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After last week’s Weapon Destruction Mania, we will be looking at a more defensive (and possibly offensive?) card; the Earthen Ring Farseer!


He can see really far, and he doesn’t use a telescope like those filthy pirates.

Lore

The Earthen Ring is the leading Shamanistic order. They have had a long history in the World of Warcraft universe: they were the ones responsible for convincing Thrall to allow the Forsaken to join the Horde.

However, their current main goal is to restore the balance of elements to the Warcraft world after it was torn asunder in the event called the Cataclysm. The Cataclysm was caused by the legendary Deathwing blasting his way up from the elemental planes of Deepholm, tearing the very crust of the world apart; this act reshaped the Warcraft landscape immensely and broke the elemental balance of the world.

The Earthen Ring share a good working relationship with Thrall and the Druids of the Cenarion Circle as the three factions all share similar goals. Thrall (Shaman) was Warchief of the Horde for a long time, but actually gave up his leadership to Garrosh (Warrior) so that he can lead the Earthen Ring against the Twilight’s Hammer Clan (A bunch of crazies who wanted to destroy stuff.)

A Farseer is a type of Shaman: Thrall was originally a Farseer in the Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne.

Stats

  • Type: Minion
  • Rarity: Common
  • Stats: 3/3
  • Ability: Battlecry: Restores 3 Health.
  • Class: Any

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Strategy

First off, that was ONE long section about the lore. As you can already tell, the Earthen Ring is extremely powerful and influential in the Warcraft universe. This does not change at all in their representation of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Stat Distribution

As a vanilla minion, 3/3 for 3 mana is basically the best out there right now. In the current released set of cards, there aren’t many minions who have better stats for 3 mana.

Rare exceptions to this are Injured Blademaster and Kirin Tor Mage who are both 4/3 for 3 mana. Kirin Tor Mage is a Mage exclusive, making Injured Blademaster the only minion with better vanilla stats than Earthen Ring Farseer among the 3 mana minions.

3/3 for 3 mana fails the vanilla test of [(mana cost x 2) + 1 mana]. However, most 3 mana minions in the game have only a 3/3 stat distribution. (See Ironfur Grizzly, Mind Control Tech, Blood Knight.) As such, what sets most 3 mana minions apart from each other is their ability, seeing as how they are all roughly similar in terms of base stats.

Some exceptions include Harvest Golem, Big Game Hunter, Imp Master and Acolyte of Pain – but those are good for their ability rather than their vanilla stats.

Card Flexibility

The Earthen Ring Farseer is what card game players call a “tech card”. That means that its not a “core” part of the deck, but rather a card that is put into a deck to support the rest of the deck, or to specifically counter the current meta. Outside of Priest, Earthen Ring Farseer’s Battlecry lacks any niche or specific synergies with class cards.

Most classes do not have access to healing: Paladin, Priest and Druid are the only classes which have the ability to heal themselves and other creatures. Warrior has the ability to armor up which counts as a “self heal” or sorts, but cannot heal minions.

To that extent, the Earthen Ring Farseer is valued for its flexibility more than anything else. With a general lack of “fantastic” 3 mana minions, Earthen Ring Farseer can be counted on to be useful in almost any situation you draw him in.

Compared to his alternatives like Blood Knight, Big Game Hunter and Mind Control Tech who have more situational Battlecries, it is very likely that you will have something to heal (be it a minion or your character.)

In fact, Earthen Ring Farseer is even more flexible than dedicated healing cards such as Holy Light and Healing Touch. It is usually quite fine to play him as a 3/3 minion even if you waste his Battlecry.

Battlecry

When should you use the Earthen Ring Farseer’s Battlecry? Well, it is never really a waste to heal your Hero; however it is usually right to heal up a minion instead if that provides you stronger board control (unless there is a threat of lethal the next turn).

Whether you should heal up a minion or your Hero depends a lot on the current state of the game and what it does for you.


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When should you use Earthen Ring Farseer?

The card in general is especially good for classes who don’t have access to healing in their class cards (Rogue, Shaman, Mage, Warlock).

As the meta becomes more and more faster-paced, it has become vital to keep yourself healthy to avoid massive burst damage from Leeroy Jenkins Combos/Force of Nature +  Savage Roar/Frost Bolt + Ice Lance + Fireball.

Shaman, however, has a lot of strong cards in the 3 mana slot (Lightning Storm, Feral Spirits, Unbound Elemental, Mana Tide Totem) and might find it hard to include the Earthen Ring Farseer.

However, even for classes who do have healing (Druid, Paladin), Earthen Ring Farseer is often better as it also puts a body on the board. Healing Touch and Holy Light are inflexible cards who often end up as dead cards: this is never the case for Earthen Ring Farseer.

Interestingly, the class with access to the most healing (Priest) has the greatest synergy with the card. Auchenai Soulpriest turns Earthen Ring Farseer’s Battlecry into a 3 damage nuke. This turns the Earthen Ring Farseer into a mini Fire Elemental, which is IMMENSE value.

Warrior usually does not run Earthen Ring Farseer because they usually either go aggressive (they don’t care if their creatures die, they’re focused on rushing opponents down) or control (their minions are all gigantic anyway and will not likely require healing.)

Since they can Armor Up, the Earthen Ring Farseer loses a lot of value as a 3 mana minion for them, seeing how they have a much more aggressive 3 mana minion in the form of Frothing Berserker.

Hunter is usually aggressive, and thus does not run the Earthen Ring Farseer as it doesn’t further forward the goal of killing your opponent before he kills you.

As far as archetypes go, healing is more of a defensive mechanic rather than an aggressive one. As such, most decks from control to mid-range can afford to run 1 or 2 Earthen Ring Farseers. It is usually a mistake to run Earthen Ring Farseer in more aggresive decks, except the ever elusive aggressive Priest (Is it even viable?)


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Conclusion

Most neutral 3 mana minions in the game are fairly underwhelming.

Harvest Golem sticks to the board better than most other 3 mana minions, and is probably better in decks which value board control or can abuse buffing cards such as Power of the Wild and Flametongue Totem.

Injured Blademaster has some good synergies with Priest and some questionable synergies with Warrior (Armorsmith, Frothing Berserker, Battle Rage, Rampage) Aside from those, most other neutral 3 mana minions are simply too conditional to warrant taking up 2 spots in most decks.

Perhaps, the better question to ask is not when do you use him, but when do you NOT use him. If you can’t find a good reason not to use something else, he’s probably the best 3 drop to put into your deck.

PS: Voodoo doctor is just…awkward. Low mana costed minions are usually good for aggressive decks who try to swarm your enemy. Healing and aggressive just don’t go together well.


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- xNVx

xNVx is a legend player in Hearthstone, who always think of ways to keep the game fresh by breaking the meta.


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