Hearthstone Pro Leaves It All Up To One Card

Yogg-Saron is one of the most random cards in Hearthstone, a digital card game that loves randomness. Dropping it is usually -- always -- a gamble, so when Hearthstone pro Thijs Molendijk dropped it with one health against a stacked board, he was leaving the game up to one last chance.

The way Yogg-Saron works is that when it's played, it casts one spell with a random target for every spell you've cast prior in the game.

This isn't limited by class, mana, really anything. Yogg will play what Yogg wants to play, and chance will take care of the rest. It might play a massive Pyroblast and send it right at the enemy's face, or it might turn itself into a sheep, ending the magic spree and leaving you with a measly 1/1 on the board. Thijs' Yogg needed to clear four tough minions, and leave him in a state to win the game before his opponent could eke out the one damage needed to win.

Somehow, some way, it worked.

A Frost Bolt takes out one minion, but Volcano ends up being the real hero, doing the bulk of the damage to the board with its 15 damage split randomly among all minions. (Yes, the patron card of random summoned a card that does random damage.) A Siphon Soul and Slam finished it off, and Thijs ran away with a clean board and an Ice Block, which would block any possible fatal damage the next turn.

To add insult to injury, Yogg-Saron was not originally in Thijs' deck. He was running the new card Marin the Fox, and had received a Golden Kobold from his treasure chest when he played it. The Kobold replaces your hand with Legendary minions when you play it, so the randomness was also obtained through random draw. That is Hearthstone in a nutshell.


    Some things never change.

    Everything that led to that happening is why Hearthstone sucks as a competitive game.

      I want to disagree with you... but I can't. Some elements of RNG make competitive games exciting (for any Dota players out here - DING DING DING MOTHERF****ER!), but HS is well and truly into Luck>Skill territory.

        Well I do disagree with you both. This isn't a competitive match, it's ladder. Nobody runs Yogg in competitive matches because it's as likely to kill you as it is the opponent. Randomness in your deck is something you can control and it always comes with significant risk. If you don't want it, don't field it.

          Yogg is just the wildest RNG card in a game filled with wild RNG cards. Sure, maybe competitive decks don't run Yogg... but Evolve Shamans are hugely RNG based and that's a very competitive deck archetype.

            Evolve's randomness is easily neutralised and that's exactly how the Evolve shaman works, by making the randomness irrelevant. I ran an Evolve deck pretty much all of last season. They're almost always token shamans, so with a low level board the risk of Doomsayer coming out is quite high. There are also a lot of creatures that have negative battlecries or disproportionately low health pools for their cost that make it a risk of significantly weakening your board instead of strengthening it.

            Except for emergencies, any good Evolve shaman keeps the card for synergy with one other card: Doppelgangster. In that instance the randomness of the Evolve effect is mostly irrelevant, it has a guaranteed effect of producing at least three 6-cost minions for a total 6 mana expenditure. Its reliability neutralises its randomness because there are really only two bad 6-cost minions out of a pool of around 70: Hemet, Jungle Hunter and Corrupted Seer.

            Evolve's effect is random, but the randomness is controlled, as I noted above. It's not used for its randomness, it's used for its guaranteed effect - the randomness is just a sometimes-positive sometimes-negative side effect of the main effect. Much like how the (already low) randomness of Discover is mostly irrelevant in a quest mage deck, its guaranteed effect is the reason it's played.

            Side note since I don't want to risk an edit, I have no problem playing against evolve shamans either. They're predictable and it's easy to minimise the effect. Unless they have coin, turn 6 is the turn the combo comes out, so counterspell, potion of poly, vaporize, spellbender and misdirect are all great pre-emptive secrets, and every class has decent responses to a triplet of (on average) 6 health minions.

            I have more of a problem with druid at the moment for something that isn't RNG related at all. Spreading Plague has been the bane of my existence with druid opponents since it was released, because by the time it's castable on turn 6 (5 with coin) it's almost a certainty that your board doesn't have the attack strength to clear it. Played a turn or two later it can be synergised with Mark of the Lotus to make a ridiculously strong board for 7 mana. The cost increase nerf wasn't enough, it should have been a health nerf on the taunts down to 4.

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