Small Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws nerfs announced

The pirate package and aggro Shaman are in the firing line.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone‘s pirate problem is finally going to take a swift nerf bat to the face, after weeks of dominating the meta.

Small Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws, two cards that have played a significant part in Pirate and Shaman decks being the most popular in the game right now, will be changed in patch 7.1 before the end of February.

Small Time Buccaneer, along with Patches the Pirate, are part of the “pirate package,” which features in classes like Shaman, Warrior, and Rogue at an alarming rate on ladder since the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion. The Buccaneer’s health will be reduced from two to one, but will still be able to hit for three on turn two with a weapon in play.

Spirit Claws, which was part of the One Night in Karazhan adventure expansion, helps enable the pirate package in Shaman and plays a big part in the aggressive Shaman strategy. With the potential to be a three-attack weapon for one mana with no downside, its mana cost will now be increased to two.

While most players are celebrating this hit to the power level of pirate and Shaman decks, some have pointed out that Reno Jackson and Kazakus continue to drive high-powered highlander decks.

As part of the 7.1 update, Hearthstone’s ranked ladder will also be undergoing some changes. The ladder will now have a series of break points at ranks 15, 10, and five. Once a player reaches those ranks, they will not be able to go below those ranks again no matter how many games they lose.

Pros reacting to the changes have been cautiously optimistic, though some believe the changes don’t go far enough.