I’m starting a new series over on Twitter which I’d like to call “From Fable to Staple – turning bad cards into autoincludes with little tweaks”, where I take one under-powered Hearthstone card and make it over-powered with a slight tweak. It’s important to note that while a card may not be particularly strong, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t see play in a supporting or, in rarer cases, a main role in one or more decks. This will cover anything, from cards that have never seen competitive play (Patient Assassin) to cards that support powerful decks (Greater Healing Potion).
Still, it;s fairly easy to make any card quite over-powered by tweaking certain obvious gates such as the mana cost. I’m sure Magma Rager would see a lot of play in aggro decks if it cost (1), for instance. Therefore, I want to establish some concrete rules and other more loose guidelines regarding what type of changes I can make to a card (examples below):
- In the ideal case, no more than one word (or short phrase if a couple of words go together) can be added or removed from the text.
- Numerical changes are to be avoided if possible.
- Mechanically, contextual changes are preferred.
- Thematically, flavourful changes are preferred.
- Card type, class identity, and rarity can’t be changed.
- Mana cost can’t be tweaked by more than 1 and is the last type of tweak I can resort to, when I see no other solution, and must be made for some specific reason other than simply changing the card to elevate its power level.
To illustrate some of these points, let’s take a look at a few examples, starting with the card premiering today with the launch of the series:
This is something I consider a very good change. It’s relatively small and unobtrusive, where a single word is removed to completely change the nature of the card and through context, turn it into one of the best Priest cards to ever see the light of day (this is what I previously called a “contextual change”).
Why? Well, first of all, now it can target the opponent. With Auchenai Souldpriest this is 12 damage to the dome (or a minion, if you were so inclined) for 4 mana, which I think we can all agree is pretty good? But wait, there’s more! With Embrace the Shadow and two Greater Healing Potions, that’s suddenly a burst of 24 damage. All of that is before you begin to consider further context, such as the existence of Shadow Visions, and once you go into the Malygos/Prophet Velen territory things start to get pretty wild, especially so after you think about cards like Radiant Elemental and Emperor Thaurissan.
This simple change makes the card primed with OTK potential and extremely abusive of the Classic card Auchenai Soulpriest. This is, really, a perfect example of a card taken from being but a fable to being a staple.
This is an example of a card where on the surface, we’re only changing the mana cost, buffing it by making it cheaper. Even though it is, of course, a buff, and therefore the power level is elevated, it’s important to recognise the reason why the change was made. In this case, the reason is thematic, even though the execution is not particularly exciting.