Tuesday, March 22, 2016


New Hearthstone cards are coming out, and the latest is a new Warlock card called Doom!
The reaction to this card has been mostly negative, largely because Warlock already has an 8 mana card that does the same thing without the card drawing.  A lot of people are concerned that Warlocks already draw a lot of cards, so drawing your entire deck and/or milling yourself is a real concern, and also having to spend 10 mana is a real issue.

I, on the other hand, think this card is going to be a big deal.

Mostly I am of this opinion because of my suspicion that Warlocks are going to be playing C'thun decks when the expansion lands.  C'thun, you may recall, looks like this, and has tons of cards that make it bigger when it finally does come out.
A C'thun deck is very different from a normal deck in that it isn't trying to be pure control.  It isn't trying to run the game to fatigue and it is going to be playing lots of cultists to buff C'thun and will try to push for damage while doing so.  The goal is to survive to turn 10, play C'thun, and win the game.  You know what helps with that plan?  A card that can clear the board to enable C'thun to do massive face damage which also draws lots of cards to get you to C'thun.  Doom! fits that bill exactly.  When you are playing C'thun a lot of your minions will be mediocre so you are likely to be behind by the time turn 10 rolls around, and your opponents will not have the luxury of just slow playing it.  If they don't get aggressive and kill you eventually you will just drop a 20/20 C'thun and explode their face.  Even if you don't do that, letting a Warlock deck hang around and draw tons of cards and play out an endless stream of minions is a recipe for disaster.  You have to put on pressure, and that leaves you wide open to Doom!

Imagine the choice:  You can keep a small board and risk the enemy slamming down C'thun to clear that board and do a ton of face damage, or you can build a big board and get blown out by Doom!  Both strategies are potentially disastrous, but because you don't know what the C'thun player is holding so you have to guess, and guessing wrong means you lose.

I completely agree that Doom! does not fit into current archetypes well.  It is far too slow for aggressive Zoo Warlock decks, and the card draw and expense is problematic for Reno/Handlock decks.  It might have a place in Combo Warlock (Leeroy/Power Overwhelming/Faceless) but even then it is 10 mana so it is a bit sketchy.

But we should not only look at old decks when we consider new cards.  New decks mean new values, and an endgame spell that clears the board to help keep you alive, opens the door for C'thun lethal, and draws you into C'thun is just the ticket.  You probably can't afford to run more than 1 just because 10 drops are really pricey, but it will be a hell of a thing when you do use it.

I predicted earlier that Warlock would get cards to make C'thun their default deck and this feels like it is part of that set of cards.  It isn't enough on its own for sure, and Warlock definitely needs a specific card or two to make C'thun really effective, but Doom! is certainly a piece of the puzzle that will help C'thun Warlock being a real force in the upcoming meta, in standard in particular.

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