Defining ‘unbalanced’ can be a similarly difficult task to defining pornography. It’s hard to nail down exactly, but you know it when you see it. The Hearthstone (opens in new tab) video embedded above is a ‘know it when you see it’ sort of moment. It's the final game in a best of five series between Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk (opens in new tab) and George “Hyped” Maganzini (opens in new tab) which took place as part of the Road To BlizzCon NA qualifiers, and both players are using Patron Warrior decks.
After Hyped misplays his own Patron combo turn, Reynad is left looking for his Warsong Commander to seal the game. When it arrived he was able to deal 72 damage in a single turn, starting without any minions on his side of the board, in a play that simultaneously gave his opponent 32 armor but still overkilled him by 13 damage. Just another day of Patron Warrior doing Patron Warrior things.
Hyped and Reynad both play for Tempo Storm, an esports organization the latter founded last year. That means Reynad also knocked his own teammate out of the World Championships all together, ending Hyped’s chances of reaching the finals at BlizzCon in November.
The combo wouldn't have been possible without Emperor Thaurissan, but he only required the ability to activate once.
Reynad drew 29 of the 30 cards in his deck before he found the last piece of this combo, but once he had the right cards, the only setup required was one turn of Emperor Thaurissan’s (opens in new tab) mana reduction ability and for Hyped to have his side of the board full of minions. What’s more, Reynad didn’t even play the turn optimally. Had he attacked with his Death’s Bite (opens in new tab) to kill one of Hyped’s Armorsmiths (opens in new tab) instead of using one of the Whirlwinds (opens in new tab) in his hand, it would have only lost him a few points of damage on his Frothing Berserkers (opens in new tab), but prevented Hyped from getting nearly 20 extra armor from the whirlwind effects.
Adding to the absurdity, the whole turn took roughly two and a half minutes to finish—rather than the usual 75 seconds—thanks to an overabundance of animations which had to complete. Blizzard has come under fire from parts of the community recently for long animations making certain plays very difficult to finish in time, a point driven home by this video of a potential one-turn lethal (opens in new tab) (albeit, an unlikely one) inhibited only by the turn timer and Dreadsteed’s (opens in new tab) deathrattle animation. However, in our recent interview (opens in new tab) senior game designer Ben Brode said that “one of the skills of Hearthstone is figuring out when you need to stop thinking and start acting.”
Brode also admitted that Patron Warrior’s burst potential might be a problem, but that they weren’t rushing to nerf anything in the deck. “It's tricky because it's not exactly the kind of gameplay that we’re in love with, but changing cards comes with a lot of costs,” Brode said. “We’re paying really close attention and we may have to nerf something someday, but especially right now, right after The Grand Tournament has been released and players are trying all kinds of new stuff, we don’t want to be hasty.”