimer, this piece is all opinionated.
This is part 2 of 3 of a short series I am making posting the changes I would make to fix Hearthstone. You can find Part 1 here!
My experience with the game has been a stale one and I feel that these changes would make Hearthstone a more compelling and rewarding game altogether.
#2.) Buff Awful (but Interesting) Cards
For those unaware, Hearthstone made two waves of changes to the game regarding nerfing cards this past year. Here was wave 1 in the wake of WoTOG in the middle of this summer and here is wave 2 as of a week ago. Wave 2 was largely healthy due to the imbalance of the game, and resulted in surprisingly fair nerfs. Wave 1 overnerfed almost all of the chosen cards to the point of not being played anymore.
Two of the biggest blows as a result in my opinion are Blade Flurry and Molten Giant.
Blade Flurry’s nerf turned the card from a potential game-winning combo card into an unplayable pile of garbage.
The Oil Rogue style was by far the most potent Rogue variety available and as a result, Rogue now is suffering in power level. While I agree that old Blade Furry was nuts, due to the fact that they didn’t give Rogue any new decent weapons / weapon buffs lately, the trade off of losing your weapon in Standard is larger. I would change Blade Flurry to the following:
Blade Flurry costs 2 mana, destroy your weapon and deal its damage to all enemy minions.
Before, Blade Flurry’s flexibility of face damage plus a board clear was sweet. This change seems to be better in line with the rest of Blizzard’s more tasteful changes.
This could see play in wild Oil Rogue and not completely suck while also not being overpowered by any means. Rogue’s lack of board clears (not board delays) gives there a reason for this change to be made.
The next fix I would make would change a core card beloved to Handlock as well as some varieties of Freeze Mage. That change is of course Molten Giant. Molten Giant’s change from 20->25 at first seemed minor but after play-testing only once it was apparent to see just how dead and unplayable the card was. In the current meta I think a healthy Handlock would be a solid counter to a host of degenerate dominant decks spanning ladder.
Of course one of the most unique attributes of Molten Giant was that it promoted a different style of play. Whenever you get to put free damage on your opponent in Hearthstone you generally do it. However if you knew if you were playing against Handlock with old Molten Giant, smart non-SMORC players would save their damage to reduce the speed that Molten Giant can come out. This resulted in players occasionally not attacking for free which I found fascinating coming into the game.
Additionally, after Handlock’s disappearance due to this card’s nerf I currently find Warlock’s deck options dry. The most competitive varieties are zoo oriented. Renolock struggles in today’s meta. If you want to nerf aggro, you can buff this card!
My proposed change to Molten Giant would be to change its mana cost from 25->22.
We noticed how big of a difference 5 mana was and I think that sitting at a 8 Health maximum to spit free Molten Giants is far from comfortable.
After seeing the occasionally busted free Arcane Giants, I don’t see how this card is still so expensive. I am fully convinced that the reason why it is 25 is because they wanted to make it a good looking number and hence rounding it up to a 5 (not because they wanted to buff Holy Wrath decks).
GET ON WITH IT
With my rant of two sore thumbs concluded, here is what I am trying to propose holistically. Hearthstone’s cache of bad cards is large. While I am not looking to buff the starter cards, I think there is potential to make bad cards with unique effects more effective. In general, most of the wave 1 cards they nerfed went straight into the ground. I think slight buffs to interesting yet terrible cards will make the game significantly more exciting.
Here’s a laundry list of other changes with cool effects I’d consider:
Keeper of the Grove: 4 mana 2/2-> 4 mana 2/3
Bestial Wrath: 1 mana Give a beast +2 Attack and Immune this turn -> 1 mana Give a beast +2 Attack. That card has immune this turn.
Savagery: 1 mana Deal damage equal to your hero’s attack to a minion -> 2 mana Deal damage equal to your hero’s attack to an enemy.
Void Crusher: 6 mana 5/4 -> 6 mana 6/5
Headcrack: Deal 2 damage -> Deal 3 damage
Summoning Portal: 4 mana 0/4 -> 4 mana 0/6
Evolved Kobold: 4 mana 2/2 -> 4 mana 2/3
Darkspeaker: 5 mana 3/6 -> 5 mana 5/5
The Boogeymonster: 8 mana 6/7 -> 8 mana 8/8
Tentacles for Arms: 5 mana 2/2 -> 4 mana 2/2
Thistle Tea: 6 mana -> 5 mana
Shadow Word: Horror: 4 mana -> 3 mana
Shatter: 2 mana -> 1 mana
Forlorn Stalker: 3 mana 4/2 Give all your Deathrattle minions in your hand +1/+1 -> 3 mana 2/2 Give all your Deathrattle minions in your hand and in play +1/+1.
I’ll stop here. But hopefully you (the gorgeous reader) get the point. Blizzard has plenty of room to re-evaluate their underperforming cards ever so slightly in many cases to see an uptick in diversity.