Hearthstone Nerfs Coming February 5 - Equality, Cold Blood, Hunter's Mark & More

Hearthstone Nerfs Coming February 5 - Equality, Cold Blood, Hunter's Mark & More

Five Hearthstone card changes are coming next week in an update scheduled for February 5. The following cards have mana cost increases.

Check out Blizzard's post below for further information.

Quote from Blizzard

When we talk about changes that are in store for Hearthstone cards, we normally talk about each card individually to explain why we think that change is needed.

This time, we’re doing things a little differently because most of the upcoming changes are happening for the same reason. Here’s why we’re changing these cards and our general philosophy behind this update.

We think Hearthstone is most fun when strategies are consistently evolving. When new cards are released, we’d like for older expansion decks to get a few interesting new pieces while also allowing you to experiment with the totally new archetypes that emerge. When Basic and Classic cards become so broadly effective—no matter what you’re facing—that they drive what deck styles are considered viable every expansion, then it makes that goal difficult to achieve.

Basic and Classic are sets that, ideally, should embody the flavor and mechanics of each Class. As we’ve mentioned before, cards in these sets can become an issue when they make all other strategies look less interesting. This doesn't mean is that all Basic and Classic cards should be ineffective, however. It’s hugely important to us that these sets contain a good number of cards that are great tools for different situations and deck archetypes.

We’re changing these particular cards because each one has been highly prevalent, regardless of what strategies have been popular or what other cards have existed around them. When Basic and Classic cards become this ubiquitous, they take away some of the flexibility players have when building decks, ultimately stifling the diversity of decks we see when playing Hearthstone.

The following changes are intended to shift these cards from general-purpose “auto-includes” into options that are more likely to be chosen for decks that are focused on strategies that capitalize on what these cards have to offer.

  • Cold Blood – Will cost 2 Mana. (Up from 1)
  • Flametongue Totem – Will cost 3 mana. (Up from 2)
  • Equality – Will cost 4 mana. (Up from 2)
  • Hunter’s Mark – Will cost 2 mana. (Up from 1)

Emerald Spellstone – Will cost 6 mana. (Up from 5)

The only non-Basic or Classic card in this round of changes. We want to position Emerald Spellstone as an efficient mid- and late-game threat, so we’re moving its cost up by one to reduce its utility as an early-game, aggressive tempo option. This change—along with the Hunter’s Mark change—is aimed at addressing Hunter’s prevalence, while still leaving it as a viable option.

We look forward to seeing how the meta shakes out in the coming months. Thanks for reading, and good luck on the ladder.

Once these updates are live, players will be able to disenchant the changed non-Basic cards for their full Arcane Dust value for two weeks.

Flametongue Totem and Hunter’s Mark are Basic cards, and cannot be disenchanted.

Iksar Talks About The Nerfs

Quote from Iksar

Midrange Hunter is still gonna be prevalent, that equality nerf though, ouch.

I hope so, the goal wasn't to completely invalidate Hunter archetypes, or really any of the cards we changed. When we make a balance change it's less about looking at the current environment and more about trying to understand what Hearthstone is like after we make changes. Statistically, Secret Hunter was the most powerful deck in the game and close to the most popular. We felt like there wasn't a huge long-term downside to changing the secret build-around card that is likely to get more powerful over time in Wild while we can protect against Secret Hunter separating itself from the pack even more than it already was. (Source)

Baku and Genn limit card design so much. Round up nerfing will always be a thing now that these two are a thing

I tried to touch on this a few places, but Odd Paladin and Equality not being three are unrelated. Classic and Basic cards that are so powerful they are in every archetype in every expansion is something that is very harmful to the goal of expansion metas feeling fresh and new. Equality at (3) mana in our playtesting didn't really solve this. The change to (4) was actually very jarring to us, but we wanted to try playtesting it in current and future environments anyway. After all those games, we felt like it was a reasonable option at (4) in control archetypes (now in in the future) but less reasonable in aggressive decks. That ideally where we'd like most cards to be, so (4) ended up being where we landed. If we thought (3) removed it from being in all paladin archetypes for the foreseeable future but Odd Paladin would get better in the short term, we would have just done that. (Source)

The funniest part is that even for 2 mana it is still looking vialable.

That's the goal. We knew going in that the Equality nerf was going to be really jarring to look at, it was to us, too. We played so many games in current and future environments and it led us to believe that (4) was the right call even if it reads poorly. (Source)

Nerfing Equality that hard though is gonna kill any possibility of a competitive Control Paladin deck in the future if it doesn't get any great control cards in the next expansions. I hope you have something planned for that, so that we don't go back to having only Aggro pally's be competitive in both Standard and Wild.

We like Control Paladin, I expect it to do just fine in the future. We've been playtesting a lot of the first set of this year with Equality at (4) and there are still powerful Control Paladin archetypes. (Source)

Kibler & Iksar Talk

Quote from Iksar

Kibler: “Should we listen to Kibler and make a rotating core set like he suggested when we first introduced Standard?”

Kibler: “No let’s just slowly nerf every Classic card into the ground!”

Kibler: These changes also don’t address what are IMO the biggest problems with Heartstone right now, which are OTK and Genn/Baku decks making games play out super similarly every time. If anything stuff like Mechathun gets better with the aggro nerfs, even if OTK Paladin is hit.

Kibler: Also worth noting that the Equality nerf to 4 is likely also Baku’s fault, since giving that deck such and easy answer to big minions would be a disaster

We don't make short-term quick fixes that are damaging to the long-term. At least we try not to. If one of the issues with Equality was that it goes in most every Paladin deck forever, I don't think (3) mana solves that.

Kibler: Cards going in every deck forever has a variety of ways you can solve it

Totally true. One of the most painful moments both anecdotally and statistically for players is when they have a deck they are playing that breaks. Literally breaks by the game saying the cards they have it in are no longer valid.

We try to come up with solutions that don't violate that when they can, but it's not always possible. Set rotation hits a large number of players but also misses a huge pool of players that are using 'forever' sets and don't have rotated cards.

I'm not saying having a rotating core set is absolutely right or wrong, but one of the reasons not to do it is that theoretically we would invalidate nearly all players decks, very casual, very competitive and all in between.

Scott Lynch: Apologies for butting in, but that literally happens every time expansions rotate out. If your core set rotated at the same time the expansions rotate out, I don't see the difference.

Kibler: Yeah I don’t really see how this is different from any set rotation unless someone literally has a deck with all classic cards.

rayC: The reason @bbrode gave in one of his interviews was that they want the game to feel familiar to casual players who come and go

Kibler: Does making all of their best cards bad do that?

Our goal isn't to make all good cards bad, it's to make cards that go in nearly 100% of archetypes and make them go in archetypes that make sense for them. There are plenty of powerful cards in basic and classic set we'd rather not change. These weren't on that list.

Kibler: I didn't say all good cards - I said best cards. Also, I don't feel like Equality or Flametongue fall into the 100% of all decks category. I also feel like hitting them so hard has a hugely detrimental effect on Wild's ability to be a place where you can play all your old decks.

100% is a big number, I should probably just be using 'almost all'. There will always be a deck someone will copy paste me that doesn't include those cards. The point is they have been and will be in almost all Paladin/Shaman decks forever given no other changes.

For what it's worth, we've been playing Equality at (4) in both the current environment and in future set playtesting and it feels like a pretty reasonable option for Control archetypes and less so for aggressive ones. Generally a healthier place for cards to exist.


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