Following the brief announcement of the announcement from the day before, the patch notes for the latest round of Hearthstone balance changes went up just a little while ago. The patch itself was expected to follow right afterwards, with a client data update (changing existing cards and abilities is a different process from adding brand new assets to the game). In which case it usually means simultaneous downloads taking place for both desktop and mobile.
Patch is expected at around 10am. So you have about an hour to freak out about these changes.
Update: The patch is now available on all desktop Battle.net clients and mobile devices!
There is a larger variety of high power level cards getting hit with the nerf bat, probably making for a more extensive field than most of us might've even expected. That's bound to shake things up for the current Standard and Wild metas:
- Control Warrior dominance curbed with adjustments to From the Depths, Shield Shatter, Tidal Revenant, and Nellie's Pirate Ship (from Nellie, the Great Thresher).
- Fel Demon Hunter gets a small slap on the wrist with changes to Caria Felsoul and Battleworn Vanguard.
- Various potent Neutral/Class cards in the crosshairs: Mr. Smite, Lightforged Cariel, Spitelash Siren, School Teacher, Wildpaw Gnoll.
- On the Wild side of things, Lightning Bloom no longer offering such great early tempo, but also Earthen Scales becoming more expensive (more so as a result of being part of the current Core Set for Standard).
But, there are also enough positive upgrades to talk about for Battlegrounds and Mercenaries:
- A number of Battlegrounds buffs to Heroes & Minions, plus Armor Tier adjustments.
- A handful of Mercenaries abilities receiving buffs to their Speed and Cooldown values.
The detailed list and patch notes for all of the above Hearthstone modes as follows:
Standard & Wild
Dev Comments: We have a lot of big Standard balance changes coming this patch (and one for Wild!) which are attempting to accomplish a few different goals. First, we want to lower the power level of the most powerful decks in the current metagame - Fel Demon Hunter and Control Warrior variants. Roughly half of the changes in this patch are balance-motivated and intended to target the winrates of these decks directly.
The rest of the changes in this patch are not primarily motivated by power level, but are instead focused on improving the play-against experience of some of the more polarizing cards in the game.
The following cards have been adjusted to have their power reduced:
- Old: Deal 5 damage to all minions. Costs (1) less for each Armor you have. → New: Deal 4 damage to all minions. Costs (1) less for each Armor you have.
- Old: Battlecry: Deal 5 damage. Gain 8 Armor. → New: Battlecry: Deal 5 damage. Gain 5 Armor.
Nellie’s Pirate Ship (the Colossal appendage summoned by Nellie, the Great Thresher)
- Old: Taunt. Deathrattle: Add Nellie’s Pirate crew to your hand. They Cost (1). → New: Taunt. Deathrattle: Add Nellie’s Pirate crew to your hand. They Cost (1) less.
From the Depths
- Old: [Costs 3] → New: [Costs 4]
Dev Comment: Both Charge Warrior and Control Warrior variants have been overperforming on the ladder, and trend towards higher and higher winrates the further up the ladder you climb. These decks share several key cards, and this batch of changes is intended to lower the winrates of both those archetypes. We don’t want or expect these decks to disappear entirely after the changes, but we do hope that some of the more frustrating plays that they are capable of (such as Nellie creating 1-cost Mr. Smite) will be removed or weakened going forward.
- Old: [Costs 6] 6 Attack, 6 Health. Battlecry: Transform into a 6/6 copy of a Demon in your deck. → New: [Costs 7] 7 Attack, 7 Health. Battlecry: Transform into a 7/7 copy of a Demon in your deck.
- Old: 2 Attack, 2 Health → New: 2 Attack, 1 Health
Dev Comment: Demon Hunter has been the other standout winrate class since the release of the latest mini-set. Although we’re happy to see the new and improved Xhilag making a splash, we aren’t as excited about Caria being used to cheat out a copy of Xhilag ahead of schedule. In addition to slowing down that interaction, we’ve shaving one Health off Battleworn Vanguard in order to lower the odds that it sticks early and snowballs the game.
- Old: 4 Attack, 5 Health → New: 3 Attack, 5 Health
Dev Comment: Rogue has been one of the most played classes in Standard, and it didn’t feel right for us to hit the other popular classes without taking a small amount of power out of Rogue. Wildpaw Gnoll has been a tricky card for us to get right, but we’re optimistic that the latest change to it will leave both the card and the class in the right place.
- Old: [Costs 7] → New: [Costs 8]
Dev Comment: We are happy to see hero cards pack a late game punch for their classes, but felt like Cariel was providing that power a turn earlier than she should have been. Paladin is in a pretty healthy spot in the current metagame, and with the rest of the changes we are seeing in this patch, we expect things to stay that way.
- Old: [Costs 4] 2 Attack, 5 Health → New: [Costs 5] 2 Attack, 6 Health
Dev Comment: Spitelash Siren is a fun and interesting card for Naga mage decks, but we felt that it was capable of effectively ending games in a way that didn’t leave enough room for counterplay. We are hoping that by moving this effect back one turn, opponents of the card will have more time to interact with the wide boards it is capable of generating.
- Old: [Costs 1] → New: [Costs 2]
Dev Comment: Druid hasn’t been a dominant class since the mini-set, but it can still be quite frustrating to lose to. We felt Earthen Scales was doing too much for a one-mana card, and that increasing its cost by 1 the class should be a little easier to attack in the mid-game.
- Old: Gain 2 Mana Crystals this turn only. Overload: (2). → New: Refresh 2 Mana Crystals. Overload: (2).
Dev Comment: As we tracked gameplay following the mini-set, we noticed concerns about game experiences in Wild, particularly when it comes to Big Shaman decks. These decks can sometimes ramp out big threats very early, which could make games feel like non-games. We quickly identified Lightning Bloom as the card which was creating the most problems for the format both in the short-term and long-term, so we are making an aggressive adjustment to it.
- Old: [Costs 6] → New: [Costs 7]
Dev Comment: Mr. Smite is a powerful, game-ending card that doesn’t need to be quite as powerful as he is on curve. This change will hopefully make the card a little more tolerable in the mid-game, while also slowing down the various combos he is involved in.
- Old: 5 Attack, 4 Health → New: 4 Attack, 3 Health
Dev Comment: Though we’re generally happy with the kinds of gameplay that School Teacher provides, a card with a premium Battlecry effect doesn’t also need to have premium stats. We expect this card to still see plenty of play, but we hope that it won’t be quite as ubiquitous as it is now.
Any craftable versions of the cards listed above will be eligible for full dust refunds for two weeks following Patch 23.4.3 (Core Set versions of cards that are in the Core Set, and the Golden versions of School Teacher that were given as part of the Voyage to the Sunken City Rewards Track, are not craftable).
Hero Power Updates
Onyxia Broodmother – Broodmother
- Old: Avenge (4): Summon a 2/1 Whelp. It attacks immediately. → New: Avenge (4): Summon a 3/1 Whelp. It attacks immediately.
Ozumat – Tentacular
- Old: Passive. Start of Combat: Summon a 2/2 Tentacle with Taunt. (Upgrades after you sell a minion!) → New: Passive. Start of Combat: Summon a 2/2 Tentacle with Taunt. (Gains +1/+1 after you sell a minion!)
Dev Comment: This is not a functional change; this change is just for clarity.
Pyramad — Brick by Brick
- Old: [Costs 1] Give a random friendly minion +4 Health. → New: [Costs 0] Give a minion +2 Health. (Gains +1 Health each turn you don’t use this!)
Tamsin Roame — Fragrant Phylactery
- Old: Start of Combat: Destroy your lowest Health minion. Give its stats to four friendly minions. → New: Start of Combat: Destroy your lowest Health minion. Give its stats to five friendly minions.
Armor Tier Updates
The following heroes were adjusted to have more armor, and are now in the following armor tiers:
- Al’Akir, Ambassador Faelin, Galakrond, Malygos, and Vol’jin are in Armor Tier 2.
- C’Thun is in Armor Tier 3.
- Bru’kan, Edwin VanCleef, Fungalmancer Flurgl, and Queen Azshara are in Armor Tier 5.
- Deathwing, Elise Starseeker, Illidan Stormrage, Lord Jaraxxus, and Tess Greymane, are in Armor Tier 6.
- Aranna Starseeker, Cariel Roame, King Mukla, Overlord Saurfang, Rakanishu, The Curator, and The Rat King are in Armor Tier 7.
The following heroes were adjusted to have less armor, and are now in the following armor tiers:
- Alexstrasza, Death Speaker Blackthorn, Ini Stormcoil, Maiev Shadowsong, Patches the Pirate, Shudderwock, The Lich King, Trade Prince Gallywix, and Xyrella are in Armor Tier 1.
- Reno Jackson is now in Armor Tier 2.
- Dinotamer Brann is now in Armor Tier 3.
- Old: 2 Attack, 5 Health → New: 5 Attack, 4 Health
- Old: Tavern Tier 4 → New: Tavern Tier 3
- Old: Tavern Tier 4 → New: Tavern Tier 3
- Old: 1 Attack, 2 Health → New: 2 Attack, 2 Health
- Old: Spellcraft: Give a minion +1/+1 and Windfury until next turn. → New: Spellcraft: Give a minion +2/+2 and Windfury until next turn.
- Old: 5 Attack, 6 Health. After you cast a Spellcraft spell on a minion, give it +2/+1. → New: 5 Attack, 7 Health. After you cast a Spellcraft spell on a minion, give it +2/+2.
- Old: 2 Attack, 2 Health → New: 3 Attack, 3 Health
- Old: 7 Attack, 3 Health → New: 7 Attack, 8 Health
- Dragonqueen’s Gambit
- Old: Cooldown 2 → New: Cooldown 1
The Lich King
- Death Coil
- Old: Cooldown 1 → New: Cooldown 0
- Jadeflame Buffet
- Old: Cooldown 1 → New: Cooldown 0
- Wave Crush
- Old: Speed 7 → New: Speed 6
- Old: Cooldown 1 → New: Cooldown: 0
- Old: 11/72 Maxed Stats → New: 11/82 Maxed Stats
Xuen, the White Tiger
- Equalizing Strike
- Old: Speed 7 → New: Speed 5
- Cutthroat Negotiation
- Old: Speed 7 → New: Speed 2
- Blessing of Protection
- Old: Speed 3 → New: Speed 1
How many of these have you predicted correctly, and which ones you wouldn't have ever seen coming?