Why Grim Patron is Overpowered
ByDate: Apr 11 2016 Views:
Let me cut right to the chase here: Grim Patron is an overpowered card in Hearthstone. To highlight just how broken it is I’ll share a recent game experience of mine with you where my opponent turned one Grim Patron turned into six of them within just one turn and without barely any mana expenditure by my opponent. How you ask? Read on!
I was playing a game earlier where I had the guy on the ropes. He was at just nine life (plus three armor) and had no cards left in his library. Perfect! The only minions on his board were an Armorsmith and a Grim Patron. I knew Patron was problematic because I had already taken out his other one earlier in the game so it wasn’t like I was underestimating the strength of the card this time around.
He also had a Death’s Bite equipped, however, and one card in hand. Even with a Grim Patron staring me down I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem because I still had 16 life left and my library had about ten cards remaining. My hand consisted of a Muster for Battle, an Aldor Peacekeeper, a Warhorse Trainer, and a Divine Favor which unfortunately was a dead card at this point. On board I have two Silver Hand Recruits and a 7/7 Kvaldir Raider which would only keep getting bigger. I figured I’d be able to outlast him since he had nothing else coming. Even if he had some super strong legendary minion in his hand, Aldor would take care of it. I was in good shape right? Wrong.
It was his turn. He rammed the Grim Patron into one of my Silver Hand Recruits, killing it. Now he has two Grim Patrons and four armor. He played the one card he had in hand, an Elven Archer – targeting the second Grim Patron. Now he has three Grim Patrons, two that are 3/2’s and one that’s a 3/3. Plus five armor. He attacked me with Death’s Bite, bringing me to 12, and it destroyed the weapon – one damage to all minions. This makes three more Grim Patrons so now he has a whopping six Grim Patrons, two that are 3/1’s, one that’s a 3/2, and three that are 3/3’s. Oh and let’s not forget, eleven armor now after using his hero ability for another plus two. His Armorsmith attacks and kills my other Silver Hand so now all I have is a lonely Kvaldir Raider.
I draw my card. It’s the venerable Dr. Boom. I’m usually happy to see him but he doesn’t really help me here. Too slow.
I create a Silver Hand Recruit to pump Kvaldir to a 9/9. Not enough to kill him considering he now has eleven armor on top of his nine life (not that the gains from Armorsmith would have mattered, but still). I instead throw him at a Grim Patron to at least take one out. I play Aldor Peacekeeper targeting one of the Grim Patrons then play Muster for Battle. Nothing else I can do at this point. It’s over but maybe my opponent doesn’t realize it. You never know (this is why you should never scoop in Magic: the Gathering by the way). Pass turn.
He indeed attacks me with the four remaining Grim Patron’s that have three power for 12 damage. I die. Golf clap.
This scenario goes to show the poor design behind the Grim Patron card. This guy turned one Grim Patron into six of them while only expending ONE mana through playing an Elven Archer. So if you count the five mana to play the Grim Patron itself the turn before, he basically created 19/19 worth of power/toughness spread across seven bodies (six Patrons plus the Elven Archer) for six mana.
Some critics reading this article might want to argue that Death’s Bite’s mana cost should be included in the “combo” but I disagree with this assessment considering it dealt eight damage to my face through two attacks. Eight damage to my face is already WELL worth the four mana investment of the card (a Fireball for example also costs four mana but would have done only six damage). But if you truly want to include it as part of the “combo cost” then even still you’re looking at 10 mana for 19/19 across seven bodies AND eight damage directly to the opponent’s face. Uh… yeah that’s still pretty broken. In comparison, Pyroblast also costs 10 mana and does 10 damage so in effect, you’re trading two damage for a 19/19 board presence. Seems good.
The nerf to Warsong Commander doesn’t stop people from abusing Grim Patron. The Patron is himself the problem. Blizzard should consider changing the mechanics of this card so that each time a Grim Patron took damage, he instead summons a copy that is one point weaker in total power and toughness. For example, when the original 3/3 Grim Patron survives damage, it summons a 2/2 minion, which when that survives damage in turn summons a 1/1. This change would preserve the way Grim Patron is played, but at least lessen some of the overwhelming board presence a single Grim Patron can produce within a single turn and would prevent this single card from winning otherwise unwinnable games.