Blizzard Announce New Hearthstone Balance Changes
Patches the Pirate puts up with punitive patch. Say that three times fast.
Blizzard has announced a new set of balance changes for Hearthstone, bringing nerfs to four of the game’s most notorious cards. Patches the Pirate, Raza the Chained, Corridor Creeper, and Bonemare will all be undergoing significant changes in Patch 10.2, due to arrive sometime in February.
Firstly, Patches the Pirate will lose his Charge ability in a change that will be welcomed by the vast majority of players. At the start of a game, Patches can be summoned from a player’s deck when they play a Pirate, and due to his Charge ability, he is able to attack immediately. This leads to super aggressive starts that simply can’t be countered by certain decks, and has forced Patches to become a staple of the metagame. Without Charge, he becomes significantly weaker, although he could still see play as a way to “buff” certain Pirate cards.
Highlander Priest is also set to take a significant hit with changes to Raza the Chained. In the upcoming patch, Raza’s Battlecry will now make the player’s Hero Power cost one mana, rather than zero. This prevents Highlander Priest from weaving the hero power into combos effectively, reducing the class’ burst potential. Adding one mana to each usage of the hero power makes certain damage combos impossible to pull off, significantly weakening the power level of Highlander Priest in its current state.
Another favourite of ultra-aggressive decks is also getting hit hard by nerfs. Corridor Creeper is being changed from a 5/5 minion to a 2/5 to “reduce the overall swing potential and power level of the card”. With Corridor Creeper’s effect (the card’s mana cost is reduced every time a minion dies while it’s in a player’s hand), aggressive decks were able to quickly build a powerful board ahead of curve or rebuild after the opposing player had cleared the board. Now, Corridor Creeper has nowhere near as much impact as it once did. Blizzard says that players will still benefit from drawing Corridor Creeper early with these changes, but a zero mana 2/5 sounds nowhere near as appealing as a zero mana 5/5.
Finally, Bonemare’s mana cost has been increased from seven to eight, weakening the card’s potential in both constructed and Arena. The card’s effect remains unchanged, but at eight mana, it might be a little less effective. Still, when compared to the other changes in the patch, Bonemare seems to have got off pretty lightly.
All in all, most players will have been expecting changes like this, although some have been a long time coming. The timing is a little odd, as cards like Raza the Chained and Patches the Pirate are due to rotate out of the Standard format in the next few months, but Blizzard was obviously concerned about their power level in the Wild format going forward. It’s also surprising to see Warlock left relatively untouched by the changes. Expect to see Control Warlock and Cube Warlock take a firm hold at the top of the metagame, as other classes adapt to the new changes.
Once Patch 10.2 is live, players will be able to disenchant all nerfed cards for their full Arcane Dust value for two weeks. Basically, if you’ve been looking forward to abusing Patches, but haven’t crafted him yet, you’re not really losing anything by pulling the trigger now. Excited about these changes? Did Blizzard go a bit too extreme this time? Let us know in the comments below!