Every so often in Hearthstone, something really broken comes along. A card or interaction that sends players into fits of hair-tearing rage, screaming at their monitors and clamouring desperately for the sweet release only an angry Reddit post can provide.
Note that said brokenness doesn’t necessarily have to translate to effectiveness. It’s easily possible for such a combo to be horrifically impractical, reducing the player’s winning chances to zero if even the slightest detail doesn’t go plan. But no matter how hard the combo is to pull off, when you’re the one on the receiving end you’re never going to feel good.
Which brings me to Shudderwock.
Undeniably the most talked-about card of Hearthstone’s new set, Witchwood, Shudderwock will win you a game on the spot with the right setup. The card has a unique effect, repeating all of the battlecries you’ve played in the game so far. This, it turns out, isn’t too hard to exploit with the right deck. And while the exact permutations of the combo vary depending on the battlecries you’ve played in the game so far, quite often the act of playing Shudderwock can end the game on the spot. See below.
But the main reason people hate Shudderwock is driving so many people insane, is how long it takes for its effect to resolve. Like Yogg-Saron before it, Shudderwock has a tendency to set into motion chains of animations that can take multiple minutes to resolve, during which time the player on the receiving end has little choice but to wait and see if they are dead (which they usually are).
We are reliably informed, however, that despite Shudderwock’s surface-level ridiculousness, it isn’t actually all that effective of a card. The consensus among pro players is that it’s difficult to get the combo off on a regular enough basis to make the deck truly top-tier, and, depending on who you ask, the winrate is somewhere between 30 and 50 percent. This has done little to placate the baying mob that is the Hearthstone playerbase, of course.
And why should it? Inconsistent or not, the card simply isn’t fun to play against. And while Blizzard tends to be quite conservative about making changes so soon after an expansion release, it seems increasingly likely that in this case they’ll make an exception.
So if you want to have some fun with Shudderwock, make sure you do so soon. Its days could well be numbered.