Earlier this month Blizzard shocked the Hearthstone world by not only announcing card changes to several Druid cards but a couple of other cards as well. On Wednesday, September 13th Blizzard announced that the new patch with the following balance changes are going to go live on Monday, September 18th:
Today I have two high level THL players with me to discuss the changes: Mason “markshire” Cary and Luke “bluesombrero” Jake. Markshire is a THL veteran who began playing in season Kappa. After coming into THL as a 400 pr player it took Markshire less than two seasons to reach 500 pr, winning the championship with his team “The Hairy Generals” and cementing himself as a THL star. On the flip side we have a relatively new player in Bluesombrero. Blue joined Hearthstone Academy as a sub/coach during season 5 when they won their first championship. Halfway through the following season Blue had his opportunity to show HSA and THL just what he was made of. He seized the opportunity and became a team leader and helped lead HSA to its second championship in a row. Outside of THL Blue has hit top 10 legend multiple times with Patron Warrior.
HockeyBoyz3: Welcome guys, it’s great to have you here with me to discuss the card changes.
Markshire: The pleasure is mine.
Bluesombrero: Well Met!
HockeyBoyz3: Wow you two take role playing rather seriously... Anyways how good of a job do you think Blizzard did making the balance changes?
HockeyBoyz3: How well do you think each card will perform after the changes go live?
Hex: It isn’t seeing any play right now in good decks, so it will continue to not see play in this meta. In the future I think it is still good enough to be played, the mana increase isn’t as taxing for a slower shaman deck that will primarily use it as hard removal in the late game. However, I think it gets cut or only played as a 1-of in midrange shaman variants.
Innervate: The card is dead in all archetypes. Counterfeit coin only sees play in miracle rogue because of the insane synergy with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, Edwin Van Cleef, Questing Adventurer, and Vilespine slayer and complements the strategy of explosive early tempo. The only real synergy with it now is Gadgetzan Auctioneer, which is no longer necessary to run because Ultimate Infestation is a card.
Spreading Plague: I think it is still good enough to see some play, even with the loss of innervate and coming out a turn later. Plague was not necessarily an on-curve play in the first place, but the effect remains the same and is still strong. We might see it go to a 1-of or be used as a tech card rather than being the standard 2-of that we see now. It will be much harder to combo with Strongshell Scavenger and other buffs now, so this will make mid-token Druid less popular.
Fiery War Axe: This makes all warrior archetypes significantly worse. Pirate Warrior cannot exist without this card so I think they are forced to run it, but man does it make the deck a lot slower.
Murloc Warleader: Definitely worse without the health buff as it no longer protects against aoe clears as much. Still probably good enough to fit into Murloc Paladin.
Hex: Just as viable, but probably only as a one of alongside two devolves in slower decks.
Spreading Plague: Just as viable.
Fiery War Axe: Still run in Pirate Warrior, but 50% more painful.
Murloc Warleader: Still a staple in murlocs.
HockeyBoyz3: These changes should shake up the THL meta quite a bit. What decks do you think will receive the biggest boost in THL performance after the patch goes live?
Razakus Priest: Very good deck that saw its contenders at the top of the meta get worse, Priest should enjoy better winrates against Jade Druid and Pirate Warrior now.
Secret Mage: One of its worst matchups in Pirate Warrior just got gutted and the Jade Druid matchup should be better with the loss of innervate, so I think we can see secret mage rise again.
Miracle Rogue: Nothing stomps unrefined, greedy decks that people experiment with than an archetype that has been proven to work since nearly the beginning of hearthstone. This is another deck improves because of the nerf of pirate warrior.
Jade Druid: Jade druid took a small hit, but its counters took a larger one. I Expect Druid to still be picked just as much, if not more.
Razakus Priest: Razakus took no hits, so clearly having any matchup better is going to be a buff for them. They now have more time to draw into a clear or a win condition.
Murloc Paladin: Murloc Paladin took the smallest hit, and Murlocs are known for being strong against other aggro decks, but they shine against decks like Jade Druid. I think this is a tossup between Murlocs and Token Shaman for #3 spot, but Token Shaman is better against the nerfed decks so I'll give it to Murlocs.
HockeyBoyz3: On the flip side which decks do you think will drop in THL performance?
1. Pirate Warrior: Rip War Axe 2014-2017.
2. Token Shaman: Shaman didn’t get nerfed but lost one of its main favorable matchups in pirate warrior. There’s less of a reason to bring it now.
3. Mid-token Druid: This was a deck that relied on explosive swing turns to win games, and those swing turns usually involved Spreading Plague or Innervate. Both of those cards were nerfed, so there’s less reason to run buffs for plague instead of just going with Jade Druid.
Pirate Warrior: Pirate warrior took the biggest hit along with Aggro Druid because the axe moving up a mana slot is incredibly painful. Warriors like to put down a strong 3 drop like the Captain, Cultist or Frothing. With the Axe taking up that slot, they'd betting hope they're on the coin or N'zoth otherwise they're in for a tough time against a lot of decks.
Aggro Druid: Aggro Druid lost its ability to cheat out big minions or buffers early on, we'll probably see Innervate leave the deck and that might mean Vicious Fledgling and Bittertide Hydra as well. I believe that Token Druid will probably shift towards the more midrange variant.
Big Priest: Big Priest took a hit because it likes to pick on aggro decks by using removal until turn 4, playing Barnes, and reviving a statue, Y'Shaarj, or The Lich King. With the aggro decks getting worse, Razakus seems like the clear choice for the THL format, and I think we'll say goodbye to Big Priest for teams not called Bad Hombres
HockeyBoyz3: How would you rank the classes after the card changes?
HockeyBoyz3: Thank you for your time. I look forward to playing against you guys in the new post nerf meta.
The THL blog is curated and edited by Donde. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to us on Discord at Donde#4239 or via the THL Help email address: email@example.com