Welcome back to the Laziest Peon, a series of articles where we explore the relationships between common and uncommon cards from the WoW TCG with their counter-parts in the MMO. You may have noticed that the card for this week, Arazzius the Cruel is rare. I havent already run out of interesting commons and uncommons, but this card I couldnt pass up as it represents a lovely slice of conversion pie.
Arazzius is the culmination of two quests chains; one for Horde (Cruel’s Intentions), one for Alliance (Overlord). The Horde one is LONG, something like 10 quests in all. The Alliance get it slightly easier, with their quest to kill Arazzius coming more quickly. Incidentally the flavour text comes from the Alliance quest giver. Arazzius is a decent enough card, a 4/4 for 4 is solid. Like all demons, however, he strikes a bargain in order to allow you to work with him. If he attacks, both sides are losing something. In the MMO Arazzius is a group quest, and you really need a tank and a healer because this bugger hits HARD. It is suggested that you need 3 people, I would suggest you bring more than that.
But, contrary to his ego, Arazzius is not the reason we’re here today. For both sides the death of Arazzius allows the user to pick trinket from Bladefist’s Breadth, Vengeance of the Illidari, and Regal Protectorate. Its unfortunate that only 2 of the3 trinkets were available in the March of the Legion expansion. Bladefist’s Breadth is obviously a melee tool; its MMO text reads “Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 26. Use: Increases attack power by 200 for 15 sec. (1.5 Min Cooldown)”. That’s a pretty nice buff in anyone’s books. Venegeance of the Illidari is a mirror image for spellcasters “Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 26. Use: Increases spell damage done by up to 120 and healing done by up to 220 for 15 sec. (1.5 Min Cooldown)”. I like that symmetry, and I think its due to that symmetry that the Regal Protectorate was left out of the TCG Lets have a look at the TCG versions though, and see what stacks up.
Bladefist’s Breadth is a 3-cost trinket available to everyone but Mage, Priest and Warlock. Makes sense, the MMO trinket boosts melee crit, which isnt much use to a spellflinger. Its text reads “When you play a weapon, ready your hero”. Doesnt look like a bonus to critical strike rating, does it? But lets look at what a bonus to a critical strike rating means in the MMO. At a basic level whenever your attack causes a critical it will do substantially more damage (around 150%). Increasing your critical strike rating increases the chance that your attack will critical. That brings us back to the TCG card, where the most obvious use of the trinket is to attack, play a second weapon (and either keep it if you have dual wield, or pitch the exhausted one if you dont), ready your hero, and attack again. In effect, its like you’ve just caused a critical.
Vengeance of the Illidari is a 5-cost trinket that is open to everyone but Hunter, Rogue and Warrior. Its text reads “When you play an ability, ready your hero.” Why do these three classes miss out on being able to wield this gem? Within the TCG they are the three classes most likely to dual wield (see the Dual Wield ability). But, the TCG has forgotten something; Shamans can also dual wield. Weapons like Axe of the Legion, Timeslicer and Warp Splinter’s Thorn mean that they are just as likely to swing like mad. But back to spellcasters, the intended target for Vengeance in the MMO. How much do Cat-form Druid’s love this card? All they do is play abilities and swing claws at heads (sure, you’re usually dead by turn 5, but it might just be worth it). What about the Mage, Priest and Warlock? March of the Legion gave them access to Devil-Stitched Leggings, leggings that can kill 3-health or smaller allies for the price of 3-resources and an exhaust. With Vengeance out and in the mid to late game the leggings could potentially reduce a Hero’s health by 6 – which is a significant swing in health and should mean game. This is balanced by the cost of the trinket, at 5-resources, its flat out expensive. Those resources could be better spent on direct damage, destruction or an ally.
There is one final point to make about the relationship between Arazzius, his reward trinkets, and the TCG. The MMO only allows for a character to pick one of the 3 trinkets available. The TCG allows for classes that can use both trinkets to do so. I’m sure there are plenty of other weapons and abilities that can exploit a ready hero, and with Servants of the Betrayer out shortly, no doubt that list will grow. There needs to be more ways in which a Hero can be useful outside of combat, especially for squishies.