When I started playing Hearthstone I thought I had the right idea when I went with a 2/3 over a 3/2. I have since then figured out that I might have been wrong, and here I’m gonna break down why, as visually as I can.
The concept behind picking a 2/3 over a 3/2 would be so that it would survive taking a hit from any 2-attack creature or spell. The idea being that having board control by keeping your minions on the board. But that benefit might not be enough to justify the pick. The fact that both the River Crocolisk and the Bloodfen Raptor are Beasts can come into play, but for this exercise we’ll only be looking at their basic stats; their attack and their health.
Here, take a look at this table for the Crocolisk:
= Does not defeat
= Does not survive
This is how the River Crocolisk stand up to other minions when it comes to health and attack up to the range of 4. It is superior to a combination of four stats, as it both defeats and and survives a combination of four stats. At the time of writing it is superior to 72 minions, before they start buffing and adding their effects. It can defeat 119 and survives 155 minions.
Now let’s have a look at the Bloodfen Raptor instead:
First thing we see is that the curve is thrown off, as the Bloodfen Raptor only survives any minon with Attack 1. But the fact that itself has Attack 3 opens up to a whole lot more of minions it can defeat. Number-wise the Raptor is only superior to, as in that it can both defeat and survive, 37 other minions in the current line-up, but it can act as removal for, by defeating, 202 other minions. That means the Crocolisk stops at minion with more than 2 health, whereas the Raptor can go after minions such as Piloted Shredder and other 4/3 minions.
This also plays in when trying to bait out spells from your opponent. A Raptor, which we just established can defeat a Piloted Shredder, is a bigger threat to the board than a Crocolisk, which the Shredder can survive. So while, for instance, a Mage might save the Frostbolt for the Shredder in your hand if you have a Crocolisk on the board, they might see it necessary to remove your Raptor, so now your Shredder has one less spell to worry about.
Board control is not gained by keeping your minions alive, it’s by removing your opponents’ minions.
And if you look at the actual minions themselves in head-to-head combat you find the superiority immediately, as the Raptor can defeat both the Crocolisk and another Raptor, whereas the Crocolisk can defeat a Raptor but not another Crocolisk.
It all may come down to what you deem most important; removing your opponents minions, or keeping your own. But from what I’ve found, board control is not gained by keeping your minions alive, it’s by removing your opponents’ minions.