[Updated on August 15]

Final Update: Hopefully this is going to be the final word on the matter, with everything listed below now fully taking hold. We'll keep you posted should anything else come up, but the latest messages from Hearthstone's Team 5 have sounded rather decisive.  

Quote From DeckTech
This update that was initially planned for 8/11 is now live in all regions! Guff has officially been banned in Duels deckbuilding. Arena adjustments. Bug fixes. Should all be good now.

Server-side hotfix so, once again, nothing to download. By now it should be live everywhere. If you haven't been following all these updates as they happened, you can expand the 'spoiler tag' below to get the full picture of how the whole situation unfolded. This way we should avoid any unnecessary confusion. 

The Troubled Paused Hotfix

Another small Hearthstone hotfix patch (technically the first of this type for the expansion) is on the way, and it should make some Duels and Arena players quite happy. As is usually the norm in these cases, it's all taking place server-side, with no added downloads being necessary. But that also makes it harder to tell just when or if the changes have already taken place in one's region. 

Quote From DeckTech
It's immediate once the patch goes out, and it usually takes a few hours for these patches to be live on all servers.

Unfortunately, it would seem that the initial deployment of the patch had to be halted, for reasons that still remain unclear (you can find some speculation on one potential issue below): 

Quote From Blizzard
8/11 Second Update:

Today’s hotfix was paused due to an issue with the patch. The team is working on the issue and will launch this patch again once the issue is resolved.

Update #1: No good news, the problems only continue. But we got a number of unexpected leaks (followed by developer comments) on some of the upcoming balance changes as a result. 

Update #2: Alas, not quite fully there yet. But at least some fixes should be active by now.

Quote From DeckTech
you said the hotfix was paused yesterday. Is it still paused or has it gone out ?

That one’s in a bit of a weird state, actually. The server-side aspects of it are out, but the “new/returning deck claim” and Guff Duels ban are not. Haven’t updated because the Guff thing is the one most are waiting for.

[…] they were trying for before the weekend, but the live issue today took a bit of attention away from that.

Quote From DeckTech
Not 100%, but they think they Arena changes are live.

Wishful thinking, or at least the Arena community doesn't believe that's the case. Still in the waiting room over there.

Now with everything properly active at long last, we can confirm the notorious Guff card's ban is indeed in effect for that one special game mode. So let's start there.

Duels - Guff Hero Card Retired

Quote From Blizzard
In Duels, banned Wildheart Guff from deckbuilding.

First it was Twig of the World Tree, and now the time has come for the wannabe 20 Mana offender Wildheart Guff. Apparently Guff only ever did everything wrong. Hmm, if only we could extend this ban to Constructed. 

For Duels specifically, this naturally affects not only Omu, but Elise and Drek'Thar as well (let's just say Drek was one of the top choices for a reason). Smooth ramping might just've become a lot more difficult. 

Wildheart Guff Card Image

As Modes Design Lead Matt London put it:

Quote From Matt London
Duels: Ates wanted to drop the mic and the mic is Wildheart Guff.

Referring here to now former Duels overlord Ates Bayraktaroglu, who parted his ways with Hearthstone's Team 5 just a week ago. He still remains at Blizzard, working on another project ("Unannounced Survival Game"), but our modest community has definitely taken a sizable blow. This kind of passion and activity is always hard to match. 

Before taking off, Ates did promise that Druid would "get a nerf in the near future" (so that didn't take long), as well as noted again that buffs for the newest Duels Hero Darius Crowley are bound to arrive before long.

Arena Adjustments

Somewhat annoyingly, we only ever get the most general notes when it comes to Arena balance: 

Quote From Blizzard
In Arena, the appearance rates of many cards across all classes and neutral have been adjusted.

For what it's worth, Matt London had a little more context to offer here: 

Quote From Matt London
Arena: We lowered the appearance rate of the worst performing cards and increased the appearance rate of the best cards for lowest-performing classes.

We also lowered the appearance rate of some power outliers in the best classes.

And yes, that's still pretty vague. We do know that before this hotfix patch got properly deployed, the Arena rankings over at HSReplay were set as follows:

  • Mage and Hunter leading the pack (53-54% winrate).
  • Priest and Paladin keeping a step behind (49-50%).
  • Demon Hunter and Warlock staying in the middle (46-47%), with Shaman and Druid next in line (44%).
  • Rogue and Warrior being the lowest (41-42%).

We'll have to keep an eye on how the power levels might be shifting from now on. As for which new cards were the potent bane of our runs thus far, you don't have to look far - take Mage's Location or Hunter's Wildseeds for example. While Forensic Duster might've been the most impactful pick among Neutrals.

Nightcloak Sanctum Card Image Spirit Poacher Card Image Wild Spirits Card Image Forensic Duster Card Image


And then we have the rest: 

Quote From Blizzard

  • Fixed a bug that occurred for players who triggered the free new/returning player deck condition before Patch 24.0, but then did not claim the deck until after Patch 24.0.
  • Fixed a bug where Collateral Damage would deal the wrong amount of damage if copied (such as by Twinbow Terrorcoil).
  • Fixed a bug where playing and attacking with the weapon selected from Suspicious Pirate would result in your opponent being offered a version missing one Durability.
  • Fixed a small visual bug with Decimator Olgra’s intro animation.

We knew the Collateral Damage interaction was not working as intended, but we still don't quite know just how exactly it's supposed to behave when following after Twinbow Terrorcoil. Even complex investigations have been conducted. To put it in simpler terms - the doubled 'overflow' damage from the initial shot's kills should now no longer be happening, and this in a way could be considered an indirect nerf to the current Face Hunter decks. 

Collateral Damage Card Image Twinbow Terrorcoil Card Image

We talked more about this updated returning player experience before the expansion (being offline for 120 days or more should trigger the now repeatable condition), and we also have all of the available decks conveniently listed here.

While the problem mentioned above should now be resolved, the early hotfix patch reports have also indicated that even some of the active players - who shouldn't ever qualify - were now getting the pop-up to pick a free deck. Perhaps that's why this hotfix patch's deployment was initially halted? After all, we already did have one Dustgate drama at the start of the year. If you found yourself among this crowd, best don't expect you'll get to keep anything. And don't try to dust these 'free cards', just to be on the safe side.


For full context, you can find our previous compilation of 'Known Issues and Fixes' for Murder at Castle Nathria over here: 

With this hotfix patch, a few more entries have also been added to the larger list:

Quote From Blizzard

  • [Added 8/11] The team is aware that Sinful Brand is not dealing damage in certain circumstances. The team is investigating the issue.

  • [Added 8/11] The team is aware that the “One of the Classic Blunders” Achievement has, well, fallen victim to one of the classic blunders. It currently tracks not when you tricked your opponent with Suspicious cards, but when they trick you.

  • [Added 8/11] The team is aware of players having difficulty completing the “Flower Power” Achievement. The team is investigating the issue.


At least they are aware of the problematic achievements. 

And while Sinful Brand (or Demon Hunter for that matter) isn't exactly being played much in Constructed as of right now, it's certainly a nuisance elsewhere - I know I've already lost at least one Arena game thanks to the evil bug. 

Sinful Brand Card Image

And before all that, there was one more crucial note: 

Quote From Blizzard
The team is aware of some players having difficulty while trying to edit their Mercenaries Parties on mobile, like being unable select certain Mercs from the Party screen. While the team works on the issue, we have identified some workarounds for this issue:

1) select a selectable Merc on your team and hold down until the U.I wiggles, that will loosen things up and let you select your other Mercs; 2) select a selectable Merc and move it to over the collection area and then back into the Party; or 3) play on desktop–the issues we’re tracking seem to be isolated to mobile.

If you've attempted to play Mercenaries on mobile during the past few months, chances are you already know all about the bugged UI and painful experiences. The team has since managed to fix some of the previous bugs, yet these new ones (potentially even worse) just rose up to take their place. Very unfortunate. 

Do you believe we are headed for a better Duels experience without Guff? And what about your Arena feelings for the current rotation and the new Castle Nathria cards so far? Anything else that stands out here?