There’s way too much to discuss here so let’s get right into it, here is the direct link to the Blizzard announcement and now we can get into each card individually;
Naga Sea Witch Will Now Cost 8 Mana, up from 5
Now I know it will come as a shock to some of you but I don’t play that much Wild Mode. I have been checking various Meta Reports about Standard and Wild Mode and most people agree that Naga Sea Witch + Giants has been a menace to Wild since players starting using those cards together. This change strikes me as one that Blizz have been contemplating for a while but they wanted to hold it for a larger balance update so as not to show Wild Mode any favoritism.
Now onto the actual nerf itself. This is what the nuclear option looks like for Hearthstone card nerfs. It’s not as severe as Warsong Commander but nothing will ever be. I sincerely hope that this change insures that Naga Sea Witch + Giants ceases to exists as a deck archetype in Wild. People who spend time playing Wild Mode haven’t stopped asking for this change since the deck became widespread. Honestly I hope this is enough, it’s difficult enough being a Wild player without this obnoxious deck ruining the fun.
Spiteful Summoner will now Cost 7 Mana, up from 6
I’m actually kind of torn on this nerf. On the one Spiteful Summoner decks are often the most frustrating decks to play against since the Witchwood was released. A typical game against a Spiteful deck involves you doing what you need to do each turn then your opponent plays Spiteful Summoner on turn 6 and gets a Tyrantus, at that point a lot of players concede. Before the Witchwood Spiteful Summoner was good but not consistent. Without the Old Gods in the pool of Minions that can summoned from a 10 Mana spell, Spiteful Summoner got significantly better (the worst possible 10 Mana minion is now an 8/8). That’s my problem with this nerf, Blizzard could have added additional 10 Mana minions with deliberately poor stats to keep Spiteful Summoner in check. That seemed to be Blizzard’s strategy around Evolve or any other minion summoning effect. Since that didn’t happen this is Blizzard’s only option.
Call To Arms will now cost 5 Mana, up from 4 Mana
I’ll be brief, this spell was doing too much. The most surprising thing about this particular nerf was these lines from Blizzard’s blog post:
We expect that players will experiment with Call to Arms at 5 mana in Odd Paladin decks, but we don’t expect this card to have much of an impact. This is because Odd Paladin can’t access 2 mana minions (meaning Call to Arms could only ever summon three 1 mana minions if played in that deck).
This nerf points to Blizzard either wanting to slow the meta down or just give other decks more room to breathe. Either way this change is in the same vein as Spiteful Summoner; too strong, too fast, too consistent.
The Crystal Core will now make minions 4/4, down from 5/5
Quest Rogue was far too good against any deck that wasn’t aggro or control decks that have fantastic board clear. This is the second nerf to the Rogue quest and this nerf is just as warranted as the first one. Honestly I think of Quest Rogue as similar to Giants + Naga Sea Witch, I won’t be sad to see this card (and deck) fall off a cliff.
Dark Pact will restore 4 health, down from 8
There’s two Warlock nerfs in this balance update, I think this one will have the least impact out of the two. Cutting down the healing in Cubelock and Control Warlock is a huge deal but I think it’s important to remember that Dark Pact is also incredibly useful to combo Carnivorous Cube and Possessed Lackey. With the same Mana cost Dark Pact can still do that job, speaking of Possessed Lackey;
Possessed Lackey will now cost 6 Mana, up from 5
This is the second nerf to Warlock and I’m 99% certain this will be the most significant nerf of this entire balance update. Just like Dark Pact I still think that Possessed Lackey can still do it’s job. The issue with this change is that Possessed Lackey will now be moving to the 6 Mana slot in any deck it’s included in. If players still want to use Possessed Lackey (because it’s effect is still awesome) it will definitely mess with the Mana curve of any netdeck list. I think this is a more significant change than simply slowing down Warlock deck’s that use card because they can no longer quickly get out a Voidlord (or Doomguard) on turn 5 (assuming you use coin). My reasoning follows that if Blizzard intends this balance update to slow the meta of The Witchwood, Warlock will benefit from this change. It may not be necessary for Warlock to have to get a Voidlord out on Turn 5.
This balance update goes live after the conclusion of the Hearthstone Championship Tour playoffs. The HCT Summer Asia-Pacific Playoffs will begin on May, 15th and can be viewed live here!