The Standard and Wild metas will see a massive shake-up with the latest Hearthstone balance change, one which sees nerfs to staple cards such as Druid’s Wild Growth, Paladin’s Level Up and Lifesteal for Kingsbane Rogues. Per the official Hearthstone blog:
In an update scheduled to arrive December 19 PST, the following cards will be changed.
Developer’s Note: This balance update is focused on improving the long-term health of both Standard and Wild. We’ve opted to make these changes earlier in the expansion cycle than we normally consider; we’d like to hear your feedback on the timing of this update, in addition to what you think of all the individual card changes.
Wild Growth – Will cost 3 mana. (Up from 2)
Nourish – Will cost 6 mana. (Up from 5)
Wild Growth and Nourish have been present in every mid-range, combo, and control Druid deck since their introduction in the Basic and Classic set. When cards from the Basic and Classic set are too powerful, they can have negative long-term effects on the game. Continuously playing against these cards can start to feel repetitive, and they can feel so mandatory that they stifle creative deckbuilding decisions. By increasing the mana cost of both cards by one, we expect them to be considerations in late-game control Druid decks, but more difficult to fit in strategies that don’t directly take advantage of ramping mana.
Level Up! – Will cost 6 mana. (Up from 5)
Odd Paladin has consistently been one of the most powerful and most played decks since its introduction in The Witchwood. By removing Level Up from Odd Paladin, we still expect it to be a competitive board control deck, just with more consistent damage output that should be easier to play around.
Saronite Chain Gang – Now reads: Taunt. Battlecry: Summon another Saronite Chain Gang.
Shudderwock brings an interesting combo to the table, but playing Shudderwock multiple times in a single game can be frustrating. Changing Saronite Chain Gang makes playing multiple Shudderwocks in a game much more difficult. Shudderwock should now exist as a powerful one-turn effect rather than constantly copying itself with Saronite Chain Gang’s Battlecry.
Leeching Poison – Will cost 1 mana. (Down from 2). Now reads: Give your weapon Lifesteal this turn.
We love the fantasy of building a powerful weapon over the course of a game with Kingsbane, but granting it a permanent Lifesteal effect with Leeching Poison resulted in an endgame with few weaknesses, as well as conflicting with our philosophy that Rogues should not have persistent self-healing effects. Making the Lifesteal effect only active for one turn should address some of the power level issues with Kingsbane Rogue’s late game.
Will these changes spell the end for staple decks such as Odd Paladin, Shudderwock Shaman, Kingsbane Rogue and Druid decks?