Hearthstone expansion Rise of Shadows is barely a month old and we’re already seeing some major balance changes. The update—planned for Wednesday 22nd May—will see four cards being nerfed, with three of them being from the same class – Rogue.
Blizzard claim that the focus on Rogue in this update is due to seeing the meta stabilize around the most popular classes most popular decks.
“Currently, if you want to build a deck that is strong against Rogue, you have just one reasonable option: Warrior. If you compare Rogue to Warrior, however, you’ll find that the latter class has a wide variety of good and bad matchups, which makes it unlikely that it’ll overtake Rogue in popularity in the current meta.”
“While we recognize that there are other powerful and popular decks (like Token Druid, Conjurer Mage, and Mech Hunter), we decided to not address them in this update because they all have varied matchups. If any of these decks were to emerge as the new prominent strategy, there are plenty of decks available to combat them, which would allow the meta to continue shifting.”
Blizzard also went on to state that they would continue to monitor the meta, making future changes if and when they are required.
So, lets take a look at the cards that have met the nerf hammer (is that a thing?):
EVIL Miscreant – Now has 4 Health. (Down from 5)
What Blizzard thinks – 5 health on a value-generating minion is too high and not much of a sacrifice when setting up those value turns.
What we think – This change actually makes a lot of sense. 5 health on a three-mana minion is rather high, making the minion difficult to remove in the early to mid game, meaning it often benefits from the effect of Waggle Pick. EVIL Miscreant will continue to be one of the best Rogue cards, and will no doubt feature in any future Rogue lists.
Raiding Party – Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3)
What Blizzard thinks – Rogue has loads of card drawing options already, meaning Rogue games play out too similarly.
What we think – Raiding Party is one of the best Rogue drawing cards available; prepping this on turn 2 into coin Edwin is arguably the best early game play you can make in the game. The nerf to Raiding Party alone seems fine; however, when you factor in the nerf to our next card, Prep, it seems a little drastic.
Preparation – Now reads: The next spell you cast this turn costs (2) less.
What Blizzard thinks – Changes to basic and Classic cards only happen to ensure the long-term health of the game, meaning cards like Prep can limit design space for future cards if they’re too powerful.
What we think – I’m sad about this change. Prep has always been one of my favorite Rogue cards, and I have fond memories of using it in the old school Miracle Rogue lists with cards like Fan of Knives. With the change to Raiding Party I feel like this nerf wasn’t really necessary at this time.
Archivist Elysiana – Now costs 9 mana. (Up from 8)
What Blizzard thinks – Preserving the power level of Elysiana whilst making it more difficult to play her multiple times in a game is the idea behind this nerf. Cards like Baleful Banker and Youthful Brewmaster will no longer work with Elysiana (they cost 2-mana), which will also mean her power level will be lower in Warrior decks.
What we think – Control warrior has been a very popular deck on ladder over the last two weeks, but I don’t think I’ve heard a single person complain about the power level of Elysiana. In fact, if any Warrior card was to be nerfed then I’m as shocked as most that it wasn’t the insanely powerful Blastmaster Boom in the bomb Warrior list.
As always, Blizzard are offering full dust refunds for anyone who owns any of these nerfed cards. Be sure to check in on Hearthstone after May 22nd to see how these changes have affected the meta game.