Hearthstone Patch 21.0.3 nerfs 8 Standard cards, changes 5 Battlegrounds heroes

The metas in both of these formats will be shifting. Here’s what you need to know.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone’s newest expansion, United in Stormwind, is receiving its first balance update through Patch 21.0.3.

The upcoming patch, officially releasing tomorrow, will bring a wide range of nerfs to cards in Standard. It will also buff many underperforming heroes within the Battlegrounds mode.

Here are all the changes and everything you need to know about Patch 21.0.3.

Standard updates

  • Incanter’s Flow
    • Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 3]
  • Il’gynoth
    • Old: [Costs 4] 2 Attack, 6 Health → New: [Costs 6] 4 Attack, 8 Health
  • Battleground Battlemaster
    • Old: [Costs 5] → New: [Costs 6]
  • Kolkar Pack Runner
    • Old: [Costs 2] 2 Attack, 3 Health → New: [Costs 3] 3 Attack, 4 Health
  • Granite Forgeborn
    • Old: 4 Attack, 5 Health → New: 4 Attack, 4 Health
  • Conviction (Rank 1) (and each of its three ranks)
    • Old: [Costs 1] → New: [Costs 2]
  • Flesh Giant
    • Old: [Costs 8] → New: [Costs 9]

Every card listed here is eligible for full dust refunds for two weeks after Patch 21.0.3 goes live.

Standard meta implications

Since seven of the eight nerfs are mana increases, these changes will have a tremendous impact on all of the top-tier decks dictating the standard meta right now. Because both aggro and control lists are having their key cards increased in mana costs, the game will slow down by a considerable margin, allowing for a slower meta to potentially form.

While Shaman did have its Granite Forgeborn receive a slight nerf in health, there’s a chance that the class will still be a potent force in the meta.

Battlegrounds updates

Returning hero

Image via Blizzard Entertainment
  • Shudderwock
    • Old: Burbling [Costs 1] Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice. → New: Snicker-snack [Costs 0] Add a 1/1 Shudderling to your hand that repeats all Battlecries you’ve played. (Twice per game).

Hero updates

  • Dancin’ Daryl
    • Hat Trick
      • Old: [Passive] After you sell a minion, randomly give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1 twice. → New: [Passive] After you sell a minion, randomly give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1 three times.
  • Fungalmancer Flurgl
    • Gone Fishing
      • Old: [Passive] After you sell a Murloc, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern. → New: [Passive] After you sell a minion, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern.
  • Maiev Shadowsong
    • Imprison
      • Old: [Costs 1] Make a minion in Bob’s Tavern Dormant. After 3 turns, get it with +1/+1. → New: [Costs 1] Make a minion in Bob’s Tavern Dormant. After 3 turns, get it with +2/+2.
  • Malygos
    • Arcane Alteration
      • Old: [Costs 0] Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier. → New: [Costs 0] Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier. (Twice per turn).

Battlegrounds meta implications

A reworked Shudderwock effectively adds an exciting new hero to the pool. Since you can repeat your Battlecries twice with two free Shudderlings, you’re allowed to either use them for early-game tempo or hold onto them for late-game value.

If you manage to find token units like Alleycat or Murloc Tide Hunter, they can grant you quick access to guaranteed triples that can snowball the game at a fast rate compared to other heroes. For late game, potent abilities like Menagerie Jug, Strongshell Scavenger, and Primalfin Lookout can secure a healthy lead after you’ve hit your early triples.

Since you’re only allowed to use Shudderwock’s hero power twice in a game, you aren’t going to find a triple of the Shudderling outside of Rafaam and Murozond shenanigans from your opponent.

The four other changes coming to Battlegrounds will buff heroes that have either historically struggled or couldn’t find a footing in the meta after receiving earlier nerfs.

Fungalmancer Flurgl is a tribe-specific hero that oftentimes could either roll a lobby and get first place or flounder and finish last if you failed to find any Murlocs. Now that Gone Fishing triggers on any minion sold, the consistency for Fungalmancer Flurgal will give him a better shot at finding less polarized placements.

Maiev Shadowsong was one of the strongest Battlegrounds heroes in the game when she first entered the game mode, even after receiving multiple changes designed to weaken her. It was only after her most recent nerf, which made a minion Dormant for three turns as opposed to two, that ultimately made her more vulnerable and relegated her to the bottom tiers.

Now that the minion targeted with her Imprison hero power gains +2/+2, she can recover some lost tempo while she tries to fish for more triples.

Malygos was always a skill-testing hero due to the amount of knowledge you needed to understand which tavern tier to reroll. While an ample amount of skill was needed to succeed, Malygos’ hero power was still incredibly luck-dependent and inconsistent compared to other top-tier characters.

Now that Arcane Alteration can be used twice in one turn, you can spend time in the early Tavern Shops trying to find efficient token and economy units and improve your odds at finding a triple.

Arena balance update

“We’ve updated the appearance rate of cards to ensure class balance remains close to the ideal 50 percent win-rate,” Blizzard said. “Specifically, the win-rate of Druid, Warrior, and Demon Hunter should now be decreased. The win-rate of Mage, Priest, Rogue, and Shaman should now be increased. The win-rate of the other classes should be roughly the same as before.”

Bug fixes and game improvements

  • Updated the Stealer of Souls animation to now only trigger if the card ends up in your hand (it does not trigger for cards that are Cast When Drawn, such as Soul Shards). The animation will also no longer trigger if the drawn card already costs Health instead of Mana (such as when you have two Stealer of Souls in play).
  • Fixed card text errors for Psyfiend and Florist (no functional change to either).
  • Fixed a bug where Prismatic Jewel Kit would trigger when effects returned a Divine Shield minion to the owner’s hand or moved a Divine Shield minion from the owner’s hand to the owner’s deck.
  • Fixed a bug where Seek Guidance (the Priest questline) would sometimes count the original Cost of cards, instead of the Cost actually paid for the card.
  • Fixed a bug where the Initiate Set version of Eye Beam did not properly display card art in the Collection Manager.
  • Fixed a bug where Reborn Rites, The Lich King’s Battlegrounds hero power, caused players to disconnect from the game server.
  • Added interactions between Pave the Way (part of the Paladin Questline) and Duels-specific hero powers.
  • Fixed various bugs in Book of Heroes Gul’dan and Book of Heroes Illidan.
  • Fixed a bug where Duels achievements were not tracking properly.
  • Fixed a bug where Witchwood collection achievements triggered even though the requirements were not yet met.
  • (Updated) Fixed a bug where completing all Book of Heroes installments would not display the proper achievement or give the proper award. All players who have already completed all 10 Book of Heroes will automatically receive the proper award of a Golden Standard pack at a later date.

You can try out the new Battlegrounds hero and Duels meta tomorrow when Hearthstone Patch 21.0.3 goes live.