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Hearthstone: Standard Rotational Format Announced

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Blizzard have announced that the game will now have a new format, and nine new deck slots.

15749-hearthstone-standard-rotational-fo

Ben Brode has released a video announcing that Hearthstone will now have two formats; Standard and Wild. Alongside having a new format, there will now be space for eighteen deck slots.


The new, Standard format, will use cards from the last two years of sets, Basic cards and Classic cards. This will allow the designers to have more impact on the meta with new cards, and also allow new players to catch up with their collections. The Wild format will allow players to use any card from their collection, which is the format we currently play. Players will have a different ranking for each format and will be able to choose which one to queue up for. The official format will be Standard, and is the format that will carry Hearthstone Championship Tour points for 2016.

There is also the announcement of the Hearthstone Zodiac. The first year of which will be "The Year of the Kraken"
 

According to the accompanying blog entry and FAQ, the Standard format will arrive in Spring. The rules mean that as soon as the first expansion of this year is released, Curse of Naxxramas and Goblins vs Gnomes will rotate out of the format, and will not be legal in Standard. When an adventure rotates out, it will no longer be available for purchase, but you will instead be able to dust the cards from it.

This is not a new concept in card games. Hearthstone have tended to steer away from things that were done in other games, but introducing formats is a logical step and should make the game more accessible and interesting.

Feel free to comment below on whether you think this will change things for the better.
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Soooo, let me get this right in my mind. I spend a lot of money and time to build a solid collection of cards, and now i'm being told that about a third of those are no longer worth a crap. BUT, I can buy new cards, adventures, and expansions to REPLACE those cards with and what they do. OH, and don't forget, that at MAX, they have a 2 year shelf life. Why do I feel like I'm being asked to drop my drawers and bend over a barrel and SMILE? I'm sorry, but this "easier for new players" bit just doesn't cut it. I'll give you a good analogy. Get cable tv, first year is a great deal. Then prices start to go WAY up. BUT new people can get great deals. No appreciation for being loyal and sticking with the company. I understand that something had to be done, but THIS?? There has to have been a better way to have done this. Sorry but this is horrible.

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Soooo, let me get this right in my mind. I spend a lot of money and time to build a solid collection of cards, and now i'm being told that about a third of those are no longer worth a crap. BUT, I can buy new cards, adventures, and expansions to REPLACE those cards with and what they do. OH, and don't forget, that at MAX, they have a 2 year shelf life. Why do I feel like I'm being asked to drop my drawers and bend over a barrel and SMILE? I'm sorry, but this "easier for new players" bit just doesn't cut it. I'll give you a good analogy. Get cable tv, first year is a great deal. Then prices start to go WAY up. BUT new people can get great deals. No appreciation for being loyal and sticking with the company. I understand that something had to be done, but THIS?? There has to have been a better way to have done this. Sorry but this is horrible.

 

What is your suggestion on preventing a meta to stall and be not scary for new players to join with tons of cards? You practically lose nothing with this; it's not like the cards you collected are removed entirely out of the game. If you play competitively then you will see why this was necessary and how benefitial it is.

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Soooo, let me get this right in my mind. I spend a lot of money and time to build a solid collection of cards, and now i'm being told that about a third of those are no longer worth a crap. BUT, I can buy new cards, adventures, and expansions to REPLACE those cards with and what they do. OH, and don't forget, that at MAX, they have a 2 year shelf life. Why do I feel like I'm being asked to drop my drawers and bend over a barrel and SMILE? I'm sorry, but this "easier for new players" bit just doesn't cut it. I'll give you a good analogy. Get cable tv, first year is a great deal. Then prices start to go WAY up. BUT new people can get great deals. No appreciation for being loyal and sticking with the company. I understand that something had to be done, but THIS?? There has to have been a better way to have done this. Sorry but this is horrible.

 

You can still play on WIld mode with maxed set, it’ll be the format where anyfin can happen :-)

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"Adventures and Expansions that are not part of the Standard format will no longer be available for purchase from the Shop" -Blizzard 2k16

Are they serious? We will have to spend dust on GvG and Naxx cards that we don't own to have them instead of buying an adventure wing or a few packs? That's just a greedy decision. 

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"Adventures and Expansions that are not part of the Standard format will no longer be available for purchase from the Shop" -Blizzard 2k16

Are they serious? We will have to spend dust on GvG and Naxx cards that we don't own to have them instead of buying an adventure wing or a few packs? That's just a greedy decision. 

 

I can agree about that - I don't like that we'll have to craft any cards we're missing, as opposed to buying packs/adventure.

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Me being a newish player I am not opposed to what is happening with the standard game mode. Because of new cards being inserted the game will be evolving with every expansion. I think this is a good thing for the game and I am looking forward to having standard in Hearthstone. I guess I am one of the lucky ones being that I never bought NAXX. 

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Does this include classic cards, because they are the base of all hearthstone decks. Freeze Mage for instance. The deck will be eliminated if this happens. Also, I think both wild and standard should count for tournament points.

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Does this include classic cards, because they are the base of all hearthstone decks. Freeze Mage for instance. The deck will be eliminated if this happens. Also, I think both wild and standard should count for tournament points.

Classic cards will be available.

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New player problem: Having to grind a lot to get adventures, various cards from classic and new sets to face off against older players.

 

Solution: Ban everything in between original cards and latest 4 expansions.

 

Result:  Wont it still be hard for new players? By the time they get their classic collection and adventures done, begin to buy the latest expansion, a new expansion rolls in making something the player bought obsolete. So If i get into hearthstone in spring, I begin by buying classic cards. Older players already have these but MMR saves me for a while. After amassing enough classic, I choose between BRM, TGT, New Exp or LOE. BrM and TgT would hold lesser value since by the time I have eough of New Exp and LoE, Newer expansion rolls out making BRM and TgT obsolete. My only option is to have to spend tons of money or play atleast a year of catching up.

 

Real Reason behind the change: TgT was a huge failure. according to an article I was reading something around only 13 of the entire set sees play on a regular basis. Many people simply wont buy it because the existing cards are simply better. This is a failure i think on the design teams part. They did not make cards which could competitively replace or stand up against what blizzard already had.

 

Instead of making auto include cards like piloted shredder, boom, sludge Belcher obsolete, They should nerf them to allow a level playing field and let the new cards shine. Its as unfair/fair to epople who crafted these, as making the card un-usuable in the now primary mode of HS. Or print new cards that synergise with specific unused minions to push them forward. I never saw my gallywix see competitive play. I was hoping a more control oriented rogue may see play out of him one day. I do not see Raptor rogue flourishing if it doesn't have the death rattle minions from Naxx to help him forge a solid deck. Yes yes, there is wild mode, but packs with "wild cards" wont be available anymore. No one is going to spend their dust one getting cards which can only be used in one mode.

 

Another problem with this mode is, new cards can only synergise with classic sets to ensure longevity for 2 cycles, since every other set will be rotated out. So as a very crude example, if a new card is printed for warlock ( 2 mana: 2/3 At the end of your turn, resurrect a death rattle minion that died in this turn and another one 5 mana: 4/4 give your death rattle minions 2+2) They can create a sweet dreadsteed deck. But come next year these two cards stay but dread steed is gone.  Or for instance paladin gets new mediocre secrets  to make up for ones they lost, but next year Mysterious challenger is out and the secret is again an un-used card...

 

Sorry if this sounds ranty. I try to keep things as logical and explanatory as possible. feel free to show me to convince me to get behind this decision.

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Ability to craft adventure cards and actual card rotation is incredibly healthy for the game, fixing numerous problems like power creep, meta game diversity etc. You can't print a new card for Standard without having it to compete with other, for example.

Actually opening cards you need in packs takes a ton of luck, and adventures are often end up in such way that you need that 1 card that is 3 blocks down, so keep farming that 2100 gold.

Grinding cards and new-player entry barrier would always exist and having Standard can make it a bit easier.

Big thing: Literally nobody is forcing you to play Standard, and that's the whole beauty of Blizzard's decision about how it's going to look like.

I've seen this model in Magic: The Gathering for many, many years and thus far it was both commercially and game-wise sucsessful. All it takes is to make a good set and not some crap.

Defining "good" and creating "good sets" are pieces where, I am afraid, Blizzard could struggle without 20+ years of experience like of M:TG devs. Thus far we've seen downs and ups in expansions and adventures and that may be just ending up it reducing aforementioned diversity in Standard instead of promoting it. I repeat - nobody is forcing you to play Standard(unless you are heading for HSWC or something) and if things go ugly Wild can become a real headliner of future Hearthstone.

Either way, we got to see some actual changes implemented before crying about them. I know that's our primary job as a gaming community but frankly speaking it makes little sense.

GL&HF!

Edited by Paracel

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At the very least, a new player coming into the game after the new expansion hits, will have two less adventure / expansion cards to worry about and consider if he needs them to be competitive. A new player starting after a year from now, will have more sets that he needn't worry about. So, in that way it makes it bit easier for them. Ultimately, anyway starting late, will have some catching up to do - be it grinding or paying. This makes it comparatively easier for them. 

 

Similarly, devs would only need to worry about a much more limited set of cards and their interactions to balance for competitive play, thereby giving them so more room to be creative or at the very least, more time to iterate on changes with a smaller subset of cards. 

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At the very least, a new player coming into the game after the new expansion hits, will have two less adventure / expansion cards to worry about and consider if he needs them to be competitive.

Similarly, devs would only need to worry about a much more limited set of cards and their interactions to balance for competitive play, thereby giving them so more room to be creative or at the very least, more time to iterate on changes with a smaller subset of cards.

Here is the tricky part: you can't have a cake and eat it too. If Blizzard put new player experience on top of their priorities, it will ultimately hit every other aspect of the game like high-end play or e-sports competitions.

If they will only care about Standard, old players who are keen on Eternal format like Wild would be significantly hurt, because they will feel like their efforts and money is wasted and game designers don't care about them at all, only seeking to make money out of new expansions.

Satisfying all your players is your ultimate goal as a game developer, and - I have expressed my concerns - I am afraid Blizzard might be biting more that they can chew. Balancing things even in Standard so you have a good meta game there and in Wild, where you have to worry about occasionally breaking it with some new cards, is what Blizzard up to face, if they want to have a good game.

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Balancing things even in Standard so you have a good meta game there and in Wild, where you have to worry about occasionally breaking it with some new cards, is what Blizzard up to face, if they want to have a good game.

I suspect they won't try too hard to keep Wild particularly balanced, at least within bounds that we're used to. Hence the name.

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Blizzard are known for their proficiency to make games that have something for everybody. I do not believe they are planning to deliver a hit this big to their own player- and fan-base.

Balancing Wild is a thing to be on their list, because unsatisfied players = losing money. And money is what it's always all about.

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Classic cards will be available.

That is nice. I just opened a Ysera today in fact, and would be disappointed if I was unable to use it.

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@paracel: actually Blizzard is pushing standard to be, well, the new standard. The fact that non-standard decks wont be available to buy anymore, blizzard calling standard the "more balanced" mode and such indicate that wild is just there as a band-aid for non-new players. I myself am not a veteran. But I don't want to see some my first legendaries get limited to a mode which will be highly imbalanced soon.

 

Also Meta is not stale. We had just stabilized after TgT when LoE came in. Yes some classes got more love than others. But if we look at Druid, that class has changed oh so little since classic.

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terrible idea. Welcoming new players with open arms while giving the rest of us the middle finger...and laughing at the heaps of money they've collected from people who wanted to own most cards/golden cards (many of which will no longer be playable in ranked/standard).

 

GfuckingG Blizzard...greedy ass motherfuckers. 

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@SithLordOfSnark: I would keep Majordomo for Adventures. You can use him to cheese some bosses.

 

On topic now, I am not sure if I am happy with Standard format. I mean, it's good for new players or old ones that don't play often, but even they have to still keep purchasing the newer packs and adventures. Meanwhile, it's obvious that the format that the game had until now and that is going to be renamed into Wild will not have much priority for the team. The proof of that is that they will be removing the older packs in favour of Standard and that they will also make Standard into the official tournament format. The fact that even the old game format is being named Wild and as Ben Brode said in the video "Wild is going to be crazy" (or something like that) means that they don't intend to balance it very much.

 

Even the balancing of Standard is going to be a hard task. They really need to come up with some seriously good cards for Rogues, for example. Paladins and Priests are getting hit really hard as well and these two classes will also need a lot of help (even though a lot of people hate Paladin atm, just take a look at the cards they will be losing and you will understand that the class is left with almost nothing). As Sottle said, the next expansion is going to be the most crucial in the history of the game.

 

Lastly, I don't understand why they want to remove old adventures. I mean, hasn't the team spent countless hours on them? Are they happy with just removing the product of their work forever? Does it feel rewarding for them? Or is it just an opportunity for them to re-serve Adventure content without no-one realising it's the same boss with a different name? I mean, Hearthstone already had some p2w features, but buying Adventure content, that you consciously know is going to be removed in a couple of years, screams that they just care about profit only.

 

EDIT - OK, they said that they will balance both formats. But I don't think Wild will be more popular than Standard.

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At the very least, a new player coming into the game after the new expansion hits, will have two less adventure / expansion cards to worry about and consider if he needs them to be competitive. A new player starting after a year from now, will have more sets that he needn't worry about. So, in that way it makes it bit easier for them. Ultimately, anyway starting late, will have some catching up to do - be it grinding or paying. This makes it comparatively easier for them. 

 

Similarly, devs would only need to worry about a much more limited set of cards and their interactions to balance for competitive play, thereby giving them so more room to be creative or at the very least, more time to iterate on changes with a smaller subset of cards. 

It's not really that big of a deal with the new players having to care less about the previous adventures/expansions because in the end, you still need 30 cards to make a deck. They won't buy Naxx, but they will have to spend that gold on adventures wings or packs to craft the cards that will be used instead of GvG.

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@SithLordOfSnark: I would keep Majordomo for Adventures. You can use him to cheese some bosses.

 

On topic now, I am not sure if I am happy with Standard format. I mean, it's good for new players or old ones that don't play often, but even they have to still keep purchasing the newer packs and adventures. Meanwhile, it's obvious that the format that the game had until now and that is going to be renamed into Wild will not have much priority for the team. The proof of that is that they will be removing the older packs in favour of Standard and that they will also make Standard into the official tournament format. The fact that even the old game format is being named Wild and as Ben Brode said in the video "Wild is going to be crazy" (or something like that) means that they don't intend to balance it very much.

 

Even the balancing of Standard is going to be a hard task. They really need to come up with some seriously good cards for Rogues, for example. Paladins and Priests are getting hit really hard as well and these two classes will also need a lot of help (even though a lot of people hate Paladin atm, just take a look at the cards they will be losing and you will understand that the class is left with almost nothing). As Sottle said, the next expansion is going to be the most crucial in the history of the game.

 

Lastly, I don't understand why they want to remove old adventures. I mean, hasn't the team spent countless hours on them? Are they happy with just removing the product of their work forever? Does it feel rewarding for them? Or is it just an opportunity for them to re-serve Adventure content without no-one realizing it's the same boss with a different name? I mean, Hearthstone already had some p2w features, but buying Adventure content, that you consciously know is going to be removed in a couple of years, screams that they just care about profit only.

 

EDIT - OK, they said that they will balance both formats. But I don't think Wild will be more popular than Standard.

These are all my concerns as well, but you were able to state them in a much more elegant way than I was. I also have a few others as well, but well put. I couldn't agree more. Still feel like I'm being tossed aside for some reason.

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Wild will lose popularity because people would rather craft something they can use across modes than something they can only use in one mode...

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One thing I am happy about for sure:

 

I CAN FINALLY DE THAT PATHETIC MAJORDOMO EXECUTUS THAT I WILL NEVER USE.

Majordomo is a great card, don't question it. Eight life is good against hunter, clearly.

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      I did enjoy the title of your post though. (source)
       
       
      A couple people asked why the stats I mentioned don't metch VS power ranking so I looked up VS 79 and across all rankings Control Warlock is the 10th best deck. I assume they mix control and cube warlock in their stats. We have decks broken out a bit more but 10th gives you the general idea.
      Obviously after the nurfs it will be stronger since none of the cards in cubelock are being nurfed and that concerns me but it is a pretty challenging deck with a lot of opportunities to show off player skill. People will eventually get better at playing it, but people will also put in more weapon destruction or silence cards if it gets more popular.
      I am excited to see what people figure out after the patch. If Warlock is a big problem after people have some time to adjust and tune the new decks then we will look into it. I have said many times before that win rate is not the most important factor in our nurf decisions. How people feel matters more, so we will listen to players and make decisions based on that, just like we did in the past with Quest Rogue and Patron Warrior. (source)
    • By Aleco

      The latest balance patch to Hearthstone raises some questions about Blizzard's policy on nerfs.
      Is it better to fix problematic cards in a vacuum, or to use nerfs as a tool for crafting a specific meta?
      Four of Hearthstone's most problematic cards will be on the receiving end of some serious nerfs in a future balance patch; a massive move by Blizzard which is just as exciting as it is confusing.
      On one hand, each of the four cards receiving nerfs were individually problematic. If nerfing a problematic card is the same thing as "fixing a problem", then the upcoming balance patch is fixing four major problems and should ultimately prove to be a positive change for the game.
      On the other hand, the most dominant class in the meta (Warlock) was left untouched, while one of its strongest competitors (Priest) took a serious a hit with the nerf to Raza the Chained. It stands to reason that nerfing classes other than Warlock should widen the gap between it and its closest competitors, which could lead to a potentially toxic ladder environment dominated by a single class (not unlike the early days of the Frozen Throne meta which were ruled by Druid).
      Furthermore, the timing of the nerfs to Patches the Pirate and Raza the Chained feel a bit... late. Both cards will rotate from Standard when the first set of 2018 drops (likely in April), and neither of these cards became suddenly problematic in Kobolds & Catacombs. Patches has been one of the most toxic and dominant cards in the game since it was released in 2016, and Raza has been the linchpin of the most dominant deck since the last balance patch. Blizzard is obviously acknowledging that these cards are problematic, but why wait until now to do so?
      Regardless of whether or not you expect the upcoming changes to be positive or negative, these nerfs call into question the strategy that Blizzard and Team 5 employ when balancing Hearthstone. Let's attempt to decode the message that Blizzard sent its player base with this balance patch, and see if we can make sense of it all.
      Blizzard Balances For The Present, Not The Future

      Not touching Warlock in the upcoming patch is consistent with Blizzard's recent strategy of balancing Hearthstone. When Jade Druid decks were too powerful in the early days of the Knights of the Frozen Throne meta, Blizzard successfully lowered the power level of the deck without completely killing it by nerfing both Innervate and Spreading Plague. However, they didn't touch the clear-cut second best deck in the meta, Highlander Priest, and the pro Hearthstone community was quite vocal about their concerns with Highlander Priest becoming the next overly-dominant deck. It's fair to say that things went exactly as the pros predicted, and here we are five months later nerfing Raza the Chained. What gives?
      Despite the predicted era of Highlander Priest dominance which followed the Jade Druid nerfs, Blizzard's policy to only fix the problems of the present is a fair one. Metagames on the whole are fickle and largely unpredictable, and attempting to fix all of the future problems which may or may not occur after a balance patch is a slippery slope. If Blizzard were to have pushed the nerf to Raza to the KFT balance patch, they would have merely created another "next best deck" in the process. Should they have also nerfed that deck? And the next one?
      Though Highlander Priest was a particularly obvious deck to be concerned about in a post-Jade Druid world, setting the precedent of preemptively nerfing healthy decks is a dangerous one. If Blizzard had nerfed Raza in the previous patch, they would have put themselves in a position where they would be forced to address the most powerful deck in the meta each time they want to make changes to problematic cards. Just because a deck is the "best deck in the meta" doesn't necessarily mean that the deck is unhealthy, and signaling to your player base that you don't want a clear best deck to exist coming out of every balance patch opens the door to constant scrutiny.
      Blizzard Is Inconsistent With Its Timing


      You'll be hard pressed to find a single Hearthstone pro who isn't happy to see Patches the Pirate and Corridor Creeper get hit by the nerf hammer. Both of these cards were seeing far too much play in the current meta and were responsible for determining the outcome of an outrageous number of games. Aggro mirrors far too often came down to who did or didn't draw these cards in the early game, and something needed to be done about that.
      When it comes to Corridor Creeper, Blizzard was incredibly swift in addressing the card's endemic playrates. This balance patch was announced mere days after the World Championships had concluded, which for all intents and purposes is the earliest possible time they could have announced it. In other words, they identified that Corridor Creeper was problematic and nerfed it as soon as possible, which is why I'm confused about how long it took for them to nerf Patches.
      Patches has always been a toxic card. For more than a year and half he's been in charge of the Hearthstone metagame, and Blizzard's justification for nerfing the card now (to keep him from ruining the Wild metagame for years to come) feels too little too late. Despite the fact that Corridor Creeper is currently seeing higher play rates than Patches, it's difficult for me imagine why Creeper demanded an immediate nerf while Patches was allowed to reign supreme for as long as he did. Now that Blizzard has set the precedent of nerfing widely-played cards like Corridor Creeper immediately, I'd like to at least see them be consistent with this trend in the future.
      Blizzard Undervalues The Human Element

      I imagine the reason why Corridor Creeper was nerfed immediately yet Patches the Pirate was allowed to stay in his current form for as long as he was has something to do with Blizzard's internal stat tracking. I have little doubt that Corridor Creeper will raise more statistical red flags than Patches due to the fact that it's rarely (if ever) a bad card to draw in aggro decks, whereas Patches is arguably the worst card to draw in the entire game. When you average out the games that Patches both single-handedly wins and loses, he likely tests as a "worse" card than Corridor Creeper does statisically, which could be used as justification for why he was left untouched for as long as he was.
      Though the actual stats surrounding a cards win rates should be a major factor when it comes to balance updates, I believe that Blizzard should put a little more weight on the "human element" of cards. Whereas Creeper may be the stronger card, it doesn't feel nearly as bad as Patches does. Regardless of whether or not the stats said that the card needed a nerf, Hearthstone would have almost certainly been a better game if Patches was nerfed at the same time as Small-Time Buccaneer. The same can probably be said for Ultimate Infestation when it comes to the previous balance patch. Though Blizzard's internal stats told them that Spreading Plague was more responsible for Jade Druid's dominance in the early KFT meta, it doesn't feel nearly as bad to lose to as Ultimate Infestation does. And that's important.
      At the end of the day, I believe that stats shouldn't be the only thing which dictates whether or not a card deserves to be nerfed. Cards like Patches and Ultimate Infestation have caused far more headaches and groans than smiles and cheers, regardless of what the statistics say. Hearthstone is a video game, video games are supposed to fun, and cards that have drawn hate for as long as Patches and Ultimate Infestation have seriously get in the way of that.
      On the whole, I'm quite happy with the nerfs that will be coming in the next balance patch and am excited for the future of Hearthstone. Despite the concerns surrounding Warlock, I'm happy to see that Blizzard isn't the business of preemptively handling problems which may or may ever exist. I'd much rather endure a few months of Warlock dominance (especially after how bad the class was in Journey to Un'Goro) than live in a world where every "best deck in the meta" has a constant target on its back for Blizzard's nerf gun.