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Hearthstone > NewsFeb 15, 2017 1:00 pm CT

Hearthstone’s Spirit Claws and Small-Time Buccaneer nerfed with upcoming changes

World of Warcraft Shaman artwork

Hearthstone Community Manager Zeriyah took to the forums to announce some of the upcoming balance changes coming to the game. It isn’t a secret that Shaman decks are one of the more popular decks on the ladder. First up on the chopping block is Spirit Claws, as its cost has been raised by an additional mana. That should slow Shaman players down a little bit. Not only that, Small-Time Buccaneer has been nerfed, which significantly affects Shaman, Warrior, and Rogue players. The Buccaneer should be much easier to deal with now that it’s health has been lowered from 2 health to 1 health. Cards like Maelstrom Portal can easily clear out Buccaneers, and minions like Patches can trade right into it, because all that’s needed now is a measly 1 attack power.

Another new feature is that Ranked Play floors are being introduced into the game. Once players attain Ranks 15, 10, or 5, they won’t be able to de-rank past that rank when it is achieved within the season (like the floors for Rank 20 and Legend).

These changes are expected to happen at the end of the month. Read on for the full blue post.

Originally Posted by Zeriyah (Official Post)

Update 7.1 Ranked Play Changes – Floors

We’re continuously looking for ways to refine the Ranked Play experience. One thing we can do immediately to help the Ranked Play experience is to make the overall climb from rank to rank feel like more an accomplishment once you hit a certain milestone. In order to promote deck experimentation and reduce some of the feelings of ladder anxiety some players may face, we’re introducing additional Ranked Play floors.

Once a player hits Rank 15, 10, or 5, they will no longer be able to de-rank past that rank once it is achieved within a season, similar to the existing floors at Rank 20 and Legend. For example, when a player achieves Rank 15, regardless of how many losses a player accumulates within the season, that player will not de-rank back to 16. We hope this promotes additional deck experimentation between ranks, and that any losses that may occur feel less punishing.

Update 7.1 Balance Changes

With the upcoming update, we will be making balance changes to the following two cards: Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws.

Small-Time Buccaneer now has 1 Health (Down from 2)

The combination of Small Time Buccaneer and Patches the Pirate has been showing up too often in the meta. Weapon-utilizing classes have been heavily utilizing this combination of cards, especially Shaman, and we’d like to see more diversity in the meta overall. Small Time Buccaneer’s Health will be reduced to 1 to make it easier for additional classes to remove from the board.

Spirit Claws now costs 2 Mana (Up from 1)

Spirit Claws has been a notably powerful Shaman weapon. At one mana, Spirit Claws has been able to capitalize on cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos or the Shaman Hero power to provide extremely efficient minion removal on curve. Increasing its mana by one will slow down Spirit Claws’ ability to curve out as efficiently.

These changes will occur in an upcoming update near the end of February. We’ll see you in the Tavern!

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