Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Upgrade: Swap Your Bloodfen Raptor

Hearthstone actually does a decent job of giving you starter cards that can be worked into a serviceable deck.  However, some of the starter cards have next to no place in a competitive deck.  These cards are always ripe for an upgrade and today we will be focusing on one such card: Bloodfen Raptor.


One might be forgiven for thinking that this meaty 2 drop has a shelf-life outside of the early game.  After all, the Raptor's 3 attack allows him to trade well and his 2 health lets him dodge some wipes and ping attacks.  The problem is that there are just substantially better cards available for the same mana cost.  So many so, in fact that Bloodfen Raptor has no real place in competitive play outside of very specific Hunter decks.  If you are running a Bloodfen Raptor in your Hearthstone deck, it is time to upgrade.  Find out how after the bump!

When to Keep the Bloodfen Raptor

Now, before I get into how to get the Bloodfen Raptor out of your deck, let's talk briefly about those few situations where you might want to leave him in.  Only Hunters should EVER consider having a Bloodfen Raptor in their ultimate deck plan.  Even then, the Bloodfen could be included only in decks which are heavy with beast synergy cards.  Further, there are many other great beast 2 drops that likely merit a space in your deck before this dinosaur.  So long story short... you will want to work this guy out of your deck unless you are beast focused Hunter with a need for a metric ton of 2 drops.

Basic Card Replacements

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the other available cards that make Bloodfen Raptor a poor choice for your deck.  First and foremost, we have the Acidic Swamp Ooze.  This slimy jerk packs the same exact punch as the Bloodfen, but also has the benefit of destroying your opponent's weapon.  Sure, some classes don't rely upon weapons, but that misses the point.  Even without a weapon to destroy, the Ooze is at worst the same as the Raptor.  When there is a weapon in play, it is indispensable!  The Ooze is also a basic card.  There is then no reason to have a Bloodfen Raptor in your deck instead of an Acidic Swamp Ooze.

Common Card Replacements

Moving from basic cards into commons, even better than the Acidic Swamp Ooze as a Bloodfen replacement is the Faerie Dragon.  Your opponent cannot use a direct target spell to wipe this little gem of a card.  This makes him a great card for trading and a solid early game threat.  He has the same stats as the Bloodfen, but flies under the radar of many pesky spells (particularly from Rogues and Warlocks) which would send you Raptor packing.  Definite upgrade.

Another decent common to swap your Bloodfen for is the Amani Berserker.  Sure, his starting attack of 2 hurts his initial trading prospects a bit, but if you are able to ping him off an enemy minion and activate his enrage effect, he becomes a serious threat.  Additionally, I have noted that players fear the idea of the Berserker becoming enraged so much that they will stumble over themselves to wipe him off the board.  It is also important to note that this card has great synergy with cards that allow you to damage your own minions whereas the Bloodfen is without any synergy outside of a Hunter's deck.

Rounding out the commons that can kick the Bloodfen Raptor's butt is the Bloodsail Raider.  Obviously, this card only has a place in decks with weapons.  If your deck has even a handful of weapon cards, however, this pirate is a real dynamo.

Rare Card Replacements

If you have the dust to spend on rare cards, there is another great replacement at your disposal: Knife Juggler.  Again, this is a card with the same base stats as a Bloodfen Raptor, but with the added benefit of incredibly annoying ping damage every time you put a minion on the field.  This includes not only playing minion cards, but other things like the Paladin/Shaman hero powers or effects like a triggered Snake Trap.  Even when it's not in a position to combo, the Knife Juggler is still a great high threat target well worth its 2 mana cost.

The only other rare I would have you take a look at is Wild Pyromancer.  This card has come into some favor lately.  However, the Pyromancer tends to be approached more as a combo-based clearing spell than a minion in its own right.  He is a great card, but takes planning and forethought to use effectively.  Approach him with caution as this little fire-bug has the potential to do more harm than good.

Epic Card Replacements

There actually are a dearth of solid, epic 2 drops and none of the few which exist fill the same role as the Raptor.  Doomsayer has a place in some decks, but I certainly wouldn't just plug him into a deck as a replacement for your Bloodfen.

Legendary Card Replacements

There are similarly few legendary 2 drops and none of them are even remotely similar to the Raptor.  Nat Pagle is incredibly popular at the moment, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him ending up a flavor of the month rather than a lasting deck tent-pole.  I find Bloodmage Thalnos to be a far stronger use of two mana and worth working into most decks.  However, he serves an entirely different role in a competitive deck than the Raptor does in beginner decks.


Hopefully the foregoing gives you the confidence you need to kick your buddy Bloodfen to the curb and upgrade your way into more competitively viable 2 drops.  What do you think?  Is there an amazing, non-Hunter deck out there which somehow embraces the Bloodfen?  Did I overlook your favorite 2 drop?  Let me know in the comments.

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