After a few days of very impatient waiting, Team 5 has finally announced the next round of balance changes, which are already live - yes, Hearthstone is finally playable again!

As teased by Hearthstone developer Alec Dawson in a recent tweet, we're going to receive 5 nerfs and 10 (!) buffs, for a total of 15 card changes - this is by far the largest mid-expansion balance patch we're ever received, and we'd be incredibly surprised if it won't shake up the meta.

To be honest, most of the nerfs in this list were definitely overdue - with all the changes, the community wanted Team 5 to sneak into the patch another couple of targets, but we think this is a step in the right direction and we should see how things shape up before asking for more nerfs, even more so when you consider the mini-set is right around the corner.

But now, let's go over each nerf and try to understand their implications for the game.


Effect now reads “Rush Battlecry: Gain Windfury this turn only.”

Crabrider Card Image

We bet everyone would've been surprised to not see this card in the patch notes - fortunately for all of us, this was not the case; Crabrider is getting nerfed. This 2-drop was the ultimate highroll card and if you happened to have it on turn 2 (or turn 1 with The Coin) and your opponent couldn’t provide an answer for it, chances were that you would’ve won the game on the post. This was either because your opponent wasn’t able to deal with it or because, in the meantime, the damage dealt was so big that the game was already decided. Especially good in Paladin thanks to the class' early and mid-game buff tools like Hand of A'dal, Conviction (Rank 1) and Blessing of Authority, Crabrider saw plenty of play in other decks, such as Rush Warrior (Conditioning (Rank 2) which is another way to exploit this Murloc).

Leaving its Cost to 2 mana but limiting its Windfury to the turn it comes into play means that you’ll still be able to use it as a strong removal option, maybe together with a buff too, but then after clearing your opponent’s board you won’t be able to highroll your way to the victory with early consistent and devastating damage output.

We expect Crabrider to still see plenty of play; however, we’ll not see it coined on turn 1 anymore, and we’ll be less afraid of not having an answer ready to it, as it will be just a vanilla ¼ after the turn it is played. Many people were asking for a Health reduction to 3, but I genuinely think that this change is far more intriguing and I’m eager to see its implications on the future meta.

First Day of School Old

The mana cost of First Day of School is now 1 mana (Up from 0); it will now add 3 1-Cost minions to your hand (up from 2).

First Day of School Card Image

Many people were able to identify this card as a problematic one, but very few were able to suggest a reasonable change. While some proposed to change it to generate only Neutral 1-drop, others just wanted the cost increase with no other effect.

Now that First Day of School will cost 1 mana, it will no longer consistently guarantee an above average early game for Paladin (following March’s rotation of the Basic and Classic set, the card pool quality has improved quite a bit), as well as a turn 1 play (unless Uther is willing to spend The Coin if going second). Following this, Paladin will have fewer chances to have a body ready to receive Hand of A'dal on curve. All in all, the class’ early game potential is going to be hit, and it won’t be able to quickly degenerate into early wins as often as it was just a few hours ago.

Worth noting is that, providing 3 minions instead of just 2, First Day of School can be considered now more of a value card rather than a tempo one. In fact, we don’t expect Aggro, and very likely Secret, Paladin to fizzle away, but it is possible that they’ll just slow down the pace a bit and choose to go for the long distance. In this way, the meta will give other archetypes much more of a breathing room for experimentation and, possibly, success.


The cost of Hysteria is now 4 mana (up from 3).

Hysteria Card Image

Almost 3 months ago, when it was released in the Darkmoon Races Mini-Set, Hysteria originally could target friendly minions too, but it was quickly changed so that it could only target enemy minions due to a game-breaking interaction with Deathspeaker and Wretched Tiller. Back then, many people got mad at Team 5, because they thought they were killing a very cool card right off the bat for no reason. Well, I guess we can say that time proved that the devs actually know to do their job and, if anything, they were too lenient with the card.

To those who compare Hysteria to Mass Hysteria, we’d like to point out that there are many differences, and so you should not be disappointed by the fact that their cost is so similar. While Mass Hysteria is pretty much a better Brawl, you’re not able to choose which minion will attack which; On the other hand, Hysteria allows this choice, and therefore will almost always guarantee a better result for less mana: just do the math and target the biggest/most problematic minion on the opponent’s side of the board.

Will this card stop seeing play? Absolutely not. Priest has access to both Palm Reading and Nazmani Bloodweaver, so you’ll almost never be forced to be Hysteria’s full cost. However, while it will still see big amounts of play, it will certainly become slower: aggressive boards will have more chances against both Priest and Warlock (which got hit again in its already weak Control archetype).


Mankrik, Consumed by Hatred’s Health is now 7 (down from 10).

Mankrik Card Image Mankrik, Consumed by Hatred Card Image

Another reasonable change. Differently from Crabrider, Mankrik was not a consistently game-breaking card - we're talking about a Spider Tank with no immediate effect on the board outside of its vanilla body, which is quite average for a 3-drop. The upside it comes with may or may not come to fruition, and most of the time there’s little you can do about it. However, the problems arise when you're able to draw and cast Olgra, Mankrik's Wife immediately after shuffling it in your deck - not only your opponent will receive 3 damage to their face, but they’ll also have to deal with a 3/10, which is nearly impossible to remove in the early stages of the game. 

As things are now, there is pretty much no valid reason not to run Mankrik in your deck, which most of the time is a signal that something's not fine. Lowering Pissed Mankrik's Health to 7 will allow the opponents to sink fewer resources into an early spawn and therefore be able to deal with it more efficiently. After this change, we suspect that Mankrik will still see plenty and will still appear in top-tier lists, but it won't be as polarizing as it was before.

Refreshing Spring Water

The cost of Refreshing Spring Water is now 5 mana (up from 4).

Refreshing Spring Water Card Image

Everyone and their mother were expecting a nerf to Mr. Blue Card, but Team 5 decided to go for the #2 problematic card in the Mage class instead.

While only time will tell if this was the right call, we definitely agree with the devs that Refreshing Spring Water needed some slight changes.

Apart from the fact that in No-Minion Mage it was basically a 0 mana draw 2, its interaction with Incanter's Flow made it so that you could actually gain mana instead of losing it or keeping the same amount, which often led to insane miracle turns in which your average Mage opponent was able to go through their deck thanks to Spring Water, Arcane Intellect and Cram Session while removing your board and possibly dealing a decent chunk of damage to your face with some discounted Fireball or Orbs.

Now that this spell costs 5, its general impact on the game will still be relevant, but a bit less broken than it was before, which is something we can definitely live with.

What do you think about these nerfs? Are there any other cards you would’ve liked to see nerfed? Let us know in the comments below!