Warsong Commander will be changed from a very strong card at 3 mana for a 2/3 body and a talent reading ” Whenever you summon a minion with 3 or less attack, give it charge”, to “Your charge minions have +1 attack.” The nerf will come into action sometime this next week. The patron warrior is one of the most frequently used decks in tournaments and is considered to be one of the highest skill level decks. Which begs a question. Was this a proper nerf? It seems to me being an avid player, that finally when patron wasn’t completely overplayed and was countered by many decks in the meta that they decide to take the deck away. This leads me to ask why? It being a high skill level deck there has to be a reason why they decided to take out Warsong Commander rather than other cards like Frothing Berserker. Let’s back up and take a look at nerfs in general.
What is a nerf and why is it necessary?
I have played the game for enough time to see a couple of the nerfs that have taken place in hearthstone and it has been for two reasons. Either a card has become to insanely good due to its synergy with other cards, or it is too strong for its mana cost. Which is reasonable to need nerfs for both of those reasons as innovation in the game takes time. It’s very hard for blizzard to account for all the amazing deck ideas that us hearthstone players will come up with. I would say this nerf is rivaled of the Leeroy Jenkins nerf or Undertaker nerf as both of those were cards that were in decks built specifically around the card. The patron warrior wasn’t built solely around the Warsong Commander but that was the basis of its appeal. The Warsong Commander was a utility card in a combo deck. A crucial one at that. The entire deck doesn’t function the same due to the charge ability. Charge ability minions and tools and instant damage spells were said to be the least fun things to go against and non-interactive.
“I think that the card that is the biggest problem moving forward is Warsong Commander. There is a lot of designs we just cannot do because Warsong Commander exists in warrior decks.” – Ben Brode of the Hearthstone Development Team at Blizzard
I am excited that the main reason to nerf is for future innovations and am excited to see what blizzard plans in the future due to this card being nerfed. Here is a quick list of a few other cards that have seen nerfs in the past in hearthstone and brief reasons why.
Undertaker – used to read “+1 attack +1 health for each death rattle minion”, it lost the +1 health attribute after nerf.
Leeroy Jenkins – Mana nerf from 4 mana cost to 5 mana cost.
Flare – Mana nerf from 1 mana cost to 2 mana cost.
Gadgetzan Auctioneer – Mana nerf from 5 mana cost to 6 mana cost.
Many people in the community seem to agree that the Patron Warrior is a little overpowered due to a couple facts. The deck is based off surviving until key moments in the game where combo pieces are put together for either massive board clears and damage or well, more and more damage. The Frothing Berserkers can hit for 20-30 damage a piece on a very full board which is part of the problem they seem to have with it. The deck punishes people for having a board is the response, and I ask why that is necessarily a bad thing? Many other decks have punishing 6-8 mana board clears that leave the game in their favor.
Another argument being that Patron Warrior was great for the meta because it countered decks that are considered skill less by some, such as Face Hunter and Zoolock. The other huge one that everyone hates right now that patron fared well against was the infamous Secrets Paladin. With the Patron Warrior being a memory, many people are looking at this deck as the next target of a major need of nerfing. It is possible that in the future blizzard will nerf other cards to be able to add new cards. This is not out of the ordinary and in my opinion a good thing to do in any card game. So many people are under the popular opinion that the Warsong commander nerf was far too severe as it took out an entire deck.
With so many questions about this Patron Warrior nerf I decided to take a little time and ask a couple of the mYinsanity resident HearthStone professionals Roman “FaKe” Schick and Ales “Alesh” Hemmer some questions about what they thought about the recent changes to the patron warrior deck.
With past nerfs it has left the nerfed card quite unplayable, how do you think the nerf to Warsong Commander compares to prior card nerfs and do you think there is any future playability to Warsong Commander?
Alesh: As it seems Blizzard seems to like 2 approaches to their nerfs. First approach, that is more interesting for the game is nerfing the card slightly. We could have seen that with the first nerf of Warsong Commander back in the day, when it used to give charge to all minions, or making it more expensive, like with freeze effect spells of mage, or auctioneer etc. Second way to “nerf” is to totally destroy the card and put it to the ground. That happened to Buzzard and now Warsong Commander is another victim. With this “nerf” blizzard said, that they dont want any gaining charge effects in the game and Warsong commander will be seen only as a minion that comes out from portal to reming us of his formal glory.
FaKe: It’s the typical Blizzard approach. They almost always take their time to see if they can solve something overpowered by introducing a new expansion and then they nerf a deck completely into the ground and nerf the card that has the most potential to cause problems in the future again. As is, I don’t think Warsong Commander will see play. Maybe if they introduce better Warrior Charge minions but I doubt it.
How do you think that the absense of patron warrior will effect tournament settings and ladder climbing?
Alesh: It will completely change it. Decks there were good, but not good enough because of the patron will shine now. I am talking about Paladins, and Priests. Those 2 decks were always kind of weak to patron and they were played quite a bit anyway. With Grim Patron dead I expect to see a lot of them being played again. It is also possible that we haven’t seen the end of Grim Patron warrior.
FaKe: It will affect tournaments a lot more than ladder because the majority of ladder players wasn’t able to play Patron Warrior at a high enough level whereas in tournaments every single lineup was built with/and/or/around Patron.
What deck do you think will be the replacement for patron warrior in tournaments?
Alesh: Control warrior, Control priest, Dragon priest, Midrange paladin, I wish I could say Shaman, but that is probably not happening.
FaKe: The whole metagame evolved around the deck. So you can’t just exchange the single deck. The whole metagame will adjust. It will first shift towards Paladins and Hunters and then we will see.
Will you miss patron? Do you think there is any viability left in any kind of patron archetype?
Alesh: I will miss it, as a deck that if you wanted to have almost no RNG in the deck you would go for Patron, but Meta was kind of stale, so I understand the “nerf”. And I have seen some versions with charge for Frothing’s, or no Frothing’s in the deck and deck was being played with charge and Raging Worgen. So maybe it’s not the end of a patron warrior deck.
FaKe: A little bit. The deck concept was very unique, fun and required extremely good decision making in a short period of time. A smaller nerf would have done the job as well but I understand Blizzard’s fear of leaving a card like Warsong Commander in the game as it has caused problems in the beta before. There might be viability left in Patron. I know people will try. But I don’t think it will still be Tier 1.
If you could nerf a card and/or deck in the game what would that be and why?
Alesh: Big Russian Emperor Thaurissan. I think that the effect of this card is not good for the game. We could have seen its power in Grim patron (without that card patron would never be as strong as it was) and in Druid combo decks. That card sometimes makes the game end just on turn 6, if opponent doesn’t have response to it or even than when u get comboed out on turn 7 or double combo on 9. It’s also really strong in other decks as well (Malygos warlock, Handlock etc.)
FaKe: I don’t think another nerf is currently necessary. But if I had to choose then it would probably be Mysterious “The Christmas Tree” Challenger.
I would personally say that I would rather see more cards introduced more often than nerfing the current cards at least if they are going to leave the cards that they nerf unplayable. As far as nerfs go I can say this is easily the biggest ones I have ever seen due to the amount it was played in the tournament scene. I am happy to see that the deck line ups will be receiving a fresh new addition and I will definitely not be personally missing getting one turn killed by that dirty, dirty frothing berserker.
We all asked for the inevitable and it seems that blizzard agrees and gave the people what they wanted. Now we will see if the people like the absence of the patron dwarfs. Have fun hibernating little buddies! I want to thank the mYinsanity Hearthstone Team for taking time to answer my questions. Thanks for reading!