A lot of card changes were just announced by Blizzard, and since I am online right now I decided to make a quick overview of all the card changes.
Just as a point, to excuse my failure Paint skills, the changes were just announced so nobody made a nice image of them, so I just print screened them on Blizzard’s site and cut the images on Paint.
We all know the rant that has been going around the community lately regarding the state of the game, and I have to congratulate the whole Hearthstone community for making so much noise. Fact is: we did it! We changed the game, we made it better! and all of this was possible only because of the massive cries of the community towards the developer team. Another interesting thing is that I believe this actually changed Blizzard, and that we might have a much better Hearthstone in the future!
Well, with no more delays, let’s introduce you to the changes and discuss them!
Alright so the first card they pick to nerf was Rockbiter Weapon, and somehow I believe the choice was made simply because of the overall power level of the card being above others of other basic set cards.
Rockbiter Weapon was a totally balanced card at 1 mana, but the overall synergy the card had with other Shaman mechanism (Windfury) just used to make the card slightly better than others of the other classes. Another point is that Rockbiter was only used in Aggressive Shaman builds (both Midrange and Aggro), so this change is likely to not make future Control Shaman lists unviable, simply because it has nothing to do with them.
Overall I like the change, of course I don’t think it was needed but it was a good bandage given the power level of Shaman in today’s standard. Another good point is that it nerfs possible OTK combos in the future that would play around Charge minions with windfury and Rockbiter Weapon.
Will it still be playable? Possible, but I highly doubt.
The second most complained card in today’s metagame was Tuskarr Totemic, I even discussed him as an example of Badly Designed Cards because of how unfair his battlecry would feel when rolled high on the randomness.
Well, no more! Tuskarr Totemic changed into a fair card! This change was the most suggested one by far and I believe Blizzard simply adopted it.
Will it still be playable? This change, despite being a strong one, won’t make Tuskarr Totemic bad, or unplayable. The fact is: it’s still an above-the-curve effect for a 3/2 minion at 3 mana, which still adds to Totem Sinergy and can lead to calculated turns depending on outcome. Getting Spell Damage totem is still huge, given both maelstrom-portal and spirit-claws, and Healing Totem can still help a lot. I don’t think this card will stop seeing play at all, just believe that it’ll stop being overpowered.
I loved this change, and I believe this is what Tuskarr Totemic should’ve been since the begining. However, back in the day Shaman was horrible, and Blizzard wanted to make overpowered cards for Shamans to try and bring the up to the top.
Call of the Wild
Well, everybody saw this coming, didn’t we?
The fact this card was overperforming at 8 mana was not just simply making Hunters good (read: not “too good” though), but was also limiting Blizzard card development in the Hunter department. Fact is: They couldn’t simply make good early game Hunter cards because Call of the Wild would give Hunters the perfect BrokeBack (brainless) curve to work with, and nobody wants to see what happened back in the Secret Paladin days repeat itself again, NO!
So, as a way to prevent those things from happening as well as give Hunters room to get more cool cards in the future, this change was applied.
Will it still be playable? I believe so, but on a much different scale than it is nowadays. Call of the Wild is literally played in every single Hunter build there is as a 2-of. With the cost heightened to 9 mana, I don’t think people will be playing two copies of this card anymore. However, it is still a very powerful one, even at 9 mana simply because of its powerful multi-tasked effect, and I believe running this as a 1-of is still highly viable. I do believe, though, that Hunters need more tools from future sets, but that is fine because Blizzard can do that.
Warrior Removal was too good, so Blizzard made this small change to Execute. My opinion? I believe it still is too good, but at least now they have room to work with card design.
Remember back at crush how nobody but a few Reno Warrior lists used this card simply because Execute was so much better? It feels nice to have good removal in the game, but when all those are in the classic sec and so good as Execute was at one mana it feels hard to make something better without literally breaking the game.
Will it still be playable? At two mana I don’t believe Execute will stop seeing play at all. Changing Execute instead of fiery-war-axe was the correct choice in my opinion, as the Axe is kind of the Warrior’s signature card.
Execute, however, can now stop seeing play in case a better removal would show up, which is something that wouldn’t happen in case it was still a one mana card – at best people would just use both.
I dreamed about this! I had a dream where Charge was exactly this card!
I was deep into thinkering about my Four Examples of Badly Designed Cards analysis on arcane-giant and how everything would have just felt better if Charge didn’t exist. So I just kept thinking about ways on how to change Charge without removing its signature and just feel asleep. Voila!
The change to Charge makes it so OTK combos won’t happen with Charge anymore, which is amazing, this change also makes it so this card can still see play in the future if some Lifelink-like Ability is created by the developers, which just allows for even more card design, I love it!
Will is still be playable? Right now? No. But in the future? Highly likely. Blizzard can make tons and tons of awesome abilities to combo with the new Charge, but none of them OTK-ish.
Aggro was still too powerful despite the nerfs at knife-juggler and leper-gnome. So this could bring aggro down to the level of other strategies in Hearthstone.
At this point we don’t know that for sure, as Aggro is just so much better than Control in Hearthstone because of all these snowballing effects it has and how sweepers and removal are lacking, but everything can change accordingly if Blizzard does its job well in the card design department. Overall this change allows Blizzard to both make good Aggro cards without the fear of making the archetype overpowered, while also making Blizzard not need to build overpowered Control tools to make Control viable. Overall this change is awesome, and makes me feel better about playing decks I like in Hearthstone.
Will it still be playable? Not as a 2-of in every single Aggro deck in the game as it is right now, but I do believe Abusive Sergeant’s Battlecry is still quite powerful and unique to a point you’d still want to run him as a 1-of in a selected number of Aggro builds, such as a few Zoo lists. So yes, I do believe it will still be playable, just not a must-have anymore.
Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
So the changes are not written in the card, let’s just review them real quick:
- Overload now applies to Yogg-Saron-casted spells, which is an “ok” nerf. Blizzard called this a bug-fix, but I call that bullshit, it was a nerf.
- If Yogg-Saron dies, his effect will stop happening.
Alright, the second is the important point here, and the announced nerf.
By analyzing it a little deep, we notice how Blizzard didn’t want to remove Yogg from the game and still wanted it to be playable. I dislike this change, as Yogg is still a threat to the game’s Health, but a nerf is a nerf, and I am happy with it.
Yogg-Saron now is even more RNG oriented than it was before, but he has a lot less potential. Right now we have no idea if Yogg is, or isn’t, going to be decisive in high level games post-nerf as he is nowadays.
Blizzard kind of gambled here, because they didn’t want their precious Yogg to be banned from Standard or something like that, and instead they just made this change. I say they gambled because if Yogg is still relevant at Worlds, their team will get a massive loss of trust from the community, but in case it doesn’t affect the metagame, while still being a playable card, the community will praise them as they were able to calculate the outcome ideally.
Right now I have no idea if the card will still be the top-1 commented/hated card in the game, but I can for sure answer the question:
Will it still be playable? Yes, for sure. Decks like Malygos Druid will still want to run him. So will Tempo Mage, other decks? I have no idea right now. Will depend on if he is, or isn’t, as changed as Blizzard wants.
And this is the first time a nerf is announced that the overall community feedback was highly positive. People loved the changes, as all of them have their own effect on the game while still making their cards viable. I liked every one of them except the Yogg one, but I totally understand Blizzard’s point of view in not wanting to completely destroy a card they made.
Well, I hope these nerfs come quickly, as I don’t feel like playing Hearthstone with the current versions of these cards still in the game as they are, but I have high hopes for the future.
I also believe that Blizzard was too slow with the changes, they wanted to wait and see if the metagame was going to change itself, and it ultimately didn’t. Changes like the ones made with Tuskarr Totemic were just too obvious and should’ve happened months ago – Let’s hope Blizzard becomes more communicative with the community in the future.
At the same time, I kind of have to give them credit – all these nerfs seemed to be on point, and not way off like the warsong-commander or the starving-buzzard nerfs were, so we can easily notice how they are evolving together with the game and the community.
Love you guys, we’ll be seeing each other again very soon!