Although I’m single, sad, and was alone on Valentine’s Day, Blizzard gave me and fellow Hearthstone players a small gift in the newest patch, 7.1. There will be 3 major changes coming up:
- Rank Floors
- Nerf to Smalltime Buccaneer
- Nerf to Spirit Claws
As of late, certain issues were highlighted with Hearthstone. We’re going to preface this with being a ladder grinder like maybe the most of you. I’m not a known personality in the Hearthstone world, this is the first time I’ve ever talked about it other than to myself on long boring drives but I digress.
With the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, it only took the community to solve the meta in just a quick few days. A new mechanic Jade Golems gave classes like Druid and Shaman massive potential late in the game. Other cards like Patches the Pirate and Smalltime Buccaneer gave weapon utilizing classes like Warrior and Shaman an explosive “turn one” start and “turn two” finish.
Players found that the Shaman class was able use these new cards to keep a strong board presence early to late game. Aggro Shaman could utilize these mechanics to gain control of the board early on and maintain a constant threat with Jade Golems and 4 mana 7/7’s. The deck packed with great minions and direct damage, allowed newer players like myself climb the ladder and easily reach rank 10 or higher. Of course, the best counter for Aggro Shaman was, well Aggro Shaman because instead of deciding a winner through skill and knowledge of the game the match up was decided by who went first, a perfect 50% win rate result.
Luckily Senior game designer, Ben Brode and his crack team of developers and testers, heard the cries of “homogenized format” and broke out the Nerf Guns to crack down on the tyrannical run of Aggro Shaman making Smalltime Buccaneer, formally a 1/2 that got +2 attack when you had a weapon equipped. Now a 1/1 so that Mage, Druid and Shaman can easily remove Buccaneer before things get to out of hand.
The addition of taking Shamans classic Spirit claws, a one mana weapon now a two mana weapon that gains additional damage when you have bonus spell damage. Not completely ruining pirates for the other classes that use the mainly Warrior and Rouge, you will definitely see less and less of Aggro Shaman.
An additional bonus Team 5 has given us is in the next patch players can expect the new Rank Floors at 15, 10, and five. What this means is that as your progress through the monthly season when you reach these ranks you can no longer fall past them no matter how many times you lose with your OTK Paladin. Falling behind meant players weren’t as willing to experiment with different decks at different ranks so this will hopefully loosen up the meta and players will experience playing and facing different decks with a variety of new builds.
Over all these changes are very good for the game, it’s just unfortunate that the turn around time for Hearthstone is much slower compared to other competitive games. At least it has an option, though for emergency nerfs being a digital game and not a physical game like Magic the Gathering. Team 5 being able to patch and update at will, even if it takes more time then either the players or the dev team wants, leads it to being a healthier and more fun game in the long run. We just need to be patient.