Hearthstone's current meta has felt unsustainable over the last few weeks. It's not just Standard and Wild, either. Battlegrounds seems to be in a severely unbalanced place. That's why the Hearthstone team has prepared the 21.3 update and the patch's balance tweaks will begin with the brutally overpowered Warlock and Shaman Quests.
Before we dive into the 21.3 patch's major changes, we wish to acknowledge the continuing situation at Activision Blizzard. It has been over a month without an official response from management and, as a show of respect to the employees, we would like to take a moment to repost their demands that they made public prior to their walkout. Furthermore, we would like to encourage our readers to donate to the following charities: Black Girls CODE, FUTURES, Girls Who Code, RAINN, Women in Animation, and Women in Games International.
The #ActiBlizzWalkout organizers are encouraging people to signal boost the hashtag as a sign of solidarity while using a 💙 emoji. They also support donations to the following charities:— Shacknews (@shacknews) July 28, 2021
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Let's dive into Standard and Wild first. The following cards are being changed, according to the Hearthstone website, and these changes contain both nerfs and buffs:
- Irebound Brute (Demon Hunter): Now costs 8 mana. (Up from 7 mana)
- Mindrender Illucia (Priest): Battlecry now copies your opponent's hand until the end of your turn. (Changed from "Swap hands and decks with your opponent until your next turn.")
- Perpetual Flame (Shaman): Now costs 2 mana. (Up from 1 mana)
- Command the Elements (Shaman): Third questline now requires 3 Overload cards to complete. (Up from 2 Overload cards.)
- The Demon Seed/Establish the Link (Warlock): First two questlines now require 8 damage to complete. (Up from 6 and 7 damage, respectively.) Furthermore, the Warlock Quest is now banned in Wild.
- Runed Mithril Rod (Warlock): Now costs 4 mana. (Up from 3 mana)
- Leatherworking Kit (Hunter): Now costs 1 mana. (Down from 2 mana)
- Selective Breeder (Hunter): Now has 3 health. (Up from 1 health)
- Wildfire (Mage): Now costs 1 mana. (Down from 2 mana)
- Mordresh Fire Eye (Mage): Now costs 8 mana, but has 8/8 stats. (Down from 10 mana and down from 10/10 stats)
- Stormwind Freebooter (Warrior): Now had 4 health. (Up from 3 health)
- Stonemaul Anchorman (Warrior): Now has 6 health. (Up from 5 health)
- Bloodsail Deckhand (Warrior): Now has 2 health. (Up from 1 health)
This is a massive list, but the biggest headline is the Warlock Quest. The Hearthstone team has been tinkering with its tools in various ways, but hasn't been able to bring its power level down. Now comes a tweak to the Quest itself, which also includes an outright ban in Wild play. The increase in cost to the Runed Mithril Rod should also have a major effect on the Quest's power level.
The other thing to note is that the devs seem to be trying to give Pirate Warrior and Hero Power Mage a shot in the arm with some buffs to its key cards. Mage players have played Spell Mage almost exclusively over the past few expansions, but the reduction in cost to both Wildfire and Mordresh Fire Eye make the Hero Power Mage worth re-exploring. Even in its vanilla form, it was a whole lot of fun to play.
Elsewhere, Battlegrounds is getting a much-needed balance update. The following Hero and card updates include:
- Shudderwock's Hero Power now costs 2 mana. (Up from 0 mana)
- Galewing's Hero Power has been adjusted. When selecting Eastern Plaguelands, it will now reduce your next Tavern Tier update by (5) instead of instantly upgrading to the next Tavern Tier.
- Master Nguyen's hero power odds have been adjusted.
- Defiant Shipwright has been removed from the pool, while Southsea Captain has retrurned.
- Impatient Doomsayer (Tier 3): Avenge cost is now at 4. (Up from Avenge cost 3)
- Kathra'natir (Tier 4): Now Tier 3, but with stats reduced to 5/4 from 7/5.
- Leapfrogger (Tier 2): Deathrattle now gives a friendly Beast +1/+1. (Down from +2/+2)
- Monstrous Macaw (Tier 3): Can now only trigger other friend minion's Deathrattles and cannot activate its own.
- Reanimating Rattler (Tier 5): Now Tier 5, but with stats increased to 7/3 from 6/2.
- Whelp Smuggler (Tier 2): Health increased to 5 from 4, but now only grants friendly Dragons +1 Health from its effect instead of +2 Health.
- Impulsive Trickster (Tier 1): Can now only give its maximum Health to other friendly minions.
- Master of Realities (Tier 6): Now Tier 5.
- Peggy Brittlebone (Tier 4): Now has 6/5 stats. (Up from 5/3 stats)
- Goldgrubber (Tier 4): Now has 4/4 stats. (Up from 2/2 stats)
- Salty Looter (Tier 3): Now has 5 health. (Up from 4 health)
- Prophet of the Boar (Tier 2): Now has 3 attack. (Up from 2 attack)
- Roadboar (Tier 2): Now has 2 attack. (Up from 1 attack)
- Bristleback Brute (Tier 3): Now has 4/4 stats. (Up from 3/3 stats)
- Dynamic Duo (Tier 4): Now has 4/5 stats. (Up from 3/4 stats)
- Charlga (Tier 6): Can now play Blood Gems on itself.
This is all in addition to updates to Duels and Arena, as well as a slew of bug fixes. Check out the aforementined link to the Hearthstone website for the full patch notes. The Hearthstone 21.3 patch will be deployed this Tuesday. We'll have more on the game in the weeks and months ahead, including on the upcoming Mercenaries mode, so stay tuned to Shacknews for the latest updates.