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Our lord and savior or a blemish on the face of Hearthstone?

Listen. We know many of you aren't fans of the RNG god that Yogg-Saron, Hope's End is. Thread after thread and player after player frequently discuss how much of a negative force it is. Some people don't like random effects and it's clear that Yogg is RNG to an extreme. But there's a reason this card exists and it can be defended, despite those that would have you believe otherwise.

Prior to Hearthstone, I played card games sparingly. Like many others, I tried getting into Magic the Gathering in college and found that it was not only too expensive but that I just couldn't adjust to making confident plays while looking my opponent in the face. In that sense, Hearthstone was great for me. But that's not the only area where I found solace.

I've always found random effects to be fun. But in physical card games, random effects frequently boil down to simply rolling a dice. That's obviously not the most exciting interaction in the world. So when I discovered this new card game Blizzard was developing, my mind was full of ideas as to how my experience could be vastly improved simply because it was a video game and not restricted by the limits of the real world. Copy a minion from your opponent's deck? In the real world, this just isn't feasible. Mulch? Wouldn't be possible since you'd have to own a copy of every single minion ever released.

Personally, Yogg-Saron is my obsession with RNG taken to an extreme. Yes, admittedly Yogg-Saron will be a problem in professional Hearthstone play for the next two years. There's a legitimate argument that it should be banned since it can single-handedly turn the course of a game. But for the ladder itself, isn't this what we want from our 10-Cost minions and spells?

Things that cost ten mana need to not only have an immediate impact on the board but also put you into a position in which you come out ahead. C'Thun frequently wipes the board and leaves you with a single powerful minion. N'Zoth, the Corruptor can return some of the most powerful minions in the game all at once. Without an answer, your opponent has effectively lost. Anyfin Can Happen does the same but frequently offers a few Charge Murlocs as well. Anything less than that simply doesn't see play. In that sense, Yogg-Saron is appropriate. But unlike the other two, it can be your savior or it can doom you to a loss.

Yogg is very much a situational card. It's essentially dead when you have board advantage or are close to fatigue if you draw it before turn ten, and if you haven't cast enough spells. Yes, it offers an out whenever you're behind, but entrusting your fate to RNG is a choice that you make. For many players, it's either, "I'll play Yogg and it'll save me, or I lose." And that seems like an acceptable trade-off for a 10-Cost minion. And that doesn't even account for the smaller variables. I recently lost to a Yogg after it cast Dark Bargain to destroy my only two threats on the field. Any other board wipe would have sufficed, yes, but Dark Bargain is a card which many never want to see from their Yoggs.


SpaceWizard offers his own thoughts on Yogg-Saron

As time goes on, the card will stabalize in Wild as more and more spells come out. In theory the distribution should begin to even out and that's a good thing for those who frequent the game mode.

At least for now, you can usually tell what decklists are running Yogg-Saron. Don't want to have to deal with him? Play aggro decks and end the game before it powers up. It's no different than C'Thun in that sense. If the opponent doesn't have time to play cultists to buff C'Thun up, there's no reason to fear them playing it on Turn 10.

Even the math backs this up. Whenever I cast Yogg-Saron, I'm having fun, regardless of the outcome. You personally rolling the dice is almost always something I view as a fun experience. Even if it ends up going badly for you, you had hope and probably a good laugh. When your opponent plays Yogg, you're either happy it helped you, was essentially neutral, or angry that it won them the game. Taking all six of those into account, 83% of the time I'm fine with the outcome and that's acceptable for the casual Hearthstone scene. I can't think of a single time I've played it and been disappointed simply because it's always amusing to see what amalgamation of spells will pop out.

On the bright side, some of the more troublesome spells from 2015 - Elemental Destruction, Ancestral Knowledge, Excavated Evil, etc - will be cycling outcome this Spring and those were not created in a post-Yogg-Saron world, the next batch will. Hopefully, that helps Blizzard find a healthy balance which factors in competitive play and the more casual scene. Otherwise, we do worry about the health of competitive Hearthstone, but for us regular joes on the ranked ladder, we're pretty sure Yogg is 100% fine.