Blizzard recently made two balance changes to Hearthstone cards in a patch that went out earlier this week. Here’s some information about the patch and my thoughts:
“Both before and after the release of Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure, we have been monitoring card balance as more Hearthstone games are played along with the new cards that have been added. After careful consideration we have decided to make balance changes to Leeroy Jenkins (Neutral) and Starving Buzzard (Hunter).
The following balance changes will be made in an upcoming patch:
Leeroy Jenkins now costs 5 (up from 4)
Starving Buzzard now costs 5 (up from 2) and now has 3 Attack and 2 Health (up from 2 Attack and 1 Health)”
Balance changes are always scary and exciting because they are guaranteed to affect your strategy in some way (especially if you have a deck with those cards) but also impact the overall balance of the game, even if the changes look minor. Let us not forget when Blizzard changed Unleash The Hounds from 2 to 3 mana and Hunter deck fans everywhere wanted to set themselves on fire out of rage and despair. (And ironically, here we have another Hunter change. Rexxar must be sad.)
Blizzard continues on to say:
“Leeroy Jenkins created a strategy that revolved around trying to defeat your opponent in one turn without requiring any cards on the board. Fighting for board control and battles between minions make an overall game of Hearthstone more fun and compelling, but taking 20+ damage in one turn is not particularly fun or interactive. This was occurring when Leeroy was used in combination with other cards like Power Overwhelming, Faceless Manipulator, Cold Blood, Shadowstep, and Unleash the Hounds, among others.
The amount of cards Starving Buzzard allowed Hunter players to draw ultimately ended up being too excessive for its low cost. This change will allow the Hunter’s opponent more time to react to both the Starving Buzzard and the cards drawn by its power.”
Let’s talk about the Leeroy Jenkins change first. LEEEEROOOOOY!
I have been nerfed by Mr. Jenkins more times than I’d care to admit. It’s a great card that can deal some pretty nasty damage. However, I think Blizzard’s logic here is right on. Last week, I played a game where I was finished by a Rogue who used Leeroy to inflict some good damage, then used Shadowstep to put Leeroy back in their deck, only to pull Leeroy right back out again and finish me off. Excruciating! Now of course, that’s still certainly a plausible scenario with the deck change, but at least that whole operation would cost 8 mana instead of only 6, making that type of occurrence less common and Leeroy Jenkins less ominous.
Now, onto the more interesting balance change with Starving Buzzard. I am personally thrilled by this change! I confess I’m not a big fan of the Hunter deck. I don’t hate it or anything, but it’s just too simple for my tastes. Hunter games move so quickly because of the pressure of Rexxar’s Steady Shot, so naturally the cards are very streamlined and predictable to keep that pressure on the enemy. And Starving Buzzard didn’t cost very much but had a HUGE benefit, since Hunters keep so many beasts in their decks. So Hunters just keep drawing beast after beast and playing them, without risk of fatigue because the games finish long before anyone runs out of cards. The new higher cost will allow the Hunter’s opponents a little more time to get a few more cards in their hands before the beasts start pouring out of the floodgates.
Blasted Steady Shot. Always keeping the pressure on to finish the game quickly.
Anyway, we’ll have to see how these new changes go, but I’m happy with them so far. Onward to grab a seat by the hearth and play more Hearthstone!