Monday, 17 February 2014

The Nerf That Saved The Early Game

Before January 16th, the usual first turn play was to pass. The usual second turn play was to drop a Novice Engineer. One mana drops were rare outside of aggro decks.

Novice Engineer had become ubiquitous. So much so, that the early game had become predictable. You knew exactly what to expect from almost every deck you played against in the early turns.

Since the nerf to Novice Engineer the early game has become far less predictable.

I see far more 1-mana drops now. I see far fewer Novice Engineers, to the point that when I do see one I feel actual surprise. People are adding necessary card draw to their decks in more challenging ways.

Loot Hoarder has not become the de facto Novice Engineer replacement that most thought it would. I don't see Loot Hoarder any more than I did pre-January 16th. And I might actually be seeing it less.

I'm seeing Argent Squires more frequently on turn one. Same with Leper Gnomes, Worgen Infiltrators and Southsea Deckhands. Turn twos are filled with more Mad Bombers and Bluegill Warriors. I'm not saying these cards were not played before the Novice Engineer nerf, but I'm definitely seeing them more often now.

Where card draw is concerned, you're see more of it move to the mid-game. Players are using cards with more inherent risk, but at greater potential reward. Acolyte of Pain has seen a bump in popularity. The same for Cult Master. You're seeing people experiment more with Coldlight Oracle. And among the legendaries, while already popular pre-nerf, Bloodmage Thalnos and Nat Pagle have become a tad more popular.

The nerf did exactly what Blizzard hoped it would do. It created far more variety in the early game, and changed up some of the mid-game, thus adding more unpredictability to matches. The nerf to Novice Engineer has made Hearthstone a better game.


  1. Early game now is Nat pagle on turn 1/2

    1. Occasionally that will happen. Nat is a single card. There's far less chance of drawing him into an opening hand than there was Novice Engineer.

      Nat was used frequently in high-end decks pre-nerf. He's used more now, for sure, but I don't think he's being used in every high-end deck.

  2. Isnt that because mages arent everywhere anymore? None of those 1drops have a shot against fireblast or arcane missiles.