With the brief initial mention from more than a week ago fueling all the anticipation for more Constructed balance changes, Thursday's announcement has finally given us a proper time and date while setting the stage for a very eventful start to this weekend. Soon enough, the ranked ladder might get another notable makeover.

The first round of Standard & Wild adjustments for the latest Hearthstone expansion - Murder at Castle Nathria - was very heavily focused on various class card buffs (22 of them!), and offered only a handful of nerfs (5). A number of those changes did not really have the intended effect, with some even proving to be very controversial (ahem, Edwin, Defias Kingpin). The metagame that followed since August 16 has been with us for more than 3 weeks now, and it certainly wasn't to everybody's liking - to put it mildly.

This time around, the story could go in a different direction. With the full patch notes now available and all further balance changes revealed, the patch itself should follow the same route soon enough: 

Quote From DeckTech

Patch Notes (most languages) are scheduled for tomorrow 9am Pacific. Patch itself to follow (still aiming for 10am, but can't confirm exact time at this point).

Update: The patch is already available on both desktop and mobile clients! 

New Balance Changes for Patch 24.2.2 - More Nerfs and Buffs for Castle Nathria

Here is what we got on the line - 7 card nerfs and 2 fairly unexpected buffs (or nerf reverts, if we wish to be precise), with added early developer insights: 

Quote From Blizzard
Patch 24.2.2, a hotfix patch scheduled for September 9, includes the following updates and bug fixes. 

Standard Card Updates

Dev Comment: Our top priority this patch was to make the meta feel more stable and more diverse. For that reason, we focused primarily on making a moderate number of high-confidence changes this patch. We expect there will still be room for adjustment after this patch settles in, but we’d like to take the opportunity to see where these changes land before making further changes.

7 Standard Card Nerfs - No More Guffing Around

Wildheart Guff has been dodging the nerfs for close to a year now, but no longer! And the improved power level of Edwin, Defias Kingpin was about as short-lasting as we thought it might be. Meanwhile, Kael'thas Sinstrider now follows the path of Kael'thas Sunstrider (in a way). And what about that poor Smothering Starfish?

But there is even more to talk about:

Quote From Blizzard

The following cards have been adjusted down in power:

Wildheart Guff

  • Old: Battlecry and Hero Power granted full mana crystals.
  • New: Battlecry and Hero Power grant empty mana crystals.

  • Dev Comment: Ramp Druid is one of the most powerful and influential decks in the game this patch. Guff was the clear power outlier for the deck, so a change to Guff was the highest confidence change we could make. We still expect Guff to be a playable card, with an important role in these strategies, but we hope that this change will make it feel like there is more of a cost to ramping than there was previously.

Edwin, Defias Kingpin

  • Old: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 3 Health
  • New: [Costs 4] 4 Attack, 4 Health

  • Dev Comment: There’s been a lot of attention on Edwin ever since he was buffed in the last patch—and rightfully so! Since his buff, he has been one of the most highly played and winningest cards in the game, which made him an obvious candidate for a high confidence adjustment to Rogue. When we made the initial buff, Rogue looked like it needed some help, but now that these lists have been more refined, we think Rogue will remain a player in the meta even with Edwin back at 4.

Arcane Burst (Magister Dawngrasp Hero Power)

  • Old: Deal 2 damage. Honorable Kill: Gain +2 damage.
  • New: Deal 2 damage. Honorable Kill: Gain +1 damage.

Magister Dawngrasp Card Image

Nightcloak Sanctum

  • Old: 3 Durability
  • New: 2 Durability

  • Dev Comment: Along with Druid and Rogue, Mage has been one of the most dominant classes since the last patch. Nightcloak Sanctum has been a clear outlier in the mid-stages of the game, and the scaling threat of Magister Dawngrasp’s hero power has been the dominant in the end game. These two standout cards were the most obvious targets for tuning down the deck’s power level, and should also make the class less frustrating to play against in the mid- and late game.

Defend the Dwarven District (the first stage of the Hunter Questline)

  • Old: Deal damage with 2 spells.
  • New: Deal damage with 3 spells.

  • Dev Comment: Quest Hunter is a frustrating deck to play against and was poised to be a powerful meta contender after the changes to the other classes. This change is both to address the deck’s current state and anticipated relative power level after this patch.

Kael'thas Sinstrider

  • Old: [Costs 6]
  • New: [Costs 8]

  • Dev Comment: Kael’thas, Brann, and Denathrius have appeared together as a package in a variety of decks. To address the specific interaction between these three cards, we felt the best solution was to add 2 more cost to the Brann-Kael’thas combo so that they can’t be played with 10 mana. We preferred to change Kael’thas over Brann because Kael’thas is being used primarily for things like this combo while Brann has other interesting use cases, too.

Smothering Starfish

  • Old: [Costs 3]
  • New: [Costs 4]

  • Dev Comment: Smothering Starfish was living up to its name a bit too much. The goal for this card was for it to be a strong tech card, but the cost to include it in your deck was low enough that it was acting more like a staple than a tech card. While responding to specific meta forces, Starfish was also unintentionally snuffing out a variety of underrepresented decks. We think this adjustment will still allow Starfish to be used as a powerful tech option, but will make it less generically ubiquitous.


The above cards will be eligible for a full dust refund for two weeks following Patch 24.2.2.

2 Standard Card Buffs - Back to School

Two popular cards that have been previously nerfed now return to their old forms - or in the case of School Teacher, not quite. The Health value goes back up to 4, but the lowered Attack remains (it used to be 5 when originally released as a free Epic card on Voyage to the Sunken City's Rewards Track). 

Quote From Blizzard

The following cards have been adjusted up in power:

School Teacher

  • Old: 4 Attack, 3 Health
  • New: 4 Attack, 4 Health

  • Dev Comment: When we initially changed School Teacher, it was the most played card in the game. We’re partially reverting the balance change in order to make the card feel a bit better to include in decks, while still acknowledging that its power level at launch was a bit higher than we would have liked it to be.

Alliance Bannerman

  • Old: 2 Attack, 1 Health
  • New: 2 Attack, 2 Health

  • Dev Comment: When we buff cards in underperforming classes, we rarely do it with the goal of immediately shooting the class to a 50% plus winrate. Our goal is to make the game more fun, something we can accomplish by bringing the class up to a level where players feel like there is something worth exploring. With the focus on high confidence changes in this patch, the change we were most confident we could give Paladin was something we’ve seen before—a reversion to a previous balance change. 

How many of these have you seen coming, and even more importantly, which ones do you happen to like or dislike the most? Are you convinced that we might be already headed for a better/healthier metagame, or it's wait and see how everything is going to work out in practice?