One of the archetypes Blizzard is clearly pushing with Rise of Shadows is Bomb Warrior. Warrior is getting new cards that shuffle bombs – cards that deal 5 damage to the hero when drawn – into the opponent’s deck as well as a big payoff card in Blastmaster Boom that gets better the more bombs there are in the opponent’s deck.
At first I though that this would be yet another easy forced archetype and that the deck would practically build itself. However, the deeper into the rabbit hole I ventured, the more I started to question what the essence of Bomb Warrior really is. Sure, you want there to be bombs in your opponent’s deck and you are happy when they draw them and take some damage. But is Blastmaster Boom the real payoff? Are bombs just a distraction? Are bombs something you win with after a long control game? Are bombs a bit of extra reach for an aggro deck? Sometimes, not all is as it seems.
To truly understand Bomb Warrior, we need to start with the bombs themselves. There are several bomb synergy cards in the game:
- Clockwork Goblin – a bomb shuffler.
- Seaforium Bomber – a bomb shuffler.
- Wrenchcalibur – a bomb shuffler. Can be buffed with Upgrade! and Captain Greenskin.
- Augmented Elekk – can double your bomb generation.
- Youthful Brewmaster, Baleful Banker, Ancient Brewmaster – can bounce bomb shufflers for even more bombs.
- Dr. Boom, Mad Genius – can Discover more copies of Clockwork Goblin
So, if we put all of these in a deck, we can create a lot of bombs – more than 20 bombs, in fact!
Of course, we cannot use them all in practice, because we also need to survive and need other threats and removal pieces to stay in the game and let the bombs do work. Nonetheless, bombs can do a whole lot of damage over the course of a game.
Who can we kill with the bombs? Slow decks, control decks, is an easy answer, but it is likely an incorrect answer. I would expect any control decks to include either Arch-Villain Rafaam (Warlock) or Archivist Elysiana (other classes). In other words, we first play all the way to the gates of fatigue only for our opponent to remove all bombs from their deck. Then what?
Well, you can try to pilot a Control Bomb Warrior in such a way that you have some more bomb generators remaining and just shuffle a few more bombs into the deck after the initial batch has been removed. That gives you some kind of a chance, but clearly the deck is not a control killer.
Bombs are likely going to do a much better job against combo decks, which may want to draw through their entire deck and do not have tools to replace it. However, combo decks are losing a lot in the rotation and it looks like the golden age of combo in Hearthstone is over. Therefore, while Bomb Warrior might be good in those matchups, such opponents may be few and far between.
Against aggressive decks, you are unlikely to get many bombs off. Either you survive or you don’t, bombs will rarely play a major part.
All of this does not mean that Bomb Warrior is doomed, merely that the way to build it is less obvious than it would seem at first. There are at least three competing approaches to Bomb Warrior: aggro, midrange, and control.
- Aggro Bomb Warrior attempts to use the bombs as final pieces of reach as well as to buff up Blastmaster Boom that sits at the top of their curve.
- Midrange Bomb Warrior, probably some form of Rush Warrior, uses the bombs in a similar way to Aggro Bomb Warrior, but has a slightly slower gameplan overall with some more power in their minions. This also provides the bombs a little more time to be drawn.
- Control Bomb Warrior is a much more passive deck with tons of removal that can shuffle vast quantities of bombs into the opponent’s deck. It defends itself while slowly building up a lethal threat within the opponent’s deck.
It is possible that all three paths are viable, but most likely one of them will be better than the others and becomes the main Bomb Warrior style.
For this theorycrafting piece, I built sample lists of Control Bomb Warrior and Rush Bomb Warrior.
This control variant packs a ton of removal and a wide variety of bomb generators. Furthermore, it includes Archivist Elysiana in order to take the game to fatigue, if needed. Youthful Brewmaster can be used either to generate more bombs, bounce a Battlecry minion, or go for an even longer game with Archivist Elysiana.
This rush variant, on the other hand, seeks to end the game with its constant stream of threats that culminates in Blastmaster Boom and the threat of bomb draws. Wrenchcalibur can become a formidable weapon with the help of Upgrade! and Captain Greenskin and shuffle several bombs during a game.
There is also another potential finisher in Grommash Hellscream. Sweeping Strikes can provide some surprise attacks with the Rush minions, especially Darius Crowley. I also considered including Akali, the Rhino in the deck, but ultimately left it out as too slow, even though combining Akali with Sweeping Strikes could be devastating.
As can be seen from the above examples, Bomb Warrior may be an archetype Blizzard has planned for us, but there are multiple ways to build it nonetheless.