The Boogeymonster!

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the worst card of Hearthstone’s new expansion:

The BoogeymonsterMy World of WarCraft lore instincts tell me they were planning to use the art of a mistlurker from Mists of Pandaria. I guess that makes them tangentially related to Y’Shaarj, who’s an Old God, but that’s just lore. In game, it’s been universally decided that you don’t want to open this card out of a brand new pack, and if you do, why not just dust the thing immediately to save yourself some trouble?

To explain: first, add the minion’s attack (on the left) and health (on the right) to get 13. Divide by two, and you’ll see the stats you obtain for the cost of 8 mana: 7.5, whereas you want 8. It’s not a fantastic card by that measure. Second, read the text underneath the card. There are two condition associated with The Boogeymonster becoming a threat on board: first, it needs to attack something, and second, it needs to kill something. That’s a lot of conditions to attach to a card, especially in a game where minions on board rarely survive for an entire turn. There’s two strikes against it right from the outset. Probably the only saving grace is that you can’t use Big Game Hunter on it when it enter play, which is a relief for something that costs so much mana for so little impact.

And, really, that’s what you’re looking for in a Legendary Hearthstone minion: impact. If the card does something when it comes into play, especially for the cost, that makes it an auto-include for your deck type. The Boogeymonster doesn’t offer that; instead, it offers the potential for a game-winning scenario, but that requires a lot of setup. That introduces a lot of inconsistency in the deck, simply because a well-timed spell on this card could spell the end. Usually these cards need to be good in and of themselves to see competitive play.

Dr Boom

See here.

So yes, I get it; I get why everybody seems to hate this card. But, the problem with the current judgment of most any card coming out of the new expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, is that it rests on knowledge of what we’ve seen before. Due to the introduction of formats, two whole sets of cards will cease to exist in the Standard competitive circuit: Curse of Naxxrama, and Goblins vs. Gnomes. Notable (in)famous cards like Dr. Boom above were once judged as “terrible” upon the first reveal, and boy how wrong everybody was about that! But, now that overpowered, “always play on turn seven” cards suddenly disappear, that opens up space for a host of new deck types to emerge.

Does that mean The Boogeymonster will surprise everyone? Probably not, is my estimation. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t try my hardest to make the card work, assuming I actually obtain a copy. Knowing my luck, I’ll probably open one of these in a pack at some point, and then I’ll have to make a video on it. Because, at base, Hearthstone’s not primarily about competitive play; rather, it’s about trying to make cool things happen. Sure, the tournament scene and optimizing decks to the point where your opponent can’t even play right (Secret Paladin) is fun to a degree, but finding out how to make cards interact with each other in interesting, non-metagame ways has been most of the fun I’ve had with the game. Well, that and spending [AMOUNT REDACTED] on opening lots of packs!

Ben Brode, the lead designer of the game, has this to say about “bad cards”:

Bad cards are healthy for the game and cards that seem good are actually bad and otherwise, allowing different kind of plays…The journey of discovering all this is important to a new player. So having no bad cards is WORSE than some bad cards!

And, heck, it’s important for expert players too, who apparently couldn’t judge a card’s meta-game defining quality to save their life. To note one example, Trump (the player, not the businessman/presidential candidate) said both Dr. Boom and Mysterious Challenger would see no play, and were actually “BAD”! Nobody actually seems to know how new cards will change the game, let alone 1. taking a hundred cards out of Standard and 2. introducing new card will actually change anything – good and bad players alike.

Mysterious Challenger

“Who am I? None of your business!” is a war cry for the ages.

So, what do we take from all this? As a human being, it’s really hard to judge things. Humans show a notorious predilection to predicting things, but an equally bum record on providing a successful prediction. I’m not sure why we collectively demonstrate an unquenchable thirst for figuring out how something will happen before it actually happens (the entire political news media exists around this core concept, just to note one prominent example). Perhaps this is a vestige of our previous nature, or maybe we just have a knowledge of good and evil that makes such things very, very difficult. We like to say something’s good or bad, or a situation will resolve in a particular way, and we are often hindered by human psychology and our own biases. The one prediction out of one thousand we get right makes us feel great, sure, but that’s pretty silly.

I could trot out any number of Bible verses that say “do not judge” right about here, but that’s not necessarily helpful. When Jesus says “judge with right judgment”, I don’t think He’s saying it is impossible – just, next to impossible, or slightly nudging towards it. Only God can know all the facts of a particular case; only He knows the hearts of men and women, and thus can even begin to understand their circumstances without bias (well, God does have a bias towards Love, but that’s what He is anyway, so that’s not much to say). So, while we can judge people, you better be really sure you know everything about what’s happening, which is nearly impossible. Good thing someone far more adept than us is in charge…

And, apparently, he’s the only one who’s going to know whether The Boogeymonster will actually be a good Hearthstone card!

About Zachery Oliver

Zachery Oliver, MTS, is the lead writer for Theology Gaming, a blog focused on the integration of games and theological issues. He can be reached at viewtifulzfo at gmail dot com or on Theology Gaming’s Facebook Page.