The Hearthstone team have announced a series of balance changes that will drastically impact some of Hearthstone’s most dominant decks.
The most obvious target of this patch was Warlock. For some time now, variations of slow Warlock decks that are able to effectively control many Hearthstone matches have been dominating competitive Hearthstone games as well as the in-game ladder. Those decks will take a big hit when this next balance change rolls around. Not only is Possessed Lackey – a card that allows Warlock decks to “cheat” big minions onto the board early – getting a raise in mana cost (five mana to six mana) but the ultra-versatile Warlock healing card Dark Pact will soon only restore four health rather than eight.
Paladin players may be disappointed to learn that Call to Arms – a card that allowed Paladins to fill a board with cheap minions for a reduced cost – will now cost five mana instead of four mana. This is a huge blow to the popular “Even Paladin” and “Murloc Paladin” decks which rely on that card for aggressive early turns. As for the also popular “Odd Paladin” deck, Blizzard believes this card will not see much play in that build as players who run it are limited to using odd cost cards only and will not be able to use Call to Arms to summon two mana minions.
Rounding out the nerfs is a mana raise for the incredibly strong Spiteful Summoner (up from six mana to seven), a second nerf to the frustratingly effective Cavern’s Below card (friendly minions will now have four health and four attack when this card is played rather than five health and five attack), and a surprising nerf to Naga Sea Witch; a Wild mode card that has allowed players to play multiple large minions on turn five due to a questionable change made to the functionality of the card’s core mechanic.
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Overall, this is a pretty thorough and ultimately fair set of nerfs to some of Hearthstone‘s most frustrating cards. It remains to be seen whether Warlock’s era of dominance will be quelled so easily, but this should certainly help level the playing field a bit. Other changes introduced will also likely help to diversify the number of competitive decks in the game.
There’s no word on when this patch will be released, but it will be uploaded sometime after the conclusion of the HTC Summer Playoffs.