Magnetic: Hearthstone’s Strongest Mechanic?
Charge. Rush. Divine Shield. Enra—oh wait. In Hearthstone, mechanics, or keywords, fill a few important roles. They are helpful points of reference around which players (usually newer players) can design a deck. They add flavor and all-important nuance to cards. Many have been added (and removed/renamed) throughout the game’s history – some have stuck around, such as Discover, and others have faded away more or less immediately. Looking at losers like Joust and winners like Charge, it’s clear that all keywords have never been made equal.
Though we are but a week into The Boomsday Project, we can see that Magnetic is attracting a lot of attention. This article will look into whether this attention is justified, or if it’s simply part of the experimentation boom that follows every new expansion. I believe that the hype is real, and the power behind it is too. Read on to see why Magnetic minions are going to define the Year of the Raven.
Power in Diversity
Magnetic is an incredibly flexible and dynamic ability. Its uses go far, far beyond those of any other keyword. Rush allows a minion to attack other minions on the turn it’s played. Divine Shield protects a minion from damage on its first hit. Magnetic, however, is essentially the power to add one minion to the other. It’s like Ratcatcher or Void Terror, except you can keep the card text of the minion that’s being eaten. Magnetic minions have some of the best basic stats in the game – 2 mana 1/5, for example – while also doubling as efficient buff spells.
The only downside to building big Magnetic Mechs is the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket, and losing it to hard removal. But this is a risk inherent to so many decks that have survived and thrived for years. Inner Fire/Divine Spirit Priest decks do not hesitate to throw out huge single minions, stacked up with buffs. You could argue that this Priest combo costs far less Mana (3 to 5) for a faster impact, compared to gradually constructing a giant Mech. I would counter that Mechs are more reliable, through their numbers and variety, thus making them far less gimmicky. Magnetics can control the board in ways You can also play around hard removal more easily: Warriors can use Beryllium Nullifier to protect their monster robots from cards like Execute and SW: Death.
Let’s take a look at one of the most unassuming, yet impressively powerful Magnetics. Glow-Tron, a 1 mana 1/3 Paladin card is already seeing a lot of play. It’s just so good in every respect. The eminent streamer and YouTuber, Kripparrian, claims that this small bot is perhaps the strongest of the Mechanic bunch. 1/3 is already a powerful statline; Dire Mole has been popular in every variety of Aggro since its release in Kobolds and Catacombs. The fact it also effectively reads ‘give a friendly Mech +1/+3’ for just one mana makes it much better than a number of pre-existing Paladin buffs. Even if it wasn’t already a standalone minion, in many scenarios Glow-Tron would be better than Blessing of Might or Hand of Protection. Wild Paladin, with Shielded Minibot and Piloted Shredder, is surely a dominant force.
It’s bordering on absurd that all classes have now been given a Mech Blessing of Kings, in the form of Wargear. Not only is it a huge buff, like a mini-Dinosize, it’s a decent Arena choice, with stats similar to Stranglethorn Tiger. Of course, for new cards to really make it into competitive play, they have to be a little unfair. The cards that are totally fair and balanced are absorbed into the neglected mass of the just-about-viable. Elemental decks and Joust are arguably an example of this. To shape the metagame, new mechanics have to blow your mind in some way. The League of Explorers introduced Discover, a way to generate game-winning value. It’s one of Hearthstone’s most lasting keywords – because it’s so versatile and valuable. Much like Magnetic.
Magnetic is as close as we’ve come to getting Neutral Spells. Imagine if Skaterbot wasn’t a radical skating robot that don’t care about no rules, and instead a spell that reads ‘Choose One: Summon a 1/1 Mech or Give a friendly Mech Rush’. For 1 mana, that’s a steal. You’d think it was a mediocre Druid spell. Yet any class can make the most of this guy, who can turn a 9/7 Divine Shield-toting Bull Dozer into a Lich King-smashing unstoppable force with immediate effect.
What is more, the Mech tribe as a whole has more synergy than ever before. If you thought Mechwarper was bad, we now have Galvanizer – reducing the cost of Mechs in your hand by 1, for 2 mana with a 1/2 body. You don’t need to have Mechs on the board to buff them anymore, like you had to in Goblins versus Gnomes. Hand buffers and discounters can be played repetitively, either by Discovering more Galvanizers or using the the abundance of Battlecry-boosting effects now in existence. So you can build your Magnetic monster minions faster, for cheaper, and even out of thin air with cards like Stitched Tracker and Blazing Invocation.
We are only a few days into the Boomsday Project. I’ve had a blast with it so far, and it seems like people are excited in a way that we maybe didn’t see so much in The Witchwood. Dr. Boom brings an explosive energy that’s hard to match!
It’s difficult to confidently assess where the meta is going in this exhilarating and chaotic first week, but it’s clear to me that Magnetic Mechs are here to stay.