It's only been a month and a half after Hearthstone was re-introduced to Rafaam and his accompanying EVIL squad in the Rise of Shadows expansion, Blizzard is stepping in. With Rogue as the most-played class, only reliably counterable by Warrior decks, the meta had slowly begun to stagnate in an imbalanced state - hence the nerfs. In total, four cards are being nerfed in the patch slated for Wednesday, the 22nd of May.
Before diving into the card balance changes, the developers touch on the reason to just address Rogue and Warrior, saying: "While we recognize that there are other powerful and popular decks (like Token Druid, Conjurer Mage, and Mech Hunter), we decided to not address them in this update because they all have varied matchups. If any of these decks were to emerge as the new prominent strategy, there are plenty of decks available to combat them, which would allow the meta to continue shifting."
EVIL Miscreant - Now has 4 Health. (Down from 5)
Developer comments: "EVIL Miscreant is meant to be a value-generating card that creates future swing turns, but having 5 Health on this minion means Rogue players sacrifice very little to set up those turns. We expect that EVIL Miscreant will continue to be a great option for Rogue decks, just at a power level that is more in line with other available cards."
Raiding Party - Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3)
Developer comments: "Rogue already excels at drawing cards, so having another powerful option that offers consistent results has resulted in Rogue games that play out a little too similarly than we think is fun. We’re making this change to better represent the power level of drawing from a very specific subset of cards."
Preparation - Now reads: The next spell you
cast this turn costs (2) less. (Instead of (3) less)
Developer comments: "All changes we make to the Basic and Classic sets are aimed at ensuring Hearthstone’s long-term health. Preparation is currently seen as such a powerful card that it appears in nearly all Rogue deck archetypes. That said, the change we’ve landed on is a small one. While we do want the card’s power to decrease, we also think it’s important for Preparation to remain a reasonable option, since it fits the Rogue class fantasy so well.
"Preparation is regularly used to reduce the cost of cards like Sap or Eviscerate, and those interactions will remain unchanged. Reducing the cost of your next spell by 2 as opposed to 3 opens our design options up a little more to create higher cost Rogue spells without having to balance so closely around the assumption that they’ll be cast alongside Preparation."
Archivist Elysiana - Now costs 9 mana. (Up from 8)
Developer comments: "Our goal here was to preserve the feeling and power level of Archivist Elysiana when it comes to general use, while making much more difficult to play her multiple times in the same game. Shaman will still be able to replay Elysiana through Shudderwock, but this is not as common or problematic as what we’ve seen in control Warrior decks. Now, playing Elysiana alongside cards like Baleful Banker or Youthful Brewmaster should be a less consistent strategy."
Although the Preparation nerf feels as long overdue, it's quite surprising how they've chosen to nerf Archivist Elysiana. The card, especially strong in Control Warrior mirror matches, now seems to favor whichever Control Warrior is on the coin. Using the coin they then can immediately bounce back the card - instead of waiting anxiously to find out if the card survives - and gain another 10 cards to expand their deck with. Additionally, a very disliked card in the Warrior match-up, the hero card of Dr. Boom, Mad Genius, remains untouched.
Nevertheless, it's a very positive sign that the development team is taking a progressive stance on making card balance changes. The meta can be rediscovered, and will definitely be shaken up by the massive blow Lackey Rogues are suffering. Back to the drawing board!
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