Last week Thursday I returned from a long overdue holiday. Not that my agenda was abnormally full before said holiday – on the contrary, actually – but it was high time to leave home and go out for a bit. Escape the bubble of ritual habits and conventions, and cross off another country from the good old bucket list. And so my friend and I set out for Iceland, where we’d spent two weeks gasping at the sight of volcanoes, glaciers and supermarket’s product prices.
You might be wondering: “How does a probably too hastily chosen holiday tie in with Hearthstone at all?” Thing is, originally the goal was to use the holiday to detach from everything. Leave my phone in airplane mode and only use it to continue binge-watching the US version of The Office. Of course as soon as it was announced that The Boomsday Project would launch right before I departed, I made the concession that I’d only be detaching from work.
"Had I been judging this side of Hearthstone wrong for so many years"
I still didn’t commit to Hearthstone like I do when I’m home. About every other day I’d round up my daily quests using horrible homebrewed decks and play Ranked with Whizbang the Wonderful, the latter of which is incredibly fun as long as you don’t get Shaman’s mind-blowingly bad Witchwood Awoken deck. When the Boomsday Puzzles went live – a game mode so well-designed it’s dragging in friends that have barely ever touched Hearthstone – I got hooked on those, though by then my holiday had almost come to an end already.
The first day I could muster the strength to play Ranked again was last week Sunday, and after a handful of Quest Rogue games that ended with a 50% winrate I’d already had enough. And so I looked at what I considered to be my dark side of Hearthstone.
The un-fun side
Perhaps I should explain that term a bit more – the dark side of Hearthstone. It’s not too complicated: the dark side is comprised of mostly very powerful decks in Hearthstone’s present and history that I found most un-fun to play against and with. They’re the decks I am ‘allergic’ to, and caused all-time lows in my excitement to play the game. Think of Midrange Shaman in the One Night in Karazhan meta (despite it having a very skill-testing mirror match), or Jade Druid just after Knights of the Frozen Throne came out.
So in the Boomsday meta, what was on the dark side? Just one day after the expansion launched, I was already thinking of nerfing cards. Unrightfully, of course, and a stupid thought. But like many I thought the decks that were already strong in the Witchwood meta would become broken with some of Boomsday’s additions. Before I left for Iceland I therefore decided that both Malygos Druid and Zoolock were new no-go decks: too powerful, un-fun decks.
Until the combination of holiday-carelessness and felt urge to rank up kicked in last weekend. I saw Orange’s list on Twitter, and queued. What followed was one of the most sensational feelings I’ve had a couple of times in Hearthstone, which fellow players will know: the feeling of being in absolute synchronization with a deck. It was as if I’d been playing Malygos Druid for years. Each card draw, each play let me tap into what seemed to be a limitless pool of power, building to a grandiose finale of the frightening blue dragon and whichever spell I had in my hand.
At the end of it all, I pondered. Had I been judging this side of Hearthstone wrong for so many years? Which other decks that might have fit like a glove had I unjustly resented and avoided? Or maybe I haven’t tapped in to my dark side of Hearthstone enough yet – Senior Game Designer Dean “Iksar” Ayala stated that while Druid is popular, it’s not the most powerful class in the game. But I don’t think I mind that. For now this is a first step into new territory. A place where I want to learn how to shoot lightning from my fingertips in a quest to find unlimited power.
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