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hearthstone purify fallout


The Hearthstone community at large has had a history of making mountains (and memes) out of molehills. Dr. Boom, Combo Druid, Flamewreathed Faceless – these cards in particular came under a lot of scrutiny for being over powered. However, no card in the history of Hearthstone got as much criticism as Purify, one of the new Priest cards from the “One Night in Karazhan” expansion.

Purify is a common, 2-mana spell that silences a friendly minion and then draws you a card. There are three crucial pieces to that statement. First off, Priest has had a dry spell ever since the Standard format rolled out, getting rid of critical pieces of the Priest’s toolkit, such as Lightbomb and Velen’s Chosen. Secondly, the common rarity would really screw up Priest’s already poor performance in Arena, as class-specific cards are more commonly showcased. Naturally, so are cards with common rarity. Finally, the card objectively just stinks. You’d be better off putting other spells or minions that facilitate card draw and silence separately.

Blizzard’s Team Five did notice the outcry. In a “Designer Insights” video, Ben Brode, Lead Designer and all-around face for Hearthstone, explained the impetus behind what went into Purify. They tried 0 and 1-cost variations, but found it too easy to slap the card in for far too easy card draw. They tried silence effects on any minion, and found that it’s too soon after they essentially nerfed the silence mechanic throughout the whole game to go that route. Brode notes that not all cards are created to be meta-defining or even good cards. Cards like Purify exist more for fun than anything else. Silence Priest is a deck archetype that they put in Karazhan’s class challenge. As Brode said, it’s more for fun than anything else.

The most unprecedented of moves came in how Purify would interact with Arena. The short answer is, it won’t. Purify’s being taken out of Arena. We saw this action taken before with C’Thun. C’Thun and his minions weren’t put into Arena because the odds of pulling C’Thun from your Arena draft were very, very slim. Purify is the first regular card that’s just been taken out altogether, largely due to public outcry. This is where more questions start to arise.

Internet communities love it when they think mob mentalities prevail. Just stir the pot and rock the boat enough times and someone will give you what you want. While Blizzard hasn’t just been appeasing the vocal minority just for speaking out, this does set an irritating precedent going forward in Hearthstone. Imagine a scenario where the Flamewreathed Faceless didn’t exist yet. It costs 4 mana and has 7/7 stats and gets announced in the upcoming expansion. Following the Purify outcry, would people be more incentivized to make a huge stink about it, knowing that the Purify controversy occurred? I’m inclined to think so.

In Brode’s video, he states that Purify is good for Hearthstone’s growth. It’s an interesting card that leads to fun archetypes involving silence that isn’t just depleting a card of its good stats. Priests have tools that make 1/1 copies of cards, and if they’re silenced, they can be brought back to their full stats. However, Brode concedes that Purify may have been mistimed in its implementation. If Purify was put in an expansion, where there are usually 140+ more cards waiting in the wings, it wouldn’t have made as much of an impact. With 45 cards that everybody will get, adventures are different beasts altogether.

Does Brode’s video fix Priest? No. Even without Purify in Arena, it’s still an awful class to choose. Where Brode brings a little light to the Priest’s dark period is that they are still adamant about making Priest a great class…sometime down the road. With most of the Priest’s favorite Dragons going extinct once the new year rolls around, something substantial will have to be done to poor Anduin. Here’s hoping for more Shadowfrom cards.

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