Friend of a Friend leaves Battlegrounds after players complain about the card’s toxicity. What happened?
Less than a week after its introduction, Hearthstone devs decided to eliminate the new Friend of a Friend minion from Battlegrounds. Friend of a Friend was the main focus of Battlegrounds pro-players complaints, mainly due to its toxicity when combined with Brann. Why were the pros complaining, and what was the Devs' response?
Friend of a Friend’s short-run in Battlegrounds
With the 22.6 Hearthstone Patch, some new minions came to Battlegrounds, Friend of a Friend among them. This Tier 6 minion was instantly spotted as a problematic card by many players. Its ability to provide several Battlegrounds Buddies in combination with Brann (which doubled its Battlecry) made it a toxic card.
What’s more, even the devs realized the toxic potential the card had, and it was released with many restrictions on what Buddies it could generate. However, this wasn’t enough to fine-tune Friend of a Friend, and suddenly the minion took over the meta.
If you were able to combine Friend of a Friend with Brann, you would get access to two Battlegrounds Buddies that you wouldn't normally have. Then, abusing the powerful Battlecries, you could go infinite as long as your APM allowed it.
Pros complaints about Friend of a Friend
Only minutes after its release, Educated Collins, a Battlegrounds competitive player, said that Friend of a Friend was a terrible idea. Soon after, other pro-players followed. Tylerootd and XQN, Battlegrounds Lobby Legends players, agreed on the point that the minion was a bad card for competitive play.
With the main Battlegrounds Lobby Legends: Raid Leaders event in less than two weeks, Friend of a Friend presence made competitors nervous. There will always be RNG in Battlegrounds. However, when a sole minion is powerful enough to go over every composition and synergy, that is way out of the line.
Battlegrounds Devs’ response
In record time, the Battlegrounds Dev team announced that Friend of a Friend was being removed from the game. On a forum post, addressing the same concerns the players had, the Devs communicated their decision making some comments about the card.
“Friend of a Friend led to drastic power spikes when combined with Brann, and drove play patterns requiring an extremely high number of actions per turn. While we think there is room in the game for these types of strategies, in this case, it proved too pervasive and game-warping for the overall health of the game.”
But, wasn't this predictable? In some sense, it was. However, for the game to stay fresh and exciting, devs have to push the boundaries and take risks. Many casual Battlegrounds players, and even some pros, expressed that Friend of a Friend allowed them to build crazy boards and have insane turns.
The question that arises is where to put the limit. Fortunately, Battlegrounds devs reacted fast, and Friend of a Friend’s stay in the game won’t go over a week. In my opinion, it’s better to try and miss than don’t try at all. Especially if they are willing to react fast when things go south.