Hearthstone nerfs are locked in. With the community being frustrated about the metagame, what will be the fate of the most popular cards?

Hearthstone devs revealed that they locked in the upcoming nerfs yesterday. While they haven´t announced the changes yet, Aleco Gereco, part of Hearthstone’s final design team, gave some insights about the upcoming nerfs, specifically about Theotar and Renathal. On top of the official comment, many pro players express their concern about the previous and forthcoming balance changes. Let’s go over the most recent details of this discussion.

UPDATE: Nerfs are here! Check our article covering the 7 changes in Patch 24.2.2 here

Aleco Gereco about Hearthstone’s upcoming nerfs

In an interview with the Bennidge, Aleco Gereco talked about the possible nerfs coming to Hearthstone. Earlier last week, the Hearthstone Game Designer confirmed that the game would have Standard balance adjustments soon, more “nerf-focused than the previous” patch.

Let’s remember that two weeks ago, Hearthstone got the 24.0.3 patch with 8 nerfs and over 20 buffs. Unfortunately, this update wasn’t able to bring Paladin, Warrior or Demon Hunter back to competitive life. Even though the winrate gap narrowed a bit, this seems not to satisfy either players or the balance team. What’s more, the discontent doesn’t only revolves around power level but also around frustrating playing experiences.

Class winrates before Hearthstone 24.0.3 patch nerfs - Image via HsReplay
Class winrates before Hearthstone 24.0.3 patch nerfs – Image via HsReplay
Class winrates after Hearthstone 24.0.3 patch nerfs - Image via HsReplay
Class winrates after Hearthstone 24.0.3 patch nerfs – Image via HsReplay

Possible Nerfs?

During the interview, Aleco was asked about the cards in the eye of the storm. He divided them into two categories regarding data and player sentiment. To begin with, Theotar, one of the cards the players are more frustrated about.

“Due to both his play rate and the frustration that we’ve been hearing about him, we’ll be considering changes to Theotar in the next patch, but probably nothing too crazy.”

Aleco Gerego to Bennidge

This nerf confirmation sounds like a relief for many Hearthstone players. However, the mention that they wouldn’t go “too crazy” still creates skepticism. If we go a bit deeper and analyze why Theotar has become a problem, the reason is that many decks revolve around one powerful card. Most of the time, Denathrius, but Guff and Magister Dawngrasp also go in that pool.

Renathal and Theotar: Most popular cards in Hearthstone - Image via HS Replay
Renathal and Theotar: Most popular cards in Hearthstone – Image via HS Replay

These cards are either game-ending win conditions or enablers. They are so powerful that the difference between drawing them or not can mean winning or losing the game. If you add to that mix that your opponent can deny that without paying any extra cost with Theotar, we start solving the puzzle.

This is why Aleco also mentioned that the next round of Hearthstone nerfs had Ramp Druid, Control Mage and Miracle Rogue as primary targets. However, something that he wanted to make sure everyone understood is that they don’t only do changes driven by the data they gather but also regarding player sentiment and frustrating interactions.

Could the next round of Hearthstone nerfs hit Renathal?

Some pro-players expressed their concerns regarding Renathal and the type of gameplay this card allows. Let’s remember how Renathal entered the game, you’ve guessed it, with a huge controversy. While the meta has settled now, and players have had time to explore various options, Renathal seems to be a power outlier for some classes or archetypes.

LunaLove, Hearthstone Grandmasters Champion and three-time qualified to Worlds, wrote an interesting take in a Tweetlonger. In it, she expressed that the game is at a crossroads regarding Renathal.

“We either continue to live in a post-Renathal world where scaling cards triumph over others, or we need to make Renathal less powerful so these scaling cards don’t make a bigger difference. Either way, this is the first decision that needs to be made, because all other card changes will follow suit. For example, if we nerf Renathal, touching Guff and Magister and Sire is less relevant, but if we keep Renathal the same, then we need to nerf these scaling cards.” 

Extract from LunaLove’s Tweetlonger

I think this sums up what many players complain about. While there are many different takes on what Hearthstone should nerf, I believe that many have merit since they stand on one side or the other in the Renathal world. 

Hearthstone nerfs have already been locked, and while Aleco’s interview happened prior to that, I think that it gives important hints of what we should expect. Regarding Renathal, the Hearthstone dev team doesn’t seem to think a nerf is needed.

“Both the data and the player sentiment seem to indicate that he’s in a mostly healthy spot right now”

Aleco gereco to bennIdge about Renathal

There is no specific date for the patch or patch notes. However, any savvy Hearthstone player knows that nerfs happen either Tuesdays or Thursdays. With Labor weekend and a Monday holiday, I bet that while we might get more info on Tuesday, the patch should arrive on Thursday.

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.