You are literally arguing against yourself here. You are arbitrarily choosing to make Jaraxxus better and Sacrificial Pact worse for no reason other than that you like one more than the other.
Also, Sacrificial Pact doesn't end games out of nowhere. It ends them after a very specific setup on the part of the Jaraxxus player. Intuitive has nothing to do with it, because you have actual knowledge of the interaction -- you don't need to guess. So that's not a great argument. Intuitive only matters the first time, and there are plenty of interactions in the game that seem confusing the first time you see them.
In the passage I'm referring to, you wanted to make a point that cards become worse over time. And I say that yes, cards do become worse over time. And in this case, it'll inevitably be either one or the other: Either Jaraxxus gets worse, because Zephrys can always destroy it, or Sacrificial Pact gets worse, because it can no longer destroy Jaraxxus as a hero. In other words, you point out why it's ok for Jaraxxus to get worse, without realizing that the same reason can be used against Sacrificial Pact.
And at this point, where it's either one or the other, we can now (if you wish) look for arguments which is better fit to become worse. Excuse me for not explaining my opinion in detail in advance before we even got to that point. Some kid recently accused me of writing way too much, and I already try (even though it doesn't look like it) to keep my postings as short as possible.
And yes, I do think it's better to change Sacrificial Pact, because I think Jaraxxus is an integral part of Warlock's lategame, a strategically and mechanically very interesting card, and important as a class- and deck-defining tool. Jaraxxus is a card that gives you an extremely strong hero power and weapon to end games quickly at a very high cost. It's a difficult decision for the player to find the right moment when to play Jaraxxus; whether you use it for closing the game out fast or keep it as a "heal" option, how much removal or burst potential you want to bait out first etc., and I think it's sad if that option is no longer available because Zephrys pretty much prevents Jaraxxus from being played. As soon as a Warlock deck with Jaraxxus appears in the meta, every highlander player knows that Zephrys will eventually win them the game nearly 100% and makes for a very one-sided matchup. I don't think that's healthy.
Sacrificial Pact is a very good card for defining Warlock as a class, yes. I don't mean to say the card is worthless or worth less, but the "destroy a hero" bit is, in my opinion, not a major feature of the card and not worth preserving. Maybe if we had a few more destroyable demon-heroes in the past or other such interactions, maybe if Warlock was more established as a disruptive, counter-heavy class where this aspect of SacPact really shines, like turning the opponent into Jaraxxus under some weird circumstance. But as it is right now, it makes more sense to me to change Sacrificial Pact.
If you think Sacrificial Pact is more class-defining because it combines so many different elements of the class, and the Jaraxxus-killing needs to be a part of it, that's cool too. I don't agree with you, but if we can get to that point in the debate now and leave the stupid "bad card" argument behind us, I consider that progress.
As for the rest: We are talking about the only spell in the entire game, that under specific circumstances can immediately destroy a hero, and we talk about it as a discover option from Zephrys. We are only discussing the possibility that one player plays Jaraxxus, and the other player plays Zephrys, and instantly wins regardless of his deck and class and the course of the game. That is pretty much out of nowhere. Certainly more than other cases that were branded as such, like Malygos combos.
And the interaction isn't intutitive as in "not obvious" and "unlike any other". There is no other spell that can directly destroy a hero, there is no other case in which a hero is considered a demon, murloc or whatever, and no other case in which a hero can be targeted by a normally minion-restricted effect. I'm not saying it's a great argument, but the interaction is strange, to say the least. Hearthstone is a game that does care about being easy to grasp, so it's an argument nonetheless why a change might be warranted. Not a critical reason to change it, not as critical as Zephrys' ability to generate it, but one I wouldn't leave out when discussing whether it should get changed.
This post pretty much got it spot on, only bit I disagree with is "It might not affect the hardcore competitive Standard players, but they are just a fraction of all players. If you only care about the meta, then it's irrelevant to YOU, and to YOU, it's not worth changing." Actually I think the competitive HS player is always considering Jaraxxus' viability when deck building. I very much care for competitive play and it is for this reason that I want to see Jaraxxus be competitively viable. It opens up options for Warlocks to deal with grindy control strategies.
I didn't mean to say that Jaraxxus is generally a card that competitive players would not consider and so this whole debate would be uninteresting to all of them.
This bit was still part of my response towards the "bad card" argument in this debate: If you say that Jaraxxus is a "bad card" and not part of the meta and thus shouldn't get changed/ doesn't deserve the attention, you say that only (currently) competitively relevant cards deserve consideration of any kind, and implying that only competitively viable cards matter to you, then it's only your own (narrow) perspective in which changing the interaction is pointless.
I'm sure that even some competitive players might be interested in seeing the interaction removed, especially if we get to the point (and we might) that Control Warlock gets enough support to become a strong deck again, but then can't make use of Jaraxxus because of Highlander decks like Hunter in the format.
Sorry if I caused any confusion.
Sidenote: I agree with you that I'd rather see the interaction changed than having Sacrificial Pact removed from Zephrys' pool, because having it as an extremely efficient removal against Demons is still fine. It just shouldn't be an instant win against that one demon once it became a hero.
I'm not dying on any hills for the sake of Zephrys, but I will certainly defend the status quo when people wrongly treat it as a mistake that needs to be corrected.
In the original release of the game, this interaction was known. It was allowed to go live. It has never been changed. This means it is intentional, not a mistake. Yes, it often catches newer players by surprise, but that's part of the fun for people who are aware of it.
Because of this interaction, Jaraxxus was always going to get worse over time, especially in Wild. As more ways of obtaining other-class cards enter the game, jaraxxus becomes more and more of a risky play. Anyone who understands the evolution of collectable card games would have been able to see this coming.
So now we've reached the point where Sacrificial Pact is easily obtainable by all classes, consigning Jaraxxus to Dumpster status temporarily in Classic and permanently in Wild. When Zephrys rotates out, Jaraxxus will be more playable again in Standard.
All of this is OK. It's just one of the many ways CCGs change over time. Individual cards get better or worse, and the players adapt.
If they one day decide to buff Jaraxxus by removing the interaction, that will be fine, too, but I would not expect it unless there's some major Demon-themed event they are trying to promote. Outside of that, the interaction is not really going to affect the meta either way, so it's simply not worth changing. That's why the "Jaraxxus is bad anyway" argument is actually relevant.
The interaction between Sacrificial Pact and Jaraxxus was intentional in the original release but not as a weakness that was destined or even meant to get worse over time. Outside of your prophetic wisdom, generating cards out of thin air was not part of normal card game evolution, since Hearthsthone was one of the first that even made such things possible as a purely digital card game. The concept of classes was used specifically to limit what each player could and couldn't do. And it wasn't until BRM, a year after the initial release and about 2 years after the beta phase, that Nefarian made it possible for the first time to obtain entirely random spells from another class during a match, and now, 5 years after the release, we have a card that discovers "the perfect card" beyond class limitations.
The dozens of changes to the core set indicate that many parts of the original version of Hearthstone were more or less fine at launch but needed to change as the game moved on. I don't see why the Sacrificial Pact interaction shouldn't be one of those cases, when the card turned from "hardly worth a slot in your Warlock deck" to "can get reliably discovered by any class at a most opportune moment and in some rare cases wins you the game instantly".
Indeed, the game keeps changing, and cards can get worse. This is where we are right now, one of the two cards is getting worse: It's either Lord J remaining borderline unplayable for the time being because of Zephrys, or SacPact losing its instant win potential. And I think the little viability of a class defining late game card is worth preserving over a fringe case in which a highly situational spell can end the game out of nowhere.
The interaction isn't a "mistake", it's not a glitch or anything like that, but it is unintuitive and feels off, and now it creates a situation where it makes the game less fun by heavily discouraging Warlock players from using one of their most iconic legendaries, and might impact the classes' potential moving forward. There is no good reason to keep it that way.
And the "it's a bad card anyway" argument is plain stupid. Even worse than the very similar "Nobody cares about Wild" argument that I've heard too many times during the Barnes discussions.
Meta-relevance (or Standard, for that matter) isn't and shouldn't ever be the only thing to consider when discussing card changes, because "the meta" or "Standard" isn't the entire game. It might not affect the hardcore competitive Standard players, but they are just a fraction of all players. If you only care about the meta, then it's irrelevant to YOU, and to YOU, it's not worth changing. You might as well say "it doesn't concern me, so it doesn't matter", which is a ludicrous argument in any public debate.
Whatever you deem a "significant number of affected players" for it to matter is entirely arbitrary, both the number (what would be significant?) and the very concept of a large enough number of affected players as a prerequisite for intervention. Besides, there is no way of telling how many players are affected and would benefit from it anyway. Team5 probably can find out how many players used Jaraxxus before and after the release of Uldum, but they won't be able to tell how many players don't play Jaraxxus anymore now and in future releases because of Zephrys.
Maybe you remember Tess Greymane, a card that was certainly not part of any serious meta deck, and one day it was changed in a similar fashion to Yogg-Saron for "consistency". Some people were upset about it, because they actually liked and used the card, and saw it getting worse. And the developers changed the card back. They deemed the fun of a few players more important than their own understanding of consistency. Regardless of how many people were affected by it in the end, this was the best solution for everyone.
I think at this point it's obvious some people here are simply trolling and prolonging the argument artificially, just for the sake of it.
I guess that goes for most online debates, but reading this is painful. The defenders of the status quo grasp every straw they can find, no matter how embarrassing. All that to insist that Zephrys, an already extremely powerful neutral card, should be able to instantly win the game if one single risky Warlock card was played, the only card in the entire game affected this way. This is the hill they want to die on.
The best argument ever: "Jaraxxus is a bad card anyway"...