As expected, Hearthstone received a balance patch today. The Patch aims to tone down some overperforming classes while giving the weaker one a leg up. We had articles where we predicted both the nerfs and the buffs, tell us how well we did!
On the nerf side of things, only 3 cards were hit: Drek'Thar, Multi-Strike and Dragonbane Shot. As usual, all these cards can be disenchanted for their full Dust value for two weeks. The one exception is Drek'Thar, mainly the Golden and Diamond versions, which are uncraftable. Any players who own the Diamond version when the Patch goes live will get 3000 Gold as compensation.
- Drek'Thar - Only summons one minion from your deck (down from 2)
- Multi-Strike - Costs 2 (up from 1)
- Dragonbane Shot - Costs 3 (up from 2)
Things get more spicy when it comes to buffs! There's a total of 17 cards getting a glow-up, focused on Priest, Warlock, Rogue, and Xhilag of the Abyss. While it's too early to tell, all these changes are sure to shake up the meta.
- Xhilag - Xhilag's Stalk - Deals 2 Damage (up from 1)
- Harpoon Gun - The cost of the Dredged Beast is now 3 (up from 2)
- Pet Collector - Is a 4/4 (up from a 3/3)
- Azsharan Saber - Both it and Sunken Saber have 4 Attack (up from 3)
- Blackwater Behemoth - Costs 7 (down from 8)
- Whirlpool - Costs 8 (down from 9)
- Shadowcloth Needle - Costs 1 (down from 2)
- Serpent Wig - Gives +1/+2 (up from +1/+1)
- Tooth of Nefarian - Costs 2 (down from 3)
- SI:7 Smuggler - The unimproved version summons a 1-Cost Minion (up from 0)
- Wildpaw Gnoll - Is a 5 Mana 4/5 (from a 6 Mana 3/5)
- Tess Greymane - Costs 7 (down from 8)
- Hench-Clan Burglar - Has 4 Health (up from 3)
- Sira'kess Cultist - Is a 3/4 (up from 2/3)
- Dragged Below - Costs 3 (down from 4)
- Azsharan Scavenger - Both it and Sunken Scavenger are 2 Mana 2/3s (from 3 Mana 3/4s)
- Bloodscent Vilefin - Cost 3 Mana and has 3 Attack (down from 4 Mana and 4 Attack)
What do you think of these changes? Will they shake up the meta? Let us know in the comments below!
You can check the full patch notes below.
Quote From Blizzard
The following cards have had their power adjusted down:
- Old: Battlecry: If this costs more than every minion in your deck, summon 2 of them. → New: Battlecry: If this costs more than every minion in your deck, summon one of those minions.
- Old: [Costs 1] → New: [Costs 2]
- Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 3]
The above craftable cards will be eligible for full dust refunds for two weeks following Patch 23.2.2 (the only version of Drek’Thar that is craftable is the normal, non-golden version). Any players who own Diamond Drek’Thar at the time that the patch goes live will automatically receive 3,000 Gold when they log in as a refund.
The following cards have been buffed:
Xhilag’s Stalk (part of Xhilag the Abyss)
- Old: At the end of your turn, deal 1 damage to an enemy. → New: At the end of your turn, deal 2 damage to an enemy.
- Old: After your hero attacks, Dredge. If it’s a Beast, reduce its Cost by (2). → New: After your hero attacks, Dredge. If it’s a Beast, reduce its Cost by (3).
- Old: 3 Attack, 3 Health → New: 4 Attack, 4 Health
- Old: 3 Attack, 3 Health → New: 4 Attack, 3 Health
Sunken Saber (generated by Azsharan Saber)
- Old: 3 Attack, 3 Health → New: 4 Attack, 3 Health
- Old: [Costs 8] → New: [Costs 7]
- Old: [Costs 9] → New: [Costs 8]
- Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 1]
- Old: Give a minion +1/+1. If you played a Naga while holding this, add a Serpent Wig into your hand. → New: Give a minion +1/+2. If you played a Naga while holding this, add a Serpent Wig into your hand.
Tooth of Nefarian
- Old: [Costs 3] → New: [Costs 2]
- Old: Battlecry: Summon a random 0-Cost minion. (Improved for each other SI:7 card you have played this game). → New: Battlecry: Summon a random 1-Cost minion. (Improved for each other SI:7 card you have played this game).
- Old: [Costs 6] 3 Attack, 5 Health → New: [Costs 5] 4 Attack, 5 Health
- Old: [Costs 8] → New: [Costs 7]
- Old: 4 Attack, 3 Health → New: 4 Attack, 4 Health
- Old: 2 Attack, 3 Health → New: 3 Attack, 4 Health
- Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 3]
- Old: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 4 Health → New: [Costs 2] 2 Attack, 3 Health
Sunken Scavenger (generated by Azsharan Scavenger)
- Old: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 4 Health → New: [Costs 2] 2 Attack, 3 Health
- Old: [Costs 4] 4 Attack, 4 Health → New: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 4 Health
Quite impressed with the solution they came up with for Diamond Drek'Thar. Turned out to be actually profitable if your bought it! These nerfs and buffs will definitely shake up the meta considering how many buffs there are. Funny how Team 5 avoided nerfing Defend the Dwarven District but I do like the nerf target they went with instead.
Scales of Justice crying
I guess DH was just absolutely overtuned af before, and watching it get neutered is great. I wonder what becomes of the meta now though… is it just a race to Kazakuzan over and over again? Or what will happen.
Also glad to see Quest Hunter get nerfed because that deck was just obnoxious, I was hoping for Questline Step increases, but I guess Dragonbane Shot nerf will have to do. It’s worse into aggro matchups, but are there even any good aggro decks left?
Nerfs are fine, practically foreseeable.
Buffs though, so many of them. This is either a concerted and tested effort to push out newer decks, or a rampant rush to make archetypes playable. Serpent Wig is already pretty good on its own, now it looks potentially monstrous. Unfortunately, team5 have decided to buff the curse cards, though admitably not really extensively, but this can come back to bite them later when warlock can finally draw well. And for some reason, they decide to buff Harpoon Gun so its even more swingy when it strikes on a beast. Let's hope all this doesn't require renerfing later
As for the others;
- Xhilag is now incredible. In fact, if for whatever reason you've decided to leave this alive then chances are you're dead. Raging Felscreamer into this on 5 may well be completely unanswerable for most decks.
- Shadowcloth Needle never needed buffs, it needs shadow spells. And currently there's just too few shadow cards available to justify even a one mana cloth. So, this will either take over the meta later, but be completely forgotten despite the buff. Why'd they choose to do it then?
- Blackwater Behemoth not getting a stat nerf along with the buff is scary. Fortunately for us the only two decks he'll likely be in is highlander and quest. At least he'll fit the 7 mana slot now, where priest really sucks at.
- Tess to 7 mana is weird. Ive not done enough thief rogue to comment, but I get the feeling that it'll more likely be problematic in wild than in standard. Looks like there's someone in team5 that really really wanted this card to see play. Unfortunately, I think it'll always remain a meme in standard. Is there really a reason to run tess over Contraband Stash nowadays?
- Murlocs in warlock being buffed is the correct choice. But the absence of enough good 1 drops and the inability to draw well, it doesn't really look too good for them. All the archetype needs now is a card that puts murlocs into the hand. Hopefully in the midset?
I'm most excited about the Duels impact-the Shadowcloth Needle cost reduction gives Elise another 1-mana weapon to blow up Twig of the World Tree. Combining that with the cost reductions to Blackwater Behemoth and Whirlpool means that quest Elise will get even better in Duels.
Nerfs were somewhat predictable. There was no way to nerf Drek'Thar without ruining the flavor but I think they chose the best option. Could still see play in decks that just don't have anything useful above 3-mana. Multi-Strike was warranted too and will still be one of the better cards but at least you don't just eat 6-damage on turn 2 while losing your 2-drop every goddamn time.
The Dragonbane Shot nerf makes sense but I really expected them to just slow down the Quest itself. At least this means you don't get punished as much for daring to play minions.
Now the buffs...those are really something.
Harpoon Gun is neat, but won't matter all that much I think because you can't really guarantee a Beast anyways, but at least it allows you to snowball occasionally. Pet Collector buff is neat and helps with maintaining tempo, Azsharan Saber buff is good, but I still don't think it's worth playing over just running Vanndar, but maybe I'm wrong.
[Hearthstone Card (Xhi'lag of the Abyss) Not Found] buff looks reaaaally strong and makes a good case for just ditching Drek'thar and capitalizing on the insane swing from this guy. I'm actually worried that they overdid it and might have to revert that buff down the line because now you just end up losing whenever xhi'lag drops.
Priest buffs seem kind off odd, but I bet they're done with the future in mind. priest did get some insane cards this set, they're just lacking payoff. Blackwater Behemoth is now very overstatteed which is really interesting because it means their internal data shows that it was REALLY bad before. Quest Priest is still bad but at least you now have a good 7-drop outside of Mutanus. Whirlpool won't see play yet anyways, but at least it's no longer a worse Twisting Nether. The Shadowcloth Needle buff is really strange. The card was a thing for almost a year now and Shadow Priest is basically non-existant right now so I can only assume it'll get some more suppoort down the line.
the Serpent Wig buff is really interesting though. I'd call it good enough to consider Tempo Naga Priest because it helps your minions stick. I wonder how to build it though.
The ROgue changes are just funny. Tooth should have been this way from the start (it still goes face tho, so that's worth keeping in mind), SI:7 Smuggler is literally just pre-bug fix and won't matter because Quest Rogue can't function with the current mediocre draw options. Gnoll revert is good because it means they're monitoring previously nerfed cards and reevaluating them for current power level. Tess buff is meaningless, she's still a meme card, but people love her so it makes sense to make her more playable. Burglar buff is equally strange. COuld have just put it at 3-mana if you wanted it to see play, it's still underwhelming the way it is now.
Now the Warlock buffs....oh boy I hope they know what they're doing here. The Sira'kess Cultist buff is good because it makes playing it for Tempo less terrible without increasing combo potential. The Dragged Below buff though...I get they wanted to help making the removal lesss awkward but they should have just made Abyssal Wave go to 5, that's the most awkward one because you need boardclears earlier than turn 6. By buffing Dragged Below you allow the Tamsin Roame combo to not only go off earlier but also enable 9-mana Tamsin + double Dragged (+ another one from Azshara's Ring). That's pretty fucking scary. I guess this their way of nerfing Control Warrior. I hope it doesn't backfire, but if it does...I kept my extra copies of all the Curse cards for this reason...because I could smell that they were going to buff them eventually and might regret it later.
Murloc buffs are really strong. Getting them down a turn earlier is huge for tempo, which is what the deck was presumably lacking (idk, I haven't played it yet). Turn 4 Gigafin will be disgusting, even if it happens only once every 20 games.
Damn, why is already live?
So diamond drekthar is totally compensated for who buyed it with gold? Damn, i know i should have bought that...
Anyway I'm happy for the dragonbane killed hahah
2 damage for 3 mana is just stupid. Why not buff the card to deal 3 damage then? Now it's ridiculously overpriced. Hate this change.
It's a terrible card now at face value, but it has to be analysed alongside the questline, and it wouldn't be the first time an awful cards has been important in the meta. The unfortunate part is that you'd now never run it anywhere except the questline.
The nerf to Dragonbane Shot could be a buff to Odd QL Hunter in Wild. Not sure if I should be scared.
No, you should not, lol. Questline hunter is already terrible in the current meta and odd questline is even worse. A 3 mana deal 2 is not gonna change that.
How Predation dodged the hammer is beyond me. Just reduce the cost by 2 mana if you played a naga, so it cost 1 and apply any spell cost effect (like frostbiteBADCARDNAME).
Buffs are great but the mayor thing they missed, imo, is Abyssal Wave. 6 mana deal 4 is absurd.
Love all these changes! The nerfs are very good, and i LOVE all these buffs!
My general opinions on buffs:
Rogue: LOVE these changes. I LOVE thief rogue, and being able to play thief rogue with an actual thief package. Most of the burgle stuff was absolute garbage, and now it's playable. However i'm still scared of the Gnoll un-nerf, because i HATE "Burgle" rogue (A.k.a. Tempo rogue with Maestra + gnolls) Also it's pretty funny that SI:7 Smuggler is back to it's "bugged" version, lets hope this makes questline rogue playable again.
Also some interesting interactions for wild/standard thanks to new mana breakpoints with Tess Greymane:
Tess Greymane + Tenwu of the Red Smoke for a 2nd Tess Greymane in 1 turn
Tess Greymane + Shadowstep, then next turn play 5 mana tess into another Shadowstep for 2 tesses in 1 turn. This 1 mana change is going to slam down tesses so much more fun!
Warlock: Good changes for the abbysal deck. That deck is honestly pretty scary, so i'm glad it only got stat/mana buffs. Any kind of effect change could have made these deck very toxic/oppresive, so i'm glad they did the safe changes. But honestly these curse cards should have released like this, instead of being very overpriced/understatted dust cards. The murlock changes are good as well, it makes the deck a bit more aggresive. which will allow it to fight better for board.
Priest: Great changes, this is really good for questline priests, and control priests might be decent even without questline. Serpent Wig is interesting, maybe naga priest might work? Not sure though, but the +1 health buff is a very priest-like change. Also with Shadowcloth Needle buff... i'm not sure if it's good. Maybe shadow priest might run it now? Either way it's a lot better than before i guess.
Xhilag of the Abyss: Great change, now Xilag might actually feel good when you play him. After all, right now Xilag feels pretty bad to play just because it's honestly pretty meh. But now it deals double damage it might remove more minions, or it's a 8 mana burst with the upside that it might deal more dmg if not dealth with.
Hunter: Love these changes. This is good for board based hunter decks like BIG Hunter, which is really nice. Would love to see hunter return to board based stuff instead of "hehehe me no play board, me go face"... which felt HORRIBLE to play against.
Glad they nerfed Drekthar but maybe should have made him a 5 mana 5/6?
That would have been a buff, since that would let you run and pull 4-mana minions.
Yeah but only one.
Had really hoped for lightbomb to 5 and sprint to 5 (seeing as its terrible, rogue lacks draw and rogue is susposed to be good at draw)
and the 7 mana shaman naga to prefer enemies like solarian/rune of archmage and such cards
Also not a fan at all of curses being buffed in anyway, i really hope they dont become remotly playablle stimm,; cause if they are thats gonna be terrible as helll play experience
Nobody was playing Sira'kess Cultist for the stats and Dragged Below was just an overall shit card. If they were going to buff the mechanic, I'm glad they went with the two worst pieces. Realistically, those buffs will help it against Aggro decks and not really change the matchup vs. Control.
I know no one was playing it, thats what i want for curse lock.
And just helping vs aggro , makes it better overall and more playable, which is not soemthing i want to see at all., and vs control can tamsinn plus both of the single target curse spells now in 1 turn.
Curses if playable are just toxic, so iid rather they dint get buffs at all, if theyd have had a 30% winrate thatd be completly fine
I very much understand disliking curse-lock, but on the scale of warlock decks that suck to play against, it's pretty good. At least it produces some interesting games where you maintain a full hand and block their win condition. I'd take that over The Demon Seed every day.