Update 6.1.3.’s Impact on the Hearthstone Meta

With the upcoming nerfs to Rockbiter Weapon, Execute, and Yogg among others, did Blizzard go too far in attempting to balance their game?

Get your pitchforks ready, because Blizzard just announced the upcoming balance changes to seven cards in the game.

All of these changes will be nerfs, and while most are warranted, others have made certain cards completely useless in decks.

But isn’t that sometimes a good thing for cards that are overpowered?

Let’s break down each change:

The Card: Rockbiter Weapon

The Change: Change from one mana to two mana

Impact on the Meta:

This might be the biggest nerf in the patch in terms of impact, because making Rockbiter cost another mana delays combos for another turn, and renders others useless.

For instance, a Doomhammer/Double Rockbiter will now cost nine if you want to get in 16 damage in one turn. Or consider an Al-Akir combo with two Rockbiters; unless you have an Emperor Thaurissan, you can no longer have an 18 damage burst on turn 10.

Take this into consideration of the eventual removal of Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem in Standard, and Shaman may have to search for a new deck style, much to the delight of everyone who hates burst Shaman (like me).

Was this nerf fair: Yes

The Card: Tuskaar Totemic

The Change: Summons a random BASIC totem, not just any totem

Impact on the Meta:

Another option for Shaman was the totem deck, which emphasized getting as many totems out for Thing From Below, and that too will have a definite nerf.

To keep in line with a new card, Wicked Witchdoctor, Tuskaar won’t be able to bring out Mana Tide, Flametongue, or Golems with its battlecry…

And holy mother of Yogg, is that a relief. Nothing is more upsetting than a random two to four damage swing off of one RNG effect on turn three.

This may be horrible for those wanting to keep with their totem shamans, but they can at least still build up the Thing From Below, Primal Fusion or any other cards without being completely broken.

Was this nerf fair: Yes

The Card: Call of the Wild

The Change: Change from eight mana to nine mana

Impact on the Meta:

This one was obvious, as having eight mana to get all three companions was just too much value.

You essentially had a five damage burst, a 5/4 taunt, and a 2/4 body that buffed any other minion with one attack, all for the price of eight mana.

Imagine if this was one minion: technically, it would be a 12/10 taunt/charge with a +1 damage buff to all other minions. But in reality, it would be more of a 7/8 taunt with the buff and deal five damage to your opponent’s face.

That is still incredibly OP, and Blizzard caught on to it quickly. It’s still one fantastic card, but bringing it back a whole turn gives more time for you to set up a defense.

Was this nerf fair: Yeah, even though ValueTown will never be the same…

The Card: Execute

The Change: Change from one mana to two mana

Impact on the Meta:

Another one mana spell bites the dust.

At minimum, it will take two mana (inner rage/execute) to take any minion off the board, which is a huge deal when the difference between playing another minion and ending the turn is one mana.

While this pretty much cripples tempo warriors, control warriors, who usually float a few mana in turns and play their executes late, may not be as badly hurt.

Don’t expect this to leave any decks though, until the day it becomes a ten mana card, or Blizzard releases a new cheap removal spell in the next expansion for warrior.

Was this nerf fair: Yes

The Card: Charge

The Change: Change from three mana to one mana, flavor text is “Give a friendly minion Charge. It can’t attack heroes this turn.”

Impact on the Meta:

Charge was mostly used to get a big minion towards the opponent’s face, and this change essentially throws that concept out the window.

While one may think this card is now useless, it technically is if you want to burst down the opponent’s face.

In fact, you can argue that this is a buff, and Warrior just got itself a Slyvanas combo on turn seven. Drop down Slyvanas, charge it, and run it into a burly minion, taking it or a better minion for yourself.

This can also be used to get two Grim Patrons for six mana, or get another great deathrattle out before your opponent can silence that minion.

It will be interesting to see how much control, and maybe even tempo, warrior uses this new-found combo with this “nerf.” Who knows, maybe it will get Blizzard to change this card back to its original effect.

Was this nerf fair: Yes…?

The Card: Abusive Sergeant

The Change: Change from two attack to one attack

Impact on the Meta:

Welp, there goes another zoo card being slightly overpowered.

Much like the one damage nerf to Leper Gnome, the Abusive Sergeant nerf still gets a great battlecry, but doesn’t stick with an extra two damage on the board.

Both of these nerfs saw the damage output reduced from four to three, and while Sergeant’s effects aren’t immediate like Leper Gnome, it still is a change worth putting in.

However, this may cause the card to be dead for a long while, as you may have to wait for several turns to build a board presence before kicking in two extra damage.

Was this nerf fair: Yes

The Card: Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End

The Change: If Yogg is off the board (“destroyed, silenced, transformed, or returned to its owner’s hand”), it stops casting spells.

Impact on the Meta:

The emperor of RNG just got a bit more interesting, because if this baby leaves the board at all, it won’t cast any more spells.

This leads to an interesting range of possibilities, from your opponent praising Yogg for killing itself on the first spell, to even more rage when, after 20 spells casted, Yogg is returned back to its owner’s hand.

However, it does end a lot of frustration in the community made by Yogg pulling off a clutch afterlife kill, and this may be a sign for players to stop placing it into decks.

And if you decide to throw it away, you do get the full 1600 dust, so if you want to stop playing with RNG, now is the time to do so.

Was this nerf fair: Yes for your opponent, no for you, because it will kill itself on the first spell every time you play it.

What do you think of the upcoming nerfs to Hearthstone? Let us know in the comments below and for all your Hearthstone and esports updates, make sure you are following us on Twitter, @GAMURScom.

James Mattone is a journalist for GAMURS and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or on Twitter –@TheJamesMattone.