We Need to Talk About Hearthstone’s Bomb Warrior

I’m sick and tired of people complaining about Bomb Warrior, so let’s talk about it:

Ever since The Boomsday Project and the subsequent expansions, all the way to Saviors of Uldum, there have been, in my mind, 3 decks that have dominated the meta: Token Druid, Resurrect Priest, and Bomb Warrior. The Hearthstone community has been divided by these decks, with some people choosing to just lean in and take their assault on the chin and vow to do better next time, the people who jump the bandwagon and play these “cancer” decks (their words, not mine), and the people who complain about how there’s “no playing around it” because it’s too OP.

Well, I’m here to address the last of those groups. Seriously, guys? Bomb Warrior is a very clever take on the Warrior class, one that requires strategy, forward-thinking, and a whole lot of armor. There are ways to ‘play around it’, you’re just too salty to see beyond your deck. My first suggestion: try out the deck, get a feel of how it’s played, and I bet you’ll find the chinks in their armor, the flaws in their bomb shuffles, and find possible counters to this fairly smart, and very effective (if played properly) deck.

But first…

What is Bomb Warrior?

Bomb Warrior is a new archetype introduced in Rise of Shadows. It involves shuffling multiple copies of the card “Bomb” into your opponent’s deck. When drawn, these bombs do 5 damage direct to your opponent’s face.

Shuffling bombs into your opponent’s deck isn’t new: cards like Iron Juggernaut (from Goblins vs. Gnomes) and Seaforium Bomber (from The Boomsday Project) all shuffled bombs into decks, with Iron Juggernaut going so far as to shuffle a 10 damage bomb.

However, with the arrival of Rise of Shadows, this then-niche playstyle became a full-fledged class archetype, with multiple cards being introduced to create synergy with bomb shuffled, and the introduction of other cards that shuffled bombs into decks.

What Cards Are in a Bomb Warrior Deck?

There are 5 core cards in a Bomb Warrior deck: Clockwork Goblin, Augmented Elekk, Seaforium Bomber, Blastmaster Boom, and Wrenchcalibur.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Clockwork Goblin is a 3-cost 3/3 minion that shuffles a Bomb card into your opponent’s deck. It’s a basic, almost vanilla minion save for its battlecry, but cast 2 of these and you can potentially deal 10 damage somewhere down the line.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Seaforium Bomber, on the other hand, is a 5-cost 5/5 minion that also shuffles a bomb into your opponent’s deck. It’s basically a beefed-up version of the Clockwork Goblin, and outside of its battlecry, is also fairly vanilla, albeit still a credible threat on board thanks to its decent stats.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Wrenchcalibur is a 4-cost 3/2 weapon that shuffled a Bomb into your opponent’s deck after your hero attacks an enemy. It’s a fairly low-damaging weapon consider its mana cost, but its still a pretty effective tool to clear low-health minions or whittle away at your opponent’s health. Either way, you’re still shuffling 10 points worth of damage to your opponent’s deck, and combined with the 6 points of damage you’ve already done if you attack his face with this, it could be lethal.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Blastmaster Boom can be a Bomb Warrior’s closer, or board clear. It’s a 7-cost 7/7 minion that summons two 1/1 Boom Bots for every bomb that’s in your opponent’s deck. Boom Bots have a deathrattle that can deal 1-4 damage to a random enemy, so you can see why it’s a potential closer or board clear: if the opponent’s board is empty, you can cast any spell that deals 1 damage to your own minions (e.g. Whirlwind or Warpath, or even Brawl), and you can expect anywhere from 6-24 points of damage directly to the face. On the other hand, if the board isn’t clear, then you can use your Boom Bots to deal that 6-24 damage both across the board and to your opponent’s face. Not all Bomb Warriors have Blastmaster Boom in their decks, but I for one see it as an essential part of the archetype.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Augmented Elekk is controversial for some Bomb Warrior players, although I don’t see why: it’s a necessity. Augmented Elekk is a 3-cost 3/4 minion that adds an extra copy of whatever card you shuffle into any deck. From its stats alone, Augmented Elekk already provides value: it has decent health for a 3-cost minion, and coupled with its effect,  can deal more than just its initial damage. Think of its potential: if you have 2 Clockwork Goblins, 2 Seaforium Bombers, and 2 Wrenchcaliburs, you’re shuffling 6 bombs that can deal 30 damage. That’s scary enough as it is, but if Augmented Elekk is in play while you’re shuffling all those Bombs, then you’ve just guaranteed 60 points of damage against your opponent’s face. If you have 2 Augmented Elekk’s onboard (which is rare, but it happens), then you’re looking at 120 points of damage spread out across the entire game.

What’s the Strategy?

Bomb Warriors have two important jobs: shuffle Bombs and survive damage. Shuffling Bombs is easy enough: as mentioned above, if you play your cards right, you can guarantee at least 30 points of damage if you’re able to put down both copies each of Clockwork Goblin, Seaforium Bomber, and your Wrenchcalibur. Coupled with Blastmaster Boom, and it should be easy-peasy victory, right?

Well, not quite.

Rarely will these cards show up in succession, obviously. So how do you survive the enemy onslaught while waiting for your Bomb cards? Well, we need to go back to Warrior’s basic foundation: armor building. Bomb Warriors need armor-generating cards aside from their hero power to build up a formidable defense that can stand up against burst damage, or even just small, constant pot shots from low-attack minions and hero powers.

A Bomb Warrior’s best friend is the humble Shield Block. The Shield Block card is a basic card, but it provides amazing value: it’s a 3-cost spell that gives you 5 armor and draws a card from your deck. It’s a great way to both stall for time and root through your deck for the cards you need.

Another great way to survive damage while you’re shuffling bombs and waiting for them to go off is to take advantage of the deck’s natural synergy with mechs. Running Dr. Boom, Mad Genius will give all your mechs Rush, vital to generating armor from minions like Eternium Rover or Vicious Scraphound. Dr. Boom, Mad Genius also has crazy synergy with Blastmaster Boom, with his Boom Bots being able to deal with immediate damage and clearing the board/attacking face with their deathrattle.

All in all, playing Bomb Warrior is a mix of generating armor, shuffling bombs, and laying down defensive/armor-generating minions. Balancing it out requires a lot of thought, strategy, and cleverness.

So Why are People so Salty?

Bomb Warrior gets a bad rep from salty players because:

  1. It’s hard to counter
  2. Everyone’s Running It

While I can’t address the second part, I can definitely address the first: it’s correct, Bomb Warrior is hard to counter. But take note: it is difficult, not impossible. If it were easy to beat, no one would play it, and if it was impossible to beat, Blizzard would nerf it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you counter it, either with strategy, cards, or y’know, your own brand of cleverness.

Possible Counters

I’ve gone up against multiple Bomb Warriors, and I’ve run my fair share of Bomb Warrior decks too, so I’ve seen first-hand how people are countering this great deck with great strategies. So far, I’ve encountered 3 counters to Bomb Warriors that have been massively effective:

  • Arch-villain Rafaam
  • Going Full Aggro
  • Holding Your Hand

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Arch-villain Rafaam was also introduced in the Rise of Shadows expansion, which is fitting considering most of the Bomb Warrior synergies that happened in the same set. Arch-villain Rafaam is a Warlock-specific minion that converts all your cards in both hand and deck into Legendary minions. Already you can see its value: no matter how many bombs your opponent shuffles into your deck, once Arch-villain Rafaam is played, those bombs turn into Legendary minions. You’ve basically provided the opponent with extra cards to play.

Of course, it’s not a perfect counter: Arch-villain Rafaam is a 7-cost minion, and while it’s pretty beefy at 7/8 plus taunt, it’s still a mid-to-late game counter that might be too-little-too-late if all the bombs go off during the early-to-mid game. Or, if played before all the bombs can be shuffled into your deck, it can be too little of a counter to make a difference. But, it’s still a counter, and while it is class-specific, it does dispel the notion that Bomb Warrior isn’t counterable with a card.

Another great counter? Go full Aggro. In essence, Bomb Warrior is a control deck that tries to eke out as much armor per turn while waiting for cards that can shuffle Bombs. A majority of the damage a Bomb Warrior will do will be coming from shuffled bombs. Depending on RNG, this could either mean bombs go off early-game, mid-game, or late game.

Going Aggro is a great way for you to try and deal as much damage to the Bomb Warrior before the shuffled Bombs destroy you. This is the time to bring out the big spells and try to deal as much damage to face as possible. Don’t be tempted to use spells like Eviscerate or Fireball on bomb-shuffling minions like Clockwork Goblin or Seaforium Bomber: save it for your opponent’s face. If you’re playing control, switch up your strategy as soon as you see those first bombs get shuffled: target Augmented Elekk because this is the one that acts as a force multiplier for Bomb Warrior.

The last counter I saw was hella risky, but it was effective: hold your hand for as long as you could. I saw this once when I was laddering to Legend: I was playing my Bomb Warrior and went up against a Rogue. By turn 6, I had shuffled 6 bombs (Clockwork on turn 3, Wrenchcalibur on turn 4, Augmented Elekk and Wrenchcalibur again on turn 5, and another Clockwork on turn 6). That’s 30 damage in this guy’s deck, I thought it was a sure-win.

I was wrong.

See, while I was busy shuffling bombs, I didn’t realize that the Rogue was using what few minions he had on board to neutralize my Clockwork Goblin and Augmented Elekk and whittle away at my armor, then switching to his hero power to do the same. I didn’t notice that his hand was full by turn 5, and I was wondering to myself why he hadn’t played a card by turn 6.

At turn 7, the first of 6 bombs was drawn, and of course, it gets burned. Turn 8 saw another 2 bombs burned, and by turn 8, the Rogue had enough cards to deal burst damage to my face. I lost that match, but I wasn’t even mad, bro: it was a risky counter (he had burned his Tess and Eviscerate in the process), but my opponent played around me so well that I could blame no one but myself for not anticipating that strategy.

Don’t Be Salty, Get Competitive!

 At the end of the day, Bomb Warrior is an imperfect deck: it’s slow, opens itself up to Aggro players, and the sheer RNG nature of the shuffle can mean your opponent draws bombs late into the game, or never at all (happened to me once).

 

It’s not OP, it is my point. It can be countered, it can be beaten, but it’s difficult. And what kind of easy-to-beat deck is fun to play against?

So c’mon guys, stop being salty: get competitive! Read up on other strategies, get creative with solutions, but for Azeroth’s sake, stop complaining about how Bomb Warrior is impossible or that it’s cancer, because we all know it’s Token Druid that’s broken.

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