Thunderhorn is one of the most popular cards with the release of the Unearthed Prophecy, embodying one of the community’s biggest desires: cards based around positioning. As a 4 mana 4/5 that threatens to wipe out the opponent’s board, there is a lot that Thunderhorn can do in a deck. At the current moment, it seems like Thunderhorn is at a level on par with pre-nerfed Inquisitor Kron when Denizens of Shim’zar was released. But is it doing too much? In this thread, I’ll look at some of the biggest strengths of Thunderhorn, what it can bring to decks in terms of its role and synergies, and lastly give my thoughts on changing the card.
To start off, Thunderhorn is a 4 mana 4/5. Already, this makes it a solid 4 drop, as it does not die to a 2 drop + general attack (in most cases), and the 4 attack allows it to dodge removal like Plasma storm and (in most/some cases) natural selection. However, what really makes it a strong deck option is its ability; being able to deal damage to joint enemies (damaging all enemies standing next to each other with at least one next to the initial target of thunderhorn’s attack). This pseudo AoE ability can add a lot to decks that lack a strong option for AoE (such as the Vetruvian faction, which usually relies on Stars’ Fury or Sunset Paragon when they want to run AoE). This ability also makes it very good with positioning tools, such as Blink, Mist Dragon Seal, Juxtaposition, Hearth Sister, Mesmerize (I mean if you want to), Daemonic Lure and Nethermeld. It can also benefit certain positioning affects like Frenzy and Decimate. Lastly, it’s a 4 mana card, enabling you to ramp up into it on turn 2 as Player 1, or simply playing it turn 2 as Player 2.
- Pseudo AoE
- Strong, Neutral 4 drop
- Solid stats
Lavaslasher Counter (if a Magmar decides to answer it with Lavaslasher, 2 units (including Lavaslasher) are guaranteed to take 4 damage, and even then Lavaslasher alone cannot deal with Thunderhorn in most cases)
- Transformation removal (Aspect of Shim’zar and Thumping Wave)
- Positional abilities (Frenzy, Decimate, Holy Immolation- to an extent)
- Position manipulation (Songhai, Nethermeld, Daemonic Lure, Hearthsister)
- Diretide Frenzy (haven’t really seen this yet, but it has the potential to OTK an enemy with extremely bad positioning)
In my personal opinion, I do not want to see Thunderhorn get nerfed. I think he does a lot to help bolster decks and certain matchups (looking at you, Swarm Lilithe and Magmar), and that it really expands on a lot of existing cards (like, it made Aspect of the Shim’zar playable over Aspect of the Ravager ). However, I can see how it could be doing a bit too much for its cost.
I’ve been mulling over some possible changes, but there isn’t a lot that I could see would work without completely destroying the card. Reducing the health or attack makes it a weaker option against Magmar, which is why I am against a strict stat nerf. Making it’s effect limited to either initiating attacks would definitely make it easier to trade into it, but make it so much easier to just use Lavaslasher on. Conversely, making it occur only when it counter attacks would make it a hard minion to trade into and a good counter to Lavaslasher, but in many cases make it a generic 4/5 on your turn. In my view, the latter change would not be terrible, but I feel that there is a much better option to address Thunderhorn.
My suggestion is to make Thunderhorn a 5 mana 5/5 (or 5/6). By making it 5 mana, it takes away it’s ability to be ramped using mana tiles on turn 2 as player 1 (without extra resources), and makes it so that you cannot play it normally on turn 2 as player 2. 5 mana cards are also a bit awkward in the sense that a lot of removal is available to factions at 5 mana (BoA, reader, etc.), making you lose a bit more value when it is removed. It will still have a strong effect, yet it would make some synergies cost 1 more (such as the Shimzar + Thunderhorn Vanar combo). Overall, I feel that this would be the most effective change to Thunderhorn if it is truly needed to be adjusted.