After much anticipation within the Hearthstone community, the balance changes associated with patch 20.2.2 are finally here.
Revealed on Wednesday afternoon in a blog post, the game's development team tackled over a dozen cards in the title's traditional game mode to provide a healthier playing experience for all involved and allow different cards and decks to shine. Battlegrounds, the title's wildly popular auto chess game mode, saw a myriad of nerfs to a recently introduced tribe of minions as they debuted a bit too powerful.
Set to go live later in the day, the following card changes include insight from the development team as to why they did what they did.
Dev Comment: Crabrider is too efficient in some of our board-based decks, clearing minions and dishing out a lot of Windfury damage. By changing Crabrider's Windfury to only last until end of turn, we're pulling back on the lethality it poses if left alone for a few turns. We aim for Crabrider to still remain a solid option for decks looking to swing back the board, especially when combined with buffs.
Dev Comment: Spell Mage currently exhibits many explosive turns, with Refreshing Spring Water playing a significant role. By nerfing Refreshing Spring Water to 5 mana, we're aiming to lower the frequency of extreme turns where Refreshing Spring Water draws cards and gains you mana in the process. By lowering the frequency of those gameplay sequences, we believe the deck's range of possibilities will be more in line with other current options.
Dev Comment: As we look at Paladin's continued strong performance across multiple archetypes, we're nerfing First Day of School in order to hit Paladin's early-game strength. By bumping up First Day of School's mana cost and the amount of 1-Cost minions generated, we are moving the card to fit a value role rather than its initial position as an efficient curve enabler.
Dev Comment: At 3 mana, Hysteria becomes an option before opponents really have the opportunity to consider how to best interact with it. Pushing Hysteria to 4 mana gives more space for those board-committal decisions to occur and also allows cheaper removal in Priest/Warlock to have a more distinct purpose.
Dev Comment: We are lowering the Health on Mankrik, Consumed by Hatred to soften the effect of an early Olgra draw. At 7 Health, the token will be more in reach of the mid-game removal that's available throughout turns 4-6.
As for the cards the development team deemed weak and could use a little bit of love, an overarching statement as made about their design decisions:
Dev Comment: We're issuing a number of buffs in 20.2.2, mainly focused on bringing up struggling classes and archetypes. One of our goals for a meta is to provide deck diversity: not only different class options, but also attractive deck options that play markedly different from one another. These buffs follow that goal, as each one is targeted at helping out an underrepresented archetype or play pattern.
As for all of the changes coming to Battlegrounds, the development team nerfed the newly added tribe, Quilboars, across the board. The full list can be found here.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.