Hearthstone 21.3 patch is finally upon us with changes to 14 cards happening Tuesday 21! This balance patch that includes 7 card buffs attempts to refresh the meta and solve some of the issues caused by questlines and other United in Stormwind cards.

Hitting September 21, Hearthstone 21.3 patch will bring a massive change to the Metagame. Confirming what Alec Dawson teased last week on his Twitter, 14 cards will be changed. The patch will include nerfs, buffs, a redesign, and a Ban, the second-ever in Hearthstone’s history. Let’s jump right into it.

Hearthstone 21.3 Balance Patch Changes

Nerfed and Banned Cards: Warlock, Shaman and Demon Hunter

Starting with public enemy N°1, Blizzard has finally decided to slow down The Demon Seed, Warlock’s United in Stormwind Questline. Now every step will require the player to take 8 points of damage, increasing the first two septs from 6 and 7. Furthermore, The Demon Seed will be banned from Wild constructed play. The Warlock Questline will be joining Stealer of Soul as the only two Hearthstone cards that have been banned.

On top of this, and addressing the mana cheating the Handlock archetype abused, Runed Mithril Rod will now cost 4 mana. Warlock’s Questline has been a trending topic ever since the expansion launched. It is still an oppressive card for control strategies, but hopefully, it will not push mid-range archetypes out of the meta.

The Demon Seed nerf in Hearthstone 21.3 Balance Patch - Image by Blizzard
The Demon Seed nerf in Hearthstone 21.3 Balance Patch – Image by Blizzard.
Mithril Rod nerf  in Hearthstone 21.3 Balance Patch - Image by Blizzard
Mithril Rod nerf in Hearthstone 21.3 Balance Patch – Image by Blizzard.

The second stop of the Nerf rally of Hearthstone 21.3 balance patch is another questline. Shaman Questline, Command the Elements will now ask to play 3 Overload cards on its third step, up from 2. Furthermore, one of the best removal cards in the class, Perpetual Flame, will now cost 2 mana instead of 1. This change will definitely tone down the anti-aggro power the deck had. Being Shaman a powerful but “slow archetype”, questions arise about how well it will work in the new metagame.

Command the Elements nerf
Command the Elements nerf
Perpetual Flame nerf
Perpetual Flame nerf

The last of the 5 Hearthstone nerfs of patch 21.3 will go to Irebound Brute, a key piece on Questline Demon Hunter. The taunt minion will go up one mana crystal, costing 8 as from tomorrow. It can be argued that this small change may not affect the card, as it happened with the Flesh Giant nerf. However, since the discounts that allow playing the Brute are only temporary, this nerf should tone down the early game high-roll potential the deck had.

Irebound Brute nerf
Irebound Brute nerf.

Redesign: Goodbye Mindrender Illucia

The day finally arrived, Mindrender Illucia, one of the most controverted Hearthstone cards, will be redesigned. Some speculated that Blizzard could give this card the Warsong Commander treatment granting charge minions +1 attack. However, this time the card was not alienated. Starting tomorrow, Illucia will “replace your hand with a copy of your opponent’s until end of turn”, eliminating all the disruption aspect the card had. 

Hearthstone Patch: Mindrender Illucia redesigned - Image by Blizzard
Hearthstone Patch: Mindrender Illucia redesigned – Image by Blizzard.

Originally used as a combo-breaker in control archetypes, Illucia evolved into a lock-out tool while setting up lethals. The game experience delivered by this card was extremely negative for the losing player. There wasn’t a way to play around it most of the time. The card flavor will remain, but now Illucia will no longer be a talk topic on social media for stealing games.

Buffs: Hunter, Mage, and Warrior

Every expansion, Blizzard tries to push some archetypes into the metagame giving them support. More often than not, this is not enough to make decks viable beyond the meme potential. This is why we are seeing some buffs to help with variety. Beast Hunter, Ping Mage, and Pirate Warrior might make the cut after this Hearthstone Balance Patch.

Hand-buff mechanics are slow and not always powerful enough, but with Leatherworking Kit now costing only 1 mana, there is potential there. Furthermore, Selective Breeder will gain 2 heath points, which might help Hunters not falling too much behind while they set up their powerful turns.

Letherworking Kit buff - Image by Blizzard
Letherworking Kit buff – Image by Blizzard.
Selective Breeder buff - Image by Blizzard
Selective Breeder buff – Image by Blizzard.

Despite having some popularity and even competitive play after Forged in the Barrens expansion, Ping Mage slowly fell into the void. Blizzard is trying to bump the archetype giving it two important cost reductions. Wildfire will now cost 1 mana, and Mordresh Fire Eye will become an 8 mana 8-8 with the same powerful Battlecry effect. With Quests nerfed, the meta might slow down enough for late-game strategies to exist.

Wildfire buff - Image by Blizzard
Wildfire buff – Image by Blizzard
Mordresh Fire Eye buff - Image by Blizzard
Mordresh Fire Eye buff – Image by Blizzard

Not every Questline was powerful enough to see play. Quest Pirate Warrior never had a place in this metagame, and this Hearthstone balance patch will try to help the deck to Raid the Docks. Three Warrior Pirates will get one extra health point: Stormwind Freebooter, Stonemaul Anchorman, and Bloodsail Deckhand. This increased strength could be what the archetype needed to pressure opponents while completing the Quest to get Rokara as a mid-game value engine.

Bloodsail Deckhand buff - Image by Blizzard
Bloodsail Deckhand buff – Image by Blizzard
Stormwind Freebooter and Stonemaul Anchorman buffs - Image by Blizzard
Stormwind Freebooter and Stonemaul Anchorman buffs – Image by Blizzard

Is this Hearthstone Patch the ultimate solution?

United in Stormwind expansion created many fun and powerful archetypes, some excessively powerful and consistent. The community didn’t embrace this combo-heavy metagame as the design team was expecting. This third balance patch was a response to that but still within the regular update schedule.

Opposite to what happened some years ago, Blizzard now delivers changes promptly. Although some might not solve completely the root problem, there is no shame in taking further measures. Powercreep does become a problem eventually, and some people might miss the “old days”. However, we have to keep in mind that every metagame should feel different, despite this being somewhat uncomfortable for the player base.

I expect a week full of experimentation and a fresh start for many decks that were too weak to be viable. Strap your boots, polish your armor, and remember checking Esports.gg for more Hearthstone news and updates, for Stormwind is still full of surprises. That’s all for now, see you next time, in the tavern.


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 casts the Hearthstone Esports circuit for the LATAM region, among other content creation and tournament organization.