Zadina

Iksar on the February 5 Card Nerfs

Sign in to follow this  

1 post in this topic

41825-iksar-on-basic-and-classic-sets.jp

The recently announced February 5 balance update is the talk of the town in the Hearthstone community and Dean "Iksar" Ayala responded to some questions on Reddit and Twitter.

Hunter, the most powerful class in Standard at the moment, is having two of its cards nerfed. Some people believe Midrange Hunter is still going to be prevalent. The Lead Balance Designer explained that the team didn't want to completely eradicate Hunter, but merely target its most powerful archetype: Secret Hunter. Deathstalker Rexxar won't be nerfed, since he will rotate out of Standard soon enough and he's not an issue in Wild.

Blizzard LogoIksarHS

Hunter is still going to be prevalent

I hope so, the goal wasn't to completely invalidate Hunter archetypes, or really any of the cards we changed. When we make a balance change it's less about looking at the current environment and more about trying to understand what Hearthstone is like after we make changes. Statistically, Secret Hunter was the most powerful deck in the game and close to the most popular. We felt like there wasn't a huge long-term downside to changing the secret build-around card that is likely to get more powerful over time in Wild while we can protect against Secret Hunter separating itself from the pack even more than it already was in Standard. (source)

 


 

I actually like Rexxar a lot, it's many people's favorite card. That said, I'm glad it's rotating and it's unlikely we'll make cards like it in Hunter anytime in the near future. It's easy to fall into the trap of making cards that are exciting because they do a thing that class doesn't usually do. It is exciting, but it hurts when classes start to lose their identity. Access to a bunch of healing and late-game value generally isn't what Hunter is about, and Rexxar changed that. There are no hard rules in design, the ultimate goal is for people to have the most fun playing the game. When you start drawing lines in the sand it's easy to make changes that are less fun for the sake of falling in line with a rule you made in the past. In this case, I think it was probably correct to put more value on the identity of our classes, but at the time we made the decision to go forward with the card because I think we underestimated how well it was going to be a control-hunter-all-in-one-card. Also, it was crazy fun in playtesting. There are some design lessons to be learned with Rexxar, but I don't think that lesson is never create cards like Rexxar. (source)

Equality is getting hit very hard, having its mana cost increased to 4 from 2. According to Iksar, the card still felt too powerful at 3 mana when it was playtested internally and this doesn't have anything to do with Baku the Mooneater. Ayala thinks that Even and Control Paladin can survive this nerf.

Blizzard LogoIksarHS

I tried to touch on this a few places, but Odd Paladin and Equality not being three are unrelated. Classic and Basic cards that are so powerful they are in every archetype in every expansion is something that is very harmful to the goal of expansion metas feeling fresh and new. Equality at (3) mana in our playtesting didn't really solve this. The change to (4) was actually very jarring to us, but we wanted to try playtesting it in current and future environments anyway. After all those games, we felt like it was a reasonable option at (4) in control archetypes (now in in the future) but less reasonable in aggressive decks. That ideally where we'd like most cards to be, so (4) ended up being where we landed. If we thought (3) removed it from being in all paladin archetypes for the foreseeable future but Odd Paladin would get better in the short term, we would have just done that. (source)

 


 

The goal was to make a change that helps the game in the long-term, while also doing something that was good or neutral for the short-term of the game. From a balance perspective, I don't think there is a problem with any of the Paladin archetypes currently. Even and Control Paladin are powerful enough in the current environment I think they can withstand a power level hit and still be interesting decks to play. Odd Paladin is still great, too. Not so much that it's a problem, though. (source)

Iksar explained once again the philosophy of nerfing cards from the Basic and Classic sets. In short, since the cards from these sets will stick around forever, they want them to represent their class fantasy well without being too powerful and outshining cards from new sets.

Blizzard LogoIksarHS

Cards from classic and basic that get nerfed are cards (usually) we think are healthy designs that fit with the flavor and mechanics of a particular class.... they are just too powerful and limit the amount of space you can explore when new expansions release. They get rotated to the hall of fame when the violate what that class should be about. For example, Wild Growth is a great communicator for what Druid is about. We'd rather keep it around at a lower power level. On the flip side, if say a card like Healing Rain was in Hunter's basic set, we'd rather rotate that than nerf it. Hunters shouldn't be about big healing spells. I'd expect any classic and basic changes that might happen in the future to follow these general guidelines. (source)

 


 

The long-term plan for both of these sets is to be forever cards that do a great job of representing their individual class identities, while also having powerful cards that make having cards from this set feel worthwhile. Each individual classes cards should be comparable in power level and not have too many extreme power cards that go in every deck forever.

Some of this will require rotating cards that don't fit with the class themes, some of this will require the rebalance of cards that are either so powerful they are included in every deck, or by designing new cards to replace the ones that have rotated out. (source)

Ayala also had an interesting discussion with Brian Kibler on Twitter about the issues that arise from nerfing Basic and Classic cards. He more or less repeated the same points about Equality going up to 4 mana and the design philosophy behind these nerfs. You can find the entire discussion thread here and below you can find the most interesting points.

Blizzard LogoAugust Dean Ayala

Totally true. One of the most painful moments both anecdotally and statistically for players is when they have a deck they are playing that breaks. Literally breaks by the game saying the cards they have it in are no longer valid. (source)

We try to come up with solutions that don't violate that when they can, but it's not always possible. Set rotation hits a large number of players but also misses a huge pool of players that are using 'forever' sets and don't have rotated cards. (source)

 

 
Our goal isn't to make all good cards bad, it's to make cards that go in nearly 100% of archetypes and make them go in archetypes that make sense for them. There are plenty of powerful cards in basic and classic set we'd rather not change. These weren't on that list. (source)
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Zadina
      The Season of Rastakhan has begun and today we have the first round of the Brawl of the Champions.
      As already explained, the Rumble Run is being brought into the Tavern Brawl and you can play one of the special Rumble Run decks against real opponents. Each class has three different Shrines, that promote different playstyles and are accompanied by premade decks that synergise with their respective Shrine.
      Here are the Shrines for this week:
      Druid: Bonds of Balance - At the end of your turn, gain Attack equal to your hero's Attack Hunter: Halazzi's Guise - Whenever you summon a Beast, it gains Rush, Taunt, or Poisonous. Mage: Jan'alai's Flame - Your Hero Power costs (O). Whenever it kills a minion, refresh it. Paladin: Shirvallah's Grace - After you cast a spell on a friendly minion, cast a copy of it on this one. Priest: Bwonsamdi's Tome - After you cast a spell, add a random Priest spell to your hand. Rogue: Bottled Terror - Your other minions have Stealth. Deathrattle: Give your minions +2 Attack. Shaman: Krag'wa's Grace - Your spells cost (2) less. Warlock: Blood Pact - Your spells cost Health instead of Mana. Warrior: Akali's Horn - Your minions have "Overkill: This can attack again". Unsurprisingly, the Shrines that are good in the Rumble Run are also effective versus actual opponents. This bunch of Shrines is quite decent, with the Priest and Mage ones being standouts. The weakest classes for this week are Warlock, Warrior and Hunter.
      The Brawl of the Champions itself, like all Tavern Brawls, rewards a Classic card pack upon victory. However, you can complete the seasonal repeatable quest by playing the Brawl 3 times to earn a Rastakhan's Rumble card pack.
    • By Zadina
      Joseph Magdalena is here to talk about the Season of Rastakhan event, which will begin on February 13.
      As we already know, this event will start in a couple of days and it will last until March 3. It's all about the Tavern Brawl mode during the three-week Season of Rastakhan as each week you will get a special quest to play 3 Tavern Brawls; the quest will award a Rastakhan's Rumble card pack.
      The Tavern Brawl will be the same each week and it's called the Brawl of Champions. Remember the Rumble Run? Well, now you will get to play against real opponents as one of the heroes of the Rumble Run, along with their special Shrine and complimentary deck. Since each class has 3 different Shrines in the Rumble Run, the Shrines for each class will be different each week and you will be able to swap classes if you choose so.
    • By Zadina
      Due to Update 13.2 going live a few hours later than intended, the Lunar New Year event will last one more day.
      The event will now finish on February 13 in the US and February 14 in Europe. Therefore, everyone will get an extra quest that awards both Gold and Arcane Dust! Don't forget that the day the Lunar Festival concludes, a new Tavern Brawl-centered event will begin: the Season of Rastakhan.
      CM_JesseHill
      Hey everyone!
      Due to the delays we hit yesterday with recent update pushing into the time for the Lunar New Year event, we are going to be extending the end date by a full day. The event will now last until February 13.
      Cheers and thanks again for your patience!
      (source)
    • By Zadina
      After a small delay, the latest Hearthstone update is here bringing changes to five cards and the Lunar Festival seasonal event. After the Lunar Festival, there will be a new event, the Season of Rastakhan, with thematic Tavern Brawls and special rewards.
      Some juicy card changes have been implemented with this update. Cold Blood, Flametongue Totem, Hunter's Mark and Emerald Spellstone have had their mana cost increased by 1, while Equality will now cost 4 mana (up from 2).
      With this patch, the Lunar New Year event is now available for a week. Starting from today and until February 12, you can login to get a free Golden Fireworks Tech and enjoy quests that award both Gold and Arcane Dust. The Lunar New Year Bundle is also available in the Shop for $20 or 20 euros; it contains 30 packs in total, 10 from each of the Year of the Raven expansions.
      Right after the Lunar Festival, a new event will start: the Season of Rastakhan will last from February 13 up to March 3. This event is focused on the Tavern Brawl mode, with three different Brawls centered around picking a Rumble Champion and a Loa shrine. Moreover, during that period each Wednesday you will get a special repeatable quest to play 3 Tavern Brawls. The reward for this quest is a Rastakhan's Rumble card pack, so in total you will get three packs.
      Two new card backs have been added: Mark of Hakkar and Kul Tiras (the March 2019 Ranked Play Season card back). There's a dedicated blog post about the Mark of Hakkar card back, which can be acquired if you play against another player who has it. Αnd how do you originally get it? Well, it seems some players have been randomly selected and already have it in their collection and it's their job to spread the madness...
      You can check out the card backs in the patch notes below:
      Blizzard Entertainment
      This Hearthstone update kicks off Lunar New Year with a bang and sets the stage for the upcoming Season of Rastakhan Tavern Brawl event. We also made some mobile optimizations and fixed some bugs.
      Read on for details!
      Events
      Lunar New Year
      Celebrate Lunar New Year 2019 from February 5 through February 12!

      Log in during the event to get a free Rare Golden Fireworks Tech card! Complete celebratory Quests that award both Gold and Arcane Dust! Share spectacular New Year emotes! The Lunar New Year Bundle – Get 30 card packs (10 each from The Witchwood, The Boomsday Project, and Rastakhan’s Rumble) for a special price. Available through February 12.
       
      Season of Rastakhan

      February 13 through March 3 earn glory for the Loa—and card packs!—over three weeks of Tavern Brawls during the Brawl of Champions.
      The Brawl of Champions – A series of three special Tavern Brawls. Choose a rumble Champion and harness the power of each Loa’s Shrine to prove which Loa is the mightiest! Each Champion will have a new deck and Shrine each week! New repeatable Quest: For the Glory of Rastakhan – Play a Tavern Brawl 3 times to earn a Rastakhan’s Rumble card pack. Available each Wednesday when the Tavern Brawl starts. Earn up to three Rastakhan’s Rumble card packs over the course of the Season of Rastakhan!
      Card Changes
      Be sure to read the Upcoming Balance Update – February 2019 blog for details
      Cold Blood – Now costs 2 Mana. (Up from 1)
      Flametongue Totem – Now costs 3 mana. (Up from 2)
      Equality – Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 2)
      Hunter’s Mark – Now costs 2 mana. (Up from 1)
      Emerald Spellstone – Now costs 6 mana. (Up from 5)
      Non-Basic cards can be disenchanted for their full Arcane Dust value for two weeks.
       
      Card Backs
      Mark of Hakkar Kul Tiras Game Improvements
      Fixed an issue that could cause cards that copy and set minion Health to a specific value to incorrectly activate “while damaged” effects. Fixed an issue that would cause Augmented Elekk to shuffle a copy of a card drawn by Tracking into the deck. Corrupted Blood no longer benefits from Spell Damage. Spellbender can no longer attack itself when activated by The Beast Within. Corrupting Mist and Reckless Experimenter can no longer incorrectly cause Immortal Prelate to be removed from the hand or deck. Fixed an instability issue that could occur when Book of Spectres drew multiple copies of Corrupted Blood. Fixed an instability issue that could occur when attempting to view an enemy minion as it’s being returned to an opponent’s hand. Gral, the Shark now works properly when executing its battlecry more times than there are minions left in your deck. Mecha’thun that has been transformed will no longer incorrectly play its original effects when destroyed. Astral Raptor Overkill animations will no longer play multiple times. Copied Zombeasts now correctly keep their Zombeast visual aura. The enchantments from Clutchmother Zavas now collapse into a single enchantment banner. [Rumble Run] Fixed a bug where damage from healing due to Bwonsamdi's Covenant was not properly being credited to the source of the damage. [Rumble Run] Fireslinger now stops casting Fireballs if there are no valid targets. [Rumble Run] Fixed an issue with Tribute from the Tides not granting extra battlecries if it was damaged while buffed. [Rumble Run] Casting an Overload spell while affected by Electra Stormsurge now triggers Overcharged Totem once for each cast. [Rumble Run] Fixed an instability issue that could occur when playing Bouncing Blade while the Pirate’s Mark Shrine is in play. [Mobile] To reduce the initial size of the Hearthstone mobile app, some sound files are now an optional download. [Mobile] Hand and mana are now moved aside when Choose One cards are displayed. [Android] Background downloads are now displayed as a notification. (source)