The folks over at hearthhead.com do some amazing work and when I saw this article on the new Heartstone mechanic, Jousting, I just had to share it. In the article, the author, Skiffington, shows that according to the math, Jousting cards aren’t going to be competitive.
First, thanks Skiffington for the math and excellent article! By comparing the average cost of minions in each deck, taking into account that a tie doesn’t activate the joust bonus, and using some great spreadsheets, Skiffington shows that a mid-range paladin deck only has a 49% chance of winning a joust against a Patron warrior deck.
This is surprising because the paladin deck has a higher average minion cost (3.85) than the warrior deck (3.5). That by itself would make one think the paladin deck has a better chance of winning. Unfortunately, it seems this is not the case.
Only one card was changed out for a joust card, the Tuskarr Jouster. This is a 5 mana 5/5 card with a joust effect of +7 health to your hero. So, if you use this instead of the Antique Healbot, as they did in the article, you lose 1 point of health but gain +2/+2 in stats. The reason this is important is that many joust minions seem to be weak stat-wise for their mana cost.
Take the Stranglethorn Tiger, another 5/5 for 5 mana, but with the bonus of stealth. Even in arena play, this minion is only valued as average. In constructed play, it is only seen as a tech card, and rarely at that. So, if you play your Tuskarr Jouster and lose the joust (which you are mathematically more likely to do), you would have been better off playing a relatively weak Stranglethron Tiger, because at least then it would have stealth. And Tuskarr Jouster has some of the best base stats of any of the joust cards!
Skiffington goes on to show the joust win rates against a higher average minion cost deck, a handlock (Handlocks run several high cost minions and usually have many cards in hand, hence the name.). The chances of winning a joust with the paladin deck drop to a miserably 30%! This means that 2 games out of 3 you would have been better off playing the Antique Healbot than the Tuskarr Jouster.
As it stands right now, most of the jousting cards seem to be shut out of competitive play. It makes some sense though. While some amount of randomness is always going to be present in a card game, the goal of most decks is to decrease that randomness. Adding these jousting cards not only increases randomness in your deck but puts you on the losing side in many cases.
Head over to hearthhead.com for the article and all the comments or find just the article below.
Original post here.
The Chances of a Good Joust
Many professional players have been wary of the new jousting mechanic. This is in part due to the fact that Blizzard itself might be too highly valuing their active effects but the mathematical chances of you winning a joust usually doesn’t even break 50%.
Let’s take a look at Trump’s To Battle 7.0 – Midrange Paladin deck. Assuming we replace the five mana Antique Healbot with arguably the best revealed card that utilizes joust, Tuskarr Jouster. Let’s calculate your odds of winning that single joust against Trump’s To Battle 7.0 – Midrange Paladin.
The average mana cost for minions in Trump’s Season 15 Grim Patron Warrior 2.2 is 3.5, now compare that to our Paladin deck which is 3.85. Surprisingly, there isn’t much of a difference. Yes, cards like Tirion Fordring and Dr. Boom help inflate that and at face value it does look like you have more expensive minions, but you also have a bunch of early game whereas the Warrior relies mostly on a few key minions.
What makes matters worse is that the jouster does not win ties. If you both pull out five mana minions, you lose that joust and all the value that comes with it. Because of this, most decks already start off around a 60-40 chance of losing/winning. Here’s every possible outcome of these two decks:
Click to enlarge image.So you only have a 49% chance of winning the joust, assuming every other minion is in your deck, hasn’t been played, and isn’t in your hand. Obviously these numbers fluctuate depending on the course of the match, but it still goes to show that you only start with a toss-up at best.
Common sense says that things get better when there’s a ton of aggro on the ladder, and that’s certainly true, but look what happens when you compare it to Lifecoach’s KPL Finals Handlock.
(Note: We’ve flipped Paladin to the top and the Handlock to the left).
Click to enlarge image.Doesn’t look so good, eh? There’s no world where a highly competitive deck likes to take a 30% chance of working. And keep in mind this is all with the best card with joust we’ve seen thus far. Imagine how poorly these start to come out when you put in other jousting cards like Gadgetzan Jouster.
Hint: It doesn’t turn out well.
Trump perhaps said it best when he admitted the jousting mechanic isn’t one that’s good unless the text on the card is fantastic. Tuskarr Jouster gives up a one HP heal for +2/+2 in stats over Antique Healbot. Compare this duo with others and you’ll find that the jousters simply don’t stack up to their static brethren. Sadly it looks like jousting simply won’t be worth the risk.