Image via Play Hearthstone.

What Is the Echo Mechanic?

May 31, 2018
Image via Play Hearthstone.

If you’ve been playing Hearthstone over the last month, you’ve run into their new Witchwood Echo mechanic. If not, what are you waiting for!? The mechanic is fairly simple, but it can lead to a lot of interesting mechanics. Many of the current Echo cards are a bit too weak to fit into any meta decks, but others have found rather niche locations in top tier decks. Or, at the very least, top tier meme decks!

What is Echo?

Echo is a mechanic that allows you to play a card multiple times in the same turn. When you play the card with Echo, a copy is added to your hand. It costs the same amount as the original, and when you play it yet another copy is added. When you end your turn, the remaining copy disappears. This effect appears on both spells and minions. Obviously the cards that naturally have Echo are “under-statted” to make up for the fact that they can be played so many times. Unfortunately, this means that many of them are simply too weak to run in competitive decks without synergy.

Best Echo Cards

There are a few Echo cards that have been strong enough to make it into competitive decks. The most notable one is Phantom Militia. It is a three mana 2/4 taunt minion with Echo. Great stats? Not at all. But it does meet the biggest condition that Echo cards need: synergy. A taunt card that can be played multiple times a turn? Seems like it might have perfect synergy with Warrior’s quest card! Phantom Militia has found a great home in the current Quest Warrior setup, due to its incredible synergy with the deck.

None of the other Echo cards have made it into top tier decks, but many of them are on the verge of becoming strong enough to be next. Warpath briefly debuted in some Control Warrior decks, and Pick Pocket and Cheap Shot have great synergy with Rogue’s Miracle deck. Hunting Mastiff and Squashling are a two-damage swing and a body, repeatably, which is quite strong as well. Face Collector… Well, he’s an interesting meme.

Speaking of Memes

Glinda Crowskin
Image via Hearthpwn.

Glinda Crowskin may not have made it into any competitive decks, but she has been the core of several highly interesting meme decks. Interestingly enough, she isn’t the only card in it that’s unusual – perhaps not even the most unusual card! You see, one of the favourite Glinda meme decks is the Meat Wagon deck. That’s right, these maniacs found a use for Meat Wagon.

For the uninitiated, Meat Wagon is a four mana 1/4 minion that reads: “Deathrattle: Summon a minion from your deck with less Attack than this minion.” Normally this would be used in conjunction with buffs in order to summon strong minions. However, the Glinda deck uses Meatwagon as is, and has two particular surprise cards in their deck. When Meat Wagon dies, he brings forth a 0 attack minion, the only one of which is in your deck is Summoning Portal.

Summoning Portal is from the Basic set, and it is a four mana 0/4 that reads: Your minions cost (2) less, but not less than (1). You starting to see the combo? Play a Meat Wagon or two and have them die. Then have one or two Summoning Portals enter play. Play Glinda, and suddenly your entire hand costs significantly less, and can be played over and over. The combo I saw was making use of high value cards like Tar Creeper, and following up with Sea Giant (who can go down to 0 through Summoning Portal’s effect, since his own effect is applied second). Basically, you flood the board and overwhelm your opponent.

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The True Meme Decks

However, there are some uses of Glinda that are even more interesting but entirely nonviable. The first involves the pure RNG elements of facing a Warlock, swapping decks with King Togwaggle, and drawing the Glinda. Alternatively, you can run Rotface and create Glinda through its random Legendary effect. As I said, not viable in the least. However, if you can do it, you have a true OTK available. Once you have Glinda, you can play Animated Berserker, Knife Juggler, and play Wisp over and over until your opponent dies from either Knife Juggler’s effect or pure bewilderment at the meme factory that just rolled over them.

The other involves a particular set of conditions which basically means “your opponent must have zero cards in hand or in play”. Obviously this is difficult, so the person who came up with it did the trick in Wild (since it needs Emperor Thaurissan ticks) by giving his opponent a Howlfiend using Treachery, then playing Imp Gang Boss and having a one-health minion, and playing Defile. This kills off everything, including the Howlfiend, and makes your opponent discard six cards. Then you play a Summoning Portal and Glinda, and play Lorewalker Cho until your board is full. Then play Power Overwhelming twice. Now your opponent has ten Power Overwhelmings in hand that he cannot play. You proceed to take your sweet time beating his face in, since he can’t play anything! I know this sounds ridiculous, which is why you should watch it in action as the first clip in this video:

Moving Forward

Echo is a great mechanic that makes use of Hearthstone’s mana system to provide under-statted minions a real place in the meta. Are the current ones too weak? Probably. But I hope we see more Echo cards and what they can do. The best part about these cards is the fact that they are under-statted; you’re not just slapping down some insanely overpowered card. You have to actually think about when the correct time is to put them into play. It’s the most true form of skill that Hearthstone has produced in quite a while, contrary to their typical push towards power creep. I hope we see a lot more Echo in the days to come.

Ben BrodeWitchwood
Apr 14, 2018
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Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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