Hearthstone Patch 18.2 will go live on September 8th, less than a week from now, and it will bring us a handful of changes relevant for both Standard and Wild.

Let's take a look at each of the 5 changes and see which consequences they'll bring to the game.

On a side note, it's always pleasing to see that the Devs haven't given up on buffing underwhelming cards - we think that this is a great way to valorize each player's already existing collection.

The Buffs

Totem Goliath Card Image

Attack increased from 4 to 5; Overload decreased from (2) to (1).

Quote From Echo
Totem Goliath being buffed is an interesting one for sure, seeing as it already sees play in the somewhat successful Totem Shaman. However, the card is arguably one of the worst of the list, spouting an abysmal winrate across the board. With the new changes, Goliath becomes more of a threat on its own, as well as being able to be followed up with a turn 6 Bloodlust in case the opponent pops it. However, the biggest issue with this minion's viability is much less the card itself and more that the archetype it is played in is incredibly meta-dependent: any deck that focuses more on the board or has a few board clears - such as Libram Paladin or Soul Demon Hunter - are most likely still going to walk over it, regardless of whether Totem Goliath becomes better or not. End of the day, the card is a backup plan in a deck that just needs its normal plan to work more consistently and, as such, do not expect to see Goliath bringing Shaman out of the gutter.

Archwitch Willow Card Image

Cost decreased from 9 to 8; Attack and Health decreased from 7 to 5.

While the stats reduction is not that big of a deal - if you play this card you do it for the effect, pretty much like Possessed Lackey in the past and Jandice Barov now - we're still worried about this minion's viability. There are just too few big (and impactful) Demons in Standard to justify building a deck around this card and the synergy it brings to the table. We're not saying this minion will never see play: in fact, we're confident that some future expansion will be able to give Archwitch Willow a chance. After all, why buffing a card you don't expect to become relevant at some point?

The Nerfs

Secret Passage Card Image

Cards added to your hand reduced from 5 to 4.

A card the community has either loved or hated in the last month: it was able to singlehandedly bring Rogue back from its ashes all to the top of the meta in both Standard and Wild. With this upcoming balance change, Secret Passage's functionality will remain the same - heavy draw from your deck that will guarantee a nice resource boost or the Eviscerate you need to find lethal - but it will be a little less impactful and decisive throughout your ladder experience. On the other hand, we also have to consider that you don't always play all the five cards drawn by Passage - to be fair, that is a pretty rare scenario: sometimes, just two or three are more than enough, especially if you manage to hit Cutting Class or Greyheart Sage. We absolutely think that this card is still good and that will still see plenty of play, but it just won't be an outliner play as it was before.

Darkglare Card Image

Changed to a 2-Mana 2/3 (from 3-Mana 3/4); the effect refreshes 1 Mana Crystal instead of 2.

The card costs less, but we're quite confident to say that this one can't be considered a buff based on how Darkglare works and has been abused in the last weeks. For those pure souls who still don't know and therefore haven't met this abomination of a card on ladder, you play Darkglare and you keep damaging yourself with effects that cost 1 or less like Flame Imp, Raise Dead and Pen Flinger in order to trade your life total for more mana than the one you spend - this way, not only you'll be able to swarm your board early and effectively, but you'll also reduce Flesh Giant (and Molten Giant if you're playing Wild, where the card is really problematic at the moment) to 0 and farm turn 4/5 wins with impressive consistency if your opponents don't have a quick answer.

Now that the nerf will happen, we're not sure if Darkglare will be good enough to justify an entire list to be built around it. This change will probably weaken Standard Zoolock by a remarkable margin and may possibly kill Warlock as a whole. At the same time, Wild will have to adjust to the loss of one of its most powerful and played archetypes.

I'm so glad Darkglare will bite the dust.

Cabal Acolyte Card Image

Health reduced from 6 to 4.

I've played around 60 games with this card in the last two weeks, and I definitely see the reason behind this change. On one hand, it is really good against Aggro: it has a 2/6 body with Taunt, so you can just play it on curve and expect it to soak a decent amount of damage otherwise directed to your face and, maybe, even survive; moreover, it combos really well with The Coin and Raise Dead for an instant proc, weakening your opponent's board and increasing your chances to survive the aggression you may be undergoing at the same time. But that's not all - even in the late game, if your opponent controls just one unit, Cabal Acolyte plus Wave of Apathy (a really good card I honestly didn't see coming at all) will take control of it, no matter the circumstances. 

With this change, Cabal Acolyte is going to be less of an optimal on-curve play and its play rate will be more centered around its effect - just like Cabal Shadow Priest.

What do you think about these changes? How much dust will you get from the upcoming dust refunds? Let us know in the comments down below!