I wanted to comment on how some say that the deck building limitations of Zephrys to justify the power level of the card and possibly allow for classes to get around their weaknesses by using this card. And how Zephrys is not easy to simple to throw into any deck.
This premise that having a 1 of in your deck limits your consistency is usually true. But when you have a larger card pool and you have redundant cards to fill similar roles, then having 1 ofs any card does not matter. Highlander decks in general succeed because of said redundancy as well as value cards, whether in drawing them or producing cards through discover effects.
Zephrys is NOT hard to throw into ANY deck. Zephrys is NOT hard to activate in aggro. If you are winning the game with an Aggro deck, you DON'T NEED Zephrys. You can treat the card as another 2 drop with 3/2 stats. In the case of Aggro decks, your weakness is cards in hand to play, card draw, big taunts or healing. You usually run out of steam and have no 'reach' damage to push for the win. In an aggro style deck, board control and minions is how you do your damage. Zephrys allows you to Discover reach cards to stick that final damage to win. The disadvantage of Aggro decks is that they SHOULD ALWAYS LOSE if the game goes past turn 10.
Regardless if you agree or not, this card is so powerful, you can treat it as a generic 2 drop with 3/2 stats. And if it happens to trigger for you anytime during the game, it gets around the whole point of it's implied deck building weakness.
How many decks play Acidic Swamp Ooze in their decks? What if you are facing one of the classes that doesn't have weapons or even play with them anymore? It's a dead 2 drop. It has zero value other than fighting for board control early on. Or making your opponent use removal on it. Late game, the card has even LESS value. But you play with it because you MIGHT need it against weapon classes.
Zephrys has the opposite effect. For a 2 drop to go UP in value the longer the game goes on, is what is fundamentally wrong with the card.
As I said, I love the design and digital space it occupies. I think it requires a balance of skill and some luck to play properly. Those are not the problem with the card.
I really wish the card ONLY discovered basic and class cards from your class and neutral ones. That would still make it a very flexible card late game but could potentially give you a game winning card FROM YOUR CLASS ONLY. That would be balanced and fair. It would maintain class identity but still allowing you to get a card you would not normally put into your deck. Or allow you a 3rd copy of a card if you already play with 2 of them.
I would really love to have a conversation about Class Identity in a new thread and talk about how other games have tried to tackle this and the mistakes those games made and have tried to fix it over the years. And I am not just talking about Magic the Gathering. I played all sorts of CCGs and TCGs over the years. Sometimes the design team makes a mistake. Sometimes they say hey, wouldn't it be neat if Red had good unconditional card draw? The answer is usually No. No, do not give specific classes, color pies or factions card draw. Why? Because that was the initial weakness of that class, color or faction. Can you do it occasionally or make it conditional? Sure, but you have to be very careful in doing so.
As a quick example...in MTG, the color Red has no ability to remove enchantments. In general, this is true, but there are a few really conditional ways for it to happen, but they cannot as a general rule. They ARE however one of the best colors to remove artifacts (along with green and white). Giving Red a way to remove enchantments would be a HUGE mistake. You want them to have an inherit weakness. If you like playing Red, but want the ability to remove enchantments, you would play Green or White as your second color.
Blue, is the king of counterspells. Almost every set ever released, blue will always get some sort of ability to negate another spell in some capacity. They are terrible at dealing with creature threats on a permanent basis though. Sure, they can Unsummon (Sap equivalent) a creature and bounce it back to your hand, but the creature will keep coming until you counter spell it or win the game. Giving Blue a way to KILL creatures is fundamentally AGAINST the color of Blue.
Take these 2 examples above and apply it to Hearthstone classes. Druids are terrible at dealing with Big minion threats and Wide boards that have more than 2 toughness. They are however great at gaining armor/life, making their own Wide boards and card draw. Now imagine the class that is terrible at dealing with wide boards is given Flamestrike. That is the problem with Zephrys.
Zephrys gives Druid Flamestrike. Zephrys does not need to be in a highlander version of Druid. They can play Elise, along with Zephrys, draw their whole deck and have answers to anything they need at the end of the game. And get multiple copies of those cards. This is the same as giving Red decks in MTG the ability to destroy enchantments.
Anyhow, I see how this thread is going and not only are minds not going to be changed, they are barely listening.
This whole discussion about class identity as it relates to Zephyrs is really flimsy. That's what neutral cards always do and have always done. Zeph just kicks it up a notch in very specific situations.
Rogue and Warlock "don't have heal," but there's lots of heal in neutral. Some decks "don't have taunt," but there's lots of taunt in neutral. Some classes don't have much draw, but there's lots of draw in neutral. Etc.
Zeph is no different than any of this. You guys just don't like it because it's ending a game you were unable to win before he came down. Similar shit could could be said about a vast number of cards in the past and going forward.
In a lot of ways he's an omni-tech card. That's really good. It's incredibly powerful. But the cost you're paying is that you're a highlander deck, or you are at the very end of your game.
As I said previously, I don't mind the design aspect of the card or the power level in general. But I don't agree with the idea that class identity should be ignored, abandoned or forgotten about.
Just because neutral healing cards exist, doesn't mean all classes should have access to healing. Typically these neutral healing cards are sub optimal to play in certain style decks or even classes. For example, is Hunter really going to throw in the 1 drop 2/2 Deathrattle minion that heals both players for 4 health? No. Hunter is trying to race to do as much damage as possible. That card was designed for Control classes that don't bother doing damage to their opponent until mid to late game, which means the healing is usually one sided.
But Zilliax and Zephrys are so good at what they do, you can put these into ANY deck, including aggro. These cards are no longer deck or class specific cards even if they never say so. These cards are simply good no matter what. Those are dangerous for the long term health of the game and it means classes can cheat. Hunter SHOULD NOT have healing. Yet, if the Hunter plays the Mech version, Zilliax can heal far above the 3 attack that Zilliax offers by its stats alone.
Without class identities, means no class weaknesses. And that means the only real difference to classes is the hero power. To me, that seems like a really boring game. You have 9 classes with some overlap between them. That is more than enough to give players choices. The fact that Hunter and Rogue can heal better than the 'healing' classes is absurd to me.
I think the focus needs to go back to class identity. Zephrys breaks this concept by giving classes cards they don't have access to, including wins that should have never have happened. What's worse is they gave him an elemental tag so even decks that don't normally run him, can just randomly get it from any elemental generator cards.
Classes need weaknesses otherwise all the decks end up being the same. Why not just print a Neutral spell at this point that says "Choose One: Do 3 damage to all minions. Give your minions +2 attack. Gain 5 life and Draw 3 cards."
That way classes and decks don't have to think about deck building, you have all your bases covered.
That flexibility is so crazy that it's a foregone conclusion... OF COURSE every deck is going to start including it.
I am doubtful that this will be the case. However, even if it does occur that every single deck plays this card, I don't think it will matter for most decks.
Hypothetically, let's say that every aggro deck starts to include this as a hail mary of sorts, as the OP suggests. It's only effective so late into the game that it's impact should be fairly negligible. If you're a control deck against an aggro deck, you've won or lost long before Zeph is active.
There are the strange non-highlander decks where Zeph works, but I think those are examples of good uses of the card. It's cool that Myra's can use Zeph, and that Druid draws so quickly that Zeph is active, or that Tip the Scales thins your deck so greatly that Zeph is playable early in the game. Those are neat, smart uses for the card.
Sure, maybe we see every deck include Zeph at some point. But most the times, it'll be Bloodfen Raptor. I think overtime, people will realize that's not worth it in most instances.
I hope so. The class identity thing is already being blurred and over time will only get worse if things don't change direction. This card, Zephrys does not help in this regard.
Zilliax is similar. It's in almost every single deck archetype. It heals. It has taunt. It's a free trade because of the divine shield. Oh, it's rush so it impacts the board immediately. And magnetize because why not. It is a must craft for everyone playing Hearthstone right now.
Should every class have access to healing, rush, magnetize, divine shield taunt minions? I have to say No. Absolutely not. But we do. And I think it really does weaken the class identity as well.
Siamat is similar. It's a removal card stuck on a minion. Give it rush and divine shield. You have a 7 mana 6 damage removal minion. For every class. And in some classes, the card gets even sillier because it has battlecry and its an elemental.
So even if Zeph ends up being more hype than not. There are far too many examples of Neutral cards being in almost every deck because of the sheer power level. Classes that should have some weaknesses do not. Just throw in the generic neutral card and you are covered.
Though I agree about class identity I'm not sure overall.
Yes, zoolock e.g. can suddenly find healing for you, but you need to make sacrifices. Most decks like zoolock run duplicate cards because they are oppressive enough to work. When you start running zoolock with only singleton cards, I doubt the deck would still be good. The idea behind a singleton deck is that you make certain sacrifices in not running duplicate cards that fit your archetype.
But the idea of having it limited to your own class or neutral is something I could imagine happening in the future (though doubtfull). The idea of having Zephrys only work if you didn't have duplicates from the beginning sound a little stupid to me. I remember some Mill rogues who ran lots of dupes but still teched in a Reno Jackson just for the late game. Most people probably hate on it but it requires a different strategy in some cases which I think makes your gameplan a little different and add a little more dynamics to one's gameplay.
But this is just how I view it. Overall I really love Zephrys (Wild player alert) and though there may have been or still may be some cards that aren't always found when needed. It's a card that requires a little bit of thought about when to play. E.g. I've played a mage who coined out a Deathlord on turn 2, played Zephrys on 3 and cast inner fire on the deathlord, needless to say I lost this game. Frustrating yet very clever and a nice move on my opponent's behalf.
To be perfectly honest, you kind of contradicted yourself in this instance. Your idea of Zoolock not giving up their ability to 2 copies of their strongest cards is one I can get behind. But Zephrys' power is high enough to warrant inclusion without giving that up anyways, which was my original point. You also stated that exact point, in your example of some Mill Rogue players.
I really like Zephrys, but my gut tells me it'll be included in a lot of decks that do not run the singleton package. It should've been an extra support-card to re-awaken Highlander decks, and it did just that. For that, I'm very grateful. But now, seeing as it's a Neutral card, it just gets included in a lot of non-singleton decks.
I am fairly certain the intent of the card was that exactly. Give highlander decks a boost. Obviously the card is powerful. Anyone who plays with the card enough finds that out quickly enough. And because it's so obvious, decks that are non highlander want a piece of that power. The card was not designed to be an auto include in every deck regardless of the builds.
I remember when Reno (the original) decks tried to include doubles of specific cards for consistency. But you cannot risk doing that when facing aggro. IF you absolutely need a heal on turn 6, you cannot risk having a duplicate in your deck. This card is far more powerful than the original Reno.
You play it whenever you need it. It gives potential tempo swings. Board clears. Single target removal. Wide board finisher cards. Mana Ramp and so forth. That flexibility is so crazy that it's a foregone conclusion... OF COURSE every deck is going to start including it.
This not only ruins the intent of the card, but also class identity for all classes now. A well designed fun card that is being used outside the original design space.
I agree that class identity SHOULD be one of the most important things preserved in Hearthstone. Otherwise, why have 9 classes in the first place? Why even print cards that give classes 2 or more ways to play that class? Like Burn/Tempo Mage or Control Mage.
Zephrys does break this idea and I don't like the card for that purpose. But like you, I love the overall design of the card, but it does present a few problems as players find ways to put this card in decks it was never meant to be played in.
The ability for Zoo to go and grab a Savage Roar is so potentially unbalancing, it might need to discussed and find out or if it's possible to balance Zephrys somehow.
Even Control Warrior can play Zephrys easily enough. How? Well, they play enough 'tutor' cards and card draw that it's not that hard to meet the conditions. Do we really want Control Warrior having access to tools they shouldn't have in a non Highlander deck?
Much like many people are going back to Classic WOW and playing with vanilla stuff, maybe we need some sort of reset for Hearthstone. Or a new design team. Or something to change.
Lean into the class flaws and lean into the strengths. If Warrior is about taunt and weapons. Then lean into it. Give them a minion that has Taunt AND equips a weapon. But DON'T give them minions that can kill minions with simple battlecry effects. Being able to do 10 damage to any minion is far too powerful. Doing 5 damage on turn 5 can clear a board of non-mechs and win the game outright. Then you add rush to these minions and it's no longer possible to keep a board against Warrior late game.
Druid is supposed to be bad at big minion removal with spells. They can trade minions instead, but they no longer have the ability to remove a minion with a simple spell unless it has low health. They were also supposed to be the Ramp class. Lean into both of these flaws and strengths. Create more cards that ramp, even if they are conditional. Allow Druids to cheat the curve by giving up early tempo and card quality and deck flexibility. Where are the Ramp cards? Where are the 10 mana minion payoffs? You know which class should have 'OMEGA' cards? That's right Druid. Druid because they were supposed to ramp to 10 and therefore abuse the 10 mana Omega effects.
Rogue is weak against wide boards and aggro decks in general. They got rid of Vanish, but kept the effect. Vanish should have been give ALL of your minions Stealth. That feels more Rogue like.