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Hearthstone Devs Respond to Purify and Priest Outrage

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The reveal of the 3 Priest class cards, and especially of Purify, in One Night in Karazhan caused negative reactions from the community, who has been complaining about the state of Priest these past few months. Two Hearthstone devs tried to salvage the situation a bit.

Discussions about the current state of Priest have been a regular occurrence on the official forums and on Reddit, but the reveal of Purify was literally the breaking point for the Hearthstone community. These threads multiplied in number and a response from a Hearthstone developer seemed imminent. And indeed, here is a Reddit post by Game Designer August Dean Ayala, aka Iksar:

Blizzard LogoIksarHS

We've had similar articles in the past about design stories for particular cards, I think the most recent one I remember discussed all the design iterations that Yogg went through. Card designs have a number of different goals, sometimes those goals are immediate competitive play and sometimes they shoot for something else. Things like flavor, arena viability, or sprinkling in tools for a new or existing archetype. In smaller sets, it can be a little risky to take a gamble on a new toolkit because there are fewer cards to work with. In the case of Priest, we were pretty happy with the amount of options the class was getting from neutral (Barnes, Curator*, Medivh, Dragon Cards) to do some testing with a new archetype that Purify could be a part of. In my mind there is some positive to the outcry over Purify because I think people will definitely try it out and report any successes/failures/stories they had building and playing a 'silence your own stuff' priest. None of this is to say anyone is wrong in their feedback, but just to communicate some of the ideas surrounding a card design. Hearthstone is important to all of us, and we're trying to do better in terms of communication and understanding what different communities (like this one) are most interested in. I've been happy to be here and have a conversation about what you all want from the game, thanks for being so passionate about it. :D  (source)

Ben Brode also intervened with a developer update. We have summarised his main points below the video.

 

Quote
  • The card wasn’t intended to be powerful. They want to allow players to make crazy decks and perhaps win with bad cards.
  • They tried many versions of Purify internally, like Silence any minion. However, they are trying to pull back on the power level of Silence to see what the game feels like without it.
  • There was also a 1-mana version but many play testers were just using it as a draw card.
  • It is intended as a fun card.
  • Ben acknowledges they messed up with the timing on Purify with the community's current views on the Priest class.
  • Purify is good for the game, but maybe in a set with splashy, exciting, powerful Priest cards.
  • Ben still has hopes for Priest, especially Dragon Priest. If not, they will continue to push for Priest in future sets and make changes going forward.
  • Purify will not show up in Arena. He doesn’t think this will solve Arena balance, but it’s a step in the right direction as they are working on Arena long term.

Most players were satisfied with Ben's video update, while some called it a "PR shift". It is great that the Hearthstone team is willing to admit and apologise for its mistakes, but that still doesn't change the facts. Admittedly, with all of the attention it got, the card will now see some play. However, why would someone use Purify, when you can do what it does better with Silence and/or Power Word: Shield?

200px-Purify%2842061%29.png?version=88b5

Purify is not just the problem; Priest in general has been suffering for a while. Iksar pointed out that the team was happy about the options Priest will get in neutral cards in Karazhan. However, most neutral cards that were good for Priest have been rotated out of Standard format (like Deathlord, Zombie Chow, Loatheb) and even if the Karazhan neutrals prove to be equally good, they will have the same fate in the future. Priest needs better class cards and a re-polished Basic and Classic kit.

Moreover, Priest needs more and better class minions - especially early game minions. At this moment, with all sets included in Standard format Priest has the second lowest amount of minions (19 in total) and the highest amount of spells (29 in total) out of all classes. The power level of most of these class cards, especially the minions', is considerably lower than other classes: Paladin may only have 15 minions in Standard format at the moment, but includes cards like Aldor Peacekeeper, Murloc Knight, Keeper of Uldaman and Tirion Fordring. And let's not talk about Paladin spells, especially the healing ones, that beat out the de facto healing class of the Warcraft universe.

Amaz's video (available at the end of this article) explains the entire issue very accurately. To sum up, there will always be a ninth class in Hearthstone. But, does Priest have to be the permanent holder of the worst spot?

Interesting videos from known community figures:

Reddit discussions:

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I must admit I enjoy the hatred purify is getting. Personally I will make a terrible silence deck and play it until I beat some poor guy with it and it shall be hilarious!

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I say I revalued a lot the 4 mana 3/6 that Priest got, I think it's important for a reactive class to do more things together. so to say in the contest of VS Aggro, instead of having to choose at 6 mana if you want to heal, play a minion or "Shadow Word : Pain" for example, you could do only 2 of the 3, but with that card you can do all three things at the same time, and 6 health is good for contesting Aggro.

Not saying it's a revolutionary card, but it's pretty damn good, it's the kind of card you should have in a core set instead of an adventure though.

I say Purify will work for what was intended for, Silence may be better but you can't rely on 2 cards if you need to silence a third of your deck, and the draw will be handy when you are using 2 cards to summon a minion.

Edited by Kokuendan

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5 hours ago, Kokuendan said:

I say Purify will work for what was intended for

Purify might work in the deck it was designed to be in, but that deck won't work in the meta it was designed in.

And basically the same goes for Priest of the Feast - it's good in control priest, but control priest is bad in current meta, and I don't expect the Karazhan meta to be that much different.

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3 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Purify might work in the deck it was designed to be in, but that deck won't work in the meta it was designed in.

Considering that they designed it to be "kinda bad" it's a bit unfair to talk about Meta at all, it's like saying Majordomo is bad in the current meta, it's obviously going to be bad in every meta you can foresee. 

Edited by Kokuendan

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Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

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4 hours ago, mimech said:

Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

I think I'ts a matter of card quality, It's not like you can't win at all with priest, but since the card quality is drastically lower compared to other classes it takes double the effort to make the same results as something like Paladin. There are situations where you need to rely on your opponent's mistakes or on a perfect hand because their cards are that much better than yours and the more you go up the less you can rely on mistakes, not to mention that a Priest player making mistakes is punished even harder because it's harder to recovery when most of your cards trade 1-for-1. 

People complains because they want Priest to be Legend-worthy or at least an Ok metagame pick, not to offend anyone but at rank 18 if you are good you can make almost anything work (like Silence Priest).

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11 hours ago, Kokuendan said:

Considering that they designed it to be "kinda bad" it's a bit unfair to talk about Meta at all, it's like saying Majordomo is bad in the current meta, it's obviously going to be bad in every meta you can foresee. 

That is actually the issue here. A class with a lot of "kinda bad" cards should not get more cards like this. It results in the class getting obliterated by meta decks. Tempo Storm called their bottom tier the "priest tier", a lot of players say that there are 8 classes in HS, similarly to arena having 8 classes in TGT. This is something that should not be happening.

Majordomo Executus can actually be included as a win condition, whereas Purify is simply a bad tech card. 
A better example is Silence. It isn't played in any priest deck, but I wouldn't call it bad simply because when meta requires some kind of silence to be run, players would choose Silence over Purify, which is the second part of the Purify issue. 

5 hours ago, mimech said:

Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

That's because Priest, Mage and (arguably) Druid are the kings (and queen) of basic decks. However, if you run into dragon warrior or midrange shaman, you will lose almost every time. 

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1 minute ago, positiv2 said:

That is actually the issue here. A class with a lot of "kinda bad" cards should not get more cards like this. It results in the class getting obliterated by meta decks. Tempo Storm called their bottom tier the "priest tier", a lot of players say that there are 8 classes in HS, similarly to arena having 8 classes in TGT. This is something that should not be happening.

Majordomo Executus can actually be included as a win condition, whereas Purify is simply a bad tech card. 
A better example is Silence. It isn't played in any priest deck, but I wouldn't call it bad simply because when meta requires some kind of silence to be run, players would choose Silence over Purify, which is the second part of the Purify issue.

That is the issue but since it was addressed in the video by Ben Brode I thought it wasn't necessary to bring it up again since it seems they realize what went wrong.

I do believe that Purify was never meant to compete for Silence, it was meant as an additional silence with added refuel to make the "Silence Priest" more consistent, so I feel this comparison is a moot point because they were meant to be run together in the first place.

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1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

That is the issue but since it was addressed in the video by Ben Brode I thought it wasn't necessary to bring it up again since it seems they realize what went wrong.

I do believe that Purify was never meant to compete for Silence, it was meant as an additional silence with added refuel to make the "Silence Priest" more consistent, so I feel this comparison is a moot point because they were meant to be run together in the first place.

Addressing the issue doesn't solve anything. They can still change the card to something else - something useful.

Wailing Soul was a better card for silence priest and the deck still wasn't good enough to be considered usable. I don't think adding Purify will be enough to get the deck going. Why would you play Eerie Statue, when you can play another 4 mana 7/7 that actually doesn't need silence. And of course, if you spend 2 mana on silence, you lose most of the advantage - you won't have a 4 mana 7/7, you'll have 6 mana 7/7. You won't have 2 mana 4/5, you will have 4 mana 4/5. 
And one more thing about silence priest - a lot of drawback cards are gone in standard. No more Fel ReaverDeathlord or Zombie Chow.

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23 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

 And of course, if you spend 2 mana on silence, you lose most of the advantage - you won't have a 4 mana 7/7, you'll have 6 mana 7/7. You won't have 2 mana 4/5, you will have 4 mana 4/5. 
 

The advantage comes from playing it earlier. Turn 4 Eerie into turn 5 purify means that on turn 5 you can attack with a 7/7.

Edited by PaasHaaS

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1 hour ago, PaasHaaS said:

Turn 4 Eerie into turn 5 purify means that on turn 5 you can attack with a 7/7.

Probably still not good enough. As it is, it's a two-cards Flamewreathed Faceless that would cycle one back in your hand. The big problem is that you need to have both cards in your hand at the correct time, where the Shaman card is standalone. And Flamewreathed Faceless played on curve, while immensely powerful, is an all-or-nothing card. If your opponent can deal with it immediately, playing it often ends up doing more harm than good.

The combo Eerie Statue + Purify might surprise someone once or twice, but anyone knowing what's coming will deal with the Statue before you can Purify it. You might try a bluff and play the Statue as removal bait, but...

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3 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Addressing the issue doesn't solve anything. They can still change the card to something else - something useful.

They could change it to something else, but it's clear they won't so we have to either make it work or forget about Purify.

2 hours ago, Keizoku said:

Probably still not good enough. As it is, it's a two-cards Flamewreathed Faceless that would cycle one back in your hand. The big problem is that you need to have both cards in your hand at the correct time, where the Shaman card is standalone. And Flamewreathed Faceless played on curve, while immensely powerful, is an all-or-nothing card. If your opponent can deal with it immediately, playing it often ends up doing more harm than good.

The "you need to have both cards in your hand" part is not totally true, you don't need Eerie Statue + Purify, you need Eerie Statue + a silence, having more silence should be the way to help the deck's consistency, and I say it's not even a card you should play early, to silence an Ancient Statue on turn 3 an Owl would be better so you get an extra body, Purify is more of a late-game card with the intention to help with card advantage since unlike your opponent your minions require 2 cards instead of 1 to work correctly.

4 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Why would you play Eerie Statue, when you can play another 4 mana 7/7 that actually doesn't need silence.

Because they don't have a 4 Mana 7/7 that doesn't need silence? I'm not advocating to play Silence Priest, but it's unfair to take into comparison cards that are a non factor because you cannot play them anyway, if we were talking about "Silence Shaman" it would have been an argument but like this it's like saying "Why play Ironbark Protector when you can play Tirion"?

Let's clarify that I too find absurd that with all the things that they could have done they decided to help "Silence Priest" (didn't even know that was a thing), but what are we trying to do by comparing a bad card made to help a really bad deck with meta-defining cards?  Demonstrate it's bad? Of course it's bad compared to one of the best card of the game. It's not like it takes much to best this card but we're talking about something that was concieved not only as bad, but as a niche card too, it's always going to be terrible outside his context (granted that the fact it's good in his context is not even guaranteed).

I admit it's a card that deserves all the hate it's getting, but let's at least be fair in the way we hate on that.

Damn it though, why do I have to defend Purify? This is ridiculous.

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37 minutes ago, Kokuendan said:

The "you need to have both cards in your hand" part is not totally true, you don't need Eerie Statue + Purify, you need Eerie Statue + a silence, having more silence should be the way to help the deck's consistency, and I say it's not even a card you should play early, to silence an Ancient Statue on turn 3 an Owl would be better so you get an extra body, Purify is more of a late-game card with the intention to help with card advantage since unlike your opponent your minions require 2 cards instead of 1 to work correctly.

It can be the other way around - you can have a silence card, but you might not have Eerie Statue or Ancient Watcher. There aren't enough good drawback cards to make the priest work.
Silence + Draw isn't really card advantage as the silence will not trade for any of opponent's cards.
Your cards shouldn't need 2 cards to work. That's why pushing silence priest is bad, why Purify is bad and why Blizzard messed this up hard and yet they do not want to correct their mistake, which significantly disappointed me.

55 minutes ago, Kokuendan said:

Because they don't have a 4 Mana 7/7 that doesn't need silence? I'm not advocating to play Silence Priest, but it's unfair to take into comparison cards that are a non factor because you cannot play them anyway, if we were talking about "Silence Shaman" it would have been an argument but like this it's like saying "Why play Ironbark Protector when you can play Tirion"?

The power level of priest is bad and they should receive something very powerful as well. *insert the same rant from last paragraph*
Yeah, why would you play basic druid when you can play the best minion in the game. Why would you play the worst class in the game when you can play the best. 

1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

Of course it's bad compared to one of the best card of the game.

It's bad even when compared to Silence or even the infamous Magma Rager and Am'gam Rager. I even managed to make a deck with them that has 47% WR, but there is no way I will be able to do the same for Purify. So, it is bad even when compared to some of the worst cards out there.

1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

Damn it though, why do I have to defend Purify? This is ridiculous.

You could have said that Purify is trash and utterly useless and the discussion would end, but as long as you keep bringing up points, I will be trying to shoot them down. 

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7 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

You could have said that Purify is trash and utterly useless and the discussion would end, but as long as you keep bringing up points, I will be trying to shoot them down. 

I have a compulsive need to defend things that are universally hated. You say that Purify is trash and utterly useless, I say Purify is trash but it has some use if you really need to waste time playing the worst deck of the worst class, not much but I'm giving it more of a chance than most people.

I don't really think it's worse than Magma Rager honestly, but I do think Am'gam Rager is already better than that, I'm just asking to compare trash with other trash so that the comparison is actually fair.

I'm trying to rate the card in a vacuum, so I'm giving at least some points but if I had to take the general game state and the context in account when judging a card, well yeah, no defending it in that case.

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Am I the only one who thinks that Dragon Priest is competitive? Mind you, I'm a mid-level player...haven't gotten any higher than rank 10, but I can get there pretty reliably....and one of my most successful decks is Dragon Priest.

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Dragon priest is almost okay. I have winrate slightly higher than 50% with it, but my other decks feel just so much more powerful and that's because they are. Dragon priest just relies too much on draw and doesn't have that big threat in the deck, like shaman's Flamewreathed Faceless or warrior's Grommash Hellscream, to seal the game or to give you the upper hand.
That's why players are angry about current expansion's cards for priest - they don't offer more reliable starts and do not give him a big card.

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I play it for control. I named the deck "Nope!" because it can take so much away from the other guy....and because I'm perverse, I threw a Nozdormu in there. Hilarious how many players are thrown for a loop by that. 

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Silence priest could be a thing, maybe. I put together a silence build recently using the watcher, the statue, and the new moat lurker. The lurker seems good with a silence effect on the same turn, be it Silence or Purify. I find that purify adds consistency to the deck. plus the card draw is handy. I run Ironbeak Owl and Spellbreaker as well, seeing as how there seems to always be some minion that could use a good silencing. I also use Defender of Argos to help prevent the statue and watcher from just being dead cards in the event of an absent silence effect, which seems rare. Overall its been fun. I've not tested it in ranked yet. However in the casual matches I've played so far it seems pretty good. it still needs some work I'd say, but I like to think I'm on the right track.

 

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2 hours ago, GrizzlyJ said:

Silence priest could be a thing, maybe. I put together a silence build recently using the watcher, the statue, and the new moat lurker. The lurker seems good with a silence effect on the same turn, be it Silence or Purify. I find that purify adds consistency to the deck. plus the card draw is handy. I run Ironbeak Owl and Spellbreaker as well, seeing as how there seems to always be some minion that could use a good silencing. I also use Defender of Argos to help prevent the statue and watcher from just being dead cards in the event of an absent silence effect, which seems rare. Overall its been fun. I've not tested it in ranked yet. However in the casual matches I've played so far it seems pretty good. it still needs some work I'd say, but I like to think I'm on the right track.

 

There was an awesome deck Kibler used and actually managed a decent winrate at Legend with it. I'll try find the decklist for you. 

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      #2 - Highlander Priest
      1x Silence 1x Holy Smite 1x Northshire Cleric 1x Pint-Size Potion 1x Potion of Madness 1x Power Word: Shield 1x Bloodmage Thalnos 1x Dirty Rat 1x Golakka Crawler 1x Loot Hoarder 1x Mind Blast 1x Novice Engineer 1x Radiant Elemental 1x Shadow Visions 1x Shadow Word: Pain 1x Spirit Lash 1x Wild Pyromancer 1x Acolyte of Pain 1x Curious Glimmerroot 1x Kabal Talonpriest 1x Shadow Word: Death 1x Kazakus 1x Priest of the Feast 1x Shadow Word: Horror 1x Lyra the Sunshard 1x Raza the Chained 1x Dragonfire Potion 1x Holy Fire 1x Prophet Velen 1x Shadowreaper Anduin Fret not Priest fans, the age of Anduin is alive and well. Raza and Shadowreaper Anduin teamed up to make Highlander Priest the only deck played by 100% of the field at the HCT Summer Championships. It feels nearly impossible to beat a perfect draw from Highlander Priest, and the relatively high degree of skill which the deck requires to play affords more talented players the opportunity to outplay opponent’s in games which go long. It has a very tough time closing out games if it doesn’t draw Shadowreaper Anduin and Raza the Chained, but the huge amount of card draw the deck packs makes that a relatively rare occurrence.
      I don’t need to spend too much time discussing the strengths of the deck as it has been around for a while and it’s upsides are quite obvious. Early iterations of the deck had it masquerading as a control deck that just happened to play a game ending combo, but the Hearthstone community has since discovered that it’s much better to fully embrace the combo nature of the deck. Highlander Priest can now be best described as a pile of the top Priest spells, two extremely powerful Highlander cards (Raza and Kazakus), and a bunch of card draw spells. The downside of Highlander decks are that they can often feel inconsistent due to the one-of deckbuilding restriction, yet Highlander Priest is able to largely avoid this pitfall by reducing its effective deck size with all of its card draw.
      Highlander Priest is undeniably powerful and has certain draws that feel outright unbeatable, yet it still has several exploitable weaknesses. The most obvious of these weaknesses is the Highlander nature of the deck which prevents it from running more than one copy of Priest’s key defensive spells. It gets to run both Dragonfire Potion and Pint-Size Potion + Shadow Word: Horror to deal with boards that attempt to go wide, but it only gets to run one copy of Shadow Word: Death to kill larger minions and typically struggles against boards that can go big early. Shadowreaper Anduin gets to clear away multiple 5+ power minions with its battlecry effect, but efficient beaters like Bittertide Hydra and Cobalt Scalebane (which also dodges Dragonfire Potion) come down on Turn 5 and threaten to end the game before the powerful Death Knight has the opportunity to say anything about it. Barring a strong turn 5 play, not overcommitting your 5+ power minions into a Shadowreaper Anduin battlecry trigger can set up a game winning follow-up play before the upgraded Hero Power has time to burst your life down to 0. The lack of removal for large minions also means that the deck does miserably against both Jade Druid and Big Priest. At the end of the day Highlander Priest has just about as many negative matchups as positive ones, and it’s overall winrate on the Reaper report is a very modest 50%.
      #3 - Zoo Warlock
      A perfect example of addition by subtraction, the best aggro deck for the current standard meta is the one that didn’t get hit by the nerfs in patch 9.1. Pirate Warrior was dealt a massive blow with the nerf to Fiery War Axe and Aggro Druids are still adjusting to the loss of Innervate. These nerfs, along with the nerf to Spreading Plague, has opened up the door for a new aggro deck to emerge as a tool for punishing the slower and greedier decks of the format. Though the decklist for Zoo Warlock has remaind basically unchanged from the pre-nerf meta, the downgrade to normalcy for the top dogs of the previous format is what has allowed Zoo Warlock to become a highly competitive deck.
      The greatest strength of the deck is its remarkable consistency to curve out with 1 drops. It gets to run more 1 drops than any of the other top Aggro deck thanks Warlock’s two awesome Imps and Voidwalker, all of which are Demons for the extremely powerful one-card game-ender that is Bloodreaver Gul'dan. The deck's massive number of 1 drops allows it to squeeze minions onto the board at every spot in the curve while Life Tapping whenever possible to pressure the opponent with a stream of threats. Its also the aggro deck that has the lowest opportunity cost for running Prince Keleseth, as the deck would likely only consider Darkshire Librarian and Dire Wolf Alpha at the two drop slot and is perfectly content with Life Tap or two one drops on turn two. An early Keleseth makes Zoo’s already aggressively-statted minions a nightmare to deal with for control players and a huge problem for other aggro opponents as the game goes long. All of these factors add up to a deck which currently has only four negative matchups on the Reaper report and the second best overall win percentage in the meta.
      The weakness of Zoo Warlock is its relative inability to regain control over the board once it has been lost. The deck’s only ways to immediately deal with threats are Doomguard and Soulfire, both of which discard cards from hand and can potentially put the Warlock at a huge disadvantage. Getting a large Taunt minion to stick on board is likely too much for a Zoo Warlock to overcome, which is a big part of the reason that Big Priest is the deck’s worst matchup. Control decks can prey on Zoo Warlock by sticking a Doomsayer and following it up with heavy board presence. Other Aggro decks can can punish Zoo by getting on the board early and fighting tooth and nail to not surrender control of the board. As the Warlock is likely to pressure it’s own life total with Life Tap and Flame Imp, it shouldn’t be too difficult to turn the corner and quickly end the game once the opportunity presents itself.
      Tech of the Week - Golakka Crawler
      Despite a massive drop in the playrate of Pirate Warrior, Patches the Pirate and Southsea Captain are enjoying all-time highs in terms of deck representation. Half of the top ten decks on the Reaper report run Patches, while the top deck in the format (Tempo Rogue) is running up to nine Pirates! As much as I would love to suggest a sexier tech card, the prevalence of pirates in the present patch make Golakka Crawler the tech of the week. I’d currently recommend cramming two copies of the crab into control or midrange deck with the flex spots to support it.
      Budget Beater #1 - Midrange Hunter
      2x Alleycat 2x Tracking 2x Crackling Razormaw 2x Golakka Crawler 2x Scavenging Hyena 2x Animal Companion 1x Deadly Shot 2x Eaglehorn Bow 2x Kill Command 2x Stitched Tracker 2x Unleash the Hounds 2x Houndmaster 2x Infested Wolf 1x Tundra Rhino 2x Savannah Highmane 2x Bonemare The time of the Hunter is upon us! One of the weakest classes in Journey to Un’Goro, Hunter has emerged as an effective choice in the current meta for all the same reasons that Zoo Warlock has. Midrange Hunter has some terrible aggro matchups, but it’s sticky creatures are problematic for nearly all of the top control decks in the format. This extremely budget-friendly deck is currently capable of carrying skilled or experienced Hunter pilots all the way to Legend, just be wary of aggro-heavy local metagames during your climb.
      Budget Beater #2 - Secret Mage
      Note: Requires One Night in Karazhan and 4 Epics.
      2x Mana Wyrm 2x Arcanologist 2x Frostbolt 2x Medivh's Valet 2x Primordial Glyph 2x Sorcerer's Apprentice 2x Arcane Intellect 2x Counterspell 2x Kirin Tor Mage 2x Mirror Entity 2x Fireball 2x Bittertide Hydra 2x Kabal Crystal Runner 2x Bonemare 2x Firelands Portal I’m including a second budget beater this week because Midrange Hunter decks are so commonly recommended as budget options. Secret Mage is a very well positioned deck in the current meta and a deck I played heavily during my own climb to Legend last month. It quietly boasts a better overall winrate than Highlander Priest despite having some of the most polarizing matchups in the entire game. It performs horribly against most of the current aggro decks while completely running over all of the popular control decks. The thing I love most about Secret Mage is that it’s fairly skill intensive. It takes a ton of thought to pilot the deck to it’s maximum potential, which is a bag part of what makes the deck such a blast to play.
       
      Conclusion
      The Hearthstone metagame is as healthy as it's been since the last rotation, and it's a great time to jump back on the competitive ladder if you previously scared off by the brief age of DruidStone. Fans of every single class have at least one solid deck for climbing the ladder, and no individual deck feels as though it's power level is beyond reproach.
      Good luck out there, and I'll see you all next time!
      - Aleco
    • By Zadina

      The big patch we were all expecting is finally live! It contains the removal of arena synergies, the new game mechanics update and the Hallow's End seasonal event.
      Firsly, the patch includes the changes to the sequence of triggers, which we have covered extensively in a separate article. A notable change is the removal of Arena synergy picks. That's not all, though: Vicious Fledgling will no longer appear in Arena, while appearance rate adjustments have been made to some cards.
      The patch also brings Nemsy Necrofizzle, the new Warlock hero, to the Hearthstone client. She is already available from October 17 and we will cover more about her in a next article!
      The October 2017 (Unholy Horror Knights) and November 2017 (Gone Fishing) Ranked Play Season card backs have been added to the client and you can view them below:

      The more exciting part of this patch is Hallow's End! This seasonal event will run for two weeks, from October 24 until November 6. According to Hearthpwn, during its first week we will get a free Whispers of the Old Gods pack and an Arena ticket. During its second week, we will get a free Knights of the Frozen Throne and an Arena ticket.
      The main hero portraits will have unique costumes (make sure to check them out on the Hearthpwn article linked above).  There will be a special Tavern Brawl with unique cards on the week of October 24. Moreover, during Hallow's End the Arena will have a dual class mode. You will choose a hero and then you will choose a hero power from a second hero. Then, you will be able to draft class cards from both heroes, as well as neutral cards. Bear in mind that any Arena run you have in progress will be automatically retired on October 24. You will receive rewards based on the number of your wins and a free Arena ticket.
      Lastly, Patch 9.2 contains various bug fixes. You can read the patch notes here.
    • By Zadina

      Starting from October 17, the new Warlock hero can be obtained from Fireside Gatherings.
      Her looks already betrayed that she's nothing like the evil Gul'dan, but now her voice emotes prove that Nemsy Necrofizzle is surprisingly cute for a Warlock!
      You can obtain the Gnome heroine by participating in a Fireside Brawl at an established Fireside Gathering Tavern. Pay attention to that last part: these places have already hosted 3 Fireside Gatherings in the past and have earned the Tavern banner. So, since a lot of Fireside Gatherings have popped up since Nemsy was announced, make sure you attend one in a proper Tavern!
      Blizzard Entertainment
      Beginning October 17, attend a Fireside Gathering Tavern near you and play in a Fireside Brawl to add Hearthstone’s newest Warlock Hero to your collection: Nemsy Necrofizzle!

      Don’t let Nemsy Necrofizzle’s small size and penchant for peaches fool you: behind those pigtails and goggles hides one of the most powerful Warlocks alive. Nemsy is utterly fearless, sharp as a razor, and she’s always cool under pressure. After all, you can’t command fel energies or summon horrifying demons from the twisting nether just by being nice. She’s your perky little pal—and a bonafide fel-flinging, soul-destroying mistress of dark forces!

      Nemsy loves it when her foes underestimate her. Appearances can be deceiving, and she knows that it’s what lies beneath the surface that counts.
       

      Join forces with Nemsy Necrofizzle and show your opponents just how adorable soul-devouring destruction can be! From October 17 onward, simply participate in a Fireside Brawl at an established Fireside Gatherings Tavern to add her to your collection.
      Find a Tavern
      Fireside Gatherings Taverns
      Fireside Gathering Innkeepers who have hosted at least one Fireside Gathering with checked-in guests can found a Tavern on the Fireside Gatherings website. Taverns have unique names and Tavern signs that perfectly embody the spirit of their communities. Taverns also persist between Gatherings, so they need your attendance and support to grow!
       

      If you’re wondering whether the Fireside Gathering you’re planning to attend is at an established Tavern, just check the event page! Each Tavern has a tavern sign associated with it, while other Fireside Gatherings use a Fireside Gatherings lantern instead.
      Learn More
      Fireside Brawls
      Fireside Brawls are special Tavern Brawls that can only be played at Fireside Gatherings! Each month there will be a different Fireside Brawl to try—check the Fireside Gatherings website to find out about the brawl that’s running this month.
      These special brawls run the whole month with no breaks, and they co-exist with the weekly Tavern Brawls. (source)