by Jordan “TheJordude” Hong Tai
It’s time to join the bandwagon and write down my rant/thoughts on the Warsong Commander change that has been announced. What I wrote are 100% opinions so it’s up to you to agree or disagree, but if you want to read up on another person’s thoughts and perspectives, here you go.
So it was announced yesterday, October 13, 2015, that Warsong Commander is getting her effect changed, once again, from “Whenever you summon a minion with 3 or less Attack, give it Charge.” to “Your Charge minions have +1 Attack”.
As a Patron Warrior player myself, I was obviously initially disappointed as it was a deck I invested a lot of time into learning and was still trying to perfect it. Warsong Commander, being such a key card for the deck has turned almost completely unplayable and illogical. As Sottle pointed out on his twitter “Raid leader is a better card than Warsong Commander” which honestly is true. It costs the same amount of mana, except you don’t have the restrictions of only charge minions getting the buff for the trade-off of 1 health on the minion. From Blizzard’s stand point, yes, Warsong Commander was the card that made Patron Warrior a problem as it allowed board flooding and 70+ damage from hand possibilities, however the change on the card was way too extreme in my opinion. Right off the bat I could suggest 2 changes. First, simply making the card cost 4 or 5 mana seems completely reasonable. Making the card cost a bit more mana would mean Patron Warriors can’t flood the board, punishing your 2-attack minions as quickly, and it would be harder to pull off OTK’s without Emperor Thaurissan reductions which won’t come until post turn 6 anyway. Secondly, if you are going to change Warsong Commander’s effect completely, why not change the stats? I can see this card going off in very niche charge warrior decks with cards like Argent Horserider, Wolfrider, etc if the mana cost of Warsong was reduced to 2 (idea from Noxious), or if it had a slightly better body (where is Warrior’s 2/4?).
Aside from the changes to Warsong Commander, was Grim Patron Warrior really a big problem where it was “necessary” to make changes? Statistically (referring to Liquid Monk’s stats) Grim Patron had less than a 50% win rate on average. The average ladder player will commonly make “misplays” as it is a very challenging deck to make the correct calls. One time when I was on a group call with other pros, we were all teaching someone how to play Patron, and every one of us had different plays with different valid reasons. Patron Warrior is not even that common on ladder because of the difficulty of play and most people can’t be bothered unless they want to push for top ranks. The jokes and negative feedback on Patron Warrior are mainly due to the exposure it got from the results provided by the top professional players that have played thousands of games to learn and master the deck. For the average person, those results you see in the tournament will not be consistently common to your experience at home playing ladder.
For many players that have invested the time in learning the deck “Patron is the answer, not the problem” (quote from Tempo Storm’s JustSaiyan). For the Patron player, it was a deck where their skill level was rewarded by results, and it was an answer that they can rely on to the ever so frustrating Secret Paladin and other various aggro decks that don’t require as much practice by far. So the question still lingers, why not just reduce the power of the deck rather than completely removing the archetype? I guess we will never know, but looking forward here is what I think is to come after the change to Warsong Commander will come into effect.
Oh, is it Christmas already? Ever since TGT release the Mysterious Challenger Secret Paladin has been dominant on ladder and competitive play. Originally a lot of us thought that the deck will die down as players would learn how to play around the secrets better, but it turns out a 6/6 that pulls 5 secrets that chain and synergize with each other on turn 6 is pretttyyy hard to deal with. Patron Warrior was a way to keep the deck in check as it had a good matchup, however with Patron Warrior gone, who is going to answer the Challenger? Aside from just Secret Paladin, Midrange/Control/Inspire paladins have been an interesting idea that also seems very powerful for some time with the inclusion of Justicar Trueheart and Murloc Knight. The slower paladins have had troubles taking off mainly because the Patron matchup was terrible, but now that it’s gone maybe we will see some Silver Hand Recruits fill the board?
This is something I am excited about. First I need to touch on Handlock which has been a popular tournament line up choice. Handlock had a good matchup on average against Patrons, which I believe is the main reason it was included in players lineups. However, Handlock suffers against very aggressive decks such as Secret Paladin and Hunter which will rise in popularity post Patron nerf. Handlock is also a bad matchup against Druid, which is in one of its best spots it has been in a while. Without players playing Patron, I can see the fall in popularity of Handlock as a result. Now for the fun part… the infinite value! Yes, I am talking about the good ol’ Dreadsteed that was released in TGT. Dreadsteed is probably in my top 3 cards from the new set as I feel it has a lot of potential. It is a unique card so far in Hearthstone which really holds true to the engine idea I referred to earlier. As a minion that will always stick to your board, constantly trading, giving you life with Sacrificial Pact, drawing you cards, etc. Dreadsteed can have a lot of power in the new meta, especially when a lot of decks have the freedom to play more minions on the board without fearing Frothing burst. The reason why Dreadsteed has not seen too much play and any competitive play, is because it was infinite value for the Patron player, a minion that would never die gave the Patron Warrior a full board, or an enormous Frothing Berserker. Without having to fear queueing into Patrons, Dreadsteed might be something to look into.
Rogue is definitely a topic people haven’t touched too much on. When I talk to people about Rogue, the general response is usually “What’s that? A new class?” or “Rogue is in the worst spot it has ever been in”. I can’t disagree too much with them, Rogue got little to no love in TGT and has seen little play on ladder and tournaments. But why is this? On paper, Rogue does not seem that bad if built correctly. It has the right kit to deal with Paladin with Fan of Knives, Blade Flurry, Sap, etc. And if you build the deck with Violet Teachers, the tokens are also very useful for getting the board. Initially Rogue was considered decent against Patron Warrior, however that matchup changed as Patron players improved and it was no longer considered favoured. Another factor to point out was that Violet Teacher was somewhat a liability against Patrons as they would feed off of your tokens. However with Patrons gone, Violet Teacher is no longer punished and can be safely included in the deck to fight for board and provide bodies to land buffs. It’s also worth mentioning that since less people will generally be playing warrior, not many players will tech Harrison Jones and your buffed Dagger will have a higher chance of sticking and being able to set up.
Is the Grim Patron archetype completely dead? No, in my opinion I think Grim Patron can still be a viable card in an adapted build. It will still in Warrior due to the synergy with Inner Rage and the various Whirlwind effects. My idea is that Grim Patron will be used as an engine card. Like any card game, there are certain archetypes that depend on using cards as an engine to go through their deck and generate advantage. An example would be Cult Master drawing cards by throwing in tokens on the board, or in Yugioh Royal magical library used to draw extra cards in an Exodia deck. Grim Patron pre-nerf served as both an engine and a win condition. However with the nerf I think Grim Patron will solely be used as an engine card. Without Warsong you won’t be able to clear the board while developing your own off a simple 2 card combo, but you will still be able to go Patron, Inner Rage, Death’s Bite Whirlwind, Battle Rage to draw your deck. Obviously you don’t have the Warsong Commander potential for your win condition, therefore the idea of the deck would have to be cycling quickly, developing a Patron board, still having strong removals, and you would probably have bigger threats like Grommash and Dr.Boom (similar to how the old lists had bigger minions and were less all-in on the combo). Just like when Miracle Rogue was nerfed with Gadgetzan Auctioneer (which by the way is still a softer nerf than Warsong Commander) someone innovated Oil Rogue which has similar characteristics and was a tier 1 deck for most of GvG, this might also be the case if someone is able to successfully adapt and innovate Patron Warrior.
So those are my thoughts on the changes made to Warsong Commander, and what I think will come after it has been made. The decision is official so there is not much more to do but move on and just play some Hearthstone. Yes we will be salty for investing time in a deck to obtain success only for it to become unplayable, but this will also bring out the creativity and ability to adapt in the player. There is a lot of possibilities waiting, and maybe the TGT cards can finally be appreciated and more new archetypes will be born. Blizzcon is coming, who can adapt the most? Who will be cutting down the Christmas tree this year? One thing is for sure, not everyone will be getting in here and charging forward.
My name is Jordan “TheJordude” Hong Tai, and I am a professional Hearthstone player currently playing for compLexity Gaming. I am a multi legend player that has only missed legend for a couple of seasons. I have peaked at rank 3 legend in NA, but the highest ending season position I’ve finished at has been around 120. I enjoy refining and testing out new decks and playing a lot of ladder. I also enjoy making content through Hearthstone/Esporting websites such as deck guides, reviews, etc. You can find me through these social media outlets: