Yesterday marked a milestone for Hearthstone players. Five neutral cards rotated into the Hall of Fame, and with them Leeroy Jenkins will be charging out of Standard play for good. While it's the end of an era, and a hefty nail in the Charge mechanics' coffin, I'm relieved to see that Blizzard is finally banishing Leeroy.
The full dust refund makes his departure all the sweeter, too. There's no denying that we've all had our fun with him, but it's been a long time coming. There's nothing more irritating than the pause your opponent takes when they know they've just top-decked the dreadful silver-tipped charger. Taking a moment to tap the 'Well Played' emote only serves to add insult to injury. It's hard not to feel salty about the fact that it wasn't a good game and that they didn't deserve that victory.
Emotes are mostly fun to use, but some cards twist them into infuriating little jibes and Mr. Jenkins is certainly one of them.
Leeroy has spent years rushing his opponent's faces as a finisher, rewarding aggressive play and synergising with burst damage. Having become a staple in these decks, his long reign has seen him outlive other charge advocates such as Warlock's beloved Doomguard. Let's not forget that the 6/2 Legendary also used to cost four mana, making him an even better OTK facilitator.
Our memories of him may fade to fond nostalgia over time (or a continued chaotic present if you play Wild), but I'm surprised it has taken this long to send him on his way. Even I can admit that I've ventured over to the aggro side, on occasion. Employing an aggressive deck to help me rack up a few quick wins can be enough to push me up to the next rank floor and sometimes it feels worth it. I struggle to shake the dirty feeling that follows though. The anonymity of the ranked ladder partially numbs my guilt, but playing against friends highlights how frustrating Leeroy can be, particularly if RNG is being kind to me that day.
Leeroy is a lovable pest and everyone appreciates his untouchable meme status but victories that rest solely on his ear-offending cry have grown to feel hollow over the years. There's only so many times you can pat yourself on the back for unleashing him to conclude a match. That's without taking the old Shadowstep/Cold Blood, and more recent, Bloodsworn Mercenary/Inner Rage combos into consideration. Maybe it's my dislike for aggro decks in general—I'm more of a control player—but I'm very happy that they can't lean on Leeroy to mop up after their monotonous face-exclusive interactions. Charge isn't fully dead thanks to Demon Hunter's shiny new blood elf, Kayn Sunfury, but it'll have much less of an impact in Hearthstone going forward.
Along with the other iconic Hearthstone cards that have sailed in and out of Standard, Leeroy Jenkins will always have a special place in my heart. When he was on my side I felt unstoppable as he could turn the tides of the game in my favour in an instant. The truth is, I've just been burnt by him too many times.