There is a new Hearthstone expansion out at the moment and one card is causing quite a stir – Shudderwock.
While the stats and mana-cost are terrible Shudderwock repeats every single Battlecry you’ve played in the game and with a bit of crafty deckbuilding that means you can kill your opponent in one turn.
The variations of this one-turn-kill (OTK) deck are numerous and often the plays take forever to complete. The card was being played for a day when users started calling for it to be nerfed.
But I think Shudderwock is fine, perhaps even terrible.
Yes, Shudderwock leaves you helpless in the turn (or rather turns) it is played but it is hardly the worst offender.
Taking a look at HSReplay data over 66 000 recorded games, Shudderwock Shaman only has a win rate of 45.1 percent at most. Sure, game times peak at 9.7 minutes but a Dead Man’s Hand warrior mirror match pushed the game to the 100 turn limit, so which is the worst of the lot?
Truth be told not even Warriors with infinite armour can hold a candle to the current onslaught of Odd Paladin.
This deck uses Baku the Mooneater to upgrade the Paladin hero power so that it summons two Silver Hand Recruits. While the deck is limited to using cards with an odd mana cost, the class has a number of ways of bettering the minions they summon. That, plus the endless onslaught of minions makes Paladin extremely frustrating to play against.
At the moment the deck as a 60.5 percent win rate across 120 000 games.
For those that are curious, Cube Warlock which uses just one card from The Witchwood (Voodoo Doll) is still powerful and has a 60.3 percent win rate across 100 000 games.
So then, not only is Shudderwock Shaman being played the least out of all classes at the moment, it’s losing a lot as well.
Jumping the shark
So what is the problem with Shudderwock? Why is it that the community is so loud about this card compared to a card which had a similar effect – Yogg Saron, Hope’s End.
With the recent rotation of the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion into Wild, Standard players lost the most random card ever created by Blizzard. The card would cast a spell for every spell cast that turn with targets chosen at random.
It was chaos, but fun chaos because Yogg could turn the tide of the game for you or your opponent. Yes, Yogg eventually got nerfed by Blizzard in that the card stopped casting spells if it died. That nerf however only came down months after Yogg was in play.
Shudderwock is different. The card allows players to plan out which Battlecry effects they want and which they don’t. With careful planning you can use this to turn the tides. The potential exists then for crazy plays to be made which effectively remove your opponent from the game.
And that is no fun.
With that having been said however, we are only a week into the new Witchwood meta and while stats are nice, they don’t reveal the tweaks players are making to decks behind the scenes.
Take the 512 OTK combo for instance.
What I’m trying to say is that calls for Shudderwock to be nerfed are coming far to soon after the launch of the expansion without folks actually pointing out what they don’t like.
Yes turns take forever but that’s not something changing the card will fix which is painfully evident in this clip which exploits Nozdormu’s effect.
To speak frankly we – as a community – need to stop calling for nerfs without first considering what it is we want fixed. Is Shudderwock really too powerful or is just a matter of fixing the turn timer?
That said if its found that the card is powerful and needs balancing I would suggest changing the text to read Battlecry: Trigger a random Battlecry for each Battlecry played this game (targets chosen randomly).
Perhaps not the most imaginative or original fix but it might make the turns Shudderwock is played a bit more fun as random effects take over and decide the fate of the game.