Hearthstone Patches: What Do They Mean?

A few days ago, Blizzard released balance patch notes for Hearthstone, noting changes that are intended to go live after the Hearthstone Championship Tour playoffs end. This came as a surprise to most Hearthstone players, seeing as the last major balance patch had only come three months earlier. Blizzard’s last patch before that had been almost six months prior when they finally addressed the problem decks of Ramp Druid and Murloc Paladin that had been terrorizing the ladder. The February patch that hit before the Year of the Mammoth ended was also a surprise, mainly because Blizzard nerfed Raza the Chained and Patches the Pirate, two strong meta-defining cards that were about to rotate out of Standard play and into Wild. Until the February patch, Blizzard’s stance on rotating cards was that they would no longer be a problem in Standard and that the game was balanced for Standard play in the first place. Wild players would just have to suffer. But that changed with the precedent they set in February; cards that would be going to Wild could be changed in order to preserve the tricky tightrope that is the Wild meta. This gave a lot of hope to many players, but it also raised an eyebrow for some of the more cynical players. It was nice to see that Blizzard was changing their stance, but how long would it hold?
Fast forward three months. Blizzard springs another surprise patch on us, this time with even more unsuspected changes. Cubelock is getting a nerf in the forms of Dark Pact and Possessed Lackey changes, while both Murloc and Even Paladin are getting nerfed with cost changes to Call to Arms, all without buffing Odd Paladin. Meanwhile, Quest Rogue and Spiteful Summoner decks are being tuned back with reward and cost adjustments, respectively. All these were changes that pro players and prominent streamers like Brian Kibler had been asking for since the Witchwood meta settled into its groove. And there was another juicy little tidbit in that balance patch: Naga Sea Witch. Naga Sea Witch, which rotated at the beginning of 2017 for the Year of the Mammoth, has become a problem in Wild, namely because of its synergy in Giant decks. This interaction has hurt the Wild meta, allowing Giant decks with Naga Sea Witch to roll over many unprepared decks and shrinking the number of viable archetypes. But Blizzard has heard our cries, and they’re nerfing Naga Sea Witch. And this is coming off the back-end of an uproar of player complaints since Ben Brode left the Hearthstone team. I can’t remember the number of threads and salty comments saying that Hearthstone was going to die as a game now that Ben Brode had left the team. Hopefully, this patch should silence the naysayers and let them know that Team 5 is actually listening to our complaints. And this should also shut up those who doubted the Hearthstone team after the February patch. They set the precedent of caring about Wild again, and they’re following up on that by swatting down one of the least fun interactions to play against in Wild. I have to admit, I was one of the skeptics who looked at the Raza and Patches nerfs and thought, “That’s probably the only time that’s gonna happen this year.” I’m happy to admit that I was wrong.

David Kaucic

Author David Kaucic

David “Vid” “KauCix” Kaucic is a writer, caster, and player for the OU Esports League of Legends team. He’s a support main who likes dry humor, pseudo-factual personal anecdotes, and abusing Brand support in SoloQ to pretend that he’s useful.

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