Hearthstone's Showdown in the Badlands expansion is less than a month old, but one of its cards has already grown to be infamous. The Azerite Snake isn't a card that can be loaded into a Warlock player's deck, but once it's in their hands, the game is pretty much locked and decided. With that in mind, Blizzard has issued the 28.0.3 patch, which should make it a lot fairer.
The Azerite Snake is a Legendary that is earned through the new Excavation mechanic. Once it's played, it steals 10 Health from the enemy hero. The key term there is "steals," not "damages." That means that health can never be recovered and ignores any Armor totals. In many cases, that meant if the Snake was played three times, the game was essentially over. An increased cost to 6 Mana was not enough to stop this scourge, so Tuesday's update will return it to 4 Mana while lowering the stolen Health cost to 7. That means the Snake has to be played five times to end the game, which is still plausible while leaving enough leeway for an opponent to come back with their own winning strategy.
"Our last adjustment to Azerite Snake was a temporary fix to that standout play experience outlier," reads the Hearthstone website. "That adjustment, and natural meta developments, have gotten Excavate Warlock to about where we want it right now. This change makes Azerite Snake once again match the other Legendary Excavate Treasures’ costs, but keeps the overall clock and cost about the same by requiring 5 activations for lethal instead of the current 3."
Other balance adjustments for Patch 28.0.3 include the following:
- Blindeye Sharpshooter (Demon Hunter): Health reduced to 3. (Down from 5)
- Order in the Court (Paladin): No longer draws a card.
- Always a Bigger Jormungar (Hunter): Costs 2 Mana. (Up from 1 Mana)
- Defense Attorney Nathanos (Hunter): Attack reduced to 4, now gains Deathrattle and then triggers it. (Down from 5 Attack and changed from triggering Deathrattle and then gaining it)
Battlegrounds players will also notice some significant changes to a handful of minions. Beast builds are getting some big nerfs while other tribes are getting some big changes that go either way. Bassgill's functionality change is noteworthy, because it now only summons the highest health Murloc and not the highest health minion, which is a major change. More information can be found on the Hearthstone website.
Hearthstone's 28.0.3 update should be live later today. While you wait, why not read up on the upcoming Battlegrounds Duos mode that we sampled at BlizzCon?