Now this is the kind of article I wanted to write but didn’t have enough time to.
Standard is around the corner, and while we don’t know what cards are going to get nerfed, what new cards will get added or which decks will be the top ones, there are a couple of universal knowledge that most of us should have access to in order to be prepared for this transition.
Earlier this week there were some news regarding Standard that could be extracted from a very big Dev interview that can be found here, and I would like to comment on them so you guys could see everything on a different angle.
I hope all this read can clear some thoughts regarding the announcements, have a nice read!
Latest Standard News and Explanations
Until this very moment there are a couple of information already known to us regarding standard and cards that might be altered:
We know both leper-gnome and knife-juggler have a very high chance of nerf, this proves two things:
- Blizzard is concerned about Aggro power in Hearthstone. Aggro is being consistently better than other decks in the game and that is lowering the competitive level’s standards.
- They want variety to hit decks across the table. Both Leper Gnome and Knife Juggler are widely played in most aggro types of decks because of how powerful they are, and it is very hard to make other cards playable, regardless of strategy or type, without making them borderline broken (see: mad-scientist and shielded-minibot type of cards). With the nerf of both Leper Gnome and Knife Juggler, other classes will have to look into different cards to fill in those slots without making their deck necessarily weaker. This brings a lot of variety to the table that wouldn’t exist if these cards were to still be the same post-standard.
I personally like the second explanation a lot more than the first, but Aggro indeed would be a lot strong post-rotation without a precise nerf to its roots.
We know a couple of Druid Basic cards are going to be nerfed:
- This happens because these basic cards were made too powerful, making it so there was only one type of very powerful Druid deck that would always stand up on top of others. That deck was oppressive and powerful, and nothing that Blizzard would publish could be better than that.
- Blizzard wants their player base to feel refreshed every expansion, with different possibilities and strategies. Druid was the only class in the game that couldn’t change its game plan without making it desperately weaker. Nothing Blizzard could make up for the Druid Class would feel better than a consistent Midrange Deck with potential to beat every deck in the game and an OTK (One Turn Kill) combo.
- OTK decks aren’t Blizzard’s most loved decks, and they all end up being nerfed. Druid’s deck have the possibility with just a couple of cards on an empty board to deal over 20 damage, killing an opponent regardless of what happened previously. And despite a preparation and mindgame being behind it, it felt -most of the times- unfair.
- The instant mana acceleration power of cards like innervate has been proven across multiple card games to be a terrible mistake. Black Lotus is the most famous Magic: The Gathering banned card for a reason, and that card is extremely similar to Innervate.
As you can see, there are multiple reasons for a big nerf bat to hit the Druid class. Innervate is probably going to take a hit, and so is one of the Combo pieces: either savage-roar or force-of-nature are supposed to change. I don’t believe Blizzard should simply nerf one of these cards, because:
- Savage Roar is too powerful.
- Force of Nature is too bad without Savage Roar.
Even if Roar would go up to 4 Mana it would still be good, while going up to 5 mana would make it unplayable. Meanwhile, Force of Nature is only playable because of the oppressive combo, and there would be no reason to play it in case it gets nerfed. Thinking on this I believe the correct course of action is to rework these cards into less damaging ones. However, given Blizzard’s storic in destroying previously nerfed cards, don’t get surprised if these cards become unplayable post-nerf.
ancient-of-lore and keeper-of-the-grove aren’t really the cards they are looking to nerf.
I believe I saw someone say a Dev of some sort said he thought both Keeper of the Grove and Ancient of Lore to be powerful cards. While that is true, they’re not unhealthy cards when it comes to game design.
- Ancient of Lore poses a weak body for a 7 mana card in exchange for a very versatile ability, and while that seems good, it isn’t the end of the world. Sure, once Dr. Boom rotates out of Standard Ancient of Lore might become the best 7-drop in the game, but that doesn’t make it broken the same way savannah-highmane is supposed to be the best 6-drop in the game post-rotation but isn’t broken as well.
- Meanwhile, Keeper of the Grove, despite being an awesome card, isn’t the best card around. Sure, the ability to Choose One is very powerful and versatile, but that is Druid’s trademark anyway!
- Both cards are very powerful, there is no denying that, but I don’t believe their existence is unhealthy for the game as they’re simply part of Druid’s basic core, and can be included in many different types of strategy to solidify them.
There are cards like innervate that are broken and unhealthy to the game, but there are also cards that are very good – yet not broken. Ancient of Lore and Keeper of the Grove are these kind of cards, and I don’t believe they’ll ever get nerfed.
Meanwhile, druid-of-the-claw is extremely powerful as a 5-drop in both its forms, and it would be used by most classes even if it was just a one-form-of card, if I were to bet my money on Classic Druid cards getting nerfed, this would be the one. Just an explanation: I still don’t think this is enough justification to nerf the card, as an Innervate and combo nerfs should be enough to make Druids stop being OP, however a nerf in some of Druid’s Classic cards could make room for differentiation between Druid decks.
And this is it for the small comments on the latest Standard news, I hope I was able to open your mind a little regarding the announcements and let’s just sit back and wait for Standard to hit!
I,… just,… can’t,… wait!!!!