In a few days, it will be a full month since the release of Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, the latest Hearthstone expansion, just the right time for the first significant balance changes.
Madness at the Darkmoon Faire brought a lot of interesting control tools for many classes, but unfortunately for players who love to play slower, control games, the first month of the expansion has been dominated by aggressive decks, mostly Aggro Demon Hunter and Face Hunter.
One of the biggest highlights of the expansion is the return of the Old Gods, four iconic Hearthstone cards that were first introduced back in 2016, with the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion.
But these cards are slow and control-oriented with a focus on grind and value battles, and those types of decks were unplayable due to domination of aggro decks.
With balance changes in the 19.2 patch, Blizzard is hoping to slow down the current meta in Standard Constructed, which will give space for control decks to shine.
Let's take a look at these changes.
Hearthstone patch 19.2 Standard balance updates
- Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 3]
Probably one of the most deserved nerfs for Demon Hunter.
One of the biggest weaknesses of Demon Hunter should be his ability to deal with big minions, but with Blade Dance, Illidan was able to clear minions with 6 or more health with ease. And all that while doing an insane amount of damage directly to the opponent's face.
While this nerf is good, we think that even this is not enough and that this card should cost 4 mana.
- Old: [Costs 3] → New: [Costs 4]
Another well-deserved nerf. This card offered huge tempo swings for a small price in Soul Demon Hunter decks, and for a class that's already strong when it comes to tempo, having this efficient AoE was simply too much.
We think that this new mana cost is just the right price for Shardshatter Mystic.
- Old: 3 Attack, 2 Durability → New: 2 Attack, 2 Durability
The third and final Demon Hunter nerf in the 19.2 patch is reserved for Dreadlord’s Bite, a new weapon that Demon Hunter got in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion.
Another strong weapon that was too efficient for its mana cost, and so Blizzard has decided to nerf its overall damage instead of increasing its mana cost, which we think is a good move and this weapon now seems fairly balanced. Which unfortunately means that it probably won't be played anymore.
- Old: [Costs 7] → New: [Costs 8]
Hunter is another problematic class in the current aggro meta, with aggro Highlander Hunter being particularly problematic.
To address this, Blizzard is nerfing Hunter's biggest damage-dealer, Dinotamer Brann. Not a huge increase in cost, but it will give another full turn for players to try to stabilize against Hunter's aggression before the inevitable damage from King Krush come to crush your face.
- Old: [Costs 4] → New: [Costs 5]
While many were theorising that Lorekeeper Polkelt will have a role in combo decks, it turns out that his biggest strength is in fast aggro decks, where he puts finisher cards (like Dinotamer Brann above) on the top of the deck to deal final damage to the opponent.
And we are not really sure if this nerf will have an influence on his strength, because he was mostly played around turns 5 or 6 anyway, and it will only maybe affect what can aggro players do with that remaining mana when they play him, but we think that will not be an issue, and our estimation is that Lorekeeper Polkelt will still be a strong card in aggro decks.
- Old: [Costs 2] → New: [Costs 3]
This one is absolutely the most warranted nerf, which was long overdue.
Voracious Reader is a bread-and-butter of current aggro decks, and its 2-mana cost was utterly ridiculous for what it does.
Aggro players would empty their hand as fast as possible and then refill it with Voracious Reader, which was often well protected by other minions.
Players were often having problems to remove it from the board, especially because of its 3 Health, which resulted in 2 or more turns of free card draw.
With this new price, the card should be much slower and it will be harder to empty hand and play her at the same time, which makes her significantly weaker.
These are all new balance changes that are coming with Hearthstone 19.2 patch in Standard Constructed. Hopefully, this will make meta slower and it will allow decks with Old Gods to be competitive.
If you are interested in Battleground changes, you can read Battlegrounds 19.2 patch notes and if you want to know more about Rewards Track improvements that are coming with this update, you can find all the information about it here.
Hearthstone patch 19.2 is slated for release on 15th December around 7 pm CET / 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.