Keeping Hearthstone Fresh

Keeping Hearthstone Fresh

As the Year of the Kraken approaches, the time has come to reveal the results of our Basic and Classic card review. We focused on Basic and Classic cards because those sets will form the foundation of both formats for years to come. It took much careful consideration to arrive here, but we believe that—between our own analysis and reading plenty of community feedback—we’ve identified the right cards to change. Non-Basic Cards that have been changed will be disenchantable for their full dust value for a limited time.

There’s a simple guiding principle that underlies each of the changes you’re about to see: New card releases should have an impact on Standard and enrich Wild, to make sure that Hearthstone is always as dynamic, fresh, and fun as it can be.

Read on for the details!

Druid Cards
The most popular Druid decks are consistently composed of the same big chunk of Druid cards. That puts a damper on deckbuilding creativity and has left the Druids feeling stagnant. We want to inject some life into Druid deckbuilding, so we’re adjusting some of the worst offenders.

It’s important to point out that, in general, we like that Classes in Hearthstone have signature cards that appear in decks frequently, since they help give each Class its identity. We also still think it’s good for some signature Class cards to be in Druid decks, too. For example, Innervate and Wild Growth embody the Druid’s unique strength, so we’ve chosen not to adjust them.

Ancient of Lore
Drawing cards is powerful in Hearthstone, and Ancient of Lore easily found its way into nearly every popular Druid deck. We’d like Druid players to feel that other cards can compete with Ancient of Lore, so we’ve reduced the number of cards drawn from 2 to 1.

Force of Nature
The new version of Force of Nature lowers its mana cost by 1, but removes Charge and makes the summoned Treants permanent—like the other Treants that Druids summon. This change also removes the powerful one-turn combo of Force of Nature and Savage Roar. Now, opponents will have a chance to deal with the threat that the Treants represent, and it won’t feel mandatory to always include the combo.

Keeper of the Grove
Keeper of the Grove is a strong and versatile minion that combines Silence with solid stats, which made the decision to include it in every Druid deck virtually automatic. Whether or not to introduce a source of Silence to a deck should require some decision making, so Keeper of the Grove shouldn’t be a default choice for all Druid decks. Its stats have been changed from 2/4 to 2/2.

Silence & Removal
Speaking of Keeper of the Grove, Silence and minion removal are potent effects in Hearthstone. Currently, some removal options are too widely played, are attached to minions with efficient stats, or are simply too powerful. While removal is an important part of Hearthstone, it also makes playing big, exciting minions less rewarding. We are adjusting some of these cards so that the decision to add them to your deck comes with a cost, especially if you don’t end up finding an ideal target for them. These changes should help make cards with high attack or cool effects more interesting too.

Ironbeak Owl
Ironbeak Owl is a staple source for an inexpensive Silence in many decks. In line with our overall goal to make Silence effects more costly, Ironbeak Owl is moving from 2 to 3 mana.

Big Game Hunter
Big Game Hunter represents an inexpensive source of removal that is packaged with a minion. It’s efficient enough that some Heroes with powerful Class-based removal cards choose to run the neutral Big Game Hunter. We’re increasing the cost of the card from 3 mana to 5 mana.

Hunter’s Mark
Hunter’s Mark is an important option for Hunters, but it’s too efficient at 0 mana. We are increasing its cost to 1.

Blade Flurry
Blade Flurry is a problem because it enables both board clear and heavy burst damage, and it’s also an obstacle to adding better cards for Rogues. To address these issues, the cost of Blade Flurry is moving from 2 to 4 mana, and it will now only affect minions, so that Rogues have to choose between removing threats or damaging the enemy Hero.

Powerful Neutral Minions
Strong, widely-played neutral cards can stifle deck-building decisions and homogenize decks. These cards also make it more difficult to create new cards that can compete with them. We’re adjusting these neutral cards so that other cards can become compelling replacements, and open the door for more of a deck’s power to come from its Class identity.

Knife Juggler
Knife Juggler should be a good choice in decks that play many cheap minions, but with 3 Attack, it is played almost universally. We’re reducing Knife Juggler’s Attack from 3 to 2, so this card will move into a more specialized role in the decks that include it, instead of always being among the best choices for a 2 mana-cost minion.

Leper Gnome
Leper Gnome is powerful for its cost, finds its way into almost every aggressive deck, and requires no further deck building decisions to be effective. We’d like other 1 mana minions to be more compelling, so we’re reducing its Attack from 2 to 1.

Arcane Golem
Charge is an ability we’ve learned to use sparingly. Arcane Golem has been a staple in many aggressive and ‘one turn kill’ combo decks, and its drawback is rarely relevant. We’re addressing both issues by removing Charge and increasing Arcane Golem’s Health, while leaving its drawback. Arcane Golem will now be a 3 mana 4/4 with Battlecry: Give your opponent a Mana Crystal.

Molten Giant
Molten Giant is an interesting card, but it’s too easy for players to reduce its mana cost to 0. We’re increasing Molten Giant’s mana cost to 25 to increase the risks players must take to get a free Giant. The changes to Force of Nature and Arcane Golem will make dropping to low health somewhat less risky as well, which helped spur this change.

Master of Disguise
The ability of Master of Disguise to grant permanent Stealth has been a design obstacle for a long time, so we are changing Master of Disguise to only grant Stealth until the next turn. This change opens up exciting options for future cards.

Thanks for reading along as we’ve explored the decisions that have shaped these cards. These changes will arrive as part of Hearthstone Patch 5.0. Then be sure to join us on April 27 for the arrival of Hearthstone’s newest expansion: Whispers of the Old Gods, the introduction of formats, and the beginning of the Year of the Kraken!