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Hearthstone: Card changes for January 13

Matt Low

Another set of Hearthstone balance changes is on the way. Several cards have been nerfed like Pyrobast, Blood Imp, and Sylvanas Windrunner. Unleash the Hounds has been buffed slightly. The rest are all balance related changes. Warlock board control decks will be hit fairly hard here with the change to Blood Imp. Hearthstone test season 2 started last week and already things are going to be shaken up!

My thoughts on these balance adjustments after the jump!

Hearthstone Update: Upcoming Changes 1/13

Hearthstone Update: Upcoming Changes 1/13
Thank you so much for continuing to play, test, and give feedback on Hearthstone as the closed beta testing phase begins to draw to a close. We are monitoring card balance over time, and without your continued testing efforts, we wouldn't have the necessary data we need in order to make changes to cards that may warrant them. This should be our last big set of balance changes; once we go live, we plan to make very few card changes, and only if they are absolutely necessary.

We will be making changes to the following cards: Unleash the Hounds, Sylvanas Windrunner, Blood Imp, Defender of Argus, Pyroblast, Dark Iron Dwarf, Abusive Sergeant, Warsong Commander, Charge and Novice Engineer.

Unleash the Hounds' mana cost is now 2 (down from 4)

  • Unleash the Hounds was intended to give Hunters their own form of AoE and to have synergy with other beast cards, but its old cost was too prohibitive.
Pyroblast's mana cost is now 10 (up from 8)
  • The 8-cost Pyroblast made for an un-interactive experience where the Mage only needed to do 10 damage during the course of a game and then double Pyroblast you for the win. We want Mages to be more interactive with the opponent to achieve victory, rather than delay the game until they can Pyroblast.
Blood Imp is now a 0/1 and now reads: Stealth. At the end of your turn, give another random friendly minion +1 Health.
  • The Warlock has three very strong 1-cost minions and that made the Warlock rush deck slightly stronger than we were comfortable with.
Warsong Commander has been reworked and now reads: Whenever you play a minion with 3 or less Attack, give it Charge.
Charge (the spell, not the keyword) has been reworked and now costs 3 mana. The card's new power reads: "Give a friendly minion +2 Attack and Charge".
  • Both of these cards were key components in "One Turn Kill" or "OTK" decks that kill your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. We want the game to be about playing minions and fighting for board control rather than just waiting until you can play your big combo and win in one turn with no interaction from your opponent.
Abusive Sergeant now reads: Battlecry: Give a minion +2 Attack until end of turn.
  • Abusive Sergeant was changed to make its power the same as the Dark Iron Dwarf and to give it additional versatility.
Dark Iron Dwarf's buff now only lasts until the end of the turn.
  • This change was made to reduce the Dark Iron Dwarf's overall power slightly. We also wanted to make the Battlecry effect the same as Abusive Sergeant's as to not force you to permanently buff one of your opponent's creatures.
Defender of Argus is now a 2/3 (down from 3/3)
  • Defender of Argus was a card that found itself automatically included in many decks due to its power and stats. We want players to have an option of what cards they put in their decks, so cards that feel like they must be in all decks (especially Neutral ones) are not ideal.
Novice Engineer is now a 1/1 (down from 1/2)
  • The Novice Engineer was played in most non-rush decks (and even some rush decks) due to its cost and power. Similar in reasoning to our Defender of Argus change, we want players to have an option of what cards they put in their decks.
Sylvanas Windrunner's mana cost is now 6 (up from 5)
  • Sylvanas had power and stats that made it a bit too powerful compared to other 5-cost cards, which made it automatically included in many decks. We want players to have an option of what cards they put in their decks, so cards that feel like they must be in all decks (especially Neutral ones) are not ideal.
Expert cards that are being changed can be disenchanted for their full cost for a limited time when the patch goes live. We hope these changes will increase the variety of cards you will see at all levels of play, and make playing Hearthstone a more fun and interactive game for everyone.

Loving the Unleash the Hounds change. Not sure if that's going to be enough for me to turn around and dust off my old hunter deck, though. I feel that it ends up being a reactive card most of the time as the effect of it is based on what your opponent has on their side of the board. Blood Imps are now the warlock exclusive versions of a Young Priestess. Warrior one turn kill decks have been almost completely neutralized with the changes to both Charge and Warsong Commander. Yeah, they were coming. Any cards capable of putting a one turn kill deck together will probably get a hard look by the Blizzard developers. Dark Iron Dwarf and Defender of Argus are considered part of a "core" set of neutral cards that can be a staple in just about any class deck. I can see why they were nerfed slightly to help promote other usages of cards. I might not use the Dwarf as much, but that Defender is still pretty darn good.

Sylvanas was also extremely efficient for her capabilities and her cost went up slightly. Aside from that, I'd still rank her as a definite buy for first time legendaries purely for the versatility. The last one I'm unsure about is the Novice Engineer. The health of the Engineer has been reduced to 1. I'm going to take a hard look at all of my decks and consider swapping the Engineer for a Loot Hoarder. Problem with the Loot Hoarder is that it has to actually die for you to benefit from the card drawing.

What are your thoughts on the balance changes?

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