Hearthstone patch 24.0.3 brings impactful balance changes to Constructed and Battlegrounds
A pretty substantial balance patch is hitting the Hearthstone servers today, promising to make things more balanced in Constructed and Battlegrounds. Classes that have been struggling in Constructed, such as Demon Hunter and Warrior, are getting considerable buffs, while a few outlier cards from Druid, Hunter, Shaman, and Warlock are being nerfed.
In Battlegrounds, we see the return of Grease Bot — albeit in a nerfed form — as well as a fix for the dominant Evolving Chromawing strategy, and some interesting buffs for Elementals. So let’s dredge up that information and do our best to analyze the new landscape for Hearthstone’s main game modes.
Demon Hunters are being given a fighting chance
There are two classes for which the Murder at Castle Nathria expansion might as well not have begun yet: Demon Hunters and Warriors, who were both dominant classes at different stages of the previous expansion, Voyage to the Sunken City, have been relegated to the bottom of the power charts in the current one. This patch brings an attempt to fix this.
Demon Hunters see a buff to their Relic cards, including the Relic Vault Location and Relic of Extinction, which both cost one less mana, in an attempt to make them playable. The same treatment is being given to Abyssal Depths, which is also getting its cost reduced by one.
The class is also getting buffs to Bibliomite and Magnifying Glaive — both the minion and the weapon gain one Attack. Finally, a few past nerfs have been reverted: Battleworn Vanguard has 2 Health again, and Irebound Brute costs seven mana like it used to.
Warrior cards are seeing controlled buffs
Warriors see buffs to seven cards too. Some of those are cards that have been in the game for many years, but haven’t kept up with its increasing power levels; such as Slam and Bash, which have both had their costs reduced by one, and Cruel Taskmaster, which gains one Health.
Speaking of the Taskmaster, the whole Enrage package for Warriors ended up too weak to compete with the other classes, so it’s seeing buffs: the Sanguine Depths Location now gives +2 Attack rather than +1, and Imbued Axe gives +1/+2 rather than +1/+1 to damaged minions on its regular version, while its Infuse cost has been reduced from 3 to 2.
But that’s not all: some of the cards that were nerfed when Control Warrior was the dominant deck during the last expansion are seeing some course correction now. Tidal Revenant gives you 8 armor rather than 5, and Shield Shatter deals 5 damage to all minions rather than 4. Whew!
Things are looking up for Paladins
This patch also lends a helping hand to Paladins and Rogues. Those classes weren’t as bad as Demon Hunter and Warrior, but weren’t looking so hot either.
Paladins get buffs to two of its archetypes: Pure (which plays no Neutral cards) and Dude (which summons lots of Silver Hand Recruits while buffing them).
For Pure Paladin, The Countess sees a buff through the Legendary Invitation cards she adds to your deck: they now cost 2 mana, rather than 3.
As for Dude Paladin, Stand Against Darkness now costs 4 mana instead of 5, while Warhorse Trainer gives +2 Attack and Taunt to your Silver Hand Recruits, rather than just +1 Attack. A similar change comes to Promotion, which also gives Taunt now, in addition to its previous +3/+3 buff.
Rogues are getting smaller buffs, too
Rogues, much like Paladins, are also getting buffs to four of its cards, and not all of them are new.
Their legendary minions are improving: Halkias is gaining Stealth — though that’s the only change to the current Secret package for Rogues (which isn’t seeing much play) — while Edwin, Defias Kingpin will now cost 3 Mana instead of 4. Although Edwin’s base stats are also being reduced from 4/4 to 3/3, this is a net positive, since it’s far more important to be able to play more cards after playing him.
The Edwin buff isn’t the only one aimed at helping the Rogue archetypes that like to draw a lot of cards, such as Miracle: Silverleaf Poison now costs 1 Mana instead of 2, and Sprint is getting its cost reduced to 5, from 6. It’s funny to remember that when Hearthstone was first released, Sprint used to cost 7. Power levels have definitely risen!
Druid, Hunter, Shaman, and Warlock see some cards being toned down
Ding-dong! The witch is dead: the much-maligned Celestial Alignment — easily one of the most hated cards by the community at large — is being changed to only affect the player who cast it, rather than their opponent too. Praise Yogg!
Celestial Alignment will remain effective for the Druid who plays it, since they’ll still get to benefit from heavily discounted cards and the near infinite mana provided by Wildheart Guff — who miraculously escaped another round of nerfs — without completely destroying any battle plans their opponent might have. This is a very, very welcome change.
Another card that has been disdained by the community is Snowfall Guardian, for Shaman. That card is still going to Freeze every other minion on the board, but it’ll no longer be buffed by each of them. The buffing effect is gone, and to compensate, the base stats of the card have been increased from 3/3 to 5/5.
Hunters aren’t getting a singular card nerf, but rather a change to a byproduct of several different cards: any card that can summon a Wildseed has a chance of summoning the Stag Spirit Wildseed, which equips your hero with a Greatbow. Well, that Greatbow is being nerfed from 4/2 to 3/2. This change effectively affects four cards: Spirit Poacher, Stag Charge, Wild Spirits, and the Hunter Legendary minion, Ara’lon.
Finally, Warlocks are seeing a lot of success with the Imp Warlock archetype, which isn’t getting terribly nerfed, but will feel the impact from the adjustment to Vile Library. That card will now give +1/+1 for each Imp you control, rather than giving a base +1/+1 and then repeating for each Imp you control. Effectively, it only reduces the power of its buff by +1/+1, but it’s still a reduction and should help reduce the burst potential of that Location.
Battlegrounds minion changes affect Elementals, Grease Bot, and the Chromawing strategy
It’s time to talk about Battlegrounds, where the changes aren’t as massive as those for Constructed, but still significative enough.
Elementals are about to see some buffs with the return of Tier 6 minion Lieutenant Garr from the depths of the Molten Core. And since there’s only so much room at the top, Lil’ Rag is being buffed by dropping down from Tier 6 to Tier 5. Hopefully those two changes make Elementals more viable from the mid to late game. On another note, a quality of life change is coming for Gentle Djinni: much like what already happens with Y’Shaarj’s hero power, the Djinni will now always add a minion to your hand when its effect triggers, even if it couldn’t summon that minion into your board.
Mechs see the return of Grease Bot, in a weaker form. It remains on Tier 6, but much of the power it gained when it made the transition from Tier 4 — which made it very overpowered — has been toned down: it now gives +2/+2 rather than +3/+2 to friendly minions that lose Divine Shield, and it doesn’t come with Divine Shield itself anymore.
Dragons were the dominant composition in the game since the strategy revolving around Evolving Chromawing, which we talked about recently, became popular. Well, that minion is being changed into a 1/4 that only gains Attack, rather than both Attack and Health, with its power when you level up your tavern. Hopefully that fixes the issues with this card for good — it’s the second time it had to be changed for almost breaking the game, after all.
A few Battlegrounds Heroes are seeing adjustments, and they’re mostly buffs
Certain coincidences are funny: the same patch that buffed Grease Bot’s effect from +1/+1 to +3/+2 also buffed Guff Runetotem’s Hero Power from +1/+1 to +3/+2 — and in both cases the buff recipient rose up to the top of the power levels in its respective category. But now, on this balance patch, they’re both being nerfed to +2/+2 in hopes of bringing them more in line.
There’s also a hero change we aren’t quite certain about: the effect of Lich Bah’zial’s Hero Power is effectively doubled, in that she now takes 4 damage instead of 2, but gains 2 gold rather than adding one Gold Coin to her hand. However, the gold gained needs to be spent on the same turn, which means that the player can’t bank it, filling their hands with Gold Coins for massive turns later. At this point, it’s hard to even tell if this change is a buff or a nerf.
The other hero adjustments, however, are buffs:
- Deathwing now gives +3 Attack to all minions rather than +2.
- Kael’thas Sunstrider gives his +2/+2 buff to every third minion you play rather than buy, making it much easier to control which minion gets buffed.
- Elise Starseeker says goodbye to her Recruitment Maps: instead, her new Hero Power lets you Discover a minion from your Tavern Tier, for the low cost of one gold — but that cost is increased by one each time you use it. Which means that it might be optimal to save this power to use when you reach higher Tavern Tiers.
You can find a detailed list of all the changes (as well as the developer reasoning behind most of them) in the official patch notes.
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