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Snapjaw Shellfighter would be great in Battlegrounds

Hearthstone /r/hearthstone /u/Melmfredge 12 comments

The Card is a 3/8 with the text: Whenever an adjacent minion takes damage, this minion takes it instead.

This is a card I have always loved, and think its power level in arena was always massively under-appreciated. It could win a game on turn 5 if played next to a card that scaled, especially against hunter or mage, whose removal spells often rely on damage.

When it comes to Battlegrounds it has been suggested before by a couple of people, like u/Necrotron6717 and u/Wingo21 in these interesting posts:

https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dxv8zb/potential_card_additions_to_battlegrounds/

https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/dtwp52/the_only_way_to_keep_improving_battlegrounds_add/

I think they both undervalue the card, however. Although I'm not sure exactly how it would work with all cards and interactions, it seems like it would be easily the best nullifier in the game.

Defensively,

If a minion with cleave targeted it, it would soak up all 3 damage counts. If the cleave targeted an adjacent minion, it would save the adjacent minion and take one damage count.

If poisonous hit an adjacent minion, it would take the hit, but only once.

It can save divine shields on adjacent minions, which makes it cruelly effective against poking tokens and shield-breakers. This also makes it a great counter to Nefarian, saving two divine shields at the cost of one damage.

Moreover, when placed between taunts, it can help to frustrate (realistically) 5 of the opponent's first attacks and maybe more, provided the taunts have divine shield.

 

But that's only defensively.

The benefits apply even more combined with poisonous and divine shield minions on your own side. A 1/1 murloc with poisonous could 2 for 1 your opponent (if you're lucky). A divine shield could get 3 big hits in, instead of perhaps 2. Think of the golden micro machine + annoy-o-module (an ok combo), with massive attack and tiny health. Now it blitzes the opponent for 120 damage in a turn.

In fact, it is precisely with boards with high attack and low health, boards which currently lose, where this card can be most useful.

 

I believe it would be appropriately powered at Tier 6. This means that these advantages (which would wreak havoc in the early- and mid-game, before poisonous and cleave come into play) do not overwhelm opponents. What's more, it wouldn't be as broken as say Foe Reaper, Zappy Slywick or Ghastcoiler if found on turn 4 or 5 with with Shifter Zerus (as Bartendotron and AFK can). Because it sucks up the damage dealt to your board it is likely to die and you wouldn't be able to push 6 damage through each combat. Instead you would likely save two less impactful minions.

Obviously it becomes insane with high stats, but it would be extremely hard to buff currently. It would be stupid to use Argus Protector on it, and only the hero Tirion can really significantly add to its stats. Besides, if it were Tier 6, Tirion would not be able to make a huge difference anyway (and even then it competes with late game powerhouses like Baron Rivendare and Zappy Slywick). The low stats also mean that it doesn't render Bittertide Hydra completely useless. A Hydra with 3 attack would kill it with a direct hit and it would need only 4 damage to kill it if it hits an adjacent minion. Only if there are divine shields does it really cripple the cleave mechanic. With it's 8 health, it is unlikely to take more than 1 hit to kill.

I see it being played as a tech-card in the very late game, like Zappy Slywick, Righteous Protector and Selfless Hero sometimes are.

And this is why I think its such a good choice. It would become a very high-skill-level card to play. The best way to play it is in response to a specific board. If your opponent has few divine shields, then using it in combination with your divine shields and poisonous minions is going to make a huge difference. If your opponent does, then it can act like a divine shield to two potentially very valuable minions, perhaps in a demon build (or maybe a very very late-game beast build). In this way it is more flexible than the three cards listed above.

Furthermore, in a 1 on 1 situation, it would encourage active and new strategy and require you to adapt to your opponent's board, and them to yours. This is because changing its position between combats could break your opponent's entire order. To me, trying to counter and mould your strategy in the final throws is the most fun element of strategy in Battlegrounds.

I see two issues. The first could be resolved with playtesting. It is the extent to which you can actually play around it. The best option is to lead with weak minions if its being used defensively, perhaps to saved divine shield / taunt minions. Normally in these situations a cleave is the best tech, but that is precisely what the card can be strong against too, which is where the problem arises. A solution to this could simply be adding another cleave, like Magnataur Alpha (I understand that this in a current Tirion build would be meta-breaking, but my point is they can adjust the meta.) Regardless, it's high skill-requirement and Tier 6 rating would make it quite rare, so I don't think it would be too frustrating to play against.

The other issue is how it can be made golden. Blizzard are emending many of the faulty / unexciting golden versions, which is great btw (soon, Replicating Menace, soon), but it is hard to think how this could be improved. It would obviously become a 6 / 12 (whichactually is not that huge an improvement, since the extra 6 health wouldn't be too helpful by the time you pick up 3 of the same Tier 6 cards). The suggestion of halving damage taken seems logical but is wrong on two accounts. For one, Blizzard clearly avoid the word halve, since it becomes problematic with odd damage counts and breaks the fundamental simplicity of Hearthstone. For another, with double health and half damage taken, it could be really quite broken. It would be cool to hear other ideas here. My suggestion would be that Blizzard include other cards with interesting / unique text that also cannot be improved when made golden, so it becomes part of a clique that join the game with the intention of adding mechanics at the compromise of missing golden versions. Cool cards that could fit the bill here include High Priest Amet and Blood of the Ancient One. Neither would gain a particular benefit from being golden. Read the posts of u/Necrotron6717 and u/Wingo21 for thoughts on these.

To quote u/Wingo21,

" Well I just realized how actually infinite this post ended up being, so i guess nobody will read it, rip. "

Tldr: card has cool interactions and new strategy elements.

Edit: I misspelled literally the first "and"

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