Happy 2024! This year, I bring you one of the most fun bits of trivia in all of Hearthstone: Ragers!
We'll discuss one of the coolest stories in the game and explore an ancient meme that exists to this day. We'll also discuss bad cards and what are they made for in a card game.
Ragers are extremely iconic cards that tell several stories about how Hearthstone evolved as a game, and how the dev's acrid humor managed to feed a joke for almost 10 years. Let's see what are, after all, Ragers.
Magma Rager was released in the first Hearthstone set, today known as the Classic set. It is a 5/1, 3-mana unit, with no effects.
One of the methods Hearthstone uses to measure the power of its units is the distribution of these units' stats based on their mana cost. This means you can expect a unit with no effects to have a fixed value of stats that represents the sum of its attack and health points relative to its mana cost. So, a unit with 3 mana should have attack and health points that always add 6, for instance.
At least, that's what Magma Rager tells us because it was the first 3 mana Vanilla (a unit that has no effects) unit in the entire game.
Everyone knows this isn't true because Hearthstone's initial set has 3-cost units that clearly add more than 6 stat points even though they cost 3 mana. The best examples of cards like this are:
These are only a few of the cards in the Classic set that have a value higher than 6 if we add their power and health stats. Most of these cards add exactly 6, but have some effect, so we can consider them always better than a 3/3, 3-cost unit with no effects.
Later on, they released Spider Tank in the Goblins vs Gnomes set, which to this day can be used as a sort of litmus test to define the power of 3-cost units in the game because this card is a 3/4 unit.
In any way, it was never a secret that Magma Rager is a bad card, and can't be used as a litmus test for units' stats in the game, even though their stats add up to 6. The main reason is that the Mage class used to be one of the strongest and most popular classes in the first few years of Hearthstone, and its Hero Power of dealing 1 point of damage to anything resolved Magma Rager for just 2 mana, considering it only has 1 health.
The other reason is that this card rarely does anything in the match; you'll hardly use it as your main source of damage because Rager died to every removal in the game at the time, and died in combat against any unit as well.
Ben Brode himself, the game's most famous dev, stated that "Magma Rager has a role to play in Hearthstone". This role is to help new players understand which cards are good and which cards are bad. This is a card that is bad on purpose and serves as an example of what a bad card should look like.
Ice Rager & Co
In the Grand Tournament set, we were introduced to Ice Rager, the enhanced Rager, with just one extra health point than the original one.
This was one of the first times in the entire game that we had some brief drama about Power Creep:
However, many players stated that Power Creep is only when a card that was already strong gets an even stronger version in the game. Others stated, with all certainty, that Ice Rager is a clear case of Power Creep, regardless whether Magma Rager is bad.
In any case, it is hilarious that this card came to the game with just one extra health than its original Magma version, which makes it clear that "Ice" is "stronger" than "Magma" according to the game's mythology.
Hearthstone had already established itself in the market at the time, had a gigantic player base, and there's no doubt all players knew about the Magma Rager meme. This meme was so popular that many even had emotional ties to this card, after so many attempts of making it work.
This was the start of the Rager memes. From then on, once or twice, a different, thematic Rager is released in a set. Let's see all of them.
The Am'gam Rager is the third Rager added to the game in the Whispers of the Old Gods set.
Its description has Power Creep written backwards, considering this card is clearly a joke about Magma Rager's stats; they're inverted.
The Shadow Rager is the fourth Rager added to the game in the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan set.
To this day, this is the only Rager that belongs to a specific class. This was considered the most "playable" Rager out of all of them at the time, but it is still a terrible card.
The Steel Rager is the fifth Rager added to the game in the Boomsday Project set.
This was the first Rager that cost more than 3 mana and was also the first to have two types: Elemental and Mech. This was also considered the most "playable" Rager when it was released, and it really is a decent card. Even then, it wasn't very popular at the time, even though it is considered an OK minion by most players.
The Faceless Rager is the sixth Rager added to the game in the Rise of the Shadows set.
Unlike the others, this was the first Rager that is no longer stronger than all previous Ragers, to keep the Power Creep meme alive. Faceless Rager is clearly way worse than its predecessor, Steel Rager.
The Divine Rager is the seventh Rager to be added to the game in the Scholomance Academy set.
This Rager could be one of the best of its kind, but, unfortunately, it costs 4 mana, which makes it too slow. Some say it isn't necessarily a Power Creep to Magma Rager because its cost is different from the original Rager.
The Rock Rager is the eighth Rager added to the game in the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire set.
This is the first Rager to cost less than 3 mana. It can be considered one of the best of its kind because it has Taunt. Even then, like all others, it is still a mediocre card.
The Scourge Rager is the ninth Rager added to the game in the March of the Lich King set.
This is the Rager with the most base-stats, totaling 9 points. However, as its effect is "Reborn - Battlecry: Die", it always goes into the board as a 5/1 with no additional effects.
This is, without a question, the best Rager to create randomly through some summon effect. It might even be the best 3 cost card to create in this particular situation.
The Cactus Rager is the tenth Rager added to the game in the last set, Showdown in the Badlands.
This unit, for now, is the last in the long line of Ragers that was added to Hearthstone. (It is also mediocre.)
The Wax Rager is the only non-collectible Rager in the game, and is available only as a treasure reward in the PvE adventures.
This is the best Rager of all, and, unfortunately, it is a non-collectible card. Still, I believe it would be extremely broken if it were available in PvP modes.
If you read this far, leave it in the comment below if you believe in the Ragers' potential!
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