Over the course of the Year of the Kraken, we’ve seen the Hearthstone meta game defined and refined by our players. As a result, we’ve seen a wider variety of deck archetypes being discovered than ever before. New strategies and playstyles have evolved over time entirely thanks to our creative and passionate community.
With the introduction of new cards to the Hearthstone card pool comes additional chances to innovate and discover new decks. Sometimes, the introduction of additional cards can also lead to older cards gaining an overall power level boost. In many cases, dusting off old cards can be good for the game, and allow our players to create and expand on new themes, even if they may not have a place in the current meta.
With Keeping Hearthstone Fresh in mind, we have to be acutely aware of the overall power levels of our cards contained within the evergreen Basic and Classic sets. Since these cards do not rotate along with certain expansion or adventure sets each year for our Standard mode players, managing and monitoring their strength is of great importance to the overall health of the game.
In an upcoming update, we will be making changes to a few Basic and Classic cards, along with certain cards that may have felt too oppressive to our players in the current state of the meta game.
Shaman has been representing a large population of the total decks played in Hearthstone for the past few months. While we think it’s great for Classes to fluctuate in power level, it’s important that Hearthstone always feels like there are a wide variety of decks to play with and against. We’re happy that Shaman has many deckbuilding options to choose from, but we are taking this opportunity to adjust two of the most widely played and frustrating Shaman cards. In the short-term, we think these adjustments bring Shaman closer to the pack in terms of both population and power level. In the long-term, we think these changes will make playing against Shaman less frustrating and make the deckbuilding decisions for Shaman more interesting.
Rockbiter is the culprit of a few mass burst-damage combos in addition to being a reliable early game removal tool. Due to its strength in a variety of circumstances, it’s been one of the most widely played Shaman cards in Hearthstone’s history. Making changes to Basic cards that show up in every deck will help instigate more variety and help the Standard format succeed in the future. We’re preserving some of the synergistic potential of Rockbiter Weapon but decreasing its value as a removal tool by changing the cost of the card from 1 to 2 Mana.
We considered other Shaman cards like Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem, but these are both leaving Standard relatively soon, so we thought it would be better to change Rockbiter and improve the Standard format in a more permanent way.
We like that Tuskarr is contributing to totem focused decks, but currently the power level is centered around the possibility of summoning cards like Totem Golem or Mana Tide Totem. This isn’t the most fun type of randomness for a card that is low mana and sees this much play. We want this card to be an option for decks that take advantage of extra totems through cards like Thing From Below or Primal Fusion, but a weaker option for players looking for standalone high power level options on turn three. That said, we are adjusting the battlecry for Tuskarr Totemic to only summon basic totems.
Call of the Wild
Although Call of the Wild is intended to be a powerful late game option, it is over performing at 8 mana. By moving it to 9 mana we intend to tone down its power enough that it won’t be an automatic inclusion in every Hunter deck and overshadow other strategies.
The Warrior class has access to a large amount of removal spells, and while we want to continue providing Warrior players with powerful removal options, Execute stands out as one that has proven to be too efficient in too many situations. We’re increasing the cost of Execute from 1 to 2 Mana in order to keep the card as an option closer in power level to other existing and future removal tools.
While we enjoy seeing players explore combo styles of play and will continue to support it in the future, we’ve seen in the past that the ability to give Charge to minions that don’t normally have it has been particularly problematic and also heavily restricts future cards. We’ve redesigned the card Charge in a way that provides opportunities for minion combat, but does not enable strategies that intend to win without allowing opponents to interact.
Aggressive decks are stronger than we would like right now, and Abusive Sergeant is in virtually all of them. We like that Abusive Sergeant is available to players using minion heavy strategies, but neutral cards in the base set should be narrow enough that they aren’t showing up in such a wide variety of circumstances. We’re changing Abusive Sergeant to be a 1/1 so the battlecry becomes the clear focus, rather than the card being a reasonable turn one option for all aggressive deck types.
Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
This is the most controversial card we've ever made. Some people LOVE Yogg, and others hate it. We felt like seeing Yogg in tournaments was not where we originally hoped it would end up. Yogg should be for players who want to have a lot of fun, but maybe not the card you see frequently in high-level tournaments. Yogg is relatively weak in power level for nearly every class at every level, but is slightly above average in 2 decks – Tempo Mage and Token Druid. We didn't want to nerf it so much that it couldn't still be a fun card for players who currently love Yogg. Yogg-Saron will now stop casting spells if, during Yogg-Saron’s battlecry, it is destroyed, silenced, transformed, or returned to its owner’s hand. We tried a bunch of things and we think this is a significant enough nerf that it could reduce the amount it gets seen (especially in tournaments), while still maintaining the dream for people who love the card.
In addition to the above changes, we will be addressing the bug where cards with Overload cast by Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End will not cause Overload to the player in a future update.
Thanks for checking out our reasons behind the latest balance changes to Hearthstone. The updated cards will arrive as a part of our 6.1.3 update, which is currently planned to go live before the Last Call events for the Hearthstone Championship Tour.