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Nerfs for Six Cards Are Now Live

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The community's prayers have been answered as nerfs for six problematic cards have been announced.

UPDATE - The nerfs went live earlier today. You can disenchant the affected cards and get full dust value until June 5, 2018.

Four of these cards are Spiteful Summoner, Possessed Lackey, Call to Arms and Naga Sea Witch. Even though there were a lot of interesting suggestions as to how these cards could be handled, Team 5 chose the simplest, yet elegant, way to weaken them: increase their mana cost. The first three cards will have their mana cost increased by 1, whereas Naga Sea Witch will jump to an extreme 8 mana!

Dark Pact will now restore 4 health to your hero, instead of 8. Lastly, Crystal Core will undergo a second nerf in its history: it will now produce 4/4 minions. Do you think it will survive even its second nerf like Unleash the Hounds or Sylvanas Windrunner did?

Some of the cards that we know the team was considering changing, but will remain unscathed for now are Sunkeeper Tarim, Doomguard, Bloodreaver Gul'dan and Baku Paladin Hero Power.

These changes will take effect after the end of the HCT playoffs at the end of May.

Blizzard LogoDaxxarri

In an update that will arrive some time after the HCT Playoffs are complete, we will be making balance changes to the following cards:

Naga Sea Witch – Will cost 8 mana. (Up from 5)

In update 9.1, we introduced a rule change to increase the consistency of Hearthstone game mechanics. The change affected precisely when Naga Sea Witch’s cost change was applied to cards. This allowed it to be combined with the cost reduction effects on giants, and as a result, it became fairly easy to reduce their mana cost to 0.

 

We think Hearthstone is better all around when interactions are consistent, and we like the fact that a Naga Sea Witch giants deck archetype exists. That said, we also understand that, with its current functionality, this deck can generate early board states that are unreasonable for most classes to deal with. By increasing the cost of Naga Sea Witch to 8 mana, the deck’s concept remains intact, but the combo is delayed until later in a match when more decks are likely to have the tools to handle the arrival of so many giants.

enUS_NagaSeaWitch_HS_Body_LW_600x316.png

Spiteful Summoner – Will cost 7 mana. (Up from 6)

After set rotation arrived with the Year of the Raven, Spiteful Summoner became more powerful and consistent when used in decks containing 10 mana cost spells. This is because the pool of 10 mana cost minions in Standard is smaller, so players could more reliably count on getting a powerful minion from Spiteful Summoner’s effect. Even considering the deckbuilding sacrifices that an effective Spiteful Summoner deck requires, we think that increasing the card’s mana cost to 7 is more in line with the powerful outcomes that are possible when it’s used alongside cards like Ultimate Infestation.

enUS_SpitefulSummoner_HS_Body_LW_600x316.png

Dark Pact – Will restore 4 Health. (Down from 8)

There are two aspects of Dark Pact that make it powerful. At a cost of 1 mana, it’s easily used alongside cards like Carnivorous Cube, Possessed Lackey, and Spiritsinger Umbra for big combo turns. It also gives Warlocks enough healing potential so that aggressively using Lifetap and playing cards like Kobold Librarian and Hellfire feel less consequential. We left Dark Pact’s cost intact so it can still be used as part of interesting combos, but lessened the healing it provides so Warlocks will need to more carefully consider how much damage they take over the course of a match.

enUS_DarkPact_HS_Body_LW_600x316.png

Possessed Lackey – Will cost 6 mana. (Up from 5)

Some of the card combos involving Possessed Lackey present situations that are too difficult to deal with in the early-to-mid stages of the game. Increasing its mana cost to 6 delays some of those powerful card combos to turns that are easier for opposing decks to overcome.

enUS_PossessedLackey_HS_Body_LW_600x316.png

Call to Arms – Will cost 5 mana. (Up from 4)

Currently, there are three popular Paladin decks: Even Paladin, Murloc Paladin, and Odd Paladin. Among the three decks, Even Paladin and Murloc Paladin have consistently been the most powerful two archetypes over the first few weeks since the release of The Witchwood. Call to Arms moving to 5 mana restricts it from being used in Even decks and reduces its power somewhat when used in Murloc and other Paladin decks.

We expect that players will experiment with Call to Arms at 5 mana in Odd Paladin decks, but we don’t expect this card to have much of an impact. This is because Odd Paladin can’t access 2 mana minions (meaning Call to Arms could only ever summon three 1 mana minions if played in that deck).

enUS_CalltoArms_HS_Body_LW_600x316.png

Note: As a result of this change, we are adjusting the “Greymane’s Alliance” deck recipe. It will now have two copies of Saronite Chain Gang in place of Call to Arms.

The Caverns Below – The quest reward, Crystal Core, will read: For the rest of the game, your minions are 4/4. (Down from 5/5)

The Quest Rogue deck uses a strategy that’s strong against slow, control-heavy and fatigue decks, but struggles against most other deck archetypes. There’s a fine line between being powerful against very slow decks and being powerful versus virtually all non-aggressive strategies. By changing the quest reward to make the resulting minions 4/4 instead of 5/5, Quest Rogue should still be a reasonable option versus slow, extreme late-game decks, but offer a less polarized matchup with more moderate control decks.

enUS_CrystalCore_HS_Body_LW_600x309.png

(source)

Are you happy with these changes? Do you think some cards will still be playable or are all six cards useless now? What's your opinion on the unchanged cards?

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I am not really a fan of Spiteful Summoner nerf. Making it 7-mana doesn't solve much of its problems. I wished it actually consumed the spell she used. It would make her still okay if you don't draw the spells, and you can't play two Spiteful Summoners and follow it up with double Ultimate Infestation.

Crystal Core nerf is awkward. I mean, it is okay I think. But, how about nerfing Shadowstep by actually preventing 0-cost minions (just like Summoning Portal)? Or making quest reward a minion, so it takes a space on board.

Others seem okay. Dark Pact nerf seems a bit harsh to be fair. 

Again, Blizzard knows what's wrong with the metagame, but they don't have any idea about how to fix it.

 

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Pretty much as expected.

CTA is still too good even at 5 mana and ppl will just switch to odd pala.

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Frankly I don't see this being a major blow to the use of Spitefuls.   The card will continue to generate a 4/4 body and a random 10 cost body for 7 mana.     That's still insane value considering the 10-cost cards in the pool.    Is there even a potentially bad 10-cost minion out there anymore?    Even used in Priest where there's usually an 8 cost spell involved, the value is still redonkulus.  

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so it seems the change of the upgraded paladin hero power was too complicated...

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those 4/4 minions actually make it better against priest. i think that dark pact nerf was uncalled for

Edited by blackstar128
forgot something

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Hahahaaaa, die Naga, die.

Oh... the other changes are decent too.

1 hour ago, Migol said:

Frankly I don't see this being a major blow to the use of Spitefuls.   The card will continue to generate a 4/4 body and a random 10 cost body for 7 mana.     That's still insane value considering the 10-cost cards in the pool.

Yes, but you do also have to run a clunky deck with next to no spells to get that effect. It’s still good value and tempo at ten mana but it’d never get played.

Increasing it to 7 gives opponents more time to draw their answers, delays it long enough for things like nether to be relevant, and also increases the likelihood of drawing your spells before you play the summoners.

They can always increase it to 8 if 7 isn’t enough. My guess is it’ll hit the performance of the deck quite hard as it is.

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For me, is overreaction. However:

 

1) Naga sea witch: this is the right nerf to the Giant package, but it won't (almost) change anything. The main problem with giants are that they polarize the match: either you have an out to the combo, or you lose. Assuming the giant player will live enough to assemble the combo, of course. Now we'll have more time to draw the out. BUT the needing to own that out will stay, and classes like warlock have all the tools to wait for turn 8. So, it won't change a lot, as you'll still have to put that poison seed or equality pyromancer in your midrange deck.

2) Spitefull summoner: it won't change a lot, but it will make druid less strong. I never felt this card to be OP, so I don't like this nerf much. But I think it's still playable.

3) Dark pact: this card was, IMHO, the strongest in the cubelock/controllock arsenal. Why? Because it is a heal, (almost) unconditional heal, something that a slow deck needs like air. A class that take damage to draw is a card in desperate needs from some heal. This nerf will make every warlock more weak agains  aggro/burns deck.

4) Possessed Lackey: this is a big nerf. The card already was a huge tempo loss against aggro deck. Now that you need 7 mana to summon a voidlord and heal 4, it's really weak. I'm afraid this will lead to some form of aggro/tempo rogue or burn mage to rise....

5) Call to Arms: this card will stay in every control/combo paladin for the deck thinning ability. Maybe it will be ok for some midrange deck (dude?), but it won't for aggro, IMHO. This could even be the death of even paladin (pun intended).
Again, I never felt in standard this card to be OP, it was stronger in wild but in wild, you need to be extraordinary to be normal.

6) Crystal Core: a huge number of Italian ingiuries I loved this quest, I hated when they made it unplayable, I liked the fact that K&C made it usable again, only spending SO MUCH dust to make Zola and Sonya.... They nerfed patches, killing my Quest OTK in wild. Now they killed it again. I don't understand, only druid can be an anti control? :'(

 

IN THE END: I read in tempostorm site that the first tier 1 deck untouched is control priest, that is weak only to quest rogue... and that aggro mage is the strongest of tier 2. Well, I call it... Aluneth will be the next most hated card, with something from slow priest (the DK?).

And I hope it will be this way, because 40-minutes control fatigue warriors are waiting........

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3 hours ago, Synesthesy said:

1) Naga sea witch: this is the right nerf to the Giant package, but it won't (almost) change anything. The main problem with giants are that they polarize the match: either you have an out to the combo, or you lose. Assuming the giant player will live enough to assemble the combo, of course. Now we'll have more time to draw the out. BUT the needing to own that out will stay, and classes like warlock have all the tools to wait for turn 8. So, it won't change a lot, as you'll still have to put that poison seed or equality pyromancer in your midrange deck.

Well, we’ll have to wait and see, but my guess is that Giantslock will be completely gone. If it stays, then yes, we just get a lot more time to draw our answers. But I think this cripples the win rate so badly it’ll disappear and people will stop teching specifically for it.

On (4), you may be right on both counts. But Warlock is one of Burn Mage’s good matchups already. Nerfing one of a deck’s best matchups may well hurt the deck. Burn Mage wants to queue into warlock, so reducing the number of warlocks isn’t something it wants, especially if control decks that can heal/armour up a lot are on the rise.

On (5), really don’t see how anyone can think CTA isn’t OP. Draw three cards and summon them for 4 mana is just ridiculous. I think at 5 mana it’s still strong enough to see play. I doubt it’ll end up in odd paladin, but I’d be surprised if standard or wild Murloc Paladin drops it or becomes too weak to be viable. Likewise the no-parity no-Murloc wild aggrodins. But they’ll be a bit weaker, which is surely a good thing, Paladin has been dominating the meta since December.

 

Edited by Bozonik

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7 hours ago, FanOfValeera said:

I am not really a fan of Spiteful Summoner nerf. Making it 7-mana doesn't solve much of its problems. I wished it actually consumed the spell she used. It would make her still okay if you don't draw the spells, and you can't play two Spiteful Summoners and follow it up with double Ultimate Infestation.

While I've heard a lot of people express the same view, and it is an interesting idea, I think the problem with Spiteful is/was the front end, not the back end. Sure, it feels super bad to fight through two spitefuls and then still lose to Ultimate, but most of the time what happens is you lose to the untargetable 12/12 before casting Ultimate even becomes a thing. 

7 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

Pretty much as expected.

CTA is still too good even at 5 mana and ppl will just switch to odd pala.

I think the fact that it can only grab 1-drops in Odd paladin, in addition to the increased mana cost, might make the card a miss for that deck. But Odd Paladin is a deck full of garbage that seems to just win anyway, so who knows. 

I wouldn't be surprised if it still saw play in Murlocs. 

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3 hours ago, Hanz39 said:

After they nerfed The Caverns Below I found that card again in a pack, 1600 dust for me again with this copy since I never use it anyway.

I don't think this most recent nerf to it will give a full refund, because the card itself didn't get touched.

 

------------

 

They completely murdered Naga Sea Witch. She'll never see play again.

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While I think the nerfs are pretry boring, I guess they will get the job done. Blizzard nerfed the most powerful decks without making them completely unplayable (maybe the exception being odd paladin) and that is definitly a good thing.

The Dark Pact nerf feels like a HUGE swing at Warlock. Lifegain will always be powerful in Warlock losing half of it will give the class much more trouble against aggro.

13 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

CTA is still too good even at 5 mana and ppl will just switch to odd pala.

I played some odd paladin and I don't think that I want to play Call to Arms in it...5 Mana for 3 1-cost-cards is not super powerful (since your heropower gets you two 1/1 already) and playing two copies of it is probably terrible, since your deck will often be out of 1-cost-minions when you play the second one. So maybe one copy to thin out your deck...but 5 Mana is a pretty steep price tag.

Spiteful Summoner...hmm...on the one hand I hate to play against this deck on the other hand I hate to play it myself, because you are so limited when building your deck and I often draw the spells before I get the Summoner...feels terrible :( . Increasing the cost by one seems okay, to give the opponent more options against it.

13 hours ago, FanOfValeera said:

I wished it actually consumed the spell she used. It would make her still okay if you don't draw the spells, and you can't play two Spiteful Summoners and follow it up with double Ultimate Infestation.

While this one would be way more interesting, it would probably be a "nuked from orbit"-kind of-nerf. Meaning: Spiteful Summoner would become unplayable...or at least super luck-dependent. Drawing even a single Ultimate Infestation before turn 6 would render one of your Summoners a mere 6-mana 4/4.

Bottomline: I am very happy that I get my dust back for Spiteful Summoner. Maybe its still good, but I hate to play Spiteful-Decks,

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Good nerfs all around, lets see how the meta will shake up. Think most of the recent and dev comments are spot on, call to arms at 5 fetching three 1 cost minions is playable but not nearly as overpowered as fetching three 2 cost minions for 4 mana.

Giants is still a polarizing matchup but now with even worse odds of actually assembling giants in time.

Warlocks might finally not be banned left and right at tournaments, best change of them all!

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Wow, what a fucking great job Blizzard.

Cubelock is more or less dead against any aggro deck. And against quite a lot of other decks too, because it just is too slow now. You have ridden quite a close edge already against many decks.

And the best part: You don't get your fucking dust back.

You sit on a bunch of more or less useless legendaries/epics that remain untouched.

"Hey, this card hasn't been changed, why give the dust back" - yeah sure...

And the absolute most epic: Cube-Warlock hasn't changed with the last expansion. Blizzard had tons of time if they wanted to change this deck.

But no, let players think: OK, Cubelock is around since nearly ages, no change. Save to craft.

Let them waste their dust. At this time my estimation is that every player who wanted to play this deck has crafted it. Or in other words: Everybody who would ever do it has already wasted his dust. Perfect timing for the nerf, right?
If the nerf would have come with the expansion many wouldn't have crafted it.

They can always put 100 bucks into the game to get new dust, right?

 

What a bunch of...

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I didn't want to say players will switch to odd Paladin because CTA is odd now but because even paladin might be weaker now.

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It is true that nerfing a deck by nerfing the lower rarity cards instead of the big legendaries is a huge dust waster.

But cubelock having been around for so long as Wedge mentioned also means people who crafted it had plenty of time to reach legend / cruise through ranks as they pleased.

Treat it like a new raid / expansion in WoW, all that amazing mythic bis titanforged gear you got is now useless. Otherwise how could we get new shiny gear / decks? Powercreep needs to be avoided or the game itself won't last for long..

It always sucks to be nerfed tho :(

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