Friday, 21 February 2014

The Weird Contradiction Between the Warrior Hero Power and Its Minions and Spells

For nearly all of the classes, there's a certain level of synergy between a hero's power and that hero's minions and spells.

Consider the Hunter. Its hero power screams rush, two points of damage to the face over and over. Hunter minions tend to fit into a rush strategy quite easily. Low cost. Lots of options for strong, quick card draw. Plus spells that give options on where to place damage. The rush deck is the strongest archetype at the Hunter's disposal. (Sure, Hunter's can create control decks, but compared to the control of Druids or Priests, they are not at all competitive.)

Or consider the Priest. A highly defensive hero power that begs for control. You can heal the hero or any minion. It's a powerful hero power, but one that is very much defensive in nature. Northshire Cleric certainly synergizes well with the Priest's hero power. Most Priest spells affect only the board, which in turn offers greater control, cards like the Shadow Words and Mind Control. (And sure, Priests can transform their power into an offensive weapon using Shadowform or Auchenai Soulpriest, but those are mid-game plays, so Priests can never reasonably adopt an effective rush strategy.)

The same follows for the rest of the classes. That is, until you come to the Warrior. Then you're presented with a strange contradiction between hero power and its class minions and spells.

Adding two armor to your Warrior hero suggests that the class would be strongest in a control environment, yet many of the Warrior's minions and spells suggest aggro deck components. Increasing the attack of minions by damaging them. Minions with charge. Spells that imbue charge. It's an inherent contradiction in the class that makes deck creation a challenging task. And it's what makes Warrior one of the weakest hero classes available. In my own constructed play, my highest win percentage is against Warriors, nearly a 77% win percentage against them. It's why I'm always happy to match up against Warrior no matter what class I'm playing.

Warrior rush is weaker than either Warlock or Hunter rush, simply because Armor Up! offers no synergy with aggro play, unlike the advantages that Life Tap and Steady Shot offer Warlock and Hunter rush respectively.

Warriors can create reasonably tough control decks, but in doing so they have to forgo a number of their class minions and spells. In the end, Warrior control still pales in comparison to Priest and Druid control.

Is there a solution? Probably not without the addition of new Warrior cards. Blizzard is too late into the development cycle to now be making wholesale changes to the Warrior class. Any fixes and enhancements to Warrior will have to come with future expansions to Hearthstone.

Any class can still rank you up. Any class can still get you to legendary. All you need is the skill to maintain over a 50% win percentage. Warrior is not the strongest class, and it's not going to rank you up as quickly as some of the other classes, but it's still fun as hell to play. Warrior is the case of curious and intriguing design dissonance between hero power and class spells and minions.

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