An Analysis of Zul’jin’s Presence in the BM Meta (Full Dissertation, 2018)

hearthstone 5 - An Analysis of Zul'jin's Presence in the BM Meta (Full Dissertation, 2018)

Yes I know I've been gone too long but Hearthstone honestly kind of burned me out for a while and then Boomsday was insanely boring but I'm back to defend the honor of Hunter, boyos

By De Bullshit of My People: How a Single Card Can Tarnish the Honor of an Entire Class (Or, Zul'jin is a Garbage Card and Should Be Fed into a Digital Document Shredder Six Consecutive Times)

Greetings, chief inspectors and r/fu*khunter mods! Dr. ReflexCheck, noted BM PhD, here once again to deliver a lengthy dissertation that no doubt everyone will read the entirety of instead of heading directly to the comments to express their incredulity. As some of you may know, I am a diehard Hunter mai–hey! HEY! I see you there! Put those pitchforks down, you philistines! It's very rude to interrupt a lecture. As I was saying, I am a diehard Hunter main, and judging by the state of the sub at the moment (somewhere between "Angry Mob" and "Roaring Circus Tent Fire," by my estimate), one of the last few honorable ones. Now, I've had my eye on the pulse of the meta for quite some time now, and Zul'jin seems to be the centerpiece of the community's anger flower arrangement, and after reading through countless comments and poring over my notes, it's quite clear to me why this card is so hated, so spat on, so universally loathed.

Zul'jin's emotes are absolute garbage.

Part I. Zul'jin's Emotes Are Absolute Garbage: An In-Depth Look

According to my research, Zul'jin sounds like Clint Eastwood channeling the spirit of Gilbert Gottfriend being asked to do an impression of Grim from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy during a particularly uncomfortable live comedy set. Of course, then, it makes sense that this hero card is absolutely detested, given that his emote pool is highly disruptive to the BM meta. Interestingly, this is not because they are particularly powerful, but rather, because they are so aggressively bad that swapping from Rexxar's rather powerful emote list to Zul'jin's atrocious array of BM tools is a slap in the face–the opponent is essentially declaring that they can put on kiddy gloves and still defeat you in an emote war. This can create an almost unbearably intimidating psychological swing turn when played, battering the opponent with its initial hard-hitting impact (the condescension of refusing to take a BM battle seriously) and then chipping away at the remnants of the opponent's psyche over the next several turns, amplified by each screechingly awful emote of Zul'jin's deployed during this time. Surprisingly, what was thought to be a joke BM card turned out to have significant psychological impact on the meta, as very few people predicted the sneering power of intentionally downgrading your emote weaponry. This advanced BM technique, also known as BM-BM or BM2, is shockingly easy to pick up and abuse, leading to an unwanted influx of what the community lovingly refers to as "huntards," a term they've been eagerly waiting to pick up and brush the dust off of since the days of Naxxramas.

Now, "These emotes aren't too bad" is something that some people have been saying. I am here in part to scientifically prove that they are, by assigning to each of them my indisputable Five-Factor Emote Analysis Test, or 5-FEAT for short. As noted in previous threads, all emotes are analyzed based on five separate criteria:

BM Damage: The amount of psychological damage this emote will inflict on your opponent at its baseline if used properly. A value of 100% represents a weighted average value; 150% would be significantly higher than the average, for example.

Weight: The difficulty for your opponent to parry or counter the emote if used in the ideal fashion. Categorized as Weightless, Featherlike, Very Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, Very Heavy, Staggering, Gravitational and Immeasurable.

Versatility: The range of scenarios in which this emote is able to consistently achieve at least the top 20% of its potential overall BM power, if not its maximum power. A hypothetical value of 100% means this emote will achieve its greatest results in all possible scenarios; currently, this is theorized to be impossible.

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Peace of Mind: The psychological relief, or BM healing, that this emote is able to provide when used to its greatest potential. Categorized as Worthless, Feeble, Very Light, Light, Medium, Great, Superb, Tremendous, Euphoric, and Transcendent.

Swing: The hypothesized upward limit of BM damage this emote is able to reflect onto the opponent when deflecting or parrying an emote successfully. A swing value of 200%, for example, reflects double the BM damage that the opponent's emote would have initially dealt to you.

It is worth noting that this only reflects raw emote power, so while Zul'jin's 5-FEAT scores are quite low, a Zul'jin deck is carried mainly on the back of the immense psychological damage inflicted upon the opponent simply by playing the card.

Part II. Zul'jin's Primary Emotes: 5-FEAT Scoring

Ah, look who it is! (Greetings)

BM Damage: 90%

Weight: Medium

Versatility: 20%

Peace of Mind: Light

Swing: 170%

Weighted Score: 48/100

Zul'jin certainly does not start strong. A majority of Greetings emotes are a hero's bread-and-butter damage source, and Ah, look who it is! fails to make a splash in that category, lacking any sort of the disdain, wry edge, or smugness that is the hallmark of most playable offensive BM tools. It does have some niche use as a counter to a powerful Legendary card played by the opponent, as you can signal to them that you're excited that they dropped their precious deck cornerstone on the board and you're holding an answer in your hand, but this is a fringe application, making it unworthy of an emote slot in an already competitive meta.

That was good. (Well Played)

BM Damage: 105%

Weight: Light

Versatility: 35%

Peace of Mind: Great


Swing: 160%

Weighted Score: 59/100

This is unfortunately one of Zul'jin's stronger emotes. It's also the most garbled, and is a lead supporting factor in my hypothesis that his voice actor may have filled his mouth with Marshmallow Fluff® before recording all his lines. Its redeeming factor lies in its somewhat high versatility, able to be utilized defensively or offensively, and will reward players with a decent-sized BM heal if played correctly. However, That was good. is still quite a weak emote by today's standards.

You be too kind. (Thanks)

BM Damage: 65%

Weight: Featherlike

Versatility: 10%

Peace of Mind: Superb

Swing: 195%

Weighted Score: 41/100

Although You be too kind. has great potential as a defensive counter tool, it is wasted on an emote that lacks any sort of offensive capabilities whatsoever. The phrasing of the emote necessitates some sort of input from the opponent, whether it's a BM or a card (if you are also playing the "play cards" minigame), letting your opponent completely control the pace of the battle. Like Hunter secrets themselves, the opponent can choose when to activate this emote–or to never activate it at all–but when they do, expect the situation to be favorable for your opponent, making this emote near-worthless. It has points simply for its potential; do not expect to even be able to reach its upper score of 41/100 in most games.

By de loa of my people! (Wow)

BM Damage: 175%

Weight: Very Heavy

Versatility: 30%

Peace of Mind: Feeble

Swing: 145%

Weighted Score: 80/100

Unquestionably the greatest tool Zul'jin has in his arsenal, By de loa of my people! is possibly the only emote he possesses with the capacity to truly cripple your opponent. This emote is a powerful blow to the senses, a painfully drawn-out ironic astonishment accentuated by being spoken in the voice of a rock elemental choking on a fistful of marbles, in a grotesque combination that's sure to daze and stagger the foe. It's also highly repeatable, and uniquely, it increases in strength with successive usage. It suffers only from being useless as a BM heal, since it also grates on the user's nerves almost as much as it does the recipient's.

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Dat be a mistake. (Oops)

BM Damage: 70%

Weight: Very Light

Versatility: 5%

Peace of Mind: Great

Swing: 100%

Weighted Score: 26/100

Unlike many other Oops emotes, Dat be a mistake has the unfortunate distinction of simply sounding too honest. Most of the cutting edge of this emote category as a whole tends to come from the biting implication that the user could not possibly empathize less with the opponent's misfortune, and in fact, actively delights in it. However, this emote not only sounds genuinely concerned, it sounds defeated, which is enormously detrimental to the power of a BM attack. Like most Threaten emotes, using this is almost like conceding a BM battle–even though it is carried on the back of Zul'jin's BM damage as a card, this emote is too heavy to even be buoyed by his massive power. You may find some small comfort in emoting this after your own misplays, but that is the extent of its usage.

I gonna… AXE you a question! (Threaten)

BM Damage: Garbage

Weight: Garbage

Versatility: Garbage

Peace of Mind: Garbage

Swing: Garbage

Weighted Score: -200/100?

Inexplicably, when I fed this emote into the 5-FEAT machine, it instantly started shaking and billowing clouds of ominous black smoke for 16 hours straight, and then reluctantly spat out the above data. Out of fairness for the averaging process, I will award this emote a 0/100 instead of the suggested negative 200.

Aggregated 5-FEAT Score: 42/100 (Very Poor)

As we can see, Zul'jin's emotepool as a whole falls far short of the expected industry average, and would fall further still had I not awarded him 200 extra points out of fairness. Now that I've proven beyond reproach that Zul'jin's emotes aren't the thing carrying a Zul'jin BM deck, the conclusion must be drawn that it is the shock-and-disgust factor of merely playing Zul'jin that lends the deck such tremendous BM power. And it is this point that leads me to my ultimate conclusion:

Part III. Zul'jin is Unhealthy for the Emote Meta, and a Conclusion

Zul'jin cannot be allowed to continue in his current state. Frontloading all of his BM power into the card itself, while neglecting his emotes–the essence, the soul of a hero card–flies in the face of all accepted rules of a BM war. Hearthstone should be about healthy emote combat, and taking 2000%+ BM damage in a single turn is not particularly fun or interactive. So, what are our options? The only proper way to nerf a card whose power lies in his insultingly poor emote list is to actually increase the power of Zul'jin's individual emotes–this scholar suggests that a complete rerecording of his voice lines, with proper attention to the character's source material this time, would greatly weaken Zul'jin's prevalence in the meta, as it would make his presence less of a garish standout from the emote quality we as a community have come to expect by today's standards. In the meantime, some may find that Alleria Windrunner is a good counter to Zul'jin decks, as her low emote quality will leave players largely unruffled by Zul'jin's condescension.

That's all for this week! Keep on studying your BM techniques, folks, keep those chins up, and you too will hit Emote Legend! Until next time, fellow scholars!

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