Why Are Genn and Baku So Good?6 months ago
Why Are Genn and Baku So Good?
Why Are Genn and Baku So Good?
With the launch of The Witchwood, Hearthstone has seen a new era of aggressive decks. This expansion had marked the end of the Year of the Mammoth, meaning all the cards from Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and of course, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. This had blown a large, crippling, strike to the power level of aggressive decks, mostly losing out on Patches the Pirate, with his nerf near the end of the rotation. However, in order to recuperate these losses, a new mechanic was introduced, which in turn created a whole new theme of decks, Odd and Even.
The two new neutral legendaries, Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane, allowed for powerful manipulations to your hero power, with the loss of the respective Even and Odd cost cards. Baku allows for your hero power to become upgraded in the same sense that Justicar Trueheart would upgrade it. The fact that makes them so good, however, is that it is from the beginning of the game. For example, Aggro Paladin, an archetype that heavily relies on powerful tempo swings such as Call to Arms, still manages to survive without it due to the power being able to spit out two tokens each turn.
These upgraded powers are able to be so powerful simply because they’re there from the beginning of the game, meaning you can capitalize on them as soon as possible. Beforehand, Justicar Trueheart had required that it had been at least turn seven to get value out of your hero power, however, you can get it as early as turn one now. As well as this: it is consistent. Beforehand, aggro decks relied on curving out in order to gain maximum effectiveness, but now, the draw luck is minimized with guaranteed turn two and four plays.
This, combined with the hero power not taking up resources in your hand, is such a powerful tempo play, as those cards in hand can be used for reloading your board after a board clear, meaning they have used up resources in terms of the card, while you still have your actual minions in hand. Another example could be in Rogue, where your hero power was a huge tempo swing, allowing you to contest the early board using your health as a resource. The Baku upgrade further promotes this simply because it allows you to gain larger tempo swings by removing more mana’s worth of things than your opponent, hence the Baku Rogue archetype is able to effectively win the Paladin matchup due to their hero power. In Warrior, it is also powerful since they are able to utilize their armor with cards such as Reckless Flurry, as it can be used to deal four to all minions on turn three with curve. The fact you can gain four life a turn allows for the Baku Warrior to flourish, as combined with quest, the early game survival, and endless taunts can give them many aggressive and midrange matchups easily. Their endgame hero power of dealing eight to a random enemy every turn also allows them to win the matchups late game.
The restrictions also allow for cards previously seen as horrible to flourish, such as in the case of Raid Leader or Stormwind Champion. Baku Paladin is able to slot these cards in due to the restrictions, and then take advantage of their upsides due to the board flood nature of their deck. In the case of Baku Hunter, old one drops that were previously power crept out of the meta, come back in, such as Elven Archer. The deckbuilding limitations also allow for more, and better one and three drops, or two and four drops in their respective decks. Rather than relying on the draw of one of the forced two drops put into the deck for the sake of tempo, you can near guarantee a good one drop, or possibly a good three drop rather than relying on a 1-2-3 curve.
So, is this new mechanic going to stick around in future decks for the next two years of its standard life? Possibly. Currently, I feel that if you’re on the verge of crafting one of the two, I would go with Baku, simply for its larger meta presence, and if possible, I would craft both.
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