General thoughts on the Power of the Mage

Dear Blizzard and fellow HS players,

I make this post to show my thoughts on the Mage and why I think it needs more tweaks than it already got.

The power of the mage should indeed come from its spells and ability to counter the enemies.
But in the couple of months of beta I have played now I encounterd several things which does not seem to be balanced:

Frostblast - 2 mana > 3 damage + freeze
1. you can target anything
2. more damage than mana cost
3. there is no other card from other Heroes which equals its power.
The frostblast spell give great early game boardclear and to much utility+damage for its coast. This also counters any Coin minion casts from the enemy and thus counters the balance mechanism of the game itself.
If compared to cards like Earth Shock or Frost Shock from the Shaman is is greatly underpriced.
The fact that the Warlock needs to pay 3 mana to deal 4 damage to a minion shows even more imbalance to this spell.

The changes:
To balance this spell I think either the mana cost should rise to 3 or the damage should be reduced to 2. This should balance the power to cost ratio for this card.

Pyroblast - 8 mana > 10 damage
This spell is the reason the most of my games against mages are nowhere near fun. While the Mage has no board controll and I have several Taunts he blasts me down for 22 damage in 2 turns. The power of this card is beyond this game and in my opinion should not even be in the game at all.
1. 10 damage for 8 mana on any target you want.
2. can only be counterd by Counterspell or Spellbender (Mage) or equaled by Eye for an Eye (Paladin)
3. Way to powerfull in combination with Stall like, Freeze, board clear and Secrets.
In combination with the other utility of the Mage in the from of Ice Barrier and Ice Block this card gives to much power since it puts the enemy of the mage at a HP of 10 to 30.
In my opinion there should not be a spell in the game which deals more than 8 damage for 8 mana without any spell power on the board.

The changes:
For me personally the damage should go down to 8 instead of the coast to 10 mana. This change still gives the feel of power and a nuke which can deal with most high health creatures while not taking 1/3 of the opponents hp in one go. This way the mage needs to have some form of board control to get the ultimate nuke instead of hiding behind freeze and Ice Block.

Ice Block - 3 mana > Secret:Prevent fatal damage
This spell gives the mage one extra turn to see if he can turn the tide, but in combination with other spells the Mage has results in a Powerhouse of controll.
1. To potent in combination with Pyroblast and Fireball
2. Can generate 2 turns of immunity without any form of counter, except for Flare (Hunter).

The Changes:
The idea of this spell to me is awesome but the fact it cannot be counterd in any way makes is to powerfull for the effort the Mage needs to do to get it active.

These are my thoughts at the moment on the Mage, I do not intend to get a hated Heroe nerfed but I wan't to help get a balanced game out. To me these spells named above do not contribute to a balanced game. I hope Blizzard does something with this information and I look forward to all the balances of the game we all love to play.

Greetings to all,
Javaka

Edit After some comments I noticed I forgot something. Indeed this "problem" does not only lay with the Mage only. There should be more counters to general threats within every class and those are missing.
Edited by Javaka on 1/2/2014 10:10 AM PST
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Mage are not even the top class at higher rank so nerfing them like this you may aswell remove the class from the game.
Edited by Asura on 1/2/2014 9:51 AM PST
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Frostbolt is totally necessary for mages. No need for nerf, working as intended.

Pyroblast. Powerful but not OP.

Ice Block. Completely imbalanced card.
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I think the main issue with mages is that they just aren't fun to play against because there is no counterplay against them. In card games, it is important to let players counter each other with certain mechanics. For example, "instant" forms of single-target damage such as charge, weapons, and buff spells can be countered by taunt minions which force a player to target those minions first. However spells like Fireball and Pyroblast can pick any target and the opponent has no control of the situation.

Game designer Ben Brode said in an interview that "We like to make cards that let you do this one really cool thing. Generally we don't like to make cards that stop other people from doing cool things." Yet, freeze mechanics exist, immunity exists, direct damage with little to no counterplay exists. As you said Pyroblast only has 2 counters, both of which are mage secrets. The paladin secret isn't exactly viable in most decks.

Yes, there are efficient healing spells, but do they really expect us to run healing in all our decks, when the fact of the matter is, that healing is mostly useless against all other classes besides mages? It's like we are forced to prepare against this one specific case (the case we will get matched up against a mage) and if we don't have healing then it will basically just be luck of the draw that decides the match because if the mage gets the right cards in the right order, they will almost certainly win.

I urge the developers of Hearthstone to focus on what frustrates players the most, which is in general, the feeling of not being able to do anything about the situation you are in, the feeling of powerlessness. This is really only a danger with the more one-dimensional classes like Mage, Priest, and Warrior. Notice how they are complained about the most. It is because these classes give an overwhelming sense of things being out of your control for the most part.

TL;DR: Maybe mages aren't overpowered. I don't know. But I can say that in my opinion, mages are not fun to play against because their cards are generally designed to take away the feeling of control from an opponent by disregarding their actions through mechanics like freeze and direct targetable damage. I believe the main reason they are complained about so much is that they make players feel powerless when they play against them.
Edited by Caldari on 1/2/2014 10:05 AM PST
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Yeah? What about Blood Imp, Sylvanas, The Draw Power mechanic of Warlock and the rushing meta? What about all that other "Overpowered garbage"? Let's see some balance threads for those as well please
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I understand your rage and I intend to get my balance threads for those all the classes going.

And on the cards you name in this comment:
Blood Imp can be cleared by multiple spells by any class.
Sylvanus Can be counterd by silence or not killing her or providing only one useless minon after death.
Warlock Draw Coasts a hell of a lot > 2 mana + 2 HP is the right price.
Rushing this is and shall be always annoying.
Edited by Javaka on 1/2/2014 10:08 AM PST
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The problem is not with the mage. The problems is that the game does not have enough counters. This is especially true for spells and not only direct damage spells. Even when you have a counter you are limited often with only 1 or 2 cards that will counter something and you can only have 2 in your deck so it becomes down to getting lucky if you happen to have the card in hand when you need to use it.
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01/02/2014 10:07 AMPosted by Nnorak
The problem is not with the mage. The problems is that the game does not have enough counters. This is especially true for spells and not only direct damage spells. Even when you have a counter you are limited often with only 1 or 2 cards that will counter something and you can only have 2 in your deck so it becomes down to getting lucky if you happen to have the card in hand when you need to use it.


I agree with this idea for the most part.

IMO, there is two ways they can go about this. They can either give other classes more counters to spells, or they can change the mage mechanics to ones that other classes can counter more easily.
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01/02/2014 09:51 AMPosted by Asura
Mage are not even the top class at higher rank so nerfing them like this you may aswell remove the class from the game.


Better than how they currently are. Losing to a Mage when you've got complete board control because the mage hit you with two frost bolts and two ice lances followed by a pyroblast is pretty ridiculous.
Edited by GreedyJuju on 1/2/2014 10:15 AM PST
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MVP - Hearthstone
I don't think there's any problem with mage at the moment; it's the flavor of the month that people want to complain about, but there's no evidence to indicate that it's actually overpowered. If you actually watch high-end play (I was rank 3 roughly 2 weeks after the ranking system started, which was slightly below top 100), mages were present but were by no means the most popular class. Furthermore, the statistics available show that mages are actually losing over half their games, which is not indicative of a class that needs a nerf.

As for Frostbolt, it used to be 3 mana cost; they changed it to 2 because mages lacked enough early game control, having been the only class other than Paladin which lacked a removal card for 2 cost or less.

Pyroblast is also fine; while I recognize you get irritated when it beats you, it's actually FAR weaker than the burst damage many classes can pull out. For example, you may think that 10 damage to the hero out of nowhere is cheesy, but if you think that 10 damage for 8 mana is bad, I'm curious what you think about something like Power Overwhelming + Soulfire, totaling 8 damage for 1 mana. In the case of Pyroblast, it's a lot of damage for a single card, but isn't exceptionally high damage per mana compared to what mana classes pull off, and furthermore, it's completely predictable.

You're also incorrect that Pyroblast can't be countered; healing is a strong counter to direct damage cards. To give an example, by your argument, you would say that Fireball has no counter. What you basically want as a "counter" is an ability that can cancel the Fireball cast. Now, let me ask you this; what is the difference between canceling a Fireball cast vs. being hit by Fireball then healing yourself with Holy Light? The results are completely identical, so if canceling a spell is countering it, then so is healing direct damage. And that is one of the primary counter to direct damage from any class; healing is substantially cheaper per cost than direct damage, which makes healing an extremely effective counter to direct damage. There's been a myth going around for a long time that healing is absolutely worthless and your health pool should be treated as an irrelevant resource; it is this myth that both led to mages being strong and people thinking that direct damage has no counter.

I have mixed feelings on Ice Block because my own personal experience with Ice Block as a mage has been relatively unimpressive. In most situations, if I'm going to die without Ice Block, then I'm also going to die with it as it does nothing to reverse the board state. That's not to say that I've NEVER won a game due to Ice Block, but in all honesty, I mainly put it in there because it's extremely potent AGAINST mages. Against other classes I've found it to be fairly lackluster, and I would almost always rather have something like a Harvest Golem in my hand than Ice Block (i.e. I'd be better off controlling the board more than surviving for one more turn). My main issue with Ice Block is its synnergy with two cards; Molten Giant and Alexstraza, both of which are made substantially more potent by Ice Block. That is, Alexstraza isn't in general supposed to be a 14 health heal, but with Ice Block, you can safely get down to 1 health then use Alexstraza to turn her into an uncommonly strong heal. The same rationale applies with Molten Giants; they were designed to become free when you're at risk of being on the verge of death, but Ice Block allows them to be played without risk. That being said, if you control the board, Alexstraza is more of a nuisance than a problem, so it's a strong combo but not really a game-breaking one. In the latter case, I think the issue lies more with Molten Giant than with Ice Block.

What you're forgetting about Ice Block though is that there are a LOT of cards that let you live for one more turn in this game, they just don't have the text that says "live one turn". For example, if you have 2 minions on the table and I throw down a Sunwalker, and you have to lose your minions killing that Sunwalker, that lets me live one more turn. Or if you put down a Giant and I Polymoprh it, that's going to let me live one more turn. In both cases, I've both prevented fatal damage, not necessarily on THAT turn, but most likely the 8 damage I don't take on that turn from stalling your offense will let me survive one more turn. Unlike Ice Block however, you've actually lost board position due to my actions, meaning that I might actually reverse the course of the game.
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MVP - Hearthstone
By the way, since at a minimum you do seem like someone who at least thinks out their posts rather than blurting out nonsense, you should read this before coming to a conclusion on mages. They do have counters, you just may not be aware of them.

http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/forum/topic/10973087435
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MVP - Hearthstone
01/02/2014 10:39 AMPosted by Galileo
Is this Sar guy a troll or is he just so really f...ing dumb saying that healing is reversed pyroblast and Ice Block being as powerful as a freaking Sunwalker.
Actually talking about Sunwalker: Sunwalker does nothing for me to survive any of your spells. Please stop talking bull**** and get out here. You are a complete fool, or a troll, whatever, please stop. Go play with your mage because clearly its the only class you are capable of understanding how to play (cause its the easiest).


Reading is your friend, I said neither one of those things. I'll try to spell it out in smaller words so you can understand.

First, I said that healing is a counter to direct damage. I use Holy Light and Fireball as an example because the numbers line up; Fireball costs 4 and deals 6 damage, you can then re-heal yourself for 2 mana (half the cost) and revert the entirety of the damage. This is identical to what would occur if you prevented the spell from being cast at all; i.e. it counters the spell. Healing heals for twice as much as direct damage spells of the same mana cost, which makes healing a very strong counter to any form of direct damage. As for Pyroblast, there's no healing spells that heals for 10, so a single card cannot completely revert it. However, if you want to compare to the two most similar cards, look at Healing Touch and Lay on Hands. The mage spends 8 mana to do 10 damage to the hero; for 3 mana, Healing Touch heals 8. That results in a 2 health loss for the Druid in exchange for a 5 mana gain. In the case of Lay on Hands, the costs are equal, and the Paladin takes 2 net damage, but draws 3 cards in the process. In either situation, the player who healed almost always comes out DRASTICALLY ahead in the trade.

In the case of Ice Block, my point is that the complaint about Ice Block is that it stalls the game for one turn. Yeah, but there's a lot of cards that stall the game for one turn. If you have a giant on the field and I Assassinate it, I've just stalled the game for one turn (unless you're going to hit me for 8 overkill lethal damage on the last turn of the game). If I drop a Sunwalker that forces you to trade minions into it, I've just stalled the game for one turn. There are a LOT of cards that stall the game for one turn, not by making the hero immune to damage, but by preventing the enemy from doing the damage in the first place.

P.S. Please read this slowly so you don't hurt yourself.
Edited by Sar on 1/2/2014 10:47 AM PST
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I mean are you kidding me? Sunwalker? :D
Sunwalker can be:
-hexed/sheeped
-killed
-silenced
-or just ignored and kill the opponent with something else than minions

Ice Block can be:
-?
Sar, you are the perfect example of why mage is the easiest class to play: because even dumb people like you can achive success with it against much better players.
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MVP - Hearthstone
01/02/2014 10:48 AMPosted by Galileo
I mean are you kidding me? Sunwalker? :D
Sunwalker can be:
-hexed/sheeped
-killed
-silenced
-or just ignored and kill the opponent with something else than minions

Ice Block can be:
-?
Sar, you are the perfect example of why mage is the easiest class to play: because even dumb people like you can achive success with it against much better players.


For the record, I've won Managrind's tournament twice, once as a Warlock and once as a Paladin. I've been on Blizzard's top 50 list twice as a Priest and Shaman. I assure you, I understand how to be successful with multiple classes.

You would be well advised to take lessons from the successful and knowledgeable. Ignorance may be bliss, but it won't help you win.
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Healing is a good counter. However there still needs to be other counters since healing only counters non-lethal damage and it would nice to make the game more strategic and have some variety. There are some counters out there that fit what I am talking about but they are few and as I said before having only 2 of those cards in your deck makes it more luck than anything.

I think it would really benefit the game to have spells that you could use in response to another player's spells. I do not expect that to happen so the next best things is minions that prevent those specific spell actions from occurring while that minion is alive. And to counter that from being to strong I would add minions or spells that punish overuse of those minions. (Do 4 damage to all minions that prevent direct damage spells)(Two random direct damage prevention minions attack owner). Maybe something similar for buffs and weaker version for only enemy buffs. Maybe some sort of weapon that does no damage that discourages playing minions for both players to counter rush decks.

More counters and either increase the count copies of a card in a deck(1 legendary, 2 epic, 3 rare, 4 commons). Or add more that achieve similar goals to reduce the luck factor.
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MVP - Hearthstone
01/02/2014 10:58 AMPosted by Nnorak
Healing is a good counter. However there still needs to be other counters since healing only counters non-lethal damage and it would nice to make the game more strategic and have some variety. There are some counters out there that fit what I am talking about but they are few and as I said before having only 2 of those cards in your deck makes it more luck than anything.


I agree I'd like to see more spell counters in the future, but for an opening expansion there's already plenty of mechanics.

I'll add though, you're not quite correct on the non-lethal affix. The only direct damage you can't counter with healing is something that can take you for roughly 25 to dead in a turn, and to the best of my knowledge those don't exist in constructed (I guess in Arena 5 Mind Blasts could do it, or Sorc Apprentice + a ton of Ice Lances). Keep in mind that you can heal yourself up in advance. It's not like if you're at 3 health you have to wait until AFTER you get Pyroblasted to heal yourself.

I think it's a legitimate objection that if you're at 27 health, you shouldn't be faulted for not healing yourself and then dying from 28 direct damage; but like I said, in constructed and any feasible Arena deck, that much direct damage can't be mustered up. But if you're playing a mage, for example, and you're at 10 health, you are well aware they have an 8-mana spell that can hit you for 10; you both have the opportunity and should heal before they actually cast it. So there is plenty of opportunity to counter-play that.
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I am slightly honourd that someone of your Hearthstone class responds to my post and I do agree on most points. Also I am not a High tear player at all (lvl 14) so I know nothing of top lvl mechanics, I am just a casual player.

But I the healing being a counter to direct damage is a point of doubt. Indeed the paladin and Druid can instantly heal themselves back from damage from a fireball or pyroblast. But this is reserved for some classes because of their playstyle and mechanic. This leaves the other classes without any form of counter to these spells.

Also the mage didn't have any early game clears, as does the paladin, but the mid to late game boardclear and controll is very powerfull.

Thnx for reading and the feedback.
Greetings Javaka
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MVP - Hearthstone
01/02/2014 11:07 AMPosted by Javaka
I am slightly honourd that someone of your Hearthstone class responds to my post and I do agree on most points. Also I am not a High tear player at all (lvl 14) so I know nothing of top lvl mechanics, I am just a casual player.

But I the healing being a counter to direct damage is a point of doubt. Indeed the paladin and Druid can instantly heal themselves back from damage from a fireball or pyroblast. But this is reserved for some classes because of their playstyle and mechanic. This leaves the other classes without any form of counter to these spells.

Also the mage didn't have any early game clears, as does the paladin, but the mid to late game boardclear and controll is very powerfull.

Thnx for reading and the feedback.
Greetings Javaka


Check out the thread I linked. Basically, there are 4 classes that can heal through the Pyroblast damage (Priest, Warrior, Paladin, Druid), some a bit better than others. There are 3 classes that can rush mages so fast they can't even get a Pyro off, or even if they do, it won't be enough to kill the rusher: Hunter, Warlock, Rogue. Hunter in particular can Flare away Ice Block to disrupt the mage's survival.
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