So long, Odd Paladin and Shudderwock Shaman. These popular Hearthstone decks should be far less powerful once the next wave of nerfs come to Blizzard’s digital card game later today.
Hearthstone is the king of the digital card game market. It has over 100 million registered players. Constant updates can help keep those fans happy (and the more people playing Hearthstone, the more money Blizzard can potentially make with sales of card packs).
A wave of nerfs usually comes during the midpoint of an expansion cycle, but Hearthstone’s last set (Rastakhan’s Rumble) just released earlier this month. “We’ve opted to make these changes earlier in the expansion cycle than we normally consider; we’d like to hear your feedback on the timing of this update, in addition to what you think of all the individual card changes,” Blizzard noted in a blog post detailing the nerfs. You can find the post and the full list of card changes here.
Despite the release of the new expansion, some popular deck archetypes have dominated Hearthstone for most of the year. This includes Odd Paladin, which forces its players to only use cards that cost odd mana numbers. It’s the top Paladin deck right now on HSReplay, a tool that tracks decks people play, and the top Odd Paladin deck has a 62 percent winrate. One of its best card, Level Up, is now going to cost 6 mana instead of 5. This will make it no longer eligible for Odd Paladin.
Shudderwock Shaman is a deck that uses Battlecry effects of other cards to plan for a turn that can kill an opponent instantly. This combo revolved around Saronite Chain Gang and its Battlecry, which summons a copy of a minion. The Battlecry is now more restrictive. It specifically only summons another Saronite Chain Gang. This means you can’t play a Shudderwock and have it create more Shudderwocks anymore. It’s the most Shaman deck played on HSReplay, and a number of players find it annoying to play against.
Kingsbane Rouge is also getting nerfed. The deck has players using cards to empower the legendary weapon Kingsbane, which retains buffs and shuffles into your deck once it’s broken. This can give players infinite value, especially when the Leeching Poison card gives the weapon Lifesteal, meaning it heals for the damage it deals. Now Leeching Poison will only give a weapon Lifesteal for a single turn (although it will now cost only 1 mana instead of 2). Kingsbane is the Rogue’s top-played deck on HSReplay as well (sensing a theme here?), and it’s been annoying Wild players in a Mill deck (its win condition is to stall the game while making your opponent draw all its cards to fatigue, where they then take damage for each additional card draw effect).
The other nerfs target core Druid cards Wild Growth and Nourish. These cards give the class the ability to ramp their mana, making it possible to play expensive cards earlier than other classes. Both cards will now cost 1 more mana. Druid has been host to powerful deck archetypes for most of Hearthstone’s existence, and Wild Growth and Nourish are must-plays in almost every Druid deck ever made. Nerfing these cards, which will never rotate out of Standard game modes as they’re part of the Basic and Classic sets, should give the class a needed power decline.
These changes should make the way for newer deck archetypes to shine, and those decks will hopefully use more cards from the latest expansion.