Blizzard is nerfing two key cards to two of the most dominant decks in their supremely popular digital card game, Hearthstone.
Minion cards Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard, lynchpins of Rogue and Hunter decks, each received nerfs curtailing their effectiveness.
Legendary minion Leeroy Jenkins deals six damage when he attacks—and he attacks fast. Leeroy is a key part of many Hearthstone decks because it also has the “charge” ability, which allows the player to attack with it the turn it is played rather than waiting until the next turn. This immediate dose of six damage has made the card a popular finisher.
The card is a lynchpin of the Miracle Rogue deck, named for its ability to miraculously deal 20 damage or more in a single turn with little or no board control.
“Fighting for board control and battles between minions make an overall game of Hearthstone more fun and compelling, but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not particularly fun or interactive,” Blizzard stated in a post discussing the reasoning behind the change.
The mana cost of Leeroy Jenkins will be raised from four to five. This limits the ability of players, especially Rogues, to use it as a part of extended finishing combinations.
Reaction to this change has been mixed. While Miracle Rogue was widely considered overpowered prior to the release of the Curse of Naxxramas adventure, some believed the 30 cards it added helped to counter its effectiveness.
Miracle Rogue might still be viable, but with a different focus. Older variations of the deck had included such cards as Malygos, a nine-mana legendary minion that provides a dramatic boost of five spell damage.
Starving Buzzard was changed in a much more dramatic fashion.
The cost of the card will be bumped up a full three mana, from two to five. The minion’s stats will be raised from two attack and one defense to three attack and two defense. The Buzzard allows a Hunter to draw a card each time they play a minion with the “beast” designation, an ability that remains untouched.
This change will shift the card from one used heavily in combos to more of a mid-game tool.
Early opinions have been mostly positive on the recomposition of Starving Buzzard. The use of the card in conjunction with other Hunter cards like Unleash the Hounds, which often resulted in the player instantly drawing several cards at a relatively low cost, were seen by many as unfair.
It remains to be seen if the new edition of the Starving Buzzard will still have some usability.
The change is set to go live on September 22. Blizzard has promised that no further changes will be made to the game between then and November’s Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon.
Poor Leeroy. At least he’s got chicken.
Image via Blizzard