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Legendary Nerfs: Now What?

by - 9 years ago

Some pretty big changes were just put out by the folks over at Blizzard; turns out, people who thought that Nat Pagle and Tinkmaster Overspark were too strong were correct, at least according to Blizzard.

So what now?

Well, first we need to actually see what this means in terms of how it changes the way the cards work.

Let’s start with the fisherman himself.

Nat PagleThe text you see now is not the text you will get (if you missed the announcement, check it out here); now, instead of triggering at the end of your turn, Nat Pagle waits until the start of your turn to trigger.

This is an obvious nerf designed to give your opponent time to actually deal with Nat Pagle before he starts drawing cards.  It also means that there isn’t that 50% chance that Nat Pagle just replaces himself immediately.

Here’s the weird thing though; once you pass that first turn you miss (and you do miss an entire turn’s chance to draw a card), I would actually prefer that it triggered at the beginning of the turn.

Now, I’m not saying that this is an improvement; again, it’s an obvious nerf.  But hear me out; in roughly 95% of the cases (after that first turn), you’re going to get the exact same thing out of Nat: a 50% chance to draw a card regardless of when it triggers.  So we can set those situations aside, as it doesn’t matter when the card draw happens.

Let’s now look at some situations that can come up Nat.  First, we have Paladin Control decks that play the Wild Pyromancer/Equality combo.  The trigger occurring at the beginning of your turn is actually very useful there.  Say you’re playing Rogue and use a Cold Blood to boost Nat Pagle (and allow it to attack your opponent’s shield-less Argent Crusader or something that would allow it to trade); again, we’re glad we got the trigger in beforehand.

Hellfire (when Nat isn’t at full health)?

Random Twisting Nether deck?  Doomsayer?

Yes, these are going to be corner cases, but again, we already set aside the fact that, outside of these corner cases, Nat Pagle is going to be the same thing to us regardless of when it draws a card.

Despite the nerf, Nat Pagle is still a very good card and offers card draw to decks that wouldn’t otherwise have access to a decent card draw engine.  For instance, Rogues are still going to play Nat Pagle, as otherwise, their hands would be empty by turn seven trying to keep up with opponents’ plays (with the exception of Miracle Rogue, which operates on a completely different axis but still plays Nat Pagle).

Control Warriors are still going to definitely include Nat Pagle.

Watcher Druids are still going to…

Ok, pretty much every deck that ran Nat Pagle before is still going to run Nat Pagle; the difference is that he’s going to be slightly less ridiculous.  Let’s be honest though: if you coin out a Nat Pagle on turn one and your opponent doesn’t have a Crazed Alchemist ready, it’s probably going to end badly for them even with this nerf.  The only difference is that now there’s a 50% less chance that it’ll replace itself on the turn it comes out.

(If you want my honest opinion, I think the folks over at Blizzard caught wind of this week’s Hearthstone Theater and decided on an emergency nerf; they did this for our own good, as the thought of death by Pagle was too much to bear…)

As for that other card…

tinkmasterWith the nerf, Tinkmaster is a bit beefier (3/3 instead of a 2/2) but he now chooses a random minion to transform into a 1/1 squirrel or 5/5 devilsaur.

My initial reaction was “whelp, that card’s unplayable now…”; however, that was also my initial reaction when I first saw the yet-to-be-nerfed version as well, so I’ve learned to not trust my initial judgment on this card.

I’ve taken a bit to re-evaluate my thoughts and, upon further reflection and thought, I do think there’s a niche for Neo-Tink.  You see, if you can isolate the card you want to Tink on your opponent’s side of the board, then it operates the exact same as it does now.

And by isolate, I mean everything: even on your side of the board.

That’s a lot more work than what we had to put in to making Tinkmaster work now, but it’s still an effect that some classes (Druid) are sorely missing: an actual answer to big, beefy minions.

Here’s the issue I see though; the classes that want this type of effect typically aren’t going to have a clear board.  Druids have plenty of minions that they would love to not have Tinked , meaning I don’t think this card is going to fit well in druid decks anymore.  However, Paladin decks would probably still love a Tinkmaster, since they wouldn’t mind the chance to turn their reinforce minion into a devilsaur if it came to that.

Shamans are sort of in that same boat, in that they can run it out there even if they have some totems on the board in hopes that it hits the right minions (obviously this is where it’s a “well, I hope this works” type of situation) but, if not, there’s a chance that a totem could turn into a 5/5 (and even if it turns into a 1/1, it’s not that bad).

Giant Warlocks are also likely still in the market for Tinkmaster, in that they don’t have a ton of minions that they’re going to be putting on the board (and they have the ability to clear out smaller ones with Hellfire).  Yes, they do have Syphon Soul, but the ability to handle another problematic legendary card is probably a welcome one.

With these nerfs, I definitely think Tinkmaster got the bigger hit from the NerfBat; I still think Nat Pagle is one of the top five legendaries in the game, but unfortunately for Tink, I do believe this drops him in a similar manner to Sylvanas after her encounter with the NerfBat.

(As for the Ranked Play change, I think it’s actually a pretty decent one, as I know that it only took me about 30 minutes to get up close to rank 17 (beating obviously new players on the way); this is probably the case for all Legends, and it both takes extra time to start ladder climbing for us and leaves a bad taste in a newer player’s mouth when they send their Goldshire Footman against an army of cheap Warlock minions (and their general, the one and only Leeroy Jenkins).

I think it accomplishes what they’re hoping for, as I’m going to be assured to only see high ranked players (it’s like a staggered marathon where the competitive runners go first, since they’re going to have to cut off the slower runners anyway; now, we’re battling with each other instead of running over the newer players, and I think that’s a good thing for both Legends and newer players.)

What are your thoughts on the changes to two of the top four legendaries in the game right now?  Sound off in the comments; are you planning on disenchanting your legends now?

(Hint: my Tinkmaster might not be in my collection long…)


Michael “Shoctologist” Martin

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JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.

0 responses to “Legendary Nerfs: Now What?”

  1. Tyfor says:

    I don’t see the change to Nat as a nerf. He still gives you card draw. When that occurs doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. The Tink change is pretty brutal. He can still be used as a removal card. The player just has to clean up the board to guarantee Tink hits the correct target…that probably means spending more mana. I think increasing his cost while leaving his ability targeted by the player would have been the proper fix

    • Shoctologist says:

      You lose a turn of triggers (he used to trigger on the turn he came out, now he doesn’t); this means one less trigger and the option for your opponent to kill him before he ever triggers at all. It’s definitely a nerf

  2. Andy says:

    I’ve had time to properly think about this, and unlike so many people in the forums right now, I will not be DEing these cards straight away. A lot of people immediately think the cards are now useless before trying them out. I suspect I’m still going to use Pagle. He’s helped me out so many times (like drawing Swagnoros when I’ve only got a couple of health) and I think to DE before trying is a mistake. So he’s still going to be in my top 5 legendaries-top 3 in fact.

    I don’t understand the nerf to Tink though. No-one complained, it was a very useful card for so many people, yet Blizz picked up that nerf bat and beat the holy hell out of the Tink. Personally I think it was an unwarranted nerf-it was balanced. I’ll still try him out, but I’m not as confident I’ll use him as much. Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong.

    • WorruB says:

      you should DE right away, if they turn out to be useful you can always enchant at the same price later.

    • Covert_Madness says:

      There actually has been a lot of complaints around Tink and Pagle. Even to the point of people advocating banning them in tournaments. The issue from the community was that a 50/50 coin flip would dictate a game.

      The issue from Blizzards point of view is that Tinkmaster (and Pagle) became a ‘must-have’ in almost all decks. I do like a lot (not all) of the previous nerfs which were based around this same principle so I will hold judgement until we see where the meta ends up.

      1 massive side-effect is that this is a massive buff to Shaman (yay). Make Pagle weaker = Mana Tide Stronger and Tinkmaster useless = Hex/Poly Insanely stronger (‘kill’ + silence in 1 card).

      I have Tink but not Pagle. He will soon be dust and turned into either Ysera, Jaraxxus or maybe even Pagle since these are the last few major Legendaries I need.

  3. Celton says:

    It’s really silly to say that you want the cards at the start of your turn instead of the end of your turn. You’re not comparing the end of this turn to the start of this turn, you’re comparing the end of LAST turn to the start of this turn. I’d rather have my cards at the end my last turn than at the start of this turn. It’s strictly worse. The only possible situation where this is a buff is if you run completely out of cards and dying from fatigue and you’re now glad that you’re Nat Pagle didn’t draw so many cards. =-/

    • Shoctologist says:

      I never said this was a buff. I explicitly stated that it was a nerf. I then stated that, once the initial turn had passed that drawing at the beginning was better than drawing at the end. I said this after stating that it was a nerf then restated that nat pagle was a worse card. I’m sorry if that was confusing…

      My sole purpose behind that whole argument (end of turn vs start of turn AFTER the turn in which you lost the trigger) was to show that nat pagle wasn’t so muh worse that it shouldn’t see any play. It’s still a good card and the start of the turn opens up new possibilities (in corner cases).

  4. [DKMR]DaLighzic says:

    These are two pretty significant nerfs. Tink turns into one of Gelbins inventions in my opinion. Not being able to choose the minion is a tremendous nerf and I think I will definitely be saying bye to tinkmaster.

    • Shoctologist says:

      Oh I agree that I’ll be dumping tink, I’m saying that someone dedicated enough can still make use out of tink. I think nat is still quite playable tho.

  5. Lock says:

    Random Minion? Random?!? That nerfs the card from very strong to “i’d never play that”. So situational to have your opponent sitting there with only one strong creature and your only chance is to tinker it..

  6. Olof Fridh says:

    In theory on average Pagle will give you 0.5 cards less per game compared to before as you will get one less chance to draw with him, this is independent on how many turns he stays on board.

    In practice the reduction will actually be slightly less than 0.5 because of two things:
    1. If you end up buffing his attack (cold blood, Flametongue etc) and use him to trade you will get the same number of draw chances.

    2. Because of the nerf he might be down prioritized as a target by your opponent and therefore allowed to stay on board for more turns.

  7. Nukerx says:

    “Here’s the weird thing though; once you pass that first turn you miss (and you do miss an entire turn’s chance to draw a card), I would actually prefer that it triggered at the beginning of the turn.”

    Doesn’t matter, with this change you lose a whole card draw. Your logic still doesn’t change that fact.