Warlords Spirit, 6.2 Update

Continuing my discussion on projecting Spirit and mana growth in Warlords

The last time we checked on Warlords mana and projecting how far it would go was after the general raid trinket buffs and the reveal of the BRF raid loot (including two high-Spirit trinkets).  Those two changes had severely accelerated potential Spirit growth from what I initially projected.  Because of that, I went from saying that Spirit was looking to be fine (at launch) to saying that the growth had to be arrested, and that an easy and effective approach would be to simply put less Spirit on trinkets.

Since all that, there have been two more developments:

  • Blizzard, going directly counter to my opinion, further increased the Spirit on BRF trinkets.  Not only through the global 5-ilvl buff, but through a significant Spirit-only buff to the two trinkets I linked above.  The reasons for that have to do with the trinket itemization dilemma I touched on here; I won’t go into them now.
  • Completely reversing course, the datamined 6.2 healer trinkets now have low amounts of Spirit again.  379 at ilvl 695 (or equivalent) on all of them, far less than Autoclave and Talisman.  This is now in line with exactly what I recommended.

So of course the question is, after all this, where did we land?

A Somewhat Convenient Truth

By now you’re probably familiar with the bar graphs from the previous versions of this analysis.  If you’re not, the framework I use is to compute how much total mana a healer will have available to spend, in an encounter of fixed length (I use 6 minutes).  This is to give a more practical and in-context comparison than simply looking at Spirit numbers, although in the Warlords system, Spirit on gear is the only part that varies.  Without further ado:

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.50.41 AM

To explain the different columns:

  • 695 (expected): This was my projection, before any of the post-launch changes, of where we’d be at ilvl 695.  More on this below.
  • 695 (BRF 6.0): Where we were in the last version of this post, after the first round of trinket buffs, when I started to be a lot more concerned about this.
  • 706 (BRF 6.1): The most Spirit you could get from BRF, wearing the two highest-Spirit trinkets after all the buffs.
  • 731 (projected): where we’d be after another tier if nothing more was changed.  Take note of the number–about 950 (i.e. 950,000 mana in a 6 minute fight).  We’ll put that in context later.
  • 695 (HFC): how things look at ilvl 695 wearing one of the new Spirit trinkets and a 0-spirit class trinket.
  • 731 (HFC): how the previous setup scales up to the best gear we know of in the next tier.

Notes:

  • The final two columns conservatively assume one Spirit trinket.  If you use two Spirit trinkets instead of your special Archimonde class trinket, the final bar would wind up at 818.  Both setups will likely be seen in practice, although hopefully the class trinkets wind up appealing.  Because they’re unique and interesting, and also because it helps keep this problem in check.
  • This total ignores set bonuses, and in certain cases like Shaman, a big part of the current problem is the tremendous mana value of their set bonuses.  The currently datamined set bonuses, though incomplete, don’t seem to be focused on mana, which is hopefully intentional (all of them are linked here).  So the difference between BRF and HFC is likely to be larger than it looks.

Putting it all together, the graph should speak for itself.  Spirit growth has not only slowed down, but been given a huge one-time step backwards, so that it has room to comfortably grow again.  This outcome isn’t perfect, but it’s probably is the best that could have been done after BRF.

Historical Context

Let’s look back at the first of these graphs I posted, a few weeks before Warlords launch:

Remember all those different sources of mana we had in Mists?

Note that the WoD 695 projection is the first bar in the graph at the start of this post.  That should help put these together in context.

One important bar to note is the L90 6.0 bar–showing the weird month in between 6.0 and Warlords launch, when people probably a remember a very silly mana game where you simply couldn’t spend it down.  In fact, the main point of this chart, which I posted during that time period, was that it wouldn’t be that way once we got to actual Warlords.

Well, the repeated trinket buffs almost did make a liar of me.  The L90 bar topped out at about 1,050 (1.05 million mana to spend in 6 minutes, adjusted for inflation to be in terms of L100 mana).  And you can actually get to 868 in BRF trinkets (with the potential of going to 950 next tier if nothing was changed).  While not quite at L90 levels, it is uncomfortably close.  Close enough that many people are definitely at the “can’t find a use for more mana” level, which is exactly what we wanted to avoid.  To have the feel of early Warlords, you have to be down closer to 600.

It’s still unideal that you can get to around 818 with (known) BIS Hellfire trinkets.  That is just about what a lot of people are probably playing with right now.  People generally aren’t running around with M WF Autoclave and Talisman, because it’s simply too much.  So “current mana” is probably something less than 868–something around 800 is a lot more realistic (Mythic Autoclave and Chew Toy is pretty close to this).  Despite the big cut to Spirit happening in HFC, natural ilvl growth will get us back to current levels by the end of the next tier.

Conclusion

The devs did take significant action on this issue.  After 30 more ilvls of growth, we’ll at most be back to where we are now.  That’s saying a lot.  And I said “at most”–if the class trinkets are attractive (which is reasonably likely, especially if Spirit has questionable value), then the highest possible “mana score” you can reach in HFC is around 740.  That’s around what you can reach in current BRF normal (ilvl 670) gear.

The biggest takeaway is that you’ll likely never have as much mana as you do now for the rest of this expansion.  Unless there is in fact another tier, in which case this will definitely have to be revisited.  While in some cases you might get close, the presence of a 0-Spirit trinket option is a significant factor that helps avoid even that.

It’s been more of a fight to keep mana in check than anyone wanted.  Unforeseen changes or no, it turned out to be wrong to think this wouldn’t be an issue.  And a good point for future discussion would be how to avoid this sort of instability.  Whereby, even though things were set up fine at the start, minor changes to items completely blew up the mana projections (in brief: Spirit on items should probably not go exponentially with ilvl).  For now, the growth has been reined in substantially, which is what we wanted to see going into a new tier.

Warlords Spirit, 6.2 Update

Continuing my discussion on projecting Spirit and mana growth in Warlords

The last time we checked on Warlords mana and projecting how far it would go was after the general raid trinket buffs and the reveal of the BRF raid loot (including two high-Spirit trinkets).  Those two changes had severely accelerated potential Spirit growth from what I initially projected.  Because of that, I went from saying that Spirit was looking to be fine (at launch) to saying that the growth had to be arrested, and that an easy and effective approach would be to simply put less Spirit on trinkets.

Since all that, there have been two more developments:

  • Blizzard, going directly counter to my opinion, further increased the Spirit on BRF trinkets.  Not only through the global 5-ilvl buff, but through a significant Spirit-only buff to the two trinkets I linked above.  The reasons for that have to do with the trinket itemization dilemma I touched on here; I won’t go into them now.
  • Completely reversing course, the datamined 6.2 healer trinkets now have low amounts of Spirit again.  379 at ilvl 695 (or equivalent) on all of them, far less than Autoclave and Talisman.  This is now in line with exactly what I recommended.

So of course the question is, after all this, where did we land?

A Somewhat Convenient Truth

By now you’re probably familiar with the bar graphs from the previous versions of this analysis.  If you’re not, the framework I use is to compute how much total mana a healer will have available to spend, in an encounter of fixed length (I use 6 minutes).  This is to give a more practical and in-context comparison than simply looking at Spirit numbers, although in the Warlords system, Spirit on gear is the only part that varies.  Without further ado:

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.50.41 AM

To explain the different columns:

  • 695 (expected): This was my projection, before any of the post-launch changes, of where we’d be at ilvl 695.  More on this below.
  • 695 (BRF 6.0): Where we were in the last version of this post, after the first round of trinket buffs, when I started to be a lot more concerned about this.
  • 706 (BRF 6.1): The most Spirit you could get from BRF, wearing the two highest-Spirit trinkets after all the buffs.
  • 731 (projected): where we’d be after another tier if nothing more was changed.  Take note of the number–about 950 (i.e. 950,000 mana in a 6 minute fight).  We’ll put that in context later.
  • 695 (HFC): how things look at ilvl 695 wearing one of the new Spirit trinkets and a 0-spirit class trinket.
  • 731 (HFC): how the previous setup scales up to the best gear we know of in the next tier.

Notes:

  • The final two columns conservatively assume one Spirit trinket.  If you use two Spirit trinkets instead of your special Archimonde class trinket, the final bar would wind up at 818.  Both setups will likely be seen in practice, although hopefully the class trinkets wind up appealing.  Because they’re unique and interesting, and also because it helps keep this problem in check.
  • This total ignores set bonuses, and in certain cases like Shaman, a big part of the current problem is the tremendous mana value of their set bonuses.  The currently datamined set bonuses, though incomplete, don’t seem to be focused on mana, which is hopefully intentional (all of them are linked here).  So the difference between BRF and HFC is likely to be larger than it looks.

Putting it all together, the graph should speak for itself.  Spirit growth has not only slowed down, but been given a huge one-time step backwards, so that it has room to comfortably grow again.  This outcome isn’t perfect, but it’s probably is the best that could have been done after BRF.

Historical Context

Let’s look back at the first of these graphs I posted, a few weeks before Warlords launch:

Remember all those different sources of mana we had in Mists?

Note that the WoD 695 projection is the first bar in the graph at the start of this post.  That should help put these together in context.

One important bar to note is the L90 6.0 bar–showing the weird month in between 6.0 and Warlords launch, when people probably a remember a very silly mana game where you simply couldn’t spend it down.  In fact, the main point of this chart, which I posted during that time period, was that it wouldn’t be that way once we got to actual Warlords.

Well, the repeated trinket buffs almost did make a liar of me.  The L90 bar topped out at about 1,050 (1.05 million mana to spend in 6 minutes, adjusted for inflation to be in terms of L100 mana).  And you can actually get to 868 in BRF trinkets (with the potential of going to 950 next tier if nothing was changed).  While not quite at L90 levels, it is uncomfortably close.  Close enough that many people are definitely at the “can’t find a use for more mana” level, which is exactly what we wanted to avoid.  To have the feel of early Warlords, you have to be down closer to 600.

It’s still unideal that you can get to around 818 with (known) BIS Hellfire trinkets.  That is just about what a lot of people are probably playing with right now.  People generally aren’t running around with M WF Autoclave and Talisman, because it’s simply too much.  So “current mana” is probably something less than 868–something around 800 is a lot more realistic (Mythic Autoclave and Chew Toy is pretty close to this).  Despite the big cut to Spirit happening in HFC, natural ilvl growth will get us back to current levels by the end of the next tier.

Conclusion

The devs did take significant action on this issue.  After 30 more ilvls of growth, we’ll at most be back to where we are now.  That’s saying a lot.  And I said “at most”–if the class trinkets are attractive (which is reasonably likely, especially if Spirit has questionable value), then the highest possible “mana score” you can reach in HFC is around 740.  That’s around what you can reach in current BRF normal (ilvl 670) gear.

The biggest takeaway is that you’ll likely never have as much mana as you do now for the rest of this expansion.  Unless there is in fact another tier, in which case this will definitely have to be revisited.  While in some cases you might get close, the presence of a 0-Spirit trinket option is a significant factor that helps avoid even that.

It’s been more of a fight to keep mana in check than anyone wanted.  Unforeseen changes or no, it turned out to be wrong to think this wouldn’t be an issue.  And a good point for future discussion would be how to avoid this sort of instability.  Whereby, even though things were set up fine at the start, minor changes to items completely blew up the mana projections (in brief: Spirit on items should probably not go exponentially with ilvl).  For now, the growth has been reined in substantially, which is what we wanted to see going into a new tier.

Quick Notes on Blackrock Mountain Wing 4: Blackwing Lair

I’ve been noting down my experience with, and strategy for, the Hearthstone Adventure encounters each week on the EJ forum.  I just realized there’s no reason not to put them here for people working on the fights now.  I know they’re mostly over, but I’ll put in this week’s anyway, and maybe paste in the old ones sometime for people trying to do them later.

Descriptions of the bosses and their decks can be found here.

————————————-

Razorgore: Probably lots of easy ways to do this.  I went with typical Freeze Mage-ish board clears.  His only value advantage over you is creating 4-5 HP worth of stuff to beat down every turn, which is not hard to overcome just by establishing board control in conventional ways.  An early Doomsayer and a late Flamestrike help you lock it down though.  He Corruptions big threats, so typical midrange creatures to own the board work great.

Vael: Lots of ways to deal with the fact that he aggressively mills you.  I went with Rogue both for being able to spam out cheap cards right from the start (especially with Prep and Shadowstep), and being able to counter-mill him with Gang Up.  In my game, he milled out ahead of me–I guess he must have burned one of his Gang Ups–which made it easy.  If you ever get one good Blade Flurry off for a big reset, you should be fine.  He doesn’t have a huge number of minions in his deck.

BGH is handy for Giant spam near the end, and can be good with Shadowstep or Gang Up.  Other than that, you might not want much costing more than 2.  He will Naturalize creatures, so be careful trying to set up a huge threat like a Van Cleef.  But that can be great if you draw out the Naturalize (or see them burned).  Also, be very careful about lethal range, since he has 0-cost burn he can spam at you.

Chromaggus: Really fun encounter.  I think there’s a probably a great plan around using Warlock cards to discard from your hand, but I went with Priest.  Chromaggus has no hard removal, so a huge Divine Spirit-Inner Fire combo can win uncontested.  No matter what your deck, bias towards being very cheap again, since you have to spend a lot of mana clearing out his trash (the only exception for me was Thaurissan for obvious reasons).  I bet Cho is amusing if you have him.

You have to put with some of his curses for a while, and know when to get rid of them.  The initial Green will probably sit for a long time, so you have to first take control and then start damaging him.  I tried to use Lightwardens to abuse his auto-heal every turn (and to worth with my own Lightwell which was very good here).  You may have to live with the Red you get on turn 3 for a while also–you probably need to make a turn 3 play (especially since the turn 4 and 5 Blue/Bronze are really important to drop immediately).  Getting some semblance of control in turns 1-2-3 is huge.  You need some way of removing a growing Drakonid on your turn 3 (SW:P is good).

Bronze and Black should always go immediately (exception: consider leaving Bronze if you’re about to follow up with a good board clear).  Blue is ideal to let go of early on, since he can spam out 0-cost Flamehearts–but you can leave it if he’s already played a bunch of spells from his hand.  Drop Red when you can, and Green once you’re in control and ready to win.

Nefarian: Nothing about this fight seems to shout for one particular strategy–it’s mostly a normal Hearthstone game with him having a huge value advantage over you (starting at 9 mana/turn on turn 2, and getting 2 cards a turn).

You can probably use anything if you have a plan for the early game (just survive his 9-mana turns on your 3/4/5 mana turns), the mid game (probably need one really good board clear), and the late game (actually killing him and dealing with occasional damage).  I used Paladin with Humility/Chow/Doomsayer/Aldor for the early turns, an Equality-Consecrate whenever things got bad, and Lay on Hands/Guardian to take over at the end.  As with all the encounters where you’re overcoming a huge value disadvantage every turn, if you don’t have the typical good legendaries for that, a good endgame is to stick a Kel’Thuzad.  Nefarian also has no hard removal, but he does have Flamestrikes and various direct damage.

The random card you get from Rag on turn 3 matters a lot.  All you care about is living so the 6/6 Taunt seems best, especially if you can protect it for a bit and/or having him waste tempo removing it.  Mind Control Tech is huge, and Emperor Cobra can trade way up.  A Doomsayer can delay him a turn at worst.  Anything to get to the Equality-Consecrate or whatever you’re using to turn the corner.  Some luck with him doing comparatively weak things with his mana on turns 2-3-4 (such as using inefficient spells from your class) can also go a long way.

Quick Notes on Blackrock Mountain Wing 4: Blackwing Lair

I’ve been noting down my experience with, and strategy for, the Hearthstone Adventure encounters each week on the EJ forum.  I just realized there’s no reason not to put them here for people working on the fights now.  I know they’re mostly over, but I’ll put in this week’s anyway, and maybe paste in the old ones sometime for people trying to do them later.

Descriptions of the bosses and their decks can be found here.

————————————-

Razorgore: Probably lots of easy ways to do this.  I went with typical Freeze Mage-ish board clears.  His only value advantage over you is creating 4-5 HP worth of stuff to beat down every turn, which is not hard to overcome just by establishing board control in conventional ways.  An early Doomsayer and a late Flamestrike help you lock it down though.  He Corruptions big threats, so typical midrange creatures to own the board work great.

Vael: Lots of ways to deal with the fact that he aggressively mills you.  I went with Rogue both for being able to spam out cheap cards right from the start (especially with Prep and Shadowstep), and being able to counter-mill him with Gang Up.  In my game, he milled out ahead of me–I guess he must have burned one of his Gang Ups–which made it easy.  If you ever get one good Blade Flurry off for a big reset, you should be fine.  He doesn’t have a huge number of minions in his deck.

BGH is handy for Giant spam near the end, and can be good with Shadowstep or Gang Up.  Other than that, you might not want much costing more than 2.  He will Naturalize creatures, so be careful trying to set up a huge threat like a Van Cleef.  But that can be great if you draw out the Naturalize (or see them burned).  Also, be very careful about lethal range, since he has 0-cost burn he can spam at you.

Chromaggus: Really fun encounter.  I think there’s a probably a great plan around using Warlock cards to discard from your hand, but I went with Priest.  Chromaggus has no hard removal, so a huge Divine Spirit-Inner Fire combo can win uncontested.  No matter what your deck, bias towards being very cheap again, since you have to spend a lot of mana clearing out his trash (the only exception for me was Thaurissan for obvious reasons).  I bet Cho is amusing if you have him.

You have to put with some of his curses for a while, and know when to get rid of them.  The initial Green will probably sit for a long time, so you have to first take control and then start damaging him.  I tried to use Lightwardens to abuse his auto-heal every turn (and to worth with my own Lightwell which was very good here).  You may have to live with the Red you get on turn 3 for a while also–you probably need to make a turn 3 play (especially since the turn 4 and 5 Blue/Bronze are really important to drop immediately).  Getting some semblance of control in turns 1-2-3 is huge.  You need some way of removing a growing Drakonid on your turn 3 (SW:P is good).

Bronze and Black should always go immediately (exception: consider leaving Bronze if you’re about to follow up with a good board clear).  Blue is ideal to let go of early on, since he can spam out 0-cost Flamehearts–but you can leave it if he’s already played a bunch of spells from his hand.  Drop Red when you can, and Green once you’re in control and ready to win.

Nefarian: Nothing about this fight seems to shout for one particular strategy–it’s mostly a normal Hearthstone game with him having a huge value advantage over you (starting at 9 mana/turn on turn 2, and getting 2 cards a turn).

You can probably use anything if you have a plan for the early game (just survive his 9-mana turns on your 3/4/5 mana turns), the mid game (probably need one really good board clear), and the late game (actually killing him and dealing with occasional damage).  I used Paladin with Humility/Chow/Doomsayer/Aldor for the early turns, an Equality-Consecrate whenever things got bad, and Lay on Hands/Guardian to take over at the end.  As with all the encounters where you’re overcoming a huge value disadvantage every turn, if you don’t have the typical good legendaries for that, a good endgame is to stick a Kel’Thuzad.  Nefarian also has no hard removal, but he does have Flamestrikes and various direct damage.

The random card you get from Rag on turn 3 matters a lot.  All you care about is living so the 6/6 Taunt seems best, especially if you can protect it for a bit and/or having him waste tempo removing it.  Mind Control Tech is huge, and Emperor Cobra can trade way up.  A Doomsayer can delay him a turn at worst.  Anything to get to the Equality-Consecrate or whatever you’re using to turn the corner.  Some luck with him doing comparatively weak things with his mana on turns 2-3-4 (such as using inefficient spells from your class) can also go a long way.