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Nerfs and the Effects They Have in Competitive Hearthstone

5 months ago

Nerfs and the Effects They Have in Competitive Hearthstone 

Cole Ricke

@theone7142

 

Nerfs and the Effects They Have in Competitive Hearthstone 

 

The latest rounds of nerfs to the ever expanding list of cards in the Hearthstone collection occurred this past week, and their effects have been immediately seen. Each nerf had their own impact on the meta, which becomes clear after closer inspection.

 

Patches

 

 

When Patches was first announced, many believed that it was overpowered before launch. A 1-1 pirate with charge may not seem immediately powerful, but it was actually one of the strongest cards from the expansion, and many pros knew this. They cited that it was a card that provides an immediate effect (chip damage) while thinning the deck, and only requiring a general activator. Zach, better known as SubZer0, a prolific Overwatch player, was actually a very talented Hearthstone player before making the switch. However, once Patches was released, it took a mere one match to make him decide to drop the game entirely. “From the first time I saw that card played against me, I knew I was going to quit this game forever”. While this sentiment is extreme, it is shared in more mild tastes by many players. Playing against Patches was frustrating and limited design space. This nerf allows for more pirate synergy cards to be printed, without making aggro in any sense too powerful.

 

Corridor Creeper

 

 

Corridor Creeper was the card that pushed aggro decks over the edge of tier 2 to top of tier 1. The 7 mana 5/5 was a card that got discounted by 1 mana for every minion that died on the board, friendly or enemy. The cost of 7 was meant to keep it as an option for both aggro and control. However, Blizzard underestimated the standing power of token decks and how only a few trades could allow this card to come out on the board for free. The nerf to 2 attack makes it essentially worthless. This is what Jeff Kaplan from the Overwatch team would call a “Sledgehammer” nerf, a nerf that is meant to take the card out of the game until they can correctly balance it.

 

Raza the Chained

 

 

Raza the Chained was a card that enabled priest to have consistent heal in a time where Pirate Warrior and Aggro Druid ran rampant. It allowed priest to have a chance to survive when otherwise it would not have one. However, with the meta slowing down, it was changed from a survival card to a card that enabled Priest to OTK (One Turn Kill) combo with many cheap damage spells and other cards that would refresh the hero power. The nerf brings Raza back into line, allowing decks that need the survival to still use it, and decks that wanted to combo can not abuse its late game power.

 

Bonemare

 

 

This nerf is deceivingly simple. Many are in shock, stating that the card was balanced because it was necessary to have a board by turn 7 to even let this card be viable. However, as stated before, the meta has slowed down considerably since this card was released. Upping the mana cost from 7 to 8 allows this card to be more in line in design space to its intended purpose. It was not meant to be a tempo card, but a card that allowed for a strong board to be used as protection and trades were forced into the selected target because it gained taunt.

 

Some of these nerfs, such as Patches and Corridor, were very apparent in their necessity. The other two may not be seen as immediate issues, but they open up the design space for Team 5. Whatever the case may be, these nerfs were very important to the future of the game, and they ensure the longevity of the game that we all love to play.

 

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