The Boomsday Project was released nearly a month ago. We can definitely say that the meta has more or less stabilized – at least before the balance patch (which we haven’t heard about yet). It’s a time to look closer at the pre-expansion predictions and compare them to how strong the cards turned out to be in reality. Rating cards pre-release is really difficult. You can never guess how the meta will exactly look like, some of the cards might look insane on the paper, but turn out to be mediocre in the game or vice versa. It’s tough, but it’s part of the reveal season fun. And part of the expansion fun is looking past at those ratings and seeing how wrong we were. Yes, we, because I’m guilty of overrating some of those cards too.
In the second part, I will be looking at the most overrated cards from Boomsday Project. An overrated card is a card that was rated much higher pre-expansion than its real power level turned out to be after the release. It’s not necessarily a card that was rated to be one of the best in the expansion and turned out to be useless – that’s the extreme case. A card that was meant to be good (e.g. #40 out of 135) but turned out to be unplayable was overrated. Similarly, a card that was supposed to be one of the best in the expansion (#5 out of 135) but turned out to be average was also overrated.
Before I proceed, let me explain where I got the average ratings from. First of all, those are community ratings, not pro ratings – I feel like it’s the best way to show how an average player felt about the card (or, to be honest, above average player, since casual players most likely didn’t care enough to vote). The ratings I will be using come from three different sources – our site (I screenshotted all of the card ratings on the release day), Vicious Syndicate’s pre-release poll (Source) and HearthPwn pre-release ratings (Source). I will take the card’s position (e.g. #35 out of 135) from each of the sites, take the average, and look for the cards that stand out most (one way or the other). When talking about card’s current popularity, I use HSReplay.net statistics (Last 7 days, Legend-10).
Check out our look at the Most Underrated Cards from The Boomsday Project Expansion!
Average rating – #23 out of 135
Rated as highly as #6 on HearthPwn (vS rating of #54 really brought the average down), Academic Espionage is the card opening our list. I’ve heard lots and lots of opinions that it’s gamebreaking. And I don’t really blame people for thinking that way. In the world of greediness and matchups going all the way to fatigue all the time, Academic Espionage is like a dream card. Shuffling 10 cards into your deck (or more with Augmented Elekk), and all of them costing 1 mana, can lead to some absolutely degenerate and insane plays. That’s for the theory. In practice, however, there card has some serious problems.
First of all, it’s really slow. Using 4 mana and a card to do nothing is bad. You can negate some of that tempo loss with Preparation, but then again, you could be using that Preparation to actually get some tempo instead. While the effect is generally stronger than that of Fal'dorei Strider, the fact that Strider comes with a 4/4 body and it’s still a rather low initial tempo play just shows you how slow this card is. Then, the thing about random cards is that they’re… random. You can get a 1 mana Tirion Fordring, but you also might get one of the Secrets. And finally, this is a Rogue card. I know that stealing stuff from your opponent’s class is Rogue’s flavor, but this card just doesn’t fit into Rogue yet. On the one hand, they get all kinds of slow, value-oriented strategies, but then they have no way to put them into action, because of they lack the necessary survival tools.
I’ve seen multiple pros trying to make this card work, without success. Maybe in the future, if they push the archetype even further, who knows. But from where we’re standing, the card’s ratings were way too high.
Average rating – #21 out of 135
Galvanizer could be summed up in a single sentence – “it’s like a Mechwarper, but it’s not broken”. While I’ve seen people arguing that Mechwarper had better effect, I would generally disagree. Galvanizer always gets the mana discount on your Mechs, even if it dies right after you play him. Mechwarper usually didn’t last for longer than a turn, and when it did, lots of the time you played Mechs from your hand anyway. The main upside of Mechwarper’s effect is that it works on topdecks, but I’d prefer sure tempo instead.
However, the main reason why it’s not as broken as Mechwarper are the stats. 2 mana 2/3 is good, that’s the best stat-line you can get on a 2-drop with a strong effect (or a 3/2, but 2/3 is generally better distribution). 2 mana 1/2? Even 1-drops are 1/3 right now, and if you play a faster Mech deck, which would most likely like the mana discount, then you don’t want to drop a 2 mana 1/2. Then again, aggressive/tempo Mech decks aren’t popular to begin with.
And so, Galvanizer has found its niche – it activates some Mecha'thun decks. For example, when you play Warlock, you need to play two Galvanizers first to be able to fit Bloodbloom (+Cataclysm) into your Mecha’thun turn. But it’s definitely not as good as people have suspected.
Average rating – #20 out of 135
Upgradeable Framebot was really, and I mean really hyped, even for the stats alone. 6 points of stats for 2 mana is great, despite the distribution being a bit weird. It’s 1/5 obviously because it was meant as a Magnetic buffs catcher, when you buff minions you generally prefer them to have higher health than attack (e.g. you’d rather have a 6/10 minion after you Wargear than a 10/6). But even if we ignore the Mech synergies, a lot of players have seen it as an auto-include 2-drop that will be played in lots of faster decks, in a similar fashion to Dire Mole. 1 attack might not be impactful enough on T2 as much as it is on T1, but to be honest, we never really learned. Most of the decks that would want to play it in the first place simply can’t play it. Basically, nearly every aggressive deck right now runs either Prince Keleseth (Zoo Warlock, Spiteful Druid) or Baku the Mooneater (Odd Rogue, Odd Paladin) and both of them means that you can’t put any 2-drops into your deck.
When it comes to Mech decks in particular, not only those aren’t very viable, but the thing is, this card screams for some powerful Magnetize options on T3. And what do we get? Spider Bomb in Hunter, which is good, but you often don’t want to use it so early (because you might want to save it for a bigger minion) or Magnetize it (because you want it to die). And then – Bronze Gatekeeper. And sure, this specific scenario – having a 2/10 Taunt on T3 is great against Aggro, but still pretty slow vs Control, and Bronze Gatekeeper is pretty meh card by itself. That’s it. No other T3 Magnetic cards. Paladin can still drop Annoy-o-Module on T4, but other classes have to wait for T5 Zilliax or Wargear, and it’s very unlikely that it will survive that long (I mean, there’s also Replicating Menace, but it’s a pretty bad card).
So all in all, a card that was meant to be all over the ladder turned out to be played in less than 1% of the decks, and most of them are some unoptimized, homebrew Mech builds that don’t really work.
Luna’s Pocket Galaxy
Average rating – #19 out of 135
For me, this one was a huge surprise. The Vicious Syndicate has brought down the score a bit, but if we look at HearthPwn, the card was rated #7 there, so it was seen as one of the strongest cards in the set. I’ve read lots of opinions that it’s completely broken and that it will make Mage OTK decks too powerful. But it obviously didn’t.
For an OTK or combo deck in general to be viable, it first and foremost needs to be consistent. This card just isn’t. If you draw Archmage Antonidas before this card, your entire combo is ruined, and that’s not uncommon at all, given that you want to draw a lot to find THIS card in the first place. Statistically, disregarding mulligan, you will draw Antonidas before this 50% of the time – that’s not what you call “consistent”. You can do some tricks, like if you draw Antonidas first, then Pocket Galaxy, you can drop Antonidas + Baleful Banker to shuffle it back into the deck and then play Luna’s Pocket Galaxy next turn, but that’s still not 100% consistent (since you can draw Antonidas next turn, which gets more and more likely the later it is in the game), and you run into another issue – setting it up.
The card itself costs 7 mana and has no immediate effect. None at all. Even Dreampetal Florist, which is already very slow and hard to play in lots of matchups, comes with a 4/4 body they have to deal with, and you can choose your timing. This you want to play as soon as you draw it, because the longer you wait, the less consistent your combo gets (because you – again – could end up drawing Antonidas). And if you end up drawing Antonidas and need to shuffle it, you have two awkward turns in a row. As you can see, it just keeps getting worse and worse.
The only semi-successful use of this card I’ve seen was in Big Spell Mage – you often have “dead” turns anyway, so you pay 7 mana once and then your big minions are free. But it’s mostly unnecessary and most of the lists don’t run it – generally it’s better to just put another big threat instead, because the card is still bad vs Aggro and tempo is not that important vs Control (you don’t want to drop multiple big minions at the same time anyway).
I agree that the card has a lot of potential, but it’s just not good enough with the current Mage’s toolkit. Effects like that can be broken in the right deck, especially with some support, and it might see play in the future, especially in the Wild. But all the OTK combo theorycraftings that were pretty popular before the release just don’t work.
Kangor’s Endless Army
Average rating – #18 out of 135
This one I’m guilty of overrating too. The card itself is really, really powerful – it just turned out that the deck it would fit into is bad, or rather Mechs are pretty… meh in general. Even if you play it on the curve, it usually creates a really great board for just 7 mana – maybe revives your buffed Mechano-Egg (or the 8/8), maybe a Mech buffed by Zilliax so you can get some immediate value etc. And that’s actually the case – if you play Mech Paladin, you know that this card can win you games. But the issue is that the rest of the deck is… not that great.
For an expansion that revolves around Mechs, the Mech options were rather limited. We had few good standalone Mech cards, and the Magnetic ones turned out to be underwhelming too. I’ve already talked about it when discussing Galvanizer and Upgradeable Framebot, so I won’t repeat itself. For Mech decks to work, they would need more good, standalone Mech minions as well as some solid Magnetic cards. Will we get them? Or maybe we won’t see any Mechs for the next X expansions? Hard to say at this point, but one thing is sure – Kangor’s Endless Army (or Mech Paladin in general) doesn’t really work right now.
Average rating – #17 out of 135
The card seems powerful on paper. It’s a 2 mana 2/2 with Poisonous, which makes it already pretty good by itself (can trade into anything in the early game, but 2 damage is also good enough to put some pressure, unlike the Stubborn Gastropod with 1 attack), but players have thought that Magnetize might take it to another level. For example, if you Magnetize it onto Upgradeable Framebot, you get a 3/7 with Poisonous, which is powerful already, but it can also take down 4+ health minions such as Tar Creeper or the opponent’s Framebot. You could also attach it into a small Mech in the late game to trade into something bigger immediately.
But again, it faces the same problems that other Mechs face. There aren’t enough good Mechs and Magnetize cards to warrant a full Mech deck. And for the removal purposes, Spider Bomb works generally better, especially since it costs 3, so you can play it in Prince Keleseth deck, and Hunter has multiple ways to trigger Deathrattles. So in the end it turned out that this card is meh and Spider Bomb is amazing, and not the other way around.
Average rating – #15 out of 135
Project cards are a pretty cool concept in general – you do something powerful for the mana cost, but the effect is mirrored. Which means that you need to pick the right deck to play them in, or put them into your deck depending on the meta – you can’t just slam them into every single deck. And so, most of the Project cards were (rightfully so) rated as pretty average. Besides one – Biology Project.
The main problem when it comes to Biology Project was looking at the best case scenario. People were theorizing that Druids will fling Ultimate Infestation on T3-T4 every game. Is it possible? Of course it is. But it requires a perfect hand that will happen once in 100 games or something. I’ve played a bunch of Togwaggle Druid at the start of the expansion, which was using two Biology Projects. In 40-50 games I’ve had with the deck, I never got an early game UI – sometimes I dropped it on T5-T6, but that was still very rare. Lots of the time, Biology Project was sitting there awkwardly in my hand, because I had nothing to follow it up with. If I played it, my opponent would just develop or do his plays and I would just Hero Power + pass on my 4 mana Turn 2.
Biology Project is not a bad card at all, but it’s far, FAR from auto-include people were talking about. The card’s play rate sits at 2.5%, while Druid’s play rate is ~15%. And looking at the HSReplay.net stats, Togwaggle Druid, Malygos Druid and Taunt Druid builds that don’t run Biology Project generally have a higher win rate than those that do run it. The deck that benefits from it most is Big Druid, obviously – the deck is all about ramping up to the late game as quickly as possible. That was probably the card’s intended use, and I believe that is what it will mostly be used for in the future – not as something you put into every Druid deck, but as an extra way to ramp in the ones you want to ramp in most.
Average rating – #14 out of 135
I’m also a bit surprised that this card got rated that highly. Or rather, I do know – because Dire Mole turned out to be a great 1-drop (and while the ratings were pretty diverse back in Kobolds & Catacombs, it was generally rated above average) and this is another 1 mana 1/3. However, the thing is that a card like this is already redundant. Most of the decks wouldn’t want to play an inferior Dire Mole ON TOP of running Dire Mole already. Inferior, because dealing 5 damage to yourself is generally bad unless your deck specifically has a way to synergize with that. It means that you can’t play it when you’re at 5 health or lower, because you will just die. And decks that can synergize with self-damage, such as Zoo Warlock, sometimes do run it, but they have their own 1-drops they do prefer (e.g. Flame Imp, Kobold Librarian).
Yes, this is a strong 1-drop in the right deck. For example, if Zoo would start running Nethersoul Buster, then Crystallize would be an auto-include too. If some other aggressive deck had a way to synergize with self-damage, same story. But the thing is, right now aggressive decks have enough good 1-drops and no real damage synergy (besides the heal Zoo, but the deck has multiple ways to damage itself, including Hero Power), and two copies of Dire Mole is enough. Some Odd Rogue builds run it over Argent Squire, but given that most of the builds also use Blood Knight, Squire seems like a better option overall (since you can trade the shield for +3/+3, which is great). I think that the card will see some play, especially when Mole rotates out 2 expansions from now, assuming no similar 1-drop will be released.
Average rating – #7 out of 135
Lab Recruiter was one of the highest rated cards across the board, as high as #4 on both HearthPwn and Hearthstone Top Decks. After all, this is a Gang Up, 2 mana spell, attached to a 3/2 body – for 2 mana. How much value is that? However, one of the reason why this card is not all over the ladder and Rogue doesn’t dominate the meta is because Gang Up is a very specific, niche spell. Imagine a Frostbolt or Sap attached to a 3/2 minion for 2 mana, it would be absolutely broken. But Gang Up was generally a bad card – it was a combo piece played in Mill Rogue, specifically on Coldlight Oracle, which was rotated out to Hall of Fame this year (which was a good decision in my opinion, we see that it already opened some design space – this card wouldn’t be printed if Coldlight was around). And the thing is that most of the time, the effect was important – the deck rarely held the board control anyway, and while an extra 3/2 is always a nice addition, it’s not THAT important in this context.
And well, the card is cool, but it’s also gimmicky. In a regular Rogue deck, you have no reason to shuffle more copies of some minion into your deck. It’s slow and unnecessary. Even in Quest Rogue, Lab Recruiter was initially played, but it was dropped from most of the builds, because it just wasn’t needed. No mainstream Rogue deck has a reason to play it. The card is only important in something like Pogo-Hopper Rogue, which doesn’t really work while we’re at it. It’s a card that could be incredibly powerful in theory, or in some other classes (e.g. the ones that care about fatigue, or have some minion combos that would benefit from shuffling more copies). But right now it doesn’t work in Rogue. The card has some serious potential, but despite that, it might never see any serious Standard play, unless they print some minions you REALLY want to shuffle in your deck and work in Rogue. It’s an interesting case of a theoretically powerful card that just doesn’t work, because there is no good deck that wants to run it.
Average rating – #5 out of 135
And finally, what I would call the most overrated card from Boomsday Project, rated #3 of the expansion on HearthPwn (and #5 average). If you followed the HS community during the reveal season, especially Hearthstone’s subreddit, there was a MASSIVE outrage and dozens of anti-Druid threads (way before the expansion was even out), calling the class broken, demanding the nerf even before expansion. It was such a premature reaction. Even if there were some reasons to think that Druid will be too strong, calling for nerfs before even playing around with the new cards is not a way to do it. Anyway, the card nearly caused riots. It was commonly called “cheaper Sprint that tutors”. And yeah, the card has a lot of potential in theory, but it was vastly overrated in the Standard format.
Let’s start with the fact that Druid has access to lots of card draw already. There is a point when the class has so many great ways to cycle that putting another one doesn’t really matter – even if it’s better, it’s only marginally better than what the class already has. Then, I completely don’t get the “cheaper Sprint that tutors” meme. The tutor part was seen as an upside, while in reality it’s a massive downside. If it was 4 mana, draw 4 cards, it WOULD be played in every Druid deck, including all of the Aggro builds (well not Spiteful for obvious reason). Tutoring is usually an upside, but not if you tutor 7, 8, 9 and 10 mana card. Not only it limits the deck building, but it means that getting it later in the game means that you often draw only 1-2 cards, if anything.
The tutor part is an upside only if you WANT to draw the cards you tutor (duh). For example, in Big Druid, drawing 4 big minions in the mid game is super clunky and unnecessary. It doesn’t push your game plan, it doesn’t really do anything. It realistically works only when you draw combo pieces, but again, there are few issues. It’s very hard to populate all of the 7-10 mana slots with minions. Malygos Togwaggle Druid comes closest to that, but it still doesn’t have a 10 mana card, not to mention that you can draw some of them before playing Psychmelon (which I’ve already mentioned). You COULD play it in Togwaggle Druid, but why would you want to tutor them? In Standard, you generally want to wait with the combo until the late game, when you run out of cards or at least nearly run out of cards. And since you want to draw your whole deck in the first place, you WILL draw your Azalina + Togwaggle anyway, so there is no reason to tutor them early.
Something that might feel like an upside (tutoring) is a huge downside in this case, big enough that the card doesn’t see any Constructed play. We still have a few expansions ahead, and I believe that it MIGHT see play at some point, but only in a deck that naturally populates the 7-10 mana slots and wants to draw those cards as soon as possible. Which, depending on what plans Team 5 has for Druid, might not happen before this card rotates out.
To be fair, the card is actually problematic, but in Wild, not in Standard. That’s because all of the Wild Druid combos are based around Aviana + Kun the Forgotten King – after you do the combo, you have 10 mana to work with, but your minions cost 1 mana instead, making it incredibly easy to combo them with anything. And both of your combo activators are tutored with Psychmelon. Not to mention that other common combo pieces are also in the 7-10 mana range. For example, it can draw the entire mill combo – Azalina Soulthief + King Togwaggle + the two I’ve mentioned before. Star Aligner, another common Wild combo card (and one of the most underrated cards if we look at the Wild format), is also in range of the draw. According to stats, Psychmelon Combo Druid decks aren’t the best Wild builds right now, but that’s because they are beaten by Aggro, which puts Odd Rogue, Even Shaman, Tempo Mage etc. at the top. However, they are still very unhealthy for the meta, because they really counter any slower deck and are common enough that playing a Control deck without 2x Dirty Rat is like a suicide. Roffle has written a good article about the whole issue, which you can read here.
However, since this list is about Standard (and the ratings were mostly about Standard too – e.g. vS poll was for Standard play, and most of the voters on our site or HearthPwn play Standard too), in this mode the card was vastly overrated.