With patch 9.0 Blizzard introduced synergy picks into the Arena. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
When you combine the synergy picks with game-breaking Death Knights, the result is one of the least entertaining Arena metas Hearthstone has ever seen. The idea behind synergy picks seems all right. Start people off with a couple cards and so the rest of their deck can be built with those in mind. In reality, the player often ends up with two cards with competing synergies or they force classes into archetypes that they have no reason being in. Have fun playing Murloc, Dragon Warlock my friend.
Legendary! Or Not
The synergy picks feel like they were chosen without real care or thought behind it. You can see the full list here. Some of my favorite highlights: The neutral epic list is Murloc Warleader, Blubber Baron, Tomb Lurker, Fight Promoter, Blazecaller, Southsea Captain and Corpestaker.
Of those cards, Blazecaller and Tomb Lurker are the only two that have decent arena value. Blubber Baron is so bad it should be removed from arena all together.
The legendaries aren’t that much better. All three princes are there. Superstar cards like Voraxx and Spiritsinger Umbra make the initial excitment of starting your draft with a legendary fizzle away.
The best offerings in the bunch are N’zoth, Medivh and The Curator. Following them, Finja, Patches and even Deathwing Dragonlord can be overpowered in the right deck. But all too often the reality is finja pulls a 2/1 and Patches becomes a Stonetusk Boar. Some classes have Death Knights in their synergy picks which makes those classes substantially stronger, but more on that later.
Stop With the Zoobots, Please
The common cards are about as good as one could expect. Zoobot and Menagarie Magician are usually just bodies to drop on the board. Sometimes they hit the buff and are slightly above average. Either way they are boring cards, that are in entirely too many decks.Despite most elementals being common, the only neutral ones eligible for synergy picks are Servant of Kalimos, Tol’vir Stoneshaper (not an Elemental) and Blazecaller, all rare or above. Since Un’goro was the expansion with the most elementals, they used to be incredibly common in arena. With the offering bonus for Un’goro cards gone, it isn’t as likely a player will get the elementals necessary to get the aforementioned cards to trigger.
That is the central problem with the synergy picks. Instead of letting drafts develop naturally, they force the deck into a mold. From that point the player either hits the synergies and has a solid deck, or they miss and are doomed for failure. Either way, drafts should not be decided in the first two picks.
Give Garrosh Some Love
The other issue with the synergy picks is that they favor some classes over others. Here are Mage’s available synergies. Now compare that to Rogue. Or warrior. (That’s the whole list. I’m not kidding.) You know what Frost Lich Jaina synergizes well with? Winning. Other elementals not required.
The Shaman group has 12 cards. Priest, only 3. There is a distinct lack of consistency within the synergy picks and they have had a negative effect on Arena as a whole.
Hearthstone is notoriously one of the slowest games to make changes to its structure but the synergy picks were so widely disputed, that game designer Mike Donais took to Reddit to announce their departure. He said they will be “removed in a future patch” but no timetable has been announced as to when that will be. Whether they are gone in a week or a month, one thing is for sure; I never want to choose between Bookworm, Coldlight Seer and Devilsaur Egg ever again.