You have been chosen to enter the holy halls of The Oracle of LiquidHearth. Please take the time to listen what The Oracle has to say. You may like, or dislike, the prophecies you are to receive. Lend your ears to The Oracle and glimpse what may soon come to Hearthstone.
“There will be a vanilla 2/2 minion for one mana”
One mana minions are in an awkward spot. Mages and Priests have 1/3 minions with a good ability while Warlock has a 3/2 that deals three damage to you. While there are neutral 2/1 minions -- with abilities -- which see play; for some reason, there is no vanilla 2/2 minion. While a 2/1 is the best you can get according to the Curi rule, is a vanilla 2/2 really stronger than a 1/3 with good ability? The Oracle thinks not. The only question will be of rarity and if it is neutral or class specific.
Interestingly, Magic the Gathering, while having roughly the same mana requirements for attack and health values as Hearthstone, also treated a 2/2 for one mana as a sacred cow for many years. Magic's designers placed awkward restrictions on minions which allowed them to break the rule:
- “Jackal Familiar can't attack or block alone.”
“Goblin Cohort can't attack unless you've cast a creature spell this turn.”
The careful introduction of 2/2 minions for one mana could help balance the game through a chain reaction:
- Many classes can deal one damage for no card, this makes 2/1 creatures vulnerable;
- Since there are no 2/1 creatures, you usually want a 3/2 instead of a 2/3 for your two mana: see Trump/Haylstorm on River Crocolisk;
- Since most two mana minions are 3/2s, why would you run an x/3 for three or more mana?
“The nerf gods of Irvine will hit the Arena Mages”
Countless heroes are complaining to the nerf gods, that Mage is too powerful in Arena. Its win rate is too high and the class is picked too often. Brian Kibler's blog already predicted in September 2013 that the current hero abilities might become a problem for balance. Blizzard already reacted to complaints by the community about Nat Pagle and Tinkmaster Overspark. When will they do something similar about Arena? With that in mind, consider the following:
“Fireblast: Deal one damage to a minion and take one damage.”
What would this mean? Fireblast can no longer nibble on your opponent's life totals: this may ultimately be a negligible effect. Dominating the minions on the board, however, will cost you Health, which is a fair deal compared to the other classes which have to invest their hero’s Health to make use of their weapons. Both elements are small on their own, but may push Mage a bit more in line.
On the other hand, Fireblast is more of a problem in Arena than in Constructed. One of the reasons seems to be that since the card pool is stronger, there are better things to do for two mana in Constructed. This could mean -- when new cards come out -- that all the hero abilities get slightly weaker. Maybe Fireblast fixes itself by time when new cards come out.
Similar nerf discussions are going on about Flamestrike: currently one of the most feared spells in Arena. Many players are suggesting a change in rarity. Changing it from Common to Rare would have limited effect on Constructed play, but ease the pain of many Arena players. When Monk asked Ben Brode in an interview about that idea, Ben explained that the problem with Flamestrike will be fixed by a growing card pool which makes Flamestrike appear less frequently in the draft.
“There will be artefacts for delayed direct damage”
The Oracle foresees that direct damage will become a problem with the increasing card pool. Imagine a deck consisting purely of Sinister Strikes, Eviscerates, Mind Blasts, and Fiery War Axes. Each deals about four damage per card for two mana. If this trend continues, you will need about eight cards and sixteen mana to burn your opponent from thirty. In this hypothetical deck, you could reliably kill your opponent on turn five or six -- eight cards and fifteen mana -- without giving him much chance of defending himself. A common suggestion within the community is to introduce Spell Taunt: minions which must be targeted instead of the hero.
An interesting proposal, but The Oracle predicts another route as it envisions some sort of delayed damage. Delaying the damage will allow an opponent to interact before it occurs. Imagine Artefacts, a new minion sub-type.
Here an example how delayed damage could be implemented:
Trebuchet: three mana, 1/4, At the beginning of your next turn, sacrifice Trebuchet and deal 5 damage to a target.
Now look at all the new interaction you can get from this new card type. The opponent can now use his own removal to prevent the damage. He can use his own minions to kill the Trebuchet before it gets charged. You can use your Taunt minions to protect the Artefact. This can also open the door for spells which destroy Artefacts.