And so finally the nerfs that were announced last week were revealed, and it caught many people, including myself, completely off guard with the number and scope of the nerf bat.
A lot of class cards and things we weren’t counting on just got nerfed, so I figured it would be nice for you guys to have both the Pro and the Dev insight on the changes!
So with no further delays, let us begin!
Innervate now grants 1 crystal instead of 2.
I have discussed a few weeks ago, on my Facebook Page (it’s in Portuguese though), that the Druid’s overpowerness comes from innervate rather than other cards added to the game.
Tell you the truth, Innervate wasn’t just the most overpowered card in Hearthstone, it was one of the most overpowered Card Game’s cards of all. Having the power close to Black Lotus, what is generally considered the most broken card of all Card Games of all times, Innervate as-was had no place in Hearthstone.
With the massive amount of Card Draw added to druid this expansion in the form of ultimate-infestation I honestly don’t believe it’ll be a problem to still play Innervate. The nerf did not render the card unplayable and the effect of speeding up your game is still present on it.
I have a strong belief that this change won’t affect Druid’s playstyle, but it will for sure make it less dominant.
Note: To the discussion that counterfeit-coin will have a higher impact on its deck than Innervate due to combos, auctioneers and whatnot: Counterfeit Coin is a rotating card from an expansion, Innervate is an Eternal card from the basic set. That alone is enough explanation for them to have a different scope of utility despite being similar.
I believe this was the easiest change to be done. According to the Developer’s note on the nerf, they tested quite a lot of different interactions but they usually had too much text and felt weird in general.
While testing makes it better to determine what to do, Innervate is indeed a Basic card, and has no place having a big text. While the explanation for them not wanting to have Basic cards “be too complicated” seems wildly off (they say they don’t want it to be “confusing”), their desire to keep the Basic set…. Basic, is commendable and exactly what I would want them to do to the game. Note that most of these changes they do are aimed at the long term of Hearthstone, so the common player might not understand the change at first.
Fiery War Axe
Fiery War Axe now costs 3 mana instead of 2.
Fiery War Axe was one of the best removal in the game prior to the nerf, because it had the flexibility of becoming face damage, and because you would pay it in advance and get value out of it turns later.
While I do like the nerf, and once again would have done exactly the same, I realized that the say “there are no Warrior core 2-drop cards after the nerf” (or almost no 2-drop at all in Warrior) only isn’t true because they nerfed execute into a 2-mana card.
Blizzard will have to seriously add a few 2-drop cards to the Warrior core next expansion to keep the class alive after this nerf.
Fiery War Axe nerf is indeed as big as they’re calling it out to be. With the cost increased not only it renders a former top removal in the game barely-playable, it also makes it so Warrior has nearly nothing to play currently at curve-2.
Surely, armorsmith is a strong 2-drop that Warrior has always had, and Execute costs 2-mana (but you can’t curve it on turn 2), but the lack of efficient Tempo plays on turn 2 will render a class, that has a hero power that literally kills tempo, unplayable. I actually believe that at least until next expansion Warrior will not see any competitive play at all, not even as a Tier-3 deck holder.
Even Pirate Warrior, having nzoths-first-mate (and, therefore, a weapon) will lose enough consistency to be rendered unplayable.
Now that the Pro Insights are gone I can actually give the Dev team a bone for what they did here. While there will be a massive downgrade in Warrior’s playability, Blizzard had the chance of adding another flexible slot to the Warrior lists by essentially removing Fiery War Axe from the game.
Let’s be honest: As-was Fiery War Axe was going to see play in every Warrior deck until the end of times, and that isn’t something nice for the long-term when it comes to card games.
Also, the same thing said about Innervate applies here: many players have been constantly suggesting elaborated texts that makes more sense and wouldn’t make Fiery War Axe as bad as it became, but honestly the card can easily still be played on Warrior decks, even if just the most Basic decks, and since we’re talking about Basic set here (not just “Classic” set, but the Basic one!) it makes sense for the card to be the most intuitive (least text) possible.
Now costs 4 mana instead of 3.
Another card that I’d call “One of the best removal in the game” is Hex. At 3 mana it gets rid of any threat in the entire game for good. No Deathrattle, no Resurrect shenanigans, nothing: Just straight up gone for good.
While I do love Shamans, I have to admit having such a powerful removal in the Basic/Classic set is problematic to the least. Such a card existing makes it so the Developer’s can’t explore the game further by creating fun, new and exciting removal cards for the Shaman class ever.
At 4 mana, Hex gets downgraded to the power level of polymorph, but due to the lack of Fireblast (mage’s hero power) Hex becomes slightly weaker than Polymorph with this change.
Hex wasn’t even seeing play anyway. Token Shaman wasn’t running it so I don’t think Shaman’s gameplay will suffer because of this change. I understand that having the ability to Tech-in hard removal is always good, but in general Hex was just being used as a Tech for big dudes, and we’ll probably want to run the-black-knight over Hex as a tech in this metagame (as well as the coming metagame, probably).
Therefore, I don’t believe this change will affect Shamans, at least not right now.
Having room to create different cards is always good. Blizzard mentioned something about not really knowing what Shaman’s weaknesses were, but I honestly don’t think that was a problem in the long term. Shaman is generally seen (in both WoW and Hearthstone) as a “Jack of all trades, master of none” which usually gets replaced by “Master of them all” when it becomes overpowered, but since it is not “overpowered” right now we can just call Thrall that.
In general Shaman was indeed the “Master of Hard Removal”, so they had to nerf Hex just a little bit to keep the class identity intact, but between you and me here, I don’t think they even know that Shaman’s identity is what was just mentioned (despite having a feeling of it), and that the change announced was more intuitive and instinct-based than logical.
Your murlocs now get +2 attack only instead of +2 attack / +1 health.
No harm will be caused here. Murloc Warleader is still a beast, and this change is likely only happening because Blizzard wants to get rid of weird wild-pyromancer interactions happening very often. I mean, having to respond at least one support-ticket about this every hour or so should be annoying(I am serious about this).
As mentioned previously, no harm will be caused. The card is still a very potent and powerful 3-drop, and still has a very solid pool of Murlocs being played so it doesn’t become a problem, rockpool-hunter and vilefin-inquisitor are the real Murloc enablers and they were left untouched. In wild the card is also still powerful as the nerf doesn’t break our so beloved anyfin-can-happen combo.
If anything, Murlocs could become less overpowered, but since Druids are getting more nerfed than Murlocs this won’t be a problem.
Murloc is indeed a Classic tribe, so nerfing it for the sake of design space isn’t a reason for nerfing a card. As much of a joke as the explanation posted on the personal insight looks like, I actually believe it had a strong say in this nerf.
All in all, this change makes Murlocs less overpowered but only just slightly, which should be enough to make sure Murlocs won’t be the kings after the Druid’s nerfs go live.
Now costs 6 mana instead of 5 mana.
This card was just too broken for Druid. Blizzard likes keeping Class identities intact when they release cards, sometimes trying to make up for the class’ weaknesses with a set-card here and there, but nothing came so close to Spreading Plague before. A card that completely fix a Class’ weakness and actually turns it into a strength is just too game breaking and had to go.
I actually believe that the power of this card isn’t even it in being Overpowered, but actually in it turning a class’ weakness into a strength, and that haven’t changed.
I have a strong feeling players will start testing this card once again as a 1-of, but will eventually go back to playing 2 of those because as mentioned: it turns a weakness of a class into a strength, so the mana cost isn’t really what makes the card so powerful, it just made the card completely broken.
So, I have a strong belief that the card will not only still be playable, but that it will end up still being played as a 2-of and will still be a problem, not because it is overpowered, but because it is in the class that wants it the most.
The nerf makes sense: The developers probably see this card as too powerful on-curve, so they heightened the curve to see if it fixes itself. (that is also the reason why the Scarabs didn’t just go 1/4 instead).
In my opinion this was a “miss”. Because of the reasons mentioned previously, the card will still be a very powerful meta-changing card for the rest of its existence as long as it doesn’t get changed again, so despite the developers not wanting to render the card useless with a nerf, they might be making it so they’ll be called upon to make another change in the foreseeable future.
Not-Nerfing Ultimate Infestation
So they didn’t nerf UI, and I actually agree with them.
10-mana cards should be powerful, and 10-mana rotating cards should feel powerful enough. This card isn’t a Yogg: You can expect it. It is indeed a very powerful one, but no 10-mana card has been played before without the objective of being a finisher, and this card is just different than what we have seen before.
Blizzard also mentioned it wasn’t one of the problematic cards at their data, but I have to admit they were a little bit naive on the data itself since players will always be mulliganing for Ramps and Innervates instead of for 10-mana cards (therefore, winning less games with it than they do when they draw Innervate).
So this article turned out being a lot bigger than I expected, but I guess it is fine, I almost got a hand-ache because of this though.
Writing this was fun regardless of how tired I got, because it allows me to give different insights and let you, my beloved reader, get the point of view of not only the player, but also the developer.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article, and I would very much want to hear your opinions on the matter!
Let me know everything in the comments section below!
Love you guys,