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Patch 10.4 Bringing Big Changes, Blizzcon Cards To The Arena

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In an effort to make more interesting decisions during the draft portion of the Arena, Blizzard will be making some big changes to the way that packs are structured.

Announced today on the PlayHearthstone blog, patch 10.4 will be bringing some major changes to the way that the draft portion of the Arena is structured. Most notably, cards of different rarities will begin to appear at the same time in an effort to create more compelling decisions throughout the draft process.

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Don't let the words "Choose a Card" a card fool you, packs like this one aren't choices at all.

 

In the accompanying video, Blizzard provided the above example to illustrate the kinds of packs they are looking to remove from the draft in patch 10.4. Packs like these, where one card is so much stronger than the others, seem to come up multiple times per draft. Though you hypothetically could pick Ice Barrier if you were in dire need of a secret, 99 times (or more) out of 100 Fireball is the best pick in this spot, which makes this pack an effective non-decision.

 

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Now we're talking! All three of these cards are pickable in the right deck.

 

Instead of grouping cards by rarity, cards in the updated Arena will be grouped by power level. This means that packs in the updated Arena can contain Commons, Rares, and Epics in the same pack. Legendaries will still appear in their own packs, but should be closer to each other in power level than they were before. In the example pack above, the correct pick here is far less clear and depends entirely on the context of your current deck.

In addition to these changes, the nine Arena-only cards which were voted on by fans at Blizzcon will be added to the Arena. These cards are absurdly powerful and I can't wait to see all the crazy screenshots and Twitch clips which  will come from them.

 

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To summarize:

Quote
  • Each Arena pick in a draft will feature three cards of relatively equal power level, but different rarities.
  • Picks one, 10, 20, and 30 will continue to have a guaranteed Rare quality card or better.
  • The increased chance to see cards from the most recent expansion has been temporarily disabled in Update 10.4.
  • The new Arena cards that were decided on at BlizzCon will also be added in Update 10.4 for a limited time.

- Blizzard Enterntainment

There is no official timetable for when patch 10.4 will be released, but I'd expect to see it drop between the middle and end of March. I for one am very excited to see these updates, and have already started saving up my gold for an Arena-thon.

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Changing in drafting is a thing I really like, as it was very very sad when you get to draft your epic, and you have to pick between 3 epic cards that sucks, while your opponent have good ones.

But I wanted to ask a question about the new arena only cards: how are those cards supposed to make arena better, as they are really strong, and they will be drafted only sometimes? Wouldn't they make arena more luck based?

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1 hour ago, Synesthesy said:

Changing in drafting is a thing I really like, as it was very very sad when you get to draft your epic, and you have to pick between 3 epic cards that sucks, while your opponent have good ones.

But I wanted to ask a question about the new arena only cards: how are those cards supposed to make arena better, as they are really strong, and they will be drafted only sometimes? Wouldn't they make arena more luck based?

"will also be added in Update 10.4 for a limited time"

What I read there is "we will give it a go to see how it change things then depending on stats / results / findings / etc. they'll decide what to do.

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The hunter, shaman and warrior ones appear the strongest to me, and they’re probably the weakest classes in standard arena currently so maybe they’re hoping it balances things up a bit.

Paladin secret isn’t bad but hard to set up well in a manner that can’t be played around, and will sometimes leave you unable to use hero power. Mage one seems pretty meh to me, if you’re using it on an enemy minion you prefer normal polymorph, if you’re using it on your own you prefer a decent 5-drop. Warlock one is very rng heavy. If you use it early on you could end up with an unplayable curve. If you use it late you could end up with a bunch of useless one drops. But equally could turn your bad cards good.

Will be interesting to see what cards of ‘similar power level’ you get offered alongside them...

Edited by Bozonik

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I agree Bozonik.

Hunter, Shaman + Warrior are very good cards.

Rogue can be great - stealth for just 1 mana without any card cost? There are a lot of minions that benefit greatly from stealth.

Druid + Priest can be great. Giving a minion with a negative Deathrattle to your opponent? AND getting 3 cards as a reward? Awesome.

And buffing a minion with 5/5 for 3 mana can be great, even if slow. But in arena that isn't as much a disadvantage as in regular games.

(And being able to play a minion with a good battlecry a second time is always interesting.)

 

Mage seems to have gotten the worst card. I honestly doubt I would ever pick it. 
What minions can you discover? Of any cost? How big are chances to be offered a 6+ mana minion? And even that can be bad, if part of the price you pay for a strong battlecry. And you need a minion in the field to use the card. 
Seems more like a bad Polymorph to me.

On the other hand, the longer I think about it:

Yes, it IS a bad polymorph.
But if you DO have a cheap minion on the board you can use the card on it. And maybe you do get lucky and make a decent minion out of yours.

I had some games with a Polymorph that could not be used well. 

Chances are well that you can either play it on an enemy or on one of your own minions.

 

But nevertheless, IMO polymorph is just a way better card.

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I'm tentatively optimistic since this should help making Arena more interesting, but it doesn't completely solve the problem of wildly varying deck quality. Someone offered 20 "low" powerlevel picks out of thirty will still get wrecked by decks that got "higher" powerlevel picks, even if the picks are internally balanced.

 

As for the arena-only card:

Paladin: Pro - free creature is always nice. Con - hard to set up properly.

Mage & Warlock: Pro & Con - All hail Ayre-Henn' Gee, Lord of Randomness. 

Hunter: Pro - Permanent Steamwheedle Sniper effect? Yes, very much YES, please! Con - well, you'll have to invest all of those two mana at one point... 

Druid: Pro - Cheap buff guy with perhaps a second battlecry. Con - Beware the tempo loss of returning a minion to the hand.

Warrior: Pro - Nice weapon. Con - It's another weapon for the already weapon-rich class.

Shaman: Pro - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11e8XyUBqRQ. Con - Unless you drafted crazy overload synergy, you'll play nothing the turn after that.

Rogue: Single-minion Conceal with card draw? Nice! Con - A bit situational. 

Priest: Pro - Cheap card draw? Nice! Con - you need to offer up a minion, which can be hilarious both ways.

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17 hours ago, WedgeAntilles said:

I agree Bozonik.

Hunter, Shaman + Warrior are very good cards.

Rogue can be great - stealth for just 1 mana without any card cost? There are a lot of minions that benefit greatly from stealth.

Druid + Priest can be great. Giving a minion with a negative Deathrattle to your opponent? AND getting 3 cards as a reward? Awesome.

And buffing a minion with 5/5 for 3 mana can be great, even if slow. But in arena that isn't as much a disadvantage as in regular games.

(And being able to play a minion with a good battlecry a second time is always interesting.)

 

Mage seems to have gotten the worst card. I honestly doubt I would ever pick it. 
What minions can you discover? Of any cost? How big are chances to be offered a 6+ mana minion? And even that can be bad, if part of the price you pay for a strong battlecry. And you need a minion in the field to use the card. 
Seems more like a bad Polymorph to me.

On the other hand, the longer I think about it:

Yes, it IS a bad polymorph.
But if you DO have a cheap minion on the board you can use the card on it. And maybe you do get lucky and make a decent minion out of yours.

I had some games with a Polymorph that could not be used well. 

Chances are well that you can either play it on an enemy or on one of your own minions.

 

But nevertheless, IMO polymorph is just a way better card.

Yeah, the three I didn’t mention were the ones I thought could be good but not always good. The rogue one is good normally yeah. It’s kinda like the rogue version of power word shield. It’s good without being op. The Druid one is certainly powerful and will win games, but the initial tempo loss could be costly in other games. The priest one, sure, it can be insane if you manage to give them a something like a doomsayer, but that’s gonna be very rare. I think on average you’ll be giving at least a damaged 2 or 3 attack minion with 1 health. That’s like a tempo loss of 3 mana. So it’s like a 5 mana draw 3 in that respect, like nourish. But the low mana cost makes it easier to play than nourish. But occasionally it’ll be horrible (eg. a top deck when you have no minions).

And yeah, the polymorph one is just a worse polymorph normally. That’s still not bad though. If it’s your only way to remove a ragnaros type card, odds are you’ll improve things with it. And you get the option to roll the rng dice on your 1/1 on turn 5 and plonk a tyrantus on board. Imagine often you’ll end up losing tempo playing it like that though, there’s a lot more small minions than big.

Watched Trump review them a while ago. When he got to the warrior wep he said it was a shame he can only give 5 stars to cards. When he got to the shaman card he gave it 6 stars anyway hehe.

Edited by Bozonik

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