Clockwork Card Dealer

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Tavern Brawl - promo.png The subject of this article is part of the
Tavern Brawl game mode.


Clockwork Card Dealer.jpg
"Tinkertown gnomes are testing their prototype card-bot: Optimotron! The card you draw on turn 1 will be a 1-cost card, if you have one. On turn 2, a 2-cost card..."

Clockwork Card Dealer is a Tavern Brawl. It debuted on October 7, 2015.

History[edit | edit source]

Tavern Brawl Start End Game format
17 October 7, 2015 October 12, 2015 Wild format
56 July 6, 2016 July 11, 2016
80 December 21, 2016 December 26, 2016 Standard format
206 May 22, 2019 May 27, 2019

Overview[edit | edit source]

In this Brawl, the card draw at the start of each turn will always try to draw a card whose mana cost matches the turn number, with a 1-mana card drawn on turn 1, a 2-mana card drawn on turn 2, and so on. If the deck lacks an appropriate on-curve draw on a given turn, a random card will be drawn instead (as per normal play). Players are able to create their own decks, using any class.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The on-curve rule only applies to the cards drawn at the start of each turn. Card draw effects (e.g. Loot Hoarder), put into hand effects (e.g. Sense Demons), and remove from deck effects (e.g. Fel Reaver) can select any card from the deck.
  • Using Wild Growth or other ramp cards does not make the cost of the drawn card equal the mana you have. The card drawn is based on the turn number rather than the amount of mana available to the player. The reversed effect occurs when you lose Mana Crystals, e.g. due to the Deathrattle of Darnassus Aspirant.
  • This Brawl's on-curve rule is usually only of significance on turns 1-10 and 12. Since cards of other costs do not currently exist (Molten Giant aside) on all other turns normal card draw is the rule.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

This Tavern Brawl allows players to live out their dreams of drawing their cards in a perfect order. By carefully crafting their deck, they can not only guarantee that they will draw a card that fits the curve, but also that said card is exactly the one they want. With enough care, players can create the perfect streak - a 100% predetermined deck.

This means that deckbuilding is of the utmost importance during this Brawl. Copying decklists from Play mode will usually yield very poor results. To succeed, you will need to create a predetermined deck.

Building the perfect streak - prerequisitions[edit | edit source]

A deck is 100% predetermined if it contains no cards that you do not want to draw between turns 1 and 10. In other words, for each mana cost, there must only be one possible card that can be drawn. There must only be one 1-mana card, one 2-mana card, and so on. The trick behind building a perfect streak is filling the remaining deck slots required for a 30-card deck with "filler cards" that do not disturb your sequence.

There are three ways to achieve this:

  1. Doubles - You can easily fill in slots by including second copies of the non-legendary cards in your deck.
  2. Wisps and Giants - As stated above, the Clockwork Card Dealer only deals you cards that cost between 1 and 12. 0-cost cards can only show up in your opening hand, when the game goes beyond turn 10 (which it rarely does) or when you use card draw effects. This means that cards that cost (0) or more than (10) do not interfere with your streak and can be used to fill space.
    • Some classes have access to more 0-cost cards than others. For example, the priest has three class-specific 0-mana cards while the hunter has none.
    • Beyond turn 10 streak is already finished, but you can still prepare for a 12 mana card that you will get soon after that.
  3. Redundancy - If the methods mentioned above are not enough to bring your deck up to 30 cards, you have to compromise. Luckily, some cards have redundant effects. This means that some cards are so similar to one another that you can substitute them with each other.
    • For example, if you plan to build a deck with an Argent Commander as its 6-drop, but have one empty slot left, you my be able to compromise by adding a single Reckless Rocketeer for roughly the same effect.
    • As will be discussed later, perfect streak decks are at a severe disadvantage when going second. Including redundant 1 or 2-cost cards can help you compensate for the inevitable tempo loss you will face.

Card advantage is naught - tempo is everything[edit | edit source]

Drawing the perfect card each turn creates a unique dynamic that requires players to rethink common gameplay wisdom. Some cards do not fit the sequence at all. When building a 100% predetermined deck, consider the following advice:

  • You have to play each card you draw immediately. If you don't, the card will become unplayable, since there will be a better one replacing it as early as the next turn. And because that card will consume all of your mana, even withholding a 1-cost card will usually cause it to be stuck in your hand for the rest of the game.
    • It follows that cards that require a specific timing, like Mirror Image, become pointless. You will not be able to keep them in your hand, but if you play them the turn they are drawn, their effect will be minimal. Thus, you should not include such cards in your deck in the first place.
    • More importantly, card draw becomes meaningless. As mentioned above, you are more or less limited to playing one card per turn. This means that you will have no time actually playing the cards you drew. Cards like Arcane Intellect therefore become a waste of time.
      • Contrarily, discard ceases to be a liability. Currently, Astral Communion is the strongest card in this Brawl, but warlocks can capitalize on the irrelevance of discard effects as well.
  • This leads to a simple deckbuilding credo: Card advantage is naught - tempo is everything. You will not be able to build a resource advantage by drawing cards since you will not be able to play them. Instead, focus on tempo and board control.

Additional advice[edit | edit source]

  • Two-card combos like Equality + Consecration will not work. Sure, you may be able use the combo on turn 6, but in order to do so, you will have remain inactive in turns 2 and 4 - that is far more of a tempo loss than you can afford.
  • Having established you you will be spending all your mana on cards, you should realise that you will never have an opportunity to use your Hero Power.
  • Effects that grant extra Mana Crystals, like Wild Growth, will usually not be worth your time. Due to the way cards are dealt this Brawl, you will never be drawing something above the curve. Thus, you will never need the additional mana.
  • Shamans are at a great disadvantage in this brawl. Their Overload-cards destroy their curve. For example, if a shaman plays a Totem Golem on turn 2, it will prevent them from playing (and thus including) a 3-cost card.

Going second - the disadvantage of predetermination[edit | edit source]

Using a perfect streak deck has one major downside: There is not a lot you can do if you go second. As stated before, you will not be able to make use of the additional card you draw - unless it costs (1) or (2). Even The Coin may not be of much use. Therefore, it may be wise to include some redundant 2-cost cards to increase your odds if you lose the coin flip.

Cards to look out for[edit | edit source]

The dynamics explained above cause some cards to become much better than in a normal Play mode match. These include:

  • Ancient Shade - Since the curse it creates costs (0), the Clockwork Card Dealer will never deal it to you, thus negating the Shade's drawback.
  • King Mukla - Assuming that your opponent uses a 100% predetermined deck, they will not have much time to use the Bananas granted by Mukla, negating his drawback.
  • All 0-cost cards - In addition to filling you your deck, 0-cost cards are more useful than one might think. Having them in your starting hand provides a 100% predetermined deck with additional playable cards. This can make a big difference.

Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Perhaps the easiest way of taking advantage of both the perfect curve and the predetermination is to build a C'Thun deck.
  • Another simple strategy is to build a druid deck around Astral Communion. Include a single 1-drop, 2-drop and 3-drop, plus Astral Communion, and then as many high cost, high value cards as you own. Playing Astral Communion on turn 4 will allow you to play a powerful, potentially 10-cost minion each turn from then on, while the opponent is still at 5 or 6 mana.
    • A single copy of Zombie Chow and Annoy-o-Tron make good turn 1 and turn 2 plays, while a single Acolyte of Pain serves a special purpose on turn 3. If it survives the turn, you can run it into an enemy minion after casting Astral Communion on turn 4, immediately drawing a card to play after Astral Communion grants you 10 full Mana Crystals, instead of having to wait until the next turn.
    • Another strategy is to make sure as many minions of your big minions as possible have Inspire effects. This way, even if you can only play a 6 or 8-cost minion that turn, you can still activate your minions' Inspire effects by using your Hero Power, making use of your spare mana.
  • Secret Paladin is a deck often encountered in this Brawl. Make Mysterious Challenger your only 6-drop, guaranteeing you will be able to play it each match on turn 6, bringing with it one of each Secret in your deck. While it has good overall card quality, it has one downside: It forces you to play a Secret on turn 1, thus almost wasting your turn.
    • A nice counter-meta pick is Eater of Secrets, ensuring you will have a very strong answer to the Challenger as soon as it's played.
  • Alarm-o-Bot deck: Mulligan for a high-cost minion. Play Redemption on turn 1, Doomsayer on turn 2, then Alarm-o-Bot on turn 3. The Redemption/Doomsayer combo makes it difficult to remove the Alarm-O-Bot and generally the opponent won't be able to destroy either minion twice over. Follow up with Faceless Shambler and Faceless Manipulator for more snowballing power.
  • Mech Mages can guarantee that their Goblin Blastmage triggers on turn 4. From there, they can snowball into a lot of face-damage and finish the deal with a Pyroblast.
  • Build a deck solely consisting of Brann Bronzebeard, Barnes, Blood of The Ancient One, and filler spells for a quick turn-4 30/30. Unless they can remove Brann beforehand. Use Rogue for better "safety" options like Conceal/Counterfeit Coin. Alternatively, Gang Up and Y'Shaarj.

Lore[edit | edit source]

This Brawl is apparently administrated by Optimotron, a prototype clockwork card dealer created by the gnomes of Tinker Town. While Optimotron is original to Hearthstone, the gnomish quarter of Tinker Town is a longstanding part of Warcraft lore.

From Wowpedia:

Tinker Town is the gnome quarter of Ironforge.
Originally, Tinker Town was just a small quarter of the city for gnomes visiting from Gnomeregan to use. When their clockwork city of Gnomeregan fell, it became the center of the gnomish court in exile (the Gnomeregan Exiles). Prior to the partial retaking of Gnomeregan, High Tinker Mekkatorque could be found here, along with his closest advisers. It is also home to a number of Alchemy and Engineering trainers, as well as the entrance to the famed Deeprun Tram.