The next $250K Hearthstone Masters Tour is round the corner and the inclusion of the new Prince Renathal is divisive. Abar, Hearthstone Esports Product Manager responds

Yesterday Hearhtsone announced its newest expansion, Murder at Castle Nathria, and to celebrate, players received a free legendary: Prince Renathal. Not only does Prince Renathal have an incredible effect that might change the way the games go, but on top of that, a Hearthstone Masters Tour is coming this weekend. Is Prince Renathal powerful enough to shift Hearthstone’s metagame? Why are Hearthstone pros complaining about it?

Prince Renathal in Hearthstone’s spotlight

The new Murder at Castle Nathria free legendary Prince Renathal has been live for little more than 24 hours and has already made it to Hearthstone’s headlines. Let’s start by explaining why this card is controversial by nature. 

Prince Renathal is a 3 mana 3-4 neutral legendary card with a unique effect in Hearthstone. It allows players to include 40 cards in their decks (instead of the usual 30) and gives your hero 40 total health. While these changes don’t inherently represent an advantage or disadvantage by themselves, they have a great impact on the game.

Prince Renathal - <a href="">Murder at Castle Nathria Hearthstone</a> legendary card
Prince Renathal - Murder at Castle Nathria Hearthstone legendary card

Pros & Cons

While having more cards means you can have more resources or value in your deck, it also means that it is less consistent. Prince Renathal compensates for that by giving extra health, but what happens when adding cards is not a problem for a deck? 

NoHandsGamer, Hearthstone pro-player and skillful deck-builder, thinks that Prince Renathal can become a problem. The fact that the card is neutral opens the door to so many interactions that can bypass the inconsistency problem.

One of the decks abusing this mechanic is being iGXc’s Prestor Druid. This Prince Renathal deck hit #13 Legend in the Hearthstone ladder and shows that with the correct set of tools, it doesn't matter how many cards you have in your deck, it can still be consistent.

Liv Breeden, Hearthstone Lead Designer, in an interview with said that the team thought that Prince Renathal wouldn’t be a popular card. According to HSReplay stats, Prince Renathal is one of the Top 5 most popular cards in Legend in the last 24 hours. But is this because it's just a new card or is it due to its powerlevel?

Hearthstone pros feel “disrespected”

With Masters Tour Vashj’ir starting less than 72 hours after the patch, some players were furious to learn about this new card. Yes, Prince Renathal will be eligible to play in the next Hearthstone major event.

“The player who competes at hearthstone is so used to being disrespected for years that he doesn't even comment on it anymore, but here I go again. Doing this kind of thing without any warning is to treat us like idiots.”

Fled, Hearthstone pro-player about Prince RenathAl’s eligibility in the upcoming Masters Tour on twitter

What are the consequences of including this card in competitive play? Well, it’s not just that you need to test if the card is good or not. Prince Renathal's unique effect effectively changes how the game is played, so it is almost unpredictable how it would affect the metagame. This with almost no time to adapt.

Why does Hearthstone Esports include Prince Renathal?

The question that arises is why Hearthstone Esports chooses to include the card in their tournament. Would be easy to announce that the card is banned, and players would be happy about it.

However, as Abar, Product Manager for Hearthstone Esports says, “esports is ultimately a marketing tool”, and its main objective is to promote the game. Understanding this is paramount to comprehending why Masters Tour events during 2022 happened after major or minor game patches.

With Murder at Castle Nathria expansion coming, the inclusion of its free legendary, Prince Renathal in the next Hearthstone Masters Tour makes total sense from a marketing point of view. While it’s understandable that the competitive community feels upset by this decision, in a sense, it's inevitable.

Abar addressed directly the matter, explaining and reinforcing what we previously mentioned in this thread:

For Hearthstone Esports to exist they need to serve its marketing purpose. So, for competitive players to have tournaments where to play, they need to understand this will happen.

The argument of giving players a heads up to prepare is valid, but at what scale? That can be done for small leagues like Grandmasters, where players are under NDAs and have a close relationship with the game. In a 400-player tournament, this becomes a leak risk. 

This might be just an overreaction to a stressful situation. Do you think Prince Renathal will redefine Hearthstone’s meta? Abar said that the card is bait. Luna on the other hand says it’s broken. What team are you on?

Stay tuned to to know the answer! See you next time at Castle Nathria

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