Zechs Files: Five Cards I'll Miss and Five I Won't
The new expansion is a time of excitement, but it's also a time for farewells. Some of them are fond, some of them... not so much.
It's a time of massive change for Hearthstone. Over 100 new cards have flooded standard, but to make way for them, almost a year's worth of expansions are rotating out. That means saying goodbye to some old friends, but it also means saying good riddance to some less friendly cards. Here is my take on the top five cards we're going to miss in standard, followed by five cards we'll be glad to see the back of.
Ah, Reno Jackson, how I miss thee. Kazakus was my favourite card in those decks and, while he hasn’t seen a lot of play in recent months, he will always have a place in my heart. A card advantage machine, Kazakus lost as many games as he won by giving you the wrong options at the wrong time. Still, taking a one-drop potion to clear a board of pirates and gain some armor felt amazing. It almost makes up for the time he gave you some crappy demons and fatigue-inducing card draw when you needed removal. Still, like an abusive but beautiful partner, I kept coming back for more.
N'Zoth, the Corruptor
I’m sure plenty of people who have N’Zoth in the other list further down the page, but this is exactly the type of finisher I think a card game should have. It’s not unbeatable, but it is very, very strong. It is a one-card card advantage explosion, but it requires you to build your deck in a certain way. It’s powerful but fair. N’Zoth is everything Jade Idol is not and there’s a reason he will continue to see play in Wild.
Medivh, The Guardian
You’re probably starting to see a pattern here. Medivh is another late game card advantage monster. Slow, random, and occasionally just not very good, Medivh led to some incredible highlight reel moments and some dismal misfires. He’s kinda like Kazakus when you put it like that.
As much as I loathed Jade Idol (more on that later), I loved Fandral. He was fun until Jade cards came along and ruined him. Remember when we were all trying to do silly things like Innervate out a Wisps of the Old Gods to make a board of 3/3s? What a hilariously poor payoff for 11 mana and three cards, compared to making infinite huge monsters. Fandral/Nourish was pretty busted forever, though, so he has that going for him.
Devolve & Evolve
Both of these cards are cool, without being too broken. Doppleganster/Evolve was occasionally absurdly strong but was usually fine. Evolve was a necessary answer to some of the more overpowered things in standard and will be sorely missed in a world of Voidlords. Both of these cards push the boundaries of variance being fun, but stayed just the right side of it in my opinion.
I don’t think many people are going to be sorry to see the back of this guy. That is a shame, because when he was first released people were doing cool, fun things with him. He was powerful but not broken. 1/1 Highmanes were pretty good, but not back-breaking. But with the addition of a few priest cards later in the year, the fun quickly stopped. Too many games were decided on turn four (three with coin) and it was miserable. If you’re one of the people who actually likes Barnes, don’t worry, he’s playable in Wild.
Granted, Jade Druid hasn’t been a major player in the meta game for some time, but when it was… oh boy. On a personal level, I absolutely despised this card and the deck built around it. The design space of “never being able to lose a late game” is dangerous territory, and Jade Idol made a lot of match-ups incredibly frustrating. Idol made control decks nigh unplayable for a while because they lacked the early game power to go under a bunch of infinitely scaling vanilla dorks.
Raza the Chained
Although this list is dominated by subjective cards I have hand-picked, I put Raza here because I feel like I sort of have to. I actually quite like the card, and, by itself, Raza is fine. Combining him with Anduin was the problem and what a problem it was. Post-nerf he was barely played anyway, so this isn’t a great loss to anyone.
Potion of Madness
Oh, you want to play powerful cheap creatures? Good job, idiot, now they’re my powerful, cheap creatures. You always felt miserable when getting wrecked by Potion and it made playing against priest feel miserable in general. Even if they didn’t have it, you always felt like they did and that was enough to make the early turns a minefield. Loot Hoarder disappeared from competitive play almost entirely because of how bad it was to get potioned.
This one might seem a strange inclusion, but hear me out. This isn’t a list of cards that defined standard, though it does look a lot like one. Quest Mage has never really been tier one, thanks to its bad aggro match-ups and its reliance on lucky rolls, but it has always been frustrating to play against. Ice Block, the real culprit here, isn’t rotating, so Cabalist Tome will have to take the rap. It was responsible for giving mage’s their third and fourth blocks far too often, though, weirdly, my Tomes were always filled with Freezing Potions and the like. Perhaps that is its true crime. Either way, I’ll be glad to close this book for good.