It was only a matter of time until Diablo lived up to his moniker.
When the Lord of Terror was first added to Hearthstone in patch 21.6 on November 2, players were eager to try the baddie out in Duels and Battlegrounds. After all, it was the first time an outside IP had been introduced to the collectible card game title and he would only last a limited time.
Shortly after he went live, players experienced polar opposites: Diablo was amazing in Duels but pretty bad in Battlegrounds.
In the latter game mode, Diablo's Treasures were on the weaker side which led to the Prime Evil having a far scarier bark than bite. The development team took action shortly after.
Two weeks later, patch 21.8 was released which included a handful of balance changes to the traditional card game mode, Mercenaries, and Battlegrounds. One such Battlegrounds change was significantly buffing three of Diablo's Treasures to help his winrate out.
Ten days later, he's dominating the game mode and some players aren't happy about it.
According to HSReplay, a Hearthstone data aggregation site, Diablo is the highest performing hero in the pool with an average placement of 3.52. The next closest, Ysera, sits at 4.16.
While only a trio of Treasures were buffed in patch 21.8, it now allows players piloting him to snowball early game fights with the help of a 5/5 minion Diablo summons, get a handful of very powerful Treasures and use them strategically to smash the rest of the lobby (even when he's dead).
That level of domination has led to players sharing their frustrations on the game mode's subReddit in droves.
Despite players calling for a nerf to the Lord of Terror or his removal from the hero pool all together, Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig, a Game Designer on the Hearthstone team, said players simply need to learn how to play around him better.
Late Thursday evening, Celestalon appeared in the Twitch chat of popular Battlegrounds' streamer Sunglitters and shared his thoughts on what players can to do take down Diablo as a lobby.
A couple points he made, which were then turned into a post on the subReddit, were:
- "Diablo is strong/weak based on how well EVERYONE ELSE in the game plays against him. If everyone starts figuring it out, it’ll get way easier for everyone."
- "You need to play differently with Diablo in the game. It’s not just about playing for tempo. Yes, he’s almost certainly the strongest hero right now, but individuals can learn to play better with him in the game, and when more people do that, he gets weaker for everyone. Right now you’re losing because other people have fed him considerably."
Armed with this information from a developer, we'll see if players can adapt to the Dark Lord before he rotates out of the game mode or if they'll continue to be trapped in his personal Hell.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.