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Dr. Boom is not OP. Seriously.


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Dr. Boom is not OP. Seriously.

Darius Matuschak

Ok, promise to hear me out when I say this, but: Dr. Boom is actually not OP.  
For all of those that still are with me (Thanks, you two), I'm not kidding. Dr. Boom is strong, yes, but fine as a card and not as OP as people make him out to be. It actually was an important, but right decision to not nerf this card into the ground, like it did happen with cards that were actually OP before they got nerfed. In the following article, I'll discuss why people came up with the conclusion that Dr. Boom was totally OP and should be nerfed, and why that would've been a really bad idea. Grab a chair by the hearth, we're going in!


Dr. Boom's pseudo-"strengths" 

One of Dr. Boom's main strengths aka reasons as to why he is played so frequently, is the fact that he is a Neutral card that is pretty good, but costs exactly the amount of Mana he does: 7. This is huge, because what other 7 Mana drops would you play in general? As Noxious rightfully puts it in his recent discussion about Troggzor, "competitively, the only Neutral 7 drops that are played right now are Dr. Boom, Baron Geddon (Only doing his work in Control Warrior)  and you could have Troggzor. No other 7 drops make sense to be played competitively. So 7 drops are really limited."  

This is why Dr. Boom is so relevant, because he curves perfectly for decks that are based around Zoo, MidRange or Control, and these decktypes have been thriving since GvG even more: He is the only 7 drop that is worth playing and is versatile enough to be played in a lot of decks because he combines a late-game drop with potential burst and a certain amount of board control. Now, being a versatile card doesn't necessarily mean he's OP, unless you want to have the same discussion about Knife Juggler & Piloted Shredder, especially when the card's versatility comes from the fact that, two days before the announcement of a new expansion, Dr. Boom simply has no real competition. If you think of all the reasonable 8 Mana drops there are right now, it'd be a lot harder to figure out which Legendary to go for, for your deck in particular. Dr. Boom simply doesn't have that issue because his current competition is either non-existent or can only be really functional in Control heavy decks. 

When Dr. Boom and GvG in general was first announced, Pros didn't think much of this card. Now, the fact that Pros can be wrong with their predictions is not news, but let's face it: Stats-wise, Dr. Boom isn't all that powerful, but it's his Boom Bots that make him so strongOf course, Dr. Boom is pretty strong on its own when you drop him on Turn 7 on the board, no matter what deck you play. But even if he gets BGHed, the gimmick that makes him so popular remain, his bombs that always hit your face for 4 but never hit the enemy target intentended, ever.  

But it's a gamble, a gamble that has low risks and high potential admittedly, but a gamble nonetheless. We've all seen crazy Boom Bot RNG, but realistically speaking, they can be a decent way to maintain board control after Boom got BGHed or secure a win if everything goes absolutely right. But the chances of that happening are usually about the chance of Ragnaros hitting the for lethal when there are 7 minions on the board, when your name is Amaz you might as well go for it, but I'm sure someone like Reynad might have a different opinion on the "strengths" of RNG. JustSaiyan said it best when he claimed that "When there's RNG around, Blizzard can afford to make the potential of a card slightly higher, because there always is that potential for failure as well". The exact same applies to Dr. Booms's Boom Bots.


His Weaknesses 

Big Game Hunter, a decent 3-Drop that could also take out other high-threat minions, hardcounters Dr. Boom, potentially giving you a deciding disadvantage when trying to race or trying to go for Tempo. Think about it like this: If there's an empty board, and you drop a Dr. Boom on Turn 7 and your opponent drops a Big Game Hunter PLUS a 4 Mana drop in response, that is a huge tempo loss for you. Of course it's a bet that especially non-Control decks are willing to make, but at the end of the day there are a lot of minions that both need a Silence + damage to be taken care of (Tirion Fordring, Savanna Highmane) and are not scared by a potential Big Game Hunter counterplay. Overpowered cards usually are seen as such because they have no real counterplay, or downside - Dr. Boom does. And it's a massive one as well.
Some people argue that without Dr. Boom, people wouldn't run Big Game Hunter, but that isn't true either; it simply gives people even more of a reason to play Big Game Hunter, a card that already is really good against established threats like Giants or Ragnaros. Dr. Boom's popularity and versatility simple gave another strong reason for this popular tech-choice. 


Whenever the "Dr. Balanced" discussion comes up, I can never find a reasonable way to nerf this card without completely removing it from the game. And that's because the spot it has is a comfy chair, but not a throne. Due to the way other cards work and how expensive they are, Dr. Boom found its nische and has stayed in there ever since.  

Now don't get me wrong. Dr Boom is strong. Very strong. It still remains the legendary I recommend to new players to craft, since it's arguably the most versatile legendary right now since it can be used in a lot of decktypes. But at the end of the day, it's nowhere near the brokenness of a Pre-Nerf Undertaker. It's not a 100% staple in literally every deck either, like Pre-Nerf Nat Pagle used to be. Those cards were straight up broken. Dr Boom simply is a strong card - but nothing more than that. But I'm sure, and you can quote me on this, that Blizzard has realised the issue of Neutral 7 drops in general being rather weak, and will give us more options with the upcoming expansion, and I bet you that there will be a better legendary, potentially even a better Neutral 7 drop, released with that expansion than Dr. BoomI have to applaud the Blizzard Balancing team for seeing the fact that Dr Boom is not in fact broken, and not nerfing him into an unplayable card like the previously mentioned two cards.  

Good job Blizzard.

First of all, thank you for reading this rather lengthy piece.

If you would like to discuss this matter, there's a reddit-discussion thread for this article, or you can hand out with me at discussing Dr. Boom, decklists or just general Hearthstone stuff. Feedback always is well appreciated.