Blizzard will be releasing a Hearthstone balance patch on May 22nd that directly impacts Rogue decks by balancing three class cards used in their most dominant decks, while also balancing one neutral legendary card most used by Warriors.
The changes are as follows:
- EVIL Miscreant - Now has 4 Health (Down from 5)
- Raiding Party - Now costs 4 Mana (Up from 3)
- Preparation - Next spell cast cost is now reduced by 2 (Down from 3)
- Archivist Elysiana - Now costs 9 Mana (Up from 8)
Online discussions and popular podcasts such as “The Angry Chicken” have discussed the possible changes that could be made. Last year marked an improvement with Blizzard as they elevated their community involvement, often releasing a balance update about a month after the release of new expansions.
In this case, there was speculation that changes would be discussed after the Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) World Championship of 2019, which concluded on April 28th. Instead, there was silence on the part of Blizzard. A post on the Reddit forum picked up enough steam with players asking about what plans were made, if any. Game Designer u/IksarHS responded to the post one week ago, stating that statistics were being monitored regarding cards that may be problematic, and that they would release more information once it was available.
It seems that Blizzard must already have had a preliminary plan in place, but did not communicate it with the community, as today’s announcement leaves only two days until the changes go live, which is also typically not normal for the company. Generally, players are informed of upcoming nerfs weeks in advance. Still, players may appreciate the speedy update relative to its announcement, as it can be frustrating to continue playing when a balance update is imminent to cards that have been identified as problematic or overpowered.
Regarding the actual changes, it will be interesting to see how much this impacts Rogue as a class. The change to EVIL Miscreant is the most subtle of all four, with only the health of the card being reduced by one, but the function and cost remaining untouched.
Far more important is both the change to Raiding Party and Preparation. While they will still be used together, it is no longer possible to play Preparation into Raiding party on turn three to draw a guaranteed double Dread Corsair and a Waggle pick, all three of which could be played on turn four.
As for Archivist Elysiana, time will tell how important this change is in the new competitive Specialist format. At first glance, the cost does not seem prohibitive for the late-game advantage it provides, especially in a mirror match. However, against other classes, it may now be too slow to keep a spot in those decks.
As always, players will be able to Disenchant the affected cards for the full crafting cost for a short time after the patch is released.
While these changes should be healthy for the game, it is unfortunate that no changes were announced for the Wild format as well.