Nerfs are coming to Hearthstone Battlegrounds with patch 23.2.2. Will this end the Naga era? Murlocs and Quilboars also nerfed. Check our Esports.gg analysis in this article.

The latest Hearthstone Patch brings the 23.2.2 update to the game, and with it, many nerfs to Battlegrounds. Nagas have been out for over a week and it is no secret that they rule not only the depths of the sea but also Battlegrounds tavern. The 23.2.2 patch will change Hearthstone’s Battlegrounds meta for sure with nerfs aiming to reduce Murlocs’ and Naga’s power levels. Let’s go over the changes.

Battlegrounds Nerfs in Hearthstone patch 23.2.2

Well, time to address the elephant in the room, Nagas were overpowered. The combination of being the “new thing”, having an incredible power level, and being present in every lobby turned Battlegrounds into a repetitive game experience. The Hearthstone 23.2.2 patch aims to correct these problems.

Let’s go over the most relevant nerfs to Naga minions in Battlegrounds with this 23.2.2 Hearthstone Patch. For that let’s divide, the nerfs into two categories.

Early Tempo Nagas Nerfed

Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2
Snail Cavalry
Old: 5 Attack, 2 Health  New: 4 Attack, 2 Health
Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2
Lava Lurker
Old: 2 Attack, 5 Health  New: 2 Attack, 4 Health
Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2 Shoal Commander
Shoal Commander
Old: 2 Attack, 2 Health  New: 1 Attack, 2 Health

The main objective of these Hearthstone Battleground nerfs is to balance the power level of minions in the first stages of the game. The three minions nerfed provided Nagas a great sustain in the early game without many requirements.

Even though these minions aren’t key pieces in late-game strategies, during the early game they were able to outperform their peers from other Minion Types. The changes are small, but they might be enough to help balance the metagame.

Scaling and Late Game Nagas Nerfed

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs Stormscale Siren
Stormscale Siren
Old: [Tavern Tier 3] 5 Attack, 4 Health. At the end of your turn, your Spellcraft minions cast their spells on themselves.  New: [Tavern Tier 5] 6 Attack, 5 Health. At the end of your turn, you cast your Spellcraft minions’ spells on them.
Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2 Critter Wrangler
Critter Wrangler
Old: 5 Attack, 7 Health. After you cast a Spellcraft spell on a minion, give it +2/+2.  New: 5 Attack, 6 Health. After you cast a Spellcraft spell on a minion, give it +2/+1.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs Tidemistress Athissa
Tidemistress Athissa
Old: 7 Attack, 8 Health. After you cast a spell, give four friendly Naga +1/+1.  New: 7 Attack, 3 Health. After you cast a spell, give three friendly Naga +1/+1.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs Orgozoa, the Tender
Orgozoa, the Tender
Old: 5 Attack, 9 Health  New: 3 Attack, 7 Health

The full late game and scaling engine for Nagas was nerfed in this Hearthstone Battlegrounds 23.2.2 patch. These changes, especially moving Stormsacel Siren to Tavern 5 will disincentivize Naga-Forcing-Strategies.

Previous to these nerfs, the most effective strategy was to power-level to 5 and triple into Orgozoa or Athissa. After that, finding a Siren was easy since it was from a lower tavern tier. Now, players doing that will have a much harder time assembling the key pieces, and will most likely die to opponents who choose to go tempo.

Furthermore, Athissa got a huge nerf in this Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2 that will change the Battlegrounds meta. The minion will only buff 3 minions per spell, this way, the scaling is more in line with what other Compositions can achieve.

The change in stats-line for every minion might seem to address the same power-leveling game pattern. This way, if you choose to be greedy, you don’t get a lot of stats to stabilize.

Murlocs & Quilboar nerfs

On top of the nerfs to the new Nagas, the Hearthstone 23.2.2 patch also aims to balance other Battlegrounds strategies, and that is why Murlocs and Quilboars got nerfed. Murlocs were the only composition able to compete with Nagas, and now that the new minions are being nerfed, it is just fair to assume that if no changes were made, Murlocs would rule the tavern.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs Fungalmancer Flurgl (Gone Fishing hero power)
Fungalmancer Flurgl (Gone Fishing hero power)
Old: Passive: After you sell a minion, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern.  New: Passive: After you sell 2 minions, add a random Murloc to Bob’s Tavern.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs Young Murk-Eye
Young Murk-Eye
Old (normal): At the end of your turn, adjacent Murlocs trigger their Battlecries.  New: At the end of your turn, the Murloc to the left of this triggers its Battlecry.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs
Old (golden): At the end of your turn, adjacent Murlocs trigger their Battlecries twice.  New: At the end of your turn, adjacent Murlocs trigger their Battlecries.

Regarding Quilboars, we weren’t able to see or experiment much with those compositions because Nagas were just too strong. However, this nerf might be on the preventive side, trying to solve a problem before it happens. Let’s go over the details.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Nerfs Darkgaze Elder
Darkgaze Elder
Old: After you spend 4 Gold, play a Blood Gem on four friendly Quilboar.  New: After you spend 5 Gold, play a Blood Gem on four friendly Quilboar.

Armor Updates with Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2

On top of the nerfs to many Hearthstone Battlegrounds minions, the Dev team decided to update the armor tiers of many Heroes. This helps balance out Heroes without changing stats or Hero Powers. Usually, this variable is the less influential, but it helps balance out aggregated results overall.

  • Al’Akir, Galakrond, George the Fallen, and Malygos –> Armor Tier 1.
  • Death Speaker Blackthorn, Fungalmancer Flurgl, Ini Stormcoil, Lord Barov, Maiev Shadowsong, Queen Azshara, Rokara, and Tickatus –> Armor Tier 2.
  • Edwin VanCleef –> Armor Tier 4.
  • Deathwing, Elise Starseeker, and Kurtrus Ashfallen –> Armor Tier 5.
  • Aranna Starseeker and Skycap’n Kragg –> Armor Tier 6.
  • Onyxia and Queen Wagtoggle –> Armor Tier 7.

This is a band-aid for some Heroes but doesn’t solve the issue that many characters are just unplayable since Buddies were removed. With so many Heroes in the pool, this ends up being an issue for players who don’t own Battlegrounds Perks and suffer from choosing from only two characters.

Devs comment on Battlegrounds Nerfs and Balance Philosophy

John McIntyre, Hearthstone Battlegrounds Lead Designer, disclosed some days ago the philosophy when doing balance patches, and even though this might not strictly apply to the nerfs in the 23.2.2 patch, it is worth the comment.

On a forum post dated 10 days before the Hearthstone 23.2.2 patch, John commented what are their goals when doing nerfs in Battlegrounds.

One of the goals with hero balance is to keep hero diversity high by making sure that heroes are kept in an appropriate band of power. We look at all skill levels when trying to identify which heroes need a nerf or a buff. That’s why we sometimes adjust a hero that is over- or underperforming for newer players, even if those same issues aren’t seen by our most competitive players.

John McIntyre explaining Balance Philosophy

This gives us a bit of hope regarding unplayable Heroes. I know that a perfectly balanced game is impossible but with so many Heroes available, it is important to think about the casual player that jams one or two games per play session, and they might just get doomed just by Hero selection.

John states that they will keep monitoring the metagame and proof of that is the patch we get today. Let’s hope the Battleground Nerfs coming with the Hearthstone Patch 23.2.2 also help to reduce that issue.

That is all for now, feel free to check the official blog post for more details or our specific article about how this patch affects Constructed game mode. Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Hearthstone news and updates. See you next time in the tavern.

Manuel

Manuel "Rane" Delgado

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @RaneTDF

Manuel “Rane” Delgado is an experienced Hearthstone caster, content creator, and tournament organizer from Argentina. He started his career on Esports casting his own tournaments, now he currently covers Hearthstone Grandmasters’ Americas region for LATAM, among other content creation. Besides esports, he works in a construction company, which made him kind of a "handyman" when fixing everyday house problems.