The following article entails 11 thought experiments. What would you get if you tried to take a gimmick or a class-specific mechanic in the game and tried to implement it as a different class’ card? The results are in and the cards range from spectacularly stupid to interestingly weird and perhaps OP. Let’s take a look at the end product of an afternoon’s theory crafting! You can figure out a surprising amount of things about the design process behind the currently existing cards with this.
(I’d like to preface this by telling you that I know absolutely nothing about the WoW lore, and as such, I decided to go with relatively generic card images and names. Feel free to recommend better ones!)
1 – Acolyte
This card is supposed to be the Mage’s take on Webspinner
Considering how well some players have been doing lately with said deck, this card may be just a little bit too powerful for the current metagame. I think this little thought experiment shows that a minion like this will only be truly effective in aggressive decks, which in turn explains why it was a good choice by Blizzard to give the Webspinner-like card to that class.
2 – Nightbow
Speaking of Hunter, it came to my mind how useless Nightblade
The idea behind this is to try to keep it alive. If you play it on turn 5, you are likely not going to get the benefits of it as it will be a high priority target – it would, however, still help to overcome the occasionally awkward fifth turn as a midrange hunter. It might be a little bit too expensive for an all-out rush deck, but nevertheless, if you can keep it alive, it should be a very valuable asset.
Want to make it more powerful, perhaps a little bit too much so? Just turn it into a Beast.
The counterargument, of course, is that it would merely be a Nightblade with a single point of extra damage dealt – for two extra mana. Fair point – and this contentious nature is why I would think that this card would be a decent situational choice.
Also, consider the power of Prophet Velen, which, incidentally, is almost never used in Priest decks. Surely doubling the effectiveness of a hero power would fit any other class better? Especially, you know, the good old Hunter? This leads me to believe that it would be way too powerful an effect on any other class.
3 – Faerie
I know many people are against this mechanic in general, but I found it interesting how the 3/4 for 4 statline has not been in the game at all until Voidcaller
If you consider that the card draw mechanic turned the Gnomish Inventor
The 4-slot, of course, features heavy competition, so I’m not sure if this card would be worth the inclusion, but it could be an interesting addition to the pool.
4 – Impatient Assassin
An attempt to turn Avenging Wrath
The other card, of course, that this one tries to ape, is the poor old Patient Assassin
While this minion, unlike its more patient counterpart, would immediately impact the board, the random element is probably too big of a risk – you could potentially end up skipping turn 6 by only killing a cheap unit. It seems that minions with very small stats just cannot really get strong enough buffs to warrant inclusion.
5 – Ambusher
The Rogue’s take on Unbound Elemental
It’s interesting to see how certain archetypes just don’t seem to exist in the game at the present moment (control Rogue/Hunter, aggro Druid, non-Handlock control Warrior etc.) – and judging by this particular minion, it seems like it would take more than the addition of a single fitting card to change things around. Blizzard, take note when the 100 cards drop.
6 – Shadow
Introducing the Druid’s “choose one” gimmick to Priest in a fitting fashion, this minion would probably be a more viable way to counteract the class’ issues than Dark Cultist
7 – Impotent Healer
This fellow is the Priest’s version of the Cruel Taskmaster
Would it warrant a slot in the currently popular control-oriented Priest decks? Probably not. In some other variation? Perhaps!
8 – Iron Golem
There are very few Armor-related mechanics in the game, and I thought it would be nice to come up with a Lightspawn
The argument could be made that having a high amount of armor already indicates a significant advantage and it is therefore overkill to include a minion like this in a deck, but I think it could be a nice – if situational – replacement for something like a Shade of Naxxramas
9 – Silver Hand Squire
Take Pit Lord
Thing is: the Paladin already has Guardian of Kings fulfilling the same role – and comparing it to the Boulderfist Ogre
10 – Totemizer
Let’s take the gimmicky Murlocs and apply their concept to the Shamans – this card would certainly spice up the mirror matches. Bonus points are awarded for Mana Tide Totem
Most likely not.
On the other hand, I could see this card make an appearance in some more control-focused Shaman decks as they usually don’t have anything serious to play on the early turns and the late-game struggle occasionally involves three or more totems on the board that the opponent ignores to prioritize more powerful minions.
The inclusion of this card would make the presence of these tokens more relevant in the mid-to-lategame.
+1 – Mindfray
Yeah, I’ve been playing XCOM lately, why do you ask?
This is a card that goes against many of Blizzard’s design concepts, but I thought it would still be interesting to see what kind of insight can we derive from it. It, of course, is essentially a second set of hard removal for Warlock – but I’d argue that if there’s one class in dire need of support when it comes to control decks, it’s this one (discounting Handlock, of course.)
It’s a Naxx-like card, one of those that has a slightly stronger effect than what its mana cost would indicate, but it also has a drawback to make up for it. It’s essentially the Warlock’s take on Naturalize. It would fit the class’ archetype a lot more than Siphon Soul
Coming up with these cards and imagining how they would fit in the card pool gave me some valuable insights on the way many of the existing cards were produced and tinkered with. Some very interesting observations and comparisons can be made and drawn just by considering my little thought experiments above.
– Minions with small stats for their mana cost cannot have a powerful enough balanced effect to make their inclusion worthwhile in a control deck without becoming way too powerful.
– Ironically, the reason why Priest has the minion with the ability to double the strength of its hero power is because it is the least impactful one.
– The 3/4 for 4 statline is viable and would make for some very interesting cards, if their abilities are well balanced.
– Minions gaining extra stats depending on the type of cards played generally are a better fit for control decks. (Murlocs are too inconsistent.)
– The thought process behind Pit Lord and Guardian of Kings is essentially the same.
– Making cheap hard removal balanced is incredibly difficult.
There you have it, the results of my thought experiments and the hopefully interesting factoids I discovered while going through them. Do you agree with my assessments? Would you consider adding any of these cards to the pool? Let us know in the comments!