Hello everyone and welcome to the twenty-first edition of the Touchstone Tavern, your weekly Hearthstone (Free) news roundup. This was a quiet week where absolutely nothing of importance happened in the world of Hearthstone. Well, other than that one little thing that was announced in the middle of the week. Again, nothing important, simply that Warsong Commander will be annihilated, because “nerf" isn’t a word that adequately describes what will happen to the poor card. This upcoming change means the end of Patron Warrior, a deck that has dominated the meta for months and has pretty much forced players to either play the deck or pick decks that do well against it. As you’ll see in the News, the reactions to the nerf have been quite mixed, ranging from it was about time to why did you have to kill the poor card. Other than this “small" news, we didn’t have too much going on since everyone continues to look towards Blizzcon and the upcoming Hearthstone World Championship. Ok, here we go.
Blizzard Is Nerfing Warsong Commander This Week
As I wrote a few days ago on the site, Blizzard has announced that Warsong Commander is due for a head chop next week when the new patch hits. In its old form, Warsong would give Charge to minions with 3 or less Attack, but from next week it will say “Your Charge minions Have +1 Attack." As you can imagine, this change kills the Patron Warrior deck because you can’t fling Patrons at your opponent anymore. Still, the change wasn’t greeted very warmly by the community not because a change happened (most players felt that something should happen to the deck) but because of its severity. Other players feel that the Grim Patron deck affected players around Legend rank and in tournaments, but there are other much worse decks that make the experience bad for the majority of players (Face Hunter for instance).
Ben Brode Talks Warsong Nerf
As we wrote on the site a few days ago, Ben Brode talked about the thoughts behind the Warsong nerf and made some interesting points. Brode talks about how Charge and direct damage are two of the least fun things in Hearthstone because there’s nothing you can do to react to them. They tried 30 to 40 different designs to see which one felt the best for the card, and they decided to go with making the card give +1 to Charge minions primarily because as it stood, the card was stopping them from doing some cool stuff in the future. For instance, they wanted Dreadsteed to be a neutral minion, but when combined with Warsong it became like a 1 Attack machine gun. While they considered nerfing Grim Patron or Frothing Berserker, the biggest issue was Warsong (because that’s the card that makes those other two ridiculous). As you’ll see in the next news story, not everyone was happy with the actual nerf as it has pretty much turned Warsong into a crappy card.
Trump and Kripp Respond To The Warsong Nerf
Trump, one of the most famous pro players and streamers, talked about the nerf recently. Taking a slightly sarcastic tone in the beginning, he talks about how this change has been talked by everyone and is discussed everywhere. He calls the Warsong nerf the scapegoat ,and he doesn’t agree with the severity of the nerf. It should have been a 2 mana 2/3 or something along those lines so it could see play. He recognizes that the deck needs a lot of skill to be played right, and the deck doesn’t have a high win-rate at Legend level. He thinks it’s nice to have a deck that when played with a lot of skill can help a player do very well. He understands the deck was nerfed not because the deck was that strong but more because the card didn’t agree with Blizzard’s philosophy.
He felt there was a better lineup for tournaments than bringing a Grim Patron deck, but this deck was so good that it warped the metagame in tournaments. That warping led to many complaints about boring tournaments, but now it’s exciting to see what will happen in Blizzcon. However, he cannot get completely behind killing the deck because it’s a good deck. He would probably have nerfed Frothing Berserker instead. Kripparian’s views are along the same line as Trump. He feels that while the deck needed a nerf, this eradication of Warsong Commander was too much because now the card is unusable, which doesn’t make much sense in a card game.
Interview With Pinpingho
The qualified player from Taiwan started his interview by boasting about being the last surviving Shaman in the world. He started playing since the open beta and is one of the earliest Taiwanese players to get into competitive Hearthstone. Ranking the Taiwanese players, he claims Roger and Tom are the best, then him, and then Frozenice. He then goes on to say how in Taiwan there are no Hearthstone tournaments and he has to play in the Western ones to get enough practice. He said he brought Shaman to the Regionals not because it’s his favorite class but because after a lot of thought, he realized he wouldn’t have any benefits from bringing the same classes as the rest of the players.
For him Shaman gave him a good chance against popular lineups as it has pretty good winrates against some of the most popular decks. As to why different regions seemed to favor different decks, Pinpingho said that as most EU players are top level players, they are very confident in their skills and aren’t afraid to bring the top decks because they feel they can win in mirror matches due to skill. Other regions have to try and be a bit unorthodox. And (unfortunately for all watching him) he said he’s learning to rope like Lifecoach. Go here if you want to check out his decks.
Tiddler Celestial Angry With Blizzard Over Patron Warrior Nerf
After hearing about the Patron nerf and watching Ben Brode’s video explaining the nerf, Tiddler wrote a blog with his reactions. In the blog, posted on LiquidHearth, he says that when he heard the news for the first time, he didn’t expect the community to react as much as they did. He gradually realized that this Warsong Commander re-balance is probably the worst decision Blizzard has ever made. What was even more frustrating was the official explanation for this change. He claims that Blizzard doesn’t have the right to nerf the card simply because it hates the deck. The Patron Warrior deck is a perfect combination of all the skills one needs for a card game (knowing when to strike, when to defend, when to go face, and when to kill minions). He feels that players were way ahead of Blizzard; while he believes Blizzard designed the Secret Paladin and Dragon Priest on purpose, he thinks that Patron Warrior was a surprise to them and came out of the combined wisdom of the whole Hearthstone community.
Warsong Commander was not an imbalanced card so the card shouldn’t have been nerfed simply because the Patron Warrior deck needed to be nerfed. He then went on to say you can’t just nerf a deck because it’s strong. Players need those tier one decks to compete, and this is a deck that relies on perfect calculations and a lot of practice to play. Very few players play this deck, so nerfing Patron Warrior is like deleting ten percent of the popular heroes of games like League of Legends. Blizzard said that it didn’t want all players to bring Patron Warrior to Blizzcon, but did that mean that it wants every player to bring Secret Paladin or Balanced Druid? He feels that Blizzard had more important issues to tackle than nonsense nerfs. While Tavern Brawl is a good and bold attempt, the rest of Blizzard’s efforts haven’t been good. The Adventure modes are playable for only one time, and the expansions offer only a dozen usable cards for the ladder. He wants a recording function and replays, a daily tournament mode, new fun decks (unlike Dragon Priest and Secret Paladin), and more.
He also wants Blizzard to listen to players since for instance most players aren’t happy with the nerf. The expansions and adventures from Naxx to TGT haven’t offered much to the game and the lack of creativity is boring pro players. In TGT for example Blizzard kept pushing the Inspire mechanic, but none of those cards are being used anywhere. All in all, this is a scathing critique by one of the most famous Hearthstone players, and I wonder whether this is the first of many critiques to come.
Kno Thinks That The Warsong Nerf Will Bring a Lot of Paladins
Kno, a 21 year-old Japanese Hearthstone player, talked in an interview about how he started playing Arena before moving to ladder. The Japanese Hearthstone scene is growing now that the Japanese client is out, but many Japanese players don’t know if they should switch from the NA servers to the Japanese ones. This is an issue that I also face since I temporarily live in a different continent and many times I had to think which server would be the best one for me. In the APAC championships he brought Mage, Paladin, and Druid in preparation for the Patrons and the many Druids. He thinks that EU’s Blizzcon lineup is pretty strong, probably stronger from the rest. As for the Warsong Nerf, he said that he now expects many Midrange Paladins and maybe some Rogues at HWC.
Analyzing Other Potential Nerf Candidates.
Ozzie Mejia wrote an interesting article discussing what other cards might see the nerf scalpel after Warsong Commander. He feels that the Mysterious Challenger is the most obvious one since it’s immensely effective and the Paladin secrets are very dangerous when played all at the same time. However, this card is totally beatable according to the writer because of RNG, like players already having the Secrets in hand before getting to turn six. Lock and Load was the second card because it’s overpowered at 2 mana and it’s not like Hunter needed more help. Savage Roar was the third because it continues to be abused by Druid players, especially when combined with Force of Nature. Although the card is a major annoyance, he still doesn’t think the card will be nerfed.
The other card that might be involved in nerf discussions is Blade Flurry, and he’s shocked that the card hasn’t already been nerfed. Rogues can use this card to quickly clear the board and inflict 16 damage to the other hero for just 8 mana. Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil has broken this card according to the writer. And the last one is, of course, Dr. Boom, this crazy card that comes with the Boom Bots and can cause all kinds of issues when played. The card is also very versatile and it can find a place in most decks. The writer does concede that the card is very strong but probably not broken since it doesn’t really define the meta.
Gosurankings’ Best Players After the Regional Championships
Gosurankings is once more giving us a good idea of who’s ruling the Hearthstone world at the moment. While these rankings are not always accepted by everyone, they are often a very good indication of what’s going on in professional Hearthstone. According to this week’s rankings, ThijsNL is reigning supreme, maintaining a win-rate upwards of 64%. He is now European champion, part of the team that won ATLC, and also has many Top-8 finishes. He’s also the highest peaking Gosurankings player in history with 1,359 points, beating TiddlerCelestial’s record by 42 points. He might even break 1400 points at Blizzcon, something that no one has ever come close to.
Second in the rankings is Kolento, even though he didn’t manage to make it to Blizzcon. Still, he’s had a pretty good year and is currently the Hearthstone player with the most titles to his name (13). So while not in Blizzcon, Kolento shouldn’t be too upset with his performance this year. Third in the list is Purple, the Canadian who is now officially Americas Champion. Not a bad top three, I have to say. Now let’s see if we get a number 1 with number 3 match in Blizzcon; that would be a fun story.
This Week’s Tavern Brawl Was Double the RNG
Now, this was a fun Brawl! Randomonium did pretty much what the name suggests, randomized all mana costs each turn (the cards could only be cheaper, not more expensive than normally). This was RNG all the way, and I ended up playing this Brawl more than all the rest because I got to play with cards I either don’t have or don’t have in decks together. I liked pulling weird combos that would otherwise never happen in a Hearthstone game. For me, that’s what Brawls are, crazy affairs where I can play the game very differently from the way I play the rest of the modes.
Meet The Blizzcon 16
While this page isn’t complete yet, LiquiHearth has decided to put together interviews from all 16 Blizzcon qualified players in an effort to help viewers get more involved in the tournament and also to see each players’ opinion on how HWC will play out. In case you don’t remember who these players are, we have JAB, Purple, Hotform and Nias for the Americas, Neirea, ThijsNL, Lifecoach, and Ostkaka for Europe, Zoro, LoveCX, Zihao, and NoTomorrow for China, and Pinpingho, Kno, Kranich, and Neilyo for Asia-Pacific.
Americas Qualifiers Briefly Talk About Their Experiences
PC Gamer has a short video of pro players talking about their experience in the Americas Regional Championship. Nothing too surprising, with most pros saying how nervous they got on stage (minus Purple), talking about their deck selections, giving their thoughts as to why Patron wasn’t played a lot, and their preparation for Blizzcon (lots of practice, bootcamps, and studying).
ASUS Play It Cool Ends In Controversy, Again
The 24-hour Ladder marathon was back for the second time, and once again it ended in controversy. Forsen, Savjs, Firebat, and Reynad got brand new accounts and tried to go as high as possible in Ladder in 24 hours. At some point during those 24 hours the players’ accounts were suspended automatically (probably because of something with pack purchases), but that issue was quickly resolved. Forsen and Savjs were quite close to each other during the last hour, but Savjs beat his last match to go 115 Legend. Forsen was losing his final match but then the guy he was playing conceded, and Forsen ended up weirdly hitting the same rank as Savjs. Since it was a tie, the organizers decided to go with a tie-break that saw Forsen prevail with 2-1. As you can imagine, people have been complaining about the way Play It Cool again ended in drama because of unclear rules.
SLTV StarSeries S1 LAN Finals Have Concluded
And the winner is…Stancifka! The first season of this tournament saw some great players go through the Group Stage, battle in the Last Chance bracket, and then gather in Kiev this past weekend to share a prize pool of $15,000. The top four players were Orange, Kolento, ThijsNL, and Stancifka, and they played in BO5 (the Final was BO7). They each brought 4 decks and were allowed to ban one of the opponent’s decks.
Well, now we have an interesting meta after Patron has departed the scene. Tempostorm’s Snapshot tried to figure out what happens now in the meta and gave a prediction of how each class will be affected. Aggro Druid should become more popular than it is is now, but Midrange Druid should be less viable because of the increase of Secret Paladin decks. Face Hunter should make a huge comeback (how nice) now that Patron won’t be around to keep the aggro deck in check. You should expect more of all Hunter variants in the coming weeks. The Warsong nerf will help Mech, Tempo, and Freeze Mage for different reasons. An increase in Paladins will help Mech and Tempo Mage while Freeze Mage will be better off because Patron was a bad match-up for it. Control and Echo Mage should see a decrease since they were played almost exclusively to counter Patron.
Patron was the only thing holding Secret Paladin back from being the best deck in the game and Mid-Range Paladin from rising to Tier 1. Expect to see A LOT of Paladins now. Dragon and Control Priest should see a boon now since Patron was one of their worst match-ups. If the meta shifts to more board control-centric decks, the Priest should do even better. According to the Snapshot, Priest seems to benefit the most from the Patron nerf. Rogue will probably do even worse now because of the resurgence of Face Hunter and Freeze Mage. Shaman is toasted since the possible rise of Paladins, Priest, and Freeze Mage will hurt the class as they are poor match-ups for Shaman. When it comes to Warlock, Handlocks will probably fall out of favor while Zoolock will probably make a resurgence. Finally, when it comes to Warrior decks Control Warrior will probably shift to be more anti-aggro, which will probably enable the return of classic Control Warrior decks.
The Most Unfair Game Ever
Funny Lucky Moments #5
Epic Plays #84
Calculating Fatigue on Warrior
Best of Knife Juggler
StrifeCro’s Pirate Rogue
Best of Forsen’s Top Decks
Best of Burgle
Best of Duplicate
Last Goodbye to Grim Patron and Warsong Commander
As always, we have some good resources on the site for you in case you are new to the game or simply want to sharpen up your game. There’s never such a thing as too much help in Hearthstone.