Patch 20.2.2 not only brought us a beefy round of nerfs, but we also received 10 buffs!
As the community has suggested multiple times in the past, buffs are the perfect way to improve one player’s already existing collection without forcing him to spend more resources, which is definitely a great feeling, especially when you thought a given archetype would’ve been fun or good on ladder, only for it to turn out to be underwhelming.
We wholeheartedly approve Team 5’s decision and we hope to see more decisions like this in the future, in case the meta will deserve so. Good job!
Now, let’s break down each change and try to imagine how much of an impact they’ll have on the future meta.
Spoiler: By the surprise of no one, Shaman is on this list. In fact, Thrall received not 1, not 2, but 3 buffs! Will they be enough for the class to emerge from the garbage can? Let’s try to understand it here below.
Now has 3 Attack (up from 2).
Deathrattle Demon Hunter was one of the brand new archetypes pushed with Forged in the Barrens. However, the high density of Paladin in the first weeks of the new expansion really made it hard for Illidan to actually leave a mark in this meta. While this deck features a value bomb like Death Speaker Blackthorn, we’ve never really got the chance to experiment its potential.
However, now that First Day of School and Crabrider will force Uther to slow down, Demon Hunter will finally be able to arise from its tier 3 status.
Dark Inquisitor Xanesh
The discount effect now applies to both Corrupt and Corrupted cards.
More than a buff, this really tastes like a bug hotfix, since it was very strange and counterintuitive for Xanesh to not work with already Corrupted cards.
Corrupt Priest is currently nowhere to be found in the current meta, but we think that this change will bring many people to dust off their Fairground Fools, Auspicious Spirits and Horrendous Growths to give them one more chance.
Stats increased by +1/+1 (from 4/5 to 5/6).
A card that was already recognized as very good by itself, given that the Hex effect attached to it is normally worth 4 mana, so Lilypad Lurker was basically a 1 mana 4/5. However, this was not enough of a reward to push Elemental Shaman, a very promising deck that wasn’t able to leave a mark in the meta due to other Shaman’s problems.
If I were to buff this card, I would’ve probably given it Taunt, since it does give me the "guardian" vibe; on the other hand, I am sure that Team 5 made this change with more game knowledge at disposal and especially based on what will come in the upcoming mini-set (even though we don’t have any dates, we suspect we’ll get there in less than a month).
The mana cost of Tidal Surge is now 3 mana (down from 4).
Finally. This card had no reason to be at 4 mana in a world where Penance and Drain Soul exist.
There isn’t much to say about this change, other than that it was past due and now Shaman has access to an early source of life gain and therefore can start thinking about going to the distance with a Control archetype.
Now has 3 Attack (up from 2).
Unbound Elemental represents both Shaman’s Overload and Elemental themes, so it makes sense for it to receive an Attack buff that put it in line with other 3-drops like Firebrand, Northwatch Commander, and Mankrik.
With this change, Unbound Elemental’s damage output will increase, making it a reasonable inclusion in a list that will be able to exploit both its sides.
Deck of Chaos
The mana cost of Deck of Chaos is now 5 mana (down from 6).
Oh boy, here it comes. We appreciate the fact that with this patch Team 5 wanted to give Warlock different viable archetypes outside of Tickatus Control Warlock and that the cost reduction is just by 1 mana. However, we clearly have in mind what happened back in the day with Luna's Pocket Galaxy, and we’re a bit afraid that it will happen again.
To be fair though, what Warlock lacks is a tutor effect that will increase the consistency of drawing and playing Deck of Chaos on curve, which is something Control Mage had at the time through Tortollan Pilgrim. While this change may hint at possible support coming in the next sets, we appreciate the effort of improving a card that has seen absolutely no play since it was printed 5 months ago.
The mana cost of Fiendish Circle is now 3 mana (down from 4).
Even when it was released back in the day in The Witchwood, this card didn’t really see much play. 4 mana for 4 1/1s wasn’t really great and to be fair, it isn’t today either.
However, reducing Fiendish Circle’s cost to 3 mana not only allows us to break the vanilla rule and play more stats than we should for their cost, but it also opens up interesting scenarios with cards like Ritual of Doom.
Not a card that will carry a new Warlock archetype on its own shoulders, but definitely one to keep your eyes on and, possibly, experiment with.
The mana cost of Shieldmaiden is now 5 mana (down from 6).
Let’s be honest: compared to other lists from the past, current Control Warrior’s ability to gain Armor is embarrassing: while the class still has access to Shield Slam, with the rotation it lost Shield Block (the go-to activator) and the broken Risky Skipper-Armorsmith combo. Now, the only armor gaining effects worth running are Rancor and Armor Vendor (a neutral!).
While 6 mana Shieldmaiden was very good back in the day, it appears that 7 years of age made her too slow for modern Hearthstone. Reducing her cost to 5 mana will make her an unconditional Emberscale Drake, which is certainly not a tier 0 card but at the very least a good starting point. Control Warriors, you may want to try her out.
Now has 3 Attack (up from 2).
A little love for Frenzy Warrior, an archetype that also received a signature Legendary in Overlord Saurfang but that is yet to find success on ladder, mainly due to its limits and the fact that there are better alternatives to queue with.
Now that Whirling Combatant has vanilla stats, you’ll be much more interested in running it since the opponents will have to think twice about ignoring it; 3 Attack on a 6 Health body is much more threatening than just 2. I saw some people suggesting to give it Taunt, but I guess that change would’ve made it too much of a great anti-aggro tool, being a 6 Health wall with a double Whirlwind effect attached to it.
N'Zoth, God of the Deep
The mana cost of N'Zoth, God of the Deep is now 9 mana (down from 10).
The first thing that came to my mind when I was this change is that It breaks the "10 mana Old Gods" rule, which triggers me beyond any valid reason; on the other hand, N'Zoth, God of the Deep is also my favorite "new" Old God, so I’m very happy to see some love for him.
Definitely the least played Old God, especially because it needs a lot of support to be viable (you want to resurrect at least 4 minions for N'Zoth to be good, and you have to build a deck with multiple tribes to make it possible) and the current Standard pool doesn’t synergize very well with his effect. However, now that it will come down sooner, N'Zoth, God of the Deep will definitely have more chances to appear in the meta. Really looking forward to forcing N’Zoth into every class that runs more than two minion tribes.
What do you think about these changes? Are there any other cards you would’ve liked to see buffed? Let us know in the comments below!