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HearthstoneApr 19, 2023 4:00 pm CT

The card you need to pick to win Hearthstone’s All-Star Squad Tavern Brawl

Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play. We’ve had Hearthstone Tavern Brawls that ask us to choose three cards to build our decks and Brawls that ask us to choose 2 cards to build our decks —but this week’s All-Star Squad Tavern Brawl in Hearthstone is all about picking one perfect card to bring you victory over your foes.

Tavern Brawl basics

  • Name: All-Star Squad Tavern Brawl
  • Description: Spiders and Portals have had their chance, now you choose! Pick one card for your deck, and you will get 22 copies of it plus 8 random class cards.
  • Fun level: 0/10
  • Difficulty: 9/10
  • Replayability: 2/10
  • Format: Wild
  • Type: PVP
  • Deck: Constructed
  • Rewards: Standard card pack. This can contain cards from any set in the current Standard rotation.

The directions are straightforward. You pick a card, and you deck is nothing but copies of that card. There are eight class cards sprinkled in, but for the most part you’ll be playing your single card over and over again.

Inexplicably, there are no banned cards. Some cards benefit in a massive way from having so many copies. Blizzard must have data previous Brawls following this format, and they must have seen how utterly dominate Pogo-Hopper was. Identifying outliers like Pogo-Hopper, and banning over-performing cards would have opened more creative space for players to try other cards and strategies.

But here we are again, with no banned cards. That means you’re likely to find the same decks on repeat during this Brawl, which doesn’t make for particularly thrilling gameplay.

4-19-2023 update: Still no banned cards. Pogos are everywhere, but check out below for some All Stars that might finally challenge our bunny overlords!

7-6-2022 update: Same as the 2-23-2022 update, still no banned cards. Yo dawg, I heard you like Pogos. So we put some Pogos in your Pogos and now you can jump, jump, jump around.

2-23-2022 update: This iteration of the Brawl still has no banned cards. I guess someone at Blizzard HQ love Pogo mirrors.

How to win the All-Star Squad Tavern Brawl

Play Pogo-Hopper. Wow, that was a short post.

Pogo-Hopper is the strongest card you can play in this Brawl.  Whether you choose it or not, expect to face off against many Rogues. One possible counter is to play Shaman and choose Earth Shock. Your Earth Shocks will destroy the Pogos and then it’ll depend on your eight class cards to carry you. You just have to hope that your opponent doesn’t get any of Rogue’s many “bounce” cards.

Lots of other combos have been tried against the Pogo-Hopper. Leper Gnome paired with Demon Hunter gave you a chance to kill the Rogue before their rabbit army overwhelmed you. Mind Blast with Priest seems like a good idea, but it’s too slow against Pogo-Hopper. If you could somehow find a way to survive to to turn 6, Flik Skyshiv would counter the Pogos, but that’s a big “if.”

However in the latest iteration of this Brawl, you have some new options. Pogos are still prevalent and still strong, but Hearthstone has added some new cards since the last time this Brawl was active that might finally give the mighty Pogo a run for its money.

Here are your latest deck options for the All-Star Squad Tavern Brawl:

Vardan Dawngrasp (Mage)

  • Freeze all enemy minions. If any are already Frozen, deal 4 damage to them instead.
  • Keep those bunnies on ice and slowly chip away at their health.

Smothering Starfish (Neutral)

  • Battlecry: Silence ALL other minions.
  • This works similarly to Earth Shock, but leaves you a minion on the board to kill the weakened Pogos and then pour damage into the Rogue’s face.

Groovy Cat (Druid)

  • Battlecry and Deathrattle: Your Hero Power gives your hero 1 more Attack this game.
  • This is basically a race between your Hero Power and the Pogo player. Can you build your Hero Power to lethal before the Pogos overwhelm you?

Lightshow (Mage)

  • Shoot two beams at enemies that deal 2 damage. Shoot one more for each Lightshow you’ve cast this game.0 (0)
  • Pogos can get large in a hurry. Can Lightshow dish out enough damage to keep pace?

Plagued Grain (Death Knight)

  • Gain 4 Corpses. Shuffle four Crates into your deck that summon a 2/2 Undead when drawn.
  • Even a full row of 2/2 Undead might not be enough once the Pogos get rolling.

The Light! It Burns! (Priest)

  • Deal damage to a minion equal to its Attack.
  • This can certainly counter the Pogos, but you have to hope for something in your random 7 cards that lets you actually damage the Rogue player.

Time Out! (Paladin)

  • Your hero is Immune until your next turn.
  • This seems like it could work well until you don’t draw it (you do have 7 random class cards.) Once the protection ends, you’re going to have a board full of angry bunnies ready to chew your face off.

Maybe one of these options will work, more maybe even the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch might not be enough to stop these rabbits. So hop to it and get your wins!

Only shooting stars break the mold

If you’ll allow me another moment to bring out Honor’s Soapbox.

This Brawl had some fantastic potential, but its completely lost by how dominating the Pogo-Hopper minion is: every turn you play a Pogo-Hopper and every turn it gets stronger until it’s completely impossible to counter. Playing Pogo-Hopper in this Brawl is also very straightforward: there are no decisions to make, you just dump your hand and win. It’s just not very interesting.

Contrast that with a card like Palm Reading, which discovers new spells. This — and similar cards with Discover or other card generation effects — could have been extremely powerful in this Brawl and add a lot of variety to gameplay. You would never know what card would show up next, and every game would be different. Each turn, you’d be making decisions about which spell to Discover, which spell to cast, and trying to build a strategy to win the game with virtually no minions. Even something like Trick Totem [Ed’s note: one of my favorite cards] would at least give a bit of randomness so every game isn’t just about who can drop all their Pogos first.

Please, if any one the Hearthstone team reads this, I beg you. If this Brawl comes around again, please, please, please ban Pogo-Hopper. We would finally get to see new decks in this format, and play with newer cards. As it stands, whenever these “pick a card” Brawls come around, we just get more Pogo-Hoppers.

So pull out your own Pogo-Hopper (or craft one for the occasion), score your win, and enjoy your pack for the week.

Originally published February 4, 2021; last updated April 19, 2023

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