In the recent Patch 25.0.3 that came just a few days after the new expansion launch, Blizzard decided to bless the Hearthstone community with a little bit of card balance. While players were aware of some unhealthy interactions taking place on ladder, what caught us off guard was the patch's timing: huge props to Team 5 for the extra work! This time around we received a total of two main card changes, and two temporary adjustments:
- Sire Denathrius - Now endlessly Infuses for (2) (up from 1).
- Shockspitter - Cost is now 3 mana (up from 2).
- Grim Patron - Now doesn't leave back a corpse when it dies.
- Gruntled Patron - Now doesn't leave back a corpse when it dies.
Although small, this is a meaningful balance patch: while Team 5 has stated that more is to come, the two implemented nerfs will contribute to make the new March of the Lich King meta more enjoyable. While Sire Denathrius had a mark on his back for several months, the devs did not lose any time with Shockspitter and the non-games it allowed.
Disclaimer: While Shockspitter is eligible for dust refunds like any other nerfed card, regular Sire Denathrius has been given out for free to everyone, so only its golden version will be disenchantable for full value.
Moreover, Grim Patron and Gruntled Patron cannot be disenchanted for full value. Not yet, at least: Team 5 really wanted to find a solution to the Corpse Explosion interaction before it became too popular, so it's reasonable to expect a refund window to open up in the following weeks.
Balance, Bans & Unbans, The Future
This balance update was reserved for only the most standout cards immediately after expansion unlock. We’ll continue to keep our eye on how the metagame develops and make any further adjustments needed in our next balance window, reserved for a few weeks from now.
- Old: Lifesteal. Battlecry: Deal 5 damage amongst enemies. Endlessly Infuse (1): Deal 1 more.
- New: Lifesteal. Battlecry: Deal 5 damage amongst enemies. Endlessly Infuse (2): Deal 1 more.
- Old: [Costs 2]
- New: [Costs 3]
As for the Patron brothers, they were initially banned, but the situation rapidly changed, as they got unbanned and modified so that they don't leave the corpse behind (if you want to know more click here). Celestalon did confirm that this is just a temporary solution, so we should expect more to come.
Heads up! Grim Patron and Gruntled Patron will be unbanned in a new hotfix that will roll out today. Both minions will no longer leave Corpses. This will address the unintended interaction with Corpse Explosion. More updates to come!
(This is not the final solve for this interaction, still temporary, just better to leave it this way instead of totally banned for the moment. Hoping to get a more final fix out next week that preserves both cards' functionality, without going infinite.)
However, we cannot help but notice that, once again, there's a card we would've loved to see addressed: Brann Bronzebeard. A fun card, which allows a lot of crazy combos; however, 2022's power level is much, much higher than it was back in 2015, so doubling many Battlecries is bound to break the game.
Team 5 confirmed that they'll keep an eye on him, so the hope is that we'll receive some news on the matter very soon.
Any eyes on Brann? It seems that without Brann doubling a lot of these effects they are not as obnoxious.
Definitely have eyes on Brann
In this article, we're going to evaluate each of these changes, trying to predict what they'll mean for Constructed.
Now endlessly Infuses for (2) (up from 1).
In the end, someone did manage to kill Daddy D: Sire Denathrius could not find any worthy opponents in the Shadowlands, so it took the King of the Undead to find lethal. We'd like to split our thoughts on this card in two halves.
First up, the positive half. Sire Denathrius gave many decks a finisher worth to be called that way, turning many half-baked archetypes that could not close games into remarkable meta contenders. Moreover, Denathrius supplied healing, something not every class had (and has) access to.
On the other hand, Sire Denathrius proved to scale way too fast, especially in classes that have a focus on tokens like Druid. Moreover, many cards (Brann Bronzebeard, Shadowstep, Wildheart Guff) allowed the players to double its Battlecry or combine it with other cards, making Denathrius even more overtuned.
With the Infuse requirement brought up to 2 mana, Sire Denathrius won't be as generally good as it used to be anymore: players will now have to commit more deck slots into making it a worthy finisher. For this reason, we expect its playrate to drop significantly, however without reaching zero: decks like Ramp Druid will still look forward to it, as 20 mana and lots of tokens from various sources are bound to foster Denathrius' battlecry more than enough.
Cost is now 3 mana (up from 2).
A minion with a potential that Team 5 did not predict very well. During the first days of the expansion, players came up with a strategy that revolved around playing several weapons (so that you were able to attack as frequently as possible) and different ways to replicate Shockspitters's Battlecry (Brann Bronzebeard and Youthful Brewmaster for extra Battlecries, Selective Breeder for extra copies).
In the end, players were able to chain Shockspitters with a juiced up Battlecry, closing games as soon as turn 5. It is clear that, during development, Team 5 didn't intend this minion to cover such a role, hence the nerf.
With Shockspitter's cost being 3 mana now, players won't be able to close out games as soon as they did, but at the same time its role stays the same, meaning that it will remain a decent option for your Hunter decks.
Grim Patron & Gruntled Patron
Technically not a nerf, but an emergency hotfix that aims to prevent a certain interaction from taking place. To be more specific, this change wants to avoid the Grim Patron/Gruntled Patron combo with Death Knight's Corpse Explosion.
Said interaction wasn't necessarily overpowered, but it took (and still takes) a lot of time to execute and infused Sire Denathrius many, many times. All in all, this is more of a "feeling" change rather than a data driven one.
What do you think about these nerfs? Are there any other cards you'd like Team 5 to address in the future? Let us know in the comments below!