Hearthstone just recently passed its 4th anniversary and through the years, has seen all kinds of new cards and mechanics added to the game. These changes have kept gameplay fresh and have forced players to continually come up with innovative strategies making use of the new additions. With Hearthstone’s latest expansion, “Witchwood,” two cards have joined the game that introduce a never before seen mechanic that have already changed the meta. These two cards, “Genn Greymane” and “Baku the Mooneater” have effects that activate as soon as the game begins. The catch with these cards is that decks need to be completely comprised of either even-cost or odd-cost cards.
If you look at Genn Greymane, you’ll see that his ability reduces the cost of your Hero Power by 1 at the very start of the game as long as your deck has only even-cost cards. On the other hand, if you have only odd-cost cards, Baku the Mooneater will upgrade your Hero Power with an effect exactly like Justicar Trueheart.
This means using your Hero Power on Warrior will net you 4 armor, Mage’s will deal 2 damage with Fire Blast, Priests will heal 4 health, etc.. Again, what makes these two cards so powerful is that unlike other cards, the effect of these cards immediately activate at the start of the game – you don’t need to play the card! When you combine their effect with the required activation cost of having either only odd or even-cost cards, you end up creating a completely new Hearthstone environment where players are forced to slot seemingly non-meta cards in order to play either Genn or Baku.
Say you want to play Paladin with Baku providing you two 1/1 recruits. Well in slotting Baku, you won’t be able to play typical removal cards Doomsayer and Wild Pyromancer as these are both even-cost cards. Considering you can’t play Consecrate either, you basically have no access to meta removal cards. But hey, if you’re hoping to play aggro, maybe you just want to go for face non-stop in which case Baku will definitely help you with this strategy.
Keeping with the same example, if you’re playing against an aggro Paladin with Baku, you know two things: he will start flooding the board with a lot of minions and probably has no way of clearing any high health cards with taunt except through using Ironbeak Owl. This knowledge will significantly shape the way you play against this deck. To see how some of the top Hearthstone players are using Genn and Baku, check out some of the deck guides on Hearthpwn.
While these days I’ve been dabbling with Bethesda’s Elder Scroll Legends card game, it’s updates like this which remind me why Hearthstone is the defacto virtual card game. Blizzard knows how to keep things fresh and they know exactly when they need to pull a trick out from their hats. After a bit of a hiatus, I guess it’s about time I make my return to the Hearth.
Image Credits: Blizzard Entertainment