By Spike, Regular Contributor
One of the most interesting groups of minions in Hearthstone Battlegrounds is what I like to call “Neutral comp enablers”. These are Tribeless minions (henceforth reffered to as Neutral) like Soul Juggler, Baron Rivendare, or Lightfang Enforcer that are either the payoff to build the comp or provide a very strong boost to it. What makes them so interesting? Well, you’re about to find out.
At any rate, back to the article at hand. Looking at those “Neutral comp enablers”, they have one big issue- since they’re Neutral, you can’t buff them without either a targeted minion buff, like Mukla’s Bananas or Edwin VanCleef’s Hero Power, or some kind of buff that hits minions in Bob’s Tavern, like Dancin’ Deryl’s Hero Power or Steward of Time.
The majority, if not all, of these minions will slot neatly into one of two categories- in-battle or in-Tavern enablers. In-battle cards include stuff like Baron Rivendare, which doubles effects in-battle, Waxrider Togwaggle, which grows bigger in-battle, or Soul Juggler, which deals damage when minions die in-battle. In-Tavern effects include stuff like Brann, who doubles Battlecries, or Megasaur, who Adapts your Murlocs.
There really isn’t a ton to say about the majority of these cards. Stuff like Baron Rivendare or Soul Juggler tends to be self explanatory. If you use the comp, you put them in, because they make the comp way better. As to stuff like Megasaur, you use it in the Tavern, but maybe don’t keep it, because you need its effect to buff but it isn’t very good in-battle. Since I’ll probably look into a few of them when I go over their comps, I’m not going to take a deep dive into them here, and keep in mind that I don’t personally consider every Neutral minion a comp-endabler (sorry, Arcane Cannon and Scallywag comp!), but here’s a list and short explanation of each of them:
First up, Wrath Weaver. He really isn’t the big payoff for playing Demons, and you can certainly play them without him, but he is fairly good in the early game- and well into the late game he’s still decent once you buff him enough. As a Tier 1 minion, it isn’t difficult to get him reasonably early, and him getting a 2/2 buff every time you play a Demon is definitely a good thing. However, the damage to self adds up, and that’s why some Demon comps choose to skip him in favor of a riskier early game.
At Tier 2, you’ll find Waxrider Togwaggle. He’s fairly good- whenever your Dragons kill a minion, he gets a buff. Most of the time, he’s best in the early and mid game, because Dragons like Red Whelp and Dragonspawn Lieutenants are fairly good early game minions that can get kills rather quickly, before Waxrider Togwaggle dies. That said, he falls off somewhat in the late game, as minions such as Soul Juggler are often up, ready to snipe him- and the simple fact that most comps are beefier and harder for Dragons to kill.
Speaking of him, Soul Juggler is the main draw to Token Demon comps. He’s likely the best reason to play Demons, although the big bodies and tendency to summon other Demons (Imp Mother, Imp Gang Leader) are also attractive. At Tier 3, Soul Juggler can be found rather early, and he’s definitely good in the early and mid games. The ability to snipe important minions such as Scavenging Hyena or Waxrider Togwaggle definitely comes in handy. He shines in the late game as well, especially with Imp Mama. Unfortunately, sniping minions such as Red Whelp, Arcane Cannon, or opposing Jugglers can end his career before it begins.
Also at Tier 3, Pack Leader. Giving extra Attack to Beasts you summon is definitely a plus, and without him minions such as Infested Wolf or Rat Pack would likely be much worse. He’s pretty much the only reason to play a build centered around Rat Packs dying to buff a Hyena, but that build is unfortunately inferior to a more balanced Beast Deathrattle comp. Still, it is quite fun, and works especially well with Deathwing.
Bolvar, Fireblood exists. To be honest the fully Divine Shield-based comp isn’t currently very good, and he’s best as a transitional minion for general Deathrattle/Dragon comps, but he’s certainly quite good in stuff like George the Fallen comps or the occasional spicy Divine Shield Dragons.
Baron Rivendare just might be the most impactful minion on this list. Doubling powerful Deathrattles such as Goldrinn, the Great Wolf or Monstrous Macaw triggers is a major part of the draw to Deathrattle comps. Rivendare is the big payoff for them, in that he quite literally doubles their power.
On the other side of the Gold coin, Brann Bronzebeard is an… interesting minion to say the least. Since the Battlecry comp didn’t really take off, understandably, I mostly see him in Dragon comps (for the Malygos buffs), or, infamously, Murloc comps, to double up the Adapt from Gentle Megasaur.
Also on Tier 5, Lightfang Enforcer isn’t quite as popular as he used to be, but he’s pretty much the only minion-based payoff for menagerie comps. The ability to add +8/+4 to your board every turn is amazing, but menagerie comps themselves have fallen off.
Last, Kangor’s Apprentice. The card itself is alright, but at Tier 6 I find it to be rather low impact at that point. Resummoning your Mechs is great, especially considering that a lot of them have Deathrattles that will trigger again, but it’s also rather slower and more defensive than most Mech comps I see like. One interesting idea is Deathrattle Mechs with Kangor’s Apprentice and Baron Rivendare, but I haven’t actually seen it played.
There are certainly other, good Neutral cards, but that’s about all the especially high-impact ones, so for now-
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