Vanish: I understand why this card should be removed. Sap is arguably one of the best cards in the game considering it can erase a players entire turn for 2 mana. Vanish is one of those cards that can do that over several turns, potentially killing some if the players hand is full, removing any/all buffs / magnetic, likely filling the opponents hand which burns their next draw and leaves them with a hand full of cards now forced to play catch up. Often returning minions to hand is worse than killing them since it doesn’t trigger deathrattles even if they are effectively removed because of too many cards in hand, removes buffs / magnetic as I mentioned and also simply because of the mana curve. If you have a 5, 6, 7, 8 cost on board and vanish comes out, it will take you 4 turns to attempt to play those cards.
That being said I think the replacement is OP in itself as well. It is a non-conditional removal, combined with any low cost rush (Henchclan Hogsteed for example) can be out of pocket hard removal for 5-6 mana using a 2 cards. Then can be returned to hand for 0 mana saving a 2 cost version for later.
Righteousness and gift of the wild both seem problematic. Divine Shield can be one of the most powerful traits especially combined with buffs. Where gift of the wild seems relatively harmless as an 8 cost, you’re going to see decks geared to swap cost with low cost minions so it can be playable for 1-2 mana early game, combined with a few tokens and for virtually any class that can’t board clear 3+ on turn 4, you’re gonna follow up with divine shield on turn 4-5. Now everything has to be pinged prior to removal via dmg so your only options are turn 8 or 10 warrior spamming 1dmg AOE, maybe mage can ping a couple or use a low cost 1 dmg AOE following up with high cost or freezing the board. How does anyone else answer that effectively? It takes us back to odd PLD where spamming tokens and eventually buffing once they stick means GG because they’ve already pinged you down to half life while you attempt to clear more targets than you touch which puts you on defense playing from behind while they focus purely on offense, spamming tokens, going face, and forcing you to have removal that doesn’t exist for most classes and is too expensive if pulled off in the early game.
High Inquisitor Whitemane: I can see this being a major problem as well, especially for Rogue considering they can return it to their hand and shuffle multiple copies into their deck. Basically if they can develop a decent mid-range / tempo deck with some control tools, survive until turn 7, they now have the option to clear board for free while producing a 6/8 body, potentially gaining HP from any previously damaged minions, triggering several deathrattle effects, with the choice to return the 6/8 and/or shuffle additional copies into their deck which effectively wins against anyone who cannot board clear and even if they do its going to take up their entire turn while the Rogue can just play more minions until some stick and you can never put down anything decent on the board or they’ll simply clear and resummon, retrigger the same deathrattles that already triggered, remove any silence or debuff, gain any HP lost, and gain a 6/8 body for only 5 mana this time, which if they couldn’t afford to shuffle additional copies prior I’m sure they can now. Or maybe they just wanted to wait a few turns so they could shuffle 14 copies instead of 11. (Or 28, or gain a copy in their hand for each shuffled, etc.)
People talk about (Infinite value), this is it. Mid-range / tempo deathrattle deck which is gonna provide draw cards, RNG discoveries, summoning extra bodies, one that comes to mind is 2/2 DR: summon a 7/7, now even if it gets silenced, its getting sacrificed and resummoned with a new DR effect. Not to mention all the other D.R. possibilities that will make it easy to spam the board from early game on granting additional draws to ensure the combo for late game, with no way to prevent it other than ways that can be played around like counter spell (For the return a minion) or Sheep secret. It can eat Snipes for breakfast since it’s got 8 health and gonna be returned to hand anyways. Plus with the new addition of poison combo I mentioned before they can effectively hard remove any big minions for next to nothing leaving another 1/1 body on board which if not removed can be used as a poison the following turn.
I hate to see these high cost cards like Arcane Devourer because its turn 8+, even if you set up to pump it to a 20/20 same turn which I’m sure is possible with mage, how many ways can that be effectively neutralized? Silence makes it a 5/5 you payed 8 for, which isn’t terrible for mage who can turn it into 2 copies, and on that note maybe that’s where it’ll see play by boosting an already OP card to new heights by summoning copies of this as well and then buffing on top of all the other copies and multiple copies of each. But as an actual card to play out of hand, you pay 8 mana with no guarantee it’ll stick and nothing to show for it. How many cards remove this for 3-6 mana and go on to play something of value that draws, discovers, creates new cards, or mediocre minions that stick and aren’t worth wasting hard removal on. So rarely has any card like this been effective, the 7/7 that gains +1/+1 each turn, sounds great, 8/8 body for 8 that gains 1/1 every turn, but not worth it compared to other 7-10 cost that actually produce value same turn even if/when they’re removed instantly you still get value from them in other ways.
In general, the concept of building a board of big minions that can be effectively stopped by freeze cards, taunt/divine shields, cheap taunts, etc. Meanwhile your opponent has mana to spare to play with and set up for a win condition that completely ignores all these big minions or in the case of Warlock just kills them all and now your 4 turns and 32-40 mana worth is gone in 1 turn for 1 card.
Those win conditions aren’t competitive unless they’re combined with something like res priest and even then there’s better cards that serve a purpose towards a win condition other than sticking giant over priced bodies down.
SiegeBreaker: The first thing that comes to mind is shuffling additional copies of 2/2 rush minions now being 3/2 rush which is a big difference along with the typical zoo / token tactics, Summoning several copies of buffed demons, buffing them by destroying now giving them all +1 while throwing down a 5/8 taunt body potentially granting lethal especially if you factor in the free 2/2 rushes with potential for additional copies shuffled in. I ran that in a bomb Warrior and that was the determining factor on top of all the other removal Warrior has to have 9 2/2 rush for free that randomly pop in really helped maintain control and allow elek to stick (however its spelled) for multiple uses on bombs. The same can be said for Warlock getting minions to stick that can be buffed in hand and on board, can easily see these 2/2 rush turning in to 5/3 or 6/4 or being used as the sacrifice to achieve lethal, used as removal to achieve lethal, etc.
Barens Stablehand seems silly in that you can summon a 1/1 or a 9/9 rush with overkill that summons additional beasts. It’s the type of card that frustrates players because although it may not be OP as a whole, in any given match it can produce OP results. Can’t complain compared to some other things out there but the design in general is questionable.
And again, give it to a rogue who can double trigger the battlecry and return it to hand for 2 less to summon it again and you start seeing truly OP results. Combine that with the ability to f all into your opponents board and resummon everything and you really start questioning things. The 6/8 that summons all minions that died this turn was moved to wild how long ago and now its brought back in single use form that can be exploited by Rogues specifically. Just doesn’t make sense to me.
Brightwing falls in the same category. Rogue can double trigger off shark, return to hand so it costs 1, double trigger again, now for 4 mana just created 4 legends and got a 3/2 body on board. Again with potential to shuffle several copies into your deck but I think that turn 4 play along combined with a control heavy deck grants a ton of value and the ability to limit minions in your deck and rely generating them combined with some others and control tools to drag it into late game where they’re playable. I don’t think designers realize how powerful this can be. Considering that having 4+ legends in your deck which are going to average around 7 cost completely disrupts your tempo and early game, now this just gave Rogue who already has plenty of tools to generate and remove the option to generate them off 1 3 mana cost 3/2 is absurd. I see comments about how rogue is dead because they removed vanish but the way I see it all of these cards are geared towards Rogue who can easily get 4x the value off each card individually and they synergize together and there’s potential to shuffle 10+ copies into your deck and return them to your hand 4+ times individually and collectively, plus sacrifice them, resummon them at full HP with any D.R. being triggered and refreshing.
Mindblast: Most of the complaints on mindblast, if not all now, come from Wild. Which it’ll still be playable in? The replacement is a joke, there’s already been cards like it that don’t see play or only seen play to combo off Lyra which is gone now. Sooo…
The main viable priests utilize silence/copy OP minions that can’t attack, res mechanics, etc. They’re constantly having to res because of classes like Warrior which have seemingly endless removal options and the ability to generate value from nothing. (3 mechs after turn 10 namely).
In general, single minion buffs don’t work because they can be sapped, silenced, removed, frozen, etc. The only time its truly viable is in a topsy turvey combo for lethal, otherwise you just wasted a card on a small buff that could’ve been an extra body or a card designed to draw to your win condition. Buffing that single minion up may do a couple extra damage, may help with a single removal, but then its removed along with the minion you just drew a target on by buffing it. In that sense maybe there’s some potential on lower cost minions in some spots but then they’re easier to remove and within a lot of AOE’s range so not really.
As for the identities, not really seeing any truth to a lot of it. Shaman weakness is card draw and generation? What do you call free spells every time you play a minion, and drawing a spell 1 cost higher every time you play a spell. You can effectively deck yourself, shuffle (2x copies) of 5 cards into your deck, then repeat all battlecries, some of which can be discovery cards. Warrior has minion swarms as a weakness but a couple things, 1, its not really a weakness the way Warrior plays, it allows warrior to hold on to minions with abilities and maintain control, and most playing against the warrior are forced to due the same due to warriors removal options and weapons, otherwise you over commit and warrior kills 2 for 1 with a weapon, or brawl, or simply single targets you each and every turn. Second, their hero power gives all mechs rush including 3x 1/1’s from their alternating hero power, which can be combined with magnetic, literally the closest thing to resemble a swarm especially when combined with rush, magnetic, and various battlecries.
Rogue healing weakness yet there’s a lifesteal weapon that gains durability with each card played from another class, can have multiple copies in your deck, double battlecries (Such as 3dmg to opponent restore 3 health to hero becoming 6/6, return to hand, another 6/6, return to hand, additional copies, etc.) That’s 12 dmg for 6 mana ON TOP of restoring 12 health, let alone the endless potential with additional copies or returning to hand several times.
PLD weakness destroying big minions yet they can literally change the health of all minions to 1 and trade in tokens into anything no matter what its health was, it couldve been a buffed 20/20 arcane devourer, still dies to a 1/1 token. Not to mention changing its attack to 1 so its just a big body to fish for magnetic or buffs to silence. Or the fact that now all minions can be granted divine shield and clear everything for free. Some can be used first if they have health to survive just to keep the annoying shield to force an initial ping without any minions on board good luck and now you’re playing from behind trying to clean up everything that just cleared you for nothing.
Priest weaknesses. How about the fact that including early game in Priest effectively ruins late game power plays, that even if you pulled off successfully can typically be cleared on a whim by a handful of classes with godly removal (Or frozen turn after turn). You can’t include low cost minions in a res deck because it corrupts your pool but you can’t not because you won’t survive to that point if you don’t. You’re walking a very fine line of maybe I can toss out enough distractions to survive until I can res and then topsy turvy but any class that has any early game tempo will likely blow you out by the time you play anything that effects them in any way. Their removal is conditional and weak. Their win conditions are limited and restrictive to the point that you feel like every game is a coin toss heavily weighted in your opponents favor because even when you do draw and play correctly its laboring where as their answers are effortless and if you can’t get a big minion to stick and topsy, if you draw the 1 topsy in your deck, if they don’t have a taunt in the way, if you can achieve lethal with it, there’s too many ifs. The silence decks are ok if you draw correctly but again, even when you do get great value off silence/copy combos early, its still a coin toss that seems weighted in almost every other classes favor unless they fail to draw the answers.
Point being that most of these weaknesses don’t really apply or are misleading because of round about indirect equivalent. Its like saying Warriors weakness is healing and ignoring armor. Like why tf would warrior need healing if its gonna float at 10-50 armor all game. Why would it need swarms of minions other than the hero power / rush / magnetic capabilities especially when a decent amount of its removal relies on clearing the entire board including their own.
Final Note; When I was young I played an online RPG similar to D&D but online chat-based, home made version. Players would find the most exploitable parts of the game and utilize it. For example, Dex stat gave +1 on all rolls per 20, anything over 15 hit, anything over 20 crit, so quickly people realized that Strength was useless in comparison because the additional accuracy and crit damage from dex was just better. So they nerfed it. That’s how the process goes. Your players are always going to seek the cheapest, most exploitable tactics and exploit them for advantages, its your job as designers to take feedback, as well as investigate, use statistics, etc. To find those exploits, including ones you simply print into existence, and nerf them if not remove them entirely. Cards like twinspell destroy a minion summon 2 copies equal value, combined with giants, and summoning additional copies are just absurd design. It doesn’t matter if statistically they’re not the #1 most played, or highest win percentage which factors in user mistakes and doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual deck / cards. Its common sense. And to made possible for an 8-12 cost to flood the board early game when no class has an answer for it that early is absurd. Call it a “high roll”, justify it with equally cheap aggro kills early, it is common sense that this is poor design and its way under priced. It could be 5 cost and it’d still see play. The design team should have enough of a grasp on the game and cards and potential combinations to know that either giants need to be HOF’d or the card needs to be nerfed or removed, because adding removal for 4+ bodies 8-12 cost early game would be absurd and we’re already seeing that with Warrior and brawl no that it has all these additional options for control and lethal. And considering Vanish is being removed which is one of the view that can give an answer to that type of board crowding earlier than turn 8 Warlock removal.