Four cards from the Classic Hearthstone sets will be nerfed in a patch coming Feb. 5. In a blog post, Blizzard explained they aim to diversify the metagame and decrease the number of auto-include evergreen cards.
“When Basic and Classic cards become this ubiquitous, they take away some of the flexibility players have when building decks, ultimately stifling the diversity of decks we see when playing Hearthstone.”
So what’s getting nerfed?
The most severe nerf is perhaps Paladin’s Equality, which will now cost 4 mana up from 2. The mana increase takes away a lot of the potency of the card, but it fits the balance philosophy Blizzard has outlined. Wild Pyromancer and Equality combos have been the bread and butter of control Paladins, available at 4 and 6 mana, respectively. Now, each of those combos is pushed two turns later, giving opponents way more time to react and put pressure.
Next on the line is Cold Blood, a staple in odd Rogue decks and an ever-present finisher of sort in most aggressive Rogue decks throughout history. Cold Blood will cost 2 mana now, up from 1. This will make it all the more difficult to play a card and combo two Cold Bloods for a whopping +8 attack.
The next card getting nerfed is Flametongue Totem, another auto-include, this time for Shaman decks. Flametongue Totem has been one of the best Turn 2 plays in aggro and midrange Shaman decks since the beginning of Hearthstone. It will now cost 3 mana, which will obviously hurt it’s viability, though it’s unlikely it will cast it out of the meta completely.
Lastly, Blizzard is nerfing two Hunter cards. Hunter’s Mark is the last of this clique of Classics that’s getting changed and will now cost 2 mana up from 1. The spell remains one of the best tools Hunters have to get past fat minions; now, its usability becomes questionable. Then again, Hunter is already one of the meta kings, so maybe they won’t miss Hunter’s Mark as much.
The second Hunter card Blizzard’s targetting is Lesser Emerald Spellstone. Released with Kobolds and Catacombs, LES provides a lot of early to mid-game pressure, costing only 5 mana for a lot of board presence.
“We want to position Emerald Spellstone as an efficient mid- and late-game threat, so we’re moving its cost up by one to reduce its utility as an early-game, aggressive tempo option,” Blizzard said. “This change—along with the Hunter’s Mark change—is aimed at addressing Hunter’s prevalence, while still leaving it as a viable option.”
The timing of the patch will give pros almost a full month to adjust to the new meta before the HCT Winter Championship rolls out. The final tournament before Worlds is scheduled for Feb. 28 – Mar. 3.