Amsterdam and The Anatomy of Crafting

PREAMBLE: It’s been a while since my last post and, for that, I apologize. Part of that downtime was because I spent the past 10 days or so in Amsterdam (and the remainder of that downtime was because work was CRAZY for the two weeks before I left, during which I had to finish all my projects for those weeks and the weeks I would be out). Although the trip had a rocky start (including spending 14 hours in LAX, courtesy of WOW Airlines), I ended up having an amazing time. Amsterdam is a great city that I cannot recommend enough.

SICK TRANSITION: As far as I can gather, there are approximately four reasons why one would go to Amsterdam: 1) weed stuff; 2) sex stuff; 3) art stuff; 4) other stuff (maybe beers). Similarly, I recently struggled with a decision between four legendaries to craft: 1) Cairne; 2) Yogg; 3) Edwin Van-Cleef; and 4) other (maybe Varian).

SOULFUL ACCOUNTING: That’s as far as I can take this comparison; let’s get to the actual blog post.


1. Cairne
184px-Cairne_Bloodhoof(498)Cairne was the old stand-by back when Hearthstone was just Basic and Classic cards. Back then, Chillwind Yeti was the benchmark of value, so Cairne (2 yetis at 1.5 the price, and in one card)  was nutty value. However, Cairne was quickly outclassed once Naxx was released: it no longer traded very well with the 4-6 drops and decks that would run it were forced into running cards that better responded to the Undertaker menace (Sludge Belcher). With GvG came the Undertaker nerf that the masses were calling for, but so did fast mech-mage decks and Cairne still couldn’t keep up. People started running Antique Healbot AND Sludge Belcher. Cairne still didn’t trade great with 4-6 drops. Of course, I crafted him right before Naxx was announced, so I barely got any use out of him and quickly thereafter disenchanted him for a waste of 1200 dust. However, I’m trying hard to prevent that sunk cost from swaying my crafting decisions.

But now, Cairne is back! Fueled by a slightly slowed meta and tremendous N’Zoth value, Cairne is seeing play in most N’Zoth decks which are, themselves, waxing and waning in popularity as the meta turns.

Pros: My focus going forward is finishing up my golden classes (in no particular order–Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Priest, and Hunter), and N’Zoth works well for a lot of those classes. Also, as an “evergreen” card, I could get a lot of use out of him in the long run.

Cons: The stage is set for me to get burned just like last time–with a slower meta, weakened silence, and N’Zoth, Cairne is, right now, about as good as he is likely ever to be. Yet, even now, he is only seeing a medium amount of play. Who knows if he will fall off the map entirely once the next cards are released? Also, we get Classic packs from tavern brawls and spectating games, so the odds are higher that I will open him eventually than those odds are for non-Classic cards (assuming that all perimeters remain the same). I haven’t had duplicate legendaries yet, but I can imagine that is a real mixed bag of emotions.

2. Yogg
I’ll admit: I was quick to dismiss Yogg as a casual-only card, and continued to do so long in to the set being out. However, I’ve now seen stats to suggest that he’s actually pretty solid. There are situations wherein literally no other card could save you, but Yogg could. It also sees play in some top tier decks in which it is, obviously, irreplaceable.

Pros: It is a unique card that changes the way games are played and decks are built (especially the deckbuilding aspect). It will last a long time in Standard before rotating. It sees some play in some of the classes I am looking to focus on.

Con: Too much RNG is not terribly satisfying for me as a player and it might end up being a mainly “for fun” card that I don’t actually find fun.

3. Edwin
EdwinEdwin has been pretty staple in Rogue since forever and in most variations of Rogue. Some would say that it is the class legendary most closely linked to its class. Nowadays, with silence and Big Gamee Hunter being nerfed, he has made a bit of a “comeback,” but even still Rogue is not a great ladder-class, and his usage is mostly limited to tournament show matches.

Pros: He is pretty essential to playing Rogue, and is at peak power in the current cardpool.

Cons: He is a class card for a class that is currently weak on the ladder. He is a classic card that has the pros and cons discussed above. He’s not a pirate despite his art.

4. Other (Varian?)
VarianOld Gods brought a lot of tools for “tempo warrior,” a deck archetype that did not really exist before the set released. The deck features a lot of powerful tools, and quickly became one of the decks to beat. There are a million lists online if you are unfamiliar with it, but I liked the description of it as “patron without patrons.” If you take a look at those million lists, you will see that a good portion of them run Varian. Varian was a card that a lot of people (myself included) would break Control Warrior, but it turns out that drawing (or even playing) 3 cards late in control warrior just makes you lose the fatigue war. That, and it requires you to run a more threat-dense build that could not keep up with aggro decks. However, in Tempo Warrior the card is fantastic! Unlike Control Warrior, Tempo Warrior does not want to go to fatigue. It plays a midrange role, and really wants a way to finish the game late. It also runs Ragnaros, taunt, and haste guys (usually), that allow for an immediate impact on the board if pulled out. Varian has finally found a home for his OP-ness.

Pros: He’s pretty broken in Tempo Warrior and would vindicate my claims at pre-release that he should be renamed “Invariably Win.” He is the only card I am missing for more Tempo Warrior builds. Tempo Warrior is a top deck right now.

Cons: He’s a TGT legendary, which means he will rotate soon-ish. He is a class legendary and, on top of that, is only used in one class archetype. Tempo Warrior is, though still a top deck, a bit on the downswing now that it has lost its freshness.

I decided to go with Yogg, and here’s a bit more on why. The “uniqueness” of Yogg makes it very appealing to me. Whereas Cairne can be replaced with whatever value-adding card is appropriate for the build, Yogg has an effect that cannot be replicate. This, to me, means that it opens more doors. On top of that, it encourages interesting deck design, which is always a perk for me. It beat out Edwin because, on top of Rogue not being great these days and my general preference for neutral legendaries, I figured I could just finish Rogue last. Varian was never really in contention, because he is a class legendary that is itching to rotate soon.

Thanks for the read, everyone! I’ll try to keep them coming with more frequency from now on. 🙂


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