The patch will feature both nerfs and buffs in Standard and Battlegrounds alike. Though no specific changes were revealed, the targets are quite easy to figure out considering just how dominant Demon Hunters are on the ladder and how crushing Nagas are in BGs.
The usual suspects
A quick look at the win-rate charts makes it fairly obvious what cards and classes the developers will be targeting this time around. The previous balance patch left Demon Hunters untouched, with Team 5 member Gallon specifically noting that they will keep an eye on the class. It was expected to perform very well after its strongest counters were nerfed, and since it was able to tech against every other emerging matchup, Aggro Demon Hunter became the dominant deck of the format.
A big problem card is Drek’thar with its massive tempo swings at a very early turn, and it’s difficult to see how the developers will touch this card, considering it was a special reward in the Fractured in Alterac Valley set, one they later made available for in-game gold purchase in its Diamond version.
The other card on top of everyone’s lists is Multi-Strike, a spell that does a great job with the Demon Hunter class fantasy but one that synergizes way too well with Dreadprison Glaive, significantly boosting the deck’s damage output.
A set of unspecified buffs are also coming to Hearthstone in the balance patch, and as we’ve seen from past examples like Luna’s Pocket Galaxy, they can have a significant impact on the metagame as well.
Nagas. Nagas everywhere
Meanwhile in Battlegrounds, it’s the same old thing: a new tribe is added, and it dominates the format. Just like Quilboars and Elementals, Nagas arrived in an overtuned state, crowding out any other late-game strategy thanks to their incredible scaling.
The combination of Lava Lurker making Spellcraft effects permanent, plus all the added stats provided by Critter Wrangler and Tidemistress Athissa is impossible to match by any non-Naga build. It is most likely the developers will adjust the tribe’s late-game scaling potential rather than what they’re capable of dishing out on the lower Tavern Tiers, since other tribes can still make relevant tempo plays at that portion of the game before falling behind.
The balance patch will go live on May 19, Thursday. With two obvious nerf candidates around, not to mention a couple of buffs coming along, major shakeups are to be expected in both Standard and Battlegrounds, which is always a great time for Hearthstone enthusiasts.