In an unprecedented move, the Hearthstone team will introduce a balance patch, themed as Rise of the Mech, dedicated to buffing cards at the mid-point of an expansion. Eighteen cards from the Boomsday Project set will be buffed, and a free new legendary, SN1P-SN4P, will be released.
With so many card changes, we are likely to see some significant changes to the meta. The resulting shake-up could introduce new strategies to the field, and give currently limited classes a second chance. We hope this move will be successful, and lead to more proactive attempts in the future to keep the game fresh.
In this article, we present several theory-crafting ideas related to the newly buffed cards. Some are just small, but meaningful, tweaks to current archetypes, and some are decks that we haven’t seen much of before.
The first Data Reaper Report of Rise of the Mech is planned to be released on June 13th. Don’t forget that with a new patch, data is as crucial as ever, and your data contribution is what allows us to produce these reports.
Contributing to the Data Reaper Project through either Track-o-Bot or Hearthstone Deck Tracker (recommended) is very easy and takes just a couple of minutes of your time. If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up HERE. If you have signed up in the past, make sure your tracker or plug-in is active with the patch’s launch.
Remember that some of the decks we present are still largely untested, and nothing can replace the post-launch refinement that is backed up by real-time game experience and data. We recommend that you do not make big crafting commitments solely based on theory-crafting.
Note: The mana costs for the buffed cards aren’t updated in the screenshots!
We aren’t too excited about the buffed Druid cards. The change to Gloop Sprayer could help a little bit, but not to an extent that would elevate late-game Druid strategies such as Lucentbark or Malygos Druid. Mulchmuncher is still too slow for Token Druid, and the change feels like a nerf to Conjurer’s Calling on Sea Giants rather than a Druid buff.
However, SN1P-SN4P could be a great card for a Mech Token Druid deck. This variant is already seeing some play. It’s generally faster and more aggressive than the Crystalsong build and could get a little push from the introduction of the new neutral legendary. We like Mech Druid’s ability to go taller and be less susceptible to AOE through magnetic buffs, but the price we pay is our ability to sustain pressure into the late game.
The Necromechanic buff to 4 mana is quite significant. Now, its ability doesn’t carry a stat penalty, so we could drop it on curve and force removal, much like Archmage Vargoth and Houndmaster Shaw. Late game combo’s with the card are also 1-mana cheaper, so it could certainly push the inclusion of the card into an Oblivitron deck. Currently, this deck has a low play rate but is at the cusp of competitiveness, so this patch could certainly elevate it.
At 7 mana, Flark’s Boom-Zooka is probably still a meme.
It is quite fitting that Cyclone Mage struggled to fill the last two slots in the deck, with every option available looking underwhelming. Step forward, 3-mana Unexpected Results! This card could be insanely powerful in the deck. It provides us with a strong tempo play on turn 3 while perfectly synergizing with Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Khadgar and Sea Giants. We think it’ll be a staple 2-of in the deck, and significantly boost its faster matchups.
The buff to Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is very interesting, and could certainly spark some experiments with slower, combo-centric Freeze Mage decks. The card is still a 1-of, making a strategy built around it inconsistent, but combined with Jepetto, Mage might be able to consistently reduce the cost of its late game finishers to end the game. Today, Freeze Mage is estimated to scrape the top of Tier 4. Maybe a 5-mana Galaxy is the push it needs?
Crystology tops the list in “the most likely buff to be a mistake” category. At 2-mana, it’s already very strong. At 1-mana, it is completely absurd. It’s also the reason why we think the Paladin class could be the biggest winner of this patch, being given a draw engine that could elevate more than one of its strategies into serious competitive play. Holy-Wrath Paladin can now curve Crystology into a Novice Engineer, making its early game significantly less awkward. We can’t overstate this: the difference between 1 mana and 2 mana is much bigger than a 1 mana difference at any other cost (besides 0!). Just look at Mana Wyrm.
This is the buff that could make Holy-Wrath Paladin a serious threat.
But there might be an even more promising Paladin deck to benefit from a 1-mana Crystology as well as a 5-mana Glowstone Technician, and that’s Mech Paladin. This archetype already holds a slight edge against Midrange Hunter while dominating Warriors, but its biggest problem comes from its clumsiness and poor matchups against the rest of the field. The Crystology build was popularized by Satellite and currently performs slightly worse than the Secret build. But, this patch should establish it as the dominant variant. A 1-mana Crystology that tutors the build’s 1-attack mechs looks completely nuts and could fuel an early game curve that would enable the Paladin to contest aggressive decks much more efficiently. This is probably the “new” deck we’re most hyped about.
We’re not optimistic about Priest’s chance of seeing meaningful play, even though Extra Arms is a very powerful card after the buffs. Priest’s problem is that it doesn’t have a strong early game plan that can be boosted by Extra Arms, and every attempt at theory-crafting an early game Priest deck that utilizes Extra Arms made us cringe.
Where Extra Arms may find success is in Miracle Priest, due to its synergy with Northshire Cleric, Wild Pyromancer and Acolyte of Pain. Extra Arms may also push Priest to include the Test Subject/Vivid Nightmare combo, which allows us to generate infinite Seances through Subject/Séance/Vivid/Topsy. Miracle Priest’s horrible standing in the current meta keeps us skeptic about its chances of being revived, since one good card shouldn’t change its fortunes.
The buff to Pogo-Hopper might be the most thought provoking one in this patch. Once again, we re-iterate that a change from 2-mana to 1-mana is a massive difference and makes several combos with the mechanical bunny a lot easier to execute. There’s an interesting question about building the new Pogo Rogue: Do we go all-in on Pogo-Hoppers with Youthful Brewmasters, Daring Escape, and Prep/Vanish in a Quest Rogue like fashion? Or do we utilize Pogo-Hoppers as an inevitable win condition in a battlecry-driven Lackey Rogue deck?
Both approaches are possible, but we think the second shell is already a decent enough performer in the current meta, is easier to build, and should be more likely to succeed. Spirit of the Shark decks are currently slightly under-powered but inserting a threatening, ramping win condition to the mix and they may find better justification. We like the featured build’s ability to win in different ways, and contest aggressive decks through lackey generation. Magic Carpet has great synergy with both Pogo-Hoppers and Lackeys, and Heistbaron Togwaggle can always pull a victory by himself. The main issue of this build is that it might just be strictly inferior to a Pogo-less Lackey Rogue, and there’s an argument that the only way that Pogo-Hopper becomes meta is if a deck is completely built around it. Time will tell.
Thunderhead was already a very powerful card, and much like Crystology, we are skeptical about the need to buff it. Thrall won’t complain, however, as the extra health makes it so much more difficult to remove. The Overload Murloc Shaman variant has taken a backseat to the minion-dense tribal build recently, but this patch could shift things back in its favor.
Alongside the Thunderhead change, the Stormbringer received a 1-mana discount. This makes it an intriguing choice in the deck since both murlocs and Thunderhead already tend to flood the board. The legendary spell can be tutored with Storm Chaser and provide some redundancy with Bloodlust.
Don’t expect miracles from Gul’dan. Dr. Morrigan still looks like a bad card with a very clunky deck-building restriction, so even at 6 mana, she doesn’t look like a serious candidate to see play. Late game Warlock strategies are likely to stay dead. However, the Spirit Bomb buff is quite nice for Zoo, since the current Magic Carpet build is so reliant on winning board and staying ahead. It’s likely a better card than Soulfire in the deck since card advantage matters more than burst/reach or your life total.
So, did you click on the deck link? Did you really think it would be any different? This was the 11th deck, also known as the clickbait.
Other than a buff to discovering mechs, Warrior cares little about the buff patch. It will play the same way it has played for the last month. It will shuffle bombs. It will kill your stuff. It will armor up. It will play Dr. Boom on 7. This story won’t get a new ending.