Blizzard has announced it will change a number of Hearthstone cards following calls from the community and a review of its own data.
The Hearthstone meta-game is rather problematic at the moment. The ranked ladder is absolutely dominated by the Cube Warlock, Even Paladin, Murloc Paladin, Odd Paladin and Quest Rogue archetypes.
So Blizzard has swung the nerf hammer.
The first card on a long list of those getting changed is Spiteful Summoner. The card’s cost will increase from six mana to seven. Before the rotation earlier this year Spiteful Summoner decks had a chance of summoning an Old God or other terrible 10-mana cards, now that the pool of 10-mana cards is smaller Spiteful Summoner can summon a Deathwing or giant more effectively.
This change allows an opponent to deal with the minion Spiteful Summoner erm summons, more effectively.
Then, the Warlock issue.
With the release of Kobolds & Catacombs and cards such as Possessed Lackey, Voidlord, Dark Pact, and Carnivorous Cube, Warlock had enough survival tools to deal with both aggressive and controlling decks.
The first change Blizzard announced to a Warlock card was to Dark Pact. Rather than healing for eight, the card will now heal for four.
Blizzard explained in a blog post – “We left Dark Pact’s cost intact so it can still be used as part of interesting combos, but lessened the healing it provides so Warlocks will need to more carefully consider how much damage they take over the course of a match.”
Possessed Lackey will also receive a change in the form of a mana-cost increase. The card that will now cost six-mana, up from five.
Call to Arms, the Paladin spell that brings three minions that cost two or less into play is also getting a change. The card allows Paladin’s to bring a lot of power onto the board early on. The card’s mana cost will be increased from four to five, restricting its use in Even Paladin and reducing its power curve in other archetypes.
Perhaps the most problematic card on the Hearthstone roster since Warsong Commander, The Caverns Below, is also getting a change.
The Rogue quest launched last year with the Journey to Ungoro expansion was popular before it was nerfed last year. Now, with more tools to bounce minions back into their hand, the Rogue quest has seen a surge in popularity.
In a bid to nerf the card once and for all the reward for completing The Caverns Below – Crystal Core – will be changed. Once the update rolls out Crystal Core will make your minions 4/4 instead of 5/5.
“By changing the quest reward to make the resulting minions 4/4 instead of 5/5, Quest Rogue should still be a reasonable option versus slow, extreme late-game decks, but offer a less polarized matchup with more moderate control decks,” Blizzard explained.
The most important change to Hearthstone, however, is to a card that is not even in Standard play anymore – Naga Sea Witch.
The five-mana card that sets the cost of your other cards to five doesn’t seem all that good until you understand that the text allows players to get Giants on the board for zero mana.
While fun for the player, a board filled with 8/8 monsters at turn five is nearly impossible for an opponent to deal with.
In light of this Blizzard will change Naga Sea Witch to cost eight mana, but players will still be able to flood the board with giants.
“By increasing the cost of Naga Sea Witch to 8 mana, the deck’s concept remains intact, but the combo is delayed until later in a match when more decks are likely to have the tools to handle the arrival of so many giants,” said Blizzard.
This is a very good change and shows that Blizzard is listening to the Wild community, although we do wish this change had come down earlier.
The balance changes will come into effect “some time after HCT Playoffs” which conclude at the end of May.