Yesterday, Blizzard announced that it would be nerfing some of the most powerful cards in Hearthstone in an attempt to break up the dominance of two classes: Rogue and Warrior. If you’ve played the game at all since the release of its latest “Rise of Shadows” expansion, you know that these decks were so powerful that they became oppressive both in tournament and ranked-play settings. While these are notable for how quickly Blizzard implemented them, balance changes aren’t new to Hearthstone. This morning, though, while announcing the upcoming “Rise of the Mech” in-game event, Blizzard introduced something that Hearthstone has never seen before: a series of permanent buffs designed to increase the viability of interesting, currently underpowered cards.
In the past, Blizzard has taken its time to implement balance changes: In 2018, they decreased the power level of a card called Corridor Creeper, but by that time, the card had been causing problems for almost two months as a minion with relatively high Attack and Health that could usually be played for zero Mana. That same batch of nerfs also hit Patches the Pirate, a card whose ability to be automatically summoned from a deck was wreaking havoc on the metagame for more than a year.
The way Blizzard views card changes seems to be evolving. The company has been quicker to implement nerfs when necessary, and as of yesterday’s nerfs, the cycle seems to be speeding up over time. Excluding minor changes to a card or two every now and then, Blizzard hasn’t made significant card buffs, let alone this many, since its beta. Instead of tweaking things as a reaction to stale metagames, they’re proactively looking to add power into areas of the metagame that are currently unexplored.
“Our hope is that some of these updated cards will show up consistently until the next set rotation, while others inspire completely new decks without having a lasting negative impact on their respective classes,” the company stated in a recent blog post. “If the goal of a balance update is to address metagame outliers, the goal of the ‘Rise of the Mech’ update is to inspire some new fun ideas.”
On top of that, Blizzard is releasing a new card with the “Rise of the Mech” expansion called SN1P-SN4P. As a neutral Legendary, it can be played in any class and represents great value as a 3-mana minion with 3 Attack and 4 Health that spawns two 1/1 mechs when it dies. It can attach to other mechs since it has the Magnetic effect and can be played multiple times since it has the Echo effect.
One card is enough to shake up an entire Hearthstone metagame, and the launch of SN1P-SN4P might have a ripple effect on the rest of the game as one-off card releases like the launch of the Volcanosaur have shown us in the past.
Here are the buffs that will go into effect when the Rise of the Mech update goes live:
- Gloop Sprayer to (7) Mana. (Down from 8)
- Mulchmuncher to (9) Mana. (Down from 10)
- Necromechanic to (4) Mana. (Down from 5)
- Flark’s Boom-Zooka to (7) Mana. (Down from 8)
- Unexpected Results to (3) Mana. (Down from 4)
- Luna’s Pocket Galaxy to (5) Mana. (Down from 7)
- Crystology to (1) Mana. (Down from 2)
- Glowstone Technician to (5) Mana. (Down from 6)
- Extra Arms to (2) Mana. (Down from 3)
- Cloning Device to (1) Mana. (Down from 2)
- Pogo-Hopper to (1) Mana. (Down from 2)
- Violet Haze to (2) Mana. (Down from 3)
- The Storm Bringer to (6) Mana. (Down from 7)
- Thunderhead to 3/6/ (Up from 3/5)
- Spirit Bomb to (1) Mana. (Down from 2)
- Dr. Morrigan to (6) Mana. (Down from 8)
- Security Rover to 2/6 stats. (Up from 2/5)
- Beryllium Nullifier to 4/8 stats. (Up from 3/8)
In addition to granting players a free copy of SN1P-SN4P, the “Rise of the Mech” event will bring the aforementioned balance changes as well as a new rotation to the cards available in the game’s Arena mode. The update launches on 3 June.